It wasn’t a race day, but it sure felt like one.
I wouldn’t be pinning on a number, or strapping on any timing chip, but I had been anticipating this run all week. I had a course mapped and measured [just not committed to memory, 100%]. We had planned on going to Mass Saturday night, but tossed that idea, since there was no way to split the kids up and off the beach in time to get ours to church. I ate a decent dinner, drank only a couple of beers, then a bottle of water and went to bed early [Bonnie noticed that it was 10:40 when I said good night and remarked almost constantly, “I can’t believe Randy went to bed so early,” for the next two hours]. I laid out my gear for the next morning, including my very special bright orange Team Crash Test Dummy socks.
I woke up about 6:30 [sadly, the sun was already up], brushed, pottied, stretched and hit the road around 7:00.
... Not Pete's house
The first order of business was to double-check the Sunday Mass schedule at St. Thomas. They have a wonderful sign on the steps there:
Okay, 9:30 and 11 … Got it.
On I went, past the firehouse, the bagel shop and lastly, The Pirates Den, before turning left at 13th Street. I passed my friend Duffy’s condo and the most magnificent of bayside dive bars: The Rod & Reel. I checked my watch: 13 minutes or so for about a mile and a half? That’s a good start, I s’pose.
As I cruised along the boat slips, and said good morning to a few dogwalkers, I noticed arrows painted on the street [as affluent a community as Brigantine is, their sidewalks are shitty, so I ran in the street. There was no traffic anyway]. It occurred to me that these arrows were the markers for the bike portion of the Brigantine Triathlon, which I had done a couple of times, long ago. Since my recollection of my planned route was sketchy at best, I decided to just follow them around the top of the island. I had no idea where my mile markers were from here to the lighthouse anyway, and no clue on my pace; I was just out for a Sunday morning jog, as were a couple of other folks.
I wound my way around the north end of the island where there was much new construction and renovation going on. I dipped through plenty of sprinklers; it was a much muggier morning than I was used to. I had gotten used to the coolish, fall-like temps of the past couple of weeks.
Of course, that was 50 miles inland from here.
Not an environment where fiberglass mailboxes look like seahorses, or porpoises or manatees. Not a neighborhood where boats out-number trucks which out-number cars in the driveway. Not a place where “starfish” (oops, “sea star”) is a shape and “sparkly” is a color.
I trotted around and observed.
Note: When running in new places, keep a Sharpie in your pocket otherwise you may forget the name of the antique store whose van you saw parked in the driveway.
Cobweb Corner / Seascape Antiques
It’s also interesting to note that there is a Rowing Club on the island and that the Holy Spirit High School trains there. Sadly it looks a lot more like a warehouse than something on the Schuylkill.
I passed the rowing club and caught sight of the water tower behind Bonnie & Pete’s house. When I got to S. 16th St. by my reckoning, that would be about 5 miles, then I’d just go past the stubby little lighthouse to 44th St. out towards the beach and back up Ocean Ave … This part I’d run before, and with numbered streets I could keep track of my pace, if I cared to.
I checked my watch as I passed my “Five Mile” mark … 48 minutes. Not too bad. I had figured to do the eight in an hour and fifteen or so; I had about half an hour to run the next three. My hamstrings were starting to tighten up, I started looking for something to stretch them out on … yeah, a bike rack will do fine, thank you very much.
I passed the lighthouse and trotted through the far more cottagey and bungalowish south oceanside portion of the island. I made the turn at the dune on 40th St. and started count the blocks down, by 4s, “24, 20, 16, etc.” At 20th St. I needed to make a decision, end on the beach or at the house? My water bottle and Gatorade were at the house, so that was the choice.
I turned left at 16th [“Block Zero”], crossed the wide boulevard and finished in front of the house.
1:14 – 74 minutes. A bit above 9:00 per mile [9:15, exactly*] but that was okay.
I went over to the outside shower, stripped out of my sweaty running gear and into a sweatshirt and cargo pants. I put on my iPod, grabbed my bottles and camera and walked to the beach.
Returning to the house, I started the coffee and had an apple. When it was ready, I took my cup in the sunroom, put on the replay of the US Olympic basketball game, and txt’d a friend of mine.
It was a most perfect morning.
* Upon returning to work Monday morning, I remapped the route I actually ran vs. the one I had planned to run … it was ½ a mile longer, meaning my pace was just below 8:45.
Dreams, Nightmares and Characters
1 day ago