This morning several people woke a little bit earlier and helped put Week 8 in motion. We had five water stops to plan with four physical locations, all to be done without me due to a broken power steering pump in my car. Walt stopped by at 7:30AM on the morning of his birthday (Happy Birthday Walt!) to get supplies over to Wakefield HS for us and Donna swung by to bring him back to the start. Julie picked up a container shortly after and headed over to Breakheartâ€™s Saugus entrance and Jen picked her up on her way to Brueggers. Dave placed his ice cold cooler over by Lake Quannapowit and Catherine parked her Jeep full of rehydration by Nahant St. Lois picked them up on her way in and everyone was there before me. Due to a broken power steering pump I started my 18.1 mile run with a Â¼ mile walk to Brueggers. Rick stopped by there for some last minute assists to the stops to make sure everyone had exactly what they needed.
With everything going to plan seventeen of us headed out the door and up Main St. The blue skies, cool air and comforting breeze made this a perfect day for a run. As we passed Ell Pond a sprinkler was soaking the sidewalk but it was too cold and too early in the run to need it. Heading down the LynnFells Parkway toward Saugus we were treated to the road kill of the week, a small snake squished on the side of the road, a first for the Sunday Run, which was celebrated with a small yet active I-Hate-Snakes dance by Ginny, Jo-Ann, and Lois. Also seen along this stretch was a three-wheeled pick-up truck, two in the back and one in the center of the front. These interesting sights kept conversation lively as we made our way to the first water stop at the Kabuski Rink at the Saugus entrance to Breakheart.
With all the planning and volunteering for the water stops there was a slight hiccup at the first one. It was locked when Walt, Judi, and James Horne arrived and unsure which car was actually the stop they moved on to the water fountain and the second leg of the run, a loop around Breakheart counterclockwise. Brian came in next and circled the car as Dave and I pulled in and awaited Julieâ€™s arrival. She was more surprised than anyone that it was locked since she had even noted that she needed to keep it unlocked when Jen picked her up. For us it was no big deal because she had the key. We stocked up on our fluids and headed into Breakheart. There was a cheerful mix of people walking through this morning, with â€œThey went that a-wayâ€s and â€œI would join you butâ€s and â€œWhere all these runners coming fromâ€s many people said hello as they crossed our paths. One man really enjoyed chatting as we moved along claiming he had already runâ€¦ earlierâ€¦Â a half a stepâ€¦ a little while back. As we moved into the hilly section the fun stopped though and serious faces took over as we scaled the ascents and rode the descents back to the parking lot.
After a quick stop at Julieâ€™s car the 9 mile route took six runners back past the snake the way we came. The long runners turned right and headed to Farm St in Wakefield. The hills here are longer but not as steep as Breakheart but in the bright warming sun they offered an equal challenge. The cool wind was whipping in circles through the hills offering occasional relief from many directions. Catherine and Kelly made up their own routes, accidentally running the inner loop and ended up coming out the Wakefield side of Breakheart where they met us over at the third water stop at Wakefield HS.
After some snacks and Gatorade we headed out for the 4th three mile stretch of the run. Following the old Wakefield Law Enforcement route we followed the hills of Montrose St to Rte 129 which led us over to Lake Quannapowitt. I ran this leg with Eve and Carol, swapping training and marathoning histories with each other. After hitting 129 I left them, pulled past Catherine and Kelly and fulfilled a promise to Dave that I had been threating all morning â€œIâ€™ll be catching you laterâ€. Each water stop prior I would pull in right as Dave was heading out and I would remind him that he would be seeing him later. On this stretch I finally did catch him approaching the lake and he let out a â€œdarn itâ€. We made our way over to his car, water stop 4 side by side.
The pack regrouped there and took the cool (from a cooler) beverages Dave supplied, his unmelted Snickers, and some Gu that Rick had brought to help reenergize the troupes. Carol and Eve both had never had Gu, Carol has run 12 (I believe she said) marathons without ever trying it. I insisted both bring one with them to eat at the next stop, just to try it out and get used to its not so pleasant texture. They resisted, I forced the issue and off we went, each carrying a Gu to the next stop.
Dave described the next stretch of the run as an old video game, sort of like the Donkey Kong variety. It seemed we were running against the tide along North Ave, the sidewalk littered with walkers, the roadside well traveled by bicyclists. We kept hopping off the curb to give room to the walkers and then forced to hop right back up to avoid a bike. This went on as we made our way to Church St and over to Main towards the final waterstop.
At this stop we prepared ourselves for the last stretch. Catherine and Kelly discussed how they were going to tack on an extra mile with a loop around Ell Pond to make up for their earlier shortcut. Ginny decided to run another 1/10th of a mile to make 15 and call it a day. As Lois made her way to the stop our group headed back Main St towards Melrose, Ginny decided to head back Main St to the lake and run back to the stop with Lois. Lois however was making her way via North Ave, inadvertently taking the Ginny shortcut from an earlier run this year. From where she was she could see Ginny heading to the lake and didnâ€™t know why. As Lois pulled into the stop and asked Rick what Ginny was doing, he did a double take and screamed down Main St to get Ginny to come back. Despite the comedy of the event Ginny got her extra 1/10th of a mile in and took the ride back to Brueggers with Rick while Lois headed out behind us down Main St.
The last leg was warm but the swirling wind kept offering relief. We made our way along Main St into Melrose, Rick and Ginny offering a beep and a wave along the way. We all finished up strong, although Catherine and Kelly opted out of their loop around Ell Pond, and were greeted by a cleaned up Judi already on her way to recovering from her run with a cup of water and a bowl of Brueggers soup.
Good run by everyone. The group stuck together both in getting the water stops all set up and helping each other cover 18 miles. Youâ€™ve earned a restful Labor Day.