Showing posts with label Belmont Lake State Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Belmont Lake State Park. Show all posts

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Runsketeers take on the trails!

TPP, brat (aka, SIOR), ER, KWL
Today's run (Dirty Sock route: Belmont Lake): 6.5 miles

Adventure called and the Runsketeers responded this morning with a loop or two (or three) around Belmont Lake. KWL, SIOR, TPP and I planned to meet around 7:00 AM. I was the laggard of the bunch as they were all hanging out together by the time I arrived. I tried to explain the Dirty Sock course -- how it starts at the western trail head and branches off toward Southards Pond before dipping south to the eastern exit. After getting a collective, “what the hell are you talking about?” look from my companions, I suggested they just follow the trail as best as they could.

We began to walk to our starting point and bossy SIOR said, “Can we start running now?” So we did. Doing that, as well as running back to the western trail head when I finished, accounted for my additional third of a mile on top of running the full Dirty Sock route. We ran together at the start and then TPP and SIOR picked up the pace and went on ahead. KWL stayed back with me and we ran together and chatted until we reached Belmont Lake.

While KWL turned on the burners, I kept my moderate pace and circled the lake. About halfway around, I ran into SIOR and TPP who were running the lake clockwise. I soon saw KWL coming back on his way to catch up with the others. I again saw the three of them near the end of my loop. TPP ended up doing two lake loops and the others went around for a third time.

I am officially the least popular Runsketeer
The Dirty Sock route can be challenging when the path is wet and the humidity is off the charts. Neither was the case today. Just in case, I'd packed my gel flask with a mix of water and a Roctane Expresso gel. I haven’t used gels in over a year, so the one I had was well past its expiration date. I didn't realize that until I took my first swig and got a mouthful of coffee flavored grit. I finished it nonetheless.

I think the gel helped, because I felt a bit more energetic after ingesting it. Curiously, I detected an aftertaste that reminded me of alcohol and I wondered if the gel had fermented in its pack. Probably not, because a little alcohol goes a long way with me and I didn't feel any related effects. However, I did start to crave pizza.

I ran along the southern end of Southards Pond and went south for the last half mile of the route. This last section used to frustrate me when I did the Dirty Sock 10K because the trail seemed to go on forever. The greatest moment of that race was when I started to hear Terry Bisogno announcing runners as they crossed the finish line. I didn't get that today, but when I came around the final bend and saw the emerald green field ahead of me, I was pretty darn happy.

My route today
I extended my run to our starting location and waited of the others who were looking to cover more miles than me today. I ended up going over to the playground to get some shade and a minute later TPP appeared. We found a shady area close to where we'd see KWL and SIOR when they exited the woods. TPP and I caught up a little before our buddies arrived.

As tradition dictates, we headed to the closest Starbucks which had a very comfy seating section. After receiving gifts of coffee and pumpkin bread from SIOR and TPP respectively, the four of us recapped our run. Three of the four of us went over the moon about KWL's Apple Watch Sport that he was wearing. I am defiantly anti-Apple, and didn't join in that love fest. However, KWL did manage to take a remote selfie using his watch to control SIOR's iPhone, which was a pretty neat trick.

It was a great run for all of us and I was excited to share one of my favorite running locations with my best running buds. KWL is officially our d'Artagnan (although that honor is shared with TPP's JC). I look forward to more runs with these guys. I may even do Cow Harbor after all.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

This passport will get you places

Oh the places you'll go...
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

Over the weekend I purchased my 2012 Empire Passport that allows me entry into any one of dozens of state parks in New York. I was looking at the pamphlet that was attached to my receipt and read the listing of places on Long Island that honor this pass. Besides some of my favorite venues, like Bethpage and Belmont Lake State Parks, there are arboretums and botanical preserves like the nearby Planting Fields. At $65 per season, it's a bargain. I'll get my money's worth just from my visits to Bethpage, so everything else is a bonus.

It's been a while since I've done any trail running, but I'm on vacation next weekend and will take the opportunity to do some off road training. This morning I did my usual run after taking my weekly rest day on Monday. It was 35 degrees outside at 4 AM and that motivated me to move along briskly. Even with a slow start, I ended up pacing a bit faster than normal. The Kinvaras performed well, but I still felt slight pressure under my left foot. I'll try them again on Wednesday and see if there's any improvement.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Exhausting run at Belmont Lake

Today's run (Belmont Lake State Park): 6 miles

I decided to finish my Thanksgiving break with a trail run at Belmont Lake, home of the Dirty Sock race course. I'd decided that a competitive run at Stillwell (the Rob's Run 5K) would have been too much to do without the proper rest. I have in my mind that the Dirty Sock route is an easy run if you aren't trying to beat other runners. That's wasn't quite the case today.

The weather was in the high 30's when I started my run and I'd overdressed with two upper layers, running pants and a wicking cap. By my first mile I felt very warm and by the two mile mark I was feeling overheated. Unlike previous times running these trails, I sensed more inclined sections. Halfway through the run I was feeling fatigued, possibly due to over training.

Once at the lake, I knew there was nothing I could do to reduce the amount of required effort since the route was out-and-back and I was already halfway through it. The course seemed extra long and the trail seemed extra steep as I slogged my way past mile four. I was tired and my pace was slow, but I was determined not to stop or walk.

I saw a few other runners on the trail who had made better decisions about their gear. They were moving along nicely in contrast to my slow motion stride. After I cleared the passage under the Montauk Highway at mile 5, I decided to return on the same trail where I'd started, rather than adding the extra distance passing by Southards Pond.

I was very ready to finish my run by then and caught a glimpse of the trail opening as I ran by a couple of equestrians out with their horses for a Sunday morning ride. I was glad to have finished the week with a decent length run and especially glad that I didn't race today. I need a break from running and I'm glad that tomorrow is my regular rest day. It was a good couple of weeks of intense running, but enough is enough.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pre-race training run at Belmont Lake State Park

2010 Dirty Sock race shirt. They also give you socks!
Today's run (Belmont Lake State Park): 6.2 miles

It's been more than two months since my last race (the NHP 8K) so I'm excited that I'll (once again) be competing next weekend. If we have weather like this weekend's on the 21st I'll be very pleased.

This morning I met up with my running buddy Dave at the south end of Belmont Lake State Park. We decided to do a last long training run along the Dirty Sock race course to prepare for the big event. We had plenty of company on the trails at 7:00 AM when we started. There were people with dogs, walkers, bike riders and a handful of other runners.

We took off at a pace that allowed for comfortable conversation and. before I knew it, I heard my Garmin chime the first mile. We reached Belmont Lake and chose to follow the same route that we'll take on race day. This involves a short section that crosses a highway access road and goes under the LIE. We circled the lake in short order and I was pleased with my energy level at what I knew to be the halfway point.

I never noticed before, but I determined the main trail runs uphill in the southern direction. That may be a reason why I have a tough time in the latter half of this race. Checking our watches we saw that we were coming on the one hour mark and I couldn't believe that much time had passed. Having an interesting guy like Dave as a running partner certainly helps on long runs.

At the last leg of the run, where the trail twists south after paralleling a section of  Southard's Pond, Dave stepped up the pace and I followed. He's a strong finisher and I did my best to stay with him. This last half mile is always tough on race day because it's hard to discern how much more trail is left before the finish line. I know to listen for the race announcer over the PA, that tells me to start my final sprint to the line.

The humidity finally kicked in and at the end we were a pretty soggy pair. I was extremely pleased with our run and I know I could have put another 10% into my effort if I had been competing. I'm saving that for race day. The taper starts tomorrow. Let's hope that the heat and humidity take a holiday next Sunday.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The thing about the Dirty Sock course...

Link to picture at Bill McBride Photography

Today's workout (elliptical): 28 minutes

I'm thinking of heading to Babylon this weekend to run the trails in Belmont Lake State park. This is the location for the Dirty Sock 10K that's being held next a week from this Sunday. The course itself is straightforward, mostly flat and non-technical, and, unless it's been raining, well groomed. The thing about this race is the weather. On a cool fall morning it's as good as trail running gets: picturesque woods, a beautiful lake and some interesting sections with that cross over brooks or pass by another lake. But the weekend of Dirty Sock can show a different side of this course - the heat and humidity envelope you and the last mile of the race is plenty tough.

The last time I ran this course was in the spring when I closed out my half marathon training. I wore my Kinvaras on the trails and thought all was well but that night I awoke to significant knee pain that followed me for months. I've since gotten past that problem but I'm a little concerned about a recurrence of this problem. In truth, I had probably over trained the week that I did that run and the knee pain was likely a result of running 30% more mileage than normal.

I'm planning to run in the Mirages, a minimal stability shoe, this weekend and for the Dirty Sock race. I've been running almost exclusively with the Hattori's but I seem to adapt well between those shoes and Mirages. This will also be a big weekend for my friends who race. KWL will be competing in the Philadelphia Grand Fondo bike race (108 miles) and FS is due to run a race on Cape Cod. However, she is "day to day" on deciding whether to participate, due to an injury. I hope everything lines up for both of them this weekend (including good weather) and that we all have great experiences.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A last long run before the half

Trail head to Southards Pond
Today's run (Belmont Lake State Park): 8.35 miles

After yesterday's tough hike (on top of a truncated morning speed session) I really wanted to give myself a day to recover. The weather for Saturday is not promising. It's supposed to rain the first half of the day and I wanted to get in one more long run before I tapered for my upcoming race. I decided to run the trails along Southards Pond and Belmont Lake in Babylon. These trails make up the Dirty Sock 10K course, one of my favorite places to run and a perfect spot for a training run.

I started at the trail head that serves as the exit to the Dirty Sock finish line and as I ran I thought about how two of my four hardest races were run on this course. Part of that related to the late August dates of the Dirty Sock race and the heat and humidity that comes with that. Today it was cool (42° F) and dry, so I had little concern that the weather would affect my performance.

I reached Southards Pond quickly and soon connected to the main trail that took me under the RT 27 trestle where a flutist was playing the Hollies' song "Bus Stop" (Bus stop, wet day, she's there, I say / Please share my umbrella). It's not the first time I've run through there accompanied by flute music but it was still an unexpected pleasure.

The path winds quite a bit from there and eventually goes under the Southern State Parkway that sits just south of Belmont Lake. I ran around the lake taking in the water view, trees, ducks, swans and geese. I was feeling good so I ran a second time around the lake before heading south on the trail. When I reached 4 miles I took my first sip of Gatorade G2 and continued to do that every half mile from then on. I've discovered that this technique works well for me and I plan to do this during the half marathon.

My run back to the trail head was unremarkable and I felt that my conditioning was adequate for 13 miles. The only concern I had today was with my feet -- my small toes got mashed in my Kinvaras and I worried about how they'd do if I had to run another 5 miles. I plan to run in the Mirages during the race which will help in terms of support and structure but I need to figure out a way of protecting my toes.

Now it's time to step down the rigor and prepare for the 13.1 miles that lay ahead on May 1st.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Kinvaras perform on the trail

Today's run (Belmont Lake): 6.7 miles at 9:46

Belmont Lake out n' back
It has been an all-trail running weekend. Yesterday I ran at Stillwell Woods in the morning and returned with the family in the afternoon for a little kite flying and some low key trail runs. This morning I went to Belmont Lake, home of the Dirty Sock 10K race, for the pleasure of running its well groomed trails in the cool high 50's weather.

I wanted to cover some distance today but I just couldn't face another run through the surrounding neighborhoods. I decided to return to Babylon to run the out and back course that includes a trip around Belmont Lake and also follows the south end of a large pond. My intention was to run the Dirty Sock course but to start at the trail head instead of going 100 yards further into the woods where the race begins. I've run this course half a dozen times and I'm now familiar with many of its features. I still get a little disoriented when the trail splits but I managed to stay on course for most of my run. I wore my Kinvaras because I was curious to see how they performed on a non-paved surface. Adventure Girl ran a tough 13.1 mile trail race in her Kinvaras and spoke highly of their performance so I thought, "What the heck." Today's course is mostly dirt with gravel, sand and a small amount of paved road. I knew by the time I crossed under the Rt. 27 overpass that the Kinvaras would provide enough support for this course and I reached the lake with no issues of traction or stability.

There were a lot of dog walkers, a few runners and some cyclists along my path. When I reached the lake I heard music and saw tents and booths being erected for a fair that was associated with walk-a-thon that was also going on. As I circled the lake I was tortured by the extremely loud music coming from the fair. What made it worse was that the song they were playing. "Uptown Girl" by Billy Joel, is one of my top five most hated songs, ever. I actually felt relieved when I heard the next song starting. Soon enough I was on my way south, past the lake, and back onto the path I'd followed earlier. I felt great although did I begin to tire a little around mile 4. I soon perked up and made sure I stayed on the Dirty Sock return route, especially when my path would split. Along the way I cut farther east to make sure I didn't miss the perpendicular left that takes runners along the southern end of the pond. It was here where I thought I'd gone off course because I didn't recognize the right that takes Dirty Sock racers on the path to the finish line. I ended up retracing my route along the pond and rejoining the original trail, finishing where I started, after covering 6.7 miles of trails.

I've always enjoyed running this course although the two times that I ran the Dirty Sock race I was overwhelmed by the heat, humidity and a dearth of electrolytes. When not bombing down the path at speed for almost an hour it's a really relaxing experience. It's also a great place to run with a buddy. I'm pleased with my distance running this weekend and thrilled to have had two days of great local trail running. Now I won't feel so bad about returning to the neighborhood next week.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Practice makes perfect on the Dirty Sock trail

BJS gives a thumb's up to today's run

Today's run (Belmont Lake Park trails): 6.36 miles at 9:25

It's been almost a year since I've run the trail at Belmont Lake, home of the Babylon Village Classic Dirty Sock 10K Run. With the exception of the last 1.2 miles of last year's 10K race I've enjoyed running this course more than most. It's an out-and-back run that totals 6.2 miles when you begin at the starting line along the main trail. We started our run while still outside the trail head so our distance was longer. Accompanying me this morning was BJS, an Emerging Runner friend who had also run the Dirty Sock race last year. BJS often runs with his dog but we were on our own today. We hit the trail with temperatures in the low 70's and (thankfully) low humidity. The favorable temperature and the canopy of the woods combined to make the running conditions near perfect.

BJS and I ran at a companionable pace that allowed us to converse easily. Along the way we encountered numerous others walking with dogs, biking and running.  I was surprised when my Garmin chirped to announce that our first mile had passed. It seemed like we'd only just started. I felt good and the company was great and I looked forward to the next 5. We were both amused when two strapping young runners overtook us and politely alerted us they were passing on the left. We joked for them to slow down. I'm sure they thought we were slowpokes but I stand behind our performance today. My barometer for gauging my stamina on this course is how fatigued I feel when I'm circling the northern lake. I was happy that I felt almost as fresh at that point as I did when we started. On the way back the trail is slightly more uphill, not that you would notice except on one or two stretches. We both started strong and finished strong, ending our run 59 minutes and 52 seconds after we'd begun.

We headed for shade and cooled down for a few minutes before we headed out to start our respective Saturday activities. BJS is thinking about running the trail again with his dog before the race on the 22nd. I don't know if I can get back out there before the race but it would be fun to join them. It was a great way to start the weekend and running with a person as interesting as BJS made a long run go very quickly this morning.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

6 miles run around a lake - what could be better?

I was psyched to see the temperature on LI was 38 degrees when I watched the news at 6:00 AM this morning. In the last year I've learned that I run much better when it's cold and I enjoy the experience more. That is until the temperature drops into the teens and then I love it a bit less. Still, I'll take 18 degrees over 88 anytime. The plan was for me and my nephew to run Stillwell Woods, a local preserve that has many twisty trails and variable elevations. These trails are really meant for cyclists and you see many of them there, often when you don't expect it. The experience of running Stillwell can be amazing as the scene changes from moment to moment and the challenges can go from modest to ridiculous. It's two weeks until the Cape Cod Marathon and I knew I needed to focus more on distance than terrain so we decided to go with a Plan B instead: Belmont Lake State Park, home to the Dirty Sock 10K.

The trails at BLSP are straight and the elevations are modest and few. Most importantly, the course is much more measurable and measuring distance against my readiness was my goal. We both appreciated the cool air and the absence of humidity when we arrived. As an experiment we ate a couple of Luna Sport Moons to get some start up energy. The pomegranate flavor was good and between that and the beautiful day I was really ready to get going. I was concerned that a strong start would lead to a weak finish but that was not the case. We headed north along the main trail and it was nice to experience the course again without the competitive edge of a race. DaveADK and I ran this route a couple of weeks before the 10K and it was a similar feeling. Knowing the route somewhat I expected it to seem longer but it was very much the opposite. My nephew maintained a strong pace alongside me and when we got to the north lake I told him about some of the experiences I'd had at that point of the race. I remembered thinking that getting around the lake was going to be tough but today it was fairly easy. In fact today's run was remarkably smooth. At the 4 mile mark I had another Luna Moon to see if it would give me a boost. It's hard to say if it did but my lack of difficulty throughout the latter part of the run indicates it may have helped. I'll be bringing some along during the marathon runs.

We ended up covering 6.13 miles at 9:22 but our pace felt faster than that. Although the course is flat for a wooded trail it does have surfaces that inhibit performance so I'm equating 9:22 to about 9:07 on the street. I really think we could have pushed it harder, especially near the end, but we elected to just enjoy the experience at a pace that felt good. I'm pleased with my progress as I move closer to October 25th. Today reinforced that I can cover 6 miles at a credible pace without pushing close to my limits. I have a feeling that facing 9 miles on the marathon course will test those limits.

blogger templates | Webtalks