Prior to this week, I hadn’t run a single race since Steamtown. Fortunately, the city of Scranton was kind enough to provide one practically in my backyard. Scranton Running Company, in partnership with a few other local businesses, are sponsoring “Runs Around Scranton” this year, with one held on the third Thursday of every month. They all start around a business or restaurant with the intention of showing people the city and helping out businesses.
The runs have (so far, at least) been exactly that, “runs.” They are timed and all, but the atmosphere is casual and more about camaraderie and enjoyment than competition. The winning time from the first run in the series was 14:22 for two miles. I didn’t participate in the first one, but since the course for the second in the series went right through the neighborhood (the “South Side” section of Scranton) where I grew up and continue to run all the time, I couldn’t pass it up. I figure a native South Sider should take home the gold, you know?
Much like the first race, this one seemed pretty casual. Frankly, I felt a bit out of place in my more serious running attire, and my general attitude also seemed at odds, but so be it. I went out in a pretty conservative pace, but had taken the lead by a quarter mile in anyway. My GPS watch died and the mile marker wasn’t marked, so I have no idea what my splits were. I had no idea what pace I was even running. It felt like I was out for a nice, night-time tempo run through the neighborhood. For the last quarter mile, I picked up the pace and crossed the finish line in 11:10. Not too bad for a casual race in February with no one to push me.
Besides, as I’ve alluded to, the Runs Around Scranton aren’t really about competition. At least not yet. As word of mouth spreads and the weather warms up, I expect more seasoned runners to come out of the woodwork. But for now, this was helpful in getting myself back into more of a race mindset, something I’d been missing for months. And then I also had a pretty solid 6×800 workout the next day. I’m going to go for 13 miles this afternoon, so that will give me another 60 mile week this winter. The weather actually looks decent looking ahead, so maybe I’ll finally be able to hit 70.
The full results are posted here, if you’re interested.