Charles River Run on a Crisp Saturday Morning

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After a day of rest I joined the Alzheimer’s Association running group for a long run along the Charles river. It was a beautiful, but even for the greater Boston area, very cold morning. We were about 6 runners, most of us from the Greater Boston area. This was the first time that I ran with a running group.

I was looking forward to this run, because the Charles river is one of the best routes in Boston for running. I used to run along the Charles river countless times previously. I never got tired of it. The Charles river changes its face with the seasons. In the winter you see the river more clearly because the trees have no leaves, but then in the Spring as you run past the many boat houses you’ll encounter not only other runners and watch the rowers go by, but people renting kayaks and canoes, dogs chasing squirrels, bicyclists commuting to work, and people strolling, picnicking, sunbathing, playing volleyball and walking their dog. Occasionally, there are even people fishing or tending to the many community gardens.

When you are running by yourself your senses are tuned to see, hear, smell, and breathe in your surroundings. You smile at other runners, greet them, and sometimes they smile back. You feel immediately connected to them, especially if you’re out and about on a harsh Boston winter day. Especially this time of the year you encounter many folks training for the gruesome Boston marathon, at least you’re guessing that’s what they are doing, because they are wearing last year’s B.A.A. running jacket. Running in a group is a very different experience.

We went eastbound along the North side of the Charles river with the goal to complete 6 to 8 miles total. Only 10 minutes into the run I started trailing the group. To my surprise, one of the runners waited for me at one of the many bridges to make sure I know which direction the group was going. We then went at “conversational” speed talking about running, and why we joined the Alzheimer’s Association running team. We kept running and talking side by side until we caught up with the other runners at the first of two water stops organized by the Alzheimer’s Association. Six miles were on my training plan for this run, so I took an earlier bridge than the other runners to return back to our meeting place, a nearby Panera Bread. As I was running back on the South side of the river, a stiff wind hit my face. I was thinking, “It is still winter, the trees are still bare, why am I running outside at this temperature?” Anyway, thinking about meeting up again with the group for a hot cup of coffee kept me going.

I recorded my run with the MapMyRun application on my mobile phone that I always carry with me. It recorded a distance of 6.62 miles with an average of 10:26 minutes per mile. Today, as I write this, I feel very sore. My next run is scheduled for tomorrow morning, a two-mile easy run on the indoor tracks, followed by strength training targeting hips and core.

As to my fundraising, I’m very thankful I have so many generous and supportive friends. In less than one week I reached about 1/3 of my goal. There is still a long way to go and people to write about my cause and that of the Alzheimer’s Association. I’m now confident that I will be able to reach my goal or even exceed it by race day.

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