Bethpage base run and a new pair of "minimal shoes"

Justifiable replacement

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 5.9 miles

I needed to do some base building as I prepare for my next race, so I headed over to Bethpage State Park to run on the northern bike path extension. The section between the trail head at Bethpage and Old Country Road is a personal favorite, due to its rolling terrain and handy distance markers. For longer runs, I cross Old Country Road and follow the trail as far as I wish. Running it to the end leaves me off near my neighborhood, allowing me to run all the way home.

I managed to stall a full hour between the time I dressed for the run and when I actually left for Bethpage. Despite a later start, weather conditions were still good, due to heavy cloud cover that prevented direct sunshine. Humidity was much lower than yesterday and I felt energized as I took my first steps from my car to the trail.

My goal today was to cover 5 to 6 miles at around a 9:30 pace. My ideal goal pace for the Dirty Sock 10K is 9:00/mile (or better), which will be hard for me to achieve. The best I’ve ever done on that race is 58:26, so I’d need improve on that by over two minutes. My 10K PR is around 54 minutes, but that race wasn’t a trail run held during the dog days of August.

I didn’t quite make today’s performance goal, but I came respectably close. The cyclists were out in force today and I was disappointed by their lack of trail etiquette. A number of bike riders zoomed by very closely without giving any “On your left” warnings. Are they aggressive because they resent all the runners and walkers on the path, or are they just selfish?

I was humbled early on by a woman who came off a wooded trail that intersected with the paved path. She appeared to be running at an easy pace as she came up beside me, but left me in the dust before ducking back into the woods. It’s really hard to gauge a runner’s speed just by looking at them. There was a group of high school aged boys doing a training run and a family of five (including three pre-teens) who were all running together.

Most of the run felt good. It was only near the end, when I faced the biggest hills, that I began to feel some fatigue.  Despite that, I pushed hard during the last half mile and I was surprised to have the energy to do that.

After I got home, my daughter and I went to Modell’s in Plainview to buy ourselves new pairs of pool shoes. My old pair (top), which served me well for at least five years (including time on the road as “poor man’s” minimalist running shoes), are starting to disintegrate. I’m not sure I’ll use my new pair for running, but they worked great in the pool today!

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