Our Biggest Supporters-Our Families

As information on one of the victims of yesterday’s horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon is released, it’s caused me to think of how much goes in to running.

We all know the key parts to running. Good shoes, clothes, proper nutrition, lots of water, training, there are a lot of different pieces to the running puzzle. But there is one key piece that often goes overlooked, and that is the support system.

Personally, without the support of my husband, my children and other family members and friends, I would never have made it to where I am today. I might not have even made it off the couch in the first place. It’s not as simple as lacing up my running shoes and heading out for a run. I have a house to manage, a husband and children. During my half marathon training, my husband was there to support me. He helped get the kids ready for bed so I could be starting my evening runs at a decent time. Some evenings he got the kids ready for, and into bed, by himself, giving baths, helping with homework, brushing teeth and reading books to all three kids, to make sure I could get to my cross training classes or out for a run. When my long Sunday runs started, he got up in the morning before me, started the griddle, and cooked my favorite pre-run food, bacon. As I got ready, he got the kids up, changed diapers, cooked, cleaned up dishes. My kids missed Sunday breakfasts with me, they missed bed time with me. All of these sacrifices made by my family to put my training first. They supported me through races. My husband nodded and smiled through clenched teeth when I came home with yet another pair of running shoes, or when I new piece of running clothing showed up in the mail. He simply said “Yes, dear.” when I talked of race fees. He knew how important this was to me, and he backed me up 110%.

We tend to forget the supporters in the background. Yes, it’s an amazing feat for someone to train so hard for, and complete races, especially races like half and full marathons. It’s a huge accomplishment for the runners, but most of us have others to thank for carrying us through.

This brings me to the sad part. A picture of a little boy has been circulating the internet today.

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This is Martin Richard. He is an 8 year old little boy. I have my own 8 year old little boy, and in many ways, he reminds me of him. Martin, his sister and his mother supported his father through his running. His father was entered into the Boston Marathon, and was running yesterday. As his supporters, Martin and his family were spectators yesterday, waiting to support their father and husband as he ran such an important race. In a cowardly act of terror, Martin made the ultimate sacrifice while supporting his father. He gave his life. Most certainly not willingly, but while cheering his father on, he was taken too soon. His mother and sister sustained injuries. He did nothing wrong, and was simply there to support the runners and his father, to push them across the finish line. His father will forever live with the pain and the questions. I imagine he will pour over his race, wondering if he had just run a bit faster, or not stopped for water, if he would have made it sooner, saving his family. The parents of lost children are not only left with the pain of their loss, but the mountain of “What If’s”, and those what if’s are almost worse than the pain itself. They eat at you.

This terrible loss, it only makes me more aware of how huge our supporters are, how vital they are to our success. It makes me appreciate my family more. It makes me appreciate my friends more. It makes me appreciate my running groups more. It makes me appreciate the volunteers of races more. I just hate that it’s taken the loss of an innocent child to make me realize how important they all are to me.

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