Hot off the press: There is a brand new rock climbing gym in the Upper West Side. Until now, if you wanted to try your luck at bouldering you had to commute to a decidedly cooler, younger part of the city (Long Island City or Gowanus).
Central Rock Gym opened at 60th and West End and offers a gorgeous bouldering and rope climbing facility. After reading about my experience at Brooklyn Boulders, the gym reached out and invited me to give them a try.
I brought my friend Caroline and Central Rock was kind enough to host us, provide us shoes and give us a lesson. We needed it.
Just three blocks from Columbus Circle, the gym is right next to a SoulCycle in a part of the Upper West Side that is adding new, trendy, commerce every day. After checking in upstairs and getting fitted for climbing sneakers (which are meant to be uncomfortably snug), we headed down to the gym space.
As a lapsed runner, the last bit of the habit I’ve yet to kick is the part where I search and sign up for races. I’ve given up buying running clothes and you know, going for runs but inputting my credit card info into sketchy race websites to purchase a 7am Saturday wake up call is a habit I just can’t quit.
I spent a weekend in Great Barrington, MA with my best bud Tricia. In a ritual scraping of the internet, I found a local race in support of Volunteers in Medicine, a Great Barrington based health charity, was going on during out stay. The race was hosted by a local brewery called Big Elm Beer. I conferred with Trish, she was in and so we signed up. Tricia is my original running buddy. You may remember her from recent adventures such as the Cherry Blossom 10 miler.
We got to GB late Friday night, around 11pm but I didn’t fret since the 5K didn’t begin until 10am the next day. It feels very on-brand to have a late start to a race hosted by brewery.
Remember the scene in Clueless where Tai (RIP Brittany Murphy) hits her head at a party and is out cold? Cher instructs Elton on how to care for poor Tai:
Cher: If it’s a concussion, you have to keep her conscious, okay? Ask her questions.
Elton: What’s seven times seven?
Cher: Stuff she knows!
So here I am. After not posting in months, using Clueless to warm you back up to me and taking Cher’s sage advice: telling you about stuff I know. Which recently is more about hanging out than working out. So I thought I’d share some “stuff I know” about spending an active summer weekend in Great Barrington, MA.
Where is it: Great Barrington is a town in Western Massachusetts about 2 hours and 15 minutes from NYC and 2 hours and 30 minutes from Boston
Why go: To become a relaxed country-version of your urban self without sacrificing the finer things in life
How do you get there: I recommend renting a car since you’ll want wheels once you arrive. Other options include bus (Peter Pan right which drops you off in GB center) or train (the closest Metro North stop is about 40 minutes away).
Where to stay: Find a cute B&B in Great Barrington or a town nearby (West Stockbridge, Lenox, Lee)
When to go: All year-round, though this post describes a summer weekend
Drive up after work. If you’re getting a late start and want to stop for dinner on the road, head to the Red Rooster, a burger and ice cream drive in in Brewster for a quick meal or if you’d like more formal dining, there are some great options along the way on Route 22.
On a Saturday afternoon in mid-March, I finished a terrible 3-mile run. It was one of many terrible recent runs.
I don’t have a sports agent. Speaking frankly, only one person would care if I quit running. I am married to him. So I called him. He answered from a chair lift in Beaver Creek. I got right to the point.
Me: Matt, I want you to be the first to know. I’m taking a break from running.
Matt: Does this mean you’re not running the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler?
Me: Correct. No more questions.
Matt: And you’re not running the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in June?
Me: Exactly right. This interview is over. It’s my turn to order at Muffins Cafe. Love you.
I hung up the phone and I didn’t run for a month. I still found myself in DC the weekend of the Cherry Blossom race since Matt was running and I love our yearly trip. I used to live in DC and coming back for a weekend is always a delight.
One of my closest friends, Tricia, lives in DC and is the chief of staff in a congressional office. Tricia had convinced her entire team to sign up for the race with her. Then she didn’t train for it. A natural born leader, she planned to run the race anyway. The day before the race, we had the following exchange:
“Feel free to lose your shit!” bellows the instructor over a throaty Decemberist song.
My classmates scream, grunt and shake in response.
“The Class” by Taryn Toomey is a sweaty body weight workout in Tribeca right next to the Four Seasons. The vibe is upscale hipster and the studio looks like someone at Goop designed it. The beautiful people in the class move as if they’ve caught the Holy Spirit in a mega church.