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.

 

 

The Long Shadows

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Out for a run this afternoon.

Sun was out and shining brightly and casting long, long shadows where there never were shadows a few weeks ago.

I’m happy for myself I noticed them and even happier that the mental note I stashed away during mile 2 stayed with me long enough to remember and mark this little observation.

Long shadows and as leaves fall and get swept away the shadows get longer and thinner.

Nice to notice changes.

A Cloudy Day

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Yesterday was cool and cloudy and pretty much right in line with what the weather is supposed to be in the middle of October.

When I looked out my window and saw the grey sky I thought well, let’s just deal with this and get on with it.

But then a thought hit me and probably because the last 7 months have been hell I decided to go with the day and embrace it.

Summer is long gone and sometimes I wonder if it was ever here.

Fall is a transition season, really, all the seasons are transitions but summer seems to be the one where the world stays the same from late June until late August. Warm and sunny most everyday.

Autumn is a season on the move. We know, we can sense when it starts and we’ll know in our bones when it’s over and winter has arrived.

By the end of fall when winter is a knock, knock, knocking on our door we’ll feel as though we’re staring into a 6 month abyss of abysmal something or other. I couldn’t find a word that would tie into the abyss/abysmal theme.

Winter lands and stays put until spring training opens in Florida and Arizona for the national pastime. That’s when hope springs eternal. It does not spring eternal on December 1st.

In embracing cloudy days I’m getting ready to welcome the end of fall and invite winter in since it’s going arrive whether we like it or not.

Maybe acceptance is the nugget I’m going for in this stream of electronic words.seasons

2020 Here

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Hi all, 2020 here and I’m going set the record straight.

Look. I was just in the queue of years waiting my turn patiently I might add when the you know what hit the you know what and everyone started blaming it on me.

Viruses, hurricanes, droughts, wildfires, politicians and on and on.

I am an innocent bystander.

You could have stopped or slowed the virus but what did you do? You played games with the truth saying was no worse than the flu. You had time to get restrictions and testing onto place and what did you do?

Somehow you thought impeaching your governor was going to make things better. Guess what.

You’ve had years upon years of warning about the climate. Is it my fault the oceans are warmer and the droughts are longer and the rains when they come amount to a years worth in some places and it lands in 36 hours? Don’t hang that one on me.

My point is this – I showed up on time and I’ll be gone in two and half months. 2021 is sitting in the wings in horror and terrified of how you’ll treat him or her or it.

We’re innocent bystanders to the mess you’ve made.

So really, get your acts together and stop blaming someone else.

The Almost Last Perfect Day of the Year for Running

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If you run cross country or if you ran cross country you know all about October. You know about who didn’t run all summer because they are rounding into shape too late for the championship races.

You know how weather can be changeable and fickle and you know how the air smells and how the leaves crunch under your feet at this special time the year and the cross country season.

Today, in these parts, it was warm and sunny with a moderate warm breeze which I think they call a zephyr out west.

The thing about the last almost perfect day is that no one tells you when it has happened. The temperate days for running are drawing an end.

In chatting with a neighbor during the late morning we both remarked how beautiful the day was turning out to be. She asked if I was going run.

I told her that my Runners Club of America card would be revoked if I did not take advantage of a day like today.

So I laced up and ran. Instead of listening music or books on tape or a podcast or whatever else people listen to when they run I ran sans headphone as I always do.

And that’s when the Last Almost Perfect Day though hit me right between the eyes.

You don’t know when the Last Almost Perfect Day will be. I guess there are a lot of things that don’t know that are the last time will be either.

I’m going to go off into the weeds here because today’s run inspired me to take a deeper look at the world and my place in it.

Face it – We’re all just specks in the great scheme of things although sometimes we tend to think we are specks in control it’s obvious we are not.

Covid 19.

I’m out there running and sweating and striding and dodging traffic and waving at dogs, it was a great day to be a dog although I suspect every day is a great day to be a dog.

How do I know if today, October 15th will be the last almost perfect day to run? I don’t. No idea.

The day was given to me and I used it well. I’d like to think I did.

There’s a line in a Tom Rush song that goes ” We are only Stardust.” And Joni’s “Woodstock.” ” We are stardust, golden…”.

CSN&Y took that tune and killed it. Both versions tell a story and move you from point A to point B.

Off topic here but rounding third and heading for home.

The almost last perfect day might have been today.

I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

Put Down Your Phone, Now, I Said Now!

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This might fall into the rage writing category or at the very least the ” Old Man Yells at Cloud” school of thinking.

In any case kudos to the person who invented the term ” Doom Scrolling.” There aren’t enough kitten and puppy videos being produced lately so let’s get on it shall we?

I spent a good deal of the late, lamented and too soon gone summer on my front porch either, A – Playing my guitar, B – Reading a book or the local newspaper, C – Listening to the local nine on the radio play the national pastime or any combination of A or B and or C.

Which bring us, me and you dear reader to the point of the title of this piece.

You don’t see the word phone anywhere in my porch activities. But what I did notice was all manner of dog walkers, stroller pushers and even bicycle riders furiously engaged with their cellular telephones while riding or walking or jogging or pushing strollers.

One phone dog walker person deserves special mention.

She would walk right past my house and me with her daughter who was holding the leash of their dog, The kid had the dog and the Mom had the phone.

Mom never looked up while walking spending all her time not relating to her kid or the dog.

As one who has kids that are grown and gone I wanted to send her a wake up call and tell her that she’ll never have the summer of 2020, good or bad, with her daughter again.

It’s over, gone, deleted like that last text.

There are things and times you can’t get back.

See if you can spot the problem here:

Man riding bike – No helmet.

Man riding bike, no helmet with dog on leash.

Man riding bike no helmet with two dogs on leashes.

Man riding bike with no helmet, two dogs on leashes in traffic.

Man riding bike with no helmet, two dogs, in traffic and texting.

See title above.

Momma Don’t Understand It

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Points and prizes if you can give me the tune from I’ve swiped that line. Well, no points or prizes but you do win an award for having the sort of memory that can recall a phrase from a song that’s 50 years old and you probably haven’t heard either in 50 years.

Meanwhile you’ve misplaced your phone, keys, wallet, glasses and so on.

But that’s not why I’m writing this.

This is about driving slowly down a country road.

An unpaved road, dirt and gravel.

When I was a kid we used to visit my uncle’s place in Jersey and he lived on a dirt road. His house was on a dirt road, my uncle did not live on the why don’t we do it in the road?

On order to keep down the dust the county or township or boro would send a tank truck filled with oil and the truck would spray oil on the dirt to minimize dust clouds.

I don’t think or at least I hope they don’t do that anymore. Seems like a really bad idea.

The next time you find yourself on a gravel stretch of road I suggest the following if it’s at all practical.

Stop the car, roll down all windows and roll along at about 3 miles an hour. You’ll hear music.

Fat soft rubber rolling on pieces of hard stone.

We’re all so used to hearing our cars barrel down asphalt and concrete streets that tire noise becomes just that – Tire Noise which might have been a good title for this piece.

I would have be some sort of natural born fool to wanna pass this way again.

Once Upon a Time in New Hampshire

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A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of spending a few days in New Hampshire with friends both guitar playing and non guitar playing.

When I got home someone asked me what I did up there for that long weekend.

I said ” We played music, ate good bread and drank strong coffee.”

Yep, that about covers it.

Also, I slept pretty well in that late summer mountain air.

Reckless Abandon

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This popped into my head yesterday and I was sure it was going be the germ of a great and revolutionary idea but the entire train of thought seems to have left the station without me.

Reckless Abandon is also the title of an album by David Bromberg who, if he is not, should be one of your guitar heroes. I just dialed up the album on You Tube which is where I get my music these days.

I used to use Pandora but since I tend to listen to Frank Sinatra a lot I was constantly inundated with ads for annuities and prostate relief medicine. I guess in their little twisted algorithm minds Frank equals old so goodbye to all that.

You know you get comfortable with a certain style or format of website and then they change the whole thing up on you with different colors and things not being where they used to be and adding new features you didn’t know you needed and didn’t really want in the first place anyway. FB are listening (spying)?

Back to Reckless Abandon which will hereinafter be referred to as RA so’s I don’t misspell either word time after time because my fingers are faster than my brain anymore.

My original RA thought was was that I am going start jotting down random thoughts instead of relying on a faded and faulty memory to save my ass.

Also, I seem have this avalanche of stress that needs to have a release and I”m finding it in these pages or whatever this little screen is called these days.

I suppose that RA could be misconstrued as Rheumatoid Arthritis by some smart alecky medical algorithm or some website trolling old people looking to sell them something for what ails ya.

RA seems to be taking me along a path of reckless abandon or seen another way I might be abandoning recklessness in which the circle will not be broken or as the original lyrics state will the circle be unbroken.

Too much or not enough coffee.

A Runner who Runs

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Yeah, it’s an odd title but I’m trying to catch the reader’s eye, ear, nose, whatever.

Trying to be obtuse and flashy right out of the gate – attention grabbing as they say.

I am that runner who runs and today on a 6 miler (pats self on back) I ran up a hill past a house that was sporting a Biden/Harris lawn sign.

It struck me that 4 years ago I ran up the same hill and there was a Hilary Clinton For President lawn sign in just about the same location.

I made a note to call that hill Hilary Hill and here we are four years later The hill now becomes Biden/Harris Hill.

In other news I keep getting texts from a reprehensible state politician who sends me campaign literature along with a picture of himself asking if he can count on my support.

I text back the word No or Nope.

I’m open to suggestions as to what I should tell this guy the next time I get an unsolicited text,