I love Boston because it’s the city I started running in.
Sure, there were those middle school cross country days, but Boston is where the “real” running began. And I have one of the oldest marathons to thank for it. As a freshman at Boston College, I got to watch my first Boston Marathon at the top of Heartbreak Hill – Mile 21 with tons of other screaming, encouraging people, and it was absolutely amazing to see the runners come by, in various states of pain and glory, heading towards the finish on Boylston St.
“I’m going to do that one day,” I thought.
Though I am the daughter of two marathon runners and fitness enthusiasts themselves, I think I shocked my parents a bit when I told them that following November that I was going to run the Boston Marathon as part of BC’s Campus School. I was not the fastest bird in the flock and I hadn’t run much farther than four or five miles before. I had never been in a road race, never trained for anything like this. Wisdom, such as a vintage copy of Jim Fixx’ Running, and warnings not to do too much too soon were passed along. And so it began.
I learned that it was about three miles from my dorm on lower campus around the Chestnut Hill reservoir, up to College Road and back. It was eight miles down to the Boston University chapel, and ten if you ran all the way out on Beacon from BC and back up Heartbreak. I began to view the city as a cluster different running loops, defining where I was by “Oh, that’s about two and half miles from here.” And I was hooked.
Moving to the North End, working in the Back Bay, and now living in Brighton have only increased the potential running loops I have to choose from. And they’ve given me a unique way to learn about Boston.
Six marathons, at least a dozen or more half marathons, and a smattering of 10Ks and 5Ks (I never really took to the shorter distances!) later, one thing that strikes me most about Boston are that there are so many other people who love running in it too. Pick any day really – I think my run in the middle of Hurricane Irene last year might be the exception – and you will see other runners out in Boston. Everywhere. But, maybe not Chinatown in the dead of winter at night.
And starting around early December, one of the greatest phenomenons can be witnessed: The Saturday Morning Training Run. All those people training for Boston, as I had “way” back at BC (no you don’t need to know exactly how far back), come out, rain, snow, sleet, wind, freezing-your-bum-off-temperatures to do their long runs throughout the city. Running with them, training or not, is awesome. It’s an amazing feeling of Boston camaraderie.
So fellow Bostonite runners, share your all-things-running with me! I’m always up for new folks to run with, new routes, and new workouts – often the crazier the better. I started doing track workouts with the South End Athletic Club (SEAC) this summer, and its been an eye-opener. And watch out, I am faster because of it!