I was walking toward the Fenway T stop, looking admiringly up at the efforts to restore the facade of the Landmark Center. A friend had just dropped me off by the parking lot, I was going to hop on the green line home. Hands in my pockets, my shin wrapped, my Portal-themed messenger bag hanging high over my shoulders, and my blazer keeping out the slightly crisp early-fall air.
Over the music piping through my headphones, I hear the sound most MBTA commuters dread–at least at a certain distance: the squeal of metal-on-metal that heralds the arriving D-line train.
As seasoned MBTA commuters know, that sound means one thing: Run, or risk waiting 20+ minutes for the next train.
The difference between this time and my last mad-dash to the platform is that I’ve been running for the last couple of weeks. I’m wearing my Chucks, i.e., terrible shoes for running, but I really would like to go home. I speed up, not quite a full sprint, but a pace I think will get me there fast enough, but without wearing me out.
I run down the sidewalk, aware that my coat is flapping, my bag starting to slip around my torso. I pass a couple crossing the Bed, Bath and Beyond parking lot, increasingly sure I’ll make it. I round the corner, make it onto the platform and zip between exiting passengers. The mirror on the front door is in sight, and I’m relatively sure the conductor can see me by now. I’ve made it.
But I don’t let up. I reach into my jacket pocket for my wallet and run right to the door, stride up the steps, and tap the CharlieCard.
After that, I should be winded. Exhausted. My heart is thumping–at an active speed, but not the panic induced by my regular madcap MBTA fun runs. The train starts rolling as I wander through the central accordian section. This is a newer car, and there is one of the slightly awkward solo seats open at the foot of the rear steps. I feel I’ve earned it. I sit down.
My shins ache a little. My breath is still with me. My heart rate is already returning to a reasonable rest.
Thus far, my running career has been a series of tiny victories. My own preconceptions typically the victims of these battles. Realizing I actually have more stamina, more running ability, more speed than previously thought. This was the first actual test, the first time I have run outside of my C25k program (which I am hoping to continue tomorrow).
Once again, I surprised myself.
Shin Status: Still aching a little.