Archive for the ‘Winter 2009’ Category

Week 15 – Race Day!

Saturday, April 18th, 2009

For most of our Sunday Runners this is the week. The Boston Marathon is Monday and 20 Melrose Running Club members are ready to go the distance (although some of them don’t know it yet). They’ve trained through snow storms, icy roads, frigid temperatures, and cold driving rain to get to this day…. although some have chosen to move their run to avoid the weather, this week you don’t have the choice of running in the sun on Sunday instead of whatever Marathon Monday has in store for you. They’ve beaten the hills along the Fellsway, the hills of the Winchester Highlands, the hills of Breakheart and even the hills of Newton. They are ready! Good luck to Ginny, Nick and Demi, proudly wearing their MRC numbers this year. Good luck to our Sunday Runners who trained with us week in and week out: Judi, Joe, Brian, Carol, Jose, Christina, Suzanne, and Matt. And good luck to those that stopped in for cameo appearances on Sunday Morning: Katie, Barry, Walt, Gina, Jennifer, and Rick. And good luck to the MRCers running Monday that trained elsewhere, Roy, Ron, and Jackie.

The Sunday Long Run group takes great pride in being part of getting all our runners to the starting line of a marathon. Now its up to you to get yourself to the finish line. Go get ’em people!

Now for the rest of us, there will be a Sunday Run tomorrow morning, 8AM Brueggers. Where we go? How far we run? I have no clue. Let’s see who’s in and there desired distance before we plan the route. Roll Call!

Week 14 – Next Stop Boston (Saturday Run)

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Fourteen weeks ago we headed out on a sunny Sunday Morning and ran a tough 8.8 miles to start our training. We’ve seen very few sunny Sundays since that morning, but have pushed our way through snow, ice, rain, and cold to get to here… our last Long Run before Boston. To throw just one more obstacle in our way Easter falls on this Sunday which means, although Sunday will be warm and sunny, we’ll be running on Saturday in (wait for it…) THE RAIN! The good news is that its just 12.5 miles which these days feels as easy to you as the 8.8 felt hard back in January.

The run will be up Main to the LynnFells, then along the old Melrose Half Marathon route, cutting back along Wyoming to finish up. For those desiring a longer route you can add on the MRC Summer route for extra miles. I should be able to handle the water stops myself this week I think, although anyone running longer might want to add an additional stop along the summer route for the extra miles. Post here and we can figure something out.

Roll call: SATURDAY, Brueggers, 8AM, Who’s in?

Week 11 – Fish Oil

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

Our first Spring run has come and gone and 24 of us enjoyed all or part of it. The run started late as my ailing car decided to stop for a break along the grueling 1/4 mile ride to Brueggers. Much like a struggling runner is revived and renewed with a quick drink and a Snickers, this little stall has reinvigorated my limping car, which is a good thing since it was signed up to contribute 3 of the 5 water stops this morning, each stop serving as an opportunity for me to toss out automotive questions to our local mechanic-like experts.

The start of the run followed East Foster St up towards Melrose Common where the route took a right turn to Swains Pond. It’s been reported that the roadkill of the year was spotted there, something you would never guess you would see… somewhere near Swains Pond a dead fish was in the road. I didn’t see it since I was rushing along Main St to water stop 1 at the Citizen’s Bank in Malden. Teresa joined me there and we waited in the windy frigid air for the runners to come. One by one they strided in, Judi and Joe comfortable but quick lead the pack, Brian, Ed, and Audie right behind them. Carol and Mary followed, then Tall Dave, Christina, Ginny, Jose, Lauren, Catherine, Evan, Sue, Joanne, Suzanne, Lois, Pam, Peter, and Matt (I think that’s everyone). Teresa joined them for this leg, out past Oak Grove, along Greenwood to the Fellsway East. Working the hills they went, riding the roller coaster to the next water stop at the knoll by Melrose Middle School. I moved my car, fingers crossed that I would make it, stopping once to grab a hat and gloves from home on my way by. The order of the pack stayed consistent as runners came in, took their cups off the clothesline inside my trunk, downed some Gatorade, clipped their cup back up and raced off towards Saugus.

I joined in here and mixed into the pack chugging down the LynnFells. At Main St in Saugus many of the runners hooked back along Howard to trace the 11 mile “short” route. As spring approaches even the short routes are getting long. I went with the long route runners to Breakheart where, as we approached Judi and Joe came storming out… three miles ahead of us and smiling and high fiving like they weren’t even trying. Liz met up with here, starting her run at mile 10. At Breakheart a sure sign of Spring was evident, park rangers were busily demonstrating the process of maple sugaring, but a few steps in showed we’re still not completely clear of winter where snow and ice still lined the trail on the flat side of the reservation. Our loop around would begin and end with a water stop at Peter’s car, a pleasant bookend to what always proves to be the toughest section of the run… although some have been quoted as noticing that Breakheart isn’t as tough as it was weeks ago.

Leaving Breakheart, we retraced our steps along the LynnFells, back to my car at the knoll where my run would end for the day. I finished this stretch with Suzanne who had a solid, strong run today. One quick drink and she was off without hesitation to tackle the last hill of the day on the LynnFells towards Grimsby’s where the route turned down West Wyoming and back to Main to finish up just short of 18 miles. Peter followed, Matt cut the run slightly short, and Liz, Lois and I piled into my sick little car and drove back to Brueggers without incident.

At Brueggers were smiling faces, the 20 mile run two weeks ago having made 17.8 today a walk in the park. It is amazing to watch, season to season, how that first 18 mile run seems so difficult and the second one seems so much easier… in fact so much so that Brian wasn’t the only one that tacked on a little extra today, a few put in the extra 1/4 mile so they could say they ran 18. Great job everyone.

For those that are wondering, I drove my car for a half hour this afternoon with no oil light, no hesitations. Remember along your marathon journey that sometimes when your internal oil light comes on that sometimes pulling over and regrouping for a second can do wonders… although I suggest keeping your fingers crossed the rest of the run.

Week 11 – First Spring Run

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Today Spring officially sprung, chronologically more so than meteorological. This Sunday we’ll take our first Spring long run and we’ll mark it with a different start to the run. Instead of heading North or South on Main St as we have all winter long, we’re going to head up to Melrose Common, swing around Swains Pond, wander over to the Fellsway East, continue down the Lynn Fells Pkwy back to Breakheart for a few late hills in the run, then head all the way back the way you came until you hit W Wyoming Ave where you turn home to Brueggers. Almost 18 miles for those running long while those running short can cut back several different ways to tailor their runs to be 4.5, 7, 8, or 11 miles.

My car is acting up again (oil light is coming on)  so I’ll need some extra help for the water stops. Take a look at the map and let me know if you think you can help. Thanks!

It’s time again for the ROLL CALL! Who’s in?

Week 9 – From Stop to Stop until You Drop

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

For all the weather hurdles mother nature has thrown our way this winter, she really treated us to a glorious day for a 20 miler.  Starting out at 8:15 the clouds were cleared from overnight rain, the streets were damp but manageable, the sidewalks clear of snow for the most part, and the temperatures hovered in the mid 40s.  Runner’s, 23 in all, were raring to get out their in their tights or shorts, long sleeves, maybe a jacket, and hit the road for today’s test, six sections of 3 to 4 miles each with a decent hill or two in just about each of them.

Section 1: Main St to West Wyoming, stretching out the legs, feeling out the run, heading to the first hill of the day, a short but sweet scamper from the LynnFells Parkway up to Spot Pond. Following the road past the Stone Zoo, past Friendly’s and over to water stop 1 at Forest St at the overpass of I93 where Rick, Liz and I awaited. JohnM and JohnK were first to come in followed by Joe. Judi passed by with a big smile and wave and then the masses rolled in: Brian, Ed, Carol, Jen, Don, Ginny, Nick, Christina, Jose, Erin, Demi, Lois, Nancy, Pam, and Matt… each getting a plastic cup and a Sharpie to mark for reuse when we  returned there later in the day.

Section 2: Refueled the group headed out again, with Liz and I joining in. Down Forest St and onto Highland Ave in Winchester where several hills lay waiting for us. Lois and I stuck together chatting through the rollercoaster hills, keeping Jen and Don nearby and Ginny and Nick in sight up ahead. At that point my plan for the day was hatched, run with Lois until I had a mile left, then sprint to catch Nick and Ginny. Water stop 2 had a big crowd congrating with Lauren and Barry serving as hosts. The crowd was so big we infuriated a Comcast service van driver for drifting too far out into the street. Oh well, he’ll get over it.

Section 3: Nick and Ginny had a pretty good head start this time, and with a bunch of people taking advantage of the restrooms at the Dunkin Donuts along the trip it was just Lois and I running along the Mystic Lakes. The weather was warming up but a wind whipped up as we turned onto Mystic Valley Parkway, running along a pathway and crossing over by a track we knew Nancy’s car was coming soon but the trees obscured the view delaying the joy of our upcoming break until we spotted Ginny and Nick finishing up theirs.

Section 4: Lois admitted our run at my pace was tiring her legs but she forged on like a trooper. Down Washington Street we could see Ginny on the sidewalk and Nick in the street and I sized up their lead, calculating a sprint up Forest St and I could catch them. As we made the turn I told Lois “No lollygagging!” and off I went in pursuit of the runners ahead. With the warm temps and the melting snow my sprint went through puddles and I could feel the cold wet spraying on my calves and hamstings. If I were running alone I would never do this, but with Nick and Ginny growing bigger with each step I knew I was running well. With breath heaving and wheezing, across the Highland Ave intersection and climping up the steep hill I approached with words of encouragement to follow me up the hill. “Aw, he’s stopping at his car!” was Nick’s reply, which was true until he said it. I took it as a challenge that this would not be my last water stop of the day.

What a water stop it was though. Rick had hung all our Gatorade cups out to dry in the sun like the day’s laundry. With a lot of time on his hands as he waited for our return they were even lined up alphabetically for easy access. Ginny’s was prepacked with a Hammergel to remind her to eat during her run. And for the record Lois didn’t lollygag, she came blasting up the hill right behind us.

SLR Cup Dispenser

Section 5: Back over to Friendly’s, where more runners also visited the fine restrooms, we turned right onto Main St in Stoneham (the third Main St of the day) and rolled through the hills on the backside of the pond. I believe this spot was noteworthy for many, for the first time in a 2009 Sunday Long Run runners stripped off that outer layer and ran in short sleeves! Spring had arrived, probably just temporarily but it was here!!! On the last downhill approaching the turn onto Elm I picked up the pace in my second pursuit of Nick and Ginny on the day. To my surprise, and maybe she didn’t notice it, Lois picked it up to and stuck with me as we approached the corner… then smartened up and ran her own race up the hill. I caught Nick, sore knee and all, then Ginny, sore stomach and all. Ok, on a good day they probably wouldn’t have allowed me to do that twice in a run but that’s all I got.

Section 6: I stopped at Lois’ car, 13.5 good miles under my belt. Lois stopped too, 16.5 under hers. We sent Nick and Ginny off to finish their 20, although Nick returned shortly with worries about his balky knee. Evidence of Joe, Judi, Brian, Ed, and Carol’s visits sat in Lois’ car in the form of a stack of plastic cups. A short time later Lauren and Barry passed by on their way to finish 14 miles. Jose, Christina, Demi, Jen and Don stopped in good spirits before tackling the last of their 20 miles. Nancy finished up with us, also completing 16.5. From there we drove back to Brueggers passing the crew as the impressively tackled some tough hills late in the game, good practice for what Boston has in store.

It was good to see the strength and stamina in the faces and strides of each runner today. Despite some physical challenges that make this tough (nobody said training is easy) mentally everyone looked determined to tackle the challenge they put before themselves. Inspiring! Impressive!

( Section 7: I took my son James out for 3 more miles this afternoon. I just couldn’t help but get a little more out of this beautiful day)