Friday, July 26, 2013

That Same Small Town In Each of Us....

Here in the State of Concrete Gardens we have been granted - the latter half of this week - a bit of a respite from July's oppressive presence.  I have not appreciated the change in the weather any more than I did on Wednesday night.  For the fourth consecutive year I participated in the Downtown Pizza 5K in Westfield.  For the first time in four years, the conditions in which I ran were good enough to entice me to gobble up a couple of slices of pizza post-race. 

This was the 12th edition of this event, which even with its sometimes really, really difficult weather conditions in which to run, has been an annual fixture on my summer race schedule since I first laced up my running shoes.  According to the local press pieces I read yesterday, this year's event had the largest number of participants in its history.  An estimated 2,700 runners toed the starting line.  I finished neither first nor last.  Rather, I finished on or about the lowest rung of the top half of my age group and my gender (and among the top 35% of the field overall) as per my usual.  Irrespective of the course, I always make par.   

Westfield, New Jersey is a terrific little town.  Having spent a considerable amount of time there when I was a much younger man, I look forward to my annual pilgrimage there for this event.  For an evening at least, one is no longer young feels again as if he is.  I cannot look at The Rialto without smiling and without thinking of high school nights spent there watching a movie, whether on a date or with friends.  And standing on the streets of Westfield I quickly conjure up in my mind's eye the faces of long-time friends who grew up there - including some of whom I have not seen in decades.  That, too, brings a smile to my face. 

A quick trip down memory lane costs nothing to take.  A genuine bargain....

....and free pizza too.

-AK

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