Sunday, May 31, 2009

Out and back: 5 hard miles

Continuing my goal of getting close to 15 miles this weekend I set out to Bethpage State Park yesterday to run the bike trails. I originally thought I might continue to the wooded trails afterward but the effort to cover 5 miles on pavement was plenty. I got to the park at around 5:30 and was able to drive right in without paying a parking fee. It was in the low 70's and while there was plenty of sun it was not as intense as midday.

Starting on the bike trail is psychologically challenging because the first eighth of a mile seems to go straight up before leveling off. I thought about how nice it was last time I ran there since the last leg is eased by a this downhill segment. I mapped the route I followed (2.5 miles out and back) and also mapped the elevation. I was surprised that it showed the hills are not much greater than 2%. Near the end they feel like mountain ranges. There were plenty of bike riders along the way but I didn't encounter any other runners. As I become familiar with the paths I have context for distance covered (plus the fact that distance is marked periodically on the paths which I compare to what the Garmin tells me). Like last time, I turned around after 2.5 miles and headed back. The first half mile back was all uphill and my legs were tired but I kept telling myself that I had to keep going regardless of pace. When I encountered downhill segments I appreciated the respite and used them as mini recovery periods to prepare for the next hill. I kept thinking about the final hill that comes at about 4.5 miles and when I reached it I simply gritted my teeth and pushed, all the time searching for the crest and then the final run ending downhill.

By the end I was so spent that I couldn't consider a short run in the woods so I got in the car and headed home quickly so I'd still be hot by the time I hit the pool. I only went in for a couple of minutes but it was enough to cool me down. My right hamstring was really hurting and my knee was also a little sore so I put ice and compression on them. This morning there's still some residual pain around my hamstring but it's not intense. I'm going to try a short run and spend some time in the pool today. I'm sure I won't make 15 miles but I'll do my best.

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