I spent the better part of many of my childhood Saturdays reading in the bleachers during my younger sister’s track meets. She ran for our church’s CYO team and then for our school. It’s funny – I never thought about her back then as a “runner” – it was just something that Stacia did – she ran track. And apparently she was quite good given the number of ribbons and medals that lined her bedroom walls…and only sustained one memorable injury (a broken bone in her foot during a hurdles event).
Stacia’s 3 years younger than me and likes to say that God gave me all the good hair and the boobs. Of course I complain that He saved for her the better metabolism, tons of awesome brain cells, musical talent, and the willpower and body type to be a very fit athlete. We get along well these days (even buying each other the exact same birthday card this year…our brays are 6 days apart) – but as sisters we have had our moments (and years) of bickering, fighting over clothes, and loving each other as only sisters can.
Stacia’s always kept fit and exercised…although I always thought of her as a “treadmill” runner – more exercising than working at being a runner. Then I started noticing talk of 5Ks and 10Ks on Facebook and in our conversations. She and her husband starting posting distances and runs on Facebook – and their pace is impressive. We’ve talked them into the family’s plans for the Turkey Trot this fall – and we’re in the stages of planning for them to do the Disney weekend with us in January.
Yesterday Stacia said she’d want to do the DIsney 1/2 with me.
“Or you could run it with Rob or do the Marathon relay with him,” I suggested.
“No – he wants to run the 1/2. I don’t have any time goals. And what’s the point of coming to run with you if I don’t actually run with you? I want to run with you,” she said.
At that – my heart warmed…or maybe it was the fear that was creeping over me. She has no clue how slow I really am….
This morning – Steve and I were trying to get her to run in the morning before the rest of the family arrived…
“I don’t like to run in the morning,” Stacia said.
“It’s good for you! Come on…you’re awake.”
She narrowed her eyes and asked, “How far do you run?”
I said that today I was only planning 3 – especially given my issues with my worn out cross-trainers.
She said, “Oh – I run for 12 songs – which is like 6 miles.”
Oh dear……now I started to sweat thinking ahead to Disney. “Well I like to run/walk – so we can all just leave the house at the same time….”
She looked at me. “If I come running this morning with you – will you just run the whole way?”
Sure – why not completely embarrass myself in front of the sister who I look up to (even though she’s a good 5 inches shorter than me)?
I went off to get dressed as my daughter gave her aunt fair warning….
“Aunt Stacia, don’t let Daddy leave you in the dust!”
“But I’m not running with your daddy – I’m running with your mommy. Will she leave me in the dust?”
“Hmmm….is this your first time running?”
“Well then I don’t think you’ll have a problem keeping up with her.”
Have I mentioned that my daughter is 6 going on attitude?
So we headed off. Me in my usual XL running shorts, favorite bra and t-shirt. Stacia in a cute little top over shorts she used to run in in middle school – 20+ years ago. But they’re Spandex, Jenn. And the waistband is worn out. Oh yeah – that makes me feel so much better – and thinner.
I managed to make it for 10 minutes and change (nearly 1 mile) before I needed a walk break. Which she was good about….and even encouraging.
In fact Stacia kept me strong for 3.19 miles….and even kept my walking breaks strong. I really didn’t want to walk as much but remember that darn shoe issue – I felt the blisters forming as we ran….despite her point to focus on anything but the fact that my body was running. And I was really touched and excited that she was willing to keep herself slower to stay with me and be a cheerleader for me. (Oh yeah – she was also a cheerleader in school….)
“Come on we’re almost there….around the corner to Mom’s house…”
“Isn’t this fun – you are doing great….”
“Did you hear those dogs? Know what that means – we’re gonna need to run faster…”
“Just let your legs do all the work…”
“Want me to tell you a story? What can I talk about to help you?”
My contribution to the conversation was limited to repeated apologies: “I’m sorry I’m so slow….”
I don’t know what it’s like to have an older sister….but I know what my siblings think of having an older sister: She’s bossy, tries to mother us, never has much fun, needs to loosen up, should stop worrying, is slightly annoying, etc….. Okay that’s probably not all of it…our baby brother would be quick to point out the other things I forgot about… I know I wasn’t the easiest to live with when we were kids. Or even as adults they’d both probably add… But I’m really glad Stacia pushed all that aside while we ran (okay – she ran, I trudged)….Or if she thought of how annoying her big sister can be – she didn’t mention it. Thanks sis.
All in all – I learned how much I need to improve before Disney. (Yes it was hot and humid and it’s hard to judge in this weather…but still…) And I learned that my sister is just as awesome as I always have known her to be. The last bit of the run she promised to buy me chocolate if I didn’t take another walk break….and that she’d also eat it for me. That’s true sisterly love.
Now….let’s see if she can keep that up for 13.1 in January….