Boston: 2/30 – The Somerville Bike Path.

I enjoy running now?

I got really sick back in October which led to spending about ~5 days horizontal on my couch. I watched a lot of Netflix, read a book, made several different kinds of soup, and ate a lot of mango sorbet. No one enjoys being sick. We spend sick days dreaming about life without the sniffles, or in my case, eating solid foods without feeling like every bite is mixed with glass. The one silver lining throughout these couple of week was knowing that I wasn’t alone. My best friend & favorite co-worker also caught whatever it was, and we’re pretty certain that the culprit was a little plastic mini-hand. I found the hand while on break during one of our weekly doubles. We spent the second half of the shift passing it around the bar & using it to mess with regulars. We both got sick 2-3 days later and we’re positive that the hand was responsible.

After spending ~5 days in my house, I finally woke up feeling like a functional human. I drank some water and ate a banana without wincing which was a major win. Instead of taking things easy and slowly making my way back into the world, I had an irrepressible urge to run. Keep in mind, I had no interest in running before this. I used to go trail running when I lived in NC, but its been years since I’ve willingly chosen to go on a run. Running as a hobby always confused me. I’d often find myself riding my bike around the esplanade wondering what would compel a person to opt for running shoes over bike pedals. I’m saying this to emphasize that I have absolutely no idea where the urge to run came from.

I threw on some stretchy pants, queued up some Haim (I was on a serious Women in Music Pt. III kick at the time), and bolted out my front door. Once I returned to my front porch, all red and out of breath, I sat on the step and thought it myself “what the hell was that all about?” Somehow, I’ve managed to keep this routine going since then. I discovered that I actually enjoy running? I didn’t tell anyone about this new hobby for several weeks so running became my little secret from the world. I’m was worried that someone would ask why I started, and I didn’t know how to say “the morning anxiety has been really intense recently and if I do not race around the neighborhood as soon as I wake up, I will burst” without raising any alarms. Anyway, I definitely did not expect “sign up for a 5k” to be in the cards for this year, but here we are.

I don’t believe that I necessarily enjoy the physical act of running itself, I just enjoy the additional perks of zooming around the neighborhood. There are always cute dogs to say hello to, Somerville has a bunch of quirky houses with eccentric decorations hidden within its many side streets, and theres always the incentive to keep running as long as theres a bakery on the way. My longest runs always end up at a cafe/bakery where I can pick up a muffin to enjoy upon returning home. If you catch me running outside, ask me whats in my sweatshirt’s kangaroo pouch, I can almost guarantee that there will be a muffin in there. Looking for motivation to run? Just pin a bakery on your map and run to it.

This morning’s run was a new milestone. The weather was gross and my body felt a little tired, so normally I’d decide to take the day off. However, my anxiety was through the roof so I pushed myself to get up and go. My goal was to run a quick 1-mile loop around the neighborhood, but I was listening a new playlist and I kept telling myself “okay just one more song.” There was also something about running in the rain that felt really cathartic, I suppose I haven’t been doing the best job at addressing my anxiety recently so this makes sense. It’s not that I’m actively avoiding it, its more that I haven’t given myself to space to recognize how emotionally draining the last couple of weeks have been. Can you imagine if the holidays were actually the most wonderful time of the year?

I ended up running around various side streets in the Somerville area and unexpectedly found myself in Davis. It’s impressive how poor my geography of Somerville, especially since I’ve been in this city for four years. I don’t know how I ended up in Davis, but it was a pleasant surprise because it meant taking the Somerville bike path home. The bike path is full of strange and unconventional art. The origins of the decorations are unknown, at least to my knowledge, which make the entire experience that much more special. Someone just felt that building a giant worm out of a dryer vent tube and the end of a post hole digger was absolutely essential to the bike path, and I wholeheartedly agree. What would Somerville be without that funky worm?

The bike path is also home to Elfland, the little community built by an 8-year old child that recently moved to the bike path after the elven inhabitants at its former home (an empty plot of land a few blocks over) was threatened with eviction. The residents of Somerville rallied together to move Elfland to its new home in order to defend the livelihood of its miniature citizens. According to the sole architect, the intention behind Elfland is to “make people happy” and I think we can all agree that its working.

I couldn’t run for longer than 30 seconds without stopping to ogle at the various art. I’ve taken this route many times, but the oddities of the path never cease to amaze me. I had no intentions of running all the way to Davis Sq for a muffin, but being able to run down the bike path was such an unexpected delight. My other favorite part about the bike path is how the atmosphere welcomes random conversation with those passing by. After stopping for a few minutes at Elfland to text a friend about it, I resumed my playlist and took off down the path…. For another 20 feet until I saw a seal beanie baby perched on top of the gate to the path. It was soaking wet from the rain, but prominence still emanated from this soggy little aquatic plushie. I stopped to take a photo because I instantly knew this would become the delight of my day. As I put my phone away, there was another runner who looked and giggled as their eyes shifted to the seal, then back to me. We both waved and continued running in opposite directions. The seal made my day, and I hope that seeing my spark of delight in real time made that fellow runner’s day too.

Oh, I also ran 5 miles for the first time this morning. Hooray!

See ya.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Ruddy Rower says:

    I’m trying to get back to running but the motivation is killing me… maybe a bakery is in my future

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s honestly the best way to trick your brain into going on a run haha


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