Also, it gives my frazzled brain something other than packing, itinerary and/or First Marathon to freak out about.
Saturday Swiping : a little over six months ago, my sister was generous enough to produce a baby girl, for the first time in decades, for our family.
someday Ella will hate us for this picture
Unfortunately, my sister's body did not cooperate to allow her to run through her pregnancy. While definitely worth the time off, it was a looonnnggg wait. When she finally got the green light to run, again, she charged back into it with a hunger and determination I've never seen. She is currently training for her first Half-Marathon and is excited to throw in a couple 5ks & 10ks along the way. She registered for a local race and I was looking forward to running it with her. My current 5ks are just enough faster that I hoped to be useful as a "pacer"
Her ultimate goal was to PR. She has only run a few 5ks, though, so anything close to her best time would be amazing, as well. Our 1st mile ended up being about 7 seconds faster than I was planning for, but it evened out by the end of the 2nd. The course was hillier than I'd remembered, the sun started beating down on us and I saw her fading. fast.
I knew that look on her face, very well. It was the one that was fighting the urge to just. freaking. walk. We'd been able to keep up pleasant, distracting conversation up 'til the point where she threatened to vomit. Then I resorted to stupid jokes, constant reminders about running form, lies about how small the next hill was...anything encouraging I could think of came flying out of my mouth. I'm sure the other racers were ready to strangle me.
While I was loving every second of this awesome opportunity (ps : I think this is how I'll race from now on), she was looking like I'd felt at the end of my last 5k.
Although I hated doing it, the time had come to switch to Nasty Big Sister Mode.
"Quit being a sissy!"
"As soon as you cross that finish line, you can stop moving for the rest of your life, if you want. Until then, RUN FASTER!"
"Puke when you're done!"
"This is YOUR race. Not mine. You have to pass me. Pass me! Pass me! Dooooo it!"
(It was, at that point, that two frightened-looking gentlemen did, indeed pass me)
The combination of her perseverance and my incessant yelling flipped that switch. We came around the corner, to the promised downhill finish, and she did, indeed, pass me.
I thought my smile was going to rip my face.
Had there been any other women near the finish, I would have stepped aside to let them cross in front of me. This truly was not my race, and I didn't want to ruin anyone else's chance for a medal. Seeing only men, I hopped over the mat, right after her. This turned out to be an "oops".
There was a new (fun!) timing system to play with once she caught her breath and reveled in the congrats from our proud, spectating family. We were able to type her bib number into a laptop, and pull up instant stats. The only thing I saw, for her #, was "1 of...". I shreiked the news to her and we both gulped back tears.
The way they broke down the age group, though, meant that we were actually grouped together, and I'd managed to snag second place.
thus the "oops"
I found out, that night, that the third and fourth place finishers, were only 1 second apart. This means, I totally "stole" that division placing for the fourth place chick. (sorry lady!) I tell myself she was probably pacing the 3rd place lady, anyway, and didn't want a medal, either!
Delusion : helping people sleep peacefully for thousands of years
That aside, we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the morning. My sis was, deservedly, on cloud nine. I couldn't get over how fun the pacing had been and was, obviously, ridiculously proud of how hard she fought for that medal. She didn't PR, but it was just close enough to fuel her even more. On a cooler day, with a flatter course (and maybe a less bossy pacer?) she will blow her current best away.
We scarfed down the free pancake breakfast with our kidlets, spouses and parents, snapped happy (her) and sheepish (me) photos of the awards ceremony, and split up to enjoy the rest of our Saturday.
my speedy snis, on the way to get her very first medal
her oldest, complete with fake mustache, celebrating her victory
Well, now this turned out to be way too long so Sunday's recap will be a whole 'nother post. I also have a really fun giveaway planned and way more marathon talk than you ever hoped to read about.
...is the suspense totally killing you, yet?