this is my sister-in-law, sarah!
she is one of my running idols, and her story is one of my favorite ones to tell.
early in the summer of 2008, sarah, like so many of us, decided that she wanted to get fit. and then, like so many of us, she decided to do something about it. so she went to the local sneaker store for a pair of sweet exercise kicks. while she was there, she saw a sign for a learn to run class. then, like not so many of us, she bravely decided to sign up that very second.
sarah had never run before, but gamely showed up to every session of the class. and she LOVED it. the goal of the class was to complete a 5-k, and after completing that race in short order, sarah decided she was a runner. and when she made this decision, what else did she do? something that very few people would ever do. (well, not me, anyways. it took me YEARS to work up to this point.)
sarah signed up for a half marathon.
i remember the day that she called me to tell me the big news. strangely, i was just about to head off on a run myself. i remember thinking that she was insane! at that point in my life, i had run one half marathon, and had vowed to myself that i would never do it again. half marathons were hard! they required intense training! and not only did sarah commit to running a half, but she also committed to raising a buttload of money for the leukemia and lymphoma society as a member of their team in training!
go big or go home, she said. hmmmmmmm, i said.
as the fall progressed, so did sarah’s runs. every week was a new and longer distance. and when i saw her in early november on the weekend of the grandest bachelorette party ever (thanks, fred!), she looked amazing… and so so happy! i was inspired. so when she told me that she had to get up early saturday morning to run eight miles, i said that i’d come with her and run for as long as i could keep up with her.
early on that rainy and frigid saturday morning, we set off. sarah had planned an absolutely insane, yet beautiful, route. i had been running consistently since my last half marathon more than a year before, but i hadn’t run more than six miles in almost thirteen months. but i stuck with her, even when we started climbing a steep hill of death. (strangely remniscent of my ten-mile run last week!) up up up we climbed. it was painful. it was exhausting. but we didn’t stop until we made it to the top. together, we gulped some of the trusty gummi lifesavers that i keep with me for quick sugar. when i looked over, i saw that sarah had, in addition to a gigantic smile, one of these lifesavers stuck to her face. it was glorious.
that day, i decided to sign up for another half marathon. i guess her craziness was contagious.
sarah completed her first half marathon in walt disney world in january 2009. after the race, she called me, crying tears of joy, disbelief, and accomplishment. in the months that have followed, she has run many more races and inspired me (and i am sure countless others) many many times. not only does sarah never give up, but she greets the challenges that running and life bring with a smile (and luckily not a lifesaver) on her face.
this sunday, sarah will be running her first full marathon, once again in walt disney world. i could not be more proud of her. good luck, sister-in-law and running idol! you are amazing!
book recommendation in honor of my girl sarah l.
the book thief, by markus zusak
if this book doesn’t make you cry, then your heart might be made out of stone. a memorable and unique account of world war two told from the viewpoint of death, it’s a story that stays with you forever, and might even convince you to name your son rudy.