Posts tagged ‘New York city’

July 12, 2012

Biking in New York City

signage in a bike shop window in Portland

I love riding my bike in New York City. I love when I forget my helmet and I feel the wind in my hair. I used to not wear a helmet at all but then I had kids and I valued my life (and my brains) more.  I always make the kids wear a helmet now too.

I think I started riding a bike in the city when I was about 30 and had just broken up with my ex. At that time, if a girlfriend and I were going out for a drink, my friend’d take a cab and I’d ride my Schwinn. We’d set off at the same moment. And I’d always get there first.

Mostly now, I just ride my bike to work. The bus or subway takes about 30 minutes. I’ve pedaled the 45 blocks in less than 15 minutes.

my morning commute

Besides, staying healthy, saving money, I sail past trees and grass and flowers and happy people in the park. I have a lovely commute through Riverside Park.

Pulling in to my work garage, I used to think people were kind of laughing at me and my bike. Now? Am I imaging it? — coworkers seem slightly jealous. I have a sweet ride.

Ten thousand new bikes are about to be launched on New York City streets through a bike-sharing program. Cool. Every day, my fellow New Yorkers will discover my secret pleasure — commuting to work by bike.

I’m not worried about my route getting clogged with bikers, because most of the bike stations will be in midtown and downtown.

This blog post could easily have been written for another one of my blogs, My Beautiful New York blog. I love New York City.

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June 3, 2012

Runner from Botswana

I have found my Olympic athlete to watch!

On the shuttle bus ride in Portland on June 3, I met this future Olympian, Amantle Montsho from Botswana. Ms. Montsho was very sweet; she had just competed in the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon the day before and came in second. She was departing our van and looking for Delta; I think she was heading to Europe. I was looking for my rental car as I was heading for Eugene to meet my college roommate and spend the day. (So much fun!)

I learned about this runner on the New York Times cover sports story about Amantle Montsho. I am usally ticked off that every story in the sports section (of every newspaper) is dedicated to men’s sports so I was surprised and happy when I saw this article about a woman Olympic hopeful. I thought, “Way to go, NYTimes! Way to go Botswana!”

The kids and I love Botswana, ever since we hosted two young women for a week in New York from Botswana a month or so ago. Lolo and Rati were beautiful, smart, talented! We became fans of this land-locked country, north of South Africa. And especially the people there. I wrote about our awesome experience hosting these high school musicians at Our High School Students from Botswana.

Lolo told us that the whole country of Botswana is rooting for Amantle. They all know her personally as Botswana is small country (almost as big as Texas, according to Google).

When Amantle walked away from me at the airport, she seemed hardly to touch the ground as she walked. It may be cliche to say, but she was extremely light on her feet. Like a ballet dancer in New York City coming from class, you can tell by the way she walks, she is a special kind of person who really lives in her body. She is lithe and strong. She also seemed quite young and innocent.

And I’m rooting for her!

20120603-181654.jpg

Official Results – Women – 400 Metres

Pos

Athlete

Nat

Mark

1 Sanya Richards-Ross USA 49.39
2 Amantle Montsho BOT 49.62
3 Novlene Williams-Mills JAM 49.78
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December 27, 2011

Can Cleaning Be Exercise?

broom by creative commons

I have updated one of my four blogs (about faithcreative writingNew York, or this one, fitness) at least every other day during 2011. When I began in January 2011, I posted every day for 66 days, because I’d heard that’s how long it takes to make a habit.

When I traveled or wrote my NaNoWriMo (November’s National Novel Writing month), I slacked a bit. But mostly I’ve been consistent with my blogging.

I need to retire a couple of my blogs and this one, Running Aground, is the lead candidate for retirement. This has been my least popular and least updated blog. Reading about my attempt to run a 5K may not have mass appeal. And I don’t write on this one because I think that if I haven’t exercised by swimming, running, or going to Pilates class, I haven’t worked out. (Although, yes, I’ve written about sleep and diet, as well.)

But wait — I clean a lot and, living in New York City, I walk a lot! So let’s remember — Cleaning is a good work out. In an hour, you burn:

  • Sweeping: 240
  • Packing/Unpacking: 220
  • Scrubbing floors on hands and knees: 325 (Who does this?)
  • Cleaning, light (dusting, wiping down counters, picking up clothes): 100
  • Cleaning, general (washing dishes, doing laundry): 200

according to a post by Divine Caroline (Brie Cadman).

This post is an attempt to encourage myself to believe in the power of the clean-up work out! Now, Mary Beth, get out there and clean! I have about an hour to unpack from our Chicago trip and pack for our Adirondacks trip, take down the Christmas tree, and generally tidy up this apartment where I’ve hosted four parties in one month!

There’s been a lot of stash and dash over the holidays. Now let’s burn some calories by cleaning. But wait, first, I have to update my Facebook status and check my friends’ news.

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May 27, 2011

Love Tennis

I love biking, tennis and soul food.

That’s what I was thinking when I was riding to work yesterday. But I couldn’t think long, because I kept stopping to snap pictures of peonies.

I played tennis two nights this week. And thus, my energy for blogging has waned. I’ve been waking up all creaky from the tennis, but then anxious to play again. Last night Dan invited me to play for the third night in a row (Thanks Dan!). But instead, I chose sangria and soul food with girlfriends (Thanks Angelique & Cindy) at the fabulous Melba’s in Harlem (Thanks Larry for the recommendation).

I discovered when we walked back to unlock my bike after Melba’s that Harlem was spinning and there was something stronger than white wine in those white sangrias!  So I stuck to biking through the safety of Central Park not the mean city streets.

And even though I didn’t play tennis last night, I woke up today, again, all creaky and achey. Tennis or sangria? Pick your poison. You’ll pay in the morning.

Just stop on the way to smell the flowers.

May 14, 2011

Room for Bikes

With no fanfare a bike room opened in the basement of 475 Riverside Drive, the Interchurch Center.

Bikes now have their own bright room. (Thanks, I think, to the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation and Bike New York who have both moved into the building within the last five years.)

Bikes used to live in a corner overshadowed by the exhaust fumes of the cars. The bikes knew they were second class citizens to the cars. Heck, I knew. And I didn’t really want to admit tell my bike.

The bike racks were in a dusty corner. On more than one occasion, I bumped my head against the fire alarm and knocked my shin against my pedal getting the bike in or out.

I know I shouldn’t anthropomorphize my bike any more

— the way I anthropomorphize ice cream

http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/public-school-rules/

or my creativity http://mbcoudal.wordpress.com/2011/02/15/good-enough/.

Bikes aren’t human. They don’t get crushes on other bikes as I’ve previously reported.

See https://runningaground.wordpress.com/2010/07/15/damn-you-gary-fisher/

But I can’t stop. My bike is my child. As my real children get older, I still have my good old bike. It will live with me always. It needs its own room. As a teen it needs privacy. But, as a parent, I still need know what it is doing in there.

Like children, biking in New York City has grown up without me noticing. Mine used to be one of a few bikes in the basement. But now there are more than a dozen — more fun for my bike to play with.

May 2, 2011

5 Boro Bike Tour

Coming back on the ferry

I did it. Along with more than 30,000 other bicyclists. The 5 boro bike tour. I can cross it off my bucket list.

I started around 8 am in Manhattan right before Central Park South. (I’d heard the beginning of the tour at Battery Park was a zoo so skipped to the Park.) I finished 45 miles and four hours later in Staten Island.

After a while, all the bridges and boros (boroughs) looked the same. Was I in Brooklyn or Queens? I knew it wasn’t the Bronx because that leg of the tour was brief.

Occasionally a family would be picnicking on their front steps, cheering us on. That felt good. I’d yell to them, “Thanks! We love Brooklyn.” Then I’d wonder, ‘Are we in Brooklyn? Or do I love Queens?’

Although I ride my bike almost every day to work, I’m not  a spandex-wearing hottie. In fact, I only just bought bike shorts for the tour. (Still, my tush is a little sore today!)

I usually use my bike just to get someplace. Yesterday, my bike got me to every boro and then at the end, I got to the NYU Hospital. Not for a problem though. It was a celebration for all kids who have had heart problems called the Mend-A-Heart party. My kids love this annual party. And my son is so proud, “Look because of my heart problems, you get to go to this great party!” Yay for broken hearts that are repaired!

Back to the tour — my new bike rocked. It’s a hybrid, not a racing back like most of the bikes on the tour.

I think this was Brooklyn

I was glad I had a basket to throw my banana peels and health bar wrappers into. Also, I could peel off layers of clothing as the sun and exertion warmed me. Occasionally after hitting a pothole, I had to pat down the contents of my basket while riding so my water bottle wouldn’t go flying.

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

Of the 5 bridges you cross on the 5 boro bike tour, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at Mile 35 was the deadliest. It just kept climbing for miles and miles and miles. At several points going up, I had a mirage that there — just ahead — it was about to go downhill. But no. It was completely uphill the whole way. Okay, maybe the last two minutes I hit some down hill.

I was thinking that whole way up — what goes up must come down. Then just when I felt like giving up, I was inspired by my friend P’s text, “Stay strong,” she wrote. “Free massages at the end.”

But I didn’t need one of those free massages, I just needed to lay down in the green grass of Staten Island. Really exhausted and really proud.

March 6, 2011

Am Running Today

This is my least favorite part of the day, waking the children. It’s drizzling and it’s Sunday. They’re not excited about today’s 5K at 9 am. A part of me does wonder, Why am I making them and myself run? It’s a huge hassle and I’d rather stay in bed with the New York Times.

I want us to run, because I know we will feel euphoric when we finish. We will have set and then exceeded some small goal. Life rarely offers opportunities to chart your progress.

I remember the first time I took my son ice skating in Central Park. The first time he went around the rink, he fell eight times. The second time around the rink, he fell two times. And after that, he hardly fell at all. That is how it goes. Take them out and let them fall. And soon they will stand and even skate and run on their own. And there’s some pride in that.

Wish me luck in waking my darlings, in finding running shoes, and in getting to the race on time. It’s not easy, but I believe, somehow, it will be worth it. If we just cross the finish line, we will have won.

http://www.nyrr.org/races/2010/r0307x00.asp

December 8, 2009

Where Is that Harbor Seal?

On Saturday, I ran to the end of the 70th Street pier in Riverside Park. As I passed the kayak launch site, empty now, I wished that I could see that harbor seal again. The one with the one droopy whisker and the big black eyes.

About a year ago, Max, the doorman, told me a seal was hanging out at the boat basin. At dusk, I took the kids to see it. Our photo didn’t turn out, but there it was at the boat basin. The next week it was at the kayak launch site. It was yawning and stretching. Just lookin’ around.

We dialed 3-1-1. The animal rescue or marine biology people (or whomever 3-1-1 connected us to) said they would not come rescue it, because – from what we described, it was healthy.

After all, it was a harbor seal in a harbor. No matter that the harbor was the Hudson River.

On my weekend run this time, the only wildlife I saw were squirrels, ducks, and, I’m not sure they count – dogs. I didn’t even see one of the red-tailed hawks near the 80th street playground. They’re so vast you’d think they could swoop down and, with their talons, grab a toddler.

The best part of running in New York City is the wildlife. And when you run again, you remember.

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