A day of sports and exercise. It's the first morning of the trip that I'd set my alarm - wanting to make the 8am class at CrossFit NYC.
I trotted off down to West 26th, stopping in a deli on the way to grab a pint of milk as an on-the-go breakfast. It was organic and unhomogenised - the first sip was a rich and unexpected shot of cream.
Even if I hadn't already been to the Black Box on Saturday, I would have recognised a CrossFit gym: two guys ran past on the footpath, then - seconds later - came charging back, shirtless and sweating.
It being a scheduled Rest Day, there was no organised WOD for this class. Rather, an ad hoc "catch up or make up" session. Torch, whose hair really is as red as it looks in the photos on the website, was putting a marine through a set of Tabata squats. The runners were engaged in a run/burpee/pull-up triplet. One guy was running through Christine at the back of the room.
"And what would you like to do?" asked Jacinto, who really is the most physically impressive seventy year old you could ever hope to meet. "How about you do Cindy?"
So I started on the 20 minutes of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats - but with coaching from Jacinto, all good tips and gentle advice on my squat form, I managed only 8 rounds. Hopefully my air squat is improved, at least.
"Now we work on your kip." Another skill I still haven't got the hang of as much as I'd like: it's evidently common for self-taught CrossFitters to have poor form. Push out from the bar at the top! Lead with the chest!
We worked on the kipping pull-up for a while, till my hands and shoulders were sore.
And even the it was only 25 to 9, so Jacinto suggested a second WOD - wanting to be sure I got my visit's worth, I suppose.
By now only USMC guy and I were left, so I had Jacinto's undivided attention as we went through the skills for Christine: rowing, deadlift, box jumps. He put 115 lb on the bar as a working weight, but I pulled that like it was nothing (good form helps, I guess) so we set up with 135 lb - bodyweight, as prescribed.
I finished in 23'13".
Back at the hotel, Meg was waiting for our run in Central Park: 1.8 miles around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. My legs were lead bricks from the box jumps, and my calves were cramping, but we were all the way around before I knew it. Running on fine gravel (too coarse, I think, to call it sand) is quite different to running on asphalt.
We bought a punnet of tiny figs and another of raspberries from a fruit stand on 86th (the ubiquity of street stands in NYC is incredible) and headed back downtown to shower. My "I Punch Like a Girl" CrossFit t-shirt was getting as many quizzical looks as my monkey shoes.
To South Street Seaport next, once were were clean again, to see the Bodies Exhibition. Amazing to see just what we are made of: the bones and muscles and tendons all laid bare. I'm an anatomy geek at the best of times, and one of the bonuses of strength training has been seeing the muscles in my own body. Seeing the exposed muscle fibres of these plastinated cadavers, seeing how and where they connect and intersect - trapezius, latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, the large muscles of the back, or the complexity of the deltoids all about the shoulder joint - was fascinating. The spiderwebs, the tiny branches of arteries and veins, a red cloud suspended in a tank of clear water, was as much a work of art as it was an artifact of science.
Finally, in the evening, completing our day of the human body, we headed to Madison Square Garden for the WNBA basketball: New York Liberty vs Indiana Fever. Compared to the WNBL the game was turned up to eleven - or even fifteen. Not the gameplay itself - I could see Nat Porter carving holes in some of the defence - but the crowd and the expectation. Roving camera crews exhorting the crowd to get up and dance, to show them on the big screen. Cheerleaders (the Liberty Torch Patrol) and the table-dancing mascot, Maddie. T-shirts being fired into the crowd by slingshot. And each player with their own song or cheer when they scored ("Whoa Nelly!")
It was a closer game than I'd expected between the top and bottom teams of the Eastern Conference: New York finally closed the 5 point gap at 59 points apiece in the fourth, only to throw it away trying to gain possession with intentional fouls. Final score: Indiana 69 - New York 63.