Yes, that is the lamest post title imaginable. I had to. (Just keep reading, just keep reading… Okay, SORRY.)
I had a week. It wasn’t the best running week ever, but it also wasn’t my worst. My calves are sore today if that’s any indication! It certainly indicates to me that I need to up my stretching game.
Jamie and I went for a solid run on Saturday morning. (We were able to run together three times last week I think! I had to cancel once due to a migraine…Boo.) We kicked butt on hills and ran the farthest mileage since starting our runs together. Woohoo! (The strange weather on my solo-Sunday forced me inside between spats of hail, snow, and rain, however; typical Vermont.) It made us feel better to swear at the hills as we ran them, and then bounce at the top with fists thrust into the air like Rocky. Lots of high fives. As I’m sure you can imagine, “Eye of the Tiger” was on full blast in my mind.
That moment was one that on any other day in the past would have seemed trivial. This past weekend was the one year “anniversary” (a strange thing to call it I think) of my sister’s accident. One year ago we were told that she would not make it through the night; she had quite literally drowned. It was one of those moments that some of you have probably experienced yourselves, where you simply cannot make sense of anything in the world. It was so soon after my dad passed away, and so unexpected. She had just gotten married, had a baby. And our family was handed another tragedy that was, not surprisingly, very unwelcome. I tried to reason with the doctor, as if he was choosing my sister’s fate. (The worst night of my life, and of my brother-in-law’s, and my brothers’, and mother’s, and so on and so forth…)
The good news is that this story has a happy ending. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that my sister just had another baby! Katie, my big sis, is alive and well, and perfectly “normal”; back to her stubborn and sarcastic self (we were told to expect that if she was granted the miracle of survival, she would be brain damaged from lack of oxygen to the brain for so long). But, it did take her some time to be able to walk again, to simply breathe on her own again. Her lungs were completely filled with water, mud, sticks, rocks, plants… When she finally came home from the hospital in Boston, she was in a wheelchair and on oxygen. Each day was progress. Each time I make an excuse not to run these days, I think of my sister.
Katie is running the marathon with me (she’s on a relay team with some of my other bridesmaids), and she’s living her life passionately, with no excuses or apologies. A year ago, after she fought to stay alive and proved she was still in there, she amazed doctors with her swift progress (to the point of them openly shrugging in amazement and recording her advances – a true medical marvel). We walked down the hall of the ICU, Katie, the physical therapist, and myself, (the “party” was ever changing – her husband a constant figure of course) as my sister took another step, and another, finally reaching the end of the hallway as I quietly played “Eye of the Tiger” on my cell phone (absolutely necessary motivation, of course). Astounding! She was moving! On her own! (You can imagine how selfish and lazy I felt as I watched my sister learn to walk and move and balance again.)
I won’t lie: I have had several days lately where I have seriously questioned whether I might completely embarrass myself on Marathon Day. I don’t know if I’ll be ready. I’m not in the type of shape I thought I’d be at this point, and I’m slower than I’ve ever been. But one of the biggest forces that keeps me moving forward is my sister and her persistence. She’s always been my trailblazer (older siblings will commiserate with her and the unfairness she felt at seemingly more relaxed rules for us younger kids), and she continues to not-so-quietly remind me that excuses are good for nothing.
So if, like me, you’re searching for an extra dose of “just keep swimming [running], just keep swimming….” then embrace the absolute miracle that you have the awesome, amazing ability to RUN! (Jog, walk briskly…whatever!) Now how cool is that?
Until next week, fellow runners!
PS – Thank you for making it through my post of sentimentality, bad puns, and too many parenthetical thoughts!