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What Runners need to know about Tick and Mosquito Season

Summer running season is also tick and mosquito season. Here is what you need to know to protect yourself.

Warmer weather brings with it tick and mosquito season for much of the United States.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the number of illnesses caused by mosquito, tick, and flea bites more than tripled in the United States between 2004 and 2016.

Nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were discovered or introduced into the United States during this time.  These include Zika, West Nile, Lyme, and chikungunya.  1

As runners, we often find ourselves on trails, in the woods or fields or near bodies of water where we are likely to encounter these pests.

Mosquitoes, black flies and ticks have been a menace to humans throughout history. But as the CDC reports, the number of diseases carried by these pests and the areas in which they can be found has grown considerably over the past decade or so.

With reasonable precautions we can protect ourselves and reduce the chance of contracting a disease from one of these insects.

Tick and Mosquito Season

Ticks and Tick Season

Tick season is generally April through December and peaks from May to August in Massachusetts. During these months you should be particularly vigilant for ticks on your body or clothing.

It should be noted that ticks do not die in the winter. They take cover in leaf litter under the snow. You may find them in debris or compost piles in your own yard.

When it is over 40° F ticks can be active and emerge from their winter homes. On warm winter days, you should take the same precautions that you would in peak season.

Tick season is essentially whenever the temperature is over 40° F. In some areas this is most or all of the year.

Last November I was in Maine for Thanksgiving.  On a mild day we went for a walk in the woods behinds my sister’s home.

My brother-in-law looked at me and said I had a tick on my pants leg. I looked down and saw a tick on my right leg just below the knee.

I had never seen a tick before and was surprised as I had been trying to be careful where I walked.

I knew that ticks are hard to kill, but I picked it off of my pants with my gloved hand and pinched it. I waited for a cracking noise, but through my gloves I could not apply enough pressure. I tossed it into the grass away from us.

Tick Born Diseases

The most common tick-borne disease in New England is Lyme Disease. Much less common are Babesiosis, and Anaplasmosis. Rarer still are Tularemia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Powassan virus.

All diseases carried by ticks start out the same way according to Massachusetts Deputy State Epidemiologist and State Public Health Veterinarian Dr. Catherine Brown.

The four common symptoms are fever, chills, headaches and muscle aches. More specific symptoms related to each illness develop as they progress, but they all start with these four symptoms. With Lyme Disease you may also see a rash around the bite location.

Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is wide-spread in Massachusetts, most of the Northeast and in Michigan and Minnesota. Lyme disease appears to be spreading to any area with ticks.

Lyme Disease is named after Lyme and Old Lyme, CT where the disease was first discovered.

Lyme disease came into public view when an epidemic of what appeared to be rheumatoid arthritis began afflicting children in Lyme, Connecticut.

A young rheumatologist at Yale named Allen Steere, who now conducts research at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston, studied the children.

In 1976 he named the mysterious illness after its locale and described its main symptoms more fully: a bull’s-eye rash; fevers and aches; Bell’s palsy, or partial paralysis of the face, and other neurological issues; and rheumatological manifestations such as swelling of the knees.

After much study, Steere realized that the black-legged ticks that live on mice and deer (among other mammals) might be harboring a pathogen responsible for the outbreak. In 1981, the medical entomologist Willy Burgdorfer finally identified the bacterium that causes Lyme, and it was named after him: Borrelia burgdorferi. 12

Lyme Disease Human Risk Map, Tick and Mosquito Season
Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts are hotbeds for Lyme Disease in the US.

40% of Nantucket’s 10,000 year-round residents have had the disease or are currently being treated for it! 3

It is so bad that they are considering the release of mice genetically modified to be immune to the disease. A team from MIT lead by Kevin Esvelt wants to use  CRISPR and Gene Drive to make the mice immune to Lyme Disease. 4

White-footed mice carry the disease and ticks transmit it when they bite the mice and then humans. Research and discussions continue but many people on Nantucket are ready to try anything to deal with this problem.

The most common early symptom of Lyme is a rash which can look like a ring around the bite site. Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, stiff neck, sore and aching muscles and joints, fatigue and swollen glands may also occur.

Early treatment is crucial to prevent more serious problems as the disease progresses.

The joints, nervous system and heart are most commonly affected as the disease progresses.

• About 60% of people with untreated Lyme disease get arthritis in their knees, elbows and/or wrists. The arthritis can move from joint to joint and become chronic.

• Many people who don’t get treatment develop nervous system problems. These problems include meningitis (an inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord), facial weakness (Bell’s palsy) or other problems with nerves of the head, and weakness or pain (or both) in the hands, arms, feet and/or legs. These symptoms can last for months, often shifting between mild and severe.

• The heart also can be affected in Lyme disease, with slowing down of the heart rate and fainting. The effect on the heart can be early or late.

Prompt treatment with antibiotics prevents later, more serious symptoms. 5

Lyme Disease is nothing to fool with. If you are in an infested area you need to check yourself often and take precautions to protect yourself.

The other tick born diseases are less common and generally less dangerous to your health. If you have been in a tick infested area and develop flu-like symptoms or develop a rash call your doctor right away.

Mosquitoes and Mosquito Season

Mosquito season generally begins when the temperature approaches 50°F.

Mosquito Season

As the temperature rises, so does the population of mosquitoes. It should be noted that some mosquitoes hibernate during the winter and some can winter-over in your house.

Closets are a common place to find mosquitoes in your home during the winter months. 2

In general, you should be safe from mosquito bites most of the winter in North America.

Mosquito Born Diseases

The most common diseases carried by mosquitoes are West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Less common in the US are Zika, Chikungunya and Dengue.

Tick and Mosquito Season

 West Nile Virus

The majority of people who are infected with WNV (approximately 80%) will have no symptoms.

Approximately 20% will have symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands. They may also develop a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.

Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, including encephalitis or meningitis.

The symptoms of severe illness can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

Persons older than 50 years of age have a higher risk of developing severe illness.

Since most people exposed to WNV have no symptoms it is difficult to determine the actual rate of infection.

Between 2000 and 2010, 67 people were reported infected with WNV in Massachusetts. Six of these people died. There is no specific treatment for this virus so we are fortunate that most of us have little to no reaction from the infection. 6

Eastern Equine Encephalitis

The first symptoms of EEE are fever (often 103º to 106ºF), stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy.

These symptoms show up three to ten days after a bite from an infected mosquito.

Inflammation and swelling of the brain, called encephalitis, is the most dangerous and frequent serious complication. The disease gets worse quickly and some patients may go into a coma within a week.

There is no treatment for EEE. In Massachusetts, about half of the people identified with EEE died from the infection. People who survive this disease will often be permanently disabled. Few people recover completely.

Since 1938 fewer than 100 cases have been reported in Massachusetts, with 60% of cases in Plymouth and Norfolk counties. Outbreaks of EEE occur about every 10 to 20 years with the most recent Massachusetts outbreak starting in 2004 and ending in 2006. Of 13 reported cases, six were fatalities. 7

Zika

Zika is a relatively new disease to North America. Much like WNV, 80% of people exposed to Zika report no symptoms.

Those who do react to the virus report symptoms 2-7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms include fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. If a woman is pregnant and contracts Zika the disease may spread to the fetus.

It is extremely unlikely that anyone could become infected with Zika virus from a mosquito bite in Massachusetts. The kinds of mosquitoes that are known to carry Zika virus are generally not found in Massachusetts. 8

Most people contract Zika when they travel to areas where it is prevalent. Zika has been reported in Texas and Florida in the past with a few neighborhoods in Miami listed as active transmission areas.

World Map of Areas with Risk of Zika 

Zika can also be transmitted through unprotected sex and can be transmitted by a pregnant woman to her baby during pregnancy.

Tick and Mosquito Bite Prevention

As the old saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Here is what you need to know.

Preventing Tick Bites

ticks, tall grassTicks are most active in warmer weather and can be found in tall grass, brush and wooded areas.

Ticks do not fly or jump. They latch onto passing mammals when they brush up against grass or a plant where the tick is clinging.

DEET and permethrin are both recommended to repel ticks. You can buy clothing infused with permethrin and permethrin actually kills ticks, not just repel them.

Permethrin should be applied carefully and according to the manufacturers directions.

Long-sleeved shirts and light colored pants tucked into your socks or boots are also recommended. This doesn’t work very well for runners who typically have a great deal of exposed skin.

Staying on cleared trails while running and avoiding the brush and grass along the trail is also recommended. Ticks are literally hanging out on the vegetation next to trails and clearings waiting for a mammal to come by.

For runners the best advice is to put on some DEET or permethrin and to stay on the trails. Since it’s almost impossible to avoid brushing up against foliage while running, you need to do a post run tick check.

Ticks like warm and moist areas of the body. Areas to check include:

  • Inside and behind the ears
  • Along your hairline
  • Back of your neck
  • Armpits
  • Groin
  • Legs
  • Behind your knees
  • Between your toes

You should also check your skin for new freckles which could be a tick.

The best way to remove a tick is with fine point tweezers. Do not use a hot match, petroleum jelly or any other home remedy. 10

You should save the removed tick and make note of the date and where on your body the tick was removed from. Ticks can be analyzed in a lab to discover if and what they are infected with. This can be crucial to your diagnosis if you end up with an infection.

Save the removed tick in a tightly sealed container.

Notify your doctor if you develop flu like symptoms or a rash.

If you run with your dog, this article from YourDogAdvisor.com has some good information for you.

Preventing Mosquito Bites

DEET and permethrin are recommended to repel mosquitoes. Since mosquitoes are active 24 hours a day, it is a good idea to use repellent if you are in an area active with mosquitoes any time of day.

You are more likely to find mosquitoes near bodies of water such as ponds or streams. But mosquitoes can lay their eggs in a table spoon of water, so you could have mosquito habitat on your deck or in your back yard.

It’s important to tip water out of flower pots or anything else that can hold water.

Most mosquitoes do not fly far from where they hatch. Eliminating breeding spots near your home is an important way to protect your family.

Dusk to dawn are peak hours for mosquito activity and using repellent at these times is highly encouraged.

Long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks are also recommended. Since these are generally impractical for runners it is best to use repellent, avoid high mosquito activity hours and locations.

Unlike ticks, mosquitoes do fly. While running, you are probably safe from getting a bite. But when you stop running the little buggers are sure to find you and all of that exposed skin!

How to Choose a Repellent

The EPA has a great site where you can select a repellent based on your needs. You can specify how long you need protection for, what you need protection from and which ingredients you are interested in.

You can also look up specific products, companies and EPA registration numbers.

They also provide instructions on how to apply repellents which may be difficult to read on a can.

Click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page to look for your repellent.

Tick and Mosquito Season Running Go Bag

I always keep a bag of running gear in my car. In the winter this is often just a pair of gloves and a winter hat.

In the summer it is easier to spontaneously go for a run after work with friends. So in addition to keeping some running gear in my go bag I also keep sun screen and a can of insect repellent.

If you are running after work in the summer, it is likely you will be out at dusk. While you are running you will probably be okay. But when you stop for a drink or to hang out after your run, you could be swarmed by mosquitoes, black flies and possibly horse flies.

Having a DEET based repellent in your car is a great idea. I’ve been at races along The Charles River in Boston and seen runners freely passing around a can of bug spray. Stranger or no, no one can stand by and watch others suffer. Hanging out next to the river before a race can literally suck!

I hope you have a great summer running season and stay healthy.

Andy

This post was originally posted May 29th, 2018 and has been updated May 25th, 2020.

SOURCES

1 https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2018/p0501-vs-vector-borne.html

2  http://www.mosquitomagnet.com/articles/mosquito-season

3 https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/genetically-engineered-mice-reduce-lyme-disease

4 https://www.statnews.com/2016/06/07/nantucket-lyme-genetic-engineering/

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/lyme-disease

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/west-nile-virus-wnv

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/eee-eastern-equine-encephalitis

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/zika-information-for-the-public

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/world-map-areas-with-zika

10 https://www.mass.gov/service-details/tick-borne-disease-information-for-the-public

11 https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you

12 https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/09/life-with-lyme/594736/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=atlantic-daily-newsletter&utm_content=20190814&silverid-ref=NDg5MzY0ODg2MjY3S0

This Is How I Roll

Every runner has habits and preferences. We find our what works for us and keep it or continue to experiment. Here are a few of mine.

This Is How I Roll is an idea from Meditations in Motion who borrowed it from Donna at RunningToTravel and Tracy at The Writing Runner.  They got the idea from the back page of Runners’ World magazines.  Every month, Runners’ World interviews a runner and asks them to sum up their running preferences.

This is how I Roll

  1. Wave                Nod
  2. Heart Rate    Feel  
  3. Lead                 Follow 
  4. PR                     Finish  – Most PRs are behind me
  5. Stride               Glide
  6. Athleisure       Sweats – not into either, but given the choice
  7. Gel                    Chews
  8. Hat              Gloves – Easy ways to adjust if you get hot.
  9. Morning          Night – Not a morning person. It’s coffee time!!
  10. Swift            Strong – I enjoy hills more than most people
  11. Struggle           Slay – You have to embrace the struggle
  12. Hot                   Cold – I have run some of my best races in the heat
  13. Low Socks       Tall Socks
  14. Shoe Store       Online
  15. Uphill                Downhill – my competitive advantage
  16. 5k                       Half Marathon
  17. GPS                   Naked – I wear my Garmin 610 24×7
  18. Stop                  Go – not sure what this means. I just keep running
  19. Start                 Finish – The finish always feels better
  20. Heel                  Toe
  21. Calves             Quads – people actually comment on my calves. Embarrassing!
  22. Headphones    Inner Voices  – I like to hear what’s going on around me
  23. Bagel                  Banana – a plain bagel before a marathon seems to work
  24. Treadmill         Frostbite – Will run outside as low as -20
  25. Medal               T-shirt – I really have enough of both
  26. Warm Up         Cool Down
  27. Distance          Time – Need to get my miles in
  28. 400s                  Hills – Not that I love them but…1. I wave to most people I see while running. With this lock down it’s the most socializing I get in all day!

2. My watch has a chest strap to monitor heart rate but it broke and I never replaced it. Now I run based on feel.

Some days I feel great and full of energy and can really push it. Other days it’s all I can do to get in 5K.

3. When I’m following someone I feel more in control. On a training run the person in front of me can only run so fast before they are running by them selves.

Andy Nagelin and Bobby Taylor Main Street in WakefieldDuring a race when everyone is running as fast as they can, running behind someone allows me to control the pace.

If I push up a hill, they have to run faster or I’ll pass them. If I want to back off, I’m still behind them.  During a race I often set my sights on someone, catch up and follow them and then pass when I can.

4 and 5 – I think my PR days are behind me. And while some people say I have an efficient stride, I feel like a bag of bricks.

8. My ears ache in the cold and my hands freeze in the winter when I start a run. If it stays cold I leave them on. If I warm up, hats and gloves are easy to take off.

9. Like just about everyone, I’ve done plenty of running in the morning. The Honolulu Marathon begins at 5:00 AM!

But, outside of a race, I prefer to run in the afternoon or evening. I’m just not that motivated in the morning!

10. I’m not a particularly strong runner, but I don’t give up and I always go 110% in for a race.

11. Running is about embracing the struggle. If you’re not willing to be uncomfortable or in pain you’ll never reach your potential.

12. I hate to bundle up and run in the cold, but I will do it. I’ve run some of my best race times when it’s 80° F out. As long as I have plenty to drink, I’m okay. I also know to run in the shade and pay attention to my body.

Heat stroke can be very serious.

14. You may pay a bit more at a shoe store but you know the shoes will fit. People who work at shoe stores are also fonts of knowledge and some of the nicest people you will ever meet. They are runners after all!

15. I’m a bit of a hill runner. I’m not great but I’m probably above average.

When I run a race with out any hills, I feel like I’m at a disadvantage.

16. I think most runners prefer the half marathon. 5Ks are fun but they’re  over before you get started. 10Ks are great and you feel like you’ve run a race by the time you cross the finish line.

The half marathon is a challenge but it’s not the major under-taking that is a marathon. I can run several halfs per month, but I can only run two to three marathons a year.

17. GPS Watch – if you didn’t track the run, did it really happen? Does it count? I use my watch to track my pace. During a race keeping track of my pace is essential to my race strategy.

21. I’ve received more comments on my calves than even my formerly red Scott Procopio Gold Star Honor Run 10K 2018, Andy Nagelinhair. Sometimes people will see my legs at a race and say something. And sometimes it’s a little embarrassing.

I’ve had conversations with colleagues about my legs. And I’m no body builder. It’s kind of odd.

I guess it’s nice to have some redeeming physical attribute!

24. When I’m training for a marathon I’ll do what I have to to get in my miles. I’ve run a half marathon training run on a treadmill before, but I didn’t enjoy it.

I prefer to take my chances with the elements. I’ve run in – 20° weather before and will run in shorts down to about 32°.

There’s nothing like the great outdoors.

25. Medals and t-shirts. I wish more races would eliminate both. I have running medals, marathon medalsenough of both items and often medals are more like trinkets just to say you got something.  I say save the money for fundraising .

26. I’m not really good at warming up or cooling down. I do minimal stretching before a race and will do a warm up jog before a 5K sometimes.

I hardly ever stretch much after a race and I need to fix that!

I could write a paragraph or even a blog on most of these items. But this was supposed to be a brief post, just for fun.

How about it? How do you roll?

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Virtual 5K Races 2020

With so many races being cancelled due to COVID-19, it’s nice to have the option to run a virtual 5K and support local causes that need your support now more than ever.

Have you ever run a virtual 5K race before?

Until April 20th of 2020, I’d never run virtual 5K races or any other type of virtual races. Running a “race” by myself just seems like a training run to me.

On training runs, I never run as hard as I do during a race.  And the virtual 5k races I’ve run have felt like training runs.

Virtual races allow us to have some fun. Maybe provide the motivation we need to go for a run and our race fees are helping local organizations who really need our support right now.

Virtual 5K Races

It seems like virtual 5K races are everywhere this year but mainly in your in-box.

If you are like me you get emails for virtual races almost every day.

And like me, you’ve probably gotten way too many emails from races you signed up for, informing you that they are going virtual.

My running club, Melrose Running Club, held two virtual races the weekend the Boston Marathon was supposed to take place.

We had the “Keep Your Distance 5K” and the “Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon” on the weekend of April 20th. Everyone had a good time with it.

We ran the Cinco De Mayo QuaranTeam Virtual challenge on May 5th and will be running the Stepping Stones for Stella 5K and 10K the weekend of June 21st.

The way things are going we will probably be going virtual for the rest of the year.

Can you imagine crowding into a corral before a race?

How about running down the street behind and betwixt hundreds of other runners? All breathing deeply and exhaling forcefully?

There’s a lot of sweat, snot and spit flying during a race. That’s on top of being in everyone else’s space and breathing their air.

Finding Virtual 5K races 2020

As I mentioned above, you probably have more emails than you want announcing new virtual 5K races, 10K and even half marathons.

I’m running two virtual half marathons. God help me!

So between your in-box and the web site of your local race management or timing company, you can probably find more virtual races than you’d care to.

Since you can run a virtual race anywhere and you don’t have to go anywhere, pick a race that supports a cause dear to your heart. Perhaps one that raises funds to thank and support our healthcare providers and first responders.

A few Virtual 5Ks to choose from

Miles 4 My Community – May 23rd. This is a nation-wide effort to raise Virtual racemoney to support local youth sports programs and other local organizations impacted by COVID-19. You can run a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon for a $20 donation. Larger amounts will be accepted.

Registration includes a virtual bib and for $10 each you can order a shirt and a medal.

You track your results with your GPS watch or an app. They are not exactly clear on how to submit your results. That information may be in the registration confirmation email.

Sign up using code ‘maskon’ and you’ll receive a custom printed running gaiter with your registration!

Margarita virtual 5K

Margarita 5KJune 14th.  This race was scheduled to take place in Portsmouth, NH but now it can take place in your neighborhood.

For this race they will mail your shirt, bib and medal. So you can run around your neighborhood in the race shirt, with a bib. When you get home you can mix your own margarita and show off your medal.

The 5K is $39. There is also the Margarita Half for $79. Swag for the half includes a nice quarter zip fleece.

2020 Boston Run Fest Virtual – June 19-21 Registration is free and you can run a 5K, 10K or half-marathon.

Boston Road Runners, Boston Run FestBoston Road Runners is a local non-profit to inspire youth to run. Our vision is to create a community of runners to support one another while giving back. The Boston Run Fest will benefit the youth to support their runs through youth runs, youth running programs, and create a safe space for youth to gain confidence.

The run is open and free we encourage everyone to make a donation to support our non-profit.

Stepping Stones for StellaJune 21st.   This race is free with a donation appreciated to support their work. Click the image below for details.

Stepping Stones for Stella, virtual 5K race
Click to learn more

Smuttynose 5K – June 21st.  This race is still scheduled to happen at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, NH. Loco Running does have a COVID 19 notice on the race web page stating that they may have to go virtual.

You will still get a shirt, bib and medal but no beer or BBQ.

I think it’s a safe bet that this will be a virtual race.

Smuttynose Will Run 5K for Beer, Virtual 5K

Of course you can make up your own virtual 5K race and make a donation to a local food pantry.

Run well my Friends and stay healthy!

Andy

Malden 5K Races 2020

Malden 5K races have a storied history going back 40 years.

When Dave McGillivray ran from Medford Oregon to Medford, MA in 1978, he finished at the Malden Irish American Club. The club is right across the town line from Medford and was probably the best location for Dave to finish his epic run.

The official story is that he finished at Fenway Park, but I got this story directly from Dave. Maybe he continued to Fenway after stopping in Malden? Dave?

At the time the Mystic Running Club met at the club and Dave became an honorary club member the day he arrived. The Mystics have moved, but their roots are in Malden.

Malden used to have as many as 9 5Ks including one of the longest running 5Ks in the area. Some races never grew large enough to be sustainable and their sponsoring organizations cancelled them.

Sustainability for a 5K seems to be between 200 and 300 runners. It takes a lot of work, time and money to organize a race. For a small, local non-profit this makes breaking even or actually raising funds a challenge.

Please support local non-profits in your area by running these races. They may not be as flashy as bigger races, but your registration fee helps your friends and neighbors in need.

Malden 5K Races

The Malden Irish American Road Race 5K and 10K

7 September | 10:00 AM | Monday

This running event is a 5K and a 10K. The Irish American Club has been hosting this race for 38 years and 2020 will be their 42nd annual road race.

This is one of the longest running local races in the Greater Malden Area. Many of my older friends have fond memories of races they ran here many years ago.

I’ve run the 10K three times and had a great time. The course is mostly flat with one good hill after the Fellsway crosses Salem Street near the Immaculate Conception Church. In 2018 I ran the 10K on a blazing hot day and many runners struggled. Here is a mapmyrun map with elevation.

The turnout is usually around 250 runners with a great party, live music afterwards and raffles afterwards.

Proceeds benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

Registration was $25 for the 5K or 10K.

2019 5K and 10K Results

Mystic Valley Fly Like an Eagle 5K

6 October | 9:30 AM

2020 marks the sixth year for Fly Like an Eagle 5K. This race benefits students at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden. In addition to the 5K there will be kids races and children’s activity stations.

I ran this race a few years ago and it is a nice run through Malden.

Registration was open until September 29, and was $25.00. The field is limited to 500.

FOOGI 5k Haunt Jaunt

20 October | 10AM

malden 5k racesFOOGI, or Friends of Oak Grove, is a community group that supports the Malden neighborhood of Oak Grove.

Appropriate for a 5K Haunt Jaunt this 5K goes around two cemeteries. 2020 will be the 15th year for the community, family event. Costumes are encouraged for this child friendly event.

The race is based out of the Malden YMCA.

Registration is not open yet but it looks like this race is still on for 2020.

Malden Road Race 10K

13 October | 9:30 AM | Sunday

2020 is the second running of this race. I’ve included the race in this 5K directory because we don’t have a lot of races in Malden.

The race has moved to October so the weather will be nicer (cooler) than it was for the inaugural running.

There is a great after party with plenty of food from Piantedosi Baking CoDom’s Sausage & Hoff’s Bakery. And cold beverages from Idle Hands!

I ran the 10K in 2018 and it was a well organized and fun race.  My Malden Road Race 10K Review      

2018 RESULTS

Registration is closed.  Registration includes a 1/4 zip running shirt & finisher medal + 3 drink tickets and great food at the BBQ.

Malden 5K Races

Is your group looking to start a 5K in Malden? The summer schedule is wide open. Pine Banks Park makes a great place to host a race and a good portion of your race could be run in the park.

Time to get planning for the next great Malden 5K road race!

If your organization has a Malden 5K that I missed, please let me know.

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020

Since all of our races are cancelled our club decided to run virtual races this weekend in honor of The Boston Marathon.

Since the BAA 5K and Boston Marathon have been postponed, our former club president Dan Slattery came up with the idea of running virtual races this weekend.

He proposed either a half or a 5K.

I hi-jacked his idea and added these virtual races to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series. If we wait for real races we wont be running until July.

So I created the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon and the Keep Your Distance 5K.

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020

I’ve been running about 10 miles a week, so running a half marathon seemed like a good idea.

I also thought it would be a good idea to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and then keep on running for another 13.1 miles. For a total of 16.2 miles.

It was not a good idea and I do not recommend this to anyone.

I’m under trained and well fed. Not what you need before taking on a half marathon.

I was smart enough to gather all of my gear the night before. I knew it would be in the 30’s when I left and in the 50’s when I returned. So I layered and wore gloves, winter hat and a neck gator or what ever you call those things!

I woke up around 6:00 AM and my phone said it was still 34°, so I rolled over for a snooze. Around 6:30 the temp was 36° and I knew it was time to go.

Out the Door You Go

My Garmin is a few years old and it took about ten minutes to lock onto satellites. It gets a little chilly standing around in shorts that long. But I was committed.

I planned to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon. The route I chose was a little over 15 miles so I ran down a side street to add some distance.

To do both races I needed to run 16.2 miles. I thought I could do it.

I’ve been averaging less than 10 miles per week, so this wasn’t the brightest idea.

I started running at 7:55 AM and thought I had started too late. The later you go out the more traffic there is.

Running through Medford Square I didn’t even have to wait for the lights.

I ran up High Street to Winthrop Circle and only had to contend with two cars!

I continued through West Medford toward The Mystic Valley Parkway.

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020, West MedfordWhen I hit 3.1 miles I stopped to take a selfie and paused my watch so I could count that distance.

Running The Virtual-ly Insane Half

The Mystic Valley Parkway is a nice run. On a Sunday there are usually many runners, cyclists and walkers. The breakdown lanes, or bike lanes, are wide most of the way.

There were more runners than I expected and fewer cyclists. Only about half the runners wore masks. I even saw three women running together without masks.

When I approached a runner or walker I’d pull up my neck gator. While an N95 mask is supposed to stop 95% of the bad stuff getting into your lungs, my thin neck warmer is probably an N5 filter.

Pulling it over my nose felt more like a fashion statement than actually doing something.

I’ve gone to the store in an N95 mask and it’s so hard to breathe I usually start sweating! Not a good thing to do in public these days!

There is no way that I could run in an N95 mask.

At about six miles The MVP takes a short jog onto Bacon Street and then a left back onto The MVP into Winchester.

When I stopped at 5K, my watch added a “lap” which added a virtual mile to my run.

Virtual-ly Insane Half 2020

I hit seven miles just as I turned onto Forrest Street by the Gingerbread Bakery. The next mile had 92 feet of elevation gain.

My left knee had begun to ache so I had to walk some of this.

At this point, my dreams of running 16.2 miles began to evaporate just like a PR on Marathon Monday.

After I crossed 93 I took a right onto Park Street. I should have continued down the road to Main Street. I always miss this turn when I run this course alone.

Park took me to North Border Road where I took a left onto Main Street in Stoneham. Not far down the road I passed Nicole Jacob.

Due to the pandemic and people not staying out of the woods and walking crowded trails, the Sheep Fold parking lot was closed.

I saw on the news that the DCR had closed some areas of The Middlesex Fells. I didn’t realize that they had closed the road from the Sheep Fold all the way down to Elm Street in Medford!

They were not fooling around either! There was a State Trooper in his car and a snowplow truck in the other lane. This was in addition to those steel fences they use on Marathon Monday.

As I ran down the empty road I began to venture into the middle of the road. Normally I would not dare to do this.

As I got to the turn onto Elm Street I saw Dan Slattery. We ran together for a bit but he took off on the hill!

When we got to the rotary by Flynn Rink He went left and I went right onto Highland Ave.

At this point I knew I was only going to get in the half. My knee hurt and my hips were tight. A sure sign of not enough training and stretching.

About half way down the avenue towards Fellsway East I walked and had a Honey Stinger cookie. So good! They need to be a little larger.

As I walked I saw a turkey standing in someone’s front walk gobbling away. Someone was standing in the doorway with the storm door closed. Not sure if the guy was amused or scared to leave his house! I was amused.

Finishing my Run

There wasn’t any traffic so I crossed The Fellsway and continued down Highland Ave into Malden. I still had hopes of adding on a little bit here and there to get me to 16.2.

I passed a few other runners and they all waved.

Just before Pleasant Street I hit 13 miles. I was going to get the half done at least!

I hit 14 miles running down Spring Street towards home. I thought about jogging a few side streets but things hurt too much. I thought maybe I could run the 5K on Monday if I don’t mess myself up too much on this run!

So I managed 14.52 miles in 2:28:55 with an elevation gain of 364 feet. On an easier course I may have managed the last 1.8 miles.

My first virtual race hurt just as much as any other race!

Run well my Friends and stay Healthy!

Andy

What I Think about when I Work from Home

I try to stay focused on work and taking care of my family, but the mind does wander at times.

This working from home thing isn’t exactly new. Working from home for weeks on end with no end in sight is a new thing.

As of this writing I am about three weeks into this and still trying to adjust. To keep some of my routine, I still shower and get dressed every morning.

I don’t wear business casual clothes, but I do put on pants! Since we are home all day and don’t want our gas bill to go through the roof, I usual wear a sweat shirt or a fleece.

I talk to my colleagues about once a day instead of every five minutes. I talk to someone in management about once a week usually on Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

What I Think about when I Work from Home

We use the dishwasher a lot

I’ve been noticing that we run the dishwasher at least every other day. When I went to work every day I ate at least one meal from the cafeteria at work. Or I brought a single dish to work with my breakfast and maybe one for my lunch.

It seems that making and eating these same meals at home creates more dishes than eating them at work.

We try to use plates and coffee cups more than once. But still the dishwasher is filled up every other day. Maybe I notice it more because I’m setting 20 feet away when it runs?

There’s lots of traffic on my street

We live near the end of a cul-du-sac. I’ve set up my home office in our dining room in the front of the house.

I see people walking by and the neighbors walking their dogs several times a day. I wonder if they are out walking during normal times?

I can’t believe how many cars go by! Some neighbors go out several times each day. Where are they going during the Corona Virus Lock Down? Haven’t they heard of social distancing and stay the hell out of stores?

Then there are the unknown cars that come flying down our dead end street thinking it is a cut through. For some reason we don’t have a dead-end sign at the end of our street. Surprise!

Then there are all of the delivery vans. UPS, FedEx, Amazon and the USPS make several trips all the way to the end of my street.

Some go down just to turn around, but those folks at the end of the street get lots of deliveries.

What I Think about when I Work from Home, Corona Virus 2020I guess if you can’t go out and the shelves are bare when you do, you  order your toilet paper on line.

Feeling Disconnected

Most of The United States is under a “Stay at Home” advisory or order from the Governor.

This is a good idea, but I still need to go out for a run once in a while. And I need to go to the store.

I really want to drive my car down Route 93 at 85 MPH just to feel it. I’m tired of sitting.

When I go out for a run I see very few people. Last Saturday I went for a 15 mile run and waved or said hello to just about everyone. I guess they were practicing social distancing.

I saw this sign at a local park when I was out for a short run.

What I Think about when I Work from Home, Medford Park Closure

We received a message from the Mayor about parks being closed. When you see a sign and tape across the entrance, it makes it real.

For anyone with kids it must be difficult telling them that they can’t go to the park down the street. After a few days in the house kids start to bounce off the walls.

Our kids are grown so we don’t have to worry about these things. But when they were young we went to the park a lot. They particularly loved the swings.

Shopping Under Quarantine

We’re not under quarantine or isolation, but it sure feels like it.

When I go out it sure feels like something is going on. All the drive throughs have long lines. The parking lots are nearly empty.

On one of my recent ventures outside I stopped by McDonald’s for lunch. It’s been a while.

The drive through line was all the way back to the parking lot entrance. I noticed that a few people were parked and then I saw someone walk out with food. The lobby was open!

I pulled into a spot and went in. The seating areas were all taped off like a crime scene. The bathrooms were closed.

They had one person on the register for walk ins and she had a plastic panel in front of her. It was odd. She felt a little odd also and we had a few laughs.

There was one couple in front of me and a guy came in after me. Without being asked, we all kept our distance.

McDonald's, Corona Virus

As I sat in my car and ate, a few other people went into the lobby.

When I went in I had gloves on and carefully took them off in the car. But what if the bag had Corona on it?

I sprayed some sanitizer on my hands and rubbed it in. If you miss a spot and touch your food or face it could be trouble.

I really felt like I was taking my chances. Just crazy.

But I was helping those folks at McDonald’s keep on working. Every little bit helps.

Liquor Store Run

The last thing I want is to be stuck at home without refreshments.

Even with all of this time on my hands, I’m still only good for one or two beers a day. I must be getting old. I’m getting a little extra sleep but I still feel tired after a beer or two.

When this all began I went to Home Depot to get some items to help keep me occupied and stopped by Total Wine since it’s next door.

I was there before the liquor store opened, so I waited in my car. Some folks couldn’t wait.

Total Wine, Corona Virus

I was really amused by this. I mean, I was there before the store opened also, but I stopped at Home Depot first. Was this their main destination?

Who waits in line for a packey to open? Were they worried the store would be closed by The Governor? Maybe they had other stops on their itinerary and had to squeeze this one in?

When they did open the doors the manager was there to make sure we kept a 6 foot distance as best he could.

Since it was early, the store wasn’t crowded and keeping away from people wasn’t too difficult.

At the check out they had tape on the floor to keep us safely separated. And the manager was there directing us to the next open cashier. We couldn’t line up at the register.

Fortunately, the shelves were well stocked!

I’ve seen the tape on the floor at Stop and Shop also, but it still felt weird.

Some of the Things I think About

So those are some of the things I think about while working from home.

Of course I think about work, both the task at hand and work it self.

How will the world be changed after this? When will “after this” happen?

What the hell will the new normal be? I guess there will be more hand sanitizer around?

Maybe the restrooms at my office will have signs saying “All Employees must wash their hands before returning to work”? Should have been a no brainer anyway, but not everyone got it.

Maybe we will get reminders at work about washing our hands and general hygiene?

I try not to think about how this will effect the economy. Some of the numbers are freakin scary. Up to 30% unemployment? An economy only 80% of what it was before? The pie shrinks and some loose their slice.

So while I’m working from home, I try to spend most of my time thinking about the task at hand. I need to keep my slice of the shrunken pie.

Thinking about what may happen to some people is just too depressing.

What do you think about while you are working from home?

Andy