Super Sunday Long Run

This week’s Sunday Long Run turned into:

Super Sunday Long Run!

For the past two weeks I’ve been taking wrong turns even when running with people much smarter than I. One week we ran a little long, last week we ran a little short.

This week we had an 18.1 mile run scheduled, our longest run of the series. I did not want to go out with the fast kids and then fade near the end. Like many runners, I like to start out slow, warm up and try to have consistent splits at the pace I have planned. It doesn’t always work out that way.

The Run in the Sun

I ran the first 11 miles with Matt Kerton. Matt was going to miss our 20-miler next weekend, so he had already run a few miles. He wanted to make sure he got the 20-miler under his belt. Matt and I ran mostly 10 to 10:30 splits. It was a good pace for the longest run of the season.

We usually have smaller groups on these long runs, and this was a holiday weekend. A lot of people were running the shorter distances, other people started at 7AM, because they knew the day would be hot. As such, there weren’t a lot of people out there with us.

The air was heavy with humidity, and grew warmer with each mile. August in New England. The shade in Breakheart Reservation was welcomed, but the hills were not.

Jim designed this run to tire us early in the run and then have to finish or tired legs. The idea was to simulate marathon conditions on an 18.1 mile training run. The hills in Breakheart worked very well in tiring our legs.

I know that Jim doesn’t make up the routes willy-nilly, but I didn’t really appreciate the level of planning that he puts into these runs until listening to him explain the plan at the last water stop.

On my own

Around mile 11 Matt stopped at a store to get a bottle of water and said he’d catch up to me. Running by myself, I picked up the pace a bit, but nothing faster than a 9:25 mile. At Lake Quannapowitt I refueled at our water stop and headed out.

For some reason I thought we were supposed to loop the lake, hit the water stop again and then run down North Avenue to Main Street in Wakefield. When I got back to the parking lot, no water stop! I thought maybe I was the last guy and they took off to be at the next stop.

I had run mostly under 9 minute miles around the lake, which is a 3 mile loop. I was in need of a drink and a GU. As I ran out of the parking lot I started thinking about where I had seen water fountains around the lake. The Town of Wakefield has done a lot of work around the lake and a lot of people walk, run or bike around the lake for fitness and recreation. It’s awesome.

Super Sunday Long Run, 08312014.On the south side of the lake, on Church Street, I found the fountain! I took one of my glucose pills because it was all I had. These things are as dry as chalk, and I drank a lot of water. Did I mention that it was hot and sunny?

At this point I was around 17 miles into an 18.1 mile run. I was about 4 miles from Brueggers. Things were just not adding up. It never dawned on me that I didn’t see anyone else from the club for a good reason.

When I got to our 5th water stop on the corner of Nahant and Main in Wakefield My Garmin said something like 17.8 miles. Our fearless leader Jim was their poring drinks and dispensing advice. I asked him how this could possibly be an 18 mile run when my watch says 17.8 and I know we are at least 3 miles from home.

After telling Jim about my route he laughed, and told me we were not supposed to loop the lake, just run down North Ave. That’s how I added 3 miles to the run! My friend Thuy said I should just jump in Jim’s car and ride back to Brueggers, I was close enough to 18.1 miles. I considered it for a moment.

Then I thought about my training and how it’s been lagging a little bit. If I could get in 21 miles today, I might be able to get to 35 miles for the week. I was already at 18, so why stop now?

I joked with Thuy that just behind a building down the road is where the hill starts. About 100 yards from where we were, but out of sight. She looked at the building and knew exactly what I was talking about. We both laughed.

Even though my thighs were killing me and my calves felt like they were on fire, I took another cup of water and headed home. When I got to the hill it was just crazy. I thought to myself, “why the hell am I doing this?” I could be sitting in a car, 5 minutes from a hot bagel.

splits, running, super sunday long run
SLR Splits

Mile 18, where I stopped for water, and had to run up the hill, was 10:18. Miles 19 & 20 were fairly flat and I managed both miles under 10. Not bad for that late in the run. I bargained with myself that I would run to mile 20, and then walk the rest. It would still count as 21 miles.

It was roasting hot, but I could feel sweat on my chin. As long as you are sweating, you are probably not dehydrated.

I walked and jogged the last 1.01 miles at a pace of 16:27. I was totally spent, it was sunny and close to 90°. A few runners past me running out main street. I had my sunglasses on so they couldn’t see my eyes. My hat was soaked with sweat, but I’m not sure if I looked like I was finishing a super long run or some pathetic guy who needs to walk home like a cup cake.

Apre Run

When I finished up I could see that no one was sitting in front of Brueggers. I had my Star Bucks card on me and headed in for an ice coffee. My birthday is next week so I got a free piece of coffee cake and a refill on my drink. Nice.

When I got home I took a good shower, leafed through the paper and felt exhausted. I went out to the garden to harvest my pathetic tomato crop and almost passed out twice. You know when you start to lose your balance and the world begins to look like the snow on an old TV screen? I moved slowly, finished my meager yard work and sat down to write this post.

It’s Sunday afternoon, I ran 21 miles and I have tomorrow off. How sweet is that?

Run well my friends!

© 2014 anagelin


Sunday Long Run

Sunday Long Run

This week the course was 16.2 miles with a ton of hills. Near the last 4 miles of the run me and my buddy Don got turned around a bit, and we ended up running 16.8 miles. We missed the last water stop, walked a little bit and survived to tell the tale.

SLR elevation map,sunday long run
SLR elevation map

And they’re off

The group was smaller this week. Last week we had about 30 runners, but the course was “only” 12.5 miles for the full and 6.3 miles for the half. It’s curious how the group gets smaller on these longer run weekends!

After Jim gave us this week’s directions, our modest sized group didn’t seem ready to go. I decided to get going and ended up running with Chris Hancock and two of his buddies. Chris currently holds the fastest finish for 6 of the 7 distances our club tracks. He runs a solid 17:50 5K and a 3:07 marathon.

I’m no slouch, but my 5K PR is 21:45 and marathon PR is 3:47. I managed to hang with these guys for the first mile or so and then let them go as we hit some early hills. Even dropping back from this speedy group, my mile 3 was 7:55. This was way to fast for me at this stage in my training and on the longest run of the past two months.

I caught up to the speedy guys at our first water stop, but waved as they took off. Keeping up with them would have caused me major problems later in the run. I ended up running with the Locke boys for the next leg of our journey.

Round 2

They were running the short course today and thus jumped in at the first water stop. Leaving the water stop we were going down a nice hill. They had just begun their run and had fresh legs. My legs were “warmed up.” I was able to keep up with them until our next water stop and decided to let them go on ahead.

From water stop two to the finish I ran with Don Keren. Don is a strong runner and has set six new PRs this year, including in the Marathon, 20 Miler and 5K.

I run this route twice a year and should know it pretty well. At our first turn we were at a rotary with 5 roads leading into it. We were looking for Washington Street and through a deductive process we decided to run down the un-marked street. This turned out to be the correct choice.

Looking at the map now, this road is Main Street where we were and turned into Washington Street about a mile down the road. No sign, 5 roads to pick from and no map reading skills. It’s a good thing Don and I can think. Well, kinda.

A close call

Around St. Mary’s in Winchester Don caught his foot on some un-even sidewalk and fell. I was right behind him and almost ran him over. As he went down I tried to grab his shoulder or shirt to try to break his fall a bit.

He fell smartly hitting the ground first with his wrist, then elbow and managing to roll onto his back by the time he came to a rest. Absorbing a little of the impact at different points of your body helps avoid breaking something.

If you take all the force on your wrist trying to break your fall, you may end up breaking your wrist. Don had an abrasion on his elbow but his knees and head were un-touched. He was a little embarrassed and shook up, but I gave him my emergency paper towels for his elbow, and we were off.

At our next turn, I actually remembered the turn. We made it to the 3rd water stop and saw the Lockes recovering from their run. They must have run pretty fast because they looked cool and rested. We fueled up and headed out.

At our next turn onto Elm Street, Don and I debated if that was the right turn to make. After consulting the map, we realized it was the right turn. We headed up hill, again, to the rotary by Flynn Ice Arena in Stoneham. We were supposed to go left onto Woodland Ave but took the right onto Highland Ave. Usually there is a water stop on Highland.

As we approached several parked cars we looked for the MRC car. Often someone leaves their car unlocked with an MRC towel hanging on the bumper, or we look for obvious runner’s decals.

I saw a car with what I thought was an MRC sticker on it. After pulling on the trunk latch a few time, I realized it was an MBC sticker, as in Medford Boat Club! I’m lucky the car wasn’t alarmed or the owner didn’t come running out of his house to see what I was up to!

The real water stop was in the parking lot of Flynn Ice Arena, so we could not see it from the rotary. We almost always have our water stop on highland when we run in this area. Just not this time.

As we ran down Highland both of us began to feel it was the wrong route. We were on the back side of a park that neither of us remembered passing before. After consulting the map again we realized our folly and decided to take the most direct route to Main Street Melrose.

It’s difficult to see all of the streets I mention with this map. But with the big picture you can see how far out there we were.

SLR, map

Normally when we run Highland, we take Greenwood back. We were past Greenwood, so we took Clifton Street for the mile run to Main Street. Missing the last water stop was taking a toll on us and we walked on Clifton and Main Street. We were past 15 miles of hard running, no dishonor in doing some walking.

At the corner of Clifton and Main there is a Phillips 66 gas station with 99 cent fountain drinks or coffees. I almost stopped. I usually don’t drink soda, but I could have guzzled a 20oz Coke in about a minute! I was parched. I saw the sign for “Kappy’s Liquors” and knew we had to turn left to get home.

After a bit of walking on Main Street, we ran in the rest of the run. It took us over 21 minutes to finish the last 1.81 miles of the run. We were spent, but we did it. I’m pretty sure Don and I ran the farthest of anyone on our Sunday Long Run this week. 16.81 miles.

What I learned

I knew I went out too fast with the lead pack. Just like in a race, you need to start out at, or slower than, your goal pace in order to warm up, loosen up and not waste all of your energy early in the run.

Even with a map we took a wrong turn and missed the last water stop. That really killed us. I fueled up right on target at the first three stops. On a hot day it is okay to have an extra cup of water or Gatorade.

I know that 5 minutes of prep time the night before almost anything, will greatly enhance the outcome of the activity. The lesson here is to study the map the night before and have a rough idea of where the major turns are.

Run well my friends!


© 2014 anagelin

Crucial Error

With all of my planning I almost committed a crucial error.

This weekend’s marathon involves an international border, which means a passport is required. I don’t know how many times I told my self to go get the passport and pack it so I won’t forget it. Today I am toiling away at work so I can leave early, and it dawned on me – my passport is still at home!!! I had planned to leave directly from work, but now I need to go home first.

If you forget to pack your gels or favorite beverage you can buy or bum a few from someone. Passports aren’t so easy to come by these days. Now I have a sticky note on my screen so hopefully I will not drive to the New Brunswick border and be turned back.

border crossing, customs,canada


Run well my friends!


Final approach to Lubec

It’s the Final Approach to Lubec

The marathon is four days away. As I walk around the house in bare feet I’m suddenly aware of how easy it is to stub a toe or step on something. Funny how last week I never really thought about it. I’m also paying more attention to the laundry and starting to collect my gear.

I like to keep things low pressure. That means slowly gathering my stuff and leaving time to find something I’ve

Gatorade Prime 01,running

forgotten or need to go buy. I need to get some fig bars and Gatorade 01 Prime. I’m taking a cooler with me to keep my race water bottle cold and for two large ice packs. I know where everything is. The pile is growing.

I may run on Thursday or Friday, but only a few miles or maybe 5K. Just to keep the legs loose. In the gym I’ve been doing core work and leg and hip stretching only. No squats or lunges. Nothing that could put strain on my knees or muscles. Nothing I do now will increase my strength enough to matter, and there isn’t enough time left to recover from any injuries.

I’ve been doing more stretching and working on the leg and hip muscles in the gym this past year. At Bay State last fall my hips were killing me the last five miles or so. At Boston my hips didn’t bother me at all. My muscles were toast and at times I actually could not catch my breath. I think the gym work is paying off, now I just need to ramp up my cardio. I’ll have to do that over the summer to be ready for my fall marathons.

Gotta go collect more gear and rotate the laundry!

Run well my friends!


© anagelin 2014

BAA 10K Number

My BAA 10K number arrived over the weekend and I opened the envelope yesterday.

The envelope had my bib, 4 safety pins and the booklet with rules, things to know etc. There are 8,000 runners this year and corrals will be seeded by bib number. I’m not sure how they assigned bib numbers but my number in less than 1,000. After the Marathon Doppelganger debacle I wont give my exact number, but it is shockingly low for a field of 8,000 runners.

Boston Marathon, running

There are over 2,600 runners in the BAA Distance Medley. These folks signed up for all three races on one application. I’ve done it before. It’s convenient, locks you in to the races, guarantees your entry and enters you into a special club of runner. I almost feel that there was a mistake. My bib says “BAA Distance Medley” on it and has my name, just like I was a Medley runner. I am , however not a member of that august group.

This is my streak race. I have run the BAA 10K each year since 2011. This is year four for this race and it will by my 4th running as well. When I am an old man, this will be the race that I will still be able to hobble to the finish line. This is the race I hope to run with my children and grandchildren some day. The grand kids will think pops is cool for running. My kids just think I’m nuts. But when I’m eighty, I’ll still be able to do 6.2 miles in under two hours as long as I don’t need to stop and change my depends!

I can only imagine the BAA gave me this awesome number because I am a legacy. I’m a frequent flier and they upgraded me to first class. I’ve run the Marathon 6 times. I ran the 5K once and this will be my 4th BAA 10K. My number is not so high that I’ll be taking selfies with Meb and the other top elites. But it is so low that I was a little giddy when I realized that 8,000 people will be lining up on race day. I’ll be in the first corral with over 7,000 behind me. I’ve never been in the top 10%. I hope they are not expecting a top 10% performance. I know how to run like I’m going to puke, but that still wont touch what the kids can do.

But, I get to do a peddle to the medal race without any walkers in front of me. This could be a PR 10K. I’ve been excited all day!

Run well my friends.


© anagelin 2014

Sketches of Vancouver

Sketches Vancouver early in the morning

Vancouver is a very walkable city. From looking at a city map, I can tell that I have barely scraped the surface of what there is to see in this town. Saturday I ran three miles down the water front trail and did not even get to the Lion’s Gate bridge. Sunday I probably walked a mile of Burrard Street, and only got about three-quarters of the way across town.

Run well my friends
© anagelin 2014