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The Meaning of Marathons
- Updated: April 21, 2013
We were all devastated by the tragic news that came out of Boston this past Monday. I wrote a piece about it for a parenting site called Babble. And while this site is dedicated to UT (and, by extension, SEC) sports, I still thought I’d share it here for two primary reasons. First, the magnitude of the tragedy transcends any type of fan allegiance. Our fandom has nothing do do with it. Instead, our humanity.
But, second, I really liked how it turned out and thought you might to. My apologies for straying off the beaten trail this once.
The Boston Marathon Bombings
I knew when to talk to my oldest daughter about the Boston Marathon bombing. On the way to school. But I didn’t know how to talk to her about it. So I gave the matter some considerable thought, not just the tragedy, but also marathons in general.
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Like so many, my life has been touched by the marathon experience. I ran my first one – the Portland Marathon – when I was a Seattle resident back in 1997.
What made you enter? my friends would ask. The truth was, I didn’t know.
My dad had recently been diagnosed with the cancer that would eventually claim his life, so that was obviously part it. It was part of everything in those days. But to say that was the sole reason wouldn’t have been accurate.
Living in Seattle had been a wonderful way to spend my 20s. I had a crew of fantastic friends in the city, as well as another crew of college friends scattered about in places like San Francisco, LA, New York and Atlanta. Then, of course, was my gang of lifelong buddies who’d stuck around my hometown. And I fancied myself as the type that would bounce about to any one of those places and make merry wherever I was.
But things were no longer going as well as they had been going for me, and my dad’s diagnosis was symbolic of that fact. It forced me to see things from a different perspective, one that made me realize that I was like a tree with roots that grew far and wide, but not very deep, and those types of trees topple easily in a storm, which was exactly what was happening to me at the time.
And I didn’t wanna be that kind of tree anymore. I wanted to be the kind with roots that grew deep and in one centralized location so that I might remain steadfast when the next front rolled in.
To do that, I believed I needed to plant myself closer to home. The only problem was I didn’t know how. Things were going well with work, so it’s not like I was willing to just pick up and interrupt a career. I needed a plan.
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