Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Walking on the mild side

The Palisades

I've spent a bit of time recently with new pal Louise, a writer and traveller whom I met through writer/playwright Julia. Amazingly, we have a mutual friend in Ubud, Bali, the writer Cat Wheeler. It's a very small world indeed. Lou has now moved on to the UK, so I wonder where we'll meet up again... Julia is also in the UK, packing up her life there in preparation for returning to NYC at the end of the month.

My training is going very well. I was put to the test this past weekend with my first races since the half marathon I ran in Thailand way back in February. In the Fitness Mind, Body and Spirit 4-mile race in Central Park I dug deep to maintain an average pace of 8:02-minute miles. This was an improvement on last year of a minute overall and two places. (I placed 4th out of 58 in my age group.) On Sunday I went to Yonkers (further up the Hudson River) and ran the 86th Yonkers Half Marathon with NY pals Joanne and Heather. Joanne has just moved out of the city to Pelham, so it was a good opportunity to see her. We three started together. After about mile 6 I took it up a notch and managed to come in at 1:59:45, which gave me a 1st place in my age group (out of 6). In places there were great views across to The Palisades, which line the western shore of the Hudson River for some distance north of the George Washington Bridge.

As there is no rest for the wicked, I joined Maria and Sung for a 4-miler yesterday morning and a 6-miler today (also with Tuesday regulars Sarah, Lissy, John and Sun). (Sung answered an ad I placed on the New York Road Runners website and has joined the 5.30 am group.) I'll resume my weekly massages with Marie when she returns from cycling in Sardinia.

There are two more events coming up this weekend: a 1-mile sprint down 5th Avenue on Saturday and an 18-mile marathon tune-up on Sunday. They will give me five of my required nine races for guaranteed entry to next year's New York Marathon.

My movie marathon is also continuing: "Love Crime" (French, with Kristin Scott Thomas), "Chasing Madoff" (about Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme and the attempts by four whistleblowers to get the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate him), "The Future" (written and directed by, and featuring, the artist Miranda July), "Hedgehog" (a really enjoyable French film, which I saw with Chloe), and "We Were Here" (documentary about the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco).

I've also seen some 9/11-related exhibitions at the International Center of Photography, the New York Historical Society, and the Time Warner Center lobby (portraits taken in the weeks and months after 9/11 using the huge Polaroid camera that was used in Albury by Anne Zahalka and Petrina Hicks to photograph the Fruit Fly Circus kids in 2006).

I've met up with my friend CY, who is looking gorgeous and doing very well after a really difficult 18 months.

I'm now one month into my 10-week stay. It feels longer than that, as I've met so many people; but I know the remaining time will pass far too quickly.

Right on schedule, the weather changed a week after Labor Day. It's officially autumn this week and it's turned cool. A beautiful time of year to be in New York!

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