Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Strength from Strength

The Shore in the summer is outstanding.  It is also fairly congested.  I cannot speak for anywhere else in the world but significantly more people travel to the ocean, in New Jersey, in the summer than make the trip in March.  

No matter how closely or keenly you listen, you shall not hear me complain about life in the off-season.  Margaret and I have tried to avail ourselves of as much time at our little Paradise by the Sea as we can manage - and since Labor Day we have been in Lake Como on a regular basis.  I think that I have spent close to every other weekend there throughout the autumn and the winter.  It is a habit I intend to keep as winter's chill gives way to spring's thaw.

May 1, 2016 is the New Jersey Marathon.  This weekend, I availed myself of favorable weather conditions (not too cold, not too hot, not too windy) to run outdoors on Saturday morning and then again on Sunday morning.  I mis-read the marathon training schedule that I am using, which is why on Saturday morning instead of running six miles, I ended up going seven and one-half miles.  I thought that this past week's intermediate run was a seven-mile run so when I exceeded that goal by roughly one-half mile, I thought nothing of it.  Oops.  If reading is fundamental, then apparently I am fundamentally unsound.  

Saturday's jaunt took me south from Belmar, through Spring Lake, and then into Sea Girt.  I ran until I reached the southern end of the Sea Girt Boardwalk before I turned, first, inland, and, thereafter, north for the return leg to Lake Como.  Along the way, I managed to pop off some shots of the sights I saw. 

Sun coming up over Sea Girt as seen
from southern end of Boardwalk
(turn-around point on my run)

Beach in Spring Lake looking northeast 
(taken on way home to Lake Como)

The Columns on Ocean Avenue 
(taken from Spring Lake side looking 
north towards Belmar) 

Lake Como - looking southwest towards the Atlantic
(taken from North Boulevard in Lake Como) 

Sunday was "long run" day and, fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon your perspective I reckon) the calendar informed me that "long run" equaled sixteen miles.  Under cool, crisp, and decidedly overcast skies, at shortly before 7:00 A.M. I headed out our back door and down 17th Avenue to the Boardwalk.  Once there I headed north.  My journey took me through Belmar, Avon-by-the-Sea, Bradley Beach, and Ocean Grove.  As I crossed from Ocean Grove into Asbury Park, I decided to swing inland - as I continued running north - and ended up following signs that pointed me towards Allenhurst and Wanamassa.  I continued north until I was approximately eight and one-half miles from home.  At that point, I headed east again and, thereafter, south, which enabled me to take in the sights one can only see along the Asbury Park Boardwalk.  

My goal on Sunday morning was to complete my sixteen-mile run at a ten-minute per mile pace.  I met my goal.  In fact, I finished approximately three and one-half minutes ahead of schedule.   While no one is going to mistake 2:36:46 for sixteen miles with a world-record effort, I was damn happy that I had met my goal and happier still about the sights I saw along my journey. 

Our Beach:  17th Avenue Beach, Belmar, NJ


Looking east towards the Belmar Fishing Club

Bradley Beach

Ocean Grove

Ocean Grove 

Festhalle Biergarten 
Asbury Park

Empress Hotel 
Asbury Park

Mural at Asbury Lanes
Asbury Park 

Lions in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day

Drummond Cemetery 

Carousel Building 
Asbury Park 

For me, running sixteen miles is "no bullshit" undertaking.  It is taxing.  But, down the Shore, it is somehow less so.  I run in the presence of sights that I shall never tire of seeing and am kept company by the sound of the ocean - and the countless other lunatics out running, cycling, and walking at 7:00 A.M. on a chilly, gray Sunday morning in March.  

It makes the prospect of 26.2 miles on the first Sunday in May and the prospect of 26.2 miles, again, on the first Sunday in November seem a bit less daunting somehow.  



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