Archive for January, 2008

Week 3 Recap – Dashing Through the Snow

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

This morning we ended the first chapter of the long run program as the January ‘08 training runs came to a close. Today I provided the water stops with the help of my three children. The streets were dusted with a fresh layer of snow. Luckily the routes today were flat, heading north along Main St, as ice would prove to be treacherous in some places, which became evident as one curly haired Carson wound up on her butt outside of Brueggers.

Eighteen runners showed up despite the snow, while a handful of others headed north to New Hampshire to run the Boston Prep 16 Miler. It will be interesting to hear some of the stories from that race, steep hills plus snow always leads to fun. Back in Melrose our little group headed up Main St towards Wakefield. As we drove along to the water stop we watched the runners make their way up Main St hugging the side of the road to take advantage of the road salt and sand for traction. Lois and Pam, after a late start, gained ground on the crew ahead of them, Denyce, Donna, Jocelyn, and Beth. Then we passed a big group of people that included Evan, Molly, Julie, JoAnn, Nick, Ana and her friend Paul, Ed, and Mike York. Ahead of them I think I spotted MaryAnn Grande mixed in the crowd too. Finally we passed Paul Donahue and a pair of Brians, Gilroy and Slater.

At the water stop we quickly set up and I delegated the water stop duties. Kait would be handing out cups, I would pour the Gatorade and James would mix in the water. Lizzie was assigned the distribution of candy but as the snow continued to fall she opted to be snow angel maker instead. In small packs the runners filed in, drank some, went over directions and headed out, except for Nick who just waved and kept heading north to Lake Quanapowitt. Eight runners turned back south on Main to run the 6.2 mile route, two stretched the run out to 8 miles, and eight completed the whole 10.7 miles. Paul and the two Brians followed the route counterclockwise around the lake as planned. Nick, having not stopped for directions and also never having looked at a map set out in the opposite direction around the lake. It’s thought that the next group just followed Nick, as Paul and the Brians reported that they passed the rest of the runners going in the opposite direction. No worries though, they all ended up back at the water stop for a second drink.

The packs came in and we were warned that Nick had been voicing his intentions of hopping in our car for a ride back to Melrose. We decided as a group that we would do everything in our power to keep Nick from “pulling a Lamberti”. As I poured the refreshments and handed out the Gummie Bears and Snickers, my two daughters searched for the perfect snowflake as many nice crystals fell from the sky. They then worked on the perfect snowball in anticipation of Nick stopping by, and wrote happy birthday messages in the snow for Lois, whose birthday is imminent. I’m happy to report that Nick made no attempt to get in our car… although maybe the snowball to the chest dissuaded him. As the snow squalls came in full force and the runners disappeared south into the whiteness, we ended our day of water stopping.

When we pulled the car around to Brueggers we spotted some very snowy runners finishing strong despite the weather. Snowy mustaches, icy hair, and foggy glasses were the norm as we settled in for a long thawing out session of coffee, hot chocolate, and bagels putting a close to January.

Week 3 – Routes and Roll Call

Saturday, January 26th, 2008

It’s week 3 of training. Many of our regulars are heading up north to Derry NH for a hilly 16 miler race while we stay down here for one of our flatest routes of the training season. This week is a pull-back week, after builing up the miles for the first few weeks, this week we let our muscles recover a bit by running a slightly shorter distance. We’ll be heading out to Lake Quannapowitt. If you want to do 10.7 you’ll loop the lake, if you want to do 6.2 you’ll u-turn at the water stop and head back. There is an option for thos that want to run 8 shown on the 6.2 map as well.

I’ll be handling the water stop this week, it’ll be on the corner of Main St and Nahant St in Wakefield.

Let me know if you’ll be coming.
See you at 8AM at Brueggers!

Marathon Study

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Found this in my Inbox this week:

Jim Carson
Melrose Running Club

Dear Mr. Carson:
I am a professor at The University of Chicago, Graduate School of Business and am conducting a study on the relationship between marathon performance and satisfaction.  The study will involve participants of the several spring marathons, including Boston.  We would appreciate your assistance in recruiting participants. Participants will complete three online surveys.  The first survey will take place roughly 2 months prior to the marathon, with the final survey taking place after the marathon. Participants will be entered into a lottery offering prizes including an iPod Nano, Garmin Forerunner GPS watch, and a Nike running jacket.
More information about the study, including a full list of prizes, can be found here:
We are presently in the process of recruiting participants.  I kindly ask for your cooperation in this endeavor.  I would very much appreciate if you could email the information at the bottom of this message to members of your email list.  I would also appreciate if you could post the attached flyer on your bulletin board, or include an announcement in a newsletter if you have one.
The results of this research should be important and useful for those who are interested in marathoners satisfaction with their performance and with the marathon itself.  For this reason, we would be happy to provide you and any participants with the results of our research when the study is complete.
Please feel free to contact me by email ( or phone (773-834-0519) if you have any questions.
I look forward to hearing from you.  Thank you for your time.
George Wu, PhD
Professor of Managerial and Organizational Behavior
University of Chicago
Graduate School of Business

If you’re running Boston (or GrandMa’s, the LA Marathon, or the Rock N Roll Marathon)this spring, want a chance to win something, and don’t mind spending a few minutes filling out some surveys, take a look.

Week 2 Recap

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

Someday we’ll outnumber the degrees, today we came close. 19 runners showed up at Brueggers at 8AM for a chilly (but not frigid) long run but despite an ominous forecast all week I believe we only got as low as 26 degrees. The winds from the northwest did have an effect on any road heading north or west so I’m sure in spots we outnumbered the windchill. 

We started out Main St to West Wyoming. Judi, Barry, and Paul Donahue led the pack through the wind (heading west on West Wyoming, Brrr). Brian and Walt chased them along, with Ginny, Evan, Mike MacNeil, Andy Pate, Tracy from Mystic Runners, and myself trying to keep up. Behind us were Sue Worrall and Julie, Sue Clough and Joanne, Nancy, Lois and Pam, and Matt. It stayed this way until we turned at Grimsbys and made our way along the Fellsway East. To our surprise Andy, Tracy and I had become the back of the pack as the shortcutters mysteriously appeared in front of us. This opened up the opportunity to do some inter-pack  socializing as we marched through the series of hills to Highland Ave. As we completed the long slight incline of Highland and crested the hill, one by one we were greeted by a great void which is normally home to the water stop. “Where’s the water stop! Do I have to keep running!” echoed over and over as each runner past the spot. This fear quickly passed as we got to the Mobil station to find Rick set up around the corner serving refreshments. Thanks so much Rick for braving the cold to help out again this week.

From the water stop most of the group headed out around the backside of Spot Pond, a few followed the front side to get 7.1 miles in, and Matt was forced to stop with a nasty case of shin splints that have been hindering his running. A little rest should help that but who here ever heeds that advice. I was the last guy out of the water stop and winded my way through the packs stretched out along the Fellsway West, urging each runner along as I went by. Going west on the Fellsway meant a strong cold headwind. I noticed a little walking on the hills and was informed that I was on “Slacker’s Hill” so I should expect to see walking. I learn something new each week. Around the pond and past the Zoo some runners headed down Pond St to improvise 9 and 10 mile routes. This is where Ginny was headed until Andy convinced her that 12.5 miles was a better idea. Peer pressure can lead to good things sometimes. I caught up to Mike and Tracy as we eased into the water stop for a second time. Andy and Ginny were on their way out as we stopped and Ana and a friend were grabbing some water on their own 7.5 mile run around the pond. Knowing Ana she either slept later or was waiting for the temperatures to warm up… or both.

The last leg of the run is the hilliest, up East Border Rd, up and down and up and down the Fellsway East again, up the Lynn Fells and down past the Middle School, our legs grinding out the last miles and the last blasts of cold air. Turning on to Main St, our strides took us into the warm sun with the wind to our back to finish strong.

Back at Bueggers Barry and Judi headed out, Barry with a bloody nose which he claimed was a result of a left hook from Judi but was probably due to the dry cold air. Paul, who has been to two Sunday long runs with us noted that each has been excessively windy and hilly, to which I reminded him that I didn’t put the hills there and I can’t control the weather. I’ll forward his complaint to God and Walt.

The post run coffee and bagels broke up quickly as some scampered off to do their errands for the day before the Pats Colts AFC Championship game at 3 and others headed off to celebrate the Chinese New Year with some Dim-Sum. It was an enjoyable chilly, hilly, footbally, Dim-Sum day run.

Happy New Year!
Go Pats!

Week 2 Routes

Friday, January 18th, 2008

The maps for this week’s run are available by clicking on the distance you want to run this week where you see the plan on the blog. Marathoners will be running 12.5 miles while half marathoners will be doing 7.1 miles. Those wanting something in between can follow the marathoners around the back side of Spot Pond then cut down Pond St to the Lynn Fells Pkwy for about 9.5 miles.

Just a few quick notes:
– It’s gonna be chilly out there. Dress appropriately. You can always drop things off at the water stop, you can’t add things.
– It may be slippery out there. Be aware of ice on the side of the road.
– The roads are narrow. Due to snow you might be forced to run further out in the road than normal. Run against traffic so you can see what’s coming. Run single file where necessary. Don’t assume people see you.
– Let the water stop attendants (when there are some) know what route you’re planning to run.

Speaking of water stops attendants, we have three volunteers for 1 water stop. Rick has the supplies from last week, so he’s in. I have additional water, gatorade, gu, and jelly beans too. Let me know how we’re doing for cups. Nick and Liz, if you want to work out an additional stop or just help out Rick, that would be appreciated but not 100% necessary. Let me know what you want to do. Only one of you needs to meet at Brueggers at 8 to pick up the extra supplies.

Time for the roll call! Let me know if you’re coming.

See you at Brueggers at 8AM.