26 January 2014


I live near what I call the Belt Parkway waterfront.  To be exact, it's that waterfront path between Caesar's Bay and Owl's Head, primarily for pedestrians and cyclists.  "Near" is a relative term.  It's probably about 2 km but for us distance-runner that's near enough.  It's a great place to jog as it is devoid of car traffic, except the occasional maintenance vehicles from the Parks Department or those belonging to NYPD.  It's not so great when it snows, as the place is not plowed, or at least not completely.  Some time ago I went there after a snowfall, with steel-toed boots, to find out how accessible it was for runners.  It was not.  Here and there there were shoveled spots but around 17th Avenue toward the Verrazano Bridge the snow was intact.  Some brave souls may have walked through the snow but it's still not much of a path, with snow up to the ankle or worse.  Since that exploratory trip, I know better not to go running by the Belt Parkway waterfront.  I just don't like slogging through snow.

Yesteday when my running partner J said we should run on the Belt Parkway waterfront, mere days after that big 12" snowstorm plus yesterday's 1" of fresh snow, I should have thought better and not agree.  J mistakenly thought that NYCRUNS just had a race there yesterday.  How bad could it be if a few hundred people just went through the same area?  They wouldn't have the race if the road was not clean, right?  NYCRUNS did have a race yesterday, but that was in Prospect Park, which has car traffic so surely it was plowed nice and clear.

I decided to run from home to Caesar's Bay, as opposed to driving.  I thought if I drove, I would use the lame excuse that it was nice and warm in the car and would end up staying in the car too long.  So I ran, along the elevated tracks of the D train to Bay Parkway then turned left for the bay.  I thought the roads would be clean to run on, but it was not that clean.  The sun didn't yet rise when I got to Caesar's Bay.  I saw J's car, I did tell him to go ahead and I would catch up to him.  We run at the same turtle speed but I fancied I would switch to turbo mode somehow and overtake him, wishful thinking.  Just a K or so in I knew this was a mistake.  It was cold, dark because the sun hadn't come out, and there was a lot of semi-hard snow on the ground.  I had a bandana mask on but it didn't stay up, very annoying.  I usually take a few photos on runs like this but it was too cold I didn't want to take off the gloves to take photos.  Such is one disadvantage with smartphone cameras.  With the typical digital camera, you know, the one that not too long ago displaced the trusty 35mm camera, you can control the camera if you gloves fit snugly.

Still, I pressed on, at times just walked it since there was little difference between trying to run and walking.  My worse fear was that I would twist an ankle but luckily nothing that bad happened.  A few times I thought of taking some overhead bridges over the Belt Parkway to run on Cropsey Avenue or some civilized street that should be plowed already.  But I promised J I would meet him on the waterfront so I soldiered on.  By the second footbridge after the Verrazano, the path was perfectly straight all the way to Owl's Head Pier.  I decided that if J was not heading back by then, I would just go back the 4th Avenue exit of the Belt and snuggle up with a nice hot cup of coffee.  Probably even a full breakfast and walk my way back.  J did show up, I met him halfway and we went back together, unplowed snow and all.  It actually warmed up a bit, enough for me to remove gloves to take the second photo, of icicles on the guard rail.

Now that it was over, with no damage from the cold and the slipper snow, it was a good run.  By myself I would not have done it.  Still, as long as I remember it, I won't do it again.
The bike path is completely covered with snow.  Cyclists sometimes get testy when us runners invade their lanes, but in this condition no bike would make it.  The Verrazano Bridge is in the background.

I love to see water freezes as it tries to fall to the ground.  I imagine some wave splashed onto these rails but didn't move fast enough and got frozen.  That's my crazy running partner on the left in the distance.  Way back in the center of the background is the Parachute Jump in Coney Island.

1 comment: