Tag Archives: LSR

Cadence of LSR LSD 16 mile terrible run

Last (Terrible) Long Run Before Chicago

Cadence of LSR LSD 16 mile terrible run

As you can see, I stopped to walk almost every 1/4 mile. Just horrible.

Today I covered 16 miles – my last long run before Chicago in 2 weeks.  I realize 16 miles is not really long enough for my longest run, nor is 2 weeks long enough for a taper, but I’m still operating with injury, so I’m just crossing my fingers for a finish in Chicago.

 

I hope both of my race theories are correct, because today’s long run was so miserably horrible I don’t even know what to say.  There was a never a moment during the entire 16 miles (which took 3 1/2 hours, mind you, which means I’ll be running just ahead of the sag wagon cutoff of 6 1/2 hours in Chicago) that I was happy to be running.  It was a beautiful day outside (sunny and low 80s) and all I could think about was how I hated this warm weather.  I never seemed able to catch my breath, and I sweat so much I was almost instantly covered in gritty salt crystals that I felt grind into my skin every time I brushed the sweat away.  The entire endeavor was an exercise in sheer willpower, and left me totally drained for the rest of the day, so I haven’t done anything besides order in delivery (too tired to grocery shop and I don’t have anything fresh since I haven’t been home for 1.5 weeks) and sorta watch TV while aimlessly reading the interwebs.

 

It’s rare when running seems like such a slog (especially on a beautiful day), but sometimes it does, and I think it’s part of running to recognize those moments when you just can’t enjoy being out there.  Sometimes we have bad days and bad runs and that’s ok.  I’m just hoping my aches and pains don’t get worse and I’ll be able to rest and recover now that I’m back home from Washington.  I promise to post the Blerch recap tomorrow – I just don’t have it in me today.

 

What do you do when you have a really bad run?  Are you enjoying this warm weather or do you wish fall would get here already?  Does the fact that my ivy plant bloomed while I was gone mean anything?  Share in the comments!

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Ward Pound Ridge Reservation!

Rocks galore at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  Mosquitos and biting flies not pictured.

Rocks galore at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation. Mosquitos and biting flies not pictured.

I was exceedingly anxious about my LSR today in Westchester as I was heading into the unknown and running the trails at the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.  I shouldn’t have been so nervous, because the thing that ultimately ended my run prematurely (only managed 6.5 miles instead of 15) was not the lack of facilities or even the incredibly rocky path but rather the mosquitos and biting flies.

 

The run started on a sour note because I had forgotten my Camelbak at home, so I had to carry a water bottle by hand.  I hate hand-carrying water, but I barely noticed the bottle during the run because there were about 5,000 other more annoying things occupying my attention.  The first, most obvious difference on this run compared to my cradle that is Central Park were the rocky trails.  They were rockier than I expected and I was unprepared both physically (as a road runner) and equipment-wise (my soft road shoes were equally not up for the challenge).  The rocks varied from large, softball sized rocks to smaller slippery, shale pebbles to giant, half-submerged boulders.  Oftentimes the trail was partially washed away, creating gullies and exposing yet more rocks.  Rocks are not kind on the knees.  Neither is having to dodge them and change direction, making sure not to roll an ankle or trip and fall.  After about 2 miles, I thought about turning around and calling it a day, but I pushed down my discomfort because today was my LSR, danggit, and I wanted to cover at least one 5.7 mile red-blazed loop.  When the bugs started fiercely attacking at mile 3, I realized I had made a huge mistake.

 

Typical scenery at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

Typical scenery at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation.

My knee started complaining more vociferously after mile 3 but every time I stopped to take a walk break the bugs would be whining right by my ears, sometimes actually landing inside my ears, and I’d flap my arms and swat at my head like a crazy person.  The rocks were relentless, the bugs equally so, and I still had 3 more miles (at about an 18:00 min/mile pace at this point) to go.  I tried to tell myself the experience would make me a better runner, but really it just made me re-think my romantic plans to hike the Appalachian Trail or even attempt any sort of trail race anytime soon.

 

The “Pound” in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is derived from the animal pounds the Indians kept in the area – keeping deer “on the hoof” until they needed them for food.  I felt like a trapped deer myself, swatting at the ceaseless onslaught of insects.  The bug spray I applied before the run did nothing to keep them away, although it might have helped against the highly probable ticks in the area.

 

Here is the most scenic spot along the red loop in WPRR.  Enjoy it.

Here is the most scenic spot along the red loop in WPRR. The irony that it is a giant pile of rocks is not lost on me.

I stopped to take a few photos here and there, so you could see all the rocks and the non-beauty that I enjoyed.  There was one semi-scenic area along the red trail loop, and I made sure to get a photo of it to save you the bother of ever trying to see it yourself.  At some point the red/green trail I started on turned into red/yellow, and eventually I came upon a major fork in the road that clearly indicated red was to the left.  I double-checked the map I was carrying and headed to the left, thinking I was less than half a mile from the parking lot.

 

More rocks on the red and yellow trail at WPRR.

More rocks on the red and yellow trail at WPRR.

After heading along the yellow trail for a while I came across a group of hikers and asked them if the parking lot was just ahead.  The leader in the group told me that the parking lot was in the opposite direction!  He showed me where I was on my map, and the group agreed the navigation in the park “wasn’t intuitive.”  I thanked him and told him my run had been pretty miserable because of all of the biting flies.  He said, “Yeah, that’s funny because they all died off a couple of weeks ago, but they’re back now.”  I wanted to say, “you knew about the biting flies and yet you hike here anyway?!” but since he had just saved me from another fruitless three mile loop in the wrong direction, I just thanked him and trotted off.

Which direction is the red trail?  Yeah, actually opposite of that.

Which direction is the red trail? Yeah, actually opposite of that.

When I reached the signpost again I took a picture to document the red-trail left turn it indicated, then went the opposite direction and found the parking lot not more than 50 yards down the path.  I had never been so happy to hit a parking lot and felt like I had just survived a Bear Grylls challenge.

 

There’s no simple “equivalence” formula of a mile on a trail to a mile on the road, but it definitely felt like more than 6.5 miles on my legs.  I’m still disappointed I didn’t get in a solid 15 today, but at least this LSR wasn’t critical to my marathon training (versus, say, my 18-miler would be), so I’m trying not to sweat it.  Needless to say, I would not recommend WPRR as a running destination, although I did encounter about 5 other runners during my almost 2 hour slog through the woods, and none of them seemed as miserable as I was.  It was “interesting” to try the WPRR trails for the first time, but I’m going to give an extra big kiss and hug to Central Park when I return.

 

Do you run on trails?  Do you have problems with bugs?  Share in the comments!

Where's the Finish Panda

M-V-Knee

After taking off three days from running because of knee pain and general laziness, today I went out for my long run with fear and trepidation.  After a first terrible and painful mile with lots of stops and starts, I eventually settled into a rhythm and banged out 11 almost pain-free miles.

I have never been so happy to run 12 miles.  They were relatively slow (10:45 to 11:00 min miles) but maybe that’s another reason they were so enjoyable.  But I think the main reason I was so happy is because I felt fine – not great, not even particularly good, just fine.  And that felt wonderful.

Much is discussed about “runner’s high” and that great feeling you get from exercise, but what I think doesn’t get enough credit is the simple feeling of being pain-free.  We don’t notice it enough because it is (luckily) the default feeling for most of us, but when you do encounter rare moments of pain in your life, the best feeling is simply the relief of not feeling.  Those first few yards of running without knee pain today were sheer relief.  The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the tourists were clumping, the walkers were chatting (about Ben Affleck being the next Batman – “Everybody’s gonna see the movie at least once, because I mean, it’s Batman and Superman in the same movie, man.”), the bikers were swerving, and the runners were running.  And I was one of them.

Where's the Finish Panda

Who wears short shorts?

Today was my LSR, or Long Slow Run. At this point it seems like all of my runs are long and slow, but today’s was officially longerer and slowerer. I ran two full loops in Central Park (12 miles), along with at least half of the rest of the city (some were on bikes). It was a beautiful day and I really have nothing to complain about, so instead I’ll tell you the most interesting thing I saw on my run – a woman in jean shorts just blowing past me like I was walking (I probably was walking). She wore regular running shoes and a normal tech-fabric running shirt, but those denim shorts! She looked chafing in the eye, and gave zero f’s. Today, I salute her. Run on, denim jean shorts lady, run on.