Sunday, September 25, 2011

Making the decisions to run

Today's run (street): 4.5 miles

If you see a fork in the road, take it.
This morning I faced some minor decisions about when, what, where and how I would run. I usually have the details of the next morning's run mapped out in my head the night before, but I struggled with indecisiveness today.

My first decision was whether to go out in the dark or wait until the sun poked through enough to allow me to run without a headlamp and reflective vest. I had awoken around 5:00 AM and made a pot of coffee but by 6:00 I began thinking about getting going on my run. I decided to wait until 6:30 when there would be adequate light, and I put on my bright yellow Adidas jersey to ensure my visibility.

My second decision was where to run. I love my neighborhood but I sometimes find the scenery a little too familiar. I thought about the trails at Bethpage or Stillwell but I didn't really feel like driving to another location to run. I settled on a route that followed the outside edges of my neighborhood, a compromise between proximity and novelty.

My last decision before I left was which pair of shoes to pick. I ran in the Mirages yesterday to give me a little extra protection. I considered them again for today and then thought about the even more cushioned Adrenalines. Ultimately, I chose the Hattori's that have served me well for 200 miles and counting. As much as I like the protection and stability of the other two pairs, the Hattori's still provide me the lightest and most connected experience with the road.

I felt great for the first two miles, even though I had some challenges with the abysmal condition of the sidewalks on South Oyster Bay Road. I encountered broken concrete slabs jutting up at 40° angles plus brush and branches that haven't been cleared since Clinton was president. That section does force some agility, but I wasn't in the mood for it today.

Just south of the LIE overpass is a small road that leads into neighborhood #2.  I followed that entry point and covered a couple of miles before I headed back towards home. I had run fairly slow, owing to the high humidity, and I decided to pick up the pace from there. My last decision during my run was whether to take the fast way back or extend the run a few more minutes by following a longer, more uphill road. That was what I chose to do, imagining that I was coming through my last quarter mile of a race and pushing my pace accordingly.

I ended up running this route about 30 seconds slower per mile than my usual pace for that distance. This didn't bother me because I know by now that the humidity affects my performance enough to make that difference. It was a tough run today, but in terms of my decisions, I regret nothing.

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