Monday, April 15, 2013
What A Marathon Finish Line Means To Me
The Marathon Finish Line Is...
...sacred space to me.
...where I looked up at the sky in tears, thanking the greatest father who I had lost a year earlier, as I crossed my first one in New York City.
...where I proposed at New Jersey to Lisa, who said yes.
...where I danced over 11 timing mats.
...where you discover who you are inside.
...where all my boys were waiting for me at St. Louis.
...where I set a PR in 2008.
...where the purest emotional release in life happens.
...where I last went in February, as a giant seahorse sand sculpture awaited me on the sunny Fort Lauderdale beach.
...where I will be again this fall.
...worth reaching no matter what it takes.
...where you muster a smile somehow.
...where someone much faster breaks the tape.
...where a volunteer waits to hang a medal around your neck.
...what I think about for most of 26.2 miles or more, and really all year long.
...where the Central Park bench plaque across from Tavern on the Green reads: "Races are run with the legs, but marathons are run with the heart."
...where families and friends wave flags as supporters who mean everything to you, many of them complete strangers but kindred spirits that day.
...a spiritual place.
...the sum of all those calculations you did for miles and miles, anticipating what it would take to somehow get there at a desired time.
...your chance to finally walk, stop, exhale and take pride. You ran your heart out and have nothing left.
...where I ran on cobblestones of Paris in the shadow of Arc de Triomphe, the most perfect name for a structure that could sit beside a finish line, and where I tried to french kiss my wife.
...that digital readout up ahead with the loud music, getting closer and closer and finally all yours.
...something you never imagined you could do.
...where I finished an Oklahoma City Half six years ago right beside the memorial to a bombing incident, and where I looked at those who had just run the full and imagined what it would be to go that far.
...not where life ends and nightmares begin.
...a metaphor for our real lives, where one day I will cross, arms raised, having made the best effort I can make over a lifetime to be a good person, as heaven awaits.
...where a live video cam can be on and I will sometimes sit at my computer for an hour just watching the triumph of runner after runner crossing in her or his own style, each with their own story of accomplishment and conquest.
That is why I created http://finisher.tumblr.com along the way -- because the finish line is a place you always want to be, an honorable destination, a sacred space.
Today I am crushed and saddened beyond words at what happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I can't even read any more. My hearts go out to the runners and spectators and all affected by the tragedy there, and I am thankful to all of my fellow marathoners there who are OK. These were people who just wanted to enjoy the best time of life and smile as they crossed the mat and families and friends sharing that priceless moment, and that gift of life that no one has a right to take away.