Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sister Support

Did anyone go running today?  In Calgary?  If you didn't, I hate to tell you, but you missed out.  Big time.  Sunny and warm.  Almost hot warm.  Inching so very close to summer almost hot warm.  Nothing like a fabulous spring day like this one to remind you that running is a completely amazing way to get out there, breathe in the fresh spring air and move your body while you're at it.

So.  Birthdays.  Did you know it was ARJR's happy happy day yesterday?  This would be my younger sister.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am so fortunate to have a sister like ARJR.  She is incredibly supportive, an awesome mom to wee H-bean (my nephew who is dreaming about his first marathon already, I'm sure) and also a runner.

In fact, did you know that long before I ever undertook the task of completing a distance event of any sort that JR did indeed pound out a half herself?  I recall this very, very clearly.  She was in law school and took it upon herself to run in the Manitoba Half in June.  I remember her sharing her experience with me, raving about just how awesome the energy and crowd was, how much fun she had, the great support the city of Winnipeg offered the runners, the funny signs on the course (last beer for 26.2 miles was a fav) and the way that she kept encouraging me to sign up for my own half to test the distance.  Her excitement was contagious and before long I found myself at the start of my first half marathon (which of course, she was there for) and shortly after, my first full distance.

And now here we are years and years and years later (well, maybe just years and years later) and I am soon to embark upon running my tenth marathon in the Florida swamp and all of that I owe to the inspiration and encouragement of my wonderful sister.  I've spent some time thinking about her lately, and given the fact that it is her birthday and we are separated by Saskatchewan (damn that Gap) my gift to her is to let her know that I would not be where I am today without her encouragement, support, and love.  Further than sparking my interest in this whole marathon adventure, she has been my support crew at almost every marathon I've ever ran in.  This has ranged from my very first Calgary marathon experience during which she met me on the course with Advil, Gatorade and a peanut butter sandwich (seriously) and proceeded to run at least a kilometer by my side in flip flops and a cowboy hat to getting lost in Calgary trying to find the best vantage point to see me run by only to make it to the finish in time to cheer me on as I exited the porta-potty.  This has also meant dragging other more reluctant (but just as awesome) members of my support crew (my rents, tee-dubs, chaney and ellis) to watch me run by for three seconds in whatever random city I may be running in.  She has spend thousands of her own dollars to see me run in Boston, Chicago, and New York City.  At each and every one of those races she was up well before the crack of dawn to hug me and to tell me she loved me before I left for the start.  I carried that with me through each and every one of those races and it meant more than I could ever say.  In New York City she lugged with her a three month old baby, her husband, my parents, two friends, a 1 year old and a 3 year old on and off the train and then all over the city to get the "best spot" in Central Park to see me run by.  This carried me through the last two hardest miles I have ever run.  She was with me for every step of those last two miles, and most of that 3:07 is because of her love and support.  She is responsible for introducing me to my current speedy training friends and for encouraging me into some "real" running gear (she used to say I was the only runner without any running gear) and now I am proudly affiliated with lululemon as a Run ambassador.  And then, of course, there was the time that we ran the Manitoba half TOGETHER.  And we crossed the line together.  Holding hands.  Of all the places and races I've been to, this is my favorite memory.  I loved that we did that together. 

Running long distances in racing and in training can be a lonely affair.  I'm lucky enough to have never, ever felt alone, and most of that is because I have a sister who loves me, inspires me and encourages me each and every step of the way.  Thanks, JR.  You are the best.  I miss you, I love you and I can't wait until the summer when we can go running together.  Have the best day ever.


Alison August said...

Hi Andrea,
We've actually never met, but I'm Pam's friend Ali. And Pam, Ainsley, and I are in a book club.
I love your blog!! So nice to have sch a suppportive sis. :)
I also read a couple of older posts, one where you mention you'd like more followers. I too am a (new) blogger who'd like more followers. So, how 'bout this: I'll follow yours if you'll follow mine??
Keep writin'! Cheers,
p.s. 3:07!!??!! wowzers

Anonymous said...

You may be very lucky to have a great sis like Ais, but just think... she has you. xxooxx

Creedilish ;-)

Andrea said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Ali- I will look forward to meeting you in the summer, but until then, I will gladly follow your blog!

Andrea said...

Also, thanks Creedilish! Much, much love and appreciatation. xo