Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Punched. But Never Down.

Today is a tale of New York, New York. The bad side, and the good side.

So after only running 3 miles or so this morning, but having a nice pasta lunch over a corporate luncheon. I decided to run this evening. It had been awhile since I had done one, particularly because I am grooming myself to be a morning runner, and also because evenings were also for going to the gym.

Ileana was not going to go to the gym tonight, so, with the temperatures going down into the low 60's tonight, I figured I would do at least 5 miles tonight and get a good head start on my mileage this week.

I wasn't sure whether to go the busy street city route, like the Kew Hills Park Run, or the quiet and peaceful route, the Forest Park route. Either way, I needed to head south to Metropolitan Avenue. Once I got to the corner of there and Lefferts, the light had turned red, so I started to jog in place. An elderly chinese couple was standing along side of me, and the lady looked at me. She giggled and then started imitating me. I thought it was pretty funny actually, because she looked like she could not have been less than 75 years of age.

As I turned right onto Metropolitan, I decided that perhaps I would just go the quiet, peaceful route, and turn into Forest Park. Although the sun was setting, there were many runners, bikers, pet owners, and walkers in the park. I figured I would do my 2 mile trek to Victory Oval, perhaps do 2 1/4 mile lap intervals there, and head back.

My run into the park was extremely uneventful for nearly the first 2 miles. The nice thing about the park is that it's a full, two-lane road, but its not open to vehicles. It's like Central Park in many ways actually. Well, like I said, there were plenty of runners along the path, and street lights all along the park. There was even an NYPD patrol car at the beginning when I entered the park too. Too bad, they weren't there towards the end of the trail. But I will save that for later.

Okay. It's later. Let me tell you what happens next.
So, it's almost 2 miles, and I'm going over the Myrtle Avenue overpass in Forest Park, within a 1/4 mile of Victory Oval. Dusk was here but the lights at the oval could be seen radiating from the distance. Always being cognizant of my surroundings, I noticed up ahead what seemed like a lot of bicycles coming towards me. As I got closer, I noticed, eight teenage kids, all black, and all on bikes so small, that they should have owned them about 10 years earlier. They looked like punks, but worse yet, I heard them starting trouble.

Since I was running at about 7+ mph and they were coming at me at a pretty fast pace, I did notice that half of them were on the right side of the road, while the other bunch on the left.
I was running up the middle the whole time, so I never was in their way, nor did I feel the need to move.

Just then one of the bikers came close to me (he must have deliberately swerved into me) and without any warning, cold-cocked me in the ear (that's New York for basically being punched). He basically raised his right hand off from his bike's handlebar, made a fist and punched me, a direct hit right onto the boney part of my ear, all within a matter of a few seconds at most.

My visor came off. My right ear bud which was connected to my iPod and was, of all things ironically playing "Smashing Young Man" by Collective Soul, fell out of my ear. I was so much into my own element however, that I must have run about another 50 yards, before I stopped, and realized that my glasses (which were on me prior to this attack) were no longer on my face. Then the excrutiating pain in my right ear started to come into focus. I immediately put my hand on it and look at my hand to see if that mother fucker drew blood (sorry for cursing). Fortunately, he did not.

As I turned around, and looked, I could still hear them laugh as they continued riding their bikes. By now they were just about out of site.

Cowards. And Fucking Assholes.

The Fucking Assholes' comment is simple. I was (and still am) real pissed off. Even with 8 of them, if I would have been given the opportunity, I would have kicked as many of their punk asses as I possibly could. True, it could have flown in the face of my training regimen, but I firmly believe in an eye for two eyes.

And Cowards. Cowards because they would not have dared to do this shit, if it were just 1 of them. Of course, it takes 8 low-life, young (and in this case, african-american) punks to show off what REAL men they were. It's a shame they probably do not even have the education to find this website, let alone even be able to READ, as I would love to have my shot at seeing them again.

I started to walk back to look for my glasses. Now, my vision is not that terrible. I am nearsighted and about 20-40/20-50, but it is getting dark, and of all things, one of the street lamps was not working. Of course, it would have to be the one near the scene of the incident.

However, last year I purchased a cap that had a little light in the front. I took it with me tonight, in case I needed to run in very dark places. In the past it's been a handy instrument, goofy as it might look, and tonight it would be very much needed.

Still, the search for the glasses went on for several minutes, and I could not locate them. I tried to use physics between the direction of the oncoming punch and my direction of running to see where they could have landed. No such luck. I took my cap off, and noticed that the light was already on (perhaps that might have been what originally grabbed that fuckin' idiots attention), and started flashing it on the ground.

Like I said, I was searching for several minutes, compelled to not lose 150 dollars for glasses that I could not afford financially to replace. When now, the "good" part of New York comes into play.

A woman, a couple, and another person, all took notice at my aimless roaming on the course, and all asked if I was okay. The first woman who had asked is named Noelia, and after I explained to her what had happened, she and the rest all started to look around. A few moments later, an asian woman, almost stepped on them. It was actually a delight to hear the sound. I immediately twisted around and saw where they were. She apologized, and said are these it? And they were.

The right hind leg of the glasses were completely bent in the opposite direction and very widely stretched too. After a few minutes of molding it back into shape, I have to say it is much like the way it was before the attack, except it will never be the same.

Nor was I for that matter. I was so enraged, that I basically continued into Victory Oval, did 12 laps around (for another 3 miles), came out of there, and ran back the way I came down Forest Park. About a mile from the end of the park, I saw the woman who had initially asked how I was and we actually spoke and made friends. Noelia, as it turned out, is not only a New York Road Runners member as well, but she too is running in her first ever Marathon and it will be the New York City Marathon this year. I thanked her again for being so kind to a stranger (me), and gave her my cell number to offer her any advice I could to help her with her training.

I know that my father, and other people too, have told me what a lousy city New York can be. I would have to admit, that with what happened tonight, that it would be hard to argue their validity. But (and you knew there was going to be a 'but') as discouraged as I felt over what had happened, I was equally inspired by how much people are willing to help one another here.

I walked with Noelia for about a mile, partially for her safety, and when we exited the park, I had so much energy left from this event, that I acutally decided to add on a few more mile (6 more, to be exact), and did the Kew Hill Park Run as well. I only drank one cup of water (at the McDonald's on Woodhaven & Queens Blvd- near Queens Center) and motored the last half mile home.

My ear is still a little sore, but I don't believe anything is broken, least of all my will.
After tonight, I now have yet ANOTHER reason to do well in this year's marathon.....

1 comment:

DGA said...

It had to happen sooner or later.
Giuliani only took care of Manhattan. The rest of the boroughs stink and are full of upgraded thugs (they now have bicycles to carry out their felonies). You need to choose your running trails not only based on the distance, but also on their safety, when you run in NY.
Unfortunately those insects in bicycles will never be caught until they kill someone. You need to kill someone to be hunted by the police. Too much elasticity is given to criminals and those 8 thugs are over qualified in the world of crime.
Here is a thought: How heavy is to carry a pepper spray gun with you when you run? Or a metal cane?
Hey, baseball players train with donuts insterted in their bats to add weight, so the bat feels lighter during the games.
I would love to spray as many of those bastards as I could with burning pepper in their fricken eyes!