Neighborhood walkers explain Tuesday’s results

Good decisions require good judgment  

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles

Happy Veteran’s Day.  This is a holiday that actually means something and I always take the time to appreciate the men and women who have served our country. I’m disappointed that our country will soon be led by a man who has neither served nor sacrificed, but thinks it’s okay to insult Gold Star families and expresses disrespect for war heroes, “because they got captured.”

As I ran through my neighborhood this morning, I thought about Tuesday’s election result and the fact that close to half of American voters voluntarily chose a woman-hating racist over his far more qualified opponent. That had made no sense to me until I rounded a corner and saw two people walking abreast on the right side of the street.

It clearly didn’t occur to this pair that they had better, smarter and safer choices, such as the sidewalk. If they absolutely had to walk on the street, they had the option of staying on the left side where they could see oncoming cars rather than trust the drivers behind them. I’d never understood why people will make such clearly bad decisions until I saw the election results on Wednesday morning. I finally understand that many people just aren’t smart enough to anticipate the consequence of their actions.

Do I think people who voted in the president-elect are stupid? How about people who walk on the right side of the road and trust that distracted drivers aren’t going to run them down? That’s not for me to say. But I will suggest that both are examples of bad judgment, something usually correlated to low intelligence.

Cool weather returns but so does traffic

Today’s route

Today’s run (street): 3.25 miles
Sunday’s run (street): 4.4 miles 

The weekend is here and I’m very glad about that. Since the school year started, my commute has gone from easy and breezy to not easy and not at all breezy. It takes me approximately twice as long to get to and from my office now than it did the last week in August. Working from home on Fridays makes the prior four day’s driving more tolerable. No commuting means I can get in a run before my workday begins.

It was 54° when I got outside at 7:30 AM. The air felt cool but not uncomfortable. I wore the runner’s mullet: a long sleeve shirt with shorts, that were perfect for the conditions. I’m getting used to feeling good from the start of my run after a year or so of struggling during the first few minutes. I ascribe this change to weight loss that has come mostly from consuming less sugar. My weight loss hasn’t been dramatic, but it’s been enough to make a difference in my running experience.

I ran my usual Friday morning loop. Due to the hour, I spent a lot of time running on the sidewalk to avoid maniac parents dropping off their children at the elementary and middle schools. The aggressive driving, speeding and ignorance of stop signs kept me off the road. Running on sidewalks is not my preference, but it’s the place to be on mornings like this.

I felt I was running well and my numbers showed it. I paced 8.7% quicker than my current average and I felt like I got around my slightly modified course sooner than I expected. That said, I wasn’t particularly fast compared to how I ran a couple of years ago. I’m loving this cooler weather and I’m looking forward to my weekend runs. Tomorrow morning’s schedule is tight and I’m hoping to get out early enough to get in some miles before 8:00 AM. Otherwise I’ll need to do a rare afternoon run.

Running the SOB route

At long last

Today’s run (street): 4.25 miles

As the old proverb goes, nothing succeeds like success. In my case, this means good running experiences are changing my attitude about running. In a very short time, my view of running has greatly improved. Rather than dragging myself out the door because I know I should, I now look forward to every run.

It was cooler this morning (75°) than yesterday, but the humidity was ferocious. I wondered how I’d do under those conditions. Things started out well, although I did feel a little taxed as I made it to the end of first rise. I quickly bounced back and had no further trouble, even on bigger hills. I was going to follow one of my usual routes, but then I remembered that the sidewalks along South Oyster Bay Road had just reopened. Or I thought they did.

I’ve complained for years that the sidewalks along SOB were a disgrace. The concrete was in such disrepair that it was even hazardous to walk over its broken slabs. Running on it was downright dangerous. I made my way over to SOB Road at my first opportunity and saw newly paved concrete and brick stretching as far as the eye could see. I also saw a sign showing the sidewalk was still closed to the public. I decided it didn’t apply to me.

It was nice having another route option and I followed the sidewalk all the way to the library where it was again blocked off. I would have kept going but there was a police officer standing on the corner of the fire station driveway. Instead, I cut through the library lot to the service road and ducked back into the neighborhood from there. The thought of finishing never crossed my mind and I headed north to pick up another mile before heading home.

In terms of performance, today was a little better than I’d been averaging a month ago, but not especially fast. I know I can run faster, but right now I’m just enjoying, rather than dreading my workouts. I don’t want to push too hard or heighten expectations too quickly. My goal now is to be able to do a Runsketeers run and stay with my buddies the entire time. SIOR injured her knee and KWL is in Asia, but when the recoveries and travel are over, I look forward to seeing them and TPP who is spending a LOT of time riding with her bike group.

Sidewalk running on a busy Friday morning

Hurry home K5s

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles
Yesterday’s workout (elliptical): 30 minutes

It’s Labor Day weekend and the end of the first week of school. Despite the heat wave we’ve had over the past few days, I know that fall weather will soon be here. I’m pretty excited about that. This morning’s temperature was closer to 70 than 90, but it was still extremely humid when I stepped outside. I patiently waited for a phalanx of buses to go by and then I was off.

I knew it would be humid, so I kept a low effort for the first ten minutes. I’ve been eagerly anticipating the arrival of my Kinvara 5s, but I had to go with the Triumph ISOs today. That turned out to be a good choice because the high volume of traffic forced me onto concrete slab sidewalks a few times. The Triumphs provided a nice cushion from the extra hard surface, but I was still concerned about the possibility of tripping on the uneven sections. Halfway through the run, it seemed like all the school drop-off traffic was finished and it felt a little safer to be on the street.

Along the way, I ran by one of my wife’s friends who was chatting with a neighbor in front of her house. We exchanged quick hellos, but I didn’t have time to stop because I was on a split second schedule. I needed to be showered and dressed in time for a video call that was happening in 30 minutes. I got ready with only seconds to spare and did the call wearing gym shorts. Since my colleagues could only see my top half, that will remain a secret unless they read this post.

I did pretty well today despite the humidity and the fact that I haven’t taken to the Triumphs. My new Kinvaras are due to arrive by 8 PM tomorrow, so I may not get to run in them until Sunday. I think it will be a little cooler on Saturday and plan to cover a little more distance.

Foggy sidewalk running

View at the end of my run

Today’s run (street): 4 miles

Procrastination might have been a better strategy today than getting out early. I’ve been busy since the holiday break, but this morning was relatively open. I thought I’d take advantage of that and go out for a run before the streets became clogged with school buses.

The news stations were reporting 32° temperatures, but there was lots of moisture in the air, causing foggy conditions. I’d prepared for the cold, but I had no idea that when they said fog, they were talking about the pea-soup variety. Visibility was limited to the distance between houses. I decided that in the interest of safety, I’d do most of this run on the sidewalk.

I started out on a long road that borders the eastern edge of my neighborhood. This street only has houses on one side and it is often used as a service road by buses, town trucks and commercial vehicles. Running north on this road, I noticed that even without wind, the cold air felt freezing on my face. Not only that, the fog was so thick that cars, trucks and buses were nearly invisible, unless they were using their headlights. Even so, it was nearly impossible to see anything more than 20 feet ahead.

I don’t love running on the sidewalks in my area, but it I was glad to have them. Not only is the concrete surface hard on my legs, but careful attention must be paid to avoid the many uneven or broken sections. Catching a toe is easy to do. There was no question that if I was going to run outside today I’d need to stay off the road. Even crossing the street gave me pause. I was disappointed to see half the cars driving without lights. I was even more disappointed to see a man walking in the road with his dog with traffic at his back.

I had hoped to work on speed today, but the sidewalks slowed me down. Also, even after a week, the bottom of my left foot is still a little sore. So this run will go down as another maintenance workout. No matter, it was fun running through the fog and the necessarily slower pace kept things comfortable.

It’s official!

My GLIRC welcome packet came in the mail today and it included my membership card, along with four pages of information about volunteering at club events. That’s a dimension I haven’t experienced but I plan to participate in at least one race as a non-runner this year. It might be interesting to be the person on the other side of the table sometime.

Off road running as a safer strategy

New sidewalks make for safer running

Today’s run (street): 3.4 miles

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve found myself running on the sidewalks more frequently than on the road. I’ll admit to being extremely safety conscious when it comes to running, and the driving behavior I see in my neighborhood supports that position. After years managing production and technology operations, I’ve adopted the philosophy of minimizing or preventing risk whenever possible.

Running on the sidewalk minimizes the chance of an encounter with a car, but sidewalks can also present problems. I tripped and fell badly at the end of a run a couple of years ago, when my toe caught a slightly raised section of my driveway. The town has done an impressive job this spring, replacing sidewalks that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy. However, there are still plenty of sections in need of repair that could trip a runner.

I did about 85% of today’s run on sidewalks, only using the street to cross or when I encountered an impassible section. Besides the safety benefit, the relative flatness of sidewalks (compared to roads that are banked on the sides for water runoff) prevents my right foot from doing more work than the left, because I always run on the left side of the street.

I did encounter some rough sidewalks along my route this morning, but I managed to step around or over the trickiest sections. I tried to push a little harder than I have of late, and was rewarded with an overall pace that was slightly faster than average. I expected to do better than that, and I wonder if I’d shortened my step slightly on uneven sidewalks. If that’s the case, I’d rather run slower and be a little safer.

Great day 1 run, broken pavement notwithstanding

Bad sidewalks were no problem for the nimble Hattori’s

Today’s run (street/variable terrain): 5.5 miles

It’s day 1 of my vacation and I thought I’d get out early to beat the heat. I ended up skipping my run yesterday morning and the weather negated any later opportunities for an outdoor workout. I figured I’d be able to cover lots of ground over the next nine days so I felt fine resting. It was comfortably cool when I left my house and the extra day’s rest, combined with a good night’s sleep, made it easy going for the first couple of miles.

I planned a route that took me through the neighborhood and out to the busy road that borders the streets on the western side. I went north along this road, over sidewalks that are in truly abysmal shape, with broken concrete and large sections of mud and grass. I was concerned about the way the Hattori’s would work on theses surfaces but they did well. Landing mid-foot provided good stability, and my biggest concern was that I’d get my shoes muddy.

Once I reached Jericho Turnpike I headed east along a stretch that gains about 200 feet over a third of a  mile. I usually run this section the opposite way but today I felt like I needed some hill challenges. There aren’t a lot of of choices for hills on the local roads. Once I crested that hill I turned back into my neighborhood and ran another 2.5 miles before returning home.

I thought a lot about my form and strike during the run. The efficiency of mid-foot running provides an easier running experience. My friend FS, who is a prolific runner, surprised me recently by saying that she enjoys cycling far more than running. I think that’s because recreational biking provides more opportunity to be a spectator than running. Since I’ve switched my running form I really do feel as though I observe more and focus less at the job at hand.

I finished my run by pushing the pace for the last half mile and was pleased to note that I could have tacked on a few more miles without much trouble. The humidity was rough and the temperature had risen over the 50+ minutes it took to complete my route. It was a good solid run and a nice change of scenery. It’s great to be able to focus on more than the road these days.