Saturday, June 8, 2013

If you like hills, you'll love this run

Did I mention there were hills?
Yesterday's workout (elliptical): 30 minutes
Today's run (Greenbelt trail): 5.9 miles

Yesterday's weather gave me no expectations for an outdoor run on Friday. Much of Long Island received 5+ inches of rain, with measurable flooding in low lying areas. The area where we live sits 200 feet above sea level, so we rarely have floods. However, we do get our share of weather related power outages. I had a busy schedule (surprising for a Friday) so to save some time, I did an elliptical workout while my wife ran on the treadmill.

Today was a different story. Yesterday's gray skies transitioned to clear and sunny. Humidity and heat were expected later in the day, but it was comfortably cool at 8:00 AM. I'm planning to run the Greenbelt trail from Bethpage State Park to my house on Tuesday morning. My friend is coming by, and we'll park my car in the lot and then run north. When we get home, he'll drive me back to the Park to get my car. I'm excited by the idea of running that route which will measure close to seven miles.

My route today mimicked part of that run. I cut through the middle school and then through neighborhood #3, before reaching the start of the newly paved bike trail. Unlike the previous time I ran this way, I had some expectations about the hills I'd encounter. I learned later that I should have expected more.

The part of the bike trail that goes along Sunnyside Boulevard starts flat, so the going was fairly easy at first. There are still orange webbed "fences" set up on the path where they continue to do construction, but it's simple to step around them. More difficult are the three unpaved sections that are either 10'x20' rectangular mud patches, water filled puddles or beds of sharp rock. Getting around them was slightly difficult, but it wasn't the biggest challenge of the morning.

Do you like hills? I don't! About halfway through Sunnyside, the elevation begins to increase at a 5% grade for the next half mile and then down again. The next three miles followed a similar pattern. It was a little like running the big hill at Bethpage over and over again. Along the way I saw a number of cyclists who were struggling as much as me (or more) to get up these hills. And they had gears!

Per plan, I went as far as Washington Ave. before turning around for the second half of my run. At this point, I've run most of next Tuesday's route. There is still a .7 mile section in between today's turnaround point and the farthest I've gone north from Bethpage. I look forward to experiencing that new ground next week. I hope it's all downhill.

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