So I am finally taking the plunge and have decided that, a) in the next year I will be in good enough shape to run the Boston Marathon b) be in the mindset to actually finish it c) actually enjoy myself.
I have wanted to run it for so long.
The getting into shape part was probably the most challenging aspect of the whole ordeal. Since I have been in good shape, just not great shape for a long time. And I knew that I was no where close to being in a condition that I could preform.
The changes in strength and endurance vary by the person, though the general trend is that you'll settle into around the same relative athletic ability.
The ability to jog/run prolonged for any amount of time was something beyond me. But now that I have been getting more confident I have been able to push myself further. In fact I actually gained strength in my lower body, all while shedding some of the pounds that I put on around the middle. And while I have gained considerably less upper body strength in my quest to get in shape I feel that that would only be a hindrance in my overall performance.
Am I going to win. H*ll no! But I am not trying to either.
I am doing it for myself and I want to join my boyfriend since he runs it every year. And while I would love to keep up I know that that will not be a reasonable wish, at least not for a couple of marathons at least. But dream big, right?
I'm hoping I can qualify for 2019, but I'm not positive what's realistic.
I have been working hard. And every pound I shed, shed in a healthy fashion of course, has been responsible for me slicing my typical mile times by 2-3 seconds.
Will I ever be sub 3? Probably not. My BF hasn't even run one, and so I can only assume that for us mere mortals it's not doable.
The things that have worked for me were to get on a schedule, and then actually stick to it. It is easy once you have done it a few times.
But in the end it is mileage, mileage, mileage. I am aiming for 60-70 miles a weak, which is my peak goal. Right now I am around 40 miles a weak. And 40 miles a week a good if you want to finish a marathon, not even close if you want to do sub 3.
I have until September 2018 to qualify for 2019.
So. here's some tips/vocabulary:
Tip number one: Boston isn't really known for it's Pizza.
It is really sad, but I know that it is true. While there are some good places if you look around, it is Boston good. That means that it pales in comparison to the pizza that you will find at even the corner store in NYC.
The solution is to simply stick with seafood since it blows the NYC stuff out of the water.
When you hear a bit "gritty" people are talking about East Boston, it's "gritty" because people are afraid of the Hispanic majority and don't realize how great it is. For the most part the area is safe, especially during the day it also has some amazing food. If you are visiting from out of town I suggest using the Blue Line to get there.
Speaking of which, we call our rail/subway/metro system (MBTA) "The T". We'll use it like this: "take the T to East Boston" or whatever our destination is. Don't say subway. If you call it a subway we'll know what you mean, but Bostonians rarely use the term "subway", in most cases we will think you are referring to New York's Subway and thus ignore you.
The T is divided into 4 basic lines which are easy to keep apart. They are color coded so even out of towners will not get lost. Red, Orange, Blue and Green. Green is Light Rail which is the oldest subway system in America in case you didn't know that. The others: Red, Orange and Blue are the heavy rail.
Orientation is important, for example if a train is going "Inbound/Outbound", this simply it is referring to the direction it is facing from Park Street. We actually have another rail. And this is marked by the Purple Line. Purple is our commuter rail, which most people here don't need worry about. Since I never take the Bus Rapid Transit, this would be the Silver line, you will have to look elsewhere for clarification.
Even you only intend to travel a little bit by rail I would get a Charlie Card. It is so much more convinient. Charlie Cards are a contactless card, you just tap them against a card-reader when ever you get on a subway or bus. You don't have to remove it from your wallet, really. You can get one from an MBTA employee because most of them carry extra, I have also picked them up at 7-11s or you can go to a Charlie Card store. When you travel you just fill them up at a kiosk without much hassle. I like them, and this is actually the Bostonian preferred option over the Charlie Ticket. The tickets are just a paper ticket that's printed at the kiosks (same as the one you refill the card at), the only difference is (beyond convenience) is that the Card is cheaper per ride.
We have good Google Maps coverage, and even I use them for directions. They're clear and I haven't had any problems with them.
Skip the taxis.
If you plan to get somewhere fast I would suggest Uber or Lyft, both of them reign supreme here, especially when you want to get somewhere fast.
- Frappes are milkshakes.
- Rotaries are traffic circles.
- A packie is a Package Store - aka liquor store.
- Jimmies are sprinkles (for ice cream).
Bostonians are super friendly and polite.
But let me add a definition for you on what we think is friendly. We define friendly and polite in such a way that people might get confused.
Our friendly is different than yours.
Here in Boston, it is polite not to waste people's time with pointless chatter. Tourists get this wrong all of the time. You say hello and they talk you full for five minutes with BS. In Boston, it is polite not to hide your contempt by saying phrases like 'bless his heart'. And I am looking at you heartlan America.
We prefer being told to fuck off if the situation calls for it instead of that passive aggressive BS that you get elsewhere. Just say it. People in Boston are mature enough to accept it and we like honest and direct instead of backhanded and slimy. And before you even start, catiness will never be tolerated.
Authenticity is admired.
And if you would like to know - sarcasm is a second-language to us.
I use a combination of Folders and Fences. For documents, I keep folders for "Taxes" and "Paystubs" and "Recipes" and sort my related files into those folders. When you see a pattern of the same documents, you can probably make a folder.
For pictures, I have folders by year, then folders inside those years labelled with month and then I make a folder that highlights the day and the activity. This may not be the most comfortable way of doing it, but it has worked well enough for me and it keeps things organized.
If I get a chance I like to write names of the people in the picture in the file name, but this is rare and getting rarer. For most files I will end up "pic_##" which is fine by me since I don't intened to forget their names any time soon.
For Music, I use iTunes. It is as simple as that. The program may take some getting used to, but with it's ability to copy your music and store it in it's own special folder you are good to go. It also saves you from being plauged with duplicates. Some people don't like it, but I let iTunes control everything and it's been wonderful.
A Place With Fences
I like to keep things organized with Fences which is a tool by Stardock Co. and have been using this to do just that ever since. It's free and what it does is partitions your desktop screen, you can use it to partion the space however you see fit.
I like to make sections for applications,for Pictures, and files that I use a lot. This makes the whole space prettier and I can quickly get an overview of what I have there. And it is more convinient than a stack to the left of your screen of random gook, but what makes this application a cut above, is that with a double click on the wallpaper, it all vanishes! Just you and your wallpaper. Whenever you need a file, double click on the wallpaper and they come back.
It's amazing, and I love it.
For my photos I make sure that I put dates on everything like home videos, photos, documents when they are created, and I also modify the date if it's something like a resume every time there's an update.
I also make sure that I have access to the Recycle Bin, which is always there to help me clear everything else off, as well as a folder for Skydrive and Google Drive, which are the two cloud services I use.
Between those, I have 40GB of cloud storage space, used to back up work and personal files that I don't want to lose.
O top of that I have set up the Google Drive to push autobackups from my phone's camera, which is indexed in my Pictures Library.
My friends and I usually go to the O2's on 51st for cheap wings and yes, they're 35 cents every day but Friday and Saturday. They don't just offer wings, they have a great menu, with some nice deals. Here is their daily menu deal. Still, I would not recommend O2s on Jasper. It was so much better when it was The Black Sheep. That location is awful now, and they play awful music and now serve passable/bad food. I don't know why they changed.
Still at the other locations an order of two wings and a pint of beer cost $7.50 which is great for budget oriented people. And if you want to have a larger gathering, that is how much drinking will be done, you can order a big tower of beer with at least 9 pints worth of beer in it. I will note that there must be at least three people at the table, otherwise they won't sell it. I will also note that the tower has a pour spout, trust me this is a feature that the cursed BP team pitcher should have.
I also love The Canadian Brewhouse which has a lot of locations here. And they too have awesome wings/drums/jumbo drums (chicken legs).
If you try it I recommend the Johnny Cash sauce. It's just right for pretty spicy and savory flavor. And $7.50 tankards of anything on tap (including Guinness, Shocktop, Hoegaarden, and more).
I fell in love with our city's bike culture. I ride mostly in Boston proper and the opposite side of the city from University of Massachusetts Boston.
I love biking through the city.
Though I stick to Boston Proper:
Among Boston's many neighborhoods, the historic areas of Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, Downtown, Fenway-Kenmore, the Financial District, Government Center, the North End, and the South End comprise the area considered "Boston Proper."
It's fun, good exercise, and gets you there a lot faster than any other mode of transit. There are plenty of areas with painted bike lanes, and people's awareness of bikers on the road is getting better.
I see this one all of the time, but it doesn't help to get upset with people who double-parked in bike lanes. They won't stop and the city won't fix it. The reason is simple there's no parking anywhere. Ever. In. This. City.
That said, it is important to cover a few of the basics to biking in Boston.
- Wear a helmet.
- Don't be a reckless jerk on the streets.
- Ride safe.
- Ride smart.
- Use hand signals when you can, and try to use them frequently.
- Pedestrians are scary.
- Sometimes scarier than cars.
- In Boston, they think they own everything, mainly because jaywalking is a joke offense in MA.
- Keep your head up.
- Don't blow through traffic signals, not even when the lights are green without first accessing the whole area first.
- You never know if some college kid is going to come running from the building straight into the crosswalk.
- Pedestrians "believe" that they have the right of way at crosswalks with no light. But it is only true for those which are marked with the MA State Law - Yield to pedestrians in Crosswalks sign.
It seems like most cyclists and drivers for that matter are unaware of how our traffic laws work and create situations where they cause more harm than good. For example they will stop without regard to others motorists on the street.
While this may sound like I am complain, the truth is that I can only think of a handful of crosswalks without them. Regardless of that, it doesn't take away the fact that I see pedestrians cross in the middle of Boylston Street without looking, and sometimes with children in tow.
I am not one for long build up so I will start by saying that I nearly got killed by an MBTA bus once.
I was biking along at night with headlights and helmet light and I saw a bus ahead of me.
Since this was my first time biking, seriously biking that is, I didn't realize just how dumb they were. But over the years I have come to realize that they could/will be dumb at anytime, so I make it a point to keep a close eye them whenever they come up on radar.
For some reason this particular one took a really long time to even start to move. I can't recall correctly, but I was 10-30ft away when he first stopped. That meant that I was halfway through his bus when he decided to drive hard into the center of the street.
By this time there was a car to my left.
This was the pinch point.
If he hadn't seen/heard me banging on the side of his bus and stop merging, either he saw the car or something else, but I probably wouldn't have been able to make it out of there because there was no way in hell I could have stopped that fast.
MBTA bus drivers, as crazy as it may sound, pretty oblivious to bicyclists.
But the pedestrians aren't much better.
I had a whole pack of them stroll out in front of me whn I was going through Harvard Square (the triangular plaza at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street, near the center of Cambridge), and that was just the other day.
They were preoccupied with their phones and didn't even waste a glance to see if anyone was coming.
It is the heard mentality, because all it takes is just one person to take the initiative, everyone else behind them will just blindly walk out into road while staring at their smart phone. Which is dumb.
And the buses will just merge over the right with no regard for anyone next to them. They see it as the less evil I guess. If you see this happening just go past or let it pass you. Otherwise you will regret it.
There are some good bike paths though. You can use the bike path along the Charles River. I try to do so whenever possible. But another hazard that we have are the hoards of runners. They love taking in the beautiful views of the city and will claim the paths meant for bikes.
I would say that riding here is like most other cities, you need to be aware of your surroundings.