Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Journey Into Night at the End of the Longest Day

I spent yesterday toeing the line at the point of intersection between literal and figurative speech. Yesterday was indeed the longest day in terms of hours of sunlight/daylight on the calendar for those of us who reside here in these United States. It was our Summer Solstice. As my brother Kelly has long been fond of pointing out (much to the dismay of those around him) even though we are just in fact starting summer this week we have already begun the long inexorable march to winter. Today was slightly shorter than yesterday. Tomorrow will be more of the same until - six months from yesterday - we run headlong into the Winter Solstice, which is daylight's nadir in this hemisphere.

Yesterday was also an incredibly long day for me, figuratively speaking. While it is true that I slept in a bit, not hopping out of bed as per usual at 3:00 a.m. but, instead, luxuriating in sleep until 3:30 or so, it nevertheless proved to be a very tiring, albeit ultimately satisfying day.

My law partner Arnold Gerst is the fella I affectionately refer to in this space as my running guru or running Yoda. He, much like my brother-in-law Russ and my sister Jill, is a no bullshit, honest to goodness runner. He is an "l". A couple of weeks ago he asked me if I would consider signing up for a race that he has run in countless times and that he intended to run in (and did in fact do so) this year. The race is the President's Cup Night Race in Millburn, New Jersey and according to the registration form I completed, this year marked the 31st annual edition of it. This is an event that not only attracts a rather large field but also one that attracts quite a large number of spectators. And - as its name suggests - it is one that takes place at night.

It is important to point out that it is not an "evening" race. It is in fact a "Night" race. We did not start last night until after 8:00 p.m. (or as I like to think of it on a Monday night "bed time"). I enjoy the hell out of running but I must confess that I enjoy it less so when I am doing it almost seventeen hours after the start of my day. The source of my lessened enjoyment is simply that by that time of the night all of me is tired from the day's events and it is hard to get energized enough to run competitively (or in my case quasi-competitively) at 8:00 p.m.

But it is summer time in Jersey. While it is already beastly hot and humid during the heat of the day - and it had in fact cooled down to an Arctic-like 85 degrees by the time we started last night's festivities, soon enough it will be too damn cold here outside at night to do anything save for learning to start a fire by using the sparks one's chattering teeth generate. So Arnie, his running pal Tom and a lot of other runners - and some wannabes including Yours truly - decided to brave the elements and go for a quick jaunt through a beautiful little town in celebration of the longest Monday of the year.

And although I was tired before I started last night - feeling the full effects of a long day at work - I was glad that I took part in it. I did indeed get more than slightly energized by seeing the other folks taking part and checking out those who lined up on the sides of the streets through which we ran, some rooting hard for a particular runner and some simply rooting for all of us.

And you will run your time, a shooting star across the sky. And you will surely cross the line. Last night, at the end of a challenging, fatigue-defying 5K run through the streets of Millburn I was plenty happy to do just that.......

....especially since for just a little while before I started to run I was not entirely sure that it was a line I was going to be able to cross. Or make it to at all.


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