Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 10, 2012. The Journey Begins

(My sister Elisa on the right in green. Photo courtesy of MTT training)

A few years years ago I told my sister that if she ever decided to run a marathon that I would run the entire thing with her. Step for step. That time has come.

It's been 15 years since my sister and I last ran together. Our last run, which might have been our only run together ever, was simply a few laps around our quarter mile neighborhood loop. After a few minutes, I realized I could not keep up, and I soon stopped while she kept running lap after lap. In less than 48 hours, we will be running again, but on a much bigger stage.

There's never been much sibling rivalry between my sister and I. We both had similar grades in school, both played sports, and both graduated from the same university. Elisa was three years younger, and always seemed to fall in the category of being "Michael's little sister", or "Oh, I think I know your brother". However, as time has passed we've grown up and created our own identities as young adults. I became a long distance runner in my free time, and my sister went off to MCV to continue her education. I started to be known as the crazy runner in the family, but that all changed a few years ago when my sister started completing a handful of races. Still, even my own sister's sentiment was that her 5k's and 10k's didn't stack up, especially when her brother was out running these 100 mile races. Regardless, the Bailey family suddenly had two runners, but little did we know that we would soon have two marathon runners in the mix.

On Saturday November 10th, 2012, my little sister will be checking off one of her bucket list items. Elisa will be running her first marathon at the Richmond marathon. It's a fitting location, since Richmond is the city we both grew up near, and it will be a familiar backdrop for this big occasion. Elisa has been running with a marathon training group, and now has a 20+ mile run added to her resume of longest runs ever. In two days, she will run six miles farther than she has ever run before. The Richmond marathon will be my 80th marathon, or longer running event. However, don't be fooled. In all honesty, I never expected that the day would come that I would be running a marathon with my sister, let alone this soon. I always suspected we may run a 5k, or even a half marathon together. The idea of running a marathon with my sister was really only ever a fleeting thought. Other than finishing my first marathon/ultra, this is the run I am most excited to finish, because the finish in not for me. It's higher on my list than even Western States, or my first 100 mile finish. In other words, it's a big freaking deal.

Elisa has been training for a while, and her hard work has paid off. To be honest, she is superhuman. She's the only person I know who can train for a marathon while going to pharmacy grad school, work rotations, and also get married in the middle of it all. It was only a few months ago when her only goal was to finish, or possibly finish under 5 hours. As of today we are hoping to break 4:20. Wish us luck!

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