Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bethpage base run better than expected

Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 6.7 miles

With Cow Harbor happening next week, I knew I needed to put in a few more base miles before I begin my training taper. Last year I spent a lot of time focusing on the Cow Harbor route and the strategy to run it. I even did a trial run of the course to understand firsthand the challenges of James Street, Waterside Drive and Pumpernickel Hill.

I haven't done too much thinking about it this year and I'm guessing that's okay. I know from last year that I should take the first mile slow despite the temptation to sprint along Scudder Avenue's downhill sections. Better to reserve energy for the end of Bayview Ave. and James Street's "Widow Hill." I'm really hoping that the weather will be cooler than last year, when the heat and humidity sent half a dozen people to the hospital. Even so, I know I'll reach a point during that race when I'm questioning why I'm doing it. All it takes is all you got.

I went over to the bike path at Bethpage State Park this morning. It's my favorite place for runs on pavement that are longer than four or five miles. The theme of today's run was time, not speed. I didn't care how fast I ran, I just wanted to run at least an hour to help reinforce my conditioning. Bethpage isn't quite as challenging as Cow Harbor in terms of elevation changes, but it's rolling. The bike trail has two hilly sections that can be tough to get over and the worst of it is at the end.

I brought along my hand bottle that I filled with Gatorade G2 and the air was so cool that I didn't take my first sip until I was past the 2 mile mark. Although my perceived effort was fairly low I was maintaining a better pace than normal for this type of run. I was actually annoyed when I looked at my Garmin at the three mile mark to see I was pacing around 9:10 per mile because I wanted to do this run closer to 9:50.

There were many runners and cyclists on the path. I noticed more running groups than usual and I wondered if the Ocean to Sound Relay was happening today (I checked later and saw that it will be held on the 25th). I changed direction after a number of runners coming from the other side had passed by. I feared getting swallowed up by them and preferred to draft in their wake. Nothing surprised me more than when I started passing them, first a few single runners and then entire groups. I was simply maintaining my pace. Interestingly, I wasn't passed by a single runner all day.

By mile five I was beginning to tire but I wasn't losing much speed. I continued to drink the G2 and almost finished it just before I took on the long hill that comes at the end. I didn't take the hill fast but I did maintain a steady rhythm as I ascended. I really appreciated the final 50 meters that is all downhill.

Most women ask for roses
I got to my car and was able to sit down immediately because I had placed an AllSport SeatShield covering on my car's seat. I got a couple of these water/sweat proof covers after my wife (rightfully) complained that towels on the seats don't do a good enough job. She gets mad when I occasionally take her car to runs and her seats end up moist from sweat. These covers, at about $20 apiece, seemed expensive when I realized that they're made of material that's similar to recyclable shopping bags. But the covers fit very well over the seats and kept them dry. If that result makes my wife happy then it's worth every penny!

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