Archive for February, 2009

Week 9 – Avoiding the Lion – Recap

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

As March roars in like a lion, some of us adjusted and spent our last day of February squeezing in a long run before the stormy weather comes in. Walt and Ed decided to run today at 12:30 and Carol, Brian, Peter, Nick and I decided to join in. Everyone but me left Brueggers shortly after the estimate departure time into a biting wind from the north. I took the short cut through the paper cup aisle at Shaws and over to Water Stop 1/2/3 at the Dunkin Donuts in Wakefield.

The only discussion at the stop was the wind, unyielding and in their face the whole way, and in a blink we were off into again following Main St through Wakefield Center to Lake Quannapowitt. I latched on to Peter and Nick while the other four forged ahead in the distance. Soon I found myself picking up the pace, the lure of turning a corner out of the wind drawing me towards the top of the lake. As we came close to the corner a  familiar face greeted us, Rick Collette stopping by to say hello. The excuse to take a small break and let Peter and Nick catch back up was taken without a second thought. Our little group of three left Rick and turned the corner into the calm. Turning again so we were heading south on North Ave had finally reversed our fortunes with a gentle nudge from the wind on our back. With the wind chill gone a sweat began to break as we ran into Andy Goldberg walking along the lake. Another short break and we were off again, following North Ave, passed Lauren Cossette off on a run in the opposite direction, and back to the water stop. As we rolled in to the stop Walt, Ed, Brian and Carol were talking to Rick and readying to take off for their loop of Breakheart.

Along Nahant St we could see Walt in the distance on occassion. Heading up Hemlock Rd past Wakefield HS to the Voc we spotted him up the hill. Nick joked to me “Go catch Walt”. As we hit the hills I picked it up a little, Nick went left into Breakheart to avoid the achilles aching hills while Peter and I took them on. I pushed each hill and felt them all on my achilles… smart? Probably not, we’ll see tomorrow. Nick and I met up at the Breakheart headquarters on the Saugus side where I continued on to finish the loop and he waited for Peter before heading back along the flat side again. The flat side was easier despite sections where ice covered the entire path. Weaving my way through dog walkers I started to find a pace. A pair of young female dog walkers moved onto the icy hill to let me stride by, and as I passed one slipped and acrobatically avoided a complete fall. It is slippery in there! I loudly thanked her as I pulled away from her. Exiting Breakheart I was surprised to see Walt’s bright green jacket cresting a hill in the distance. Could I catch him? With about a mile left before the next water stop and the end of my run I made it my goal. As I crested the hill I spotted him again crossing Farm St, Carol and Ed slightly ahead of him. Across Nahant I picked it up, spying them on large curves, losing sight through small curves, heading into the stop I was suprised to see them about 20 paces ahead. Of course they had run 3+ miles more than me, and still had 5 more miles left after I finished, and had no idea I was trying to catch them, so had I caught them it wouldn’t have been anything to celebrate but I picked it up even more and closed the gap… coming about 10 stride short of catching them.

At the stop they planned out the end of their run. Back to Brueggers seemed ok, but when I mentioned “then to Pine Banks and back” Brian made a face like he had just eaten the most disgusting food ever. I’m sure he did it in his typical strong hard fashion, but it certainly wasn’t appetizing at the time. Lauren stopped by for a drink as she was heading home to finish her run, and shortly after Peter and Nick rolled in and out. During that time I got a call from Sue for a weather report: Cold, Windy, but better than tomorrow.

Good luck to all running Stu’s or the long run tomorrow. Barry Cossette will be handling water stop duties tomorrow and if the weather isn’t too bad you may see Walt or I along the route helping out. Stay safe, run hard!

Week 9 – Here comes the snow again, maybe, probably

Friday, February 27th, 2009


As we inch our way towards March the weather forecast gets more Januaryish. This weekend’s forecast is for rain/sleet/snow on Sunday Morning, March 1st. It’s bad enough the winter won’t end but why does it keep aiming for Sunday?

With the weather forecast getting more certain of bad weather starting early Sunday Morning, people are encouraged to make their own plans for a long run on Saturday. If people make one solid plan we can look at providing water stops along the way. I learned last time we did this though that not everyone will get the word and there will probably be a group running Sunday no matter what.

Here’s your chance to be heard. If you’re a regular and you’re running Stu’s this weekend, let me know. If you’re training with us this weekend, let me know if you prefer to just run on Sunday in the snow. If you want to run on Saturday, do you want to run in the AM or more like noon? Speak up and we’ll get a plan together.

Roll Call: Who, What, Where, and When?!

Week 8 – Rain, rain go away! Oh, wait a minute…

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Despite what was billed as either a snowy Sunday morning or a rainy Sunday morning, today we woke up to a thinly overcast Sunday Morning with temps hovering just above freezing. Perfect… and through the run it got slightly warmer and not a drop of precipitation fell. The morning started with me picking up Suzanne on Highland Ave. We picked a spot around the seventh mile of the run and pulled over to plant the car there. On our trip to her right passenger side door we discover the first roadkill of the morning, a freshly deceased squirrel along the curb. Even though the winter has been relatively roadkill free we decided it wasn’t proper to set up the water stop that close to a carcass and moved a few feet up the road.

At Brueggers only small crowd gathered as a good part of our regular contingent was readying themselves for the Hyannis Half down on the cape. I sent eleven runners out the door on their way for a 14.3 mile trek, starting north on Main St in Melrose and out Franklin St to Stoneham where they headed South on Main St to Friendly’s where I served up water stop number 1. Joe and John came in first, Joe running his usual strong pace and John putting in a valiant effort to keep him company. As the continued on to the backside of Spot Pond, Brian Gilroy pulled in with Audie following in shortly. Their quick visit ended and Peter and Tall Dave’s started. Ginny, Jose, and Christina joined them for a quick sip. Seconds after they left for the next 3 mile stretch Suzanne came in, not feeling like she was having her best run ever but pushing forward nonetheless. If you’re counting (and I doubt you are) that’s only ten runners, the eleventh was Brian Slater who had a shorter agenda planned but was kinda enough to join in the start at back at Brueggers.

I was in for just the next 6+ miles of the run, still nursing a sore achilles and opting for rest… which when you’re training for a marathon means you only run 6.5 miles instead of 14.3. Suzanne and I headed out along the Fellsway West and we chatted about her running, how important your diet on Saturday is when you’re running long on Sunday, and some general thoughts on training. As we pulled up towards the Sheepfold she gave me a tap on the shoulder and ordered me to go ahead. Still trying to fight through a bad run, she didn’t want the strain of trying to keep a conversation with me going. I pulled ahead and made catching Ginny, Jose, and Christina before the next water stop my goal. Weaving our way along the Fellsway West, along and under I93, I kept catching sight of them as I slowly gained ground on each uphill. Along this stretch we passed some unofficial road kill, a brownish lump on the side of the road which ended up being a stuffed animal in the shape of some rodent, surely jettisoned from a passing car at some point in the past week. Turning on to Elm St I passed Jackie Doerrer Mullen running in the opposite direction. Jackie is one of the original MRCers and long time long runner. After a quick “Hi Jackie” I headed up Elm St, now with a clear view of my targets, Jose, Christina, and Ginny, each trying their own techniques to get up the hill: Christina pumping her arms, Jose losing himself in conversation about Venezuela politics, and Ginny internally going through a train of thought… love the hills and they’ll love you back, love the hills, I love you hills, I love you baby and if its quite alright I need you baby. With this song now firmly stuck in her head I caught up to her and subsequently we caught up to Dave and Peter as the six of us pulled into water stop 2.

After the break we headed over to the Fellsway East and worked our way through the hills. I pulled ahead with Christina as we shared stories to distract us from the hills. Ginny held back and shared the song rattling around in her head which was added to the list of songs not to think of while running. Up Pond St and past the Stone Zoo we headed back to Friendly’s where my run would end. Ginny asked if I knew who sang that song, at the moment I didn’t. The ran off down Main St back to Franklin and ultimately back to Brueggers. I sat in my car humming that song for a minute until Suzanne had come in for the last water stop drink for the day. Off she went to finish up her run while I drove off towards Brueggers singing:

You’re just too good to be true
Can’t take my eyes off you
I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright
I need you baby to warm the lonely night
I love you baby
Trust in me when I say
Oh pretty baby, don’t bring me down I pray
Oh pretty baby, now that I’ve found you stay

Andy Williams

Now its stuck in your head too!

Week 8 – If you aren’t in Hyannis

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

This week’s Sunday Long Run will be competing with the Hyannis Half and full Marathon. Many of our runners have made this one of their goal races for the winter, but the rest of us will hit the familiar roads of Melrose and Stoneham for a 14  or 7 mile run.

This week’s route heads out Franklin St to Stoneham and along Main St to Friendly’s where water stop 1 will be. From there the shorter route goes along the frint side of Spot Pond and returns to Brueggers via the Fellsway to Main St in Melrose. The longer route loops around the backside of Spot Pond, down Highland Ave to the Fellsway East. When we reach Grimsby’s we cut back up Pond St and follow the front side of Spot Pond Back to Main St in Stoneham to Franklin, returning to Main St back to Brueggers. Any questions, look at the map in the sidebar to the right.

Water Stops, as I mentioned there is one at Friendly’s and a second one will be at Highland Ave. I’ll be running shorter this week, so will meet start and stop at Friendly’s. If someone would volunteer to leave their car on Highland Ave, I can pick you up in the morning. The location is on Highland close to the Fellsway East. Any volunteers?

I know most of the people who aren’t in this week, but who is in? Roll call!

Winchester Recap – Bright, Sunny & Eventful

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

With several MRC club members basking in the glory of completing their 20 mile run on Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday & many club members headed north to run the Hampton Half or south to run the Old Fashion 10 miler in Foxboro, the Sunday Long Run corps were slightly smaller than our usual Sunday contingent.

Twelve somewhat sleepy MRCers joined by two guest runners from the Mystic Runners (Dan & Gail) headed out for our first trip to Winchester this season to brave a moderate wind coming in from the Northwest & the hills of Winchester. Today was one of those days when no matter which way you were running it seemed that the wind was always in your face and although it was in the 20s the TV weather folk stated that the wind chill factor would drop the temperature by about 8 to 10 degrees.

This didn’t bother most as Joe T. took the lead followed by Brian Gilroy, Carol, Ed, Ginny, Christina, Jose, Shelly, Mike York, Sue F., Matt & me. Barry & Lauren (Thank you very much for manning the water stop today) planned to jump in at water stop #1 with Liz, Joanne Piper, Sue Clough & Teresa. John Mulroy planned to jump in around mile 7.

The nice (or not so nice) thing about today’s route is the number of hills that Jim has fashioned into the course & I am sure that his ears were ringing this AM. Although, both Ginny & I found that Highland Ave, & Reservoir Ave. were not as bad as we remember.

Since I hung back at the start of the run to check for latecomers I had a chance to run with Matt S. for a better part of the first leg. Matt was hoping to get a number for Boston this year in order to once again run Boston with his dad who has been running Boston for the past several years. Naturally, Matt has been keeping his eyes & ears open looking for a Boston number but he didn’t expect to find it at Long’s Jewelers this past Friday when he was shopping with Kim for an engagement ring. Before he could say I’ll take the ring with the most diamonds, the clerk pulled out a BAA Invitational application & handed it to Matt! I’m sure that sealed the deal & Matt left happy knowing that he found the perfect ring & was now running Boston. Congratulations Matt (& Kim!).

As an experiment & at the suggestion of a seasoned Boston marathoner, today I was running with a bottle of Cytomax performance sports drink instead of Gatorade. Cytomax’s claim to fame is that it reduces lactic acid build up by 40%, & improves VO2 MAVX all without surcose. Only problem is you have to drink it before you drop your bottle on Franklin Street spilling the entire contents. Great job Nick!

After hitting the first water stop & heading off to hills of Highland & Reservoir Ave, with Mike York, we came upon the MRC gang of four: Liz, Joanne, Sue & Teresa. (Barry & Lauren were also nice enough to stop). Apparently Teresa experienced a severe calf cramp which would cut her run short. (Note to Teresa: skip the step class the day before a long run!) Bummer for the Iron Lady who had to walk back to the first water stop where her car was park.

Thanks to Ginny’s sister who was nice enough to host the second water stop today at her house at 384 Main Street in Winchester. Unfortunately, for Mike, Barry, Lauren & I, we missed it as we went left at the fork in the road instead of right & ended up on the Mystic Valley Parkway heading to Winchester Center. (Note to the Town of Winchester: invest in some street signs!) Eventually we picked up Washington St. & saw Ginny, Molly, Christina & Jose in front of us.

Since Mike is running better than he claims these days & I am not, he led Barry & Lauren down Washington St & up Forest St. while I tried to keep everyone in sight! However, what I didn’t see was Jose take a tumble going up Forest St. & when we arrived at Water Stop #3 he was bleeding pretty well from his right hand & right knee. (Note to Jim: We better put a First Aid kit in with the water supplies!) Although Jose claims Christina pushed him from behind there was no video tape to support his claim!

At this point the the front runners (Joe, Brian, Carol, Ed, John, Gail & Dan) were no where to be found, we headed off to the backside of Spot Pond. I only hope that their final leg was uneventful & that they found the fourth water stop at Grimsby’s. Our happy travelers were missed this week, hopefully the midweek storm that is predicted will not set back the road conditions. See you all next Sunday!