This past weekend I decided to change up my running route and took a trip to South Boston. While in echo school I lived in Southie for a little over two years. I loved running to the JFK Library and to Castle Island while I was living on L Street. When I trained for the Marine Corps Marathon in 2012, I was working in Boston and did a lot of my training runs in Southie. I usually started where I parked my car, near Andrew Station, and ran throughout the neighborhoods of Southie and along the waterfront.
Despite being relatively flat compared to Newton, I decided I needed a change in scenery, and Southie sounded like as good a place as any. I waited until late morning when the weather cleared, and headed into Andrew station for a two and a half hour run. I ran by all my favorite places, the Harbor walk by Umass Boston, the JKF Library, Carson beach, Castle Island, the cruise port and on and on. I ran by the Harpoon Brewery and up West Broadway. The day before the St. Patrick's Day parade, the streets of Southie were alive with young and old alike, warming up for the next day’s events. I loved being back in the area, and each landmark I passed brought back many happy memories. I fondly remembered running down Summer Street, through what my roommate and I dubbed " the swear out loud wind tunnel", because the wind gets stuck between all the building for a couple hundred yards on a particular section of Summer Street, and it gets so cold and windy in those few hundred yards, that you just can’t help but swear out loud. Luckily no young children were around, but just the thought of it and all the memories of the many times my roommate and I had run that road together brought a smile to my face. I ran by my favorite coffee shop, and went back and got an iced coffee after. It was a great afternoon in one of my favorite parts of the city!
It wasn’t the most challenging run I've done to date, but it was the longest amount of time. I'm glad that despite the impending pressure of all the hills in the Boston Marathon route, I decided to change up my course and enjoy some old familiar spots. That’s probably my favorite aspect of running, I can do it anywhere. I don’t need a gym, an instructor, fancy clothes or anything else. Just me, my shoes, headphones and some good tunes and I'm set. I can take myself anywhere, for as long or as short as I want. I can run hard, with my head down and lungs burning, or I can run slow and enjoy the sights. This past weekend was a little of both, sometimes hitting the pavement hard, other times taking my time and soaking in the sights and sounds of familiar places.
These past eleven weeks of training have been all out, living and breathing marathon-training mode. Everything I've done has revolved around running. Long runs, short runs, sprints, hills, meal planning, sleeping, missing nights out with friends. Everything has been a means to get me across that finish line. I'm glad I took the opportunity last weekend to make my longest run yet feel like less of a chore and more of an experience. After all, that’s what this whole race is all about, the experience, to finish the best I can and enjoy it as I go.