April 17, 2013

The tragedy in Boston yesterday had special significance for me despite being a proud Philadelphian and Fishtowner, as it no doubt did for the thousands of people across the country and the world who spent a good portion of their youth and early adult years in Boston.  I went to Brandeis University, which, for those unfamiliar, is a small liberal arts college smack in the middle of a post-industrial, blue-collar city called Waltham.  Waltham was about 10 miles outside the city, and was accessible by commuter train but not Boston’s famous “T” streetcar/subway.  Every year during college, and afterward when I lived in the Boston area, my friends and I would arrange to get to the finish line early to watch the Red Sox, bar crawl, and cheer on the marathoners.  Usually we were looking for various and sundry friends, acquaintances, or colleagues of ours to cross the finish line.  It was, invariably, a day off that we (as adopted Bostonians) simply could not fathom the rest of the country did not also observe.

Don’t get me wrong, 9/11 made me terribly sad.  But at that time I had no real connections to New York other than hating the Yankees (which I still do to this day).  But I lived in Boston.  I have strolled those streets, studied in the Public Library, enjoyed a beer and a steak at Division 16, smoked stogies and shot the shit at Gloucester St. Cigar … so the tragedy is so much more visceral for me.  It got, shall we say, very dusty in my office yesterday while following the marathon coverage.  You may leave Boston, but Boston never really leaves you.

it also inspired me to get out and start running again.  While I ran cross-country in high school, running fell by the wayside for me in college (outside Boston – synergy!).  I picked it up sporadically here and there since then but for various reasons did not stick with it.  Then I met the Fishtown Beer Runners, who encourage folks to join them on their runs and for a beer (or 2, or 10) afterward.  Thanks to FBR I picked up running again for a good period.  Through FBR I have met dozens of neighbors and others who I can genuinely count as friends.

When I left Fishtown in 2009, I didn’t exactly leave the FBR behind but I did have many logistical changes and once again running fell by the wayside.  Then, the broken ankle.  Now, the ankle is healed and the weather is finally pleasant.  Thus, I’m looking forward ot getting out on the road and (slowly) forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other until the miles start to build.  Same as like the law business, or life, if you think about it.  Who knows, maybe one day I will run a marathon? But I know I have to start small – get my ass off the couch and run one mile the first day.

Some of this stuff sounds like excuses and maybe some of it is.  But the fact is that from here on out, running – toward explosions to render aid, toward better health mental and physical, toward any goal large or not so large – is another form of asserting and defending the freedoms on which this country was founded.