Why I’m still going to run in the Nashville Marathon

Monday’s tragic events at the Boston marathon left me, and most Americans, stunned and horrified. Even after 911, Columbine, and Sandy Hook, senseless and random violence still affects me, leaving me shocked, wondering what is wrong with society and the human race?
But I had another reason for feeling fearful and anxious after learning about the bombs in Boston. I started training in early February to run in the Nashville Rock-n-Roll Marathon on April 27th.

I am not a runner. The most running I’d ever done was an occasional 5K or the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot! But in celebration of my sister’s 50th birthday, Heidi and I decided to run a half marathon, 13.1 miles. We picked Nashville because it’s relatively flat and there is a live band every mile. I’ve been running 4 times a week, getting up at 5 a.m. and never missing a run. I started out running 3 miles, slogging through some runs when I really just wanted to sit down! Last Sunday I ran 9 miles, my longest run yet, and logged 22 miles for the week.

Sunday was the first time I really believed that I could run the entire 13 miles, and even finish with a respectable time, when the news about Boston took the wind right out of my sails. It frightened me, thinking about those innocent people, injured, dead, or emotionally scarred from witnessing such violence. Could it happen in Nashville? Should I cancel my plans, and let go of 10 weeks of early mornings and sore muscles? Should I alter my life in response to some twisted person’s version of right and wrong?

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

After sleeping on it, and talking with my husband, I decided not to cancel my plans. The point of terrorism is to terrify us into giving up what we cherish: our freedom, our liberty, and our pursuit of happiness. To me, these last few months have been about chasing the vision of running across the finish line, and accomplishing a goal that I wasn’t at all confident I could reach.

In response to this kind of senselessness, we can pray for the victims in Boston, for the police and the investigators, for the staff at the hospitals, and all those affected by violence. We can also live our lives in the light, take care of ourselves, our families and our community. And most importantly, never give up our freedom to dream.

Wish me luck in Nashville!

Peace & Raw,

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