The only thing she can do is focus on her breath.
Try and slow it down, try and make it come from deeper in her lungs.
Forget the pain in her knees and feet.
Forget that her right hip has gone numb.
Keep her eyes two feet in front of her.
On the asphalt. On the woman she’s been pacing.
And focus on her breath.
She is within a half mile of the finish line when she feels the beginning of a faint coming on.
She slows down, lets her sister continue.
Once the light-headedness and nausea pass, she jogs to try to catch up.
Her sister is too far away.
That’s okay. She deserves to finish first. It was her who got them here this fast.
Still, she finishes around three hours.
Just a few minutes behind her sister.
Next year, she’ll train harder.
Next year, she’ll be able to keep up to the end.