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And We’re Done…

Sunday, March 15th, 2020

The Melrose Running Club has decided to suspend group runs until further notice so today was the final Sunday Long Run for this session. With an eye on social distancing a group of about 15 runners met outdoors in the parking lot behind Brueggers, stood at a safe distance from each other to listen to the directions for todays run and headed off to Wakefield. People enjoyed the fresh air and the quick water stops as they made their way up to Lake Quannapowitt. A few made their way over to Breakheart, some opting to cut through and head home from there.

For those who’s races haven’t been cancelled or postponed, good luck with your continued training.

Depending on how long this all lasts, I plan on starting things up sometime in June to help people prepare for postponed spring races that are planned for September.

While we wait, I wish you all good runs and good health.

Week 11 – That Escalated Quickly

Saturday, March 14th, 2020

Last Week – Runners ran their 20 milers and 10 milers in prep for upcoming races. We started taking Coronavirus precautions at our waterstops by limiting the number of people that handle bottles and cups to the volunteer and the individual runner. We thought we were being careful.

This Week – Each day the Coronavirus impacted everybody’s lives more and more as each day passed. Many things have been cancelled or delayed, just about every race in the next month including the Boston Marathon. Schools are cancelled for weeks or months. The Knights of Columbus is not hosting large groups until mid-April, including the Melrose Running Club. The good news is, as far as I know, none of have contracted the virus and we have a healthy lifestyle on our sides. So how do we move forward? There are still May races scheduled for the time being so training will continue. To help promote social distancing, if there are more than 10 of us, instead of cramming into the corner of Brueggers we’ll meet in the parking lot behind Brueggers before starting the run on Main Street. We will be skipping the 22 mile run from Hopkinton to Boston and replace it with a local long run lined up with a May marathon if those continue to be scheduled. If attendance drops off to just a few runners we’ll end the season and pick it up to train for Boston in the summer.

The Route – This week we’ll be running Lake Q and Breakheart with all waterstops at Nick’s Pizza.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

The Start – This is simple, run up Main Street to Nick’s Pizza in Wakefield.

The Second Section – Run up Main Street towards Lake Quannapowitt. Going short? Turn left at the lake on Church Street, run to the set of lights at North Ave, turn left onto North Ave and return to the water stop. Going long? When you get to the lake keep on Main Street along the lake. Keep turning left onto Lowell St, Quannapowitt Parkway, and North Ave. Continue on North Ave back to the waterstop.

The Short Finish – Run back Main Street to Brueggers for 8 miles. Wash your hands and buy a bagel and eat it 6ft away from anyone else.

The Long Third Section – Leave the water stop on Nahant St. At the end of Nahant, cross Farm Street to Hemlock Rd up to the Voc. Enter Breakheart and, speaking of escalating quickly, run counterclockwise around Breakheart through the hills first. On the flatter side remember to stay right at the pond to gat back to the Voc. Pop out to Hemlock Rd and back to the water stop via Nahant.

The Long Finish – Main Street back to Melrose and Brueggers for 16 miles. Wash your hands and buy a bagel and eat it 6ft away from anyone else.

Water Stop – One Stop multiple times hosted by me.

Roll Call – Who’s in? Anyone?

Week 10 – The Big Two-Oh! Or One-Oh!

Saturday, March 7th, 2020

Last week – The group found their way through a new route on the Tri-Community Bikeway in Stoneham, Woburn, and Winchester. Overall the feedback was good. While the route is marked most of the way, it seem people got a little off track after the second water stop but everyone found their way back on to the bike route. Thanks to Nicole, Bobby, Tom, and Liz for the water stops.

Coronavirus – No matter your opinion of the ongoing coronavirus issue, I’d like to take this time to remind people to practice good hygiene while running. Cough into your elbow or shoulder, minimize touching your hands to your face, limit what you touch at water stops, and keep a few feet distance between you other runners. We won’t be “saving cups” at water stops for the rest of the season to limit the chance that fluids from one cup transfers to another. Candy dishes won’t be put out, but candy will be in cups, and if you want one ask the water stop attendant and he/she will “pour” one into your hand. Let’s limit runners touching bottles and candy bags, and leave it to the water stop volunteers to touch things. As we run through cold, flu, and coronavirus season we, as a group, do a good job keeping healthy. Let’s keep it that way so everyone can get to their races healthy.

This Week – We have the 20 miler for the long route runners and the 10 miler for the half route runners. We have three water stop volunteers, so we’ll keep it to the traditional route shown on the map. Last season I made a slight change to this route and a few got very confused so we’ll save that variation for another day.

The Route –

Start – This week everyone starts down Main Street to West Wyoming where they’ll take a right and run up past Grimsby’s to Spot Pond. Turn right at the pond, past the Stone Zoo, past Friendly’s, straight onto North Border Rd. Continue to a set of lights where you’ll turn left on Marble Street. Marble will become Forest Street as you enter Winchester, where you’ll find a water stop tucked in on Eugene Drive.

Half 2 – The half runners will continue with the long runners, heading down Forest Street and turning left on Highland Ave where the Winchester Hospital direction sign is. Continue on Highland until you find a little park on the right side at the corner of Eaton Street. Turning right on Eaton will bring you down to Washington Street where you’ll turn right. Continue on Washington to the Gingerbread Construction Company and turn right on to Forest Street. Run up, up, and up Forest Street until you find the water stop at Eugene again.

Half Finish – The final leg of the half run will take you back to Melrose the way you came. Go over I-93 on Forest Street as it becomes Marble Street. At the set of lights turn right on Park Street which becomes North Border Road, taking you back past Friendly’s. Continue straight as you go past the Stone Zoo to where Pond Street turns left to head towards Melrose. Run straight past Grimsby’s onto West Wyoming, then turn left on Main Street and get back to Brueggers to finish your 10 Mile run!

Long 2 – The long runners will head down Forest and turn left on Highland with the half runners. Continue straight on Highland, past Winchester Hospital, past where the half runners turn, straight through a 5-way intersection staying on Highland, all the way to the end of Highland where you’ll find a water stop.

Long 3 – You’ll venture into new terrain for this section. Turn left on Main Street/Rt38 and head to Medford. Cross to the right side of the road and as you run along the wall of the Oak Grove Cemetery, turn right at Playstead Road. This will continue along the cemetery, past a soccer field, along the commuter rail to High Street in Medford. You’ll turn right on High, cross the train tracks, and if you must the Dunkin Donuts has been a convenient rest stop for many years. Continue on High Street, making sure to keep left to stay on High where Grove Street forks off. DO NOT GO ONTO GROVE STREET. High will bring you to the source of the Mystic River. Do not cross the Mystic or you’ll be in Arlington and we don’t go to Arlington. Instead turn right on the Mystic Valley Parkway at the little rotary. Follow this past the Mystic Lakes, which feed the Mystic River, until you get to what seems to be the end of the Mystic Valley Parkway where you’ll turn right on Bacon Street. Follow Bacon under the commuter rail and then take your first left onto Mystic Valley Parkway (told you it wasn’t the end). This part of the Mystic Valley Parkway runs along the Aberjona River, which feeds the Mystic Lakes. Along this stretch will be a water stop, which feeds you.

Long 4 – Continue along the Mystic Valley Parkway, going through a set of traffic lights and then turning left at the next set of lights on to Washington Street. Washington will take you through a five way intersection where you cross Mt Vernon Street and keep right to stay on Washington. If you run past Winchester High School, well you didn’t learn anything the last time we ran through here and are likely to be lost for a while. Washington will cross Winchester taking you over to the Gingerbread Construction Company where you could buy a muffin but won’t, you’ll instead turn right onto Forest Street and head back up, up, up to the water stop at Eugene Drive.

Long 5 – After this water stop you’ll continue on Forest over I-93 as the road becomes Marble Street. You’ll turn right at the lights onto Park Street and continue as that becomes North Border Road. At Friendly’s you’ll turn right onto Main Street and continue as that becomes the Fellsway West. Turn left on Elm Street, which will stay Elm Street all the way up to the rotary at the other Highland Ave. Turn right onto Highland and look for a stop right after you turn.

Long Finish – The final leg of this journey will take you down Highland all the way to the traffic circle at the Fellsway East. Turn left and follow the Fellsway East through our version of Heartbreak Hill as you make your way to Grimsby’s. Here you will happily remember that you can take a right on West Wyoming and a left on Main to finish your 20 Mile run at Brueggers!

Water Stops – There are quite a few stops this week. We should have Bobby, Tom, and myself out there helping you move along.

Roll Call! Who’s in?

Week 9 – Tri-Community Greenway Run

Friday, February 28th, 2020

Last Week – Derm, Bobby, and Nicole helped you get through a hilly 18 mile full run and 9 mile half run SLR on a beautiful day. Each year that is a week where I tell people how the weather challenges in the winter is part of your training and trains you to keep focus through adverse conditions. Well this winter you guys are spoiled! Other than that an inch of slush was the most weather we’ve had to deal with.

This Week – So in the absence of winter weather, we’ll challenge you with a new route, with water stops in places you’ve never seen them before. And to make it more challenging we’ll do it without me being there to tell you the route over and over again. Good luck!!!

The Route – Google Maps hasn’t caught up with the new bike path so instead we’ll just include some Strava Maps. The full SLR page has maps for each route with mile markers, elevation, and water stop locations.
Half Route Full Route

Start – You’ll head out along familiar territory up Main Street to a left on Franklin Street. Run into Stoneham, passing Stoneham High School and Dunkin Donuts. You’ll want to be over to the right side of the road because this week we’ll take the third right after Dunks onto Pleasant Street. Along Pleasant you’ll want to move to the left side of the street as you cross through a 4-way intersection and come to a triangle merge where you’ll go right. Cross to the right side of the road where you’ll enter the Tri-Community Greenway. This bikepath will take you over to Pomworth Park. There is a parking lot there where our volunteers will serve up some treats.

Half 2 – The whole group will continue to follow the greenway, keeping your eyes out for bike route symbols as you jog right on Central Street, left on Elm Street, and cross Main Street as you turn left. The Greenway continues on your right, crossing Montvale Ave and approaching I-93. Before the I-93 tunnel the half route runners will take a sharp left up Maple Street’s steep hill (no walking). You’ll turn right onto Park Street to stop your climb and bring you back to familiar territory. Follow Park through an intersection, past the I-93 on ramp, as it turns into North Border Rd, over to Friendly’s. Cross Main Street straight onto South St and continue as it turns into Pond Street. Look for a water stop at the Stone Zoo.

Half Finish – Finish up by continue on Pond Street along Spot Pond. Turn left to stay on Pond Street as it brings you down to Grimsby’s. Run straight on West Wyoming and left on Main to finish up at Brueggers.

Full 2 – The full route runners will leave water stop 1 with the half runners to follow the greenway. You’ll follow the jog right on Central, left on Elm, and cross Main while turning left to find the greenway on the other side of Main. Cross Montvale on the greenway and continue through the tunnel under I-93. The greenway will run parallel to Montvale Ave with a few street crossings. You’ll continue to follow the greenway as it turns left on a different Central Street in Woburn past a park and cemetery. It then turns left on D-Street and right on Washington Street as it enters Winchester. Watch for the bike lane markers as the path turns off Washington Street along the Aberjona River and over to Cross Street. When you get to Cross Street by railroad tracks look to the right across Cross for the Winchester Community Park for your next water stop.

Full 3 – The next section takes you on a 5 mile loop through Winchester, Woburn and around Horn Pond. Return to the bike path, through a park, past an elementary school, through a neighborhood, to Winchester High School. The bike lane markers will show you the route as it jog left on Irving Street, turn right on Florence Street, another quick jog right on Swanton, and a left on Holland into the parking lot of Winchester High. Turn right on Skillings Rd, cross another Main Street straight on to Lake Street. A quick right will turn onto the Horn Pond Brook Bikeway. This bikeway will bring you onto Middlesex Street which will turn into Sylvester Ave, and the bikeway will cut you through to Lake Terrace to Horn Pond. Turn left on Lake Street (a different Lake Street) here and loop the paved trail around Horn Pond ending up on Arlington Rd along the east side of the Pond. As you finish the loop, turn left on Lake Street and run up to Main Street in Winchester. Cross Main Street to turn left on Cross Street. As you approach the railroad tracks on Cross Street look for the water stop at the Winchester Community Park for water stop.

Full 4 – Continue on Cross Street and quickly turn left on Forest Street. Follow that as it winds over to the Gingerbread Construction Company where you cross Washington Street and run up the familiar hills of Forest Street. No water stop at the top though, continue over I-93 and turn right at the traffic lights onto Park. Now its your turn to follow Park Street past the I-93 on ramp, as it turns into North Border Rd, over to Friendly’s. Cross Main Street straight onto South St and continue as it turns into Pond Street. Look for a water stop at the Stone Zoo.

Finish Full – Finish up by continue on Pond Street along Spot Pond. Turn left to stay on Pond Street as it brings you down to Grimsby’s. Run straight on West Wyoming and left on Main to finish up at Brueggers.

Water Stops – So I’ll be missing the adventure this weekend. Tom, Bobby and Nicole will help you out. The plan will be for them to meet at the first water stop. As the leaders run through Tom can move over to Water Stop 2/3, Nicole will head to Stone Zoo, while Bobby finishes up that stop. Bobby can then move over to Stone Zoo to relieve Nicole and wait for the full runners to move through. Hopefully this plan works for everyone.

Roll Call – Who’s in for the new route!

Week 8 – Getting Longer

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Last Week – We did 7 miles for the short and 14 for the long on what ended up being a cooler day than expected. As cloud cover kept the sun from warming us, and a stiff breeze made the wind chill even cooler, the group made their way through Stoneham to Friendly’s and through a series of hills in and about Spot Pond.

This Week – The weather should be sunny with temperatures approaching 40 as we do our last run in February. We’ll be heading over to Breakheart to run part of what was once the Wakefield version of the Law Enforcement Memorial Half, which became Boston’s Run to Remember. The group will be looping Breakheart as we break into the longer training distances of the season with half runners get in 9 miles and the long runners stretching it out to 18 miles.

The Route –

Start 1- This week we start up Main Street towards Ell Pond. Say ‘Hi’ to the Clarence DeMar monument for luck and bear right onto Green Street to a traffic light where you turn left onto the Lynn Fells Parkway. Follow the Lynn Fells all the way to the Saugus entrance to Breakheart on the left. Follow the road up to the upper parking lot at the headquarters building. Look around for Derm in the parking lot for the water stop.

Start 2- All runners, short and long, will head into Breakheart. We’ll be taking the outer loop around Breakheart Reservation. We typically go in the right side and run counterclockwise through the woods, bearing right at the fork in the road at the swimming area. Some runners like to go clockwise, others like to just run the flat side, so feel free to improvise, just don’t cheat yourself out of miles. Make your way back to the headquarters parking lot for a second water stop.

Half-Finish- The half runners backtrack the way they came to finish up their 9 mile run, along the Lynn Fells Parkway to the left on Green Street and back onto Main Street to finish at Brueggers.

Long 3- The long runners will had back along the Lynn Fells but will turn right onto Main Street in Saugus at the first set of lights. The group will continue on Main as it becomes Farm Street in Wakefield and stop at Bobby’s water stop on the right at Wakefield High School.

Long 4- After the water stop you’ll continue on Farm Street to a right onto Water Street and an immediate left onto Montrose Street. This windy hilly road will bring you to its end where you turn left on Salem Street. Salem will fork left, but you’ll bear right onto Lowell Street.

Lowell Street will bring you up to Lake Quannapowitt near the Gingerbread Construction Company. Cross to the left side of the road, turn left onto Quannapowitt Way and look for Nicole at the water stop in the Comverse parking lot.

Long 5- After this stop you’ll make your way over to North Ave, choosing to either go along the dirt path or follow the roadway through the parking lot. At North Ave go left and follow it all the way back to Main Street, where Derm’s final water stop will be waiting for you at Nick’s Pizza.

Long Finish- From here you’re going back to Melrose along Main Street, straight back to Brueggers to finish your 18 miler.

Water Stops- I won’t be around this weekend, but Derm, Bobby and Nicole will be at Breakheart, Bobby and Nicole will head over to Wakefield High School ahead of the pack, and Nicole will eventually make her way to Lake Q to keep up with the pack. After the last runner comes through, the water stop volunteers should pack up and head to the next stop to let the volunteer know who to expect when, with Derm cutting over to Nick’s ahead of everyone. Eventually all water stop help will congregate at Nick’s to finish up the day.

Roll Call! Who’s in?