This is Camden, my 8-year-old son. He was at the finish last year wearing his “my mom is faster than your dad” T-shirt and holding up the sign he had made me. He never got to see me finish. He was sent off into the crowds full of panic and fear. He listened to the adults he was with and did what he was told. He was brave. He tried blocking his ears but the noise was too loud.

Camden thought his mom was “dead.”

In the months after the bombings last year, I would watch him sleep. It brought me back to the first few weeks he was born, when I would stand by his crib to make sure he was breathing.

Last year, I would stand by his bed and cry, knowing that my brave little man never got to show me the sign he made; knowing my race had put him in harms way; reliving the two hours I spent in silence not knowing if he was safe.

I felt guilt and anger.

Camden won’t be at the finish this year. He said “sorry mom, I just can’t go.” I am running Boston to show Camden that his mom is brave and that, with time, he will be able to go to the Boston Marathon again.

He will be able to see a fire truck without looking scared or watch fireworks without jumping into our laps in a panic. He will be able to sit through a thunderstorm without running for cover.

The thought of him not being at the finish breaks my heart and will open up a new stream of emotions. And I am sure when I get home on April 21st, 2014, I will watch Camden fall asleep and I will cry. Tears of happiness that together we did it!

— Amanda Burgess

5

Have you heard of the npr8? They’re a group of runners NPR is following as they train for the Boston Marathon. Watching their progress got me thinking about books for serious runners. Here are a few that come to mind:

  • Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, in which the author trains with the legendary long distance runners of Mexico’s Tarahumara tribe.
  • Jim Axelrod’s In The Long Run focuses on the circumstances that got the author to start running in the first place – a crossroads in his personal and professional life.
  • In The Lure Of Long Distances, Robin Harvie delivers a philosophical exploration of ultramarathoning.
  • And Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a memoir about training for the New York City Marathon and writing. As the Times puts it, “For Murakami, long-haul running is not just a metaphor for the loneliness of the long-distance novelist; it’s pretty well synonymous with it.”

Any other suggestions?

Time, for us, is like the time of our own lives. It is temporary. What is timeless is the time of eternal life. That is eternal. Like the sun, we cannot really look at them directly, but my intuition tells me that the human soul is closely connected to both of them, time and eternity.
[social sandbox 2/12/14] flickr, facebook, slack, npr8

Hello everyone,

There’s a new Tumblr project called NPR8  The blog will be tracking 8 runners who plan to run the Boston Marathon this year. They range from someone trying to make the Olympic trials to someone who was the last person to cross the finish line last year. Wright, Eyder, and Justine are heading this project. 

Other news:

The former head of Flickr has launched Slack — an all-in-one messaging tool designed to kill email forever. ”Slack, which has both an iOS app and an Android app as well as a Mac app, allows team members to easily track messages from co-workers but also to see status reports from across the company, by connecting to tools like SVN, Github, MailChimp, Crashlytics, Heroku and JIRA — things that would otherwise have likely remained in a separate silo or service. An API allows for almost any other service or tool to be integrated into the system as well, Butterfield said.”

Want a click glance at what news is trending in the future of journalism category? Try the Nieman Journalism Lab’s Fuego.

Top story currently there? How Facebook is changing the way people think about news. 

And something fun: The Public Radio is an FM radio that is only tunable to one station. It only has one knob that controls volume. 

Cheers,

melodykramer

On April 15th last year, I was one of the last runners timed & scored. Over 4,000 runners behind me didn’t get to finish their race. On the one-month anniversary of the marathon, I got a tattoo on my right shoulder. It was one-part message to myself to “get back on the horse” and one-part message to those runners who didn’t get to finish. In just three weeks, many of them return to Boston, just like me. Still we rise. STILL WE RISE!

— Demi Clark

8 runners take on the 2014 Boston Marathon

This past weekend I had just finished a 12 mile run, my longest since running the Big Sur International Marathon last April.  I was sitting at my computer, chilled from a dreadful combination of sweat cooling on my shirt and soggy socks from stomping through those wonderful post-storm icy slush puddles that are omnipresent in New England these days.  

Side note: We had just made it through one 10”+ snow storm two days ago and were currently under a coastal blizzard watch for another storm that was bearing down on us.  Since this weekend we’ve been hit with an additional two storms.  I didn’t know how good I had it training for my first marathon two winters ago in a relatively snow free season.  

I was tired, chilled, and desperately need a shower, but as I plugged in my running watch to my computer on the way to the bathroom, I happened to stumble across NPR’s “Running Toward Boylston” blog which is following eight runners making their way through training to run this year’s Boston…. and I’m hooked.

In almost each runner’s first post, I identified with something.  I love reading experiences of other runners - others who feel the same way about something I love.

Put this new #NPR8 blog on your reading lists for the next nine weeks and I have a hunch you won’t be disappointed.

One year later: I took this same picture last year. These were the shirts I bought at the expo. Last year … they were excited, jumping up and down cheering for me. This morning they both went and took these shirts out and asked if it would be OK to wear them.

Instead of cheering for me they are asking permission: “If anyone tries to ‘do’ anything this year, mom, can we punch them in the face?” They are asking so many questions.

It’s going to be a very emotional week on all fronts. We are ready. We are Boston Strong! Natalie is anxious about her brother not being with her this year. Camden refuses to go. She told him this morning: “I just want you to be with me.”

— Amanda Burgess

10 miles of fun! That’s me in yellow, leading the way early in the race.

Yesterday, I won a 10-mile race in Amherst, MA, in a time of 50:44. The hilly course was designed 40 years ago by Tom Derderian to be used as preparation for the Boston Marathon. Results.

Photo by Krissy Kozlosky

3

Third Time’s The Charm!

My journey as a mother began on Feb. 23, 2004. Natalie Grace Burgess was born. She had enough hair for me to braid and her eyes looked like blueberries. She became the love of my life. We tell each other secrets, we sing crazy songs, we turn our kitchen into a dance floor, we watch Giada and Barefoot Contessa. Natalie is determined, motivated and compassionate.

Being her mother is a gift and I stare into her eyes and tell her everyday how beautiful she is. She tries to turn away. I am living this life to show her strength, unconditional love and possibilities. We dream together.

The first marathon I ran was Boston in 2007. The picture above is Natalie on my father’s shoulders. She fell asleep before I crossed the finish line. She teases me: “Mom, it took you too long!”

In 2013 Natalie was probably the most excited for my race. She spent hours making me a sign. She asked me question after question. She was ready to jump out at the finish and run the last steps with me, worrying if “they” would let her.

We looked at the picture above the night before the race and I made her promise not to fall asleep.

I remember the exact moment in the last two miles of my race in 2013 when I pictured Natalie waiting for me at the finish. Her cheering for me and remembering the sign that read: “Mom, you rock.” My legs were numb; I was struggling and my eyes started to tear up. Just two more miles until I see those blueberry eyes.

I had no idea the next two hours would be the most horrific and terrifying hours of my life. The worst nightmare of any parent is to think your children are hurt.

The runners were stopped. Everyone was puzzled and confused but calm. Within minutes I heard the words that would send my body into a panic “finish line” and “bomb.” My children are at the finish; I thought I was going to pass out.

I looked down at my phone and saw two missed calls, one from my brother-in-law and one from a dear friend. This sent me into hysterics; “Why are they calling me?”

Natalie’s face flashed in my head. I thought of her hurt and lying on the ground.

I climbed over the barricade and started to lose it, crying and frantically dialing numbers. Nothing. No cell service. I started walking and dialing as fast as I could.

I was thinking the absolute worst, while also trying to convince myself that my children were safe. I was shaking and my body began to go into shock. I dug into a trash can to grab aluminum to cover me.

I walked and walked toward the park. Every street was filled with police cars and ambulances. I thought of Natalie and Camden’s father and how panicked he must be. I felt a heartache like no other. Tears streamed down my face. The pain was piercing.

Finally, two hours later, my sister answered “we are in the park we are all safe.” I sobbed out loud, “Thank you, God!”

I couldn’t get to them. Every street was blocked. Finally I found a path to my family and I ran.

They were near the duck pond, a happy place we had visited many times before.

Natalie was standing on the bridge when she saw me. She began to run and I grabbed her in my arms. We sobbed and hugged. My baby girl was safe. I never wanted to let go.

Natalie is coming back on April 21st for Episode 3 of “Watching my mom finish the Boston Marathon.” She told me she is nervous but that there is no way she would miss it.

I am blessed. I am grateful. And I am meeting my daughter at the finish!

— Amanda Burgess

Confessions Of A Reluctant Runner

image

I have never been a runner. I don’t have a love affair with the sport. This is my first marathon and I am really not sure how people repeatedly train for such long distances.

Running is time consuming, often lonely and really painful. Training for a spring marathon might make it even worse, with the snow, ice, slush and cold temperatures. It is not the highlight of my day and I certainly try not to let it occupy too much of my brain.

In college, I was a rower. At George Mason University, my team and I woke up with the sun six mornings a week — no matter the weather — and got on the water. So I’m no stranger to rough conditions and hard training. What made the misery worth it was the team — the challenge to become a better rower so that the whole group could achieve its goal.

Running is an individual sport. So this is going to be challenging not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. It’s a 26.2-mile battle between me and the events of last year’s marathon. I have to get myself across the finish line. But I won’t be alone.

Running toward a site that holds so many terrible memories for me is daunting. My battle began the minute I heard the first explosion and it may never truly end. On April 15, I was a volunteer nurse near the finish line, so that day also forever bonded me with my team, the so-called Zone 1 Warriors, and the entire Boston Marathon community. I know the other Zone 1 Warriors and I are in it together and that’s what will push me forward over the next 10 weeks.

So, from now until April 21, when I find myself on yet another solo training run, my side cramping and lungs burning, I’ll know that I’m not alone. I’m part of a group that is larger than me and we’re running this thing as a team. Here goes nothing …

— Amelia Nelson

Here is a poster my daughter, Willa (age 7) made for me tonight - on the eve of my last long run.  She came up to me and said, “Mommy, you’ve always had big dreams.  I believe in you.”

Talk about a watershed moment - she was with me in Boston, and she saw more than 7-year-old eyes should ever have to see and experience.  She knows how to make every moment count, and I’m so proud to be her mom.  How can I not run strong, when I look at this?

— Demi Clark

At the airport, waiting for an early flight home to Charleston. We had a chance to visit the finish at sunrise this AM — just before the workers ripped the vinyl up. What a moment. How overwhelming — literally, figuratively, physically. Boston gets to move on today. I’m so grateful to NPR for inviting me to be a part of this project. I’m grateful to the others in the “NPR8” for their strength, honesty and transparency in their journey here. Most of all, I’m grateful to the beautiful city of Boston. Such love, such life. A victorious day for all yesterday. Boston, I’m so happy you got your day back. Today, you are the strongest city in the world. Forever in my Southern-girl heart!

— Demi Clark

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