A taper run in multiple parts

Finding hills all over

Today’s run (street): 6.3 miles

Taper time has begun, and I kicked it off with my last mid-length training run, before focusing the next week on core, speed and rest. Although the Dirty Sock course isn’t especially hilly, it can feel that way over the last few miles. I wanted to cover at least six miles today, along with some hill practice. The temperature was a cool 66 degrees, so conditions couldn’t have been much better.

The route I’d planned took me first through the local business park where I did one clockwise loop so I could take on all the elevation at once. I heard a couple of runners behind me as I made my way up the steepest part of the hill, and I was determined to hold them off. I was successful, but concerned that I’d expended too much energy that early. I was soon headed downhill, so I figured I could reset and recover from that.

The next part of my run took me around neighborhood #3, where the roads are fairly flat. That helped me get back to a steady stride before reaching Woodbury Road and the start of the bike path. This paved trail is still under construction, so I needed to navigate around some temporary barricades and cross over three short, unpaved and rocky sections. From that point, the path begins to rise at about a 3% grade that becomes more challenging and steeper near the top. I focused attention on maintaining my cadence and shortening my stride.

Once I reached my turnaround point, it was downhill for about a kilometer before I leveled out. I followed the bike path back to its starting point and crossed Woodbury Road into the neighborhood. It was less than a mile to my house and I ran the last quarter mile at 10K race pace. I don’t know if it was an ideal conditioning workout, but I felt strong throughout the run and far more ready than I did the weekend before my last race.

The day got busy after that, with an afternoon get-together and other activities. We’re now preparing for a late night, where we plan to watch the Perseid meteor shower on the beach. With so much happening today, I hope I’ll be able to stay awake to enjoy it.

SNAP’d out of the gully

Surprisingly good energy snack

Today’s run (street): 5.2 miles

Unlike blogger friends A.S.E., Petite Pacer and A Running Chick, who regularly do long distance training runs, I’ve seemed to settle into the 3 to 4 mile gully. This time last year I was gearing up for the LI Half Marathon and regularly running 8 to 12 mile weekend runs. With no half to prepare for in May, and a recent bout of pain around my hip, I’ve lost some critical base conditioning. I went out today determined to cover at least five miles and I managed to do that.

Non-runners think that a long distance run would be hard, because they perceive the challenge as not “having enough wind.” Runners know that the toughest part of a long run is battling both tedium and muscle fatigue. Let’s face it, much of running is voluntarily suffering and while we’ve all found “the zone” at one point, most runs are teeth gritting experiences. Nature’s way of getting us to keep doing it involves the release of endorphins at the end. This make us forget how much we hate running.

I headed over to the local business park by way of a loop through the neighborhood. I’d forgotten to turn left into the middle school that has a passage to my planned destination. I ended up doubling back a bit, and taking the penalty of running up an unplanned span of inclined road. In the scheme of things, that mistake probably made it easier to achieve today’s distance goal.

Before I left on my run, I tried a half portion of SNAP infusion “super candy” that was given to me by my friend KWL. I went out later than I expected and was feeling pangs of hunger as I prepared. This was due to only having a small breakfast hours earlier. SNAP contains a combination of antioxidants, electrolytes and carbs and the whole package (I had just half) is only 110 calories. I expected it to taste good, but this was legitimately great. Good enough to compete with real candy.

It didn’t occur to me until I’d reached the first half mile that my effortless running may have been enabled by the supplement. Despite forceful winds chilling the already cold air, I felt great, engaged and ready to cover more miles. I didn’t work out yesterday (though I covered a lot of ground on foot) so perhaps that break from running helped me today. But the positive experience I had with SNAP made me want to try it again.

I covered the business park and an adjacent neighborhood before turning back towards home. I enjoyed the run, but maybe I’m just brainwashed by the endorphin effect. I’ll blame my middling performance on the combination of head-on winds and the hilly route around he park. No matter, I finally broke 5 miles for the first time since early March. Compared to the others, it’s still not impressive distance, but it did push me out of my gully.

Bethpage run plan ruined by Barclays

Today’s run (street): 6.3 miles

Last night I thought about heading to Babylon in the morning to run the Dirty Sock 10K. I planned to cover the same distance on today’s run and thought it might be fun to do my workout as a race. I ultimately realized that signing up for the race but not running it all out would not work for me. And I knew I wasn’t ready for either the course or the pace that I’d want to hit.

Instead, I went over to Bethpage to run the bike trail. With just four weekends before Cow Harbor, I knew I needed to work on my base and prepare for the Northport hills. When I got to the gate I was stopped by a guy who told me that there was no access to the parking lot or trails due to the Barclays 2012 golf tournament that’s being held on the Black course.

That was disappointing. I thought the parks were for the people, not for the banks that sponsored golf events. It’s not as if I wanted to sneak over to watch. The only thing more boring to me than playing golf is watching other people play.

With no opportunity to run at Bethpage, I headed back to my neighborhood. I considered the routes I could follow to cover 6 miles and decided to run to the business park that has a long loop and some hilly sections. After one time around the park, I cut over to neighborhood #3 and made my way through to Woodbury Road where I continued east.

The per capita income of Woodbury NY is one of highest in the country, yet the condition of the sidewalks along its busy main road is terrible. The grass overgrows the pavement, the concrete is uneven and tree branches hang down so low that some sections are barely passable. I managed to get through it without slowing down too much, and I cut north into a neighborhood to bypass the worst sections on the way back.

I was fortunate to have cool temperatures and moderate humidity throughout most of the run, but I ended up soaked with sweat just the same. It was a solid effort and I was pleased to cover the distance this morning. I had no regrets for having missed Dirty Sock after three consecutive years of running it. But I do regret that Bethpage will be closed to runners until after August 30.

Business park taper buster

Today’s run (street): 5.8 miles

The Saturday before a race usually means that I have 7 or 8 days (depending on if it’s a Saturday or Sunday race) to finish my training. This week is different, because my upcoming race happens on Wednesday night, five days from now. I’d normally be finished with performance training this close to race day. 

The race is only 5K but it would be a mistake to dismiss that as an easy distance. I’m concerned that, after a full day in the office, at 6:00 PM my energy will probably be low. Although it’s not hot today, there’s every reason to think that we’ll see high temperatures by Wednesday. I can’t do anything about that but worry. And I surely will worry.

Since I’m pushing my training into my taper period, I decided to go for some extra miles today. My target at the start was five miles, and I ended up almost covering six. I headed to the nearby business park to run the loop a few times and carried 4:1 mix of Roctane and water which I consumed around the 40 minute mark. It helped me get through the last 15 minutes of running.

I was pleased with my performance today and the route provided some elevation changes that will prepare me for the race’s rolling course. I listened to the 3 Non-Joggers podcast to pass the time and it helped alleviate some of the boredom that comes from running around an industrial park. Tomorrow I may do some speed work to wrap up my performance training. The thought of circling the track isn’t too appealing, but as Juma Ikaanga said, “The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”

Around two towns and a business park

Today’s run (street): 5.93 miles

Yesterday was just too busy and too distracting for me to either run or blog. No matter, I’m back in business today. Today’s schedule required me to finish my workout fairly early, so I set out around 7:00 AM intending to cover between 5-6 miles.

I may head over to Bethpage tomorrow, but this morning I stayed close to home. After a loop around the northeastern part of my neighborhood I crossed the field of the middle school to the pathway that leads to a local business park. I didn’t want to run the usual roads today so I opted for the main loop within the park.

I usually run this section of the park counter-clockwise. That direction has a steady (but modest) elevation gain for two thirds of its length. Today I ran it clockwise which provided a steeper start but then it was mostly downhill after that. The hill wasn’t too bad and I had no problem pushing through aerobically. However, I was a little tired by the time I crested the hill.

After I’d finished the business park loop I ducked into to neighborhood #3, which is actually in a neighboring town, and ran a loop around that area. I came back again through the middle school and completed my workout by running another mile through my neighborhood. If I were paying attention, I may have run another .07 miles and made it an even six. It doesn’t matter though. I still came close to reaching the higher end of my planned distance.