James Street, we meet again…

Today’s starting point. No cow costumes or elite runners this morning

Yesterday’s run (Central Park). 4.5 miles
Today’s run (street): 6.35 miles

I’ve had a lot of energy this week to channel toward running and I’m happy with the results. Yesterday I ran with a friend in Central Park, covering the lower and upper loops plus one circuit around the reservoir. The weather was optimal, high 40’s, no humidity and no direct sunlight.  We felt the cold as we headed up to the park — I always say, “You should dress for your third mile, not you first.” Soon we were into the run and I was surprised at how effortless it felt to attack that first hill, given that we were moving at an 8:45 pace over the first mile. Unlike recent excursions on these paths, the focus was fully on speed and it took little time to reach the steps leading to the trail around the reservoir. We were quickly passed by a woman who must have been pacing in the 6-7 minute range. So much for feeling fast. It didn’t matter in the least, we continued our way back after covering 4.5 miles and averaging just a tick over 9 minutes a mile.

This morning I met BJS (Brian) in Northport where we reran the Great Cow Harbor 10K course. Neither of us were happy with our performance on race day and I figured the cooler temperatures would result in an improvement in my time. I didn’t get dramatic improvement I wanted but I did do slightly better today than I did on race day. We began on Laurel Ave., close to the starting line of the race. I felt far better than in September when I raced this course and when we hit Scudder I was concerned about going out too hard before the rough stuff both on Woodbine and James St. Once you pass by Main Street you need to prepare for about a mile of misery as Woodbine is hilly through its length and James Street is a monster. Getting up Widow Hill wasn’t pleasant and I think my saving grace was knowing I’d scaled it successfully a couple of times before. By the time we reached the top we were hurting but we also knew we had almost two miles of recovery road ahead before the lengthy Waterside Ave. incline.

In retrospect it may have been better to charge down hills whenever possible to save precious seconds but I’d chosen to conserve and Brian was gracious enough to stay at my pace. I suspect he was willing to push the speed more on downhills but we stayed together. We ran on sidewalks as much as we could and that was tricky in spots due to the surface unevenness and angle. Except for some moments on James Street I never felt overtaxed and when we reached “Pumpernickel Hill” I was pleased to know it was the last hill to breech. We didn’t fly all the way down Main Street but we steadily picked up speed as we came closer to our finish.  Brian put some distance ahead of me in the last quarter mile and we finished after running a little over an hour. A careful mapping of our run revealed that we actually covered 6.35 miles, so technically I ran the Cow Harbor length in 59:18. Not great by any measure but on the better side of an hour.

As we walked from our finishing spot back to the waterfront area we passed Woodbine and I asked Brian if he wanted to run James Street again. He was ready to do it but I was only joking. Once was more than enough, thank you. I think Brian is going to do the run again tomorrow with Bailey, his Lab. I wonder what she’ll think of Widow Hill.

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