I spent most of last week and weekend in Boston. I probably like that city more than any other on the East Coast. That's normally not saying much, because those who know me are aware of my preference for all things west. But Boston is different. It has an open feel, nice people (a rarity for the Eastern US), stellar waterfront, great shopping, and so much history that you can't even spit without hitting a monument of some kind.
Marisa and I hit our favorite places to shop on Newbury Street. We also dined at our favorite vegetarian and vegan restaurants. A Slice of Pie, My Thai, and The Other Side were all as good as we remembered, serving up good, inexpensive fare.
We also stopped in at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge. I picked up a copy of a book entitled Running and Philosophy. It is an edition with essays by various runners and philosophers (as the title might have clued you in) who discuss various aspects of mind and body co-existence and dynamics that occur when one runs. I'm about a third of the way through the book as of this writing. So far I've found the first three essays to be excellent, thought-provoking pieces. The two that followed dealing with running as religion and religious experiences through running, sounded as though they'd be more interesting than they turned out to be. I'll write more on the book when I complete it. I would, however, recommend it strongly, simply based on what I have read thus far.
In Boston, we stayed at the Renaissance Hotel on the south side near the convention center. The hotel has a lovely workout facility which I eschewed (except for one day that was extremely cold and rainy). Each morning I arise and hit the asphalt. I'd leave the hotel running on a bridge that crosses a major roadway. I then ran about a mile and a half through a horrifyingly trafficked industrial zone before turning through a neighborhood park toward the ocean. A mile or so of that, and I'd hit a circular jetty or break of some kind that stretches about one and a half miles with water on either side. It returns to land by an old fort. I'd then run back to the hotel, retracing my steps.
I've written about this run before. The sea and park sections of it are pretty neat. The traffic section, however, is not. I do the run when I'm in Boston because it is a route I know. The nice parts of it are certainly not worth the ugliness you have to run through in order to reach them. That being said, I did the run three times in the four days I was there. The other day I ran on a treadmill. If all running was like that, no one would run...
When I got home yesterday, Kansas weather was perfect. After 5 days in cold rainy (but awesome) Boston, I was ready for a run I love. I normally don't do longer runs on days that I fly, but yesterday I made an exception. As soon as I walked in my door, my travel clothes fell to the floor (there's a lovely image) and my running attire took their place. I felt a nit tired and jet-lagged, but cranked out an 8 miler on the SLT. No speed records were set. I also never really got into the zone. But I was able to re-introduce my being to the special feeling that comes from running a favorite route. The run seemed like a metaphor for hanging out with an old friend. Last night, I slept well.