On 17 November, 2013 Batman Bananaboat (my baby brother) turned 30 1/2. And he ran his first 15km. In the oldest city in the Netherlands. In butt freezing temperatures. I’m taking 92% of the credit for this stroke of brilliance.

Why? Rewind 7 months. I am not perfect at remembering birthdays, but when I do, I try to choose appropriate gifts for the particular occasion. In my experience, guys are particularly tough to buy for, especially the ones in my life. Add on that 30 is the new 21, a huge milestone requiring appropriate initiation to the “beginning of the rest of your life,” and you can see how my search for the right present led me to presenting the bro with a race registration for the 30th edition of the Zevenheuvelenloop (Seven Hills Run) in Nijmegen (with plane and train tickets to get there).  What? The logic isn’t obvious to you? All right, so long story shortened, we have both been running on and off again for many years, and I had been more off than on after kid 2, and I needed motivation. I needed a race. And I needed a motivating cohort to run it with me. That’s what siblings are for, right? 

Zevenheuvelenloop 2013 (or ZLoop2k13 as we call it) was one of the most invigorating experiences of my life so far.  The race course turned out to be less hilly than my training courses, but the energy was electrifying. Since I entered a realistic estimated finishing time, Batman and I started in different groups. About 45 minutes into the wait for my group’s starting gun, I realised how much I wished I had lied on the entry form. It was cold. Really flipping cold. And I even trained in the frosty autumn weather of Northern Germany. But, holy cow and frosty apple cakes. Someone asked me afterwards if they had buses for the runners to wait on until the start. Sure they did. For Leonard Komon. I’m no world record holder, so I was stuck in the cages with the rest of the fat bottomed girls. Speaking of, my running mix played out of order, somewhat to my advantage, as Freddie Mercury started singing my anthem on the last 1km, just when I felt I was toast after the bizarrely grueling stretch from 10-13km. Regardless of what I normally say about running being my thing for my own personal betterment, I felt so damn competitive at that moment. One by one, I passed every lady I spotted with a big bootie. I ran so fast through the finish line that I passed the people handing out the official ZLoop running man medals. Luckily Batman ran back with me later to retrieve mine. It wasn’t until we were in line at the engraving tent that we learned I had edged his time out by a few seconds (literally). Really though, that detail is forgettable. What will stick is the extraordinary bonding experience (I’m not a suave enough writer to justly recount it), the time added onto both our lives from getting fit again, the unforgettable moments (not including when I dropped the f-bomb in my overzealous cheer to start the race but definitely that he proudly wore the rooster hat I sewed for him last year) of the entire trip which we extended on after the race to Amsterdam. 

Thanks to the race highlights video, John Newman earned a place in my running mix. And if we’re going to make a run for Auckland in 2014, I’m going to need plenty of additions to the playlist. 


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