Week 6 – The Sidebar Fiasco Run

August 18th, 2018

Ok everyone, the sidebar maps are back! The SLR Blog is created on the WordPress platform and unfortunately during the past week an update to WordPress resulted in an automatic update which unexpectedly blew away some of the customizations I’ve made for this blog. I’ll be fixing that over the next day.

So last week we we survived the torrential downpour run to Breakheart. My trunk is still damp and musty from the inches of rain that came down upon the water stop. Runners were wet, but enjoyed the refreshing coolness of the morning. This week there is no rain in the Sunday forecast and temps should stay below 70, so we have that going for us.

This week we’ll be running to Winchester. Again I’ll suggest that half route runners carpool to water stop 1 and run the middle portion of the route to change things up.

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Start – We’ll start up Main Street, past Ell Pond, continuing to Franklin Street where you’ll turn left. Continue along Franklin into Stoneham, past Stoneham High School, past Dunkin Donuts, then turning left at the next set of lights onto Summer Street. Summer will take you to Main Street in Saugus, where you’ll cross over to continue straight onto Marble Street. Marble will take you into Winchester, over I-93, where the road changes name to Forest Street. There will be a water stop immediately after you pass over I-93 on the left at Eugene.

Half Finish – Half route runners will turn back over I-93, turning right at the set of lights onto Park Street. Park will become North Border Road and take you to Friendly’s. Cross over and continue straight as the road becomes Pond Street. After passing the Stone Zoo look to take a left to stay on Pond Street to get you to Grimsby’s. Take a left at Grimsby’s following the Lynn Fells Parkway past Melrose High School. Turn right on Melrose Street and right on Main Street, finishing up at Brueggers.

Full 2 – Full route runners along with Alternate Route Half runners will continue down Forest Street, turning left on Highland Ave. Highland will take you up to Winchester Hospital. Turn left onto Reservoir Road. This will take you up towards the Middlesex Fells. Enjoy the views of forest, reservoir, gas lamp street lights, and stately homes as you loop back around to Highland Ave. Turn right onto Highland and continue straight through a 5-way intersection all the way to the end of Highland where you’ll find water stop 2.

Full 3 – Take a right onto Main Street when you leave the water stop. This will take you to a little rotary where you pass a small road then turn at the next right off the rotary to stay on Main Street. There is a Symmes Farm Historical Site sign where you stay on Main Street. Keep on the right side of Main, when you come to a fork you’ll stay right to get on Washington Street. Washington will go through a 5-way intersection where you cross Mt Vernon Street and stay right on Washington. If you pass Winchester High School you went the wrong way, turn around and try again, you should pass St Mary’s Church. Washington will bring you to the Gingerbread Construction Company. Turn right there onto Forest and run up the hills back to the first water stop at Eugene.

Full 4 – Leave the water stop on Forest Street crossing over I-93. Turn right at the set of lights onto Park Street. Continue straight to Friendly’s where you’ll turn right onto Main Street/Fellsway West. This will take you over I-93, past the Sheepfold, under I-93 to Elm Street where you turn left. Elm will take you up to a rotary where you go left and find Flynn Rink. The final water stop will be in the skating rink parking lot.

Full Finish – To finish up the long run continue on Woodland Road to Pond Street, where you turn right to make your way down to Grimsby’s. Continue straight onto West Wyoming and run to Main Street in Melrose. Turn left and finish up at Brueggers.

AltHalf Finish – The alternate half route runners should have followed the Full 2 and Full 3 sections. After that you still have a few miles more before finishing. Go with the full route runners onto Forest to the set of lights where you turn right onto Park. When you get to Friendly’s turn left on Main Street. Main will take you to the intersection with Marble Street where you turn left. Marble will take you back over I-93 to Eugene Drive where you can carpool back.

Water Stops – I’ll need one helper to get through this one. I think Tom has volunteered, but if I’m not right is there anyone else interested in spending a beautiful Sunday morning slinging Gatorade?

Who’s In? – Roll Call!!!

Week 5 – BreakHeartin’

August 11th, 2018

Last Week – Big thanks to Tom and Audrey for handling the Horn Pond run last week. Sounded like a good sized crowd enjoyed a hot and humid run out to the little pond and back.

This week – We’ll be heading in the opposite direction this Sunday, reducing the mileage a bit, but adding a series of tough hills to keep strengthening your legs and your resolve to finish. The weather seems… interesting. It’ll be in the high 60s, low 70s, with scattered thunderstorms in the area. We’ll watch for lightning, if it does occur during the run please continue running until you can duck into a shelter like a building, under an overhang, or into a car, until the lightning subsides. Remember if the time between seeing lightning and hearing thunder decreases that means the storm is coming your way. If they’re within a few seconds apart the storm is close, find some shelter!

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The Start – The group will start from Brueggers at 8AM. Again, if you’d like to start early aim to hit the first water stop around 8:20. The group will head up Main Street to Ell Pond, crossing to the right to veer onto Green Street, and then turning right onto the LynnFells Parkway. Follow the parkway to your first set of lights at the corner of Main Street in Saugus, taking a left there. Half route runners will take a quick left onto Howard Street where they’ll find a little water stop. Long Runners continue straight on Main Street in Saugus until it becomes Farm Street in Wakefield, stopping for a water stop in the Wakefield High School parking lot.

Half Finish – The half route runners will return along Howard Street, turning left onto Green Street. At the lights at the LynnFells Parkway you’ll turn right and run the MRC summer route in the reverse direction: Lynnfells Parkway past Melrose High School, over to Grimsby’s and take a left onto West Wyoming and a left on Main Street to get back to Brueggers.

Full-2 Breakheart Loop – The longer route will take up past the Northeast Metro Tech Vocational School where you’ll find the Wakefield entrance to Breakheart. Run the Breakheart Outer Loop in the counter-clockwise direction. First making your way through some challenging hills. Drive your legs up the long steep hills and then stay controlled as you let gravity take you down the steep downhills and into the next hill. This section will take you over to the headquarters where you’ll go left to continue around to the Breakheart pond. Stay right there as it takes you back over to the Voc where you’ll pop out into the parking lot and back down to the water stop.

Full-Finish – To finish up you’ll run the same way back that you did in Week 1. Turn right onto Farm Street to the end, turning left at the T intersection onto Water Street. Continue into Wakefield Center, turning left onto Main Street. Follow Main Street back to Melrose Center, into Brueggers.

Alternate Half Route – An option for the half route runners is to carpool to parking lot at the corner of the LynnFells Parkway and Main Street in Saugus and joining the long runners up Main Street in Saugus to Farm Street, around Breakheart, and then back along Farm Street and Main Street to their cars.

Water Stops – I’ll take care of the stop at Wakefield High School. I need one helper at Howard Street for the half route. Volunteer?

Who’s in? – Roll Call!

Week 4 – Horn Pond Run

August 3rd, 2018

This week’s Sunday Long Run will take us out Horn Pond in Woburn. Last week we had a pretty hot run as the group headed to Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield for the morning. Overall the crowd was about 40 people, split equally between the half route runners and the full route runners, with a few improvising for something in between.

I will be out of town this Sunday running a race (yes, I do run), and usually I pass off the SLR duties to Lois but she will be running with me, so this week the run will be hosted by Audrey and Tom. We’ll be venturing west through Stoneham into Woburn to Horn Pond. This has been a favorite for many over the years, one of the few routes we only do once a year. There are legends of a muscular shirtless man running around the pond that have been told over the years as well. If you’re into that sort of thing, keep your eyes peeled!

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The run will take off from Brueggers at 8AM, although as always anyone wanting to venture out slightly early can but keep in mind the first water stop won’t be set up until about 8:15 to 8:20. Half runners, if you want to experience Horn Pond feel free to carpool over to the first water stop and jump in there for a 7 mile run from Eugene to Eugene.

The route will take you south on Main Street, past Marathon Sports and Dunkin Donuts before turning right at a set of lights onto West Wyoming Avenue. Follow W Wyoming past Grimsby’s and up Pond Street. When I say up, I mean it, a nice hill to start the day. This will take you to Spot Pond where you go right to keep on Pond Street. Watch for uneven terrain due to construction, it’ll be best to cross over to the pond side of the road and run on the sidewalk. Run straight past the Zoo as the street turns into South Street, and straight past Friendly’s as the street turns into North Border Road, and then straight past the I-93N on ramp as the street becomes Park Street. You’ll get to a set of lights and turn onto Marble Street, passing over I-93 into Winchester as the street turns into Forest Street. On your left will be a small side street named Eugene where you’ll find Tom at the first water stop.

If you’re running the half route you can turn back onto Forest, back over I-93, and continue on Marble Street past Park Street and across Main Street onto Summer Street. Summer will go through one set of lights and then bend over to Franklin Street. At that set of lights turn right onto Franklin and head back to Melrose. When you hit Main Street in Melrose, turn right and head back to Brueggers.

The full route will leave the water stop and head down, down, down Forest Street. Turn left at the set of lights at Washington Street where the Gingerbread Construction Company is, crossing over to the right side to take a right onto Cross Street. Cross Street will cross from Winchester into Woburn where you’ll hit yet another Main Street. Turn right on Main, and a quick left on Lake Street. Lake Street will take you to a… wait for it… pond, not a lake. Horn Pond. There is a parking lot off the right side of Lake Street where you’ll find Audrey prepared to give you a drink.

From here circle Horn Pond clockwise. It should be pretty obvious how to accomplish this, stay on the main path, you’ll cross over a little section over the water and turn right onto a street, Water Street/Sturgis Street. Follow Sturgis up the big hill (although there is a path that skips the hill for the faint of heart) and turn right on Arlington Road. This will bring you along the side of Horn Pond… if you’re bored look for the planet markings set apart to represent the solar system. Once you hit Lake Street again you can take a right to grab more water, or a left to head back along the next section. If you are skipping the water stop let Audrey know when you come through the first time so she isn’t standing there all day waiting for you to come back.

Head back the way you came along Lake Street, turning right on Main, left on Cross, back to Washington. At Washington turn left and cross over to turn right on to Forest. Remember when I said “down, down, down” on Forest? Now its time to pay that back with an up, up, up! The prize at the top is at Eugene where Tom will have more candy and drink for you.

Now its time to finish off the 14+ miles along Forest, back over I-93, and continuing on Marble Street past Park Street and across Main Street onto Summer Street. Run through one set of lights on Summer and follow the bend over to Franklin Street. At that set of lights turn right onto Franklin and head back into Melrose. When you hit Main Street in Melrose, turn right and head back to Brueggers.

Again, I’ll be away but Tom and Audrey have the water stops.

Who’s in? Roll Call!!!

Week 3 – Wakefield and Lake Q

July 28th, 2018

Last week we braved the humidity and the rain to get through a very wet Sunday Long Run. About 10 people headed out a little early to get a head start. Over 20 more followed behind them on their way out to Spot Pond. While we missed most of the heavy downpours, nobody finished the run with a dry spot on them. The good news is there is no rain in the Sunday forecast. The bad news… I just got back from Alabama and its much hotter and humid here!

The route this week will bring us to Wakefield, with a loop around Lake Quannapowitt for the long run. The run will start from Brueggers at 8, although people can start earlier to target reaching the first water stop at 8:20 if they prefer.

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The run will begin heading north on Main Street, continuing straight into Wakefield to a water stop at the intersection of Main Street, North Ave, and Nahant St where you’ll find Dunkin Donuts and Jiffy Lube. The water stop will be on the right side in the Nick’s Pizza parking lot.

After the water stop the half route will turn around and head back to Melrose to complete the run. The full route will continue up Main Street, through Wakefield Center, up to Lake Quannapowitt. Stay to the right to run along the east side of Lake Quannapowitt, turning left at Rte 129, and left onto Quannapowitt Parkway. Follow through the parking lot across to North Ave, taking a right there. You’ll reach a softball field after which you’ll turn left onto Church Street, which will bring you to a church. Across from the church is Common Street, where Wakefield Common is. Common Street will merge onto Main Street which will bring you back to Nick’s Pizza for another water stop.

When you’re hydrated up, follow Main Street back to Melrose, back to Brueggers, to complete your run.

I’ll handle the water stop, you handle the running, who’s in? Roll Call!

Week 2 – Spot Pond

July 21st, 2018

Last week we got off to a good start. About 20 people showed up on what turned out to be a perfect weather day for a Sunday Long Run (on Saturday). The temps were moderate, the air was dry, and the distance was manageable. Later that night it was good to see everyone at the MRC Summer Party looking no worse for the wear… they actually looked better off since they didn’t have to get up early to run in the morning.

This week we’ll be back at Brueggers at 8AM to step up the distance and take on Spot Pond. The half run is about 7 miles, the full about 12.5, your GPS distance may vary (actually guaranteed to vary so don’t complain). Generally each pair of weeks the long run will step up 4 miles and then drop down 2 miles the following week as we walk to 22 miles. Meanwhile the short run will step up 2 and then step back 1 headed towards an 11 max before the race.

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Leaving Brueggers we will head south on Main Street (in the direction of Malden), past Dunkin Donuts, and turning right on West Wyoming… like the start of the MRC Summer Route. Wyoming will take you to Grimsby’s where we’ll turn left onto the Fellsway East. Welcome to the two hills you’ll learn to love on the Fellsway East. This will be your first of many visits this summer. After you cross through this hilly section of the Middlesex Fells you’ll go through a set of lights and come down to a traffic circle in Medford where you’ll turn right on to Highland Ave. Follow Highland up towards Spot Pond, finding a water stop on the left right before a rotary by the Flynn Rink.

After the water stop the long runners will turn left at the rotary on to Elm Street. The short runners will stay straight on to Woodland Road, running past the Flynn Rink. Follow this to the construction zone at Pond Street where you’ll turn right and head down a steep hill to Grimsby’s. Turn left there and follow the Lynn Fells past Melrose High School, after which you’ll turn right on Melrose Street and a quick right onto Main Street to finish up at Brueggers.

Lond Runners run to the end of Elm Street and turn right onto the Fellsway West. This will bring you through another portion of the Middlesex Fells, crossing under I-93, past the Sheepfold, and over I-93. Watch on your right as you cross an off ramp from I-93, cars come down there very quickly! After that you’ll want to turn right into the Straw Point parking lot. There may be a water stop there, if so grab some water, if not keep going through the parking lot to Pond Street, continuing right to keep circling Spot Pond. Pass the Zoo, continuing straight as Pond Street becomes Woodland Rd, up to Flynn Rink, through the rotary and back to the water stop at Highland Ave.

After this water stop you’ll cross Highland and take your first right on East Border Road. This will bring you up to a set of lights where you turn left to get back on the Fellsway East. Ride those two hills back past Grimsby’s onto the LynnFells Parkway. Run past Melrose High School, turn right on Melrose Street, and a right on Main Street which will take you back to Brueggers.

Water stops, I’ll handle the Highland Ave stop, I think Hank will be at Straw Point, and if anyone else wants to help feel free to stop by. I may chose to run around Spot Pond. If I do, remember where my car is because you may have to help yourself.

Those are the plans, who’s in? Roll Call!