There’s something to be said for local, suburban races. I found a great calendar with races of all shapes and sizes: Running in the USA. Searching for a few, I came upon today’s Pelham 5K. It’s a mile-and-a-half from home, and I got a $15 entry (as 60+).

The race site had a good map, so I knew the course would be flat. It was a very laid-back affair, similar to Bronxville’s. I grabbed a spot on the front line — as with Bronxville, most of the spots are taken by kids — and the horn sent us up a slight hill. Two guys took off and I found myself alone in third. After going out too fast in Tuckahoe, I decided to take it easy. We ran on a pretty flat street for a mile and would then come back on it. The road was closed.

The guy in first was long gone, but second slowly came back. But I was simply running my own race, trying to run smoothly and avoid blowing up.

And I did. First mile was 6:23, and I was pleased. I pretty much maintained my pace throughout, although in the end in crept closer to 6:30. I got to second on a slight uphill when we turned back to the finish, which was on a slight downhill, and easily through. 19:36. My TomTom gave the distances as 3.02, and I’m going to call it a 19:45 5K.

When I got home, Ewen Thompson said he watched the 1983 NYC Marathon and thought of me. I told him that that was my year. I promptly went to the tape, and found my 20 seconds, being helped at the end of the chutes (they had them in those days) by two doctors, who asked me questions to see if I was OK. I was tired, cold, and hungry, but otherwise OK. That was a long time ago.

October 14 seems a good racing day for me. I’ve raced thrice. As a junior in high school in 1972, I won the Westchester County Junior Varsity Cross-Country Champs. More recently, I was second in the Scarsdale 5K (a race that is no more). And today a second in Pelham, albeit not with the most competitive of fields. Still.

I’ve been having a slight right-knee twinge over the past week, but it has felt fine while running. A couple of solid runs during the week. Next up, I think, is the Sleepy Hollow 10K, on a tough course. They love Halloween up there — there’s a headless horseman on each street-sign — and I ran the first of these. A couple of weeks.

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