Early in her training, she signed up for her first race, the Toronto Women's 8K. She asked me if I wanted to run it with her. I knew this would be a great way to show her how much I appreciated the inspiration and support she had given me in starting to run. How do you say thanks for something that becomes so much a part of your days? Perhaps by freezing our butts of in the rain!
Throughout the week leading up to the race, my sister and I kept checking the forecast hoping that it would change. No amount of checking or wishing changed the forecast though--and on race day I woke up to gusting winds, cold temperatures and pouring rain. Needless to say our texts back and forth that morning were not ones of, "This will be amazing!" I knew that the layers that worked well in last week's STWM 5K would not be enough for this race. Hubby volunteered to make us some impromptu rain jackets from blue recycling bags. I decided on running tights, long sleeve wicking tee, technical jacket, socks, gloves, ear warmer and hat to keep the rain out of my eyes.
Rachel Hannah (I would come to hear this name a lot more in future races!) blew by in the other direction having already passed the half way point. Many of us cheered in astonishment. Despite the weather conditions, the volunteers along the route were smiling and encouraging. As more runners passed by going the other direction, I scanned the faces for my sister. When she passed, she looked strong and happy, albeit a little drenched by the rain. We exchanged a big smile and cheer.
Once reaching the halfway turnaround, it seemed that everyone given up on trying to avoid at the puddles and splashed right through. I knew that my pace was a little slower than the race last week, but I still felt the intensity of pushing as hard. The path became busier with the 5K runners joining the route back. Everyone trekked along, seeming especially focused on their own races and getting it done.
I crossed the finish line feeling spent. I scanned the crowds and spotted my sister proudly wearing her first race medal and smiling. With a hug of congratulations, we shared our stories of the race and joined our slightly frozen fans on the sidelines for a couple photos.
Despite the rain, puddles, cold and wind we were happy to have done this race together. I was glad to be able to share this moment with the person who had really inspired me to give running a try, and motivated me by example to continue. It was my way of saying thanks. Running was one of the best gifts she could have given me.