Running and Routine

If you run, you know about routines. You know it can be important to keep a routine if you want to run harder, faster, longer. Pushing yourself is hard to accomplish without a routine. All fitness has results with a routine. Go exercise more than three times a week, and I call that a routine. Even once a week is the beginnings of a routine, but to effectively pursue excellence, you need to make it a part of your daily life.

The same applies for all good and bad things in life. Routine builds tolerance, endurance, and discipline. Routine keeps life moving forward at a consistent pace. It’s what motivates us to pursue that excellence in all of us. It’s what brings each foot in front of the other, each inhale and exhale, each day and night. Routine is the force that drives me – it doesn’t control me – I control it with my own desires to achieve.

Running and Respect

Respect is deserved on the street. There are so many people out there, and half of them are oblivious… with good reasons. They got their headphones on, their sunglasses on and their voice boxes all a twitter. That’s a cynical observation; most of us are all walking in one direction, and can’t see what’s behind us. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings, or if not, to stick to a region of the sidewalk in anticipation of people passing you by. People pass on the left… mostly.

As for runners, we need to respect what’s around us. We’re usually more aware of our surroundings than the rest – we go fast, but not fast enough to miss a beat. The cars and the bicycles have reign over the road, and when you’re the pedestrian, you have to respect the rules of their road. The only problem (and peeve) is slowing down at someone else’s expense. Drivers pull up past the stop signs and crosswalks, bicycles ride on the sidewalk, and you’re average pedestrian wanders and sidles all over.

Everyone, we need to share respect for one another. We must respect families with their children, their infant babies just learning how to walk, and their dogs that don’t know any better. We must respect the people holding too much, taking on too much to stay apprised of quick changes. Respect the runners that run after something, because they don’t take kindly to stopping or slowing down. Make way, if you can, and don’t dally. Share in the mutual exchange of respect, and no harm will come to you.

Running and Community

I don’t really belong to any sort of “runners” community, but I do see regulars on their circuits. I call them by their distinguishable traits. Some are runners, some are just everyday people, like the “dog walker with long brown hair” or the “adorable Hispanic couple” or the “smoking barber” or the “mother with three kids.” The runners are more distinguishable by particular traits, like “Nike Shoes” or “Crew Cut” or Short Shorts” or “No Shirt.” Simple identifications exist for these regulars, and yet I don’t even know their names.

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Gravesend Bay

Finally the first warm Saturday of the year! Time to get up out of my small hard empty bed, throw on some gym clothes and hit the jogging path. Before I left I choked down a cold pork and leek dumpling with some orange juice and grabbed my iPod and keys. I hit play. Com Truise, the band Zucker and I saw last week in Greenwich Village, made for some great running music. I took off down 18th Avenue towards Gravesend Bay and lost my self in the pure electronic soundscape. Fifteen minutes into the run I was at the water. Thirsty, I longed for a Red Fish Ale, water from the bubbler I spied at the park across the street would suffice though. I paused the music to listen to the waves hit the barrier rocks below me. I saw seagulls pick at the garbage floating amid the otherwise clear water. There were huge ships further out into the bay. I couldn’t let the moment linger much longer though, I had to keep going. Running faster and faster on the asphalt, passing families of Hassidic Jews pushing strollers, dressed head to toe in black traditional wear and Chinese families with their packs of rambunctious little kids running circles around them made for some difficult maneuvering and interesting company.

The jogging path goes for miles, I ran two of them at the most. Along it are rather unremarkable sights; running west I had the bay to my left and the Shore Parkway to my right. The occasional grassy hill gave way to unobstructed views of the highway and the surrounding neighborhood of Bay Ridge. Along the wall separating the path from the water are numerous highly detailed signs explaining how, during a severe storm, the massive pipes below said signs connect the New York City sewer system to the bay where it can dump any overflow from the system in to the water. Lovely. Just think, Coney Island beaches are all but a few miles down stream from the drains. Looks like I won’t be swimming in those I thought.

At a corner of the path there were a few benches where people were sitting. One notable character was sitting directly in the sun, wearing a black suit, reading and sweating profusely. I took a seat not too from him and looked out onto the bay. The view was calming. I could see New Jersey in the distance and the Verrazzano bridge towering above me. Taking a moment to reflect, thoughts of spending summer afternoons on the Newport cliffs gazing out onto the Atlantic filled my mind. I wished I could relive those moments now.

It was getting late and I was hungry. I jogged my way back to the foot bridge that went over the highway and made my way back up 18th Avenue. People were getting out of church, there were cars everywhere, even parked fully on the sidewalks. Further up the avenue the crowds of people got more dense. I saw an ambulance up ahead one block from me. There was a group of people standing around an old lady who had apparently fallen. I felt bad for her and wondered what happened. Closer to my apartment I saw the police pull a lady over for no apparent reason. There was no way she could have been speeding as I was easily keeping up with the traffic on foot. I figured he was probably just trying to get his quota for the day.

Back at the apartment I had some lunch and thought about going to Central Park the next day. This is a good way to start my summer in New York.