Fine weather this morning, almost warm enough for shorts, but tights and a thin long-sleeve top would have to do. With no trouble driving in or parking, I met Paul as he came off the train and away we went. We picked up Jim just as we entered the Park and Fabio on the west side. There was the Race for Haiti this morning, so we coordinated, taking the 72nd Street cut-off to pick up potential mates at 90th at 9, figuring that if we cut across 102nd the leaders of the race should catch us shortly after the 3-mile mark.

Alas, it was not to be, as the race must have started a bit late. So we doubled back up the westside and picked up the leader at about 79th and turning back south at 85th. We had picked up Simon at 90th and Stephane nearby before losing Jim, who’s been suffering from a fall he took a few weeks back.

213I wore my Garmin this time, and we eventually were going at a pretty decent pace, a bit north of 7 flat. My objective became simple: 2 hours. It sounds easy when you look at the week ahead and write it out or when you say “I need more miles.” I’m at the point where it’s reachable but still suspect. I think of all the folks I know who do it. It’s down to me and Paul.

My mind is trying to calculate: what course to take for 2? It seemed far, far away but as Paul and I passed 97th on the east side, I put myself on the line. “I’m going around the Harlem Hills,” I said, “and will cut back before heading out of the Park.” This would, my addled brain told me, get me to 2, albeit with a trip up the Harlem Hill.

Now I couldn’t back down. Now I had a plan and could stop worrying. Just do what you said and you’ll be fine. We’re cutting in-and-out of the back markers for the Haiti run — these would be walkers — but they turn at 102nd and we’re clear down the hill. It’s a steep hill and to the right you hear the sounds of hockey leagues at the Lasker Rink. My eyes are getting a bit unfocused. I’m tired but feel fine. We’re now in 6:45 territory. Although I don’t race Paul — he’s far faster — I do tend to pick it up when I’m at the front with him. He seems somewhat ambivalent about it, chatting away easily while I must muster the strength to respond, although I am able to respond. (I don’t want to give his rivals undue information, but he’s in pretty good shape and ran a fine HM a couple of weeks back.)

Up the Harlem Hill. As we headed down, I told Paul I was turning at 102nd, hoping he would continue south so I could get a respite. Alas, he kept me company as I completed the loop and headed down toward the Lasker Rink, finally leaving me to do 20 or so as I headed out of the Park at Lenox Avenue.

I was at 1:50 or so, and figured I would just add on to get to 2. And that’s what I did, not worrying about whether this white-guy-in-tights would fit in and heading up until I had to turn at 116th towards 5th and them up to Marcus Garvery Park. Four seconds after my Garmin read 2:00:00, I stopped. It said 17.01. When I loaded the data into the computer, it read 16.92, but I’ll stick with the 17.

Good, solid effort. This was a workout that will, I think, put me in good stead for the Spring. It’s about as long as I want to go, 2 hours. Thanks to the Club, I was able to get it done, and much as I hurt late, the final miles were the fastest, which is a good sign.

This, then, a real confidence boost. I was concerned about having overdone it yesterday, but while I was a bit tired, I was never in distress. I’m happy. Tired. But happy.