Friday, August 31, 2007

Sloppy Week.

It was bound to happen. After running a record number of miles this month (171), which was capped off with a 21 mile to Port Washington and back last Sunday, the rest of my life finally caught up. Between all my projects at work coming to a head, final preparations for Spain, and just a general sense of not wanting to push myself into injury, I have been completely "out to lunch" in my training, as they say.


I may run tonight. I will run tomorrow, and will definitely be running a long one either Sunday or Monday. For the long run, I am currently debating of either doing a new Port Washington course (Sunset Park run) that I put together;

So, either the Port Washington Long Run (see map by clicking on link below)

http://www.runningahead.com/maps/8fe7ab959ae64f0c81c8f2b80aab6b69

or.

Great Neck/Port Washington run (shorter route-click below)

http://www.runningahead.com/maps/4c961024a2374bd4819336e803830cb2

One of my co-workers informed me today about P-Diddy doing so well in the New York City Marathon. So what? So what if he can run a Marathon, and is a multi-millionaire. That don't impress me much. In fact, hang on....I think I see someone else in the pack of runners, a familiar figure. And he's running ahead of him too!! I wonder who he could be??!!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

SnapDrive Snapped Me.

Off Topic Discussion....

Okay, I figured out the problem with my website with all of those nasty "Image Not Found" messages, and it should be fixed now. Morale of the Story? When you get an email from a website called SnapDrive.Com advising you that your free subscription for 90 days will expire unless you renew it for free for another 90 days, it is advisable that you do not say "Snap This!" in your reply to them. Instead, be a good little human being, and actually do as it states.

I did not do this, and lost all of my customized border files. Ugh. Anyway, it's back in there now.
Whew!

I now have 72 posts since I first started back on February 10th of this year. I have only entered in about 3 or 4 pre-dated posts, but I plan to add more (years 1984-2005) running blogs.

Monday, August 27, 2007

NYC Marathon Training: Week 6 Summary / Week 7 Schedule



Week Six Completed

Mileage:
Scheduled:
35 miles
Actual: 43 miles

Weight:
High: 159
Low: 154

Sleep:
Scheduled: 56 hours
Actual: 52.5 hours

If Week 5 was great for the mileage I put in overall, then Week 6 was even better, because I both cut back in overall mileage, but had an insane run yesterday (I'm still pinching myself over it). Somebody today had asked about my run yesterday. His response? "21 Miles? 21 Miles? I didn't even drive 21 miles last week!" I think what is primarily making me happy is that I am sore, but not hurt. If I feel better tomorrow, I may try either a lunchtime or evening run. As of today, there are only 10 weeks left before "payback" time. If I continue to run smart, this could be turn into a very nice experience for me at the end. My sleep, did suffer again this week. And I ate way too much food at the barbecue on Saturday, but I weighed in this morning at 155.6, which is my lowest Monday morning weigh-in since I started the JigglyJoggers group over at the website where I post all my running statistics at, http://www.runningahead.com/.


Here's a look ahead for the coming week:

Week 7 Schedule:
Visit back here in 10 minutes.....

Consolidated Summary (taken from the other website)




Sunday, August 26, 2007

Inaugural Long Run: From Gardens 2 Flowers...(21 Miles Long!)

Course: From Gardens To Flowers... Towns: Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Flushing,
Bayside, University Gardens, Russell Gardens,
Thomaston, Manhasset, Manhasset Hills,
Flower Hill
Distance: 21 Miles
Date: Sunday, August 11, 2007
Time: 10:40 AM - 2:30 PM (includes shower at LA Fitness)
Weather: 82%, 70% Humidity,
Overcast, Hot, Humid, Breezy
Course Path: (see map, left)
Elevations: (see graph, left)









I was not feeling too hot last night, plus I had not slept too well. I was due to do a really long run today, and the temperature was going to be about 80+ with about 80+ humidity.

Somehow, I found the courage to do my long run anyway. 21 miles long. Whoo Wee!!
Starting from my friendly confines, I headed north across Queens Blvd, staying on Hoover Avenue until I made a left on Main St., followed by a right on Union, followed by another left on 164th Street. The first portion of my run was relatively comatose, I didn't drink, didn't need to drink, and I was still feeling like I wasn't even running yet.

Packed with me was my wrist runner. Inside were 23 dollars, my LA Fitness key chain plastique, and my laminated (so that the sweat wouldnt destroy it) directions and elevations.
I took my first swig of water from my fuel belt while on Utopia. This was an area that I had not trained in since I was 18. The area was not that recognizable until I madea right onto 48th Ave and then another left up 189th street.

When I got to the corner of 47th & 189th, I now knew exactly were I was and remembered of the times I ran past there during my training in my first life...

I made a right on 45th avenue as this would take me right into Northern Boulevard, on the way I past St. Kevin's Church & Elementary School. I could see and hear the roar of the cars. Northern Boulevard was just ahead.

Crossing the boulevard is a challenge to say the least, but I was getting lucky today hit the green lights at the right moments. It was there where I met this older man who was running down Northern Blvd. as well.

His name was Jerry, and he asked if it would be alright to keep me company and run alongside me. He seemed decent enough, plus it would be nice to put the iPod away, and actually talk to another human being.

His addition was a welcomed one. We traded stories about our life, our family life, and our running life. Poor man, he had lost most of his teeth, when he was hit by a car while he was running some 20 years ago. Since then, he runs against traffic (like me) and looks behind him for the occasional cyclist too. He is 60 years old and he told me that he's been running since 1958. God Bless Him!
He would run with me up until E.Shore Rd before turning around. By then, we had attacked some massive hills. The water was just not cutting it and I needed some electrolytes. So, in between where we met, and where he left, we stopped for a moment, so that I could jump into a Subway shop to get a powerade.
When I waved good bye to him, and continued onward, my watch was close to 11 miles. I had synchronized my watch the other day on the oval track, therefore, I had done more mileage than what the Google maps had me at. Another dreaded hill up ahead. It's one thing to see the graph, but it's another to see it in person. Jerry had mentioned that the elite runners push the upper body forward, as if they were going to fall, and just move forward with their feet to get up hills. It actually worked pretty well, so I followed that pattern for the rest of the way.

As I saw Lord & Taylor up ahead, I already knew I was in Manhasset. I made a left at Onderdonk Ave. next to the local public library and entered the quiet, private residence of Manhasset Hills. I remembered cycling through here before, and no doubt remembered the massive hill on Park Avenue that started shortly after making a right turn onto it. I was now in Munsey Park.

I thought this hill would never end. Nothing like having a vertical challenge at around your 12-13 mile mark. The top of the hill ended with a left at Manhasset Woods Road. Now I was surrounded by nothing other than multi-million dollar homes and estates. Not in my lifetime. Unless I hit the Mega on Tuesday.

I jogged through this affluent area as if I lived here. It felt good. I made a right on Elderfields Road and the houses here were even better. I had just entered the Flower Hill section of Port Washington, and just found myself my new dream house ; 220 Elderfields Road. If I ever came into a fortune, that would be the house to get.

Seeing all these beautiful properties were a nice visual diversion to the fact that I had already finished a half-marathon.
It was a left on Crabapple Road, followed by a right on Bonnie Heights Road. More money, more money. Crossed Port Washington Boulevard and went up Country Club Drive (obviously the name of a street you see in New York City) and head up a short hill, making another right on Hewlett Lane. More beautiful houses. Does this ever end?

It does and it did. I was past the half-way point for sure, and was making my way back to LA Fitness where I would be met by my girlfriend who would be waiting patiently for me with my two kids. We had worked this plan out where she would go to the gym, and have the kids watched at the day care facility over there while she worked out. Also, I had left a few hours earlier this morning, so it wouldn't be too long over there.
But it was. My legs, my mechanics were really talking to me now. I was next to nil on water, and knew that the route I had pathed back to the gym would be dangerous since there were no stores for another couple of miles. I needed liquid and nourishment now. Faced with the option of taking the chance and going liquid less for 2 miles or extending another mile to my 20 mile run, I opted to extend. Lack of hydration, as it has been drilled into my head, seems to be the root cause of many ailments for runners, and lead to injury.

I stopped at the Whole Foods Market. Brought an organic white peach (yummy), and a seedless orange grown in Africa (who knows? perhaps I can start running sub-5 minute miles now), plus a XXX Vitamin Water. I also brought a smart water and reloaded all 4 of my Fuel Belt bottles. All told, it delayed me by about 10 minutes, but looking back, I am glad I did this or I might be far worse off now.

The diversion put me on Northern Boulevard and Searington Road. I ran all the way down Northern, and realized that by doing this that I did not get to enjoy running back down hill on Park Avenue. Bummer.

Some time later, I passed Macys on my left and knew I had a killer hill ahead of me. I was already at the 17 mile mark yet incredibly, no foot spasms yet. I was actually grateful that there was no rain. The sun had threatened to peek through a few times, but thankfully it never did. I don't know about other runners, but unless it's less than 60 degrees outside, I don't fancy running with the bright hot rays of the sun.
Lakeville Road dead ahead. At this point I had already run a little over 18 miles. I am still going strong but realize that it is already 1:38pm, 8 minutes after my expected arrival at LA Fitness. I saw a diner at the corner, and stopped in to place a call to Ileana. In the meantime, an elderly woman, who had walked into the foyer of the diner, looked like she was going to pass out. Apparently, she didn't take too kindly to a man who had just sweated for the last 3 hours plus.

I ran down Lakeville Road, and tried to run a little bit faster but not too fast. Their was a trail on the left hand side of the shoulder-less road, but it was just as treacherous like the road itself, and was completely unkept. Still, I was in the home stretch and when I saw signs for the Long Island Expressway, I was actually getting emotional thinking what I was about to accomplish.

Northern State Parkway signs came into view. I was less than a mile away now! Just like the scene in Forest Gump, where Forest shakes off the metal crutches from his legs, and his running exuberantly without any worries in the world, I was now in the zone. I ran to LA Fitness, and was so elated, but yet so tired. Ileana, and the children were in the car. I felt guilty that they were waiting for me, but they all understood the importance of this run. I walked around the car for about 5 minutes to make sure that most of my blood has recirculated from my legs and back to my heart. I then went into the gym to take a shower. I felt like collapsing on the floor near the lockers. Some guy who had the build of an early day Arnold Schwarzenegger asked me if I was okay. I told him yes, and told him why I looked so tired. He reacted incredibly dumbfounded as if he never heard of anyone running that long. For some sick, and twisted reason, that made me feel great. Afterwards, I made sure to take a shower in cold, but not frigid waters. It felt so damn good. Massaging my own feet helped a lot too.

I've done 5 marathons already but today was a very special day for me. I am still trying to comprehend what I have accomplished. I am not going to run tomorrow, and perhaps not even Tuesday, but I will definitely cut back on the mileage, making sure that my long run next weekend is far less than this on (alternate weekends).

Most important will be how I feel in the next few days. I don't like to add more than 1-2 miles to a long run, so I realized I pushed this one far beyond the brink. I am feeling exhausted but good now, but the next 3 days will be telling. Hopefully, I got away with a big one!

Here were my times:
Mile 01 - 10:08.2
Mile 02 - 09:22.0
Mile 03 - 09:32.0
Mile 04 - 09:41.5
Mile 05 - 09:56.8
Mile 06 - 09:22.0
Mile 07 - 09:30.0
Mile 08 - 09:18.0
Mile 09 - 09:40.2
Mile 10 - 09:00.5
Mile 11 - 07:59.3 (nothing like going downhill!)
Mile 12 - 08:47.4
Mile 13 - 10:24.0
Mile 14 - 09:01.6
Mile 15 - 08:55.3
Mile 16 - 09:03.9
Mile 17 - 08:26.0
Mile 18 - 09:27.7
Mile 19 - 08:50.1 (wow)
Mile 20 - 08:33.8 (okay, now I am really scaring myself)
Mile 21 - 08:43.3 (if i can do this on Marathon Sunday....please oh please!!!)

The plus one is the mile of walking both after the run, and when I had stopped my watch to walk in/out of a store.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yeah, They Come To Snuff The Rooster.

I read somewhere that if you can run 16 miles that there is an outside chance that a person from the opposite sex may kiss your cheek up to three times during your run. Well, I came close. Two dogs jumped at me. I think one of them was a pit bull.

I had a great tempo run tonight. I ran through Forest Park, at precisely the same time, exactly 1 week later after the "1-sided boxing" event of last week. It was raining ovah heah! (please say it loud like someone selling beer at a stadium). So nobody was around. The lights in the park didn't come on right away, and it was pretty dark. I was doing my tempo run, and feeling so good, I barely noticed (except for maybe that pit bull..).

This was my first run in the rain in a long time. It's good to run in different weather because you never know what your race conditions will be like. When I told this to my girlfriend earlier today, she said, "Good Alex. Perhaps if you get lucky, you'll be able to run during an Earthquake sometime."

Actually that would be exciting! I can picture it now. I am running up a hill, right? And suddenly, an earthquake in New York City (which happens EVERY day ovah heah) destroys the hill ahead of me, flattening it completely. Voila! No more hill! Yes, this is a great idea. Perhaps, I can learn to jump ovah da cracks too.

Victory Oval was wet, but I was motorin'! The first mile I did it in 10 minutes, yet I averaged 8:30 overall. The batteries in my foot pod went dead (Reader to Self: What the fuck is a foot pod?), but no matter, I'm so used to this trail, I know exactly where the markers are. The last four miles were all done in less than 8 minutes per mile, including the mile that was mostly on the track in which I actually did less than 7:30!

Mississippi, a gal over at the Running Ahead website who claims she has 4 evil children, had asked me what I was planning to wear. Somebody mentioned that the lack of clothing on a wet day, can actually improve performance. I basically streaked the whole time, with a fig leaf around my waist..... Wait a second! That was no fig leaf.......Poison........Ivy?

Okay fantasy time ovah. I actually wore a NYC Marathon tank (slightly obsessed over this race, aren't I) and red nike shorts.

I think I grunted the last quarter-mile home. That might have scared some of the passersby on Austin Street. But none as sweet, as when I was running through a rural part of Forest Park near the golf course. I was so happy with the quality of my sweaty soaking workout, that I let my vocal chords carry me punk ass through....First the karaoke...and then I was yelling for those other punks from last weeks. "Where are you now, cowards?! Afraid of a little rain?!" I shouted into the dark Forest Park night. Out of the corner of my eye I think I saw the woman with the pit bull running away after that . By the time I was existing the park, it was pitch black, I was sprinting hard and singing 'Rooster' by Alice In Chains all the way home.

"Ain't found a way to kill me yet
Eyes burn with stinging sweat...
Yeah they come to snuff the rooster, ah yeah
Yeah here come the rooster, yeah
You know he ain't gonna die
No, no, you know he ain't gonna die "


Sunday, August 19, 2007

NYC Marathon: Week 5 Training / Week 6 Schedule



Week Five Completed

Mileage:
Scheduled:
32 miles
Actual: 52.3 miles

Weight:
High: 160
Low: 155

Sleep:
Scheduled: 56 hours
Actual: 52 hours

This is one of those weeks that I will probably remember a long time from now. If there's anything that I have been blessed with, it is not running, but rather the ability to turn a negative into a positive. The week started off really bad for me, but I did not let it deter me from posting one of my best running weeks ever. Physically, the best news of all isn't even the mileage I posted, but the fact that I am feeling really good. Obviously, I need to cut back on my mileage, plus I need to sleep more too.

Here's a look ahead for the coming week:

Week 6 Schedule:
To be determined!

'FITTY!!!!

You just can't keep a Montague from a Capulet. It can't be done. Forest Park is my Juliet. It's got natural beauty in a busy city, it has nice hills to train with, it has great fellow runners, and it has an oval track at the other end of its trail. After I discovered this place back in March, I immediately fell in love with it. So it is natural why I wasn't going to give up on it, after the incident just 5 days ago. For me, to give up on Forest Park because of a few bad thugs, is to lose. And for me, losing is not an option.

I got up this morning, and sleepy from last night's blog entry that took me to 2am, I took my body and my 6 hours of sleep, and headed for the friendly-park-turned-stigma. On the way there, I saw a nice sized tree branch, suitable for stabbing or sticking in the spoke of a bicycle tire. I picked it up and jogged into Forest Park, with my newfound 'baton'.


There would be no "punks" however. And I didn't expect any either. Only self-respecting people are found jogging and improving their lives at this time on a Sunday morning. Still, I took my stick, and I took my legs and charged all the way to Victory Oval near Woodhaven Boulevard, and I didn't even flinch when I ran past the scene of the crime earlier this week. There I was running 7 laps around the Oval, stick still in hand, people giving me funny looks I'm sure. No matter. I was accomplishing a lot this morning. No Fear. No Surrender, and my first ever 50 mile week. And now, several hours later, as I write this, my legs are feeling great. Running slower has really made the difference thus far. Fifty-two point three miles, and going strong....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Training Week 5: Long Run - Queens, NY

Originally it was called the Queens Long Run #1. I got slightly lost, so it became #1B...LOL..

Course: Queens Long Run #1B
Towns: Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Flushing Meadows, Corona, Flushing, Kissena Park, Oakland Gardens, Cunningham Park, Briarwood
Distance: 15.5 Miles
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2007
Time: 08:05 AM
Weather: 60F, 40% Humidity
Course Path: (see map)
Elevations: (see graph)









I couldn't wait to get today's run started. The weather in New York had been hot and muggy almost all summer long. The only exceptions? The deluges of flooding and thunderstorms like I've never seen before around here (Mr. Gore, you may be right after all).

With only 6 ounces of water and a medium sized banana in my belly, I headed out at about 8am to start my long run. I was afraid that I was starting too late, that perhaps the weather would be too hot. Boy, was I wrong!

So cool! And windy too! Not a cloud in the sky either. The weatherman said 59 degrees about 15 minutes earlier. It felt even cooler with the breeze. Here's my experience in photos: (note that I did not bring my Blackberry to shoot photos this time 'round. Instead, I took photos later on in the day, in addition, to good quality photos of the areas I ran past, that I found on the internet. A big thank you goes out to the website, http://www.bridgeandtunnelclub.com/ , they are the spirit of New York, when it comes to real good photographs.

Section 1: Kew Gardens & Queens Boulevard

I've grown up and had some incredible memories in both Kew Gardens & Forest Hills. The product of a divorced family, I had lived in many places in my life, some of these places were in complete affluence, like Hewlett, Long Island, and others were real scary areas like Laurelton, NY in South Jamaica, Queens. Some places were as busy as living near Hillside Avenue, others as rural as Medford, Suffolk, Long Island at Exit 64, off the Long Island Expressway. Some places, like Astoria, I don't remember because I was too young. But others, like Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, and Rego Park, and totally unforgettable. My mother and stepfather, on the verge of a financial bankruptcy, had moved us from Medford after being there for only 1 year, and took us all the way back to Queens, to Forest Hills, NY. It was, and still is, a great place to live.
Years later, I would move into Kew Gardens, before making perhaps the worst mistake of my life, which was to get married (1st time) to someone that I had nothing in common. I now live in the area again, and all of the great memories associated with my youth, only helps to keep me young when I hit the asphalt to run.


The first hill up Lefferts is always tough. Most times, I'm still half asleep on its steep incline. At the top of the hill is the Maple Grove Cemetery. How appropriate. Then, it's a left turn down Kew Gardens Road, all the way until it empties out into Queens Boulevard near Union Turnpike.


I stayed on the south side of Queens Blvd. But across "Death" was the Civic Virtue Monument pictured above. The streets were nearly void of cars, a good thing for the Boulevard known as the "Boulevard of Death" for all the people that have been hit by cars in the last 30 years.
The last photo used to be the Ridgewood Savings bank. It's on Queens Blvd., right on the corner of 108th street (directly across from 71st St.-Continental Avenue). It was there I forked to the right and headed down 108th, until I got to 69th, where I turned right. As always, I always run AGAINST traffic so that I can see the approaching motorists, and always stay on the left hand side, even on one-ways. Mile 1: 10:18





Section 2: Meadow Lake, Flushing Meadow Park,
Shea Stadium, Corona, and Roosevelt Ave.
For all the hustle 'n' bustle that Queens Boulevard is,
this section is in sharp contrast to it.

After the long downhill on 69th Rd., it's a quick cut across the exit
ramp of the Grand Central Parkway and a small, 2 foot
climb over the guardrail into Meadow Lake.


Far cleaner and more accessible than its souther sibling, Willow Lake, Meadow Lake has a tendency to overflow into the path after hard rains. This morning was a bit of a challenge, because although the rains the night before were not that hard, there were some massive puddles nonetheless I had to circum-navigate by. At the north end of the lake is the overpass to the L.I.E. (Long Island Expressway) and it is essentially to Flushing Meadow Park, home to two World Fairs (1939 and 1964). The overpass is short, but steep. I concentrated at looking down
on the ground to minimize the psychological impact of the incline. But to best avoid the cyclists, I did so on the sidewalk, and on the center road.




The Unisphere.
I actually took this shot when I came back with the kids. I must admit, it came out pretty good.
Flushing Meadow is loaded with places that even non-New Yorkers know about. Here are
some attention grabbers that I actually passed along the way. See which ones you recognize...


From the Observatory Towers to the Queens Museum of Art and the New York Panorama. And from the site of the US Open, and the home of the New York Mets, there are plenty of great, fun things to do in Queens at Flushing Meadow. The last photo happens to be that of CitiField, the Mets new ballpark for the 2009 season and beyond. Not pictured, Flushing Meadow is also the home of the NY Science Hall Museum, and is the site where many multinationals come to compete in Football (American Soccer). If you would like to know a lot more about the park and of its long and illustrious history then just click on the link below after finishing up the blog --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flushing_Meadow_Park

As you can see by my mile splits below, I've been quite careful to take my sweet ass time going thru these long runs. At some point, I will start to speed up, but for now, I want to continue focusing on duration just as much as mileage in these runs.

Mile 2: 9:50 // Mile 3: 10:10 // Mile 4: 10:11 //Mile 5: 10:14

Section 3: Flushing (a.k.a. - How to Travel to Asia without needing a Passport)

Roosevelt Avenue is unique road. When you come from the park, you'll immediate notice the overhead elevated tracks. In the old days, in the REAL old days of New York, there were very few subways, or trains that were below ground. Most of them were "El"s, short for Elevated. In fact almost all trains in NYC were Els for quite awhile. The "7" train which comes from Times Square in New York City and which ends up at Main Street & Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing, basically runs through a good portion of Roosevelt. If you make a left turn then when coming from out of the park, and head west on Roosevelt, you will immediately start to hear the sounds of Latino music blasting through car stereos, and hear very little English being spoken on the street. Shops, restaurants, banks, travel agencies, etal, are all contoured to the Spanish speaking populus that has dominated the areas of Jackson Heights and Corona for as long as I can remember (and that's saying something because I was born in 1965!!!).

But if you turn right, and head East as I did, you will suddenly find yourself clear across the globe, halfway across it actually. For you have just stepped into China. Or Korea. Or Thailand, and have absolutely no clue about the difference between the people of any of those or of the other Asian cultures that are now slamming your senses.

As I crossed over the Van Wyck, I also was crossing over the foulness of the southern inlet of Willets Point. Nothing as harsh as the English Kills from my Long Run of 3 weeks ago (see my blog), but still, there's nothing like that fresh aroma that says "sulfur" and "toxic waste" when all your body has been doing for the last 5 miles is purging itself of its own toxins. However, the outstanding human union workers that carry out their bosses' missions to make waste, and make it smell real bad, were not in town today (yeehaw for Saturday's). So, it was a treat just to
smell stale air and nothing worse.



But then the air changed as I entered Flushing. Can someone say "sushi", "suppa di pesci", "rotten, rancid FISH?". It amazes me how the Asian culture can walk up and down streets that smell of the nastiest "fish-left-out-in-100-degree-weather" odors, and not flinch, let alone gag over it.

Running along the cemented pathway, there was a huge puddle easily 10 feet long and at least 4 inches deep. Not wanting to sacrifice my sneaks. Me and Mr. Brooks (Beast, I call him for short) jumped over the retaining wall and ran for my life for about 50 yards, making sure no car would kill me, before jumping back over the retaining wall. Hey.....Can I officially qualify this run now as a big, fat, huge fartlek run now?

I wanted to sprint my way past the entire town of Flushing, as I usually want always to do, but, like always, it was futile. The seas not only smelled of dead fish, but the seas were also busting at the seams with people.

People. People. And More People. It was 10am, and the streets were thick of walkers. I could not even jog. I almost felt like a certain football star (who shall remain nameless) who made a commercial, in which he was running through an airport to make it in time to a Hertz Rental Counter.

Alas, I was also feeling thirsty. And wouldn't you know it....My old "work" alma-matter came into view:

This was where I worked when I was attending High School (more on that to come in this blog).
I started on October 15, 1982. I'll never forget it. Not only was it a great job, but there were great kids working with me, and I have countless stories about them. One individual in particular, one blonde haired girl to be more precise, stole my heart. To this day, she has yet to return it. Thief!

But I digress. I made my way inside, and asked for a "courtesy". John Stanislaw, the owner at
that time, had had his managers teach us about how to ask for free food while we worked there.
I don't believe he was that friendly, but his managers were, including one bright fellow, named Richard (Ricky) Taggart, the night shift manager. A courtesy for him, might have meant a full meal for free. I can remember all those Quarter Pounder with Cheeses that I ate, and never gained an ounce to my then skeletal, 128 pound frame. Ahhh, to be young like that again!

I got my small cup of water, and went back outside. I actually stopped for a few minutes (not recorded on my watch) and read the free AM newspaper as I drank in the middle of Main Street, Flushing. It was at this point where I started to feel a little bit lightheaded. It was not a bad feeling though but a good one. The one that you get when a sudden rush of endorphins are secreted from your brain. I had just entered a runner's high. In fact, I felt stoned.

As I made my way south and uphill on Main, different cultures began to threaten. Hindus & Arabic peoples, clothing stores and food markets, came into view. Smells of "bacala" were quickly being replaced with that of curry. Then the curry was being replaced with other smells (not sure what they were, but it was when I passed a whole bunch of arabic stores).

I passed by Blossom Avenue, once home to a once lifelong friend, Doug Botero (aka. Douglas Botero, aka "Monst"). By now, I was headed downhill on Main. I then passed the edge of the Queens Botanical Gardens on my left, and then it was back to a long uphill for which the summit would be NY Hospital (once known as Booth Memorial Hospital).

Mile 6 - 10:31 // Mile 7 - 09:46

Section 4: Kissena Park and running with others..

So, I'm running and there's this guy, whose wearing a Harley shirt whose running as well, but he sprints and walks, sprints past me and then slows down. I get a close look, and it's an FDNY shirt done up in a Harley Davidson logo.


As we're coming up on 164th, another runner, Hindu-American I believe, catches up and starts running ahead of me as well. I love to race, but I still have about 6 or so miles to go, so I let her get ahead.

Besides, I was about to make my right to Underhill Road anyway, and I knew they weren't coming for the ride either as my agenda was a "big run" agenda, probably a bit longer than theirs.

This part of the run is uneventful if it weren't for the fact that it is also a welcomed relief from the zoo-like conditions on Main Street earlier. See? I did this course to provide me the perfect Ying-Yang effect. Whatever..... Mile 8 - 9:50

Section 5: The Twilight Zone.

For some reason, every time I run this course, I get lost. And here is where it happens:

Do you see how I made a left on Fresh Meadow Ln.? Well, that was a goof-up. It was supposed to be a right, followed by a left onto Peck, and then all the way up to Franny Lew.

Instead, I took a left, and started seeing "new" things. First, the name of the road suddenly changed itself to Auburndale Lane.


Cemetery. No clue. Not on Map.

Feeling absolutely lost, yet again, and yet in the same general vicinity as the last few times, I asked around for which way to Francis Lewis. I got all kinds of answers.


Yep. I was asking him for directions too...

I finally did get someone parked in a Corolla, who told me that I was running parallel to Francis Lewis all the time (by now I was on Hollis Court Blvd.). I ran up a few blocks and sure enough there was Francis Lewis. Mile 9 - 9:32 // Mile 10 - 9:45

Section 6: Francis Lewis Blvd., St. Francis Prep., Franciscan Brothers, Streets of San Francisco and Connie Francis....

Francis Lewis Boulevard - Big road in Queens. Great place to drag race.

St. Francis Prep - Where I went to High School. Lotsa memories, lotsa stories. Some wonderful, some tragic, all stressful.

Franciscan Brothers - The priests that run St. Francis Prep.

Streets of San Francisco - Police show of the late 60's/early 70s starring Karl Malden and a very young Michael Douglas. In real life, no car axel could really handle the pounding that those cars went through on 'dem'dar hills!

Connie Francis-Whose Sorry Now?

An honorable mention goes to James Franciscus and the nation of France.

And just as punch drunk as I just sounded here, this ought to give you a picture of what it feels like to be a person that is getting dehydrated from lack of H2O....
Francis Lewis Boulevard
St. Francis Prep. My old High School. My origins of racing!
Union Turnpike. Time to make a right turn already!!!

Mile 11 - 9:38 // Mile 12 - 9:39

Section 7: Union Turnpike, Quantum Feet & St. Johns University

Okay. So I passed the famous Cunningham Park, a great hangout of mine during my teens.

This was the place that saw me exchange much saliva with Leona (jewish last name) & Becky Soto, two girls of noteworthy mention back then. And as I started to think of all the frolicking that took place there, mostly in the evening, and mostly after my curfew, I started realizing that I was lacking some of it now. No not women. Saliva. That thing called 'thirst' has come back to me again. Gee whiz...10 ounces in 12 miles....I wonder why I'd be so thirsty?

Seriously though, it began to become a problem. And then I remembered that at Quantum Feet, they had a water cooler in the back room. I saw it there with my own eyes the day the shop had closed at 7pm. We were all outside last year over there, because they sponsor group runs every Tuesday last year (still do). So, I stopped by. But no water cooler. Instead, I took a cup and drank from the tap. Bleccch!!! But who's complaining? 2 cups and 12 ounces later, I was back on Union Turnpike, trying to make it up the long and steady uphill (take a look at the course elevation...overall, it is almost uphill the entire course after Mile 5!

I continued onward, passing another mile (from Quantum at 188th), and I arrived at the corner of 168th and Union. St. John's University. Love it or hate it, I always wondered how big MY house in Port Washington could have been, if I had gotten a degree from here, and if I had entered into a business that worked with money too....Now if I can only get my Honda Civic to produce a nuclear reaction to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need..... Well, you know the rest...

Mile 13 - 9:30

Section 8: Seal The Deal! (and no....I am not talking about Affordable Housing by the Government)


Back to Main St. again! Crossing the GCP Briarwood. Qns Blvd. right ahead!

The last remaining uphill!

My legs were feeling very strong. The batteries in my footpod were low, but still worked. No cramping. A feeling of exhaultation. Wow. I am even beginning to think that I might be a long-distance runner after all! Not only that, but today's run was 15.5 miles, and I actually did a negative split (for non-runners this means that the last half of my run was faster than my first half). Aggregately, I also have 46.3 miles for my week total and that's a record!

Interestingly, it took me 2 hours and 32 minutes to do the run, but yet it took me more to do this blog. Perhaps, I should stick to running!

It's Bedtime for Gonzo for me. If I can squeeze it in, I might try another 4 miles if my legs are up to it tomorrow, and I know just the right place to achieve that milestone too......