Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Eight Mile

Whether the results in November shall reflect it I know not - although if I had to wager on it I would bet against it - but thus far the training I have done for the New York City Marathon has been far more enjoyable than that associated with the most recent New Jersey Marathon.  Marathon Sunday is now a lucky 13 Sundays away.  Starting this Sunday - August 9 - and continuing for a period of ten Sundays altogether - the week's "long run" shall be of a distance of ten miles or greater.  

With all of this to keep me company, I just might make it on Marathon Sunday without regretting my decision to have undertaken this mission.  This past Sunday, I headed north out of Belmar and through Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, and Ocean Grove.  I continued north into Asbury Park until I reached Convention Hall, which is slightly more than four miles from our front door in Lake Como and, therefore, the perfect place to turn around on an eight-mile training run.  

We are lucky enough to live three blocks from the beach in Belmar.  Our "home beach" as it were is the 17th Avenue Beach.  On my weekend runs along the water, it serves as my starting point.  Now that the calendar has turned to August, the days are shortening ever so slightly each and every day.  I made the boardwalk at 17th Avenue on Sunday morning less than ten minutes after sunrise.  If there is a better time to enjoy the ocean and the beach than the wee small hours of the morning, I do not know when it is.  It is my favorite time of day.  

Sunrise over 17th Avenue Beach - Belmar
08 02 15

Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea are separated by the Shark River Inlet.  The bridge that spans the Inlet is a drawbridge.  As luck would have it, on the way north to Asbury Park the bridge was in the "UP" position.  With nothing to do but kill a couple of minutes, I spied a charter fishing boat heading out for the day.  I know not what its ultimate destination was, but upon clearing the Inlet, it headed north.  

Boat heading out thru Shark River Inlet
08 02 15

Same boat heading North 
08 02 15

My turnaround point this past Sunday - as it had been the Sunday before - was Convention Hall in Asbury Park.  There is no shortage of interesting things to see on Asbury Park's Boardwalk, even at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.  I enjoy the dichotomy between the activity level on land and the "lack of activity" level on the water.  No man-made presence in the surf at all.  

Beach at Asbury Park 
08 02 15

Almost four decades before Sandy the town-killer made her mark in the history of the State of Concrete Gardens, the Poet Laureate of Freehold immortalized another, much nicer Sandy in song.  It is difficult for me to run past the joint where the proprietor was busted for telling fortunes better than the police without taking a photo of it.  

Madam Marie's - Asbury Park 
08 02 15

One of the greatest things about running south in the early morning hours is that the angle at which the sun is in the sky allows me to create the illusion that rather than being short and squat, I am long and lean.  Sadly - and perhaps not surprisingly - my shadow remains perpetually ahead of me irrespective of the pace at which I run. 

Me and My Shadow - Ocean Grove
08 02 15 

This past Sunday, I happened to catch the Shark River Inlet Drawbridge both coming and going, which meant that I passed a few minutes on the Avon-by-the-Sea side of the inlet waiting for the bridge to come down.  Among the many things I never had the inclination to take up is surfing.  However by 7:00 am this past Sunday morning, mine was clearly the minority position. 

Surfers - Avon-by-the-Sea 
08 02 15

2nd shot of surfers - Avon-by-the-Sea
08 02 15

3rd shot of surfers - Avon-by-the-Sea
08 02 15

Upon my return to Belmar - and my trip south towards home - I saw a lot of activity both on the boardwalk and in the water associated with a triathlon that was being contested.  I happened to look out to the water to see a group of swimmers getting ready to begin.  At the time I took this picture, I was less than a mile from home, having completed more than 7/8 of my eight-mile run (and having done so in - for me - a nice, crisp 9:15 mile pace), and yet looking at all of these folks ready to undertake an ocean swim as part of  their Sunday morning, I felt like a bit of a slacker. 

Triathletes hitting the water - Belmar
08 02 15

Sunday afternoon, I headed north earlier than the rest of the crew so that I could take care of some wholly unexciting errands and some other stuff.  As she typically does, Rosie rode with me.  It turns out that it is a really good thing that out of the two of us - I am the one with the legs long enough to reach the pedals...

Rosie snoozing on the ride home 
08 02 15

...although if her life is an accurate indication of a dog's life, please place the application form in front of me and indicate to me where I need to sign it.    


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