Friday, April 19, 2013

On Boston...

This article was taken directly from

It was written by a friend and XC Ski enthusiast, Andrew Gardner.  Terrorists attacks are always tragic and personal..... but at attack such as the one in Boston on Monday was new territory... Running, skiing, and exercise in general is an escape from the realities of the "real world" for many people and the Boston Marathon is one of those sacred events where people come together to celebrate healthy, lifelong goals. This just goes to show that no one is exempt - no matter where you are, or who you are. 

Just one more reason to approach everyday like it's your last!  Tell the people you love that you love 'em and don't leave your bucket list untouched for too long! 

Have a fabulous weekend everyone, 

On Boston

(graphic by Tyler Littwin of Blake Ink United)
There were two times today that I felt tears well up deep in the back of my eyes. I was almost surprised when it happened, but there I sat in my car listening to an interview with longtime Boston Marathon announcer and runner, Katherine Switzer. Switzer talked from the race headquarters, a hotel overlooking one of the 12 blocks still on lockdown from the attack yesterday. She described her feeling of loss by way of describing the scene that typically follows an event like the Boston Marathon, the seas of people, the participants hugging, the contentment- not unlike what happened at the NCAA Nordic Skiing championships at Middlebury last month, or the Super Tour races that closed out the season on the other side of the country last week, or any other race from the Sugarloaf Marathon to the Pole, Pedal, Paddle Incarnations. That contentment Switzer described is the closest thing I understand to post-spiritual enlightenment, that euphoric release of not just the physical parts of an effort- those endorphins that are too often revered. Rather, Switzer described the emotional release that happens when an athlete returns to normal life following the suspended reality that competition allows. Switzer painted a picture of the fraternity of sport, the inevitable connection from that effort. She described people “handing you orange slices, telling you how well you’ve done.”
If you read Johnny Klister, you’ve tasted, or handed those orange slices, you know what that means. You know how that feels. Then Switzer explained what she saw out her window and that was the part that got me. She said she saw…nothing. Empty streets. “A sinister absence.” is what she saw. I got very frustrated and felt very lonely. The horrifying images of lost limbs, blood, death were painful, unsettling and frighteningly close. But it was the loss of that post-sport ceremony, the bedrock on which I’ve based the only faith I have, that gutted me. I know how unjust this is- how there have been, continue to be, tragedies that are more unjust than terrorism at the marathon. Larger losses of life. Greater inequities committed against people. Yet sport remains my faith. Sport remains my church and the breaking of that post-event contentment is a hollowing terror to me. My own nervous system runs hot. Contentment, most of the time, is an abstraction, something that happens at the end of a long work project, at weddings, at high peak campfires. I do find contentment most regularly, however, in the wake of events like the Boston Marathon, or theFitchburg Stage Race or Junior Nationals. I find that contentment whether I’m competing or not. That makes yesterday’s tragedy very personal feeling.
So do my connections to the city: I continue to road race for a Boston-based cycling team and I spend a lot of time there. I have family friends who stood in the path of those blasts just a few minutes before they happened. I was worried and then relieved when the texts and Facebook feeds and tweets rendered them unharmed.
The second time I cried today was different. Still in my car, this time waiting for a meeting to start, I sat with my phone watching an interview with a Boston police officer, who looked exactly how you are imagining a Boston police officer. Mustache. (check) Paunchy, short. (check) Deep set lines resembling a T-map, acquired only on the face of a Boston police officer. (check) He was asked to describe what was next for Boston and the Boston PD and he mumbled the type of uncomplicated platitudes that a decade of post-911 official-speak creates, “We’re gonnah bring these people tah justice. We’re gonnah…” Then he stopped and he started to break up a bit. He was near tears as he said, “I won’t croy. If I croy then thah terrahrists win, that’s what they want.”
It’s easy to turn the cop into satire: the thick, ruddy accent, the squashed vulnerability, the puffery pressed out against the wave of sadness covering Boston. Yet, I didn’t feel anything but connection with the cop. “I won’t croy.” I said alone in my car. I felt my teeth clench and I dug into a place not unlike the last third of a marathon: painful, determined, and filled with the longing of sport and the collective movement of the people pressing forward towards the release and enduring happiness of a finish line.

Andrew Gardner