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Perseverance

per·se·ver·ance

  [pur-suh-veer-uhns] 
noun
1.
steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties,obstacles, or discouragement.

Origin: 
1300–50; Middle English perseveraunce  < Middle French perseverance  < Latin persevÄ“rantia.
On Sunday, I would have blogged to you my tale of my first flat tire about 10 miles into my long ride. About how I had to wait for the weather to clear before riding then had a rear flat with no spare tube, patch kit, inflation method, tire levers, etc.. They were all sitting in the closet at home and not yet in my saddle bag because I hadn't put my race tires on the bike yet. About how I had to call Kelly and the kids to come pick me up at a park I walked my bike to then had to return to the park after getting all the way home and realizing my bike computer had flown off while driving.

All this seems small compared to yesterday.

Monday morning, I would have told you about how we put the kids in the stroller and walked our beloved family pet one last time. Our greyhound's struggles to breathe and walk and stand...her reluctance to eat and the heartbreak we felt.

This does not seem small...but Monday afternoon certainly put it in perspective as news of the Boston Marathon bombing trickled in.

We are most definitely a changed nation since 9/11/2001. We've lived through two wars, the hunt and death of terrorist leaders, a global financial meltdown, we've elected and re-elected the 1st black President. We're simultaneously a more cynical and more hopeful nation. I've actually been not only pleased but impressed with the responses to what happened in Boston yesterday. It's been...refreshing. And, perhaps, put the world's negativity in a new light.

Oh yes, there have been a few "kill all the Muslims" posts. A few nutjobs who claim that the attack was a government conspiracy. But there have been no cries for invading any foreign countries (if this came from abroad) that I know of. There have been few "blame ___" rants. Mostly, what you see is Americans going about their business with concern, but perseverance. Justice will be done. The investigation will run its course. Someone out there is filled with hate, rage, chaos, and we'd rather throw positive human dignity and support back in its face this time around. We'd rather confront an act of hate with acts of love. Could it be we're growing up?

Of course, I'd like to think that runners have something to do with it. We're sort of an ironic bunch to pick on. We don't currently know why the Boston Marathon was chosen...close to anniversary dates of other devious deeds? Lots of people? Something against marathoners? Who knows, who cares. The end target was a running race full of symbolism and history. A point not lost, hopefully, in all the analysis. Endurance athletes are not known for backing down in the face of suffering, pain, and negative thoughts. In fact, we're known for seeking it out, overcoming it, and doing it with a smile on our face...or tears of happiness. We already run for causes, we volunteer, we are the very faces of optimism and hope. We struggle. We defeat the nasty voices in our own heads who tell us to stop. A little terrorism is nothing compared to 26.2 miles. Or the people who rushed forward to help. In fact, the endurance community in the last 24 hours has had a downright British attitude of "keep calm and carry on." One poster in a forum I visit asked about a comedy feature at their upcoming race and whether it was now in bad taste. To the contrary, they were encouraged to meet the moment with the regularly scheduled cheesy Elvis.

It makes me proud of my sport. Yesterday was horrible. But it shines a light on what attracts us to the sport to begin with--normal people doing extraordinary things for no other reason than because it was hard and rewarding. Most of us never win money, glory, or even a Boston Marathon qualifying spot. Those of us who have crossed a marathon finish line know that one thing terrorists will never take from yesterday was the courage it took to even go to the Starting Line. More victory in that small act than all the carnage inflicted at the end.

Kelly and I have been trying hard lately to focus on being more positive with the kids. Not to lose our tempers. To use encouragement and kind words...they go a long way and set a good example. And all the kindness will breed kindness. Yes, the world is full of evil and suffering and hatred. But the negativity will always take a backseat to the good. In spite of all the negative events of the past few days, be determined to focus on the love and joy and drown out the voices of chaos. Be light. Not darkness.

I'm happy to report all my friends and family in Boston are safe to my knowledge...not everyone has been so lucky. Pray for Boston. Pray for runners and their families. Pray for the police and doctors. But most of all, pray for the people responsible for making the bombs. May they find some peace inside themselves to counter the twisted motivations that made harming others seem justified. They may need the prayers the most...that's a dark road to be on.

* * *

A history of terrorist bomb plots in the US in the past decade. I found this an interesting read this morning...it's by CNN's national security analyst. Why there have been so few terrorist bombings in the US over the last 10 years and who was mostly responsible for the failed ones--right wing groups and Al Qaeda. And how good government regulation and cooperation has made this thankfully infrequent.

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