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Running the Tufts 10K

Running in the Tufts 10K is always a lot of fun, because it brings together thousands women of all ages and abilities. Everyone is very upbeat, and people talk to each other during the race and encourage each other to finish. I also enjoy the crisp fall weather and the beautiful course, which goes through some of the nicest areas in Boston. (The race starts on the Boston Common, goes down Charles Street along the base of Beacon Hill, across the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge, along the Charles River past MIT to the BU bridge, back over the Harvard Bridge, down tree-lined Commonwealth Avenue, and then around the Boston Public Garden to the finish line on Charles Street.) And of course there's the thrill of knowing you're in the same race as famous runners like Joan Benoit Samuelson.

My first time in the Tufts 10K was in 1980 (when it was called the Bonne Bell 10K). I think my time for that race was something like 1 hour and 12 minutes. I ran it a few more times in the early 80's, then quit for a long time. I did it again in 1996, but I was pretty overweight then, and it was a warm day, and it was quite a struggle for me to run the whole way and finish before the 1 hour 30 minute cutoff. But since then, I've lost a lot of weight and have been exercising pretty regularly, so I thought I could do it this time without quite so much of a struggle.

I was joined by my friend, Rebecca Spainhower, who I'd worked with at InConcert, Inc. We'd both been working to lose weight at about the same time, and had taken a lot of long exercise walks together over the past year. Becky had never done a race before and was eager to give it a try. She planned to do most of the race at a fast walk, but with her long stride, her walk was about the same pace as my slow jog, so we were able to stay in sync for the whole race.

Here are some pictures taken on the Cambridge side of the river by my friend Alexis Layton, who came over to cheer us on during his lunch hour.

Just past 1 mileHere we are just past the 1-mile marker. The sun is shining and we're feeling pretty good.

At 4 milesApproaching the 4-mile marker. One of the problems of running this race slowly is that the water stops are out of water by the time you get there (note the guy in orange sweeping up the used cups), and you risk being bumped into by mothers running or walking with strollers.

At 4 milesYou can see from my expression that I really could have used that water.

At 4 milesBut I knew this would happen, so I carried my own water in a waist pack, which really came in handy.

Rounding the turn at 4 milesRounding the 4-mile turnaround with a great view of Boston in the background. The start and finish at the Boston Common is just to the left of that cluster of tall buildings. At this point, that seems like a long way to go.

Catching up!The good side of running the race slowly is that you have more energy left at the end, when the other people tend to be slowing down. Here we're going to pass that group ahead of us, and we steadily passed people right up to the end, when we crossed the finish line with a strong kick.

I haven't got my official time back yet, but when you take into account the fact that it took us 3 minutes just to cross the starting line at the back of the pack of 7000+ runners, we did finish under 1 hour 30 minutes and were feeling pretty good at the end. (Although we were both pretty sore on the following day!)

I'll definitely be back next year for another try.

Orienteering at Prospect Hill

Finishing at Prospect HillThe following weekend, I continued to enjoy the fall weather by orienteering at Prospect Hill and Suasco Watershed on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The crew running the Prospect Hill meet took lots of pictures with their digital camera and then posted them on their web site. Here I am, clutching my map, score sheet, and compass, as I finish the green course (the hardest course) after more than 2 hours in the woods.

The great thing about the course at Prospect Hill is that when you get to the top, you are rewarded with some great views of Boston!

View of Boston from Prospect Hill

(Photos copyright Joel and Daphne Gould, reprinted with thanks)

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