Thursday, March 31, 2005

There's probably some blasphemy in here but hey, but hey?

The dog, the homework, etc.
Right, apologies for being a litle slow in returning to the world of blog. There are a few ridiculously down to earth reasons for this. In no particular order they are, our apt lost the ability to produce hot water for the shower, washing machine and dishwasher. This has been fixed (as of Wednesday afternoon) but it still meant two days of boiling lobster pots on the stove to fill the bathtub. This was mildly annoying but little more for myself as I'm on spring break but it was a righteous trauma for Ms Random Doubt as she has a proper job and had to rise an hour earlier than usual to stoke the fires and heat water. I now see why olden day types didn't wash as much as we do. It's a right hassle heating even a small bath tub worth of water. Needless to say we have restored full services witthout having to call City Hall and are now all clean and lovely.
Alongside very real issues with water and related hygiene I have had a very 'blippy' time with the trusty laptop. To be a little more precise our internet connection has been mysteriously wobbly and each time I tried to blog, check emails or even look for fun things to do on my days off the page would as likely disappear and leave me. I can see why people may think that the water thing might be troublesome but not entirely blog relevant, I'll explain. Hygiene is important to me (wasn't always), so when I find something stands between me and my morning shower I get emotional. I didn't want my blog chums to see me in this state, it would have made you doubt the Random Doubter you thought you knew. I couldn't allow that.

Onto other things, Running.
I love to run. This began a few years ago during one of my ill fated attempts to give up smoking. I actually did very well and running became the new smoking. I ran up hill and down dale, over farmland and down to the pub, I ran everywhere. Two hospitalising knee injuries later I am running again (by running I mean actually going outside and pounding the streets , not running on a treadmill in a gym, I do that during the winter and whilst it's a great way to watch VH1 and listen to music it's not quite the same).
Today I tackled the beast.
Today I ran across the Brooklyn Bridge.
Well, to be completely honest I walked to the bridge (in the form of the all important warm up) and ran across it. I then walked back.
It's like this, running is hard, punishing work. It's so very much easier inside a warm gym on a treadmill with plenty of 'give'. It's another to crunch those knee joints along the wonky Brooklyn sidewalk, to dodge idiot tourists who get in your way and finally realise that you've over enthused yourself and are risking complete collapse in front of all the aforementioned tourist types.
Still, I was pretty pleased with the effort. I could have just stayed indoors and read or watched TV. I could have gone down the pub. Instead I got my stuff on and went for a trot.
Why though? Why not just stick to the gym? It's warm and safe and friendly. If I really were to risk injury I could get immediate medical attention without fuss or worry. Why take the chance and hit the streets?
I guess partly because it's there. The outside world is a lot more interesting than the gym. I don't run to compete with anyone (only myself, I time my distances and seek improvement or at least consistency). I run to get out there, to look around, to take in the air. I generally try to look really cool as I run past people yet by the time I get to a quiet, secluded spot I pant and wheeze and choke. Today, as I was walking back home across the bridge it occurred to me that it was one of the few times that I had strolled across the old thing alone, alone without needing to offer commentary to some visitor, alone without being locked in conversation with Ms Random Doubts, just alone. As well as being alone (I abhore running with others, I am firmly in the camp of the lonely long distance runner) I find that running makes me very observant. It opens the lungs and the soul. I started to notice things as I walked back, I noticed cars on the BQE, I noticed tourists doing their thing, I noticed Brooklynites doing theirs. I saw a couple at the park by Cadman Plaza. They had just walked the bridge and were clearly looking for evidence of this mystical place called 'Brooklyn'. She was looking for cute bistros and stores, he for great pubs with pool tables and excellent jukeboxes. They were confronted by the housing blocks at the bottom end of Henry Street. As I walked through the blocks (noticing but disregarding the wierdos sitting around) I saw the couple head towards the A/C subway at High Street, looking a bit dissapointed. "So this is Brooklyn?" they must have thought (You could see it in their faces). It was only as I got onto the sidewalk at Henry Street and saw the little pubs and cafes, the movie theatre and the people bobbing about, going about their day that It occured to me, I should have gone over and helped them out, "look" I would have said, "I know this looks shit but if you duck round this corner and stroll a few blocks past all those awfully tedious yet deeply historic churches and stores and elderly lanes and Brownstones, well, you might find what you want". I guess they went back to Manhattan.
Apologies for the ramble. I'm back.

Just one more thing.
Do you want to know how much of a true geek I really am?
When running I often inspire myself with some oft quoted song lyric or line of classic poetry. I also have a secret weapon. It's from an interview Al Gore gave during the 2000 campaign. It's nothing really but when asked about President Clinton's contribution to his development as a human being, Gore (who was trying to distance himself from Clinton- like I need to explain this to Americans?) responded that Clinton's greatest skill was the ability to prevail. I've never been entirely sure what Gore was getting at (then, now, ever) but I liked the idea. Prevail.
I use it when running. Prevail.
I find it helps. Prevail.

4 comments:

mas said...

Welcome back. Next time you run the bridge, let me know. Going into Manhattan across the Brooklyn Br. and then back across the Manhattan Br. into Brooklyn is a great one too.

Mondale said...

give me a month or so (i've been in the gym since october, i need a month to get my knees back to the street) and we'll do it.

weasel said...

Prevail? So you've given up on Dan Rather's "Courage" then?

Mondale said...

He's hotter than a Times Square Rolex that Dan Rather.