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Category: Half-Marathon

A Half Marathon followed by Breadsticks

On sunday morning I ran the Unlimited Breadsticks Trail Half Marathon for the second year in a row. I finished the course in 2:27:35, which is 14 minutes quicker than last year. While it did rain some during the race, the ground stayed dry enough to allow me to keep a consistent pace.

Trail conditions were much improved from last year, so I had actually been hoping for a greater improvement to my time than what I got, but I suppose that my time isn’t bad for a trail half considering the hills and slightly long distance. Still it was an advantage in having done the race once before. It allowed me to have some idea of how much progress I had made, and when there was a large hill around the corner.

My next race is the Wineglass Marathon next sunday in Corning.

Half marathon through the woods

On saturday morning I ran the 0SPF trail half marathon for the second year in a row. I finished the race in 2:55:23 which is almost 15 minutes quicker than last year.

We had really good weather for the race, and I started off at what felt like a quick pace. While almost none of the course is flat, I was attacking the hills fairly well, and didn’t walk any of them until the two big ones right before the turn around.

I reached the half way point in 1:23:38, five minutes ahead of last year’s pace. The way back was harder as I was really feeling the hills, but overall my endurance is better than it was a year ago. The finish line snuck up on me, but I reached the end feeling good.

Flower City Half Marathon

On Sunday morning I ran the Flower City Half Marathon for the eighth time. This year I finished with a time of 1:55:34 which is my best time in this distance since 2018.

I felt pretty good at the start of the race, and kept my starting pace for the first four miles. There were no pace groups or split times this year, so I didn’t have much to go off of, but it felt fairly quick. While I slowed down a little after that I kept moving well, and didn’t significantly slow down once I reached the hills at the course’s half way point. Once I got to mile eight, I knew that the trickiest bits of the course were behind me and at the very least the run wasn’t going to fall apart. By mile eleven my legs were starting to burn, but I was close enough to the finish that I knew I could push through.

My next races will not be until May, leading up to the Buffalo Marathon at the end of the month.

A Half Marathon of Mud

On Sunday morning I ran the Unlimited Breadsticks Half Marathon along the Seneca Trail in Victor. I finished the race in 2:41:55 which was a little slow, but my time was limited more by the trail conditions than my training.

A light rain began just before the race, and while the water in the air didn’t bother me the water on the trail was a real problem. I usually love my toe shoes, but they have very little traction and turned into a real liability in this race. While I only went down hard once, I was slipping and sliding for the first nine miles of the course. With my speed being limited not by my lungs or my legs, but rather my my traction I feel that I easily could have taken 15 minutes off of my time had the trail simply been drier. Trails opening up to grassy fields are typically my least favorite sections of a trail run, but in this race they were my one chance to actually run on this course.

Around mile nine there was a half mile of gravel path that I practically sprinted to try and make up time, but of course races don’t quite work like that. The final few miles were not as muddy, but I was still being cautious and only able to get up to full speed on occasional sections.

Overall though, my time was still over 15 minutes quicker than the 0SPF race, and I would love to get the opportunity to explore these trails again when the conditions are better.

My next race is the Wineglass Marathon which will thankfully be free of mud. I feel that my training is in good shape heading into this race and that I have a real chance of getting a Marathon PR for the first time in years.

Running the Seneca & Crescent Trails

On Saturday morning I ran the 0SPF Trail Half Marathon on the Seneca and Crescent Trails. This was my first time running this race, and I finished the 14 miles in 3:09:57.

Before the event I was only familiar with the Crescent Trail portion of the course, but right off the start I quickly found out that the Seneca Trail was just as hilly. Despite the distance I (and most of the other runners) were treating the event in much the same way that you would approach and ultra. I carried my own water, and wasn’t afraid of walking the steeper hills right from the start.

For the first half of the race I felt pretty good. Almost none of the course was flat, but I was moving well and finished the first half in 1:29. Two of the largest hills on the course come right before the turn around which means you turn around and do them once again which was a bit draining. Additionally I fell on this section, which is really only surprising in that it only happened once.

On the way back I could feel myself tiring, but I managed to keep pace fairly well through mile 12. For the final two miles I was slowing down for even the slightest of uphills, but I made it back to the finish.

A disaster of a half marathon

I came into Sunday’s Flower City Half Marathon knowing full well that I was a bit out of shape, still I did not expect things to go as poorly as they did. I finished with a time of 2:28:33 which is over 20 minutes slower than when I felt I was poorly prepared for the same event last year.

The first two miles of the race went pretty well. There were no pace groups or split times this year, but I felt like I started slowing down a bit before mile three. Just after the half way point, I decided it was best to walk up the course’s largest hill. On it’s own it was a reasonable decision for my pace so far at that point, but I had trouble getting my legs back into gear after that. At the 90 minute mark I was only 8.5 miles in, and some quick math left me pretty demoralized for the rest of the race. I ended up doing a run/walk routine for the final few miles, that got me to the finish, but didn’t leave me feeling accomplished.

My next race is the Allegany Adventure Run next Saturday, which is even more miles and more hills. Hopefully my fitness level turns around over the next five days.

Rochester Half Marathon

On Sunday morning I ran the Rochester Half Marathon. My time of 2:08:54 was slower than I wanted it to be, but more or less in line with where I expected to finish. I was only a minute behind my other half of the year which had been on a flatter course.

The race used covid as an excuse to cheap out, so there were no pacers or split times available this year and my pacing was based off of my best guess. Still I felt pretty good for the first four miles of the race. After that I slowed down a little, but my pace felt steady. (Although I was stopping for water which I typically don’t do for races this short). I walked the hill at 11.5 miles, but even that didn’t feel so bad this year, which perhaps is just a sign that I wasn’t pushing enough.

I haven’t yet scheduled my next race, but hopefully I run more than one in October.

My Longest Race in 20 Months

On Sunday morning I finally ran the Flower City Half Marathon, after the race had been repeatedly postponed for over a year. I finished the race in 2:07:46, which while not a great time, isn’t really a complete disaster either. While I would ideally be finishing in under two hours, my time was only a minute and a half behind my last half marathon, and was actually quicker than the 2018 Flower City Half.

Planning this race under covid restrictions resulted in a different course than most years, following the trails on the canal and the river instead of through the city streets. Thankfully much of the trail was under shade (including almost all of the second half) so the higher temperatures of running a race in June were not too much of a bother. I carried my own water in the race, which I normally don’t do for half marathons, but felt like the right decision in hindsight.

Despite this being the longest that I have ran in the past year, I felt ok, and kept a fairly steady pace throughout the whole run. I don’t think that I really could have gone too much faster, but I didn’t feel as if I was falling apart either.

Next week is the Buffalo Marathon which is another race that has been repeatedly postponed and is finally ready to happen. I am not in shape to do great, but I am fairly confident that I can finish.

A Rochester Road Race

On Sunday morning I ran the Rochester Half Marathon in 2:06:17. This was slower than my time at the Flower City and Grand Island Halfs earlier in the year, but coming into this race I knew that my training was not up to par.

The race started out with me going too fast as it always does. I caught the 1:45 pace group for the first mile, but at least held back enough to not pass them. By the time I reached the first hill just before mile five I could already feel myself hurting, and knew that I was unlikely to beat my time from last year.

By mile seven the two hour pace group caught up to me, and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stick with them for too long. I held on to them for a mile, and while I fell back after that I never completely blew up at any part of the run. I wasn’t fast, but I was at least steady. I had fairly even splits over the back half of the course, and didn’t even walk the big hill just past mile eleven.

I had hoped to finish quicker, but overall it was a fair finish for how little training I have been doing. I will have to work a few things out for my marathon which is now a little under a month away. However before that, next weekend I am running another trail race.

Overheating on Bristol Mountain

On Saturday morning I ran a half marathon up and down Bristol Mountain. My time of 6:01:26 was significantly slower than the last two years I ran this race.

The race was extremely hot from the start. Even on the first climb it seemed unlikely that I would be as quick as the previous years. Still the first two climbs and the first two downhills went smoothly. The third hill has always been the steepest, and it was difficult as always but I was expecting it and it came as no surprise.

I realized I was drinking water quicker than usual, but my legs still felt good and I even passed a few people on the course’s lone flat mile. The third downhill that gave me so many problems my first time on this course went without incident. In fact I made it through the whole course this year without falling at all.

On paper the fourth climb is the most difficult one, but in years past it hasn’t bothered me all that much. However this year it proved to be as difficult as it looks to be. Perhaps it was the heat, maybe it was because the grass has grown in on this hill. I found a walking stick to help me hike this one, and by the time I reached the top it was drenched in sweat.

I have never really liked the fourth downhill, but it was on the final uphill of the course that my race fell apart. Up to this point I was already 10-15 minutes behind my pace from last year, but still moving ok, however at this point the sun and temperature caught up to me. My body was overheating and the course didn’t have enough shade to recover. I pushed a little bit on the downhill to finish the lap at 3:54.

With my time out the window, and simply pushing on to avoid the DNF I walked the 5k lap and even stopped to rest a time or two. This gave me a second lap of 2:07 which was a full hour slower than last year.

My next two races are both on the trail again with the Letchworth Dam Good on August 11th, and the Black Creek Dirt Cheap on the 14th.

Grand Island Half

On Saturday morning I ran the Grand Island Half Marathon, and was a bit slow finishing 24 seconds over the two hour mark. This was a real disappointment finishing six minutes slower than last week.

The race started out well enough, sticking with the 1:50 pace group through the opening five and a half miles. I passed the half way mark at 56 minutes, on track for a two minute improvement over last week. Things started to slow down around mile nine, although I didn’t realize how bad things had gotten until the two hour pace leader caught up half a mile from the finish. (Ultimately I pulled ahead of him, but he was a minute off pace.)

I had a similar problem running this race two years ago in that I was inexplicably slower than I had been the previous weekend at Flower City. And this is despite the flatter Grand Island course being a theoretically easier place to run.

I have a quick turn around for my next race as the Dirt Cheap Trail Series is running in Durand Eastman Park on Wednesday night.

Flower City Half

Running down Park AveOn Sunday morning I ran the Flower City Half Marathon for the fifth year in a row. I finished the run in 1:54:25 and in the top 30 percentile. On one hand I am genuinely disappointed to have not finished in under 1:50 (as I did in 2017), but at the same time this race was not a complete disaster. I was over 15 minutes quicker than last year, and a minute quicker than the Rochester Half last fall.

The weather was rainy, and I was a bit slow to get to the starting line. This forced me to start out a bit slow for the first half mile which was probably a good thing, given my tendency to go out too fast. By the first mile I had passed the 1:50 pace group and was pushing to catch up to the 1:45 group. I finished the first 5k in 25:20 and while I was still feeling strong at this point I also realized that I was no longer making progress on catching the group ahead of me.

The 1:50 pace group passed me just past mile five, and I finished the first 10k with a time of 52:36, which felt good but I realized that I was not going to PR in this race. The third quarter of the race contains the biggest hill on the course and (as with most years) was my slowest section. I didn’t feel bad, but my pace felt a bit off through the cemetery. Once I reached the river at mile 10.5ish I started feeling better about the run and finished well. My pace after the final checkpoint was equal to that of the 5k to 10k section.

I will get another chance at the half marathon very soon as my next race is the Grand Island Half this Saturday.

Half of the Rochester Marathon

The first Half-Marathon I ever ran was the Rochester Half, way back in 2013. I have ran the full marathon every year since then, but this year returned to the half. The course has changed since the last time I ran the half to include a lot more hills, but I was excited to attack a course that had required me to pace myself for the full distance.

I ran the half in 1:55:33 which is about seven minutes back from a PR, but much better than I did in the Flower City Half this spring. Overall I finished in 281st place which places me just outside the top 20 percentile of finishers.

My plan was to begin the race on pace for a 1:50 finish, knowing that the hills would slow me down later on. I felt surprisingly good at the start and ran the first 5k in 25:13 which put me on place for a 1:46 PR had I been able to keep it up. (And only six seconds behind my finish at the Airport 5k).

The first two hills went ok. Knowing that I didn’t have a second lap coming this year allowed me to confidently attack the uphill portions without having to worry about wearing myself too thin. I crossed the 10k mat in 52 minutes, ironically four minutes ahead of my time from 4th of July.

The second half of the race I continued to slow down a bit, but mostly kept moving. At the final big hill, I walked a bit to drink some gatorade, but ran up the rest of it, which had always been unthinkable when running the full distance. I didn’t have any real kick left for the end, but overall I was pretty happy with my time. This was easily the best performance that I have had at a road race in 2018.

Next week I am running the Wineglass Marathon from Bath to Corning.

Back up (and down) Bristol Mountain

On Saturday I returned to Bristol Mountain for the third year, running the same half-marathonish distance as last year. After spending most of the month in Europe, and having a bit of a cough all week, I almost didn’t run, but given how fun this course is and how great the forecast looked, I decided that I couldn’t pass up this race.

I finished in 4:20:54, which is miraculously two minutes quicker than last year. So overall, I have to say that I am pretty happy with my time in the race.

On the opening climb I started out more constrained than last year, which I would like to think was me being smarter, but was probably just due to being under trained. The rest of the first loop went consistently, with a steady attack on the downhills, and a slow but consistent push on the uphills. Downhill number three, which gave me so many problems two years ago in my 50k attempt passed without incident. I slipped once on the fourth downhill, but that was my only fall the entire day.

I finished the first loop in 3:13 (one minute quicker than last year), and the shorter second loop in 1:07 (also a minute quicker than last year). While the improvement was small, this was the first race in a while where my times were heading in the right direction.

The Slowest Half Marathon

On Sunday I ran the Flower City Half Marathon for the fourth time and finished with the slow time of 2:10:55. This is disappointing because I have set a PR in this race every other year, and was even a minute behind my time from the 2014 Buffalo Half.

Given that my weekly mileage is in the single digits, and that my 15k race from a month ago implied the exact pace that I ran, it was still a disappointment.

I started out the race with the 1:45 pace group. However, while I usually need to hold back to stay with a group through the first few miles, I instead found myself pushing to keep up. After the first mile, I realized that my pace was not sustainable and I fell back. The 1:50 pace group passed me before the 5k mark, and the 2:00 pace group passed before the 10k point. After that opening mile, I feel that my pace was actually pretty steady the rest of the way. The only exception being that I was a bit more prone then usual to grab a drink from the water stops as I knew that my time wasn’t going to be great.

My next race is going to be the Taco de Mile for which I have zero expectations, and the foreknowledge that my time will be rather meaningless.

Battling at Bristol Mountain

On Saturday morning I went to Bristol Mountain to run a half marathon. Last year I attempted a 50k on this course and did not finish, so this year with less training and a better understanding of just how steep the mountain is, I decided to enter a shorter race.

I finished the half-marathon in 4:22:56 which is by far the slowest half I have ever run. However, given the terrain it was roughly in line with where I was hoping to finish. The time was quick enough for me to place 25th overall.

The race started well, although I was perhaps a little too aggressive on the opening climb up the gravel road. The first two times up and down the mountain are comparatively easy, and early enough into the race that my legs were still fresh. The third climb is tougher, but I made it up and then got to enjoy the single runnable mile on the course.

Last year things fell apart for me on the third downhill, but this time things were better as I kept up a bit of a pace, and didn’t even fall once. The long fourth climb was slow but steady, the fourth downhill was moved out of the woods but not any easier. The fifth time up and down the mountain was quicker in some parts, but slower where there was excessive mud. The weather was nice on race day, but rain from earlier in the week left much more mud and water on the course than last year.

Overall I finished the first loop in 3 hours and 14 minutes, which was shy of my goal of a sub three hour loop, but still ten minutes quicker than my opening lap from last year.

The second lap gave me a hilariously slow 5k split of 68:59, but that is what happens when you put a mountain in the middle of the course. My second time up the gravel road was much slower than my first, as I ended up walking almost all of it. While I was still able to go after the final lap’s downhills with some speed, I had nothing left for the uphill portions. Still I managed to finish in the top half of the field.

Another Half Marathon

On Saturday I ran the Grand Island Half Marathon. I finished in 1:50:36 which is two minutes slower than I was last week. Still it is the second fastest half that I have ever ran.

My main problem in this race is that I started way too fast. I finished the first 5k in 23:42 which was almost a minute ahead of where I should have been. Yet despite the fast start, at the turn-around I was already a minute behind my pace from last week, and just continued to fade from there.

I finished the race in 112th place, which puts me just outside of the top third of all finishers in the race. My next race will be the Dirt Cheap Race in Black Creek Park.

Half Marathon PR

On Sunday I ran the Flower City Half Marathon for the third year in a row. Also I used this race to improve my half marathon personal record for the third straight year.

I finished in 1:48:12 dropping over two and a half minutes from my previous PR. This time was good enough to put me in 374th place, and the 18th top percentile of finishers.

The weather was overcast and a bit cold, and half an hour into the race it started to rain on and off for the rest of the race. Which is to say that it was perfect weather for a run, and rather terrible weather for anything else.

I did a good job staying close to the 1:45 pace group, finishing the first 5k in 24:32, and the second 5k in 24:36. Six and a half miles into the race (at the first big hill), I got dropped by the pace group. Still I did a better job this year on the second half of the course and finished under 1:50 for the first time ever.

I will be getting another chance to drop my PR even further at the Grand Island Half this Saturday.

Black Diamond Express Half Marathon

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.

Flower City Half-Marathon

race_two_photosOn 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.

Half Marathon PR

IMG_20150426_120035The second day of the Flower City Challenge lead to me finishing in my best time ever for that distance. I finished with a time of 1:53:50 which was five minutes and eleven seconds quicker than my previous personal record. This was good enough for me to be the 528th runner across the finish line, and placed me among the top quarter of finishers.

Additionally I believe that my 10k split of 52:03 is the fastest that I have ever completed that distance.

My plan to stay with a pace group mostly didn’t work. I started off with the 1:50 pace group, but on a downhill around the 1.5 mile mark I pulled a bit ahead until they caught up to me close to the 2.5 mile mark. I then stuck with them until I started to slip around 4.5 miles, but they didn’t drop me completely until around the six mile mark. I am not sure that my efforts to stay with them were any different than my typical approach of starting out a bit quicker than I finish.