Archive for the ‘Week 4’ Category

Week 4 Recap – A Beautiful Day

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

Despite the step up in distance, Week 4’s run to Woburn and back was a welcome relief from the previous 3 weeks due in large part to the weather. About 25 runners met at Brueggers to kick of the run, and with a “Does everyone know where they’re going” and a “GO!” from Barry we were off to W Wyoming Ave. It was obvious in the first few steps that this week would be different than the last, with temperatures in the 70s and no humidity to hamper us the group took off at a brisk pace. Tom Gorman took off like a shot leading the way. Mary, Joe and others pulled ahead while I settled in with my small pack for the day, Billy and Kristen. As we passed Grimsby’s and headed up the short but very steep hill that brings us to Spot Pond SueW came running against our traffic to join the crowd. We questioned her logic, why run down this hill to join us only to have to run back up it, we all confessed we would have just stood at the top and waited to join  in there. Now 26 runners strong, we meandered to water stop 1 where Barry rehydrated the crew.

The next leg took us down Forest St into Winchester, and across Cross St to Woburn. Here we passed MaryAnn and AudreyH’s crew of  “scenic routers”  who started at the water stop to run the more interesting parts of the run. Once in Woburn a few quick turns and we were at Horn Pond and water stop 2… well most of us anyway. The “Wrong Way Corrigan” award of the Fall 2010 Sunday Long Run goes to Tom Gorman who did run to a pond off of Rte 38, just not the pond we were running to. Barry’s initial concern was that Tom had run so fast that he beat Barry to the water stop but instead Tom was quickly standing at Wedge Pond in Winchester Center.

The rest of us circled Horn Pond, not finding any of the usual characters that are often seen there, muscle guy, the waver, and Jimmy the bartender. The swans, heron, steep hill, and planet markers were there though, and my pack experienced all of them before heading back across Cross St. This section of the run ended with the climb up Forest St to water stop 3 (the same as water stop 1).  At the base of the hilly climb I reminded the runners that there are at least 3 distinctive climbs in this run and not to attack the first 2 because the third is the longest and hardest. Conversation ended, Kristen took the lead, Billy tucked in behind and we marched up the long mile plus ascent to the water stop. As if the hills weren’t bad enough we also endured the first fresh road kill of the 2010 Fall season, a little chipmunk who was the only thing in worse shape than us at that time. Then we endured a barking dog who picked Billy out as the person to lunge at. In the end we all made it to the top. Another drink and a little snack  and we were on our way.

The last stretch took us through Stoneham. Since we had finished the big hill we settled into a reasonable pace and further introduced ourselves to each other. One of the benefits of a long run is the hours you spend learning about other people. Franklin Street took us in to Melrose where Kristen announced she had just run further than she had ever run before. Congrats Kristen, and I hope that remains a recurring event over the next 10 weeks!

Back at Brueggers we settled in for coffee and bagels, recounting our tales from the road, and checking off another successful long run.

Week 4 – A Change in Plan

Friday, July 30th, 2010

The original plan for this Sunday was to head back to the hills of the old Melrose Half Marathon route. For those that haven’t forgiven me for that route yet, I have good news. I’ve switched the week 4 and week 7 routes so this week we run Horn Pond instead of Spot Pond! (That means we do Spot Pond in 3 weeks though).

This week run will start at 8AM at Brueggers and head out Wyoming past Spot Pond, the Stone Zoo (watch for the wolves) and down past Friendly’s. Follow North Border Rd (the much  flatter relative to South Border Rd of the route you would have been running if not for the last minute switch) past the on ramp to I93N onto Park St. At the set lights turn left onto Marble St and run over I93 to the first water stop.

The next section of the run will take you down Forest St to the Gingerbread Construction Company. Forego the tasty muffin and turn left on Washington St and a right (I think there are lights here now) onto Cross St. This street will bring us to Woburn where a right onto Main St (RTE38) and a quick left onto Lake Ave will bring us to the next water stop at Horn Pond.

Horn Pond is a nice little 2 mile loop. There are a few extra paths that can be used to add on miles. One side route will take you past Woburn Country Club where Jimmy the Bartender has been spotted. Another common sight at Spot Pond is the Muscle Guy, an over developed specimen of a man that runs shirtless around the pond and the waving guy that directs foot traffic around the pond. Extra scavenger hunt points if you spot any of these people. Also not the planet markers along the last stretch of the pond.

After almost a complete loop of the pond the route turns left on Lake Ave and heads back the way we came to water stop 1. Some runners opt to complete the loop of the pond since that adds another stop at the Horn Pond parking lot water stop, but that also adds a few more steps to your run.

After climbing back up Forest St to water stop 1, the route will return to Brueggers via Franklin St. Instead of turning back onto Park St the way we came, continue straight. Go through the lights at Main St in Stoneham, past lights at Pond St, to lights at Franklin. Turn right onto Franklin and search out shade on your way past Stoneham High School into Main. Be prepared for a hot and sunny final stretch as you turn onto Main and head back to Brueggers.

SHORT ROUTE RUNNERS: You have an option this week. You can either follow the prescribed route which runs out to water stop 1 with the long route runners and returns to Brueggers by way of Franklin St or you can start later at Water Stop 1 and run the more scenic middle part of the run with the long runners. You get 7 miles in either way.

For those planning a distance between the long and short route, you can chop 3 miles off your run by starting or stopping at the first water stop. This will also give Barry a car to stash supplies in when he moves over to support us at Spot Pond.

Let us know if you plan at parking at water stop 1. I also suggest if many people plan on starting/stopping there, carpool over, it is a small residential side street and we don’t want to annoy them by parking many cars on their street.

Now that you know what we’re doing, are you in?! Roll Call! Who’s planning on doing what Sunday Morning?

Week 4 – Two Times The Degrees

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

In the early days of the Sunday Long Run, about 4 years ago, it was difficult to get more runners than degrees in the temperature. That was because there were only 5 of us and if the temperature was 5 only 2 of us would show up. Last year for the first time we achieved the milestone, attracting about 25 runners when it was in the low 20s. This morning we PRed by having 23 runners leave Brueggers into 11 degree temps. Twice the runners than degrees!

Heading north on Main up to Ell Pond we were greeted by some wind. The wind had died down some from the gusts from the last two days but the wind chill was still reported as -5. All bundled up the long route runners made a loop of Ell Pond while the short route runners headed straight along the Fells. Mike and Michelle took the lead with a group of about 5 right on their heels. Judi and I hung back a bit, me because I’m slower than them, Judi because she did an 18 mile training run the day before. The loop of the little pond made one thing obvious, facing north and west was going to be cold, south in east would be manageable. As we came back around to the LynnFells Parkway Tim came up and joined Judi and I, and I tried to pawn her off on him so I could run slower. We stuck together until the hills and then I let them go ahead, only to meet back up with them at Water Stop 1.

BarryP and Whitney served up the water stop refreshments at Grimsby’s, about 3.5 miles into the full route. A quick sip of warm Gatorade (a treat on a cold day) and we were off, trying to keep from getting too cold on our break. Walt joined Judi and I for this stretch, becoming the 24th runner of the day. Again we ran together until we hit hills, the big hills of the Fellsway East, and I let those two go on as I trailed behind. With the wind at our back and more than enough running gear to keep me from freezing, this stretch started to get warm, and clothes became damp with sweat. Turning onto Highland Ave this worked against me though as the wind picked up and the damp clothes amplified the cold. I scuffled along watching Walt and Judi pull up to the second water stop ahead of me.

Rick was manning this stop with his friend Jake, a big hairy dog that didn’t seem at all bothered by the cold weather. Barry and Whitney were also at this stop, for the second of 5 times we’d see Barry along the route. Again keeping the stop quick I washed a Snickers down with a Gatorade and was on the move. Whitney jumped in with Judi and the two pulled ahead into the distance as we circled Spot Pond. I put my headphones on and let some music keep me company and pull me along. At Straw Point Barry was serving refreshments but I passed by feeling good and not wanting to risk breaking momentum. Here Joanne and Liz would also join in the run, bringing the total runners to 26, the predicted high temperature for the day as well. Off to the Stone Zoo I noticed Carol was very close behind, and Judi and Whitney (having stopped for water) were now just in front of me. Judi turned down to Wyoming Ave to finish off her 10 mile run and I trudged along sticking between Whitney and Carol. This side of the pond had a lot of evidence of the wind from the past few days. Snow from the pond had blown up over the banks and covered the sidewalk that had been clear of snow since the last storm, looking like snow drifts from the arctic.

The next water stop was back at Rick’s car. Another quick sip and a Gu and Carol and I headed out, while Whitney ended with 5 windy miles. Up East Border Rd and through the hills of the Lynn Fells things were feeling good. Making good time I snuck up on Barry’s  car, now back at Grimsby’s for another stop. Carol ran by heading up the LynnFells hill and back to the stop to put in an extra little bit, shooting for 15 miles I assume. I passed here headed up the hill as she backtracked to the water, the last MRC encounter I would have before extending my run. From here I traced the MRC Summer route to make my run about 18 miles.

Along the LynnFells, over to Porter and down Upham St I went, everything feeling fine. Along Lebanon my knee started to ache but I ignored it, pushing through past Wyoming Cemetery. The climb up to Forest St took a toll on my legs and feeling weary and fading fast I headed over to Main St. With just over a mile left I turned onto Main. My legs were beat, my clothes were wet, and the wind got stronger. With windchills still near zero I had a hard time keeping a pace that generated enough heat to keep me warm. I wanted to walk a bit, having ramped up to 18 miles in 4 weeks was proving much more difficult than I had planned. A marathon shuffle, usually seen in the 26th mile of a marathon, was my only way back to Brueggers. I staggered through the door, 18 miles done, head a little dizzy, and plopped down on the first chair I could find. A rough run in a ridiculous cold. And thanks to Mike Urquiola I quickly had a hot cup of coffee and a little food in front of me to bring me back from the brink. Thanks Mike!

And thanks again to Rick and Jake and Barry and Whitney for putting up with such frigid conditions to keep all of us runners safe and healthy!

Week 4 – One word: C-O-L-D!

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

I know, I know… I’ve said a few times already this training period that I wouldn’t ask you to do something I wouldn’t be willing to do myself. Well this Sunday’s run will pose an interesting challenge. Those who have run with me have heard me mention Cold Urticaria, a condition where one’s body has a histamine reaction to cold air, and how it’s been effecting my winter running. This Sunday is predicted to be dramatically colder than even the cold Sundays we’ve had so far, with temperatures in the single digits for the entire run and wind chills below 0. For that reason I won’t be running this Sunday (I did my long run along the hills of Newton with Nick earlier today thoguh). Should you be running? That’s up to you. Cold air makes for harder breathing and tighter muscles, but if you prepare for it shouldn’t cause any harm.

Some are talking about running tomorrow afternoon instead to beat the cold. If that’s your intention and you don’t want to go it alone, I suggest you post your plans here and see if anyone wants to join you. If there is a big enough group running locally at a certain time we can try to provide the water stops for you.

If you do plan on running, post here. I’ll make sure the water stops are provided as long as people are running. Also read the following articles and be prepared for the weather:

Runner’s World

Running Network

This is the Roll Call, let me know what your plans are for this weekends run!

As for my long run today, a brief recap. Nick and I met around 10:45 this morning on Beacon St in Newton, near Rte 16. In an attempt to take advantage of what was predicted to be a day close to 40 degrees, and an area with hills that Nick needs to be prepared for, we headed out along Beacon St to Rte 16 and the Boston Marathon course. The biggest obstacle of the day was work day traffic, cars and trucks hugging the snow banks on the side of the road leaving little room for a pair of runners to run. We made our way out to Comm Ave without incident and took advantage of the safety of the Commonwealth Ave carriage road, for the most part protected from traffic as we ascended the hills. A quick stop at the Newton Public Library for a sip of water and we were back at it, through Heartbreak Hill and down to the BC campus. The thought in my head through these miles was “this is a lot easier than when you start in Hopkington!” Following the course into Cleveland Circle we turned right on Beacon St, opposite of the marathon route. Along the Chestnut Hill Reservoir we wound our way to the opposite side of the campus and then cut along College Rd back to Comm Ave. Back through the hills the thought in my mind was about mile markers, and how our 12 mile run wasn’t adding up in my head. We reached the Newton Fire Station where we picked up the pace for the last two miles. Traffic was not cooperating though and repeated trips over snow banks to ice sidewalks and return trips over snowbanks to bare streets impeded the quick return. Turning off of Rte 16 and back onto Beacon St signalled the last mile, a surprising uphill mile. Thinking Nick was on my tail I kept the swift pace up ending our 12 mile run strong. Nick’s wife met up with me in the parking lot and we talked for a minute before she finally had to ask what I had done with Nick. On cue he turned the corner with a strong finish of his own. Now that its done I’ve hit to get a better idea of what we did today… I get 14 miles on my map Nick, I guess we’re ahead of schedule now!

Week 4 – A Little Less Conversation, a Little More Action

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

(Congratulations to the Sunday Long Runners that ran in the Newburyport 10 Miler last Tuesday. Barry, Jen, Peter, and Catherine were among the 9 MRCers that completed the 10 mile course legally… and I ran as a bandit having shown up after they had run out of chips for runners.)

This morning’s bright skies and cool temperatures brought out 25 runners for the Sunday Run. We had a Barry, a pair of Brians (neither one a Slater although he did make a pre-run cameo appearance) a Catherine, a Dave, an Ed and two Erins. Along with a Ginny, Jen, Jim, Judi, and Julie, as well as a Kaj. We also had a Lois and a Luis, a pair of Mikes, a Nancy, Nick and Nicole. Rounding out the list were Peter, Sue, and last but not least (in fact as far as miles goes he had the most) Walt.

The group gathered outside Brueggers as a hazy sky obscured the rays of the sun, which coupled with a cool breeze kept the temperatures below 70. If it were not for the humidity it would have been the perfect day for a long run, all in all it was still more than we could ask for on an August Sunday. With a review of the maps and the water stop locations, a quick “Does everyone know where they’re going?” sent us off down Main St up to the Fellsway and by the Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School. As we passed the tennis courts the long route runners turned left on Tremont to loop Ell Pond once following the course of the original Law Enforcement Half Marathon. Those training for half marathons followed a shorter route, skipping the loop of Ell Pond. And if you were like Julie and didn’t know how far you wanted to run you took an ambitious left turn followed by a quick reality check induced u-turn back to the LynnFells. A discussion-filled loop around the Pond went quick for the pack I settled into, me, Ginny, and Nicole. A few stories brought us back to the Fellsway and over to the hills. Here’s where we discovered the poster child for the MRC Sunday Long Run program: hill loving Nicole. I’ve preached “love the hills and they’ll love you back” and for the most part all of you have rolled your eyes at me, well Nicole loves hills and charged up each and every one of them leaving me in the dust. I’m not sure if she was letting me catch up with her because I knew where we were going or if her love for the hills stopped at the top because I caught back up to her on the downhills as we rode them over to Grimsby’s and the first water stop of the day.

We caught site of the lead pack leaving as we pulled into the stop. A quick drink and Ginny was off, then Nicole, meanwhile I dilly-dallied like I do conversing with people as they streamed in and out of the stop Nick, Erin, Peter, Catherine, Sue, Lois, and Nancy. Then another quick chat as I made my way past them through the hills along the Fellsway East. Lingering with each for a bit then picking it up to the next one, I made my way to Nick who hung on my shoulder as we gained on Ginny and Nicole, not quite making it to them as we made our way to the second water stop, Walt’s car on Highland Ave.

Some more Gatorade and water and Ginny, Nicole and I made our way around Spot Pond. Along Elm St we ran into David Lane off on his own run over through the woods of the Fells. Heading along Rt 28 we hit “Slackers Hill”, none of slacking but instead trying to keep up with Nicole as she darted up those uphills, then catching up with her on the downhills again. Following the pond we headed past the zoo, no animal sightings for us this morning until we got to the gaggle of geese by Pond St. They were a little less formidable this week, relinquishing a piece of the sidewalk to let us by while giving us a honk to remind us it’s their sidewalk. From there the route brought us along Woodland Rd, past the Flynn Rink and back to Walt’s car for another stop. While Nicole, Ginny and I regrouped Walt came running in from the opposite direction. I’m not sure exactly where he went but he improvised his own 17 mile run today. Then came Luis, also from the opposite direction, also improvising his own route of an unknown distance today. Having started with the faster pack but losing them somewhere along the way, he wandered along the right roads in the wrong order but still got in at least 14.6 miles on the day. Walt finished at the car, Ginny gave herself a head start, partaking in less water stop conversation along the way and keeping to the activity of running her long run.

Leaving the water stop we turned up East Border Rd. Again right when we hit the uphill Nicole took the lead. Again once we crested the top I went storming by. Back through the hills of the Fellsway East we went, stealing a tiny bit of Ginny’s head start with each step, eventually catching her as we headed into the Grimsby’s water stop for our last stop of the day. Putting a stop here really helps get runners through the last few stretches of what is one of the more challenging half marathon courses I know. However putting a stop here also gives each runner just that much more time to consider the short cut down Wyoming to chop off a mile from the route. I know some considered it and some did it, but Ginny, in the interest of not being ratted out as a shortcut taker continued along the full route. Great job Ginny!

Up the final hill we went, Ginny first having forgone any conversation this time and heading straight out of the water stop. Next went Nicole with one last hill charge of the day. Lois, having made up some distance using the water stop to water stop shuttle (a ride with Walt) joined Luis and I climbing the hill. Then down we went, one last “caught you” as I pulled along side Nicole. We made our way past Ginny and out into the sunshine by Ell Pond. It had gotten much warmer than when we took our first few passes along this stretch closer to 8AM, and the sun beat down on us as we made our way to Main St and back to Brueggers. We did it though. 14.6 miles! Another run down!

My apologies to any runner that didn’t get enough water along the way, I under-estimated the hydration needs for the group today. Thanks to Walt for picking up some refreshment for the back of the pack. As the group gets larger I’ll need to anticipate the need for more water and Gatorade. The good news though is the group is growing and I suspect our numbers will exceed 30 runners before the Fall session is over. The more the merrier!