09 December 2012


I recently discovered the joy of cycling, but there are limits to when and where it can be used.  While it was great to travel to Park Slope in forty minutes for an evening meeting of the track club, trying to be somewhere at a precise time early in the morning is another story.  Like 7:30 in the morning, in Central Park.  I registered to volunteer for the NYC Runs Ekiden relay race and was supposed to be present at that place and that time, across from Tavern on the Green building.  Much as I would love to ride the bike to the race, recalling that it took me over two hours last week just to get into lower Manhattan via the Manhattan Bridge, I decided not to.  I went by subway, the D train to Columbus Circle, and figured I would ride back, leisurely.  I actually got there before 7:15.  Had I rode, I would have to get up at 4:30 and be out of the house by 5. I am now a morning person, but I still have my limit and less than five hours of sleep is not a good thing to do unless it's absolutely necessary.

In my short "career" as volunteer for road races, I've worked at water stations, packet distro, start line, crowd-control, etc.  Today I served as a bike-mounted course marshall.  I stress the use of BIKE-MOUNTED because BIKE COURSE MARSHALL may be misinterpreted to mean riding the bike alongside the runners, perhaps to make sure they stay on some designated path.  The Ekiden is a relay race with different members of the team covering the different legs of the race.  The NYC Runs Ekiden had the following legs: One - two times the lower loop; Two - big lower loop including the water reservoir, with a left turn at the 102nd Street Transverse; Three - big six-mile plus loop up to the Harlem Meer; Four - one time of the lower loop.  I was stationed at the intersection of the West Drive and the 102nd Street Transverse, to direct runners to make a left, their left, that is, upon hitting the intersection.  It is somewhat far from the starting line, near Tavern on the Green, thus the necessity of having someone with a bike to be stationed there.  I still got to pedal around Central Park a little bit.  It was a good feeling to pass the runners, participating in the race or not, high and mighty on my simple, two-wheeled machine.

I normally sweat easily and would feel warm and toasty had I actually ran in the Ekiden, but as a course marshall I felt cold really quick.  It started out cold then it got colder as the rain started to come down gently.  Still, it was great to be outdoor directing the runners.  I brought along a bona fide camera, i.e. not a phone camera and took pictures of runners as they ran toward me.  Alas, I made the mistake of snapping the photos one-handed, with the other hand holding a direction sign ("Leg 2, Left Turn"), so many of the photos came out blurry!  Doh, good thing I am not doing the photography part for money!  Better keep my day job, when I get one...

The photos, blurry and all, can be found in this Picasa web album, https://plus.google.com/photos/109153989599275468311/albums/5820048192082359473

All that time I was a my station, I should have turned on the Charity Miles app, for a "walk".  I planned to ride the bike home but then the rain got heavier, even though it turned somewhat warmer, so I decided to take the subway home as well.  So no recorded exercise, even though I was on my feet for about five hours.

Pardon the use of DECADENT in this blog post's title.  I just couldn't help thinking of that word when I see the word EKIDEN.  There's nothing decadent about the Ekiden, of course.  All good team spirit and other good stuff derived from running.  Even in the cold rain.

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