Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Regular Run

On Saturday, September 12th, I joined up with the Prospect Park Track Club / Slope Sports people for a group run. When we met, there was the usual chatter. A big chunk of us are running the Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire next week. Most of the rest of us are running the Queens Half Marathon. Someone commented that the logistics for a 12 person, point-to=point, 200-mile relay are only slightly more complicated than getting to College Point, Queens, at 7 a.m. on a Sunday by mass transit.

Anyway, it took a moment to come up with a consensus as to where to run. Only a moment until someone said "Let's do the usual thing, ya know - the regular run." Every one knew what that meant.

Let me describe it. Simple. We are starting at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, run down Union Street to Court St. Make a right and head towards the Brooklyn Bridge. Over the Bridge and across Chambers St to the Hudson and around the Battery and back to the Bridge and back the same way. It is about an 11 mile round trip.

Simple, yea. But let me describe my run on Sept 12. Nothing "regular" about it. First, I did a loop of Prospect Park before I met the group. Along the way, I saw that there was gonna be an event later in the Park to raise money (and awareness) to fight cancer. I hoped it would not rain on them. I remember not caring if it would rain on me. Then I ran into some of my team mates running with some of my daughter’s friend’s parents. I ran a mile with them. I remember thinking that if I lived near Central Park, I would never have seen them; they would have been lost in the crowd.

Then I met the regular group. Not so regular. Many of the regular people were there. Some people who show up irregularly were there and, as usual, there were some new people there. That is what it is regularly like. I was able to keep up with most of the group till 4th Avenue and lost everyone when we got to Atlantic Avenue. That's OK.

When I went past Cadman Plaza, I noticed that there was preparation for some sort of giant event. I figured I would see it on the way back. I did.

When, I crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, I had to maneuver my way past about 20 guys pushing and pulling some sort of contraption. They gave me some literature. It turned out it was parts of a rowboat that will attempt to cross the Atlantic. They were actually attempting to break the record for the most names written on a rowboat. Really.

Also on the Brooklyn Bridge I notice a huge amount of police boats in the East River. I sadly assumed that they were there because it was "Sept 11th weekend." I was wrong. Get to that later.

When I got to Manhattan I heard my name being called. I saw one of my team mates in a MTA vest coming out of the subway. He is repairing the trench under Broadway from Chambers Street to Canal Street. That is why the R train takes the Bridge on weekends.

The Hudson River was very busy. There was a giant modern war ship with a Dutch flag on it as well as lots of old sail boats. This weekend we are celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of New Amsterdam. Would made a nice photo

Then, as I turned the corner at the southern end of Manhattan, I saw the stacks of the cruise ship Caribbean Princess over the trees on Governors Island. I was really missing my camera there.

Then in Battery Park I watched them set up for another event. The Diamond Dash.

On my return to the Brooklyn Bridge I found out why there were so many police in the water. There were also many kayaks. People were swimming in it. They were swimming from the little patch of sand under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side to the little beach on the Brooklyn side that my kids played in just a few weeks ago. I asked a women who was queued up to jump into the East River how far it is to the other side. She said it was a kilometer. I told her "That's beautiful," and went on with my run.

But then my run had to take a detour. I saw that the pedestrian path on the Brooklyn Bridge was packed - packed with people marching to the event I had seen being set up in Cadman Plaza. I decided to add some miles and cut through Chinatown and take the Manhattan Bridge. (The pedestrian path on the Manhattan Bridge makes for much better running than the one on the Brooklyn Bridge. It is separated from bicycles and only the hearty tourists are up there. But, alas, it is not the Brooklyn Bridge.) From the Manhattan Bridge I got a great view of the swimmers. They looked so tiny. Again, I missed my camera. Sadly, one of the swimmers did not make it to Brooklyn.

As a train was roaring past me on the Manhattan Bridge one of my teammates said “Hi” to me. I had no idea she was running along side of me and she startled me. I told her she scarred the poop out of me. That is kinda funny. She is one of the smallest adults I know and probably does not frighten many people.

Then I got back to Cadman Plaza and saw what was going on. It was the A&E Recover Project. I was not sure if "recover" referred to the economy, the fact that it was September 12 or something else. It turns out it was something else. It was about National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month. Smoky Robinson was there. If you click on the link you will see how crowded the Brooklyn Bridge was. Good thing I took the Manhattan Bridge.

I did not go back the same way. I went over to The Promenade so I could check out the progress on the Brooklyn Bridge Park. It is coming along nicely.

Then I ran back via Carroll Street and the Carroll St Bridge.

So, the regular run is not so plain or so simple.


You do not have to be nice!


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