Sunday, April 3, 2011

Stillwell Woods roller coaster torture ride

Red Cross registration frenzy in the tent
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.5 miles

Saturday was a day of volunteering for the Emerging Runner family. It was the Long Island Red Cross's annual fund-raising walk that took place on the grounds of Nassau Coliseum. My wife volunteers at the local chapter and the whole family gets involved for this event. The kids worked hard to hand out T-shirts to pre-registered participants while my wife attended to other functions. After that we did the 2 mile walk that went a few times around the Coliseum followed by a nice BBQ courtesy of local restaurants. After that we attended the NY Islanders game with tickets that were donated to everyone who participated in the Red Cross event. We had a great time for a great cause.

Objects on ice were closer than they appear
This morning I headed to Stillwell instead of taking on an extended run at Bethpage that may not have gone well since I'm apparently still rebuilding my red blood cell count after last week's donation. I figured that the trails might be a kinder surface than pavement for my legs that have felt unresponsive since last week.

I started by following the Black trail and after chickening out at the first "Most Difficult/Easier" trail split I tucked into a "More Difficult" path I came upon a few minutes later. I wasn't moving very quickly but I don't care about pace when I run trails. After navigating some narrow channels that were cut to facilitate mountain bikers (of which the woods were filled today) I came upon the tough stuff -- scree, sand and rocky hills that required both steep ascents and sharp descents. When I'm at full strength these obstacles seem fun, like riding a roller coaster, but today they wore me out for a time. I decided to make my way back to the flatter sections before I grew too fatigued and was able to find my way using the sun and the MotionX compass on my iPhone.

I finished my run with a westbound tack along the southern path of the open field. The wind from the west was stiff and freezing and I almost laughed at the difficulty I had making my way to the trail head. After being voluntarily tortured for almost 50 minutes I was glad to bring the run to an end. Very soon after I'd finished I felt the legendary "runner's high" that confirmed a good job well done. Well, a hard job anyway.

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