We’re enjoying a stretch of great weather here in suburban New York. Warm, not too. A few rainy days this past week, but things are still plenty dry.
This morning’s run was something of a knife-edge affair. We elected — Bobby, Daniel, and me — to drive over to the Old Croton Aqueduct in Hastings-on-Hudson. About a 15 minute drive from Bronxville. From there, one can go south or north, with the letter being more crowded and with more street-crossings but some quite nice stretches. Plus we could get in about 35 minutes before then end. Heading south into Yonkers has great views across the Hudson to the Palisades(the left photo on WestchesterTrails is from the heading-south stretch) but is a bit rougher. We headed north. (The Times had a story yesterday about plans for the High Bridge, which connected the OCA in the Bronx to Manhattan. It will be a spectacular pedestrian bridge over the Harlem River.)
As an aside, this trail was the inspiration/impetus for WestchesterTrails.com. Charles brought me here many years ago, and I was shocked that I had never known of the place. Hence building a site to let others in Westchester know of them. Bobby reminded me that a couple of fast Iona guys used the site for discovery purposes, which is what it’s for and news that was gratifying. As a further aside, Charles bleeds Chelsea blood. We spoke of CFC on virtually all of our runs, including our most recent. He is quite happy, I daresay, about its victory in the biggest club tournament of them all, the Champions League.
A beauty of the Aqueduct is its flatness. While there are some hills on it at the Rockies, here there are none. Bobby complained. I didn’t. Another beauty is the shade. Much of the path is smooth but you have your brief rocky stretches. The turn-around today is right past Lyndhurst, an estate just south of Tarrytown. You run across its front lawn and then hit Route 9 (Broadway to you City-folk) and turn. This is the second break in the OCA; one picks it up again at the Sleepy Hollow HS parking lot.
As is so often the case with these Sunday morning runs, the last 20, 25 minutes became a battle. I don’t know how fast we were going, but it wasn’t blistering. It was just fast enough to be sustainable. But for how long? Which I guess is the point. It was sustainable for the final 25 minutes, through Irvington (named for Washington Irving, who lived there) and Dobbs Ferry. Still conversational, but I felt it.
One thing that came up. Waving. As in, does one wave at other runners? Not in Central Park. But otherwise, I do it all the time. Yet most people we see don’t. I say “we” because Bobby and I had an extended discussion on the issue, and that people just don’t seem to do it. There are runners I see all the time, often twice on an out-and-back, to whom I always wave and who just ignore it. Creepy. Few people were in a waving mood on the OCA. A bit more waving on the northern stretch. Bobby’s irritation increased as we headed south. “I’m not a creep” he said after being ignored once too often. I declined comment.
On a different topic, there was a LetsRun thread this week on someone killed while running in New Canaan, CT, by an apparently distracted 16-year old, distracted by a website she was viewing. She crossed the white line separating the road from the (narrow) shoulder, and is being prosecuted (as an adult) for vehicular homicide and other offenses. I mention this because the victim was running with traffic when he was hit. An irony of the suburbs here (and New Canaan is an albeit distant suburb) is that those closer to the City, as in Southern Westchester, is that we have many more roads and many more sidewalks along those roads than the towns farther north. I don’t know the road on which that accident took place, but I am familiar with the area and for all its contryness, it strikes me as a terrible place to run. Few roads, fewer sidewalks.
On of my mantras is avoiding main roads. This was the impetus for posting the (so far non-utilized) New York Running Routes site. Find routes where cars are not much of an issue. Indeed, last Sunday I think I insulted someone for calling a route he described as “idiotic” because it was winding and had no shoulder and even with a 25 MPH speed limit was just asking for trouble. Yet I see people running on it all the time. At least, though, they are running facing traffic. That’s a point about the New Canaan tragedy, the guy was running with traffic, incapable of knowing what was coming. (I posted a video on Facebook that my friend Dave — he of the really-injured foot and a winner of a triathlon today (in which he describes some, er, short-comings in how the race director handled the race — posted of a couple of cyclists being picked off (they were not seriously injured) on the shoulder of a road in Berkeley, CA who happened to have a camera mounted on the trailing bike.
Some time ago someone argued the contrarian point that running with traffic makes sense because people turning onto your road from a side road will look in your direction. A valid point. How many times have cars on sideroads started to turn without looking at you coming against traffic? But by always expecting the turning driver not to be looking at you, that concern diminishes and is dwarfed by an inability to get out of the way.
So endeth the lecture. So, next stop, the Bronxville 2.5 on Saturday. And next Sunday at the Rockies.