a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

substitute marathoner

< by Jill >

I never really planned on running marathons. When my sister and dad registered for the 2004 Twin Cities Marathon, I openly renounced their craziness, declaring, “You know, people die in marathons.”

I watched them wake up early and go for long runs — correction — I am aware that they woke up early for long runs, but I was sleeping. When they finally came home — dripping with sweat, gnats stuck to their skin — I’d join them at the breakfast table and feast on bacon and flapjacks.

They talked like crazy people, and they looked crazy too with their gear belts and packets of energy sludge. Me and my mom, meanwhile, telepathically communicated about how crazy they were because, you know, people die in marathons.

Then, gradually, injury stole Ann’s marathon dreams. My dad, the invincible cyborg he is, insisted that everything would be OK. But her condition worsened, and eventually,  a Sister Summit was called.

“Jill, do you want to run the marathon in my place?”

Ann delivered the question as a statement, prying my soul with big doe eyes. I didn’t say anything, so she proceeded to lay out her arguments:

1. Online race results are forever and it would be a travesty to have a DNF next to the family name. (true)

2. Seriously, no bona fide Klosterman would ever fritter away a $100 entry fee. (also true)

I had no defense. The deal was done. And in the end, I preserved the family name, upheld The Pillar of Fiscal Responsibility, and did not die.

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