Friday, July 3, 2009

Awesome day on the OCA

From a running perspective, NYC provides many resources either within the city or close by. Between the subways and the commuter train lines a number of great running paths, parks and bridges are just minutes away. While Central Park is a fantastic place to run it's sometimes a great change to explore other places. Through the spring AG and I have run in some interesting places in and around NYC. We were combining our weekly business updates with our runs but once summer Fridays started we've ended that shortened day with more recreational runs. I mentioned in a previous post that AG will be heading to grad school at Yale in August (but happily remaining an integral part of my team in a part time capacity) so we will soon have fewer opportunities to run together.

We decided to have at least one more running adventure before her new schedule takes over and we jumped on the Metro North commuter train to Irvington, NY with a plan to run 5 miles along the Old Croton Aqueduct. The trip from Grand Central Station was quick and we got off the train and walked a few blocks to the entry point of this trail that runs 26.2 miles (interesting that it's the same length as a marathon) from Van Cortlandt Park at the Bronx County/City of Yonkers border to the Croton Dam in Cortlandt. The trail is mostly hard packed dirt and fortunately the hard rain held off and that kept it from becoming too muddy. We both brought our trail shoes and they came in handy through some wet patches that we did encounter. In less than 5 minutes we had our first wildlife sighting, deer that were scattered on both sides as we ran by.

We saw many birds and at least one rabbit. The trail is basically flat which makes sense because the original use of this trail was to convey water to NYC. There were some uphill stretches and we wondered how they transported the water along those areas. Our plan was to run the trail south from our starting point to the Greystone train station and hop on the train back to NYC. We thought we'd built enough time into our run but near the end we found ourselves racing the clock and we covered the last segment at a faster pace before heading off to the street to run to the station. We made it with less than 5 minutes to spare and it was a bit of a shock to go from our hot, soggy, humid state to the refrigerated train car. Felt pretty good though.

I had forgotten to transfer the Garmin foot pod to my trail shoes so I had no way of judging distance or pace except to estimate that 50 minutes would approximate to five miles. AG wore the QStarz device and hopefully that will provide more data for us. It was a great start to the long weekend, a tough but exhilarating run that was exactly what we'd hoped for. I'm not ready to hit the street yet this morning but hopefully I'll be up for nice recovery run this afternoon. I might hit the trails at Stillwell or Bethpage some time this weekend. I definitely have less leg pain after running trails compared to running on pavement. Maybe it is the shoes.

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