Tomorrow morning, I’ll run the Charlotte 10 Miler in Taylor’s honor. Always afraid I’ll forget something important, I took a few minutes to lay everything out on my bed this afternoon.
Tomorrow is March 23, the fourth day of spring. But the date printed on my race bib is 2/22/2014. That’s because a good bit of the 10-mile course is on a greenway, and the greenway flooded in February, forcing organizers to postpone Charlotte’s only 10-mile race.
In any case, I’m around for the redo, and at 7:45 a.m., I’ll set out to improve my time for the third straight year (in 2013, I finished 27th overall with a time of 1:22, two minutes off my PR). I’ll try to do it in the shirt and compression sleeve I wore when I ran 13.1 miles in the dark for my sister at Charlotte’s Thunder Road Half Marathon in November. If it’s raining, I may lace up the shoes that carried me to that memorable finish, though the soles have reached “retired” status.
One funny side effect of the postponement is that I celebrated a birthday in the month that transpired since the original race date, meaning my actual age doesn’t match the age listed in official race records. I smiled when I noticed that small detail today; if anything, it just adds to the whole time machine feel of my first race of 2014.
I know a lot of people who’d give their right arm for a time machine. I have a lot of things to love about the present, but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t give just about anything if Taylor and I could just be sisters for a single day. She’ll be 16 in August. I should be giving her advice about boys, helping her with homework, cheering for her at games, etc. and inviting her to spend the night with me. When John and I bought our house, I decorated the upstairs guest room for my little sister. She was diagnosed with Batten disease less than five months later, and though we had a few sleepovers in the early days, she developed a fear of sleeping alone because of her declining vision. Taylor’s never spent a single night in that room.
I envy the women who have “good” relationships with their sisters. I know Taylor loves me, and I’d walk through fire for her. But suffice it to say that our sisterhood hasn’t materialized in quite the way I imagined. And these days, I don’t even pine for the “big” things so much anymore – all of the things Taylor deserves that Batten disease stole from her. These days, I’d give anything to have a conversation with my little sister. We’ll never have that again.
Tomorrow morning, it’ll be chilly and possibly wet when I put on my purple duds, lace up my shoes and run a 10-mile race for Taylor. I wish she could be at the finish line when I cross, but I know she can’t. And that’s exactly why I’ll never, ever stop running for her.
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