My little sister, Piglet, ran a half marathon today. The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon is one of the biggest events our city has for runners. It was organized to remember those whose lives were lost in the 1995 Murrah Building Bombing, support survivors, pay tribute to first responders, and to raise money to support the Museum that has been erected at the bomb site. The event is normally in April, but Covid …
Piglet took up running, serious running, at about age 50. She does it often, by herself, quietly and without fan fare. Like our mother, she really doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. As sisters, we share many things, but running is not one of them. Running is Piglet’s thing.
My beloved and I were there at the starting line when she took off, then we drove like crazy to see her at various points along the way. We tracked her progress on the phone app. She did great. I loved watching her. I’m in awe of her strength. I believe Shakespeare had my Piglet in mind when he wrote, “Though she be little she is fierce.” She made it look easy, just like everything that she does well; but I knew it was hard. I found myself tearing up every time I spotted her in the crowd.
I got all bungled up on the map and missed the end of the race. I texted, “I won’t make the finish. I’m sorry!” Fortunately, her husband was there to greet her. Later, while I was riding my bike, he sent me the video of her crossing the finish line as Ice, Ice, Baby played on the loud speakers. I stopped to watch it and suddenly I was ugly crying right there on the side of the road.
Several times this week, leading up to the race I mentioned that my little sister was running the half marathon. I told the people in my Zoom meeting this afternoon how great she did. It never fails though, someone always asks a variation of, “Is she going to do the full marathon next year?” When I respond that I don’t think so, they want to know why? “Doesn’t she want to run a marathon?” they ask. “Isn’t that the point?” “Why wouldn’t she keep going?”
This is a curious thing because the question always comes from someone who doesn’t run at all, much less 13.109 miles. As if running non-stop for over two hours is not enough, but merely training for the real run. I really wish they would stop calling it a half marathon and give it a name all its own, a name that represents what it really is … a big deal.
The first time she ran a half marathon, she didn’t tell me about it until she was finished. She just ran around the lake and went home. She runs against herself and no one else. It has nothing to do with accolades or medals. It is personal, it is a way to release tension, it is moving meditation. She told me “running has helped me to grow.”
Running is her thing. Not competition, not winning, not medals. Running brings her inner peace and physical strength. Just running is enough for her.
The world would be a much better place if everyone could find a thing like that.