A run in the brume

Can you see the oncoming bus?

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles

As the song goes, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. In terms of working, it really is. I worked from home both yesterday and today and my office will be shut down on Thursday and Friday, I’m also taking next week off. All that time translates into more time for running. This week got off to a good start with an elliptical session yesterday and a nice run this morning.

I knew we’d get rain today and it looked pretty gloomy at “sunrise.” I planned to do something but I figured I’d be doing it inside. At around 7:00 AM, I verified no rain was coming down. I dressed for the 49° temperature and headed outside. As the garage door rose, I saw that my neighborhood was enveloped in thick fog. Fortunately I’d worn high visibility gear.

Running in the fog was an ethereal experience. Like freshly fallen snow, it made everything look a greeting card photo. I appreciated the visual effect, but I needed to be careful because visibility was measured in feet today. If I couldn’t see school buses, they couldn’t see me. The roads were reasonably clear, but I did need to detour over to the sidewalk a couple of times.

A year ago, I was doing my Christmas week run in much colder weather. It’s supposed to hit 71° on Friday. Me and the Runsketeers will be carrying on our New Year’s day Hangover Run tradition on January 1st. It’s really fun to hang with my buddies before the start, but we’re usually shivering up until the horn goes off. I won’t complain if this weather hangs around until then.

Humid, hot and foggy, but still a great run

Today’s run (street): 4.4

Today was crazy busy, but my saving grace was working from my home office. At least I saved a lot of commuting time. I got in my run (my first since last Sunday) and though I went out early, I was already behind schedule by the time I got back home. I should add at least one more run during the week to maintain my targeted level of fitness, but for now I need to keep the schedule I have.

The weather hasn’t been good for running lately. This morning it was 67°, humid and foggy. Rain seemed imminent, so I decided to try my new running raincoat. The jacket isn’t vented and I knew I might regret wearing it, since I knew it would trap heat. Still, I was curious to experience running with it.

Surprisingly enough, I stayed fairly cool for the first couple of miles. Better still, I felt strong from the start and maintained great form throughout the entire distance. I ran faster than I expected and probably would have improved on that had I left the jacket at home. The lack of ventilation had trapped sweat and my running shirt was completely soaked by the time I finished.

Perhaps it’s the rest time I’m getting by not running Tuesday through Sunday each week that helped me today. I’m time-pressed again tomorrow, and I’m not sure how I’ll be able to get in my miles. One way or another, I’ll get out there. When I do, I hope to see a continuation of today’s good performance.

Tuning up for an outside run

Foggy view from the treadmill

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.3 miles

This has been a great week with the kids being off from school. I’ve had to work on projects, but I’ve also had a good amount of family time. My business in the city yesterday produced the need to do lots of work today. I didn’t get to run on Thursday, but I covered a few miles on foot. I’m loving those gel insoles.

I’d hoped that this morning would provide an opportunity for me to finally get outdoors and run. However, the snow hasn’t melted much and there was a thick fog that was produced by a rapid change in temperature. Both of these things made street running too dangerous, so it was back on the treadmill. I no longer curse my fate as I look outside at the still-icy roads. I know I’m fortunate to have the option to run indoors.

I’m planning to run with my Runsketeer buddies on Sunday, so I tried to up my game in terms of speed. I’ve been extremely complacent in terms of performance and I shocked my body a little by doing a progressive speed run. This treadmill regimen has taken me out of race shape so I hope I’m able to keep up with the “twin turbos” this weekend. I usually do better on the road than on the treadmill in terms of pace, but the last time I ran on pavement, my legs did not like it at all.

Foggy sidewalk running

View at the end of my run

Today’s run (street): 4 miles

Procrastination might have been a better strategy today than getting out early. I’ve been busy since the holiday break, but this morning was relatively open. I thought I’d take advantage of that and go out for a run before the streets became clogged with school buses.

The news stations were reporting 32° temperatures, but there was lots of moisture in the air, causing foggy conditions. I’d prepared for the cold, but I had no idea that when they said fog, they were talking about the pea-soup variety. Visibility was limited to the distance between houses. I decided that in the interest of safety, I’d do most of this run on the sidewalk.

I started out on a long road that borders the eastern edge of my neighborhood. This street only has houses on one side and it is often used as a service road by buses, town trucks and commercial vehicles. Running north on this road, I noticed that even without wind, the cold air felt freezing on my face. Not only that, the fog was so thick that cars, trucks and buses were nearly invisible, unless they were using their headlights. Even so, it was nearly impossible to see anything more than 20 feet ahead.

I don’t love running on the sidewalks in my area, but it I was glad to have them. Not only is the concrete surface hard on my legs, but careful attention must be paid to avoid the many uneven or broken sections. Catching a toe is easy to do. There was no question that if I was going to run outside today I’d need to stay off the road. Even crossing the street gave me pause. I was disappointed to see half the cars driving without lights. I was even more disappointed to see a man walking in the road with his dog with traffic at his back.

I had hoped to work on speed today, but the sidewalks slowed me down. Also, even after a week, the bottom of my left foot is still a little sore. So this run will go down as another maintenance workout. No matter, it was fun running through the fog and the necessarily slower pace kept things comfortable.

It’s official!

My GLIRC welcome packet came in the mail today and it included my membership card, along with four pages of information about volunteering at club events. That’s a dimension I haven’t experienced but I plan to participate in at least one race as a non-runner this year. It might be interesting to be the person on the other side of the table sometime.

Foggy morning run at Bethpage

Beware the moors and stick to the bike path

Today’s run (Bethpage State Park): 5.1 miles

If there’s a downside to having 40° weather in January (besides the fact that it may be caused by global climate change) is that things can get foggy. There’s nothing specifically wrong with fog, but I wasn’t thrilled to drive through the cloudy Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway this morning. Most people were smart enough to keep their car lights on, so the trip wasn’t as scary as I’d feared. When I got to my destination, Bethpage State Park, I was happy to see that the gates were open.

It’s been a long time since I’ve run at Bethpage. They had closed access to the park after Hurricane Sandy and I had not made it back until today. It was great to be back for a run. As I drove toward the lot, a dark mist over the golf course made it look a little like the Scottish moors.

My plan was to run five miles, starting first by going south on the old trail and turning back at the one mile point. I appreciated the first, mostly downhill, half mile but I knew it wouldn’t be fun coming back up that tough hill. Once past my nemesis, I was two miles in and I crossed over to the newer section of the bike path. I had to complete a three mile out-and-back to get my total to five.

Bethpage’s bike trails are rolling and, while I don’t always notice the falling sections, I never miss a hill. The new, northern path has plenty of hills. Just like the southern part, it’s tougher coming back than going out. I reached Haypath about a quarter mile short of my turnaround point so I crossed over and ran until my Garmin showed 3.5 miles.

I knew I’d soon encounter the three noticeable hills and I took them on. The hills are a bit steep, but the incline is fairly short and there’s a enough separation between them for recovery. Once past those challenges I settled in for the remainder of the run. Before long I was back at the trail head having covered my planned distance.

Even though it was unseasonably warm, there weren’t too many other runners out today. I worked hard and felt good throughout the run, but I was glad when I finished. I was also happy that I made it out of the neighborhood for a run this weekend. That was one of my stated goals for 2013. Having come into the weekend with less than ten miles logged, I’m pleased to have finished close to my weekly target of 20.

Running through the clouds

Still foggy two hours later

Today’s run (street): 2.6 miles

For me, the appeal of running correlates directly to the conditions at hand. 40° on a bright Saturday morning with no time restrictions is very appealing. Running in the dark at 4:00 AM just minutes after waking from a sound sleep is far less appealing. In some cases, after I’ve begrudgingly prepared for my run, something happens to change my outlook. That was the case today.

It seemed a little humid as I dressed for my run and I left off a top layer thinking it would be warmer than yesterday. Again, I had trouble getting my Petzl Tikka Plus headlamp to work. The batteries get easily unseated within their housing and this prevents the lamp from switching on. As well as it has served me, I think the Tikka is due for replacement because these problems are costing me precious time.

I stepped out and watched the garage door rise, revealing my neighborhood shrouded in heavy fog. The street lights projected ethereally and the density of the fog kept visibility to about 30 feet. I thought it looked amazing and suddenly looked forward to starting off on my run.

The run itself was unremarkable. I’m still working through some mechanical issues but it was fun to see the world through this haze of distorted light. Running is a physical activity, but so much about it is enhanced by the experience itself. A four mile run in the woods, where your view and conditions change constantly, is far more interesting than a four mile run on treadmill. Today’s route was similar to the course I run every day. But what I experienced this morning was much more interesting and different than normal.