Monday, December 28, 2009

Mystery solved in Muttontown

After purchasing the book "60 Hikes within 60 Miles: New York City Guide Book" I made another attempt to run at the Muttontown Mystery Trail. I headed out to the Muttontown Preserve this morning anticipating the experience. The trail is a 3.3 mile loop with (per trails.com) "A vast network of trails and old estate lanes [that weave] through swampy swales, miniature savannas, a rhododendron jungle (that transforms in July into a fairyland of pale pink blossoms), some glacial deposits, and even a few ghostly ruins." They had me at "vast network of trails." When I arrived at the location I was very pleased because, in my last attempt to find this preserve, I was unable to navigate to the entrance. I didn't see anything marked for parking so I drove past the entrance on a very muddy road that led to the adjacent Chelsea Mansion and parked in that lot. I ran back to the Muttontown entrance only to see that the entrance gates were locked. I decided to run back to the parking lot to see if I could get to the trails from the grounds of the Chelsea Mansion and I saw a trail that I followed as far as I could. As I approached the Muttontown woods I saw a tall chain link fence that prevented me from going any further. I ended up running about 3/4 miles on the Chelsea grounds before I found that I'd circled back to the parking lot. I saw later, when I went to the website that the preserve opens at 9:00 and I was there too early.

I decided to head over to my old friend, the Stillwell Woods Preserve, that never disappoints. With the weather hovering around 40 degrees I was concerned about mud so I stuck to the dirt trail that loops around the open field that abuts the wooded part of Stillwell. I was glad to have my Helly's because conditions were rough with some frozen grooved mud and patches of snow on the trail. The other weather condition that affected my progress was a stiff wind that came from the west that made it feel a lot colder. All the same it was very manageable and I was able to try the "Tarahumara" technique on both dirt and uneven surfaces for the first time. I worked hard to maintain my cadence and averaged 84 SPM, not too bad for the trail. Overall (If the Garmin is accurate) I averaged 9:23/mile which again is not a bad pace for me at Stillwell. After I finished my run I drank a can of Goya coconut water with a couple of electrolyte capsules I got at the Runner's World booth at the NY Marathon Expo in November. The water was interesting with small chunks of coconut in every sip. It was too sweet (22g of sugar per the label). I'm going to look at the performance brands of coconut water to see if they have less sugar.

It was great to get back on the trails after a day off. I'm still a little fatigued but I won't spend the rest of the day wishing I had run.

1 comment:

  1. Once spring comes, I will be trying to find some trails around where I live. I am going to try that out, and escape from the road and treadmills. I mainly do treadmills now because I can not stand the cold. Just got some nice running gloves, maybe I will try them out. Your blog inspires me to want to get out between trees and on the dirt. Do you have any site recommendations for trail finds? Have a good one.

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