Thursday, August 25, 2005

Can you say GPS?

I was pretty excited for this morning's run. I said yesterday that I would do 6 miles today, so I was able to get out of bed early and get outside before it got hot. As I left my apartment, I felt slightly chilly. I knew it was warming up, so it was actually perfect running weather.

Unless I'm in Central Park, I'm usually running 2 mile laps on a pre-measured course in my neighborhood. Because I always have set goals for how much to run each day I need to know my exact distance. (I've occasionally used time as a surrogate, but as my milage increases, this becomes less accurate.) In any case, for long runs these repetitive little laps can get monotonous. Also, at the end of each lap I have to mentally push myself to start running away from home again. I would much prefer to have a set course for my entire run. That way I could run out for half the distance, and then be forced to run the second half back. Much more interesting, and less motivationally challenging.

If any of you have clicked on the Gmaps pedometer link on the sidebar, you'll see that it's a pretty cool little toy. You can plot out various courses and it will tell you how far it is. Exactly what I needed! So this morning I plotted out a 6 mile course near my home, and away I went. This is what I had planned.

As I started my run, I was thinking how great this little tool was, and how I'd be able to have various different runs over the next few weeks. I was even thinking about how I was going to review it here in the blog.

Well, here's the problem. In the area where I was running, there's no room to run (safely) on the side of the road. There are these bike and running paths nearby, but they don't exactly follow the road. Now my innate sense of direction is somewhat underdeveloped. Most of the run was pretty good. However, as I was returning towards home, I made one little wrong turn. I'm still not sure exactly how I did it. I went in the exact opposite direction - though it seemed to feel right at the time.

For a little while it seemed ok. Then it started to look wrong. I was coming back a slightly different way then I went out, so it was okay not to look familiar. But I was supposed to meet up with the original road, and that just wasn't happening. The road was also heading into a town which I didn't think should be there. So I knew I was going in the wrong direction. The problem was that I didn't want to stop running to find out what to do. (At least not until I had done my 6 miles.) So I kept on going, hoping that I would figure it out from a street sign soon, and make a turn that would get me back on track.

Too bad I was on an island! Thankfully though, it was a little island.

I got to the end of the island, kind of figured it out, and turned around and ran back in the direction I had come. Eventually, with a little help from bus stop signs, I was able to figure out how to get back. The only problem was that I now had to run further than I had planned. There was also a lot of running on sidewalk - something which I'd been avoiding. But what could I do? I was too far from home to stop. So I pushed myself to make it off the island, and back to where I'd gone wrong, and finally in the direction I was supposed to go. When I finally stopped running, it was 8.4 miles, with another 2 miles to walk back home. (This is what I had intended to run. And this is what I actually ran.)

So not a great start to my new plans for running long courses. Nonetheless, I plan to continue using this tool. As my milage increases, I'd like to start running some cool courses, like maybe the outside of Manhattan. I'll try and post the good runs.

My next long run is the Manhattan half marathon in Central Park this Sunday. Two laps and a little bit. Can't wait to see how I feel after the run. I'm hoping that will give me a sense of how things are coming along for this year's marathon plans. Come back Sunday and see how it went.


Blogger Scott in Washington said...

Hi Danny,

I read through your last five or so postings. Looks like you've come a long way. Good Job! What marathon are you training for? Are you doing one of the formal training programs?


Thursday, August 25, 2005  
Blogger Danny said...

Thanks Scott.

I'm training for the NYC marathon. It's only 2 months away!

I've looked at all the training programs, and with them in my head, I came up my own plan. It probably built up a little too fast, but I really wanted to do New York.

I've done a couple of half marathons in the last few years, so I'm hoping that the training from back then will help me out a little.

Thursday, August 25, 2005  
Anonymous Yoni said...

You know, it's funny reading about you taking a wrong turn, but when you click on the links and you actually *see* that you ran to the end of an island (and then had to walk an additional 2 miles to get home), it just becomes hilarious. As your brother, I feel the duty to tell you this. As your younger brother, I hope that you dont get upset and beat the crap out of me.

Friday, August 26, 2005  
Blogger ShoreTurtle said...

I’ve had the same thing happen on my runs. I usually map out the route on the Gmap web site but end up running a different way (usually out of my way). The last few times that it has happened I’ve blamed the street signs.

I liked reading your post about the Manhattan Half marathon. I’m running my first half-marathon in October and I’m looking for insight. I've added your blog to my site.

Run on!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005  

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