Faster Than A Walking Tour (17.15 miles)

Saturday morning, Nat and I met up with Shannon for a long run and part 2 of her running introduction to Brooklyn.  Two weeks ago, when Shannon joined us for the first 6 miles of our run in the rain, we headed North through Williamsburg and Greenpoint.  This week the weather was perfect, and I thought it was ideal for an introduction to Prospect Park, especially because anyone who runs in Brooklyn should know how to get to the park on foot.

Nat and I did the initial 4 miles to gym class, as usual, then Nat fell asleep clutching his cookie en route to meet up with Shannon.  I’d finished 7 miles by the time she joined us at the corner of Nostrand and Myrtle, and the weather had grown even nicer.  You know you’re a runner when you head out into idyllic 72 degree weather and think “damn, I wish it was just a bit cooler.”  By 12:30, however, there was a slight breeze, and once we were in Prospect Park, the leaves cast just enough shade that I couldn’t imagine better running conditions.  On the way to the park, I pointed out the Bedford Avenue Armory, Eastern Parkway, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Botanical Gardens, and the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  Running is really the best way to get to know a city, since you not only see things, but understand how they connect to each other geographically.  In New York, where you so often travel on the subway underground, it is easy to know various destinations without having any idea how they actually relate to each other; divers neighborhoods become free-floating points, into which you emerge, magically from the train.  When you run, however, you move over every inch of the surface, and at a slow enough pace that you can feel the changes around you.

We walked through the Farmer’s Market at Grand Army Plaza, then did a loop of the park, circling around the lake to the south before climbing the gradual incline back up to the market.  We talked about various, random topics: running, my kids, our jobs, vegetarian recipes, running again.  When we spit up to go our separate ways at the corner of Nostrand and Putnam, I considered doing a few more miles, as I hadn’t felt like I’d run quite as far as I was intending.  When I calculated our route on gmap-pedometer, however, it turned out I’d run nearly 16 miles, four more than I would have guessed from how I felt.  In away, a running partner is cheating, just like music, because I was distracted enough to hardly notice the miles slipping away.  It’s actually a mixed blessing, as the ease comes with a loss of direct experience: I was part of a conversation, not just part of a run, and the run was somewhat distanced for it.  I’ve actually found having someone to run with to be a great source of variety, but, like running on a track, its something I want to mix in sparingly.  I definitely look forward to meeting up with Shannon again in a week or two, but I’m far to obsessed with my solitary, meditative runs to want to share them all.


After running 16 miles in the morning, I actually had a late night encore.  We leaving early Sunday morning to spend Mother’s Day in Sesame Place, and so I had reserved a Zipcar from 9 pm Saturday to 9 pm Sunday.  The only minivan was in a lot a mile and a half away, and guess that’s the fastest way to get there, even at 9:30 at night having already run more than half a 50K?  That’s right.  It pushed the day’s total miles over 17, and rounded out the week at 32.


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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