Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer Streets and Hybrid Fruits

This weekend was Summer Streets, where the city closes Park Avenue from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge for pedestrian recreation. The whole city comes out to run, bike, walk, roller blade, skateboard -- you name it. There are games, water fountains, food and free bike rentals all up and down the avenue.

In short, it was perfect for my first 10-mile run in four years. I gathered with my NYC Marathon training team at 8 am to get ready.

It was there, in Foley Square, that I realized I've become a yet uncategorized hybrid fruit.

You know the shapes women's fashion magazines say we are? Either an apple (dense in the middle, skinny legs) or a pear (flat belly, big hips and thighs)? I've always tended toward the pear, but pregnancy left me with a ghastly soft belly that won't flatten out no matter how many times I skip dessert.*

I took out my Fuel Belt, a nifty little piece of gear you wear around your waist or hips to hold water and nutrition for long runs. Here is my actual Fuel Belt, with only one of the bottles strapped in:

I sadly have only three of four bottles and two of four caps to those bottles. 

It's a size small, because I bought it six years ago when I was over twenty pounds lighter. My stomach sank as I discovered that the only place the Fuel Belt fit -- and just barely -- was around my lower rib cage.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, the narrowest circumference of my body is now my rib cage. Which fruit does that? Some pear-apple combo that I've never met until now, that is for certain.

I drew a picture so you can see what I mean:
So, that's cool. The silver lining is that back when I was just a young, tiny pear, the Fuel Belt would sometimes slip uncomfortably between my waist and hips. But now! Now, it stays right where I put it, wedged in between my boobs and my waist. Victory!

Anyway, once I got going, it didn't matter (that much). Summer Streets is basically a sweaty love poem to New York. I started running near City Hall, the beauteous bastion of bureaucracy responsible for closing down Park. I snaked up through Chinatown with its fishy smelling streets that have all but swallowed what used to be Little Italy. Up through the blocks of SoHo and the East Village, once home to tenement housing and now to fancy boutiques and fashionistas. On to Union Square, past the Green Market to stately Gramercy, the "uptown" of the 1800s.

Through the 20s and 30s, heading straight for the former MetLife building. Up over the bridge that circumvents Grand Central Terminal, exiting in the shadows of the tall, stifling buildings of Investment-Bankistan. Through Hedge-Fundlandia in the East 50s. Finally into the Upper East Side, where skinny, overly Botoxed women walking their Pomeranians looked askance at my sweaty hybrid fruitiness.

And finally to the turn-around point: Central Park. All that in only five miles. It reminded me why I love New York.

I turned around and ran back to City Hall. Ten miles! Who cares what kind of fruit I am? Botox can kiss my ass.

TEN. MILES. It felt good. I'm back, baby.

*I hardly ever skip dessert.