Mr. Kotter’s Brooklyn, It Ain’t

I was in Brooklyn today for a duathlon, and let me tell you, if Mr. Kotter was welcomed back to this Brooklyn, he probably wouldn’t know where the hell he was.  I grew up watching “Welcome Back Kotter” and always had an image of Brooklyn as a gritty place.  “Saturday Night Fever” and the tough talking (but heart of gold!) Brooklyn characters in various other TV shows and movies did little to dispel the image (except for “The Cosby Show” – but the Huxtables seemed to live in a posh oasis that didn’t quite match the Brooklyn I had come to know). Of course, I’m well aware that much of Brooklyn has gentrified over the years, but it is hard to shake decades of media images from your mind. I also recall my family taking a wrong turn in our station wagon leaving Manhattan sometime in the 70’s, ending up in Brooklyn and being scared. Really scared. I think much of Brooklyn was kind of scary back then.  Now, not so much.

The race took place in Prospect Park, which is definitely one of the posher sections of the borough. I have lived in NYC and have been traveling in and out of the city regularly for years, and I don’t know why it always surprises me to see pockets of nature living among the cityscape.  But it does.  So I used my downtime before and after the race to take a few pictures of the softer side of Brooklyn…

This was just across from the transition area.  Pretty little wooded lake.

This was just across from the transition area. Pretty little wooded lake.

I got to watch a family of ducks paddle by while waiting for the race to start...

I got to watch a family of ducks paddle by while waiting for the race to start…

This robin was one of our more popular spectators.

This robin was one of our more popular spectators.

Another sign of spring, just off to the side of the transition area.

Another sign of spring, just off to the side of the transition area.

After the race, I walked down a trail to cool off and noticed that it was a bridle path - look closely and you can see the prints of horseshoes.

After the race, I walked down a trail to cool off and noticed that it was a bridle path – look closely and you can see the prints of horseshoes.

A few teens heading into the park for their riding lesson.

A few teens heading into the park for their riding lesson.

Across the street from the Park - look at this quaint little house!!

Across the street from the Park – look at this quaint little house!!

This beautiful, tree-lined street looks like it could be in London.

This beautiful, tree-lined street looks like it could be in London.

Another pretty little street.

Another pretty little street.

Thus concludes our pictorial tour of Prospect Park and its surrounds!

I’ll leave you with one last picture – possibly my favorite:

3rd Place in my age division!

3rd Place in my age division!

There were a lot of tough competitors today – lots of Tri Teams, Cycling Teams and even a woman in “Team USA” bike shorts with her name on the back (she won overall women’s, not surprisingly).  Though a bit intimidating, I think that the strength of the competition stepped up my game.  I didn’t intentionally try and compete harder, but I instinctively moved faster to keep up, I guess.  I had great runs.  I ran the first (2.1 mile) leg at a 7:04 pace; the second leg (also 2.1 miles) at a 7.11 pace, and I really wasn’t dying at the end of either leg. These times make me really want to push myself in my next 5K to try and break 7:30 for a full 5K and cross 2013 Goal Number 6 off of my list. My bike portion (10 miles) was a 37.16 – not great, but not too disastrous, either.  A friend of mine who is a triathlete is going to help me figure out how to get stronger on the bike.  Of course, her first words of advice were to get clipless pedals and bike shoes.  Or at least cages.  She was mortified when she heard that I rode on plain old flat pedals.  Frankly, I’m surprised that she (or Colby, for that matter) even acknowledges that she knows me.  They must love me very much.

Overall, I finished at 1:09:33. Third in my age division. Tired and happy!

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4 thoughts on “Mr. Kotter’s Brooklyn, It Ain’t

    • Please let the stress fracture become but a mere bad memory, and then go for it! New York Tri Club puts them on throughout the year and has a lot of these shorter ones. I’m sure you can find ones even closer to home if you don’t want to cross the river.

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