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Coda: The Boston Marathon Attack

Carrie Steckl earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology with a Minor in Gerontology from Indiana University – Bloomington in 2001. She has spent over ...Read More

“Have fun and don’t stop running!”

This was the text I received a few years ago from a good friend after I informed him that I was about to log a few more miles in preparation for an upcoming 5K race. I hadn’t been running that long, and to say that my training had been arduous was putting it mildly.

I am not a natural runner. I’m slow, I run on my toes (as hard as I try not to), and inclines do me in every time. So when I texted my friend on that spring day, I was not really looking forward to the task ahead. His response startled me in a good way. Coming from a seasoned Army soldier, I figured he knew what he was talking about.

“Have fun and don’t stop running!”

Note that his advice was two-fold. First, have fun. See the joy in running, in doing something good for our body, mind, and spirit. Relish in the fact that we’re alive. All too often, we take for granted the things we’re able to do and we transform them into annoyances or burdens. Instead of viewing running as a chore, my friend was telling me to see it as a privilege that should be celebrated.

Second, don’t stop running. How often in life do we want to quit? Things start to feel difficult, whether it be a job, an interpersonal issue, or yes – a fitness goal like a 5K. It’s all too easy to give up in this world, because we witness it all the time. We live in the age of instant gratification, so if we don’t see results yesterday, we abandon ship and start down a new path.

The other reason we quit is because of fear. Perhaps we’ve seen someone fail at the very thing we’re trying to do. Perhaps we’ve failed in the past and dread the possibility of failing again. Or perhaps we’ve learned of the great risks involved in trying to reach our goals.

A risk like getting injured – or even killed – at the event for which we’ve so diligently trained. This is what happened at the 2013 Boston Marathon, and my heart goes out to every person who was affected by this tragedy in some way.

I understand that such a horrific crime can make people think twice about participating in historic events like the Boston Marathon, and I encourage the gentle process of grieving over the lost innocence of such events that meld patriotism with our global community.

But I think that my friend was onto something when he texted me on that mild spring afternoon. Don’t be afraid, and don’t forget that there’s still an abundance of good in this world. Don’t hide from life, and don’t forget to enjoy it.

In other words, “Have fun, and don’t stop running.”

Keep Reading By Author Carrie Steckl, Ph.D.
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