This is a guest blog post from Kendra’s sister, Rondi:
Fifteen years ago I was graduating from high school and preparing for a transition to college, with playing basketball as my number one focus. I hated running. In fact, I decided not to play soccer in college because I didn’t want to have to run long distances or run outside when the weather was bad. Ha! It makes me laugh to look back on it now….
After my first year of college, my sister, Kendra, told me she was going to run a marathon in Alaska. I thought she was nuts! But Alaska sounded like a fun adventure, and I felt it was my sisterly duty to go with her and cheer her on. I had never run a race or any real distance outside of what I had to do to get in shape for basketball or soccer… So I became a little intrigued. A few weeks later I decided to go out for a run one night, just to see how far I could go. I had no fancy phone or GPS, so I just went out and ran. When I was done, I got in my car and drove the route to see how far I had gone… The distance was 13 miles, so I decided I would give this marathon thing a try. My first ever race was 26.2 miles in Alaska with my crazy sister. Let’s get the record straight that all of this madness has been her fault from the beginning! Haha!
As I recall, things have gone back and forth a bit since then… I got into triathlons around 2009 and this intrigued my crazy sister a bit. By 2011 we were signed up for a full Ironman triathlon… The second triathlon she had ever signed up for in her life was 140.6 miles long! We just tend to have this effect on each other…
Now fast forward to 2015 when Kendra decided that this was the time to qualify for Boston. I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to such a big challenge after having my first child in 2013, but of course I agreed to join her as I always do. About a month into training I found out I was pregnant for baby #2 and had to drop out. She kept going and of course DID qualify for Boston, but because of ridiculous time requirements, she didn’t end up getting to go… Which brings us to 2016.
First, Kendra tricked me by asking me to join her in a goal of running a marathon in every state together before we die… Which I agreed to, of course, because this is what we do! And I am always up for a a crazy adventure with my sister (and she knows it). But THEN, after I was fully committed to our 26.2 and a brew, she started in with her continued determination to run Boston!! In 2017!! Which means she would be qualifying in 2016, less than one year after my second baby…. And more importantly, would be crossing Massachusetts off the list of states! She tricked me! Haha! I have always had the Boston Marathon on my bucket list, but I really don’t think I would’ve committed to training for a BQ while having an infant at home if I had not agreed to the 50 states goal she talk me into prior… But those who know me know that once I say I’m going to do something, I don’t make a habit of backing down…so here we are. And I’m so thankful that she got me here. We’ve had so much fun being long distance training buddies! I won’t miss the crazy workouts any time soon, but I will miss getting texts on a daily basis about the madness we are both enduring with this BQ training plan. She’s been with me every single step of the way, with neither of us missing more than 1 or 2 runs at the most throughout the last 5 months.
I’ve had people asking me lately if Kendra and I are going to run together at Bayshore… And at first I was very reluctant to think that we should. We have both trained so hard, and I just have always thought we should each run our own race. Anything can happen when you’re out there for 26.2 miles and we both know that. But as I have been working on my mental training, which involves visualizing the finish line and imagining the feeling of success that comes with accomplishing the goal, it has become overwhelmingly clear to me that crossing the finish line with a BQ will be basically meaningless to me if my sister does not share that success on May 28th. I will not go to Boston to run without her and I won’t be able to celebrate if she is struggling from a rough day. The reality of it is that this is my first try… And I had a baby 8.5months ago… She has been training for this for 2 years. The chances of me not having a good day are up there, and if I am the one struggling, I have begged her to leave me behind and continue to the goal. I have a couple of races lined up as backup plans this summer/fall and will do everything I can to make it to Massachusetts with her in 2017… Even if Bayshore isn’t my race. She has done all of the work TIMES TWO and she deserves a time that leaves no doubt that she will be going to Boston in 2017!! And I will be by her side as long as I am able… And I feel so blessed to have that opportunity.
So no matter what happens, I love that I have a story to tell about the races my crazy sister and I have done together, and I love that this story will be “to be continued” for many many years to come! Love you, Sis’… you are such an inspiration and a blessing.