It’s been six months since the (albeit explicable) disaster that was Paine-to-Pain. I didn’t want that to be my final race, but with age that thought must always be in the back of the mind. As noted earlier, I decided to run the Scarsdale 15K. I’m pretty happy with my training except for missing too many mid-week runs. More than that, I needed to pin a number on and go. 15K struck me as a good distance since I could feel my way into it.

It was chilly when I woke up but i knew it was not a long-sleeve day. The only decision was whether to go singlet or t-shirt. I hadn’t worn a Warren Street shirt in a race in a long while. I was looking forward to at least wear it with some respectability. I chose the t-shirt — it’s red and black — and compression shorts. It was sunny thus lots of sunscreen, my cap, and sunglasses.

It was, though, quite chilly as I checked in. Race time of 9:30. A bit of ┬ájog. When I was ready for the race I knew I’d be fine in what I wore. And saw that lots of folks would overheat.

The course was far tougher than I recalled. I remembered the two big if short hills. But time had deadened the memory of the rolling nature of the roads. Ups and downs. Ups and downs.

Time: 1:03:57. Splits: 6:31, 6:53, 6:48, 6:49, 6:52, 7:02*, 7:02*, 6:48*, 6:41. (* includes stoppage-time).My plan was to go out relaxed and, as I say, roll into it. My first glance at the Garmin, though, had me at under 6:10. Very bad. I went through mile 1 in about 6:30. Too fast. Mile 2 was a major struggle and thoughts of stopping raced through my brain. But I kept at it. By this point everyone who would be ahead of me was ahead of me and everyone who would finished behind me was behind me. I only had a bit of a back-and-forth with one guy who had uphill issues and who I believe DNFed.

One strange thing at the start. It’s a little local race (there’s a 4-miler that is essentially the first loop of the 15K with a 9:15 start. I stood at the front and after the horn a young guy came from the left and just cut me off. Like 5 steps into the race. I was able to push his back. As seems inevitable when I’m cut off, it was a CPTCer. What are they teaching those people?

I got that off my chest. Ah, back to the race. There’s a very steep but, as I say, short hill near 2 shortly followed by a steeper downhill (which is the second tough uphill between 6 and 7). Once I got through that stretch, I started to feel better. I wasn’t straining in my breathing. It was that my legs were heavy. I fell into a rhythm and was able to run consistently for the next few miles. I realized that a toe was bleeding. I sometimes discover a nail has cut a neighboring toe after a run. Now, perhaps for the first time, I realized that it was happening, felt mostly because my right sock was sticking to my toe. It turned out not to be a problem but it was annoying.

I was tiring, but I wanted to get at least to 10K before stopping. Alas, in precisely the spot where I first stopped when I last ran this race, when I crested a hill and saw that there a another one about to come, I stopped. Only for a few seconds. and then I was good. The guy I mentioned shouted encouragement and I felt far better as i went. that was the last I heard of him. I was alone for the duration. I crested the short monster hill, and stopped as I did. Another 10 seconds and I again felt far better. I was struggling, but I was trying to keep the pace right, avoiding the wrong side of that wall. I took encouragement from the slight downhills which seemed to follow on the ups. One more stop with 1.5 to go, and then I was committed. But it was tough. I was tired.

The race finishes with about 300 meters on the Scarsdale HS track. It was a very long 300 meters. Very long. I measured it out as I crossed each lane marking. Somehow I made it and was overjoyed. The time is not great — it clocks a 77.72 AG — but that doesn’t matter. (As to distance, my Garmin clocked it at just over 9.4)

As I say, a good building block/reality check event. I need to get a bit of speed work in such as the tempo I did a few weeks back. I was a little bloodied in the endeavor, but am not unbowed.

It was a fine Sunday run.

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