Reservoir at night, loved the colors and way the clouds looked on Saturday

My friend Sarah came over on Saturday to hang out, and help me put things together. (Seriously, I have a problem with reading directions and putting things together. It’s like my brain doesn’t know how to make sense of the pictures unless someone reads them out loud to, or with, me.) THANK YOU SARAH! We went for a walk that night to check out the neighborhood and walk around the reservoir, which is when I took the picture to the left.

My younger brother, the crazy long-distance runner, and running coach, was in town this weekend for a very quick overnight visit. With everything that’s been going on, he’s wanted to come up and visit so we could have a good talk, and we definitely did have several while he was here.  He’s 15 months younger than me, and growing up we fought like “cats and dogs.”  Mom always said that we’d fight each other to the death, but let someone else pick on one of us, and we’d turn on that other person with an equal vengeance to protect each other. So if your kids are like that now, take heart, they can grow up to be pretty close, as we are.

Whenever my brother comes for a visit, it’s always short. Sometimes he arrives on a Wednesday night, and then we run the Feaster Five on Thanksgiving morning, getting into a car a few hours later to drive to my mom in upstate NY.  Sometimes it’s at Christmas, again, a short visit.  Sometimes I’m able to go to NYC for work and I stay with him for a weekend.

View of large pond in Blue Hills. Someone said today it was Houghton's Pond, but I don't think that's the right shape. Think it might be Ponkapog (sp?) Pond.

He’s never been able to really see Boston on his visits, so this morning, I took him down to the Blue Hills area which is located south of the city. It’s where they hold the 13.1 Marathon Boston (yes, it was a running joke that the Boston race was not really  in Boston but a decent drive south of the city.) Definitely not a race whose course had you running around downtown’s skyscrapers, like my first half marathon of the year, which was the Run to Remember on Memorial Day. 

Tiny buildings way off in the distance is skyline of Boston, from the Blue Hills observation tower (looks like a "castle.")

While I was training down there this summer, I found out that there are some pretty easy trails that lead to the top of the largest blue hill, and you can look out over Boston from an observation tower. My friend Lis calls it Great Blue Hill. So, that’s where I took my brother today. I apologize for the quality of this photo and how small the city looks in the distance (everyone, get out your magnifying glasses) but just take it from me, the view is amazing.

By the way, this photo is of Great Bue Hill  but I took the photo at 5 a.m. on the morning of the half-marathon. You can’t see the “castle” from where we took the other pictures posted here, but it gives you an idea of its size anyway. It only took us about 15 minutes to hike to the top. Lots of kids were doing it too, albeit at a slower pace.

the large hill that we climbed today, which I learned while training was called Big Blue, by hikers

 I then drove my brother over most of the course that I had run in June. He said that a few of the folks he coaches in NYC also ran it, and complained a lot about the lack of cups, as well as the mile+ long hill that basically killed everyone. I said now he could go back home and tell them he really understood. He couldn’t believe we had run such a hill and then still had about 1-2 miles to go!   We also hiked up the first “summit” hill that we ran in the race.

Well, maybe walked is a better word than “hiked” since our walk was up a road, not a trail (they close it off on Sundays during the summer.) He thought that hill was pretty steep, about a 10% grade. I said “yeah, that wasn’t the hard one for me, once I did it once in training.” Felt damn good to say that! I believe the road is called Chicktawbut, but I always pronounced it as chick-too-a-butt. I know, I’m an idiot. Once it got into my brain that way, it got stuck.

Last but not least, I just had to show my brother the hill in Newton that I’ve been running up and down to confirm that it really is Heartbreak Hill. I’d say the involuntarily twitching of his fingers confirmed it.  He was like “OH NO, OH NO” when we drove down it. “This hill comes at the absolute worst spot in a marathon,” I believe were his exact words.

Lucky for him, I didn’t make him run it….:-)

Anyway, I’ve mapped out a new route that has me running down and up it, and I can’t wait to make that a part of my normal training.  “Oh yeah, Heartbreak Hill? I run that all the time…” LOL