Not pictured from this year: Cameron and Ryan
Not pictured and sorely missed: The Wagners (of Canal Fulton and Columbus), The Wileys, The Richardsons, and Jill
Whenever you decide to run with one person who's trying to qualify for Boston and another person who's actually run Boston, all of your runs kind of turn into tempo runs. Such was the case this past week at my family reunion.
This summer marks the 20th anniversary of our Dickerson Family Beach Blast, the week when all the cousins, aunts, uncles, and my grandparents- when they were living- all get together for a week of sun and fun, dancing, karaoke, ping-pong tournaments, "Drinking Brew Again", skits, home-brew, and late-night pool playing, among other shenanigans. It's always been one of my favorite weeks spent with some of my favorite people, and though its attendance ebbs and flows depending on baseball games, births, jobs, etc, it's always a reminder of my original and lasting community. These people were my people before I even realized I had people; that we like each other and have common interests is a plus. These days, if we're not chasing small children or playing freeze tag, we're rehashing old stories with our parents or discussing family history, or talking about travel, triathlons, books, volleyball, and running. If we're lucky we actually get to go running.
I've been fortunate to run several times recently with my cousin Tommy, first for a brutal 10 miler in Greenville and then again at the beach for 5 miles. Tommy is efficient and smart and fun to run with because he's so much faster than me and therefore can talk the whole time. Oxygen is at a premium when I'm trying to keep up with him, so I basically give the obligatory "uh-huhs" and "yeahs", hopefully with a passable amount of enthusiasm. I am interested in everything Tommy's saying; I'm just more interested in breathing and surviving.
Molly, Tommy's sister and a 3:38 marathoner and former Team in Training coach, humored me and ran 4 miles with me at the beach on Friday. It was sweltering; we enjoyed ourselves regardless, even though the sun was literally melting our faces, and not in the AC/DC awesome kind of way. Molly's run many marathons, and I loved hearing her various tips and stories about memorable races and training experiences. Funny, smart, articulate, and obviously fast, Molly's a mom and a lawyer who, despite having a lot going on in her life, is managing to get back into running after a brief hiatus. When you can run like Molly and have legs like Molly and natural talent like Molly, you can't not run.
We're home now, and I really wish Tommy, Molly, Maddy and Joy(who got in some great long runs together) were here to make me run this week. Getting out after Jay gets home from work in the heat and humidity is going to be difficult. That's when running with someone is absolutely imperative, when having running partners makes all the difference.
For now it will be just me, and maybe my ipod playing Sister Sledge's We are Family or John Denver's Country Roads as a reminder of a community that's stuck with me, no matter what.