Chasing the Charles: Running in Cambridge, Ma

I’m in Cambridge for the summer, and naturally I am taking advantage of the incredible running environment here. Never before have I seen such a concentration of runners, hitting the streets all the time, no matter the weather. Runners of all abilities, the slow old ones (“old” meaning 50 in this extremely young neighborhood) and sprightly young college track runners.

One interesting thing I have noticed is the lack of the traditional running wave when running around Boston- maybe I’ve only run into grumpy runners or maybe people don’t do it here simply because it gets ridiculous by the 30th wave on a single run. But I love having other runners around me; it’s part of why I love racing. I draw energy from them, pace off them, pick them off, and all too often am passed by them. Running will always be a solo sport, but it’s nice to do it alone together once in a while.

I almost ran into disaster (pardon the pun) on my very first run in the Boston area. It was approaching 10 p.m., and I decided to go for a short run on the bike path along the Charles River. It wasn’t a great run from the start, but what really started it downhill was when I almost fell into the Charles River. Not so close, really, but I did slip off the path and badly twist my ankle. Thankfully I had less than a mile left to go and managed to hobble back safely, but it was an unpleasant start for my summer running.

After a short running hiatus due to the ankle injury, I resumed running by the river and in Boston. So far it’s been great, the miles fly by with so much to see and so many runners and bikers to watch. On a 10.5 mile run this past Sunday I hit the halfway mark and was confused, thinking I could not possibly have done more than three miles, let alone over five. But I had, I was simply so distracted by the sights that the time flew (though not really, unfortunately- it was a rather slow run).  I plan to continue to cheerfully chase the Charles all summer long (and hopefully think up some new alliterations).

Races and River Running

It’s been a while since I posted last, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have running news to share! Well, personal running news, I haven’t heard of much international running news since the historic Boston Marathon a few weeks back.

On May 1st I raced the somewhat less historic Long Island Marathon, finishing with a respectable 5 minute PR despite not feeling my best. It was a beautiful day for a race, though, 65 degrees, sunny, breezy…. ahh. I haven’t raced since then, nor have I signed up for any races, I’ve been quite busy lately. I do plan to do some 5k’s soon, though, it’s that time of year again.

I’ve actually been feeling a bit burnt out lately, and probably as a result have been getting a few minor injuries. It’s interesting how that works- my mind doesn’t want to run, so my body somehow compensates to prevent my running. It’s frustrating, but probably beneficial in that it’s forcing me to take it easy for the moment.

I’ll be in Cambridge this summer and hope to do some running along the Charles River. There’s really something special about running by a moving body of water. Besides the distraction it offers, the flowing water always seems to give me strength. Interestingly, I sometimes feel the same way when running next to traffic, though of course that lacks the natural beauty a river offers. Anyway, I’m just excited to be mixing up my running routine. Suburbs are by far the worst running locations in the world. The extremes are much better- country running is beautiful, and city running is interesting- but the suburbs are just plain dull.