Monday, November 5, 2018

Run the Bridge

The first Sunday in November seems to be a popular date to hold races. The first Sunday in November is when we turn the clocks back an hour. Coincidence? I think not.

A couple of my favorite fall races, both of which I was a legacy runner, did not happen this year. Both the Perfect 10 Miler and the Trenton Half Marathon/10K decided to change their focus. That left me without a long-distance race in the fall. In October we ran BAA's Half Marathon, but I still wanted another race. Someone mentioned Run the Bridge to Don, and the rest is history.

Run the Bridge is a 10k race across the Ben Franklin Bridge in Camden, NJ. Even though this was their first year not being able to finish in Campbell Park, it felt like a very well-run race. They have the same "hurry-up-and-wait" philosophy that is prevalent among larger races. The start time was 8:30 AM, but roads would be closed starting at 7 AM, so you have to get there early. They gathered everyone on Rutgers sports field at 7:45 AM so we could walk together to the start. We waited on the closed Ben Franklin Bridge for at least 20 minutes before we heard "Ready ... Set ... <gun shot>." 

That was my only complaint.

Personally, though, my day did not start off well. The night before I ushered at Kelsey to be able to see my niece and nephew (Aimee and Hayden) in "Beauty and the Beast." It was a great show, but we did not get home until around 11 PM. Grateful for the time change since 5 AM rolled around mighty early.

After picking up our bib and shirt (love that we could do day of packet pick-up) I tripped over a loose brick and landed hard on my hands and left knee, hard enough for bruises and blood. I was reminded of the year I twisted my ankle during the Perfect 10 Miler and kept on running. 

The weather was great for running. It was 45 degrees at the start, with zero
wind. Going into the day I was concerned about running across a bridge in the wind. I was also worried because the bridge looks so steep when you are on the ground.

We lined up at 8:10 AM with the walkers behind us. If you ever spectate for this race, I recommend signing up to walk the bridge. No medal, and you can walk the bridge for free, but the people walking the bridge looked like they were having fun taking group pictures and cheering for their runners. I think the cost was $25, which went to the Larc School. A win for everyone.

With the scuffed knee and sore ankles and tired body, my plan was to take the hill (I mean bridge) easy and not worry about time. Instead I found the bridge was easy. I locked in with runners running my pace from the start (often there is a lot of jostling for position at the start to get people with the same pace together). I went into autopilot -- which never happens. I managed to run all but the water stops and final hill and take 74 pictures while keeping a steady 11-minute a mile pace. I should verify this, but I believe this was a PR for me. 

The field where we started and ended the event.

Lisa carrying the flag in honor of service men and women.

Back to the race. It starts with 1.5 miles of running towards Philadelphia on the Ben Franklin Bridge. At the half-way point, people cheered "WELCOME TO PHILLY!" Before getting to the other side of the bridge, we turned around. At this point we were nearly half-way done. We had 3.2 miles left to the finish line.

At the half-mile mark I heard Don behind me commenting about the race. I was too focused on not tripping in the grooves left by cars in the macadam. When we crested the bridge at the 2/3 of a mile mark I turned behind me to say something to Don, only to realize he was behind me. When we got to the turn around I checked on him, but he said to keep going and have fun. So I did.

The race took us through some uninspiring streets of Camden, NJ. We did pass the Battleship New Jersey. Just past the 4-mile water stop I tripped on something, but did not fall! Lisa, a woman carrying an American flag, asked me if I needed any nutrition. She noted my footsteps sounded heavier than they had before. I thanked her, and tried to lighten my steps.

Around the 5-mile mark this mountain appeared. Okay, it wasn't a mountain, but might as well have been. I heard runners talking about this before the start of the race, but can't say that made me like it any more. I walked up it. Ran until the next mound. Walked up that. Ran to the finish. When I saw I could finish before 1:10, I sprinted to the finish line with a smile. 

I waited for Don.

The big difference between my race and Don's race I think was attire. I left my sweatshirt in the car and ran wearing a t-shirt, capris, and a running skirt (mostly for pockets and the cute factor). Don wore three different shirts and long pants and even wore gloves part of the time. He could not find his stride or his weather comfort zone. 

My stats:

Paceage|plcAge Groupsex|plc
17361323JACQUELYN PILLSBURYLAWRENCEVILL NJ49F1:09:421:08:4311:01119|182F4549977|1423

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Halloween on Thompson Street 2018

A few years ago our friend Cathi told us about how Thompson Street in Bordentown goes all out for Halloween. My favorite (so far) was their 2015 theme of Alice in Wonderland. In 2016 the theme was Spiders. Last year it was pirates. The basic gist of the story is the two men at the top of the one-way street come up with a theme and share that with their neighbors. Most, but not all, participate by decorating their homes. The Mummers parade up and down and up and down ... the street. Homeowners pass out oodles of candy. It turns into a giant block party where everyone is welcome, even if they are not from Bordentown.

I went in the afternoon to satisfy my curiosity. The theme this year is Storybook Witches. These ranged from Hansel and Gretel, to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to Sleeping Beauty and so on. Though the originators do not micromanage the theme, there was only one repeat (Hansel and Gretel). 

The weather was lovely. It was still in the 60's after the sun went down. One homeowner predicted they would have at least 4,000 visitors to their tiny street, even though Halloween fell on a Wednesday this year. has great pictures from the event, including one of Frank Rios (from the lead house) parading with his Mummers group, the Uptown Mummers string band. I wondered why the mummers came to their street. That answers that question.

As at least one home's display was still under construction midday, Don and I went back after dinner to see the final production. We arrived around 8:30, as much of the crowd was going home and after the Mummers parade was over. Last year we went during the parade, and that was insane. We were both glad to be a little later this year.

For those of you who did not have a chance to visit, here are my pictures from the event.

Hansel and Gretel

It can't hurt to ask

Broom Parking

The other Hansel and Gretel

Harry Potter

Sleeping Beauty

"Only" 210 carved pumpkins this year. In the past it was closer to 1,000.

The views at night.

Wizard of Oz

Crime Scene Witch


\Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel

You, too, could live here.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail

A couple of weeks ago Don and I went on a Fall Foliage hike at the Delaware Water Gap. By sheer luck, we crossed the Appalachian Trail, a fact Don knew, but was news to me.

Let me back up. A month earlier Don and his co-workers hiked trails in this area, but not the exact same trails. We arrived a little later on a really pretty fall day, so we ended up parking further away at the Farview Parking Lot, near where I-80 crosses the Appalachian Trail. We hiked for a few hours in THIS general area, along the Beulahland Trail to the Appalachian Trail to the Red Dot Trail, and back again for fear of taking too long and not being home in time to take Ashley to her friend's house.

It turns out we were about two to three weeks early for seeing fall foliage. That said, last weekend it poured. This weekend is peak in New Jersey, but it is damp, colder, and the sun is hiding behind thick cloud coverage. On the day we went, it was in the 50's and the air had that crisp autumn feel.

Don is much faster at hiking than I am. That should come as no great surprise since he is also a faster runner and cyclist than I am. Fortunately I was able to convince him to hike near me so we could spend time together. Next time, though, he'd prefer the company of his faster co-workers.

The walking stick I found on the trail

 As we started the hike I found this walking stick someone abandoned. It was just what I needed to help me stay steady. My idea of "hiking" is walking and running along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail.

After the hike we went to the Visitor's Center and checked out the Delaware River so we could wave to Pennsylvania. Don is thinking of adding kayaking to his list of athletic skills. I'll stick with running.

Even only hiking a mile (or so) of the Appalachian Trail, I gained a new appreciation for those who hike the entire length in a season. Definitely not one of my dream items.