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Category: Running

There are some good old buildings still tucked in among the…

There are some good old buildings still tucked in among the…

There are some good old buildings still tucked in among the monstrosities of the New New Williamsburg. As long as we’ve lived here I’ve kept myself from taking pictures of them, afraid of seeing myself as a kind of hipster nostalgist. But I realized over the weekend that the only result of my avoidance is that I have no pictures of the neighborhood as it was when we moved in, and things have changed so dramatically since then that without those photos it’s almost impossible to believe that Williamsburg ever was as I remember it. It’s not so much that I feel nostalgia for those days–though I do miss, say, the Dutch Mustard building–as that I feel something like instability, a sense that I can’t quite believe things once were as i remember them. And I’m a newcomer. I’ve only been here to see the last 14 years of change. I cannot imagine what it must be like for people who grew up here. I have had a feeling that the distinguishing characteristic of native New Yorkers is not their toughness but their ability to shrug off massive change to their built environment, to resist the kinds of attachment that drive the rest of us to establish historic preservation societies. Doorways like this one remind me there’s still a lot to cherish here, for now. (And that this building was once also considered a monstrosity, and that some Victorian-era hipster nostalgist wrung his hands over the pace of change in his old stomping grounds….) #explore #williamsburg #whyirun #spring (at Williamsburg NYC)

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The first evening of spring weather, air cool, dry, and clear,…

The first evening of spring weather, air cool, dry, and clear,…

The first evening of spring weather, air cool, dry, and clear, lights crisp and sun setting a deep warm band behind the building across the water. You want to run in this weather because you want to dissolve into it, open your lungs and take deep draws of the air. It’s air like water at body temperature, so you almost fail to notice that you’ve slipped into it. It’s the kind of air you want to float naked in. Running on a night like this you feel yourself merge with the sky in a way you cannot do by walking, or by running under clouds. It can make everything feel perfect, all the little glimmers of beauty in the day stand out and set while everything else—the anxieties that chase you through your days, the fears and failures–recedes.

Right before I left to run tonight I was reading an essay in the Virginia Quarterly Review about the migrant crisis, the words of a photographer who’d gone to shoot the rescue of a boat full of refugees that was sinking in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. “I imagined search-and-rescue missions as crashing through waves to reach a vessel in distress in traumatic weather. But it isn’t like that on the Med. It’s clear-bue water, a beautiful blue sky. This gorgeous blue boat is filled with people….And suddenly you’re confronted with it: On what should be a beautiful day, there they are, risking their lives on a boat that’s sinking.” @vqreview #whyirun #running #drowning (at Williamsburg Bridge)

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Recovery

Recovery

For some reason–fear of being maudlin and kitschy, I guess–I’d never retraced my steps from from the morning of Sept. 11th before today. But as I was on my way over the bridge from Williamsburg this morning, I thought: why not? I dropped down below the bridge to our old apartment on Grand and East Broadway, then ran over the streets the @jet_racy & I took to work every morning: down Rivington across Chrystie, where we first noticed that there were more sirens in the air than normal. Down Prince to Mercer, where we saw the hole in the side of the first tower, and to West Broadway, where we parted ways and I rode in the direction of the WTC to get a closer look. So much has changed in the city since then that I had trouble matching where I stood to places I’ve stared at in pictures for 14 years, but the post office at Canal and Church, where I saw this happen, is pretty much the same. This morning, when I turned the corner and saw the postal trucks and remembered standing there with postal workers trying to understand what was going on, I collapsed in sobs, to my great surprise. And then I restarted my watch and ran on. #whyirun #keeponrunning #september11

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Running BCN

Running BCN

Day 5 began with the greatest run of my life: 13 miles (and 2500’ of climbing) from Eixample up along Carretera de les Aigües, an urban running trail like none other: graded dirt, jasmine spilling over old stone walls, fields of blooming wild fennel, prickly pear in full fruit, views of mountains and the city and the sea, water fountains anywhere you could need them, and actual technical trails off the sides for when you feel like careening around like Killian Jornet. I’ve never felt so lucky. #whyirun #porquecorro #runwithstrava #runforlife (at Carretera de les Aigües)

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Running for Wellness in the Schools, 2015 Edition

Running for Wellness in the Schools, 2015 Edition

The first time I laced up to train for a marathon was 2012, when I joined @wellnessintheschools’s marathon team on a lark. The longest I’d ever run before was 7 miles, and that was only because I’d gotten lost in Golden Gate Park. But I loved WITS’s commitment to public schools, & I thought it would be great to be able to say I’d run the marathon, so when WITS put out a call for teammates, I joined on. Responding to that email changed my life. I didn’t run the marathon for WITS that year after all–hurricane Sandy put an end to that. But I signed up again the next year, and the next, and I’m doing it again this year. I’ve become one of those dreadful people who evangelizes for running, who thinks almost no bad situation can’t be improved by hitting the pavement or chasing up a trail. I’ve learned a lot about myself & what matters to me. And I’ve learned a lot about perseverance in the face of a challenge–not just from running, but also from working year-round with WITS, watching them patiently grind along to change attitudes and improve health and sustainability for all NYC kids. I’ve got 3 great teammates from Egg running with me this year, and together we’re going to try to raise $15,000 in 15 weeks and run the marathon in a cumulative time of under 15 hours. You can find out more about how to support us and WITS at http://ift.tt/1MLObaT. Please join us! #whyirun @nyrr #tcsnycmarathon #runforlife (at Williamsburg Bridge)

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Save Sweet Briar

Save Sweet Briar

Thinking about Sweet Briar College on my Brooklyn run this morning. Amherst, Virginia, where I spent the better part of my childhood, was just down the road from Sweet Briar. The college was where I learned to play soccer, where I took piano lessons, where I saw Jesus Christ Superstar & the Preservation Hall Jazz Band & my first chamber music concert.

Sweet Briar was the reason our tiny Episcopal church had beautiful music. I learned about the value of a local dairy from Sweet Briar, because the college dairy provided our yogurt and milk. I learned my first lesson about oligarchy from Sweet Briar, because George Steinbrenner’s daughter was a student there in those days. I learned how to jimmy a vending machine in the Sweet Briar laundry room. The memories I have of that place are too numerous to count, I’m sure, and I’m willing to bet I’m the saddest man in Brooklyn over the news of their closing.