To me, running interstate is a lot more exciting than running entirely in New York. Upon crossing a state border, it’s like entering a Land of Mystery, where you never know what to expect. Of course, since I’ve run to Connecticut before and been there countless times by car, I usually know what to expect, but I kind of like to pretend that I don’t. And sometimes I do see some interesting things I didn’t know about before, especially if I run really far like yesterday.
Although it feels “different” at first, Connecticut isn’t so dissimilar from New York. This is especially true of Fairfield county in south-eastern Connecticut, most of which is within the New York City metropolitan area. Though some areas feel like New England since Connecticut is part of New England, it is really just a continuation of New York City’s northern suburbs, so it doesn’t feel like another planet.
That said, like a lot of places, it feels different if I run there instead of taking the car. There’s a bit more mystique to an area if you spend a lot of time and effort getting there on foot than by machine. This is as true of non-interstate runs as it is for interstate runs.
Last time I ran to Connecticut it was cold, and it was snowing during almost half of the journey. Yesterday’s run was on a glorious spring day, very sunny with temperatures in the upper 50s. I was sweating, though not profusely. This is perfect running weather, and occasionally a sweet sea breeze coming off the Long Island Sound would help cool me off. Last time I ran 20 miles to Stamford. This time I ran 27 miles as far east as the outskirts of the city of Norwalk. It took me 5 hours and 33 minutes to complete this run, and my average pace was 12:20. I dropped the balls about 5 times. I wanted this to be a leisurely run, and I stopped at many stores along the way to refuel, so this is why my pace was slow(among other reasons explained below).
There are so many historical sites and mansions along this route. Like the Whitby Castle in Rye, New York, and the Putnam Cottage in Greenwich, Connecticut, and countless other places. Many of the neighborhoods route 1 goes through in Connecticut are very affluent, so a lot of the homes are very large architectural marvels. Though this may be pleasing to the eyes, you can overdose on this while running through Connecticut’s “Gold Coast” if you’re not used to it. Just as I was starting to get a little tired of seeing nothing but opulence everywhere I looked, it came as a relief to run through the poor slummy areas of Stamford around mile 19. By mile 23, after passing through the hustle and bustle of downtown Stamford, I was joggling through Lifestyles of the Rich And Famous kind of neighborhoods again.
While my last Connecticut run was pleasant from beginning to end, I had some unfortunate problems toward and after the end of yesterday’s run. Due to eating 2 Cliff Bars while running(I’m trying to get my body to adapt so I can run longer distances), and washing them down with large amounts of Gatorade at around mile 15 to 16, I developed a nasty stomach ache after about mile 18. My legs were also feeling increasingly fatigued by then, and this seemed to be linked to the stomach ache, since on my 23 mile run several days ago I didn’t feel this fatigued even during the last mile of my run. The stomach ache eventually turned into nausea.
The last few miles were like torture to me, but I kept pushing myself, I wanted to run at least a marathon distance(26.2). Near and after the end, the nausea kept getting worse and I couldn’t hold it anymore and threw up several times. I felt better afterwards and luckily most of the nausea was gone by the time I got on the train to go home. Usually train or car rides make my nausea feel worse, but luckily it didn’t this time. As far as being in a mysterious land goes, when I ended my run, I was only vaguely familiar with the area, but had no idea where the train station was, but quickly noticed the arrow signs along the road pointing to its location. I also used the map program on my Android phone to help locate the Rowayton(a sub-section of Norwalk) station, which was a long walk south from where I officially ended the run.
If it hadn’t been for the nausea, stomach ache, and fatigue, I would have run a lot farther, at least 30 miles(my all time record), and possibly as much as 35. By the time I got home I felt much better after drinking a lot of water and juice, but unfortunately I soon discovered I got sun-burned. I sometimes forget how sensitive my skin is. Will have to start applying sunscreen again.
Other than the negative experiences toward the end, this was still a wonderful experience. I got a lot of support along the way, and I noticed many people taking my picture, though hopefully not when I was vomiting(I tried hiding by then). It’s great to introduce veganism through joggling to a new audience.
I’m thinking that to avoid stomach issues in the future, I should drink a lot of probiotic juice before long runs, or eat kimchi or sauerkraut. I haven’t been consuming these things as much as I used to, and maybe this is part of the reason I got sick, though I also don’t usually eat so much during runs. I just hope that not being able to eat or drink anything for 2 hours after the run due to my stomach issues didn’t hinder my recovery. Upon my appetite’s return, I had a full dinner of soy nuggets with bread and vegetables.
Since I was wearing my vegan T-shirt, this run was both for activism and for fitness. It is so much fun combining the two. And one of the coolest things about endurance running or cycling for that matter, is that our “comfort zone” can be measured in terms of geography. 30 miles is my all time record, and I hope to break through it in the near future. Maybe I will run to the town of Fairfield, Connecticut next time.
What kind of runs or races do you have planned for the spring? Or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, for the autumn?