Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Finish. — A Line That Has To Mean More.

on April 16, 2013

Surprise. I have never run a marathon. I have never run 26.2 miles all. in. a. row.

The longest distance I have ever run at any one time is a 5K, a mere 3.2 miles by marathoner standards.

I’ll be honest, I do run, but I’m not a real runner. I don’t have a runner’s build.  I’m not made for running. I only run manageable distances for good causes, for cool t-shirts and for bragging rights.

I tried to be a real runner once. I tried to run cross country in high school. At the first practice, I realized I just wasn’t made for this…when I was still running out while everyone else was passing me on their way back in. I only went to one practice. 🙂 For the record, I was a heckuva volleyball and tennis player though.

However, I have walked a marathon. Actually, I’ve walked a marathon and a half-marathon in the same weekend. In 2011, I completed the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington D.C. I walked 26.2 miles on Saturday. Spent the night in a pink tent, sleeping on the ground in April with my sleeping bag pulled up over my head. Got up the next morning with the sun and walked another 13.1 miles.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m very proud of this accomplishment. It was an emotional and personal journey. And I walked away with so much more than a t-shirt on that one. That experience was a bit of a turning point in my world. Pivotal for many, many reasons.

But running, really running a marathon. Wow. I’m lucky to count a few marathon runners among my closest friends. I am in awe of each and every one of them on a regular basis. I don’t know how they do it, since I haven’t done it. But here’s what I think about marathon runners:

Marathon runners are a different breed. They have it all figured out. They have an inner personal strength like few others. They have learned how to turn off their brains and they pump all of that energy to their legs and focus it to their lungs. One mile at a time. One foot in front of the other.  Sometimes for three plus,  four plus, five plus hours…running. Controlling their breath. Ignoring the pain. For 26.2 miles. They are dedicated. To training, to discipline, to the long term commitment of going the distance.

They just run. They want to run. They don’t do it for the medals or the t-shirts or the 26.2 sticker on their car. (Well, I don’t know, maybe some do. I’d like to drive around with a sticker like that and I think the bling must be pretty awesome.)  They do it for the sense of accomplishment. It means something to run that distance. I don’t think marathoners just enter a marathon with the hopes of winning the race.  Some hope to be the fastest of their peers, maybe. Most hope to finish. And finish … Strong.

I think a marathon must be defined by its finish. Crossing that finish line must mean so much.

That is why we, the non-marathon runners, are so in awe of those who can  and do do this. That is why we stand along the streets, cheering them on. That is why we gather at that finish line, cameras ready, to capture that moment. Because to do so, is to capture a bit of magic and amazement.

Which is just one of the reasons why, on a very long list,  the senseless violence of yesterday’s Boston Marathon has us all so shaken. These people, these Moms and Dads, Husbands and Wives, Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters, Friends and Loved Ones, both on the course and in the stands, were doing amazing things. That finish line was supposed to be the celebration that they trained for. That finish line was supposed to  mark the end of the run and the beginning of a new title: Boston Marathon Runner.

Instead, some unspeakable coward turned their finish line into a tragic, horrific disaster. Who does that? I cannot begin to fathom that kind of evil disregard for all.


26.2 miles.

A finish line that already held so many dreams and accomplishments….Now has to carry a lot more weight.

The next finish line needs to mean overcoming. Overcoming a seemingly insurmountable distance. Overcoming the pain. Overcoming the doubt. Overcoming negative thoughts. Overcoming fatigue.

The next marathon finish line, needs to mean so much more.

It needs to mean overcoming fear.

And running another day. Another distance.

And even though I have never run a marathon, I hope to someday.

I hope to be there with them … someday… at the next finish line.



6 responses to “Finish. — A Line That Has To Mean More.

  1. mollytopia says:

    Beautifully written. I’ve run two halves and two wholes, and it’s no joke. It’s been years since I ran the last one, but I can remember what it was like crossing the line. I can only imagine what it was like for those people in Boston. It’s so lovely of you to point out their accomplishments. I don’t include myself in the marathoners club any longer because I believe it’s a sacred title that belongs to those who are actively pursuing those goals. I enjoyed being a part of that world, and have a tremendous amount of respect for real runners. Great post!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Thank you. And now … you are on my list of people I am in awe of. Welcome! And in my book, sacred club, yes, and running ONE makes you a lifetime member. I say, “Wear It Proudly.” 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    Beautiful as always 🙂 You go run that marathon girl! 🙂

  3. You are a real runner. You show up. You put one foot in front of the other. There is no requirement for distance nor speed. Marathoners don’t have it any more figured out than you do. When the time is right, if it comes at all, you will plan and make it happen however it fits into your life. You ARE made for running. We’re not made for competing against each other and it feeling good. But running is about you, and no one else. I look forward to hearing more about your finish lines 🙂

  4. so far the furthest I can run is 10k and I’ve got a half marathon coming up! I just plod on, like a kinda tortoise! Don’t give up!
    On my run last night I made myself keep going thinking of those poor people in Boston, so very sad. x

  5. […] I’ve shared my thoughts about finish lines. […]

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