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I headed back to the Rockies today. My objective was to get a relaxed run in. This I did, running with two Rivertown Runners. They must have thought me a bit creepy since I said very little during the entire run, which spanned 8 miles. First time that far in years. On a convoluted and hilly course. And a reasonable 8:37 pace which felt easy. I was never breathing very hard and felt fine on the climbs. I’ve a few aches now and in particular continued tightness in my upper right leg.

So for the week. with one day off, about 31 miles. A few runs ended early. For example, I was aiming for 7 yesterday along the Bronx River Parkway and felt fine until a sudden down-turn shortly after I turned at 3.5. I ended up doing 2 more miles to get home and feeling better as I did. But it was pretty warm/humid.

On the other hand, I felt quite relaxed on several other runs, having crossed a threshold last week-end with my 7.5. Suddenly 5 milers seem pretty simple.

Little things can make big differences.

For weeks I’ve been thinking of heading up to the Rockies on a Sunday, but was concerned about how far I’d be able to go. A couple of Sundays ago I ran 5.59 at Twin Lakes and I got nearly 6 last Saturday along the BRP. And I died in high humidity yesterday a bit shy of 5.

On the other hand, I’ve done a few speed sessions at the Bronxville track — 8 X 400 and then a 10 min tempo — but barely started last Thursday’s VCTC 5K when I pulled over because of an upper (right) leg pain. It was lingering but not disabling yesterday.

Still, Charlotte told me that Rivertown Runners went out on weekends at 8, and I confirmed this on its website. Today I decided to do it. As ever, I’ve been too fast on my easy days. On a somewhat meandering route that included the 13-Bridges switchback, I ran chiefly with Charlotte and her daughter Hilary. It warmed up as we went and I was tired, but am pleased to say that I made it 7.49 miles, only stopping in the final stretch with a sudden but not dramatic sciatic pain in my left butt. No point in pushing it. The pace was faster than I wanted. It was slower than I’ve been going on my own though; I find that a slower pace with a group feels harder than a faster pace alone. I don’t know why.

The point of today was to get a bit farther and be a bit slower, and I succeeded. I hadn’t run with people in quite a while and I hadn’t been at the Rockies in quite a while so this was good on both fronts. So all and all a good day and a good run, which I hope will ratchet my other runs up a hair.

I met some new people. I’ve been wondering about whether to join another club. While I like the VCTC folks, the last time I did a Saturday run with them I tripped on a railway tie and got a bit banged up — on the Old Putnam Trail — so I won’t be joining them. I though of New Ro Runners, which took over my former club Sound Shore, but its workouts appear to be a bit of a schlep. Rivertown, on the other hand, might work. Although it’s a twenty-minute drive to the Rockies, it’s worth making.

What’ll I do? We’ll see. For now, a few aches and pains and sitting on the porch looking forward to tomorrow’s run.

Having raced less than 2 weeks ago after an 18-month lay-off, I decided to brave Van Cortlandt, for one of the VCTC’s summer series of (mostly) 5Ks. Given that my long run is 5 miles and I’ve done nothing fast (except that 2.5-mile race, fast being a decidedly relative term) I was hoping to survive the three short but steep hills and take advantage of the mostly down-hill final half of the race (with the flat final 1/2 mile, on the flats).


Van Cortlandt, post-Race, June 8

I decided against wearing a team singlet because I’m between clubs. Well, I did finish in about 23:30. I stopped twice just before and just after Black Top. I felt pretty solid after that though, although had no speed in my legs.

These things can deflate or inspire. I choose the latter. It’ll be a while before I feel I can really race. My goal is to get up to 80% on the Age-Graded scale. So pull out my Daniel’s and see about getting some of that speedwork in, getting my legs accustomed to the strain of a hard effort. In some ways it’s not as bad as I remember. In some ways it’s worse.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a runner in the final stages of a race will hurt like the dickens. It will not matter how fast she is, she will hurt.

And so it was for me. I had two objectives in my Bronxville 2.5 miler. Run sub-7 pace and not stop. The course has a couple of short but steep hills in the first mile and a couple of steepish downhills and a flat-to-slightly-downhiil finish to the track, after a brief trip into my native Tuckahoe, at the bottom of the hill where I grew up. Plus I’ve run parts of it thousands of times.

I felt a bit out of place in my Warren Street singlet, but my thinking was that if I going to race I might as well do it properly. Lining up with lots of kids at the front, most of whom will be passed in short order. I only knew one person there, Charlotte Rizzo, and I happened to run next to her at the start. I then was ahead of her but she passed me and opened up on those downhills. She would remain in sight for the duration.

I was breathing heavily in the first mile, recovering from the ups, and went through at 7:02. Since my goal was to go out easy, yet I was still hurting since I had not run that fast in well over a year, I figured I could get my sub-7 pace. One slight hill just past 2, and the sight of police-car lights, after which I know they’ll be a slight down to the track. I so much wanted to stop. I didn’t. As we hit the track for the final 200, a bunch of kids passed me. Charlotte was ahead, and I was in neither the mood nor the shape to bother picking it up.

So with a 16:48 for 2.46 a 6:50 pace. And it hurt. I hadn’t raced since the Nov. 2015 Mam’k Turkey Trot and this was only a 2.5 miler. Of course, my longest run in the past six months has been 4 miles so I’ve got upside. But I need to accept the reality that although I’ve slowed down, the hurt is still there. (I was 1st in my AG (which is 60 and over). There were two people in the AG group. Not the most-competitive race. I would have been 2nd in 50-59 and 3rd in 40-49.)

Things have been up and down for a while, but since January 1 they’ve been looking up as I’ve started to work from home. I can do virtually everything I need to do from my desk, including filing papers in various courts. The modern age. And soon, I’ll be able to do them from my porch.

Since I no longer have to schlep to work, I have more flexibility running-wise, and am taking advantage. So far, not with anything dramatic. I’m slowly, very slowly, building up. I did 3 miles this morning.

I’ve taken a liking to a 2.5 mile lollipop loop; at its northern end there’s a 1/2 mile circle so it’s easy to add. (Hence today’s 3.0.) It has some very slight hills, bumps really, but I had gotten the first of them into my head and developed a phobia for the run. But I realize that that little up in the beginning is a down at the end. Very little traffic. People often walking dogs. It’s a nice little loop.

A lazy post:

The reference to Micawber is from 7 years ago, and this post.

It doesn’t seem like much. But it is what it is. It took quite a while to get over the strain I suffered on Leatherstocking in December. I was able, finally, to do a short run a few weeks back, but I died rather quickly and made it about 8 minutes. Since then I got it up to 17:30. Yes, the pace is probably too fast.

I felt I could give Twin Lakes a shot. The lap is about 1.6. So it was there I went. It was painful, and there was a time along the eastern edge, the part that runs along the Hutch, where I questioned whether I could make it around. That would have been a disaster. after crossing the dam, with about half-a-mile to go on the lap, I started to feel better. Still tired, but more a running tired than a blowing-up tired.

Through the lap and bolstered by knowing that there was a slight downhill to the wooden bridge. So I struggled and as soon as my watch hit 20 I stopped. Quite happy. And a nice walk to finish the lap.

It’s day by day. Maybe I’ll feel up to jumping into an April race, just for the fun of it. It is encouraging.


When I finish at Twin Lakes, I like to take a photo along the trail’s western side and post it as the Westchester Trails Facebook page. It gives a sense of the change-of-seasons and of course had not put up a new one for quite a while. So this one is similar to the last, taken after the leaves had gone, but it on the other side of winter. Things will only get greener. Sometimes I happened to have a runner come by. I didn’t see many while I was running, but I saw this one, who probably thought me a stalker. It gives a good sense of what the trail is like and it will fill in rather quickly as spring approaches.


Not posting in a month is not a good sign. Alas, three weeks back, I dropped my wife off in Larchmont and stopped at Leatherstocking, since it was on the way back. Except for Paine-to-Pian, I’d not run on this trail for years. It was a bit of a schlep and it was too “technical” for my liking.

And so it was those weeks ago. I frequently found myself slowing or even stopping to get through rocky, uneven stretches. But I soldiered on and was completely spent when I turned after about 20 minutes. I was dead and stopped on the way back. So I walked and ran back south, finding the trail not well marked and stopping at one point with no idea how to go; I had become disoriented so I thought the houses I saw were to the left of the trail when they were to the right. (I also ran into a very unfriendly group of runners, something I’ve not encountered on any other trail.)

Anyhow, I ended up slipping on a rock with my left foot sliding down. Not good. I strained my tendon. I rested for a week and headed out on the next Sunday, feeling fine, including doing maybe 2 and a half on the track, clockwise. But I had a hard time walking on Monday. Last week, it started to hurt in the first half mile. So I’ve decided to let it heal. Maybe next week-end.

This won’t, I think, have much of a long-range impact, assuming I get over it presently, since I didn’t plan on racing until the Spring. But I truly miss being able to go our, especially since we’ve been having unseasonably warm temperatures.

So, January 3, 2016. No runs yet for the year.

Yes, “race report”. Haven’t done one of those for a long time. In fact, I ran no races while I was 58 and only one in 2014. Now I’ve run one in 2015.

The M’neck Turkey Trot is a flat 5K. The course is a bit different from when I did it in 2011; it now starts and finishes in Harbor Island Park (as opposed to starting on Route 1). This eliminated a bit of a side-trip on the course itself.

Since my last post, I’ve not run as frequently as I might like, but my runs are starting to come together. Two weeks back, 40 minutes at Twin Lakes/Nature Study and last Sunday 45 minutes for 6 miles to Scarsdale Road and back, which used to be a basic course but now was a stretch. But it was a stretch made.

I decided to do M’neck because it’s a nice course and I hoped to see some of my SSRMC teammates. The club that took it over, New Ro Runners is a race sponsor although NYCRuns puts it on. I was glad to see Mark in the race, Tom (who ran) afterwards, and Greg and Gregg afterwards.

So I took out my Warren Street singlet (which I washed last week in anticipation) On Friday I ran a nice easy 30 minutes and it turned out to be 4.5 miles. So I was pumped about what I could do. I thought I could get under 21 but hoped to get sub-20. Of course, my mileage has been low and my speedwork non-existent. But you never know.

Until you’re on the course. I’m embarrassed to say that my optimistic mind-set did not matach my start position and I was one of those guys who is passed by a fair number after the horn. Sorry to those I blocked. And by the time we hit Route 1 — you come out of the park up a slight incline and turn left, with the water (the Sound) to the left — and I took a look at my Garmin I realized things were too rich for my blood. “6:14” I saw, and so I throttled it down a bit. I was able to avoid heavy breathing well through the one mile mark, which was 6:20. But I felt it.

From the 1.25 point on, I don’t think I was passed by anyone (ecept in the finish straight) and I picked off a fair number. By the time I hit Rote 1 again, though, I was hurting. It’s about 0.75 to the finish, flat. I just tried to hold it together. One turns back into the Park and that incline is a decline yet the expectations on the course that the finish will be a breeze quickly fades as I look and look to see where the finish is. Finally, there it is the “FINISH” in impossibly-small print. So far.

So I just push through and am dead. The time: 20:45. I check it on an AG table and it’s 76. Ouch. ¬†Nearly 2 minutes slower than in 2011. But the race felt smoothly enough, and some of my recent workouts have been smooth enough, that with a bit more dedication and speedwork I can get back to where I should be.

This will be my only race of 2015. ¬† I can allow things to build into the winter. And we’ll see where things go from there.

Two weeks ago I was thrilled about having run for more than 40 minutes. Yay! Last week-end, though, I had another non-running related issue. Bizarre but it has passed. So I headed out yesterday and I immediately realized something was different. Over the past months, as I’ve complained, my legs have felt heavy and more often than not I’ve DNFed. Yesterday, though, I started at a nice tempo and felt nice. My legs were light and the pace quick, and I knew given the lack of running that I couldn’t get far. Into Bronxville and then heading home and deciding to take a short but brutal hill — where you can do quick, on-the-toes sprints — en route, not knowing whether it would finish me off, which it didn’t, and felt pretty good for the final mile. Yay!

Today’s objective was just two laps of Twin Lakes, about 3.25. Given recent disappointments in going counterclockwise, I decided to change things up an try it clockwise, the problem with that being that the final stretch is a long, gradual uphill. I immediately felt strong and light and fast. When I began to tire, it was not what it had long been, i.e., heavy legs, it was from the breathing. It was, in short, a difference in kind and not in degree.

So two laps it was. I felt a strain with the effort, but had none of the dread of a system failure that’s I had had for so long. No problem with the final uphill (slight) stretch.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the recent malaise remains. Perhaps it is wishful thinking. Perhaps.


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