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Back In A New York Groove: The Zen of SpeedWalking

Even when pregnant during a hot, humid New York City summer, I would walk from Battery Park to the Flatiron, we’re talking approximately a 45-minute walk. Every morning I would see the same “walkers” (not from The Walking Dead, but perhaps close) and we all unofficially competed with each other. God forbid we would talk to each other and admit we were doing something as lame as competing with each other around walking. But guess what, tons of New Yorkers do it. Even when we move out to the suburbs we continue to compete with each other as we leave our commuter station and walk on home. I like to tell myself I’m being efficient: I’m working out and I am going to see my baby even that much faster. The working out bit is really true, you know? Especially considering that I carry a ream of paper, laptop and three coke zeros in my handbag every day. Which one of those disturbs you most: the three coke zeros or the ream of paper? Maybe you should ask what am I using a ream of paper used for. Hmm. Just saying.

Anyhow, I know I’m late on this topic, but how about those Olympics? London pulled it off, despite Romney’s criticism. But what did you think about the major part: competitive walking? Wow. That is some funny looking walking going on. I just had to laugh when I saw that competition. Seriously. Number one, how is that remotely interesting to watch on TV? In all fairness, it was probably some kind of CNBC coverage trying to probably appeal to a Wall Street target audience. Number two: that’s not a real competition. I’m not referring to the speed walking not being a sport (pass your own judgment on that one) but to the fact that there are no cars, slow clueless tourists and hoards of other walkers strolling or rushing about. Namely, speedwalking needs to include an obstacles course.

Every morning, I speed through a minefield for which I am always on high alert. As I speedwalk listening to my ipod (current playlist includes Bieber, Minaj, The Cure, John Legend, Miranda Lambert, & Juanes: Guess, which one isn’t really on the playlist) I scope out the block ahead to make sure there are no looming problems (angry New Yorker, dog poop, etc) and also so that I can assess if I need to run to make the light. It’s actually a funny site to catch: tons of New Yorkers just start running as they near the curb. Sometimes tourists get a little freaked out by that mass movement.

Speaking of tourists and obstacle courses. Nothing is more infuriating that when tourists stop short at the curb or individuals leave a building and don’t yield into the oncoming pedestrian traffic. I don’t drive, but some of the rules of the road should apply to the sidewalk: Don’t block traffic by chit-chatting in the middle of the block; don’t stop short, and merge quickly into the traffic in motion. Now, if these obstacles were included in the Olympic speed walking games, we might have a more interesting “sport” to watch.

After a prolonged relaxing stay in Curacao, where I hung out at the pool, did the beach and strolled Willemstad, I was happy to be back in New York speeding along. There really is nothing like an intense early morning walk through the city just jamming to some good loud music watching the blur of people pass you right by. The True Zen of Speed Walking, indeed.



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