Many of the best things in life are half and half: Arnold Palmers (half iced tea and half lemonade), vodka sodas (1/2 vodka, 1/2 soda), me (half super-pale English, half awesomely-tan Hispanic). Add road to trail runs to this list.
I've been wear-testing a pair of shoes I can't discuss, and on Friday I received an email saying the final survey is almost due. Shnikes! I realize that I haven't worn them nearly enough and that I will have to do some serious running in them. The shoes are designed to handle trail and road, so I decided to run to the trail.
I left my house and ran the 5.5 miles to the entrance to the Greenbelt Trail in Cold Spring Harbor. I remembered when this felt like the longest run a few weeks ago, but that might have had something to do with the debilitating heatwave. Today it felt like nothing. I would tell you all about the shoes, but I cannot, but I will tell you that my feet felt awesome on the road. My wrist hurt like a bitch though. It hasn't been bothering me, but I chose to run with two 1 litre water bottles today, and after a mile my right wrist was having none of it. Still, I soldiered on because I know how thirsty I get.
I'm really glad I made half of this week's long run a trail run. I sandwiched the trail portion between two road runs, allowing my legs a reprieve from the pavement and my mind a reprieve from the monotony of familiar surroundings and avoiding cars. I like running, but I love trail running. My head is so much more into it as I make decisions regarding the terrain. I can think but I can't zone out. I ran 10.5 miles of trail. I wanted to do a 25K in there but the trail was closed at Whitney Lane because of storm damage. The trail I did run looked very different post-Irene. Some trees were down, but much of the underbrush is now missing and lots of sand has appeared. Portions are much easier to run, and others are missing so much soil you have to walk to get to the next wooden beam. I went farther into the trail than I have on other runs this summer, finally returning to the grassy field near Stillwell. I did a little exploring on the mountain biking blue trail, but didn't want to stray too far lest I get lost.
I exited the Greenbelt and completed 16 miles. I needed four more to finish my long run and decided to run into Huntington. I added some distance by running down a bunch of side roads, and then ran east on New York Avenue. I didn't realize all the different things that are out there, including Nader's Fish on the Run. I was so tempted to walk in and get fried seafood but I know from experience that eating post-long run usually ends up with me throwing up. I can eat during the run, but after not so much.
I had one mile to go when this woman walks out of a building and starts yelling ma'am and jogging after me. I thought maybe I had dropped something, but realized I hadn't, and then she starts asking me if I know where some medical building is. I told her I didn't live in Huntington and she got all huffy. At first I felt a little bad about being so short with her, but then I decided I wasn't sorry. Out of all the people walking around and driving in their cars, she decided to chase down a sweaty runner who was clearly doing something to ask a question that could easily be answered by a smartphone.
Why do people feel so compelled to stop runners? My friend Rifle was stopped during a timed run by a man wanting to know why she runs so much, and not because he was interested in taking up the sport. I was stopped during a tempo run by an idiot claiming he could give me a ticket for going so fast. If you want to know about running, ask us when are finished, gasping for breath and chugging water. No really, that's the time I feel best about running.
I digress. I needed 0.6 of a mile to finish, so I circled back around and ran to Heckscher Park. I had no idea that it was pretty in there. I normally stay to the side closest to 25A, but there is a lovely duck pond on the opposite side. The run took me over four hours, but the extra time was worth it for the trail.