Archive for January, 2020

Week 4 – Melrose Half

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Last Week – With inches of slush on the ground, a group of about two dozen runners headed out for a Sunday Long Run. The sidewalks and road sides were a bit slippery, but everyone made their way up to Wakefield to Derm’s water stop. Some continued on to circle Lake Quannapowitt, some turned back around, but we all eventually made it back to Brueggers.

This Week – The weather should be sunny and in the 40s for this week’s run. Many will be off running the MRC Racing Series race, the Great Stew Chase in Lynn, but we should have a good group at the SLR. We’ll be running the route that used to be the Melrose Law Enforcement Half Marathon which was run in Melrose back at the turn of the century before it moved to Boston to become the Run to Remember.

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Half Start – The two groups will start together up Main Street, past Ell Pond, turning left on Melrose Street, and a quick left on the Lynn Fells Parkway. There the half route runners will get a head start on the rest of the route, heading straight to Grimsby’s along the parkway. You’re less than 2 miles into your run, but there is a water stop there if you need it.

Full Start – The full route runners will also head up Main Street to the left on Melrose Street and left on LynnFells. They’ll pass the start of the old race and follow its start by looping Ell Pond. Turn left at the first set of lights on to Tremont Street. Then take your first left on Lake Ave, then first left on West Emerson, and then first left back on to Main Street. Retrace your steps along Main Street, left on Melrose Street, and left on the LynnFells Parkway. Now continue on the parkway straight to Grimsby’s for your first water stop.

Section 2 – Both groups will run the same second section of their run, but the half runners are a good mile plus ahead of the full runners. They’ll try to keep that lead as everyone runs onto the Fellsway East, making through the Fells hills over to the traffic circle at Highland Ave. Turning right on Highland they’ll make their way up to the next water stop on the left side of highland before the Highland rotary.

Half Finish – The half group will stay to the right at the Highland rotary onto Woodland Ave. You’ll pass the Boating in Boston launch and the water pumping station and then turn right onto Pond Street. Let gravity take you down past Grimsby’s on to West Wyoming. Turn left on Main Street and finish up at Brueggers.

Full 3 – The full route runners will loop Spot Pond as they did a few weeks ago. Turn left at the Highland rotary onto Elm Street. At the end of Elm turn right on the Fellsway West. Follow those hills under I-93 and over I-93, past an off ramp of I-93 (watch for cars!) and then left into the Straw Point parking lot at Spot Pond. There will be a little water stop there before you continue on to Pond Street going right to continue around the pond. Run past the Stone Zoo and follow straight onto Woodland Road up to the Flynn Rink. Cross through the rotary (watch out for cars!) and back to the Highland Water Stop.

Full Finish – To finish up take a left on to East Border Road and follow it up to a set of lights. Turn left onto the Fellsway East and make your way through the hills back to Grimsbys. Go straight onto the LynnFells Parkway back to Melrose High School. The race ended with a loop of the track at the high school which is no longer there, but you have to continue up to a right on Melrose Street and a right on Main Street to get back to Brueggers.

Water Stops – I’ll be away this weekend so Bobby Taylor and Derm Cahill will be your water stop crew!

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 3 – A Little Weather Before The Lake

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Last Week – We took off for Spot Pond on a very mild day for January. It felt like early Spring with temperatures on their way to the 70s last weekend, the extra layers of clothes were quickly shed and put in the water stop trunks. (I still have a shirt). We even spotted a buck with two does traipsing through the fells, and a big cat at the zoo was watching runners go by.

This Week – Not so much like last week. It’s currently 16 degrees, its been really windy, and a storm is on the way. Predictions are a few inches of snow tonight followed by some rain overnight. Be prepared for some slush along the way to Wakefield. The route travels Main Street, which is wide. Use the sidewalks when you can, if you’re in the street run single file. If there is still snow on the ground dress to be seen and watch out for plows! If you’re uncomfortable running in the snow, run on your own at another time during the weekend.

The Route – This week is a step back week, distances reduce a bit. The crew will head north to Wakefield with Full Route Runners running a loop of Lake Quannapowitt while Half Route Runners turn around at the water stop and head back.

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Start – We’ll head up Main Street to Wakefield. Stop at the Nick’s Pizza parking lot for a water stop.

Half Finish – Turn around and go back along Main Street to return to Brueggers.

Full 2 – The full route will run along Main Street through Wakefield Center, staying on Main Street up along the east side of Lake Quannapowitt. When you reach Lowell Street, continue around the lake by going left, and another left onto Quannapowitt Way into the Comverse parking lot. Continue through the lot, coming out at North Ave where you turn left. Follow North Ave to Church Street where you turn left. At the church turn right onto Common Street. This will merge back on to Main Street and bring you back to Nick’s for another water stop.

Full Finish – Head back along Main Street to Brueggers.

Water Stop – Derm will handle the water stop.

Roll Call – Who’s in?

Week 2 – Saturday Long Run

Friday, January 10th, 2020

Last Week – Over 30 people kicked off their winter training on a cold, moist, Sunday morning. While the temperatures were good for running, the lingering wet from the night had frozen to black ice in places along the route, most noticeably on the steep hills of Breakheart. Always be prepared for anything when you’re training for a long distance race, the weather likes to mess with you.

This Week – We’ll meet back at Brueggers at 8AM on SATURDAY to step up the distance and take on Spot Pond. Why SATURDAY? Because SATURDAY night is the MRC Holiday Party!!! Let’s get in those miles on Saturday morning so you can dance and be festive without worrying about your next long run. It’ll be pretty warm for a winter training run, so dress for the 50s. The half run is about 7 miles, the full about 12.5. Generally every other week of the long run will step up 4 miles and then the next will drop down 2 miles as we walk to 22 miles. Meanwhile the short run will step up 2 and then step back 1 headed towards an 11 max before the race.

Week 2 – Spot Pond

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Start – Leaving Brueggers we will head south on Main Street (in the direction of Malden), past Dunkin Donuts, and turning right on West Wyoming, like the start of the MRC Summer Route. West Wyoming will take you out to Grimsby’s where you’ll turn left onto the Fellsway East. Two hills will great you on the Fellsway East which you’ll hate, but maybe someday you’ll grow to love. Ignore the incline and enjoy the feel of running through the Melrose section of the Middlesex Fells. Eventually you’ll go through an intersection with a set of lights and come down to a traffic circle in Medford where you’ll turn right on to Highland Ave. Follow Highland up towards Spot Pond, finding a water stop on the left right before a rotary by the Flynn Rink.

Half Finish – After the water stop, the short runners will continue straight through the rotary on to Woodland Road, running past the Flynn Rink. Follow this to Pond Street where you’ll turn right and head down a steep hill to Grimsby’s. Turn left there and follow the Lynn Fells Parkway past Melrose High School, after which you’ll turn right on Melrose Street and then take a quick right onto Main Street to finish up at Brueggers.

Full Route 2 – The long runners will leave the water stop and turn left at the rotary on to Elm Street. Run to the end of Elm Street and turn right onto the Fellsway West. This will bring you through another portion of the Middlesex Fells, up what we’ve named Slackers Hill after that urge you get to walk instead of run up the hill, keep running. You’ll then cross under I-93, past the Sheepfold, and over I-93. Watch on your right as you cross an off ramp from I-93, cars come down there very quickly! After that you’ll want to turn right into the Straw Point parking lot. There will be a water stop there, so grab some water and keep going through the parking lot to Pond Street. Continue right to keep circling Spot Pond, pass the Zoo, continue straight as Pond Street becomes Woodland Rd, up to Flynn Rink, through the rotary and back to the water stop at Highland Ave.

Full Finish – After the final water stop you’ll cross Highland and take your first left on East Border Road. This will bring you up to a set of lights where you turn left to get back on the Fellsway East. Ride those two hills back past Grimsby’s and onto the Lynn Fells Parkway. Run past Melrose High School, turn right on Melrose Street, and right on Main Street which will take you back to Brueggers.

Water Stops – I’ll handle the Highland Ave stop and Lois will be at Straw Point. I may chose to run around Spot Pond. If I do, remember where my car is because you may have to help yourself.

Parking – Note that there is a 3hr parking limit in the lots around Melrose Center. Don’t linger too long, get your run done, your bagel eaten, your coffee sipped, and skedaddle. Hopefully we’ll see you Saturday night!

Roll Call! Those are the plans, who’s in?

Week 1 – 2020 Winter SLR Kickoff Run

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Happy New Year! Boston is 15 weeks away, its time to ramp up the mileage as you make your way to the starting line. The Melrose Running Club invites you to join us for our Sunday Long Run program, a proven series of long runs that will get you ready for your big race. All our welcome to join us each Sunday from Brueggers on Main Street in Melrose, regardless of which running club you belong to, if any. All we ask is a verbal agreement that you won’t hold the Melrose Running Club liable for anything you do while you’re out on the streets. You join us for the run, but you’re responsible for what happens out on the road.

Running a Marathon? While Boston isn’t the only marathon out there, Patriot’s Day is the focus date of the SLR training plan. If you’re running a different marathon, you can cater your mileage to your race date by adding and subtracting a few miles each week. The SLR plan is designed to walk a novice marathoner up to the mileage to be able to complete a marathon. If you’re a more accomplished marathoner you might want to alter your mileage to a different plan. Feel free to take advantage of our water stops as you complete your training.

Running a half? The SLR will also walk you up to a half. If you’re new to halfs, the plan will get you to the starting line with the goal to finish. If you’re a more experienced half runner, I suggest you stretch the miles out to 15 or so before your half. It will make 13.1 feel easier!

The Training Plan – We’ll help you get through your long runs. Most weeks the SLR will alternate between a step up of 4 miles from the week before to stretch out your miles, or a step back 2 miles for a recovery week. I recommend you run these about 30-60 seconds/mile slower than your goal race pace. The goal is to get the miles in on Sundays, the speed you should work on at other times. Running all your runs at the same pace is a recipe for an injury about week 12 or 13. So what should your other runs be? How many runs should you do each week? What should your weekly mileage be? There is no one answer, everyone’s situation is unique. I will recommend a training app I have used that got me a PR in a half marathon recently. A Strava app website has you enter the number of days per week you want to train, your goal race, and your goal time to set out a dynamic training plan. Note, if you can’t keep up with the training plan they recommend, it’s likely your goal is not in reach. As you run the training runs, the site will adjust your upcoming training based on how well you’re doing. If you’re looking for a plan, I suggest you mix the TO-GETTHERE training plan and the SLR long runs to get to where you want to be.

About our Meeting Place – Brueggers allows us to meet for our run within their place of business but Brueggers is not at all affiliated with the Melrose Running Club or the Sunday Long Run. Please be respectful of their property and their customers. Do not gather along the customer line or waiting areas. Keep the restroom facilities clean. Wipe your feet before entering. Keep your voices low as you wait for the run. Let me repeat that, it is human nature to raise your voice so you can be heard by the person you’re talking to, and when everyone does that we tend to make a lot of noise, at 8AM, when customers are trying to eat their breakfast. You’ll have many miles to talk to each other, please limit the conversation in the few minutes we gather at Brueggers. After the run feel free to talk as much as you like. Please consider purchasing food and drink from Brueggers. Refrain from bringing in outside food into their restaurant, respect their business. If you plan on hanging out after, please bring a change of clothes. Would you want to sit next to a sweaty runner when you go out to breakfast? If we follow these suggestions we’ll continue to meet at Brueggers, if we don’t we’ll have to meet in the street, in the cold, and rain and snow.

About our Runs – The weekly running route is listed to the right in the sidebar of the Sunday Long Run page at the Melrose Running Club site. If you just follow the link you’ll only see the blog post. Each week I’ll post about the run, reviewing the route, and requesting a reply if you’re in. Over the years the standard has become to post IFTF if you’re “in for the full” route, of IFTH if you’re “in for the half”. These responses will be used to gauge what to buy for water stop supplies. Please reply. The morning of the run we’ll gather slightly before 8AM. I’ll collect $2 from the full route runners and $1 from the half route runners. This money goes towards the supplies I just bought. We’ll quickly head outside to Main Street and I’ll review the route. At this point you acknowledge you know where you’re going and agree you are on your own from there. If you wander off course you will become lost and you won’t be found… because you’re lost. Know the route, and become familiar with the area so that you can find your way back. Each week a link to turn by turn directions of each section of the route will be available. If you tend to get lost, bring your phone so you can follow the directions or find your way back on course. The water stops are typically manned. Have a drink and a snack to keep fueled. If the stop is used more than once you’ll be asked to initial the bottom of your cup and reuse it. When you hit that stop for the last time please throw away your cup. When the cups are gone the volunteer will know they can leave the stop. If you plan on skipping a stop, let the water stop attendant know, or post it in your reply to this post. It is very helpful to know. Also, for slower pace runners, it is suggested you get a head start. Some runners opt to meet a half hour to an hour earlier to finish up earlier. The water stops roll along the course so you may be ahead of them, but review the map and plan for the ones you think you’ll make. We’re out there to help you.

This week’s route – We’ll start the season off with pleasant weather for a run to Breakheart. Oh yeah, if you’re new to this, I forgot to mention you’ll be running a lot of hills.

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Start – Heading North on Main Street in Melrose, the group will start together running up to Ell Pond where you’ll cross over to the right side of the road and veer off onto Green Street. At the traffic lights where Green Street meets the Lynn Fells Parkway you’ll take a right. Follow the Lynn Fells into Saugus, up to the Saugus entrance to Breakheart on your left. If you see Target and Kelly’s you’ve gone too far! The entrance to Breakheart will take you up to the parking lot in front of the Breakheart Headquarters Lodge where you’ll find the water stop for this week. Have a drink.

Half Finish – The half route runners will turn around and return to Brueggers along the same path. Run back down to the Lynn Fells Parkway where you turn right. Continue into Melrose, turning left on Green Street and merging on to Main Street. Grab a bagel and coffee, the rest of the group will be back soon.

Full 2 – The second part of the full route run is a lap around the outer loop of Breakheart Reservation going counter-clockwise. Head in along the path to the right, when you approach the beach, keep to the right, circle around and run through 5 (at least) major hills before heading back out to the parking lot for another water stop. Have another drink, you deserve one!

Full Finish – Now you’ll return to Brueggers the way you came. Run back down to the Lynn Fells Parkway where you turn right. Continue into Melrose, turning left on Green Street and merging on to Main Street. Grab a bagel and coffee, the rest of the group will be back soon.

Water Stop – I’ll bring the supplies to Breakheart and backtrack along the route for a run myself. If anyone wants to volunteer to man the stop they are welcome to but if there is no volunteer feel free to find my car, pop the trunk and help yourself. The car will have an MRC Jacket in the back window.

Roll Call – Who’s in for this week’s run? Let me know by responding to this post!