Saturday, July 16, 2011

A Brief Respite

I have lived in the State of Concrete Gardens my entire life.  I reckon that I shall live the entirety of my life here.  Considering life is a film for which a trailer never seems to pop up in the local multiplex one never knows for sure.  This summer - much like every other summer that I can remember - has featured what I consider to be typical Jersey weather:  heat and humidity.  If I had a dollar for every person who I hear these days griping about the present weather who spent all winter wishing for summer (and I include myself among their number), then let us just say at least one day a week I would be able to sleep through my alarm without fear of the consequences.

But every so often Mother Nature throws us a bone.  Thursday in these parts was one.  It was not a cool day (I think the temperature in Newark - where I spent my afternoon - was in the upper 80's) by any stretch.  More importantly, it was not a humid day.  It was as if the Siamese H twins of heat and humidity had miraculously been separated.  Heat showed up as scheduled.  Humidity decided to sit that one out.

While the "day" portion of my Thursday left me little opportunity to enjoy the glorious weather, the night portion most assuredly did.  Thursday night I popped on up to Morristown to participate in an event called the Verizon Wireless Corporate Classic 5K, which has apparently been going strong for six years now, and which one can glean just about all of the information one needs about the event simply by reading its name.  This year marked my first-ever participation in it.  Although my usual running partner Gidg was otherwise detained (apparently a night watching U2 play live in Philadelphia seemed more appealing to her than running up and down the hills of Morristown), I did not have to fly solo.  My wing man for the evening was Ryan.  He has not been at the "running thing" for very long but considering that he is but 16 years old (the younger son of one of Margaret's dearest friends) he has not yet been at anything very long.  What he lacks in experience, he more than makes up for in enthusiasm.  And considering that I fall more often than not on the grumpy old codger end of the "levels of enthusiasm" scale, spending some time in Ryan's company is quite an elixir.

The weather Thursday night in Morristown could not have been better.  While it was still warm at race time (7:30) it was not humid.  The experience of running up and down the course's numerous hills - apparently Morristown takes its name from an old Indian word meaning "Look another hill straight ahead!" - without experiencing the sensation of trying to inhale through a sweaty gym sock was one of pure joy.  A night such as the one we had Thursday night makes only an appearance or two all summer.  When one lands on your doorstep you seize it and enjoy the hell out of it.  I know I did.  I know that Ryan did.  While I would not pretend to speak for the other 3727 runners who completed the race, judging by the pre-race and post-race atmosphere it sounded as if at least a good number of them did as well.

It was nice also to see the weather cooperate for the folks whose good efforts go into putting on this event.  I am a Verizon Wireless customer but believe me when I say that my customer/provider relationship has zero to do with my reaction to Thursday night's event.  The Classic is put on annually to raise money for Jersey Battered Women's Services, Inc. - another organization the name of which explains its stated purposes with unfortunate succinctness.  As the runners gathered on Speedwell Avenue for the start of the race Thursday night, someone from Verizon Wireless (the man had a name no doubt, I simply did not hear it) presented the Director of Jersey Battered Women's Services, Inc. with a check in the amount of $10,000. 

In a perfect world, an organization such as Jersey Battered Women's Services, Inc. would be unnecessary.  Sadly here in the real world, it most assuredly is.  And while it was a little thing, it was nice to be among the several thousand runners on Thursday night who gave a bit of time to help those who give all of their time to helping others.  


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