Running from home to the Greenbelt Trail

 

Section of the new bike trail I covered today


Today’s run (Street + Greenbelt Bike Trail): 5.25

There’s nothing like the promise of a Saturday morning training run. It’s the start of the weekend and a break from business obligations. On those rare Saturdays where my schedule is open-ended, I usually go to a local park or Preserve. It’s a treat to run among interesting scenery, rather than gazing at my neighborhood’s expanse of manicured lawns and avoiding careless drivers. 

The drawback to park and Preserve running is the need to travel to those locations. It bothers me that I have to drive my car to get to my running destination. Stillwell Woods and Trailview are only five minutes from my home (and Bethpage is ten), but getting to them still involves logistics. If I could only get to the Greenbelt trail without needing a car…

Well it looks like my wish has been granted. This morning I decided to explore the area near my house where the town has paved some bike trails. These trails run along the busier roads that I’d always dismissed as too dangerous to run. I started from my front door and did a loop around some local roads before cutting through the middle school into neighborhood #3. This neighborhood has an exit out to Woodbury Road, exactly where the new path starts.

The trail along Sunnyside, heading north

Suddenly, I was on a protected multi-use trail that would theoretically connect me all the way to the Massepequa Preserve trail head, 13 miles to the south. I ran along the path and saw evidence of progress, with construction signs and a few short gaps in the paved surface. Sunnyside Boulevard, the road that parallels the path, has a long hill that goes for 3/4 miles. It’s steeper than Waterside Ave. on the Cow Harbor course and will be a good local training spot to prep for that challenge.

Once I made my way past the Northern State Parkway just north of the LIE, I stopped to figure out where the path continued south. There were a number of “No Trespassing” signs around this area that I took more as a suggestion than a warning, since I was seeing lots of cyclists zooming by. I tried to understand the safest way to get across to the paved path that continued on the other side. At that moment, two riders came across, and I asked them how far the bike trail went. They spoke the magic words, “All the way to Massepequa Preserve.” Awesome.

Truth be told, I wasn’t feeling my best on the run, and the long uphill section on Sunnyside had worn me out. I’d considered reversing direction and heading home at that point, but now I had to continue long enough to see where the path would lead. I crossed the street and followed the trail south until I reached the point where the service road diverged from the LIE. I then doubled back and crossed back over to where the path continued north.

The run back was easier, even though there were some short hills to address. Most of the next mile was downhill and that helped restore my energy level as I went along. Shortly before I reached Woodbury Road, I took a tangential path to see where it led (it terminated a block west) and ran to the the crosswalk that led me back into neighborhood #3.

It was exciting to know that I could actually run to Bethpage from my house if I really wanted to. It would be about 6.5 miles – doable – but then I’d have to run home. I’ve run 13+ miles a few times, so it’s in the realm of the possible. However, I think I’ll need to do a lot more base training before I take that on.

A whole new world to run, right across the street

Today’s run (street): 4.25 miles

The holiday week continues with our weekend guests arriving mid-morning. I wanted to get in my run before they got here so I headed out early to try a new route. I got out of the neighborhood today, but I didn’t travel too far from home. As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, I’m  reluctant to cross major roads when I run. Doing that on foot is risky, but but it would unlock a number of available routes. For safety’s sake, I decided to take a short drive and park on the other side of Route 25 to start my run.

I’ve run on Jericho Turnpike near my house a number of times, but always on the southern side. Today I ran on the opposite side, allowing me to track north to Jackson and mimic my daily drive to the train station. I often see runners on my way to the train and envy them for running while I head to my commute. I was always curious to experience this road, but after a couple of minutes I turned into a neighborhood and followed a street that wrapped back to Jackson. This road had some rolling hills that I appreciated after running the flat streets of my neighborhood.

I eventually ran past the train station and headed east before turning back for the second half of my run. I enjoyed the change of scenery and the chance to break out of my large, but ultimately contained, neighborhood. I reached my car and made the two minute drive back to my house. This was another nice change from the 15+ minute drive I often make to and from Bethpage.

I’ll probably run in the neighborhood tomorrow to save time and get it down before our house guests wake up for breakfast. New venues are always fun, even if they’re less than a mile from home.