Short and steep running at Trailview

Trailview welcomes you

Today’s run (Trailview State Park): 2 miles

Today is my birthday and it’s been a good one so far. I’m not much for big celebrations and my family and friends respect that. I did enjoy a nice lunch at the Lemonleaf Grill (spicy Panang curry), the great cards, thoughtful and fun gifts, calls and emails. And there’s still more to come!

I had looked forward to today’s run which I planned to do at Stillwell Woods this morning. I haven’t been on a wooded trail since March’s relay race in Bethpage and I thought a change would be nice. When I arrived at Stillwell, I saw that the enormous set of athletic fields were packed with tents and people who were there for some lacrosse-related event. I drove into the lot despite the hundreds of cars, many double parked along the drive. In the past I’ve been able to find spots way down near the trail entrance, but today there wasn’t a space to be found.

If I wasn’t wearing my H/H Trail Lizards, I would have driven to the nearby high school and run on the track. Instead, I decided to head home and take a birthday rest day. When I reached Jericho Turnpike, it occurred to me that I could run the trails south of Stillwell (i.e., Trailview) that probably had plenty of parking. I was there in two minutes and, while the lot was crowded, there were still plenty of spaces.

I wasn’t looking to run long today, so Trailview was a good choice. The loop is an out and back measuring about two miles, but with its steep, gnarly, rocky climbs and precipitous drops, you can get quite a workout. As soon as my Garmin captured a signal, I was (literally) off and running, mostly because I wanted to get to the starting point ahead of a large group of hikers.

The short run seemed to go by quickly and I was very happy with my response to the hills. I actually liked going up more than going down, because I feared catching a root and tumbling down 20 feet of rocky trail. I maintained a fairly high heart rate which has been my goal for my current training. I always forget how challenging Trailview can be.

Later in the day, the family headed over to Syosset-Woodbury Park for some other activities. There are some great hills and I took on the biggest a couple of times. I got outside a couple of times today but didn’t overdo it either time. I’m planning to cover 9 or 10 miles tomorrow and need to reserve a little energy for that.

Bethpage rudely corrects an assumption

Scenes from today’s Bethpage run

Yesterday’s run (treadmill): 3.1 miles
Today’s run (Bethpage State Park trails): 3.4 miles

At the exact moment that I was thinking how Bethpage’s wooded trails are less tricky and technical than Stillwell’s, my foot caught a root and I came very close to tumbling down a very steep hill. That moment captured the dichotomous nature of Bethpage’s dirt trails. The main paths through these woods are beautifully groomed, but watch out for the network of challenging side-trails that connect throughout the preserve. Along a given mile, you can find cushioned (almost too cushioned) loam, followed by sand, gravel, packed dirt, rocky ledges, knotty roots, sharp rises and deep drops.

Thankfully, I didn’t hit the ground after connecting with that root. It was a good reminder that complacency during a trail run can easily lead to injury. I continued with caution and made my way up a twisty rise that led to what I call the “sand trap.” I don’t care to run on sand, and when you reach this section you really have no choice – unless you turn around and head back the other way. My ego wouldn’t let me do that, so I toughed it out for the next quarter mile, when I was able to switch to another path.

I had lots of company on the trails today. There were numerous groups of cross country teams doing summer conditioning. I saw a group of boys practicing drills across the field adjacent to the trail head and groups of high school age girls at various times running on the paths. I was very glad that I didn’t have to keep up with anyone today, because I was still recovering from a late workout on Friday.

Yesterday’s schedule made a morning run impossible, so I aimed for a mid-afternoon neighborhood run. Things got unexpectedly busy and I ended up pushing my run to 5:00 PM. By that time, the humidity was unbearable, so I opted for an indoor treadmill session with the AC on and the fan set to high. It was still hot and humid, but far better than outdoors. I set a fast pace and got through the run, although I’ll admit I watched the clock like I was in high school math class.

Tomorrow I plan to go out for a base run that will kick off my taper for the Dirty Sock. I expect to go for 6 to 7 miles and hope to get an early start to minimize the heat and sun. I had originally planned to run the Dirty Sock course today, but I’ll need to wait another week to see that course again on race day. And when I do, I’ll be sure to scan the path for roots.