Archive for July, 2009

Week 3 – Saturday Morning Long Run

Friday, July 24th, 2009

NOTE: This week’s Sunday Run will be run on Saturday. This will allow you to get in a long run and then attend the MRC Summer Party and enjoy a long fun evening without worrying about getting up early on Sunday morning.

WEEKLY ADVICE: This week’s advice is “Eat and Run”. In most social settings this isn’t encouraged but for the SLR it is. Consider the fact that without breakfast you’ll be heading out for the most strenuous part of your week after about 12 hours without eating. Compare that to a regular day, if you had breakfast at 7AM and didn’t eat throughout the day, at 7PM in a hungry state would you even consider running for over 2 hours before you had dinner. That sounds pretty crazy doesn’t it! So remember to eat a good breakfast at least an hour before the start of the run each week. You’ll need to do this the day of your race anyway so its best to figure out what and when to eat through trial and error now.

THE ROUTE: In the spirit of recovering from last week’s run, this week’s run is short and sweet, 6.2 for the half route, 10.7 for the long route. If the memories of last week’s hills are still haunting you, this week is the flatest route we have, up to Lake Quannapowitt and back with a loop of the lake for the long run, no loop for the shorter.

ROLL CALL: Who’s in for the Saturday edition of the Sunday Long Run?

Week 2 – Why dost thou run so many mile about?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

With the institution of a sign-in sheet for the Sunday Long Run comes confusion and shenanigans. The sign-in sheet is meant to provide me with some record of who ran that day and how long they planned on running. The information helps me write the recap (remembering who was in a group of 30 runners can get confusing), it also makes it easier to verify that everyone returned to Brueggers, and at the end of the season I’ll use these sheets to coordinate the Sunday Long Run post-season breakfast invitations. This week seemed to cause some confusion since many of the runners were planning on improvising their own version of the long run route. In the end all 28 runners had put a signature on a map, all but Sue Clough who either didn’t want to be counted or couldn’t figure out which route to commit to. Another face in the crowd whose name was missing was Nick Lamberti but this was offset by a name on the paper whose face I didn’t see… William shakespeare. Since Shakespeare is a heck of a lot more quotable than Nick, I’ve used a quote of his from Richard III as the title of this week’s post, and the following passage from Richard II to recap this run:

These high wild hills
and rough uneven ways
draw out our miles
and make them wearisome

These high wild hills: The first section of this week’s run started out like the MRC Summer route, down Main St and out West Wyoming Ave. This was the one of the rare flat sections of the course which was pleasantly breezy, shaded, and cool… perfect running conditions. I was accompanied by Lois and JenR, with Joe, BrianS, BrianG, Mary, and some new comers Tim Gilday and Craig and Alicia Simmons, up ahead. Behind us the rest of the pack jockeyed for their positions as the mass of runners broke into packs. At Grimsby’s we turned left and ventured into the high wild hills of the Fellsway East. Along the first hill we watched Jen disappear into the distance, catching the runners up ahead. Passing me along the uphill went Walt then MikeY. Barry Cossette pulled up next to me and Lois drifted back, conversations transitioning with each running partner. Through the hills and along Highland Ave we moved along to water stop 1, where Walt’s car waited full with the essentials.

And rough uneven ways: After waiting until all runners had found their way to the water stop and had continued on, I headed out on my weekly quest to catch back up to my pack. The shorter route took Woodland Rd back to Pond St, and either followed Wyoming to Main or LynnFells to Main for a run of 6 or 7 miles. Tall Dave joined them, keeping his streak of making his own route alive. The rest of us zoomed down Elm St to the Fellsway West, up Slacker’s Hill, under I-93, past the Sheepfold, back over I93, and into the Straw Point parking lot at Spot Pond. As I arrived at the water stop Kristen, Lauren, BarryC, and Nick stood next to my car, watching me come in. None were holding a cup of water which made me wonder “Did I lock my car when I left it here earlier?!” No, they were just about to head out so a quick sip and I followed right behind. Nick stayed, waiting for others and planning out his alternate route back to Brueggers. Our new pack of four ran together up to where Pond St turns down to Grimsby’s. There Kristen and Lauren turned to run a shorter route while Barry and I forged on to Woodland Rd and back to Walt’s car for another break.

Draw out our miles: The supplies at Walt’s car were running low, a side effect of people running longer and the temperatures getting hotter. As Peter came in to the stop Barry and I continued on, the toughest miles in front of us. In an instance we almost encountered our first road kill of the day as Barry darted out into oncoming traffic. Up East Border Rd we almost encountered our second road kill of the day, a little toad making its way to the side of the road in front of Barry. Conversations of softball and baseball distracted us from the return trip through the Fellsway East hills. Here we passed Walt, which the way he’s been running lately would be quite the accomplishment. We passed Walt as he returned from the opposite direction. Having already completed his early miles and the full route, he was now headed back to pick up his car. With each passing year Walt gets faster and faster, as if he’s getting younger rather than older, which led us to refer to him as Benjamin Button for the rest of the morning. The run continued, coming out of the hills and cruising down to Grimsby’s where Nancy’s car awaited with a jug full of water, the last break of the day.

And make them wearisome: The wearier of runners turned down West Wyoming to finish up 11.5 miles on the day. The weariest hopped in Nancy’s car and Lambertied their way to Brueggers. Lamberti himself was off wandering along his own route which took him to Pine Banks in search of water where there isn’t any. The remaining few followed the official route up the final hill of the day on the LynnFells Parkway. To dampen our spirits a pack of 5 teenage boys zipped by Barry and I making what felt like a good pace seem sadly slow. We continued behind them, past the Melrose Middle School and down Main St. To add insult to injury the pack of 5 looped Ell Pond and passed us again on Main St. Feeling old and slow and beat down by the sun and heat, the final mile slowly rolled by bringing us back to Brueggers.

After the run we all relaxed at Breuggers Beach, soaking up sunshine, relating the various routes of the day, estimating mileages, eating bagels, drinking coffee, and watching Walt get younger.

Week 2 – Love the Hills

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Been there, done that advice of the week: Love the Hills, they’ll love you back.

As we move forward with our training anyone new to our training group will become aware of the uneven terrain that surrounds Melrose. Almost every run has a challenging hill along the way. Some have two. This week we have about six or seven. Don’t let them scare you though, the hills are your friends. They’ll help you get ready for your big race. There isn’t a race director alive that doesn’t get a kick out of designing a course with a hill somewhere in it, somewhere you least want it, somewhere that’ll make you glad you love hills. If you happen to be one of the lucky ones that runs a race without challenging hills you’ll still be all that much better trained than anyone else by running the hills. Hopefully I haven’t scared you into sleeping in on Sunday morning. Hills can be intimidating, Runner’s World has included many articles in their magazine on this topic alone.

The route this week will be a part of what used to be the Melrose Law Enforcement Half Marathon (which became Boston’s Run to Remember) and was hosted by Runner’s Edge (which became Marathon Sports). So you can see the only things that still exists from this race are the roads it was run on and the pond that it circled. This race was a great Boston Marathon training race and attracted a lot of marathoners. It’s hilly terrain prepared many people for Heartbreak Hill. So this will be your challenge for the week, and remember these things as you’re cursing me, I didn’t invent the route I borrowed it from a race, I didn’t put the hills there I think glaciers did many many years ago, and Love the Hills, they’ll love you back.

For those that are looking at this route and thinking 12.5 miles is a big step up from last week, stop you whining! Just kidding. This is a big step, but the general progression to the 22 mile training run is add 4 miles, then subtract 2 miles week by week until we climb to the big run. This is a +4 week. Now for those that are thinking “I just want to run long, I’m no marathoner”, there are short cuts (marathoners please jump to the next paragraph I don’t want you to consider this) by following the full route around the pond then cutting down Pond to Wyoming you can do 8.5 miles, cut down Pond and do the LynnFells to Main St you can get about 9.5, Or do the full route but go down Wyoming at the end instead of the LynnFells stretch and you’ll get 11.5 miles in.

Walt will be handling the water stop again this week (Thanks Walt!)  and if it looks warm I would like some volunteers to park/pickup  at Straw Point on Spot Pond (the lot by Friendly’s in Stoneham) with just water and cups in the car. I’ll plan on putting my car over by Grimsby’s with water in it too. This should give us a little extra to get us through. Who’s interested?

Ok, that’s about it. Who’s in this week? Roll Call!

Week 1 – And Away We Go…

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

While most were trying to sleep through the loud bangs and flashes of light, the Melrose Running Club’s resident NWS Meteorologist, Walt, was tracking the thunderstorms as they raced east. His predictions were right on, the overnight downpours cleared out by sunrise which allowed Walt to clear out of his office and race north to Melrose to set up the water stop for our run. While he ran back from the water stop, getting in his pre-route miles, 22 other runners made their way to Brueggers to kick off the Fall 2009 Sunday Long Run training season. The inaugural run would be an 8.8 mile long run, or 4.2 mile half route, through humid air but comfortable morning temperatures along our Farm St route.

All 23 runners congregated on the sidewalk outside of Brueggers, and with a short welcome speech I led them north from Melrose Center. As usual my lead lasted for one city block and as we passed Melrose City Hall the rabbits moved out in front. Led by BarryP, a quick series of excited good mornings went by, Judi, JenR, JoeT, BrianG, then Walt. As we made our first pass by the Clarence Demar monument of Ell Pond, a significant landmark for marathon training in Melrose, runners began to settle into their pack for the start of the long journey ahead, both on this morning and over the next 15 weeks.

As one runner, Tall Dave, improvised his own route to the water stop, the rest of the crowd braved the varied terrain of the LynnFells Parkway. This stretch started out as usual, long shadows stretched across the wide parkway as runners lined both sides of the old road. While conversations transitioned as runners moved from pack to pack, the road also changed to grated asphalt with lose rubble along the sides of the road. Runners scampered around huge puddles from the storms the night before, puddles which at times stretched across half the road. The drainage didn’t improve any as we moved onto newly poured tar which carried us to

At the next turn we lost another runner, BarryP deciding to avoid the roller coaster hills along Main St in Saugus and instead add some distance by running up to and through Breakheart. Of the 21 of us that turned, BrianM, Rachelle, JenniferB, and Julie took another quick turn onto Howard St to follow the half marathon training route back to Brueggers for a quick strong 4.2 mile run. The remaining 17 of us buckled in and rode the roller coaster hills to Farm St. With the lead pack quickly disappearing into the distance I settled into the front of the mid-pack with Ginny and Molly. With them we crossed paths with the first road kill of the season (road kill spotting being a hobby for the Sunday Long Run crowd). What appeared to be the remains of a rat lay dead in our tracks. A series of EEKs got us past the grotesque sight as we continued ahead. Before reaching the water stop we engaged in another SLR hobby, trying to register our pace on a traffic radar sign. Entering the Wakefield HS school zone there is a permanent speed limit sign which two or three runners together can register speeds on. I’ve gotten a 7MPH on this sign in the past, and Molly, Ginny and I were determined to beat that. With the aid of a downhill we got in formation and steadily picked up the pace as we approached the sign. With a good sprint going we got within distance to register and… a car pulled out of a side street and the sign registered its speed instead. I think we could have beat 7, but not the record which is 11MPH set by BrianG and I on the Fellsway East.

As the front pack left the waterstop the midpack trickled in, joined by Tall Dave from the west and BarryP from the east. Some Gatorade, some water, and a mini-Snickers and we embarked on the second half our run. Up to Water St and back Main St I started towards the back of the mid-pack with the goal of catching the front of the mid-pack. I started behind Lois, Pam, and Demi and their conversation about frozen delicacies in the Cambridge area. Next up was SueW making her first complete run of a SLR full route, no shortcuts! It took a bit of work to catch Carol, Christina, Ginny, and Molly before the Greenwood section of Wakefield but when I did the five of us made another attempt at triggering a school zone speed limit sign. This time the sign just flat out ignored us. The five of us stayed together as we moved back into Melrose, their pace increasing to keep with mine as I was now in pursuit of Wayne and Tall Dave ahead in the distance. Funny thing about Tall Dave due to his height, like objects in a sideview mirror he appears much closer than he actually is. This optical illusion made me think I could catch him as Christina and I gradually increased our pace to close the considerable gap between him and us. My mental calculations were a bit off, or my legs just couldn’t pull it out, and we finished just steps behind Tall Dave as we pulled into Brueggers.

As fellow runners training for the Chicago Marathon streamed through and continued on for an extra mile or so, I remembered that I had planned on tacking on some more distance to offset the fact that our marathon is a week earlier than the plan is set for. In my focused pursuit of catching Tall Dave I completely forgot to run it. By the time I remembered however I had already settled down to post-run coffee and conversation while basking in the ultra-violet rays on “Brueggers Beach”, the cement patch of tanning area in front of the bagel store. While we recovered from our first run of the season we were treated with a visit from Audrey, Kristen, and Beth who reported that the lake had been successfully taken earlier that morning, the three having been a part of the many MRCers that ran the Take the Lake 5K at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield. We also watched as Nick presented Brad Newsad with his long overdue trophy for running the fastest 5K of 2008. Having not seen Brad in over 6 months Nicked jumped at the opportunity to hand Brad his trophy despite the fact that Brad was running down Main St to start his Sunday morning not-so-long run at the time. The award was given to a round of applause from Brueggers Beach and some looks from passersby that wondered what the heck the crazy man doing giving a trophy to a seemingly random runner heading down the street.

And with that we ended our first training week, as a group 23 runners are one step closer to their individual autumn goals.

Fall Marathon/Half Marathon Training ’09

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

It’s time once again to start up marathon and half marathon training. It seems as though its been raining since the last marathon was run in the spring… because it has been. But the sun’s finally out and the roads are beckoning. Spread the word, it’s time to train!!!

The Sunday Long Run, aka SLR, is entering its 8th season and along the way has readied runners for marathons and half marathons around New England, around the United States, and around the world. Each season we experiences some firsts, some fastests, and some farthests within our group, sharing triumphs and defeats, pulling each other up hills, through rough spots, and into new territories. You may end up spending much of your time running alone but even then you’ll still be part of a group heading towards big things this fall.

This fall I’ll be training for the Chicago Marathon. I’ve noticed in the past that when I train for a marathon, I hardly see those people training for a half. Just to keep in touch with what’s going on in that training group, I would like someone to step up and become the half marathon group leader of sorts. This person would make sure everyone running the half marathon route knows where they’re going and gets back to Brueggers in one piece. This is tough for me when I get back an hour after that group has already headed home… andI miss their funny stories for the blog recap. So if you’re interested, send me an e-mail or talk to me on Sunday and we’ll work out the details. Thanks!

Ok, that’s it for me. This week’s runs will follow the maps shown in the sidebar. I believe Walt will be handling the water stop for us (Thanks Walt!) halfway through the 8.8 mile run. There will be no water stop for the half marathon training route this week, it’s only 4.2 miles (you can hold on to your $1).

Ok, now its time for the Roll Call. Each week I ask runners to post here if they’re coming. Why? Because I like to know someone’s actually reading this. No that’s not why, its so I can plan the supplies for the water stops, and so others know who they’ll be running with, and it makes it easier to learn names of new people. So….

Roll Call! Who’s Coming?

See you Sunday! Bueggers! 8AM!