Triple celebration after a sweltering start

Today’s run (street): 5.4 miles

Today was a triple celebration day: Father’s Day, my daughter’s birthday and the first day of summer. Since we celebrated Father’s Day yesterday, there wasn’t much going on related to that. Celebrating summer is a passive thing unless you are a Druid, so today was really about my daughter. Except for the kids spending time in the pool midday, most of our celebrating happened indoors or out at places. A good idea considering the August-like humidity.


The day did not start in a promising way. The torrential rains and heavy thunderstorms predicted by the weather services turned out to be less intense than expected. However, it was enough to discourage the Runsketeers from going out early as we’d planned. My friends switched the run to later in the afternoon, but I couldn’t join them due to birthday stuff. I’m truly sorry to miss that, but the 90° heat and 90% humidity would not have been too enjoyable. I’m curious to hear how that went.

I thought I’d be doing today’s workout on the treadmill and had considered doing a faux brick (30 min treadmill, 30 minute elliptical) to minimize my treadmill time. By 8:30 AM, the rain stopped and I went outside to run. My plan was to run loops around the neighborhood that would keep me close to home in case the skies opened up again.

Although it was overcast when I started my run, I thought to wear my sunglasses and that turned out to be a good decision. Over the course of my 50+ minute workout, the sun broke through the clouds and made for a sweltering experience. I kept my effort below anaerobic threshold to keep things tolerable. After three 1.2 mile loops, I expanded my route to ensure that I would cover at least five miles. That course turned out more circuitous than expected and I ended up adding another .4 mile to that total.

It was definitely 5 miles the hard way, and though I felt depleted and dehydrated, I was happy that I got out this morning. My motivation before my last three runs was very low, but each time I rebounded during the run. I’m almost as proud of myself for getting myself out there as I am for getting my runs done.

So happy summer, happy birthday and happy Father’s Day. With the 13 miles I’ve covered over the past three days, I think I worked hard enough to justify the birthday cake we’ll be having tonight.

Laboring through another humid run

Today’s run (street): 3.6 miles

It’s been years since Labor Day weekend signaled a return to classes for me, but ever since my kids reached school age the holiday invokes some anxiousness. My kids have had a great summer and they’re prepared for tomorrow. They’re excited to see their friends, but not for the sudden return to early mornings, long school days and evenings full of homework. This is the last weekend before we close the pool and that always makes me a little sad. But the kids have enjoyed every minute of the day.

September 1st is still summer and the humidity is abundant (94% today). I got out this morning and did a short, flat run around the neighborhood. After yesterday’s similar weather, I had no performance expectations on the run. I kept to shadier roads and appreciated the slight breeze that came from the north. Though still slow, I ended up running half a minute per mile faster than yesterday.

I’ve run every day since Friday, totaling almost 18 miles. No special venues or social running this weekend — I stayed local but mixed up my regular routes to keep it interesting. I’ll likely rest tomorrow and do a treadmill run on Wednesday. Tomorrow is just another work day, but I’m feeling the back to school vibe. I’m hoping everyone has a great day tomorrow.

Spring into summer, all in one run

One run, two neighborhoods

Today’s run (street): 6.4 miles

This morning’s workout was either the last run of spring or the first of summer. Summer officially started at 6:51 AM EDT, so I crossed over seasons at some point. Either way, it was perfect running weather.

I wanted to cover at least six miles and considered doing a long trail run at Stillwell Woods. Even though I’d be getting there early, I was concerned about parking because of all the Saturday soccer games.  I wasn’t in the mood to drive to Bethpage or to Babylon, where I’ve been wanting to return to run the Dirty Sock course. I settled on my neighborhood, even though I prefer to run 6+ mile distances outside of its tight boundaries.

Mindset is really important when starting a run. It is much harder to run six miles when your original intention was to run less. I like to think out my route ahead of time to set an expectation of progress as I move along. It’s difficult to cover more than four miles in my neighborhood before I begin repeating roads. I pre-planned a side route into neighborhood #2 to extend the distance. It’s all houses and cars, but by going into another neighborhood at least the houses and cars are different.

I enjoyed today’s run because it was cool, dry, sunny and quiet. I saw a few other runners, some walkers and a couple of cyclists along the way, but it was still too early for most people to be out on a Saturday morning. Tomorrow’s weather should be just as nice and I’m still thinking about a trail run for tomorrow. I just don’t know where to run.

Summer is coming, but spring running is here

Work in progress

Today’s run (street): 3.3 mile

Our house has been taken over by tree service people, who are taking care of some much needed trimming. The pool is now open, but the water color is closer to Pantone 364C than sky blue. That should clear up after a few days of shock treatments. The only thing left is to replace the fence on the outward side of the pool that was damaged by overzealous county workers doing Sandy repairs. The new fence goes up next week. Summer is coming.

Happily, it’s still spring, and the humidity and gloomy skies have finally moved on. I went out for my run this morning, right after the last school bus exited the neighborhood. There aren’t too many days in the year where running conditions are near perfect, but today was one of them. It may have been the lack of heat, or perhaps the cooling breeze that made my start effortless. This run came after my one weekly rest day, so that could have been a factor as well.

Before I knew it, I’d passed my first mile and I was tempted to do a true distance run, rather than a standard weekday 3.x mile workout. I reminded myself that, although I follow a flexible schedule these days, I still have work to do. Especially on a day like today, when business will keep me in the city late into the evening.

I enjoyed my run today and finished with an overall pace that was lower than any run I’ve done in the past week. The great weather certainly helped that happen. I enjoyed the run a lot and, like so many great things, it was over all too soon.

Brutally hot running, but my advice was followed

Today’s conditions (artist’s rendering)

Today’s run (street): 3.3 miles

As I ran along my neighborhood roads this morning I thought about the heat and the fact that summer is still a few weeks away. I’m not sure what the temperature was at 8:00 AM, but with the sun, it felt as hot as a July afternoon. Actually, with the humidity, it was more like late August. I did my best to put one foot in front of the other and questioned how I was able to manage much faster paces a few years ago.

I made my way through my first mile, running the best pace I could maintain, but far slower than the 8-something miles I used to do at lunch in Central Park. I had a couple more miles to cover before I was done, and I worried that the heat and sun would sap all my energy. I thought about the New Hyde Park 8K race on Sunday and the fact that I will miss it for the first time in three years. But the idea of running hard in this type of heat for 40+ minutes reinforced my decision not to participate this year.

I didn’t exactly struggle through the rest of my run, but under those conditions I couldn’t generate too much speed. I crossed paths with some neighborhood women who were out for a stroll, walking on the street with their backs to traffic. I quickly said, “You really shouldn’t run with your back to traffic.” I didn’t hear a response, but I encountered them later in my run and they were walking on the left (correct) side. It made me happy that someone actually listened when I expressed concern for their safety.

It wasn’t an easy three miles, but I was glad to have faced the steamy weather and met my targeted distance. If I can get my act together and go out early tomorrow morning, I may be able to avoid a repeat of today’s heat and humidity.

Running summer into fall

Today’s run (Street): 2.5 miles

Last night my son asked me when I planned to go out for my morning run. I told him 4:00 AM and he noted that, although today is the first day of fall, I would be doing that run in summer. It’s true, I completed my run before the Fall Equinox began at 5:05 AM. If I had the option, I would have began my run during summer and finished it in fall, just for the fun of it.

It’s hard to believe that summer is finally over. It was a great season for running, but I look forward to cooler days and less humidity. This morning’s run was interesting, a combination of refreshing coolness from the wind and high heat and humidity the rest of the time. A perfect metaphor of summer into fall. Lots of rain is coming later today and it’s supposed to continue into tonight and tomorrow. I’m hoping for a window of clear skies on Saturday so I can do my first run of fall outside.

The good and bad of late summer running

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles

I had mixed emotions when I began this morning’s run. The air was cool, almost cold, and so different from the humid conditions over the past weekend. I appreciated the energizing weather as I made my way along the route but felt a little sad that the cool conditions and low humidity were signaling the close of summer.

After Sunday’s treadmill intervals I found it easier to run with some speed. I knew that I was pacing better than I had in a while. I followed my usual route and moved along at faster than conversational pace. I was trying to imagine if I could sustain that rate over the length of Sunday’s race. I pushed hard over the half mile and finished close to 9:00/mile.

One year ago I was averaging about an 8:45 pace on my morning runs but my speed has slipped over the last six months. I’m happy with today’s run because (at least) it’s an improvement from what is now the status quo.

Making plans for summer racing

It looks like we’ll be experiencing hot temperatures and daily thunderstorms this week. I’m resting today for the first time since last Tuesday. If the skies remain clear we may head over to Bethpage State Park to ride bikes. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done a 7+ mile run so perhaps that will be a goal for Wednesday or Thursday.

I’m still on the fence whether I’ll race in July. I’ve never competed in July, mostly because it’s such a hot month and there aren’t any essential races. I’ll look again at the LI race schedule to see if there’s anything that seems fun. If not, perhaps July will be dedicated to training for the heat, humidity and seemingly infinite last mile of August’s Dirty Sock 10K.

It’s not summer, but it’s Summer Friday

Today is the first of my company’s “Summer Fridays” and it’s appropriate that it falls on the day before Memorial Day weekend. I’m not saying NYC is a ghost town this morning but my office floor is virtually empty. Perfect conditions for a productive morning. Some of my best running adventures have happened on Summer Fridays, including runs across the GW Bridge, the West Side Bike Trails, the Brooklyn Bridge and along the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail. Today I’m running in Central Park around lunchtime with my friend Steve. After that I’ll head home to start my long weekend.

When I got home last night my Hattori’s were waiting for me and I wasted no time trying them on. My daughter pronounced them “even cooler than the Kinvaras.” High praise indeed. The Hattori does not look like a running shoe and, if not for its sturdy mid-sole/out-sole, I would take it for a slipper with a very over-the-top design. The shoe fit me snugly and was extremely comfortable on my foot. I then tried it without a sock and it felt great. But I won’t run that way. Not my style. I think I’ll need to find thinner running socks though.

I resisted temptation to run in the Hattori’s last night and I’m not wearing them on today’s run because the zero drop and flat platform may take a little adjustment. You can bet I’ll be running in them tomorrow, or maybe I’ll take them for a spin this afternoon when I get home. After all it is a Summer Friday.

Summer running

After four days of sunny weather it really feels like summer has arrived. I’m no fan of the heat but I’m not dreading it as much as I did last year. It was the hot weather that pushed me to do more trail running last summer and I’ve enjoyed that experience many times since. Now that the state parks on Long Island have been fully funded I’m looking forward to revisiting some, like Caleb Smith State Park along with others that were due to close. My company is once again offering “Summer Fridays” that allow staff to finish the work week around 1:00 PM. I usually work the mornings, go out for a NYC run at lunchtime and then head home. I did some great Friday runs last summer with Adventure Girl in Central Park, on the west side bike paths, over the Brooklyn and GW Bridges and along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail. Just thinking about the possibilities gets me excited and I hope to recruit some running friends to join me this year. I used to dread summer because of the heat, but running on the trails and in the city has turned that into a real positive.