Looking back on a rough week — and finding solace on the run

trail

First we got the terrible news from Boston, where the finish line of the Boston Marathon was desecrated by a couple of men armed with bombs. Three killed, scores injured, and a bit of innocence lost.

Then something about ricin-laced letters.

Midweek, a huge explosion in West, Texas, where the death toll in that small town is being measured in the dozens.

We had tornadoes here in northeast Oklahoma that night. Thankfully, no one was killed. Just some damage and minor injuries, but a lot of frayed nerves.

And then, late Thursday, the second chapter of the Boston tragedy: The suspected bombers gunning down an MIT campus police officer, engaging in a shootout with police, and then the death of one of the men. As of this writing, police are looking for the deceased man’s younger brother.

And today, incidentally, is the 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

I think we all have an excuse to be down in the dumps right now. But I’ve found some really encouraging signs from people.

A fund was set up to help the victims of the bombings. Acts of kindness and courage abounded in Boston on Monday, and as police continue their pursuit, more bravery is on display.

It seemed the entire state of Texas showed up to help following the tragedy in West. Donations flooded local relief agencies.

Runners have also taken actions, both symbolic and concrete. Those who couldn’t finish the Boston Marathon because of the attacks are being offered a free entry fee to run in next week’s Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Runners have been posting their support through social media. Local races and runs have been held in Boston’s honor.

In the midst of my own training, my intermediate and longer runs culminate on the same north-south street leading into downtown Tulsa: Boston Avenue. It’s a tougher stretch, almost all uphill, leading to the highrises of downtown and past some really beautiful art deco buildings.

Yesterday, as I was finishing up, the bells at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church chimed around 4 p.m. It was cloudy, cool and windy. Not the most ideal training conditions. But for about an hour, things were just right again. I felt a little normal again, especially trudging up that final leg.

My hope is that when you’re out training, racing, getting alone on a trail or doing whatever you do, you find that sense of “normal” again. Even if just for a brief moment in these extraordinarily abnormal times.

Keep your heads up, folks. These times are tough, but tough people outlast tough times.

Keep that in mind when you’re grinding out that last mile.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

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