[This is Aurora. Thanks to my sister for writing her post, which definitely had me laughing, hope you enjoy it too. Here it is!]
What up Aurora’s blog?! My name is Caylan, Aurora’s little sister [edited to add by Aurora: like, barely little sister. I’m young and beautiful forever, so you, know… not older than any other human on planet earth, we were basically born at the same time hahaha], and I have the opportunity of sharing my first half-marathon experience as a guest blogger today. So here goes nothing ☺
To give you a little background, my sister’s 52 project originally inspired me a few years ago to train for a half-marathon. Unfortunately, due to a few knee injuries and being a college athlete for a few years, I could not fulfill this inspiration until 2017. However, I believe it was perfectly timed because my first half-marathon was even more special than I anticipated it being…
I had the privilege of running my first race with my incredible sister. We completed the half (and the 5K… more details on that later) one week before I graduated from college. These miles all counted toward Aurora’s 882 project, and I could not feel more honored to have represented 16 out of the 882 survivors of sexual assault each day through the 16 miles we logged that day. Also, it was the Indy Mini and that is my sister’s favorite race (and was her first race as a marathon runner), thus making it all the more special since it will forever be my first race.
There are many things I remember from May 6th, 2017, but the overall memory of the day revolves around a whole lot of laughter, and maybe even a few tears ☺. First of all, I did not anticipate doing the 5K and the half in the same day; however, my persistent sister convinced me that it “wouldn’t be that bad and that I should just go for it.” Begrudgingly [edited to add by Aurora: but, like, a happy begrudgingly, if I do say so myself, I dunno], I accepted and we made it through the 5K with ease. Our mom actually did this portion with us, and she made us laugh during the race celebrating the fact that we saw the 12 mile marker (because the races ended in the same spot).
On our way to the starting line of the half, this kind volunteer lady flung a bag of pretzels in our faces and just kept yelling “SALT, SALT, get your SALT in now.” Aurora grabbed a bag, and I just kept jogging along thinking, “why on earth would someone want me to eat salt right now? Wouldn’t that make me dehydrated?” So we make it a few miles in, and I finally turn to Aurora and ask her what’s the deal about the salt. She then goes “wait, you don’t know about hyponatremia?” and I’m like “hypo-nu-what-ma?” And for a solid 10-15 minutes Aurora is in utter disbelief that I am uneducated in the running world because I didn’t take the salt, and she continues to profusely apologize for not helping me realize that I could get hyponatremia because I didn’t eat the pretzels! What a start to our race… [Edited to add by Aurora: Okay, obviously I wasn’t gonna let my sister get hurt out there. We were doing a slow pace on a half marathon. And she wasn’t over-hydrating. I love her hilarious paragraph, but I want it on record, nobody was getting hyponatremia on my watch that day.]
Then as we continue to trot along, laughing about funny little sister things, we reach the Indy 500 track, which is literally the longest part of the race. Around mile 8 I start thinking out loud and say “AURORA, we would be on mile 11 right now if that 5K counted toward our actual half.” BUT THEN, we pass these super kind, encouraging cheer team that says “you’re ALMOST there, pick up the pace.” Aurora and I looked at each other and were like uhhhhh are you KIDDING ME. One, please don’t tell us to pick up the pace because completing a half marathon is HARD work regardless of how long it takes someone. Two, WE WERE NOT ALMOST THERE. WE HAD BARELY FINISHED HALF OF THE RACE… and only being halfway through does not equal being “almost there.” … In conclusion, if you ever find yourself cheering for runners, please, please, please don’t ever tell them they are almost there unless they are a mile or so away from that sweet finish line.
Speaking of the finish line… Around mile 12 (in reality mile 15 of the day) Aurora begins to talk to me about her “motivation mile” playlist. For those of you who don’t know (because I surely didn’t) it is the last mile before the long race is finally over and you’re handed a medal and lots of snacks. So we just start jamming and singing and doing everything we can to stay excited about finishing the race even though we could feel the blisters forming beneath our feet and the tears coming to the surface of our eyes. Fast forward and we are like 3/4 of a mile away from finishing and Aurora looks at me and goes “listen, we can’t look like chumps walking in, so we have to run in and look cute.” I look at her, my mouth hanging on the ground, and say “uhh okay but can we wait until the last possible second because quite frankly I can’t feel my legs.” Thus once we see the finish line, we pick up the pace with tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces. We finally crossed the finish line and re-enacted my dad’s ending to his first half, which included falling on the ground and pouting like a child. Unfortunately, I did not realize how much strength it would take to get back up, so it is not as funny of a memory as I thought it would be.
After the typical post-race party, we realized how hungry we were and ventured to eat. We WALKED to eat, and I am still surprised I made it all the way there. It is amazing how tired I felt after that day. Overall, I learned that half-marathons are most definitely NO jokes, my sister is my hero because she does these races back-to-back ALL the TIME, and that I would love to do another race… especially if my favorite sister is by my side.
Peace and blessings and thanks for reading! ☺