Sunday, April 11, 2010

Good Day for a Run

 I ran in the 42nd Annual Ron Hebert Road Race, an 8-mile race through Florence and Williamsburg.  I almost chickened out and didn't do it, because I was intimidated by the hills, like the one heading into Williamsburg on Route 9 by the driving range, and the hill on North Farms Road.  But I didn't.  And while I wasn't first, I did finish in the top 50.  That's right, you're talking to the 49th finisher.  Of course, the official results may not show that, because the part of the number that gets torn off after you cross the finish line, which had my name on it, was pinned on my sweaty shirt, so the pertinent information was washed away.  I was too tired to stick around to see what kind of a back up system they had in place. 

It was a beautiful day for a run, and the breeze helped immensely.  And I must say, I really liked how I was greeted at the finish line: the race director shook my hand, congratulated me, and gave me a pair of gym socks. 

Here's a picture of my sweaty shirt, my number, and my prized socks.

Here's a picture of me actually running.  Check out those buff, white legs.  I asked the photographer to wait until I was in front of the blossoms. I think it was the right choice. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Driving to a Standstill

I grew up in New Jersey, the most densely populated state in the country.  And I grew up in a pretty crowded area of New Jersey, where many times it seemed like cars outnumbered people, and where traffic jams weren't called traffic jams, they were just called the daily commute.  So I know traffic.  And I can tell you that yesterday's mob of cars throughout Northampton and Easthampton--and other towns--was some pretty impressive traffic. 

It turns out that the state's decision to close a lane of traffic on I-91 south to pour some concrete on the Friday of a holiday weekend wasn't the best one.  I will give credit where credit was due and say there was plenty of notice about it--I heard announcements on the radio and there was a front-page article about it in the Daily Hampshire Gazette--but that doesn't really provide much solace when you're stuck in traffic. 

Let's face it: being stuck in traffic sucks, and I've found the rarity of such an occurrence has been a major benefit of  living in the valley.  But because I'm not used to it, when it does happen, it makes it seem that much worse.  And I didn't have it that bad: while the traffic was slow from Easthampton to Northampton, I was heading north when most of the trouble was headed the opposite way.  There are a lot of people much more upset about it than I was, and that always makes me feel better. 

Here's my nominee for the least surprising quote in the Gazette's story about the traffic (emphasis added): "The root cause of the traffic, according to Maureen Glenn of the State Police in Northampton, was the closure of a southbound lane so workers could pour concrete near the East Street Bridge in Easthampton. Glenn said the site had been cleared by 5:30 p.m., far later than the Massachusetts Department of Transportation intended to have the lane closed."