Friday, October 8, 2010

Why I love being a member of the Prospect Park Track Club


What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me!

Why I love being a member of the Prospect Park Track Club

With five weeks to go before the NYC Marathon, I wanted to run 20 miles.  But I had had a busy weekend.  Then I had to buy a suit on Monday.  Tuesday I had to work (If the weather had been nice, I would have called in sick). 

But Wednesday was PERFECT.  Normally when I run 20 miles I like to run somewhere and take the train back.  I have run to the Bronx, and even to New Jersey.  Or I like to make a big loop; Out to Coney Island and back via Bay Ridge or to Central Park and back.  But I did not feel like dealing with the traffic, the traffic lights, or the tourists. So, I decided to run six loops of Prospect Park instead. 

On one hand, this was going to be challenging. There are 6 big hills, there is monotony - and did I say six big hills?  Also every time I would get to the top of Zoo Hill I would be tempted to go home.  On the other hand I know exactly where the water fountains are and I could easily get out of the park to buy a Gatorade at Lincoln Road or Bartel Prichard Square.  I was also looking forward to the availability of marked miles.

I had no idea how great this run would be.  First, the Park was GOD DAMN GLORIOUS.  Some trees were starting to show their yellow and red, but most are holding onto their green.  But speaking of trees, there were three different groups of lumberjack type dudes repairing and clearing the mess left by the tornado.  (The approach to Grand Army Plaza from the Zoo is just not the same anymore.)  The Park’s Dept. was also mowing the Long Meadow, so the combined smell of chipped trees and freshly mowed lawn was wonderful.

I thought my only company would be the people lucky enough to work in Prospect Park on this Wednesday.  I was very wrong.  I was almost never running without a teammate, sometimes three at a time.  At one point we actually tried to recruit a person doing in interval workout along side of our run. We might even have a new member soon!

For most of my miles, my company was Bill Abrams.  He was just cruising around the park on his bike.  For the most part our conversation was about the benefits of being on a team.  How we do not compete with each other, we push each other.  If you look at the PPTC race results you can see who is running a little faster than you. These are the people you can run with, or just run behind them in the next race.  I told him how happy it makes me to meet a new member on his or her first group run, and to share the excitement of a run over the Brooklyn Bridge for the fist time.  They say things like “Oh, I don’t know if I can run 12 miles with you.” Then they beat me in a marathon a year later.  Love it.  Really.

Somewhere on my fourth loop, I told Bill that I was going to get a Gatorade when we got to Lincoln Road.  He said “No, I will get it and bring it to you; you should keep running.  You are my teammate.”   I did not see that coming, but it really made my day.

4 comments:

  1. Three cheers for teammates, especially, in this case, for Bill.
    I can just imagine the combined smells of chipping and mowing. Wonderful.
    My running days are far behind me now, and people who have only known me 10 or even 20 years can hardly believe I used to run like the wind. I was a sprinter, however, and lacked the stamina for long distances. But I remember running, and it was great.

    Kay, Alberta

    ReplyDelete
  2. A perfect day, doing something you love. Thank you for telling that tale. Heaven knows, I'm no runner, but you made me feel the joy in both the running and the companionship.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am not a part of a team. They intimidate me. Your post makes me want to join one!

    Erin from Buffalo

    ReplyDelete
  4. Erin

    A running club is just a community. Most are not so competitive.

    ReplyDelete

You do not have to be nice!

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