Sunday, July 19, 2009

Running with Family

Over the past few days, I have been in Pennsylvania with many members of my mom's side of the family to celebrate the life of my Aunt Lani, who lost her fight against cancer in June. Though this is a sad occasion, I am grateful that it has brought us all together...it has been a long time since I have seen many of my relatives, especially those who have lived on the West Coast, but for some reason insist on moving further and further east.

As I head down to the hotel's lobby before my morning run, I not only bump into a number of my relatives enjoying breakfast, but also my cousin Dave...who looks ready to run.

Earlier this trip, I learned that Dave has had difficulty establishing a regular running routine since moving to Paris, France (he's obviously moved the furthest east). That said, though he only gets to run perhaps once a week, he has been doing 7 milers, averaging between 8 and 9 minutes per mile. Since I had planned on averaging 8:30/mile for 7 miles today, running together is a no brainer.

On Friday, I ran an orbit around Pittsburgh Mills, the mall situated around our hotel...and was disappointed that the complete orbit (including the adjacent Sam's Club and Wal-Mart Supercenter) is only 3.5 miles. Dave and I ask the front desk for suggested running routes, but the suggestions are completely worthless. We decide to wing it.

Armed with my trusty Garmin, I set the pace and choose our route on-the-go. This unexpectedly cool and overcast morning is a refreshing change from Friday's heat and humidity. While running, I learn that my cousin has hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, been doing triathlons, has also run a full marathon (completing it in less time than my first despite never having run more than 7 miles before that including while training). He shared amusing anecdotes about his full marathon (being passed by a guy wearing a shirt stating "82 and still running") and half marathon (his 2 seconds of fame when he is mistaken by the press as the winner). Time passes quickly.

Despite only making left turns while outside the perimeter of Pittsburgh Mills, we somehow find our way back to Pittsburgh Mills Blvd. Rejoining the orbit gives us 6.69 miles by the time we return to the hotel...at an average 8:26/mile.

Before this trip, I knew there were a couple half marathoners in the family and a 3rd cousin who is registered for the next New York Marathon (his first full), but this is the most I learned about Dave in decades. You learn so much more when you reconnect in person. Hopefully it won't take another memorial celebration to get any of us together again...

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