Friday, April 25, 2008

Runnin' with Amy

I'm wayyy behind on posts....probably because I'm always RUNNING :-)

I took a day off today and plan to get out there for some good miles, but wanted to get this entry in today.

My sister, Amy, is 8 years my junior. I'm the oldest of four, and she's the baby. I've always taken that protective big brother position and have enjoyed watching her from the beginning. We're close, but time and miles separate people. Amy had a baby, Naomi, one year ago, and her life revolves around Motherhood now. She has taken up running after an extended love affair with her elliptical machine, and asks me for advice on running from time to time. I recommended that she try running with the baby (jogger) on the carriage trail at the Mohonk Preserve in the Shawangunks, but I doubted she would venture out on her own. The "Gunks" are 15 minutes from her house and you can see the cliffs from her yard. The cliffs extend about 10-12 miles and face the Hudson River from the West (just outside New Paltz, NY).

It's an incredible place and I visit there whenever I go back to my parents. On this particular weekend, I was planning to get in a 4-5 hour run at the Gunks. Amy heard I was in town and called to see if she could run with me. I was excited that she wanted to run and to show her the Gunks.

We started around 8AM and planned to run the loop on the carriage road (about 5 miles). It would be a push for Amy to go that far, but the terrain is fairly flat and she's a trooper.

Amy is petite...about 5 feet tall and very slender. She makes me laugh because she has no preconceived notions about running or competition. She's always been that way. She was a fantastic ski racer at the age of 5. We all had visions of watching her ("Famous Amous") in the Olympics someday, but she had other ideas. She was just as happy laying in the snow or chatting with people on the lift. Competition was not that important.

We ran for a couple miles at a slow pace. Amy chugged along...happy to be outside and get some time to herself. Running fast was not on her agenda.

She talked about running a half marathon, and I told her how she could get faster. She said, "I don't want to run faster, I just want to run farther"... Spoken like a true ultrarunner.

Her stride is relaxed and graceful. She's a shuffler like me.

When she was a kid, I would take her on runs around our yard. My parents live on 10 acres, so there was room to run. I would motivate her with the latest ideas from my track coach. I could see the natural ability in her and wanted to see her use it. She lovingly tolerated my motivational speeches and just enjoyed being in the moment. She was very wise.

On this day, I'd get a little ahead of Amy and turn to locate her. She'd be snapping pictures of me with her phone and laughing....still a kid after all these years.

We finished the 5 miles and we chatted a bit. I loaded up my Camelbak and prepared for the rest of my journey. She got ready to re-enter her world of being a Mom. She talked about getting a season's pass and bringing the baby there for outings.It was great to spend time with my sister...she's a great person. Naomi is lucky to have her as a Mom.

Perhaps we will run again soon.

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