Reflection By Dr. J. Scott Jordan:
As I finished the Boston Marathon I stood at the finish line and watched runners from all over the world achieve their dreams as they crossed the magical finish line. As their pain and suffering ended, sheer joy embraced them. Many were crying, smiling and hugging one another. A long journey, several years for most. Countless days of running in the elements and the early hours of darkness. Some trained with friends, others all alone. They were willing to do what ordinary people wouldn’t do and sacrificed sleep and comfort for their goal.
I was waiting on my best running friend to finish and to celebrate another mission accomplished as we have many times over the last decade.
There wasn’t a spot on the podium for us and neither of us had personal best times but I could not have been any happier.
It was more that we had once again persevered despite the obstacles in life. We all have family and professional demands on our time and finding the balance is challenging to say the least!
You see, running is a fickle sport that openly discriminates against the aging favoring its youth!
But we are racers and adventurers and love being out there in the mix and we have both been racing most of our lives.
Running itself is meaningless. I mean it’s a great way to stay fit, burn some calories, work off some stress, but to me, it’s the relationships and experiences that matter. Other times just having some quiet time to reflect or work out some problems is reason enough to lace up.
When people ask, “what’s the point?” or “when does it end?” I can’t hardly answer such questions. There is no point or end. Every training race just builds upon the previous. The challenges, suffering, lessons learned from each just further prepares me for life.
But I felt blessed to be back at Boston with one million spectators cheering 30,000 runners toward their dreams. It was my 3rd Boston and my #91 marathon and ultramarathon finish and I had much to reflect on as I stood on Boylston Street.
My last trip to Boston was in 2013, the year of the bombing. I had splurged and taken my family and stayed at the Lenox Hotel by the finish line and directly in between the two explosions. Our hotel window overlooked the mass chaos and through the smoke we could hear the screams and see the wounded. We were just helpless and watched what was suppose to be an achievement of a lifetime became the end of life for some and permanent injuries and trauma for others.
We were later evacuated from our hotel and forced to walk miles to find somewhere to spend the night. Our children were afraid and asked, “Is this it? Are we homeless?”
The terrorists had attacked us on Patriots Day, trying to steal our freedom and to incite fear and hatred but it didn’t work.
What I saw this year made me proud to be a participant and an American. The city of Boston rolled out the red carpet for us. The locals were so polite and welcoming. There were more spectators than ever. After the race, we received standing ovations and applause from random strangers. I had women and children offering me their seats on the train. (I politely didn’t accept!). The world-wide running community is amazing.
Yes, I love everything about the Boston Marathon, the Holy Grail of running events.
The lessons from the roads and trails have without a doubt made me a better person and taught me some invaluable lessons about love, life, dedication, and perseverance.
I have learned to appreciate and grow from my failures. I have gotten comfortable with being very uncomfortable. I know that on the other side of suffering is pure joy. To do extraordinary things, EPIC things, you have to know yourself and you have to have a WHY greater than all the obstacles you might encounter during the journey.
So for now, I will keep waking up early, lacing up my shoes, and will try to qualify for Boston again next year!
I will keep going to work and encouraging my patients to step out of their comfort zone, make some positive decisions about their health and set big, bold, audacious goals and hope to play a role in their success!