Monday, March 07, 2011

The Paris marathon

In a comment to Amber's post asking what kind of exercise her readers can stand, I mentioned "Running, outside, with a podcast." This is not entirely accurate. I left off "towards a pastry shop." This, I find, makes all the difference in the world. Whether the end result was Fox and Obel in Chicago, or over the bridge and to the old Bouley Bakery and Market in NY, that's always been a stellar motivating factor in my book. Not optimal if the running is for weight-loss purposes, but if it's for general health, toned-ness, and not getting out of breath when climbing a flight of stairs, a run that ends with "une part de flan, s'il vous plaît" is the best kind of run there is.

Although I'm not sure I can call today's outing, my first-ever - ever! - attempt at jogging in Paris, a "run." I'd hit a wall with the chapter - which is now two chapters, thanks to my advisor pointing out that 60-plus pages is a bit long for one, and the fact that by the time I got this email, said "chapter" had exceeded 80, and figured it was almost second-coffee-and-second-pastry-of-the-day hour. I realized that I could procrastinate slightly longer if I preceded the trip to the bakery with a loop around the inside perimeter of the Jardin du Luxembourg, a loop of about a mile, so slightly shorter than the Central Park Reservoir. It's at any rate a similar kind of running/jogging/whatever experience, insofar as you will be be on a dusty path, surrounded by chain-smoking European tourists. The difference is that the only other joggers will be men, all in nothing-left-to-the-imagination running leggings. While I do miss the Hudson path, it's refreshing not to cross paths with the very high school track team I was on, long ago, with the flashbacks that entails.

Probably half a mile in, I had that moment of, OMGIamsooutofshapewhyamIevenattemptingthiswhenIcouldbeinacafesomewherewithasteakfritesthatisn'teventhatexpensive. But I pressed on, completed the one-mile loop, and wound up at my favorite local bakery. The flan-and-coffee combo, combined with the mental clarity that comes from running, ended up helping kind of a lot with the chapter completion/revision. I may have to do this again.

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