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I heart hobbyjogging. I really do!
The Minuteman Bikeway begins at Alewife Station in West Cambridge, the last stop (or the first stop, depending on your perspective) on the MBTA’s Red Line. If you’re going further than Alewife, you have options: you can take a bus, you can find the cab stand (or IRL you can call an Uber) or there’s the Minuteman, which will take you 13 miles west through Arlington and Lexington to the Bedford Depot - at that point you are officially on your own. But for that 13-mile stretch, there are no cars and relatively few road crossings. There are ponds and trees and occasionally a guerrilla art installation of some sort - words painted on the asphalt, colorful threads enrobing tree trunks. There are serious bike-commuters who will ring their bells as they scream past you headed for the train station, their backpacks flashing with bright red lights. There are hobbyjoggers running solo and in gaggles. There’s the five-foot-tall woman who, as far as I can tell, runs from Arlington to Alewife and back every single day (at least in my admittedly limited perspective - I have never not seen her). She looks like she can’t possibly be younger than 60, and she is FAST.

It occurs to me that when people look at my Strava maps, they just see the heavy red line of the out and back; on the swift days, a segment trophy or ten (there are a lot of segments on the Minuteman trail, which is kind of fun). On paper, an out-and-back on the Minuteman is one of the more boring-looking routes I run, but to me it always feels like a special treat, which I hadn’t stopped to ponder until this week. On Wednesday, I had an appointment in Lexington (yes, the historic Lexington, MA, which in addition to being a critical point along Paul Revere’s ride in the days of the American Revolution is also the town where I went to dance class for 10 years and later got hooked on Peet’s Coffee) and I decided to head out early and park my car in Lexington Center so that I could run the western stretch of the Minuteman, something I hadn’t done in years.
It wasn’t until I fed my quarters to the meter and started my warmup sequence that a memory started to fade in: this was where I did my first-ever five-mile run. I had spent the summer of 2005 working my way from the one minute of continuous running I knew I could manage to, eventually, a few minutes at a time, until I could run for three miles without stopping. Could I go for four? One day, I did. But stepping up to five felt like a big deal, a significant milestone on the road to becoming a person who called herself a runner. I was scared of trying and failing, so I borrowed my parents’ Volvo and drove to Lexington, where I knew I could park right alongside the Minuteman path and run without worrying about traffic or getting lost. Not to mention the half-mile markers. There would be no danger of completing this run and then somehow discovering that it hadn’t really been five miles - it would feel legitimate and verifiable.

So as I jogged along the trail towards Bedford this week, I tried to return to the headspace of the 15-years-younger me embarking on this big, serious quest to run five miles without stopping to walk. Today, this is an easy and fun run for me that I can slot into a busy day of commitments, but in 2005, I had planned this Lexington Minuteman run two weeks in advance, two weeks full of nervous excitement and wondering whether it was possible or not. I remembered the big momentous feeling of crossing over Interstate 95, which had felt (and still does!) like a big, significant marker of distance. You go west of 95, and you are OUT there (the Boston real estate market agrees).

When I turned around after 30 minutes - because part of what I love about running now is that all I care about is minutes - I became instantly reacquainted with a very relevant fact: going east from Bedford back to Lexington, the lovely Minuteman trail is ALL UPHILL. A gentle uphill, but a lock-your-cage-and-sit-into-it hill that doesn’t let up until you’re less than a quarter-mile from your starting point. Had I even noticed in 2005 that my route of choice for my first-ever five-mile run was actually ALL uphill for the whole second half? Either way, I am impressed with 2005 me, and I am glad that 2005 me celebrated with an iced latte from Peet’s before driving home.

Subconsciously, I think this is why I return to the Minuteman to run so often, especially now that I live just a mile from Alewife station, where it begins (or where it ends, depending on your perspective) - there is something about it that feels safe, welcoming, seasonally flexible, and above all a place with nothing but good associations in my runner brain. I get chills when I think back to what I did as a beginning runner, the self-doubt I pushed through, the mental and physical endurance it took for me to keep coming back to running again and again until it was a habit that I knew would never really leave me. And I am grateful to be a runner who looks back on her past self with admiration and respect. Running five miles took a LOT more in 2005 than it does now, and I love the girl who wanted to do it anyway.

You are coached, you are loved, and you are winning at life, no matter where you are in your running journey right now.

Coach Sarah
PS: Coach MK writes THE BEST marathon course reports! Check them out on our blog here !! Especially if you are running Philadelphia next weekend, OMG!

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Weekly Podcast Roundup
Coach Sarah challenges you to think about those things that you want to mark as DONE but that are, rather, still very much works in progress. Live in the present participle and recognize the ongoing work for what it is.

Meanwhile, Shady Bitch school is in SESSION, and this week Coach MK is teaching us to respond to passive-aggressive comments in the form of fake cheerleading . Breath Mints are weapons of war, and Southern Belles do not leave home without them (neither should you).

As for the Running Life podcast, we have something very special for you this week, indeed: yet ANOTHER episode with therapist Jummy Olawale and school nutritionist Dalia Kinsey! In this week's installment of Lighten Up! , we discuss the various sources of shame surrounding Thanksgiving and how to cope in your home and outside of it. It's a serious episode and an amazingly fun one!

Meanwhile, on this week's installment of #AskAway with Coach MK and Coach Sarah, we have a STACKED episode (22 questions!) in which we tackle cadence, cold-weather running, and what to make of the continually unfurling news around Nike and Alberto Salazar that Mary Cain kicked off last week (which you can skip if you are exhausted by the horrors of that story - we get it).

If listening to podcasts isn't your thing, don't worry - transcripts and notes live on the blog!
If you have ever run a race and been denied a medal and/or a shirt in your size, e-mail us and tell us about it . We are on a mission to make it right, because you deserve to be front and center.
Do you like downloading things and layering up to ride to school? ROS DOES!

The Maintain PDF is available for your downloading pleasure - check it out as you listen to the podcast!

Click HERE for the EAT Explanation sheets ( and here for the EAT podcast).

Click HERE for the EAT execution sheet.

Click HERE for Coach Sarah's recipes for running success.

IF YOU ARE A RUNNER NOT CURRENTLY RUNNING for ANY reason, please ask about joining Runner, Interrupted, now open to the public! Stay tethered to the running community while you maintain that space in your day and that real estate on your calendar for when you come back. It sucks to be a Runner, Interrupted, but we're going to have fun ANYWAY! (Spoiler Alert, there will be MORE THINGS TO DOWNLOAD!)

If you are RETURNING to running after a long period of interruption, you might be interested in giving our ReBuild program a try!

Click HERE for the ReBuild Puzzle Document that accompanies the ReBuild Episode of the Running Life Podcast (air date 9/7/19).

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#WINNINGATLIFE of the week!
Helen Bermudez Foley is #winningatlife this week! Helen is a research scientist in public health, a mom of two, and an alumna of our recent Slow Burn strength beta test (you can hear her voice on the Slow Burn podcast we released last week )! The amount of strength she did for two months was NO joke and she stuck with it throughout and paid close attention to herself and what she needed to get. Helen's life is currently "life-ing," as she puts it, so she's stepping over into ReBuild for the month because she knows it's the smart decision for her and for the long-term health of her running habit. We are SO proud of empowered decisions like that one and we love coaching you, Helen!
Elyn Macek is #winningatlife, too! Elyn has run two marathons in the last four weeks, (which is, for perspective, as many marathons as Coach Sarah has run in the last 7 years!). She ran Baltimore in October and had a blast, and then ran Indianapolis last weekend and had what she describes as a lousy day. Things didn't go her way but she got what she came for and she's moving on to NEXT. " I finished before the course closed so Indiana is off the list," she says, and the list she is referring to is her goal of running an endurance event in every state . GO ELYN!!!! You are the EPITOME of Tenacious AF!!!!
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