THE DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

Whenever the end of July rolls around, and temperatures are soaring like they're nobody's business, I can't help but be reminded of that old phrase the “dog days of summer.” It conjures up visions of an old coon dog lying on the front porch of a country farmhouse, panting feverishly. And beside him his master sits in a wicker rocking chair, glass of lemonade in hand, his ribbed white tank top dripping with sweat as he rapidly fans himself. Something perhaps right out of a Mark Twain novel.

As I look around the Hudson Valley today, I see the loosestrife (that purple plant that rims every place in sight where standing water rests) beginning to pop out as it does every year about this time, and I know that the heart of the summer has arrived. And on TV, the Weather Channel warns us of the next approaching tropical storm, occasionally telling us how this one has the potential to be “another Katrina.” And in the 10-day forecast, we find ourselves longing for a day whose high temperature is only in the low-80s.

These are the days that can challenge some runners the most. For even though the vast majority of us don't run in the mid-day sun during this time of year, temperatures and humidity in the early morning or late evening can easily make it seem more like you just stepped out of the shower rather than engaged in your favorite athletic pastime. I recall a 5K race in August of last year that took place at night – 6:00pm, I believe. Many of you probably know the race I'm talking about. It was the most God-awful-hot race I have ever run !!

Long before I even turned the last corner and saw the finishing clock, I was looking for the man with the rifle who would shoot me dead rather than let me keep running in that prostrating heat.

So as you continue your racing and training through these extra-warm months, be mindful of what the heat and humidity can do to your body. Try to run early or late in the day if possible, and better still, do it in the shade if you can find any. And remember to hydrate, not only during your run, but beforehand as well. The last thing I would want is for any of us to become a casualty of our own pleasurable endeavors. Yes indeed, these are the dog days of summer for sure, my friends.

In case some of you were unaware, the club recently held its 2nd annual Walk Party over in Fancher-Davidge Park in Middletown . You'll read a little more about it in the pages that follow. But I did want to report that we had 72 registered participants this year, a 30% growth over last year's event. And with the hard work of many of the volunteers and committee members, the event returned proceeds that were a great delight to yours truly.

So in keeping with our “dog days” theme, the ORC has donated over half of the net revenues from the Walk Party ($300, to be exact) to the Newburgh SPCA,, which was recently covered in the Times Herald-Record as having made the decision to become a “no-kill” facility. I'm particularly proud of the club's board members for readily supporting the donation to this important cause, and I am of the solid opinion that this sentiment runs just as strongly throughout our general membership. I wanna give thanks to all who participated, and to those who gave their time and energies to the Walk Party. It was truly an enjoyable day, and it is my great desire to see next year's edition combine our acknowledgement of the walking community with our support of animal causes in a new and even greater way!

So as we settle firmly into the dog days, I encourage you all to make the most of your Summer running, while at the same time enjoying your vacations, or extra time with the children while they are out of school, or whatever it is that makes you happy and fulfilled. Stay cool, and by all means, keep running !

Todd Jennings
ORC President