Saturday, May 12, 2012

Back to Bethpage and into the woods

Up and down and all around
Today's run (Bethpage State Park trails): 4.3 miles

My reward for all my half marathon training the past eight weeks was a trail run at Bethpage this morning. As I pulled into the parking lot, I noticed that a lot of landscaping work that's being done at the park. I was curious to head towards the bike trail to see what was going on, but I was anxious to begin my run. I'll check that out next time.

For the first time in months, I headed to the trails on the northern side of Bethpage State park. As usual, the surface of the trail was well groomed, with a layer of wood chips across a very wide path. I followed the main route for a third of a mile before ducking into a side trail. I had little sense of direction as the trail wound through a series of twists and turns. The path went on and on and it made me wonder if I was just traveling in a big circle. I was really enjoying this section but hoping for some sign of a larger trail so I could get my bearings.

I finally broke away from that path and found my way toward the northernmost part of the woods. I turned south and headed along the western side of the woods for a while, before following a loop that (eventually) brought me close to where I'd started. I was close to my car by then, but I decided to run a loop around the parking lot before ending my run. After so many weeks of 10+ mile runs, 4 miles seemed very short.

Being back on the trail was a great experience. No thoughts of pace or mileage. I often lose my bearings when I run trails and that makes me feel both anxious and adventurous. I know I can't get too lost, but I often wish I had a better sense of where I am when I'm in the woods. I suppose I could carry a compass or my smart phone with GPS, that shows positioning in real time. But what fun would that be?

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