Well, it was more like 39 hours. We (being my sister and her husband, as we were down to tackle pre-Christmas prep) arrived around 3:30am after traveling from Boston after work and hitting up the Boulevard Diner (yes, it is as awesome as it looks) in Worcester. After catching a few hours of sleep we were up and headed to another diner (the Blairstown Diner of Friday the 13th fame) to fuel up on coffee and a fantastic Jersey breakfast prior to getting our Christmas tree.
There is a checklist of a few things that are absolute requirements that I have when I go home: bagels, Taylor’s Ham, and Yuengling(there is a much longer list of non-essentials including Cliff’s Ice Cream, Krogh’s Nut Brown Ale, building a crackling fire, going swimming, reading on an Adirondack chair, etc that depend on the season and how much time I’m home. Usually I can kill the bagel and Taylor’s Ham birds with one stone by getting a Taylor’s Ham (which in Jersey-speak is just Taylor Ham), egg, and cheese sandwich from Bagels on the Hill. However, this time around I needed to piece things together with a delicious, and I’m certain heart clogging, THEC sandwich from the diner.
Afterwards we headed up to Race farm, found the Kimmerer Family Tree and headed home for a much needed nap. That night we attended a close friend’s 25th Birthday Prom. Jenna never had the chance to attend her prom in high school, so her boyfriend, our great friend Nick, finally attended to that gaping hole in her life. It wound up being an impromptu 1980’s prom. I didn’t get that memo – I wore the same tux I did to my senior prom back in the day. For a tuxedo from the mid-1950’s, it’s holding up pretty well and I’m getting some serious mileage out of it.
The next day I knew I needed to catch up on running as I was not able to attend this week’s RFR Saturday run. If you’re familiar with my experience running the weekend of my sister’s wedding, the area if grew up in is hilly, like really hilly. Knowing this, I plotted an eight mile run knowing it would feel much longer. That and I also didn’t want to tackle any intense inclines and aggravate my tendon. I also have a love/hate relationship with my hometown. I loved growing up on Lake Hopatcong, the summers were truly magical. Looking back, I feel Tom Sawyer had nothing on the adventures I had in the summer growing up on the lake. I loved the proximity to NJ’s only ski resort. I loved the snow in the winter, the sledding on my hill, ice skating in front of my dock. I loved autumn adventures chasing Weird NJ excusrions and the excitement of spring thunderstorms. What I don’t love are the roads. In high school distance runners at my school always walked around with ice packs strapped to their legs like organic growths. I always attributed this to the distances they were running and lessened my desire to run anything longer than half a lap even stronger. On this run, though, I discovered the truth – it wasn’t how they trained but where. The roads of Hopatcong are custom made to entice injury. The roads are intensely crowned. When they aren’t crowned they are extraordinarily uneven. I literally ran from one side of the road to the other back and forth trying to find decent ground and couldn’t. My left leg took the brunt of the trauma and slowly I was slipping in to shin splints. Knowing taking on Hopatcong in a grudge match I would lose, I turned it into a slow jog down memory lane. I went to my old high school track (as a reprieve from the road). Along Lakeside Blvd. where I could see the yacht club. I ran up through Elba to the ‘octagon’, a defunct tennis club that once had an octagon shaped building that I used to do BMX riding around the old courts. I ran past this (the most ridiculous) house on the lake that once belonged to an old friend’s family. Then, I ran home. I had the chance to grab lunch and catch up with my best friend at Korgh’s in Sparta (and yes, had my Nut Brown Ale) before heading back up to Boston yesterday evening.
It was a whirlwind weekend. But a really good whirlwind. I’m looking forward to getting out on the nice, even roads of Brookline where cars let you cross at crosswalks and shin splints are cruel myths.
Oh, yeah, and I was able to import two cases on Yuengling back to Boston. $15.00 a case. Tell me where I’m wrong.