Family run at the Nissequogue River Turkey Trot

Scene at the finish line

Today’s run (Nissequogue River 5K Turkey Trot): 3.1 miles

It’s Thanksgiving and, for the third year in a row, the Emerging Runner family ran in the Nissequogue River State Park Turkey Trot. It’s an event that draws a big crowd. With some races canceled due to hurricane Sandy, even more people gathered for the race. Me and my daughter ran the course and my wife and son walked it.

Clearing the path before the Fun Run

After the 1K Fun Run for kids that was led by a guy dressed head to toe in a turkey costume, we all made our way toward the starting line. The race is not very well organized and the start often runs late. Much of that is due to the high number of race day registrants who are still in line at gun time. Today the start was only six minutes late, which was a nice surprise.

The size of the crowd prevents any fast running at the start, but it worked fine for me and my daughter. We fell into an easy pace as we made our way along the first, mostly uphill, mile. It’s a different experience running easy during a race instead of pushing for a PR. I enjoyed having my daughter by my side and we were happy to reach the turnaround at the halfway point of the race. We saw my wife and son, who were moving along briskly, on the other side.

The last mile is mostly downhill and we cruised along until we reached the finish line. My wife and son came in about six minutes later and we quickly headed to our car. The exit line from the race gets backed up fast and we needed to get home in time to shower, change and head to our Thanksgiving dinner.

The rest of the day was spent with family and we’re all a little beat, but it was great to participate in a race as family. Tomorrow I’ll go out for a nice long run and burn off some calories from today’s feast.

A chilly run today and a Turkey Trot tomorrow

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

Most big holidays start earlier than their date on the calendar because people often day before off to travel. That’s certainly the case with Thanksgiving. The LIRR continues to be plagued by ongoing signal problems in the East River tunnels (due to Sandy) so there are less trains, more stops and big crowds. It was a pleasant surprise to board the train this morning and have my choice of seats. And for that I am thankful.

My office will be very quiet today because many of my colleagues are doing this day-before travel. I really do like my co-workers but, without any meetings, I’ll be able to make good progress on some projects. We’ll close the office early so I’ll get a little extra free time as well.

Nissequogue course map

Tomorrow morning Team Emerging Runner will become Race Team Emerging Runner, as we run the Nissequogue 5K Turkey Trot for the third year in a row. We won’t really be racing, but it’s a race. Last year my daughter and I ran it while my wife and son did it as a run/walk. That’s the plan for tomorrow as well. After that will be Thanksgiving with family and then more family arriving over the weekend.

I really didn’t want to go out into the cold this morning, but I knew it was the right thing to do. I dressed warmly because I was concerned that the wind might make conditions even more uncomfortable. There was only a mild breeze but the warm layers were still necessary. I started out easy but picked up speed in response to the cold air. Once I get to a certain pace, between steady and brisk, I tend to hold it. I completed my route slightly faster than I normally run it.

The weather for the rest of the week is looking promising and I’m optimistic that I’ll exceed my 20 mile average with some longer runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s been a long time since I’ve raced, so I’m really running out of habit and not training for anything in particular. I do have a 5K coming up in December but that seems a long way away. For now, it’s about running for fun. Tomorrow’s event should be just that.

DIY 10K as November’s race schedule shrinks

Today’s run (street): 6.25 miles

Hot to Trot

For the past two years, November has been a big month for racing. Starting mid-month, I’ve run the Hope for the Warriors 10K and then the Long Beach 10K Turkey Trot the next weekend. A few days after that, I’ve run the Nissequogue River Turkey Trot (5K) that’s held on Thanksgiving day. This race is really a fun run for me. I run it at my daughter’s pace, while my wife run/walks the course with my son.

This year, things are very different. Hope for Warriors was moved back to October for reasons that I don’t quite understand. It usually coincides with Veteran’s Day but not this year. I was unable to make the new date this year because of a conflict in my schedule. That’s unfortunate because I really like that race.

Long Beach, New York, took a beating during Hurricane Sandy. The boardwalk and the beaches were destroyed and the storm left thousands of people homeless. It’s a tragic situation and the race has (of course) been cancelled.

So this leaves the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day and I’m happy to be running with my family. My kids are excited about it and even bought turkey hats to wear when they run. The Nissequogue course runs through the old former Kings Park Psychiatric Hospital that is being torn down. I’m curious to see if they’ll change the route this year.

Since I wasn’t able to run the Hope for Warriors 10K race today, I decided to do a symbolic run of the same distance. I first planned to run at Bethpage, but I saw on the website that the park is closed until further notice. I imagine that Sandy brought widespread destruction to the trees, paths and golf courses. I was left with little choice but to run locally and  set off in my neighborhood to complete my run.

I didn’t run very well yesterday, but I managed to stay within my normal pace range. I felt much stronger today, but the numbers showed that my average pace was 15 seconds slower than yesterday’s outing. The reason for that isn’t obvious. While I wished I’d run faster, I was pleased to have covered my intended distance feeling great throughout my run.

I spent the first half of my run on the familiar roads of my main neighborhood before heading south to neighborhood #2 where I surveyed the damage from the storm. The LIPA trucks were scattered about, attempting to get the last 7% of homes back on the grid. I feel great sympathy for Sandy’s victims, including those who remain without power two weeks after the storm. I’m hoping they’ll get it back soon. Personally, I’m still  excited when I walk into a room, flip on a switch and see something besides the dark.

From treadmill to Turkey Trot to trail

Yesterday’s runs:

Treadmill:  24 minutes, 2% grade
Nissequogue River State Park Turkey Trot 5K: 3.1 miles

Today’s run  
Stillwell Woods: 3.6 miles

Start of the 1K kid’s run at Nissequogue River State Park

It’s been a couple of days since I’ve been able to post on the blog but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been running. Wednesday, which should have been an easy morning, leading into an early close for Thanksgiving, turned out to be crazy due to some distracting business issues. Everything worked out fine, but I was so mentally exhausted by the time I got home I decided to skip my planned afternoon workout.

Yesterday morning I made up for that rest day with a double workout. I ran on the treadmill first thing in the morning with a 2% grade for 24 minutes. It was a good workout, I didn’t push the pace but, by the end, I really felt it. Shortly after I finished that run, the Emerging Runner family headed to King’s Park for the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation 5K.

This Turkey Trot takes place on the grounds of the former Kings Park Psychiatric Center, a compound of 15 buildings adjacent to the Nissequogue River. The buildings evoke a scary history as this center was considered an “insane asylum” where electro-shock therapy and pre-frontal lobotomies were commonly administered to patients. These buildings are due to be demolished so that the park can be put to better use.

The weather was very cold at 7:30 AM and we were glad to have dressed warmly. Even with wool socks my feet were very cold as we waited for the start. This event attracts a large crowd and they were still taking same day registrations minutes before the scheduled start time. I suppose that’s a way to maximize revenue for the event, but it put us very behind for the start. The organizers also failed badly on their bathroom planning, providing only five Porto-Potti’s for a crowd numbering well over 1,200.

This event is very family friendly, with as many walkers as runners, and it doesn’t feel very competitive. After the kid’s 1K race, the 5K runners were assembled along a long uphill section (this was also the route back to the finish line). After a long wait, the horn sounded and we were off. My daughter and I were going to run the course while my wife and son walked it.

The park’s trail is rolling and the first mile and a half are mostly uphill. My daughter did great and I kept reminding her (as I remembered from the prior year) that the the course flattened and then goes primarily downhill for the last mile. We passed a water station around the 3K mark and I was very impressed that my daughter was able to maintain her running form and keep a good pace through that distance.

My wife and son cross the finish line

As we passed 4K it became easier because the downhill road helped us along and the people at the side of the course shouted encouraging words to the runners. Once we were a few hundred feet from the end, my daughter took off and I had a hard time keeping up with her. Seconds later we crossed the finish line. I congratulated her on a great run and, after getting some water, we waited for my wife and son to finish.

I was proud to see my daughter run so well. Last year she walked more than half of this course but this year it was a bona fide run, a full 3.1 miles. My wife and son also did very well walking that hilly course and we were excited to reunite at the finish line.

The rest of our day was filled with resting, cooking and baking as my wife prepared food for Thanksgiving. We headed over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house for an afternoon and evening of of food and conversation. We all held up well considering all the work we did that morning.

This morning I decided I had waited too long to do a trail run so I headed over to Stillwell Woods around 7:00 AM. There were no other people at the park and I made my way into the woods with no particular route in mind. It was cold (mid 30’s) but I’d dressed for that and I wore my Helly Hansens because my intention was to attack some of the rocky hills. The Helly’s do a great job over technical surfaces. Unfortunately their lack of a rock plate still produces some uncomfortable landings.

I ended up covering about three and a half miles and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I could have covered more miles but I decided to bank some energy and do a longer run over the weekend. It’s been a lot of running over a short period of time. I got my Stillwell run in today so I’m probably not going back there on Sunday morning for the Rob’s Run 5K race.

Over the river (East and Nissequogue) and through the neighborhood

Wednesday run (Brooklyn Bridge/lower Manhattan): 4.25 miles
Thursday’s run (Nissequogue River Turkey Trot): 3.1 miles
Today’s run (street): 4.5 miles

I took a holiday from blogging yesterday but I’ve had some interesting running experiences since my last post. Wednesday was a half day in the office and at noon AG and I headed downtown to City Hall Plaza and over to the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge where we crossed over to Brooklyn and back. It’s always an interesting and slightly frustrating experience to run that route with so many people strolling along the side of the path reserved for two way pedestrian traffic. It can be tempting to cross the white line over to the bike path but that should be done with multiple checks to ensure no bikes are coming in either direction.

We stopped halfway across on our return to look at the views. Looking south we could see the Verrazano Narrows Bridge where the NYC marathon starts and then leads up the Brooklyn Bridge where we stood. On the other side we viewed the Manhattan skyline that I used to see from different angles; south when I lived on 31st street and later from 74st street with my wife, where we could see west to the Hudson. AG and I resumed our run after crossing back to Manhattan and we covered Chinatown and some of Little Italy until we came to our destination – 6th street – where we stopped into an Indian restaurant for lunch. It was a great kickoff to the Thanksgiving day break. Yesterday AG ran the Prospect Park 5 mile Turkey Trot with our friend FS and her husband. AG then went on to run the route two more times!

Yesterday morning was a big day for Team Emerging Runner. We headed to Nissequogue River State Park where we ran in the 5K Turkey Trot as a family. It was very chilly while we waited for the race to start but we’d dressed well. It was the first race for my wife and my son and the first non-cross country event for my daughter. Everyone was excited as we lined up with a field that was almost 800 people deep. When the horn sounded we trotted along with the pack for a quarter mile before things opened up enough to go a little faster. We all stayed together for the first kilometer and then my daughter and I edged ahead while my wife and son followed at their pace. Shortly before the 2 mile mark we came to a water station where we stopped to wait for the others and then resumed our run together.

My daughter and I were more in running mode than my wife and son so we put a little distance between them and had almost reached the finish line when we stopped to wait for our teammates. We had agreed that we’d all cross the finish line together and I was proud of my daughter who could have beaten 40 minutes but chose to wait for her mother and brother. Once they joined us we all came over the finish line together. My wife realized that her daily treadmill runs have prepared her well for outdoor running and now she knows she can cover that distance running on pavement. 3 miles was a new distance running record for my daughter and for my son who kept moving, both walking and running, until the end. Once we came home and showered we headed over to my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a long but fun day.

This morning I decided to cover 4-5 miles at an easy pace, faster than yesterday but not as briskly as AG and I ran at times. It was raining slightly so I wore my ASICS lightweight rain jacket that was perfect for the conditions. The air was cold enough that I remained comfortable through the entire 4.5 miles. I followed a course that took me up and down lots of short roads and through one of my standard routes that I use on my 4;00 AM runs. I feel great and I’m hoping to get an 8 to 10 mile run in before the end of the long weekend. Yesterday I wore the Skecher Resistance Runners during the race and I remain positive about them as training shoe. I would never wear them if I was trying for speed. In fact the reason I wore them was to slow me down. I went back to the Kivaras today. Between the Skechers, my compression sleeves and the core exercises, my leg strength and flexibility has improved. That’s good, especially if I attempt a personal distance record this week.