New Thing #221: Running By The East River

Shore_BlvdThe house where I grew up (and where my parents still live) is in Astoria, Queens, a mile-and-a-half from the East River. Or the West River, as we called it where I grew up. (Not true. But maybe we should have.)

I know it's a mile-and-a-half because I checked my Nike app when I ran there from my parents' house last Friday and it was just about exactly that distance.

It had been a long time since I spent any time down by the River...but it's as beautiful as it ever was.

I really love it down there. It's called "Shore Boulevard" now...I think when I was growing up it was just 18th or 17th Street or whatever number it actually is.

When I was old enough to drive it was a destination to show people from out of town. And it's not like I spent a whole lot of time there, so I'd build it up in my mind as the best thing ever, and I'd forget about whether or not it lived up to expectations between visits.

Astoria_MapIt does live up to expectations. I love the sightline - there's the Hell Gate Bridge, the Triboro (sorry...I mean RFK) Bridge, and midtown Manhattan is visible down a ways.

Now they've also repaved it so there's a bike path and a running path where there used to be just a railing and some sidewalk.

I've never actually exercised down there. I ran on the Boulevard once - but further north, on 20th Avenue, I think. It was for a 5K I ran, probably when I was at the end of high school or home for summer from college. I was not in tremendous shape. I had a donut that morning before the run. The only thing I remember distinctly about that run is when I threw up the donut at the corner of Shore Boulevard and 20th Avenue.

And that was my last memory of running down there before last week. I'm in pretty good shape right now. (I don't want to brag, but I've really worked - and succeeded -  this summer at increasing my stamina.) So I was able to take in the view, and appreciate the fact that I wasn't gasping for air a little less than two miles into my run.

I ran down 21st Avenue to the river, then cut back through Astoria Park and ran back on Ditmars Boulevard. It was nice for a couple of reasons: One is that it was a very different route for me than the streets of Framingham - which is always a big thing for me to spice up a run - and two is that I just love being able to do these things in New York. I miss that city.

Oh. And there was a bonus good thing about this run:

I didn't even throw up.