Working It Out

I’m sitting in the park across the street from me writing this. My friend Alyx told me recently that it’s illegal to sit in a playground without a child – but as we’ve seen in previous entires, let the playground police try to find me again. I won’t go quietly.


Spring has sprung in NY. People are shedding their black suits for um, slightly lighter black suits. The street vendors don’t seem as resentful to be outside. Farmer’s markets are heading back to the Upper West Side. I actually went to one yesterday – but slightly misleading. It was about 65% crafts like $200 dollar paintings and $30 vintage sunglasses, 25% actual vegetables (Kale and asparagus exclusively) and 15% artisan breads and cheeses. Ah, just like on real farms! I bought a mini boreka for $1.50 from a Jewish guy’s booth. It was all right.


Another sign of spring is all the runners in the area. They were all there in the winter too but now  there’s the addition of the people who are like “Shit, summer’s coming and I’ve been hibernating with Netflix and take-out Thai food for 5 months.” I am not a runner. I used to go on the treadmill a bunch when I lived at home but stopped when my dad decided that it was funny to come downstairs and try to scare me so I would fall off. i don’t like running outside since I am easily distracted and will run for about 1 minutes and then stop to watch a dog-walker get tangled up in her puppies. Or I’ll run until I’m conveniently next to a Dunkin Donuts and decide to take a quick break…to replenish my energy with a latte and muffin. 


There’s a studio down the block here that offers a class free so last week I signed up for something called “Heights Intensity.” “How hard could that be?” I mused. “I’m sure I could just jump right in. Muscle memory and all that.” So young. So naive. 


The studio is about the size of my living room and the guy who runs it was very friendly, asking me how long I had lived in the heights. I told him I had just moved in but haven’t seen much of the area yet (except the park, Starbucks and local wine store). He told me he had just read something about how the heights was the happiest neighborhood in New York City. i don’t know how you would quantify that – maybe it was like Denmark? The happiest country but also had the highest suicide rate? I had seen a lot of people walking corgis and I assume anyone who owns a corgi must be blissfully happy so I could see that. Also a lot of people are on drugs up here a lot so that makes sense too. 


The classes are small – six people tops. This class was on a rainy Wednesday night so it was just me and a very fit woman named Carly. It was a circuit training – thirty sections at each station with activities like “spider push-ups” “lunge-balance” and “Y-stretch.” I could handle this. 50 minutes of high intensity cardio, easy peasy lemon squeezey. 


I started at the push-up station. My arms refused to push. I tried to pull my legs up to my hands like Priest had shown us. Nope. I could make it to my stomach. I tried a lunge. I fell over. 


In the middle of the work-out, Priest carried a 5.5 lb weight over to the squat station where I was struggling to lift a 10 lb sandbag over my head. He nonchalantly left it there. It wasn’t for Carly. She was effortlessly holding her plank like she was made up of…well, a wooden plank. During the break, I was huffing and puffing away. Priest asked us how we were doing.


“Great!” Carly chirped. 


“Yah, I’d be great too if Carly wasn’t making me look so bad!” I offered up. She cocked her head like she wasn’t sure if I was joking or not.


“Seriously Carly, calm down. We’re not trying to win any rings for America here.” She laughed nervously. 


Every time we had a 30 second break, I would drop dramatically to the ground like Hannah when Adam try to teach her how to jog. But I survived. I was so sore the next day I could barely lift my donut to my mouth. 


Tonight I decided to try out a different course of action – Ballet. At a studio called Journey Spaces down my block. i have the flexibility of a metal pole. I’ve even had trainers remark about how “weird it was that I was so inflexible for a girl.” Apparently girls are supposed to be all lithe rubber Barbies. Not me. The only splits I know how to tackle come in a bowl with ice cream. 


No matter, I will be fit and healthy again! If not ballet then maybe I’ll try committing a crime or two – nothing gets your heart rate up like running from the cops. 


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