Thursday, September 24, 2009

Team R2R Meeting and 59th Street Bridge Run

Continuing where I left off with my quick trip up to New York...

I had planned to meet up with two friends from my High School trip to Israel in the late afternoon. LH was going to be in the Chelsea area of town, BS was on Houston Street and I was in midtown. Hmm... It looked like Chelsea was the most centrally located, so I picked a coffee shop for us to meet at and let them know where to meet (interestingly enough, neither of the locals wanted to pick the spot to leave it to the guy who has never lived in NYC to pick the place??? thank goodness for Google Maps!).

I got there about 3:45pm, but I had a conference call at 4:30pm. I had hoped that the two of them would get there around 4 or so, we would all hang out together, I would take my call outside and then come back in and join them. What ended up happening was that both of them let me know that they would be late, I took my 4:30 call in the coffee shop and once it finished around 5pm they both showed up.

The three of us hadn't been together in over 21 years (it makes me feel really old saying that). However, there was no awkwardness to us being together again - it seemed so natural hanging out. Unfortunately, we only had an hour to spend together and it went really quickly. I hope to see them again the next time I'm in the city!

I head crosstown on the subway to get to the Alzheimer's Association meeting. I get on the train, and sitting there is my cousin's husband - what are the odds! (luckily I told my cousin that I was coming into town for a quick visit but was not going to have time to get out to Long Island to see them...otherwise I would have been busted!)

I made it to the Alzheimer's Association's office in time for the meeting. On the agenda was a guest speaker - Liz Robbins a NY Times journalist who wrote the book A Race Like No Other about the NY Marathon. I decided to go buy the book on my lunch break, and I started to read the Prologue and Chapter 1 after work. I haven't been this excited to read a book in a while - even though I have tons of things going on right now, I should be able to find some time to read this and get through it quickly (or at least quickly for me!).

Liz Robbins was great! You could tell that she really enjoyed covering the marathon, going to the neighborhoods and meeting many of the special spectators that make the crowds so amazing for this race, and diving into the stories of both the elite runners and also the everyday runners with not-so-everyday stories behind why they were running the NY Marathon. I had her sign my copy of the book and she seemed genuinely interested in why I was running (actually, it seemed like she took the time to speak to everyone who was there). She was also VERY excited to hear that I went to Barnes and Noble that afternoon to buy the book!

I was expecting there to be a bit more to the meeting - details on the pre-race pasta dinner? the bus to pick us up marathon morning? the post-race party? They gave us some of the information, but I guess not everything is finalized yet. We'll be getting more information in the next week. Since this is the first year the Alzheimer's Association has a team, I guess they are working through all of the details.

After the meeting, I went up to the 92nd Street Y for Israeli Dancing. This meant that I was getting even more exercise, but also meant that I would be going to sleep much later. Ends up that I got back to my friend's apartment at 11:30pm. I quickly crashed.

This morning, I was up before the sun. Not sure why my body thinks 5:30am is a suitable time to wake up - I guess my kids and my running schedule have trained me to be an early bird. If I'm up at that time, I might as well run, right?

I headed out on 69th to Central Park West, down Central Park West to 59th Street and then across 59th Street to the Queensborough (59th Street) Bridge.

I had told a few people that I intended to run over this bridge and back - it is on the marathon route at about mile 16 - so why did no one tell me how to get onto the pedestrian path???? I saw a sidewalk leading up from 59th street onto the bridge, but that became a dead-end. Then further down I saw what looked to be a little ramp, but that lead to the shoulder of the lower-deck of the bridge. I decided to go back up 2nd Ave to the 60th Street side. I asked a policewoman there and she pointed me to where the path starts down on 1st Ave. Finally!!!

I'm glad I ran the bridge. I've heard "The NY Marathon is flat except for the bridges and a few hills in Central Park". Well, now I know what to expect on the bridges - and it's a pretty significant hill. Maybe not the steepest of hills, but it's constant uphill for a good 1/2 to 3/4 mile. Of course the good thing about going uphill on the bridge is the coasting downhill after the crest of the bridge. Nice!

After going over the bridge and back I headed up 1st Avenue, trying to imagine this street lined with crowds cheering the runners as they exit the bridge. Up to 69th and back west to Central Park, through Central Park and finally stopped at Columbus Avenue. I looked at my clothes and they were drenched. What a great way to start the morning :-)

I'm now on the Tripper Bus back home. The WiFi on the bus is great - I've participated in three conference calls for work - and of course I have been able to blog!

It was great being in New York, but it will be really nice to be home with Sherry and the boys. Next trip to NYC is October 16-17 to run the last 10 miles of the marathon with Team Run To Remember!


pigtailsflying said...

Mike--HEY! I told you how to get onto theb ridge! it is after all my bridge. (grin)

I am glad you finally found it, but think of it this way--you got in an extra mile!

Also, I tell you -- do not underestimate the hills of NYc's course. When you are running on Fifth Avenue in Miles 23 and 24, you won't say the course is flat.

Hey, I'm up for a run the next time you're in NYC if you have spare time.

Mike Fox said...

Yes, TK...shame on me for not reading the entire email. For me it said, "I can't make it...blah, blah, blah, blah..." I now know that if TK writes it, it is a MUST READ!

And yes, to me it is YOUR bridge as well. Even though I knew you were not going to run the bridge that morning, I was expecting to see you and your pigtails coming towards me from Queens.