Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ring around the reservoir


It's a rare day when I completely miss the chance to post. The summer is growing to a close so I only have a few more chances to take off early on "Summer Fridays." That said I'm taking full advantage when I can but it often means a jam-packed morning, a NYC run and then a return to LI. We had lots to do when I arrived home and before I knew it the clock said 10:30 PM and I realized I'd just need to post in the morning.

Yesterday I decided to try the Central Park bridle path on my own. I had never run it alone and although I have a decent sense of direction I still get very confused in Central Park. Running with AG had been my safety net because she knows the park so well and can navigate much better than me. I found the start of the trail and took off. The bridal trail is mostly dirt with some mud and some rough sandy parts. While it's fine to run with regular running shoes it's probably a better surface for trail runners. The mid-day sun was hot and the air was very humid and by the first mile I was feeling a little spent.

The bridle trail affords more shade than the paved routes in the park but the tree cover is intermittent and when the sun is overhead it's brutal. I recognized most of the route from previous runs and felt good about that. When I reached the reservoir I took the east path thinking I would cut south and then head back to my starting point. I didn't realize that the path was actually going north and I was actually rounding the reservoir. Tried to get a bearing on my compass on my iPhone but the glare of the sun made that hard. I finally saw that I had reached the point where I came up to the reservoir and realized I had run around the whole thing. Despite my struggles I was still moving along pretty well and had passed two or three runners and a couple of slower moving cyclists. I followed the west side bridle path back to approximately where I'd started and noted that I'd run a total of 4.4 miles. The MotionX was off, as usual, and by looking at the GPX file on Google Earth (above) you can see how the GPS cuts corners which translates to less distance.

Considering the heat and the mid day timing I was okay with a 9:20/mile average pace. I was extremely sweat-soaked at the end and remained that way all the way to my office despite walking close to ten blocks from the park (through some highly air conditioned buildings no less). The run took a lot out of me and I was fairly tired for the rest of the day. I have a busy day today and I'm trying to figure out when and where I'll run. I should go for long distance as training for next week's 10K trail race but I don't know if my energy level is high enough. It couldn't hurt to try. I still want to explore the northern part of Stillwell that I have not yet run. Maybe that's a good choice for today because the canopy will provide some needed protection from the sun. My experience on the bridle trail gave me some hope that I can navigate through the previously uncharted parts of Stillwell. At least I run there with a compass now. When it comes to the topography of Stillwell Woods, I need all the help I can get.

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