Boston love

You know it’s been one hell of a week when it barely registers a blip on the screen that the president and a U.S. Senator both received ricin-filled letters.

I think as a nation we gave a collective sigh of relief on Friday night when “suspect #2” was apprehended in Watertown after 24 hours that felt too far fetched for a screenplay, let alone real life. Afterwards, Bostonians on lockdown all day went out for a drink. Or rather, several.

I wish I could have joined them.

I’ve spent the weekend being especially nostalgic for the city of my young adulthood. Boston is as much where I’m “from” as anywhere. I’d never even been to Boston when I arrived on her doorstep at age 18 for my freshman year of college at BU. But I immediately fell for her charms.

Boston is the first place I officially lived on my own. It’s where I experienced first true heartbreak. I made life long friends. It’s where I learned to take public transportation and walk through the city like you mean it. I learned to be hearty. And drink Guinness.

When I first arrived, I was overcome with delight to be in a dorm five blocks from Fenway Park, though dismayed that bleacher tickets cost $7.00. So I discovered college hockey, which was free with our student ID. Friday nights in the winter were dedicated to cheering our team, often to chants of “BC sucks.”

I love the accent. It sounds like home to me. I love the Dunkin Donuts on every corner and the absolute worship of ice cream. Ditto steamers. Lobster. Chowder. Head of the Charles. The Beanpot.

In Boston, I rented my first apartment. Got my first “real” job after a string of jobs that felt anything but unreal.

I learned to cook. Entertain. Mock the weather. I became obsessed with the idea of running the Boston Marathon. And took to the streets every Patriots Day to cheer runners on. I climbed the Citgo sign. Twice.

But then I left Boston, seeking professional opportunities I couldn’t get from the place that nurtured me, developed me, fed my soul.

But I miss her.

I find it somewhat extra poignant that my favorite bar (the Crossroads) closed its doors permanently this weekend. I can only imagine what Saturday night was like.

This too shall pass and eventually I will stop torturing my kids with the songs on repeat that remind me of Boston.

But until then, good times never seemed so good.


maximum capacity

We as a nation can’t seem to cut a break this week. The planets must need some serious realignment.

I have to admit that I’ve felt guilty not absorbing every word of news pertaining to the Boston Marathon bombing. I haven’t yet read Gabby Giffords’ reaction to last night’s failed gun vote in the Senate. A fertilizer plant exploded in Texas? Luckily I have NPR to tell me what I need to know.

While a lost cat seems trivial to all the tragedy that happens each second of the day the world over, it’s what I’m capable of focusing on in this minute. I can’t control whether a nut or nuts bomb an iconic U.S. sporting event (one that is dear to me in a city that used to be my home). I certainly can’t control how the U.S. Senate votes. But I can do everything in my power to find a beloved pet and return her to my devastated children.

While I believe as humans we have unlimited ability to love, laugh and show compassion, I also think there’s a maximum amount of sadness, fear, heartache and despair that one can shoulder.

So for this week, and hopefully it’s not even a full week, I focus my attention closer to home. I’m sadly cynically confident that there won’t be a lack of bigger issues awaiting my attention when our own family crisis is over.

a girl’s gotta run

It has been 15 months since I laced up my sneakers and hit the road for a run. 15 long months of being crazy because I don’t have an effective replacement outlet for my emotions. 15 long months of feeling bigger than my skinny jeans like me to be because running is the only cardio workout that makes me feel close to svelte. 15 long months of envy, agony and depression when I see other runners getting to do what I so miss.

Being in San Francisco drives my desire to run more than any other place. I love the fog. I love the temperature. Running along the Embarcadero, exactly four miles from my hotel to Fisherman’s Wharf and back, there’s an eerie morning silence juxtaposed by the companionship of other committed runners.

As I sit here and glare at the cross-training shoes I brought so I could use what passes for a fitness center at the hotel, I know that if I had my running shoes this morning, I’d risk increased back pain for the joy of running. I’d kill to feel the dampness of the fog on my face and to experience the exhilaration of pushing myself to a faster pace. Because of my training sessions at Fitness Together, I’m much stronger now than I was 15 months ago, and I want to test that out too. Would I run faster? Could I run longer? Would I be able to attack hills with greater ease?

Oddly, I don’t even remember the Last Run. I doubt I knew at the time that it would be the last one. I’m sure I got up one morning before taking the back procedure journey and headed out the door for my morning run assuming I’d do the same the next day. Then the next day, I most likely couldn’t get out of bed.

I feel like I deserve a Last Run do over. I deserve a chance to bid running adieu. The hardest thing about not being in pain like I used to is accepting that I can’t pick back up and train for the Boston Marathon. I can’t even do the Capitol Hill Classic, a 10k which in the past I found “not long enough” but would do “for fun.”

If you are the worrying type, stop. I’m not going to do it. I know my doctor would kill me if I went back to him and had to explain what I’d done. I know my cross-trainers would not give me the support I need to make the run pleasant. And I know that I’m so very lucky to have been relatively pain-free recently and that I’m lucky I get to wear heels.

A quick run down the hallway in said heels is going to have to suffice for now.