Firecracker 4 -- 07/04/04
Happy Independence Day!
Happy 4th of July!

Dragged myself out of bed this morning, trying to wake up. Realized it was the 4th of July, stumbled downstairs to have a cup of coffee, put up the new flag I had bought last week. Had breakfast, fixed coffee for Nancy and Jill and brought it up to them.

Jill came down, ate a dish of cereal and read the comics section of the Sunday paper. I had a second cup of coffee while reading some of the newspaper. Okay, time to get ready for the race. Jill must have already gone upstairs to change. Nope -- she had gone back to bed. I woke her up, went and changed into running shoes and shorts, brushed my teeth, came back along the hallway to her room. She was sound asleep again. Woke her up again. She said she was too tired and sleepy, just couldn't cope with it. Okay, I'll pick up her souvenir t-shirt for her, I have to hurry now to get to the race.

I parked a couple of blocks away and jogged to the race site in front of Camire's Running Soles store (the race being the annual Camire's Firecracker 4-Miler -- a four mile run for the 4th of July), pinned on my race number, picked up our t-shirts (very nice looking black short-sleeved shirts), jogged back to put the shirts in the car, jogged back to the race area, this time to the starting area where runners were already gathering on the street behind the shops. Met my brother-in-law Tom there. He often runs this race; we have run it together, but based on the last couple of race we have run together, my pace has slowed too much for me to keep up with him beyond a mile or two. (I have definitely got to work on improving my general fitness, but especially my speed, I have become so much slower.)

The starter spoke very briefly about Roger Camire, the founder of this race. Nobody who ever met Roger will ever forget his enthusiasm for life and his love of running.

It was a pretty good run for me except for a brief error just past the half way point -- volunteers were handing out cups of water just past the two mile mark and I felt some sharp left knee pain just as I was getting my cup of water -- I walked a few paces (okay, limped a few paces) and then started jogging again, but my concentration was on my knee and I was running along looking down -- until I finally looked up and saw nobody in front of me and turned to look behind me and realized that at a fork in the road I had followed the right fork when I should have gone left (clearly marked by a series of orange plastic traffic cones) -- so I had to retrace a block or so. Duh! So that added at least a minute to my time, although that is not really a problem because I was not exactly doing competitive racing.

Anyway, eventually I reached the finish line -- forty-one minutes and fifty-four seconds after the start. Okay, subtract a minute or so for being off-course, etc., that still means I averaged a bit over ten minutes per mile for a four mile run. Yuck. So, when I describe myself as jogging more than real running, you can see what I mean. Still, I was pretty good about working out during the entire month of June, only missed a few days. And I did get in a five mile run (okay, jog) along East Matunuck State Beach last Thursday, so I'm beginning to get some endurance. Once I get my general fitness and endurance tweaked up just a bit more, I can start thinking about trying to get some speed back. If, that is, my knees hold out.

Jeremy had moved his weight bench from the basement up to his room -- I have missed it enough that I was thinking about buying one for myself to put in the basement, but then he rearranged his room again and brought the weight bench back down -- except he has not put it back together. Several years ago -- oh, okay, about fifteen years ago -- I was having knee problems just like today and my doctor told me to do leg exercises. I'm going to have to get back to doing that.

Ended up getting together with Tom and Janet and their girls and Mike and Liz at Nancy's mother's house for dinner. Jill came along (Jeremy was working -- he's worked almost every possible hour this weekend) and then we left early to go to the fireworks. Well, not quite. Jill went to the fireworks in North Kingstown with her boyfriend. Nancy was feeling too tired (she says that watching the Federer-Roddick match at Wimbledon on TV had exhausted her) but I was not about to miss the South Kingstown fireworks, so I drove into town and parked on Main Street about a mile from the park (Old Mountain Field) where the fireworks were.

They were great! As usual, the crowd seemed to feel that this was the best display. I am amazed at what a really first class display our little town manages to put on each year. The actual best display might have been in Newport tonight because the Queen Mary 2 was anchored there and the shipping line had donated twenty thousand dollars to Newport to improve the display for the benefit of their passengers (yes, and isn't there something ironic in an English shipping company paying for an upgraded celebration of the breaking away of an English colony?) -- but I was very pleased with the South Kingstown display.

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