My course is harder than your course

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

I gave myself an extra day to recover this week and rested on both Sunday and Monday. The James Street hill played havoc on my calves and they have remained tight and sore over the past two days. I’ve noticed that I’ve done better walking upstairs than downstairs, so I planned a route this morning that began with an uphill section. That didn’t work out the way I’d expected and my calves and quads were unhappy. When I leveled off, I noticed that my gait felt more natural.

My first mile was sedate but I picked up the pace after that, and ended up with a credible time overall. I wore the Hattori’s, which I used for Cow Harbor, and wondered if I should have chosen the GTS-10’s or the Mirages, to provide a little more cushioning. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll go that way.

On my way into the office this morning I ran into a couple of friends, one of whom had recently run a 6.5 mile adventure race that included obstacles like water crossings and wall climbs. She said the race was intense and there were many Navy SEALS competing on that difficult course. I said, “Well, I ran up a big hill on Saturday.” Somehow James Street didn’t seem quite so impressive.

Seven the hard way at Stillwell

Today’s run (Stillwell Woods) 7.2 miles

Due to tight schedules around yesterday’s party I had to keep my run fairly short. Today I considered a trip to Bethpage to attempt a long run on the bike trail. The temperature was in the low 20’s with the wind chill so I decided instead to head to Stillwell Woods. I figured that the woods would cut the wind and provide better running conditions than Bethpage. Plus Stillwell is closer and I get in for free.

I parked close to Southwoods Road, purposely locating my car as far from the trail head as I could. I figured I’d add some extra distance by running the quarter mile road along the way to the woods. I felt strong winds at my back and looked forward to warming up further as I ran. I followed my usual loops through Stillwell. After two years I know some trails well enough to run with confidence. That’s what I thought anyway. I was moving along, feeling good, and after four miles I varied my route and cut through the southern part of the woods that led me back to the main trail. At that point I was feeling like I’d mastered the geography of Stillwell and despite choosing paths that had many gradual inclines I felt strong. I decided to run for a couple more miles and restarted my usual loop, but at the six mile point I found my way into unfamiliar territory. With only the sun to guide me I followed trails that I thought would bring me back to my starting point.

It may have been the slight anxiety that comes from being lost or the fact that I encountered some steeper rises but I began to feel tired and frustrated by the lack of directional context. Maintaining my sun-based navigation method I eventually came to a path that I recognized and I followed it west until I reached the playing fields at Stillwell.  From there I ran straight across in a beeline to my car. The freezing winds hitting me head-on were brutal and that last quarter mile seemed to take a very long time. I quickly got into my car and downed an electrolyte drink, sweating and freezing at the same time. I was happy to have covered over 7 miles today, bringing my weekend total to almost 12. I guess I’ll have to wait another day to run 10. Seven in the woods was plenty hard today.