Around and around the Oval

Discovered: it’s exactly one mile from my apartment to the southwestern corner of Piedmont Park. I expect to become very familiar with this route over the next few weeks.

Atlanta’s Piedmont Park seems to be a miniature version of NYC’s Central Park. There are winding roads upon which one can run or bike, a lake, playgrounds, and tennis courts. There’s a dog park and a boathouse and a botanical garden. You’re never far from a drinking fountain or a bathroom.

And there’s a flat crushed gravel loop restricted to runners/walkers moving in a counter-clockwise direction. Yep, the “Active Oval” is Piedmont Park’s version of the Reservoir.

I decided to take my planned tempo run to the Oval yesterday, mostly because of its flatness. With 10K on the agenda, that would mean nearly 12 times around the roughly half-mile loop.

Looking back at my training so far this year, clearly I’ve been slacking on the tempo front. I used to try to work in both a track and a tempo session each week, but lately I’ve only been doing the track work. Primarily because that’s what my group was doing, but also because I actually enjoy track workouts while I generally despise tempo runs.

But sometimes you’ve gotta do stuff you don’t really enjoy. And even though it wasn’t exactly fun, I needed a long, grinding tempo to make me feel like I’m even a little bit prepared for this marathon next month.

Since Piedmont Park is a mini version of Central Park, I decided to do a mini version of the classic CPTC marathon pace/half marathon pace tempo, or as Megan recently called it, the 2 X 4 Mile Beast.

Meet the 2 X 5K Mini Beast.

I was pretty happy with how this went. Nice even splits! The last couple of miles were definitely hard, both on account of the faster pace and the fact that I was starting to get bored of looping the Oval. Total workout was nine miles and change, including warm up and cool down.

My new ASICS DS Trainer 17‘s felt great during the workout:

Before leaving my old job, I had to take advantage of my employee discount one last time. I almost picked up a pair of the new Brooks Ravenna 3, but given that I wasn’t totally thrilled with the mileage I got out of the previous version of the Ravenna, I decided to mix it up and go with a comparable shoe from ASICS instead.

Like the Ravenna, the DS Trainer is a light stability shoe, designed to provide a touch of support for mild over-pronators, while weighing in a bit lighter than a traditional stability shoe. (The DS Trainer is 8.8 ounces, versus 9.3 ounces for ASICS’s traditional stability shoe, the GT-2170.) Previous versions of the DS Trainer had run very narrow and had a weird puffy collar thing around the ankle; the new version released this year seems to be a touch roomier in the toe box, and the collar thing is significantly less puffy. So I decided to give them a try.

I’ve been running in them for a couple of weeks, and no complaints so far! It’s a nice soft shoe that doesn’t feel too clunky or heavy.

I’m still alternating with my Brooks PureFlows, but I think having a traditional cushioned shoe for longer runs is a good thing for me. When I had that weird foot pain a couple of weeks ago, I’d been running almost exclusively in the PureFlows and had done a 20-miler in them day the pain started. No idea whether the foot issue was in any way related to my choice of shoes, but I’m going to be a little more cautious just in case.

Recovery run on the agenda tonight. You’ll find me in Piedmont Park again, but I think I’ll be avoiding the Active Oval.

21 responses to “Around and around the Oval

  1. Is it weird that I sat at my desk repeating “active oval” in my head? It’s so pleasing to say! It is wierd? Never mind, carry on.

    That being said, I think a half mile loop would kill me of boredom. I’d be like “oh I have 6 on the schedule? .5 is kinda the same. Done!”

  2. After I developed a stress fracture in my first metatarsal last year while wearing the Brooks Launch for training, I refuse to do long runs in minimal shoes. I love my Pure Flows for shorter runs, but have gone back to the Asics GT-2170 and Gel Cumulus for long runs.

  3. I just picked up a pair of Ravenna 2’s on deep discount. I really like them! Good to know your mileage wasn’t what it should be in those shoes. I’ll pay close attention as I put mileage on mine.

    • There are definitely some good deals on the older Ravenna right now! Glad you were able to snag a pair!

  4. Welcome to Atlanta! Wait til you see the oval on the weekends….it’s packed!

    • Thanks! :) Yeah, I can see how the whole park would be packed on weekends. Such a nice place to be outdoors!

  5. glad you are getting settled in! one of the little sayings I have is “home is where you know all the mile markers,” so enjoy finding them!

  6. I’m jealous of all the shoes you get with your employee discount. Gimme.

    I’ve been training in Ravennas for about eight months and am looking for something new. Will look into the DS17s. I also need a bit of stability in my running shoes, so I appreciate how thorough your shoe reviews are.

    • I know, I’m missing it already. I might have to work at a running store here just for the discount. :)

  7. I love the active oval and Piedmont Park! I live roughly 1.5 away from the park, and it’s the best place to go for non-traffic-interrupted running.

    PS – welcome to town!

  8. Did you start to feel like a gerbil? I like the shoes. Now that it is warming up, I am going to head to the river to run. I can’t wait! I wish my pace was so consistent. That is what I am working on right now.

  9. Wow 12 loops…I think I would have gone crazy! Nice job on the tempo!

  10. It’s pretty cool that you have that resource so close to your apartment- looks like you’ll adjust nicely to Atlanta! (at least on the running front- I just hope you find your beer store!)

  11. That 2 x 5K mini beast sounds like a killer – though excellent – workout. I think you will be well prepared for your marathon judging by this workout. Have fun exploring the running options in your new home!

  12. Welcome to the ATL, Shelby!

    I have now noticed that at least two other of your fans besides me lives close to Piedmont Park. One day we should all go for a run together! I am training for my first Boston so doing my last long run on Saturday and then starting a taper, but after that, I am footloose and fancy free. : )
    And, not sure which side of the park you’re on, but we have some seriously good beer stores here, esp in my part of town (Decatur).
    Finally: if you want some enforced speedwork, this Saturdday is the ATC’s Women’s 5k, which is a really awesome race with a great vibe, in Candler Park at 8am.
    If you want any “local” news, advice, routes, etc feel free to contact me at lisa.dillman”at”gmail”dot”com!

  13. excellent tempo. I really should do those more often.

  14. Aw man, this makes me miss Atlanta a bit. I lived on 8th street two blocks away, and part of my job was to help out with educational programs at the PP Conservancy.

    Running-wise, Piedmont Park started feeling small and crowded after a only a few days, so I ventured northward and pretty much did most of my everyday running that year in the Druid Hills/Emory area. The Park was always great for tacking on a few extra miles at the end.

  15. 12 loops?! I’d die. I hate doing more than 2 loops of the res as it is! Congrats on that!

    I want to break in my PureFlows so badly, they’re so comfortable. I love them so much.

  16. Just wait….the Active Oval gets MUCH more interesting during the summer. Lots of photo shoots (many of them with scantily clad guys in gals in speedos and bikinis and stilettos) are always a diversion. And during festival season, the place is absolutely packed and can distract you from those long miles. Welcome to Atlanta! I’ve been here almost two years now and I L-O-V-E it! :) Oh…and when someone says, “Bless your heart,” it’s not a compliment, in case you already didn’t know that. I was clueless about that one!

  17. Wow, I did the exact same shoe experience this summer. Started doing 20 milers in pure flows, started hurting, bought the ds 17’s. Was in launch prior to that and they are still my favorite. Considering the brooks st 5 next, have you tried those?