With Hurricane Kyle making his way north, passing well off the coast of Cape Cod, bands of rain were predicted in the Boston area through out the weekend. Twenty-eight of us can attest to the fact that one band started dropping rain before 8AM and didn’t stop until after noon time. During those four hours fifty-six pruney feet made their way through Melrose, Stoneham, Winchester, and Medford.
The temperature wasn’t bad , low 60s, the humidity felt high, and the rain and the puddles kept us alert without causing too much of a problem. Our original pack of 18 runners made our way out of Brueggers. During the last rain storm we ran in Main St was lined with canvas tents to ease us into getting wet, no luck this week. I coaxed the runners out from underneath the awning and off we headed down Main St to West Wyoming. I never saw her, but I believe Beth jumped into run with Audrey as our group grew to 19. Further down Lois jumped in at Grimsby’s to make it an even twenty. She cheered on the lead pack: Judi, ErinM, Jen Rapaport, and Rich, waved to the second pack DaveM, Chris, BrianG, and myself, and jumped in somewhere along the line to start her run. Heading up to Spot Pond and past the Zoo we realized our BAA Half crew Jen Randall, Denyce, Donna, Jo-Ann, and Jocelyn had given them a head start, but five more and we were up to 25. We made our way to Forest St in Winchester and water stop 1 where Sue and Joanne met us to make it 27.
A quick drink at Walt’s car and we were off again in a shot.Trying to run this more like a marathon than a training run our stops were short and sweet. By this time our clothes were soaked and our shoes resembled sponges but there was no avoiding it so we just accepted it and moved on. The lead pack met up with the Forest St turkeys and sent them scurrying back into the yards of the lovely homes that line this street. Letting gravity take us down Forest St and then the hard work began as we climbed hill after hill the length of Highland Ave. After the first hill our pack of three lost BrianG to the 9 Mile route and we were down to 3. Lively conversation continued as we rolled along, turning on to Rte 38, Main St in Winchester. We followed the wide wet road into Medford where it becomes Winthrop St. Speaking of Winthrop, where’s Walt?! This road was flat, giving us a reprieve from inclines up to water stop 2, where we finally caught up to the BAA Half trainers brightly decorated in their Dana Farber race attire just as we approached a scarecrow holding an MRC Water Stop sign at Marianne’s house. The Gatorade, water and Snickers plus some shelter in the garage, gave the runners just what they needed heading into the next section of the run. Thanks Marianne!
Leaving water stop 2, we headed to Rte 60, High St. By the name it shouldn’t come as any surprise that we were greeted by a bonus hill while making our way over the Mystic Lakes. Turning onto Mystic Valley Parkway, Chris decided it was time to head back to his Medford home, and our pack dwindled down to 2. Dave and I carried on the conversation as we finished the third section of our run strong at Nancy’s car.
The next section of the run things got serious. The conversation slowed as the pace remained steady down Washington St. What seems flat compared to Highland Ave is actually a long gradual slight incline. Dave and I both new Forest St was coming with the longest hardest hill of the run. Surprisingly we charged up the hill at a pace Dave claims was faster than the Washington St section. Maybe I was just trying to get it over with sooner, making it back to Walt’s car was the first hurdle to finishing this run.
Dave and I headed out from Walt’s car and over I93 with a second wind. Making our way to the Park St turn we met Walt running the other way. I have no idea where Walt was all day but I’m sure it wasn’t where I thought he was, chasing us down from behind, but his addition made it 28 runners for the day. After a few comments about Walt’s whereabouts our run grew completely silent. I took the lead as we made our way around the back side of the pond. Dave would trail up a hill and catch back up on the downhill. This was the longest run he has ever attempted, following his previous long of 18+ last week. Kepping the turnover was growing tough but he kept what felt to me a strong pace. We pulled into water stop 5 at Kelly’s black Maxima on Highland Ave for our last break of the day. After a few minutes of figuring out how to get in the trunk, followed by a quick sip and the third Gu for the run and we headed out to finish our run.
Following this Highland Ave was not as pretty as the first Highland Ave. I’m not talking about the difference in the houses lining the street, I’m talking about a surprising array of road kill of which a stinky skunk strewn along the center line of the street for about 30 yards wins the award for most graphic road kill of the season. Blech! That sight was even worse than the hills we were to see over the next few miles. Climbing up from the rotary at Highland along the Fellsway East is never easy, but almost 20 miles into the run they present quiet a challenge. I made it through there in tact, and even felt decent heading up the Fellsway Hill, but as soon as I passed the Welcome to Melrose sign things changed. My form was lost, my legs were aching, my sloshy shoes were uncomfortable and my back and hip were hurting. All these made the last mile the slowest of the day but all in all it was a good run.
Sitting at Brueggers afterwards, watching the runners come in one by one wearing the long run in the expressions on their face was interesting. Waterlogged, shellshocked, dazed, and exhausted were the most common look, but Kelly’s expression differed from the rest, a defiant “yeah, I did it” look. I’m sure that inside we all feel that despite what we looked like on the outside.
Also while sitting there I heard a very unique running story from Judi. We all know how speedy Judi is, but did you know she was fast enough to catch a chipmunk? During the run, as Judi’s heel was making its way to the ground, a little chipmunk darted out from the woods and found its way under her foot. Luckily she avoided creating yet more road kill on the run as the little critter scurried out and headed back into the woods. That is the first and I’m sure only time one of our Sunday Runners will run down wildlife.
And that was the Sunday Run. Congratulations to the BAA half trainers on their last big run before their race. They ran close to, if not 13 miles today and are well prepared for their Half. Also congrats to those training for the Baystate Marathon as they’re now entering into their taper before the big day three weeks from now. You’re all ready for great races. All ofÂ you enjoy your taper, you deserve to take it easy and careful for a little while!