Saturday, November 7, 2009

Central Park: ... in the City

Filled the blanks in the title? If you came with any other three-letter word than "Run", you need to turn to another blog, sorry! And you spend too much time watching TV, it's time to hit the trails. ;-)

Do Something, change the World!

I came to New York for just two days, to accompany Alex who had a meeting with Super cool association which gathers volunteering teens and is growing very fast: 750,000 members in the last count! 750,000 mostly in the US although the association is now set to open satellite offices on other continents. Out of all the members, 300 applied to 15 seats on the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), and Alex made it through (joining 15 other teens as the members are elected for 2 years and the committee is half renewed every other year). They interact with the staff on a daily basis and the association paid for our trip and our stay. Needless to say, Alex is quite excited to have such a "board meeting" at only 15. Who knows what's next...
Today (Saturday) they joined the Social Action Boot Camp at NYU (New York University), for more training and ideas to change the world, for the better. At a time the headlines are swamped with sad news about "the" Army, it is recomforting to see so many kids engaged in what calls the boot camp: "Combat Training for an Army of Change." In addition to the good that all these teen-led initiatives do to our society, it also represents an amazing learning opportunity.
Alex does not have time to run anymore (not that he liked it very much anyway), but he does "run" for many causes: Unicef, Red Cross, United Nations, The World Family, etc., there is always "something to do" at home and in the neighborhood (for instance, instead of trick-or-treating for candies at Halloween, Alex and his friends collected donations for Unicef and raised more than $1,300!).

Running in the Park

We stayed at Park Central Hotel which is conveniently situated a few blocks away from the South entrance of Central Park, the lungs of Manhattan. I worked from the hotel room all day Friday, from 7 to 7. I was going to visit a client but the city basically shut down on Friday for the Yankees World Series parade. Even the schools closed to allow the kids to celebrate and savour this victory, 9 years after the previous one!

I hit the trail, or the bike path actually, at 8:30 am and there were only a few runners and cyclists out there under the bright blue and sunny sky. With the excitement of being back at this famous running place, I started quite fast and completed the first 6-mile loop at 6:11 min/mile pace. Many more people had joined the fun by 9 and I started slaloming around and across groups of runners. 6:14 min/mile average pace at the end of the second lap, then the lack of breakfast (just a Sneakers bar) and my fast starting pace started to get on me in the third lap. I was thinking of doing a fourth lap but thought I would not have enough fun. Besides, two things happened: first, I got passed by 7 fast guys in my 16th mile, and I'm not used to that (sic!). Second, upon getting back to the 7th Avenue (18 miles in 1:56), I stopped to watch the super cute Rand MacDonald Foundation kids races. Dozens of 5-year old kids, super motivated, running a quarter mile, under the supervision of the brave firefighters of the New York Fire Department. The contrast between the frail and small kids and the super strong, fit and trained men was touching as 9/11 is still in everybody's mind here. Although less in the minds of all these kids who were born since 2001.

"In Loving Memory of Fire Fighter Patrick Joyce" who died in Line of Duty 2 months ago, after serving with the Yonkers for 16 years.

Here is Fred Lebow's commemorative statute on the East side of the Park. Lebow (1932-1994) is the founder of the internationally famous New York City Marathon (it sometimes annoyed me to see that, when you mention you run marathons, everybody assumes that you have at least ran New York. I was keeping it for my 50th (birthday), but maybe I'll do it sooner...).
See more pictures in my Piacasa album, online.


As I was logging miles in the Park and passing hundreds of runners and joggers, I looked at all the shoes to see their brand. Admittedly my favorite brand, Brooks, was well under represented compared to other American or Asian brands. Fortunately, Brooks is growing fast and there is much more room for growth in this market, as crowded with numerous brands, models, styles and looks as in the car business.

Every time I spotted a runner in Brooks (about ten this morning), I slowed down to say "Go Brooks!" Most of the runners were surprised and I had to explain I was on the Brooks Inspire Daily program and a big fan. One runner replied, showing his shoes: "I love them!" Another one with a German accent mentioned that Brooks was getting quite popular in Europe. Others were running with headsets and did not understand what I was talking about... Run Happy in Brooks, guys and gals!

It was really cool to travel with Alex for his "business." From mid-town, Alex was more interested in the South part of Manhattan (he visited UN again on his own on Friday morning, and went to the Financial District before their meeting, and we walked together to Times Square upon arriving on Thursday night), while I enjoyed more my 2 hours in Central Park. Who said fathers and sons have to be alike?

Hope to be back soon either for business, or to finally run the New York marathon maybe. Small Apple (the literal translation of my College nickname in France) in the Big Apple!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Evidemment ravie par ces nouvelles!