Across Brooklyn (6.25 miles)

Nat had his first dentist appointment today, and at noon M called to see if I wanted to meet her and the kids in Carroll Gardens after work, since that’s where the dentist’s office was.  I said yes, and a quick check on google maps confirmed what I assumed: running was faster than either taking the bus or the subway.


One thing I like most about running everywhere is that it has given me a great working knowledge of the streets and neighborhoods of New York City.  I love that I can, on foot, make my way between any two points in this massive, sprawling city without needing to look at a map or ask directions.  I’ll admit there are a few far-flung reaches of Queens and a few of the north-eastern sections of the Bronx that I’m utterly unfamiliar with, but other than that I’m pretty confident with my sense of direction and familiarity with major avenues.

Today’s trip wasn’t a great challenge, as I’m relatively familiar with all the neighborhoods I ran through, but I’d never traveled from East Flatbush to Carroll Gardens before.  So it was rewarding when my gut-instincts and intuitions as to where I was headed would resolve themselves into the intersection I was expecting.


I headed out the door of the school as soon as I could, as M had called to say both Nat and Angelica had fallen asleep, so if I made it there in time we might actually have some time together without either of the kids being awake!  I made my way to Church Avenue, which I followed west all the way to Flatbush.  Every few blocks I’d get the normal reactions — muttered conversations about the crazy running white guy, a few school kids jogging alongside me for a few yards, old ladies shaking their heads at my lack of layers (they never believe that running makes you warm!)

At Flatbush, it was a short stretch up to the South East corner of Prospect Park.  There I got to get off the sidewalk and onto something resembling a trail for an all too short stretch as I cut across the park just above the lake, then followed the road to the exit at 9th Street.  9th descends westward through Park Slope, then through Gawanus to Carroll Gardens.  I left East Flatbush under chilly blue skies, but as I’d run a thin covering of slate-gray clouds had slipped in, lending a touch of winter to what was otherwise another unseasonably warm day.

Part way down 9th, my phone rang.  It was M, telling me both kids had woken up, so any ambitions for a surreptitious “date” were off.  Of course, ending a run to be greeted by “Daddy!” is pretty darn uplifting.  After a week of short, 1 mile runs, it was nice to start the week with 2.5 in the morning and a little over 6 in the afternoon.


After a flurry of updates last week surrounding ultra-ambitions, I didn’t write anything for the last week.  I’ve actually had a bunch of ideas, just lacked any ambition to actually write anything.  (The pro and con of not having that serious of a blog, I suppose).  I haven’t actually signed up for the North Face 50K yet, but I have decided to do it, and the more I think about it the more excited about it I get.  May 5th is just about 3 months away, and I should have some thoughts to share about preparing for it.  I’ll have a post on it as soon as I’ve fully committed.  In the mean time, its back to work and the daily commute.


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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