21 September 2006

As Promised: The Runs Brooklyn "Quarterly Report"

So I'm about a quarter of the way there. There are various estimates about the total street mileage in Brooklyn -- depending on who you ask, it could be 1599 miles or 1742 -- but I'm playing it conservatively and basing things on the larger number. So maybe I've actually run more than a quarter. Who knows? In any event, I had to pick some point to take a little break before pushing on, and this seemed as good as any.

Over the last few months I've really seen a lot of Brooklyn. I've been through most neighborhoods at least once (though I haven't yet run in some of the micro-neighborhoods near downtown like DUMBO or Vinegar Hill, nor have I been to the gated community of Seagate, which is on the western tip of Coney Island), and there are several -- Gravesend, Bath Beach, Sheepshead Bay, Bensonhurst, Marine Park -- which I'm within a couple of runs of finishing up. I have, thus far, concentrated on the southern third or so of the borough, which explains why I've seen so much of Gravesend and so little of, say, Clinton Hill. As I've noted here before, this is a pretty deliberate move which means a lot of long subway rides now, but which I'm hoping will begin to pay dividends in the winter, when I can start piling on the miles a lot closer to home.

I've enjoyed what I've seen so far, and have gotten to know my way around (including most of the Brooklyn subway lines) remarkably well. And this is despite the fact that I've been running for the most part in pleasant enough if somewhat nondescript residential areas. As I move up toward the central and northern parts of the borough I'll be running in some more industrial areas, as well as some neighborhoods which I'll politely describe, for now, as still mostly pre-gentrified. What this all means, of course, is that I'm hoping there will be a lot more interesting things to see and photograph as I move forward into the next phase of this whole thing.

I'll be making a few changes, in both the ways I'll be approaching the running itself and the ways in which I'll report it here. Nothing too major -- just things that I think will allow me to hold on to my sanity (and maintain the physical integrity of my body) long enough to actually finish all of these 1742 (0r 1599 or however many) miles. I'll post again, probably over the weekend, with an overview of what these changes will be.

In the meantime, I realize that it might be hard to conceptualize what, exactly, running 25% of Brooklyn means (after all, 435.5 and 1742 are just numbers). So, for the further edification and enlightenment of my loyal readers I'm presenting three different ways to think about it.

1. First, I offer the cold, hard, world of statistics. True, these are just numbers, too, but maybe it'll mean something more if I give you a lot of them.

Total Number of Runs:
Total Miles:
Total Unique Miles:
Efficiency (ratio of unique to total miles):
Total Time:
63.0 hours
Average Time Per Run:
70.0 minutes
Average Overall Pace:
7:56 minutes/mile
Number of Weeks So Far:
Average Weekly Mileage:
Average Distance Per Run: 8.83
Average Unique Miles Per Run: 8.08

2. If that wasn't very helpful, let me try the visual approach. Here, for the first time on this blog, is a picture of my "big map," on which I've drawn in my runs with an orange highlighter (click on the map for a slightly bigger image).

3. Finally, some people do better with analogies. For them, I offer up the following table. On the left are a number of commonly-known references to the worlds of science, sports, literature, economics, and religion. Simply find one that you're familiar with, follow over to the right, and you'll see how 25% would translate (click on the table for a larger view).

And, for no particular reason, here are a few archival photographs:

Prospect Heights




At 2:57 PM, Blogger carrie g. said...

congratulations on your quarter or, in the terms of my preferred heuristic, your reuben, simeon, levi, and judah!

At 11:58 PM, Blogger Gary said...

Thanks, Carrie! But big words such as "heuristic" make me nervous, like maybe I should be working on the dissertation or something...

At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Found your blog through Gothamist. As a fellow runner and life long Brooklynite, I think this is one of the most brilliant ideas I had ever come across. Actually it's an idea I've had in the past, but it's good to see someone actually putting it into action. In a sense I am ilving vicariously through you. Congratulations on your milestone, and I can't wait to see more photos of your travels..

At 8:37 PM, Anonymous humbled said...


p.s. loved the Williamsburg fire hydrant photo.

p.p.s. thanks for giving us a glimpse of the Big Map.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Gary said...

anonymous & humbled,
Again, thanks! Like I said, I'm hoping to get some really cool pictures as I start cranking up the miles in several of the more photogenic neighborhoods. We'll see, I guess...


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