Exhausting week and pumpkin-y run

Pumpkin: gourd and shirt category

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

I knew I was facing a long, tough week despite the Monday holiday. It seemed to take forever to get to Friday. Besides a busy workday schedule, I had an exhausting Board of Directors dinner on Thursday night that got me home fairly late. It didn’t help that I needed to get in the office extra early on Friday morning. My Friday evening was spent at a fun event called Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns but I was reaching zombie state by the time I turned in.

I managed to sleep later than my usual 6:00 AM rise time and hoped that all those hours of rest would restore my energy level. However, even after eight hours sleep I was feeling run down. Any thoughts of getting out for an early run were offset by fatigue and slight dizziness. I had two cups of strong coffee and it wasn’t until I checked in with the Runsketeers to get a read on how to dress for my run that I geared up and headed outside. By then it was almost 10:30.

Conditions were fall-perfect, the temperature was in the low 50’s and the sun was shining. I wore a long sleeve running shirt with compression shorts under regular running shorts. I also wore a pair of light knit running gloves that kept my hands comfortable. I followed one of my usual routes around the neighborhood and motored along at a comfortable pace. The lack of hard effort and the cool dry air kept me sweat-free throughout half the run. The air had the smell of maple and burning leaves and the pumpkins and Halloween decorations were out in force.

I haven’t checked my Garmin data, but I know today’s performance was unremarkable. Some of that was due to feeling less than 100%. I also know that I’m never going to get back to my old performance level if I continue to run only three to four times a week, mostly at distances between 3-4 miles.

Just a few years ago, I was typically running 6 days a week and logging between 18-22 miles. That put me in a position where I could run a 5 or 10K at a moment’s notice and confidently hit my targeted pace times. Until I can figure out a way to fit in some additional weekday runs, I’ll need to be satisfied with the pleasant, easy runs I’m doing these days.

Running, storm prep and 5,000 pumpkins

Today’s run (street): 5.25 miles

We’re counting down the hours until the hurricane hits. Fortunately we’ve had a few days to plan and prepare. The kid’s schools are both closed on Monday and it looks like the LIRR will stop running after 7:00 tonight. Looks like I may be working from home. If there’s any upside, it’s that the timing of Sandy allowed me to get in a couple of nice runs this weekend.

My original plan was to run at Stillwell Woods this morning. I got as far as preparing my bag that holds water and recovery snacks for when I run in places outside of my neighborhood. Before I left, my wife and I brought in the pots of flowers and the pumpkins that sit outside our house. With predictions of 70 MPH winds (and higher), we wanted to eliminate any loose items from around our yard.

By the time we finished storm proofing, I’d decided to stay local and do another neighborhood run. Rather than duplicate yesterday’s route, I starting picking streets at random and just let the run flow. I ended up running west along Jericho Turnpike and then took a turn onto South Oyster Bay Road. I followed the road south until I could tuck into neighborhood #2 that sits directly to the south of my neighborhood.

I continued around neighborhood #2 on my way to covering five and a quarter miles, just as I did on Saturday. The temperature felt far colder than the 56° that was reported on the news. I’d planned to run a little slower than yesterday (and I did), but I was still surprised to see my pace come in ten seconds per mile faster than how it felt. Even after missing my workout on Friday, I still managed to come close to my weekly goal of 20 miles.

One of the many groups on display

Last night we went over to Old Westbury Gardens to see the Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns. It’s an event where over 5,000 carved pumpkins are illuminated with color and arranged along the paths within the garden grounds. We were in the 9:00 PM group and even under a full moon the effect was amazing. The above picture does not do justice to the experience, but it’s the best I could do with my smartphone. This would be a great place to run, though I don’t think they allow people to do that.