Tuesday, July 19, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - AWARDS

David Serious-Runner Dye: 1st Place Overall [Total Time - 1:36:38], Fastest Individual Split [Leg Three - 23:15]

Randy Marthins: 2nd Place Overall [1:45:06]

Andrew Murdock: 3rd Place [1:47:40]; "Stop & Smell the Roses" Award for his wonderful Pix

Mike Mcaleese: 4th Place [1:57:00]; "Tick Tock" Award for Most Consistent Splits [30, 30, 27, 30]

Matthew F. Hammond: 5th Place [2:10:06]; "Mr Flexible" Award for for adjusting his schedule to make time for the event

Rebecca Burdin Lasky: Ist Woman [2:12:19]; "Early Bird" Award for starting on Friday

Jarn Leah [aka Jenn]: 2nd Woman [2:13:06]; "Lantern Rouge" REMEMBER: Last one in gets the Coldest Beer!!!

Jennifer Gilmore Fields: "Overachiever" Award for running MORE than 20K and doing them all at once


By Virtue of her TOTALLY kicking ass on her first attempt at Badwater Ultramarathon, Meredith Murphy is hereby awarded Number 65 for this and ALL Screaming Tortise events, in Perpetuum [or whatever endurance sports drink she prefers]

Sunday, July 17, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - FINAL LEG!!!

FINAL LEG!!! – 3:45PM

We had to make one final adjustment before the Last Frame: D’Kid’s best friend wanted to come up for the afternoon. So, 11AM Mass was shelved and she was dropped off by her Mom around 11:30. They hung out upstairs while I got D’Wife ready for work. After she was out the door, I gathered up my list and coupons for the weekly grocery shopping trip. Runners are, if nothing else, creatures of habit and like to stay tied to their schedules.

As I suspected, and upon review in the booth, my Third Leg that I ran this morning was a shade long [3/10ths, actually] so I adjusted my turn-around accordingly. Did I say “Shade?” Yeah, thankfully, most of this route is woodsy, because the temperature was very close to 90° when I left the house. There was a time when I had a rule about such things; even if I STILL did, today was a day to break it.

I totally surprised myself by making the first mile in 8:20 and to the bottom of The Pit in just under 13:00. I suppose the rush of having this almost behind me, helped to pick up the pace. Climbing back up that rise again, I could feel the quads starting to go. I had to quote Jens Voigt: "Shut up, legs" The humidity was down from this morning and even though I’d been hydrating all day, my throat was still feeling dry. Naturally, with it being the middle of the afternoon, and the hottest part of the day, no one had a sprinkler or hose running for me.

I was shooting for 28:00 on this final leg, for no other reason than to stay under 10:00 per mile. When I made my way back to the light at The Pike in 22-something, with only 6/10ths to go: "We got this" Except, I was running straight into the sun, with not a tree to duck under now, and the full blazing heat coming off the street which had been slowly cooking all day. Pretty miserable, but I took courage from Meredith’s journey through Badwater, and told myself, “As bad as this might feel; she suffered through much worse and for far further than just a mile.”

I clicked the final Split in 27:20 to bring my total to 1:45:06; 8:28 pace for the 12.4 miles.

Done. Twice in a row now that I’ve done ALL FOUR Legs of La Tortuga’s challenge.

It was time to relax in the Clubhouse with a Brooklyn Summer Ale; and a pair of 11 year-old girls trashing the upstairs.

Brooklyn Summer Ale is a modern rendition of the "Light Dinner Ales" brewed in England throughout the 1800's right up until the 1940's. They were also called "luncheon ales" or even "family ales", because they were refreshing and flavorful without being too heavy. We brew our Brooklyn Summer Ale from premium English barley malt, which gives this light-bodied golden beer a fresh bready flavor. German and American hops lend a light, crisp bitterness and a citrus/floral aroma resulting in a beer with a very sunny disposition.

It’s a little more golden than a hefeweizen, and not as cloudy,because it’s actually a Blonde Ale; not what I usually go for when the temps are in the high 80s, but you know what??? It works!!! There’s a thin white head to it, which is a plus, because who wants sticky lips on a hot Summer day??? There’s not a lot of buzz here, which is good for an afternoon sipper. I picked up a refreshing citrus flavor, with lemongrass and a suggestion of melon … Imagine a cool fruity summer salad in a glass; like what you might have at Tea at a Cape May Bed & Breakfast.

Definitely a LawnMower Beer candidate.

I’ll keep you posted.

Final Results and AWARDS >>>

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Third Leg

Third Leg – 6:00AM

Okay, 6:30 is CLOSE ENOUGH to 6AM for me in this application.

Another brilliant morning and another moonset!!! I wanted to do something different than yesterday, so I took a route out the where some roosters I know might be up, just to say “Hi!” to them. I wasn’t 100% sure if their little barnyard was before or after the point where the 1½ mile turnaround would be, but I figured that I could calculate it later and adjust accordingly.

I ran another good First Mile then made the right that took me past Bingo Bob’s and into “The Pit.” I often thought that every Runner needs to have ONE route [or part of a route] called “The Pit,” a little drop-off, where you can pick up some speed, but that you’ll have to climb your way out of later. Steeper and more dramatic would be better, but Waterford, as lumpy as it is, doesn’t have quite that topography, so I kinda made the best of what I have to work with.

I made my rendezvous with my feathered buddies in about 13 minutes; still running sub-9:00 minutes per mile but drifting upwards. Hopefully I won’t be into the 10s later today. Adding it all up so far I’m at 1:21 for 9.3 miles ... Extrapolating from there, I'd be under 1:30 for 10, so THAT'S something to be happy with!!!

One more then we're done!!!

On to the FINAL LEG!!! >>>

Saturday, July 16, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Intermission

Harry Potter Versus Star Wars: The Final Judgment

The final Harry Potter movie opens up this week, and all week long people have been saying "goodbye" to the franchise. Lots of crying in your butterbeer and all that.

A lot of the fans lamenting the end of Harry Potter are people much younger than I am, people who grew up with the both the books and the films and, for whom, Harry Potter is pretty much the dominant fictional story of their lifetime. You can goof all you want on dipshits at Middlebury forming their own Quidditch team and running around with brooms tucked between their thighs and negating all future use of their genitals, but they love Harry Potter and they probably know that they won't come across another set of books or films in their lifetime that will affect them or stir their imaginations in quite the same way.

I know this to be true, because I'm fucking old now. And when you're old, that sense of wonder and awe isn't easy to get back. I'm a child of the Star Wars generation, which means the first three movies in the series (Yes, I know they're chronologically the LAST three, and fuck you very much to George Lucas for not only raping my wallet and my childhood but also for forcing me into a semantic corner) are the dominant fictional story of MY lifetime. I could live another two hundred years and the sad truth of it is that I will NEVER ever again have a moviegoing experience like I had when I saw those movies (the first Indiana Jones movie also gets roped in there, because it was just as good and came along at pretty much the same time). I'm too old and jaded to recapture that kind of awe anymore. I'm not young enough to BELIEVE what I see on screen is real. I'm not young enough to have another story like that feel brand new to me, like nothing I've ever seen before.

That's how I felt watching Star Wars, and that's how people a decade or two younger than me likely feel about Harry Potter. I envy them, really. I read all seven Potter books and they were AWESOME. You read those books and you spend days and weeks and months at a time picturing yourself as a wizard and doing all kinds of crazy wizard shit and having all kinds of wild bareback wizard sex. (Wizards can make diseased sperm DISAPPEAR). That's all you can really ask from a story: that it gets deep into your brain and creates a whole new place for you to reside in. I loved most everything about those books. And if I were younger, I bet I'd have loved them even more.

The movies are something of a different animal. I've seen the first seven movies (my favorite was the fifth, which is weird for me because that was my least favorite book in the series), and the movies, for me, were really just two-hour reminders of the shit I read in the books. Oh, right! Luna Lovegood's dad totally sells out Harry, Ron and Hermione! I had completely forgotten that shit. Thanks, movie-length visual recap!

But that's because, again, I'm old. Because I'm old, I brought all my prejudices into those movies (They won't be as good as the books, Chris Columbus was the shitheel hack who made Stepmom and Bicentennial Man, etc.). If you were twelve or thirteen when the first Potter movie came out, you probably didn't care about any of that. You didn't care that Stepmom was among the more aggressively shitty movies of all time. All you cared about was HOLY SHIT! IT'S THE HARRY POTTER MOVIE! That pure youthful joy was still there. It hadn't been ruined for you yet by reading horrible baseball columns about pure youthful joy. So the movies were gonna be better for you. And as you get older, very little else will manage to stack up, if anything.

If you're my age, you know this is true because you saw the Star Wars prequels, which were fucking terrible and God I wish someone would take a shit in George Lucas's beard. But even if those movies had been any good (and there are people out there who, God help them, do think that), they probably wouldn't have lived up to their billing anyway because I was expecting that wondrous feeling to return without realizing I had already outgrown my ability to feel it. Nothing will be able to rival those original three Star Wars movies for me, but that's more due to circumstances of my age than the quality of the movie itself. It's why I worship all the old John Landis movies, and why anyone who tells me American Pie is better than The Blues Brothers will get a fucking shiv in their mouth.

So that's why I like the original Star Wars trilogy more than any of the Harry Potter movies. But maybe you feel different. Maybe you're 20 years old and The Empire Strikes Back looks dated to you. Maybe we need to have a completely pointless and unsolvable argument as to which series is superior overall. It's July and there ain't shit else going on, so FUCK IT WE'LL DO IT LIVE. I'mma try and strip away my generational prejudices best I can and hash this out objectively, like a proper nerdy nerd snarky blogger-type. Spoilers ahead if you were a deprived child.

BOOKS: The two series differ in that one is spawned originally from books and the other from film. Obviously, the Potter books are in a class of their own. I haven't read any of the Star Wars books. There are a shitload of them. They even wrote one about the band from Jedi, which seems aggressively pointless. Also, it's annoying when someone who has read all the Star Wars books corrects you on shit. "Actually, Boba Fett didn't die when he fell into the pit…" Yeah well, as far as I'm concerned, he did. And it was shitty. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

MOVIES: The original three Star Wars are great. The prequels blow. Whereas the Potter movies are reliably entertaining, but are a constant reminder that the books were better. The Potter movies are also really well acted, whereas the Star Wars movies went out of their way to make even talented actors sound like idiots. So it really depends on if you prize consistency over inconsistency but with better moments. ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS

VILLAINS: My favorite Potter villain was Snape, except that he ultimately WASN'T a villain. You could say the same about Darth Vader, except that Darth Vader didn't have some grand, lifelong mission that explains away all the horrible shit he did. (He killed younglings. YOUNGLINGS, DAMMIT.) I also hated the shit out of Draco Malfoy. If I saw Tom Felton on the street, I'd want to punch him in the fucking face. Voldemort himself wasn't as menacing or as cool as Darth Vader. The fact that he had no nose kept me thinking that he'd been a victim of some plastic surgery gone horribly awry. And the Star Wars lineup of villains in the original films is pretty fucking awesome: Vader, the Emperor, Jabba, Grand Moff Tarkin, Greedo, the sand people (THASS RAYCESS!) and on and on. The villains get lamer in the prequels (Look out! It's the flying alien Jew!), but I still say ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

MENTORS: Fucking Obi Wan. Pussies out against Vader and then lies to Luke's face about his Dad. From a certain point of view, you're a dipshit. Yoda also fits into this category, but Yoda also has faults, mostly the backwards talk. "Around the survivors, a perimeter create." Yeah no, that's horrible. Dumbledore wins. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

MAIN PROTAGONIST: Star Wars has two in Anakin and Luke. Both, in their respective trilogies, are huge gashes. Luke gets a little better as we get to Jedi, but he still needs Vader's help to keep help the Emperor from shocking his ass to death at the end. "FATHER! PLEEEEEASE!" Can't you do anything for yourself, kid? Maybe you deserve to have your insides boiled and bled out of your main orifices. Harry ain't afraid to kill Voldemort on his own, and he's powerful enough to do it. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

BOY SIDEKICK: Weasley vs. Solo. Solo wins, even if I do spend hours at a time wishing I had been taken in by the Weasley family. I don't think adopting a fully-grown 34-year-old American man would be all that awkward. Oh, the hijinks those Weasley twins and I would get into. WHO PUT THIS PORTABLE SWAMP IN THE GIRLS' TOILET?! ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

GIRL SIDEKICK: Hermione vs. Leia. I didn't approve of Leia being so ungrateful the second Han and Luke came to rescue her. "Some rescue." Hey missy, you're lucky you even got that. Five minutes ago, you were getting a needle probe up your vagina. Now you're in a giant garbage chute with the walls closing in. Quit yer crying. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

MASTURBATORY MATERIAL: There's a little bit of naked Emma Watson in the seventh Potter movie, but the series is otherwise fairly chaste. There's the typical teenage horniness, but nothing on the level of Slave Leia (even if Star Wars never gave you much beyond that). Potter, however, is indirectly responsible for young Lindsay Lohan as sexy Hermione, and my penis is eternally grateful. ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

ENDING: The Elder Wand shit at the end of Deathly Hallows still confuses me. And the fact that the search for the Deathly Hallows was piled onto the ongoing search for the Horcruxes gave me a headache. One treasure hunt per ending, please. But at least you get that cathartic coda at the end with Harry and Ron and Hermione all grown up with kids and what not. It was a much better denouement than the fucking Yub Nub song the Ewoks sang at the end of Jedi, and the worst part is that Lucas went back and fucked with that ending and made it like a universal 4th of July parade instead of just ending with the shot of Vader's body burning in the pyre. WATCH IT BURN! EVIL MAKES GOOD KINDLING! ADVANTAGE: NO IDEA.

WEAPONRY: Even actors in Potter movies have gone on the record as saying you look pretty fucking stupid with a wand in your hand. I don't know why wands became the go-to object for casting spells. Why not a magic sword, or a magic set of brass knuckles with little spikes on the ridge of each knuckle? Light sabers win. An elegant weapon. Not as clumsy as a blaster. Those goddamn blasters. So clumsy. ADVANTAGE: STAR WARS.

NAMES: Both have all sorts of cool names for their characters, but look at the full list of Potter names. You can't compete with that shit. Joscelind Wadcock? I'm naming my dog Joscelind Wadcock. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

FANBOYS: There used to be a time when Star Wars fanboys could escape scrutiny solely because Star Trek fanboys were even weirder. But that protection ended right about here.

The fact that Harry Potter hasn't been around as long also means that its fanboys haven't had as much time to grow up and to mutate into even stranger creatures, people somehow even more disconnected from reality. That's gonna come someday. Should be fun. ADVANTAGE: POTTER.

OVERALL: This might be a more difficult argument if the prequels didn't exist, but the fact of the matter is that JK Rowling told her story in seven parts and never really fucked it up, whereas George Lucas told his story in six parts and galactically fucked up half of it, then went back and CGI'd the GOOD half and kind of ruined that as well. Star Wars was a milestone of my youth, but yeah, I can't go against Potter. WINNER: POTTER.

Have fun at the last Potter movie this weekend, gang. Enjoy it. You won't come across the likes of it again in your lifetime. I'm pretty sure Twilight is proof of that.

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Second Leg

Second Leg – NOON

Once my Heart Rate came down after finishing the First Leg, once I was rehydrated and no longer thirsty, once I was able to THINK about eating something I poured myself a nice bowl of Rice Krispies, dropped half a dozen slice of fresh peach, and splashed it with some cool milk. I was gonna start re-fueling for the Second Leg as soon as I could. I didn’t want it to be 10 o’clock without eating anything and then say to myself “CRAP!!! What can I eat NOW that will settle enough in two hours to NOT bother my tummy”

Yeah, was thinking like a Real Runner.

Go figure.


D’Girls were late out of bed. Once up though, the morning was a flurry of phone tags to get the day’s schedule planned, coordinated, approved, revised, re-approved, etc. It was decided that we would see “Harry Potter” in 3D at 4:30 in Voorhees, meeting Warren & Samantha at Warren’s sister’s house here in Atco. Afterwards, we’d go back there for dinner. D’Wife had ONE errand to do sometime between now and then, but that wouldn’t take long. I kept out of her way, all the time watching the clock.

At 11:55AM, I quickly threw on my running gear and before she had a moment to counter-argue I stated “I’m going for another three miles, I’ll be back in half an hour or so”

I was taking the Second Leg by force. Now I was committed to not blowing up.

I kinda zoned out for a second and ran the same route I did this morning and in the same direction [I kinda wanted to mix it up a bit]. Brighter and 15° warmer than it was for the first leg. Surprisingly little activity for Noon on a Saturday; there was a softball game getting started over by D'Kid's school, but not much else going on.

[sorry that I couldn’t bring more detail, but that’s the way it goes sometimes]

I lost about a minute and a half on this Leg, which wasn’t really that bad considering I’d already dropped 5K. Adding the two together gave me a 52:40 10K on the day, as well, a whole MINUTE inside my time at
Cooper-Norcross Ben Franklin Bridge Challenge 10K back in ‘09.

PLUS, D’Wife wasn’t even close to leaving on her errands yet.



On to the Third Leg >>>

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - First Leg

First Leg – 6:00AM

This thing started out like a Caucus Race from the starting gun. Firstly, Becca decided that 6AM on Saturday Morning was just not early enough and put in her first leg after dinner on Friday. At about the same time, but before I opened my Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner, D’Wife informed me that we MIGHT be going Downnashore to meet up with our friend Warren and his daughter. I was filled with options:

  1. Do all four 5Ks on Sunday, using the same formula. Of course, that would mean a Sunday Midnight 5K, then going straight to bed for work the next day

  2. Do the First Leg Saturday Midnight, then 6-12-6 on Sunday, giving myself the night off

  3. Start at 6AM Saturday just the same, and get the runs in whenever possible during the next two days

I said to myself: “Hey!!! Self!!! We’re the Race Director and Commissioner, we can change the rules for ourself or anyone who needs them changed, right??? Do it!!”

While she was checking on the plan for the Beach, “Harry Potter” was thrown into the mix … a Mid-afternoon show, followed by dinner at her friend / Warren’s sister, Holly’s house. That pretty much reduced my Options to #3 alone, since there’d be no way to get myself out the door after any kind of Summertime Family Feast.

Bottom Line: Four 5Ks in Two days ... where and when was TBD [the 6 hour part, for ME anyway, was out the window]


I woke up at my usual time of 5:25. I brushed & dressed, but naaa’d the bib idea, for now anyway.

“Let’s do this”

I had a bunch of 5K routes/courses to choose from, but went with the one I’ve been running most often lately, the one I’d run to set my highly non-official v2.0 5K PR of 23:36. I didn’t necessarily plan of going for a PR at anytime during the event, but if I was going to, it would surely be on this first leg

The moon was still up, hanging just above the trees in the back yard. She was taking on a pinkish cast as she settled into bed on this cool and clear morning. The cicadas weren’t buzzing yet; it was only a matter of time, though. Oddly, there were a lot of crows up and cackling. I hoped my little adventure wouldn’t lead me to becoming their morning snack by the side of the road at any point in the next 36 hours or so.

I left house behind and shuffled away towards the beautifully rosy and golden sunrise.

After crossing the Pike and reaching the First Mile mark in a few ticks short of 8 minutes, it took some work to hold back at the first turn, to force myself to adhere to the plan and not to wander off. The temptation to go longer to explore some routes that I haven't done at this time of day in many weeks was strong in this one. Seeing I was moving at a good pace, that made the decision easier, and I found a good pace to groove on as I passed Chocolate Pretzel Heaven, hugging the overgrowth by the side of the NJ Transit tracks chasing my own shadow up the street with the sun behind my right shoulder.

I had to sort of stutter-step around a fairly big puddle at the Halfway turnaround. Sure, I’d usually splash through here, but I’d need my shoes completely dried out in a few hours for the Second Leg, and I couldn’t necessarily count on that.

Cruising back towards Mariel’s school, there were a couple of sprinklers on; I took advantage, getting a nice schpritzing to the singlet. As is my tradition / superstition, I stopped at the Blessed Mother for a quick Hail Mary, then on my way for the Final Mile of the First Leg.

I was doubly fortunate to have the sprinklers running at Domino’s as well. I treated myself to a quick head-dip, before having to wait for the light [AND the obligatory “look pissed”]

The six-tenths of a mile from the light to home, is always so desolate and depressing, due to the trash and assorted roadkill that litter my running way. This morning though, I spied a flattened out snake in the shoulder. I have mixed feelings about snakes; I don’t mind them when I KNOW they’re there, like if someone offers me one to handle in a very rock n’ roll way, but when they appear out of nowhere … I’m not fond of that kind of surprise. Just the same, I had to feel sad to see any of God’s creatures plowed over like that.

I tucked into the development and chugged up over the final rise as the 24th minute came to an end; stopping the clock at 25-and-a-half [“stopping the clock” being a misnomer: I don’t actually use the buttons anymore, but just take mental note of the approximate time when I leave the driveway]
Not a bad pace for first thing in the morning and something I could probably match pretty closely for the remaining Three Legs, earning myself the coveted “Tick Tock” Award for Most Consistent Splits [or Most Accurate Pace-Setting … I’m not sure how I wanna phrase that]

On to the Second Leg >>>

Friday, July 15, 2011

2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay - Prologue

So, being bored one evening a few months back; perhaps suffering from a twinge of post-race letdown, I reached out to my Black Friday 20K Solo Relay co-conspirator and suggested a date for another “Run Like an Idiot” 20K. As luck would have it, the date we chose coincided with this year’s Midnight Madness, which was just a tad out of financial reach, slush-fund-wise, at $65 for 8.4 miles … no longer the value it was when we started in 2008.

Jenn’s boyfriend suggested something along the lines of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, because of the four legs.

1st Leg, 6AM = Famine: Breakfast time and we're hungry
2nd Leg, Noon = War: We're kicking ass and there is blood in the water
3rd Leg, 6PM = Pestilence: Sundown and the Summertime Evening bugs are coming out
Final Leg, Midnight = Death: No explanation needed

That made sense, but when I think of The Four Horsemen, I think only of
Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson, and Tully Blanchard, with James J. Dillon as their manager. I took the liberty of adding “Mid-“ to “Apocalyptic” for the event name since it was gonna go down between the “Judgment Day” that knucklehead had predicted and the Final Apocalypse on October 21st.

With the name settled upon rather quickly as “2011 Mid-Apocalyptic 4-Horsemen 20K Solo Relay,” it was time to begin recruiting. Between Kick, Slowtwitch, random Facebook and IRL friends, and fans of “
Postcards From The Curb” I sent out about 100 invites, of which 9 responded with a firm “Yes”

Custom bibs were made up and distributed. With all of my Race Director duties completed and fulfilled, I settled down with a new find: Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner

[I’ve dated so many girls who looked like her]

Tilted Smile breaks away from the crowd. Big in alcohol, yet approachable and versatile. Confidently balanced with Saaz hops and 100% Pilsen malt. Crisp and delightfully carbonated. Explore pairing with grilled meats and seafood.

Nine percent ABV is a bit much on a race night, but I ate well and figured that I pre-hydrated myself well enough to handle the whole 22 oz. bottle. It was a nice pale golden color with a couple of fingers worth of snowy white head. It had a light malty, citrusy, lemongrass flavor that would be PERFECT to clear the dust & sweat from a noggin after giving the lawn a good cutting … at the $9.99 price and being only available in bomber bottles [nicely cork-finished however], it’s ineligible for consideration as a
LawnMower Beer Championship contender.

Then, of course, the Pre-Race Jitters started; then were quickly squelched by this lovely pint [or two] ... but hey, that's cool

On to the First Leg >>>

Monday, July 04, 2011

4 on the 4th-Independence Day Coffee Run

Facebook friend and “Postcards from the Curb” fan Thomas Constantine invited me to a little event he put together up in his town of Amsterdam, NY.

4 on the 4th-Independence Day Coffee Run
Time: Monday, July 4 · 8:00am - 10:00am
Location: Burger King, Rt 30, Amsterdam, NY

4-6-8 mile loops from Burger King
Slow pace
All welcome
Walkers and joggers
Holiday coffee after
Run with us or on ur own
Post ur freedom run here

I got up a little bit before 8 o’clock. I did my best to move out without waking D’Wife. D’Kid’s door was shut [to keep a marauding boy-cat out overnight] so she wasn’t awakened by my movements on this holiday morning. I did a little bit of Punk Yoga to warm up, and loosen the port-side hammy that’s always been a worry of mine [but not an actual PROBLEM, lately]

The sun was TRYING to break through the haze, but that was just warming the wet ground and streets to create MORE haze; haze that was just a couple of dew points away from becoming full-blown fog!!! Not much of breeze of any kind was to be found, and there was the slightest scent of pine smoke from the small forest fires that have been popping up this past week [all quickly dealt thing, thank God, suggesting that they’ve been controlled burns]

Without a real plan of where to go when I left the house, I selected a route for this comp that only CROSSED Atco Ave., not run down it, because I wasn't sure exactly when the Boro's parade would be, and I'd hate to cruise through the festivities, especially without anything Patriotic on. In fact, I was wearing shoes from a Japanese company, whose
name is an acronym of the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which translates to "Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body.” My running shorts were from a company who originally made boots for the Germans in WWII, and eventually bought their way into Olympic prominence with shady back-room cash deals as the era of amateurism came to an end. Even my Old Navy [or as we say at home “Old Shanyblay”] singlet with “Honolulu” across it COULD BE a reference to a sovereign Pacific kingdom that’s been illegally occupied [allegedly] for a hundred years or so.

I made the first mile mark in 8:15; quite quick for me, even more so considering D'Wife & I rode very nearly 20 miles on Saturday. I was fortunate that traffic was sparse and I was able to jump the light without losing much time crossing The Pike. Believe it or not, I was still debating on which path I would take this morning; I have a LOT of options and many decision points along the way. I guess all these little variables keep my runs from being boring, as I can change them up on the fly. Since this WAS semi-official, and kind of on the clock, I picked a familiar course that I’ve measured as being 4 miles exactly … well not TOO far over anyway; maybe a tenth or two???

I crossed a very empty Atco Avenue. It occurred to me at this point that in my WHOLE life, I’d marched in a Fourth of July Parade maybe twice, three time tops. This was would have been when I was in the Boy Scouts, in Haddonfield. I DO remember decorating my bike with red/white/and blue streams in Connecticut, but we just rode them around the neighborhood for the day. I didn’t even join my Little League team [Bliss Market] as I remember. I can certainly recall walking down King’s Highway to music and clapping while in the Scouts, however vaguely … I’m sure I enjoyed the applause.

Mile Two was uneventful: saw a couple of cyclists who agreed the morning was disgusting, but congratulated themselves and me on or determination / dedication by saying "Hey, we're out here, right?" I enjoyed the cool shade of The Green Room, where trees that were toppled by the tornado almost a year ago still lean, broken and splintered, without the landowner’s apparent care to what will become of them. I’m sure the woodland creatures who have made new homes beneath the exposed roots and hanging boughs aren’t complaining. There were a couple kids fishing in the pond, wearing baggy shorts, over-sized skate shoes and flat-brimmed trucker hats cocked just slightly off-center.

Sixteen and a half, AT the Half. I guess I missed that “Slow pace” part in the invitation???

Turning around, I ground up the rise back to the little light at Jackson Road. D’Wife always comments when we’re on our bike rides and have to wait here, “How many Tattoo Shops does Atco need?” … I don’t really think it’s reflection on the town as much as it is a reflection of the folks who pass THROUGH our town. Jackson Road is the only way to or from Atco Raceway. Sometimes, maybe, someone just decides “I need a little more ink; I have a spot that needs filling” I could be wrong

Crossing the NJ Transit tracks again, I passed a couple of families loading up their vans for the day. Proudly sporting their Phillies gear, wondered what they had planned for the day as Phillies-Marlins wasn’t until 6PM. I guess it’s never too early to tail gate??? Perhaps they were on their way down the Shore, perhaps [God willing] to torment some Mets fans while away for the day.

I reached the Assumption School track at the end of Mile Three. Half a dozen walkers were there, doing the SMART thing on this muggfest: Going round and round and taking it easy while getting at least some miles in. One of them [an aging guidette or perhaps a cougar-in-training, I couldn’t tell through my fogged and sweat-glazed specs] had to do things her own way and be the ONLY person doing her laps clockwise]

I must've picked up some time on the drop from our Church to Domino's, [admiring the crop of grapes growing on the chainlink fence adjacent to the Police Station] because I sure didn't FEEL like I strung FOUR 8:something-teens together. That last half mile is always such a drag too. Running on the traffic-facing side, it always seems desolate; there’s always so much gravel, cars-trash and roadkill to step around, and not the slightest bit of shade on the approach home, not matter WHAT time of day. Then there are the JYDs who always come out to say “Good FUCKING Morning!!! ASSHOLE!!!” Yeah, it’s a pretty soul-sucking way to end even the best run.

I got it done in a damn satisfactory 32:50. And no ... not ONE, single, sprinkler was on!!!