Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Once Upon A Midsummer's Night

It is almost inconceivable to me that today is the 21st of July. Tonight, I shall run - in the company of my running partner Gidg and (at least at the start of the race until he leaves us in his dust) my law partner and running guru Mr. Gerst - in what is the final nighttime race I shall participate in this summer. While I have found over the course of the past couple of months it to be a challenge to run outdoors in Jersey's heat irrespective of time of day and for it to be especially challenging for me to do so at night, I could not pass up the chance to participate in something known as the "Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza". They put pizza in the name for crying out loud. While it is not quite as enticing as, for example, the "Downtown Westfield 5K & Ice Cold Beer at Reasonable Prices Extravaganza" would have been to me, it certainly has a firm hold on a spot on the medal stand.

This evening's shindig shall indeed be the final nighttime race of the summer for me. And I caught myself this morning realizing that the first of the group took place almost two months ago - in Somerville. We ran in a thunderstorm of Biblical magnitude on the Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend. Before I went to Boulder to run with Rob in the Bolder Boulder 10K. Before those incompetent, mouth-breeding stooges from the airline where incompetence and arrogance go hand-in-hand lost my bag. (Memo to Continental: Tracy Anderson gets a pass because she has reinforced the notion that it is the exception that proves the rule but the rest of you shall enjoy no such respite. I promise.)

The mystery of where the past two months has gone is not quite as deep as either (a) which Continental Airlines employee ripped off my bag after I checked it at the gate in Denver (it is not as if 1,000,000 people work for them there; or (b) just how badly they shall attempt to screw me in the handling of my claim (no restitution has yet arrived or even been offered), but it is an eye-opener nonetheless. It was already one month ago that Mr. Gerst and I ran in Millburn at 8:00 p.m. on the Summer Solstice in celebration of the longest day we enjoy annually in our hemisphere. How much of difference does thirty days make? The Millburn race had an 8:00 p.m. scheduled start time and practically all of the runner completed the 5K course in sun-splashed daylight. Tonight the scheduled start time for this particular 5K is a full hour earlier. And for anyone who makes it to the finish line at a time north of 45 minutes or so, he or she may find a race not only against the clock, but against the darkness.

As a newbie to the world of running, I must say that in spite of the rather predictably hellacious weather we have had here in the State of Concrete Gardens this summer I have enjoyed the hell out of myself. I have participated in (I think) eight races, including tonight, of varying distances since coming home from Colorado and have had a chance to run all over the joint, from Hillsborough to Lavallette, from Cranford to Belmar and a number of other locales in between. Presuming my somewhat cranky legs hold out - and I intend to assist them in that regard by staying off of water skis and the softball field for the foreseeable future - I hope to be able to not only complete the ones Gidg and I have on our calendar in August but to do them all over again next summer.

It is a bit too early to start thinking about next summer; right? One event at a time. One step at a time. And tonight when it is all over, one slice of pepperoni (well, maybe two) at a time. Not a bad way to spend a midsummer's night. If it was not going to be so damn hot, I might even think I was dreaming. Lord what fools these mortals be.......

.....well, one in particular anyway.


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