The Red, White and Running Blues: 10 Reasons I WILL Love Philadelphia Phitness (eventually)

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Ah, July 4th on a Friday. Is there anything better? Well, yes, July 4th on a Friday with an ice cream sandwich in hand, but it’s really early in the morning, and we still have plenty of time to make dreams come true.

Anyway, as someone who’s suffered from anxiety in the past, I very much believe in the concept of believing in happiness and inner calm. Letting stress fester — to grow and grow within you until you can hardly stand it anymore — is one of the best ways to set yourself up for disaster. And so I often make it my job (and yes, sometimes it takes real effort) to, well, just put on a happy face.

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(Stars and stripes minus the stars. My brother sends me daily pictures of my new nephew, Zavier. I call it the Daily Z-mail. Then I realized I wore the same thing to work that day. Twinsies. Who wore it better? Probably Zavier.)

I probably just made it sound like this post was going somewhere dark; it’s not. Just bear with me. I promise, unlike most posts, this one has a point.

Moving to a new city where you have no family or (as of yet) friends is no doubt a difficult thing, even if said city has awesome donuts, a cool food and bar scene and so much potential for fun. But in a lot of ways, the majority of the problem isn’t that the new city is new; it’s that the old city was home. And home is a difficult habit to break, if you can call it a habit at all. New York City was mine.

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But then I got to thinking. What if I just put on a happy face and anticipate all there is to love?

After running and exploring the New York City fitness scene for five incredible years, I got to understand the streets like the back of my hands, the studios I liked (and disliked) in my hood. I even knew which runners I’d see on which mornings (like the barefoot guy with the backpack on weekdays; Madison Ave., 7:15-7:20). Umm, say ‘hi’ if you see him for me.

Now, I have this incredible opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on what I hear is a pretty great place. It’s scary and new; or, rather, it’s scary because it’s new. And yet, maybe — just maybe — if I believe that I’m obsessed with it already, perhaps that notion will come true.

So, let’s try it out: 10 reasons Philadelphia phitness is OMGSOAWESOME.

10. There are four yoga studios around the corner from my apartment. In New York City, to say that, you’d have to live on the Upper East Side (re: Canada), in Soho (umm, I’m not a millionaire) or Union Square (see the last reason for why that’s a physical impossibility). Yoga studios tend to set up shop in cool hipster locales, but in Manhattan, it’s nearly impossible to live in any of those places without paying an insane amount for rent.

In Philly, I live in the center of the city (no really, it’s called Center City) and from what I hear am surrounded by studios. I can’t wait to check them all out.

9. Lululemon and Athleta are five blocks away. I realized while unpacking that I threw out most of my used and abused yoga mats when Noah and I moved. And I didn’t have to walk more than five blocks to the nearest phitness supplier. How phucking convenient is that?

8. Philly’s phitness ladies are really nice. Some girl told me she liked my pants (thanks, pretty lady) and then saw I had a yoga mat and decided to tell me about all the cool places to practice. In New York, this would never happen. Because people don’t engage in conversations with strangers in Manhattan. It’s rude.

7. River running. Before, I had to run more than a mile just to get to the semi-quiet lower loop of Central Park. Now, I’m at the river running trail in less than five minutes and can run all five miles of my morning run along the river. Does that count as waterfront property?

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6. No more stop-and-go running! Without a doubt, this was one of the most challenging aspects of New York City running: the fact that, between cabs, pedestrians and bikers, much of the run was what I like to call stop-and-go. You’d run a block, then stop at a light. Run a block or two, then stop at a light and wait for the bus to get out of the intersection, and when it finally did, it’d probably blow black smoke in your face. Awesome.

On the contrary, the streets near my apartment (can I remind you I’m in the center of it all?) are relatively quiet, and once I start running, I can pretty much just run. No more stop-and-go streets for me!

5. The Rocky Steps. They’re not far from my apartment if I’m ever feeling all Eye of the Tiger and whatnot. Hey, ya never know.

4. Dairy Queen. So first off, I just want to say that I find it horribly ironic that Diary Queen should open up their very first New York City venue in the same month that I move away. Noah and I have been petitioning for a New York City DQ for years. Actually, we once looked up what it would cost to start a franchise; we were convinced it’d make a killing. Everyone loves a blizzard during sweaty summer months.

But whatever. Now there’s a DQ in NYC and everyone can eat all the blizzards they want. I can too. On my inaugural Philly run, I discovered that there’s a Dairy Queen 12 blocks away, which means I can stop there on a hot day and walk the rest of the way home. Oreo-cookie dough, anyone?

3. Prices. After just a week in Philadelphia, I’ll be honest: I haven’t actually checked out any studio prices yet. But they have to be more reasonable than Manhattan, right? I mean, $30 for a single workout is insane.

2. A healthy mix of athletes. I ran along the river twice this week so far, and one of my favorite parts was the healthy mix of athletes up-and-at-’em so early in the morning. Walkers, bikers, runners and of course those awesome Philadelphian rowers all come together in their individual ways to grunt and sweat it out. It’s awesome, and I found myself enchanted by the entire scene.

1. The unknown. I need to be realistic here. Even after five years in New York City, there was always a new studio to try, fitness class to take, blogger or other healthy lady to meet, green juice to sip, running path to conquer, bridge to eat for breakfast. (Okay, maybe there were only four bridges, but you get what I’m saying.) Discovery can be empowering, and even as I list off all the things I can’t wait for, I just want to leave myself open to what’s to come.

  • So, what do you look forward to when running or working out in a new city?
  • Favorite Dairy Queen Blizzard. Go!
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3 thoughts on “The Red, White and Running Blues: 10 Reasons I WILL Love Philadelphia Phitness (eventually)

  1. I love your outlook! I have moved so many times in my life, even to another country, and couldn’t really make heads or tails of how I felt about being in those places. In fact, I never thought to. I think you’re on the right path to happiness in a new place, for sure. 🙂

  2. Brownie Batter Blizzard. So so sad they took it away.

    Congrats on your move and I hope it goes great for both of you. My son (also a UM grad ) was accepted at Wharton this year as well- but ended up staying put in Manhattan. Hmmm. Now that I write this, I guess it is possible you may even know him…small world!

  3. I never went to DQ until I moved out of NYC then I went ALL of the time. My favorite Blizzard is so basic, vanilla ice cream with M&Ms. Fizz always for whatever special blizzard they were making at the time so I always got a taste 🙂

    I love reading about your new adventures In Philly!!!!!

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