Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Pumpkin Shorts Dilemma

I own a cloth canary with six pockets. It is the color of overcooked pumpkin pie. Why, you ask, are these  shorts likened to a caged bird in cave? They are an early warning signal for explosive adipose activity. Or rather inactivity. Months of sitting and working have led to weird leg cramps, puffy ankles, and er, gains in the areas of my body that fit into the pumpkin shorts. The shorts are tight. My ass is a pumpkin.

This has lead to a revolutionary new approach to fitness in Carlcheff Studios. For the first time this CENTURY Jim and I decide to go jogging. But Jim has no sneakers.

"I thought we got you sneakers ten years ago," I say, rummaging in the dusty underside of the bed. "They were blue."

"I don't remember owning any sneakers, I had volley ball shoes, but they wore out." A moment of silence for the departed shoes and volley ball season.

"But I do remember one of the girls throwing out sneakers a couple of years ago that none of us could figure out who they belonged to, those must have been yours," I crawl out from the closet.

So we set out on a journey to find a Foot Locker. An iPhone shopping app suggested one was right on 117th Street and Morningside Drive. I never walk on that avenue. It climbs a cliff that overlooks a small park and as we walked up the hill from 110th street we saw worrisome amounts of shattered windshield glass in the grass. "Not a good place to park a car," Jim notes. Since this borders the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, I have to conclude that the church has no armed deacons patrolling the grounds at night. Soon the church gives way to lovely apartments with trailing roses and views of Harlem. No doubt filled with professors. At the top of the hill, no Footlocker, only a statue of some dude. We are too lazy to walk over and find out who was cast in effigy. Where is this Foot Locker? Apparently it is somewhere INSIDE the portals of Columbia University and we cannot get in without ID. Although we could probably fake being parents looking for a graduating offspring because young men and women in long pale blue gowns and flat square caps are milling about today with parents who often look as if they should join us on a jog.

We decide to walk up Amsterdam Avenue, and look for a shoe store. WOW has Amsterdam changed! It is lined with yummy looking bookstores and restaurants: tapas, sushi, pastry, bars, bistros, and more...but no shoes. Then at 125th, a shoe store and Jim walks home in bouncy black New Balance sneakers.

I researched my knees before we take to the promenade. For years I've winced through sharp pains and heard loud crunching noises when I climb stairs...I think the three years we lived in a 5 floor walk-up I suffered from meniscus tears in the cartilage that didn't heal until we moved to an elevator building. My knees are still aware of the stairs and do complain in rainy weather, but I may be able to run again. Web experts told me to take it easy, build slowly and run forwards and backwards to build muscles evenly. Strong muscles make for happier joints. Evenly developed muscles hold the knees in place better.

We jogged in Riverside park. I will admit I walked more than jogged. Gasping was my signal to walk for a bit. But I can proudly say I engaged in exercise that kept my heart beating fast for half an hour. The dog outran both of us, she weighs 1/10th as much and has twice as many feet. Jim is in better shape than me, cardio-wise. I suspect he has the body type that puts on muscle easily. I clearly have the pumpkin shorts type that turns thin mint girl scout cookies to width easily. Maybe in a few months I will have lowered my cholesterol and weight and put aside enough $ to join a gym with a POOL because honestly, I'd rather swim than run.

Day one: feel the running in shins and rear. Resolve to wear hat next run. Run past doormen who make cutsie noises at the dog "Sooooooophiiiiiiii, heh heh,"  and are no doubt amused by my red faced efforts. Listen to Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run. Good mood after run.
Day two: now feeling muscles ache in inner thighs, shins just fine. Run past cheerful volunteers cleaning up garbage from the AIDS walk. Enjoy chewing gum as I listen to Sara Bareilles' Little Voice. Good mood after run. Shorts still too tight.

1 comment:

Caitlin Allen said...

Wonderful news. The exercise is going to help in so many ways and I'm glad you've set a goal! Now for my EX111 advice: Best thing to do next is vary your workouts. Don't run every day so you can give your muscles time to heal. On off days walk the stairs, get in some crunches and stretch. Its been proven that people who fidget and move throughout the day are leaner than those who don't. So stand up and get cups of water, pace around and keep moving so that even when you're working you can keep your blood flowing. Hooray for exercise!