Running once again along the mighty Charles

Long live Red Sox Nation!

Today’s run (Charles River, Cambridge & Boston): 4 miles

After all the rain on Wednesday I was wondering what conditions we would see this morning. Despite the weather it’s been a good trip. I was able to meet my brother for dinner last night near his Cambridge office after a useful and interesting day at the Media Lab. My hope this morning was to run my favorite Cambridge to Boston loop before heading over to MIT for today’s activities. I got up early and saw that the skies had cleared but I waited for sunrise before I headed out.

It was 43 degrees and breezy outside when I started. I wore my lightweight half zip shirt with shorts and felt comfortable, especially after leaving shady Kendall Square for the sunny path along Memorial Drive. Like last time I ran this route, I noticed that many runners followed a clockwise direction, opposite to the way I go. It occurred to me today that  those runners probably started their run from the Boston side and came north across the Harvard Bridge.

There were quite a few fast runners this morning. I suspect that some of them were training for Monday’s Boston Marathon. In any case I got passed so many times that I stopped counting. I’ve been feeling slow lately and this didn’t help. I maintained a steady stride and crossed the Harvard Bridge toward Boston, chuckling at the measurements in “smoots” as I observed the scull teams practicing on the water. I ran along the southern edge of the river and regretted not having sunglasses for this eastern stretch. I saw a steady stream of runners, one of whom lapped me twice (from the opposite direction) since I’d come over to the Boston side. That meant he was probably running in the 5 minute per mile range.

I crossed the Longfellow Bridge back into Cambridge and followed Main Street back to Kendall Square to complete my run. In all it was only four miles but the city views and the river made it feel like a trip. Two runs while travling ths week and over seven miles covered. I always miss Boston when I visit – it’s so great seeing family and it’s fun seeing Red Sox merchandise everywhere instead of the ubiquitous Yankee logo.

Charles River run washout

Gloom and doom in Cambridge this morning

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.25 miles

My hope for a morning run along the Charles River was dashed when I looked outside to see dark skies, pelting rain and heavy winds. Instead I walked down the hall to the fitness center that was conveniently located on my floor. More often than not, the treadmills are taken when I get there but at 5:30 AM I had my choice of machines. Although I’m no fan of treadmills I do appreciate the high end models, in this case LifeFitness, that provide some entertainment while you run along, going nowhere.

It’s been two days since my last run (Sunday’s race) so I felt good at the start. I chose an interactive map of a trail course and I watched my progress along that route. There was nothing trail-like about the experience but it was nice to see something other than the usual track oval that we have on our treadmill at home. Per my usual method, I stepped up the speed every five minutes and finished with a pace under 9:00. Given my still present cold I thought I did well on the run. I’m optimistic that the bad weather will move out by tomorrow morning, providing better conditions for a Charles River run.

Feeling low but anticipating Cambridge running

Perhaps due to my hard running during Sunday’s race I’m suffering some fatigue as well as a bad sore throat. I get annoyed when I come down with a cold because I do so much to stay healthy. The timing for being sick is never good and today it’s especially bad. I co-led an all day industry working group and am now heading up to the MIT Media Lab for a couple of days. I’ll rely on ibuprofen and caffeine to get me through the rest of this week.

Despite the way I feel, I’ve optimistically packed two sets of running clothes along with my Kinvaras. As I’ve mentioned in prior posts, the loop along the Charles from Cambridge to Boston and back is one of my favorite running experiences. With a late night tonight and an early start tomorrow it may too much to take on, especially if my cold gets worse. I’ll just have to see how it goes. Next week we’re on vacation so I’ll get to put in some sorely needed training for my half marathon.

3,877 smoot run, 400 on the bridge

Today’s run: (paths, river, bridges) 4.1 miles at 8:40 per mile

While I’m not a big fan of duplicating my route on consecutive days I think I could run along the Charles River every day of the week. I feel the same way about Central Park. That said, I didn’t exactly duplicate yesterday’s run this morning. Unlike the day before, I started my run outside my hotel and crossed directly over the Longfellow Bridge into Boston. It was a different experience for me because I usually run west on Memorial Drive and over the Mass Ave (AKA Harvard) bridge first. Crossing the Charles, I was pleased to see so much activity on the water with sailboats and rowing sculls of all sizes. Like yesterday, there were plenty of other runners, cyclists and walkers making their way around. I was prepared to run a shorter distance today because it felt much hotter than Tuesday and I basically kept to the circular route between the bridges. Along the way I covered the distance of the Harvard Bridge which has regular markings of “smoots” which is a (nonstandard) unit of measurement that represents the height of Oliver Smoot, a Lamda Chi Alpha pledge at MIT in 1958 who was used as a human ruler as a prank. According to the markings, the bridge is about 400 smoots, give or take an ear.

Upon returning close to the point where Main Street meets the Longfellow Bridge I shifted over to the feeder road and continued east until I reached my hotel. I covered 4.1 miles at a speedy 8:40 mile pace and was very happy with the run. This morning there was some discussion of technologies to increase the speed and efficiency of runners and I saw a demonstration of a leg device that allows a person to run with some speed while expending less energy than walking. Great when viewed as an alternative to city transportation but for recreational running I’d say “What’s the point?” I was fortunate to get to see my brother for dinner on Monday night and do the same last night with some good friends. I’ll report more on the performance and measurement technologies in the coming days.

Cambridge to Boston and back at 6:00 AM

Today’s run (street/path/bridge): 4.4 miles at 8:40 per mile

I’ve anticipated this morning’s run for a while and I wasn’t disappointed when I went out at 6:00 AM under sunny skies and already warm temperatures. I headed to Memorial Drive, wending my way around the roads and paths until I got to the river. Alongside the paved path are narrow packed dirt paths. I crossed over to run on those paths to take advantage of the softer landing. I’d considered running past the Mass Ave bridge but that involved crossing a road with many cars turning to go over the bridge. I ran over the bridge on the pedestrian walkway and headed west once I got to the Boston side. I ran west until I passed the 1.5 mile mark and then followed the path along the Charles going east.

When I reached the farther bridge I thought about running Charles Street but foot traffic was too dense to make that practical. Instead, I headed back to Cambridge over the Longfellow and encountered a number of runners coming from the other direction, squeezing past on some of the narrower parts of the walk. When I reached the end of the bridge I just kept going up Main Street in Kendall Square until I reached my starting point. In all I covered 4.4 miles at a decent pace, due in part to my Saucony Grid Tangents. It was a great way to start the day and I’m planning to head out tomorrow to do it all over again.  

Running the Charles from Cambridge and back

Longfellow Bridge (bottom), Harvard Bridge (top)

Today’s run: Central Park (tentative)

I’m planning to be up in Cambridge next week for some MIT Media Lab activities. It’s always interesting to visit the Media Lab and the ideas and future technologies are both exciting and inspiring. Many of those technologies have found their way into athletic gear. The science behind the Garmin and Polar foot pods, as well as the Nike+ system, came by way of the Media Lab’s Responsive Environments group. As stimulating as I find MIT, my favorite part about visiting is when I’m able to run the loop over the Harvard Bridge into Boston and then return to Cambridge over the Longfellow Bridge. The entire four mile run takes place around the Charles River with views of both city skylines looming. I often see runners wearing Red Sox hats and that always makes me feel like I’m home again.

I’m so hoping for decent weather for the early part of the week. Nothing will be as disappointing as a thunderstorm that forces me to stay inside and use the hotel treadmill. I’m not going to worry about that though. I’ll get to see some great people, including family and friends. Running along Memorial Drive always brings back great memories. I’d just better not forget to pack my Red Sox cap.