A picture Heather snapped during the race.
I'm back. The last 24 hours flew by in a flash, but included some awesome memories: a dinner date and overnighter with my dear friend Gina, capped off with the Air Force Mini Marathon in Dayton, Ohio.
The race was spectacular: an interesting course, beautiful weather (sunny and clear), and best of all a wonderful running companion (my sister in law, Heather). We passed the miles gabbing, encouraging, sweating and smiling (at first). For the first couple of miles we were a little giddy, even snapping pictures of each other on our phones (see above!). By mile 11, I turned to Heather and said, "I'm not sure this is so fun anymore."
The "fun" diminished even further when Heather tripped close to mile 13 and tumbled to the ground. She quickly arose, and appeared well. With our sights set on the finish line, I encouraged her to keep going. Her speed diminished a little after the fall, but she continued and breezed through the finish line seconds later.
I turned to offer my congratulations, when I noticed blood trickling down her legs, and oozing from her palm. We located the medical tent, and bandages were applied to the impacted areas. With the bleeding stopped, we grazed through the food lines. Soon thereafter, Heather's health deteriorated, and we ended up in the medical tent again. Two IVs later, Heather was back up on her feet, with the color returning to her cheeks but still a little worn from the experience.
As we were walking to our car, her spirits lifted again and we reminisced about our morning. I was flooded with wonderful memories of two hours spent with my dear sister in law. I finished the conversation by saying, "Heather, we should do this again."
She didn't respond for a minute. I looked at my sweet, dear sister in law: her hand and knees were bandaged, her arms displayed fresh IV puncture marks, her cheeks were stained with smeared mascara marks from all the tears, and her typically perfectly coiffed hair lay astray.
I answered my own question, "Or maybe not, It's too fresh isn't it?"
But, I know Heather and I can bet we'll be crossing another mini marathon finish line in the near future. I've seen Heather fall before, and she always gets up, looks graceful and finishes like a champ.