Friday, November 25, 2011

From treadmill to Turkey Trot to trail

Yesterday's runs:
Treadmill:  24 minutes, 2% grade
Nissequogue River State Park Turkey Trot 5K: 3.1 miles
Today's run  
Stillwell Woods: 3.6 miles

Start of the 1K kid's run at Nissequogue River State Park
It's been a couple of days since I've been able to post on the blog but that doesn't mean I haven't been running. Wednesday, which should have been an easy morning, leading into an early close for Thanksgiving, turned out to be crazy due to some distracting business issues. Everything worked out fine, but I was so mentally exhausted by the time I got home I decided to skip my planned afternoon workout.

Yesterday morning I made up for that rest day with a double workout. I ran on the treadmill first thing in the morning with a 2% grade for 24 minutes. It was a good workout, I didn't push the pace but, by the end, I really felt it. Shortly after I finished that run, the Emerging Runner family headed to King's Park for the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation 5K.

This Turkey Trot takes place on the grounds of the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center, a compound of 15 buildings adjacent to the Nissequogue River. The buildings evoke a scary history as this center was considered an "insane asylum" where electro-shock therapy and pre-frontal lobotomies were commonly administered to patients. These buildings are due to be demolished so that the park can be put to better use.

The weather was very cold at 7:30 AM and we were glad to have dressed warmly. Even with wool socks my feet were very cold as we waited for the start. This event attracts a large crowd and they were still taking same day registrations minutes before the scheduled start time. I suppose that's a way to maximize revenue for the event, but it put us very behind for the start. The organizers also failed badly on their bathroom planning, providing only five Porto-Potti's for a crowd numbering well over 1,200.

This event is very family friendly, with as many walkers as runners, and it doesn't feel very competitive. After the kid's 1K race, the 5K runners were assembled along a long uphill section (this was also the route back to the finish line). After a long wait, the horn sounded and we were off. My daughter and I were going to run the course while my wife and son walked it.

The park's trail is rolling and the first mile and a half are mostly uphill. My daughter did great and I kept reminding her (as I remembered from the prior year) that the the course flattened and then goes primarily downhill for the last mile. We passed a water station around the 3K mark and I was very impressed that my daughter was able to maintain her running form and keep a good pace through that distance.

My wife and son cross the finish line
As we passed 4K it became easier because the downhill road helped us along and the people at the side of the course shouted encouraging words to the runners. Once we were a few hundred feet from the end, my daughter took off and I had a hard time keeping up with her. Seconds later we crossed the finish line. I congratulated her on a great run and, after getting some water, we waited for my wife and son to finish.

I was proud to see my daughter run so well. Last year she walked more than half of this course but this year it was a bona fide run, a full 3.1 miles. My wife and son also did very well walking that hilly course and we were excited to reunite at the finish line.

The rest of our day was filled with resting, cooking and baking as my wife prepared food for Thanksgiving. We headed over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house for an afternoon and evening of of food and conversation. We all held up well considering all the work we did that morning.

This morning I decided I had waited too long to do a trail run so I headed over to Stillwell Woods around 7:00 AM. There were no other people at the park and I made my way into the woods with no particular route in mind. It was cold (mid 30's) but I'd dressed for that and I wore my Helly Hansens because my intention was to attack some of the rocky hills. The Helly's do a great job over technical surfaces. Unfortunately their lack of a rock plate still produces some uncomfortable landings.

I ended up covering about three and a half miles and it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I could have covered more miles but I decided to bank some energy and do a longer run over the weekend. It's been a lot of running over a short period of time. I got my Stillwell run in today so I'm probably not going back there on Sunday morning for the Rob's Run 5K race.

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