Monday, April 26, 2010

RACE REPORT: 2010 Alley Pond 5-Miler

Race:  2010 Alley Pond 5-Miler
Distance: 5 Miles
Date: Sunday, April 25, 2010
Time: 10:00am
Place: Alley Pond Park, Bellerose (Queens), NY
Weather: 47 degrees, 100% humidity, Rain-Heavy at times, Winds 16 MPH

Weather conditions in NY was cold with a hard rain.  In other was time for the Alley Pond 5 Mile Race!  The last time I did this, the weather was miserable as well.  Actually, it wasn't even that cold the last time out.  Karen and I were same day registrants, and judging by the turnout from the weather, we never had an issue of being locked out.  The parking lot at Alley Pond Park was fairly full though, as karen and I had to park near to the end.  It was about 1/4 mile just to the clubhouse you see here on the left.  Once inside, we saw Tom, Jack, Pauline, Ben, Maggie and Wilson.  Afterwards, I would meet a couple more FPRR's including Daniel, who ran damn well himself!   The huddled masses were all inside.  No one wanted to come out until it was time to race, and I can't say I blame them.  We found out that there was no baggage check, for which made sense since the parking lot was just outside.  So Karen and I ran back to the car, to get our final stuff ready.  I also took the op, to jog back and forth to get warmed up.  But on a day like today, it didn't work.

No, the person on the picture to the right was not pretending he was a midget playing the piano.  He was telling us about the raffle and awards after the race. Incidentally, despite Active.Com citing that "trophies" would be handed out to the first 3 people in each age catergory, the truth was that the trophy was only for the winner in that age division.  2nd and 3rd Place finishers received a medal instead. But the medals were pretty nice also, as they had details of the race inscribed in the back.

Well the race began a few minutes late due to the weather.  We were on the street that divides Alley Pond Park from Creedmoor State Mental Facility.  Tom and I were lined up together, and Karen came over and kissed me good luck.  I had wanted to do well, but I can't say I really had the killer instinct in me, even with 16 ounces of Red Bull in me.

The first mile featured going up a quick hill that curved somewhat.  It took us into the park and even had us running around a circle of sorts.  I did that first mile in 7:34.  Tom blasted by me, as I had expected, and I didn't even try to keep pace, because I knew that if I had, I might not even make it!  However, in the end, he actually only crossed the finish about a minute or so faster than me, so I must have gained some ground along the way. In any event, that 1st mile was my next to worst in terms of time.

Mile 2 had some deep forest trail-like running.  I kinda liked it.  It was nice to see marshalls at every turn.  Alley Pond does a good job at this, I must admit.  I kept pace and at this point, I decided I was not going to let anyone pass me again.  A bit of bravado?  Perhaps.  But I didn't want to take the chance and have the same scenario befall me like it did the last time I ran this when I was outpaced with a half-mile to go to lose 3rd place.  I figured if I wasn't going to come in the top 3, it would be because they started out quicker than me, or were lined up in front of me at the sound of the gun (and there weren't too many people lined up in front of me and Tom, let me tell ya!).  I finished Mile 2 in 7:23.  That was my 3rd fastest mile.

Mile 3 had the makings for greatness.  It was either flat or downhill for most of the way.  It was one of those miles where you ask yourself how this downgrade in the elevation could continue without getting to water.  I did this mile in 7:05, and yep, not even a ghost came close to me on this mile.  I absolutely floored the gas pedal on this one.

And, with the "Good" comes the "Bad" and the "Ugly".  No one passed me in Mile 4, so no "Bad", but remember that 'downgrade' I was just mentioning above? Well, we did a turnaround of sorts, and now we had to go up the whole way.  I went from my fastest mile in Mile 3 to my slowest mile here.  8:06.  The fact that no one passed me was a testament of how hard that mile was.  I wasn't the only person struggling with this.

In the fifth and final mile, I started reflecting very often about how I was surpassed.  Something told me that I was no better than 3rd place, and that I'd better not slack off either!  Heck, I came all the way to Queens to a rain-soaking, bone-chilling race.  I had better do well.  But was it enough to acquire hardware?

I ran my ass off, and crossed the finish line in 7:17.  Afterwards, I was so spent, that I forgot to wait for Karen and instead went to the yummy bagels and assorted goodies.  In this regard, I LOVE the Alley Pond race. They had SCORES of Girl Scout Samoas (my favorite - and most fattening) and Thin Mint cookies.  They had apples.  They had bananas.  Oranges.  Candy.  Everything!

I chatted with Tom, and then I met Daniel Shum who was in my age group and did fairly well himself.  Then, I started to walk back to the finish line, but by then Karen was already coming to me.  Just as well.  I was freezing.  Time to go to the clubhouse.  I totally envy the Alley Pond Clubhouse.  Their park's clubhouse is 1000 times better than ours.  Maybe 10,000 times better.

We didn't stay there too long though as they race coordinator asked us to go back out to observe a moment of silence for a fellow runner who used to jog around Alley Pond for many, many years.  He, like Alberto Arroyo of Central Park, had also passed away recently.

We froze outside, and could not wait to get back to the club house.   At this point, I met up with most of my team. 

They finally posted the results.  I asked Karen to look where I placed, but she could not find me.  I then looked myself, and to my surprise I came in 32nd place overall.  Wow!  But here's the best part of all....
I WON 3rd PLACE!!!!! 

Funny thing was that my fellow club member, Daniel, came in 4th and only trailed me by a couple of minutes.  So good thing for me I didn't let up at the end.  I see good things happening for Daniel though, if he keeps up his craft.

Tom won 3rd place in his age category as well (45-49).  Maggie and Wilson both came in first in their age categories (65-69 and 70 & up, I believe).

Some photos to remember by:

Pauline & Tom (who ran with his lucky glad trash bag!)

The man on the left came in 2nd place overall.  He & his wife (right) are here vacationing from Zaragosa, Spain.  They found the race in the paper just days before.

One of us is not a Spaniard...Hmmm. Wonder who?

Maggie Carinci ran and won in her age category.  Her husband Ben (not pictured) was also on hand to root her on.

"This is how it's done, son!"

Team Photo  (haha...I think someone is pointing to my 32nd place overall finish on the results posted on the coke machine behind Tom!)


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inaugural Run: Ward's Island - Astoria - UES

INAUGURAL RUN:  Manhattan - Ward's Island - Astoria Park - Manhattan
DATE: April 24, 2010
WEATHER:  Bright Sunshine, Temperature 55F - 65F, Breezy 10 MPH
DISTANCE:  8.72 miles

I finally went over the Ward's Island Bridge, into Ward's Island and over the RFK bridge and into Astoria.   It wasn't a perfect route, as we were more in a discovery mode than anything else.

I did take my camera with me, and took a lot of photos along the way.  I also gave the camera to Karen to take a few shots of me, because, well, because I am so humble, you see.

First, let's start out with the sunrise...

Karen, get your lazy butt out of bed!!!!

Okay we're up, and we're out.....
Going up the 102nd Street Walkway to get onto Ward's Island Bridge and cross over to Ward's Island.

Karen & I start our ascent into uncharted territory....

As we crossed over into Randall's Island, we see some interesting points of view.  Take this shot for example, of both the RFK bridge (closeup) and Hell's Gate bridge (far away).

The next bridge for us to tackle, the RFK.  Interestingly, Karen and I were thinking the same thing at the same time....Why not just swim across?  Heck, it actually couldn't be more than 400 yards across at this point, less than what we did at last year's Triathlon.

Running now along the east side of Ward's Island.  Discovering as we go along.  This is fun!

Competitive Photo of Karen!

Ballfield (which looks really lonely) smack dab in between the two bridges (RFK, Hellsgate) on Ward's Island.  One thing for sure, as I kept running I know I will NEVER run around here at night.  It's fun yes, but creepy too.

The Ward's Island end of the Hell's Gate bridge.  I don't think I could call this a caisson, since it does not go under the water, but who knows....

The Hell's Gate bridge support arches as it crosses westwardly through Ward's Island and eventually into the Bronx.  Yuk.   It was at this point where we realized....there was no where else to run.  So we had to turn around.

However, as we turned back we decided to take another route, completely different from where we initially came in from.

Running past a lot of rugby, soccer and baseball fields.  I never knew Ward's Island had so much recreational area.

Approaching the pedestrian skyway to the RFK bridge as we now had enough of Ward's Island and decided to head into Queens.  Footnote:  Had we looked at our maps, we would have stayed on one of the roads which would have led us up to Randall's island (which I find funny since it's connected to Ward's - like...WTF???)

No. I'm not trying to egg on the NYPD, nor the MTA on this.  This is really a sad reality of the current lifestyle thanks to the idiots that come to this country to try and do harm to it.  We have to curtail our freedoms to ensure that wackos don't try anything stupid.  I did take pics of the bridge, but not to worry...Nothing sensitive. 

Karen and I make our approach up the skyway.  I thought this was really a cool place to run, though we saw two people hanging out looking rather unscrupulous.

We come to the end of the Skyway, and onto a set of steps (next photo) leading us to a normal walkway across the bridge.

Hey. Lemme Outta Here!!! LOL.   Imprisoned view of the NY skyline. 

Very intereting on the steps was this metal rail.  Either it's for wheelchair access or for cyclists or both.  Very considerate of NY to think to do this.  I approve.

A look backwards towards Ward's Island side of the RFK at what has been covered thus far.

We had great weather today.  It was breezy and about 55 degrees outside.  Great for today's daily run, and inaugural one at that.

This was a treacherous angle to navigate on the walk path.  It was a blind curve, and I can see by its narrowness, why so many complain when they have to negotiate their bikes over the RFK during the 5 boro bike tour too (or at least that's what I've been told).

A better, less fenced view of Manhattan from the RFK.

Getting to Queens....Almost there!

Keep Running Karen. Don't stop!!!

Woohoo! We finally made it to Queens.  Astoria, to be exact.  Next destination, my Dad's 3rd house after the "Hansel & Gretel" home in '61 and the flat he shared while doing sanitary duties for Jorge Armengol (both also in Astoria), and first with his brothers back in 1963.  Some 47 years ago.  Wow.

Well, here it is 21-11 24th Street. It's the door on the left side of the green awning.  Many photos were taken here in the good old days....Here, take a look:

This photo was taken when my Uncles emigrated here in 1963.  From left;  Antonio, his grandma, Perla, his Aunt Lucy, cousin Joey Lugassy, and my other Uncle, Alejandro.

Across the street from the famed house is Peter Chappetto Square park. Go Karen, Go.

Now  we're headed for our next destination:  Astoria Park.  He're we've just crossed Hoyt Avenue, and are now running under the RFK bridge to get to Hoyt Avenue South, or better known as Astoria Park South.

Alas.  We have arrived!!!

I like the oval track here.  However, the track at Forest Park is better.  Also, what's up with the water fountains?  There was only one in sight, and it didn't even work.  It's late April, people.  Let's get that water flowing for our thirsy runners!!!
Another view of the track.

Oh No.  She didn't.  But she did.  Here is Karen, after unsuccessfully attempting to recruit me to do a long jump, doing it herself.  I've got nothing against it, just that I have a race tomorrow (just like her, but she didn't give a flying leap)!!!!

But she did give a flying leap.  Not bad for your first attempt, Karen.

Karen asked if I would hustle around the track.  So humble as I am, I agreed provided that she took photos of me.  Hey!  I was the only one taking photos here.  Her turn now.

Tongue is hanging out, but not from exhaustion.  Just needed to give Karen a much needed raspberry...

Map of Astoria park.  Does any of this look familiar, father?

Entrance to the Oval Track at Astoria Park.

"Oooh Look, Honey...Tennis".   Yes, and unlike Central Park.  This is FREE.

Karen laughed at this.  I guess this is something you don't see in Manhattan.  As for me, I'm all for my common Queens man/woman.  So, here.  Free plug.  Person lives in Astoria on Hoyt Avenue (north side and betw. 27th and 28th Street).  If you're interested, call the number above, and tell them that Alex sent ya!

A view of my Dad's 3rd home in the US, from the RFK (formerly known as Triboro Bridge).

Finally, someone to look at MY ass.

Okay, I think Karen is liking my butt, a bit much now.


My turn for some booty call shots.

Karen honey, please.  Whatever you do. DON'T GO TO THE BRONX!!!!!
Back in Wards Island.  Looking south at Manhattan while on the southern loop of Ward's Island heading West to the Ward's Island Bridge.

There's the bridge.....
One last bridge to scale!!!

I love the surface of this bridge.  It looks like gravel, cement, something odd right?

A view of Hell's Gate section of the East River looking north towards Yankee Stadium.

And now south towards the New York City skyline....
Hola Karen! :-)

Running along side her and deciding at the last minute to go to the gym to work out upper body and abs.

Heading down the walkpath and onto the East River Esplenade near 102nd.

A view of the FDR near the 96th street exit.

The surface of the espleande is kinda soft with it's honeycombed pavement.

We looked at an apartment here once.  Oh My God, was the smell awful.  The hallways smelled like farts.  And the apartments looked like they were taken care of by a slum landlord.  I'm sorry for the people who live here and stumble across this website, but really, some of your neighbors have no consideration for the rest of you.  For exmple, when we left the building (or should I say, 'fled'), we saw a tenant (and I say that because he later walked into your building and entered in with a key) walk their dog on your grounds.  The dog took a steaming, heaping pile of shit (pardon my french) and the guy never even bothered to pick it up and just kept walking afterwards.  Like I said.  No consideration!

Girl on a hanmock between two trees right alongisde the FDR Parkway.  Only in New York.

Some people are obviously thinking they can catch fish along the east river.  Has the river been cleaned up that much?  I mean, really,  I don't doubt they will catch something, but I was thinking it might be more like cholera, typhoid, diptheria, you know, the East River kind of fishes.   Bacalao, perhaps?  No, that would be in Hunts Point, in the Bronx.   Ewwwwwww!!!!!

Run Karen Run.  Or.....Are YOU now fishing as well????

Lasst photo.  From here on out I put the camera away because it was almost dead, and we were nearly at the NYSC club on 91st and 3rd.

Hpope you all enjoyed my photologue!