Monday, February 28, 2005

A Different Path This Weekend

Last week I was in Central Park with all the congestion and crowds of New York.

But this week I ran much more solitary routes.

I had two distinctive runs – both a little over two hours. Saturday’s run was on the Greenway in Brandywine Creek State Park in northern Delaware. The portion of land thru which the trail runs is part of the Woodlawn Trust donation. I tried to find more about this organization on line but found little. But the land was a donation to the state to preserve this open space. The trail is part of the northern Greenway.

One path I took included a very steep climb which I thought would be good prep for the Ultra. This was a challenging run because snow and ice covered much of the route. Much of the trail was well trodden but I did find a trail that had not been broken. In fact at one point I thought I had lost the trail altogether but was shortly able to make out a slight depression that indicated the trail direction. It was a pleasure to have a brand new experience on these trails.

On Sunday I did a great 15 mile loop using familiar streets close to home. This is a route I have used for long runs as marathon preparation. The last time I did this route it was in brutal heat; Sunday I contended with cold temps and wind. I preferred the cold. The run was tiring but not the exhausting kind of run that summer heat creates.

I finished both runs tired but satisfied that my conditioning is on target.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The Gates

The Gates Posted by Hello

On Saturday I went up to New York to see Christo’s The Gates. This is the much discussed installation of 7500 steel structures with saffron fabric hanging from the horizontal beam.

Some of the reaction has been hostile.

But I found that I liked the installation a great deal. It is probably not a coincidence that the Christo’s gates remind me of Japanese torii.

I had visited Inari shrine in Kyoto, Japan where a thousand torii wind through the countryside. An experience that at the time I was quite taken with. That probably explains my affinity for the gates.

I left home early and got to New York without too much problem. Through the Lincoln Tunnel, up 8th which becomes Central Park West. There I got my first glimpse of the gates. Left on 86th street and across the park to 5th Avenue and down to the Metropolitan Museums parking lot. I had read that the Metro’s roof top garden had a good top view of the gates. I had about an hour to kill, so I strolled through the Park entering at Miners Gate. It was great to be there early for although there were already quite a few people about I did have some areas to myself. I discovered an unmentioned aspect of the gates. You can hear them. As the fabric rustles in the wind there is a unique sound probably reminiscent of a sail.

In The Wind Posted by Hello

Just before 9:30 I returned to the museum where to my surprise a large crowd had gathered. I was afraid it would take awhile to get in but after a short delay the doors open and the crowd was handled quite well. I wandered about a bit and then realized I better get to roof before it got any more crowded. The line for the elevator was already quite long so I asked about stairs. They had a stairwell that went right to the rooftop. A guide warned it was five flights but one of the advantages of fitness is that the stairs were no problem. The view was interesting but disappointing – you really couldn’t see all that much of the gates. On the other hand the view from Belvedere Castle had been much more interesting.

From The Roof Posted by Hello

I spent a couple of hours in the museum than went back to my car to change into running gear and headed out to the park. I retraced my steps over to the west side of the park and turned north. As much a possible I tried to stay on the path under the gates. I particular liked when the gates were on steps and when they went right up to a tunnel only to continue on the other side.

Through The Bridge Posted by Hello

I circled Great Hill then up to Central Park North where I turned east until I circled Harlem Meer. These were my favorite vistas - both looking toward Nutter’s Battery and the view from NB. A short run thru East Meadow back to the museum where I stopped to admire the Obelisk.

oblelisk Posted by Hello

I recrossed the park at 72nd and admired the view to Bethesda fountain. Then down West Drive toward Columbus Circle. Any one who has run the NY marathon knows this as the Marathon Finish. The gates are particularly thick here and at one place a series runs side by side. I ran past the Heckscher building where there was another great view. then past the Wellman Rink where I turned north and back eventually to the museum. I think I got to see almost all the gates and ran under many of them.

That’s the tour – is this art and/or is it a success. I can’t say. If some of what I saw in the museum is considered art than the gates certainly are. I can only say they gave me a good feeling, enhanced I must say by knowing they are so transient. The huge crowds I think contributed to the experience. Somehow all us observers became part of the work. I heard one man tell another that normally the park would almost be empty on a cold February Saturday. And now there were thousands of people sharing one experience.
Quick Update

Since 11 February I have had great runs includind a 20 miler alont the Perkiomen Trail and Schulyhill Velley Trail. The Perkiomen Trail was made easier and was fun because a friend ran with me. Thanks Mukand.

Then another trail run Friday - reversed part of the course and challenged some good size hills. Some the trails I hadn't run in awhile. Good winter run.

But Saturday was the real fun...

Friday, February 11, 2005

February Trail Run

February is that in between month. By mid February you are tired of winter, and February teases. This week we had three warm days, but yesterday the temps dropped again and this morning is cold and windy. It's not the bone chilling weather of a couple weeks ago, but following the warmer temps you notice the cold. The days have gotten longer so I start with light.

Morning Woods
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I run along the white trail, than orange, and finally a small unmarked path that leads to a creek crossing. The photo below doesn't clearly show the creek but this view looks downstream.

Creek Bed
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After crossing the stream I head toward Ridley Creek Park. This path briefly enters the park and then loops back to the Arboretum. Here the blue and white trails merge for a short time.

The Trail Bends
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I run into the dawn

Toward Dawn
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Shortly I will turn back north and return through the woods. It is a empty wood, this late winter wood, but still quite beautiful.

Posted by Hello

Friday, February 04, 2005

Friday's Run

Last week the snow seemed to deep for a trail run so I stayed close to home. This week I didn't want to lose the opportunity to be in the park so I chose to run on the multi purpose path in Ridley Park. The path is a 5 mile loop - a two mile uphill and two mile downhill. Just after you enter the park you pass this waterfall. Despite the warmer temps this week you can see the ice hanging down.

Posted by Hello

After a two mile climb the path straightens out - I stopped and looked back getting this photo:

looking back
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I then turned and got this photo - just ahead is the border with Tyler Arboretum and the turn that will lead to the two mile downhill.

toward tyler
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A little further on I snapped this sign which explains the deer fence and what happens when too many deer browse the vegetation. I wanted to add photos of the deer but the two I saw disappeared too quickly for a photo.

about deer
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I enjoyed this run a great deal and only regret I didn't get on the trail.