Reasons to get out of bed…

Posts tagged ‘Boston’

My Story About Living in the Boston Area Last Friday

I originally wasn’t going to write this, because it’s sooooo dull! But then I was thinking about all of the people who read this blog regularly enough that it feels like we’re friends (the 2 of you?) and you might live far enough away that you haven’t heard a ton of these stories from all of your friends/family/neighbors like I have.

This really all started because Jill and JoggingJeans.com sent me an e-mail last Friday (when the city of Boston was on lockdown for the manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – aka the second Boston Marathon bomber). Jill so sweet that she was checking in to make sure I was alright! I was fine. But it really made me think about how we worry about people we’ve never actually met because they feel like real friends! If this happened in Pittsburgh, I would have been worrying about Jill.

So if anyone has been curious about my “harrowing ordeal” here it is:

Timeline of my day on Friday:

6:05 am – My wonderful boyfriend woke me up to let me know that the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority – aka our public transportation) was shut down for the day. He wanted my opinion on if I thought he should drive to work (because he normally takes a train into Boston). I’m not a morning person and my response was a groggy mess.

6:15 – T gets an e-mail from his office letting him know that the city is locked down and his office was closed for the day. He then mentioned to me that since he works in (an area of the city aptly named) “Government Center” – his sidewalks have been flooded with Homeland Security and FBI employees with weapons literally hanging off of them all week. I’m glad he didn’t tell me that sooner… (By 7: 05, my boss had sent me a text telling me to work from home even though our office is in the suburbs, she didn’t think it was work commuting on that kind of day).

6:20 am – T reads the news story about the first shoot out in Watertown that mortally injured the older brother.

We are both so grateful for the timing of our move! We moved way out to the suburbs on April 1st! Our rental was one block from Watertown. Whenever I used to talk about my favorite running path (that I walked a block to), that was in Watertown!

To be honest, I felt completely safe the entire time – because we were so far away (at least… 30 minutes feels far away).

I did spend a lot of the day reading my friend Stacy’s Facebook feed though. It turns out that she lives 5 houses away from where the second kid was found hiding in that boat. Stacy had SWAT teams in and constantly outside of her house starting at 2 am on Friday morning. She also said that she felt safe the entire time and the only major bummer was that she couldn’t order pizza delivery! That’s Stacy’s sense of humor for you!

Maybe we wouldn’t have felt as safe if this had gone on for an insane amount of time or if they had never found the culprits. But less than a week of craziness really wasn’t that unbearable.

Things that have driven me a little crazy though:

I hate hearing the news describe Watertown as “a sleepy little hamlet,” “a peaceful, out of the way suburb,” etc. Don’t get me wrong, Watertown is awesome and I recommend it to anyone as a sweet place to live. But a hamlet, really? Watertown is by no means “back woods!” It literally borders Boston! Here is the description of Watertown from the town’s website:

Watertown population

Sure, it’s no Brooklyn, but it’s also not a cow town for goodness sakes!

Also, I hate that politicians feel free to make comments like this:

Politician Tweet

Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, to be fair. However, I imagine most of the people inside the “perimeter” were happy to have SWAT teams!!! And as a civilian, I’m glad other civilians didn’t have massive assault weapons – I would have been worried about the safety of the SWAT men and women! But that’s just me. I’m not trying to start a political debate. I just wish others wouldn’t say something so callous while our city felt a little under attack… just saying…

I have loved all of the outpouring of wonderful from all over the country. Runners holding races to honor the marathon victims. Any sports team or media outlet that said everyone was a Boston sports fan that week. Anyone with a sign saying “Boston Strong,” “We are Boston,” or anything else the felt like love towards the people of Boston. Thank you all! It was so appreciated!

Also, I find things like this enjoyable:

And I think that includes all of the federal agents who helped as well!

 

So thank you for your concern! We’re doing well here in Massachusetts and invite you to visit! We’re safe! And despite the rumors, we’re actually kind of friendly… 🙂

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The Aftermath of Monday

There is a lot of tragedy going on around here right now… If you’re not a regular reader (or even if you are… maybe I don’t mention it, I don’t know), I live and blog from right outside of Boston. The rental house that I just moved out of was 3 miles from the Boston City Line. I could have run there… except that there was a 1/2 mile that simply stank between me and the official line and the running path is UGLY over there… so I usually ran in the other direction. My new house is a bit farther away. I could try to prove to you how often I’ve been near that finish line, but it seems ridiculous to me.

Everyone I know is safe and sound. I know people who were spectators and I know people who were running (everyone is ok!). And I could share their stories with you, but it makes me sad and I don’t want to spread the sadness. I have to admit that I stopped watching the news coverage pretty early on. I saw one of the initial images of the sidewalks of Boylston St covered in blood and I was done. There are images during tragedies like this that you simply can never get rid of. Take, for example, the images of people jumping out of the Towers on 9/11. If you know what I’m talking about, it’s because you will also carry that horror with you forever. I don’t want any additional images like that. I don’t want to see the carnage – I know it’s there and that’s hard enough for me. The tagline of my blog is “reasons to get out of bed” and I can assure you if I glued myself to news, I’d never get out of bed due to the crippling depression, despair, and hopelessness.

So I’ll focus on the better things here. There are so many people who ran TOWARDS the victims to offer help. These people started the day as ordinary people and ended the day as heroes, at least in my book. There are people who completed the marathon and then ran over a mile to Massachusetts General Hospital to donate blood for the victims. These are the stories I think we need to share.

Here are other rays of sunshine if you’re needing them:

Tha Atlantic Wire’s Stories of Kindness After the Bombing

The intro to the Colbert Report from 4/16/13

Patton Oswalt’s Facebook post about humanity

Boston-based author Dennis Lehane (Gone, Baby, Gone and Shutter Island among others) in the New York Times about Messing with the Wrong City.

Buzzfeeed’s 29 Reasons to Love Boston (number 28 is my personal favorite)

This Facebook post from a friend of mine:

Chrissy's Post

These images:

Batman Tweet2

 

And because, let’s be real, a Bostonian has to include at least a little attitude:

Pissed off runners

Good luck brightening your spirits and continuing forward during this tragedy.

I will be returning with my silly “slice of life” posts because that’s how I deal – by moving forward.

Snow Day!

So… we got a little snow here outside of Boston this past weekend:

Peanut standing up, trying to assess the winter insanity at the back door

Peanut standing up, trying to assess the winter insanity at the back door

Specifically we got around 2 and a half feet (it’s hard to tell exactly because there was a lot of wind and thus, lots of snow drifts).

It was actually really nice! My wonderful boyfriend and I both worked from home on Friday which was a good thing because the roads were all closed at 4 pm on Friday. Or Governor declared a driving ban on all roads from 4 pm on Friday to 4 pm on Saturday (or so I’ve been told… I’m not 100% sure on the end time because T and I couldn’t care less). If you were found driving during that time you could receive a ticket up to $500 and/or up to a year in jail. The reasoning being that even minor accidents can take away the valuable resources that are first responders. Emergency personnel dealing with a fender-bender can’t also be dealing with a major accident where someone is desperately hanging on to life. This type of ban hasn’t been declared in MA since 1978. Of course the following people were exempt: emergency personnel, law enforcement, utility workers, medical professionals, and the media.

I think it’s a great idea. Yes, we all live in New England and we all know how to drive in snow, but that doesn’t mean we SHOULD!

T and I took it as a message: enjoy the weekend! All of our busy-person plans were cancelled and happily replaced with days of snuggling on the couch (usually together with the addition of at least one of our cats), watching Netflix movies, or reading books. We also spent a bunch of time cooking food in case we lost power. We never lost power (yay!), so all the extra lasagna has made its way into the freezer.

For some reason this storm was named Nemo. That meant we had to watch Finding Nemo! I love this movie, I’ve probably seen it 25 times. I whole-heartedly recommend it if you’ve never seen it before.

Eventually on Sunday, we shoveled ourselves out. By “we,” I mean T did it… the doctor said I can’t shovel, but I helped clean off the cars!

It was a really great weekend of forced relaxation and bonding, even if it did drive the cats a little nutty… At one point, my little peanut tried to shovel her way out the back door with her paw, all it did was make a pile of snow on her back feet. She was less than pleased…

Really?! It just keeps going?! This is ridiculous!

Really?! It just keeps going?! This is ridiculous!

Running with the Bridesmaids

I have a quirky race tomorrow that I’m oddly looking forward to, called “Running with the Bridesmaids.” I first heard about this run while at the expo for the Diva Dash. There were a lot of slightly offbeat races advertising there and if you’re a regular reader, you know I like a slightly offbeat race. And Running with the Bridesmaids is right up my alley.

It’s a one mile run around the Boston Common (our major park) while wearing the worst bridesmaid dress you can find! Super! I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! I promise to run slowly so I can take lots of pictures and you can all join in the madness.

Here’s what I found:

Full length sleeves, high collar, and looks like my grandmother’s couch in the 1980s! Yes!

This is clearly the byproduct of having a costumer’s hoarding tendencies. I love helping people get rid of decades old clothes in case I can ever use them in a play. All these random clothes live in my mother’s attic in meticulously labeled Rubbermaid storage bins (she has more space than I do). It took my mother literally 90 seconds to find this dress when I told her about the run. I had forgotten all about it; but when it comes to clothes, my mother’s mind is a steel trap!

I was hoping some of the women from my Diva Dash team would run with me again, but unfortunately, they are all busy. Being alone, I’m a little nervous about the logistics. I know Boston Common really well, but the race is organized by the Boston Globe, a newspaper not an event company. I don’t even know if there will be bibs! I don’t know how many people to expect. I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. However, being a newspaper, they did a nice job getting sponsors. Tomorrow, people will be winning a trip to Vegas, $5,000 of free jewelery, wedding hair services for something like 8 people, dry cleaning services, and the list goes on. And the run is to benefit the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. I’m pleased about that.

Are you wondering how the area will handle tons of women running around in bridesmaids dresses? Honestly, I don’t even know if they’ll notice. If you’ve never been to the Boston Common, I can assure you, it’s a strange (but wonderful) place. Emerson College (where I got my Master’s degree) is right on the Common and it’s an odd, odd arts school! (And I say that with love). Also, unrelated (possibly) to Emerson, the Common actually has a Quiddich playing field set up… and people are regularly using it for practices and games. Yeah… I have a feeling the bridesmaids thing might be one of the tamer events on the Common tomorrow!

I can’t wait! I promise to share all of the comedy with you!

This only slightly works… but it makes me happy, so I’m going with it.

The Color Run Recap

Ugh… I’m so torn on how to write about this run… do I complain for the next 500 words because it was terribly, TERRIBLY organized or do I try to find the bright spots? Am I completely mad at the organizers or am I also partially mad at myself?

Hmmm… I guess I’ll try to both find the bright spots and tell you why it was so terrible I can’t envision myself ever doing this run again (and tell you why my brother out-law is thinking about writing a letter of complaint to the organizers).

Back story: I run alone all the time. I’ve never gotten to run a race with anyone else. It’s lonely. So when I saw the Color Run (a run where they throw different colors at you every kilometer), it looked like so much fun I invited my boyfriend’s family to join me on a team. My boyfriend’s brother’s fiance, Sarah, is a runner. She was training for a marathon happening in April until she broke her foot over the winter, which obviously effed up her training. However, she’s now healed and she’s clearly a runner, so I knew I could talk her into a 5k. I also invited my boyfriend’s sister, Jen, because she keeps starting the Couch to 5k program. Jen also invited their aunt (by marriage), Jeannie, who is only 2 years older than Jen (Jeannie is 8 years older than me) and is super, super awesome. Jeannie is also a runner and regularly does races. Jen also signed her ten-year-old daughter up for the race.

I was super excited to do something fun with my boyfriend’s family! So excited that I bought decals from runnerdecals.com and made everyone a pint glass as a little gift.

Runner chick (about 1.5 inches tall) from RunnerDecals.com

Then, a few days before the race, Jeannie dropped out because the run is 3 hours from her house and her husband is super sick and she has small children.

The day before the race, Sarah dropped out because she was feeling swamped with work (and homework) and the race was about 2 hours from her house. At this point, I’m feeling really bummed. Jeannie and Sarah are the two that I fit in with best. I also learned a few days before the race that one of Jen’s friends would be joining us. By 5 o’clock on Friday, I was trying to reset my expectations, and change back to excited from disappointed.

Jen, at one point, told me that because I was the most fit, I could run my own race and they would see me at the end. But I told her that would defeat my goal. I was there to run with them, not alone, no matter the pace. We ended up walking 90% of the course. The walking was ok, but kind of boring. Oh well, right? So that’s why I might be a little mad at myself. I didn’t have a “runner’s high” when I reached the finish line. I wasn’t proud of myself for working it. It was just a leisurely stroll… that took us about an hour… (after running the 10k though, this 5k felt so short, in the good way) 

Ok, now here’s why I’m mad at the organizers: first things first, their website is rubbish. It doesn’t have any race details, just explanations of how they attack you with color, etc. They never told us the address of the race, just the town: Amesbury, MA. For awhile, the website called it “The Color Run – Boston” which is really misleading… Amesbury is about an hour north of Boston on the NH border. Eventually they changed it to “The Color Run – New England” which is much more accurate. The website never had the start time of the race – they e-mailed us that 2 days before the race.

Next: e-mails! They sent a lot of information in e-mails, but some of the information they only sent to the team captain and she was supposed to send it to the rest of us. Hey Color Run, why? You have our e-mail addresses, you could have sent it to everyone! Plus, she didn’t know which we got and which we didn’t, so she didn’t send them to us.

Our group (plus one spectator – 6-year-old nephew) before the color run – still in the parking lot. We were team Pixel Pixies – Jen made us some really cool wings to wear.

My main complaint: traffic and parking! In many of the e-mails, they told us that “a lot of people” would be attending this race, but never said how many. They just warned us that we should carpool. They should have said what “a lot” meant. 2,000 runners? 20,000 runners?

We also weren’t allowed to park at the race (which wasn’t a loop – the finish line was legitimately 3.1 miles away from the starting line). We were assigned to a parking lot 7 miles  (and 3 highway exits) from the finish line. There was another parking lot 12 miles away from the starting line. School buses would drive us from the parking lots to the start (and from the finish back to the lots).

The race was scheduled to start at 10 am (with waves until 10:45). At 9 am, we were one mile from the parking lot. At 10:30 we arrived at the parking lot! In our car, we all carpooled (as recommended), we were surrounded by hundreds of other people in their carpools. We jumped out of the car, hit the port-a-potties (EWWWW) and hopped on a bus. We made it to the starting line around 11 (and there was still at least one bus behind us).

Jen and her friend run through orange, the first kilometer marker

The finish line was visible from the highway and there were tons of rubberneckers trying to figure out what was happening there… woo congestion!

The course was beautiful. A couple of minor hills and it was mostly along a wide river. Simply lovely. And the color zones were fun! And being with T’s niece (and his 3-year-old nephew in a stroller) was great.

One downside, there was only one water stop (in the middle of a hot day in JULY)! Quality planning…

At the finish line

So we get to the finish line around noon and the line for the buses was at least 1/2 mile long and 10 people across. We ate lunch for an hour (we had to buy a Powerade because the water at the finish line tasted like pool water – chlorine and dirt!). Then we got in line ourselves… where we waited for 2 hours. We didn’t get to our car until a bit after 3 pm.

We were too late for the “color parties” so we made our own!

Getting to the race was stressful and congested. Then we were alone on the course. Once we got to the finish line we were stranded there. The buses couldn’t even get to and from because of accidents on the highway. It was so poorly organized! In other states, the Color Run might be ok, but having us park so far away and then be stranded was a poor idea. They simply couldn’t take care of the crowds.

Our entire group (with our spectators) waiting for the bus back to our car

Their tag line is “Happiest 5k on the Planet.” Unfortunately, I would disagree…

This Weather is Demotivating!

It has been too long since I last posted! And I really need to update you all on everything… unfortunately, it’s been the kind of weather that just makes me want to melt into a puddle on the floor. I live near Boston and it has been in the high 90s the last 3 days with about 80% humidity. If you’re from the south or maybe even the midwest, you’re probably thinking “…and?” And you’re right, you probably live this every day. It reminds me of a few winters ago, Florida had temps of like 30 degrees and I was thinking “so?” but that’s when I realized, they have high schools that involve court yards and crossing from one building to another… and can’t avoid the weather by just hanging out in one, nicely connected building. They don’t have all the winter gear that fills my house. 30° is cold to them! And 98° feels like death for me because we’re not equipped!

My blood is too thick, we don’t have built-in shady spots, parking garages are rare, etc. When I drove past the bus stop this morning, an older woman literally looked like she was about to faint! Ugh, it’s bad. It’s the kind of weather where we all vaguely smell of asparagus (even if we showered right before we left the house). But it’s supposed to be glorious again (in the mid-high 70s) next week so I’ll stop my belly aching!

Even though it’s been hot, I’ve been visiting the gym in my office building (it’s not a reason to delay walking to my hot car at the end of the night… no….). I’ve run 16.5 miles so far this week (and I even lifted weights for 45 minutes!). Which isn’t much for some, but it’s good for me lately.

What’s really motivating me to hit the gym? I remembered that I have a 10k in two weeks and I haven’t trained hard enough! Time to kick it up!

I promise, next week, to update you on the Haircut! (which I did do! Over 12 inches cut off!) And the Relay for Life that T and I did together last Friday. This weekend we’re going white water rafting!

Yay adventure!

I’m pretty sure I originally found this at http://runninghaiku.wordpress.com/ (check her out, she’s very funny!)

We Need More Cowbell!

Before my 9k, the Run to Home Base (ugh… why doesn’t this rhyme!?) I read a really awesome blog post from one of my favorite bloggers, Running Sunflower. I recommend you read it as well, but let me give a quick summary: it’s about how she went to volunteer at a 10k she was not running. The event had plenty of volunteers, so she rang a cowbell and cheered on the runners. It’s really awesome.

I thought a lot about her post while I was running the 9k. There were so few spectators for that run. Ok, that’s not entirely true. There were a ton of spectators, but they were all inside Fenway Park, hanging out at the finish line. Along the actual course, there were very few. It was a bit of a bummer and I was in some major need of cheering along. This was the first race where I hadn’t figured out how to get my loved ones to show up at multiple parts of the course (I’m a big fan of finding ways for them to walk a couple of blocks and see me at around the 1 mile mark and at another mark around the end – I love having their support). 

Although there were so few, there were still some really great spectators at this event (they were clearly volunteers because there were about 50 people wearing the same blue shirt…) scattered along the course with clappers. They were almost all old enough to be my grandmother or grandfather and I loved every single one of them! 

Many of them yelled “thank you for what you’re doing!” (we had to raise money to run) and I yelled back to all of them, “thank you for what you’re doing!” They may not realize it, but their enthusiasm was really important and valuable. No one had a cowbell though!

It really got me thinking. I need to be a spectator more often. And I invite you to do the same. If it’s a 5k or a 10k, you and/or I would only be out there for around an hour. It’s so nice to have people cheering along during the more difficult (and lesser populated) parts of the race. I need to return the favor to people! If you have a race coming up in the Boston area, let me know and if I can, I’ll come out and cheer you on! I’ll even stop by Best Race Signs for some ideas!

Now… to buy a cowbell!

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