Showing posts with label animal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label animal. Show all posts

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Three runs and a little culture

Selfie in the Scharf black-light room
Today's run (Bethpage bike trail): 3.75 miles
Yesterday's run (street): 4.75 miles
Friday's run (street): 3.2 miles

I'm in the middle of a four day break from work -- five days if you count working from home on Friday.  Although I still have long gaps between my last run of the weekend and the first one of the week, I always try to run whenever I'm off.

On Friday, I got out in very pleasant conditions and covered my usual loop in time to start an early business day. With schools out for summer, the roads were fairly clear. At one point in the run, I passed a team of landscapers. One of  them was using a high powered weed whacker and, as I ran by, I felt the sting of a pebble that hit my elbow. It left a mark, but at least it didn't break the skin. That was the most memorable part of that run.

Yesterday I had a little more time to run, so I broke out of my neighborhood and headed over to the business park. On my way back, I did a loop in a connecting development and ran by a parked car whose occupant was puffing on a vile smelling cigarette. The acrid odor followed me up the road and didn't disappear until I rounded a corner that put me downwind of the source. As I made my way out of the neighborhood, I noticed that the car was gone, but the reek of tobacco remained

I went over to Bethpage  this morning to run the bike trail. Again, my time was limited and I kept it fairly short. I got out early and there were already plenty of walkers, cyclists and runners on the trail. There was even a skateboarder (or skateboarder wannabe) who stood unmoving on his board in the middle of the path, listening to music. On my way back, he was in exactly the same position, still not moving.

The reason I needed to do a quick run was because the Emerging Runner family was going to the Nassau County Museum in Roslyn Harbor where they had two amazing exhibits: Kenny Scharf and Glamorous Graffiti featuring works from Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Futura, Lee and Cash. The grounds of the museum are beautiful and filled with interesting sculptures. There were lots of animals running around, including this fox. If you live in western Long Island, I highly recommend a visit to this place.

Moments later it jumped over a lazy dog
The only Speed Racer I saw today
Artist: Lee QuiƱones
Keith Haring originals
I thought I saw TPP
Tomorrow is the Fourth, and we'll be doing all the usual Independence Day stuff. Before that, I'm hoping to get in a few miles. If I get to the track early enough, I may get it all to myself.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Lost and found running in the Bethpage woods

Excuse me, where am I?
Today's run (Bethpage State Park trails): 3.6 miles 

I really like long weekends that follow a work-from-home Friday. That's eight times I don't have to deal with highways, bridges and stop and go traffic. Plus, I get to be with my family. So far, the weather has been clear and that's allowed me to get in runs over the past three days, including today.

I was fairly exhausted when I got home from yesterday's run. My wife was in the backyard painting the deck in the blistering heat. She asked me to run to Home Depot to pick up another can of paint. I heroically got back into my air conditioned car and drove over to get another gallon. Our deck now looks brand new, thanks to me. She washed the shed and deck around the pool area today and I would have gone back to Home Depot if she needed anything, because that's who I am.

Mrs. ER's masterpiece
I was ready to help at a moment's notice
This morning I drove over to Colonial Road so I could run the path to the trail head at Bethpage. I cut in near the new building that has a water fountain and also appears to have rest rooms. Those facilities must be extremely clean, because I've never seen the gate open to the public. I paid careful attention to the trails I was on because I usually get lost when I run there. Within twenty minutes I was lost, but I knew I'd eventually come upon familiar terrain.

That was actually true. I did not one, but two loops that landed me in the same spot close to the big field. It didn't really matter, but my random direction running looks a little crazy on the route map. It's ever crazier when you look at the animation in Google Connect that traces the route you ran from start to finish. Besides going in circles, there are a few abrupt changes in direction and one dead end at Plainview Road.

I didn't realize the Greenbelt ran through this park
Bethpage's trails are well groomed and the running experience is less treacherous than at Stillwell. Like Stillwell, there are lots of little critters running around the woods. In one case, a cottontail rabbit jumped into the path directly in front of me. Instead of darting into the woods, mister bunny stayed the course, zig-zagging from one side of the trail to the other for a few hundred feet until he cut away into the bush.

Once I felt I'd spent enough time in the woods, I looked for the route that would connect me back to the bike trail. This wasn't as easy as I hoped and I ended up doubling back a few times until I found my path. The last half mile on the paved trail was rough, as the sun was beating down and the route was mostly an incline. It wasn't my best run, but I enjoyed the experience.

Tomorrow I'll probably be stuck indoors on the treadmill. But due to the holiday, at least I'll have an extra day to run.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Windy run with wildlife

Hi neighbor!
Today's run (street): 3.4 miles

Somehow it's gotten to be November and the weather is beginning to hint at winter. I've already started planning business for next year. This week, in a moment of insanity, I agreed to a new contract with my present employer for 2015. It's not that I don't love what I do. The company is great, the people are wonderful and my work is both interesting and challenging. But the commute is enough to drive a person insane.

All the same, I do enjoy the freedom I have to work from home when it makes sense to do that. Most Fridays I do, including today. Last week I needed to go into the office and that prevented me from getting out for what I think of as my weekend kickoff run. Consequently, I only managed to eke out 12 miles for the entire week. Part of that was because I fell short of my planned distance on Sunday due to the ferocious winds.

Today's weather was more cooperative, but there was still plenty of wind to deal with. I wore layers to stay comfortable and they came in handy while I waited ten minutes for the Garmin to find all its satellites. I don't understand why it has trouble acquiring a signal under a cloudless sky, but that has been happening frequently.

Once the GPS was ready, I was off and running (hah!) and I found myself pushing against a fairly stiff wind from the north. Not as bad as Sunday, but enough to slow me down a little. I wondered if I'd get a speed bump when I reached the top of the road and returned in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, having wind at your back never enables progress the way head-on wind inhibits it.

Nothing remarkable on today's run. The usual negligent drivers and a few dum-dums running with their backs to traffic. I did cross paths with a possum (or is it opossum?) who was waddling across the road as I approached. It looked up at me with its rat-shaped snout and beady pink eyes, but didn't seem too concerned to see me. It scampered off once I got within ten feet. 

This weekend is the Hope for Warriors 10K, a race I would normally run but I'm still stuck in competitive abstinence mode. My wife and kids will be volunteering again at the race, so I feel a little guilty about not participating. I think my running buds are going to do the Hot Chocolate 5K in December. I'm going to join them and I'm hoping it will reignite my interest in racing.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing this weekend in terms of training, but I need to make up for my poor showing last weekend. I didn't even crack 6 miles on Saturday and Sunday was a disappointment. No more admission fees at Bethpage until spring. I may park in the lot and run the southern route tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Stillwell Woods and wildlife, but not together

Long view of Stillwell, the woods lie beyond
Today's run (Stillwell Woods): 4.4 miles

This morning I went for an invigorating trail run at Stillwell Woods. It was cool and comfortable at 7:15 AM and the trails were empty. I'm always concerned about getting mowed down by a maniac mountain biker, so it was nice to have the woods to myself. While I was happy for the lack of humans on the trail, I had hoped to see some of the local fauna.

Rocky raccoon just passing by
Fired up
In the past, I've run into deer, foxes, snakes, rabbits, possums, chipmunks and birds of all types. With the exception of a little gray bunny that hopped across my path, there wasn't much wildlife today. That wasn't the case last night when we made s'mores by the fire pit. Once it got dark, the whole backyard filled with fireflies and we were visited by a raccoon that lazily passed by atop our back fence. We were sitting by the pool and a bird kept swooping down to the water. When I saw it in contrast to the twilight sky, I could see it was a bat.

I followed my usual route at Stillwell, but took a few side paths along the way. The cool, relatively dry air prevented the gnat cloud that I usually endure on hot and humid summer days. My Cascadias easily handled the challenge of steep, scree covered hills, and I'm always grateful for the protection they give from sharp rocks and high roots.

Near the end of my run, the bikers began to show up. I couldn't see them through the trees, but I could hear them. I knew that we would be contending for the same trails in a matter of minutes, so I increased my speed to put additional distance between us. As I approached the trail head, a group of high school-aged boys were coming in. I was glad to be exiting at that point.

I ran by time, not distance this morning, and had hoped to cover five miles in the woods. I didn't quite get there, but I got a great workout. I'd like to cover six miles tomorrow - at least that's the plan.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Oh, possum! A return to the road

Today's run (street): 4.3 miles

Today was my first run since Saturday, when I suffered through a few miles with a pounding headache. A couple of day's rest followed and I felt I was ready to head out again this morning. We're supposed to get some very cold weather by Christmas day, but News 12 was showing 34° when I went outside this morning. That temperature was misleading because the wind chill took that down another ten degrees.

The freezing wind made running north uncomfortable and caused my eyes to water. I followed a different route than usual, cutting around the middle school before reconnecting to my local roads. Even though Christmas Eve day isn't a holiday, it was very quiet throughout my neighborhood. I enjoyed the lack of cars and especially the lack of school buses.

Two day's rest and recovery from my headache should have provided some extra energy, but it only helped get me through the run. After a while I got used to the cold and I settled into my stride feeling a little stronger. My reverie was disrupted when I came upon a dead possum laying in the road. I gingerly sidestepped that horrific scene that resembled a gray feather duster with a pale pink tail.

The rest of my run was marsupial-free and I ended up covering 4.3 miles, the longest I've run since the the GLIRC event I did with my friends on the 14th. I'm looking forward to getting out tomorrow morning when it's likely to be even quieter. It's supposed to be chilly and possibly even snowy on Wednesday, so I'll need to plan accordingly. A run at Stillwell may be a nice place to spend the morning.
 

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