I started running when I was 21 years old, not out of desire, but out of neccesity. I was about to enter the police academy and needed to be in the best cardio shape for the physical demands. I would run several miles almost every day.
While actually in the academy, I ran more miles than I care to remember, including some in grueling heat, and weighed down with gear and heavy combat boots.
After I graduted and was a full fledged cop I discovered something strange, I actually missed all the running, so it became a regular habit for me to keep logging the miles.
Running has always helped me to be a better police officer. It helped me earn a spot on the Special Ops unit and as the only female I had to do twice the running to keep up with the much stronger men.
During my divorce, running kept me sane. I knew that no matter how bad life was, a run would always make it, or actually me, better.
I am not the fastest runner, I was built for distance, not speed, yet I have managed to place top two in my age division three times, which is pretty darn good for someone that really was not allowed to be in any sports as a child.
I ran a half marathon in 2001 and while I got violently ill after the finish, it was by far one of the best experiences of my life and I set my sights on running a full marathon.
When I started getting ill more and more after running or working out I started to realize something was not right. Dozens of doctors had different options from don't workout, have no idea what it is, its all in your head or you are getting old time to hang up the sneakers.
I will not bore you with the details but fast forward 12 years, and I finally came to a conclusion; I could either be in pain and not run, or run and be free for at least a little while. I ran.
My dream has always been to run a marathon and since I grew up in Massachusetts, the Boston marathon has always been an iconic part of my life.
On April 15, 2013 when the bombs went off at the Boston marathon finish line, it was as if a part of my childhood had been violated. I was angry, upset and horrified that someone could bring such evil to an event that meant so much to me. It made me think for a split second that there really was only cruelty left in the world.
But then something beyond words happened.
A city rose from the darkest of shadows and showed the world how to overcome adversity and shine in the glow of goodness.
We saw strangers risk their lives to help the injured, Law enforcement officers go days without sleep to bring the responsible parties to answer for their cowardly attacks, and we saw average, ordinary people became extraordinary heroes right before our very eyes.
The City of Boston and its people exemplified the spirit of the marathon. These people, my people, went the distance, step by step, small deed by small deed, act of kindness by act of kindness, showing the world that nothing can keep us from finishing what we started.
While many of the injured have months, even years ahead of them to heal, recover and regain their lives back, I know that they will endure, and prevail in the end.
Its the Boston way.
My journey to finishing a marathon is something that I will accomplish no matter what traditional medicine tries to shove down my throat.
The reason I know I will accomplish this goal is because, now every time I go for a run, every mile, every step I take, I take it for those that died and those that might not be able to run for a while, if ever.
I know I cannot bring them back or make their injuries disappear, but the least I can do is honor the runner within them, by not letting anything keep me from the joy of the run, because sometimes the only thing you can do, is run!