I don’t know what dales are. I know all about hills. Yet however many times I’ve run at Van Cortlandt, it’s a jarring experience the first time you race there each year. And tonight was that first time. The Van Cortlandt Track Club‘s summer series.

“Racing” may not be accurate. I hurt, but the objective was to have a solid bit of speedwork. And so it was.

To review, the VCP course is a bit over a 5K, because of some construction. It’s a flat 1/2 mile followed by rolling 1 mile +, with three good-sized hills, the last and steepest of which is BlackTop. After that there’s a deceptively tough incline after which it’s a good mile of sometimes pretty steep and winding downs. I at least have to check my downs. In high school, I could bomb down these hills. No more. I am tentative. Then a final 1/2 on the flats again.

It rained during the day, but cleared through. It was still humid though. I kept it as relaxed as I could. That’s not saying much at Van Cortlandt though. Just put my head down and pushed through. Tough in the final stretch; they now have a clock with red numbers and you can see it from a good way away but it doesn’t seem to get any closer. While I have no pick-up, no one else does either.

This is a fun race. We all hang out afterward. Perry King passed me going down a hill, and that left me second in 50-59. Time was about 20:45. So I got me a muffin and a t-shirt. (Laura Rodriguez, with whom I often run in the Bronxville Running Company race, took the overall women’s title for the second straight race.)

Now, as I watch the women’s 10,000 meters on-line, my hamstrings are a bit sore. Takes a bit of practice to get used to those hills.