Saturday, November 26, 2016

The crowded track and the happy trail

Full house in the Bethpage lot
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.6 miles
Yesterday's run (track): 3.6 miles

I'm very much enjoying my Thanksgiving break that feels a lot like a mini-vacation. I'm happy to have one more day off before returning to the office. We've kept busy this week but I've done my best to avoid anything resembling a mall or store. If on-line Black Friday sales are legitimate, there are a few running related things I'd like to get. But to do that, I would need to make an effort to look at a bunch of websites to find what I want. Why does this have to be so hard??

I ran in my neighborhood on both Wednesday and Thursday and that was pleasant, but I felt the need to do something different on Friday. Running laps at the high school seemed to fit that definition so I headed over to the track. A second cup of coffee delayed my getting outside and I got to the school a little later than planned. Luck seemed to be with me, because it appeared as though I had the place to myself. Just one other car in the lot and its owner was nowhere in sight.

The empty track didn't surprise me. I figured most people would have either slept in or headed out to the stores. I made my way to my starting point and noticed a stream of athletically suited people gathering along the opposite end of the oval. I took off counterclockwise and, as I approached the crowd, I saw that it was the Syosset girls cross country team getting ready to take over the track. "Oh good," I thought, "Now I get to be humiliated by 30 teenage girls who will pass me like I'm walking."

It didn't actually turn out that way. We managed to coexist perfectly. The runners ran together in a clockwise direction and left an open lane for me. I considered running some repeats but due to the crowded lanes, I elected to stick with laps. Running a flat route with little wind, I averaged a few seconds faster than usual.

Yesterday's scenic route
This morning felt colder than what was reported by the news. I resisted the temptation to bundle up and wore shorts with a long sleeve shirt. I went over to Bethpage with no particular workout or direction in mind. When I got to the park there were a lot of cars making their way toward the lot which was almost full by the time I parked. A big soccer tournament was going on and I saw a lot of runners standing around in groups. There may have been a cross country meet taking place closer to the woods.

I decided to run north beyond Haypath Road and back. There were many people on the trail and I wondered if some organized event was happening. Every runner I encountered gave me a wave or a hello, as did lots of walkers. It was a happy time for people on the trail.

Today's more scenic route
I went as far as Old Bethpage Road and turned around. I ran well and while the hills looked big today, they didn't feel as challenging as usual. My cadence was slightly better than average, so I was a little surprised that my data showed middling performance. That didn't matter a bit to me, because the run felt solid and it was great to be out among the trees, accompanied by nice people.

I can't believe I have yet another day before I have to go back to work. I'm looking forward to doing my fifth run in as many days. So far my Thanksgiving to New Year's streak is 4 days, but it's likely to stop there. I'll see how I feel on Monday morning when I wake up many hours before sunrise.

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