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  • Deirdre Heavey

yours truly, deirdre

The Putnam Greenway Trail in Van Cortlandt Park commences just over the footbridge, tucked away by the trees from the competitive runners circling the Parade Ground. The Westchester County Line, where the VCP trail ends, is just over 2 miles from my apartment in OV. The route is almost exactly 4 miles on a loop and can take me anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes to run, depending on the vibe of the day.

My relationship with working out is a complicated one. My two big brothers play rugby and would pass on the street as bodybuilders. Over Christmas break, my oldest brother purchased these intense dumbbells shaped like gorillas to add to his daily workout-from-home routine. My mom, who is 5’2’’ & 100 pounds, can swing the largest gorilla like it’s nobody’s business. She’s been waking up at 5:30 AM to workout in the park with other middle-aged workout fanatics for as long as I can remember. My dad hikes anywhere from 3 to 5 miles everyday and doesn’t miss an opportunity to remind me of his glory days of amateur Gaelic football. Needless to say, I was involved in team sports before I could walk. Soccer was my jam.

Alas, I grew enraged with my family’s toxic workout obsession and rejected any ounce of conformity they tried to usher upon me. When I came to Manhattan College, I–quite dramatically–hung up the cleats and opted for a piece of paper and a pen. And while I was finally living on my own time and basking in my creative potential, I was anxious all the damn time.

Over quarantine, I started to ease back into working out. I started with vinyasa yoga and low-stake stretches which served as meditative exercises. Slowly, I worked my way to HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts and eventually long runs. I try to set out at least an hour each day to do a movement that serves me on that given day. For a long time, downward dog was the extent of that movement. More recently, I find myself high off the adrenaline and endorphins of my cold sweat 4 mile run. Maybe one day I’ll find my way back onto a soccer field. Maybe I won’t. For now, the Putnam Greenway Trail, with its shiny new pavement and storybook views, is my current medium.

yours truly,



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