21 April 2013


It has been a busy weekend.  It all started on Saturday with working for NYCRuns in support of the Purple Stride NYC 2013 To Fight Pancreatic Cancer, in Riverside Park.  There was a 5K run then a 2K walk.  The event was the first NYCRuns gig after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, so security was tighter.  Bag checks actually involved checking the bags for anything suspicious.  In addition to two NYCRuns staff doing the checks, the Purple Stride people also had two private security guards standing nearby.  Then there were a few NYPD scooters in the area.  The runners and walkers were cooperative.  The only complaint I heard, not addressed to me but to a policeman nearby, came from a dog-walker who had to carry his pet's output in a bag in search of a trash-holder to dispose of.  New Parks regulation forbid garbage containers for the event.  Something else, which I would not label as a complaint, was that some walkers were surprised that the walking course was shorter than last year.  I don't know what the course was last year, but this year it was just north to 116th Street, up the hill to the highest path below street level, then back down to the tree mall level at around 103rd Street or thereabout, for about 2 km.

It was my second visit to Riverside Park and I got to explore the park a little more.  I actually traveled the entire 5K race course, not in one shot but at different times.  Some day I need to go north from 96th Street to see where the path no longer runs along the water.  For Saturday, after a long wait to make sure the trash got taken out, I went south on my bike along the Hudson waterfront.  Weather was perfect for riding, a bit cool but not too cold.  At around 72nd Street, cyclists were required to dismount and walk the bike.  I was going to keep walking the bike along the waterfront until wherever it's okay to ride again, but then I discovered that just not too far inland was a bike path.  It went below the elevated Henry Hudson Parkway all the way to 59th Street.  Not waterfront, but you still get glimpses of the water.  Lovely!  Cyclists, we don't ask for much, just enough room for two bikes in each direction, at worse one in each direction, enough room for passing.

The next day I found myself at the Nassau County Aquatic Center to volunteer for the Mini Mighty Man Triathlon.  A few months ago I discovered that NYRR will not hold the sprint triathlon in Flushing Meadows this year, perhaps never again, for whatever reason.  There went my hope for a sprint tri!  Luckily, through the power of social media, I discovered that the Mini Mighty Man just outside of NYC in Nassau County is similar to the NYRR event.  Pool swim followed by actual bike race and foot race.  There are sprint tris that involve stationary bikes and treadmills but I am not interested in those at all.

The ride to Nassau in 5 AM was wonderful.  There was plenty of parking when I got there.  After getting out of Meadowbrooks Parkway, I almost missed the left turn on Merrick Boulevard because the street sign was so small.  Luckily, a car ahead of me had a bike sticking out the trunk so I correctly assumed that it was a tri participant.  I followed that car and got to the place without any lost time.

I was assigned to Body Marking, Swim In, and Run In.  Armed with a marker, I wrote the triathletes' number on the left upper arm and on the left calf, then the age on the right calf.  It was a cold April morning so many people had many layers to remove to get the upper arm part done, but everyone was cooperative and nice.  The athletes came in all shapes and ages.  One little girl was only seven, then at the other end I think there was a 62-year-old woman.  Many people were fit and trim, but some people were a round at the middle, so it makes me feel more confident to give the tri a shot some day.

Eventually there were few people left to have body marking done so I went inside to help with the Swim In.  I came in just in time to pause for the national anthem, followed by a moment of silence, which I am sure was for Boston even though I didn't quite catch what the announcer said.  There were about 400 people total but because there is only so much room in a pool lane, the line moved very slowly.  We had to make sure people get registered as they walked across the timing mat, then that they only jump in with enough distance between swimmers.  Many people appeared to be veteran triathletes but there were some first-timers who were nervous.  Everyone got to start somewhere someday.  I ended up getting drafted for Swim Out as well, to make sure the pool was empty of event participants.  As someone who is out of breath after a 50-meter swim, these slow swimmers are still better than me.  Slowly they covered the entire 400 meters, even if they have to stop once or more times at the end of the lanes to rest.

By the time I got outside many runners were already finishing.  The bike transition area looked crowded with bikes so I suppose the bike race was over.  I came mainly to see the swim portion, as I saw one too many foot races already, so I decided to skip out.  I stayed out for a long time yesterday so it would be better to be home earlier today.

One day, perhaps before I turn 50, I will participate in a sprint triathlon.  I just need to improve a lot with swimming and get a better bike.  In the mean time, some time this year when NYC's bike-share program, CitiBike, finally gets implemented, I will definitely have my own little triathlon.  Hop on a subway to some pool, do 400 meters then jump on a CitiBike for some miles, return the bike then go for a run, finally take the subway home.  Anyone thought of that already?  A small benefit of living in a big city.

Greetings from Nassau County.
Step right up and get your body marks, triathletes!

Random finishers.


  1. Good job Qap - I am really inspired by the 62-yrs old person. There is hope for me - haa haa.
    Just for fun, you should write Chinese when making body marks - that would give everyone something to talk about ;>)
    Have a good week,

    1. One athlete asked me to also write his number on the upper part of his arm on the right side. I was not sure if that should be done at all so I told him no. It would be fun to write Chinese on their limbs though. BTW, Verizon FiOS 1 News had a person on-site to videotape the event, or at least the body-marking part. I might be in the news at some point.