Last spring, when my health started to be not so good, when I had visions of a future dominated by words like "heart attack", "stroke" and "diabetes", I decided it was time to finally get my act together and get fit.
And I was so overweight and so out of shape that the only exercise I could manage was walking.
That's when I started going to Jones Beach and Sunken Meadow, that's when I started taking long walks on the boardwalk.
But there are days when I can't get to the beach, there are days when I have other commitments after work. I'd have to do my walking at lunchtime.
When I worked in lower Manhattan, walking was never an issue. It's the principle mode of transportation. You get a significant amount of walking done just by getting yourself from one place to the next.
When I worked in Jersey City, my office was right next to the Hudson river. Jersey City has a river walk, beautifully landscaped, with park benches. I've walked as far south as the Colgate Clock and as far north as the Holland Tunnel, all the while enjoying a fabulous view of the NYC skyline.
But these days I work in a busy suburban office park. I work in a building that sits in the middle of a parking lot, on a very busy street that connects to other very busy streets. It's not particularly friendly to pedestrians. I mean, I can get a walk in, but it's not particularly pleasant. If I walk out of my building and take a walk "around the block", at the end of my walk I will have travelled about 1.3 miles. Not bad for a lunch break, but, as I said before, not particularly pleasant either.
So I checked out a couple of local parks, both within a five minute drive of my office, but neither suited my needs. They're both very small parks, designed to cater to the baseball and soccer crowd, with no real walking/jogging trail.
And then I discovered a "fitness trail" in my office complex. A dirt path, it started at the sidewalk in front of one of the office buildings, snaked down through a wooded area that separated the building's parking lot from the neighboring lot, ran around the back of the building, then through another wooded area back up to the sidewalk, forming a "U" around that building. There were fitness stations along the trail, a bench where you could do sit-ups, a bar for pull-ups, etc. The sign said the trail was maintained by "XYZ" gym.
Problem was, "XYZ" gym had gone out of business, and no one was maintaining the fitness trial. The equipment was in disrepair. And I almost killed myself tripping over an overgrown tree root.
So no, the trail wasn't going to be very useful to me.
And then, a few months ago, the building came under new management. And I saw lots of construction equipment near the fitness trail.
Today I decided to check it out.
The entire trail has been paved, making for a smooth walk or jog. The fitness stations have been replaced with park benches. The wooded areas have been beautifully landscaped.
I did three laps around that trail. Took just under 40 minutes. It felt so good to be walking outside.
Such a small thing that can bring me so much happiness.
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