Today’s was a big-deal run. The last few days have been a series of struggles, going out, struggling, never feeling a late-in-the-run surge, stopping. As I struggled through a 6 miler last night, thoughts of heading into the City for an hour plus were tempered by the concern that I couldn’t make it an hour, even being pulled along.

Still, into the City I went. Paul was his typically bubbly self at the 125th Street station and down to and into the Park we went.  We picked up Fabio early on and wandered up and down the bridle path. Although the temp wasn’t high it was humid. (I felt for those running the Brooklyn HM (which started at 7) but many positive results have come from that race.) I morphed into frequent checking of the watch mode.

Somehow, though, I was able to hang on. Stephane made an appearance late as Paul explained how only the Brits know how to do cross-country. To him, there are three requirements: mud, mud, mud. This came up in the context of Paul asserting that he doesn’t do what we Yanks call cross-country but that he might just head over to the Rockies for the Centaur 10K on June 12. (My 2009 race report.)

For me, I was able to drag my bones back to my car, 1:25 after the start. I am quite happy with the result. Steps backward, I know, but ahead of a few days ago so I’ll take it.

Back to Paul (who ended up getting his standard 22 in). I wonder whether he might find a good partner for runs at the Rockies with Khalid Khannouchi. I didn’t think to mention this to him. But he chided me for not getting JT to join Warren Street and when I got home I saw her report on her interviews (pre- and post-HK) with KK. She writes,

At one point I asked Khannouchi about recovery time. I prefaced the question by saying that, since I’m a few years older than he is, I felt I could ask him this: “As you’ve gotten into your late thirties, do you find you need more recovery time? What about entire recovery weeks?”

His answer was that he did need a lot more recovery time and that it was not unusual to take workouts that he used to cram into one week when he was younger and spread them out over two weeks. But he does not take entire “down weeks.” Inoa [his wife and coach] just keeps his workload at a reasonable level throughout the training cycle.

Still, now that he’s running well again, Inoa has to rein him in. As she told me, “He’s been frustrated because he wants to jump back in and run fast workouts.” She has to hold him back and remind him that the focus right now is on regaining his fitness while avoiding injury. That means being patient.

KK ran for Warren Street in his early days in the US, and during the run I mentioned Tracy Sundlun, who was my coach in my early years with the Club. In an age when runners were being taken advantage of by the governing organizations — think of Pre in “Without Limits” — Tracy always thought first of runners. He got me into New York in 1983 and Paul into Boston in 2008. He was on the Great Lawn every Tuesday and Thursday night for our workouts. He left New York, headed west, and founded the Rock-and-Roll Marathon in San Diego. He’s a hero to some, a villain to others for that one fact alone. And when KK was first in the US, Tracy signed him up.

Paul did bemoan the contrast between Brits and Americans as to clubs. There, virtually all runners are members of a club, often from a young age (there not being the structured school system we have here). Here, there seem to be many more in races who are unaffiliated. It’s a mix, I said, of fear of being slow — although most clubs have a broad range of speeds — and fear of not being serious enough — although most non-club runners with whom I am familiar take this stuff plenty seriously. As I’ve said before, think about joining a club.