Friday, August 9, 2013

Sharing Stillwell with a friend

Tough trails on the northern route
Thursday's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.4 miles

Yesterday brought good news on a few fronts. First, my headache finally went away. Second, I made some good business progress during the day (although it interfered with my ability to generate a Thursday post). And third, I had a great run with my friend Chris at Stillwell Woods.

I'm definitely a morning runner, so the idea of going for a high energy run at 4 PM concerned me. The weather had looked threatening all day and thunderstorms were predicted for later. When Chris arrived, we decided to head to Stillwell rather than Bethpage, because Stillwell is closer and has excellent tree cover. I was glad to be going to Stillwell and happy to show off the trail running paradise that's located five minutes from my house.

Before we headed over to Stillwell, Chris gave me another good piece of news. He's going to be running Cow Harbor this year for the first time. Chris lives in Westchester and does races up there, but he's never raced on LI. I filled him in on the Cow Harbor experience and he's excited. He's not intimidated by the James Street hill either. But I won't be running alongside him that day. Chris runs the NY Marathon faster than 3:30 and will probably finish Cow Harbor ten minutes before I do.

But on the trails I can can keep up with him, at least for a while. We followed my usual route until peeling off onto the "Most Difficult" trail. Chris was amazed to see such tough terrain and said that if he lived here, he'd run Stillwell every day. We stayed on this steeply climbing and dropping trail until I redirected us back to my usual, but less challenging loop.

With Chris pacing, I was able to run faster than I probably would have gone if I was running alone. We did an extended loop and then another smaller loop before we reached the main trail. Just as I was feeling relived to be close to the end, Chris innocently asked, "Do you want to go around again?" I answered, "I'm done, race you to the car!"

Although yesterday was mostly good news, I was disappointed to hear that my friend Mike won't be able to run the Dirty Sock course with me on Saturday because he's been delayed traveling back to LI. I'm debating whether to run it alone, or go over to Bethpage and run the wooded trails there. It's always helpful to practice on the course that you are racing, but I might get some extra hill work done if I go to Bethpage.

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