Boston Blog Posts
Running paths in the Back Bay
If your looking to work out for the JPMorgan Corporate Challenge 5K and your in the Boston's Back Bay. There are some alternative running spot beside running along the Charles River. This is a useful tip for people that are looking for alternate running spots in Boston.
The main problem with running in the City is keeping the rhythm with all the street crossing. How can you maintain a good pace when you have to stop at intersections and wait to cross? Well there are a couple of really good solutions.
Back Bay Triangle ( 1.55 Mile)
Starting from the corner of Massachusetts Ave and Hunnington Ave, you run up to Bolyston Street and take a right, you continue all the way past the Boston Public Library take a right on to Dartmouth Street, then a left onto Hunnington Ave back to Massachusetts Ave. This triangle trip has the fewest number of major street crossing in Boston. You should be able to maintain a fairly constant pace for the duration of your workout.
You should consider this path if your looking for a long workout run. The good thing about this run is that 2 trips around is equivalent to a 5K! Which is a good way to measure your results.
Back Bay Gardens (1/2 Mile)
From the Back Bay station to Massachusetts Ave is a pedestrian-only walkway. This walkway parallels Huntington Ave and the worst that you'll encounter would be people with strollers.
The advantage of this route is that there's only one street crossing and there's not much traffic on the street, so you should maintain your pace. It's a good location for a run and to easily track your progress.
The other good reason to use this spot is that it isn't that crowded, so you don't have to worry about running around other people.
There's lots of other places to run in the city of Boston. I listed two places that I know of that are great for a lunch workout without getting too far from most of the businesses around the back bay.
Debt Validation LetterIn the coming weeks Massachusetts residences will be getting Debt Validation letters from various companies, such as Auto Finance companies. This is not a collection letter, but basically a letter of information that you are a customer of the debit that they hold. This is response to a new change in Massachusetts regulations.
Here's some more information:
The Massachusetts debt collection regulations require creditors to provide a validation notice. Under the amended regulations, creditors are now required to provide a debt validation notice, similar to that required under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The amended regulations require creditors, within five days of the initial communication in connection with the collection of a debt (defined as more than 30 days past due and owing), to provide the debtor or his or her attorney:
- the amount of the debt;
- the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
- a statement that unless the debtor, within 30 days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the creditor; and
- a statement that if the debtor notifies the creditor in writing within the 30-day period, that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the creditor will cease collection of the debt, or any disputed portion thereof, until the creditor verifies the debt and provides the debtor or his attorney, by first class mail, the following:
- all documents, including electronic records or images, which bear the signature of the debtor and which concern the debt being collected;
- a ledger, account card, account statement copy or similar record, which reflects the date and amount of payments, credits, balances and charges;
- the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the collecting creditor; and
- ;a copy of any judgment against the debtor. Mass. Regs. Code tit. 940 § 7.08. The creditor must cease collection of the debt until it has made reasonable efforts to obtain and provide this information to the debtor.
Building confidence in running
Some advice that I found on running when you start to loose to confidence and not meeting goals. Some things to think about while your training for a 5k run:
Focus on achievable goals: Instead of setting a goal to run an in-month best time which may not be realistic right now, focus on a goal that is challenging yet realistic. For instance, to run a best time by the end of the month, you need to work on the back half of your race. So, set a goal of negative splitting your race. It is do-able and will set you up for fast racing later.
Recreate past successes: Go back, in your mind, to the last time when you were running well. Recall how you felt, what you said to yourself and how you focused when standing on the blocks getting ready to race. Try to recreate that now. Set the stage for your success. While a multitude of factors affect performance, your attitude and thoughts certainly have an influence. Strive to recreate the "mental environment" that has proven beneficial.
Carry P's with you: P stands for Positives. When not running well, there is a tendency to be attuned to negatives; to focus on all the negative things that confirm you are not running well. For example, a runner who is struggling will get out of practice and remember the two missed intervals and how heavy his legs felt on the sprint set. You need to force yourself to acknowledge the P's - the positive, good things that occurred such as improvements in technique or feeling better than the day before. These P's should go with you to competitions to give you confidence that things are turning around.
American Bald Eagle
If your looking for a good opportunity to get a close up picture of an American Bald Eagle, you should visit the Ecotarium in Worcester. You can see a couple of Bald Eagles outside the walkway as you walk into the museum. There are other animals available outside, but the day that I went it was too cold to walk around to see them.
This particular picture I took with my Sony- Cyber-shot DSC-HX200V and zoom in to the head of the eagle. This was easy to do since one of the eagles was sitting on an egg and not moving around as much. The zoom did manage to block out some of the cage netting.
The Ecotarium is located near Route 9 in Worcester and it about a 35 minute drive on Route 9 from Framingham. This is a fun place for families to learn all about the environment and science. There's lots of indoor and outdoor exhibits. I would definitely recommend going during a warm day since there's plenty of things to do outside. For $3 more you can ride the train around the property.
The Ecotarium is eligible under the ACM Reciprocal Network. As of April 1st, the Uniform Reciprocal Benefits changed so that up to 6 people now pay 50% of the cost of the museum. The old benefit had 100% off for 4 people.
J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge
I just signed up for the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge 5k race which will run on June 20, 2013. This is the first race that I have done since high school, many many years ago. Over the next few weeks I'll be training to make sure that I have a great race. I am not in it to win the race, just to have a great finish and a fun time on the way.
I just downloaded the 5K Training For Beginners - From Couch To 5k Runner In 8 Weeks Or Less by Jago Holmes, on my Kindle to help me get started on my journey. It's a good investment since I was able to borrow it free since I have Amazon Prime. The reviews and ratings are good. I downloaded the preview and think its a good read for the month.
I'll update this blog on my journey to get to the finish line. I am not taking this race lightly. I want to make sure that the race is fun and that in the process I get into better shape. One other positive side effect is that it will make the morning run to the train station a little bit easier.
Common Mistakes new Commuter Rail riders make everyday
I was talking to a fellow commuter rail rider yesterday, we chat every once in a while and we came up with five things that almost ever new Commuter rail users encounter.
Getting to the train station late
Plan to get to the station at least 10 minutes before the schedule arrival of your train. Don't be the one running as the train is leaving and yelling to the conductor to wait, they won't. Get there early and wait.
Not buying a train pass at South Station or Back Bay
If you get on at South Station or Back Ba. you will pay a $2 premium if you purchase tickets on the train. Get your ticket at the ticket booth and then wait for the train.
Not having the ticket available when the conductor is walking around
Have your ticket handy so when the conductor comes around they don't have to wait for you to find it. If you buy a pass, make sure to put it right back where you got it.
Wear the right shoes in rough weather
The train can be slippery when getting off and on and wearing high heels or shoes with no soles will only lead to a free fall. Pay attention to the stairs as you walk on and off the train.
Getting on the train is "every poor sucker for themselves."
This is mostly true when getting on the train at the Back Bay station. When the train arrives, everyone wants to get on to get that premium seat. Don't expect that everyone will get out of your way to get on the train. If you're going to be a while, because you have luggage or your slow on the stairs, wait for everyone else to get on.
Getting off the train is slightly different story, commuters are actually more friendly and will have no problem with you getting in front of them to get off the train.
Bring something to read/do on your ride
When you get on the train you may not have to opportunity to sit and look out the window. Bring a book or Kindle with you to read on your journey. Also keep in mind on some busy trip you may not have a seat.
If your looking for a good afternoon snack, stop by 5 Napkin on Huntington Ave. This is their menu plan for the unofficial happy hour. Massachusetts only ban Happy Hour for alcohol consumption, there's nothing wrong with having food as a happy hour:
Twice a day, 7 days a week! 4-7pm, and 9pm-close, in the bar area. $2 sliders (orig, veggie or turkey), 50-cent wings, $2 pork taquitos (4) and $2 hand rolls (spicy tuna & cucumber or spicy salmon & avocado)
Mass General Laws
Did you know that you could be fine for carrying a lighted match, cigar, cigarette or pipe on MBTA property? From the Mass General Laws C272 Sec 43a, which is posted on signs all around the MBTA Station:
Section 43A. Whoever, in or upon a railroad carriage, steamboat, or other public conveyance, or in a terminal or other facility of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, smokes or carries an open flame or lighted match, cigar, cigarette, or pipe shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten days or by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars, or both such fine and imprisonment.
I guess the MBTA is really cracking down on not just smokers but people that are holding smoking paraphernalia. In other words, you're a criminal for possessing a legal product in your pocket.
Icing on the Cake
If your looking for the best place in metro Boston to get a special occasion cake, you should check out 'Icing on the Cake' in Newton. This is certainly a hidden gem in Newton that has a huge fan base.
We have ordered from them many times in the past six years. Not only do we enjoy the delicious cakes, but we are amazed at the creativity that they put into each cake.
Icing on the Cake isn't a normal cake place, its for those special occasions when just any cake won't do. If your celebrating a 65th birthday, do you really want to get a cake from Stop and Shop or BJs?
When your ready to place an order, don't pick up the phone. Make a trip to the store Why? Because the store will inspire you will all sorts of ideas.
The friend staff will work with you to produce an awesome cake, that will taste as good as it looks. One of the cool things about the store is that they have refrigerators that display cakes waiting to be picked up by customers. Which is awesome to see what they can do. Also when you pick up your cake, and you think you have the best one, there's always someone else that has a better design.
Over the past six years have ordered all sorts of cakes, from a DisneyWorld Haunted Mansion cake to a birthday cupcake display with hidden Mickey's.
The cakes taste melts in your mouth, you can make the cake any way you want as each cake is made to order. I really like that the cake taste really good a few days after an event, which is all the more reason to order a size slightly bigger than you need.
On weekends they have some cup cakes that you can purchase too. Excellent way to treat yourself to some of their awesome frosting and cake.
The Icing on the Cake is on 230 Adams Street in Newton, They only accept checks and cash.
If your going to a Red Sox game this year, you could consider parking at the Prudential. They charge $16, which is one of the lowest parking price of any garage around the Fenway area. I believe the garage at 100 Clarendon is slightly cheaper, but adds about 10 minute walking time to/from Fenway.
According to the signs around the Prudential Mall, the walk to Fenway is only 10-12 minutes. However, using Google Maps, the walk appears to be about 20 minutes long. I guess it all depends on how fast one walks.
If you take the Mass Pike, then the parking at the Prudential is a good option, its really easy to get to the garage off the turnpike, and even easier to get back on the turnpike. After the game, instead of getting on the Pike at Copley, take the Mass Ave. exit. It's a little less traffic to maneuver around.
I took some photos this morning around the Back Bay with my iPhone, but I am unable to send them because 3G is not available in Boston right now.
The Prudential Tower and Shops are still without power, almost 38 hours since the transformer blew up. There are lots of power trucks all around the back bay, mostly in front of apartment and condos.
Coffee in the Back Bay
There are 5 unique places to buy coffee between the Back Bay T stop and Christian Science Plaza:
Dunkin Donuts (3 Locations)
- On Stuart Street, across the street from the John Hancock tower
- Inside the Shaws super market next to the Prudential Shopping Center
- Inside the Prudentail Center near the Hynes Convention Center
Starbucks (2 Locations)
- Inside the Copley Place Mall, near the Boston Marriott
- Inside the Prudential Shops, next to Barnes and Noble
Au Pon Pain (2 Locations)
- Inside the Copley Place Mall, near the Stuart Street entrance
- Inside the Prudential Shops, near the Hynes Convention Center
Paradise Bakery & Cafe
- Inside the Prudential Shops, in the food court
- On the corner of St. Botolph Street and West Newton Street
In Boston's BackBay there's a famous candy store called, "Sugar Heaven" which offers Bostonians a great place to stock up on their favorite candy. They have pretty much every type of candy in stock and lots of bulk candy to select from.
Sugar Heaven is located at 669 Boylston Steet, Boston MA, across the street from the Boston Public Library. Intrusting bit of trivia is that a Dentist office is right next door to Sweet Heaven. You can call the store at 617-266-6464 and see if they have your candy in stock!
If you are looking for another store for bulk candy check out Truffles Fine Confections in the Prudential Shopping Center. They have a smaller selection, but the selection tends to be unique to what Sugar Heaven has. The prices are a bit cheaper at the Truffles Fine Confections and they have yummy Truffles!
Truffles Fine Confections is located in the Prudential shopping center across from Legal Seafoods, near the Boylston Street entrance. Save time and call the store with your order at 617-536-2663!
So if your looking for Bulk candy for an event, it worth checking out both stores for a great selection!
On my train commute, I have been spending my time reading. I notice that a lot of commuters read on the train. The most common thing that I see people read is the 'Boston Metro.'
The Boston MBTA has a quiet car, but I have found that most of the train is pretty quiet with people busy reading books or doing some work on their laptop. Every once in a while you'll hear someone on the phone.
From Framingham to Boston is about 45 minutes, in which I read about 25 pages. The number of pages depend on the level of book. For example, it took longer to read the 'Brief History of Time' because the complex subject matter.
Here are the following books that I have read since October:
- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
- The Brothers Bulger: How They Terrorized and Corrupted Boston for a Quarter Century by Howie Carr
- 2020 Vision by Stanley M. Davis
- Inside the Tornado: Strategies for Developing, Leveraging, and Surviving Hypergrowth Markets (Collins Business Essentials) by Geoffrey A. Moore
- If it Ain't Broke...Break It!: And Other Unconventional Wisdom for a Changing Business World by Robert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler
- A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis
On the ground in front of the building on 116 Huntington Avenue in Boston is a plaque which reads:
The CARYATIDS that support the arch over the large
oculus of this building were designed by Boston Artist,
Syma. The figures reference the original sculpted
Caryatids who supported the pediment of the Temple of
Diana in ancient Greece. Diana was the Greek
Goddess of dance and dreams. Seven stars adorn each
panel, a reference to the Pleiades, which, according to
Greek Mythology, were the seven Caryatids or
priestesses of Diana who were places among the stars
by Zeus. Each of the stars has six points, a
traditional symbol of harmony and transformation.
The waves underfoot recall 19th century Back Bay,
once covered with water.