I started running for exercise in my early 30s, just after I became a father for the first time, and after countless Boston Sports Club memberships had expired and locker combo cards had mouldered in my wallet. The nice thing about running, as I see it, is that it’s so easy to do. Equipment needs and prep time are minimal: throw on a pair of running shoes and shorts, step out your door and you’re doing it. In contrast, most other workouts these days involve commute time, locker room time, and expensive monthly fees.
Though I’ve been running for years, I’ve never tried to run a marathon. But that’s changing. I’ve signed up to run the Bay State Marathon in Lowell this October and have been training up this summer. I’ve also been asked to join a group (Team Twelve Pack) that’s running the vaunted Reach The Beach Relay in New Hampshire in September — the U.S.’s longest competitive relay race, which covers 200 miles in 24 hours, from Cannon Mountain to Hampton Beach State Park.
My training for Bay State has brought me smack up against one of the hardest part about running regularly:finding good places to run. Sure, sure. Like most recreational joggers, I have no shortage of short (sub 10 mile) routes around Belmont and Watertown. I’ve recently started running on the Minuteman Trail and really enjoy that as well. But with my long runs now pushing 20 miles in the coming weeks, I’m on the hunt for fun, challenging routes.
My solution, thus far, has been to head up to the Charles River and run there. Belmont Center in to, say, The Science Museum, is a gorgeous 18 mile loop with some great views of Boston and a nice, shady route back on the Boston side of the Charles. It doesn’t offer much in the way of hills or other challenges, though. With that in mind, I thought I’d throw down some of my common routes and see if the B2 community has other ideas. I’ve mapped these out using the Gmaps Pedometer, which is easy to use and unfussy. But there are others as well that are more feature-rich. Mapmyrun.com is one. USA Track & Field has another one here. None of these sites make it easy to embed routes in blogs and other Web pages, which is too bad. If other readers have routes out there and want to share them with the B2 community, send me the links and I’ll post them!