Week 14 – Finale of 2019 SLR

October 12th, 2019

Last week – A good sized crew wound their way through Swains Pond and over to Citizens Bank where Tom and Audrey were serving snacks and beverages. Courtney headed home for there, and off to Munich for this weekend’s marathon. Everyone else continued through the hills of the Fellsway East, with half trainers heading back Wyoming to Brueggers. Some half trainers decided to put in a few extra miles, probably for a chance to visit Lois at water stop 2, before heading back to Melrose Center. A group of us continued on to Farm Street, cutting across Nahant to meet up with Mike Quigley for a beverage as we looped back to Melrose along Main Street. Thanks to the water stop crew!

This week – We’ll wrap the whole thing up tomorrow. As the weather finally clears up after a week of wind and rain, we’ll head out to the Fellsway East, if you’re running long you’ll loop Spot Pond, and then run back. We’ll do this a little differently, for those looping Spot Pond this is the only week of the season the route loops the pond counter-clockwise.

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Start – We’ll head up Main Street towards Ell Pond. As you pass the pond look for the monument to Clarence DeMar. Clarence lived in Melrose for some time before moving to Keene, New Hampshire. He ran the same paths we run but 100 years earlier. Clarence DeMar is the man that has won the most Boston Marathons to his name, winning 7 times over a 30 year span. The monument to him also mentions another Melrose resident that won the Boston Marathon multiple times, Bill Rodgers. As you finish up your training know we’ve been running the training routes of champions. Keep that in your head as you turn left on Melrose Street and left again onto the Lynn Fells Parkway heading towards our hills. Run past Grimsby’s, through the Fellsway East hills, and turn right on Highland Ave, making your way to the water stop.

Half Finish – The half runners will go through the Highland Ave rotary onto Woodland Rd, up to the right on to Pond Street. Run down to Grimsby’s and continue straight on to West Wyoming to finish up with a left on Main and a trip to Brueggers.

Full 2 – The full distance runners will also continue straight through the rotary onto Woodland Rd. Continue straight at Pond St, past the Stone Zoo, and veer left into the Straw Point parking lot. You should find Hank there for a little water before continuing left onto the Fellsway West, over I-93, past the Sheepfold, under I-93, and down to Elm Street. Elm will take you up, up, and up back to the Highland Ave rotary. Turn right on Highland for the next water stop.

Full Finish – From Highland, turn left on East Border, left at the lights on to the Fellsway East, and up to Grimsby’s. Turn right on West Wyoming and a left on Main to finish up at Brueggers.

Water Stops – If nobody shows up, I’ll handle it. If people do show up, I’ll run.

Roll Call – Who’s in?!

Week 13 – Race Month Is Here (For Most)

October 5th, 2019

Last Week – Last week was kind of an adventure. I ever so slightly changed the routes up for several reasons. (1) The sidebar has always said week 12 was 9 miles, the maps have always been 12.5 miles, and nobody pointed that out to me until last season. (2) The long run was always less than 22. Mentally for someone preparing for a marathon not getting to 22 can make someone nervous. (3) I’m trying to minimize the number of water stops in the routes to make it easier to organize and volunteer. This lead to some complaining, some confusion, some wandering during the run, some stopping early, and rumor has it some Ubering. The good news is everyone lived! I, for one, had a very pleasant run. Thanks Dan, Lois, and Tom for helping us get through the run.

This Week – Unless Manchester, NYC or Philly are in your future, it’s Race Month. October brings marathons and halfs everywhere and each week we’ll have people heading somewhere. The New Hampshire Marathon, Maine Marathon, and Wineglass in NY are all this weekend, as is the Rockfest Half at Hampton Beach. Good luck if you’re running any of those. For the rest of us, keep up the training and taper if its time! As this training focuses on Baystate, we’ll be winding down the miles. Over the next week or two we give our bodies a little recovery time as we head into our October races. I call this period “Don’t Do Anything Stupid” time. Your training is done and your legs got you this far. Human nature will be that you’re nervous that you didn’t do enough, you’ll think about that one long run that didn’t go right or you cut a few miles off and you’ll feel the need to cram in one last hard training run. Don’t do that! Recover instead. Your taper runs should be at the same intensity as your training runs, but the miles will be less and the toll they take on your body should be minimal. With that in mind we’ll all head through Swains Pond and the long runners will continue out to Farm Street.

Route maps on Strava:
Full 14.8M
Middle 11.0M
Half 7.0M

Turn-by-Turn Directions (click box at start of section to navigate)

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Start – We’ll cross Main Street and head up East Foster to the Melrose Common where we’ll turn right at the Common onto 6th Street. This will turn into Swains Pond Ave and bring you up into a wooded section of Melrose. When you reach Swains Pond and Turners Pond there will be a stop sign, turn right here to stay on Swain’s Pond Ave. This will eventually bring you to Lebanon Street where you’ll take a sharp right. Lebanon will bring you to a set of lights where you’ll turn left on Forest Street which will lead you across to Main Street in Malden. Citizens Bank will be across Main Street with a water stop.

Section 2 – Leave the Citizens Bank parking lot onto Winter Street. Follow this past the Oak Grove T station to a five way intersection. Cross straight through the intersection on to Glenwood Street. Wind your way up to Highland Ave where you turn right with a very quick right onto the Fellsway East. Make your way through the hills down to Grimsby’s. If you’re running the half route you can turn right at Grimsby’s and head back to Brueggers for 7 miles along West Wyoming and left on Main Street. If you want a little longer of a run continue with the full route runners on to the LynnFells Parkway and keep going to you get to the knoll across from Melrose High School for a water stop. Half runners can then head up to a right on Melrose Street and a right on Main Street for an 8 mile run.

Full 3 – From the knoll, continue on the LynnFells Parkway until you reach the intersection with Main Street in Saugus. Turn left and follow Main Street, which will become Farm Street in Wakefield, and turn left onto Nahant Street. This will bring you across to Main Street in Wakefield where a water stop will be waiting for you at Nick’s Pizza… or maybe Dunkin Donuts.

Full Finish – Its taper time so we’re already heading back to the finish. Head south on Main Street from Wakefield to Melrose and finish up at Brueggers. That’s it, you’re done already.

Water Stops – I would like the full 15 this week. I think Tom and Lois are helping, maybe Dan, if I get two helpers committed I’ll be able to run the whole thing.

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 12 – New Route for 22, Almost 12, and 9+ Miles

September 28th, 2019

Last Week – We experienced some late September summer temperatures making for a longer feeling long run. Once the sun came up and shined brightly on the LynnFells Parkway half route and full route runners pushed through the challenge and got one last summer long run behind them. Lois and Tom kept everyone hydrated as the conquered their 18 and 11 mile distances.

This Week – Our training season peaks (for some, although most people are running marathons and halfs at different times of the year).
But for those running Baystate it’s time for the “22 mile run” which is really 21.7 miles in the fall. Half marathon runners should be looking to hit their max their distance 2 weeks before you half. If you haven’t run a half before or haven’t run one in a while, I suggest running 11 three weeks before and tapering two weeks into your race. If you’ve run a few, look to do ~12 miles two weeks before. If you’re a more experienced half marathon I recommend stepping up to ~15 miles two weeks prior to the race, as those extra miles will make the 13.1 feel much more manageable on race day.

The Route – I’ve made some tweaks for a few reasons. First, the half route has never been the right distance… oops. Second, the water stop planning on the original route was much too complicated, this one is much more manageable.

Full route maps on Strava: 22 Miler 11.8 Miler 9.4 Miler

Week 12

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Start – We’ll start out from Brueggers at 8AM, heading north past Ell Pond. Turn left at Melrose Street and a quick left onto the LynnFells Parkway. Run past Melrose High School, straight along the LynnFells Parkway past Grimsby’s onto the Fellsway East. Run through the hills and down to the traffic circle at Highland Ave where you turn right. Follow Highland Ave until you get to the water stop on your left before the rotary at the end of Highland.

Everybody 2 – All runners will turn left at the rotary onto Elm Street and follow that to the end, turning right on to the Fellsway West. Run under I93, past the Sheepfold, and over I93.

Half Finish for 9+ Miles – Turn right through the Straw Point parking lot continuing on to Pond Street, past the Stone Zoo, turning left onto Pond Street. Continue down to Grimsby’s onto West Wyoming. Turn left on Main and finish at Brueggers at 9.4 miles.

Section 2b Full route and Half runners wanting ~12 Miles – Continue up to the lights at Friendly’s and turn left onto North Border Road heading over to Park Street. At the next set of lights turn left onto Marble Street and cross over I-93 where the street name turns to Forest Street as you enter Winchester. There will be a water stop on your left at Eugene Dr.

Half Finish for ~12 Miles – These half route runners will return over I93 onto Marble Street straight through the Park Street intersection, following Marble to Main Street in Stoneham. Cross straight over Main Street to Summer Street, which will take you over to Franklin Street. Turn right on Franklin, heading back to Melrose. When you hit Main Street in Melrose, turn right on Main and finish at Brueggers with 11.8 miles.

Full 3 – The full route runners will run some familiar streets through Winchester, but with a twist! This section will take you down Forest to the right on Highland, by Winchester Hospital. We’ll turn left on Reservoir Rd, which becomes Hillcrest Parkway… you know, the really pretty street. This will follow the Fells and loops back to Highland where you’ll turn left. Follow Highland to the 5-way intersection. Now for the twist… cross Mt Vernon, but go to the right onto Mystic Valley Parkway. Follow Mystic Valley Parkway to a water stop you usually hit from the opposite direction.

Full 4 – Now you’ll do the Mystic Lakes section in reverse. Follow Mystic Valley Parkway to what seems like the end. Turn right onto Bacon Street, under the commuter rail tracks, then left back onto the Mystic Valley Parkway. Run along the Mystic Lakes to the little roundabout at High Street. Turn right on High, run up to Dunkins (used to be Dunkin Donuts), turning left onto Playstead Rd. Take Playstead up to Rte 38 in Medford, its called Winthrop Street here but becomes Main Street in Winchester. Main Street will take you past the end of Highland Ave where there won’t be a water stop so keep going straight on Rte 38. This will take you to the traffic circle at Main Street in Winchester where you’re going to stay to the left and cross Grove Street and stay straight onto Bacon Street again. This will take you over to a right on Mystic Valley Parkway bringing you to the next water stop, which is the same spot as the last water stop.

Full 5 – Continue on Mystic Valley Parkway and turn left onto Washington Street. Cross Mt Vernon Street and bear right to stay on Washington. Follow straight on Washington until you get to the Gingerbread Construction Company where you turn right and run up, up, and up Forest Street to Eugene for another water stop.

Full Finish – To finish up the run you’ll cross over I-93 to Marble, straight through the Park Street intersection, following Marble to Main Street in Stoneham. Cross straight over Main Street to Summer Street, which will take you over to Franklin Street. Turn right on Franklin, heading back to Melrose. When you hit Main Street in Melrose, turn right on Main and finish at Brueggers and start tapering!

Water Stops – It looks like we have Tom, Dan, Lois, and I waterstopping people up this week!

Roll Call! Who’s in?!

Week 11 – Loop Around Melrose

September 21st, 2019

Last Week – The group run up to Lake Quannapowitt where half loop runners caught a glimpse of the lake before heading home to Melrose and full route runners circled it before heading over to Breakheart. The water stop stood at Nick’s for the whole run, with Tom hosting the runners while I jumped in and did the Breakheart section. Thanks Tom!

This Week – We increase the mileage as we work up to the peak next week. We’ll head over to the peaceful Swain’s Pond area of Melrose before cutting over to the Fells and around to Breakheart again. Sort of the Emerald Necklace of Melrose.

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Start – Crossing Main Street, we’ll start from the corner by the Melrose YMCA. Head up East Foster for a hill right away, turning right onto 6th Street at the Melrose Common. 6th will become Swain’s Pond Ave, taking you up to Turners Pond and Swain’s Pond. Take a right at the stop sign at the ponds to stay on Swain’s Pond Ave. You’ll come to Lebanon St where you have to turn right on Lebanon Street back towards Melrose. If you find yourself deep in Malden you went the wrong way. On Lebanon you’ll come to a set of lights where you turn left on to Forest Street. Run past the Forest Dale Cemetery to the end of Forest, where you’ll cross Main and find a water stop in the parking lot of the Citizens Bank.

Half/Full 2 – All runners will leave the parking lot onto Winter Street, running over the Oak Grove stop on the Orange Line to a 5 way intersection. Go straight across onto Glenwood Street. Follow this windy hilly road to Highland Ave, take a right and an immediate right to get onto the Fellsway East. Run over those familiar hills up past Grimsby’s and onto the LynnFells Parkway. Some more familiar hills will take you to Melrose High School, where there will be a water stop at the Knoll on your right.

Half Finish – Everyone will continue on the LynnFells Parkway into Saugus. The half runners will turn left onto Main Street in Saugus and turn left again on to Howard Street. Howard will bring you down to Green Street where you’ll go left, cross the LynnFells Parkway and merge onto Main Street. Pass Ell Pond and make your way into Melrose Center to finish up 11 miles. If you’re looking to stretch your half training miles you can turn onto the LynnFells Parkway past the high school, grab a little more water and make your way to Grimsby’s to Wyoming to Main for an extra mile.

Full 3 – Long runners will keep straight on the LynnFells until they get to the Saugus entrance to Breakheart where you’ll head up to the headquarters parking lot for a water stop.

Full 4 – Run the outer loop and come back to the water stop. You should know how to do that by now.

Full 5 – Run back to the Knoll by leaving the parking lot, turning right on the LynnFells Parkway and keeping straight to Melrose High School. The Knoll water stop will be on your left.

Full Finish – Finish up by running the last few hills along the LynnFells Parkway as you get yourself to Grimsby’s. Turn left on West Wyoming, then left on Main and stroll in to Brueggers.

Water Stops – Tom will be back handling the water stop 1 and 3. I’ll take water stop 2 but will likely jump in for some miles. If anyone else wants to help, feel free to join us.

Roll Call! Who’s in?

Week 10 – Back to the Q

September 14th, 2019

Last Week – We started on an empty Main Street in Melrose, ran off to Winchester for 20 miles or 10 miles, and returned to Melrose Center with the Victorian Fair in full swing at the finish. While only 5 people ran the full route in what has been another quiet season for marathoning, we had over 20 runners doing the half route. The weather was cool with a pleasant breeze, which led to a lot of upbeat runners stopping by the water stops.

This Week – A recovery week for everyone, the mileage goes down 4 miles for the long runners, and down two for the half runners. We’ll be running up to Wakefield along Main Street. Full route runners will continue on to loop Lake Quannapowitt and then loop Breakheart. Half route runners will run up to the lake on Main Street before turning back along North Ave. I do suggest veteran half marathon runners consider adding on some miles to this run. Ramping up to 15 miles in the near future will make racing 13.1 feel just a little easier. The weather looks comfortable again, primed for another good training day. This week’s run will have multiple legs that all end at the Nick’s Pizza parking lot for water stops. Yes, you travel all around but the water stop stays in one spot.

If you use Strava – here are the routes: Half Full

If you get lost easily, here’s turn-by-turn directions:

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Start – Heading north on Main Street, we’ll pass Ell Pond, continuing on into Wakefield, and hitting the Nick’s Pizza parking lot at the corner of Nahant for a water stop.

Half 2 – Both groups will head through Wakefield Center along Main Street, but half route runners will veer to the left onto Common Street and turning right on Church Street. Run to the set of lights at North Ave and turn left. North Ave will bring you back to Main Street at Jiffy Lube. Cross Main Street and get yourself another cup of water at the Nick’s Pizza water stop.

Half Finish – The half route runners will then return to Melrose along Main Street the way they came.

Full 2 – Full route runners will continue to follow Main Street after they pass through Wakefield Center, staying on Main Street to run along the east side of Lake Q. At the end of Main turn left on Lowell Street, then another left on to Quannapowitt Way to continue circling the lake. Head along the path on the north side of the lake over to North Ave where you’ll turn left. Follow North Ave all the way back to Main Street where you’ll cross over to the Nick’s Pizza water stop again.

Full 3 – Next run along Nahant Street over to Wakefield High School. Head up Hemlock Street to the Northeast Technical Vocational School, through their parking lot to the Wakefield entrance to Breakheart. Go counterclockwise around the outer loop, staying right through the hills (Love the hills, they’ll love you back), past the headquarters, along the flat side, staying right at the beach, and back out at the Voc. Run back down Hemlock, crossing over to Nahant and back to Nick’s Pizza.

Full Finish – From here, head back down Main Street to Brueggers to finish up!

Water Stops – There is one water stop today. I’ll man the water stop but if anyone wants to join me so I can get a few miles in too, I’d appreciate it.

Roll Call – Who’s in?