Showing posts with label Central Park. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Central Park. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Adventure running is where you find it

Adventure starts here
Today's run (treadmill): 26 minutes

I used to be an adventurous runner. By that I mean I didn't do 90% of my runs within two miles of my house. I'm far less adventurous nowadays, because I have far less time and fewer opportunities to try new experiences.

My job used to be located in mid-town Manhattan and that opened the door to my love of city running. At least once a week I'd run in Central Park, across the Brooklyn or GW Bridge or up and down the West Side Highway. I'd often run around cities that I would visit on business trips. I ran wooded trails whenever I could find them, and I found a lot of them. I even did a marathon relay race on Cape Cod as part of a family vacation.

My frequent running partner (Adventure Girl) introduced me to a lot of different running venues. After she moved to Montana (where she does trail running in the woods with real live bears) I was left on my own to run in the city. Although I found other running buddies, I pretty much stuck to Central Park. On weekends I'd venture out to Belmont Lake to run the Dirty Sock race course or to other local but interesting places. Now it's mostly just Stillwell Woods or the Bethpage Bike trail.

This morning I was able to fit in a short, humid treadmill run before I started my day. As I was taking out my heart rate monitor, my long dormant running headlamp fell to the floor. I picked it up and thought about my daily adventures running the streets of my neighborhood at 4:00 AM. Not an exotic locale, but in the 300 or so runs I did in the dark, I saw a lot of very interesting (and occasionally scary) things on those runs.

This past weekend, my Runsketeer buddies had a Facebook discussion about an adventure marathon that takes place in Utah, with a course that starts at 4,000 feet above sea level. Before I knew it, they were talking about flights, rental cars and accommodations. I think they are serious about doing this race. While that race is not for me, it made me think about broadening my horizons. I think I'll check the batteries in the headlamp and see where that takes me.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Central Park Fun Run

Fun Run start and finish spot
Yesterday's run (Central Park Fun Run): 1.6 miles

Yesterday afternoon my company's division held its summer holiday picnic in Central Park. I work with great people and it's a pleasure to spend time with them. The picnic is usually a low key affair and this year was no different. We order sandwiches, walk together to Central Park and settle in at a predetermined spot. The activities are optional, some play Frisbee or pickup football games and others enjoy relaxing in the shade. This year we brought back our "Fun Run/Walk" that we last did in 2009.

We had over twenty signed up for the run but (unfortunately) a few people needed to remain at the office resolving some business issues. This event was non-competitive and we took off together at a manageable pace. Our course followed the lower loop of the Park in a clockwise direction. Most cyclists and runners go counter-clockwise, but I wanted to start us off going downhill (and also wanted to avoid finishing uphill).

1.6 miles goes by fairly quickly, but the distance was perfect considering the heat and humidity. It is always fun to run with a group, especially this one. Before I knew it, we'd reached the top of the Mall and followed the path back to our starting point. A couple of people put down the hammer for the final third of a mile, but I was content to maintain my mid-9:00 pace until the end.

I'd brought Wet Ones wipes for people to "towel down" after they'd finished and I was glad that I did. We watched the rest of our colleagues come in, the runners and then the walkers. When all were accounted for we crossed the road and joined our division colleagues at the picnic spot. It was a perfect way to detach from the business and generate a little sweat, not far from the office. I wish we could do this every week!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Back to the 4:00 AM thing

Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

I've been busy with post-vacation business and have not had a chance to post until now. Later this week my division will be holding its summer picnic in Central Park and I've organized a 1.6 mile non-competitive run/walk. I'm hoping we get a good crowd of participants like last time.

It was back to 4:00 AM running this morning. After so many hot and humid days, I was fortunate to have temperatures in the high-50's. These conditions were further helped by the cooling mist from lawn sprinklers along my way. I didn't break any speed records this morning, but I was proud of myself for getting up and out again at that early hour.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Central Park, eight months later

Friday's run (Central Park): 3.3 miles
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 3.3 miles

I thought it had been a while since I'd run in Central Park, but I was shocked to see on Garmin Connect that the last time I'd run there was last October! I had assumed I'd been there more recently but after checking the blog history I confirmed that was accurate. Knowing that, I am especially happy to have returned to Central Park.

The weather was almost perfect when I got to the park. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the 60's. It took a surprisingly long time to acquire a signal on my Garmin. As soon as it locked in, I was on my way.

I began my run by going counter-clockwise along the Center Drive loop. I was surprised to see lots of runners coming from the other direction because that's opposite of the direction arrows on the bike path. I was running strongly and staying just below a nine minute pace through the first mile. By the time I reached the top of Cat Hill I had slowed a bit, but I still felt strong.

The humidity was higher than I'd first thought and I decided to limit my run to the loop below the reservoir. I gritted my teeth through the hilly sections just below the Great Lawn and Terrace Drive and enjoyed the downhill sections that followed. I continued on some the paths off Center Drive and finished on Central Park South at 7th Ave. It was a great run and my overall pace was actually faster than what I achieved on the NHP 8K.

This morning I headed to Stillwell to run the trails. I downloaded the latest 3 Non-Joggers podcast to listen to while I ran. That helped me get through some very technical and steep terrain. I ended up covering almost exactly the same mileage as I ran on Friday, but the required effort was much greater.

On my way off the trail I encountered three women who were asking people to sign a petition that would limit mowing the big field. This would help protect the wildlife and aid conservation efforts to eliminate invasive species. I was happy to sign.

I've been on vacation since yesterday afternoon. Since then, I've had two really interesting runs. I'm hoping to do a distance run in the next few days. Tomorrow is Father's Day so maybe I'll give myself the gift of running the hills on the Bethpage bike trail.

Friday, June 15, 2012


*Thank God It's Friday and I'm Running In Central Park

Some work weeks go by so fast that you almost wish for another day to get everything completed. Not this week. By Tuesday afternoon I was half-asking if tomorrow is Friday. I felt terrible on Wednesday and recovered through Thursday, although the day seemed to go on forever. TGIF indeed!

After a light morning schedule, I'm planning to head over to Central Park for a run. It's been a long time since I've run there and the conditions are perfect for it. I was on the fence last night about whether I'd do today's run in the morning by my home, or run in the park. My wife said, "Tomorrow's weather will be great and next week you're on vacation. A run in the park will be a perfect way to kick off the weekend." She's smart.

My plan is to run the eastern side loop below the reservoir and, depending on how energetic I feel, continue around the water and come back along the western side. That's about a 4.5 mile run. Otherwise, I'll follow the route I used to take when I ran with JQ, Steve, Adventure Girl and others. That run involves cutting over just north of the Great Lawn before heading south. It's about 3.1 miles in total - a nice low key 5K.

It feels a lot like summer already, with empty trains and few people in the office. The sounds from the Today Show concert is reaching me a couple of blocks away. The sun is shining. I can't wait to head for the park.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The agony and the not so bad

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3 miles
Today's run (treadmill): 3 miles

I'm in a slump and I don't exactly understand why. I suspect that it's a combination of things. Since I suffered a bad fall on my driveway a week ago, I've been feeling slightly sub-par. My crash at the end of my run was probably more traumatic than I'd initially thought and, seven days later, I still have plenty of evidence of that.

I had been feeling run down by mid-week and though I did a couple of runs plus an elliptical session since the accident, I felt the need to skip my workout on Thursday. Yesterday I had plans to meet my friend CK for a run in Central Park and I thought the day and a half rest I'd have since Wednesday would deliver some needed energy. I was almost completely wrong but there were other factors at play.

First, I had gone to the company medical center in the morning to get a flu shot. I didn't think it would have any effect on my running, but perhaps it did. Second, I was rushed for time at lunch and grabbed some spicy vegetarian soup and vegetarian dumplings that didn't help my glycogen level. And third, I generally don't run well in the afternoon. So some combination of the above, plus being generally run down, made for a tough run in the park.

CK and I started our run on the lower loop near the 6th Avenue entrance to the park and we headed counter clockwise up the hill. We were moving at a good clip with CK letting me set the pace. I felt okay but was concerned about maintaining that rate over our planned 4+ mile route. Shortly after we reached our first mile, CK asked to stop so he could remove his long pants that were making him warm.

What should have been an opportunity to rest turned into a significant energy drop and as we made our way up the hill I admitted that I wouldn't be able to run the reservoir route. We modified our course by cutting across the Great Lawn and I was truly struggling to keep the pace under 10 minutes a mile. Still it was fun to run the west side of the loop towards Columbus Circle because they had put up the stands for the NY Marathon and were in the process of constructing the finish line area.

We ended up covering our three miles in about 28 minutes but it was the toughest 5K I've run in a while.

This morning, due to the inclement weather, I ran about three miles on the treadmill, starting with a 5 minute walking warm up. I did the running part at around 9:50/min, a comfortable pace, but I really felt it by the end. I'm obviously not at my best but this morning's workout felt far better than yesterday's run.

I'm not sure how far I'll run tomorrow. More than one person has suggested that I take a few days off and get back to strength. It's good advice, the kind that I'd give to others. I'm not sure I'll take my own advice though. Who can resist going out for a run on a cold October morning?

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's not summer, but it's Summer Friday

Today is the first of my company’s “Summer Fridays” and it’s appropriate that it falls on the day before Memorial Day weekend. I’m not saying NYC is a ghost town this morning but my office floor is virtually empty. Perfect conditions for a productive morning. Some of my best running adventures have happened on Summer Fridays, including runs across the GW Bridge, the West Side Bike Trails, the Brooklyn Bridge and along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Today I’m running in Central Park around lunchtime with my friend Steve. After that I’ll head home to start my long weekend.

When I got home last night my Hattori’s were waiting for me and I wasted no time trying them on. My daughter pronounced them “even cooler than the Kinvaras.” High praise indeed. The Hattori does not look like a running shoe and, if not for its sturdy mid-sole/out-sole, I would take it for a slipper with a very over-the-top design. The shoe fit me snugly and was extremely comfortable on my foot. I then tried it without a sock and it felt great. But I won’t run that way. Not my style. I think I’ll need to find thinner running socks though.

I resisted temptation to run in the Hattori’s last night and I’m not wearing them on today’s run because the zero drop and flat platform may take a little adjustment. You can bet I’ll be running in them tomorrow, or maybe I'll take them for a spin this afternoon when I get home. After all it is a Summer Friday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A rigorous rainy run in Central Park

Remember the Maine! Because that where we're meeting.
Yesterday's run (Central Park): 4.65 miles
Today's run (street): 2.5 miles

There's quite a contrast between today's bright sun and yesterday's rainy, cloudy skies. Friday morning had started out dry but, by 10:00 AM, the streets were wet and the umbrellas were open. I mentioned in a meeting that I planned to go out at around noon for a run in Central Park and got the expected "You're crazy" and "Why would you want to do that?" responses. I checked in with my friend CK who was game for a run, regardless of the weather. We confirmed our plan to meet at the statue of the USS Maine at 12:30.

It was chilly and drizzling as I began my walk to Columbus Circle. I wore a short sleeved shirt and running shorts because the humidity was in the mid 70's and I knew I'd get hot while running. I arrived early at the statue and CK was already there. We started our run by heading south along the lower loop,  and then heading east. The rain wasn't too bad and, despite my glasses, I had no problem seeing. My real problem was keeping up with CK.  He was looking to move along at a faster pace than the 9:30 that I was maintaining as we worked on the first few hills.

We kept going north until we reached the reservoir and ran around it until we'd reached the west side. From there we exited onto the bridal path and tackled a hilly section before we crossed over to West Drive. We increased our speed from there, running closer to a 8:50 mile, which was a hard pace for me and a relaxing one for CK. Those hills always get to me.

We finished where we started and by then the rain had increased to a steady fall and I felt cold on the walk back to my office. By the time I got there I was soaked, a combination of sweat and rain. I toweled off with Wet Ones and grabbed a quick bite. Though I hoped I could spend the afternoon sequestered in my office, I was pulled into a bunch of meetings. No one seemed to notice that I'd gone without a post-run shower.

This morning I was extremely pressed for time so I went out for a short run. I'm planning to do some biking with my daughter later so I didn't care about distance. Speaking of distance, my friend FS ran the Brooklyn Half Marathon this morning. Conditions were ideal so I'm hoping she had a great experience. That race was my first choice for my first half but registration was closed by the time I tried to sign up.  Maybe next year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Central Park running on the schedule

If the weather holds through lunchtime I'll be running in Central Park with my friend CK. The last time we ran together was in January along the streets of Naples, FL, in the early morning fog. CK is a far better runner than me but he's very patient and flexes (somewhat) to my pace. It usually becomes a subconscious tug of war between us where he ever-so-slightly pushes us towards an 8 minute pace while I push back in the other direction.

We're targeting about four miles today, or maybe a little longer than that since we plan to run up the east side of the lower loop, circle the reservoir and then head back down. CK has been dealing with a chronic foot injury for a while so his distances are limited. That works for me. Lengthy runs in the middle of the workday can make for an uncomfortable afternoon in the office, especially when there's no after-run shower. If the rains do come that could solve the problem quite nicely.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Running in a freezing wonderland

It looked a lot like this in Central Park on Thursday
Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3.26 miles
Today's run (treadmill): 2.3 miles

The temperature stayed in the low 20's most of Thursday although I'd hoped it would warm up a little more by noon. JQ was not able to join me so I headed out alone to Central Park, ducking through buildings along the way to keep warm. The wind and cold were brutal but the sun was shining and I knew that I'd be fine once I got going on my run. I reached the Park, that was covered white with snow, and began to follow my usual course. I started with the lower loop and ran counter-clockwise, east then north. There were only a few others along the path: an occasional cyclist, a few other runners and a handful of freezing tourists.

I kept my pace brisk in an effort to heat up quickly and it worked. By the first mile I had become comfortable with the weather but I struggled a little with the hills. It's been a while since I've run with any real course elevation because most of my running this year has either been on the treadmill or on the basically flat roads within my neighborhood. I ultimately did fine with the hills and managed to maintain my pace. Before long I had passed 3 miles and was nearing my end-point when a tall runner, wearing black compression gear from head to toe, passed me like I was standing still. I was actually moving fast (for me) at the time, maintaining about an 8:30 pace. Overall, I averaged 8:46 per mile, helped along by the freezing but energizing wind. I finished hot and sweating but by the time I returned to my office I was cold and dry again.

This morning I planned for an easy run on the treadmill. I had a late start and felt I'd gotten some good speed work in yesterday. My first mile was slow -- just below 10 min per mile, and I didn't even need to turn on the treadmill's cooling fan until ten minutes into my run. I stepped up the speed from there and ran the second 1.3 miles closer to a 9:00 pace. My "easy" run turned out to be a little harder than planned but it felt good. I cannot maintain a slower than normal pace on the treadmill because the numbers on the display taunt me to run faster. That's okay, at least the first mile was easy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Return to Central Park

Coney Island, NY - start (or finish?) to 2011 Brooklyn Half
It's almost mid-February and I have yet to run in NYC this year. That will change today when me and my running buddy JQ head to Central Park around noon. We had planned a run a couple of weeks ago but a snowstorm made that impossible. Conditions that day were so bad I wasn't even able to get into the office. It's cold out today (low 20's) but at least there's nothing coming down.

I'm excited to head back to the park, run outdoors and catch up with JQ. I've been hoping for a thaw that will rid us of the accumulated snow and open up more venues for running. My outdoor runs have been limited to a few neighborhood excursions plus last Saturday's race in Long Beach. I love Central Park any time but I'm especially keen to run there again after so much time spent on the treadmill. I'm thinking about the NYRR Brooklyn half marathon as my first-ever race at that distance.

The Brooklyn half marathon routes through Prospect Park, another place (similar to Central Park) where I've always wanted to run. That race ends at Coney Island (or the other way around). I'm not really sure how they're mapping the course this year. That would be a new adventure but today I'm just looking forward to running the loops again in Central Park.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Central Park work-year ender

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3.25 miles

We didn't run too far or too fast but yesterday's run with JQ was perfect in its own way.  After a long year that started with a bout of severe pneumonia it was great to finish up with with an early winter's run around Central Park. It's been cold all week and Thursday was no exception, 33 degrees plus wind. JQ and I have run often enough that our route is assumed, starting from the southern end and following the eastern loop, crossing the top of the Great Lawn and then coming back down to our starting point. Running with others is a treat, with the conversation and the activity amplifying the positives of both. JQ is an extremely interesting person who is also a great listener. I always want to repeat our course when we come to our finish just to extend the experience.

I'm on vacation until January 3rd and I'm looking forward to some quiet time off. At the same time I'm a little anxious about getting sick because it seems like I always suffer some type of illness on this year-end break. I'm not concerned about pneumonia or the flu this year because I've been inoculated against both. That said, I'm not going to push too hard on my runs this week. I'll probably go out for a short easy run today and attempt a longer distance run tomorrow or Sunday. I have all next week to run without the constraints of commuting schedules so I might try runs at Caleb Smith or Muttontown Preserve. I'm planning to try my new Karhu Fast 2 Fulcrum_Rides on today's run. That should be an interesting experience.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holiday's, my Karhu's have arrived

The Karhu Fast 2 Ride even looks fast
Yesterday's run (Central Park): 4.5 miles

Although it's technically not a holiday present, I did receive a package last night that made me very happy. The folks at Karhu, a Finnish athletic wear company, sent me a couple of pairs of their new Fast 2 Fulcrum Ride shoes. This model is Karhu's entry into minimalist running shoes and the Fast 2's, in vivid green and orange, are appealing and unusual. I haven't run with them but after lacing them up and wearing them around the house I'm anxious to try them on pavement. Progress reports will come by way of this blog and a full review will follow on Runner's Tech Review. Adventure Girl will also be testing a pair (the orange was for her) and we'll compare experiences in the review. I'm extremely curious to see how the Fast 2's compare to the Kinvaras. I have a good feeling about this.

Until I take the Karhu's out for their first run my Kinvaras will remain my go-to trainers. I wore the Kinvaras yesterday on my Central Park run with my friend Steve. I had been wearing my Grid Tangents and SRR's over he last week so it was a nice change. Prior to yesterday's run I was concerned if I'd have the energy to cover 4 to 5 miles on that hilly course. That was not the case and things fell into place once we started. During the first half of the run I was a step or two behind Steve as we ran a 9:15 pace up the east loops and around the reservoir. By the time we reached our exit of the reservoir path I was cruising and Steve was starting to feel the effort. By the time we hit the southern end I was feeling stronger than when I started. We sprinted the last few hundred feet and finished 4.5 miles averaging a 9:11 pace.

Today I'll end the workday, work week and work year with another Central Park run. This time it will be with another friend, JQ, and I'm looking forward to a less intense experience from yesterday's.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Race taper: winding down before winding up

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3.15 miles
Today's run (Street): 2.5 miles

My experiment with more moderate paces on a taper week continued this morning with a run that toggled between an easy and a mildly challenging pace. My intention was to do the whole run slow to allow for continued muscle recovery but a little voice kept prompting me to pick up the pace for short distances. It ultimately turned out to be a tempo run but my tempo that was closer to andantino than allegro.

Yesterday I ran with JQ at lunchtime in Central Park. Conditions were ideal, sunny and cool with occasional breezes. We did our usual loop and covered a range of topics as we made our way around. We came by the location of the NYC Marathon finish and I saw that they still hadn't broken down the spectator stands or cleared out a lot of the signage. Both today's and yesterday's runs felt good and I'm hoping that this strategy won't soften me up too much to be competitive on Sunday. It's been a while since I've done a run with any intensity. I'll know this weekend how well this method works.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Moderation has its advantages

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3.1 miles
Today's workout (elliptical): 24 minutes

I'd considered a run this morning even though I'd gone to bed thinking about taking a rest day today. Yesterday I had my second noonday run with JQ and found it energizing. My Central Park runs, especially those I run alone, tend to be intense. I'm usually pressed for time and have a distance goal in mind. The hills play a part, I try to run them as close to my overall pace as I can. All this adds up to a fairly vigorous workout and I return to the office wet and somewhat spent. It can also feel great but with an afternoon of business activities in front of me I occasionally face an energy crisis. Yesterday's run was exactly what I needed in the middle of a busy day. Between the conversation, the surroundings and the moderate activity itself (I did generate a sweat) I came through the afternoon focused and refreshed. More importantly, I was motivated to do a hard run today.

This morning's driving rain and blowing winds prevented any outdoor opportunities when I got up. I decided to follow my normal routine with an elliptical session rather than messing around with the treadmill. I set the elliptical for medium resistance and maintained a fairly good pace rate, exceeding 2 miles in around 24 minutes. Not my most intense session but like yesterday, energizing. I'm concerned that the rain will continue through tomorrow morning, giving me no option but to do a treadmill run. I'll deal with that then. I'm really thinking trails for Saturday but I'm not decided on venue. My daughter has been running trails at Stillwell and Bethpage with her cross country team. She's starting to really like trail running and we may do a run this weekend in the woods. I couldn't be happier about that.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Cross Country Kid

Today's workout (elliptical): 25 minutes - high resistance

My daughter has joined her middle school cross country team and yesterday they had their first practice. The coach had them run laps around a field that I know from personal experience is plenty big. My daughter and I had discussed running strategy in the past and she put it to use at the practice. While the others (especially the boys - it's co-ed) took off fast she stayed at the back of the pack to conserve energy for the duration of the run. Due to her smart running, she ended up finishing with the front of the pack and she's excited to get back out there again today. I honestly wouldn't care if she ended up last as long as she enjoys the experience. Cross country training will get those kids into great shape. How long will it be before she can outrun me?

Speaking of training, I focused this morning's workout on a high resistance elliptical session. I more than doubled my usual resistance level and tried to stay within sight of my usual pace rate. At the 10 minute mark I was soaked with sweat but I knew this low impact workout was exactly what I needed. I ended up going for 25 minutes and I'm sure I did more work than I have on any 25 minute run of late. I'm really looking forward to my long runs this weekend. Maybe I'll do a speed run tomorrow morning. Either that or rest. I'm beginning to believe strategic rest is the best way to hold the gains.

There is an article in today's Wall Street Journal about running in Central Park at night. Some of what's said reminds me of my own 4:00 AM running experiences. As much as I like Central Park, I don't think I'd be willing to run there at midnight. Safety first!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Two park runs: Central and Bethpage

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 3.6 miles at 9:07
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 7.9 miles at 10:00 (approximately)

It had been over two weeks since I last ran in Central Park and I was looking forward to returning there on Friday. The temperatures in the morning were cool (60's) but as the noonday sun moved overhead the heat came out with strength. I started my run at the 7th Ave crossing on Central Park South and followed the lower loop, moving along well despite the heat and the hills. Along the way the trees provided occasional shelter from the sun and, as usual, the park provided a broad array of stimuli: sights, smells (good and bad) and sounds. Touch too, if you count the feel of the hilly roads under my feet. I was so distracted by the experience that I continued to follow the lower loop until I reached the western side where I redirected north along the upper loop. I continued around the great lawn and followed that north and then east where I switched to the upper loop going south. That series of maneuvers added almost half a mile to my usual route so I was pleased at the end with the extra distance.

This morning I met my friend Dave at Bethpage State Park with a plan to run seven miles on the bike path at a leisurely pace somewhere between 10:15-10:30. Dave's Garmin GPS watch and my Garmin FR60 with foot pod differed in terms of measurement. Mine showed us covering about .4 of a mile longer than his. I have a native distrust for GPS measurement of this type after measuring runs using AllSport, MotionX and other GPS apps on my iPhone. When the data from these runs is compared to the actual measurement (via Google Earth or Gmaps) the GPS usually under represents by a little (or often) by a lot. I can see on the MotionX maps why this is the case, the GPS works in straight line vectors that often cut corners that can add up to less distance. My Garmin has actually been under-counting when paired with my Brooks so we may have actually reached 8 miles today and broken 10:00. I wouldn't be surprised because even though we weren't burning up the road we were moving along well.

Unlike most of my runs at Bethpage, today the runners outnumbered the bikers, although there were a enough bikers to keep us alert when they came up quickly from behind. Dave ran on the inside lane and kindly took the brunt of the bike traffic. We are both running the Great Cow Harbor 10K next month and Dave provided some insight from his experience with that race. Between Dave and Brian I feel very fortunate to have so much prior knowledge of what promises to be a tough course. I'll see for myself in couple of weeks when I do a practice run there with Brian. At the end of today's run I felt very good and took to heart Dave's advice that the best way to increase my stamina is to put in more distance. Distance first, speed second. I hear that. Tomorrow I'll do less distance when I run with KWL. I've covered a lot of miles over the last few days and I need to be kind to my legs. I hope I have enough energy left for Sunday's run as keeping up with KWL can be a challenge. I'm hoping his 10K/100 mile bike ride last weekend will even us up in terms of energy levels.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Training is paying off with two speedy runs despite the hills

Friday's run (Central Park): 3.25 miles at 8:39
Today's run (street): 4.5 miles at 8:36

We have guests coming over today so I set out early to get in my run. My focus, both today and yesterday, was on maintaining a brisk pace over routes that presented some hill challenges. Yesterday I headed to Central Park around noon and followed a route that started by following the lower and upper loop on the east side. I crossed to the west north of the Great Lawn and finished my run down the loops along the west side. The temperature was around 75 degrees and that helped at the start. I ran the first mile, that has a couple of noticeable elevations, at around 8:05 per mile, which is fast for me. My split speed decreased for miles 2 and 3 but I did keep my pace well under nine minutes the whole way through. A focus on speed has definitely improved my performance and I'm happy with the numbers but I do wish I could just go out there and run for fun. But running for fun does not contribute enough to conditioning and I only have one week before the Dirty Sock 10K.

My run this morning mostly took place in a business park located near my house. it's not the most visually interesting place to run but the wide open streets and a loop that is 2/3 uphill and 1/3 downhill makes for a great training ground. I ran the loop two times and tried to maintain a rapid cadence. I averaged 88 SPM for the first mile and gradually fell to 83 SPM by the last half mile. Even so, I bettered the 80 SPM that I have averaged most of this summer. I finished my training cycle by ducking into neighborhood #3 which is mostly flat and provided a welcome relief from uphill running. From there I headed home, tired but still remaining under the 9:00 threshold.

Last night my wife told me about a 5K race that was being held at Sand's Point this morning. She suggested I run it because it's a beautiful place right on the water. I decided that I needed to do the hill training instead, to prepare for next week's race. It would have been fun to spontaneously run a 5K but part of my enjoyment of racing is the anticipation of the event and the strategy and training that precedes it. I'm really curious about how I'll do next Sunday. Will my performance training pay off or will I end up close to my time from last year? I thought I'd trained better and incorporated better strategy before the New Hyde Park 8K in June but I ended up no faster (or slower) than my 2009 run. I'm planning to run with my friend KWL tomorrow and then run on Monday through Wednesday during the week. I'll finish my taper with an elliptical session and rest for Sunday. At least that's the plan for now.

Friday, August 13, 2010

NYC running - many choices, but there's only one Central Park

Today's run: Central Park (planned)

It's looking fairly gloomy on this Friday the 13th morning. The local news station predicts that the low cloud cover will burn off by noon and that nice weather will follow. I'd be happy to keep the overcast skies and just eliminate the threat of rain. It's been a few weeks since I've done a Central Park run and I miss the experience. I'm planning to return to the park today and I have high hopes for relatively cooler temperatures and low humidity.

Last summer I covered a lot of the city during these summer Friday excursions. AG, who knew most of the running routes in the NYC and surrounding areas, introduced me to the west side bike paths, the Old Croton Aqueduct trail and the experience of running over the Brooklyn and GW bridges. I ran north on the bike paths earlier in the summer with my friend Steve but other than that I haven't migrated far from Central Park.

Bike paths at Chambers Street
It might be fun to run south on the bike path to Chambers Street as we did often last year. It was a one way trip that ended downtown near Whole Foods. After the run we could walk a block to Whole Foods and get some recovery drinks (I liked the bottled water with added electrolytes) and we'd hop on the subway back to the office. I suppose I could do that today for a change of scenery. Still, Central Park is seductive and it has the hills I really need for my training. I'll wait until noon to see how I feel and whether the weather will cooperate.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Two good runs: Central Park then closer to home

Yesterday's run (Central Park): 4.9 miles at 9:20
Today's run (street): 4.25 miles at 9:40

Things started out very comfortably at noon on Friday as I started my run in Central Park.  The temperature was rising about one degree every 20 minutes and by noon it was up to 73. Humidity was relatively low as I set a course that started from the 7th Ave. entrance to the park and then followed the east side of the lower loop. I continued on until crossing to the upper loop at 72nd street where I encountered another set of hills. I felt good having had a few strong cups of coffee earlier in the morning and running before (rather than after) lunch.

When I reached the reservoir I ran up the steps to run the dirt path that runs around the lake. I traveled counterclockwise and was heading toward the point where I usually jump off and return to the running path on the west side. Before that I abruptly reached a barrier that forced me onto the path at 90th street. That disoriented me a little and I headed north instead of south for about two blocks until I saw my error and reversed direction. The route back is more downhill than up (I already had plenty of hills coming north) but even the southern direction has its uphill spots that were harder to breech as the sun got hotter. I got passed by a few runners in my last mile and ended up covering about 4.9 miles without feeling too exhausted.

This morning I went out for a neighborhood run a little later than I'd planned. I woke up with a sinus headache for the second day in a row and waited for the coffee, ibuprofen and Sudafed to kick in before going out at 7:40 AM. It was only 67 degrees when I left and there was plenty of shade on the streets. I let my comfort dictate my stride and maintained a mid-nine minute pace through most of my run. I covered about 4.25 miles without working too hard. I'm saving some energy so I can put in more mileage tomorrow and Monday. I know that if I want to do more distance per run I should take more days off from running and run longer when I do. It's hard not running on both weekend days because they are my fun runs that are usually not constrained by time. I haven't decided whether I'll follow through on my plan to run against a set time this weekend. If I'm feeling ready to start early tomorrow I may just try to do that.

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