Category Archives: course

Running Broadway from tip to tail

I decided to run all of Manhattan’s Broadway last night, starting at 225th Street in the Bronx, over the Broadway Bridge, down the spine of the Manhattan, through Columbus Circle, and down to Battery Park.

At the beginning of 2015, I had this side goal of running all the streets of Manhattan. I didn’t get it done in a year, but I’m mostly run from the top of the island down to Central Park. Read more »

Bucharest, Romania


December 7, 2015
Otopeni, Romania
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I spent my first day in Bucharest near the airport so I could sleep off the long flight from New York. The next day I was up before the sun was up (but that wasn’t hard with a 7:30am sunrise) and waited until I could see enough to go for a run.

map

I wasn’t actually in Bucharest, but in Otopeni, the highway town outside of Bucharest by about 10 miles. I couldn’t tell it from the heavy fog outside (or Google Maps), but there’s not much 500 feet off of the highway. I saw a short loop behind the hotel so I set out for that.

otopeni

Behind the buildings you can see from the highway are open fields. I couldn’t tell this at the time for the fog, but there’s nothing out there. When I was deciding which way I wanted to go. I couldn’t see what was down the road. At the intersection I decided to follow the road to the right.

intersection

This road went behind several airport service companies, mostly vehicle fleets. There were some curious security guards, some of whom yelled to me in Romanian. I noticed the same thing walking from the airport to the hotel, about half a mile. Someone walking (or running) seems to be an odd thing. Or maybe there were trying to tell me that there were monsters ahead.

Because there were monsters ahead. A herd of sheep emrged from the fog, but they aren’t the monsters. I’ve been in this situation before. Where you find a bunch of sheep you’re likely to find sheep dogs. When I think there are dogs I want to know where they are. I want to know where all of them are. These dogs work together. I might see three in front of me but miss the fourth sneaking up to bite me on the butt. They do that, too (soem strays were herding the runners at the Petra Marathon.

sheep_head_on

Many dogs aren’t really a problem. They are curious or wary and they want to know what you’re all about. If I stand still and pose no threat, they might look at me for a bit then move on. But, I had to do that anyway to let the sheep pass. It was either that or swim in the ditch.

At this point the road was parallel to the highway. Farther on it turned back toward the highway and things got a bit more rural and dicey. I couldn’t see that far down the road, but I came across more livestock and small farms. I know that these places have dogs too. On one side of me was a steep hill for the railroad tracks with the farms on the other. I could be the victim in a perfect dog ambush.

wires

And, I think I almost was. I passed two dogs, both of whom I saw early, just hanging out on the top of the hill. Once I passed them and had them behind me I thought I’d be okay. I didn’t see any other dogs.

But then, a big pile of rags and trash stood up and rushed me. One of the mop-looking dogs was coming at me looking mean and determined. I did what I normally do in these cases (and it happens a lot running in weird places): I put my arms out and moved aggressively toward the dog. This often stops them. I think I first saw this in The Gods Must Be Crazy where the small boy fended off a hyena by holding a bottle over his head. The narrator noted that hyenas wouldn’t bother things larger than them. Of course, that’s total bullshit. I’ve seen a hyena harass a leopard to get it to drop the antepole the large cat had pulled up a tree. Now I’m thinking it’s not such a great tactic, but it’s worked for me so far.

This mop-headed dog stayed within 10 feet until I was out of his territory, which seemed to be much longer that it should have been. It was all the way to an underpass beneath the train tracks. Thug life indeed.

thug_life

After that it was along the highway back to the hotel. The sidewalks are narrow and the sort made from paving stones. When they aren’t narrow, they have cars parked on them. This isn’t a huge problem most places I go, but I quickly learned that the local drivers don’t bother to stop. Even the ones who make eye contact with you at the stop signs don’t bother to give way. Be extra careful in this part of the world!

angelo

The Angelo hotel is decent. It’s a great location; you can see its large name across the façade from the arrivals area. It’s a short walk, which I don’t mind, that I wasn’t able to get across the highway without using the pedestrian bridge. That’s annoying with luggage. I could have taken a taxi, but time I tried that I had to fight with the guy over the meter price versus what he wanted to shake out of me. I’m no stranger to that either; I put my arms up and move aggressively toward the dog (or, in the US, relax in the notion that I just got a free cab ride since a complaint to the taxi commission almost always produces a refund—your government at work).

And, the hotel is right on the 873 bus line that’s “express” into Bucharest. That means it makes all the stops. For 8.50 lei (about 2 USD, and I think I got ripped off) I bought a round trip ticket into the city center. I had to buy the ticket at the airport though; they don’t sell them on the bus.

Atlantic City

October 12, 2015
Atlantic City, NJ
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After the Staten Island Half Marathon, I drove down to Atlantic City. I’d never been and wanted to see what it was all about. Besides all the usual things you’d do there, I went for a short run to stretch out my legs along the boardwalk and the beach. Read more »

Wheeler Bay, Maine


Sept 24, 2015
Wheeler Bay, ME
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At the end of summer (literally, since it included the equinox) I took another trip that prevented me from running. Instead of lame excuses about long work hours, dangerous conditions, or bad weather, I have a good one. I wasn’t on land. Read more »

Mystic, Connecticut


August 25, 2015
Mystic, CT
3ish miles
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I’ve never been to Mystic. I’ve passed it hundreds of times speeding on 95 and wondered about what might be there. I’ve seen the movie that it famous. This summer I moved Mystic to the top of my to-do list. Read more »

Great Divide


April 18, 2015
Newton, NJ
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When you come into a fork in the road, take it. Read more »

West Bluff Creek, Los Angeles


April 8, 2015
Los Angeles, CA
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Los Angeles can be a difficult place to find a quiet place to run, but this week I stayed near LAX so I could explore the paths around West Bluff Creek and Playa Vista. It runs from the 405 to the beach along the bluff. I’d start at the LA Clippers training facility on South Centinela, past Loyola Marymount University then by the Ballona Wetlands until it runs into the beach. Read more »

My Tunis Loop


February 25, 2015
Carthago, Tunisia
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I’m feeling a bit better about my Tunis marathon a couple of weeks ago when the weather was much better than it is this week. It rains buckets all day and clears up at night when I go out running. When it’s not raining, it’s very windy. That might be why I’m the only one in the hotel, I think. Read more »

Back to Tunis


February 23, 2015
Carthago, Tunisia
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I’ve come back to Tunis to de-compress after my Triple 7 quest. After living in such close quarters with a bunch of highly motivated, mostly Type A types, for two weeks of airplanes and marathons, I need to hole up in some secluded hotel room to transition to civilian life. Read more »

Triple 7: Melbourne


February 4, 2015
Parkville, Australia
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I made my way from Canberra to Melbourne today with a pleasant trip on a bus then a train. Canberra, the capital of the country, apparently doesn’t have direct train service to Melbourne.

The tickets are decidedly low-tech, but also much nicer. The New South Wales TrainLink recommends buying tickets ahead of time. At the station they printed out a simple itinerary on normal paper. I could have created that myself, but it wouldn’t have helped. The driver had a list of everyone on his bus and where they were going. How cool is that? He simply checks off my name and tells me to sit anywhere. Not many people are taking this trip. Read more »