Posts tagged ‘Boston’

A Boston Girl, A Runner

Several minutes after the explosions at the Boston Marathon, I got a phone call from a friend, “Did you hear anything about bombs at the Marathon?” I hadn’t, and immediately hopped on Google. Luckily, I was home studying and doing laundry, happy to have an unexpected day off from my clerkship. Soon after, texts and calls started pouring in from everyone I knew– “ARE YOU OK?” Finally, I put up the obligatory Facebook post letting everyone know I was safe. I heard from friends who were running and cheering, relieved to find out that everyone was physically unharmed.

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View from my favorite running route along the Boston Harborwalk

The city that I have loved and grown to call home over the past 7 years has had one tough week. From the tragic bombings on Monday to the epic police chase that shut down the entire metropolitan area on Friday, I think we are all ready for a return to normalcy. I am particularly grateful that this is abnormal for my city, with places like Syria and the constant threat of suicide bombs on the forefront of my mind. My heart mourns for the families who lost loved ones and for those who were injured. However, this week cannot come to a close without a time of reflection. I remember the many years I spent cheering on runners- roommates, friends and strangers alike- from various spots along Beacon Street to behind the finish line as a volunteer. I am thankful for the spirit of the event that causes every spectator to catch the running bug, even if just for a day. I am thankful for the city that has taught me so much, and for the streets that have made me a runner. I am proud to call myself a Boston girl, and a runner.

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With that being said, I cannot end this reflective post without sharing my current running struggles. After taking the winter off with a knee injury (and a lot of snow and ice), I am officially back in my sneakers and on some of my favorite routes. Except now every block is a challenge, every mile is an accomplishment. My pride is crushed when I see mile splits that are whole minutes slower than last fall. THIS IS HARD. It is like I am starting over, and I am struggling. However, I will not be defeated. I am signed up for a half-marathon with friends in May. Will I be ready? Maybe, maybe not. 4 miles today was a feat. But I will try. Whether I am running 1.4 or 4 or 14 miles, at least I am out there and I am trying. #runforboston

Question: What are your reflections on the past week’s events?

April 20, 2013 at 12:31 pm 5 comments

Changing Plans and Exciting Events

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An idea of the beauty of Boston in the cooperative fall weather. Image from worldhum.com

I had the most exciting of Friday evenings planned for last night. I biked to meet a friend for a run, ran along the Charles River through beautiful fall leaves as the sun set, and then biked home. My heart was filled with good conversations, beautiful fall pictures of Boston, and great exercise. I planned to make a great fall vegetable filled meal and settle into my laptop for an evening of writing a grant proposal. (I am reaching the age where I am okay lounging in slippers and getting work done on a Friday night if I am tired or busy, no longer feeling the need to go out to be able to say I did something. Does that mean I’m getting old?!) Anyway, a turn of events on the way home shook up my calm evening plans (I am okay, so don’t worry!) and so my fall dinner never happened. I have grand plans to make it tomorrow evening instead and will be back then with a post about it!

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Mom and I walking in the Jimmy Fund Walk, celebrating the end of her treatment!

Until then, I have exciting news: my lovely mother is coming to visit for a girl’s weekend next week! We enjoy spending time together and are excited to get to share healthy meals, take walks in the Boston fall, and catch up on life. One exciting event we have planned for next weekend is the 2011 Komen Race for the Cure! My mom is a breast cancer survivor, and I was so excited to learn that a group of my classmates was forming a team for this event. Most of them will be running, but I will be walking the 5K with and in honor of my mom. She continues to be an inspiration for me of how to live a life of faith in the face of hardship and I am so thankful to be able to continue learning from her daily. If you are interested in supporting our team, check out this link. You can donate by searching me as a participant (“Jennifer New” will allow you to find me) or for our team (BUSM Say Yes to the Breast). Every donation, no matter the size, is helpful in funding research and treatment resources for breast cancer. It is a terrible diagnosis to receive, and hopefully the money we raise will help one less woman hear those words.

Question: Have you participated in cancer fundraising events in the past?

October 22, 2011 at 9:32 am 7 comments

Half-Marathon Recap

I love road races. The energy that emanates from the thousands of runners gathered with both collective and individual goals is incredible. People of all shapes, sizes, levels of fitness and experience come together with the single purpose of running the best race they can. It leaves me smiling and bouncing out of my seat with excitement, like a kid on Christmas morning.

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We boarded the shuttle buses at 7am to head over to Boston’s Franklin Park, full from a breakfast of toast with peanut butter and a lot of water. The weather yesterday was unseasonable – 7am and it was already 65 degrees outside. The high for the day was 81, so we continued to guzzle down water in light of the heat advisory and fear of dehydration. We arrived, got our bibs pinned on straight, stretched and warmed up a bit, and swapped last-minute tips with our friends. After a final run to the bathroom and bag check station, we were corralled inside the gates with the thousands of people registered to run that day.

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before race 2

Matching was not planned...

They attempt to split you up by projected mile pace (6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 minute mile starts) but chaos and disorganization is inevitable with so many runners. After the Star Spangled Banner, the start gun went off and we began the slow trot to the start line. After crossing the line that would trip our timers, we took off. My roommate and I were planning on running the same pace, so we stuck together for the first few miles, weaving through the crowd and enjoying the beautiful early morning sunshine. We hit the first mile marker, and were shocked to find that we ran our first mile an 8 minutes. We blamed it on adrenaline, and tried to slow down a bit. Our second mile was just as fast though! I started to feel the heat a bit by mile 5, since the day was warming up quickly and there was only intermittent shade. I was sipping water at every stop, but still was starting to feel dehydrated. I was feeling chilled, and realized I wasn’t sweating enough! I slowed down through the next water stop, walking through to ensure I had plenty of time to drink. My official split time at 5 miles was 42:10, much faster than I anticipated!

At mile 8, they handed out goo, the sugary energy boost popular for long distance competitive events. I had a goo pack during the bike portion of my triathlon, and it was a huge life saver during that race, replenishing my energy levels and helping me get through the rest of the ride. I took the goo and a cup of water, but was immediately nauseous after one small sip. I tried to force one more sip down and then wash it down with water, but gave up after that. I realized that goo is pure sugar, which my body hadn’t seen in 3 weeks. No wonder it revolted! I dealt with nausea over the next mile or so, eventually falling behind my roommate as I walked through the next water station to rehydrate. I kept a good pace, clocking in my 10 miles at 1:28, 2 minutes under my planned 90 minutes.

Eventually, I saw my roommate’s blue tank top in the distance, but this time she was walking with another familiar blue shirt. I jogged up to them, only to find that our friend was in trouble. He was dealing with heat stroke and dehydration, staggering and delirious. Another runner had stopped to help him, noticing that he was weaving and about to faint. We walked with him for several minutes, but he told us that he already had help and the medics were on the way. He didn’t want to ruin our race, so he begged that we kept going. Torn, we left him with the Good Samaritan runner. At this point, my head was no longer in the game. I was worried about my friend, and also conscious of the fact that the conditions were potentially dangerous. I drank 2 full cups of water at the next stop to avoid dehydration, and allowed myself to walk off a cramp at one point. My roommate and I stuck together from this point forward, in case either of us ran into similar heat trouble. When we reached mile 12, we checked our watches and realized that our goal of completing the race in under 2 hours was still in reach. We picked up our pace, passing runners again as we ran through the final curves of the course. When we reached the final 400m, we looked at each other and decided to sprint. We crossed the finish line at 1:59, just making our goal!  WE DID IT! Exhausted, thirsty, and in pain, we staggered for water and Gatorade. I realized how much my hip was hurting, and was crippled by a cramp in my foot that traveled up my leg. I sucked down some water and got a bite of bagel and banana, while collecting more food for later.

Before we could celebrate our own achievement, we had to head to the medic tent to check on our friend. Unfortunately, we didn’t know his number and they could not tell us anything about his condition without it. Still worried, we met our other friends at our planned spot and waited. Our fastest friends, who completed the race around 1:45, were there waiting for us. Our slower friends then trickled in. Finally, our heat-exhausted friend came to the meeting spot, medal and all. He fainted after we left him, but was revived with plenty of water and a few minutes to rest. He doesn’t remember much, but walked the last 3 miles of the race. He was one of two of our friends who ended up with heat stroke in the medic tent, and luckily both ended up being okay. When we were all together again, we celebrated our individual and collective accomplishments! We all finished the race, many of us achieving PR’s despite the heat. Most importantly, we were all safe and together again.

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Victory is ours!

The celebrating continued at our friend’s house with a cookout. We shared the triumphs and tribulations of our personal struggles throughout the race, and laughed about and celebrated the day. It felt more like a summertime afternoon than an early fall day, especially with the grill roaring and the abundant BBQ food. I still had little appetite, likely still recovering from the adrenaline, dehydration and volume of water I imbibed, so I grazed slowly. I started with some pita chips and tatziki. I grazed on grapes. A few hours later, my stomach rumbled, so I got a veggie burger off the grill and topped it with some guacamole. Full from that and a veggie skewer, I continued to rehydrate. Quickly, I was hungry again! I enjoyed some juicy watermelon for dessert, and enjoyed my first baked good in several weeks!

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Our lovely hosts

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Proud of our accomplishments, and enjoying the post-race food and watermelon!

That reminds me: an update on the sugar fast! Our three weeks are up, and so I can once again enjoy sugar! I must admit: I did cheat a few times. I took my “get out of jail free pass” to attend a friend’s dessert party, and occasionally snuck a granola bar or handful of yogurt-covered raisins while studying at the library. Was the experiment worth it? Yes and no! I think it was an interesting idea, and really made me aware of how much added sugar I consume, even with a relatively healthy diet. I don’t regularly consume baked goods or obvious sugar-laden treats, but do love jams, granola, and other sweetened treats. The only problem with giving up sugar before the race was that it made my body unable to tolerate the energy boosts classically given in a race. I doubt that the sugar fast helped my speed, but it was a fun experiment to make me more mindful of what I consumed on a daily basis.

My race day celebration ended with a group movie night to watch “Chariots of Fire.” I had never seen the classic, and enjoyed watching a movie that celebrated running and the inner drive of true athletes. Between that and the leftover race excitement, I know that I am still hooked on running and am looking forward to more races in the future!

Question: Do you have Columbus Day off? Did you do anything exciting with your long weekend?

October 10, 2011 at 10:41 am 14 comments

Harvest Festival

This post features an unexpected highlight of my weekend. Yesterday, I got to participate in the Harvest Festival sponsored by the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition. The MFFC sponsors a farmer’s market that runs from July – October in Mattapan, a predominately minority, low-income Boston neighborhood. This market features produce from local farms and urban community gardens, and offers a “double your benefits” program to food stamp recipients. They accept SNAP/WIC benefits and display an impressive array of beautiful seasonal produce.

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I volunteered at the fair with two school mates as a part of SNAAC, my school’s nutrition interest group. Our job at the health fair was to provide a free blood pressure screening for interested community members. This was great and definitely helped me master my BP skills, but my favorite part was getting to talk to people! If anyone’s numbers were high, we talked to them about areas in their diet that could be improved (like switching from white to brown rice, or using lower sodium broth). If their numbers were within normal, we asked them if they thought they had a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, and how they thought those factors affected their blood pressure. It was exciting to see so many people take charge of monitoring their own health, show interest in how to improve their health, and talk about how to cook and eat healthy food. I was reminded of important lessons of cultural sensitivity with food preferences (does anyone know a healthy plantain recipe? if so, please share!), of speaking slowly when there is a language barrier, and how much a smile and a handshake means when meeting someone new.

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In light of my recent thinking (see here and here) about the chronic conditions that plague so many Americans, it was exciting to see a community driven movement to promote healthy lifestyles. Community members are standing up for their right to affordable healthy foods through this market and a neighborhood corner store project, as well as their right to health through fitness programs for youth and a myriad of other programs. I was so happy to be a part of their celebration of health that morning, and am thankful for the reminder of why I am putting so many hours in hunched over my desk each day.

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I also bought some golden beets, which I am excited to experiment with later this week!

Question: Do you know of any health and fitness movements taking place in your community?

October 2, 2011 at 9:00 am 7 comments

Birthday Hike in the Blue Hills

What could be a better birthday present than an entire day spent outside with great friends? I can’t think of any! Med school tried to steal my birthday thunder by having our Infectious Disease exam the day after my birthday, so I decided to steal the rest of the weekend for birthday celebrations. To celebrate turning 23, I spent Saturday hiking in the Blue Hills Reservation just south of Boston with three of my friends.
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We chose the Blue Hills because it was close and none of us had been there before. Sure, Boston is close to great hiking destinations like Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, but day hikes in these scenic New England locations often require 5am wake up calls to beat the masses to the trails. The Blue Hills Reservation was literally a 20 minute drive, and a 9am departure was much more friendly for this brain-dead med student. We hiked the Skyline trail, one of the more challenging in the reservation. There were at least 4 hills that we climbed, giving us a pretty good workout without being too much to handle. We made it to the Great Blue Hill in two and a half hours, and lingered over breathtaking views of the city skyline in the distance.
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We found a rock just beyond the lookout to enjoy our lunch. Homemade peanut butter with Nutella on homemade whole wheat bread (a gift from my friend Vince) with apple slices (from my friend Sam’s parents’ backyard in CA) and trail mix. Such a great lunch! We lounged on the rocks for an hour, soaking in the sun and the calming silence of nature, interrupted only by random thoughts or fits of laughter.
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Our hike back was marked by silence, since Marie and Mere were fast hikers and had pulled ahead, and Sam and I were brain-dead from the exam and were enjoying the thoughtlessness of walking through the woods.

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I loved the Blue Hills, how close it is to Boston, and how restorative a hike can be for your mind and soul. I am really looking forward to heading back when the leaves start to change! Fall is definitely the best season in New England, and captivates me enough to not remember how harsh the northern winter that will soon befall can be.

After a whole day outside, I got to enjoy an evening outdoors as well! My friend Jon has been trying to host a BBQ for months now and has previously had 2 rainouts. Third time was the charm! A bunch of friends gathered and spent the beautiful, crisp evening outdoors.
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Jon was quite the grill master, making veggies skewers and asparagus spears, as well as tons of grilled chicken and the hit of the night – bacon wrapped chicken bites filled with jalapeno cream cheese. He is quite the cook/host! The night ended with a birthday cake by Vince, not pictured because it was too dark outside. Somehow, he managed to figure out my favorite cake combo with no direction from me other than, “I just want a cake!” He made a fluffy white cake, split into four layers and filled with a strawberry mousse, and then iced thinly with the best chocolate frosting I have ever eaten.

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My friends made me feel so loved, from my community group’s surprise cake on Thursday to all of the birthday phone calls and messages to my hike and BBQ on Saturday. I am so grateful to have so many incredible people in my life and am looking forward to another fantastic year!

September 18, 2011 at 9:20 am 7 comments

Blown Glass in Boston

My sister and I had a blast relaxing in Boston this past weekend. She just finished her second year of college at Temple University, and I am so incredibly proud of her accomplishments! We treated ourself to a shopping trip to the Wrentham Outlets just south of Boston, but she had much better luck than me. We also enjoyed dinners and BBQs and lunches with friends before heading out for the summer. However, the best part of our adventure was our trip to the Museum of Fine Art to see the Chihuly exhibit. We absolutely were amazed by his gigantic works of art, and nerded out over a video of his glass blowing studio in the gift shop. We were lucky enough to see live glass blowing on a childhood vacation to the Corning Glass Museum in upstate NY in the Finger Lakes Region, and this brought back great memories from that trip! If you live in Boston, or near Boston, or are taking a trip there anytime soon, go see this exhibit! It is in town until August 7th. Warning: my pictures do absolutely no justice to this fantastic exhibit. There is simply no way to fully capture walking through these gigantic pieces of art.

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Dale Chihuly is best known in the art world for his glass baskets, which are inspired by Native American woven baskets. The free forms of the basket, the thinness and delicate strength of the glass, and the way they nest together is simply incredible. While these might be what he is most known for, I was struck by two particular installations. One of them, towards the middle of the exhibit and shown above, feels like you are moving through a large underwater forest. All of the pieces of glass are huge, with free forms and curves that seem to defy and obey gravity at the same time. The piece takes up the entirety of a large room, so you truly feel like you are swimming through glassy ocean floor. Again, my pictures and words do little justice to the experience, so go experience it for yourself if you have the opportunity! My other favorite installation was the glass ceiling. The base of the ceiling was clear glass, giving view to layers upon layers of small to medium glass objects. Again with the ocean metaphors, my sister and I compared it to swimming through a sea of brightly colored jelly fish and other sea creatures. Another cool part of this room was looking at other visitors faces and reactions as they stared into the colorful ceiling.  Still can’t decide which installation I liked better!

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Question: What is your favorite art exhibition that you have ever visited? The two that stand out in my mind (besides the Chihuly exhibit, obviously!) are a Salvador Dali exhibit that passed through the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. I enjoyed both of these because they were a collection through the artist’s span of work, which gave a lot of insight into the motivation behind their artwork as well as recurring themes and figures. It combined history and art, which I really enjoyed!

May 24, 2011 at 10:42 pm 1 comment

The Great Urban Race

Christine: Hey, what are you doing on Saturday?

Me: Probably studying… why?

Christine: Wanna do this crazy competition that’s sort of like the Amazing Race instead? I have a Groupon!

Me: (weighing the choice between being a good med student and enjoying a Boston adventure…) Sure!

Running around Boston looking for clues in the sunshine (and even the rain) is a much better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than cooped up in a library studying. I needed a mental health break weekend, and I sure filled my time with some not-so-studious adventures!

The Great Urban Race is based on the show the Amazing Race, in which teams of two go around the world on a giant scavenger hunt and complete crazy tasks at each stop to get their next clue. We didn’t quite make it around the world, but we did manage to walk 7 miles through all of Cambridge and Boston. Want to take a work or study break yourself? Read below for a recap of our adventure!

The race began in Government Center, where we registered, picked up our bibs and T-shirts, and people-watched to see some outrageous costumes. Since we were last-minute participants, we sported jeans and gray tank tops as “uniforms”, but a lot of people went all out. We saw Reno 911! cops (complete with short shorts), the Flintstones, cops and robbers, a science nerd couple, and many other unique duos. At exactly noon, they handed out the red envelope with our clues. We sat on the steps of Government Center for about 10 minutes, deciphering the riddles and strategizing to come up with a game plan. After figuring out the location of about 8 of the 11 clues, we took off for the Red Line to head to Harvard Sq.

CLUE #5: It’s better when you mix things up. Unscramble the following letters and make your way to this hidden gem where environmentally conscious tactics and amazing treats fuse together. Though there are mobile locations as well, head to the headquarters to enjoy a delicious race refreshment. Return to the finish line with a photo of all teammates posing in front of the infamous giant whiteboard as proof of completion. LECVOR OFOD ABL

Easy one! Clover Food Lab, of course, headquartered on Mt. Holyoke St. in Harvard Square! They served us some delicious cinnamon lemonade, which was a great relief from the hot sun.

CLUE #3: Only here would you find Tom Brady updating his Facebook status while Sarah Palin texts Lady Gage and Drew Faust on her iPhone. Make your way to this Harvard landmark, opened in 1960, where you’ll always find a celebrity – even if it’s only on the menu. Take a picture of all teammates in front of the location’s sign, featuring the signature top hat as proof of completion.

Gotta give credit to Christine’s friend Ev and Katie (aka Team Flower Power) on this one… the famous Bartley’s Burgers. I had no idea! Leave it to an ex-veg to have no idea where the good burger places in Boston are.

CLUE 7: Solve the below equation to determine the numerical name of this coffeehouse on Mass Ave. Upon arrival, locate the two posters, determine the three differences in the pictures, and fill in the blanks below with the differences you have discovered. With staff approval, return to the finish line with the correct answers and flyer provided as proof of completion.

No need for math. What other coffee shop in Boston has a numerical name besides the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square? Christine managed to find all three of the differences, and I completed a matching game about how to make different coffee shop drinks. Never thought my year of Panera barista experience would come in handy again!

CLUE 1: Mrs. Reynolds is odd. She likes balloons but not parties. She likes books but doesn’t like reading. She likes letters but not words. She likes noodles but she doesn’t like pasta sauce. She likes apples but she doesn’t like plums. She likes coffee but not tea. According to the pattern in the riddle above, take a picture of all teammates in front of a street sign that Mrs. Renyolds would like as proof of completion.

Have you figured it out yet? This one literally took Christine, an avid reader, about two seconds. I hadn’t even finished reading the riddle before she yelled out, “We need to find a street sign with two letters that are the same next to each other!” Good thing most of the destinations fell along Mass Ave, making this an easy clue to complete!

CLUE 4: Tom Selleck, Hulk Hogan, Charlie Chaplin and the Pringles Guy all share this common characteristic. Make your way to the district where you’ll find the best selection of colorful and charismatic garments for all your costume needs. When you arrive, head inside to pick up your very own must-have accessory. After you collect your disguise, find a stranger sporting genuine growth somewhere in the city. Take a picture of one teammate with the stranger showing off their style as proof of completion.

Another easy one – the Garment District! Really, we expected a little more challenge from guys… Oops, spoke too soon. Despite the fact that Christine and I both have been there on multiple occasions, we managed to make a wrong turn and walk 2 long blocks out of our way before realizing. And it had just started to rain. We persisted, however, and picked up our fake mustache from the Garment District. To be continued…

CLUE 6: Make your way to the statue pictured to the right, constructed by Spanish artists, Jaume Plensa. Featuring a mixture of mathematical symbols, return to the finish line with a photo featuring all teammates jumping in the air.

Math symbols? Must be near MIT! Only took us 3 tries to get this picture… not bad compared to other teams who needed at least 10 or 12 shots to get an in-sync action shot!

CLUE 8: Definition: a lump, a solid piece, or often a metal. This unique store features everything from Rolling Stones collector’s edition vinyl, to classic Bob Dylan CDs, and even hard to find Creedence Clearwater cassette tapes. Celebrities and commoners alike have stopped in to shop the goods and leave a lasting impression. Find this discrete distributor of music and snap your photo in front of the Piano Man’s classic Kohuept album, autographed by Mr. Long Island himself. Return to the finish line with a photo of one teammate posing in front of the album as proof of completion.

What do you do when you have no idea what the clue is talking about? You phone a friend! Unfortunately, my musician friend wasn’t sure, but luckily Ev (thanks again Team Flower Power) had a musician friend too. Apparently, he was out shopping for vinyl records when she called, and the owner of the store was able to help us out with the clue. It led us to Nuggets in Kenmore, a place I passed on an almost daily basis for 2 years and never really took note of!

CLUE 12: Let’s play Tic-Tac-Toe! Complete three of the nine challenges in the Tic-Tac-Toe square:

  • Take one picture of a teammate honking a stranger’s car horn 
  • Return to the finish line with a penny dated between the years of 1961-1979 – Found on our way out of Nuggets on the ground – best find of the game!
  • Take one picture of all teammates high-fiving a stranger in uniform 

CLUE 4: After retrieving our mustache from the Garment District, we were actively scouting Boston for a hipster with a ‘stache to take a picture with. We figured our best bet would be in the Berklee area. We turned down Boylston on our way to the next destination, and the Berklee kids did not disappoint. We stalked an unassuming and harmless looking guy and innocently asked if we could take a picture with him and his awesome mustache. He was flattered and agreed. We opened our backpack and (gasp) the mustache was gone! Oh noooo! We apologized to our new hipster friend for wasting his time, mourned our missed opportunity, and brainstormed how to complete the task without returning all the way back to MIT. To be continued…

CLUE 10: It’s a hotel, motel, Holiday Inn! Or maybe it’s jus a temporary home away from home for international guests. Regardless, this community is open to travelers from around the world. Journey to this Hemenway St. location and translate the 7 words found on the wall to decipher the secret word. You have two chances to provide the correct answer and receive verification from the staff. In order to receive credit, you must return to the finish line with the correct answer and flyer provided as proof of completion.

The only hostel I have ever heard of in Boston! Thank goodness for GPS (which helped us get there) and Google Translate on my smart phone. We had to translate 7 random words in different (unlisted) languages in order to come up with the word that was the answer to the riddle: EXPLORE.

CLUE 2: Though an English playwright wrote the original in the early 1600’s, the modern-day story might read something like this: Helen loves Bert, Bert does not love Helen. Helen chases Bert and wins his commitment. All ends well. Now it’s your turn to role-play! Venture to the park outside of the South End Library where your task awaits. Return to the finish line with the CSC flyer as proof of completion.

We reported to the South End Library, where we had to read a two page scene from Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, which will be performed by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company this summer. They will surely be much better than Christine and I were!

CLUE 9: Don’t blink or you might just miss this lightening Bolt run past you! Seek out his autographed shoe in this South End running store and snap your photo in front of it. Return to the finish line with a photo of all teammates posing with the shoe and flyer provided as proof of completion.

Bolt… running… Usain Bolt! Now where in the South End would he have a signed running shoe…? Smart phone saves the day again! You can see the shoe, too, at the South End Athletic Company on Tremont St. (only a few blocks away from my school!)

CLUE 4: We had called Team Flower Power to see what we could/should do about our lost mustache. The same thing happened to them along the way – silly, elusive fake mustache! They found another along the way, presumably which belonged to another team. They told us they would hide it for us on Boylston St. before they headed to the finish line. However, Christine and I were wet and cold and tired of walking at this point. We decided to make a new friend while in line for our photo-op with the famous shoe. Luckily enough, they had a mustache and had already taken a picture with it, so they generously gave it to us to use. We ran outside and spotted a cute old man smoking on his stoop. He kindly agreed to a photo and told us he couldn’t wait to tell his grandkids!

FINISHED! We ran hobbled to Washington St, caught the SL5, and made our way back to Government Center. Our final completion time was 3 hrs and 40 mins. An exciting, rainy, and fun-filled adventure. If the Great Urban Race comes to a town near you, check it out. If not, spend a day exploring new, random places in your own city. It is always fun to learn new facts about the place you call home!

May 11, 2011 at 7:00 am 2 comments


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