Since my four brothers each live at least 500 miles away, it is rare that I actually get to run with them. And usually when I do run with them, I’m slightly out-of-breath, pushing myself a little harder, trying to keep up with them. Seems I’ve been doing that all my life…from our childhood days of basketball rounds of Horse and neighborhood kickball games. Always catching up.
So when it appeared two of “the boys” would be here on the day of the Pandora Jingle Jog, I suggested we run it together. One of them — the oldest and a resident of Tucson — grudgingly agreed, reminding me that the predicted temp for that day was 12 degrees. The other one — the third oldest and a resident of Natural Bridge, VA — was still in recovery from an ultra that he’d run the weekend before, said “Only if we run slow.”
They arrived with more running apparel than regular clothing, but still griping about the cold. Still, they were game for the 5K run. On the way to the race, we discussed strategy and agreed to run together. Actually, I think they asked — again — if I would run slow. What did they think? That just because I’m younger, I’m suddenly faster?
We warmed up and I listened to them discussing which way the wind would be blowing when we started out and finished. Running into the wind at the start is a lot better than at the end. At least on a cold day. For me, ice was the bigger concern, but I figured if I went down, they were going first. I didn’t intend to land on pavement.
Off we went with about 60 other brave (or stupid — depending on your perspective) souls. James and I, running side by side, peered behind us at Phil, who was grinning. A distance bicyclist at heart, he was — of course — drafting already. Always a wise guy.
The next 3.1 miles went pretty much like that — a trio of revolving drafters. Toward the end, I began to feel myself slowing…my breathing was off. They were five steps ahead of me when I heard “Where’s Mary”? Magic words. That always forces me to catch up, which I did.
We finished together, holding hands. I’m sure we looked pretty stupid, but hey, who cares? It was fun and for once, I stayed with them. We ended up with age group ribbons — they tied for second place — it was a first time they fell into the same age group. A first for me since there are always fewer women in my age group…not that I’m that fast.
But the best part was stopping in to see our mom afterward and giving her James’ door prize — a Christmas pillow with a photo insert. In it is a photo of her five kids.