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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Winding River Park, Toms River

On the sixth day, God created the morning and the evening. On Sunday, He had his long run.
As it seems for many runners across the globe, I had my long run for the week. Yesterday, I went to the Manasquan Reservoir with my wife to celebrate our first wedding anniversary even though we had done so nearly every day this past week. We had a picnic and enjoyed the top of our wedding cake, fed chipmunks, and spotted beautiful birds in one of my favorite long run spots.
But, since I was just there, I didn’t want to go back there for a second day in a row today. So, I went to the location used twice over for my marathon training: Winding River Park in Toms River, NJ.
I’m not exactly training for any race right now, but I’ve steadily upped my mileage for the past month. My legs had been heavy since lifting on Thursday and pushing hard on a stationary bike for 35 minutes on Friday. I made sure to get tons of rest the previous two nights and, thankfully, felt better in this morning.
The weather was perfect and I was hardly warm for the duration of the run. Since I worried about my legs – in particular, my left hamstring which has troubled me for about a week – I didn’t care about pace. I simply wanted to log miles no matter how long it took.
I started out very slowly on a course that is exactly 3.125 miles out and back, so Ocean Running Club tells me. Interestingly enough, I felt great after the second lap and actually had a negative split for laps three and four of the 5k. Overall, I ran 18.75 miles in 2:42:07.
The best part of all was that I decided to take a recovery dip in the nearby lake. Luckily, no one was around as I’m unsure of the park rules on such behavior. Several signs make it clear that there is “NO SKATING” on the premises, but none about wading in the water at waist level. I felt much improved afterwards, especially after watching a family of mallards swim nearby. They hardly seemed unnerved by the ginger-faced water buffalo with blue shorts sitting in the water.

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