September Home Stretch

But I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more. Just to be the man who walks a thousand miles to fall down at your door.

I love Shorewalkers, they got me exploring Manhattan when I couldn’t do the Saunter, and I’ve done part of the Saunter twice. Shorewalkers’ founder Cy Adler died at 90 on Thursday, September 27. If I’m in town in May, I’m doing the Saunter for him. What a man and legacy.

Thanks again for all the Garmin advice. I decided on that as my #GoTheDist Q3 present to myself as the Charity Miles sale seems better than what I imagine will appear on Black Friday. I’m glad the sale ran through Sunday as it took me that long to decide which model. Final nail in the coffin? TomTom being a complete muppet during the Bronx 10 Miler.

Welcome to busy. Fall is always busy. This year seems worse (volume wise), but I’m lucky enough to truly love what I do, so I don’t mind the busy.

Final stretch of #NBBronx10M training Click To Tweet

Weekly wrap with Holly and Wendy:

  • Never miss a Monday: cross train was the plan and the reality as I did not want to run four days in a row especially after three relatively hard runs. An amusing 5K row was the only option as I forgot my sneakers. Not my crosstrain sneakers, my sneakers entirely. Oops! Although relatively slow, the row felt good.
  • Tuesday: off entirely. Late dinner with friends. Had contemplated a morning run, but it was bucketing down, and no.
  • Wednesday: had a short window after a work event and before the gym closed so I made the most of it by repeating last Friday’s speed test. Whee! 6.2 for a mile, then 6.3 and 6.4 for the final quarter mile. If I’m going to have these tight windows, I’m going to make the most of them.
  • Thursday: office run group somewhat made a return. There were only two of us, and we used it as my Bronx shakeout since the weather was perfect. Cat Hill got me, but I pushed through and recovered pace on the final mile.  Crossed 500 #RunTheYear miles on this run. I cannot wait to sync from Garmin since the Strava sync does not reliably work. Yep, doing the challenge again next year. I won’t hit 2,018 miles but I love the Facebook group for the great people. I’ll probably skip the shirt and medal next year though as I only took out the shirt when I was desperate, laundry wise, and medal and tokens are still in the package.
  • Friday: Bronx 10M Strategy (more on that in the recap) & partial walk home. Although my running mileage has been great for September (hi, weather-facilitated long runs), my steps are off. It’s mostly a factor of busy, there just isn’t the time in my schedule to walk home.
  • Saturday: quick shakeout, followed by a wander around the Village with the lovely Darlene who was in town to run a rescheduled race. Most amusing? Spotting one another in non-running clothes. We clean up nice! I learned the week of Cherry Blossom that I can walk the day before a race without ill effect.  My feet had been feeling rough and I never got to a pedi earlier in the week so I decided to treat myself to a mani/pedi. Self care in all forms and as soon as it’s no longer sandals weather, I’m doing another Baby Foot.
Best finish ever
  • Sunday: Bronx 10 Mile, on a gorgeous autumn day. I ran to the train, and then it was a game of hurry up and wait as the race was delayed due to MTA issues. It was appropriate that Pitbull’s Greenlight came on while we were waiting in the corrals: Give me the green light, oh yeah. ‘Cause I’m ready to go. Not at all my typical music, but perfect for running and especially today. The race was a PR and I hit my goal. Still digesting this one, which I’m not thrilled with. More TK later this week. ETA: TOTR focusing on Bronx 10M here.

Training Mileage for Bronx 10M: 129.19 Miles

Plan this week:

  • I’m going to miss a Monday. I need a day off. I’m sore, and have after work plans that probably negate even crosstrain.
  • Light recovery run Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how my quads are feeling.
  • Thursday: office run group
  • Friday: off
  • Saturday: Grete’s Great Gallop. Yep, bit the bullet and signed up for this 10K. If I’m doing Lebow or Women’s Half, I need to get back to Harlem Hills. That starts Saturday.
  • Sunday: Albany

GoTheDist:

Need to plug in the steps & run walk tomorrow when month is officially over. I also need to process this. I pulled September steps out of a hat with a good closing week, but it wasn’t a particularly good month. I didn’t top last September’s steps until yesterday even with the increased running.

September:

  • 473,757 Steps
  • 209.72 Miles Run/Walked
  • 69.22 Miles Run

Definitely my highest running mileage month. Was I remotely tempted to go out and get .78 miles? Nope. I had a number of vague plans after today’s race. None of them involved more miles.

Q3:

  • 1,486,727 Steps
  • 649.46 Miles Run/Walked
  • 171.67 Miles Run

I think this is the closest I’ve come to my goal of 180 miles run in each quarter.

2018 YTD:

  • 4,311, 909 Steps
  • 1886.21 Miles Run/Walked
  • 515.99 Miles Run

I am three miles ahead of pace on 700 miles run this year. That is, thanks again, to some insane long runs this month. Will I get it? Not sure. Always a stretch goal. I think I set it right though and look forward to seeing where I land. I’ll also likely hit 2,018 miles run/walked sooner than the end of November, which was when I hit it last year. 2,500 miles on the year probably won’t happen, but stranger things have.

On to October. Where did 2018 go?!?

Great Saunter 2017

I started the #GreatManhattanLoop project because I knew I could never finish the Saunter. That was ~50lbs ago and before I discovered my Fitbit addiction. Two attempts and five/six years of walking Manhattan later I’ve realized I’m never going to finish the Saunter and I’m OK with that.

Last time I walked 19.5 miles and yesterday? 22.5. No shame in that. While I had a mental image of going all the way in my head I nearly dropped out much earlier so 22.5 miles is way more than a moral victory. More on that later.

Looking back at the photos from last time (and IG for the project) I realize how much has changed. Aside from the opening of Hudson Eats at Brookfield, the Seaglass Carousel is open, Hudson Yards is blooming and the end of the Greenway on the west side is finished. Can only imagine what this walk will look like in ten, fifty or one hundred years.

As I went digging through the #Loop archives I realized that the 2017 Saunter and photos were a walk down memory lane to areas I’ve explored the last few years. Especially when I first “finished” the “Loop”. That’s a fun feeling and why I love the Saunter/Greenway. I was very excited for more/better photos this year because of my new camera. I went to turn it on to take a photo of the Statue of Liberty in the mist and… dead batteries. In my quest to be sure both phones and external battery packs were charged, I forgot to check my iPod and camera. Fail. That’s when I first had an inkling I wouldn’t finish. I didn’t think I could do it without music.

One World Trade and the Winter Garden, May 2017

Even though I was just in Battery Park and the Battery Park City portion of the Greenway for the 9/11 Memorial & Museum 5K, I didn’t get to take it in as I was jogging. The lower portion of the Greenway and its piers were the first walk I did on the loop and places such as the above (so very different five years ago!) and the AIDS Memorial still catch my attention. Wary of last time’s lessons, I switched into my fitflops early and headed north. I was feeling good, although I wasn’t particularly excited. Not sure why. The weather got warmer though and once we crossed 42nd it seemed to go fairly quickly.

I was on/ahead of pace (pre registering & having my packet mailed helped) through Inspiration Point and even the walk from the Lighthouse wasn’t as bad as I was dreading. Yay run training paying off. If it hadn’t been more of a climb to the subway I might have bailed here. I was just tired. At Inspiration Point I paused to change back into my sneakers ahead of the rougher trails in Inwood Hill Park, have a second Uncrustable and take Advil. Quads were in worse shape than feet and I was thinking that if I took Advil while walking it might help (It did – I’m not terribly sore today). By the time I reached the halfway point at Inwood Hill Park for a potty/snack break I’d fallen about ten minutes off pace. If I hadn’t committed to walking at least as far as last time, I probably would have jumped on the train — the 1 train between Inwood Hill Park and the Speedway was a strong pull. I’d decided ahead of this year that I wasn’t going to have sit down breaks, I thought those were my undoing last time. I think part of the reason I was flagging though was I pretty much hadn’t stopped other than for 2-3 minutes since 7:10 AM and it was now 1/1:30. That’s a long time.

I thought at that point that I might have eight more miles in me, which would take me to the point on the Saunter that passes my apartment. Even if I was feeling good, that would be hard to resist. Along the Speedway I once again walked with some folks and that energized me. I was also sneeze powered for a ton of this section. Not sure how much was my allergies and how much was the pollution from the adjacent cars. Almost no cherry blossoms this year which made that section just as desolate as when I first walked it. I pointed out the Brush stairs to a couple of baseball fans and I was tempted to end the walk there again. It wasn’t pain, I just wasn’t loving it. I did enjoy the Horse Fountain, which I was disappointed to miss last time due to pure exhaustion.

When we reached the bottom of Edgecombe – amazing architecture – we learned that we couldn’t head east as planned and instead were to head south on St. Nicholas to 111th Street before walking back east to pick up the Greenway. While I was hoping to get the eight miles from Inwood to home-I had a backup ejection plan at 126th & 2nd Avenue where I could pick up the m15. I had a feeling I was going to take it as I headed over to St. Nicholas.

Almost exactly four years ago (May is my perfect walking month, clearly, from these posts) I said I needed to go back to Hamilton Grange. Yesterday thanks to the St. Nicholas/Edgecombe detour I ended up back there. Unfortunately, both my phone batteries were dead/dying and I didn’t have the stamina to even walk into the park to eke out a photo. I’d been toying with evaluating what I head left when I hit 126th and seeing if I could push on to home, but that’s when I knew I was done. It wasn’t fun anymore. As someone I walked with on the Speedway said, this shouldn’t be an ordeal. As I said last year when I bailed on the Bridge Walk:

There’s no “have to”, especially when something isn’t fun. No winning for martyring.

I think that’s why I’m OK with not finishing the Saunter. I’ve known that the streets don’t interest me as much since 2013, I just need to remember that day of. I have walked the loop. When I turned left on 125th St. I realized just how far west the detour had taken us. Or rather, how much narrower Manhattan is where we should have turned. It was a challenge not to hop on a crosstown bus, but I walked to 2nd where I got off my feet and took in just why my feet were so sore!

 

end of my Saunter, 4:02 PM

Only just realized the time on making the collage. I’d like to say I’d have walked another eight minutes to have walked 9 hours, But I really don’t think I’d have cared.

Now I want to focus on exploring more of the neighborhoods – especially uptown. I now know how close High Bridge, Coogan’s Bluff and Hamilton Grange are to one another and how relatively easy it is to get there. That’s on my list for this summer.

For now, more Saunter pics:

40,000 steps

In. One. Day.


40,000 steps and 16.6 miles
40,000 steps and 16.6 miles

It’s not my personal best. That honor still goes to the Saunter. But it’s my best since that day and was also a product of Shorewalkers. The thing I’m most proud about? Nearly 6 of these miles were after I bailed on the official walk.

Anyway…

I’ve had a thing for bridges for a while now and in the words of the famous Jack, who I had the pleasure of meeting today, “There are a lot of bridges on the east side of Manhattan.”When I saw the Shorewalkers June newsletter I saw they were doing one of the three annual  and was initially bummed that it was taking place on a Friday. When I realized the date was wrong and it was today I decided to do it. Did I mention that was yesterday?

Oops.

So I knew I wasn’t going to finish. I’ve actually made a lot of progress with walking the bridges, but I liked the idea of trying to do all at once. I was nervous though because I remembered hating both the Williamsburgh (for its incline) and Triboro (proximity to car exhaust). I decided I was just going to take it as far as I could and play “the end’ by ear.

We met at the Municipal Building where Thomas Kinsella’s 1872 words served as a nice start to the walk. It was just after 9 AM and the Brooklyn Bridge crowds weren’t too bad. From there it was an uphill walk through DUMBO to the Manhattan Bridge which has stunning views but is by far the ugliest and loudest of the bridges. Back in Manhattan it was a nice wander through Chinatown and pit stop in Seward Park before crossing into Brooklyn again on the Williamsburg Bridge. I took that for the first time in 2013 on Citibike and remembered hating it for the long slog over land (no view) and the incline. Both still true. At this point the group split and some hopped on the bus to LIC while some opted to walk that portion. Fresh off the bus and on fresh legs, we crossed back into Manhattan on the 59th St. Bridge.

After a pit stop at Bed & Bath Walt opted to take the Greenway up to 103rd rather than 1st Ave as initially planned. If the group had gone up 1st I’d have taken the bus on this leg since I knew I wouldn’t make it past my street without peeling off. As we walked from Carl Schurz north along the greenway to Wards Island, I found myself thinking of something I said nearly three years ago:

I don’t see most of the Harlem River bridges happening. Walking between the Harlem River Drive and Major  Deegan is underwhelming, as I realized from Macombs Dam and there is no “have to” in this project.

There’s no “have to”, especially when something isn’t fun. No winning for martyring. The heat was getting to be too much especially with the car exhaust so when they turned right to cross the Wards Island Bridge, I went left and over to 1st Avenue. I was done. I wasn’t in pain like when I stopped the Saunter, I’d just had enough and wasn’t enjoying the walk. I do want to do the Washington and Henry Hudson** and plan to join this walk when it starts at the GW in the fall and heads south though.

After re-charging with an iced coffee at Dunkin and some down time in Target’s AC, I set off again. Destination unknown. Knew I wanted to do sunset though so I headed crosstown on the m116 before landing in Riverside Park. When I realized tomorrow was Father’s Day, I knew where I wanted to spent sunset. Soldiers & Sailors of course. I stayed there and read for a while before it got crowded with prom pictures so I instead headed south where I was treated to this. How i know i wasn’t feeling the official walk? I barely took any photos.

From sunset I caught the m79 home via 16 Handles and an extra lap around the block to hit 40K. I didn’t do 30 miles, but I had a magical day.


sunset from W. 80th and the Hudson River
sunset from W. 80th and the Hudson River

19.5 miles of the Great Saunter

as I’ve touched on before, the Great Saunter was the idea behind the #GreatManhattanLoop when I first started walking Manhattan. Due to a combination of not being in town on that Saturday and knowing I wasn’t up to that distance, I walked the Loop in segments before finally finishing in May 2013.

In May 2015, the stars finally coincided for me to attempt the Great Saunter. I didn’t finish it (and apparently most don’t), but I (mostly) enjoyed the 19.5 mile walk around Manhattan’s shoreline including some places I knew of but had never gotten to photograph, like Pumpkin House.

Historical markers on the Broad St. side of Fraunces Tavern
Historical markers on the Broad St. side of Fraunces Tavern

Saturday, May 2, came bright and early-especially early with registration beginning at Fraunces Tavern at 7am. As I learned later from a Shorewalkers volunteer, there were 1,070 folks preregistered and they expected that 3-400 had joined at various points along the route.

Castle Clinton in Battery Park
Castle Clinton in Battery Park
One World Trade behind the Winter Garden
One World Trade behind the Winter Garden

The first miles of the walk go around the southern tip of Manhattan through Battery Park and up the west side through North and South Coves and Battery Park City. I’m pleasantly surprised with how relatively construction-free Battery Park is and it looks like the SeaGlass carousel might finally become reality. I enjoyed the quick view of Castle Clinton aka South West Battery in this National Parks’ Centennial year. Amazing to think that was once in the harbor. The opening of One World Trade last fall for office space and the Observatory later this month is amazing. I also can’t believe this was less than three years ago but that site will never not be arresting.

 

New York Central Railroad 69th Street Transfer Bridge
New York Central Railroad 69th Street Transfer Bridge
Treelined Cherry Walk in Riverside Drive
Treelined Cherry Walk in Riverside Drive
White and pink cherry blossoms on the same limb
White and pink cherry blossoms on the same limb

I didn’t take many photos along the early part of the route in part due to wanting to keep pace and, in part, because I had many from my May 2012 walk. The only exceptions were the New Whitney and the fairly new North River Lobster Company. Alas, it was too early in the day for lobster and we walked on through Riverside Park which is the stretch of the Greenway I feel as if I know the best. I walked it in February and two weeks ago in a premature attempt to see cherry blossoms. The no photo thing-which I knew I’d need to keep up if I wanted to keep up with the group-died as per usual when I saw cherry blossoms. Aka why there’s a whole Flickr album dedicated to them. Plus the whole stretch from W. 89th up to the George Washington Bridge is gorgeous in all seasons.

Alas, it was at this point when I started to drag after maintaining pace for the first 11+ miles or so. At West Harlem Piers Park, I changed my socks and repacked my bag* in an attempt to keep my water bottles from stabbing me. I slugged past Riverbank and into Fort Washington. I was already dreading the walk up from the Lighthouse, even though it’s one of my favorite spots in the city.

Pumpkin House, north of Castle Village
Pumpkin House, north of Castle Village
Inspiration Point
Inspiration Point
arches of Fort Tryon Park
arches of Fort Tryon Park

I limped through this stretch of Fort Washington despite being eager to see the Pumpkin House and Fort Tryon Arches now that I knew what they were and normally loving Castle Village and being fascinated by Inspiration Point. In short, I still didn’t get the appreciation feeling I was after back in 2013. I thought the end was in sight when the greenway ended, however I didn’t know the route that the Saunter would take through Inwood as the Greenway is a bit of a myth at this point. It was a slog, and by this point I mostly decided I was done.

Shorakkopoch Rock
Shorakkopoch Rock

On the final limp to the flagpole and lunch break at the 16 mile mark, I finally found Shorakkopoch Roch (full name & details). The whole story is little more than a fanciful myth, but it’s a fun market to NYC’s history. While I broke for lunch-and to change to my flip flops-I gave some thought about how far I really wanted to go. Now that I knew I wasn’t going to finish, I wasn’t concerned about pace.

Coogan's Bluff
Coogan’s Bluff
the John T. Brush Stairs up to Coogan's Bluff
the John T. Brush Stairs up to Coogan’s Bluff

I won’t lie-as I left Inwood HILL Park at Isham the A train at 207th was tempting. But I’d made the decision to go as far as 155th for three reasons:

  • that’s the end of the Greenway. So much of the rest (save for 116-59th which I’ve done more time than I can count) is city streets and I’m no more interested in that then I was in 2013.
  • It was a commitment. Once I was on the Greenway (aka the Speedway) I was going to 155th as there was no out.
  • I wanted to see what changed on that section as well as with the HighBridge‘s continued construction

I had forgotten about the biggest upside – cherry trees! – which made the northern stretch of the Speedway gorgeous. Their soft soil a nice treat under my super sore feet. As I moved toward the southern end, I thought about something else that would be near 155th. The restored Polo Grounds Stairs had reopened in 2014 after years of talk and being “a mystery” as recently as 2010.

While walking along a portion of the Greenway that paralleled the “Harlem River Driveway” and trying to figure out whether Coogan’s Bluff was truly accessible, I turned to the right and there they were! I just had to figure out how to get there with a cement barrier in my way. This portion of the Greenway was either new since 2013 or a portion that I never found since it carried me above the street level of the Polo Grounds Houses.

I walked down to 155th and doubled back – only sports history could make me do this at this point – up Edgecombe and Coogan’s Bluff came into sight. Climbing up on the exposed rock was beyond me at this point but I sat at the top of the stairs before gingerly making my way down where i rested on a picnic bench and communed with the ghosts.

“This is the last piece of real evidence that the Polo Grounds existed, other than the plaque that indicates where the approximate location of home plate was,” said Gary Mintz, president of the New York Giants Preservation Society. … “This is historic ground and should be preserved and treasured any way possible. The Giants’ history in New York was tremendous and judging by the legions of fans today, the New York Giants and San Francisco Giants haven’t been forgotten in New York.” ~ Gary Mintz

It was the perfect place for my saunter to end – and end it did when I boarded the M2 Bus and headed south. I have no regrets. I stopped enjoying the walk somewhere between miles 14 and 16 and there is no shame in walking 18+. It’s always the west side that I’ve found prettiest and the city streets of the east side – which I know well – don’t appeal to me in the same way as the Greenway does. Maybe I’ll finish when they finish the Greenway.

the John T. Brush Stairs from Coogan's Bluff
the John T. Brush Stairs from Coogan’s Bluff

*I looked like quasimodo. I was in awe of all the slim line packs people were carrying. Some of mine was exacerbated by shedding my fleece at the start. I vow not to look like a turtle if I do this again. Eight sandwiches and a box of granola bars were six too many

2015 walking related goals:

  • Visit the Little Red Lighthouse when it’s actually open.
  • Walk the High Bridge (and explore High Bridge Park) if/when it finally opens
  • Finish re-reading Philip Lopate’s Waterfront which I’m super primed for now
  • Read Walking Manhattan’s Rim, despite the mediocre reviews. Manhattan’s Greenway has changed since I started this walk and want to know more about the last decade of change.
  • Read The Power Broker, if I can get my hands on a copy, or something else on Robert Moses and/or Jane Jacobs.