This week both groups will be heading out on one of the longest runs of their training. We’ll be heading over to Winchester where the shorter distance stretches out to 10 miles, just a 5k short of a half. The long runners will make it to the border of Arlington on their way to 20 miles.
The weather tomorrow will be great for a long long run. Things will start out a little chilly, 30 degrees, with little wind. Dress light, start off a bit chilly, you’ll warm up as you move around and the temperatures rise up to 40 degrees before your done.
The longer training runs both prepare you for the distance, but they’re also rare chances to test your race day routine. Starting on Saturday eat like you’l eat before your marathon. Dinner and breakfast should be planned out in type of food, quantity of food, and time of eating to line up with your race experience as much as possible. Unfortunately Boston is one of those races with an odd start time, so its tough to line up to that one in time. What to wear. As you plan your clothes for tomorrow, try to include the clothes you might wear on race day. Test your shoes, test your socks, test your shorts and shirt. Again race day weather might be warmer than early March weather, but try to test as much as possible. Speaking of shoes, this run is a good time to turn over those training shoes and see how worn they’ve gotten. I liked to buy a pair after the 20 mile run, either to break them in for the race or to use for runs other than long runs to conserve miles on the ones I’ve trained in so they don’t wear out before race day.
Ok, time to run. We’ll leave the Knights and head down Main Street in Melrose to West Wyoming, taking a right and heading up past Grimsby’s, up Pond Street to Spot Pond. Go right there, running past the Stone Zoo, crossing Main Street in Stoneham past Friendly’s, past the entrance to I93, onto Park Street to a set of lights. You’ll turn left at the lights onto Marble Street which will take you up and over I93 into Winchester. The road will change names to Forest Street there, take a look to your left on Eugene Drive and you’ll find water stop 1.
After that water stop the whole group continues on Forest into Winchester, down a nice hill. You’ll see a H sign pointing you left onto Highland Ave towards Winchester Hospital. Take that left, but don’t stop at the hospital, you’re doing fine. Keep running straight on Highland Ave. If you’re running long you’ll run through a 5 way intersection continuing straight on Highland all the way to the end to water stop 2. If you’re running short you’ll turn right at a little park on the right side of the road onto Eaton Street. This will take you down a hill to Washington Street. Take a right there and follow it to a set of lights at an intersection with Forest Street (where the other Gingerbread Construction Company is). Turn left on Forest and run all the way up (yes, time to pay back for those hills you’ve been running down), up, up to the water stop at Eugene Drive again. After that stop shorter distance runners will run back the way you came, Marble Street, right on Park, follow straight back to the zoo and Pond Street, turning left on Pond to Wyoming back to Main, back to the Knights for 10.2 miles.
Longer runners, you’re still standing at water stop 2 wondering what to do next, aren’t you. Turn left on Main Street in Winchester/Medford (RT-38). Cross over to the other side of the road at some point, you’ll be turning right at Oak Grove Cemetery onto Playstead Road. This nice wide road will take you past the cemetery, past a soccer field, along the commuter rail to High Street in Medford (RT-60). Take a right, crossing over the tracks, and note the DD across the road, a historically runner-friendly bathroom stop. High Street will take you over to the Mystic Lakes. There is one spot where the road appears to fork, stay left to stay on High. You’ll eventually hit a little rotary at Mystic Valley Parkway. You’re pretty far from Melrose Center now, on the border of Arlington. Turn left right onto Mystic Valley Parkway to start heading back home. This will take you past the pretty lakes. Keep running to the end of the road and turn right onto Bacon Street. Yes, you’ll be hungry and think “Bacon!” at this point. Never fear, Bacon takes you under the commuter rail and on your left is a turn back on to the Mystic Valley Parkway. Along this road you’ll find water stop 3. Half way done!
The next stretch skirts Winchester Center, following the Mystic Valley Parkway to the next set of lights where you’ll turn left on Washington Street. This will bring you to another 5 way intersection. Cross Mt Vernon Street and stay left to keep on Washington Street. If you run past Winchester High School go back and try again. You should be running past a few churches. Follow Washington all the way to the Gingerbread Construction Company. No muffins for you though, turn right on Forest and head all the way up, up, up (it feels like three big hills) to Eugene Drive for your next water stop.
Ok, only two more short runs to go. Keep on movin! Leave this stop, crossing I93, and take a right on Park Street at the lights. Follow this back to Friendly’s and turn right at Main Street in Stoneham. This will take you along the Fellsway West behind Spot Pond. Run to Elm Street, where you turn left to bring you up to the rotary at Highland Ave in Medford (its a full house, three Mains and a pair of Highlands). Turn right onto Highland and find your last water stop of the day.
Leave the last water stop and head down Highland all the way to the traffic circle at the other end, where the paper boy hangs out. Turn left on the Fellsway East (a pair of Fellsways too). This will take you through my version of Heartbreak Hill. These are about where you’ll hit the hills in Boston. Keep your chin up and charge through them. Use the down hill to invigorate you as you turn right at Grimsby’s and proudly stride down West Wyoming returning to Main Street to chalk up a 20-miler!
Big run for everyone. I need an army of water stop volunteers for this one. We’ll all meet at Eugene at 8:15ish. I need someone’s car to stay there for water stop 1/4. If you want to run you can leave your car there and get in just over 9 miles if you start and stop from there. Typically the water stop 2 helper at Highland Ave can scoot over to the other Highland Ave for water stop 5. Water stop 3 along the Mystic Valley Parkway near Winchester Center, I’d like someone who has run the course and is not directionally challenged to handle that one. Usually runners need some directional reminder on how to get back to Eugene from there. Who can help. We’ll have to open up the Knights for the shorter route runners again, so I won’t be able to contribute to waterstop duty as much again this week. Ok, 3 or 4 volunteers, who can help?
Brueggers update: They’re opening this week. They’ll be hosting a soft opening event while you all are out running. I’ll see if I can check it out and see how things might work for us for the remainder of the season.
One last note: if you feel you will need more than two or three Gus during our run, I suggest you bring some extras with you. Your $2s can’t cover much more than that per run. Thanks.
Ok, how many runners do we have for the big ones this week? ROLL CALL!