my sister ran a marathon yesterday!!!!!! I am in chicago for a few days supporting her on the culmination of months of training, cheering her on across the finish line, nursing her sore bones back to some state of being able to function normally. something I have been planning on and excited for for months now. something I did not plan on: being almost too sore myself to be of any use whatsoever.
a marathon is not really, as previously thought, for crazy people. it is a milestone/annual event that sane people deliberately choose to engage in. they plan for it, train, raise money, sweat, cry/laugh and ultimately accomplish. it is a learning, growing experience, with positive effects that extend beyond it's legitimate participants, into the lives of those who love them, those who get overly involved as spectators. I, a novice to marathons, learned quite a few valuable lessons this weekend.
1-my sister is not crazy. nor impulsive. she is in fact quite strong and courageous (she signed up for the race as a 'non runner' person, trained for the End Aids team, raised them hella money). I am proud to have shared a womb/continue to share dna/rna with her.
2-marathons are well within the range of human capability. looking at the approximately 38,000+ different body types that spread over quite a bit of the spectrum of athletic ability, it becomes clear that running 26.2 miles is as much a mental challenge as a physical challenge. which lead me to my next point:
3-it helps if you train. I said something to the effect of 'I can see why people train for this!' to Ina and her team mates and one random lady who happened to be running with us at like mile 15 or so. She, random lady, Ina's teammates, and well, Ina too, all cast me incredulous looks of varying degrees. it's allowed in marathons for non-registered folks to jump in at certain points and run with the legits. it's called 'poaching.' and I thought, of all the ways to support my sister in this endevour, this is the one where I can really show how proud I am and that I am here for her for mental emotional support and sips of water of the camel bak I sported as to not deplete her own water source. that and it sounded like a lot of fun. so I jumped in at mile 6.5ish. Mile 15ish was just shy of 10 miles for me. right about the time when my body communicated to me via my feet, my knees, that maybe some semblence of a heads up would have been a really nice gesture. not *totally* necessary, but courteous.
4-yes and yes. a while back, I had a convo with Geode how I am so not running the chicago marathon with Ina, that had she asked me to run a half with her, I would have said yeah, no problem. I believe my exact words of the sentences that followed that thought were, 'I could probably run a half right now and be fine. it'd hurt, but I could do it.' well, number four lesson this weekend is that yes, I can just get up and run a half marathon and yes, as predicted, I am hurting.
the pace at which Ina and team ran was quite reasonable, running for 3 or 4 minutes, walking for 1, the weather was pleasant (what's up 87degrees!), and the company excellent. not to mention the thousands of random people feverishly cheering you on. it's like being in a parade. kinda. and so once in it, I got really into it. my original plan was to run like 10k of it (the most I've run ever before in one er, sitting, was like 6 miles. and that was mostly on accident), then passed that marker so decided to see if I could run a half marathon, then it was only 4ish more miles to where Jacob Ina's BF was gonna be so I figured I'd just get off there. (I'm glad I waited. After 17ish miles in the sun I was in no state to navigate my way back to the finish line by myself.) I graciously parted ways with my twin and her buddies, thanked them for the company, sent them off with well wishes and congratulations. then I sat on the ground, drank a bottle of water, and tried to figure out what the hell just happened.
that's a lot of learning for one day, I figured, so I saved some for today, the day after. this morning's lessons were in aftercare, both in giving and figuring out what's best for myself (eh, my everything hurts) and helping sis deal with the vacuous space left in the wake of any large character building event that consumes much of your energies for a given amount of time ie now what do I do?
dear ilvs, what was that all about? I mean, it was fun and all and I'd totally do it again, but maybe a little warning next time? and maybe not so much gatorade. we still love you. love, your extremely capable body.
dear mother earth, sorry for throwing the dozen or so paper cups on your sidewalks. usually I don't accept gatorade or water from strangers on the street and opt for filling up my water bottle from trusted sources - I even had a camel bak with me, but it ran out twice and was too tedious to fill while running. I hope the pitter patter of 45thousand x 2 feet felt good on your paved parts, a change from all those heavy cars and trucks. I promise to write a letter to the marathon organizers to take a look at their carbon footprint, see if they can get some recycling thing going. I love you very much. love, ilvs