April 12th, 2010
In New York it takes time to get anywhere–by car, bus, subway, or on foot. It makes distances seem farther than they really are so, when I realized how close I am to Coney Island, and the Atlantic Ocean, I thought I should go there.
To make it more fun, or more of a challenge, or simply to try and do two things at once (a trademark of mine), a few weekends ago I decided to run there. To see more ground, I mapped out a trapezoidal shape for my route. Off-the-couch, I’d run a half marathon the weekend before, but I wasn’t sure about running this distance in the city. Fortunately, there’s the subway.
I ran through Prospect Park–the last time I’d been there it was covered in snow–then made my way south on 5th Avenue through a largely Hispanic community to the Verrazano Bridge. Next to an ancient canon, likely a relic of some fort that once protected the harbor, I crossed under the bridge and to the Beltway trail. Container ships chugged through the waterway and, closer than I’d thought it would be, I saw Coney Island. I meandered through some light industrial areas and trash-filled dead end canals, passed through the projects, and there it was. The boardwalk. The ferris wheel. The Atlantic Ocean.
At this point, I’d run about a half marathon and thought about taking the Q train back north. My legs hurt. Instead, just to see if I could, I started running up Ocean Parkway. I paralleled the the Q train for some time, then broke off onto a more direct route as it started to rain.
I had four miles to go when it got hard. I was down to a running shuffle; I wasn’t tired, my legs simply hurt. Then, with one mile left to go I gave up and walked. Painfully. Back to the apartment I mapped it out: 22 miles. So, now I know not only what Coney Island looks like on a windy, empty day, but how far I can run. Not bad for Sunday city entertainment. Cheap too. But maybe I should stretch more.
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