Time Flies

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I ran in a local 5 miler yesterday.  This was the 43rd running of the race making it the granddaddy of ’em all  in the county.  You can do the math if you’re interested in knowing exactly when it all began.

It was during the early days of the running boom what ever that means.  Me?  I’ve been running since I was in the 4th grade.  We don’t need to do that math.

I used to kill this race.  Now it kills me.  But to the title.

First, the course…Start/Finish is on North Queen Street.  Go right on West Lemon for one block, go right on North Duke all the way to Chesapeake Street, go right, then left to enter the County park. or as the locals refer to it, County Park.  Once you become a local you don’t need to modify landmarks or places with the word the.  Everyone knows what you mean.

Run through County Park and go left back onto Duke Street. Instead of proceeding all the way to Lemon you chop off a block and go left on to West Walnut to Queen and then you see the Start/Finish line a couple of blocks ahead.

A side note here, our town dates to pre-revolutionary times so streets have royalty sounding names like Duke, King, Prince and Queen further subdivided by whether they run east/west/ north or south.

You have your North Queen, South Queen, East King and West King among many others.  We also in this interesting mix have a Lime Street and a Lemon Street.  You can actually stand on the corner of Lemon and Lime.

Further the street signs have been abbreviated thusly like N. Queen, W. King and of course S. Lime which reads S Lime Street.  That’s all I got in the roadway department.

Back to the 5 miler.  I’ve reached the back marker phase of my running career.  I know it, you know it and so what anymore.

I started either dead last or next to dead last.  Pro tip – If you wait for the starting corral to fill up the porta john lines disappear since all your fellow runners rush to the middle of the street for a good place on the starting grid.   This ain’t F-1 or NASCAR.  It don’t matter.

The horn goes off and I walk the 100 or so yards to the start line before I start my watch.  The front markers are sprinting their behinds off and I’m running a good  clip for me anyway up Queen to Lemon and on to Duke.  Here comes the title reference.

As I’m approaching what I know is the one mile marker and clock I look to right where it oughta be and it’s not there!  Did the organizers not have a budget for course clocks?

I file that away and continue up Duke where off to my left I see a guy walking and carrying what seems to the clock that was supposed to be at mile one.  I guess he figured since he had to pull double clock duty he yanked the clock off the tripod and trundled up to where the 4 mile mark is coming back.

Keen eyed readers will note that above I mentioned the course cuts one block off the return so one mile and four miles are not in the exact same place.  Hence, the one mile clock serves both one and four miles.

As I’m running and I see the clock being hand carried upside down I make out 10:44 as the seconds keep ticking away.  Suddenly I have this ” Lucy in The Sky With Diamonds” moment.

I am running faster than the clock is physically moving.  Soon I’m even with it and just as quickly I’m passed it leaving time in my wake.  Picture that Dali painting of the melting clock.  Saucony meets surrealism.  I am not running faster than the speed of sound  or light.  I am outrunning time itself.

I continue up Duke, go right on Chesapeake, go left into the winding roadway of the park cutting all the tangents I can find and realizing that tangent running is probably not taught in school anymore but that’s one class I passed.

I run back up Duke and eventually I find the one/four mile clock right where it’s supposed to be.  I’m also toast at this point but I’m passing some people and some people are passing me.

I have found in a marathon when you are bringing up the rear you make a lot of friends who are just as slow as you are.  Everyone talks, jokes, laughs and encourages each other.

Sadly, now everyone except me and maybe two other people are not wearing ear buds. Everyone else is and they can’t hear anything.  Conversation is not longer a part of group runs.  One guy had a speaker in his backpack and was his own little running/walking jukebox.  Maybe he couldn’t find his buds.  I forget what song he was playing.

I go left on Walnut, left on Queen, it’s my version of Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston.

I cross the finish line and grab a water.  There is a fenced in beer garden set up and normally your entry would be guaranteed by virtue of your: 1- wearing running gear,      2- sweating like a racehorse, 3- panting like a cheetah and 4 – your race bib.

But if you don’t have your Real ID or something similar you are turned away.  Fine.  Just fine.

I grab a bag of chips and leave.

Time is on my side anyway.

 

 

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The Summer Knows

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And not the title song from the movie ” Summer of ’42.”

As in the seasons know exactly when to change or at least they used to not too long ago.

It’s August 1st, July has been swept aside as the pennant races heat up post trade deadline and summer has taken on a decidedly different feel.  We’re settled in with heat and humidity and gardens are no longer sprouting and vegetables aren’t emerging anymore.  Everything that you’re going to get from your work in the dirt is already here.

Switching gears as I often do this post was inspired by me being out on a run yesterday through a tree lined and leafy neighborhood.  The shade was great.  It’s mid-summer and some trees have started to take notice of the shorter daylight hours by shedding leaves and bark, notably the Sycamores which are swinging into their usual summer pattern of getting ready for eventual autumn.

There are bark fragments everywhere along the curb and as mentioned above the seasons do know when to change.

As a long time runner and cross country veteran I’m dialed into summer running which leads to September miles followed by October races and November marathons.

I’m the last person to step on the accelerator in hopes of giving summer the bum’s rush out the door but I’m also a realist – I know what’s coming.

Sometime later this month and on into September the streets will be filled with fall marathoners getting in their needed miles before they test themselves over 26.2.  For some runners it will be too little too late in terms of building up mileage but a couple of extra miles never hurt anyone.

The summer knows what’s up, knows what’s coming and knows September is inevitable.

So do the Sycamores.

It’s Like A Heatwave

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Burnin’ in my heart… It got hot here last week and everyone lost their minds.

Sitting on my back steps one evening instead of relishing the sound of no lawnmowers and watching the lightning bugs do their thing I was worn down by the constant and incessant whrrrs of a half dozen window air conditioners all tossing hot air into my backyard.  I’m not a fan of AC.

I wait all year for some decent open all the windows in the house warm and fresh air and then we have to play ” Let’s pretend it’s not July” by closing up the house, the car, the supermarket, the coffee shop force feeding cold air down our backs.

In conclusion, all I can say is that you don’t have to shovel heat no matter how hot it gets.

Those Crazy, Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer

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Since we’re only a couple of days away from the first day of the summer of 2019 It’s time to nominate your choice for summer tune that we’ll all be singing ad nauseum even though we probably don’t know all the words.

Which brings me to this – When did the song of the summer become a thing?  I know it is now but when did we hold a referendum and decide we actually need an anthem for June, July and August?  I must have missed it on the news.

In my tadpole brain I remember songs that came out in the summer but no one song ever claimed the crown as ” Song of the Summer.”

Here are some titles in no particular order of importance but that still remind me of those hazy, lazy crazy days of summer.  Hint – There’s one for ya right now.

Somewhere in my early teens there was ” So in Love,” By The Tymes, ” California Girls” by The Beach Boys, ” A Summer Place” by Percy Faith.  I think The Letterman jumped on the tune after it was a hit and scored with a vocal version of the tune.  Either one works for me.

” Summer in the City” of course.  Was ” Up On The Roof” a summer tune?  Sure feels like it along with” Under The Boardwalk.”  I know that ” Groovin”  was.

How about ” Hot Fun in the Summertime” and that tune by Mungo Eddie, or Jerry or whatever his name was?

And then summer ceased to be three months with nothing to do as we all got summer jobs, went maybe to summer school and then stopped coming home from college for the summer and grew up.

Summer songs – Whaddya think?

 

 

The Best Father’s Day Present Ever

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First of all, is it Father’s Day, Fathers Day or Fathers’ Day?  Are we celebrating it singular or plural as a possesive, as in belonging to and to whom?  Me or all of us?

The best Father’s Day present ever happened a couple of years ago.

One of my kids was living and working in a major metropolitan area.  I knew he wasn’t getting much exercise so I told him, a Father’s Day, go and get yourself a bike.  It’s on me.

He did and it was the best Father’s Day present ever.

YT TeeVee

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If you watched the video I posted a few minutes ago you were no doubt slammed with ads imploring you to watch TV on a certain internet platform.

For the record I don’t watch TeeVee on TeeVee so I’m not about to watch it on my laptop or any other compatible device.

I’d like to thank whomever invented the mute button.  There’s a person who deserves a Grammy or Oskie or Tony and the gratitude of a grateful nation until someone else invents a way to disable the mute function.

Then that person will no doubt deserve an award ( see above) bestowed by the American Academy of Bestowers of such awards.

Time to see if the laptop floats.

 

 

That Rhythm Thing

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The proper title of  the blog is, as you know, Reading, Writing, Running and Rhythm with Rhythm as a nod toward my music career such as it is.

And as such Rhythm or music if you will has been neglected lately because as previously noted elsewhere that nothing seems to be funny anymore because everything that pours out of your devices at all hours of the day and night seems to be absurd to the point of ” It can’t get much stupider than this” but by golly somehow the bar continues to drop lower than a certain knucklehead’s approval rating and so here we are saying one thing today and cleaning it up tomorrow by saying we really didn’t mean to say what we said yesterday, what we meant to was this and this stands only until someone says something even more stupid than they did yesterday.  Got all that?

An exercise in one of the finer points of the all knowing, all seeing, all powerful Catch -22.  Even more powerful than that Wizard guy who really wasn’t a wizard after all but managed to bamboozle the townsfolk by spouting whatever it was he was spouting and the locals bought it hook, line and Horsefeathers which is a great movie by the Marx Brothers and comes highly recommended by your humble savant.

So the wizard is not really a wizard and just as the good citizens of Oz get wise he skips town as non-wizards pretending to be wizards are apt to do once their non- wizardness has been discovered.

If only…Which leads me for no particular reason other than I need some relief from the Sea of Madness ( Thanx Neil) and this song while not exactly a stairway to you know where is an oasis at midnight along the watchtower.  Before I twist myself into knots trying to be too cute for my own good here is the tune that gets me through.  Through what?

When I ask YT for a version of the tune this is the first one that pops up and with good reason.  Written by Messers Kern and Hammerstein.  It is the perfect song melodically and every other kind of lodically I can think of.  Ella is the best.  Maybe I should titled this piece simply as ” Ella is the Best.

To Weed or Not to Weed

Here’s the deal.

I live in a  modest house with a modest yard and a bumper crop of weeds.

For years upon years while I have lived here I have always savored October through May since the weeds were non-existent. In fact, when late September rolled around I gave up pulling weeds and let them have the run of the yard.  The growing season was over and the not growing season was hard upon us.

This year I have decided to be done as in done as in I ain’t pullin’ no more weeds anymore.

Here are the plusses – no watering, no mulching, we need all the oxygen we can get these days from green living and growing plants.

Also – Weeds are green, a pleasing color to be sure, some of them sport flowers and lovely names  – Queen Anne’s Lace anyone?  ( note to self – look her up).

One person’s weeds are another person’s greenery and ground cover.  And what makes it a weed anyway?  Are weeds inherently bad or evil?  Nope.

One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.

Yesterday’s Doughnuts

I seem to have my ears tuned to words and phrases you normally don’t hear spoken in the same sentence.  Take the title, for example.

I was loading out a show ( still being a stagehand and all) and I noticed a large flat box with about a half dozen doughnuts in a container that easily could hold twice that number.

Never one to pass up a free treat I asked no one in particular if those doughnuts had arrived today.  The reply from someone who knew was that they were Yesterday’s Doughnuts.

I draw a line at any food that’s been sitting out for over 24 hours but several of my fellow stagehands ( musicians are worse when it comes to free leftovers – I know, I speak from personal experience) apparently and in fact have no such compunctions as the remaining and day old doughnuts were gone by the time we loaded the truck and left the hall.

I mean it’s not like anyone was eating raw cookie dough or anything like that.  People eat raw fish and other not cooked seafood.

I do confess to one time at a load out after a party for the local hoi-polloi there was a stack of what we called “Seven Dollar Cupcakes.” As in seven bucks apiece at least.  We were looking at a hundred dollar stack of treats.  Stagehands tend to develop a keen sixth sense about what’s good, what’s not good, what is still edible and what’s not.

These cupcakes fell into the “We better eat these before the owners come back” category.

The pastries were only a couple of hours old and had been abandoned by their previous owners because those previous owners were way too drunk to remember their own names let alone how much really expensive food they had left behind.

Previous owners.  There’s another one.  Like previously owned cars.  Really.

Previously owned means used as in used cars.  Think of them as previously abused autos or previously enjoyed.

One more – At NASCAR races the teevee talkers will say that a driver or drivers involved in an on track mishap are taken to and checked out at the Infield Care Center.

It’s an EMERGENCY ROOM that’s what it is.  But Care Center sounds so much more benign and like something the gang in marketing cooked up.

” Yup, they loaded up Bobby Whomever in the ambulance and took him straight to the ER.”  Not good.

” Gave him a lift to the Care Center.”  There you go.  No muss, no fuss.

Finally, a brief conversation with a friend this afternoon.  The topic escapes me but the guy pleaded ignorance as in ignorance is bliss.

I say ignorance will not hold up in a court of law.  I used to watch ” Law and Order” and Perry Mason is back on the  tube.

And he says, this is a beaut, he says, ” How about a quart of beer?”

I got nothing.

I scramble, keg, ale, my mind is racing and eventually I end up at the Infield Care Center Emergency Room with a bad case of Yesterday’s Doughnuts.