I’m about to miss my second official, organized running event of the year. The first was last month’s NYC Marathon. The second will be this weekend’s Holiday Half in Portland (upon running four laps around Central Park, my knee decided it needed a break and I have —somewhat grumpily and begrudgingly—obliged). The disappointment is great. In fact, in some respects, it’s even more disappointing than the Marathon experience. Because ten years after running our first (and only) Half-Marathon together, the Hagenbuch sisters were going commemorate the occasion by completing the Holiday Half together.
We read that the Holiday Half is a jovial, festive event. Runners dress up in their best holiday garb. Carolers line the course. It’s to be her fourth official Half-Marathon this year. We imagined that it would be a fun, triumphant way to round out the year. But as bummed as I am about not doing it with her, there is one thing I’m taking solace in.
It’s the morning of November 4th. That bright, clear, crisp day in New York City. She woke up bright and early with me and we walked down to Central Park. We marveled at the people from all over the world. We giggled. We chatted. We ran. She was by my side as we did a 6.1 mile lap and then extended it to take in more of the excitement and energy. At the start of our second lap together, we toasted our mini water bottles and ate GU. Later, she bought a warm pretzel from a vendor so I could have some type of nourishment as I continued on. She hung out while I made a porta-potty stop. She never stopped smiling. She never stopped encouraging. Her presence and generous spirit gave me strength. She embraced my goal and helped me achieve it. We did a total of about 13 miles together. She was my friend, teammate, coach, cheerleader. She was the little sister who felt like the big sister.
So this year, I’ll have to take comfort in the fact that on that clear, crisp November day, the Hagenbuch sisters unofficially completed a Half-Marathon side-by-side in Central Park.
And while visions of us running together dressed like candy canes or elves will continue to dance in my head, this weekend they won’t come to fruition.
Run sister run.
I’ll catch you in the New Year.