Phil “Big Cat” Guerrero rages the East Coast and is off to New Zealand…Part 1

18 Jul

A new post from Phil “Big Cat” Guerrero!

Hey everyone!

I finally have relocated to New Zealand and am a bit backlogged on things to tell about. Nonetheless, here is the first of two posts sharing about my explorations of the East Coast of the US, and my training in NZ thus far. Enjoy!

The afternoon of June 8th I set off to the other side of the country, to infiltrate the depths of the North-East Coast. My flight landed in New York where I would soon be searching for every big photo opportunity in the city.   I woke the following day and departed on my first tromp through Manhattan, first heading east from the East Village (appropriately), then south once I hit water. This is when I spotted the first of two major bridges connecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Williamsburg Bridge was quite nice, but I was impatiently awaiting the famed Brooklyn Bridge. Despite some construction, it still held a presence of nostalgia and sufficed to support the notoriety it receives.

The Brooklyn Bridge on my first run through Manhattan

The Brooklyn Bridge on my first run through Manhattan

I was well on my way to the southern tip of Manhattan when the business bustle called me down good old Wall St. Needless to say, I annoyed some bolting businessmen while lumbering toward Broadway, however the crowd on the historic street was surely worth dealing with, for then I spotted the “Charging Bull”! Despite the golden hide reflecting huge sunbeams from the ideal summer day, the crowd surrounding the energetic symbol of prosperity and strength, almost completely concealed

The "Charging Bull" of Wall Street!

The "Charging Bull" of Wall Street!

its view from the street. Nonetheless, I was able to snap a pic, MySpace style, as I made my way through. I hit the west side of the island then made my way back to East Village for a sleep and anticipatory evening for the upcoming run…   Now came my shot to run with “Born to Run” author, Chris McDougall, once again! He was concluding a chain of running events known as the Naked Tour. I had caught one of these events before during my adventures through the San Francisco Bay area and I was lucky enough to be in town for the finale. The time came to pace it out with him and numerous other runners from NY, not only for a 8 and a half mile run through Manhattan and Brooklyn, but to catch a pint of high-quality brew after! The run was great, for the fellow runners were all cool and encouraging, and a couple chats with McDougall, himself, werealso a treat. The following

Chris McDougall and I rocking the event shirts!

Chris McDougall and I rocking the event shirts!

day he had the Naked Cabaret and book signing, where I presented him with a PCG Memorial Heart Run shirt, and got him to sign mine! A shout out to Chris McDougall for being a nice guy and a great running mate.

It was a great time in NY and a big thanks to Alex Schned and Devon Puglia for letting me kick it and crash at their place.

It was then a quick bus trip to Philadelphia to lay some hoof treads and check out a place I had yet to explore. The first (and most memorable) of a few runs took me down a lush trail alongside the Schuylkill River, dropping me off at the inspiring “Rocky” statue. I grabbed a pic with Rocky, and honored him by conquering the merciless steps leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Then proceeded back down the stairs and into concrete jungle.

"Adriaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!"

"Adriaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!"

The next stop was downtown Philly where I inhaled a world-famous brisket sandwich from Tommy Dinic’s Roast Pork and Beef located in the old-fashioned setting of the Reading Terminal Market. This market easily became my top landmark in Philadephia, for the food and aura it produced didn’t let me leave unsatisfied.   And, of course, I ran by the Liberty Bell, Liberty Hall, and all the other important historic sights Philly had to offer. These sights and the scamper back to my current couch/bed made me appreciate the city for the sweet architecture, the historical significance and the vibrant plant-life.

I was fortunate enough to get hosted by a great friend in Philip Maldonado and his dental school housemates. Thanks to you all for making my stay entertaining and relaxed while being in the middle of final exams!

Finally was my stop in Washington D. C., another city of epic historical proportions. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the District in the past but running gives me the luxury of a far more intimate experience. So I used the opportunity to go beyond the typical monument/memorial tours and explore alternative areas like Arlington, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, and Columbia Heights to name a few.   I also took a chance to run with my old college roommate, Nathan Boyd. He has also taken up running as a pastime and fitness maintenance tool.

We met and took a jaunt through some good trails, making the city run feel like we were countryside.   Then, serendipitously, we came across the Washington D.C. Zoo. After a quick thought, there was no denying I needed to check this out (Not to mention, the Zoo had free entry!). The rolling hills in the zoo, the constant distraction of awesome animals and the company of an old friend made the zoo foot-safari the highlight of my D. C. runs.

What up, Panda...at the D. C. Zoo!

What up, Panda...at the D. C. Zoo!

Giant pandas, lions, tigers, and cheetahs behind us, we headed to the Washington Mall to see some monuments, museums, and the Capitol, while soaking up the great day and catching up on our lives.   The run concluded  in energetic Chinatown where we ate caught up some more. An enormous high-five to Nate Boyd for leading me on a fantastic run and entertaining me during my stay in D. C. Also, a shout out to Jake Stevens, Brian Damron, Greg Bice, and Christine Bennett for letting me take over their couch for 5 days and being excellent hosts!

At the very end of my stay in Washington, I was able to meet Sean Koenig and Denise Miller of ChangeStream Media for lunch and a gracious ride to the airport. It was fantastic seeing them and hearing about their latest experiences film-making in south-east Asia. Do not miss what they are doing by checking out http://changestreammedia.org/ and reading about their impressive non-profit. Again, a huge thanks to them for producing the promotional Give Phil 5 video and for being all-around spectacular human beings.

Well everyone, this is my East Coast escapade. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed the scenic runs and generous hosting. Thank you for your time and support, and feel free to comment, email, share, “Like”, “Follow”, etc. the Philip “Cat” Guerrero Memorial Heart Run.   Also, be sure to keep an eye out for the latest experiences in an upcoming post about my new found hometown: Wellington, New Zealand.

With love and appreciation,

Phil “Big Cat” Guerrero

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