The other day, Marti DiPaola, my running partner, and I had to run 9 miles as part of our training program to gear up for the half marathon in Disney in January 2011.
I drove to Marti’s house, picked her up and we drove to Cedar Park in Wantagh, New York. There is a great running trail there that runs along the Wantagh Parkway. It goes over three bridges and ends at the Jones Beach Theater.
We got to Cedar Park within 20 minutes from the time I picked her up. We put on our gear and started walking toward the trail. (I’m still not sure how to dress in this weather!)
“Before we take off,” Marti said, “let’s go to the ladies’ room.”
We walked over to the bathrooms and noticed they were closed. So we couldn’t go. We started running instead.
The 1st mile was torture. The backs of my legs were burning. My shins also hurt and I kept feeling a clicking in my ankle. I could barely run the mile. When we past mile 1, I was still hurting. I thought the pain would ease up, but it didn’t. So, Marti and I stretched out for a few moments and then started to run again.
When I got to mile 3, I felt no pain.
“Are there any bathrooms along this route?” Marti asked me.
“No,” I said. “That’s the only bad thing about this trail. It’s absolutely beautiful here but there are no bathrooms and nowhere to get water.”
We ran a little further. “We can go to the bathroom down there,” I said as I pointed out at a private area.
Marti ran into the bushes and said, “When you go to the bathroom, make sure you squat very low.” When she finished, she got so tangled up in branches I didn’t think she would come out.
“The branches are eating you alive,” I said and laughed at the same time.
After we both relieved ourselves, we turned back on the GPS and started moving. We ran to mile 4.
“Almost half way,” I said. We ran to the end of the bike route and through the gate to the Jones Beach Theatre parking lot. We ran around the entire parking lot and saw that we went half way.
To me, it’s amazing how the first 2 miles are so painful. No wonder why so many people give up running! These 2 miles are the toughest miles. After that, it’s a breeze. The miles just seem to fly by.
Marti and I pulled out our Gu and sucked it down. We were ready for anything. The way back was easier physically, but it was also very windy and very cold. We ran over the three bridges and saw a ton of bikers along the route.
“The coolest thing is to see your shadow,” I said. “It’s so motivating!”
When we got to the end of the bike trail, we entered back into the park and ran a little more to make 9 miles. Once we finished and got back into the car, we noticed that there was a bathroom. It was only a 1/2 mile away from the bike route and near the playground.
“I wonder if it’s opened,” I said.
“It doesn’t say closed,” she said. We looked around as we drove by and didn’t see anyone in sight. We didn’t see a closed sign either.
“It’s amazing to me that this park has a 9-mile bike route and doesn’t have a bathroom or water along the way,” I said. “If this is the closest bathroom, then I wonder why the park isn’t always flooded?”
We both laughed and drove home.