I can’t believe that I still have 8 weeks and 350 miles to run before the marathon.That is pretty nice since I am already feeling good about it. Yesterday I had a 20 miler to run and Saturday I had to move my art studio. One of the reasons I have not posted much is that I had to move out of my studio. I have been spending my non job, non running time with building a new space and preparing for the move. After 8 hours of hauling boxes on Saturday I had 12 hours to rest before my run.
My brilliant idea was to run at the Rockefeller State Park in Westchester, NY just 30 miles north of the city. There is an excellent website by Joe Garland that lists all the trails. I read Joe’s description of the trails and figured it would be an excellent change of scene. Plus running 20 miles on asphalt is not ideal, whereas trails are always super fun. I called ahead to see what the trail conditions were. I was told the cross-country skiers where having problems because they were hitting dirt patches. How my brain actually processed this information was, “it is mostly dirt and a few snow spots.”
After a 40 minute drive I arrived at Rockefeller and paid my $6.00 parking fee, there are many alternative free parking places as well as metro-north transit. I jumped out of my car and hit the Sleepy Hollow Trail. A nice downhill, 100% snow and slush. After about one mile I turned onto 13-bridges loop. I will spare you all the gruesome details to say, there was no dirt and only about 800 meters of mud in the whole 20 miles. At mile 9 I was so frustrated with the slow pace of slipping and sliding in the snow that I almost quit, but I knew I would hate myself if I did. Joe said in his website, “The Rockies has very few flat stretches. There are loads of little ups-and-downs, often in switch back format.” That did not scare me, I like running hills and come on it is NY how hilly could it be? Well at the end of my run, I had covered 5948 feet of ascents and 5886 of descents. Between the hills and the snow it took me 30 minutes longer to run than it should have. And while 30 minutes does not sound like much time to regular people, those of you long runners out there, know what 30 minutes means at the end of a 20 milers. Let’s just say I could have completed a good fast marathon in the time it took me to run this 20. Joe was accurate in describing it as loads of little ups and downs. The other thing is there are no long stretches. You do not get 5-10 mile trails but rather lots of twists and turns sharing 26 trails over about 1100 acres. At one point I ran into a cow barn, and later a pig farm. That was kind of cool. This is a beautiful place to train-when the snow is gone. This would be the perfect spot to run a 5-10 milers, but for me I like nice long stretches rather than running around in circles which I felt like I was doing.
So my goal to save my feet from the pounding of the asphalt was completely sabotaged by the snow. My feet were soaked early on, blistered, and water-logged. I have never seen them look worse, but today, today they feel great and I am a bit tired but feel strong.
I can’t wait to run there again.