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Archive for the ‘The Long Run’ Category

Like many New Yorkers, I tried to just go about my business this Sunday, September 11th, and my business on Sunday was to get my longest run of this training cycle done. The goal was 20 miles, I made it 19.25 before I called it a day. I feel pretty good about that.

 

Inspired by long distance voyager, I’m on a mission to run the big bridges of the city, this Sunday’s run was geared toward hitting one of the big dawgs – the Queensboro (aka the 59th St Bridge). To do that, I left my place, headed through Bed Stuy, Williamsburg, and Greenpoint and on up to the Pulaski Bridge.

 

Manhattan as seen from the Pulaski Bridge

I hadn’t run on the Pulaski since I the New York Marathon in 2006. The Pulaski’s a small drawbridge nowhere near the size of the big east river bridges, but it has its charm. It crosses over the Newtown Creek in the heart of industrial Queens. Like much of New York, isn’t much to look at, but it gets the job done. There are no tourists, just a couple of bikers, some polish kids, and me. I love this bridge.

 

Queensboro

After the Pulaski was the bridge of a thousand broken dreams in the New York Marathon – the Queensboro. For me, this was where the wheels came off in my running of the New York Marathon and I wasn’t alone. Many a marathoner begin to feel the pain on the uphill section of the Queensboro. It’s a testament to how far I’ve come in my running that I cruised across this bad boy in no time, stopping only to take these pictures for you.

 

The View from the Queensboro

It was a grey day in the city. The ceremony honoring those who died in the World Trade Center was going on downtown, but as I cruised down the east side of Manhattan, it seems like any other Sunday and I thought about that day ten years ago. I was on the Q Train about to go over the Manhattan Bridge when the conductor said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. You could see it clear as day out the window of the train. A man in my car shouted “my mother works in that building” and rushed from our car. We were stuck on a bridge; he had nowhere to go, but he ran anyway. I thought it must have been an accident, and that surely that’d put the fire out soon.

 

From the Manhattan Bridge

By the time I got off the train at 14th street, the second plane had hit and everyone knew it was a terrorist attack. I didn’t know what to do, so I went to work. At the time I was working in a video editing studio, we had a hundred videos monitors in the place, but not a single television. We all went downstairs to the dinner below us and watched the coverage with hundreds of other people on a tiny TV they’d brought out from the back. People were streaming north from the financial district and would stop and watch some of the coverage. Some people were covered in dust, others looked dazed, almost no one spoke.

I remember the television broadcasting an interview with a man who said he was trapped above the fire in one of the towers. He was fine, he said, but they couldn’t get down. They just needed someone to come get them. Moments later, the tower collapsed.

Once the towers came down, I felt a need to get home. Now. It was a beautiful day, clear skies and warm. As we walked home, Brooklyn ahead of us looked so beautiful. Behind us, lower Manhattan had disappeared into a cloud of smoke.

On the Pulaski

I crossed the Manhattan Bridge again on Sunday at around mile 15 of the run, I was hurting by then and still had a ways to go. I weaved through downtown Brooklyn, back up through Bed Stuy and home, glad the long run, and the anniversary of that horrible day were behind me.

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Continuing the  parkway theme from last week, my original plan for this weekend’s long run was to run down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island, but then Hurricane Irene came along, they turned Coney Island into an evacuation zone, and E all but forbid me running down there. So loops in ProspectParkit was.

Trucks lined up for Irene

Intermittent storms, a worried wife, and unbearably humid conditions meant I only did ten miles. They were fun, if sweaty, miles. A lot of people were out in the park, considering the weather was pretty nasty. I guess everyone wanted to get some outdoor time in before being cooped up for the storm. Last night when we were watching the coverage of the hurricane, twice I saw runners behind the reporter. Once it was during a report from the Central Park, at twelve thirty at night. Twelve thirty, on a Saturday, during the hurricane. I love New York runners.

Here Comes the Rain

 

Today after the storm I did another loop in the park. The damage is pretty minimal. A couple of trees down, some flooding in the areas that always flood, and again a lot of runners out. Gotta get the miles in, I guess, no matter what the weather.

After Irene

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The first in a series recounting my long run adventures.

I have run over 1600 miles in Prospect Park, much of it on the 3.3 mile main loop of the park. It has, as you might imagine, gotten a little boring. In an attempt to branch out, see more of the city by foot, and keep things interesting I’m going to try and stay out of the park more, especially on my long runs. This weekend’s course was developed with three things in mind – avoiding the park, staying in the shade, and running a work related errand.

 

Eastern Parkway

With these goals in mind I started out from my place and ran up to Eastern Parkway, the leafy promenade that runs from Prospect Park to the far edge of Crown Heights. Eastern Parkway was designed by Fredrick Olmstead, the genius who brought us both Central Park and Prospect Park. I love Olmstead and not just because he is a Connecticut Yankee like me. The concept of the parkway was to create a tree lined avenue which would take residents into the park. Originally there were to be four of these leading into Prospect Park from every direction, but only two were completed, Eastern and Ocean. I might run Ocean next weekend.

I love Eastern Parkway, running it from the park to Ralph Avenue takes you through the hipsters of Prospect Heights to the Chabad Hasidic Jews, Caribbean immigrants, and African Americans of Crown Heights. The Parkway continues past Ralph all the way to the Greenwood cemetery, but it isn’t nearly as nice (or as shaded) after Ralph, so I cut things off there today and turned around.

Back down Eastern Parkway I took a right down Bedford Avenue running through Crown Heights into Bedford Stuyvesant. I ran a quick errand in Bed Stuy, checking out a building for work, taking photos in my sweaty running clothes and getting stares. It was fun. Then it was down Bedford through the Satmar Hasidic portion of Williamsburg and over the Williamsburg Bridge.

The View from the WillyB

 

Williamsburg, as you may know, is the epicenter of all that is hip in New York. The Williamsburg Bridge is a fashion show on a Saturday afternoon –  Rayban sunglasses, boat shoes, impractical bikes. I am not sure if the woman on the bike with the retro eighties halter sweatshirt top meant to show us all her breast, and she rode down the bridge, but show us all her breasts she did.

The Williamsburg drops you off in the center of the Lower East Side. Historically the LES was a ghetto for newly arrived immigrants, now it is a play land for dudes with beards in flannel shirts. At this point, I knew I was short on mileage, so instead of just heading down to the Manhattan as I originally planned, I headed up the East Side for a bit, dodging skaters and people who rarely ride their bicycles. Around 14th street I turned around and headed back down to the Manhattan, a much more proletarian bridge than the WillyB, the Manhattan is stocked with runners and Chinese and Mexican dudes on Huffys. No breasts were seen.

 

Looking at Brooklyn from the Manhattan Bridge

Off the Manhattan and onto Flatbush Avenue for the final push home. Once again surprised at how many tourists there are in downtown Brooklyn nowadays. Hot and hurting by the time I got to Flatbush and Atlantic and still needing a another mile, I went the long way home and clocked in at 17 miles in 2:54:57. Another one in the bag.

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