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Corporate 5K - 2015 PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 17 April 2015 07:24

ell, it was an event, all full of dramatic pursuits, missing diamond rings and mood-setting rainstorms.

So I was on setup this year and helped the boss load and transport over. Gray day and getting grayer. Set up went okay but there was some confusion with the wife driving about downtown and me jogging up and down streets trying to catch her (saw her go by twice). It was like some bloody Buster Keaton bit. Sheesh.

Anyway, everything set up as planned. Hung out and had a granola bar. Chatted with people. My brother and niece showed up - always good to see them. Drifted over for the race and got a pretty good start position (8 minutes back from the line). 

Runners: Manjula, The Author, Fadeelah, Omar, and Maryam. Associated kiddies: Krishang and Aadya

Hung out under a tree with work buddies Omar and Manjula. The latter is my personal nemesis - we've been beating each other at this race for years. I won my first time, then she buried me last year.

So the race got going, at least it did. My garman watch couldn't find any bloody satellites to GPS my effort. Five minutes of "scanning". You stupid bitch - this is what I bought you for! I've been using you for a year in anticipation of this event! So, 17,999 people crossing the start line, with one screwing with what is pretty much an inert timepiece. Glanced over and manually marked my time across the line. Should have brought the pocket fob.

Anyway, it was a good run for me. The usual bit - going around the time-liars who push up early and walk, getting around the clots and clusters, mindful of that stripe-on-the-bricks slick spot. Manjula pulled away early and I gave up on that, just finding a pace and keeping it it. Calves were usually my biggest problem (thought I was starting to cramp going in) but everything worked well. Running in a 56 year old body is like those B-17 movies where the plane is shot up and they are feathering their props, trying to make the coast.

I didn't really remember much of the race this time. The rain kept the usual morale-booster bands away, alas. East to Bumby, up to Robinson, and then back. No water for me - I run in the noonday sun and if I don't need water there, I really don't need it for a 5k in the rain at night. At water stations, I swing to the middle of the street to avoid the newbies.

Halfway down Robinson, and suddenly there was my nemesis (shoulda kept up with the noon running, Manjula!). Passed her with a "Bu-bye!" And damned if she didn't speed up and dog me for 100 yards. Managed to squeak through a couple of walkers and give her the slip but I didn't know where she was now and could only keep running.

Air became the big problem down the front of the park - was sucking in and couldn't quite fill my lungs so I had to slow. With the drizzle, nobody from the corp was out cheering people on. Kinda disappointed there - no cheering section. Around onto Central and put in a last sprint and crossed the line exactly thirty-two minutes after my start. Grabbed a taco from our tent and went out to find my wife and walk her over the line too, watching the fireworks.

Found out later, not only did I put Manjula away by a minute (she gave me an Indian bow of grace today) but I beat my brother by two seconds! Hurah! 

Oh, and the ring? When we were rolling my boss's seats back to load his car, I saw this ring and pointed it out. He shrugged it off - though it was one of his kids' Barbie rings. Turns out it was actually his wife's engagement ring, recently lost, and secretly (and frantically) looked for. So I got a call at 11pm from her, offering me gushing thanks for finding it.

So yeah, it was a good day.


Last Updated on Friday, 17 April 2015 12:09
New York - Day Four - Escape from New York PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 28 December 2014 00:00

won't say it rained that day. But it was ark weather.

The front hit on our final day. JB had agreed (with some prodding) to walk with me over to the Hudson to see the museum carrier Intrepid, followed by a walk across the city to Grand Central Station (something she wanted to see). She should have argued better.

At first it was fine - we both had umbrellas and it was raining. But was we got closer on the carrier, it came down harder and harder. Soon our legs were getting wet, my arm (from holding her hand) was soaked, it was windy cold. Not a good day to be out. Looked at the carrier, said, yes, it's a ship, and then started through ratty urbanistic lands for Grand Central. Hoo boy. We had just under a mile to go and it was coming down in sheets.

And she kept with me - I'll give her points for stamina in the face of the elements. Finally I suggested we find someplace we could go in, get coffee and gather our wits. She nodded agreement without a word. And so, it a bit of serendipity, we found ourselves at the same restaurant we'd had breakfast in our first morning in the city. Just looked and there it was. The head waiter even recognized us. It was my coffee against her hot chocolate, a draw. And once I could study the map, I realized that, indirectly, we could catch the subway a block south, go north, east, then south (two trains) and end up right under Grand Central. Or we could keep paddling.

Our two train rides were quick, easy and warm, and we found ourselves in the Mecca of Railroading (back when travel was a dignified adventure and not something thrown together using poured concrete and questionable bond issuances), Grand Central Station. I had to admit that this was impressive. Poked around for a bit, got some good pictures (there were more people taking pictures that waiting for trains it seemed). Then we decided to walk over to the 5th Avenue Library (famous in just about every movie in New York).

It was interesting. We saw a display that concerned the US propaganda going into World War One. Very interesting and informative (and I took pictures of some of the chicken-hawk books written at the time - hello Project Gutenberg). Once we were done, it was time to meet up with everyone for lunch and decisions.

Lunch was interesting - we were able to find plenty of seating at lunch hour, partially because it was Christmas Eve but largely because the place was a grubby dirthole. The bathroom (in the basement) was appalling and there was a leak dripping through in the center of the place (how many floors were above us?). Still, we managed to get some hot food down and decided that rather than waiting for 3:30 for the luggage pickup and ride to Islip Airport, we'd leave as early as we could - 2:30.

After that, it was a big tromp over (through the rain) to the luggage storage place. The van showed up on time, everything was great, and we were on our way home.

Along with a million other people on the Long Island Expressway. Throw in a couple of accidents and you had standstill traffic.

I'll give the driver credit - he did his best. We ran in the fastest lanes, then left the expressway to run down back roads, surface streets, whatever got us ahead of the pack. Tick tick tick went the the clock. It began to look like it was going to be close (had we left at 3:30, we'd have been screwed). And finally, at just after five, we got off for the quick surface street run to the airport.

"Fuck," I said as the train gates came down.

But fortunately it was a quick passenger train, nothing to delay us too long, and we were at the airport at 5:10 or so. Everyone gave the driver thankful graditutionals in the form of cash and then we were in the terminal. Nobody was at the TSA line so we got through fast. Made the flight!

Except that the flight didn't make us - a broken windshield wiper took our plane out of service.

A second plane was brought over from Rhode Island (nearly two hours later) and finally we got into the air. Orlando felt strange once we'd landed. Sultry night air coming through the open doorways, no bundled travelers, no honking and fuss. Got our suitcases and were in the car and away, hissing down moist streets as the clock ticked into Christmas Day. And soon we were home.

What heaven to wake up in bed the next morning with our cat curled lovingly between us, the window open to admit the warm breeze, the greenery of our back yard rustling, the wet, fresh air (with nobody yacking or honking under our window). It was good to be home.

Anyway, that's the trip. I've got to toss out thanks to sister Pat for organizing it (except for the ride home - shudder!). And to my mom, for coming up with the idea (and financing) of our grand family adventure. It was fun to actually return to New York, to walk through the city and meet its generous people (everyone was actually kinder and nicer than we'd been led to expect). But I'm old, not a young urbanite, and I'll keep to my old gay suburb, thanks.

And that's The End.



Last Updated on Monday, 29 December 2014 23:36
New York - Day Three - Making Book on the Horses PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 27 December 2014 00:00

fter Sting, it’s hard to top it but we had a really good day. It was misty and rather cold, but still doable.

The morning broke drizzly and cold, with JB, me, my mom and sister boarding a carriage on the border of Central Park. Through the efforts of Flash the Horse, we circled around the interior of this vast yet beautiful greenspace (yeah, Orlando, thanks for developing the old navy base into Baldwin Park (i.e. Nob Hill for the rich, rather than greenspace for everyone). Not many people were out, so we huddled under our carrage blanket, looking out at the wet, wild woods with its backdrop of soaring buildings, relaxing to the clip-clop of hooves on park road.

After that, lunch (and the best Rubin in the world) at Broadway Diner. Yes, it was expensive, but pre-warned that the portions were huge, we shared meals and just really enjoyed it. And it was warm inside – real huddle around the kugel weather.

After that, my sister and mom dropped off for their play and JB and I continued downtown to Union Square. There, we quickly located The Strand Bookstore, which I’m going to have to call the Mecca for readers. Wow. Shelve after shelf. Floor after floor. I think I picked up about eight books (watch for coming reviews). It’s actually the first bookstore that has defeated me – I just couldn’t bring myself to lug my swag bag down endless aisle any longer.

And Forbidden Planet is right next door. So, of course, another book on the way out of that place, a graphic novel. Maybe I’ll review that too.

Union Square was also hosting a local artiste fair with all sorts of stalls. So JB poured over that while I sat on a wet bench, hugging my books to keep them dry, watching cold dogs sit in the dog run and dream of warm doggie beds.

Okay, so tomorrow, a short day and then home for Christmas. Ready to return to the Shire.

>>>NEXT DAY<<<



Last Updated on Sunday, 28 December 2014 10:06
New York - Day Two - The Big Cold Lady PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 December 2014 19:24

ong day today – took the subway first thing out to Battery Park where we caught the ferry to the base of the Statue of Liberty. Interesting that the last time I was out here, when I was seven, it was cold and bleak, too. Anyway, got to check out the monument’s museum and all the cool things there. Also got to go all the way up to the top of the pedestal (all 176 steps, which is nothing compared to my 14th floor office at work – like after a fire drill when the lobby is packed with everyone in line to elevator up and I take the stairs). But we hung around there for a bit, then tried to catch up with my Sister and Mom, thus bypassing Elis Island (hey, my ancestors came over in the 1600s and had nothing to do with it). Caught up with them and took the subway back to downtown, where we went to Macy’s.

What was Macy’s like a day or two before Christmas? My sister compared it to Cacophony (the Seventh Level of Hell). I mean it was packed, people all swarming every which way. And I was carrying my mom’s backpack, so more bulk for me. We finally got downstairs to the café for some sort of meal – only to share tables with the homeless (one of whom asked for my sister’s uneaten portion when she was done – a benevolent gesture right before Christmas and all, but do you really want that sort of thing?). Finally we got back out into the street and managed to snare the only cab in New York that didn’t have a fare. Dumb luck, really, since he stopped to drop someone right next to us.

That night, JB and I went out with my brother and his family to eat at a very good Afghan restaurant, kebabs and such. And then it was over to the theater for a play, this time The Last Ship with, of all people, Sting in a leading role. I geeked out for this – bought a signed show CD and all that. And there he was, on stage about one hundred feet away, right there. Wow.

Of course, my young niece didn't know who the F Sting was. I don't know what to say about that. I mean really...

The weather’s closing in. Looks like rain tomorrow. Going to check out the Strand Bookstore!



>>>NEXT DAY<<<


Last Updated on Saturday, 27 December 2014 09:19

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