Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Running the great trails at Bethpage

All around the woods at Bethpage this morning
Today's run (Bethpage State Park trails): 4.6 miles

Today is both the last day of middle school for my kids and my daughter's 13th birthday. Yes, I'm the father of a teenager. The kids were released by 10:30 AM so I needed to get out fairly early to prepare for the morning's birthday activities.

I couldn't face another neighborhood run and I really wasn't in the mood for another run along the Bethpage bike trail. It then occurred to me that Bethpage also has some very nice wooded trails. I arrived a little after 8:00 AM and headed in through the main trail head. I often lose my way when I run the paths at Bethpage because there are so many trails to choose from.

I followed a path that runs northeast and appreciated how nicely the trails in this park are maintained. I decided to continue until I ran out of trail so I stayed on the same path until that happened. At one point I crossed another wide trail that was groomed so well that the fresh loam felt like a carpet. I was determined to return to that and run it to the western end.

I'd taken a Hammer gel that I'd bought for $0.75 at REI a few weeks ago (it was a featured sale item) and it seemed to provide the necessary energy for a fairly vigorous run. I wore the Mirages that I'm now considering my defacto trail shoes for non-technical trail running and I moved along well. Once I reached the western end I encountered the twisty, windy, sandy, hilly sections and I did remarkably well through that terrain.

Trail head on the southern edge
One of these trails ended at the southwest side of the parking lot so I ran along the bottom before ducking into another trail head on the opposite corner. From there I reconnected with that wide groomed trail and followed it until I intersected with the path that would take me back to the main trail head. I exited the woods from there and ran through the field all the way back to my car.

I ended up covering more distance than I'd planned and I quickly moved on because I wanted to be showered and ready for the kids when they arrived back home. The timing worked fine and soon we were off to lunch and other activities. Soaking rains moved in soon after that but the sun came out again and the kids are now swimming in the pool, the first of many summer vacation afternoons.

I had a great run today and I'm very glad I remembered these beautiful trails. Any trail runners on Long Island who live in eastern Nassau or western Suffolk counties should take the time to run Bethpage. It's a great way to spend a morning.

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