Monday, May 17, 2010

Under a Million Miles of Vagabond Sky

Two weeks ago yesterday I endured an experience running that could only be fairly described as disheartening. My running partner Gidg and I took part in a 5 mile race in Summit. The event was terrific. The cause was fantastic. However the race was dreadful. Gidg had been sick all week and could not breathe properly. Me? Having babied my right knee for the two weeks following the 1/2 Marathon at Rutgers, I had run something in the area of 2 miles total to prepare for the race. Add an early May day that felt more like early July at race time, which was 1:00 a.m. and you had a recipe for disaster properly assembled and ready for baking. I did not disappoint.

I am new to the whole running game. Up until the Race for the Cure in 2009, which took place on October's first Sunday, I had - in the first 42.5 years of my existence - participated in exactly one race. In the seven months since, I have participated in a dozen, ranging in distance from 2 miles to 13.1 miles. I have a pretty shallow reservoir of experience from which to draw confidence and faith. Thus, when the Our House 5 Miler was as incredibly bad as it was, it was a body blow. Especially coming as it did on the heels of the successful, respectable completion of the 1/2 Marathon. And with the journey westward to Boulder to run in the 10K Bolder Boulder looming at month's end, the disaster that was the Sunday in Summit had the potential to have long-term ramifications.

Thankfully there was yesterday. On what was a letter perfect day to run, Gidg and I ran in West Long Branch in the 8th Annual Michael W. Thorne Scholarship Run. The event is a four-mile race that has been conducted to fund a scholarship that is named for a young man who in 1984 - at age 20 - died while working as a volunteer fireman for the West Long Branch Fire Department. I do not think I had ever been in West Long Branch for any reason before yesterday morning. I picked a great day for my first-ever visit. Not only is the Thorne Run a wonderful event, which it is. Not only was yesterday one of the half-dozen or so best weather days of the year thus far, which it was. But personal redemption comes in a lot of different shapes, varieties and sizes. And yesterday I got a bit of it simply by lacing up my running shoes and putting one foot down after the other for forty minutes.

And when there is only a ring in your ears
And an echo down memory lane
Then if it’s all for nothing
All the road running's been in vain.


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