Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hitting the trail - literally

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It's a beautiful 4th of July Saturday and I'm doing today's post from the back yard. Before our big cookout, my wife and kids have set up a tarp on the lawn and are doing an art project with pasta. Something to do with creating stamps that look like fireworks. It looks like fun.
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I've been busy over the last two days. Yesterday afternoon I did a short run through the neighborhood, covering 3.18 miles at a moderate pace (9:18). I did about half this run along the outside roads that frame my neighborhood. One road (the sidewalk really) has so many patches of dirt that it's almost a trail. The other outside road cuts east along the north side and has a hill that looks difficult to the eye but is fairly modest when you run it. I wanted to keep this run short because the previous day's OCA trail was a fairly hard effort. I came home from my Saturday run and immediately changed into swim shorts and jumped in the pool. I was so hot that it took about a minute in the cold water before I actually felt cooled off.
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I wanted to run Stillwell this weekend. The Bethpage trail run last weekend and Thursday's OCA run have really got me excited about that aspect of the sport. I cannot wait until I get my Helly Hansen Trail Lizards to test. Until then my New Balance 460's continue to impress, a great value for the money.
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I headed over to Stillwell Woods Preserve this morning and set off on the trails with the intention of expanding beyond the primary loop that I had previously run. I had looked at the area on Google Earth to try to understand the trail layout and I traveled south off the main trail until I started encountering some large muddy patches that were somewhere between the size of a puddle and a pool. I edged along the side of those until I reached a fork where, in one direction, the trail seemed to drop off the face of the earth. I suspected that trail was favored by extreme mountain bikers so I chose the other way and traveled along a series of narrow but interesting paths until I found myself facing a hill that made the ones in Brooklyn and Washington Heights look modest. No matter, I attacked it and did fairly well but with the tree cover I was somewhat disoriented in terms of direction. I picked another trail and ran for about 10 minutes in perfect conditions where I saw and heard a number of animals.
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At one point I began encountering bikers which made me nervous due to the width of the trails. I was hoping that I was going in the right direction, based upon the sun I knew I was traveling west. I crossed paths with another runner and immediately came upon some mountain bikers who yelled a cheerful hello. I was feeling good about this run, taking in the cool air, the sun and the interesting sites when I suddenly found myself face down in the dirt. I had tripped on a root that ran across the path and I landed on my forearms which took most of the impact. I stood up and established that I was bleeding and scraped up but nothing seemed broken. I continued for another mile and left the trail, making a loop around the soccer fields before returning to my car. I ended up running 3.61 miles at a mid 9:00 pace. Surprisingly good considering the hills and the falling incident.
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When I got home my kid's faces said it all. My daughter immediately grabbed the first aid spray and my wife took a picture of my damaged body. After a shower I saw that it was all superficial cuts and scrapes so I started thinking about a Bethpage run tomorrow. Stillwell is an interesting and different experience from Bethpage but both are awesome. This trail running is great fun and it seems to be a good way to run without generating leg pain.

2 comments:

  1. and you thought yesterday's run was tough :-) Happy 4th to you and the family...

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  2. Congrats on the hill conquering!! I look forward to going back to the Brooklyn hill in a few months and having you remark that it's not nearly as bad as you remembered!

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