Category Archives: story

Things I miss as I get older or Glory Days

Today, I ran one of the fastest 2.5 miles I have run in a long time. It created a flash back to a favorite memory of my past, breaking bikers on the run to Brooklyn, on the Brooklyn Bridge. Let me explain. I used to live and work in Brooklyn Heights, and after work, after quickly changing, I would run the Brooklyn Bridge. It was always an adventure, from model shoots to tourists to panhandlers, there was always something happening. But, what I loved the most was what happened at the halfway point. When I finished the run from Brooklyn to Manhattan, I would “stretch” at the steps that went down toward South Street Seaport. What I was really doing was waiting for a biker who was riding back over the bridge to Brooklyn, and it never was a long wait. Let it beginMy goal was to see if I could ‘break a biker” before they made it to the top of the bridge, the ultimate would be to beat them all the way to Brooklyn, that did not happen often. I would let them get a little lead but then I would start reeling them in, a jogger racing a biker. About a quarter of the way up, inevitably they would feel me kind of close to them and the reactions would start. Usually, they would start pedaling harder, almost as if it was an insult to have a runner pass them. The slight uphill elevation usually allowed me to catch them. The reactions were priceless. Most people would just stop riding, get off their bike and start pushing or get off the bike and tie their shoe, or adjust their back pack. Some would start furiously pedaling to beat me to the peak, because it was downhill from there. My favorite was the guys who would start cheering me on, “go man go”, “dont give up”, “push it”. With these bikers, a camaraderie had been formed. With the others, not so much. At the top of the bridge, with the inspiring view of Brooklyn Heights in front, and about a pack of cigarettes worth of vehicle exhaust on the roadway below, gravity switched sides, they knew it, and I knew it. This was when I would run as hard as I could, but I knew they were coming, they always came. Of course pedaling downhill, it wasn’t too hard. Again, the reactions were priceless. Tthe funniest would be the trash talk, “You got nothing”, “Choke on my smoke”, “See ya”. Yes, they usually would win the final race, but I can’t imagine the feeling of overtaking a runner going downhill was as satisfying as breaking a biker going uphill. Glory Days

The Delicious French Surprise

We spent one week in Paris in 2000 and if we went back to France, it would be hard to get us to visit any place else.  We followed the advice of the Rick Steves’ Guide to Paris and stayed on the street known as Rue Cler.  We refer to Rue Cler as a foodies Disneyland.

RueCler.png

Walking down the Rue was a pleasure, a Charcuterie and a Fromagerie on the left, a Boulangerie and a Wine Shop on the right.  The best rotisserie Chickens I have ever had in  my life on the left, a cart on the right with your choice of Ostrich eggs or quail eggs.  It was amazing.  Someday I will write more about our French Picnics, but today I was reminded of our French surprise on the Rue.  On the Friday morning we noticed stacks and stacks of crates sitting in front of all the cafe’s, Restaurants and Hotels on the Rue.  I thought nothing of it.  The next day the stacks of crates had shrunk.  Again, for some reason, it meant nothing to me.  That afternoon we went to a cafe and noticed next to us a of group of distinguished older women sitting a table loaded with beautifully stacked plates of oysters.  While these women looked distinguished, there actions were that of toddlers at a candy store.  Sheer excitement.  They enthusiastically devoured all of the oysters, not just sipping from the shell, but taking their tiny oyster forks and attacking any part of the oyster that dared remain on the shell.  Well, their enthusiasm spread to us.  My wife and I felt we were being brave and ordered … a dozen.  As we waited for our order to arrive another little old lady next to us had her order delivered “What..hey thats 18!” We felt a little embarassed at our meager dozen.  Finally the plates arrived, they were beautiful.  Three little plates, stacked on metal stands designed just for this occasion, with a small bowl of shallot vinegar and some lemons.  Imitating the experts at the tables around us we started to eat.  Our dozen turned out to be not enough.  The oysters were simply delicious.  It has been described as eating the ocean.  We were hooked.  When we left the cafe it finally dawned on me, those dwindling stacks of crates were the Rue’s oysters for the weekend.  The delicious French surprise.  I wish we had eaten more!

Yes Please

Something that motivates me

I once ran a marathon. That is not what motivates me, in fact I no longer think running a marathon is good for you, but I digress. I ran the NYC Marathon in a 2005.

NYC marathon

Thats a lot of runners

If you are going to run a marathon, this must be one of the best to try. 40,000 runners or so and lots and lots of support. This marathon snakes through all 5 boroughs, starting in Staten Island and ending in Central Park.
What I remember. Right before the race, New York, New York was broadcast on the loudspeakers and many of the runners joined in singing.  At the start of the race, in Staten Island, at some park, all 40,000 runners or so, as they were waiting for the race to start used any and everyplace necessary to relieve themselves. In fact, once the race began, people started pulling up to the side of the road to take care of business, business that usually requires privacy and a newspaper. When running through Queens, there was a pizza shop, it smelled heavenly, people were sitting at outdoor tables watching us run. I wanted to take their pizza and let them try to catch me. When we left Queens, we crossed a bridge and entered into Manhattan, the roar of the crowd, even for us slowbies was amazing. I had to stop at around mile 17 at the “Sponge Bob” refreshment station. Imagine running over 20,000 or so sponge bob sponges. I justified stopping by thinking I was about to fall from the uneven surfaces created by the sponges.
Going through Harlem, one of the thousands of spectators was handing out orange slices, I took one, it was the best orange ever. After that, all the strangers offerings looked great, I took some double mint gum, wow that was perfect. Then we were in Central Park. This is where I was inspired.

You go girl

You go girl

At around mile 25, all of the grandmas and grandpas started passing me. Yes, grandmas and grandpas. It was as if they waited for me to get to mile 25 and decided to rub in my pain by casually gliding by. One, then another, then the whole rest home. At that moment, and to this day, I decided I want to be in that shape when I am that age.
It didn’t necessarily inspire me then, perhaps it made me frustrated, but it inspires me now. I want to be in that kind of shape at that age. Take the pounding, keep at it. That is something that motivates me.

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