Monday, August 1, 2011

These are the people in your neighborhood

After 22 years of living in NYC and many of them as a runner, I got to know some real characters. NYC is a huge huge HUGE running city. Central Park is like the world's biggest track. I miss it more than anything in NYC. There were people I'd see all the time. Like this woman who had such a strangle gait, like every step was a struggle. I do think she has a muscular or nerve problem. I would see her everywhere, no matter what time of day or where I was running. Then there's the time I was running with my friend Ishii who is friendly to everyone. We ran pass a guy and Ishii smiled and said hi, he smiled and said hi in return. She says to me "he looks familiar, I think maybe I met him at the club". Me: "Ishii, he looks familiar because he's Anthony Edwards". So yes, there are celebrity runner sightings as well.
Then there's the local hall of fame of characters. NYers, I'm sure you'll recognize some of these favorites: Old Asian man with bells, Crazy old tattoo lady (who I think may also be known as the dinosaur), Ginny (those not familiar with her by that name may also know her as shitty pants), and one of my personal faves, the older black woman who more shuffles than runs. She's in her 70s I'm sure. A few years ago, I was working at a XC race the week after the marathon. There she was brining up the rear, running with her marathon medal on. I always made a point of saying hello to her when I saw her in the park. She would always say hello back and tell me I was looking strong or running beautifully. Good for the ego for sure.
Now I'm in a new city. So far my running has been more spread out and I haven't gotten to know all the characters yet. Doing the Thursday night race series I am coming up with a few. My new cast of characters include: The redhead (really fast HS girl, wins all the time) Mr 200 (ran his 200th marathon yesterday) Flowy shorts (we go neck and neck a lot) Crutches (the guy who was doing the races on crutches for the first few weeks. Who ran sub 3 yesterday). And my biggest character of all who goes by many names. My mom called her Blonde Pony tail when she was here visiting. I call her Big Legs. From her build I thought she was a triathlete but it turns out she's a body builder. She's always just ahead of me every week and she has never spoken to me. She's one of those women, one of those women who make me want to bang my head against a wall. I see her talk to all the men, and rarely any women, unless they are a lot slower than her. What is that all about? I think the next race I'm just going to go introduce myself to her, mostly because I think it will be unsettling for her.
Anyway this last week's race brought me 4th woman and 1st age group. Oddly, I was the only one in my age group. The turn out was smaller than usual due to the SF marathon being on Sunday.
Speaking of the SF marathon, I went and cheered at mile 22 with the folks from Sports Basement. I run with them on Wed. evenings and they're a fun crowd. There were about 7 people I knew from NYC running so it was a good spot to try and see everyone (I caught about 5 of them). I also saw some of my new SF characters: Mr. 200, crutches (I was really amazed how fast he was running), another fast woman from Thursday night. She was a pace leader. For the 3:10 group. That's impressive.
A shout out to Cenk, who graciously tried to pace me in the Brooklyn Half, PRed on this hilly course. So congrats to you my friend! And no tears this time! None that I saw anyway.
I am ramping up my training for the San Jose half and that is going well. I'm about to head out for a nice tempoish run, though my ass feels like a cinder block from cheering for 4 hours yesterday. Cheering is hard work I tell ya!


Girl In Motion said...

Fun post! I love regulars, it really makes my day to say hi and be said hi to. Can't believe a guy raced on crutches then turns out to be a fast guy (you'd think he'd be a noob or a crazy). Definitely say hi to the blonde chick, she needs to squirm. :) And congrats on the race! Great training, all these races you do.

Elizabeth said...

That's awesome you got to cheer for the marathon yesterday! Hopefully you'll still get to visit Central Park from time to time.

L.A. Runner said...

Oh, what a funny post! I think I may need to do one of these about the people in my new apartment complex. I can totally identify with blonde ponytail. There is one of those down here. After about 3 races, I started "killing her with kindness." I introduced myself, invited her on a cool down run, and then continued to talk to her EVERY time I saw her. Guess what, now she actually speaks to me! The guys in the new group even mentioned that I'm the only girl she talks to, haha.

You've got a good base going, so I'm sure you'll ease right into half marathon training. That will be fun!