Today was the first day of my 1/2 marathon training program. This year I have signed up for an actual program with the local running club. There are coaches, schedules and loads of motivation through other runners. Seriously, there are like 50 or more of us. It is really cool to have all these people together facing a common goal. The ability groups range from the guy that lapped me twice during our 2 mile track work out, to the little old lady who finished 7 out of 8 laps hunched over, but still smiling. It is wonderful to be part of this.
The best part though is the woman beside me. Tall, fit, beautiful and strong. She looks at home in running tights and a tech jacket, like someone off the pages of Runner's World. She is my sister. She is the gazelle and I am the water buffalo. I know that she can run much faster and farther than I can. But she is doing this with me anyway. So I want to do better for her. Normally I run somewhere between 11:30/mi and 12:30 mi. I know that is slow, but I have bizarre lungs and a trick knee (and not a cool trick either). Anyway, tonight, having my sister beside me and the motivation of everyone around us, I kicked it up and was able to run the entire time at a 9:34 pace. Two miles, 2:07 to be exact, at less than 10 minutes. I'm so damn excited and proud of myself I can hardly stand it.
I still feel super guilty that my sister is going too slow, but I have to trust that I will improve and get faster and she really just does want to be with me. I've spent the last 10 years just wanting to be with her, so I'm just going to have to swallow my pride and accept her being right there next to me. Running on a dark drizzle filled Oregon night, counter clockwise around a high school track. At a 9:34 pace, a 9:34 pace! And I can't for the life of me think of anywhere else I'd rather be.