17 February 2013


So there are many web sites where green-minded people can post giveaways to humanely get rid of stuff they no longer need.  The one thing it comes down in the end is how "nice" the people are.  There is no telling.  I had a few good weeks of actually giving things away, but this past week I re-acquainted with the down side of freecycling.  In three separate incidents, the recipient was no-show.  I don't mind if something comes up and the person notify me.  I made sure they have my cell phone and they already have my email from our initial contact.  But no phone call, no text message, no email.  Oh well.  I guess some people just have no common decency to alert me if things don't work out.  Or maybe they are just sloppy or busy people who don't keep a neat address book.  Whatever, let's get back to running news.

Today I volunteered at the Prospect Pack Track Club (PPTC) Cherry Tree 10-Miler and Relay.  The day started with me getting at the pre-dawn hour of 5 AM.  The race took place in Prospect Park but we had bib distribution and food service to be setup at Bishop Ford High School.  The school is not near my D train and weekend train transfer is a pain, so I decided early on to run to the school.  My friend Chicken Underwear already told me that it was not a good idea as I would spend the whole day in the cold with sweat-soaked clothes, but I prepared a set of clothes to change into after the run.  I went mostly along the D train itself, along 86th Street then New Utrecht Avenue, then Fort Hamilton Parkway and MacDonald Avenue.  It started out dark and gloomy, cold too, but by the time I hit Greenwood Cemetery the sun came out and the birds were tweeting their status updates.  That's the nice thing about morning run, there's literally light at the end to look forward to.  On the other hand, evening run at sunset can only lead to more darkness as the day wanes.

I once rode a bike to the area and can vividly recall the difficulty of going up the hill once I made the turn from Fort Hamilton into MacDonald, along the cemetery's perimeter.  The hill was still there today but it seemed somewhat easier to climb than being on a bike.  I thought of stopping once, perhaps at some traffic light, but I kept pressing on, just one more block.  Soon enough I was at the corner of Bishop Ford and decided I had enough of a workout.  The trip came out to be 7.88 km, or less than 5 miles, done in 1:00:04.  I missed the chance to help unload the U-Haul van with the fruits and water etc but there was some other work to do.

One funny thing is there happened to be some school trip so many kids showed up with luggages.  At the PPTC Turkey Trot run on Thanksgiving Day 2012, Bishop Ford had a clear presence, with kids running and helping with water stations etc.  I thought today's kids also ran, but what with all the luggages?  Eventually it was time for the kids to get on their buses and we had the cafeteria to ourself.

It was nice and warm inside the school, with food and hot chocolate within reach, but there were many volunteers so when the chance came to get a ride to Prospect Park to help with the setup of finish line and start line, I went on the ride.  It was freezing cold out there!  I already changed into dry clothes and had many layers on but the hands with only one layer of gloves were cold.  Luckily, I was able to grab a pair of bling gloves for the race, thin enough to serve as the inside layer.

I thought I would help with IDing finishers in the top three but that was not the case.  Since the race was both a 10-miler for individuals and a relay for teams of three runners, there was a need to tell the runners where to go to keep running or to get into the transition area to hand over the baton.  For a while I held two signs to direct the runners, but the letters on the signs were too small.  Most runners knew where to run, but for some by the time they were close enough to read the signs they were already steps away down the wrong path.  I gave up on the signs and just shouted out instructions, along with other PPTC volunteers in the area.  Without the signs to occupy my hands, I put the free hands to work to photograph the runners.  There were too many runners so I just focused on taking photos of people sporting PPTC items of clothes.  There was a friend from a recycling group who happens to be a great runner and I looked for her but couldn't find her.  I did see a different friend, from DailyMile.com.  She ran the 10-mile course, or 3 big loops of Prospect Park, so the first time I caught her, the second time she caught me, and the third time I was ready to catch her in action, going hard for the finish line.

The Cherry Tree race is advertised as a race for the hard-core.  I don't consider 10 miles a very long distance, but with the kind of temperature we had today, in the teens (Fahrenheit) it sure is hard-core.  After the race, runners and volunteers went back to Bishop Ford to relax and re-supply the bodies, and there was even free massage.  After standing for hours in the cold, I could use a massage but I was supposed to rush back home to take the boys swimming.  So, I only had cup of soup, an ice cream (Enlighted - the good-for-you ice cream!), and a bagel with cream cheese.

Enjoy some of the photos I took at the event!

The whole Picasa album:



  1. Thanks for volunteering! I ran the relay :)

    1. You are welcome, kilax. Did my camera capture any photos of you? There were other cameras, and the photos from one is in the PPTC Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.10152550500605542&type=1 . Check it out!