Monday, March 22, 2010

The Weekend Report: Hand Me That Unitard (aka Sister2 Runs a Marathon!)

As you may know, Sister2 ran the DC National Marathon this weekend. What you may not know is that she did so in neon spandex and a gold unitard. Were you out watching? Did you see that girl? Did you cheer for her? Or call out some version of  Love your outfit! Nice spandex! Great uni!”?

Well, I was the more normal one next to her. And proud of it!

Why the costume? Isn’t a normal running outfit enough, you may wonder?

Well, she ran Boston last year in a greeny-yellow unitard…so she might as well uphold that tradition…and if you’re flying cross-country to run a race, you may as well do it right, right?

Oh my gosh what am I going to wear? She wondered the night pre-marathon. She stood in my living room, alternating between two equally ridiculous outfits, trying to make her decision. Ugh! This is like the most preparation I’ve done for this race!

That statement is obviously not true. Because despite her absurd apparel, this girl can run (you already know the story of how she started marathoning). She’s only 20, and yet she has now completed 2 marathons in under 4 hours! So don’t let the uni fool you…as many DC men discovered early Saturday morning: Once the uni passes, it’s gone for good!

And I’m going to go ahead and take just a teeny tiny little bit of credit for her awesome finish. I did help! I swear! My friends and I were out there cheering at Mile 3, and when she passed us again at Mile 17, I jumped in to keep her spirits up through the last 9.2.

I tried to make myself useful. I “amused” her with chatting and useless information.

Then my big chance to actually be “useful” (and I use that term very loosely) came at Mile 23. She had mentioned that her arms were starting to chafe against her body, which is awful on a run.  So when we came up on a water/aid station, I saw my chance:

Ok, Sis2, I’ll just stop at this med station real quick, grab you some Vaseline, and catch up. No problem!

So I stopped, and put on my best lost-and-desperate face…and…nothing. There was no one at the medical station! What??? Seriously, what if I had been a dying marathoner???

I stood there for a moment, wondering what to do…I saw the big box of medical supplies…looked around one more time to see if anyone would come help me…and then started digging through their stuff. Vaseline – jackpot! I scooped out a chunk onto my finger, and jumped back in the race.

But enough time had gone by for Sister2 to get way ahead of me. Her pink spandex was just a glow in the distance. Oh man, time to run! I started striding after her, doubtlessly impressing those who had already run 23 miles with this sudden burst of mid-marathon energy.

(This part of the course was an out-and-back. Which just means that you run out on one side of the street to a turning point, do a U-turn, and run back on the other side of the street.)

So there I was, dashing after Sister2, as she passed me on the “back” part of the out-and-back. She gave me this look, and waved me over. It’s not like I was actually in the race…I could have just turned there and joined her.

I can’t! I can’t cheat! Don’t slow down, I’ll catch up! I yelled at her. Because no one around me knew I wasn’t really in the race. And just think how pissed you would be if you saw someone cutting corners like that!

Eventually I caught up…and pretty much saved her life with Vaseline. So yeah, that’s my story.

I didn't plan on crossing the finish line. I saw the barriers lining the course about 200 yards before the finish, and prepared to duck out. Ok, I’ll meet you at the end! I said. But then I saw that poor Sister2 was not looking good. She was gagging…I was concerned…so I stayed with her through the finish.

And she ran 3:30:50!!! (That's about 8-minute pace...and a 25 minute personal record!)

All bow down to the super-speedster in the crazy outfit!!!

After the race, we took full advantage of the free stuff (bars, mochas, cookies? yes please!) at the post-marathon festival. Then we ate our weight in brunch buffet, and went to the zoo.

I’m proud to be her sister! Wouldn’t you be?