Blame my low mileage on the Throgs Neck bridge

Today’s route

Today’s run (street): 4.25 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.2 miles

It’s June and the weather’s getting better, but the traffic is getting worse. I had thoughts about leaving the office a little early a couple of days last week to get in late afternoon runs. My aim is to increase my weekly mileage. Due to the MTA’s brilliant plan to do concurrent construction on both the Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges, my commute time is now averaging close to two hours each way. That got me home too late for running, showering and dinner before 8:00 PM. Lane closures are expected to happen throughout spring and summer until the work is completed. Fun!

So I’ll keep running three days a week (Fri, Sat and Sun) until I can figure out something else. I can always return to 4:00 AM runs, but so far my tired morning self has consistently outvoted my aspirational evening self. What I can do is work on increasing the length of my runs.

I generally don’t go into the office on Fridays, but it’s still a workday for me. Without my commute, I can usually get in a three mile run and be working by 7:30 AM. I suppose I can go out a little earlier, but that puts me on the road when recycling trucks and high school bus traffic is at its highest. I can run more on the sidewalk, but the hard concrete surface is wearying and the uneven sections are a serious tripping hazard.

Friday’s run went fine and I ended up pacing faster than I expected based on my perceived effort. This morning I considered other venues, including SIOR’s organized run around the extremely hilly SUNY OW campus. I elected to stay local and was later glad about that, especially when I saw they did almost 7 miles. Although my level of effort never got too high, I found today’s workout difficult. I would not have done well on the SUNY OW hills.

I hope they remember the roof

I did enjoy the overcast skies and 53° weather this morning. I never got my stride to feel right, so my performance was at the low end of the scale. Since I wasn’t going too fast, I was able to take the time to look around and monitor progress on all the new construction in the neighborhood. Last weekend I saw a lot with nothing but a foundation and today it was a house. Well at the least the framing was in place.

Tomorrow morning’s schedule starts early so I’m going to get out as quickly as I can and will probably stay local again to save time. I hear there’s a big party happening at SIOR’s in the afternoon and all the cool kids (plus me) are going.

Once, twice, three times a lady runner

Today’s route

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3.3 miles
Last Sunday’s run (street): 4.7 miles

Yesterday morning was rainy, so I stayed indoors and cranked out a decent run on the treadmill. The music mix was worse than usual, causing me to toggle between multiple channels to escape a string of slow ballads from the 70’s and what seemed to be the worst songs recorded between 1980 and 1989. For example, anything by Cher. I followed my usual technique of upping the treadmill’s speed by a tenth of a MPH every quarter mile (or so) and by the end I was in a full sprint mode.

This morning’s run was delayed due to an early morning appointment, but I still managed to get out the door a little before 9:00 AM. The weather was mild (57°) except when the wind hit. I dressed light and stayed comfortable. There are only so many roads to run in my neighborhood and the challenge is to string together a route that somewhat breaks the monotony. It can be as simple as running a street in the opposite direction than I usually run it.

Today I began with a run around the grounds of the middle school and while rounding the front drive I noticed another runner coming from the opposite direction. As we got closer, I recognized her from other runs. This woman probably has two decades on me but she’s always out there, wearing her purple running jacket with a matching hat. We exchanged cheery hellos as we passed by.

About five minutes later I was heading up a different road when this woman and I crossed paths again. This time we exchanged shy waves. I thought that was that until I rounded another road and saw her once again in the distance. She wasn’t fast but she got around. As she got closer, I saw her go up on the sidewalk and run on top of some driveway edging stones. When we passed, she said, “I have to do something to make this fun!” I could see TPP doing the exact same thing 30 years from now.

I had hoped that yesterday’s good workout would continue into today, but I ended up having only a so-so run. That was okay because even a mediocre run is better than none. I’m thinking about a trail run and may return to Stillwell tomorrow. The last time I ran there I had a bad fall and now I’m a little gun shy. I love Stillwell too much for that to hold me back. So maybe.

A thousand runs within a mile

Didn’t seem like the same old route when I ran it today

Today’s run (street): 4.3 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.2 miles
Tuesday’s run (street): 3.2 miles

Last weekend’s run with goats was an unusual break from my quotidian weekend workouts. I always appreciate the runs I do that go beyond the constraints of my local roads, trails, parks or the track. More often than not, I find myself running on the same streets I’ve covered a thousand times before. So far this week I’ve managed to get in three runs, all within a mile of my house.

Sometimes I ask myself why I used to be so quick to jump in the car and head out to Stillwell Woods, Bethpage, Eisenhower or Belmont State Park every chance I had. I do that occasionally, but usually it’s because I’m seeing my buddies. That trumps tops any laziness that keeps me neighborhood bound. This morning I ran through all the possible venues, but ended up taking the easiest route. That was the one that begins at the end of my driveway.

Besides expanding my running geography, I also need to work on increasing my distances and consistently getting my heart rate into and above the 80% max rage. I didn’t make much progress on any of that today. I went out in 50° weather to run close to my home. My one concession to the mundane was to follow a new route. On the map, it may look like every other run I do. But today I ran it in a different direction. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be another nice weather day. It’s Easter and I’m hoping that will mean quiet roads and empty trails. I may run outside my neighborhood this weekend after all. Meanwhile, Runsketeer buddies KWL and SIOR will be in my hometown to run the 121st staging of the Boston Marathon. I’m excited for them. They have both trained hard and I’m hoping that they have great experiences. If I were ever to run a marathon, it would be that one.

Not my finest run

A few tired miles around the ‘hood

Today’s run (street): 3.7 miles

Despite better weather, today’s run didn’t go all that well. I’m either run down or I pushed too hard on yesterday’s run. I’m not a fan of running uphill and my legs reminded me of that today.  I was hoping that (sort of) keeping up with SIOR and TPP at the NJL park might have activated my fast twitch leg fibers. I actually think they were deactivated.

My goal every weekend is to do at least one run outside of my neighborhood. Since I did that yesterday, I figured a run around my local roads would be just fine. I started out well, although I did experience sinus pain when the wind hit me head on. Thankfully that went away once I’d warmed up. I began to feel lethargic the more I went on and I noticed that my heart rate was showing less than 75% max. Despite the fatigue, I picked up the pace until I was in the low 80% range. That was all I could manage today.

Yesterday’s run was understandably challenging because I ran about 10% faster than I normal do. Plus there were some hills. Today’s difficulties are a little harder to explain. I never struggled, but I did get tired. Perhaps it was getting up at 4:30 AM this morning that did me in. I’ll get some rest tomorrow and try this again on Tuesday.

Going with the flow isn’t very exciting

Going with the flow

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

For no good reason, I had a lot of trouble getting myself out the door for this morning’s run. I knew I had to do it and that I would, but I spent a lot of time internally debating what my run would be. Normally on a relatively mild and sunny day, I’d consider my options and choose the most appealing option. Today nothing reached the level of appealing. I considered the treadmill because it’s easier to throw on shorts and shoes and grind out a few miles than gear up for the outdoors, adding layers, a hat, gloves, SPIbelt, phone, Road ID and sunglasses.

The sun influenced me enough to go out, but not enough to get in my car and drive anywhere. That left me with routes that would start from the end of my driveway. I thought through all the places that I run: adjacent neighborhoods, the business park and even the northern end of the Bethpage bike trail. I took the easiest option and did yet another run in my own neighborhood.

I’ve been running in my ASICS Kayano 20s which are well cushioned and don’t aggravate my plantar fasciitis. Just for a change (and because my PF has much improved) I went back to the NB Zante 2s today. I really like these shoes that are light as Kinvaras but have even more response. Today’s run was easy and I remembered to look at my watch to make sure I was hitting my targeted heart rate. I didn’t quite get there, but managed to stay around 81% of max.

Same old, same old

While I struggled to get my butt out the door to run three and a half miles today, my Buddies KWL and SIOR were running 13 to 20 miles respectively as they begin to wind up their Boston training. How do they get it done every day with all their other distractions of life? I know in the past I’ve followed a regimen that involved tempos, intervals and weekend runs as long as 12 miles. But marathon training takes a lot more dedication and motivation. My next frontier is to simply get back to 5-8 mile runs on weekends.

Not every run is stimulating

Four miles in da hood

Today’s run (street): 4.2 miles
Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 2 miles

Friday morning was cold and blustery and I needed to get out early for an errand. Due to major time constraints, I opted for a quick treadmill run that I figured would be better than postponing my workout until later. I wasn’t sure how long my work day would go and it was also my anniversary. I didn’t think it would be polite to delay our dinner by doing an early evening run.

I ended up running a couple of treadmill miles and loved that the Garmin FR 35 captured all my metrics without a foot pod or chest strap. I should have gone all out during that short workout, but I chose to start off at my current pace. I bumped up the speed once I reached the second mile and I finished in the mid nine minute range. It was a good use of the small window of time that I had.

This morning’s schedule was a little more flexible and the weather was decent. It was 39° when I went out and I wore track pants and two light layers on top. That would have kept me comfortable throughout the run, but the temperature rose four degrees in the 40 or so minutes I was out there.

I’m still not used to starting strong since most of this year I’ve lacked energy during the first minutes of my runs. I expected to go easy today and was prepared to run a little slow. Somehow I ended up doing better than normal. I’m improving but still running half a minute off my targeted pace.

Today’s run was pleasant but my neighborhood roads were not very stimulating. The only interesting thing on my route was the work being done using heavy equipment at the middle school. Steamrollers are cool. I hope to go somewhere more interesting tomorrow and cover about five miles. I may do even more if conditions are good.

Labor Day running and waiting for Hermine

Just keep heading east

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 5.1 miles

Happy Labor Day! After experiencing Irene and Sandy, we Long Islanders take tropical storm warnings pretty seriously. Since Friday, we’ve been planning for disaster and doing things like moving outdoor furniture and pool toys into the storage shed. The Nassau County Office of Emergency Management has broadcast messages warning people to take precautions due to anticipated 55+ MPH winds and flooding. Happily, the storm has taken a more eastern direction that will (hopefully) minimize impact. That said, we could still get rocked with strong winds tonight.

By Saturday morning I’d expected the rest of the weekend to be a washout. I resigned myself to a few boring treadmill runs and was really happy to see clear skies on Sunday morning. I didn’t get out until about 8:00 AM, but the 66° weather and 8 MPH breeze made for pleasant conditions. My prior two runs were three milers, so I felt like I should add some distance. I came up with a route that had me going around the neighborhood and through some roads that I don’t normally follow.

Since my Garmin’s strap separated from the watch, I’ve been hanging it off my SPIbelt. Without easy access to the watch’s display, I have to estimate how far I’ve ran. Occasionally I’ll hear the chirp notifying me that I’ve passed another mile. Most of the time I’m just guessing. I’ve probably done over 1,300 runs around my neighborhood over the last 7 years, so my guessing is usually pretty accurate.

Sunday: 5.1 miles by pure guestimation

I’d hoped to get out for 5 miles on Sunday. I ended up running 5.1 without looking once at my watch display. This morning I had no route plan or targeted distance. The skies were gray and conditions were cool and breezy. Once I got going, I decided I’d run about four miles, but I actually did 3.8. I could have restarted the watch and run the extra fifth of a mile, but I’d really poured it on towards the end and was happy with my results.

Monday: lower for distance, higher for speed

Although the temperature was 64° with a 13 MPH wind, I felt a lot of humidity. That could have been due to running the last mile at 9:15. While that may not sound very impressive, it’s a pace I haven’t run in a very long time. If I do end up getting a new Garmin, I will opt for the the FR235 with built-in optical heart rate monitor. Having that real-time feedback will force me to pay attention to my training zones and will hopefully ease me back to performance running.

Gateway to smooth running

Elderberry winds down smoothly

Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles

I finally got out at a decent time this morning while the sun was still casting long shadows. It was hot, but the shade and a slight breeze hid that from me. At least it did throughout the first mile. I ran through my neighborhood enjoying the favorable conditions, listening to the late summer sounds and appreciating the quiet Sunday morning roads.

At mile one I was barely sweating and I hoped that the humidity was lower than what had been reported. It turned out to be wishful thinking. As I made my way around, I soon began to feel it, especially in the areas with direct sun. I went south towards what we call the “Gateway” neighborhood which has some long shady roads.

I’d stopped running in the Gateway neighborhood a while back because the condition of Ashford Drive & Elderberry Road, the longest of the long streets, had started to resemble the surface of the moon. I had prepared to step carefully through the worst parts, but once I reached Ashford, I saw that the whole span had been repaved. It was smooth and shady and a wonderful surprise.

Today’s route

I wasn’t monitoring my distance, but I’d assumed I’d covered at least three miles by the time I started heading back home. When I was getting closer to my house I heard my Garmin beep, telling me that I’d passed 4 miles. By then I was completely sweat soaked and realized that the humidity was as high as reported. When I mapped my run later with Gmaps, I saw that my Garmin had again under-counted distance, this time by 5.4%.

Getting out really early turned out to be a good thing as it left me lots of time to get things done today. One thing I did was look at DC Rainmaker’s site to see what he currently likes for GPS watches. DCR strongly recommends the FR230/235 (the 235 is $80 more but has an optical heart rate monitor). I’m going to shop around to see how it’s priced.

Three encounters with mister speedy

Post-run non-stretching moment

Today’s run (street): 4.25 miles

Happy Father’s Day to all you running dads. Also to you non-running dads. I like running on holidays because they are usually days when people sleep late and I can run around the neighborhood with a lot less cars on the road. That was the case today. I got outside around 8:00 AM and picked a direction. I had no planned route and decided on the spot whether to go left or right as I reached the end of each street.

After almost eight years of running my local roads, I pretty much know the other runners around my neighborhood. There’s one guy I encounter on almost every weekend run. He moves along and covers a lot of ground. I usually criss cross his route at least twice and we always wave the first time and laugh the second time.

Sure enough, mister speedy was out there today and we ran into each other twice. Happily, we were going in opposite directions both times, so I didn’t experience the humiliation of being overtaken along the same road. I did what I could with the heat and humidity, but I didn’t break any speed records today.

Near the end of my run, I saw my neighbor-runner in his driveway doing post-run stretching. Maybe that’s why he’s so fast. I’m pretty sure I’ve never ever stretched after a run. Maybe when I ran with Adventure Girl. She taught me many good running habits, most of which I’ve stopped following.

We had a very nice Father’s Day after my run, capping off a nice weekend of celebrations. I may work from home a couple of days next week. If so, I’ll have the opportunity to get in an extra run during the week. I do need to get my volume back to where it was a year or so ago and I know I should do some sort of a workout before my commute. I can do more. I just need to get back in the habit.

Street running without giraffes

Giraffes would have made this run memorable.

Today’s run (street): 4.2 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.2 miles

Happy Memorial Day weekend. So far, my running has been anything but memorable. Yesterday’s run was awful from start to finish, with a combination of tired legs, low energy, sun, heat and humidity. I plodded my way through my neighborhood and frequently reminded myself that I was getting closer to home. I hoped that I was getting the bad stuff out of the way and that today’s run would be better. It was not.

I tried to stack the deck in my favor this morning by putting on my lightest gear and getting out early. I didn’t feel as fatigued as I did on Friday and the cooler temps got me off to a good start. My plan was to run over to a different neighborhood that’s directly south of mine. I moved along at a steady pace. Make that slow and steady. Actually, just slow. Really slow. It wasn’t Friday’s torturous experience, but I didn’t feel good about a mediocre run following a bad one.

The one good thing about today’s run was the interesting route map that was created by my Garmin. I couldn’t resist getting my AI robot buddy CaptionBot to weigh in on it. I definitely would have enjoyed this run more if I ran into giraffes along the way.

Monday’s weather is supposed to be stormy, so I’m looking to get out of the neighborhood on Sunday. I may head to Stillwell if I’m up to the challenge or to Bethpage where the trails aren’t as technical. I really hope that I’ll break out of my current performance malaise soon. I’ll be stringing four runs together in four days, something I haven’t done in a month. Perhaps by Monday, I’ll have made some positive progress.