Sunday, September 19, 2010


Yesterday was one of those days that - if I possessed the ability to do so - I would have taken a picture of in order to freeze the frame on a moment or two of it forever. Home from FLA (and thrilled to know that JMK is now home in FLA after spending eight fun-filled days at the JMC), the Missus and I headed south to the Shore yesterday morning.

The first leg of the journey took us to Lake Como where Gidg and I participated for the first time ever in the Fallen Heroes 5K. A race sponsored in large part by firefighters whose purpose is to raise funds for the families of firefighters injured and killed in the line of duty, it is an event that is incredibly well-intended by firefighters. Among the things I have learned during the year or so that I have participated in a number of these events is that not only do firefighters run towards Hell when common sense and self-preservation would suggest that heading in exactly the opposite direction is the prudent course of action, but that firefighters (like their brethren who are police officers) show up and run to support one another with enthusiasm. And they do so regardless of age, physical condition or geographic proximity.

Yesterday there were departments running together in their team t-shirts from all over New Jersey - not simply Monmouth County and Ocean County. The Bayonne Fire Department was well-represented as were the departments from Elizabeth, Rahway and Jersey City. During the post-race festivities there was a moment of silence and a pipes and drum corps - comprised of firefighters from all over New Jersey - played "Amazing Grace". Not a dry eye in the joint at the end of it. Not one.

Among the firefighters who participated in the 5K yesterday was the same Montclair firefighter who I had met briefly after the Jimmy D 5K in New Brunswick a couple of weeks ago. He did yesterday what he had done on that day, which was to run in full turn-out gear - trading only running shoes for his standard-issue boots. A hell of a sight.

The race itself was terrific. We hooked up with our friend Mike and then Gidg and I watched as he rocketed off to his usual 21 minute and change finishing time. She ran her best time ever yesterday - getting below 29 minutes for the first time. Me? I ran a couple of seconds slower than my best-ever 5K time. Having spent more time flying than running during the week leading up to the race, I cannot pretend to be disappointed with my own effort either.

At some point yesterday afternoon - after the post-race festivities wound down a bit - we ended up migrating a bit further south to Point Pleasant for something called (I think) "The Festival of the Sea". I am not a huge street fair guy but it was a gorgeous day, the company was excellent and the crab cake sandwich I had was delicious. I am learning flexibility I suppose as I get older (although judging by the ever-diminishing range of motion in my left ankle and the ever-increasing amount of hobbling I do on my left leg) the flexibility appears to be more meta than physical.

If the number of people on the streets of Point Pleasant yesterday is any indication of the Festival's success (and I reckon it is) I suspect that it will be there to be enjoyed next September as well. I know that the Fallen Heroes 5K shall. And I even know the date: September 10, 2011. Yep, 9/10/11, which shall put it on the eve of the most somber of tenth anniversaries. Leg willing I shall be there. Mike likely will be as well. And we know Gidg will be. How do we know? She already put it in her iPhone's calendar.

Nothing like being prepared; right?


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