Fireworks and 5ks -- 09/03/11

Independence Day has always been celebrated with fireworks. The very first anniversary was celebrated with fireworks (Congress even authorized a fireworks display in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777). John Adams had written to his wife that the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 "will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."

However, that was Independence Day. Why do people set off fireworks on a Saturday night of Labor Day weekend? Yes, I know: Because they have them.

Also for Bastille Day and Memorial Day and Halloween and Thanksgiving and Yom Kippur, etc... A few minutes ago the people in the house behind us set off a lot of Roman candles and small rockets and a whole variety of various noisy stuff. Tiger got down from his chair looking out his favorite window at night in our front yard and, at first, I thought he was afraid and was going to hide behind my chair -- but he kept going, under my desk, out into the hall, through the dining room, and sat down by the screen door leading to our back deck. I guess he was curious about all the noise.

Tomorrow Nancy and I are going to another family wedding (it was a niece up in Vermont last weekend -- this will be a nephew in Westchester County). I've got my tuxedo all set (formal attire was requested for males and that was no problem for me since I have my own). Jeremy is also going to a different wedding on the same day. He is a groomsman for a friend of his (and, thus, he has had to rent a tux). So I guess we'll both be very elegant tomorrow, just at different weddings.

I've not done any running in a couple of weeks -- dancing, walking, hiking, lawn-moving, grass-raking (oh my goodness, did we have leaves and small branches all over our lawn after Irene!) and all that, but no running. So today I did my three-and a half-mile out-and-back course on the bike path, alternating running and walking: run a mile, walk 3/4, run another mile, walk 1/4, run 1/2. It all felt pretty good. There is a hill in that last half mile and I did not walk it. I'll try to get a couple of three mile runs in during the week (and other workouts in between).

Next Saturday I have entered a 5k run in North Kingstown (for the 2nd year in a row they are billing it as "the official tune-up 5k" for the CVS 5k in Providence). I did it last year -- my first attempt at a 5k following my Achilles tendon and hernia surgery. This year I would hope to run a little bit better than last year. Then, eight days later, on September 18th, comes the CVS 5k. I've been running that race for years. My first try at it was in 2000. It seems funny to read that entry, to read about hoping to get my 5k time back down below 25 minutes. My lifetime personal best 5k was around 21:42 or so (that is, at a 6:59 per mile pace). That had been a number of years before that and I was hoping that if I put some effort into training, I could run a 5k with a pace faster than eight minutes per mile. Now <sigh> I daydream of being able to get my pace below 10 minutes per mile.

In theory I should be able to do it. There is a website (thanks to Dr. Ray Fair of Yale University) where you can input your lifetime personal best time (for running or swimming -- or your ranking as a chess player) at a younger age and get a prediction for the kind of result you would get at your present age (or at some future age) given appropriate training and practice. The charts say that if I work at it, I should still be able to run a 5k faster than 10 minutes per mile (actually -- in theory -- down under 9:40) but I have to work at it. (That's part of the problem -- after running, my bunions -- both feet -- can really hurt, so no daily runs.)

Ah well, who ever said getting old was easy...

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