30 April 2014

Shout out, sister

My sister is pretty damn awesome, not to mention that she is way nicer than I am and has pretty much the best sense of humor, ever. She joined the Marine Corps in 1995, and, after two tours in Iraq, she last served in a hot fill billet at Walter Reed in Bethesda, as a patient liaison in the critically wounded ward.  Late last year, she transferred to the reserves.

In 2010, she wanted to run a marathon as a celebration of turning 40 - and she wanted it to be with me. She signed us up for the Marine Corps Marathon (duh), and we both figured there'd be plenty of time for both of us to train. We built dual training calendars and encouraged each other along - she was running mostly on her own, given the demands of her job and the screwy hours. She scoffed at me for putting in speed workouts, I got the, 'Seriously?'  As it turned out, my recovery took a lot longer than anticipated, including a corrective surgery in late July 2010, and we were left trying to figure out how we could run this thing together. In mid-September she said, 'Well, let's just do it next year,' - this after having put in five months of running and serious training.  That's just how she is.

I concocted a plan that would allow us to run the race together - I printed out the course map, highlighting the turns and corners where the course came back on itself or where the diameter between loops segments was narrow (i.e., the Mall). In this way, we created a series of break and join points along the course which would keep us together but not have me running any significant lengths at a spell. We had about eight break/meet points.  The plan was that  I would always be on the right hand side of the road. We bought matching shirts so we could spot each other in the mass of runners. She had her finish time goal set, with the required times at each mile to achieve it, to be wrapped around her wrist.

Race day came and we executed perfectly (I should hope so), meeting up at each planned spot. When we crossed the bridge to Crystal City, we chanted a "This bridge ain't sh&t" mantra along the way. Just as she was emerging to cross under the bridge from the Pentagon, she looked at me and said, 'I can't, I have to walk, my legs really hurt.' I said, "You can. We're going to do it together." We started a shuffle for three, walk for one - it extended to a shuffle for five, walk for one. We were inexplicably joined by a dude who had come to cheer on his friends, and he ran with us for the last two miles, just before the turn up to the Iwo Jima Memorial. We ran up the entire hill and she crossed the finish line of her first marathon. The first thing she did was turn to me and say, 'Thank you, Beans, I love you." I'm blessed.

Oh yeah, and she's running again this year. Boom.

(Click on pic to see full-size slideshow.)

1 comment:

  1. Now that I finally can comment.. You and I will always be together. In spirit and mind and heart and laughter and ……. I love you and thank you.