Fresh Ideas For Your Everyday Workout

Fresh Pond's weekly road race brings pride, pain

Go ahead and admit it--you need to be punished.

Despite your resolve at the beginning of the term to workout everyday and stay away from the donuts and the chocolate, you now find yourself out of shape once again.

Maybe you do a token run once in a while or count running up the stairs to your class as your daily exercise, but as you become softer and softer, you're realizing that things have got to change before you become a marshmallow.

Here's a solution.

Approximately two and a half miles away at the Fresh Pond Reservoir there is a road race every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

It doesn't matter if it's raining, or snowing, or hailing because this race ritually takes place 52 weeks of the year and is a big Cambridge tradition. No excuses.

Running is certainly not a "yee-haw let's have a good time" recreational activity.

It's painful, it takes a toll on your joints, and it is about as exciting as walking through the Science Center late on a Saturday night. And the hardest part of running is not even the physical pain, but is actually getting yourself to do it.

However, I have never found any other physical activity that has given me more of a sense of accomplishment and well-being than running a road race. Whoever said, "Pain is short, pride is forever" must have been a runner.

Most races require registering an hour early, pinning on a number, and battling with swarms of people. All you have to do at the Fresh Pond Road race is simply show up--there is no registration and no fee.

You have a choice of running one 2.5 mile lap around the pond or two laps around if you're feeling particularly masochistic and want to go for five miles.

Anywhere from 20 to 100 people show up on a given Saturday and range from hot-shot distance runners (stay out of their way or you risk getting trampled to death) to your average Joe plodding along at a 20 minute per mile pace.

To get to Fresh Pond, simply go down Garden Street (the road between the Cambridge Common and the Admissions Office) and bear left at fork onto Concord Street Take a left onto Huron Avenue, the first major road that runs perpendicular into Concord. Follow Huron Avenue all the way down until you reach Route 2.

You can enter Fresh Pond at this junction by going through the woods (the main entrance is under construction and can't be accessed). Once at the pond, take a right and go to the main parking lot where the race begins.

There is a lot of potential with this nearby roadrace. Individually, you can plot your progress each time you run and aim for a certain goal (your time is read out to you when your cross the finish line) or the possibility exists of competitions between houses or floors within a house.

Run this race and I guarantee that you'll feel good about yourself and get a tremendous natural rush that'll last longer than those ten shots of vodka you did last Friday night.

In addition, the atmosphere of a road race will force you to push yourself harder than you would by yourself and be the perfect kickstart to get the edge back into your training.