Thursday, September 08, 2005

i know this much is truman

Yesterday, some commenters who live in these parts were suggesting places for me to run in Boston (not Cambridge or Somerville).* Yeah, right. I don't want to carry a map when I run, but instead I looked over a map shortly after I got here and formulated my Truman Show Rule of running. Remember how, in The Truman Show, the way they kept him from leaving his island town was to make him deathly afraid of water? My rule: so long as I don't cross water--or, less Trumanly, an Interstate highway--I can't get too lost.

But, of course, I still can get turned around, which is what happened last night. I started out planning on only about 40 minutes, because the previous night I pushed myself speed-wise a little bit too hard when running for an hour and so my legs already felt sore when I started out**. But I screwed up my sense of direction somehow while running through what I think was Harvard's married graduate student housing, and then compounded the error by making absolutely the wrong turn somewhere near Central Square. It's this sinking sense of directional dread when you feel like you are going the right way but also know that you should be going toward things you recognize but instead things are getting less and less familiar. Eventually I had to ask this (presumably, from where it turned out I was, from MIT) fraternity kid which way Harvard Square was and, of course, he pointed exactly back the way I had been running for nearly a mile.

By the time I got home, my planned 40 minute run was almost 90 minutes, and I had the strong sense of having Overdone It and that my legs were not going to forgive me in the morning. They haven't. Incidentally, the last song playing on my iPod shuffle when I reached the front door last night: "My Own Worst Enemy".

* Regarding the thing I was saying yesterday about squares every 10-12 blocks: I don't know what I was thinking. In parts of Cambridge, literally consecutive intersections (nothing unusual about them, just intersections) have signs designating them as squares. There is an three-way intersection near Central Square announcing a square with one name on one side of the intersection and another name on the other.

** (Yes, I stretch, especially when my legs definitely feel like they would be less cranky if I did.)

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

(You are soooo funny.)
Running around the river or Fresh Pound I guess is out? Why not run down Concord Ave. to Belmont Center. Go under RR bridge and take a sharp left and continue up the hill (yes, a nice hill!). At the top, you'll come to a little dirt road on your right. Go down there to the Habitat meadow. Jog in and run around the trails. You can't get lost in there. When you want to go home, just go DOWN any road and you're back in Belmont Center. All that nature, just 2 miles from Cambridge.


Or just get on that path created for such as you: Starts in North Cambridge and goes miles and miles, through Arlington, Lexington etc. No hills, no little squares to frustrate you. How do you find it? Oh, come on!! Pick up a map for hikers/bikers or ask someone.
Another VERY nice run is through Lincoln. And you can stop at the museum out there. Round trip c. 16 miles.

aaron said...

funny that you mentioned "The Truman Show" in your blog today because I did the same thing, though for completely different reasons. You should check out my post: habitualhistorian.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hulot lives!

Anonymous said...

up brattle st. to mt. auburn cemetery. climb tower. cambridge and environs spread out like a map. chose.
If you jog along Cambridge/Somerville line, expect street name changes when you cross from one to another.
Squares: you know (don't you?) that oldest streets around here laid out by native Americans, cattle and the like. Also, land along river all filled in. Used to be tidal. A little history may help you decide what's really quirky.

Anonymous said...

actually entire parcel of city now known as the "back bay" was filled in during the mid-18th century. dirt brought in by train from what are now suburbs (e.g., needham). there's a plaque outside the copley T stop (boylston and dartmouth) that gives some more details.

eszter said...

Sorry to hear this, sounds pretty painful. See, if you'd be in Princeton, you couldn't get lost even if you wanted to! I tried a couple of times, but it never worked.

Rhymes With Scrabble said...

Well, at least you're feeling a virtuous kind of pain.

My butt is still killing me from fencing club on Tuesday, but I'm hoping going tonight won't make it any worse.

Anonymous said...

Back Bay got more than just dirt brought in from Needham. On Cambridge side, tide used to come up close to where Harvard Sq. now is. You can see a bit of waterline wall on Winthrop St., across from Upstairs at Square.
Some good books around for you to get more info than the generalities in these commentaries. Get hold of them!

Agee said...

Your complaints about Boston's "square" issue suggest you have yet to fully embrace your new "Masshole" identity. [Welcome to New England, where we also have Mainiacs and Vermonsters].

Anonymous said...

i love you jeremy

jeremy said...

Um, I'm sure I love you, too, Anon 8:08pm. Especially since 8:08 is a palindrome and I love palindromes.

Anonymous said...

Not to bring up They Might Be Giants yet again, but you should give their song "My Own Worst Enemy" a listen.

"Precious and few are the moments that you and your own worst enemy share."