“Surely the best-known section of the Boston Marathon is Heartbreak Hill, one in a series of slopes that lasts for four miles near the end of the race. It’s on Heartbreak Hill that runners ostensibly feel the most exhausted. In the hundred-and-seventeen-year history of the race, all sorts of legends have grown up around this hill. But, when you actually run it, you realize that it’s not as harsh and unforgiving as people have made it out to be. Most runners make it up Heartbreak Hill more easily than they expected to. ‘Hey,’ they tell themselves, ‘that wasn’t so bad after all.’ Mentally prepare yourself for the long slope that is waiting for you near the end, save up enough energy to tackle it, and somehow you’re able to get past it.
"The real pain begins only after you’ve conquered Heartbreak Hill, run downhill, and arrived at the flat part of the course, in the city streets. You’re through the worst, and you can head straight for the finish line—and suddenly your body starts to scream. Your muscles cramp, and your legs feel like lead. At least that’s what I’ve experienced every time I’ve run the Boston Marathon.
"Emotional scars may be similar. In a sense, the real pain begins only after some time has passed, after you’ve overcome the initial shock and things have begun to settle. Only once you’ve climbed the steep slope and emerged onto level ground do you begin to feel how much you’ve been hurting up till then. The bombing in Boston may very well have left this kind of long-term mental anguish behind.”
–"Boston, from One Citizen of the World Who Calls Himself a Runner,“ by Haruki Murakami