Much as I frequently complain about having to run hills, say at the Rockies, there’s an equally pernicious type of running. The Flats.

Yesterday Bobby and I decided to try out a new course. Years ago, I’d run from Bronxville to the Putnam Railway trail in Yonkers, which takes one to Van Cortlandt to the south. It is now paved to the Bronx-Westchester border — and I recently wrote about the dispute about the alterations in the works for the Bronx portion — and is paved to the north as well, at least to the Putnam County border. This part is the South County Trailway; there’s a North County one too.

So after a brutal climb up Palmer Avenue — not super steep but very long — we hit upon a long-abandoned railroad station and turned right, heading north. As I’ve noted, Bobby is a lot faster than me and is really slumming. I must run pretty hard for these “easy” jaunts. This is a nicely paved railroad right-of-way which means it is pretty flat with one extended but slight dowhill heading out (uphill heading back).

A flat run turns into a flat HM in form. By which I mean one is forced to get into a rhythm and is then locked into that rhythm with nothing to break it up. Truly in-for-a-pound stuff. I felt good and strong, my recent running malaise in which I was struggling in every run, no matter how easy, disappeared about 10 days back. That long slight downhill got the tempo of the thing a little faster than it might otherwise have been, leaving me going a little bit faster than I might have preferred. Wearing my new favorite shoe, the Brooks Pure Connect, which makes me feel light on my feet (since they are tight and, well, light on my feet).

We turned at 36 minutes and were clicking off the miles at what felt, to me, like a good pace. I was in trouble though, hoping that the downhill wouldn’t be too much heading back and hoping that I could just hold on. Bobby planned on leaving me when I got off the path to get in another 30 minutes so I just needed to be brave until then. My breathing wasn’t particular hard. It was my legs that were feeling it. The feeling of a solid effort in the quads and the hope that they would not fail me.

They did not. Still, I only got back to Bronxville because that long uphill on Palmer was now a long downhill, with the final stub to the store itself a mighty effort. Acting on the I’ll-hate-myself-if-I-don’t-finish impulse, I did make it. 1:11:08.

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