My parents weren't athletes but they were runners. My father picked up the habit from a student of his during his late twenties -- come on Mr. C, the kid said, he was a body building enthusiast -- you gotta take care of yourself a little. Saved my life, my dad says sometimes, reaching for another Oreo. My mother played basketball when she was in high school, right at the dawn of female sports and Title IX; in college she was the manager of the basketball team, and some of her friends who still hung around Brooklyn by the time my brother and I hit the scene were old basketball hands, guffawing and prowling, who taught us how to shoot, take layups, and do crossovers from both sides. Her real sport, though, was running.
We would run with her, at first, around the oval in Marine Park. There's not much to the park other than the oval, a .84-mile biking path which circles a few baseball fields and a lot of green. The problem with running there is you can see exactly how far around the circle you still have to go. My m...
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