Running Package: On Your Mark…
For the fleet-footed Bostonian, running is less hobby than mission. Accordingly, unlike poseurs in less purpose-driven burgs, we eschew showy getups for gear that morphs body into motive-powered machine, whether it’s warding off glare (1. Oakley Straight Jacket sunglasses, $160), sweatÂ (2. Adidas Supernova tee, $38, andÂ 3. Nike Dri-Fit Fundamental shorts, $30), heat stroke (4. Amphipod RunLite 4 hydration belt, $40), or ankle pain (5. Karhu M2 running shoes, $80)â€”or keeping tabs on heart rate, distance, and speed (6. Polar RS200 watch, $150). Of course, all that pragmatism doesn’t preclude the occasional fantasy. For the imaginary cross-trainers of our dreams and a few running routes that work the mind as hard as the hamstrings, go on to the next few pages.
GETTING A LEG UP: When he’s not training for the Marathon (or vamping for our camera), Dorchester’s Brian Hetzel works at Marathon Sports in Cambridge.
Clothing and accessories from Marathon Sports, 671 Boylston St., Boston, 617-267-4774; and other locations; marathonsports.com; shoes from City Sports, 480 Boylston St., Boston, 617-267-3900; and other locations; citysports.com
THE ULTIMATE LOCALLY SOURCED TRAINERS
Cobbling together the best in running-shoe technology, right from our own backyard.
We’ve got so much sneaker geekery around these parts, you’d think Paul Revere jogged to Lexington. Greater Boston, in fact, is quickly becoming the running-shoe capital of the world: New Balance, Saucony, Etonic, and newcomer Karhu (which recently relocated to Beverly from Finland) are all headquartered hereâ€”not to mention Reebok, in Canton, and Puma, whose North American operations are based in Westford. Their engineers and designers spend a significant amount of brainpower trying to make a better shoe than the guy (quite literally) down the street. But what if all the high-tech cobblers in the area put their heads together to design the perfect running shoe? It might look a little something like this.â€‚-GREG LALAS
SOCK LINER & FOAM INSERT (Etonic’s Minado 3 MC)â€‚
Provide extra cushion; removable if orthotics are required.
UPPER MIDDLE & FRONT (New Balance’s 769)â€‚
Comfortably snug due to “N-Lock” system, plus fancy “bubble” laces that actually stay tied.
MIDSOLE (Karhu’s Fluid Fulcrum Ride)
Patented Fulcrum technology allows for better heel-to-toe roll without sacrificing cushioning.
HEEL (Saucony’s ProGrid Guide 2)â€‚
Relatively narrow fit reduces slippage. (Slippage, by the way, is bad.)
SOOTHING THE SOLES
A Pedicure for the Weary Runner
Cambridge’s Wet Paint Nail Spa might look equal parts Pottery Barn Teen catalog and Jennifer Weiner book cover. But plop down in a comfy pastel armchair and accept a flowered mug of tea, and it’s clear that owner Michelle Phoenix is serious about feet. An avowed nonathlete (“I’d literally rather die than run one block”), Phoenix nonetheless sympathized with her quick-footed clients’ unique concerns.
After consulting a local podiatrist, she launched the “Fit Feet” pedicure, an hour-and-45-minute treatment that’s both diagnostic and indulgent. Phoenix and staff inspect customers’ toes for traces of athlete’s foot, clip nails to avoid ingrowns, paint heels with a callus-softening solution, and finish with formaldehyde-free nail polish. The workup costs just $66. - BRIGID SWEENEY
141 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617-868-0620, wetpaintnailspa.com.â€‚
If you don’t have two hoursâ€”or $66â€”to spare, click here for quick tips on treating your feet right.
WE WERE BORN TO RUN
So believes Harvard professor Daniel Lieberman, who studies how humans evolved into gifted sprinters 2 million years ago, as our grunting forebears shifted from gathering to hunting. “To be a hunter, you had to be a runner,” he says. “People think running a marathon is a superhuman feat. But the fact is, it’s part of our evolutionary legacy.”â€‚G.L.
BREAK OUT OF THAT RUNNING RUT
Five sidewalk-skimming adventures to give the Esplanade a run for its money.
Illustrations by Jameson Simpson
The Proud Bostonian Run
Boston (About 3 miles)
This is the route to show an out-of-towner how things are, and always have been, in the Hub. Start in North Square in the North End, at number 19, which is 1. Paul Revere’s house. Head south on North Street, across the Greenway, and up into historic 2. Faneuil Hall. The tourists will make things difficult here, but zigzagging through their blobby masses can provide a cardio boost. Continue on to Government Centerâ€”apologizing for the eyesore that is City Hallâ€”and turn left onto Tremont Street. After paying respects to the 3. Omni Parker House, home of the Boston cream pie, go right on Beacon Street, and follow it past the State House and the Shaw Memorial, dedicated to the all-African-American Massachusetts 54th Regiment. Stay the course to Kenmore Square, passing the original Cheers, a.k.a. the Bull & Finch. From Kenmore, cut up Brookline Avenue, and there she is: 4. Fenway Park, the Bostonian’s cathedral.
The Literary Landmarks Run
Concord (About 4 miles)
A helping of culture with that lung-bursting, thigh-burning jog? No problem. This bookish workout starts in the town’s Monument Square. Head southeast on Lexington Road, past the austere 1. Ralph Waldo Emerson House, where the godfather of Transcendentalism wrote his most famous essays. Farther down, on the left, is Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home and inspiration for Little Women. Still farther, at the intersection of Hawthorne Lane, is 2. the Wayside, a manse bought by novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1852. How gorgeous is that wraparound porch? Veer left onto Old Bedford Road until the next big intersection, Bedford Street. Go left. Just before reaching town, detour into Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Make your way up to 3. Authors Ridge, where one headstone stands out for its appropriate simplicity: Henry.
The Practice-for-HeartBreak-Hill Runâ€‚
Brookline (About 2 miles, but feels like 10)
1. Anna’s Taqueria sits on the corner of Summit Avenue and Beacon Street, just west of Coolidge Corner, providing ample tortilla-fueled motivation to make it to the top of Corey Hill. Starting at the corner, run west on Beacon for nearly a half mile. Look for a sign for 2. Summit Path, a 791-foot-high set of stairs to the top of Corey Hill and 3. Outlook Park’s unexpectedly grand views of Boston. Jog slowly down Summit to Beacon. Repeat the entire loop. Reach Anna’s. Order a super carnitas.
Go on to the next page for two more runs…
The Commune-with-Nature Run
Jamaica Pond/Leverett Pond (about 3 miles)
Frederick Law Olmsted’s sainthood is pretty much set, but runners would probably testify on his behalf simply for Jamaica Pond, one of the “gems” of the Emerald Necklace he designed. Starting at the intersection of the Jamaicaway and Huntington Avenue, your path dips into 1. Olmsted Park, then curves along the east bank of Leverett Pond. Cross a few recently restored footbridges, beneath a canopy of beech and oak, past 2. Ward’s Pond on the right, and you’ve made it: 3. Jamaica Pond, dark and glassy, encircled by a wide pathway. This is a good time to slow down and take in the greenery, the 4. great blue herons, and 5. J.P.’s almost-mythical albino squirrels. Breathe. Ah…that’s nice. A loop around the pond, and back up the path, finishes things off.
The Window-Shopping Run
Boston/Cambridge (About 4 miles)
Nowadays, even looking can feel ostentatious. But surreptitiously checking out luxe wares at a speed of 7.8 miles per hour? Perfectly acceptable. Window-shopping runs are best in early morning; otherwise, the crowded sidewalks can slow you down. Start at Mass. Ave., heading down Newbury Street past the stylish mannequins at 1. Marc Jacobs and the floral concoctions at Winston Flowers. Cross Arlington and wind through the 2. Public Garden to the northeast corner. Cross over and enter Charles Street. Be sure to look for 3. Black Ink’s curious window displays…huh, a flag-print coin purse…and the luscious paper at Rugg Road. At the end of Charles, take the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge and head down Main all the way to Central Square. Here is 4. Ten Thousand Villages, with its imported arts and crafts. From Central, go southeast on Mass. Ave. and back across the river.â€‚G.L.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2009/03/running-package/