the running zoo 🐸 (and other pandemic adventures)

by Sal and Anna, February 11, 2021

Sal: Throughout the year, we have enjoyed nightly runs around Cambridge. We’ve run everywhere from Cambridge’s city center, where we pass buildings hundreds of years old, to outside of town, where fields with sheep and horses surround us. Our runs started with requiring navigation from Anna’s phone to get back to college. We would run towards anything the seemed of interest and explore, and once we decided it was time to head back, Anna and Apple’s map app would be the guide. It’s been a great way to explore the area! We quickly became familiarized with numerous landmarks and now rely entirely on our own familiarity with the area for navigation. Running has also been something safe to do in the pandemic and allowed under the coronavirus lockdown, acting as one of the few constants in life at the moment.

I wear an apple watch each run that, among other things, tracks our running routes and their distances. From the apple watch data, we know that we have run a total of ~360 miles since October! It has become a fun game to look at our running route after each run to see where we’ve explored and what the route looks like. We eventually started naming different routes. And as we ran more, we collected more and more routes, making up our current zoo of running routes. Below we share a few from our collection, which others are either made up of or slight variations of.

Witches Broom Stick. 5.2 miles. The route looks like a broomstick, which we’ve decided belongs to a witch who uses it to fly
Berries Run. 2.8 miles. This run takes us down Eddington Ave, west of Churchill college, where a grocery store called Sainbury’s is located. The route is called the Berries run since we run past Sainbury’s
Bow Tie. 4.4 miles. This route looks very much like a bow tie, where the line on the left is the part that goes behind your neck.
Witches hat. 5.4 miles. If you rotate the picture about 130 degrees clockwise and use your imagination, this route looks like a witch’s hat! The tip of the hat is located where the word “Cross” is on the map, and our witch’s head would be right where the word “Chesterton Road” is
Primordial Creature. 5.7 miles. This is one of our personal favorites. The route looks like a creature with two feet: its left foot is southwest by Newnham and the right foot is where it says “Cambridge” on the map.
the comb. 6.6 miles. On one run, Sal decided to try to make the running route look like a comb. As you can see from the route, Sal’s artistic abilities are truly impressive and awe-inspiring.

Anna: The runs have provided a stroke of constancy through the cycles of lockdown this academic year. They have had the added benefit of building my geographical awareness of Cambridge. I feel a degree of confidence in navigating the city that is surprising for someone who is usually very directionally impaired.

Our readers (i.e. my mom) have requested more pictures, so here are a few snapshots from the past few weeks. Because lockdown is preventing us from having meals together in person, the Churchill scholars arranged a virtual dinner a few weeks ago! Those of us in my house (64 Storey’s Way) cooked food for the group. Folks not in our house stopped by our backyard with empty tupperware that got filled up takeout-style. Once everyone had returned to their own rooms, we ate dinner together over zoom. The menu included Azim’s famous saag paneer, lentil curry courtesy of Jasmine, rice, brownies, and a kilo of raita (I quadrupled the recipe which turned out to be a bit excessive). 

Jasmine and Alice filling plates for the Churchill scholar zoom dinner. Featuring the remnants of our weekly asymptomatic COVID test

64 has continued our house dinners, albeit with the marked absence of some housemates who are staying home for Lent term. Last weekend Azim and I made squash soup, maple-roasted tofu and brussels sprouts, garlic bread, parsnips, and mulled wine. The weekend prior, Jasmine and Macy prepared an extravagant build-your-own pizza bar. 

64 House dinner last weekend. It appears in this picture that the main course was garlic bread. Which is not entirely wrong.
The pizza assembly line in full swing

In late January, Alice and I helped organize an online social designed to connect female and nonbinary math students at the university. We used the platform Gathertown, which allows participants to walk around virtual rooms and have video conversations with other nearby users. In the screenshot below, Alice, I, and a few other math students (blurred out for privacy) are hanging out in the “moonpond.”

The Emmy Noether Society’s kickoff Gathertown social

Last but not least, 64 has sorely missed our housemates who are staying home for the spring term. Luckily we recently made a new friend.

Look who I ran into outside 64…

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