Sunday, September 8, 2013

Arduous base run and an impromptu trail

Lots of cross country teams on the trails today
Today's run (Bethpage bike and dirt trail): 6.1 miles

Tough run today. I went to Bethpage to get in some base miles and a little hill practice. From the start, my level of energy told me that this would not be a high performance workout. My intention was to make it a variable run: 20 minute easy warm up, 20 minute tempo and a moderate pace to the finish. I even intended to cap the workout with a couple of runs up the big long hill at the start of the older bike trail.

As I made my way the hill leading to the north trail entrance, I knew that I'd be hard pressed to manage the planned tempo. I felt a buildup of excessive lactic acid in my leg muscles and I tried to keep my form correct. I hoped that my stride would soon loosen up. I picked up the pace around mile one, where the biggest downhill section starts. I gained more speed down the hill, but soon encountered the two uphill sections that come just before the Haypath crossing.

Once I got to the other side, I made a split second decision to duck into the woods and follow the dirt trail that runs roughly parallel to the paved trail. I was surprised by the number of twists I encountered along this path. It went on much longer than I thought it might. As expected, the dirt trail terminated at a point on the paved trail, just south of Old Bethpage Rd.

The run in the shady woods invigorated me, and I ran the last of my northern route to Old Country Road. Instead of crossing the street to continue on the bike trail, I followed the sidewalk south about a few tenths of a mile before turning back toward the paved path. At the point, my energy level had dropped to the point where I struggled to maintain speed. I decided to dismiss the plan to do hill repeats at the end of the run.

Th only thing left to deal with were the three consecutive hills that come a mile north of the trail head. I locked in a cadence, shortened my steps and made it through the first one, and was grateful for the slight slope that comes before the next one came. I knew I was less than a mile from the end, so I maintained the fastest pace I could until I reached the end.

Today's run felt far harder than the 7+ miler I did last weekend or yesterday's hilly workout. I suspect that today's difficulty was driven by too much hard effort over the prior six days. I've decided to take both Monday and Tuesday off from running this week to help me recover a little. I'll probably do another core session on one of those days and/or some upper body exercises. I didn't love the run today, but I'm glad I put in the miles.

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