When we were kids, we used to go to Camp Takodah in Keene, New Hampshire for a couple of weeks during the summer. Some of us enjoyed it more than others and I was one that didn't so much. I think I only went a few years and honestly have very few fond memories. I think I just didn't like being away from home because it's a perfectly nice camp..it just wasn't for me. There was one year when I was stuck in a cabin of girls as the odd kid out and got picked on so much that I spent the whole two weeks wanting to go home. Although I'm sure it wasn't true, I even felt like our cabin leader hated me. Lucky for me my sister Rachel was there that year too, though. It got so bad that at one point I finally went to tell her about it, and she promptly hoisted me onto her back and gave me a piggy back over to my cabin so she could tell all those little jerks off. I don't remember much of what was actually said, but I'll never forget the feeling of relief, safety and comfort as I hugged her neck that day.
Today, Rachel completed the 2011 Lake Placid Ironman. If you aren't familiar with it, let me break it down for you: First a 2.4 mile swim, then a 112 mile bike ride and then a 26.2 mile run. That's a grand total of 140.6 miles in one day. I'm not kidding. It's the most incredible physical accomplishment that anyone I've ever known has even dreamed to conquer and I not only KNOW her, but she is my SISTER. How's that for bragging rights? Okay, I guess hers are just a little more awesome than mine but seeing as I'll never be attempting one, I'll take the Ironman association.
As I went on my piddly little 3 mile morning run today, I thought about all that Rachel has been through to get to this point in her life...a battle with weight (and therefore, relentless and cruel teasing) as a child, giving birth to and raising 3 amazing children and setting higher than the stars athletic goals all on a chronic bum hip. I imagined her starting her swim this morning at around 7am and working, working, working all day long...knowing her, she worked strong and steady......I thought about how she said several times that she "wasn't worried about covering the distance", only that she wouldn't make the strict time constraints....I thought about how much she gives to her family while finding time to reach her own goals, and how she has found a way to show her kids that everything she does for herself is also for them....I thought about her running those last few feet to the finish line and wondered if she would be walking, shuffling or running...smiling, grimacing or crying...I thought about all the things I wanted to yell to cheer her on....I thought about how lucky I am to have someone so strong and beautiful in my life and I lost my breath....at least a few times.
As I watched the livefeed tonight around 11pm, I cried as I saw my strong and beautiful sister run, pump her arms in the air and smile as she crossed the finish line. I've never been so proud of her and I'll never forget this feeling either. Thank you, Rachel for being totally and completely awesome. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here's a video of the big finish!!!