Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lake Waban Running Route

My awesomesauce friend Lauren just wrote a great post about "The Power of Place" and how your environment affects your overall health.  Do you live by the ocean? Do you live by an amazing running path?  Trails? A place that is totally walker/running friendly?  My guess is that most of us aren't so lucky to have all of that right outside our doorstep.  But I bet most of you are lucky enough to have a place that makes you incredibly happy not too far away.  I know I am.

Laurens post was perfect timing considering I've been struggling running lately.  Not that I have any less love for running but I'm not training for anything* and I haven't been motivated. The heat and humidity haven't helped. So I decided Wednesday would be my track day and I would go to Wellesley College, a track I absolutely adore. I drove into work yesterday and planned to do a fabulous track workout after work. 
The Workout was: 
Repeat the following 3 to 6  times:

400M at 5K pace (with 400 recovery)
300M at 1 mile pace (with 300 recovery)
200M at a little faster than 1 mile pace (with 200 recovery)
100M almost ‘all out’ (with 100 recovery)
(extra 400m recovery lap: optional)

Unfortunately, I was a little unmotivated to run around the track in 96 degree temperatures at 7pm.  Yes you read that right. NINETY-SIX DEGREES. So I decided to the next best thing: run around Lake Waban.
It's been awhile since I've run Lake Waban so I actually forgot how long one loop is.  I thought it was around 1.5 miles so I figured I would jog and take pictures THEN see if I felt ready to do a track workout. Well my friends, Lake Waban is three miles and three miles is about the extent of my runs these days so no track workout for me!  But please check out how gorgeous Lake Waban is.

I'd like to call this my ode to Wellesley.  Dear Wellesley, MA why are you so beautiful and why can't you be cheap enough for me to live here?! Oh and how do you people take pictures while running?  I found it virtually impossible which is I why I stopped for most of these pictures!
I love the mix of this route. Trails, covered bridges, grass, paths... you name it.  And the views are pretty incredible.
 Around mile 2, I stopped and saw a few swans.  I mean, c'mon, how often do you see beautiful swans on your running route?!  Gorgeous!
 The scenery around Lake Waban is perfect.  I've really missed running here.  When I was marathon training we used to work this route into our 15+ long runs and would always hit it around mile 12 so I don't think I've enjoyed it as much as I did last night. I went slow on the run, I took breaks to take pictures and I enjoyed the ride. Sometimes that's what running is all about.
I ended my run sprinting 100 meters on the track and doing loops around the parking lot until I hit 3 miles.  3 miles in 30 minutes with lots of picture stops.  It was a fun run that made me love running again.  Something I needed.

*So as I alluded to in this post, I will NOT be running a fall marathon.  Truth is, I just don't have it in me. You can't run a marathon if you're heart isn't into and I don't want to put myself through the training half-assing it.  I ran Boston with little-to-no training and well, it was REALLY hard.  I don't want to run another marathon until I really have the time and dedication to run a PR.  If I run another marathon now with my busy work schedule and weekend commitments, I know it will be another mid 4:20s marathon and I know in my hearts of hearts, I should be MUCH faster.  So my friends, as Becky put it, "Running makes me a runner.  Marathons do not. "

I promise you I will run another marathon and I will run a time that I'll be proud of, but it may be a few years.  So yes I still love running but no, I will not be running another marathon anytime soon. Marathons are not something you can do on a whim.  They are not something I can do "for fun."  They take dedication, determination, and desire.  The three D's I do not have in me right now. For now I will concentrate on shorter distances and focus on finding my running love.  I will find routes that make me happy, not just routes that get the distances in.

Questions for you:
If you live in Massachusetts: What is your favorite running route?  (I may be traveling all over for better running routes!) 
And how do you know when to push yourself or when to take some time off from distance running?


  1. I am actually loving shorter runs right now. I have a half marathon on the calendar and even that doesn't seem too exciting right now. Instead, I am challenging myself with a sprint tri. All of the training distances are manageable, so it's just fun. Sometimes running is a bigger part of our lives than others, but it's still something that's always there for us at the end of the day.

    I want to run Lake Waban with you!

  2. Yeah, I know I'm pretty awesomesauce... Thanks Lizzy!

    This is a great post - no, an epic post! ;) I love that we are on the same wavelength with running right now. And it's amazing how much a little change in scenery can do for you. Last week when I was in California, I woke up each day excited to run. This week I've been reluctantly slogging through my workouts. I think it's 100% related to the environments.

    Anyway, I'm glad you were able to get out to Lake Waban. I've never been there, but I know Wellesley is beautiful, and the pictures of the run look so pretty! You should definitely try to get out there more often. Beats running around the burbs, right?? :)

  3. Waban Pond is gorgeous, I love your scenery shots.
    I think they perfectly translate our feelings on enjoying the ride. (Or should I say, enjoying the run!)

  4. Waban Pond is beautiful. I love the last paragraph.

  5. I love running anywhere at the cape, and like hiking/running/walking up by mount wachusett.

  6. Why have I never run this route? It is so close to my work!

    Come visit me on the weekend and I will take you to Cohasset to run. It is my favorite loop! Then we can go to the beach

  7. I live in Central Ma and love running the Holden Reservoir--its beautiful, peaceful, mostly shaded and a pretty quite area to do a morning run.

  8. That place you ran looks gorgeous! Next time I'm in MA, take me running there ok? :)

    And I respect you so much for knowing the marathon is not what you need right now. I've been thinking about my own racing schedule for next year a lot lately. And I'm really not sure I want a marathon to be part of it. I had some guilt at first, but then I remembered running a marathon doesn't define anyone as a runner. Just do what makes you happy! And if that's just a few 3 milers a week, then you're still hardcore and awesome!

  9. Waban is so beautiful - who knew! You should try running around Fresh Pond. I love it - and I can take my pup off-leash too!

  10. Looks like a pretty run! I like running along the Charles. Always lots of other people out and about to keep you motivated to keep going and there's a lot to see along the way!

  11. As you know, I totally support your decision to not run a fall marathon. I think it makes a lot of sense, and there's no reason to force something that isn't right for you right now. Whether you're training for a 5k or an ultra marathon or nothing at all, it really doesn't matter - running is a gift and a wonderful thing in your life, and at any given point, it will meet you wherever you're at.
    Your pictures of the lake are so beautiful - it makes me want to run there!! My favorite places are the Charles River, the reservoirs near me, the Boston Marathon route, and some of the nice local high school tracks near me.
    I hope we get to run together soon :)

  12. Beautiful photos! May have to make it out there for a run - nice loop :)

  13. Hehe, I'm pretty sure people stop when they take pictures "during" their runs. Not that I would know ;)
    I LOVE runs like that when you just take in the scenery and enjoy being out there, running. So glad you decided to not run a fall marathon. There is no need to force something like that. I know you want to PR but you'll have time to do that in your life. I promise :)

  14. At our beach! It's a 2.5 mile loop and you get to see ocean, trees, and on a clear day, the NYC skyline all the way from CT!!!

  15. Waban pond looks awesome! I am going to have to make the trek over there soon!

  16. I've started doing a lot of trail running -- it makes the 90-degree days a little more manageable. Borderland in Easton, the Blue Hills Skyline Trail, Lynn Woods are all great. Just use bug spray and, if you're going in the evenings, consider bringing a friend. Or shoot me an email -- I'm always up for getting out of town and into the woods!

  17. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.
    When I used to live in MA, I loved running along the Charles River during sunrise. Still probably one of my favorite routes.

  18. Fresh Pond is great. If you are looking for a longer run, you can start along the Charles River and head over to Fresh Pond and then back. It's beautiful!