One benefit of Facebook, and Twitter, is that someone may say something in passing that contains useful information. Tom O’Brien of Sound Shore — Tom was the glue that held my two Reach-the-Beach teams together, a guy who could work with the psychos like me and a few others as well as with the more reasonable, measured folks (and, yes, he’s in sales) — did that when he mentioned that the Rye Derby is this Sunday.

Rye Derby, 2008: I'm Wearing a Yellow Cap (from Rye Record/JoAnn Cancro

Rye Derby, 2008: I'm Wearing a Yellow Cap

(Photo from Rye Record, by JoAnn Cancro)

Normally, I have a real focus on that race because it comes right when I start getting into shape and it’s a useful race to shoot for. It’s the top race in Westchester, although not as impressive as in years past, with a number of Africans coming in to take the first spots. The course is relatively flat with a slight, longish hill at mile 4 as one leaves Playland Parkway, and the race starts at 1:45.

I’ve run it twice. A couple of years back it was the day after my law school 25th reunion and I had a bit more to drink at that event than usual. Had the race been in the morning, I couldn’t have done it, but I somehow made it through, although it was probably the worst race I’ve run in the last few years. But it was fun.

Last year, I ran it pretty well — 28:43 for 12th. So now I’m leaning towards giving it a shot. The northern-County based Taconic Road Runners, which has the best web address I know — — as well as some of the areas top 50+ runners put it on.

My training this past week has been spotty. I still have a number of aches and pains, in my right quad and left Achilles tendon, but they don’t bother me when I run. I took the past two days off and went out for 6 this morning. On Sunday, I was at the Rockies, but the hills did me in and I only got in 12 (and that with a stop on a hill towards the end), and Monday was a very nice 5 miles on the track in the rain in which I kept picking up the pace and did the final mile in about 5:50 with smoothness I wish I could bottle.

I haven’t done any speed-specific stuff for a couple of weeks as I’ve tried to baby my leg and really want to get in a good hill workout. But these annoyances are sapping a bit of my enthusiasm; running the race might help get me out of it.

So if I race, I’ll miss a long run this week-end and will have to try to get it in the following week-end, in Paris.