Greetings from West Virginia.
I am writing from my iPad, so forgive any typos or stupid errors. With everything that has happened, I thought it was worth an update.
I am absolutely a New Yorker by birth. I root for the Yankees, I love a good slice, and refuse to eat bagels unless I am in the tri-state area. I also carry with me the sadness and scars from 9/11. But I am a Bostonian by choice. I have lived here for over a decade and, much to my mother's chagrin, have no plans to leave anytime soon.
Boston is special to me for so many reasons, one of the most important of which is that it is how I discovered my love for running. I don't know that I ever fully appreciated Boston until I became part of the running family -- and that is exactly what is is. A family. Training for a long distance race means hours upon hours spent around the city. Being a runner has allowed me to explore the city in such a special, intimate way. I've gotten into the nooks and crannies of the city and even when I complain about it (which happens a lot), I love it. It's also introduced me to a community of wonderful, supportive people who are equally, if not more, masochistic than your average bear. The New England running season is 12 months long. We run through the miserable winter, the damp spring, the blistering summer and, well, a (usually) pretty beautiful fall. It's something that bonds us together in a special, almost indescribable, way.
I feel fortunate that many who started as casual running partners have become my second family. These are the people who understand why I never have all ten toenails and why, during marathon training, I am a cranky mess. Some of the greatest moments in my life have been related to running. Maybe that's why the news of the Boston marathon bombing hit me so hard. When I heard what had happened, I felt panicked. I had several friends who were running the race and many others who I knew would be spectating. I was thankful to be far away and safe but the distance made me feel powerless and disconnected. I wanted to be home so I could hug friends, my Boston compatriots, because they were the only ones who could truly understand how I felt.
I was touched by the calls, texts, Facebook messages and tweets that I received from everyone. Many people didn't know that I was out of town and knew that otherwise that I would have been out on the course. My heart breaks for my friends who were very close to the blasts, who saw things that no person should have to see. I feel so fortunate that no one I know was physically hurt, but know that many of the deepest wounds for the city are not physical. I know that this will not stop the city of Boston or the runners. We are strong. We are resilient. We will run on. Just try to stop us.
I love that dirty water, Boston you're my home.