Boston, books and broken toes

Wow – what a week this has already been. Easter on Sunday. The riveting Boston Marathon on Monday. A final celebration of the Girls on the Run season yesterday. And now today, World Book and Copyright Day.

Easter passed quietly for my husband and me. We celebrated at a sunrise service, a custom he brought to our marriage that I’ve tried to embrace, despite being the opposite of a morning person. We were out of town and celebrated at a lovely stone church where we sang the usual Easter songs and heard a message about the defiance in Jesus’ eyes after the resurrection. He had looked at death, and He triumphed over it.

Meb Keflezighi also had an air of defiance about him at Monday’s Boston Marathon. He turned and saw other competitors coming for him, and he triumphed over them. His victory ended a decades-long drought for Americans winning the Boston Marathon, and it came at the best possible moment for Boston and the United States, as we collectively breathed in the mantra “Boston Strong” and shouted for Meb’s victory (my dog didn’t know what to make of all the jumping up and down and yelling).

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Tuesday’s sports section led with Keflezighi’s win at Boston.

I’ve been a huge Meb fan for years and have celebrated his numerous running accomplishments. My husband and I met him at the 2012 US Olympic Track and Field Trials, when we ran into him in the courtyard of the inn where we were staying. He was waiting to meet friends and was so gracious as we interrupted his reverie.

In the picture from the paper, you can just see the top of his race bib, where he had written two of the four names of victims from the Boston bombers. The other two names were in the bottom corners of the bib. This simple act endeared him to many and tells you just a bit about the heart of this elite athlete.

If you want to see why Meb’s story is such a great American immigrant story and why it’s so easy to be a fan of his, read his book. To see what he has overcome in his life, where his family started and where they are now, you’ll be left inspired. And I bet you’ll become a fan of his.

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I can think of no better way to celebrate World Book and Copyright Day this year than by picking up a copy of Meb’s book: Run to Overcome.

I’ve blogged about Meb and his book before and even mentioned the way his book opens: “I run a lot and pray a lot, but I generally don’t ask God for a win. I was breaking precedent at the 2009 New York City Marathon” (Run to Overcome, 1). I wonder if he prayed again on Monday.

I don’t typically pray for an athlete to win either, but on Monday, as Meb drew closer and closer to Boylston Street, I admit it. I asked God to help him stay strong and to win.

At just shy of 39, Meb could listen to others who say he’s too old, that his best days are behind him. The Big Swoosh company believed that when they dropped their sponsorship of him in 2011. (Skechers is laughing all the way to the bank thanks to that one). But Meb isn’t ready to quit just yet. He’s still accomplishing dreams and inspiring others, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

World Book and Copyright Day
Today marks the death of some of the world’s great writers (Shakespeare, Cervantes and more), and so it’s little wonder that this is the date the UN picked for World Book and Copyright Day, and this year, I don’t have to go farther than my own bookshelves to see some books that are perfect for celebrating this particular week.

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Does it surprise you that a number of shelves in our home library are dedicated to running books, among them books about Boston and by Meb?

The Boston Marathon is a big deal at my house, and so is Meb Keflezighi. I can read about both to my heart’s content, and I don’t even have to leave home to do it.

By now you may be wondering where the broken toe in today’s title fits into all of this. Well, four weeks ago, I broke one of my big toes. It’s slowly healing, and it may be another week or two before I can try running on it again (possibly longer, but I’m trying to think in terms of sooner to save my sanity and good humor about not being able to run).

While I heal, several friends have suggested that I use the extra time to read. Today, I think I’ll take them up on their advice.

How did you feel to hear the news from Boston on Monday? And how will you celebrate World Book Day?

5 thoughts on “Boston, books and broken toes

  1. Pingback: The thrilling prospect of a personal worst | The Flourishing Tree

  2. Wonderful!!! really enjoyed reading about Meb, and think I’ll get the book at the Library. I sent this on to a few friends… hope you don’t mind. E

    • I’m so glad this has inspired you to check out Meb’s book. Come back after you’ve read it, and let me know what you think of it. I always love to hear when a post resonates with readers enough that they share it with friends. Thank you for passing it along to others. 🙂

  3. I was praying, too. To watch Meb’s lead grow to 1:20 and then drop to 35 seconds, then 20, 12, 10, 8, and eventually 6 seconds with two miles to go was stressful! He looked like he was in real pain. But, then when he started opening the gap back up, taking time to cross himself, acknowledge the crowd, and smile in the last half mile — wow! What a race, what a finish, what a story!

    In addition to everything else, Meb did a great job of using the win to provide his testimony of the power of God.

    A colleague observed that Monday was probably like Christmas for me; and it was!

    • Chris — it was definitely stressful to watch Meb’s lead shrinking second by second, but how exciting that he held on. I loved seeing him cross himself and enjoy the victory even before he crossed the line. You’re right that Meb does a great job of testifying about God’s work in his life. His book delves deeper into his faith, and I highly recommend it to friends and strangers!

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