A Week to Recuperate, and a little give-back

Newton Lake

Newton Lake Park, Camden County, New Jersey October 13, 2012.

It is now six days after Steamtown, and my legs are recovering.  The first two days were rough, with pain in the quads, which was particularly awful going down stairs or getting up after sitting for a bit.  But now the pain is essentially gone.  I’ve taken this week to slowly recuperate, and to get ready to put make another push to the next race.  I ran Wednesday, a mere three miles, and it felt smooth and easy.  Friday evening, in the dark, with a headlamp and reflector straps (yup, it’s that time of the year), I did a nice and easy six mile run.

Today, as a way of giving back to the church which allows us to use their facility for our monthly running club meetings for no charge, we held a “Grace Race”, named for the Grace Church of Haddonfield.  It is a 5K, and all the entry fees are donated to the church.  We hold the race at the beautiful Newton Lake Park, in Collingswood, in Camden County.  The race is over paved trails around the lake, and includes a pancake breakfast after the race for the runners and their families.

Runners starting to gather at the start.

Runners start to gather at the start, to sign up for the Grace Race.

This was the first really cool day of the fall.  There was actual frost on the ground this morning, and the large green leaves of the squash and zucchini plants in our garden, which have been so prolific this summer, turned gray and wilted.  I put on long tights and a long sleeve shirt, packed a back pack with a fleece, jacket and knit hat, put on gloves, and headed out to run to the race.  I was a volunteer for this race, and the extra clothes were to keep me warm while I stood and stopped traffic at one of the road crossings.  The temperature was a cool 30 degrees at the start, but would warm up to the mid 40’s when the sun came up.

Runners warming up.

Runners warming up before the race.

Dave S. getting a feel for the course.

Dave S. one of SJAC’s finest, gets a warm-up in.

The race went off at eight AM, still cool, but no wind.  The number signed up for the race was modest, but then, there are a lot of competing events at this time of year.  We were very happy to get the runners that we did.   This being a small race,  if you run, you’ll have a very good chance of getting a medal in your age group.

Newton Lake looking west.

Newton Lake, looking west.

Oddly, there were two runners who joined the race late.  So, after the bulk of the runners had passed my station, a woman came up to the road crossing, looking lost.  She said she was running the race, although it was perhaps ten minutes after the last runner had gone by, and this woman was not fleet of foot.  In fact she looked like she was going to take some time to get through the course.  Still later, a few minutes after she ran by, one of our club members who is a fast runner came up to the crossing, and started to head up the return path.  “Tom”, I yelled.  “Are you running this thing?”  “Yes”.  “Well you’re going the wrong way.”   I got Tom back on track, but knew he would have no trouble catching at least the slower runners of the main group.

Ducks in the pond.

Ducks doing what ducks do, swimming.

As it turned out, our trailing female runner did get a bit off the route, was directed back on, and finished, well behind the rest, but she finished.  She was sweating, and clearly had put some effort into the run.  She got a hearty round of applause, a finishers certificate, and she had someone take a photo of her at the finish line.  It turns out it was her first 5K ever.  She’s signed up for another in Atlantic City in a week or two, and she said she would get to the start line on time, next time.

Vapor Trail

A vapor trail in sharp relief against the clear blue sky.

We then moved on to the hall where the pancakes were waiting, along with sausage, coffee, tea, orange juice, and trophies or medals for most.  Volunteers from the church flipped flapjacks and grilled the sausages at the Mason’s Lodge in Collingswood.  As the runners and their families ate and talked, Brandon, SJAC president presented the awards.

Jim F. at the awards table

Hmmmm, it says here he’s sixteen, but he doesn’t look it. Ed, check the numbers.

Jim F. scores.

Ah, that’s more like it, 46 and still a medal winner.

Tory scores.

Tory T. walks off with a nice memento.

The kids in the hall.

A finer group of guys you couldn’t find. They’ll help you drag your truck out of a ditch any time. They’re enjoying the breakfast at the Mason’s Lodge.

So, that’s how it went Saturday, Oct. 13, 2912, six days after Steamtown, still in recovery mode, but soon to get cracking again.  It was good to give back to the nice folks at the Grace Church for allowing us the use of their hall.  It was a beautiful, sunny, crisp fall day, and everyone had a good time.  On the way home (running, naturally), I stopped at the Collingswood farmers market, to enjoy the last look of the season at the fall vegetables.  I picked up a couple of really interesting egg plants, $0.75 each, and now will try to figure out their best use.

Frank

Eggplants

Sicilian-style eggplants from the farmers market in Collingswood. They’re about 9 inches long, and purple with white streaks.

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