Tag Archives: Tarrytown

Breaking distance record on Christmas Eve

Screenshot from 2013-12-24 17:19:0828.79 miles – The most miles I’ve ever run. According to some people, this makes it an “ultra-run” since it is more than a marathon. It took me and the Meet-Up group I ran with 5:37 to complete, but this was due to it being a casual kind of run, not a fierce competition. We also stopped many times to get snacks or water from stores along the route, to take photos, to make jokes, and to make sure the group stayed together. And by chance, we ran into Vincent Chiappetta, co-founder of the NYC Marathon in Van Courtlandt Park! We chatted with him a bit. He’s in great shape, though he told us he is more of a walker than runner these days.

The run started in Bryant Park on 42nd street at 8 AM which is in Midtown Manhattan and very close to Times Square, and ended in Tarrytown, New York. We went north on 6th avenue, through Central Park(first time I joggled through there), then along the Hudson river, then into the Bronx, then crossed into Westchester county and ran north along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.

It was an amazing group of runners, everyone from the slowest to the fastest was very enthusiastic and supportive. Some onlookers were also very supportive. Helen and Mike who I finished with(only 3 out of the 8 runners who attended completed the entire run) are accomplished ultra-runners, and it felt great running with such accomplished, inspiring people. They offered a lot of great advice, and I could feel their energy as I trailed them by a few feet.

The weather was cold and dry, but it was clear skies through the entire run. I felt the Christmas spirit in the air, which provided a little extra warmth. The Croton trail wasn’t as muddy as I thought it was going to be due to all the recently melted snow and rain. I juggled for maybe 75% to 80% of the time, since I would eat or drink sometimes while running, and some areas were too crowded or rocky. I dropped the balls I think 4 times. I feel a little sore now; I had a little trouble going up and down stairs after the run.

All in all a great experience – it feels great to have broken through another distance barrier. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Joggling 15 miles in a thunderstorm

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I hope everyone is is having a wonderful spring so far, and that you all have a terrific Memorial day weekend.

Today I managed to joggle for nearly 15 miles, much of the time in a thunderstorm. The above map of western Westchester county, New York, shows my crazy journey from the “start” at the bottom, following the magenta line(the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail) 7.6 miles north to Tarrytown, then back to Yonkers(I started and ended at the Lenoir Preserve). The first 45 minutes or so were pleasant enough since the weather was still mostly dry. It got worse a lot later. It eventually got so bad that I had to go inside a pharmacy for nearly an hour because of the frequency of the lightning, with one lightning bolt striking about 50 feet in front of me. It was really scary! Besides this, I was completely soaked, so my return journey took me a lot longer. The rain also made my smart-phone malfunction, so I don’t even know what my exact timing was.

Not only was I soaked due to the extremely heavy rain, but I slipped on some mud in a hilly area and scrapped my hand. It got a little bloody, but there were no vampires around so I had little to worry about. This didn’t compromise my juggling ability though. The mud, huge puddles, and rushing water(there was a flash flood alert for the area) made me stop juggling in some areas so I ended up running or skipping briefly. Still, I managed to joggle about 85% to 90% of the time. I did drop the balls a few times, ironically near the beginning of the run when conditions were still mostly dry. It’s funny how the lightning bolts, thunder, and heavy rain later on didn’t make me drop for the most part.

Why do I do these crazy kinds of things? I guess I just love the challenge. I love to experiment. I like having nature as an adversary. Some of my best ideas come to me in difficult situations like this, so it is hard to resist. But just because I do it, doesn’t mean I am recommending it. You don’t need to do crazy things like me to stay fit. There is nothing “heroic” about what I do. I am under no illusion that I am some kind of “hero” – the coming Memorial Day is for remembering the real America heroes who risk their lives to keep us safe.

I mostly had a spectacular time, though at times I did regret being out there during the worst of it. Sure, I am crazy, but don’t worry, you won’t be seeing any “Joggling 12 miles in Syria” posts any time soon.

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The big river that the trail runs mostly parallel with is the Hudson river. The run started in the lower right hand side of the map in Yonkers and went north to Tarrytown, then I turned around and ran back to north Yonkers.

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Showing the trail from even higher up. The red line in the middle was the trail run. This shows that the trail is just a little north of New York City.

Ruins of Mansion in Rye, New York

Here are some photos I took of the ruins of the Parsons Mansion in Rye, New York, not far from me.

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It burned down in 1942, and no one knows what caused it(it wasn’t me!). It is now in the middle of a densely wooded nature preserve. It’s a splendid area for exploring nature, or for running, only 27.5 miles away from downtown Manhattan.

If you use your imagination, you can see the mansion as it once was. Maybe you can even see or hear the family who lived here, and their servants(or maybe you are seeing ghosts!). It’s hard to resist comparing it to the famous mansion in Downton Abbey(Highclere Castle), but this wasn’t as large or as majestic.

There are few things I love as much as exploring ruins and historical sites.

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Winter is officially here

Now that winter is officially here with all its challenges and positives, I keep thinking of the how different it was when I joggled during the summer and its own unique challenges.

I joggled many times around this lake during the summer. This photo was taken in the Rockefeller Preserve, Pocantico Hills, NY.

In a strange kind of way, I miss it, especially as the weather gets colder. It’s like I have forgotten the profuse sweating, the heat-induced muscle fatigue causing me to slow down or drop the balls, the countless insects biting me or flying into my face, and the sunscreen I had to rub over much of my body to prevent sunburn. Okay, maybe I haven’t forgotten, but I still achieved bliss on a good run. I remember joggling in the summer wishing it was the heaven that is winter.

And now sometimes I wish it was summer, or spring. How ironic. The middle of the winter means heavy clothing, shorter days, a running nose, the risk of frost-bite, kids throwing snow balls, and sometimes stiffer muscles. If there is snow or ice, winter joggling can be especially problematic – be not afraid of new challenges. And the local kids should know they can’t win in a snow ball fight with a joggler!

“When you long for a life without difficulties, remind yourself that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” – Uknown

Although I have to adapt to the weather, all the rules for joggling are the same. For beginners, this is very important: Maintaining the proper rhythm and posture is everything. It is like music, making beautiful music, becoming one with the rhythm and one with the balls. You may hear the music, you may not. If a melody develops, literally run with it. Hum along if you want.

With all this emphasis on rhythm, and music perhaps it would be better for jogglers to forget about running and to think of themselves as dancers. Running simply takes you from point A to point B. But juggling adds a new magical dimension to the running; going from point A to point B^3.

It really doesn’t matter what kind of dancer-joggler you think of yourself as. If you prefer the grace of a ballerina, go with that. Or if you prefer hip-hop dance, go ahead. You don’t even necessarily have to do the 3 ball cascade pattern, although that is most efficient and easiest for beginners. Above all, be creative. You may surprise yourself and learn all sorts of new things about yourself through joggling. If it really does make us smarter, that isn’t such a surprise.

In the new year, whatever your fitness goals are, it helps to be as creative as possible, to think outside-the-box, to make it as fun as possible and to not care what anyone else thinks.

And for the record, I’ve decided to stop eating eggs, which makes me vegan yet again.

Fantastic time joggling along Croton Trail and Lyndhurst

I had a great time joggling along the Croton Aqueduct trail to Lyndhurst. It was perfect joggling weather. This trail follows the path of a now defunct aqueduct that once provided water to New York City. It zigzags through much of western Westchester county, through several historic villages. Some stretches of it are densely wooded, and many houses along the trail are quite grand and architecturally significant. In some spots, you can get spectacular views of the Hudson. It is often crowded with lots of runners, cyclists, walkers and bird-watchers in calm weather. You may encounter deer along some parts of the trail.

Luckily, hurricane Sandy didn’t destroy a lot trees along the trail. The trail mostly runs on top of the old aqueduct, and so you can almost never see it. You can even go under the aqueduct it in a few places, but be careful.

It’s large alright, but it’s not Downtown Abbey(Highclere Castle)

It runs through Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, villages made famous by Washington Irving’s novels(it also runs through Dobbs Ferry, Hastings-On-Hudson and Yonkers). The Lyndhurst castle is the most important historical mansion along the trail.

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Juggling and joggling at Lyndhurst

Juggling and joggling at Lyndhurst

Juggling at Lyndhurst Castle, in Tarrytown, New York.