Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two park runs: Central and Bethpage

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3.6 miles at 9:07
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 7.9 miles at 10:00 (approximately)

It had been over two weeks since I last ran in Central Park and I was looking forward to returning there on Friday. The temperatures in the morning were cool (60's) but as the noonday sun moved overhead the heat came out with strength. I started my run at the 7th Ave crossing on Central Park South and followed the lower loop, moving along well despite the heat and the hills. Along the way the trees provided occasional shelter from the sun and, as usual, the park provided a broad array of stimuli: sights, smells (good and bad) and sounds. Touch too, if you count the feel of the hilly roads under my feet. I was so distracted by the experience that I continued to follow the lower loop until I reached the western side where I redirected north along the upper loop. I continued around the great lawn and followed that north and then east where I switched to the upper loop going south. That series of maneuvers added almost half a mile to my usual route so I was pleased at the end with the extra distance.

This morning I met my friend Dave at Bethpage State Park with a plan to run seven miles on the bike path at a leisurely pace somewhere between 10:15-10:30. Dave's Garmin GPS watch and my Garmin FR60 with foot pod differed in terms of measurement. Mine showed us covering about .4 of a mile longer than his. I have a native distrust for GPS measurement of this type after measuring runs using AllSport, MotionX and other GPS apps on my iPhone. When the data from these runs is compared to the actual measurement (via Google Earth or Gmaps) the GPS usually under represents by a little (or often) by a lot. I can see on the MotionX maps why this is the case, the GPS works in straight line vectors that often cut corners that can add up to less distance. My Garmin has actually been under-counting when paired with my Brooks so we may have actually reached 8 miles today and broken 10:00. I wouldn't be surprised because even though we weren't burning up the road we were moving along well.

Unlike most of my runs at Bethpage, today the runners outnumbered the bikers, although there were a enough bikers to keep us alert when they came up quickly from behind. Dave ran on the inside lane and kindly took the brunt of the bike traffic. We are both running the Great Cow Harbor 10K next month and Dave provided some insight from his experience with that race. Between Dave and Brian I feel very fortunate to have so much prior knowledge of what promises to be a tough course. I'll see for myself in couple of weeks when I do a practice run there with Brian. At the end of today's run I felt very good and took to heart Dave's advice that the best way to increase my stamina is to put in more distance. Distance first, speed second. I hear that. Tomorrow I'll do less distance when I run with KWL. I've covered a lot of miles over the last few days and I need to be kind to my legs. I hope I have enough energy left for Sunday's run as keeping up with KWL can be a challenge. I'm hoping his 10K/100 mile bike ride last weekend will even us up in terms of energy levels.

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