Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We are Family.

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.


Stephanie said...

Still loving this (almost as much as Tim Riggins). 4:17 AM- seriously?

danimal said...

"Almost Heaven"? mean "Country Roads"? Sorry, I'm a stickler for song title propriety. I'll never forget that beach home brew, seriously high gravity!

tommyday said...

A touching tribute to a great family-if i do say so myself. I'm just thrilled we're all into it. In my own grandiose mind we're kinda like the running version of the Kennedys: all good looking and successful, we bandy about talk of "PRs", "tempo runs", and "protein shakes" with ease, and casually ask one another what our next ultra endurance event will be while we noisily chase organic apples with a jug of gatoraid. "That should be fun." normal people recoil in a fit of nausea-but not our family. The heat is brutal for everyone-just get in your distance when you can. Plus, I'm always there in spirit. You guys have gotten me thru more runs than I can count.

satterly said...

kelley, i love your blog! i hope it will get me running in circles again!! such a great way to spend time with family. pretty much every running buddy i've ever had runs faster than its a love / dread partnership. it pushes me to fufill a promise to just "meet up" and keep up, but i always secretly would dread it/ him/ her!! my trick is to ask very short questions that require very long answers so i could just breath in peace. like, "what are the last 10 movies you've seen and what did you like about each one...elaborate"

But in the long run (literally the looooong 26.2 run...)all those little mini-mentally/physically intimidating buddy runs pay off and become your training tribe and confidence on the big day!
keep running and writing, we are rooting for you!! so proud of you!! xoxo

Molly said...

Kel-you have it backward-it was YOU who humored ME with a run! I am so glad I have a family that is into running and fitness-it definitely motivates me to get back out there and get in shape again. Hope I can catch up to all of you youngsters. Love your blog and love the comments-that home brew WAS high gravity!