My Own Marathon: Going, Going . . .

Sunday, May 4, 2008

11:54 a.m. I'm all geared up to go, go, go on my 24-hour NYC mini marathon. Pumped up, I race down the steps to the sweaty boiler room called the subway en route to my Central Park bike tour. I take my last gasp of fresh-ish air. Inhale, and hold.

12:13 p.m. A two-man mariachi band blows through the subway doors. As the festive music fills the car, I tell myself: If they throw down the hat, I will dance. Instead, they pass it around for donations. Before I can even shout "ยก Ay caramba!," they're out the door and on to their next gig.

1:05 p.m. Woody Allen, are you filming this? Me, madly racing through the crowds of Midtown, dodging pedestrians, cat-size dogs and steaming pretzel stands. I'm late for an important date with . . . no, not my therapist or my best friend's second ex-husband, but my tour guides.

1:10 p.m. Our group -- which includes a bachelorette and her gal pals from Atlanta, a flock of older Canadian women and two young Korean guys -- meets at a bike shop, where we saddle up for our spin through Central Park. For the next two hours or so, we will pedal through the park, glimpsing movie sites, celebrities' apartment windows and landscape design. But first, we must tangle with traffic. (We wisely walk our bikes.)

1:24: At the Columbus Circle entrance of Central Park, guides Richard (he's the one with the Fabio-tastic blond locks) and John (dapper in a khaki sports coat and cool shades) point to the Hearst building and explain how William Randolph Hearst once ran the New York Times and partly ignited the Spanish-American War. Uh, didn't Hearst run the New York Journal? I decide to muzzle my inner schoolmarm, since exercise is the point.

2:19 p.m. I am cycling along lightly trafficked roads more horizontal than vertical when Richard stops to show us the backside of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Cleopatra's Needle, the only Egyptian obelisk in North America. I also learn another interesting fact: Richard is an actor (no, really?!?!), as is John, who also works in theater and tap-dances. So that explains his Gene Kelly tic.

2:55 p.m."Richard," I ask -- pedal, pedal -- "have I seen you in anything?"

"Well" -- pedal, pedal -- "I'm going to be in an episode of 'Law and Order: SUV' with Robin Williams. I play a hippie protester."

"Was that a stretch, Richard?"

We coast to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.

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