Love That Goes The Distance
by. Aly Howisey
Aly has been consistently running for the past 5 years and her race distance of choice is the marathon. Currently, she is training for the Boston Marathon. Her pre-race meal used to be glazed donuts, but now she opts for a more traditional breakfast with oatmeal.
Why am I head over heels in love with #running? That’s easy – community. Running, for me, provides what 100 Facebook likes, new jeans and the next level in Candy Crush cannot – human connection.
Yes, running keeps my six-pack fit, boosts my confidence, leads me down paths I wouldn’t otherwise travel and opens my eyes to natural beauty you can only find at 7k feet elevation. All of that pales in comparison to what I feel when I run with the people I love – a sense of belonging, hilarity over diarrhea and chafing, allegiance. But those feelings would have been harder for me to articulate prior to April 2013.
When two bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, I had finished the race and was nursing my own seemingly important conditions in the medical tent across from the finish line. I watched a man in jeans and Crocs walk right before my eyes with half of his face maimed. I witnessed a woman missing a leg being carried 2 feet in front of me and I smelled the blood that covered the entire concrete pathway that ran through the middle of the tent. I spent the following 20 minutes frantically running through the streets searching for my friends I ran the race with, I spent that entire evening contacting my loved ones, and I spent the next 9 months coping.
I experienced firsthand the sacredness and finality of life and how quickly and uncontrollably it can be altered. The personal records and the medals were pretty insignificant that day and I decided to make them insignificant moving forward. Boston 2013 forced me to redefine success. I decided my success in life would be determined by the number of people willing to stand by me.
I started running with my #1 running buddy 5 years ago, my sister Blair. She truly fueled my passion for the sport and we are best friends now because of it.
I attended grad school with Kieran who encouraged me to run my very first marathon and I renewed lifelong friendships with my elementary schoolmates, Dani and Brie through adventurous trail runs and relay races.
One of my best friends Selva and I always run together to relieve stress and I will forever be bonded with the girls I ran Boston with and continue to train with, Becca and Shelby.
I’ve built my own mini community through running and it gets me pumped for the weekends when we get together for a long run; it makes me excited about life in general and it has given me a support system and outlet for everyday tribulations. I’m in love with running, but more importantly I’m in love with the people I get to run with.