Alley Pond Park 5-mile ChallengeTwo facts signaled I wasn’t in a competitive mode for this Alley Pond park race. One, I wore my heavy duty trainers, Cloudrunner by ON, which I use for long runs only. Two, I didn’t put on my club Runner’s Stop colors and wore the tee provided by the organizers instead.

The new course, set completely within the park perimeter, was much more challenging, but I preferred it. I didn’t miss the uphill road leading to the park of the old course. The race was hilly, but not as hilly as was the Auburn Sprint to Spring, but definitely hilly compared to south shore flat lands of Long Island. I enjoyed it, it was refreshing.

I ran in a relaxed pace and noticed that few runners ahead were not increasing distance. I thought they were not competing either. At mile 3, I decided to speed up and observe what would happen. I passed a runner and continued away from him. At mile 4, I targeted another runner who I reached around 4.5 miles, but remained with him. I needed to rest. I worried that if I passed him at that moment I couldn’t separate from him. I rested till about 100 meters to the finish line and yes, my final kick was stronger.