Davis Square, Things to Do

Break Out Those Legwarmers for City Sports’ 10k

Oh, the 1980’s…where would we be today without the neon spandex, Sony Walkmans, skinny Oprah, and the puzzling Rubiks cube? If you’re a nostalgic 80’s baby like me and are looking to run some fun races in Boston this summer, you’re in luck!

City Sports is holding their own 80’s nostalgia party with the Back in The Day 10k race. The 21+ race is being held June 30th in Somerville’s Davis Square, and will feature a costume contest and a post-race party. To be eligible for the prize of a $300 shopping spree to City Sports, costumes must represent the best of the 80’s and showcase the runner’s ability to party like it’s 1983. I envision lots of bare leg, neon spandex, and belly shirts – and that’s just on the guys!

The field is limited so register today! This is definitely a race you’ll want to spectate. It might give the Santa Speedo race a run for its money.

Somerville Theatre

We Love Music

Song of the Day: “Running On Empty”

Harpoon Vermont Octoberfest

You may know it as the song to which Forrest Gump kicks off his countrywide sprint. I certainly do, though Jackson Browne means a lot more to me than one scene in a movie. As much as his 70s songwriter sadsack reputation weighs him down, as I wrote last week, we can’t let one’s dominant image ruin legitimate work.

Yesterday, I cheered on some dear friends as they completed the Providence Marathon. Even the word “marathon” carries heft and emotional baggage, just shy of a month of April’s Boston insanity. This weighed on me even before I saw the SWAT officers with rifles around the finish line.

It was also my birthday. Feeling jubilant and spry, I joined one of my friends at Mile 23 and ran with her to the 26th mile marker. I let her go there, thinking of fellow Beantown author Drea running in a young man, but giving him the honor of crossing the finish line alone. Except I’m not a runner, and even with three miles under my sneakers I feel awful this morning.

I also feel older. Maybe it’s the hobbling up the stairs and the icepack. Or maybe in witnessing my friends complete a major accomplishment, my thoughts turn to what long term relationships really look like, and the commitment demanded from the participants. “Looking into their eyes, I see them running too…”

Bostonian Habits, Quickly Around Town

legs.

[Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared on Sea Salt, the blog of our friend Dianna Calareso. It was too apt and affecting not to share here.]

Yesterday I watched in horror as the TV screen at our office showed live footage of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. I texted my cousin, who was running, and then I just sat in disbelief. Even though I was two miles away, safe in my office, and would return safely home (thanks to a friend giving me a ride so I could avoid the trains), it felt so close. My beautiful city stained with blood. The beautiful tradition of the race forever haunted. A beautiful day marked by terror.

I went home and cried into Kevin’s arms. And then we prayed for the families of the victims, for the city of Boston, for the first responders…and for the people who would no longer stand, walk, or run on their own two legs. Like many people, I was horrified to hear stories and see graphic images of people who had lost limbs in the explosion. But I couldn’t help thinking about what would happen next for them. For those that survive their injuries, they’ll stay in the hospital to recover from shock, pain, and trauma. Then…they’ll be disabled. They’ll need prosthetics. They’ll need to learn how to walk with crutches, how to maneuver wheelchairs. They’ll need to figure out how to answer questions, how to deal with people staring, how to accept help they don’t want.

Many people in my life sent me emails and text messages to make sure Kevin and I were ok. Some asked if I had run the marathon or if I had been there watching. I wasn’t, but I could have been. Some asked if my office was nearby. It’s not, but it could have been.

Technically, what happens in a tragedy could happen to anybody. But this one chilled me to the core. What happened to those people could have happened to me for so many reasons. The office where I used to work is at the finish line on Boylston Street. For many years in a row I watched the marathon, tracking my cousin’s progress with my family. And since I ran the marathon in 2007 I’ve talked on and off about doing it again.

I’m not suggesting at all that I was really close to being hurt, or that I’ve experienced anything like what those people and families are going through. I’m simply saying it hit close to home: Copley Square, where I spent countless hours walking to and from work, getting lunch with Kevin when we first met, walking up Boylston to Fenway Park when I had tickets to a game. I know that part of Boston like the back of my hand; seeing bloodstains on that street was like seeing them on the street where I live.

As painful as it was to see Copley Square in such chaos, it was also heartbreaking to see the finish line of the marathon become a place of terror. I’m not an expert in marathons, but I know a thing or two about finish lines. They. Are. Amazing. In addition to two marathons, I’ve also completed a half-marathon, two triathlons, an 80-mile bike ride, a 60-mile walk, and many road races ranging from 3-7 miles. And every finish line was special. Sometimes because it meant the grueling race was over. Other times because it meant I’d made good on all the donations I’d collected for the race. But most of the time, the finish line was special because it meant I had done it. I was strong. Powerful. Alive. The finish line is where you throw up your hands and lift your face to the sky. Where you find your friends and families to cover them in sweaty hugs and pose for photos on shaky, tired legs. The finish line is where you become Someone Who Really Did It. And it’s where you become fully aware of every part of your body. Every part that’s sweaty, salty, tired, shaky, and sore. Nothing feels better.

I know people who are much better athletes than I am. They run the Boston marathon every year. They’ve completed multiple Ironman triathlons. They’re always in the middle of training for something. And as much as I want to be one of those people, I’ve never been able to commit that consistently to training. I decide that my legs need a break. That I need my weekends back. That I don’t want to join a gym just so I can run in the winter. That it’s enough to say I ran two marathons, which is two more than most people will ever do.

But this morning, I couldn’t stop thinking about that feeling at the finish line. I was doing my morning yoga routine, a time I usually relish for the quiet, peace, and chance to think about nothing. But today, I thought about my legs. With every downward dog, I appreciated the pull of my hamstrings as I lifted the pose higher. In half-moon I savored the ability to balance on one leg while the other stretched behind me. In exalted warrior I thanked God that I could feel the bend in my knee, the press of my toes on the mat, the flex of my ankle.

My muscles were awake, alive, and I felt connected to my body in a way I haven’t felt since my last finish line (at a triathlon in September). And while I’ve always found it easy to complain about my legs, today I find myself unable to be anything but thankful. I’ve never felt so blessed to be able to run, to stretch, to stand. My legs are strong. They’re powerful. They’re mine.

For the victims who are lying in hospital beds trying desperately to feel a limb that isn’t there, I wish greater feeling somewhere else. Heightened sensitivity to what they see, hear, or taste. Renewed passion for art, music, food, or writing. Peace through the nightmares and the phantom limbs and the anger and shame ahead of them. Forgiveness for people who will stare, ask dumb questions, and awkwardly look away. Desire and courage to pursue athletic events in racing wheelchairs or on prosthetic legs. Strength for another day.

Yesterday it could’ve been me, but it wasn’t. So tonight, I’m going for a run. And I’ll be thankful for every step.

Quickly Around Town

You Won’t Take the Miles or The Music

Since I first watched the Boston Marathon from the top of Heartbreak Hill as a Boston College freshman and said, “I want to do that,” I’ve been running. Some years I’ve trained for and completed marathons, some years I’ve just puttered through with shitty mileage, but I haven’t stopped.

Having ran the race twice myself, ran my friends into the finish, had barefoot contingents lead me half-delirious to the right on Hereford, left on Boylston, and also having experienced the race as a spectator myself for many years, Marathon Monday has always been a truly special day. Which makes yesterday’s horrific attack all the more stingingly acute.

Between countless hours of watching the news, looking at way too many photos, and making sure their loved ones are accounted for and okay, everyone’s been processing the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings differently.

For me, so far, it’s been with music.

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Photo of the Week, Things to Do

Photo of the Week: January 23, 2013

Someone sure wishes they had their other glove today.

With the high temperatures for the day in the teens, and feeling like it’s in the negatives thanks to the blust gusting to 25 mph, your first instinct may be to stay inside and burrow in a sleeping bag for the day – I know it crossed my mind this morning.

But I challenge you to channel your inner Yeti, pile on all the coats, scarves, hats, hoods, and (both) gloves you have and get out there! (Or Bonus: go shopping for some!)

Take a photo of brave folks fighting through the cold and post it to the Flickr page! Who will be the most bundled, “I can’t put my arms down,” Bostonian?

Plus, when you have the right cold-weather gear, you can run in any weather. Right, ninjas?