Sunday, February 21, 2010

Winter's Hazy Shade

It is not every Saturday in February here 'NTSG that dawns in the mid 40s and sunny. Thankfully, the only Saturday to date this month that has so dawned was yesterday, which was when Margaret, Lynne, Gidg and I joined about 1200 other hardy (the "fool" is silent for all of you wise asses sitting at home) souls in the Manasquan Mid-Winter Beach Run. The event is either tied into or sponsored by Leggett's, which is one of the 'Squan's renowned watering holes. While I have not been involved in this whole running thing for very long I have learned that there is truth to the axiom that an event that has a bar or bars involved in its sponsorship will - if nothing else - have one hellaciously fine post-race party......which is why Lynne and Margaret will be joining Gidg and me at the next road race run in the 'Squan, which is the appropriately named Fool's Run on March 27, which is either tied into or sponsored by O'Neill's....another one of the 'Squan's renowned watering holes.

Yesterday was a very cool event because while the distance was short, it almost proved to be deceptively so given the composition of the race's course. After running one mile essentially northbound on a road that parallels the beach, runners then were required to run 1/4 mile on the beach. Running in the sand is tough under any circumstances and given how chewed up the beaches here in the State of Concrete Gardens have become courtesy of the woody that Mother Nature has been sporting for us this winter, it was not even something masquerading as a reasonable facsimile of fun. I woke up this morning with screaming calves and with an even deeper appreciation for those in our history who have done their beach running under exponentially more trying circumstances. It was all I could do to keep from burying myself in the sand carrying nothing but my own 180-odd pounds. I cannot imagine anyone under any circumstances making headway on such a surface carrying countless extra weight on his back.

As someone who has spent less than one year actively running and who is very much one who runs and not a runner, I love the fact that I have consistently had the opportunity since I began doing it to do things that I otherwise never would have imagined myself doing. While running on a Jersey beach on a Saturday morning in February admittedly might never have appeared on my bucket list, I am happy that I now could cross it off if I wanted to do so.

But I am happier still to know that if I am still standing next year and (presuming that the mystics and statistics continue to be proven wrong) that the beach at the 'Squan is precisely where we encountered it yesterday that I can take another crack at it. Bucket list be damned.


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