Where to begin?
Let’s start with the number of times I saw women running with dogs this week whom had no business running with dogs. Three women, three different dogs. This rash of violence against female runners in broad daylight has every woman spooked, from New York to Maine. Two women have turned up dead after going out for a run in broad daylight. A handful more women in the region have reported assaults. There are several reports of young women going missing. To my knowledge, authorities have not revealed any leads or suspects in any of these cases. All of this in a matter of weeks!
I am not someone to take safety concerns too seriously. I let the batteries expire in my smoke detectors, chirping be damned. I rarely wear a seat belt when I am alone in the car, beeping be damned. I threw caution to the wind introducing new foods to my kids, allergies and choking be damned. Do I really need to tell you that I prefer to run alone? That I don’t like to bring a phone because it’s cumbersome, and expensive to replace? That to me, the most desirable routes are the ones least traveled?
But only fools go where angels fear to tread. Even I feel compelled to take extra precautions this week. I took my phone on a 5 mile run around town on Tuesday night and I stayed on well-traveled streets. Wednesday I cross-trained and lifted in the YMCA’s weight room with all the knuckleheads. No perps; not to my knowledge, anyway. And today, Thursday, I joined the Friends of the Fells Trail Running Group for a 3 mile circuit loop on a very “strenuous” section of the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Medford, MA. That’s according to the trail map, and I have to concur. We did half of the Rock Circuit Trail in the blistering heat. I was mud-caked and drenched when I got back to the lot.
Our leader had initially suggested an 11 mile pace, which I thought would be a breeze for me, but that was far, far from the case. Looking over my Garmin data later, I realized I struggled to keep up at a 12.5/13 mile pace. It was a lot of climbing, folks. Hand over foot. And I skidded and landed on my butt once. Not for nothing, but this new interest in trail running in my neighborhood “park” is not for the faint of heart.
Here’s a pic from the morning. You can just make out Boston in the distance.
Curiosity about the Rock Circuit Trail led me to a blog post on a site called Live and Let Hike. As it turns out some transient Harvard grad student deigned fit to traverse our humble hills a couple of years ago. His description includes the trail map, some great data, and illustrative photos. I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he disparaged Melrose ever so slightly in this post, so excuse me if my excitement is a bit tempered.
As I type this I am watching the women’s 100m qualifying heats in Rio on NBC. Believe me, the irony is not lost on this creaky joints mama runner. Sigh. But I’ll live to run another day.
In fact, I’m joining the Fells group for another trail run in the morning, and I will be sporting some kick-ass new kicks of the trail running variety! Altras, anyone? This is my first time in anything but Brooks or Asics in a long time. Wish me luck!