Determined, I was, to keep to a soft surface, and the best for that in these parts is the Rockies. My other trails tend to have some harder sections. In part I was reacting to a thread on LetsRun about Alberto Salazar commenting on the differences between hard and soft surfaces.

So up to Sleepy Hollow I went. I was determined as well to run it alone. I noted the trouble I have with group running last Sunday, and in part wished to compare a solo effort to that one. There were folks I knew a little getting ready to head out, but I decided against going with them. And I largely duplicated last week’s course.

No shirt — Humidity: 98% — and off I went.  With my Garmin. The charts give a pretty broad range of appropriate “easy” run paces, and I usually am at the faster end. This means that I can slow it down and be fine. So the Garmin helps as a control.

In the end, I got in my hour plus, which was the goal. The paces (even accounting for the vagaries of the Garmin in this terrain) were strong throughout, and once I crested the big hill of the day at about 3, a climb on which I struggled mightily, I felt solid. (I think the drop and climb in the first mile are exaggerated in the terrain chart.) The numbers: 8.56 miles in 1:03:10 (7:23 (against 7:30 last week)).

I’ve spoken with folks, such as Herb, about the seeming ease with which they seem to be able to put in big miles and been told that much of it is mental. As I was moving along hurting a bit but not so much it struck me that if I can get over the mental hump I can get in the mileage. I found it helpful to think of 2011 when I did this, that being when I hope to give another shot at racing the Marathon.

I started the final VCTC 5K on Thursday. I did not finish. I got about 100 yards when I pulled over. My left knee hurts now and then but not so much when I’m running. On Thursday, I was fine during warm-up until I tried to do some straights. Then I felt a pick ax in the knee. This made doing the race doubtful. But start it I did. The pain came pretty quickly, so I DNFed. I took Friday off, and it seems to be gone. No sign of it today.

At the end of the run I came upon Dennis coming from the Sleepy Hollow HS parking lot. I had seen him briefly on the trail. He said he was in New York for a memorial service for John Scherf. John, who I knew by sight and spoke to once or twice, died recently of cancer, age 62. I’d see him often at races. He was enthusiastic if not fast (unlike his daughter, Lindsey). A year ago he was running, and now he is dead.  He was a part of the running community and will be missed.