Tag Archives: jogging

Up and out at 6:00 AM …

Up and out at 6:00 AM

Cadman Plaza Park, Brooklyn, NY, Credit: Diacritical

There’s something about the morning in the dark.  It’s one thing when one has been out all night, but waking up and hitting the pavement with nary a hint of the old “rosy fingered dawn” is something else again.

This morning, all dressed up in sweats, a light shell jacket, and with my daughter similarly attired, she and I set out to run the track at Cadman Plaza Park in downtown Brooklyn–our first such excursion together.

As mother-daughter events go, it was pretty cool. While not particularly experienced, she has a long lopping gait that saw her fly out in front of me as I trudged along with my steady-as-she-goes tiny steps. Had I the stamina or the knees for that matter it would have been wonderful to run out like that, but having neither, I only looked on in wonder.

Waiting for me at the head of street, she took off again as we neared the park. Once inside, we got started on the rubberized track running along Cadman Plaza East before it looped down and around to near the Brooklyn Bridge exit onto Cadman Plaza West and then up again past the Korean War monument to the Tillary Street entrance.

True to her form, she ran ahead, but as I caught up she was definitely getting tired–and was stopping more to take a break than to wait for Mom!  Still she did a wind sprint that made me breathless just to watch, never mind EVER attempt to do myself.

After our one loop around the park, we figured we’d done enough–it was our first day at it and there was no sense “killing” ourselves or tying our muscles up in knots to the point where we couldn’t try it again for a while.

Smiling, she said, “thanks, Mom,” and as we made our way home, still in the dark, there was something both sweet and triumphant about knowing we’d already accomplished a lot well before the sun came up.

We’ll see about tomorrow.

If you are thinking about taking up running … here are a few videos that be of interest.

Basics for beginning runners …

This one has good tips if you’re going to run for longer distances …

“Roadwork” training for boxers


Speaking to power …

Speaking to power …


Having gotten back into my boxing groove starting at the end of December when my surgeon gave me the all clear to whale away, my body has begun to find its power again. It’s not all the time or even some of the time, but an occasional thing when I’ll come upon something that I can lift with ease even though I know it’s really heavy, or when I’m about to finish up my light run from my house to the gym and realize that I could keep going for quite a ways.

That sense of comfort with my body or the sense that it has power is not something I’ve had very often in my life. Growing up in NYC in the 1960s meant very little by way of sports–as in punch ball, stoop ball and King, a kind of hand ball where each person had one concrete square in the sidewalk as their “box.”

At summer camp I swam and otherwise did what I could *not* to have to play softball in the heat of the afternoon in a field swarming with no-see-ums. As for basketball, I was hopeless when it came to anything but drippling the ball. The only running I ever did in those days were “chase” games and aside from tap dancing lessons at the age of 12 (for three months at Charlie Lowe’s School where I learned to use my “personality”), I didn’t do much of anything until my mid-thirties when I began to run.

Jogging in the 1970sThe jogging craze that began in the 1970s seemed to pass me by. Sure I tried it, but huffing and puffing for a block or two along the East River of Manhattan on the Upper East Side near where I used to live (and admittedly sucking back a cigarette or two), even along side a boyfriend, just wasn’t for me. Aerobics in cute white Reeboks was also “not my thing,” and if I exercised at all it was disco dancing at places like The Salty Dog, where I could happily gyrate for hours at a time.

Flashing forward to the late 1980s, my body still woefully unexercised, I decided to take up running in a bid to quit smoking. My first runs, attempts to run around Central Park were pathetic. I barely made it down two blocks, never mind to the park, while my chest heaved in pain and spasmed from coughing fits. Knowing that I needed to rid my lungs of years of inhaling junk into them, however, gave me the motivation to persevere. The remarkable thing was that by the end of the first week of daily runs, I was able to run ten blocks and by the end of a month I began to eschew distance for time having ran for thirty full minutes. By the second month my runs were taking me the full circuit around Central Park including the famed 110th Street Hill–a run that took me an hour door-to-door to cover the seven miles. Throughout that Spring I pounded my way through the Park, testing myself with brief sprints, and feeling for the first time in my life, the power of the body.  The experience was humbling, if a little frightening, because I had spent so many years in denial of my physical sphere. But there I was, running as long as an hour and a half, my legs and arms toned, and feeling for very brief moments as if I was invincible.

Life interceded and I quit running after a while, but when I found my way to boxing a decade later, the sense of myself as a physical being began to kick back in. Even now, as I begin to live out the last of my 50s, I find the body’s capacity to renew itself to be truly remarkable.

Sometimes speaking to power has to do with embracing those parts of oneself that extend out in a giant roar of confidence and well-being. My younger self would never have believed that I was capable of saying that–which tells me that whether it’s through the pounding of feet along a path in the park or the extension of a jab in a boxing ring, the magic of finding an alignment of all the parts of one’s being is always within the realm of the possible. All one has to do is take the first step to try.