On Sunday I ran the Black Diamond Express Half Marathon on Mendon. I finished the race in 1:59 which is a bit slower than I was hoping for as the course (while being a trail race) was very flat. This is because the trail is a former rail bed, and the black diamond refers not to the ski hill rating, but rather the train that used to run the route. Overall I finished in 54th place which is in the top third of all runners.
On Sunday I completed a triathlon at Sodus Point. I finished the course in 1:45:08. Without any previous times on this course, the most I can say is that my average pace was similar to the slightly longer Shoreline Triathlon I finished last month.
A last minute change moved the swim to the other side of the peninsula in an area that included a few shallow areas that need to be walked. If anything that was a help to the slower swimmers like myself and I finished the swim course in 23:01.
The bike course was unexpectedly hilly, but at only 13.1 miles it was also a bit on the short side. I finished the biking in 52:13 and averaged the exact same miles per hour as my last triathlon.
My 27:11 for the run was a little disappointing, but relative to the rest of the field the run is still my strongest part of the race.
On Saturday I went down to the Bristol Mountain Ski Resort to run a 50k. Unfortunately the hills were quite a bit steeper than I was prepared for, and I had to drop out after 20 miles.
The course consisted of three laps around a 10 mile loop, with each loop consisting of 5 climbs up the mountain for a total of 4,000+ feet of elevation gain each lap.
From the very start of the race it was clear that this was going to be different from the 50k that I ran last year as my pace slowed down to a power walk on the first (and least steep) hill. Still I managed to stay with the pack, and actually had fun running down the first two hills. The third time up the mountain was the steepest hill, but the first time around it was still early enough in the race that I had the energy to get up. Next was the one part of the course that was level enough to actually run.
This was followed by a downhill that was both steep and overgrown, and resulted in me falling a dozen times during the decent. I don’t mind the stronger athletes going by me on the uphills, but seeing how many people passed me by on this downhill was the first sign that I was going to be in trouble. The final two climbs were long and difficult, but again I found myself really bleeding away time on the final two descents.
I finished the first lap in 3:23, and found that I had the trail to myself for the first two climbs of the second lap. Once I found myself walking on the second downhill on what had previously been a fun part of the course, I knew that I was probably not going to make it to a third lap. I struggled on the third uphill, but felt that the final two climbs were done at a steady pace. Again my biggest problem was the downhills, as I struggled to maintain any speed on the final three downhills.
Back in 2011 this course was the first Dirt Cheap race I ever did, and it is always fun to come back to this park and run it again. My next trail race will take a bit longer as it is a 50k down at Bristol Mountain.
I finished the half mile swim in 24:43 which is a bit over a minute quicker than last year. I am still one of the slower swimmers, but I am improving.
I finished the 15.7 mile bike course in 62:21. This is 13 minutes quicker than I was when I first did this race in 2014. Last year’s bike course was slightly different, but I still had a higher average speed than last year, and also the paddle-tri from earlier this year.
The run has been my most consistent part of this race, but I still managed to finish the four miles 45 seconds quicker than my previous best on this course.
I only got in a single practice run in the past two weeks, so I knew going into the race that I was unlikely to match my PR from last year. Still I had hoped to do better than the 53:50 that I finished with.
After the first mile I had already fallen behind my pace from last year, but through the first two miles I was still on track to finish under 50 minutes. Around two and a half miles my knee started hurting and I knew that I was going to be in trouble. By the 5k mark I was over 25 minutes, and around 3.5 miles my knee started to be in serious pain. I was considering walking a bit, and was concerned that I wouldn’t even finish in under 60 minutes.
Mile four is often the hardest part of this course, but instead of being in trouble my knee pain went away and I finished the final two miles in pretty good shape. The middle two miles had been enough to kill my time, but it turned out to not be a complete disaster. Hopefully I can get some actual workouts in before the Shoreline Triathlon.
I ran a 5k at St. Greg’s Great Race on Friday. Despite this being my shortest race of the year, my average mile time was actually rather slow. I finished in 24:33 which puts me close to my half-marathon pace, instead of what I was hoping to run.
The race was a bit disorganized at the start which didn’t help my time, but the real problem was that I just couldn’t find a quicker speed. Hopefully I will be able to pick the pace up for the 10k on July 4th.
On Wednesday I returned to trail running with the third Dirt Cheap race of the year at Lucien Morin Park. I finished the course in 39:03 which is three minutes quicker than last year, and five minutes quicker than I was in 2014. While I did feel good for the run, most of this improvement is probably actually due to the course being dry and not requiring me to fight the mud for miles.
My time placed me in 109th, which places me in the upper quartile of runners. My next race is a 5k this Friday.
On Sunday I ran the Buffalo Marathon in 4:45:28. This is roughly ten minutes slower than I finished last year. Given the obnoxiously warm weather, this was (in hindsight) a reasonably good finish, but I was really hoping to be faster.
The course was extremely warm (up to 77 by the time I finished), so I took the precaution of carrying my own water with me, but otherwise made no real changes to my plan for the run. Remarkably, I managed to actually stay with a pace group for once. I started with the four hour pace group, and the heat got to me almost immediately. I was sweating badly well before finishing a single mile. Bringing my own water turned out to be a good idea as it helped me avoid the crush around the water stops in the first half of the race. I fell behind the pace group after eight and a half miles, and crossed the half way point at 2:05. At this point I knew that I was unlikely to PR, despite being technically still on pace to do so.
The second half was slower, with me stopping to accept whatever ice/water/gatorade would help cool me down. Temperatures continued to rise, and Delaware Park (ironically) has the least trees to protect the course from the sun. Despite slowing down from miles 17 to 22, I finished strong for the final four miles, keeping a consistent (if slow) pace.
Despite the slower time, I am feeling good and feel that the weather is the only thing that kept me from a PR. My June races will be shorter starting with the Dirt Cheap Race at Lucien Morin Park, and St. Greg’s Great Race.
Once again I started way to quick (I was one of the first twenty runners to reach the top of the hill), and then felt sluggish in the rest of the race. Despite not feeling great about the run, the results indicate that I actually did ok. I finished in the top 25 percentile, which is better than both this year’s first Dirt Cheap race, and last year’s race at this same park.
On Saturday morning, I ran the Right to Run 19k in Seneca Falls. I finished the race in 1:44:56 which is technically a PR, because this very well may be the first nineteen kilometer race in the world. This was my first race back in the Finger Lakes since the Can Lake 50 in the fall, and it is always a very pretty place to run.
Unfortunately my per mile pace was a bit slower than my average from the Flower City Half two weeks ago. I don’t have the splits to confirm it, but I am fairly sure that I started the race way too fast, and then finished way too slow.
On Sunday I set a new Half-Marathon PR with a time of 1:50:52. This is three minutes faster than I ran this same course last year.
As usual, my plan to stay with a pace group really didn’t work out. I lined up next to the 1:45 group, and immediately left them behind. They would not catch up to me until mile six. After the quick start, I felt ok on the hill but never regained my pace in the cemetery. I really struggled through the final few miles after earlier thinking that I had a real chance at breaking the 1:50 mark. Still, there is no such thing as a bad PR.
On Saturday I completed the Flower City Paddle Triathlon for the third year in a row. This was my quickest finish in 2:37:17 which was good enough to finish 53rd.
The 5k run started off very fast in 22:01, over a minute quicker than I was last year, and within a minute of my quickest standalone 5k in the past decade.
I felt good on the bike, but was a bit disappointed by my time. While my time of 1:24:26 was two and a half minutes quicker than last year, I had really been hoping to break 1:20 so I still have some additional practice required before my next triathlon.
I was incredibly under prepared for the kayak (not using it since last August), but my time was still a few minutes quicker than last year so I really can not complain.
This weekend is the Flower City Challenge with a paddle triathlon on Saturday, and a half marathon on Sunday. Unfortunately the new pair of shoes shown here are not quite broken in enough to be used this weekend.
Last year I started off the triathlon with a 5k run in 23:03, which was quick enough that I am going to have a hard time beating that. However, on the bike I should be able to make up some time. Last year’s bike ride was such a disaster that I realized I needed to buy a bike that actually works. I would love for my bike time to be under 1:20, but I have gotten very little practice in so far this year. As for the kayaking, I have not gotten any practice in since August, so whatever happens there is what happens there.
I have not actually raced a half marathon since last year’s Flower City Half so any improvement on last year’s time would be a PR. Given how well I felt a few weeks ago in the 15k, I plan on going out with the 1:45 pace group. Even if I fall off the pace a bit, that should still set me up to do better than last year.
On Wednesday I ran the first Dirt Cheap Trail Race of the year at Mendon Ponds. I didn’t feel that great about my run, but ended up finishing in 124th place, which is one spot better than I finished this same race last year. Furthermore, my time of 49:18 was also two minutes quicker (although the course is slightly different every year).
I felt that my pace was a bit inconsistent, but I felt strong at the end despite the course having no flat sections. If I can maintain that average pace for longer runs, then I should be in good shape for this coming season.
I finished the race in 92nd place which places me in the top 20% of finishers. My next race at Mendon Ponds will be back on the trails.
My first road race of 2016, was Johnny’s Runnin’ O’ the Green which has a remarkably high 6:10 ratio of apostrophes to words. I finished the 5 mile course in 38:34, which is just 13 seconds off of my PR at this distance that was set at the Turkey Trot in November. It has been three years since I last ran this particular course, and I greatly improved on my time from then.
My next race is a 15k at the Spring Forwards Distance Run in Mendon Ponds.
- March 12th – Johnny’s Runnin’ O the Green
- March 26th – Spring Forward Distance Run
- April 13th – Dirt Cheap Trail Race
- April 23rd – Flower City Paddle Triathlon
- April 24th – Flower City Half-Marathon
- May 18th – Dirt Cheap Trail Race
- May 29th – Buffalo Marathon
- June 15th – Dirt Cheap Trail Race
- July 4th – Lancaster 4th of July 10k
- July 17th – Shoreline Triathlon
- July 20th – Dirt Cheap Trail Race
In what is hopefully my final cold weather race of the year, I finished the two laps of Wednesday’s Snow Cheap race in 42 minutes. The course at Cobb’s Hill was a mess of snow, ice, and rain that made running difficult for many parts of it. Yet, I only took one real fall.
I finished in 62nd place, which puts me in the top third of finishers. My next few races should be back on the road, where I will not have to spend as much effort watching my steps.
On Wednesday I ran the Snow Cheap race at Cobb’s Hill Park. Unlike the last race in this series, this time there actually was snow. Not so much snow that the race was all that different from a typical trails run, but enough to make me slow down on the downhills, and enough to make the course pretty.
A different course than last time, I finished the race in 31:00 which placed me in the top 35% of finishers.
On Wednesday I ran the first race of this year’s Snow Cheap series at Cobb’s Hill Park. Emphasis on the word hill. Just for fun the course even finished with a twenty foot (no seriously 20 feet) hill of leaves to run over.
The course was roughly three miles, which leaves me happy with my time of 25:18. This was significantly faster than I finished the first leg of the Dirt Cheap Stage Race under similar conditions in November.
I placed 87th in the race, which places me in the top quartile of all runners. Maybe next time, there will even be snow.
With the Turkey Trot now complete, I am more or less done with my running for the year. I am extremely happy with how the year turned out. I set a new PR for the five miles, 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon distances. Further it was my first year completing a 50k, and a half ironman. Additionally I also completed ten trail races and a Ragnar Relay.
Hopefully 2016 goes just as well…
On Thanksgiving morning, I ran the oldest race in the country at the Buffalo Turkey Trot. I finished the five mile course in 38:21 which is 19 seconds quicker than last year. This put me in 883rd place, meaning that I achieved my goal of finishing in the top thousand. Additionally I placed in the top 7% of finishers, which mostly just indicates how many non-runners are in this race.
This was my sixth Turkey Trot. I have improved my time every year since I first finished with a time of 58:20 in 2010. Overall that is a twenty minute improvement between my first Turkey Trot, and this year.
The first stage was a three mile run on Friday night. While I have run night races before, I was not prepared for just how dark it was in those woods. Difficulty in seeing the trail, turned out to slow me down even more than the hills did. I finished with a time of 33:35 which placed me 84th and in the top 33 percentile.
The second race on Saturday morning was ~5.5 miles and followed a course similar to the Dirt Cheap race in April. This was the muddiest of the three legs, and also the one where I had the quickest pace. I finished in 91st place with a time of 49:18.
On Sunday morning, the weather was actually nice for the final run of the race. This leg was 11 miles through the woods. I decided to carry water with me after that had worked out for the Can Lake 50k. This leg took me just over two hours to complete, and landed me as 98th across the line.
Overall I had a total time of 3:23:38 which placed me in 87th place overall and in the top 39th percentile. Next week, my final race of the season will be the Turkey Trot in downtown Buffalo.