Caleb Smith trails: bad conditions for both run and runner

Hazards abound on the Caleb Smith trails

Yesterday’s workout (Caleb Smith State Park): 3.4 miles (run), 1 mile (hike)

It was a busy Saturday for us, and I didn’t get a chance to post about yesterday’s activity until this morning. Yesterday afternoon we headed over to Caleb Smith State Park where my wife and kids participated a candle making workshop while I hit the trails. Hurricane Sandy had done a lot of damage to the park, but they’d just re-opened the yellow trail. The blue, green and red trails still remain closed.

Prior to leaving for Caleb Smith, we’d stopped for lunch at Moe’s. That was a mistake on my part. Lunch was fine, but I didn’t give myself enough time for proper digestion. I thought I felt fine when we arrived, but soon after I’d started toward the trail I could tell that’s the going would be tough. I pressed on hoping that I’d begin to feel better as time went on.

After a mile I couldn’t ignore the discomfort. It wasn’t a stomach issue, but I felt lethargic and my legs felt heavy and unresponsive. I decided to walk it off and covered a half mile before resuming my run. The trail was in poor condition, with branches strewn along the path by the storm and thick mud from the morning rain. The parts of the trail that were covered by leaves were the most run-able.

I felt marginally better after a half mile hike and resumed my run for the next mile. I had looked forward  to this trail time, but I wasn’t enjoying it much. The trail markings were a little inconsistent and I found myself on the closed paths once or twice. In most cases I could keep going until I reconnected to the yellow trail but once or twice I had to double back.

At one point I thought I saw another runner through the trees, but couldn’t really see much, except that it clearly wasn’t a squirrel or a fox. I thought it was odd that someone would run off-trail, especially with the current conditions. During my next loop around, I detected the same movement and saw that the “runner” was actually a deer. I noticed two or three others soon after. They kept their distance but didn’t run away when our paths came together at a clearing.

I ended up running over 3 miles, though not continuously. I was happy to be finished and vowed not to repeat my mistake of having a big lunch prior to an effort of that scale. After my run, I spoke for a while with a ranger whose team maintained the park. He told me it would be some months before the cleanup was completed. There’s a lot of tree damage that they can’t get to with heavy equipment so it comes down to a two man crew that uses old fashioned methods to precision cut and remove damaged trees.

I’m planning to do a neighborhood run later this morning and really hope that yesterday’s running difficulties don’t carry forward to today. I’d rather have yesterday’s lunch to blame than to be dealing with a bigger issue related to being ill.

From bad to worse and then worse again

Today’s run (street): 1.1 miles

Today’s workout started badly and got worse. Everything started out fine, I changed into my running clothes and was out the door ahead of schedule. I felt fine as I waited to get my GPS signal, but when I took off I noticed my energy level was a little below par. My legs felt heavy and my stride felt flat. I decided to press on in hopes that I’d loosen up and rebound after the first downhill section.

Instead of feeling better, I began to feel worse and around the half mile point I started to feel queasy. I decided on the spot to run straight home. When I reached my house I discovered that I’d locked myself out for the first time in four years. I had to call my wife to come down and let me in. I’m sure she was alarmed when the phone rang at 4:00 AM, but at least it wasn’t because of anything bad. Of all days to do that.

As a result, I’m going into the weekend a little short of my targeted mileage, but I hope to make that up tomorrow. My plan is to run the big hill at Bethpage a few times to prepare for the race the following weekend. I recovered quickly from this morning’s incident and I’m hoping to feel much better on tomorrow’s run.

Getting it done despite the heat

Today’s run (street): 3.7 miles

A combination of hot weather and feeling a little ill delayed the start of today’s run. We had friends over on Saturday and I got to bed pretty late. I woke up tired, with a dry throat and a queasy stomach and wondered if I was in shape to run. I had discussed my morning running plans with one of our friends last night (also a runner) and we both said we’d be going out early to beat the heat. I’m guessing that he actually did that.

I watched the temperature rise throughout the early morning and debated whether to skip my workout as I was already feeling marginal. I decided that an easy run would be better than nothing, so I got my act together and set out at 9:00 AM. Considering the way I felt and the extremely hot conditions, I did remarkably well through my first mile. I hoped to maintain that pace for the rest of my run.

I basically followed my weekday morning route and added a few additional sections. My original plan was to cover 3 miles, but I was .7 miles from home when I passed that distance. I continued my steady pace and made it home both tired and soggy, pleased that I went for it, instead of skipping my run.

Yesterday’s distance got me to 80 miles for June, making that the forth consecutive month running 80 or more miles. My running average, prior to March, was only about 70 miles. I wasn’t the only one running in the heat this weekend. FS was planning to do the Take Your Base 5 mile race in Coney Island and KWL did a remarkable job on his first triathlon, the NYRR Sprint. Both races were on Saturday. I’m looking forward to getting the scoop on both tomorrow!

Run a cold, rest a fever

Not for fevers!

Today’s run (treadmill): 25 minutes

I’m battling a head cold and I think I might actually be winning. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’ve always followed the common wisdom, “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” Although it’s a bromide, it does seem to make sense. But, is it okay to run when you have a cold? How about when you have a fever? My guess is that the same concept works for both eating and running.

When I left my sedentary life in 2008, and took up running with a vengeance, I went months without taking a rest day. The sudden focus on diet and exercise probably supercharged my immune system. I don’t recall getting sick once throughout that period. Eventually I caught a cold and established my policy for running when feeling ill. It’s “Run with a cold, rest with a fever.”

After my bout of pneumonia in late 2009, I learned to listen closely to my body. On Saturday morning I awoke with a sore throat. I didn’t have a fever so I hit the trails and felt none the worse for it. On Sunday the cold remained, but I still put in some road miles. My fear that this hard running over the weekend would weaken me. Instead, I think it’s helped to minimize the symptoms of this cold.

My sore throat has moved to my head, resulting in sniffles and an occasional cough. Still, I felt good enough today to do a brisk morning run on the treadmill. I’ve been waiting for my cold to increase its intensity, but so far it’s remained mild. I guess you can’t go wrong if you always follow the policy.

Hitting my goal with a rebound run

Today’s run (street): 5.8 miles

I had two running goals coming into the weekend: a run on the trails, and covering at least 10 miles overall. Happily, I succeeded at both, although last night I was on the fence whether I’d even do a Sunday run. Throughout the day on Saturday, my throat became increasingly sore. By evening I felt very tired and I feared that I was coming down with strep throat. I put odds below 50% that I’d be in shape for a run when I got up today.

In the morning I felt a little better, and I took stock of  my illness. My throat was still a bit raw, but I decided that I had enough strength to go out for a few miles. My wife had been planting flowers in the backyard since 6:30 AM (we’re early risers). When I went out to see her progress, I noticed that conditions were ideal for a run.

I had no route in mind for today, though I hoped to cover at least five miles. I was concerned about pushing too hard, as I was was wary of a relapse. I took off and knew right away that I’d have no issues with stamina or energy. I charted a course that wound through every part of the neighborhood.

It actually bothered me that, by the two mile mark, I was hardly sweating. I don’t subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” school of exercise, but I want my run to feel like a workout. I stepped up my pace using arm speed to drive cadence, and by mile four I was feeling the effort. I stretched out my route to ensure I’d cover at least five miles, and I added another .8 by the time I made it home.

My base training has certainly helped me cover middle length runs with little fatigue. Perhaps I’ll put a base run at Bethpage into my monthly rotation to preserve some of that base. It will be helpful as I go into 10K season near the end of summer. Next weekend I’ll start focusing more on speed as I get closer the the New Hyde Park 8K. There’s always something to train for. I guess that’s the point of racing.

Today’s guilt will power tomorrow’s run

I wasn’t feeling well yesterday and thought I may have caught a cold. Thursday’s elliptical session wore me out much more than I would have expected. I bounced back last night and planned to do a run for this morning. When I woke up, I felt a little dizzy. After being at this for almost four years, I am able to tell the difference between being “morning tired” and actually feeling weak. I quickly decided to skip today’s workout.

The main reason I opted for a rest day is that I hope to do a long run tomorrow at Bethpage. I didn’t want to wear myself out on a maintenance run, and I thought some additional rest might be beneficial. I think resting was the right thing to do, but I’ll admit to having some guilty feelings about it. I’m planning to use that guilt tomorrow to motivate me through what I hope will be my longest run (so far) this year.

Good timing for my weekly rest day

As energetic as I was on Sunday morning, today I am very much the opposite. Last night I began experiencing slight cold symptoms and a decided lack of energy. I’m hoping it’s a quick cold and not the flu. After my bout with pneumonia in January I don’t dismiss concern that easily. I didn’t bank any sleep over the weekend so it could be weakness due to lack of rest. I put in some decent mileage over the last few days but I doubt that would wear me out to this degree. As expected, my calves are aching after finally getting over the shock of running up the James Street hill on Saturday. My office schedule is tight today so I need to get through that. Tomorrow morning I have to give a talk to an industry group and I’m concerned about losing my voice before then. I’ll rely on lots of coffee, my time-proven  miracle drug, to get me through the workday. I’m hoping to be back to the road tomorrow,