Showing posts with label Caleb Smith State Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caleb Smith State Park. Show all posts

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Liked my run and loved my park

Been there, didn't do that
Today's run (street): 4.6 miles

I'm working through my new work schedule and trying to find the time to fit in all my training runs. I caught a break on Thursday by working from home. That was good for over six miles, something that I couldn't have done if I was driving to my office that morning. I was back to the drive on Friday morning and couldn't fit in a run before that. The saving grace is that my new office is in an enormous building and I cover a lot of ground on foot during the day.

This morning I targeted 4 miles around the neighborhood. I plan to run as close to 11 as I can on Sunday. Just for a change, I wrapped my run around the neighborhood, following Jericho Turnpike west to South Oyster Bay road and then onto Terrahans going east. The change of scenery was welcomed and I figured that this new route would distract me for the first two miles and make the overall run feel shorter. That sort of worked, even though I added another 2/3 mile to my distance.

I feel that I'm running exactly the same way and expending the same amount of energy that I did a year ago. Now my typical pace is now almost a minute slower. I used to be able to sustain sub-9 paces with a focused effort. These days I'm happy when I see that I've averaged mid-9's. Today I didn't even break 10:00. I'd hope that my weekly speed workouts would have moved the needle, but I've seen little payoff from it.

Later in the day, we all headed to Caleb Smith State Park in Smithtown for "I Love My Park Day." Last year we planted a tree and were looking forward to this year's tasks. However, when we arrived at noon, the event organizers were wrapping things up. Our information said that activities would go until 3:00 PM, but it was incorrect. We were disappointed, but it didn't prevent us for spending an hour hiking the trails.

If everything works out, we'll have a Runsketeer run tomorrow morning that includes a couple of guest runners (J who I met on the bike trail two weeks ago and his wife). I'm very curious to see how I hold up for 11 miles or more. Only two more Sundays before the Brooklyn half, and I need to make them count.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

I Love My Park Days at Caleb Smith

A beautiful day to volunteer
Today's run (street): 4.2 miles

We had a busy morning planned, so I got out on the road early, for a run around the neighborhood. It was another beautiful spring morning, sunny and cool enough to wear long sleeves. Just for a change, I took a route that goes by the middle school. It's always nice to see some different roads.

While approaching the school, I noticed a woman running about 100 feet ahead of me on the right side of the road. She was running slower than me, so I eventually caught up with her. As I was passing her, I said hello, and suggested that she run on the left side for safety. She said that she'd been running for 25 years and wasn't worried because there's hardly any traffic. I said that things are different now, with people talking on the phone and texting. She acknowledged that, but I didn't see her moving over. I can only do so much.

I completed my run and, soon after that, we all headed to Caleb Smith State Park to participate in "I Love My Park Days." This is a program where volunteers perform numerous tasks to help NY parks that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Caleb Smith lost 300 trees in the storm and the goal was to replace them all. Our task today was to plant a tree at a designated spot. Did you know that the New York State tree is the Acer saccharum, better known as the sugar maple? We didn't!

One down, 299 to go...
We were given a map and told to locate a yellow marker with the number "4" written on it. The park gave us a bucket of loam, a gardening spade and a sugar maple sapling to plant. We trekked along the yellow path until we found our marker. The kids did most of the work by digging a hole in the root-covered ground, planting and positioning the tree, and adding supporting loam. We remembered where we planted it, so we can visit it and watch its progress as it grows. 

We do love our parks!
After we turned in our bucket and shovel, the park people offered us the chance to fill a small cup with sunflower seeds embedded in dirt. My daughter took one cup to replant in the back yard, once the seeds germinate inside. We did a short hike in the park and were then rewarded with "I Love My Park Days" tee shirts. It was perfect weather for visiting the park and it was nice to be able to help out today. I look forward to watching our tree's progress every time I run or hike at Caleb Smith.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Caleb Smith trails: bad conditions for both run and runner

Hazards abound on the Caleb Smith trails
Yesterday's workout (Caleb Smith State Park): 3.4 miles (run), 1 mile (hike)

It was a busy Saturday for us, and I didn't get a chance to post about yesterday's activity until this morning. Yesterday afternoon we headed over to Caleb Smith State Park where my wife and kids participated a candle making workshop while I hit the trails. Hurricane Sandy had done a lot of damage to the park, but they'd just re-opened the yellow trail. The blue, green and red trails still remain closed.

Prior to leaving for Caleb Smith, we'd stopped for lunch at Moe's. That was a mistake on my part. Lunch was fine, but I didn't give myself enough time for proper digestion. I thought I felt fine when we arrived, but soon after I'd started toward the trail I could tell that's the going would be tough. I pressed on hoping that I'd begin to feel better as time went on.

After a mile I couldn't ignore the discomfort. It wasn't a stomach issue, but I felt lethargic and my legs felt heavy and unresponsive. I decided to walk it off and covered a half mile before resuming my run. The trail was in poor condition, with branches strewn along the path by the storm and thick mud from the morning rain. The parts of the trail that were covered by leaves were the most run-able.

I felt marginally better after a half mile hike and resumed my run for the next mile. I had looked forward  to this trail time, but I wasn't enjoying it much. The trail markings were a little inconsistent and I found myself on the closed paths once or twice. In most cases I could keep going until I reconnected to the yellow trail but once or twice I had to double back.

At one point I thought I saw another runner through the trees, but couldn't really see much, except that it clearly wasn't a squirrel or a fox. I thought it was odd that someone would run off-trail, especially with the current conditions. During my next loop around, I detected the same movement and saw that the "runner" was actually a deer. I noticed two or three others soon after. They kept their distance but didn't run away when our paths came together at a clearing.

I ended up running over 3 miles, though not continuously. I was happy to be finished and vowed not to repeat my mistake of having a big lunch prior to an effort of that scale. After my run, I spoke for a while with a ranger whose team maintained the park. He told me it would be some months before the cleanup was completed. There's a lot of tree damage that they can't get to with heavy equipment so it comes down to a two man crew that uses old fashioned methods to precision cut and remove damaged trees.

I'm planning to do a neighborhood run later this morning and really hope that yesterday's running difficulties don't carry forward to today. I'd rather have yesterday's lunch to blame than to be dealing with a bigger issue related to being ill.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Morning at Stillwell and Caleb Smith at noon

Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.25 miles

Today is Mother's Day and it's been busy. I wanted to get going early but due to some ad hoc celebrating, I didn't get out the door at 7:00 as I'd planned. By 8:15 I was at the trail head at Stillwell Woods with temperatures in the low 50's and bright sun. The holiday had kept most people at home. While I love company on the trails, I was glad to have the place more or less to myself.  I saw some bikers staging in the lot but didn't encounter anyone but hikers during my run.

The woods were alive with birds, rabbits and other creatures and the humidity was so low I didn't even break a sweat until I'd completed my second mile. I wasn't paying attention to my pace but knew I was moving well and I managed get through the hills without much trouble. Due to our tight schedule I kept the run to around 40 minutes but that was sufficient for my needs. My knee is much better at this point but I still feel some soreness when I go from sitting to walking. Happily this disappears with activity and I don't experience any pain when I'm running. Keeping my distances under five miles this weekend was a good move. I'll look to add more distance next weekend.

Things were ducky on the lake at Caleb Smith
One of our Mother's Day activities today involved a return to Caleb Smith Park Preserve in Smithtown, NY. We like this park a lot. It has well groomed and well marked trails, good access to its lake and a small but interesting nature museum. Four miles of trail running and then some hiking at Caleb Smith made for an active day. Later we spent some time setting up umbrellas and furniture in the pool area, providing an unexpected but welcomed upper-body workout.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Finally, a cold morning run. Wish I dressed for it...

The ducks were out at Caleb Smith this morning
Yesterday's run (street): 4 miles at 9:08
Today's run (street): 7.4 miles at 9:28

I waited until about noon on Saturday to run, mostly due to my reluctance to work up a sweat in the morning without the option of showering afterward. I spent the last 36 minutes strapped to my doctor's HRM in order to capture Saturday's workout. It was a pleasure to finish the run and end my 24 hours with this unit that was attached to me by four electrodes. I was still a little tired from Friday's stress test when I hit the road and though I managed a decent pace I felt like I was running in low gear the whole time. It felt as though I had a tether attached to me that prevented me to maintaining my desired cadence. My goal was to go out for a quick three miles but I ended up covering four. Upon returning home, I happily detached the electrodes and packed the HRM for return to the lab.

This morning I left early for my week's long run. My neighborhood boundaries limit my options for running real distances, after that I need to cross some traffic to prevent repeating the same roads. It was a chilly 38 degrees at 7:00 AM, far colder than I'd planned for the way I'd dressed. I did wear my best long compression pants but I didn't bring gloves nor a long sleeved shirt. I regretted my lapse when, after two miles, my hands were still semi-numb. Besides all that my run was pleasant, starting with a loop through my main neighborhood before heading into neighborhood #2 for a few miles. I stayed conscious of my pacing and tried to keep in the low 9:00 range. Despite the cooler temps my overall pace shows that I lost about ten seconds on each split. Although the numbers don't show it, I still felt like I ran better today than yesterday.

After a greatly appreciated (post run) hot shower we headed over to Caleb Smith State Park for a late morning hike. It's a really nice preserve with well marked trails. Every time I go there it reminds me of how much I'd like to actually run there. My wife, daughter and son did do some running while we were there but I chose to hike. I don't like running in jeans and my legs were fairly shot from the morning's seven miles. Despite missing my usual Friday run I still managed to get some good miles this weekend. The cold weather is definitely to my liking. I just need to be smarter about how I dress for it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Running and hiking make a great combination

Caleb Smith State Park has 543 acres of trails and wetlands

Today's run (street): 4.6 miles at 9:07/mile

I'm nearing the end of my vacation so we jammed a lot of activities into the day. My kids are happier because they don't return to school until next Wednesday. It's been a great week and there's still another day left before I have to head back to the office. After yesterday's moderate workout at the park I decided to only do a 4 mile run this morning because we planned to go for a hike a little later. I headed over to neighborhood #2 where I covered about three miles and finished up back in my own neighborhood after completing a total of 4.6. Conditions were near perfect, 44 degrees and dry, and I dressed correctly. I pushed my pace a little more than I have been doing and was not disappointed to average 9:07 per mile.

A few hours later we headed to Caleb Smith State Park in Smithtown, a 543 acre preserve with groomed, well marked trails. The park is beautiful, featuring ponds and streams, with lots of small side paths that take you over wooden bridges. We saw lots of interesting trees and plants and we even saw a snake. The biggest surprise for me wasn't seeing the snake in the woods, it was the fact that my kids wanted to pose next to it for a picture. There are a number of trails to follow. A circuit that includes the yellow and blue trails is 2.25 miles. I'd like to do a couple of laps around that course sometime.

I'm not sure how I'll finish my vacation in terms of running but I think a trail run would be the best choice tomorrow with temperatures in the low 70's expected. I'm not sure if I should head to Stillwell, Muttontown or Bethpage but either way I'd be making a great choice.

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