All manner of “slow” movements have evolved — food, cities, sex — and it seems strange to include a roadrace among them yet I think it’s a fine way to describe it. Most of the races up here in Westchester qualify. A number in the City do as well. Annual races put on by towns or organizations, manned chiefly by volunteers and part of the community’s fabric. In fairness, the courses may be of questionable distance, but you can use Gmap to check. Since I’m not running for a club now the sole reason to run an NYRR “event” — the Club series — is gone for me. And once the horn sounds in any race it’s me, the course, and the guys around me.

So not having raced since September, I felt I had progressed enough to jump in. Consistent long-runs, increasing amount of speedwork. I picked the Riverdale Y 5K in the Bronx. Ten minutes away.

So I entered the 5K (there’s a 10K too) put on by the Riverdale Y in the Bronx. $20 (plus $2.50 processing fee) for the race ($25 for the 10K). Including a tech t-shirt. Of course Riverdale = hills. Apart from an all-uphill RTB leg, this was the toughest course I’ve ever run (a bit tougher than the Sleepy Hollow 10K). Turns out that in Riverdale the Bronx is up, and down, and up again. My post-race complaint to the race director received no sympathy. Course.

I hoped to go sub-19. I didn’t. I surely would go sub-20. I didn’t. 20:10. Stopped twice on one long hill, although they didn’t cost me much.

But I think it was a good race. Bobby Asher won the 10K which included the 5K course in 36, and he’s a 33 guy, which tells me that the hills cost a big chunk of time. I pride myself as a very good hill runner. I was not ready though and actually stopped twice running up Wave Hill, a long, gradual climb. Throughout, though, I kept things relatively relaxed. I wanted to have the race come to me and the object was to keep things under control, and they were.

Racing after a long lay-off is a shock to the system. Even pushing tempos or intervals doesn’t prepare one for the mental turbulence as things start to hurt on the course. So I’m bloodied, but not beaten.

I hope to run the Litchfield Road Race on June 9. It’s not quite as local as races around here. It’s one of the classic New England weird distance — 7.1 miles — races, with a notorious hill. I have five weeks to figure how to handle that one.