Tag Archives: Running Route Reviewed

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Waveny Park in New Canaan, CT!

Waveny Park path

Ok, so Waveny Park is in Connecticut, not Westchester, but it’s close enough.  And I did this run in late August, a little over a month ago (the week before my long run in Pound Ridge Town Park).  The color of the leaves might have changed in a month but the trails are still there!

 

In a turn from the usual, I’m trying to do at least a little training before my next marathon (Twin Cities in Minneapolis/St. Paul on October 4th).  So this week I forced my lovely family to go to Waveny Park so I could do my long run and they could run, too (… and wait and mess around on the exercise equipment and wait and watch the model airplane people and wait).

 

This was kinda neat to see - tons of people had their airplanes out - and it looked like something they did every weekend.

This was kinda neat to see – tons of people had their airplanes out – and it looked like something they did every weekend.

Wavney Park is in New Canaan, Connecticut, not far from the downtown and just off the Merritt Parkway (you can actually see cars on the Merritt while running).  The high school is inside the park, along with a track, a pooltennis courts, a grand old house, and a theater theatre.  I did my entire run inside the park on the various trails – I did not run on the roads as it seemed dangerous and I seem overly cautious.

A lot of the trails looked like this, but narrower and more crowded as the morning passed.

A lot of the trails looked like this, but narrower and more crowded as the morning passed.

Unfortunately, the trails in the park do not form any sort of coherent loop or route (see map here).  So I spent 10 miles going up and down and back and forth and left and right depending on my mood and how crowded certain sections of the trail seemed to be at the time.

Like the path of an insane person, which I became by the end of this run.

Like the path of an insane person, which I became by the end of this run.

 

The good:

  • The trails were easy, in the sense you could wear road shoes and be fine.
  • Hard to get lost, despite all the random turns and dead ends.
  • Lots of shade.
  • There’s a real bathroom inside the park (near where they fly the model airplanes – it looks like a maintenance shed and isn’t too far from the parking lot near the “house”).

The bad:

  • No loop!  Surprisingly frustrating and made the miles creep by.
  • Kinda crowded.  If you start early in the morning or go on a weekday, I imagine it would be much better.
  • No loop.  Seriously, I decided to run in Pound Ridge Town Park the next weekend because I just couldn’t face running random paths in Wavney again.
The Wavney House on a hill.

The backside of Wavney House (on a very gradual hill).

I also tried listening to a book on tape for the first time during the run (Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan – it’s ok, but his stand-up is better).  I enjoyed the experience enough that I listened to Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch during parts of my next two long runs (Girl was easier for me to listen to than Dad, for some reason).  Right now, it’s more appealing for me to listen to comedy than music during my long runs, since I have such a slow pace and upbeat music can be irritating after a while (well, anything can be irritating after a while, which is why mostly I run in silence).  Anyway, if you’re looking for something to pass the time while running, I’d say try it out!  There’s usually a special on Audible memberships (at least one month free but often you can find deals like 3 months for $3 or something), and their different membership levels are explained here (1 credit is basically 1 book).

 

After the run we all went for a big lunch at Le Pain Quotidien and then bought candy at a candy store, where I found my future everyday outfit:

I'll take 100 in my size, please.

I’ll take 100 of these in my size, please.

Back to real time = Tomorrow is the Bronx 10-Miler!  See you there!

 

Do you run on open roads?  What do you listen to while you run?  Where should I try running next time I’m in Westchester?  Share in the comments!

Where to Run in Westchester? Try Pound Ridge Town Park!

This is not the section where I fell down.

This is not the section where I fell down.

I’m a little behind on posting – here’s a mini-review of one of two locations I ran in Westchester County, NY, (about 1 hour north of NYC) in late August.

 

For my long slow distance (LSD) run this week, I did 14 miles of 1.5 mile loops in Pound Ridge Town Park, which was not quite as mind-numbing as it sounds.  I enjoyed the company of my niece for the first 6 miles (she was kind enough to slow down for me), then promptly fell down, then finished another 7 miles before driving back home and doing nothing for the rest of the day (some things never change).

 

Yes, I fell during this run.  Hard.  But let’s run a few loops first, shall we?

Yes, it was a lot of loops.

Yes, it was a lot of loops.  No, it did not stay 57 degrees for very long.

We started the 1.5 mile loop by running along the small pond in the park (the same pond over which the town shoots their amazing 4th of July fireworks every year).  It’s a mostly shaded paved path that has a couple of minuscule hills, heads past the police department, then unfortunately dead ends at Fancher Road.  We’d double-back at this point, continue past the pond and head up a gravel fire road-type thing, through the trees uphill of the baseball fields, then turn right and up another gravel road to pass the basketball courts.  Then we’d head into the woods for a couple short blocks downhill before spilling out onto the tennis courts.  We’d run on/past the courts, veer left on the paved road, run past the playground, past the grassy field, around the parking lot, and start the loop all over again.  One loop down, 8.5 loops to go…

 

After my niece finished her miles with me and went to the playground, I was feeling pretty good as I headed into the woods for the downhill trail portion.  I decided to pick it up a bit on the downhill – just for fun, you know?  I promptly tripped on a rock and went tail over teakettle.  I had a split-second moment of clarity as I went airborn, knowing I was going to fall and trying to figure out how best to fall without seriously injuring myself.  My years of being a terrible snowboarder helped me, as I was able to roll once before coming to a stop, relatively unscathed.  I sat there for a few minutes, pressing hard on my scraped leg and palm, as that always seems to help the pain for me.  I stood up, brushed off, used my hydration pack to irrigate the small wound on my hand, and slowly walked downhill out of the woods back to the tennis courts.  That’s where I shook out my legs and tried trotting around the safe, stable surface of the courts.  I felt fine, no worse than during any other long run, so I continued running the remaining 7.5 miles to finish my LSD run of the week.

By the end of the run, I was this slug.

By the end of the run, I was this slug.

 

Pound Ridge Town Park is not a bad place to run.  We saw several other runners that morning, lots of dog walkers, and lots of people playing on all the various courts and fields (little league, basketball, and tennis).  I’d definitely run there again, but next time I’ll watch my footing.

 

Where do you run in Westchester?  Are you annoyed I posted this route review almost a month after I ran it, or do you not mind?  Are you being inconvenienced by the Pope today?  Share in the comments!

Austin’s Town Lake (aka Lady Bird Lake) Trail

In honor of my friend’s new blog, runningroutesreviewed.wordpress.com/, or rurore.com for short, here’s a brief, illustrated review of Austin, Texas’s Town Lake Trail, also known as Lady Bird Lake Trail, also known as the Roy and Ann Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail (Austin loves multiple names for things). It’s a 10-mile, mostly flat, mostly cinder path that loops around the lake/river that bisects Austin.

 
There are multiple access points to the trail and multiple bridges that cross over the lake, so you can tailor a loop to suit your distance needs, but I went for one full loop, plus I got lost when I headed off on Barton Creek Trail instead of staying on Town Lake trail, so I did a total of 14 miles.
 

Note – if everyone is turning in one direction, and you don’t know where you are exactly, you should probably also go in that direction instead of heading off into the woods. On the plus side, I got to see Barton Springs and added in the extra miles I wanted. On the minus side I ran through more gross spiderwebs/tree worm webs than I could count, and I was also scared I was running through poison ivy (several signs said it’s present along both trails), so it was a bit of tense running experience. But I also got to feel a million miles away from the city, even though I was less than 4 miles from my downtown hotel at that point.
 

Let the photo journey begin! Note that I started downtown on the north side and ran counterclockwise, but runners and bikers were going in both directions and I don’t think there was a right or wrong way.
 

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This is near where I started downtown – one of the many cute bridges you cross on this trail. Notice the construction crane in the background – Austin is booming!

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Most of the path is cinder but there are some concrete sidewalks like this.

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Some pretty landscaping under a footbridge crossing the lake.

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Some super cool bathrooms along the trail. There were multiple bathrooms along the 10 miles but these were by far the coolest.

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Some nice cactus along the cinder trail. This is still on the north side.

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The western “end” of the trail as it loops under MoPac Highway (aka Loop 1). The footbridge connects the north and south sides.

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Looking back at the city from under the highway. It looks so far away but it’s only actually a mile or two from here.

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One of the many water fountains along the trail. In the background is Zilker Park’s huge lawn which hosts the Austin City Limits Festival.

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A cute mini railroad. Don’t mind me…

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This is the point I got lost – I turned right while everyone else turned left.

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If you see this cool spot you are not on the Town Lake Trail.

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Barton Springs! It’s a quarter-mile long natural spring-fed pool that’s 68 degrees year-round. I thought I’d loop back onto Town Lake trail at this point but instead I went further along Barton Spring Trail and into Barton Hills.

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This is not Town Lake Trail.

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Unfortunately neither is this. (BTW the wildflowers are in a riot around Austin right now. Just beautiful.)

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Nor is this. After running through the umpteenth spiderweb I checked my phone for directions and backtracked to Town Lake. Luckily I had already broken through all the webs so the way back wasn’t as panic-making. Also, you’re welcome whoever ran that trail today after me.

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Back on Town Lake Trail! Notice any differences between this and the spider trail above?

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Just south of Congress Street Bridge (the bat bridge) the trail turns into a concrete boardwalk, which is pretty but wasn’t my favorite to run along.

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The eastern “end” of the trail, where you cross the spillway bridge.

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Looking back at the spillway bridge.

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My spirit animals for the day. I was soooo slow even with the helpful overcast day. I barely managed 14 miles and my knees were hurting by the end, so this will have to do for my last long (and longest) training run before Wisconsin. Yipes!
 

Overall, I enjoyed the Town Lake Trail by any name. It reminded me of the loop in Central Park (no cars, no smoking allowed, lots of people and bikers, lots of water fountains and restrooms, customizable distances) but it was totally flat, so if you need to do hill work you have to look elsewhere. The biggest advantage over Central Park? This trail never has snow or ice!
 

Have you ever visited Austin? Have you ever run this trail? Have you subscribed to rurore.com yet? Share in the comments!