Ninety percent of the joy-walk takes me through the western half of Central Park, past swarms of high-intensity cardio buffs training for road races or optimal health. Some walk at a maniacal pace, some jog, some sprint; with others, only they know what they’re up to.
I was once a legitimate runner. Running had been a hobby with healing powers. I still hope to run a half-marathon before I die: you read it here first. (Or a third of a marathon.)
I suppose that means I should start moving faster sometime soon.
First, I must physically and psychologically ready myself for the easing-back-into-it process. I’m presently in pre-training mode, which primarily consists of: drinking cold water; loading up on carbs; upping my daily caffeine intake to lock in that extra edge; window-shopping for new running shoes and sports bras that are as pink as possible; and supportively smiling at the high-intensity cardio buffs in the park.
Regularly coming within torch-passing distance of these park-based athletes is doing something to me. The constant close-range sight of them is more stimulating than the caffeine.
I’m particularly affected by the second-shift runners. That used to be my fly time, when I ran like I owned the park.
Every time I pass a beaming young woman flying up a hill along the 6-mile loop at 7 or 8 p.m., I’m brought back to the giddiness that came with flying up that same hill in the cold early evening air, after the sun went down and the moon lit up, and it was just open road without the swarms.
Now I call upon that lit-up moon as my witness - my second shift shall rise again.