I’m going to reel in the events of yesterday by being reflecting and active. Although I know people mean well, and it helps those affected feel like others care, thoughts and prayers seem like distant ways to honor what happened. I know that may sound harsh, but sending a prayer or a thought (with the best intentions, of course), is not going to impart a scaled, meaningful change. So, what can you do? Support in a way that makes sense. The Boston Marathon is a reflection of extreme accomplishment, hard work, and dedication. People did not get there with their thoughts, prayers, or good intentions; they got there with hard work, willpower, and some leg muscles. If you cannot support the effort financially or locally, then do something you may never have done before, go try to run 1 mile and be with those people who were trying to accomplish their 26th when this tragedy happened. This is just my personal approach and opinion, so take that as it is.

Although it was not running alone, running helped me change my life completely. It gave me a goal, something to strive towards each day to better myself. I believe that is in the heart of all runners whether they are doing it for endurance, weight loss, time, or just for fun, the drive of the next step of accomplishment is always in mind. To be able to run 26 miles is beyond impressive. When I ran my first 5k, I thought, “this is one of the hardest physical challenges I have ever met” until I did my first 10k, and eventually my first half-marathon. My goal is to work up to a marathon this summer, which will byfar be the grandest physical challenge I have ever faced in my life.

What happened yesterday brings up all sorts of questions. We want to ask, “why”, which is partially why I think people drop prayers all around. I am not against this whatsoever, but I think it is important to realize that sometimes there is no purpose or answer, so asking at all, by nature, is an endless loop of questioning that will never be fulfilled. I think we look to things like prayer as an answer to find comfort, which makes a lot of sense, but I think that sometimes things are just senseless. People do bad things sometimes, but the few people who tried to create catastrophe are but a small needle in the grand scheme. Think of the thousands and thousands of people who were there who were there because they bettered their lives, worked hard, and made something. It is an extreme tragedy that some had to end this accomplishment fatally, and it is not fair by any stretch of the imagination. I think in times of crisis, we all find our ways to cope with the situation whether it be to pray or run or give back.

For me, the best way to give back is by honoring the spirit of the event, to allow it to become something more than another tragedy that happened. I will do that by making sure that I followthrough and do this marathon. Fear cannot live in our hearts, otherwise we will be stunted and the opposition wins. Running has already given me so much, and the runners of the marathon that we have to keep running and running and running to keep that spirit alive.

So, keep sending your positive thoughts to everyone, but also step back and step into the shoes (running shoes) of those and carry on the legacy of accomplishment. Anyone can run, this I promise. People with no legs run. Obese people run. Maybe you cannot run a marathon, but you can do something within your scope. Honor the accomplishment and the sport by taking a step outside today.

To me, running means pushing yourself forward, literally and metaphorically to a limit you didn’t know you had and beyond. Running is a way to shatter the doubts of your previous runs and days. Running, for me, is a way to relieve stress where food used to be used to cope. Running is in opposition of laziness in a way that makes you feel alive and rewarded for breaking your own expectations. Running to me is the best way to honor the day and turn tragedy into a healthy and active experience.

Keep on runnin’ on.