The Christmas trees of Trailview

Because nature isn’t pretty enough

Today’s workout (elliptical): 45 minutes

I’m not sure why, but I was exhausted by the end of the day on Saturday. It may have had to do with running in the morning and then doing a hike in the afternoon. It could also been due to the fact that I’d done eleven workouts over the prior twelve days. Either way, I slept reasonably well last night and had no trouble getting through an elliptical session this morning. It was the 12th workout of my holiday break.

Yesterday my son and I headed over to Trailview State Park to hike the relatively short, but fairly technical trails. He and I have been hiking there since he was in grade school. Over the years, our conversations have progressed from silly topics related to sci-fi and robots to fascinating and challenging discussions about science and politics. We still occasionally talk about sci-fi and robots.

Did I mention it was cold on the trail?

Along the way we encountered a couple of trees in the woods that people had decorated with ornaments. That was unexpected and funny. What wasn’t so funny were the two large dogs that were running around unleashed, one with a GoPro camera attached to its back.

I mentioned to the owner that the dogs should be leashed (actually dogs aren’t even allowed in the park) and he gave me attitude. Not that I don’t like dogs, but some people are afraid of them and it’s obnoxious when people let their dogs run loose because they’re supposedly friendly. A big dog ran up and knocked over my daughter in Stillwell Woods when she was little. That was a terrible experience for her.

Today is the last day of a long vacation and I’ve had a great time away from the office. Reality will hit tomorrow morning when I’m back to my long commute. My 2015 running mileage suffered greatly due to a few periods when I used the elliptical or alternative cardio machines while I recovered from my disc problem. I’m hoping that I can surpass 700 running miles in 2016 and supplement that with regular elliptical workouts. My schedule won’t make that easy, but I’ll do my best.

Pouring without raining

 

Todays run (street): 3.5 miles

 As expected, I woke up around 5:30 AM to the percussive sound of rain on the skylight. This continued for at least an hour, but by 8:00 AM, conditions had improved enough for me to venture outside. The skies were dark and overcast and I couldn’t tell whether the rain had completely stopped. Surprisingly enough, my Garmin grabbed a signal almost instantly and I was off.

I hadn’t gone more than a few tenths before I felt a cascade of water drops as I rounded the first corner. Despite the rain, I decided to keep going. Interestingly enough, the “downpour” stopped as quickly as it came, and I realized the “rain” was merely droplets of water shaken off the trees overhead. I continued along, getting intermittently splattered every time I ran under a group of trees.

My route today was three 1.15 mile loops that started and finished in front of my house. As time went on, things began to dry and the tree showers became less frequent. The sun started showing through the clouds, but not enough for me to regret leaving my sunglasses at home. It was a decent run and I was pleased that the weather hadn’t relegated me to the treadmill today.

Tomorrow is supposed to be dry all day and, if I get out around 8:00 AM, the humidity level should be a tolerable 52%. That would be a big improvement compared to all my other runs this week. If I get in eight more miles over the next couple of days, this could be my highest mileage week this year.

I Love My Park Days at Caleb Smith

A beautiful day to volunteer

Today’s run (street): 4.2 miles

We had a busy morning planned, so I got out on the road early, for a run around the neighborhood. It was another beautiful spring morning, sunny and cool enough to wear long sleeves. Just for a change, I took a route that goes by the middle school. It’s always nice to see some different roads.

While approaching the school, I noticed a woman running about 100 feet ahead of me on the right side of the road. She was running slower than me, so I eventually caught up with her. As I was passing her, I said hello, and suggested that she run on the left side for safety. She said that she’d been running for 25 years and wasn’t worried because there’s hardly any traffic. I said that things are different now, with people talking on the phone and texting. She acknowledged that, but I didn’t see her moving over. I can only do so much.

I completed my run and, soon after that, we all headed to Caleb Smith State Park to participate in “I Love My Park Days.” This is a program where volunteers perform numerous tasks to help NY parks that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Caleb Smith lost 300 trees in the storm and the goal was to replace them all. Our task today was to plant a tree at a designated spot. Did you know that the New York State tree is the Acer saccharum, better known as the sugar maple? We didn’t!

One down, 299 to go…

We were given a map and told to locate a yellow marker with the number “4” written on it. The park gave us a bucket of loam, a gardening spade and a sugar maple sapling to plant. We trekked along the yellow path until we found our marker. The kids did most of the work by digging a hole in the root-covered ground, planting and positioning the tree, and adding supporting loam. We remembered where we planted it, so we can visit it and watch its progress as it grows. 

We do love our parks!

After we turned in our bucket and shovel, the park people offered us the chance to fill a small cup with sunflower seeds embedded in dirt. My daughter took one cup to replant in the back yard, once the seeds germinate inside. We did a short hike in the park and were then rewarded with “I Love My Park Days” tee shirts. It was perfect weather for visiting the park and it was nice to be able to help out today. I look forward to watching our tree’s progress every time I run or hike at Caleb Smith.

Another Trailview adventure

This must be the place

Today’s run (treadmill): 3.6 miles

This morning was very busy, especially for a Sunday. My wife and daughter went to an early cooking class and my son and I had planned to go to the high school to run intervals at the track. Instead, he completed his weekend homework and I ended up doing a treadmill run. We finished our tasks, only to discover that our freezer was failing. So our morning time together involved salvaging food and trying to (unsuccessfully) restart the refrigeration process.

Ripped from the ground

Yesterday afternoon, my son and I returned to nearby Trailview State Park for another hike. I had run close to five miles in the morning, but I still had lots of energy. My son was also anxious to go. We took a different trail than we had last time, and we saw some new tree damage. One tree, measuring over 30 feet, had been pulled up from its roots. Another had broken off near the four foot point. Other than those trees, the trail was mostly clear of obstructions. We went off trail once, just to see where it led, but the thorny brush discouraged us from traveling too far into the woods.

You’ve learned well, grasshopper

It was a hike, not a run, but my son attacked the steep sections like an ultrarunner. He said he prefers hiking to trail running, and I’m good with that. With the rate he’s growing and the speed he already possesses, I know I’d have trouble keeping up with him. We’ll probably head to Stillwell Woods next time so he can get a bigger challenge. There are some sections on Stillwell’s trails that make Trailview’s tough climbs look mighty easy.