Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rooting for my fave half-Ironman'er

My nephew Ben and I have a bit of a running tradition going. As a Christmas/birthday gift two (three?) years ago, I ponied up for his Dallas White Rock Half Marathon registration.

It's something we both count on now. We drive to the race together, chat in the bathroom line, hug at the starting line, and meet up again two hours later. He's always waiting at the finish line, having crossed it 20 to 30 minutes before I do.

Last March, though, he agreed to pace me at the Rock to Victory half. It turned out to be one of my most inspiring and fun and memorable races ever. Read about it by clicking here.

All of this to say that on Sunday, Ben ran yet another half...13.1 miles at an jaw-dropping pace of 7:19. Oh, yes, and that's after having swum 1.2 miles and biked 55 of 'em.

Yep, my nephew is now a half-Ironman'er, having participated in this: The Longhorn Ironman 70.3 He finished 6th of 99 in his age group.

I couldn't be there, but my niece (his sister) kept me posted through text messages:

"He just got out of the lake!"
"We saw him ride by on his bike!"
"This is so cool watching him!"
"We've seen Ben five times now!" "
"He'll be finishing in about 10 minutes!"

I kept peeking at my phone, making sure I hadn't missed a message. It was a chilly and windy day in Austin; I kept thinking of Ben swimming in the choppy water...riding his dream bike...running on those long legs that stayed by my side for 13.1 miles in March.

I alternated between giggles, goosebumps and tears. They were all for Ben yesterday. Yet writing this now, I realize they're a tripod of life, or at least of mine: What strikes me funny, what takes my breath away. And yeah, what makes me cry: Tears of sorrow, tears of joy.

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