Showing posts with label Massapequa Preserve. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Massapequa Preserve. Show all posts

Monday, September 9, 2019

Runsketeer reunion at the Massapequa Preserve

Usual suspects: Mike, TPP, ER, SIOR, KWL
Photo courtesy of woman SIOR asked to take the picture
For the first time in 21 months, the "gang of five" core Runsketeers came together on Sunday to run the Massapequa Preserve trail. It had been a while since we'd gathered for a track workout followed by post-run coffee and snacks at SIORs house. In between then, various Runsketeers had gotten together for runs, rigorous hill workouts (I missed the Selden adventure due to my hill allergy) or the year-starting Hangover Run (that one I did).

The plan was to meet in the lot adjacent to the trail head. We all arrived on time and it felt great to see the 'sketeers: TPP, SIOR, Professor Mike and KWL, together again. The weather was cool and dry and other groups were also gathering for their Sunday runs. We voiced our planned distances that ranged from three to six miles, and made our way out of the lot and onto the path. We normally go left, but Mike suggested that we take the unpaved trail  on the right that follows the side of the lower pond. It was a bit rooty and I worried that I might trip, but it turned out to be fine.

KWL graciously stayed by my side and ran at my pace. Soon we connected with the paved trail where SIOR, TPP and Mike were waiting. They were quickly on their way and out of sight. We saw them next at the Clark Avenue crossing, but not again until we all met up in the lot. KWL and I moved along, covering many different subjects: work, guitars, 3-D printing, glass blowing and driving in the Japanese countryside. When we reached Mansfield Park, I suggested that we turn around in a quarter mile at the Linden Street crossing.

We headed back and added another two miles to what turned out to be a 4.5 mile run. I kept waiting for our speedy run-mates to overtake us along the way, but we arrived first at the trail head. Mike had followed the dirt section at the end and we saw him shortly after we'd stopped. He was coming from the west and may have actually beaten us back. I think he did 6+ miles, SIOR did 6 and TPP did 6.06. She is amazing because she mostly cycles now, yet she did a six miler last week and impressive distance yesterday. SIOR and Mike are the varsity players (to be fair, so is KWL) who can bring it in fast at any distance.

By law, the Runsketeers headed over to the nearest Starbucks which was located on Sunrise Highway a couple of miles west of the trail. TPP thought we were going to the Massapequa Starbucks but she got back on the road and joined us a few minutes later. KWL brought gifts from his various travels and we settled around a long table with coffees in hand.

We talked about a lot of things: CBD and "pharmaceuticals", books, movies, soccer, academics, kids and parents, and (of course) the sorry state of leadership in DC. As usual, two hours went by like 20 minutes and we all agreed that waiting for months on end to do these runs isn't acceptable. I appreciate the friendship and fun and I selfishly benefit from the higher bar set by my buddies that prompts me to run a little faster and farther than I would have on my own.

Running in fall with cooler temperatures and low humidity is almost as good as it gets. Running with these guys is as good as it gets.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

SIOR and I hit the Massapequa trail

Well Preserved this morning
Happy Bastille Day! Despite meeting my distance target for June (goal was 65 miles and I actually recorded 66.84, but who's counting?), this is the first post I've written in July. I now have more time to post and I'm running a lot more, but there isn't a lot to write about when every run is pretty much the same. Today I had the pleasure of running again with SIOR who accommodated my mediocre speed and actually had me pacing at a level I haven't seen in a number of months, More on that further below.

Back to the monthly mileage goal for a minute. I measure my runs using Gmaps to get a more accurate distance number than the Garmin records. This is because GPS watches have a technical limitation with the way they track vectors around corners and sometimes on straight roads. You can improve the accuracy by increasing the number of GPS "pings" per minute. It would be an easy fix, but battery life would be terrible. I've figured out that my watch generally under counts distance by about 2% so (technically) I probably ran 68.17 miles in June. But again, who's counting?

Today was not about distance or speed, although I ultimately covered 3.4 miles and paced better than my average. It was about getting in an easy run and having good old conversation. I haven't been able to keep up with the speedy Runsketeers in the past year, but SIOR made it easy for me.

We met at the Massapequa Preserve trail head at 7:30 AM with a plan to do a three mile out and back. After the usual game of Marco Polo (SIOR was in the big lot, I was in the small lot) we found each other. I had a big day Saturday up in Putnam County at Cold Spring and Bear Mountain and wasn't feeling great. I told SIOR that I'd understand if she wanted to run her pace but she was having none of that and we took off together.

This looks like a lot more than 3 miles

SIOR claimed she also wasn't feeling great and we stopped from time to time and walked. That may be true, but I think she may have done that because 12 minute paces hurt her knees. Whatever the reason, today was a throwback to the "early" Runsketeer days when I was better able to hold my own in these group runs. Some pretty funny conversations used to happen back then, with me and SIOR verbally jabbing and counter punching and TPP laughing and encouraging it all.

According to my Garmin, me and SIOR covered 2.6 miles actually running. Since we turned around at the 2 mile mark (SIOR correct me if I'm wrong) I suspect that we ran more than that. After looking at the GPS map that cut out a lot of our route and my step count on my Garmin, I'm sure we covered at least three, if not more. Here's one example of GPS malfeasance:

I don't remember running across the water
No matter the actual distance, we enjoyed it. We saw a big dog chilling in a stream and lots of other runners on the trail. I felt 100% better after my run than before it. Then there was only one thing left to do: coffee at Starbucks! You'd think after all that trail conversation we would have covered every  possible topic. But you don't know us. The thing that always amuses me when the Runsketeers get together is how little we actually talk about running. And that's just fine with me.

I wanted to record at least three miles today so I ran over to the nearby middle school and did 4 x 160 meter repeats and ran back home. That added another .8 miles to today's total and finished off my week with 16.5 miles. According to Garmin Connect, I'm at 36.26 miles for July which they say is 48% of of 70 miles. But my math (backed up by a calculator) says that's actually 51.8%. So what gives Garmin? Either way, I expect to reach 70, even with GPS under counting and Garmin Connect's "math problem."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Runsketeer run at the Massapequa Preserve

Me, SIOR, virtual KWL, JC & TPP
Today's run (Massapequa Preserve trail): 3.1

The Runsketeers got together today (at the Massapequa Preserve) for the first time since late November. We almost ended up at SUNY Old Westbury out of concern that yesterday's snow would make the trail unrunnable. SIOR, who is training for Boston in April, had a long run planned today and got to the Preserve early to gain miles before we arrived. She texted us that the trail was fine so we all met there at 9:00 AM.

We had a complete crew today that included me, SIOR, KWL, TPP and JC. We were glad to see each other but quickly hustled onto the trail. There was a guy standing with his barking dog that SIOR said had been in that spot all morning. Better a dog on a leash than some of the other weirdness that goes on at the Preserve these days. I took it slow for two reasons. One because it was slippery. Two, because I'm slow. TPP and JC took off ahead of us, KWL eventually caught up with them and SIOR and I carefully made our way through the snow and ice covered sections.

I'm still coming back from a couple of weeks where most of my aerobic activity consisted of coughing and not running. I'd run about 6.5 miles since Friday, but today's weather and trail conditions discouraged me from going more than 3.1 miles today. SIOR and I were able to chat easily through our out-and-back. We took refuge in her monster truck to stay warm until KWL joined us after completing 5+ miles. The three of us hung out until TPP and JC returned from their 7 mile journey.

Unfortunately KWL needed to leave earlier than planned and couldn't join us for apr├ęs run coffee. The four of us made our way to Starbucks and commandeered a long table where we exchanged holiday gifts. I think this counts as the Runsketeer holiday party. SIOR gave me two ways to keep my hands warm - an awesome pair of UA running gloves and two packet hand warmers. Both will be well used. TPP gave me a couple of Daily Burn CDs which will finally force me to pay attention to my upper body.

The four of us talked a lot about running and TPP and I compared our PBs for 5K, 4 miles, 10K, and half marathons. She beat me by either a little (3 seconds on the 5K) or a lot (3+ minutes on the 10K). I wished I'd mentioned 8K, because I may have won that one since she probably hasn't raced that distance.

We talked about endurance events and I asked JC what part of a triathlon is the hardest. He said none of it is hard. In fact he said an Iron Man is a piece of cake because you have 17 hours to finish. Actually he said SIOR could do it in less than a day and I could do it in a week. I wonder if I should be insulted by that. I always thought a week was more than 17 hours. Maybe triathlon math is different than regular math.

We missed KWL, but I put him in the picture above. That was his picture from the last time the Runsketeers got together. This picture was the best of about five that I took today. SIOR was making faces in one (big surprise) and my phone distorted at the edges and made TPP (who is extremely fit) look like a candidate for the Biggest Loser.

It was great getting to be with my buddies all morning. I'm excited that I'll get to see them again soon when we all go to see the movie Patriot's Day. Due to the icy roads, I'm probably going to stay inside and do my fourth weekend run on the treadmill tomorrow. If I'm feeling ambitious I will take a crack at the Daily Burn vids. I really hope we have a thaw this week so I can run outside and use my cool new running gloves on Friday.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

First foray up and down the Massapequa Preserve trail

Uphill in both directions
Today's run (Massapequa Preserve trail): 6 miles

This morning the TV weather people were having a field day about how hot and humid it would be today. Hot and humid are two of my least favorite words when it comes to running weather. It was no surprise, since they'd been talking about that since Friday because of the the NYC Triathlon that was happening today. I knew I'd also need to deal with those conditions, as I planned to meet up with SIOR to run the second half of my six miler in the Massapequa Preserve.

Running with SIOR, even when she's doing her easy long runs (14 miles today), is really more like running after SIOR. Still, misery loves company and it was fun to meet up on the trail and run for a few moments together. She waited up for me a couple of times and we had a nice recovery pause at one point. Although we only talked for a few minutes, we managed to cover some pretty gross subject matter. You have to know SIOR to understand that's not at all unusual.

During my half marathon training periods, I would frequently run as far south as the Preserve, but I'd never made it to the start of the trail head. Today, that's where I started. I parked in the Massapequa train station lot and quickly got onto the bike trail. My hope was that the expensive Ultimate Direction water bottle I'd bought a couple of years ago would be just the thing to keep me hydrated. I remembered having trouble with the bottle's bite valve when I first got it and tested it today before I left the house. FAIL. I brought along a couple of Poland Springs water bottles instead.

The start and finish point
The Massepequa trail is verdant and has lots of dirt side trails. It also has tenth of a mile markers, unlike the Bethpage trail. I started my run shortly after 9:00 AM and the trail was already full of people. Many more cyclists than I'm used to seeing on the northern end. The trail seemed pretty much uphill until I reached Linden street, located just south of the Southern State overpass.

Once I cleared that challenging rise, I ran another half mile until I saw SIOR coming from the other direction. In order to get her full 14, we ran north another quarter mile and turned around. SIOR said the last three miles were mostly downhill and that made sense because it seemed pretty much uphill until that point. Here's the thing I noticed about Bethpage (and apparently the Preserve): it always seems uphill, no matter which direction you run.

On the way back, I kept expecting to see the path sloping down gently and easing me through my final three miles. Strangely, the trail seemed mostly uphill the whole way back. It was like an MC Escher painting come to life. I knew there was nothing to do but run until I came to the end of the trail. Once I saw the bridge over the pond, I knew I was getting closer. When I saw that I was mere tenths away from the trail head, I was thrilled.

SIOR was already in her aircraft carrier-sized SUV when I caught up with her. She offered to drive me over to my car and the blast of AC that hit me was extremely welcomed. I must have looked like hell because she kept asking me if I was alright. She and her family were heading to the beach and I was heading home to spend time with the family in the pool.

TPP was in NYC because her paramour/trainer JC was participating in the NYC Tri (as was our friend KWL). Both of them did really well. We missed TPP, but then again we always do. I'm hoping the Runsketeers can all run together soon. It's almost August and we agreed to do it once a month. So far so good.
 

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