Thursday, April 27, 2006

New York, New York

Two weeks ago I stayed in Chelsea for a change, at 23rd and 6th. I only managed one run, but as you all know, you see so much more when you're running at ground level. From my hotel, I zig-zagged west until I hit the water, then turned north along the Hudson River. If not for this run, I probably would never have come this close to the USS Intrepid, now a floating museum at 46th street. Running past this old aircraft carrier, you can't help but feel the history and imagine the scenes that it must have gone through. I stopped for a brief moment, then pushed on, missing a few details, if you can call the Concorde parked on the port side of this ship a "detail"! I made it north to 59th street, turned east and ran to the corner of Central Park, then back south again to Chelsea, finishing about a 6 mile rectangular route.

Back in my hotel, it took me a couple of nights to figure out what this was outside my window. I know it's not the clearest pic ever, but the bright light is the top of the Empire State Building, and the reddish glow is street level 6th Ave. I didn't recognize it at first because it appeared to be not that tall, but maybe that was because of the angle from my room - I was on the 16th floor, which isn't that high really. I wasn't in a fancy hotel by a long shot, but I think view turned out pretty good, don't you?

Last week, back in Midtown, I thought it might be nice to run along the East River for a change, so I headed out east. I was somewhere around the low 50's streets, and when I got to the East River, there wasn't a path to run on! Bummer. Ended up just running around town, down to Rockerfeller Center and the NBC Today Show, but didn't wait around for Katie to come outside. Later that week, I thought it might be nice to run across the Queensboro Bridge, since it's on the NYC Marathon course. I like this shot of the grand old bridge - credit Rachelleb - she always seems to get nice pics of ordinary things from great angles. Anyway, when I got there, I found out it's closed to foot traffic! Bummer again.

This week, I was hoping for a good consistent non-stop run, uninterrupted by closed bridges, missing sidewalks, stoplights, morning talk-shows, and old warships. I got my chance last night, getting back to my hotel at 7:00 to change, out again by 7:10, warmed up and at Central Park by 7:15 or so. I started running a counter clockwise loop, and soon fell into a comfortable rhythm. I've never run around the entire park before, and felt this might be the time to do it. It was cool, I was in shorts and short sleeves, and it felt perfect. I've only previously run to the northern edge and back, and when I passed that point and kept going, everything was new to me ... including the hills! They were actually a nice break from the routine pace, and there were a bunch of people training on them. I finally made it past the hills, down the homestretch, and back to Columbus Circle in 54:20 for 6 miles. It felt really really good.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Before I Knew How To Run ...

She could outrun me any day, any place, any time, and it wouldn't even be close.

She could run full-out across 6 soccer fields at sunset while I was still making my way across the first one, and nothing and no one could catch her.

She could literally pull me around the neighborhood - me holding onto the leash like Ben-Hur with white knuckles, struggling to stay upright on my rollerblades, knowing that a single lapse of concentration meant concrete-roadway-face-plant-time, while she loped along casually enjoying the butterflies and flowers.

She could dream of chasing rabbits with the best of them, squeaking and sputtering, stammering and whole-body shuddering in her sleep, while we could only wonder what a grand old time she was having.

Our first baby, before the human kind even showed up, turns 14 tomorrow. In her twilight years, there are no more sprints, the chase is off, there aren't even any more runs. But while she's still with us, she'll always be our baby. Happy Birthday Shari!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Running To Daylight

WARNING: Brag-o-meter set on high ...

Sydney, our youngest at age 4 and destined to forever be the baby in our family, started soccer this year. Playing in a 4/5 girls league, our 4-yr olds were routinely clobbered by veteran 5-yr olds playing in their second season. I'm talking 10-1, 12-0, not-counting-anymore-to-zero thrashings.

This weekend, Sydney decided to have her coming out party. In a double-header, she scored 3 goals in one and 5 goals in a row in the other, and we won both games! In most cases, she simply figured out how to get a jump on everyone else, and out-ran the pack on her way to the goal. That's her being chased by the entire team of 6 blue jerseys, with nothing but green in front of her.

This is the first opportunity she's had to show a focused, organized and sustained run of any reasonable distance. As a Dad and a runner, I couldn't be more proud of my baby! Is it too early to make plans for Boston 2018?