Off to the races

To begin with, I have to note with some sadness that Saul Bellow has died. It’s perhaps not necessary for me to mention that he was a great writer, since he actually won the Nobel prize in literature (rather than just being nominated by some insane senator from FL). It was in 1989 that I went on a Bellow jag, reading four or five of his novels in a row. My friend Steve recommended them to me, and I met my friend Dan while reading More Die of Heartbreak, smoking a cigarette, waiting for a bus in Aspen Colorado. After that jag, I lost touch with him, but what always impressed me with his writing was his keen insight into human nature (and the dark sense of humour helps). But he was also a guy writer; I don’t think his women characters quite come off. Like Robertson Davies, perhaps.

Running season is officially underway now. I have to be honest, I’m a little out of shape at the moment. OK, a lot out of shape. Right now my midsection is more like what you would see on Stretch Armstrong than on G.I. Joe. But that will change. On Tuesday nights, it’s the New York Road Runners running class with Bob Glover. If you don’t know Bob, he wrote the book on training for the NY Marathon–actually, he wrote two of them. Every Tuesday night, 50 or so of us go out (usually) to Central Park to do speed training: hill repeats, short repeats, long repeats, repeats, repeats, repeats. The lather and rinse comes afterward.

But tonight, he threw a change-up our way; every once in a while, we go running along the East River, from 81st Street to the Triboro Bridge, then back again. It’s a brutal workout, 2.4 miles each way, run at the infamous “5K race pace.” In fact, they’re all brutal workouts. That’s exactly the point. And as bad as the run back always feels, tonight the Manhattan east-side skyline, my home, my 59th St. Bridge, they were all especially beautiful. 65F, no humiditiy, serene bliss. If you don’t know that glorious post-run feeling, then I feel sorry for you.

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