Bright and early Monday morning, fifteen of us showed up at the Croton Harmon train station. After a few hellos, we took off, 14 running 3½ miles north towards the New Croton Dam. Alone, I started south, down Route 9 for a little less than a mile before turning right on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail.
I really enjoyed the trail, but there are two things that I'd like to point out if you're considering it:
1.) A map is critical. There are portions of the trail where the easement no longer exists, and you have to walk on nearby streets to cover the gap. It isn't always clear where to go.
2.) When there is snow, expect 0% of the trail to be plowed - and for good reason: If it was plowed, this mecca for cross-country skiers would be worthless.
In the morning, the hard snow was mostly OK to run on, especially where it was well-tracked by hundreds of walkers and skiers over the weekend. But by 11am, the sun had really softened things, and even where it was well packed, every step would sink or slip a little. It really sucked a lot of energy out of me.
Besides the snow, the run went rather uneventfully. Three faster runners who broke ahead of the main group caught up to me in Yonkers, where they finished their day. After that, I was alone until south of Van Cortlandt Park, where I stopped and waited for five remaining runners to catch up to me. I ran out of water a few miles before and was starting to feel a little dehydrated, no biggie. Energy was really depleted though.
For nutrition, I had 1600kCals worth of almonds (of which I ate about half), a couple of PB-cracker packs from Joey's lunch rations, and some perpetuum. I also had a 100-oz camelback filled with water. Some of the perpetuum went into that initial cache of water. By the time I was in the Bronx, I needed some quick calories, so while I was waiting I slipped into a pizzeria and had two slices and a coke, which made an enormous difference. They arrived a couple of blocks away while I was starting my second slice, so I ate it as I went to join them. At that point we decided that we wanted to forget the Aqueduct in NYC and take the fastest route to the library, so I led them to Broadway, where we ran together, as a group, over Spuyten Duyvil into the northern tip of Manhattan.
By now, it was obvious that I wouldn't be able to keep up with these faster, lighter runners. I had run 27.3 miles at that point, half of which was through wet, heavy snow, from Croton-Harmon to Manhattan. I was satisfied with my day and didn't want to hold anyone up. So I bid them farewell, and jumped on a train to Midtown where we met on the steps of the Public Library, site of the original Croton Dam.
We had beers and burgers and took the train back up, and went home. It was a great day.
All photos were shot by Tony Portera
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