There is a special time of the year beginning in late October that is different from any other. You can smell it in the air in the metro on early Sunday mornings: runner’s farts. Marathon season is upon us.
My Dad and Father-in-law ran the New York Marathon together when I was little, and I ran the Marine Corp Marathon last year. This year’s Marine Corp Marathon was supposed to be the Cooks/Thorps/Winneg’s triumphant return to the marathon stage. Five of us joined in early April, only two were left standing in October: my sister-in-law, Kate, and my Dad’s friend, Rob.
Above is Kate deep in thought in the fart-smelling metro car. While a lot of mental preparation goes into running a marathon, Kate was doing a little more than usual. Was she thinking about her pace? The way she would start the first couple miles slower and then build? Or was it something deeper, maybe even sinister? It quickly became apparent, when the local ABC station asked her what her goal in the marathon was.
Her answer? “I just want to beat my brother-in-law’s time from last year.”
How could she?! I had taken time out of my Saturday to pick up her race packet AND I was planning to run the last six miles with her to help her through the toughest part of the race. This is what I got in return? Not to mention, she could have given the interview to MY network instead of the punks at ABC. This was war.
The race began and I started plotting my revenge. Rob, on the other hand, was a rock star and was whipping through the course. It was a little shocking, though, to find that Rob has Mickey Mouse hands…who knew?!
My Dad, my in-laws, and I plodded our way through the 26.2 mile course so that we could cheer Kate and Rob on at as many places as possible. We had 5 stops scheduled before my Dad would run the last 10 miles with Rob, and I would run the last 6 with the traitor. This year we were lucky to have professional-race-cheerer, Karen Cook, by our side. She has never cheered at a race without losing at least some of her voice.
While the marathon runners were the heros of the day, the sign Clay is holding above was the real winner. An obvious smack to the abysmal Redskins, we concocted this sign the night before in attempt to get a laugh out of the runners. The sign was a hit.
Runners were stopping their marathons and pulling out their phones to take pictures of it. It was called, by more than one runner, “the best sign of the race.” It was even given 4.5 out of 5 stars by BestMarathonSigns.com, the extra .5 clearly a criticism of the shotty spacing of the letters in the first line. Just kidding, Clay…
We peeled away from Georgetown and headed to the National Mall. Waiting by the water station seemed like a good idea until we realized that everyone was tossing cups full of water directly at us. It wasn’t long before it looked like I had peed my pants from all the water being splashed in our direction (I do not have a picture of that).
So my Dad joined Rob at mile 16, and Clay joined Kate for a mile before passing the torch to me (click their names for pictures). Now was my chance to get back at her for what she had said. But when I began running with her, I started to feel proud of what she had accomplished, knowing how much time and effort it had taken me to get to that point last year. I scrapped any plans of revenge and did my best to encourage her along the last few miles.
I had a really great time, and it was really inspiring to see all these people finish this incredible race. Kate kicked ass, and while she didn’t beat my time from last year, it doesn’t matter because she finished a freaking marathon. And Rob beat his goal time by minutes in his first, and probably last, marathon. After months of revolving their lives around when the next training run would be, they ran 26.2 miles. 99% of America can’t say that. I don’t even look forward to driving that distance.
In conclusion, I thought long and hard about Kate’s betrayal, and I decided I wouldn’t let her off scot-free. So, for your enjoyment, I have included the worst picture I took of Kate below. Cheers!