Showing posts with label Starbucks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Starbucks. 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.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Hanging Over with the Runsketeers

Flower inserted due to behavioral issue
According to my records, I only had three Emerging Runner posts in all of 2018. That's pretty pathetic. This was mostly due to the fact that I didn't post on the other 362 days. However, I am proud to say that I've posted every day in 2019. I've also run every day this year. Not so pathetic now, huh?!

I give credit for today's run to my long time running nemesis friend, She Is Out Running (SIOR) who decided that the Runsketeers would return to Eisenhower Park to do the 2019 LIRRC Hangover Run. For some reason we skipped it last year, but now we're back on track. While some Runskies weren't able to make it today, they were with us in spirit.

The Hangover Run is a great event because it provides all the great stuff about being in a race (organization, other runners, time clock, free food!) without the pressure of competing. Everyone starts together, but after that you're on your own to do as many loops of the one mile course as you'd like. Since the event happens on New Year's Day, it's usually a chilly proposition, but today's morning temperature was about 56°, albeit with some stiff winds along the route.

I arrived at the park around 9:20 AM for the 9:30 start and looked for SIOR. I knew TPP needed to work, but wasn't sure if Professor Mike (PM) or KWL would be joining us. I didn't see anyone from the crew so I lined up for the start, figuring I'd run into the others along the way. After the LIRRC guy counted down the start, we were off. I knew I'd be running this course a lot slower than in the past due to some medication I'm taking. It was both interesting and a little humiliating to go from being a solid mid-packer to back-of-packer. At least I was passing walkers!

About 3/10ths into the run, a couple of speedsters slipped by and were running directly ahead of me when I realized they were SIOR and PM. I said something snarky, which they ignored, so I tapped SIOR on the shoulder and surprised them. We ran together for a couple of minutes. It was probably my fastest quarter and definitely SIOR's slowest of the day. She caught up with PM and they resumed their pace. I watched them on the other side of the loop each time I went around, getting ever closer to lapping me. On my third mile, that's exactly what happened and I ran the remainder of the route with SIOR.

It was the fastest three miles I've run since April 1st of last year. Still nothing to write home about in terms of pace, but it underscored how much I'd regressed by running solo much of 2018. We grabbed some coffee and food and then SIOR decided to run one more loop before we headed off to Runsketeer HQ, also known as the closest Starbucks.

Rare pic of SIOR acting like a grownup
PM and SIOR were waiting at a table by the time I arrived. Starbucks was sparsely populated and I gave my buddies holiday presents because last year we skipped the Hangover and I didn't give them their gifts until July. I grabbed a coffee and we got into it right away -- politics, religion, medical issues, work, kids, anything but running. It didn't matter that it had been months since we got together, it's always as if we saw each other the day before.

Seeing my buddies and running better than I have in a long time was inspiring. I really hope we can get the whole group together soon. I wouldn't call it a resolution, but I am serious about getting back to 18-21 mile weeks before mid year. I have a strategy to get me there, and running more with the Runsketeers is part of that plan.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Runsketeers discuss their interesting ancestors

L to R: KWL, PM, SIOR, TPP, ER
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 3.1 miles

It has been a month and five days since I've posted anything on this blog. I can't really say why I'd stopped. I've continued to run, following the same schedule and covering the same distances, but my interest in documenting those runs had waned. It wasn't until today that I felt compelled to resume my posting and that's because the mighty Runsketeers all came together this morning for the first time since July. That's just crazy.

The last time we all got together, I ended my post with, "I'm looking forward to our next Runsketeer outing. Hopefully the humidity will be a little lower than yesterday's 89%." Well, my hopes were realized, because no one was complaining about the humidity today. We were supposed to get a lot of wind but it wasn't a factor this morning. A little chilly, but overall good running weather.

Shady shot along the trail
We agreed to meet at the Bethpage lot at 8:15 AM. Then it was between 8:30 and 8:45. Then it was 9:00. I won't say who kept changing the time, but it wouldn't be hard to guess. SIOR was probably frustrated that the park wasn't charging an entry fee because she likes to fight with the toll taker there. I always get my fee waved because I'm not pugnacious. Everyone arrived on time and we quickly made our way up the hill, turning left to follow the northern trail. SIOR and TPP took off in a flash while KWL and I ran a lot easier. We kept it to 3.2 miles and had great conversations on the path.

Once we got back to the lot, we convoyed to Starbucks for coffee and second breakfast (for me anyway). You'd think we would have spent time catching up on everything that had happened in the last five months, but we went right to what was on our minds at the moment: politics, races, racing t-shirts, running magazines, and KWL's and my long history working together. We also collectively agreed that Yonkers is a dump.


The usual suspects at the usual place
About halfway through our coffee time, we were joined by Professor Mike who had competed in Rob's Run this morning while we were at Bethpage. Rob's Run is a trail race that happens at Stillwell Woods. It's a grueling run but PM looked as refreshed as the rest of us. He had a Rob's Run thermos that was a giveaway to participants. That's what started the conversation about race shirts. TPP uses her old race shirts as cleaning rags (blasphemy) and PM raffles them off to his students. I've kept every one I've earned, even the hideously ugly ones.

At some point conversation turned to almost naked fathers and grandfathers. This started when PM showed us a picture of his dad from the 40's wearing little more than a loincloth. His muscles had muscles. KWL pointed out that was long before steroids. PM's dad was a circus performer who was once on the Ernie Kovacs show where he swung on a trapeze while eating pizza. Then SIOR showed us a picture of her half naked grandfather who was a professional wrestler back in the 30's or 40's.

Capping that off, TPP told us about her dad who is an amazing engineer who invented the jet ski and developed a bunch of other cool stuff while working for an avionics company. He still creates stuff like 3-D printers and robots. He does all that fully clothed. Amazing accomplishments from the Runsketeer lineage.

It was great to see my buds and get in my fourth run in a row, starting with Thanksgiving day. I may have run on Wednesday, but that was a lot of turkey and pie ago and my memory is shaky. I'd like to continue my streak but the work week makes it tough. I hope the Runsketeers don't go months again before we run together. We can't allow that. At the very least, we should all do the Hangover Run on January 1.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Runsketeers get schooled

If you squint it looks like we're sitting by the water
Today's run (street): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.25 miles
Last Tuesday's run (street): 3.4 miles

Orthopedists and MRIs, contact lenses, laser surgery, religion and tribalism, genetic testing, cable provider frustrations, camping in France, speaking Italian and tachistoscopes. Those were just some of the things discussed by the Runsketeer gang after yesterday's Bethpage workout. Despite the steamy weather, we made it through our runs. TPP and I covered 4.25 miles while SIOR and guest Runsketeer, "Mike the Professor" (MTP) ran 7.2. He's an actual professor who teaches at my daughter's college.

We met up at 8:00 AM on Colonial, with TPP and I arriving first before SIOR rolled in with her new Jeep. After a few minutes reliving memories (I used to have a Jeep that I loved) SIOR decided that we'd run south because we usually go north. We started off together but soon split, with SIOR and MTP taking the lead while TPP and I adopted an easier pace. I thought I'd be running alone (which would have been perfectly fine) but TPP stayed by my side. That was great because we had some great conversations along the way. She told me about the cycling groups she rides with which go from brisk to insanely fast.

Running and talking made the miles go by fast, especially the first two. By the time we turned around at Picnic Polo Road, the humidity had gotten to me and my pace slowed noticeably on the way back. I managed through the big returning hill, but asked TPP to take a short break with me when we reached the top. Despite the humidity I loved the run, but I was very happy when we finally reached our end point.

My route looked like a 7 but we only ran 4
Once SIOR and MTP made it back, we convoyed to Starbucks for caffeine and food. It was chilly inside so we decided to sit outdoors. I was able to watch a number of dummies crossing Woodbury Road without a crosswalk while cars whizzed by them on both sides. I was amazed no one got hit. The weather, that felt so humid on the Bethpage trail, was really comfortable during our coffee time. I even got to use my cool Runsketeers, "All for One, Run for All" coffee mug that SIOR gave me at April's surprise birthday party.

It was nice having MTP with us. He's an interesting guy who usually races once or twice a weekend. TPP and I had met him at SIOR's BBQ a few weeks ago. We missed our buddy KWL but he was doing his final training for a triathlon that's happening next weekend. Like always, it was great hanging out with SIOR and TPP who bring the perfect balance of intellectual challenge and absurd humor. I'm looking forward to our next Runsketeer outing. Hopefully the humidity will be a little lower than yesterday's 89%.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Runsketeer birthday surprise at Starbucks

Happy birthday to me!
Today's run (street): 3.3 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 3.2 miles

Last weekend the ER family celebrated my birthday with a dinner, even though my actual birthday was this past Wednesday. Mrs. ER informed me that we were going to bookend things with a walk on the trail in Bethpage today. What she didn't tell me was that she and the Runsketeers had concocted a plan more devious than you could ever imagine. Actually, it wasn't devious at all. It was really very nice.

Knowing that we would be heading to Bethpage fairly early, I got out at 7:30 AM for a neighborhood run. Yesterday's rain kept me indoors on the treadmill. Despite this morning's threatening skies, I wanted to run outside. The weather was a mild 50°, with enough wind to cool things into the 40's. Humidity was high, but with the low clouds blocking the sun, it didn't feel uncomfortable. I added a little more distance to my standard 3.2 mile route and felt great throughout the entire run. Friday's treadmill session was similarly positive and I'm hoping this trend will continue.

Pre-surprise walk on the Bethpage trail
We made our way to the Bethpage trail and parked on Colonial Road, just north of Haypath. I knew that SIOR was leading a Life Time run on the bike path this morning and wasn't all that surprised to see her and TPP bounding down the path. They were in quite a hurry and TPP was uncharacteristically impatient to go. I wouldn't have noticed at all if SIOR was the impatient one. I learned later why, and that the ER family was in on what was to come.

We finished our walk and made our way to Starbucks. Mrs. ER told me that she and the kids wanted to us to visit Bethpage and Starbucks just as I often do with my  running buddies. I was happy to comply. When we approached the shopping center that houses Runsketeer Starbucks, Mrs. ER's phone beeped and my daughter grabbed it before I could see it. That turned out to be SIOR texting her to say that they had arrived. While the ER family made their way into Starbucks, TPP and SIOR were right nearby, sneaking behind pillars and garbage cans to hide their presence. There's even a video of that. I'm surprised it wasn't Livestreamed.

Starbucks was packed and there wasn't even room for the four of us to sit down. I popped into the men's room and when I came out I saw TPP and then SIOR who yelled "surprise!" It turned out that Mrs. ER had been planning with these two since February to arrange coffee with my Runska-friends. It took me a moment to figure out that this was not a coincidence. We arranged ourselves around a table that had opened up when its occupants saw that the Runsketeers needed it more. We have that kind of power.

I was really happy to see my friends. SIOR was wearing her 2017 Boston Marathon jacket that she earned on Monday, completing her second Boston effort and qualifying for yet another Boston race. Check out her entertaining race report to get the whole story. TPP has recently started a new job and I was very glad that she was able to join us. The D'Artagnan of our group, KWL, also ran Boston last week. He's in Hong Kong right now, but he was with us in spirit.

The official Runsketeer coffee mug
While Mrs. ER collected coffee and food orders, TPP and SIOR presented me with birthday cards and presents. I loved the cards and TPP gave me a potential fortune (lottery tickets) and SIOR gave me an awesome coffee mug with my favorite Runsketeer picture. Emblazoned on the other side was the motto, "All for one and Run for all!" It will be my post-run Starbucks cup going forward. I'd been too intimated to scratch off the lottery tickets because I hadn't held one since the 1980's and wasn't sure how they worked. I let my daughter do it. Despite some close calls, I will not be winning $1,000 a week for life.

Once coffee was served (along with that chocolate cake that I've been thinking about since SIOR and TPP ran on goat-less mountain a few weeks ago), the six of us spent a couple of hours talking and laughing non-stop. As much as I like the running part, it's the post run time that I value the most. We covered an awful lot of subjects and I took advantage of the fact that SIOR is a certified elite running coach and trainer. I interrogated her about the best approach to getting back into racing shape and will probably do a 5K with this crew in July.

I think we could have gone on for two more hours, but practicality prevailed and we needed to say our goodbyes. We did remember to get our selfie, using my daughter's new iPhone that takes much better pictures than my Android phone. I had a great birthday, thanks to Mrs. ER, and it was fun to be surprised twice by my Runsketeer buddies.

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 aprés 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, November 20, 2016

Runsketeers have the run of a "Lifetime"

SIOR asked me to substitute her face with the first lady's 
Today's run (Bethpage State Park Bike Trail): 5.1 miles

After Friday and Saturday's mild weather, today's 32° (with wind chill) felt darn cold this morning. I met SIOR and KWL at the lot in Bethpage State Park where SIOR was scheduled to lead a run for Lifetime Fitness. Unfortunately, our stalwart pal TPP was not able to join us today. She does very long bike trips with her cycling friends (I suggest she nickname them the Bikesketeers) and needed some recovery time.

KWL and I hung out in my car while we waited for SIOR to arrive. There was a guy dressed for running who was waiting in the lot, but we couldn't tell if he was there for the group run. Once SIOR finally showed up, I tried to subtly convey that we were the Lifetime group by saying Lifetime really loud a couple of times. The guy didn't respond and I'm guessing he looked at us and decided he'd be better off running alone, which he did. That turned out okay because I'd brought fresh pumpkin loaves for my Runska-buddies (baked by Mrs ER and ER daughter) and it would have been embarrassing not to give him one.

With that settled, we decided to run six miles. When I say "we", I mean SIOR. I wasn't sure I'd be up to doing six today and as it turned out, I was right. The plan was that KWL and SIOR would go three miles, turn back and intercept me as I progressed to the turnaround point.

The first obstruction to the plan came about a mile and a quarter after we'd started, when SIOR and KWL saw a sign that the bike trail was closed. We decided that meant closed to everyone but the Runsketeers so we kept going. That meant occasionally squeezing through barriers that reinforced that the trail was closed. We weren't the only ones who ignored the sign's suggestions.

I saw a few other runners and a father and his pre-adolescent son riding bikes. The bike riders ignored the fact that cars come quickly off the roundabout west of Quaker Meeting House Road and I almost witnessed a terrible accident. Thankfully the SUV's driver was paying attention and stopped in time to let these oblivious riders cross. I yelled at the father who didn't stick around to debate me.

Felt like freezing
I decided to run five miles rather than six, and turned around after I'd reached the  2.5 mile mark. I wondered how long it would be until I heard the footsteps of my run mates coming up behind me. I was surprised when I reached the final mega-hill without being overtaken. I made it back to my car and waited for my friends to come in.

It turned out that SIOR had experienced a problem with her toes and needed to walk that off before resuming her run. Soon enough, I saw KWL coming down the final hill into the lot, followed a minute or so later by SIOR. We immediately headed to our post-run coffee spot.

There were no free tables at Starbucks, but SIOR managed to intimidate a couple into leaving. I didn't complain. KWL, SIOR and I covered a lot of topics including fasting and nutrition, Orthodox practices on the Sabbath and how we will survive despite the awful thing that happened on November 8. We spent time talking about guns and the dumb things that happen when people use them (let me be clear - we are not gun supporters). Without TPP, the technology talk was minimal and we missed her. I'm really hoping the gang can get in another run in December

I ended up having a busy afternoon spending more time than advisable in the windy freezing weather. It's not getting any more pleasant outside so I'm going to stay in for the rest of the day. A slice of pumpkin bread and a cup of dark roast sound like a good way to round out the day.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Runsketeers take on Eisenhower Park

The homeless guy offered to take this picture but I wanted to keep my phone
Today's run (Eisenhower Park): 6.4 miles

As I selected my gear this morning for today's run with my Runskebuds, I was a little concerned about the howling winds outside. I wondered if the story of the day would be about our group being blown all around Eisenhower Park. The wind didn't turn out to be much of a factor after all, but we did literally run all around the park.

I met the usual suspects in the Bear Park lot (#2). I don't know why it's called that. In fact, there isn't one sign calling it that, but SIOR told us to go there. It was pretty damn chilly and most of us dressed for the weather. One of us wore shorts. Guess who that was. We debated whether to run through the park, over to Hofstra University or along the perimeter of Eisenhower. We decided on the latter and off we went.

We stayed together for about a half mile, long enough for me to think I might be able to keep up my fleeter friends. KWL stayed with me and videoed our progress while TPP and SIOR burned up the bike trail. I did run close to my current pace which is much better than the last time I ran with this bunch. We regrouped around the two mile mark and made our plan to continue circling the park. I naively assumed that would total about four or five miles, but it turned out to be over six.

My splits were fairly even as I made my way around. My slowest mile was my 4th because I elected to run on the grass strip along Salisbury Park Drive because I didn't want to run on that road due to cars. The surface was pretty runnable but the uneven surface slowed me down. The slope at times was a foot higher on my right leg compared with my left.

We regrouped again when we reached Carmen Ave, just short of five miles. My friends fed me a line that we were "very close" to our endpoint. I appreciated that because running Salisbury seemed endless. As it turned out, running Carmen was more of the same. When it spilled out to Hempstead Turnpike, I realized I'd been duped. I had no choice but to keep running and I eventually made it back to reunite with my friends at the Bear lot.

It seems smaller when you're driving around it
We headed to Starbucks, as is our wont, and the place was crawling with Alpha Epsilon Phi sisters who were getting their mid-morning caffeine rush. By the time we got our coffee, the big table was free, so we swooped in. Well the table was mostly free. There was one guy sitting there who may or may not have been a homeless person. He was kind of creepy but we were nice to him.

SIOR sent a group picture via Instagram and Facebook and hash tagged some of our conversational highlights: Garmin, Shoekicker, Sketchers, Underarmor, ASICS, Brooks, Apple, Time Warner, Jeep Wrangler, politics, flashers, clowns, Berlin Marathon 2016. There was certainly more than that, but I thought that was a great summary.

The time went by unbelievably fast, but then again it always does. We agreed to meet again in November and the plan right now is to run a 5K in early December. It will be my first race in two years. I'm not quite where I want to be for a race right now, but I'm getting there.

I love the Runsketeers and today was great as always. They made me run over six miles, something I probably wouldn't have done without their company. Despite feeling like parts of the run would never end, I really liked today's workout. I feel like I'm holding my gains and I know I will soon be a little faster. KWL, SIOR and TPP inspire and motivate me to push harder than I have in a long time. Our Starbucks conversations go everywhere and are always entertaining. I look forward to the day when I can join the conversation while we're still on the road.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Runsketeers run an easy, peasy three-sey

Bananas, coffee and happily no crickets
Photo courtesy of TPP
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 3 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 3.2 miles

Could it be possible that the Runsketeers had not got together for a full group run since February? A look through the Emerging Runner archive confirms it. Unbelievable. Criminal really. Well, no matter, we reunited this morning at Runsketeer headquarters adjacent to the Bethpage bike trail and had a short, pleasant run and a long pleasant coffee-breakfast at Starbucks.

The plan was to meet in our usual spot at 8:00 AM. Although we have met there many times before, it's always necessary that I send out an actual address to my run mates to GPS, lest they end up going to Bethpage State Park instead. That worked, and when I pulled up at 8:00, KWL, SIOR and TPP were sitting curbside talking about some unmentionable affliction being suffered by TPPs paramour. I now understand KWL's expression when I arrived. It was a silent thank you for interrupting that conversation.

The four of us chatted for a surprisingly long time before we started to run. Usually SIOR demands that we get started when I'm about halfway out of my car. SIOR and TPP took the lead while KWL and I followed. Unfortunately, my Garmin had gone from ready mode back to nothing mode. When I reignited the GPS, it wouldn't find a signal or let me start the timer. By the time KWL and I got going, our runmates were a quarter mile up the trail.

SIOR has been unable to run for a number of weeks because she has tendinitis and a slight tear in her meniscus. She became a vegan and everything is fine now. Actually, it's been a tough recovery for her but she's back running easy 8:30 miles. Or as I call them, going full bore during a 5K. KWL and I ate up the trail, moving along at my meager pace. The good news was that I could run and talk with no problems, something I have not been able to do for some time.

At the 1.5 mile mark we caught up with SIOR and TPP who had stopped because that was the turnaround point. Soon after, we were passed from the north by a couple of runners, one that SIOR knew. He was a run leader for Life Time Fitness, which SIOR does as well. We chatted with them for a few minutes covering important topics like dead mice on the bike trail and why I can't run in the Diva half marathon unless I pretend TPP or SIOR are my daughters.

The 1.5 miles back seemed to take no time at all. Soon enough, we were back again at Starbucks for post run refueling. I got a Grande coffee and an egg and cheese muffin because I don't eat sugar very much anymore. KWL got a much meatier version of that, because he's running 18 miles tomorrow and had ridden his bike 25 miles to meet us this morning. Oh, and he's running a half Ironman in Atlantic City in two weeks and then running the Berlin marathon a couple more weeks after that. SIOR had two bananas and TPP had pumpkin bread which I would have shared with her while she wasn't looking, but held back due to its sugar content.

We covered a lot of subjects, most having to do with nutrition, tech gear or politics. We are pretty much aligned politically which made that okay. The one area where we violently disagree is the consumption of crickets (and silkworms) as a protein source. Well I violently disagreed. KWL was fine with both, SIOR eats silkworms (sort of and also, gross). I don't think she was in the pro cricket camp, but I think it's because she's a vegan now. TPP was pro cricket, but I don't know her position on silkworms.

The great thing about the Runsketeers is that we can go seven months and start exactly where we left off the last time we got together. But it's better when we don't go seven months between our runs. We agreed that we'd do this all again next month after KWL gets through his international running tour. I really loved today's run with my buddies and was very happy with my workout. I could have easily gone six miles or more today. SIOR's knee held up great and it looks like she's back to normal. Well, at least her knee is.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Run with SIOR for a Life Time of fun

Where the elite meet to run
Today's run (street): 6 miles

After weeks of  unseasonably warm weather, our luck finally came to an end on the first day of spring. Yesterday's  conditions were brisk but comfortable, but we woke up to a temperature that felt like 24° today. Although it was the first day of the vernal Equinox, I went to Equinox's competitor: Life Time Athletic in Syosset. I was there for the Life Time group run led by the one and only SIOR.

I met SIOR in the lobby of the Life Time Athletic building. This is not to be confused with the Time Life building where I spent most of my career. Life Time is huge and opulent and and there were lots of people streaming in at 8:00 AM. As I mentioned, it was freezing outside and apparently everyone preferred to run on treadmills rather than join me and SIOR on the road. They missed out, because group running is fun and it makes long distances seem a lot shorter. At least that was the case for me today.

SIOR and I took off at 8:15 AM and tucked into an adjacent neighborhood that had long, straight and wide roads. SIOR's phone app wasn't telling her which roads to follow so we used our sharply honed innate navigation that pretty much kept us on the same two loops. We did branch off onto another loop for our last two miles. We'd both dressed for cold but it was really chilly. I managed to warm up about two thirds through, SIOR not so much.

I loved the run and the opportunity to chat which made six miles feel like I was only running three. I'll admit that I ran extremely slowly, as I do these days, but my run coach didn't complain about the slow pace bothering her knees. She did one-step me most of the run and I was really hoping that would produce a faster pace on my part. Nope. Closer to the end, SIOR picked up her pace but she never went so far ahead that she was out of sight.

Today's route
We'd intended to run five miles but ended up covering six. If other people were brave enough to leave the temperature-controlled fitness club, they would have had their choice of 5, 10 or 15 mile distances. The group run is open to anyone, and you don't have to be a Life Time member to participate. I really hope more people show up next time because it's a good workout and you can learn technique from a certified running coach.

After our run, SIOR and I headed over to a Starbucks on Jericho Turnpike, a new location for a Runsketeer après-run coffee break. I am really glad to have covered six miles today. It was fun and I felt good. I probably could have - and should have - pushed a little harder. Warmer spring weather should bring more participants to SIOR's group runs. I think the weekend group events will be posted on the Syosset Life Time Facebook page with time details. Tell your friends!

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 Hangover with the Runsketeers

Mini photo bomber, SIOR, TPP, ER
Today's run (Hangover Fun Run): 4 miles

2016 has arrived and the Runsketeers rang in the New Year this morning with the LIRRC Hangover Run at Eisenhower Park. After so many days of unseasonably temperate weather, the cold returned for real. I arrived a little after 9:00 AM and met up with TPP. She and I walked over to the staging area where we signed the waiver doc and tucked into a corner to avoid the the chilly winds. SIOR texted that she was delayed and would join us after the start.

The Hangover Run is a perfect running event for me, because it has elements of a race like a formal start and timing clock, but no individual tracking of runners. Running distance is at the discretion of each participant although most people run five 1-mile laps. I normally do that as well, but I wasn't feeling great this morning and elected to run only four.

There's a lot of construction work going on at Eisenhower Park and today's route differed a little from the previous four times I'd done the Hangover. The old route was basically a half circle. This year it looked more like a giant comma. I actually like the new course better,  even though you still end up looking at the same scenery, mile after mile.

Comma course
TPP and I took off, she was the hare and I was the turtle. The course allows you to see runners coming back in the opposite direction and I was able to monitor her progress. TPP seemed to be running half a lap ahead of me but she covered five miles in almost the same time as it took me to complete four. I watched for SIOR and I think I saw her once along the way. She did a lap after TPP and I had finished and we took pictures and videos of her as she came around at the end.

SIOR showing her signature maturity
Once done, we made our way to the lot. SIOR started a conversation with a random runner who was walking ahead of us. She complimented his running tights and told him some websites that have good running gear bargains. The guy said to TPP and SIOR that they probably shop on-line a lot. I thought that was a sexist thing to say. I stood up for them and told him that SIOR prefers stores because you can't shoplift on a website. He left quickly after that.

As tradition dictates, we headed to Starbucks. Our timing was perfect because a motorcycle gang was just leaving when we arrived. We practically had the place to ourselves until some guy SIOR knows showed up and sat at the end of our table. To her credit, she didn't talk to him about his pants.

The Runsketeers exchanged holiday gifts. SIOR gave me a runner's headlamp and TPP gave me a framed picture of the Runsketeers that also included KWL and NIMC. Knowing them as I do, I gave them red wine and homemade chocolate truffles. As usual, we talked about everything and I was shocked when I looked at my watch and saw it was almost noon.

We said our goodbyes and talked about our next run which we hope will happen in January. Once again, the year started out great, with a bracing run and the company of good friends. Happy New Year to all.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Runsketeers induct a new member

The Run Crew: ER, KWL, TPP, NIMC, SIOR
Today's run (track): 3.25 miles

Today was a Runsketeer reunion run that coincided with TPP and her sister NIMC racing Rob's Run, a 5K trail race that takes place at Stillwell Woods. SIOR was considering racing, but she was dealing with a head and chest cold. She decided instead to run with me and KWL across the street at the high school track.

KWL, SIOR and I met up at the tennis courts on Southwoods Road and did a warm-up jog to the track. Warm-up was the operative phrase because, according to Garmin Connect, the "feels-like" temperature was a chilly 34°. I'd brought a fleece vest to stay warm before my run and ended up wearing it the whole time. We reached the track and ran a few laps together before spotting TPP and her sister heading our way. It was the first time we'd met NIMC who was instantly inducted into the mighty Runsketeers.

NIMC lives in Minnesota and came to LI to spend Thanksgiving with family. She's a very active person, an accomplished runner and frequent racer. It's clear that speed runs in the TPP family. The two racers made their way back to Stillwell and the non-racers continued to circle the track. I decided to run clockwise after a while, because I do so much of my running on the left side of the street and I thought that might counterbalance it. I also did it because it gave me an opportunity to communicate with KWL and SIOR at least once a lap.

I ended up covering 12 laps, plus an additional .25 miles at the beginning. We then headed over to Stillwell to meet up with TPP and NIMC and watch them start the race. It was freezing and I could tell that TPP was anxious to get moving. I tried to manage her expectations that the huge crowd of runners (600 estimated), combined with narrow single track, would produce a slower time than a typical 5K run on pavement. Turns out I was wrong. NIMC PR'd and TPP ran sub-9:00 pace.

Rob's Run start
SIOR, KWL and I headed to Starbucks after the racers took off. We managed to find a place to sit despite it being somewhat crowded. Soon after, TPP and NIMC joined us, looking like they'd barely broken a sweat. We had lots of discussions about running form, destination marathons and running at high elevations. SIOR wants to do the Maine Coast Marathon in Kennebunkport, KWL and his wife are going to run London and Berlin, and NIMC wants to run Athens. TPP and I are not hopping on the marathon train.

Selfie courtesy of  magnetic theory (and TPP)
Perhaps the funniest moment of the morning was at the end, when we were getting ready to go our separate ways. TPP was leaning her iPhone on the ridge of a column outside Starbucks to do a timed group shot. The column turned out to be metal and TPP has a magnetic gadget on the back of her phone for a car mount. That made it possible to stick the iPhone right on the column at the perfect height for a perfect selfie. That's our TPP!

It was great seeing my buddies and meeting TPP's sister today. Thanks to working at home on Wednesday, I was able to string together an elliptical session and four runs. SIOR has organized her army of friends to do a running streak (at least one mile a day) from Thanksgiving to New Year. So far, I'm on track, but unfortunately my streak will end tomorrow. I do hope to do at least four workouts per week whenever possible. That should count for something.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Runsketeer run with a Vonnegut twist

I miraculously remembered to take our selfie
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 4.5 miles

There's a short story written by Kurt Vonnegut called "Harrison Bergeron" that summarizes today's Runsketeer run. In the story, the main character is saddled with government-provided "handicaps" to counter his intelligence and athleticism and ensure an egalitarian society. In my case, it was my speedy friends who were recovering from recent races that allowed us to all run together the entire time.

TPP and I met up on Colonial Road around 7:30 AM to start things off. Our plan was to run to Bethpage State Park and connect with SIOR who who would join us around 8:00. TPP and I took off at an easy pace that allowed us to chat as we made our way south. It seemed like we covered the 1.5 miles in three minutes. We arrived at Bethpage a few minutes before SIOR, but soon enough her semi-tractor trailer of an SUV pulled into the lot.

We made a plan to run south for four miles out-and-back which would give me and TPP a total of 5.5 miles. Due to TPPs intense duathlon yesterday and SIOR's marathon last weekend, everyone was happy to run my pace. It reminded me of the first time we ran together at Eisenhower Park, when I was better able to keep to the pace they'd set. Like before, the time went by quickly and we ended up turning around after 1.5 miles. That resulted in a total of 4.5 for me and TPP.

The route
There are a lot of hills in that section, so despite our leisurely pacing, we did a good bit of work. The last part of the southern path is a half mile hill with a 3.4% grade that I always dread. It was no picnic today, but I did fine. About halfway up the hill, SIOR caught up to a Facebook running friend and they traveled together as TPP and I took the lead.

Although we didn't cover our planned distance, I think we were all happy with our runs. Me especially, due to the Bergeroning of my running buddies. SIOR drove me and TPP back to our cars. I played navigator and SIOR really appreciated that.* Later, at Starbucks, I realized how lucky I was to have survived the short ride after she'd told us that she views highway driving as a competitive sport. TPP views it as a chess game, which is slightly more comforting.
* Editor's note: She did not

We did meet up at Starbucks. As usual, I arrived last because I'm a fan of speed limits. While they were waiting for their fancy mocha latte skinny no-caf drinks, I sat with my basic coffee and watched the guy to my left eat the biggest pile of something covered in syrup that I'd ever seen. I didn't know Starbucks had that on the menu. It's like an IHOP with better coffee.

We probably covered 50 topics in the same number of minutes, including that fact that TPP's sister was running the Chicago Marathon today. We wrapped up around 10:00 to get to our days started. This is TPP's first anniversary with paramour and sometime Runsketeer JC, so they'll celebrate tonight. SIOR brought more chaos into her household today with the adoption of a puppy from a rescue shelter. I'll continue to celebrate my son's 16th birthday with the family tonight.

Tomorrow's a holiday and that should keep the streets relatively clear for a neighborhood run. I'm glad to have the opportunity to run four consecutive days. After Monday, I won't get too many chances for a workout until next Saturday. No working from home this week.

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.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Runsketeers at Bethpage, the long and the short of it

Humid and happy
Today's run (Bethpage trail): 4 miles

In keeping with our plan to do at least one group run every month, the Runsketeers got together this morning on the Bethpage trail. SIOR and TPP were aiming for about eight miles and I wanted to do four. I met up with the speed twins halfway through their route which worked out perfectly.

The weather was very humid this morning, but not too hot at 8:00 AM. TPP and SIOR came through the Haypath Road trail head and we began running together at that point. Our plan was to go two miles north before our turnaround, which would get us to our targeted distance. We immediately found ourselves yelling to a runner that SIOR thought she knew.

Who she'd never met in person.
Who actually lives in Atlanta.
It wasn't her.

Once the woman disappeared from our sight (I'm guessing she went in search of a restraining order) we settled into our run. I'm still at the slow end of the spectrum, but my buddies stuck with me for a while before opening up the throttle. They stopped and waited a few times for me along the way, and we were all running together when a guy passed on the opposite side and yelled, "Hey, Emerging Runner group!" It was Jonathan and his wife, who I'd met along the same trail about a year ago. We saw them later after our turnarounds.

I'm still recovering from my disc rupture, so I've been keeping my speed moderate to prevent re-aggravating my injury. Today's 4 miler was an improvement over Friday's experience. My stride is getting back to normal and my foot is no longer being mashed to the front each time I run. It feels like progress.

As tradition dictates, we headed over to Starbucks for our post-run café. I was the last to arrive and I walked in regretting that I didn't bring a change of clothing. The humidity had soaked me like a sponge.

Apparently, the guy sitting next to TPP had been giving her a hard time before I got there. SIOR was explaining the situation to me as she helped me clean up coffee I'd spilled all over the counter because I still can't open a Starbucks milk container correctly. I wasn't sure what the full situation was, so I positioned myself between the guy and the Runsketeers when I sat down. Nothing happened, but I'm still curious to know the details.

We had our usual conversation that veered from subject to subject like a pool ball. All too soon, we needed to head out to meet our day's obligations. I really had a great run today and also loved our part two. I can't wait for our June outing!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Runsketeer reunion: first spring run!

Our traditional selfie, courtesy of a random Starbucks customer (photo credit to TPP)
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 3.6 miles

Take a look at the picture above. Why is this man smiling? Is it because he ran 3.63 miles today, his first run in two weeks? No, definitely not that. The reason for the smile comes from the people to his right and left. While I suffered through a difficult and painful run this morning, I ended up having a great time today. I will admit most of that happened once we hit Starbucks.

I've been feeling good about my recovery. I've still experienced pain in my left hamstring that's likely caused by my recently diagnosed herniated disc. I've tried a few easy strides along the halls of my office to better gauge my progress. Things have felt pretty good and I was both encouraged and excited to run with my buddies this weekend. But when the (blown and carbon) rubber hit the road, that familiar feeling of being stabbed in the leg with every stride was clear and present.

Our plan was to start out in our usual place, just north of Haypath Road. SIOR and TPP wanted to run longer than my planned 3 miles, so they arrived earlier and ran south for about 1.5 miles before turning around. I texted them when I arrived and SIOR texted back suggesting that I head their way so we could meet up on their way back. After just a few steps, I realized that this was going to hurt.

I took it slow but every step was painful. At least I could run. My doctor said I should avoid hills. Unfortunately, there are quite a few on this path. I made it to the top of a short, steep hill where I saw my friends coming from the other direction. We exchanged hugs and hellos and headed north together. There was no way I could keep up with them today (could I ever?) but they stopped periodically to allow me to catch up.

I had neglected to restart my Garmin when we met up. Fortunately I discovered my error at the point where I started so all I needed to do was double the initial distance to get my true mileage. We continued together but soon I watched my buddies disappear into the distance. I was not enjoying myself and it wasn't just the pain. I realized that the combination of fewer workouts and less intensity (the elliptical can't match the treadmill) has taken a toll on my fitness.

Somehow I made my way through the run and, as I approached my endpoint, I saw that TPP and SIOR were waiting near where I'd parked, talking to a person dressed in white. As I got closer, I realized that this person was on a bike and I was happy to see that it was TPP's paramour, JC. We caught up briefly and JC suggested that steroid shots may relieve the pain from my disc issue. I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.

Happy birthday to me - thanks SIOR!
We left JC to his ride and the Runsketeers started a convoy to Starbucks. I led the way which involved Route 135, Old Country Road and South Oyster Bay Road. At one point, SIOR texted me asking if I was lost. She thinks she is funny. When we got inside Starbucks, SIOR presented me with a birthday gift - a SPIbelt - one of the best things you can give to a runner. Mine is getting old, ripped and frayed and I rely on it a lot. I'm happy to have a new one that I don't have to worry about breaking on a run and dumping my credit cards, cash and cell phone on the street.

SIOR also bought me coffee. I should have birthdays more often! The three of us hadn't got together since the morning of the Hangover Run  (Jan 1) so we had a lot to catch up on. They patiently listened to me describe my job and company and we recounted our various adventures in travel. SIOR wins hands down with her transatlantic crossing via catamaran from South Africa to Brazil.

As usual, we ran out of time long before we ran out of conversation. Despite the painful run, I ended today's workout in a fantastic mood. The Runsketeers cannot go another four months between our runs! My current injury will make it hard to keep up with my friends for a while, but we know it's the non-running part that puts the smile on our faces.

Wishing SIOR a great race tomorrow at the MORE Half Marathon in NYC. I tease her about it being a woman's-only event, but I really do support it. It was a little less than a year ago when we all ran the Brooklyn Half. A lot has happened since then in terms of my running. At least I'm seeing an orthopedist and just had an MRI, so I can understand exactly what's causing this pain. What to do about that will be another story.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Runsketeers provoke a priest

We should look a lot more tired
Today's run (SUNY Old Westbury): 7 miles

This morning the Runsketeers took on the hills at SUNY Old Westbury for an energizing run on a cold morning. We also angered a priest, but I'll get to that later. SIOR, TPP and I (founding members of our prestigious running club) invited new members JC and KWL to today's group run. JC is Celia's coach and paramour and KWL is a good friend of mine who knows SIOR and TPP from our Brooklyn Half adventure.

The plan was to meet in the parking lot of a church that is located diagonally across from the entrance to the Old Westbury campus. We'd then run the (approximately) four mile loop a couple of times. Eight miles was a little longer than I was aiming to cover today, so I figured I'd do my miles independently of the group and catch up with them at the end.

It was great to see my friends since we haven't run together in a number of weeks. I was wearing my new Opedix Knee-Tecs for the first time and we discussed the increasingly high cost of good running tights. SIOR mentioned that the Knee-Tecs retail for $225 and JC said no running clothing is worth that much money. He may be right, but I liked the Opedix a lot and thought they provided great support, warmth and energy return. If I race again this winter, I'll be wearing them.

We all started together, but soon split up when KWL and I crossed over to a road that had facing traffic. I don't like running with cars coming up from behind. We lost sight of the others when they continued on the northern side and followed the road in the other direction. The hills at Old Westbury are plentiful and a few seem to go on forever. KWL was a good sport and he followed my pace, even though he could have gone a lot faster.

Despite the frequent hills, I was able to converse well with KWL and we caught up on a lot of things. As expected, we crossed paths with JC, TPP and SIOR who were running counter-clockwise during our first loop and again as they completed their second. At that point KWL joined the others so he could ramp up his speed. I continued on alone with a goal of covering 7 miles.

I stayed on course and turned around at Store Hill Road and followed the drive back to Cedar Swamp Rd. I crossed the street and ran a loop around the church before returning to my car to wait for the others. Or should I say before not returning to my car. This is the part about the priest.

As I made my way closer to where we parked, I saw a person walking around the cars and thought that my friends had beaten me back. I saw that the person was dressed in church vestments and he was putting flyers under our windshields. Being the brave soul that I am, I continued running instead of risking a scolding. In fairness, I was at 6.97 miles and wanted to make it to seven, so I had an excuse to continue. I ended up at 7.06.

Today's seven
Once the priest returned to the church I bravely sneaked back to my car and read the flyer:

Forgive me Father, for I have parked
I completely understood that the church didn't want people taking up spaces in the lot. While I felt badly that we'd broken the rule, our four cars were the only ones in the lot. We weren't putting anyone out unless their hearts were set on parking in our particular spaces. But the message was received loud and clear and we plan to park at a lot within the SUNY campus next time.

My friends eventually made it back to their cars and we headed over to the Starbucks near Whole Foods in Jericho. Since I wasn't able to run with everyone today, it was great to spend time relaxing over coffee. JC and KWL are both avid cyclists and triathletes and they compared notes on bike gear and races. The five of us had plenty to talk about. I loved the run, but I loved the post-run just as much.

Running seven miles today was easier than I expected, even with the hills. Although KWL and I maintained a fairly easy pace, I still managed to stay in the 10:00 range overall. Since I've already completed 80% of my weekly volume I have a few options for tomorrow. I could go over to the track and run intervals or head to Stillwell for a change of pace on the trails. Even if I end up staying in the neighborhood on Sunday I can still say it's been an interesting week of running.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Runsketeer reunion on the Bethpage trail

Left to right: ER, SIOR, TPP, JC
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 6.8 miles
Yesterday's run (treadmill): 5.1 miles

Yesterday morning was a washout that left me with no choice but to spend close to an hour on the treadmill. It was humid to be sure, but I needed the miles. It wasn't all that bad, but today's conditions were FAR better. All the Runsketeers ran together this morning for the first time since Brooklyn, (is that possible?) and we had a special guest on today's run.

Our guest runner, JC, is a friend of TPP's. He's an accomplished triathlete and avid cyclist. SIOR and I arrived at Bethpage State Park at the same time, and I was disappointed to see that they were still collecting admission to the park. My friend who mans the booth gave me a pass, but he gave SIOR a hard time. SIOR's SUV has dark tinted windows that make her Empire Passport hard to see, causing some disagreement in terms of its veracity. He ultimately relented and let her through.

TPP and JC didn't bring their fake Empire Passports, so they ended up parking close to Haypath instead. They ran south on the bike trail to meet up with me and SIOR who were heading north to intercept them. We connected along the path just above the Bethpage woods. SIOR suggested that we go south for a change (we usually end up going the other way). We kept a moderate pace and I was able to stay with everyone. Soon we were back on the older south trail where we continued down the big hill and had an interesting talk about gender equality.

When we run together, the distance seems to go by much faster. About two miles in, JC and SIOR took the lead while TPP and I followed. It was nice to catch up with TPP and every once in a while SIOR and JC would stop and wait for us so we could run together. I wish I could improve another 30 seconds per mile in my pace, but I'm not there yet. After mapping the route based on my GPS output I calculated that I ran 10:17 overall. Not bad for for almost 7 miles.

As tradition dictates, we headed over to Starbucks for our post-run coffee. That was great -- as usual -- and it gave us a chance to get to know JC better and catch up among ourselves. Before we knew it, it was almost noon and we all needed to head out for our day's non-running related activities.

One of Stillwell's steep drops
The old junker 
Later in the afternoon my son and I headed to Stillwell where we followed some very technical terrain and even went off trail a few times. Lots of fun, and not so easy on my legs that had already run a mile past my base this morning. Along the way, we visited the junked car that is inexplicably positioned on one of the cross trails in Stillwell. I don't know why this thing has remained for years in the otherwise pristine woods. I'll admit that I used this car more than once as a landmark when I was learning the trails. Maybe that's its purpose.

It has been a very good week of running and today was fantastic. At one point in the run SIOR turned around and asked, "Isn't this the most perfect day for a run?" I couldn't have said it better.
 

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