|Stretching the definition of “great shape”|
Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 3.75 miles
This morning I looked out the window and determined that the roads were too messy for running. With the temperature stuck below zero since last Thursday’s snowfall, there was still ice along the curb and snow on the sidewalks. I’d heard a tip that the dirt trails at Bethpage were in “great shape.” That got me out early for a run in the park.
It was very cold so I wore numerous layers, more than I needed as it turned out. When I arrived at Bethpage, I encountered a group of runners making their way downhill along the main driveway. Seeing people running off the trail was my first sign that the paths were in pretty bad shape.
The lot was barely plowed but I parked in one of the few open spots. I decided to run up to the north path extension and then cut over onto the dirt paths at the first trail head. There were a surprising number of runners braving the thick coating of icy snow on the paved trail, but no one followed me into the woods when I turned in.
From what I was told, I’d expected the paths in the woods to be in better shape than the main trail. In fact, they were a mess, with thick snow along the edges and rutted ice at the center. Neither easy nor safe to run. I followed the route back to the main trail and then headed south on the snowy paved path. My plan was to head back toward the lot and run on the road as that group was doing when I arrived.
|No chukkers in the snow|
Before I made it all the way there, I noticed that a path leading into the soccer and polo fields was clear. With nothing to lose, I followed it around and saw that it looked clear all the way to the golf course. I’d been chased out of this area in the summer because no running is allowed during the season, but I had little concern about that this morning.
|View from the 12th hole|
The path continued southeast and I followed it all the way to its termination point on Round Swamp Road. There were a few steep downhills that became noticeable hills on the way back. When I reached the south side of the polo field, I saw that I could continue on the clear path southwest. I stayed on that until I reached a wider snowier road that took me back to the north trail head and ultimately back to the lot.
|Looking north from Round Swamp Road|
I crossed paths with the same group of men and women at different points during my run. They were moving along well despite the snowy surface. I last saw them entering the woods as I was getting into my car. Based on all the places I spotted them, I’m guessing they were covering close to ten miles. All my layers contributed to overheating, except for my face that was freezing for most of the run. I had hoped to cover at least four miles today, but conditions were ultimately difficult.
Later, when I got back to my neighborhood, I spotted a few people running on the road. The streets looked clearer than when I looked in the early morning (probably due to the sun) and I realized, if I’d waited, it probably would have been safe to run them. No matter, I got to run some new parts of Bethpage Park on a combination of trails, pavement and golf cart paths. I may not have covered my targeted distance, but I had a great workout. When I got home I did ten push ups. Just because I could.