Week 2 – Back at it!

This week the temperature rose into the 30s, the winds were calm, the sun was planning on making an appearance, any snow would wait until evening before falling. In stark contrast to the brutal outdoor runs experience in 2010, today would feel beautiful, which encouraged 23 runners to join in on the Melrose Running Club Sunday Long Run. Shortly after 8AM we left the warmth of Brueggers and headed outside. A short welcome, including a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday to Barry Cossette, and off we headed South on Main St over to West Wyoming Avenue towards the Fells. Judi led the way which is always a dangerous proposition since she never really knows where she’s going on these runs. On Wyoming she crossed over to the south side of the street, not the typical side for any MRCer used to running on the north side on both our summer route and winter route. While Nick and I resisted this change in routine we noticed the rest of the group followed her and crossed the street. After a while even Nick and I, feeling isolated from our pack, crossed too and let Judi lead the way. As we hit Ravine Rd it became obvious why you shouldn’t blindly follow Judi, as she stood jogging in place and then running back to the rest of us wondering if she was supposed to turn there or not. The answer was no and we all continued up to Grimsby’s and turned left onto the Fellsway. What was the first long run in a while for many became mighty challenging as we struggled up the hills of the Fellsway East and down to Highland Ave. Talking of childhood photos posted on Facebook Ginny, Lauren, Barry, Mooly and I passed the time as we made our way to water stop 1 at the end of Highland.

Rick set out the treats in the hatchback of his car. Water, Gatorade, and Snickers (the staples of any SLR) were sipped and eaten as we prepared for the next section of our runs. We were joined by Liz and Joanne bringing us to 25 runners. While stretching out the time at the water stop Walt buzzed in (now we’re up to 26) and with a quick gulp and an “In and Out! In and Out!” he was off running into the distance before we had time to say hello. He doesn’t just run fast, he waterstops fast, like a NASCAR pitcrew. With Molly exiting our group, opting for the 7 mile route, Carol joined in and our band of 5 headed out for a loop of Spot Pond. Leaving Rick’s car we were reminded of a warning we had gotten from Sue Worrall “watch out for ice and poop” and not five steps into the second leg of our run was a bit of both to remind us to keep our eyes peeled.

Out to Elm St, down to the Fellsway West Barry and Lauren led our little troupe, with me in the middle and Carol and Ginny behind. As we approached Slackers Hill, prepared for the challenge, a car pulled up next to Lauren, the passenger rolled down the window and interrupted her run with a directions question. Instead of driving along side her though, as soon as they got our attention they stopped, forcing us to stop and help them find their way. Funny how drivers hate runners unless their lost. After assisting them we all headed up Slacker’s Hill, Barry pulling away while I ran with Lauren, fiddling with my new iPod. Once I got the music on I started running faster, eating into Barry’s lead. I took my eyes off of him for a second as we headed towards the bridge under 93 and when I looked back up he was gone. Had he gotten that far ahead in just a few seconds? Had I slowed down? I picked up the pace, pushing under the bridge and by the Sheepfold Barry was nowhere in sight. Keeping my pace a bit quicker than normal I pushed up past Straw Point and over to the Stone Zoo. It dawned on me since I now had a view far in the distance that Barry must have made a pitstop along the way and now behind me… which made me go a little quicker to try to keep him behind me. Passing the Flynn Rink and running to the rotary by the water stop, a quick look over my should for oncoming traffic found no cars but instead Barry barrelling by me and into the water stop ahead of me. Both of us looking all around on the ground to make sure we didn’t step in anything that Sue warned us about. Rick notified us that he backed the car up a bit to cover that so we didn’t step in… talk about a full service water stop!

Lauren followed in right behind us and joined us for our quick snack. In a flash we were off to the most challenging part of the run. We missed a quarter on the road as we turned towards East Border. It was later mentioned that Ginny and Carol had seen this quarter and neither were willing to stop to pick it up. Lois and Sue Clough would also spot the quarter and discuss picking it up as they continued by it. At this point in our training, and that point in the run (almost 10 miles) stopping to bend over is a lot more work than it would normally be, not worth 25 cents. As we made our way up the steep incline of East Border, chit chatting along the way I noticed a pair of underwear in the road. Later Nancy and Lois would pass them and exclaim “UNDERPANTS!” You never know what you’ll find on a Sunday Long Run.

Reaching the top of East Border Rd I noticed that the Cossettes have progressed nicely with their long distance running. A stretch that would have induced a bunch of groans and complaints last year passed by without a mention this year. It does get easier, these tough hilly stretches. Moving along to through the Fellsway East hills again, I put my headphones back on and let the music carry me through, slightly ahead of Barry and Lauren. That didn’t last long though, as we finished the LynnFells hill Barry went flying by with a stride that made it obvious I wouldn’t be catching him again. I did keep him in sight as the route took us by Melrose High School back to Main St, past Ell Pond and into Melrose Center. I watched as Barry finished ahead and I eased up to a walk passing Turners. A premature stop I found out, with Joe Terranova in front of Brueggers waiving me towards him to finish the complete route I got the legs moving a few more steps and was done. Lauren finished just a step or two behind me, our little pack finishing off a good run.

It was good to see the smiles on people’s faces as they finished up there runs. No matter the pace it seemed like everyone was pleased to be back out on the roads, running with our group, training for our long races to come in the next few months. It’s good to be back, getting serious, and enjoying the weather while we can.

3 Responses to “Week 2 – Back at it!”

  1. Lois Parker Carmona says:

    Thank you, Jim! Nice recap!
    And thank you to Rick for such special water stop treatment!
    Glad to be back at it!

  2. Nancy says:

    Thanks for the nice re-cap, Jim. Thanks to Rick for the support, and big thanks to my running pals for getting me through.

  3. Rose says:

    This was my first run with a running club. Although always into fitness, I just started running last February. A friend of mine is a friend of Catherine’s, who referred me to this group. Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. I truly appreciated the warm welcome, the great route (even the hill), the terrific water stop and Catherine’s great conversation. Thanks to all! Due to scheduling conflicts, I can’t make all of the Sunday runs but am going to try my best to make as many as possible. Thank you.

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