Since then, she’s completed six triathlons, a half marathon, and too many 10 milers, 10Ks and 5Ks to count. She’s lost 50 pounds.
This fall, at 64, she’ll face her biggest challenge yet: the New York City Marathon. I’m running with her, and we want to prepare by doing some races together, which is why we lined up together at the start line of the 5K on Thursday.
After an initial surge of people running by themselves, with dogs or with strollers, my mother settled into a pace, and I pulled up next to her. I talked about everything and anything: What color should our shirts be for the marathon? Should we just do our names or have my brother design a logo? What did she want to have with burgers tonight?
“Do you want me to shut up?” I asked as we finished the first mile.
“What? No,” she said.
My mom trained through this past winter while I was sidelined with a stress fracture. Her longest run so far this year has been 11 miles. My longest since I returned was four. Still, I’m faster than she is, and as she slowed her pace uphill, I walked.
“Do I offend you by walking?” I asked.
“Jennifer,” she huffed. “You have got to stop apologizing.”
The temperature was in the 80s at the beginning of the race, and was getting worse. We ran from shady spot to shady spot, and hit every sprinkler spectators had set up along the way. With a half mile to go, I looked over at my mom. She was doing fine. I turned to look over my shoulder: no police car marking the end of the pack that I could see.
In 2013, she ran and I walked this 5K in 45 minutes, 40 seconds. This year, we did it in 40 minutes, 57 seconds. She finished second in her age group.
The New York City Marathon is on Nov. 3. Once a month, I’ll update you on how we’re doing. For the most part, we’re training separately — I plan to do a few trail races this summer, and my mom is focusing solely on this — but we’ll be doing a few long runs together, including the New York Road Runners’ New York City Marathon Training Series 18 Miler in September.