The Bear Explodes

I rode to work in a light drizzle, a little underdressed but too stubborn to pull my layers out. No goslings yet. I did see Three Step Runner and Hardware Store Man, two of my regulars on the way in. About a mile from work, Bob (Don’t Call Me Rachel) Cannon from the two FCCs rode by on his way to Southwest DC. Under the TR Bridge I spotted a Tricolored Heron next to the trail. It’s the first time I’ve seen one. I didn’t bother stopping to take a picture because he would have flown off as soon as I did. Herons don’t much like paparazzi.

I left work just after lunch to go to an eye appointment in Old Town Alexandria. On the way I passed Katie (@itsnotlucky). I don’t normally see her in motion; she’s usually helping out at some event or other, dressed very colorfully. She wasn’t dressed colorfully, but, as always, she was smiling. The world needs more smilers.

My eye doctor is a bike commuter which I think is pretty neat. He checked out my retinas, my corneas and my eye pressure. Three thumbs up. I rode home with dilated pupils, making a cloudy day appear bright even with sunglasses on.

When I got home I checked my email, which was not very easy to read with the dilated pupils and all. Not much going on at work. Then I checked my Twitter feed and my heart broke.

I lived in Boston for five years. I went to the Boston Marathon, usually down near Kenmore Square, whenever I could. When I had to work, I listened to the race on the radio. I remember the year Bill Rodgers won for the first time. On the radio, the announcers and the crowds were going crazy. I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would run a marathon, which probably had something to do with my two-pack a day cigarette habit.

Before I moved to Providence, I quit smoking and bought a bike. New England autumn days are short so I parked the bike and started to run. Three years later I ran the Ocean State Marathon in Newport RI in 3:10:18. The last three miles were pure hell. My running friends said that the bear jumped on my back.

I always wanted to run Boston, but, back then the qualifying time was 2:40, which is wicked fast. I’d go up to see the race when I could. I was there when a Boston motorcycle cop unintentionally caused Dick Beardsley to make a wide turn and gave Alberto Salazar just enough separation to win one of the greatest races in marathon history.

Today, history was made again in Boston. Tragic history. I know how it feels to be in the crowd cheering on your friends. The whole city stops to celebrate. Today, some sick person or persons used this beautiful event to kill and maim. I feel for the victims. 

I remember riding in Bike DC just a few days after September 11. The riders sang God Bless America before the start near RFK Stadium. The ride itself, shortened by an understandable lack of police support, sucked, but it was important for everyone to do the ride. To keep on. So tomorrow, if you can, go for a run.  Or a ride. To keep on. This time for Boston.

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