Archive for February, 2008

Darn Groundhog!

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Even with an extra day in the year (Happy Leap Day) spring is still taking its time getting here. Another weekend, another snowstorm. What does this mean for us you ask? This week’s route is supposed to be a trip through Breakheart again, and again we may have to bypass it due to snow. We’ll have more on that later.

Before I get to far ahead of myself I want to thank Nick for helping out last week and running the show here in Melrose while I was sunning at the Red Sox training facility in Ft Myers. I did try to get a long run in while I was down there but it was too hot and I had to cut it short. I know, you don’t want to hear about it. It sounds like you had some good running up here, both along snowy Spot Pond and down in Hyannis. Thanks to Lois for bringing us along for the trip via her recap. Oh, and I think I can guess who had the wardrobe malfunction 🙂

So this week…. 18+ for the marathon group and 9+ for the half marathon group. I’ve asked for some rolling water stop support via the forum but haven’t heard back from anyone. The route as it stands is a tougher one to support with water stops in 4 different places. Depending on the snow we may run to Breakheart and let people choose to run the loop there or skip it and add a loop around Pine Banks at the end of the run instead. Let me see what kind of snowfall we get first. (Walt, any input?)

Ok, enough outta me, who’s coming? Post here. Anyone interested in running part of the route and serving as a water stop too, let me know, we can use all the help we can get this week.

Week7 – Information Coming

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Most of you will be running in Hyannis next week. Good Luck to all of you. I will be running in Naples, FL. That means I won’t be organizing the run. I’ve asked Nick to, and I ask anyone planning on running to offer your help for water stops. Comment to this message to work out the details.

Nick, Lois and Nancy have the water stop supplies (I think). Both are running Hyannis though, so if you are running Tuesday night you can pick them up from them then. If not, I’m sure you’ll figure something out.

See you all in a few weeks,

Week 6 Recap – Happy Birthday George, Abe, and Julie

Monday, February 18th, 2008

This Monday we honor our Presidents on the day where George Washington’s birthday is observed. Today we also observed Julie D’Andrea’s birthday (a milestone one), celebrating in our own way, with a long run.

 Fourteen runners milled about Brueggers on a morning where it seemed we would rather stay inside but eventually the crowd started moving out the door and down the sidewalk. Before I could say go, we went, into the cool winter morning. Temperatures were in the 20s with wind chills expected to be in the teens. As we headed down Main St and out Franklin St to Stoneham the air was relatively still making the morning seem warm. The lead pack was Linda Ford, Brian, Walt, Ed, and Paul, forging ahead like a comet with the other 9 runners forming a tail behind it. We cut down Summer St to Marble and over I-93 into Winchester and the first water stop at Lois’ car.

A quick drink and the lead pack was off again. The more social water stoppers lingered for a while, but in short time we too followed Forest St to Highland Ave, up to Winchester Hospital where we took a left on Reservoir Rd. This tiny street along the north end of the Fells is the prettiest of all the streets we run on during training. As the sun shined bright on the frozen reservoir Ana commented on how beautiful and peaceful the scenery was and marveled at the beautiful homes that lined the street. Then she noticed the hilly road rise up in front of us. This street is pretty and steep, but in my opinion worth the effort. The route looped back to Highland where we each attacked the uphills and downhills into the next water stop where Rick attentively took care of our hydration needs.

Off we went for the next section of the long run. Following Rt-38 to Washington Street, the flatness of this section contrasted the hills that got us here. Unfortunately that changed in the last mile as a climb up Forest St provides and endless series of uphills back to Lois’ car for water stop 3. As we climed to the water stop we spotted Sue Clough and her daughter stopping to pick up supplies to shuttle over for a bonus water stop further into the route.

As we broke from water stop 3 there was a lot of negotiating on who was doing what this morning. This isn’t an easy 16 mile run which challenged the resolve of each runner. As we came out to Spot Pond by Friendly’s runners had a choice, go straight and cut 3 miles off the run or go right to loop the pond for the full 16. Most stuck to their plan for the full run, some cut their runs short to save themselves for the Hyannis Half next week. Shortly after the turn I found myself running alone, the quiet interrupted only by a toot from Lois and Pam as they zoomed by on their way to help Sue with the final water stop. This section of the run was the coldest, with some big winds whipping up off the Pond and the highway as we run parallel to I-93. A few hills later I was pulling into the Flynn Rink parking lot and reaping the benefits of the bonus water stop. Mike MacNeil and Ana followed in right behind. While Mike and I sipped our last gatorade of the day, and wolfed down a mini-Snickers, Ana went off to find a place to stretch and came back with a frozen little Dora the Explorer doll she found in an icy snow bank. Dora was not dressed for the weather, sporting a little tennis outfit and clutching a little pink tennis racket in her frozen hands. Ana ran the last bit of the run with Dora and hand, bringing her home to nurse her back to health.

Those last few miles took us around the Pond and down West Wyoming. Along the way I got tooted at again, this time a grin and wave from Francis Blesso as he drove by. And then one more toot as Lois and Pam raced by to beat me to Brueggers.

Overall it was a pleasant day to run, the water stop support was excellent (Thanks Lois, Rick, and Sue!), and we can put a checkmark next to 16.2 miles now!

Week 6 – Candy (check), Roses (check), 16.2 miles…

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Ok. with Valentines Day behind us, it’s time to think about the Sunday Long Run. Before we get there though, let’s give a shout out to the five familiar faces from our Sunday Long Runs that hit the Half at the Hamptons last week to put their training to the test. Each passed with flying colors with good runs despite some weather challenges toward the end.

Paul Donahue Brian SlaterAndrew PateGinny RoweRick Collette

(Photos courtesy Capstone Photography)

On a sad side note, the Rochester Runners lost one of their long time members, Bill Paradis, 55, who died of an apparent heart attack at mile 6 of the race. Our thoughts go out to the Rochester Runners and Bill’s family and friends. 

As for this Sunday, This week we’ll be stretching our miles out a little further, 16.2 for those with their eye on a spring marathon and 8.2 for those readying for a spring half. If you’re planning racing next weekend you might want to lighten up the mileage this week.

We’re heading out to Winchester, a neighborhood we haven’t run through yet this year, so be sure to review the maps.

If you’re looking for more then 8 but less than 16 I’ll add notes on the map for shortcuts you can take to tailor the distance to your needs.

Anyone that would like to run a 5.5 mile loop, meet us at water stop 1 and run the Winchester highland section back around to the water stop.

Lois and Nancy have volunteered the use of their cars for the water stops this week. Unless anyone insists on something other than that, we’re all set.

Good luck to Sunday runners heading to Martha’s Vineyard for a 20 mile race or Foxboro for a 10 mile race this weekend!

Time for the Roll Call! Leave a note here if you’re coming and how many miles you plan on running.

Week 5 – Running in a Winter Wonderland

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

After a week of wondering what the weather had in store for our run, Sunday Morning finally arrived with slick roads, a shallow crust of snow on the sidewalks, and fog in the air. Walt hit the forecast right on the button… in fact as I type this we’re getting the predicted afternoon snow thunderstorms. The only thing we couldn’t predict was how many people would brave the questionable footing of Breakheart as part of the route. Surprisingly nineteen runners showed up at Brueggers to get their Sunday long run in, while Mike Quigley and Rick Collette showed up to say hello and get a morning cup of coffee in. Rick was one of a few MRCers heading north to run the Half at the Hamptons, among them Sunday long runners Paul Donahue, Andy Pate, and Brian Slater.

Heading out to the LynnFells each runner weighed the option of running on glazed sidewalks or out along the side of treated roads, both of which carry their own dangers. Most opted for the single file march along the roadside of the LynnFells. Ed Torres, who ran yesterday instead of today to avoid the weather (and sleep later?) missed out on his winter tradition of finding and keeping a wrench on the side of the road. On the LynnFells lies a nice pair of pliers, passed over by many of our runners since it looked heavy and we were 3 miles from the water stop. I’m sure Ed would have scooped that up with pride.

As we entered Saugus the route turned on to Main St, as did Kelley and Erin before remembering they were running a similar  but longer route that headed for the other entrance of Breakheart. Turning back to correct their misdirection induced a few “you’re going the wrong way” comments from the packs they had to pass on their way back. A few runners turned down Howard St to follow the 6.3 mile run while most slithered towards the water stop, weaving out in the street when the traffic was clear and bobbing back into the roadside slush as cars approached. Before hitting the water stop at Wakefield High School, Mike York and I successfully registered 7MPH on the school zone radar sign. Was it that we were going fast enough to register on radar or that together we’re approaching the size of a small car? I’ll go with the former.

From the water stop the adventure began. Of the 19 that started out 13 dared to attempt to run the snow covered steep hills of Breakheart. From what I heard each one was glad they did. Starting off with the hilliest section, we trudged up the hills making sure to dig into the snow to avoid slipping while keeping the strong stride necessary to scale the incline. Coming down the hills we had a choice, play it safe by running gingerly and slow or throw caution to the wind and charge down avoiding braking which would lead to slipping which could lead to breaking. Mike and I opted for charging down, enjoying the thrill of a little recklessness during our run. The loop of Breakheart was actually the best part of the run. The soft cushioning snow with very little ice to worry about was better footing than expected. The pure white snow on the trees and rocks was pleasing to the eye. The packed snow falling from trees above gave the impression of being in a 3 mile snowball fight with the woods. Even Ana, who hates the cold, was playfully throwing snow in the air and enjoying herself. Exiting Breakheart, we transitioned back into reality with hard, harsh pavement battering our footfalls again.

Jocelyn and Liz awaited us at the water stop, Jocelyn having finished her 6 mile run without partaking in Breakheart, which she now seems to regret, and Liz getting ready to run the last 4 miles of the route with the group. A quick sip and snack and we were all off again, except for Walt who went for a second loop of Breakheart, to become much more deserving of the several bite sized Snickers he would eat at the water stop. (We told you Walt, Snickers Rule!) From Breakheart we went down Water St, the coldest part of the run with stiff winds in our faces. Turning on to Main St the sun came out and Spring burst forth for a few miles, warming things up so much Joanne Piper finished her run in a t-shirt… amazing considering the snow squalls and bitter cold that will hit the region tonight.

Meanwhile, somewhere else in Melrose, Nick was improvising his own route through the city streets. After a fall early in this training period he wasn’t up for the unknown in Breakheart and instead continued on the route detouring onto Greenwood, wandered over to Oak Grove, then heading back to Brueggers. As the long run route took us 12.5 miles, Nick ran close to 12, I’m sure. Kelley and Erin did about 18, as did Walt. Brian tacked on a few extra too. Good runs by all on a day that could have caused many of us to shut off the alarm and curl back up with our pillows before the sun came up. We’re all one week closer to a good race.