First Trail Training Run

Staten Island Greenbelt white trail

After saying I was going to do it for several months, I finally did complete my first-ever training run on a trail.  If you’ve been following along, you know that I did my first-ever trail race back in March in the Bronx’s Van Cortlandt Park.

I planned to go back there to do a couple of training runs after buying my super duper Brooks Cascadia trail shoes, but it’s actually not that easy to get to Van Cortlandt Park.  Most of the trains run local anyway on weekends, but between race day and now, there have been several weeks that 1 has not run at all on Saturdays and Sundays.  (The 1 train is the only train that goes to Van Cortlandt Park.)

So, while perusing the interwebs, I happened across a map of Staten Island on a site called RunYourCity.  I had NO IDEA that the Staten Island Greenbelt existed!  Here’s part of a map:

Staten Island Greenbelt Map

All of those colored lines are trails!  I did a quick check with MTA and discovered I could take a bus from my house to the far south end of the White Trail in under an hour, so on Memorial Day that’s where I headed.

The White Trail, where it begins on Hylan Blvd., is mostly grass for at least a quarter mile, then it begins to turn into dirt and dirt/rocks.  I ran five miles and enjoyed myself immensely, although there were some challenges:

1)  The trail was broken up in several places by roads.  This part of the Greenbelt juts out and runs through residential areas.  It took real concentration to remember how to get back.  (Thank you Garmin!)

2)  It had rained the night before, so the grass at the beginning of the trail was wet.  Which meant my feet were soaked within a few minutes and I ran the entire trail in sloshy shoes.

3)  I was completely unprepared for the aftermath, which included a number of bug bites and scratches up and down my legs and arms.  I have resigned myself to being scarred from trail running.  And I must learn coping strategies for the severe itching that accompanied these bites and scratches, despite taking Zyrtec and Benadryl.

I still plan to run Van Cortlandt, but I’m very excited about finding these Staten Island trails and I’m anxious to run all of them.  Here are some links:

Staten Island page on RunYourCity

Full Staten Island Greenbelt trail map (pdf)

Staten Island Greenbelt Conservancy

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