Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We did it! Swimming with the polar bears on 1/1/12

Natasha and Sandra 

On Friday December 30, 2011, after a colleague at work told me that she and a couple of her lifeguard friends would go for a swim on New Year's day with the Polar Bear Club in Coney Island , I proceeded to shoot an email to the PPTC Forum to see how many takers I could persuade to join us upon such short notice.

Low and behold, the response was immediate, Marcy Greenberg was in. Janine Acquafredda, Michael Ring and Pat Perlo were too!. The positive responses kept pouring in. I was psyched!

Janine offered to drive us there. Michael Ring who only had four spots to spare in his own vehicle offered rides as well to anyone who wanted to take part in this new year's adventure.

After completing the BRRC midnight run and partying at a friend's house on Coney Island Avenue on December 31, 2011, Natacha and I woke up bright and early and arrived at the K of C Hall on 10th Avenue off Prospect Park South West . Hey, we even got there on time. Upon entering the room, I could tell the day was going to go my way. There was lots of food as always and Tom Meany, Ann P and Julio Z were there to make sure all was fine and dandy.

After the award ceremony and after Ruth Garsky was awarded her medal (I was thrilled for her! ) we walked to Bartell Pritchard in front of the Connecticut Muffin to hook up with Janine whom we had never met in person and with whom I had only communicated via the PPTC Forum. She was in a  black Volvo with John her husband in the passenger seat up front. Janine's girlfriend led the way in her own car with her husband and her two beautiful little girls.

After a brief introduction in the car, Janine and I  started to speak as if we were old friends.

When we arrived at Coney Island, we could see the masses of people and we knew we were in trouble. Parking space seemed sparse. We could not find a spot in the street.  We tried a parking lot and that was full also. We ended up finding a parking space almost four to five blocks away . Where's the valet parking when you really need it !

Once we left  the cars, people started to greet us with 'Happy New Year' and congratulated us for going to take a dip. Some folks were already drinking and behaving like people who might be already drinking. Everyone was having fun.

After strolling on the boardwalk, we got down to business. We walked across Coney Island's sandy beach and took off our coats, robes and started to take pictures. Some of us even sported our PPTC shirts.

Janine and her best friend could not wait and so at about 12:58 pm , folks with similar intentions  started  screaming and shouting all psyched  to take the plunge. The crowd roared and bursts of animal-like  cries were heard as folks started to run into the water. Some screamed, others yelled and shouted words that I can't mention here. Natacha and I went in quietly. On our way down into the water we saw Tom Tobin and his wife and son. We saw Robert from BRRC. Tom courageously dove in while we slowly walked into the water. Natacha ran out and I went in and squatted down to get my shoulders wet. All of a sudden, my tired and achy legs no longer bothered me . I felt great. The aches and pains dissipated. The cold water was the  remedy. I got out and asked a bystander to take pictures of us but lo and behold she didn’t know how to use my simple camera! I then went back into the water again while  Tom Tobin took some pictures of us. We ran out of the water and then for one last time we went back in again and laid down in the water and got our entire bodies wet!

What a feeling! What a blast! What chilly water! We did it! What a way to welcome 2012!  I feel rejuvenated!!

-- Sandra Ferrari

Monday, January 2, 2012

2012: THE BEST YEAR EVER!, by Ruth Gursky

For me, 2011 was a year of many firsts: starting with my first Harry's Handicap and winning a medal for finishing 42nd out of 47 runners (an act which convinced me to join PPTC because of its positive attitude toward back-of-the-packers)...making the Celebrate Israel Run (my dream) a reality...getting 3 race photos of me posted on the NYRR website...and culminating in this year's Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, in which a group of friends and I WON the "Best Costume" award as the "Sisters of St. Emerald's" minutes prior to the start of the annual 4-mle annual fun run. (I'm Sister Granola, the Jewish nun!)
How can I possibly top that?  Well, with less than 5 hours of sleep and running on achy, tired legs, I ran my second Harry's Handicap, and guess what? I came in FIFTH PLACE in a field of over 40 runners!
This has renewed my faith in PPTC's attitude toward its speed-challenged members...and I now totally believe that in 2012, ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE!
Best wishes to all of my new PPTC friends for a Happy, Healthy & PR-filled 2012!
Ruth Gursky