Saturday, June 25, 2011

Initiating my friend to trail running

Today's run - notice GPS drift between loops
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.75 miles

I'm back to the routine of frequent runs at shorter distances these days. I had been doing a lot of 6+ mile base-building runs up until my half marathon but then I switched to a more middle distance focus as I prepared for the NHP 8K. I've been on vacation this past week, but the time has been dedicated to preparing for a big upcoming event and some necessary house projects. That has prevented me from indulging in too many 90 minute runs.

Still, every run, at any distance, has value if you are running quality miles. That's been the case for me over the last eight days. This morning my friend Steve came by and we headed over to Stillwell to run the trails. Steve and I both work in midtown and we often run together in Central Park. He's never run trails so I initiated him at Stillwell Woods, the place where I first ran off-road.

Stillwell can be a rough place for runners, with steep inclines, sharp drops and unstable terrain. I didn't think it would be fair to drag Steve through the rocky, twisting, hilly Black Trail his first time out. Instead, I took him along a loop with flat, packed dirt pathways that works well for running. This loop does have a couple of loose rock and sand-covered climbs so it still presents a challenge.

Steve did well the first time around but at the two mile mark I could tell that the extra work was beginning to take its toll. We circled the trail a second time and, to Steve's credit, continued to maintain close to the same pace, averaging 9:40 overall.

We'd started with a little fog and cloudy skies but by the time we came back through the trail-head it was sunny and hot. That's another reason why I like Stillwell in summer - the canopy shields the trail and keeps the temperatures ten degrees cooler. It was another quality run and my third trail run this week. Soon enough, I'll return to my neighborhood roads for my daily runs. It sure was nice to spend a little more time in the woods today.

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