Archive for August, 2010

Week 7 – Melrose Half

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

This week you’ll run the Melrose Half Marathon, actually called the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Half Marathon held in Melrose back in the 2000 time frame. You’ll know it better today as Boston’s Run to Remember.

The full route run will take you up Main St to Melrose St (pat the Clarence DeMar memorial on your way by for good luck).  Loop Ell Pond by taking Melrose St to the Lynn Fells Parkway, past the High School where the official start of the race was. Left on Tremont St, left on Lake St, left on West Emerson and back to Main. Yes the race did this loop, past Clarence DeMar again (tap tap) and back to Lynn Fells Parkway via Melrose St.

Now you’re ready to run! Along the Lynn Fells to the Fellsway East to Highland Ave. You remember the drill from Week 2… water stop at the end of Highland and around Spot Pond back to the water stop. From here you head up East Border Rd, and yes the original race went this way, I didn’t make all these hills up myself. Turn left on the Fellsway again and head back to the high school. If you were running the race you would turn into the track and let everyone watch you suffer the last 1/4 mile on the track, but you aren’t running the race so you’ll be going up to Melrose St and back Main to Brueggers.

For those running the Half Marathon training route, you can skip the loop around Ell Pond, and head straight to Grimsby’s. From there follow the full route to the water stop and come back the front side of Spot Pond, turning on Pond St to Wyoming and back Main.

Who’s in? I won’t be, I’m on vacation this week. ROLL CALL!

Week 6 – Keep America Beautiful

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

This week we ran along one of my favorite running routes, with Spot Pond and one of the Winchester reservoirs along the way, running along both sides of the Fells, near Winchester Center, and hills everywhere you turned. But along the way I got distracted by things found on the side of the road. The first was the tiniest of flip flops which made me think who would think a baby would keep a flip flop on, they don’t keep real shoes on. I imagined the scene of the little one in their car seat flinging the shoe out of the window. Now I was looking along the ground for interesting things. This isn’t the best way to get through a long run, hunched over gazing from side to side at things to look at. It became obvious that the most discarded item by litterers is Dunkin Donuts cups. After that, beer cans. So with that, over 16 miles, here is the beer can inventory along the route:

19 Miller Lite cans, by far the drink of choice of drunken litterers.

8 Bud Light cans, interesting, less than half the number of the Miller Lites.

6 Budweiser cans, funny that you see both Bud and Bud Light, but you don’t see Miller along with the Miller Lites. Do they still sell the Champagne of Beers? Or perhaps those that live the High Life don’t litter.

2 Natural Light. An Anheuser-Busch product, the Natty Lite was surprising to me. Given that one was in Stoneham and the other was in Winchester makes me think they were actually being consumed by two different litters. A little research has taught me that it is actually the fifth largest selling beer in America. Who knew? I want to know, though, what’s “natural” about this one that is not natural about other beers. And why would someone who drinks a beer marketed as being natural discard their can in nature?

1 Michelob Ultra. Another A-B product which brings the litter quotient for that brewery  nearly to the level of the Miller Brewing Company.

1 Coors Light. The mountains weren’t blue so this one had been on the side of road for a while.

1 Keystone Light. Where’d this one come from? Coors actually, but who drinks this stuff?

I was kinda surprised to see that many cans of beer discarded over a 16 mile stretch (38 in all, plus a bottle of Jack Daniels and Captain Morgan). What would this guy say:


Other than the litter, this was a beautiful run. A little hot at the end, very hilly, scenic in spots… another quality Sunday Long Run. Thanks to Barry, Nancy, and Betty for helping us get through the run with snacks and drinks along the way (all of which were discarded properly).

Week 6 – Winchester Highlands

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

This week we run one of my favorite routes of the program. We’ll start out Franklin St, head into Stoneham and over to Winchester. Water stop 1 will be at the corner of Eugene and Forest St, where it was 2 weeks ago. From there we head to Highland Ave, and we’ll detour onto my favorite street, a very scenic Reservoir Rd, where you’ll see big houses on your right, water and woods on your left, and a big hill in front of you. Ignore the hill and continue on back to Highland Ave, turning left and following the rolling hills to water stop 2. The next section is a bit confusing so be sure of where you’re going. Right on Main St, Rt 38, you’ll come to a rotary. Take the second right out of the rotary, it’s still Main St, Rt 38, but there will be no sign to tell you you’re on the right street. This will bring you into a five way intersection at Mt Vernon and Mystic Valley Parkway. You want to cross the street and where the road forks on the other side you want to bear right onto Washington St. Not a hard right onto Mt Vernon, a bear right onto Washington St. If you get confused wait until someone else catches up to help you out. If you’re last, know where you’re going!

Washington St will bring you to the Gingerbread Construction Company. Don’t stop there, take a right and head up Forest St to water stop 3, which was water stop 1. After that stop you’ll head back over 93, turn onto Park St, head over to Main St, Rt28 in Stoneham and go right. This will bring you around Spot Pond. Continue around until you hit Pond St down to Wyoming which will bring you into Melrose and back to Brueggers.

Water stops. I believe Barry will be doing most of the work, but he’ll need some help this week. The map shows three stops in two places. An extra car at Eugene would help him out. Also we like to have an extra stop at the hockey rink at Spot Pond. If someone running shorter could run out there after their run to help out the long runners it would be appreciated.

Shorter distance runners, I don’t have a scenic route for you this week. Look at the maps and you can try to set up your own, or you can just follow the regular short route.

So who’s in and who can help with water stops? Barry can help coordinate that here.


Week 5 – First Trip to Breakheart

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

At 7:30 AM Nancy and SueC began Week 5 with an early bird start, leaving early down the LynnFells Parkway, turning left to Wakefield High School, and heading into Breakheart. Behind them came the thundering footsteps of the regular crew that left Brueggers at 8AM. Down Main St we went. A tap on the Clarence DeMar monument for marathon training good luck and a turn onto LynnFells to put the run into high gear. The first observation of the day was that, although it was cool with temps under 70 degrees, the humidity was high and the sweat started to accumulate on runners skin and clothing very quickly. Hydration would be key to finishing this run strong.

We picked up Beth along the way, starting at her own waypoint along the Fellsway. Turning onto Main St in Saugus we picked up the “scenic route” half marathon trainers to complete the crew of over 25 runners making this morning’s trek. My run had started quicker than planned, and as I watched the speedier runners disappear into the rolling hills towards Farm St, I slowed a bit to gather up my regular crew to make a run at the School Zone radar sign. I prompted them to band together as we approached the sign, me in the front, Beth and Kristen on my shoulders, John,  Ginny and Dorota along with  others right behind. Picking up speed as we approached the sign, no cars in sight to trigger it, we closed ranks and put on the sprint. 10MPHs. A valent attempt at the record, but nowhere close to the 13MPHs triggered in the past. With the short sprint done, our group of out of breath runners pulled into the water stop where Barry and Christopher Terranova served up some fluids to some very thirsty runners.

Next stop was a loop around Breakheart, our first of the season. This jaunt began with a climb up the the Northeast Vocational School parking lot, a precursor to what lied ahead. In Breakheart our course takes us to the right, circling counter clockwise through the reservation, hitting the hilliest section first. On our way in we found Nancy and Sue on their way out. Their early start gave them the rare pleasure of encountering two deer, mother and fawn, crossing their path through the hills.

 I count five hills on this side of Breakheart, but as the hills build on each other it gets hard to distinguish one from another. Rolling through, Kristen took the lead going up the hills with strong strides and I would take the lead going down with experience letting me know just how much I could let gravity push me down without pushing me over. As the two of us exchanged the lead, the rest of our pack followed right behind. I’m sure each of us thought to give in and slow down through this challenging section, but working as a team we pushed through strong the entire way. At a crossroads in the pathway we foudn the “scenic route” half marathoner trainers, each on their first run through Breakheart unsure where to go. They joined our pack for the “flat side” of Breakheart, which Dorota pointed out is not flat at all.

Back out the Voc side of Breakheart and back to the water stop, Christopher and Barry filled us up with more fluid and snacks. Ginny was prepared to shortcut through Nahant Street taking a mile off the run, but peer pressure from the pack pushed her into joining us along Water Street for the full 12.5 miles. Along Water Street a rather attractive blonde runner ran in the opposite direction across the street from us. The typical runners crossing paths waves were made and the woman yelled out “Looking good!” We responded with a group “You too!” Under her breath Ginny muttered “you’re really looking good though”, a though shared by the entire crew. At 8+ miles into our now hot humid run it would be a tough sell that any of us was really looking that good, and we’ll assume that the pretty blonde had just left her house in the last minute or two to explain why she was looking so fresh.

Shortly after the pretty blonde John and Dorota took the lead in a sudden burst of speed. As the pulled away Kristen decided to jump into quick pursuit. Melting in the heat Ginny and I held back and watched them pull away. Turning onto Main St we watched them lengthen their lead ahead, until they got to Nahant St. Thinking Barry would have made it across to give us a bonus water stop here, John and Dorota looked very disappointed to see no treats awaiting them in the empty parking lot. They stopped on the corner and looked back shrugging as we caught up. “Just keep going, don’t wait” I told them. This idea didn’t sit well with them, but Kristen and I regained the lead and kept going as they relucantly fell in behind us and went ahead without more water.

The final stretch seemed quick to me, trying hard to keep up with Kristen. She had somewhere to be later this morning and was motivated to run home at top speed. The two of us pulled away from the pack, keeping a strong pace to the finish… or at least to the fire station on Main St where Kristen turned to run straight home and I let up knowing nobody was watching. Shuffling into Brueggers we ended the 12.5 miles of week 5 which, although shorter than week 4, felt much harder due the humidity.

Another one in the books, 1/3 of the way to Baystate for those that are running it!!!

Week 5 – Another Beautiful Day?

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

The weather looks to be on our side as we head into another Sunday Long Run! Its possible that the run starts with temperatures below 70 and staying in the 80s for most, if not all, of the run.

This week we take our first trip to Breakheart. If you love hills, and I know you do, you’ll love Breakheart! The route takes us out the LynnFells and over to Wakefield High School, just like it did in week 1. From there we run into Breakheart, do a counter clockwise loop around the whole reservation (go right when you enter the park and where ever you have a choice of two paths, stay right). There are 5 hills you’ll hit in the first mile or so of the run through Breakheart, none are easy, each will make you a stronger runner so push through and be proud of your run!

After Breakheart we follow the rest of week 1’s route, up to Water St and back Main St to Melrose.

The shorter run follows week 1’s run out the LynnFells and back Howard St (your first left, there is no steet sign). Once back in Melrose, take the LynnFells out to Wyoming and back to Brueggers like a reverse MRC summer route.

This week’s options:

– Take a mile off the run by going the inner loop of Breakheart, which means go left when you have a choice of paved paths. This will give you 11.5 miles (and one more hill).

– Start at the old J Pace’s (333 Main Street, Saugus, MA‎) and run this week’s “scenic route” and return to your car. That will make for a good 8.5 mile run. I suggest this over the planned shorter route, much nicer route.

– Start at J Pace’s and run this week’s “scenic route” but take the mile short cut in Breakheart for a 7.5 mile run.

– Run the long route but take Nahant back instead of Water St to shave off a mile for an 11.5 mile run, or couple in the inner loop shortcut and make it a 10.5 mile run.

Having given you all options for short cuts, let me remind you that most of you are training for something big and taking shortcuts is neither encouraged or recommended. They don’t let you pick your own route for a marathon!

Ok, that’s it from me for today. Who’s in and what are you planning on running? I would especially like you to post if you plan on starting at the old J Pace’s (333 Main Street, Saugus, MA‎) so others can plan on carpooling over there.

Roll call!