At 7AMÂ I left a cardboard box filled with water andÂ Gatorade on my door step, at 7:15 WaltÂ had wisked itÂ away towards Wakefield where he would set upÂ our water stop for the day at Wakefield High School. From there heÂ took the first steps of our winter training session making his way back to Melrose by foot to meet us at Brueggers at 8AM. Waiting for him there were 27 runners, each having mentally or physically marked a day on their new 2009 calendars that they were about to begin preparing for. Be it the Derry 16 Miler in a few weeks, or a half marathon at Hampton Beach,Â Hyannis, New Bedford, Providence, or Boston, or a marathon in Boston, Providence, Maine, or Vermont, today we began the journey to achieving that goal.
Heading down Main St to the LynnFells 28 runners chattered about Christmas and New Years, the new wiis they’ve injured themselves using, their jobs or the lack of them, new babies,Â old injuries, and recoveries from marathons past (ask Andy Pate about his remus). Barry, Paul, Judi, and Jennifer led the wayÂ down Main St, greeted by Kelly who seemingly jumped from the bushes in front of her house right into the pack. As the leaders quickly disappearing into the bright sunshine along the LynnFells toward Saugus, Joe, Brian, Walt, and Ed tried to keepÂ in close pursuit.Â As we turned leftÂ onto Main St in Saugus, Theresa and Joanne joined in our big pack from the J Pace parking lotÂ asÂ John, Beth, Kristen, Donna, and Jo-Ann turned off down Howard St to follow the 4.2 mile route. Nick, Ginny and I led the bigÂ pack as we cut through the cold wind in our faces through the hills to Farm St. Nick and I registered a 7mph on theÂ school zone radar sign before heading into the water stop. There Liz was waiting for us to join in the second leg of the run. As we sippedÂ some water andÂ Gatorade runners streamed in to the stop, first Mike, Andy, and CarolÂ , then in anÂ instant Sue Worrall, Sue Clough, Nancy,Â Lois, Pam, Lauren and Barry Cossette, Joanne, and Kelly.Â Â Theresa, not used to the Sunday morning 8AM schedule almost wandered by the stop in a half-sleepyÂ daze but we caught her attention. Behind her Jose and Suzanne went by and turned onto Nahant St for a 7 mile run missing the water stop all together.
The second leg of the run felt warmer than the first, with the sun warming the air and the wind now at our backs we made our way along Water St to Main. I travelled along with Nick and Carol, as marathon experiences and lessons learned were discussed. We pushed our way towards Ed, and thanks to his short bathroom break we caught him as we made our way past Nahant St.Â Ed and I kept an ongoing conversation through the last miles as my legs tried ot interrupt to remind me we haven’t done this in a while. We past Walt coming from the opposite direction as we headed into Melrose and he returned to Wakefiled to end at his car. As downtown Melrose came into view so didÂ Sue CloughÂ as we ate into the lead she had gotten by taking Nahant St. We kept a steady pace in an attempt to catch her but couldn’t, finishing our run right behind her.
After the run we gathered on the sidewalk outside of Brueggers soaking in that familiar feeling of tired legs and worn out bodies. The firstÂ long run of 2009 was done and soon we wereÂ celebrating it with coffee, bagels, and lively conversation inside Brueggers. Congratulations to all 32 of you for taking the first steps to where ever you’re headed!
(Note: Due to the MRC Holiday Party on Januaury 10th, next week’s Sunday Long Run will actually beÂ held Saturday Morning.Â Run hard in the morning,Â party hard that night, sleep inÂ on Sunday!)Â Â