Sunday, March 13, 2011

A sweet run with a sweeter ending

Today's run (mixed surfaces): 8.2 miles

Although trails are my favorite venue for running I didn't love yesterday's experience at Muttontown Preserve. I understand that trails provide freedom and adventure but Muttontown's trails seemed to have more than its share of obstructions. This undercuts my ability to cut loose and just run while still feeling confident that I'll eventually end up at the same place where I began. A more adventurous runner (and one with a better sense of direction) may look at the challenge as part of the fun. Perhaps if I ran those trails more often I would feel better about it. I still get lost in Stillwell but at least I have a general sense of where I am most of the time.

I took no chances today and mapped out a route around my neighborhood. I followed this course for the most part but made some spontaneous changes to keep it interesting. My first destination was the business park that is located about a mile east of my neighborhood. A loop around the main drive has a modest but steady incline when run counter-clockwise. That loosened me up for the miles that would follow.

By the second mile I felt like I was growing stronger, evidence that my base training was yielding some benefit. I crossed into neighborhood #3 from the business park and ran until I reached  a main road that took me into the next town. All along that main road the sidewalks were covered thickly by decomposing leaves and there were numerous fallen branches that required some careful stepping. I returned to my own neighborhood and covered about three more miles before returning home.

Demonstration of tapping a walnut tree
This was probably the best long run I've done this year. Not the longest or the fastest, but this was definitely the most satisfying. If I feel this way on May 1st I'll have no problems doing the  LI half marathon. We spent this afternoon at Hoyt Farm in Smithtown where they held an event showing the origins and the process of making maple (and walnut tree) syrup. We all had fun, especially at the end when we got to sample it! I suspect freshly made maple syrup can be an effective recovery food.

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