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Category: Marathon

Wineglass Marathon

On Sunday morning I ran the Wineglass marathon in Corning. I finished with at time of 5:06:09 which makes it my slowest marathon since 2019.

With my limited training, and the expected high temperatures I knew it was unlikely that I would be able to best my PR time from Buffalo in May. Still I wanted to have a plan that would at least allow me to have a pretty decent run, so I planned to run with the 4:20 pace group. At the start of the run, things pretty much went to plan. I ran the first half of the race in 2:09:42 and stayed with the 4:20 pace setter all the way to mile 15.

By the eleventh mile I was hurting and knew that I wasn’t going to be able to stick with that pace all the way to mile twenty (let alone to the finish line), but without an alternative strategy decided to just keep up for as long as I could. While my training had been slightly lackluster, the real issue in this race with the sun and the heat. The course doesn’t offer too much shade and was about 30 degrees warmer than I would have liked.

After falling off the pace, I lost a minute or two to stop at a bathroom but pushed ahead with a decent run until mile 19. From there on it became a real struggle to drag myself to the finish line, and after mile 21 I had run out of water and began to become dehydrated.

My next race is going to be shorter (and hopefully in cooler weather).

Fastest Marathon Ever

On Sunday morning I ran the Buffalo Marathon, and finished with the best time that I have ever had at the marathon distance. I finished in 4:18:40 which is 13 minutes quicker than my previous PR from way back in 2017. Additionally I was 37 minutes faster than on the same course last year, and 18 minutes quicker than Wineglass last fall.

Coming into race day I actually wasn’t all too confident. I felt like my training had gone better last fall, and my longest training run was only around 15 miles. However, my last few races had come back with surprisingly quick times that were showing year over year improvements. Having a good number of marathons under my belt (and this being my eighth time on this particular course), I at least knew that I would finish without it being a complete disaster.

My plan for the race was to stick with the 4:20 pace group, and this actually panned out for the first two miles. Then I stopped for a drink, lost sight of the pacer and started going a bit quick. At the 5k turn around I was at 29:52 and saw that I was already half way to the next faster pace group. I kept slowly passing people and reached the 10k mark in 58:44.

Around mile 9 I caught up to the 4:10 pace group and decided to stop pushing my luck and just stay with them for as long as I could. The fact that my legs felt good enough that I could have pushed ahead was an encouraging sign, but I knew it was best to save some energy for the second half of the race. I was still with this group by the half way point, so I finished the first half in 2:05.

At each water stop I was pausing to take fluids and then catching up to the pacer, and with how easily I was able to catch back up I knew that my legs (and lungs) were feeling good and by the time I was at mile 15 I knew that there was a real good possibility that I would be setting a PR that day. Traditionally mile 17 through Delaware Park has been one of the hardest stretches for me to run, but I got through this section feeling great, and even ran the small hill after the 30k mark which I am not sure I have ever done in the many times I have previously ran this course.

I reached the 30k mark at 2:56:13 and which had me still with the pace group (although technically on track for a 4:08 finish). After mile 20 though things started hurting, and coming out of the mile 21 water stop I no longer had the push to catch back up to the pacer.

The next four miles were the hardest part of the course for me as I slowed to a run/walk pace. I knew that I almost assuredly had a PR and was pushing the best that I could to finish as quickly as possible. It was easier than normal to not get demoralized over this stretch as I knew how well my run was going.

Just before making the final turn onto Delaware the 4:20 pacer caught up to me, which was close enough to the finish to have already secured the PR, but with just 1.3 miles to go (and much of it downhill) I wanted to try and stick with him until the finish. It started off pretty well, but I couldn’t quite keep up once the downhill flattened out in the final half mile. Still I didn’t walk at all during this final stretch and had enough differential with chip time to get a time under 4:20 anyhow.

I am absolutely thrilled to have done so well, and while I am not yet signed up for any races in June, I am really glad to be feeling fast again.

Wineglass Marathon

On Sunday morning I ran the Wineglass Marathon in Corning. I finished the race in 4:37:11 which was slower than I wanted, but quicker than my time in Buffalo earlier this year and also slightly quicker than my time on the same course in 2018. To the best of my knowledge, this was my second quickest marathon ever, but I had felt like my training had gone well and the weather was great so my expectations were for something better.

As with most my races I started way too fast. The original plan was to run with the 4:20 pace group, but that group didn’t exist so instead I started with the 4:15 group. (And after just a single mile pushed on to a quicker pace.) I ran the first 10k in a rather quick 58:23, and then held steady at that pace to finish the first half in 2:03.

At this point I was feeling great, but things started to fall apart at mile 15. My pace was gone and I started to get passed by more runners with the 4:15 pace group finally catching back up to me just past mile 18.

At mile 20 I hit the wall hard and reduced to a run/walk pace for the final few miles. I managed to hold off the 4:30 pace runner until just before mile 24 after which I lost some of my motivation over the final two miles. In hindsight it wasn’t actually as bad of a run as it felt at the time, but I will probably have to extend my long runs if I want to do better in the future.

Buffalo Marathon

On Sunday morning I ran my first marathon of the year, running the course in Buffalo and finishing just under five hours. This was my first marathon since running the same course last year, and at my time of 4:55:30 only a tiny bit slower.

Despite being worried about my training coming in to the race, I actually felt pretty good at the start line with plans to run a slow and casual 2:15 opening half. I just went with a pace that felt good, and it wasn’t until the 4:10 pace group passed me at mile four that I realized that I had gone out way too fast. Still I was feeling good and finished the first 10k in under 60 minutes which was inexplicably quicker than my stand alone 10k race from the week before.

Knowing that I had started too fast and wasn’t really in competitive shape I kept expecting for things to blow up early, and it just didn’t happen. I finished the first half of the race in 2:10 which was quicker than my plan, and signifcantly faster than the Flower City Half I had run just a month prior.

Actually things were really feeling a lot like the 2021 Buffalo Marathon with this year’s first half being two minutes quicker.

Around the 25k mark the blow up I knew was coming finally hit. From here on the race was a struggle, oscillating between burst of energy, and feeling that 26.2 miles is far too long to go. Despite this, I mathematically remained on pace to PR all the way until mile 17.

For much of this distance I was uncertain if I would hit my goal of finishing in under five hours. I was then passed by the 4:50 pace leader at mile 24, and while I knew I couldn’t keep up with her, I was certain that she wasn’t going to beat me by ten minutes either. The final two miles were not fast, but I was at least confident through them.

First Post Pandemic Marathon

On Sunday morning I ran the Buffalo Marathon on a hot June day. After originally signing up for this race in late 2019, and seeing it get delayed again and again, it was great to finally run a traditional race with no course or wave modifications due to covid. This was my first marathon since running Niagara Falls 20 months ago.

I finished the race in 4:46:08 which was far quicker than I expected. Having to run in the June heat, and feeling far under trained from the past year I didn’t come into the race having any expectations of finishing below five hours, and was considering dropping to the half as recently as a week ago.

Yet somehow, my time was shockingly decent. I was 33 minutes quicker than my last marathon, and only four minutes slower than my last run on the same course. Given the weather, this run was perhaps most comparable to the very warm 2016 race where I was only half a minute quicker than this year.

As a carry over from covid, there were no pace groups, so I was left on my own to figure out how fast to go. I felt fairly comfortable at the start, going at a steady pace while briefly walking the water stops. This strategy gave me a 63 minute opening 10k and a 2:12 half. This is both remarkably consistent, and only four minutes slower than my half marathon time from last week.

A bit past mile 14 I slowed down to walk a small hill, but mostly kept up my running until mile 17 which is always the toughest part of this course. From here on, I mostly maintained a run/walk pattern until the final mile of the race. The full gatorade bottles that seemed a bit wasteful on the first half of the course, were an absolute blessing on the second half. As were the many residents willing to walk into the middle of the street, and blast me with a hose.

Overall though the second half of the course did not mess up my pace too badly, and I came away with a time that I was very happy with and a full half hour quicker than I had expected.

My next race will be considerably shorter at the Fairport FireCracker 5K on July 3rd.

An International Marathon

One week ago Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon in under two hours, so I decided to try and run one in under five. Unfortunately I was not quite as quick as Kipchoge and didn’t make my goal, instead finishing the Niagara Falls International Marathon in 5:19:18.

This was a race that took the international part of it’s name very seriously and started in Buffalo and ran across the Peace Bridge to finish in Canada. This was not only the first race I have run with a finish line outside of the United States, but also the first time I have finished a race outside of New York State.

Knowing that I was undertrained I started with a goal of a sub-five finish. I intended to start with the 4:50 pace group, but found the eleven minute miles to feel too slow and after the first mile started moving up. I finished the first 5k in 31:15, and the second 5k in an even faster 29:04. Around the five mile mark I passed the 4:30 pace group and having already ran over the course’s only hill decided instead to push for a PR.

At the half way mark I could feel the miles starting to add up, but I reached this stage of the race in just 2:12:31 so I decided to continue pushing on. Around mile 16 however I hit the wall hard. I didn’t really readjust to try and reach my original goal, but instead immediately switched from trying to PR to just avoiding the DNF. The final ten miles were significantly slower, but I finished.

My next race will be a return to the trails as I will be running the dirt cheap stage race for the first time since 2017.

A Marathon in Buffalo

On Sunday I finished my second marathon in as many weeks, running the Buffalo Marathon in 4:42:23 which while not as quick as I was hoping for was still 14 minutes quicker than last year.

The course was extremely foggy at the start, which was great weather for a run. However, my foot was still hurting a bit from last week and I was somewhat concerned that I hadn’t had enough time to recover. The foot turned out to be fine, but the overall fatigue ended up doing me in.

My plan was to try and stay with the 4:20 pace group, as that strategy worked well in the Wineglass marathon. I started a bit back in the corral, caught up to the pacer, and then lost sight of him around mile two and did my best to keep things slow and even. I ran the first 5k in 29:36, and the second 5k in 30:20. Both of which were a bit faster than I had planned.

Still I was feeling good, and my next 5k was actually my fastest of the day at 29:27. With the sun nowhere to be found, and the course enveloped in a mist I was really confident in my run. Around mile 11 the pacer caught up to me and I pushed myself to keep up. Crossing the 20k mat it was clear that I ran a negative split over the first half, and that the pace was a bit off. The fourth 5k was in 30:15 for an opening 20k just under two hours.

I crossed the half way point in about 2:06, and given that it was apparent that the pacers were way to fast and not slowing down I decided to fall behind them at mile 14. By the 25k mark (15.5 miles) I was still on track for a sub 4:20 finish, but the sun had come out and the course was getting warm.

By mile 17 I was really hurting, however knowing how little shade was available within Delaware Park, I knew it was a poor part of the course to take too much of a rest and pushed through to the 30k mark before really slowing down. I finished the first 30k in 3:07 and was technically still on track for a really good time, however I knew that I wasn’t feeling great and that the final 12.2k was going to be ruff.

I really slowed down a lot over the end of the course falling back to a run walk pace, and eventually getting passed by the 4:30 pace group near mile 21. Overall I felt my effort was pretty consistent over the last few miles, it just wasn’t that fast. I am not sure if I was undertrained, still beatup from last week, or hurting from starting too fast. Overall my 4:42 time was the third fastest of my five completions of this course. And next weekend I am not running a marathon.

A trail marathon

On Saturday I ran the Sehgahunda trail marathon through the hills (and mud) of Letchworth State Park. I finished the race with a time of 6:46:04 good enough for 152nd place. The was my first marathon on trails, and while I expected plenty of climbing, the mud turned out to be the bigger obstacle.

The run started off well enough, and was uneventful for the first mile. The mud started in mile two, and by mile three had a few sections where the mud was so bad it was better off to walk. I ran some of these same trails in Dam Good race last summer when the trails were in much better condition. Around mile five I tripped and fell. Inexplicably, the area where I fell was perfectly dry and I managed to stay upright the rest of the day despite much more difficult terrain ahead.

Turning off of the main trail to go to the checkpoints was the most difficult part of the course. The first two checkpoints were steadily uphill, and while not all that steep, the mud was thick enough that they were impossible to run. In fact even on the way down many of these sections had to be (carefully) walked. Being unable to run a gradual downhill hints at how bad this mud truly was. I reached the first checkpoint (6.1 miles) in 1:15 and the second checkpoint (8.6 miles) in 1:53.

As the longest section between checkpoints the 6.8 miles between two and three looked on the map to be the most difficult section. Instead it turned out to be the nicest part of the course. There were a few steep hills, but the mud in this area was minimal, and the trail was largely runnable. After another muddy climb to the checkpoint I reached 15.4 miles in about three and a half hours.

The run to the next checkpoint was short, but the downside of that is that a greater percentage of time was being spent on the muddy climbs to the checkpoints and less on the main trail. Around mile 18 was the steepest section of the main trail as this section had a mile and a half the mostly went straight down and straight back up.

The climb to checkpoint six at mile 21 was probably the steepest part of the course. It wasn’t quite as muddy as the other checkpoints, but the long climb combined with the fact that I was tired from running so far made it challenging.

The final three miles consisted of one mile of dirt road, followed by two miles of a flat path. These really should have been a section to push the pace now free from the mud and technical terrain of the previous 23 miles. Unfortunately I had already been on the course for over six hours at the point, and didn’t really have anything left in my legs and had to run/walk my way to the finish.

Next week I will be running the Buffalo Marathon where the will be no mud, and the biggest hill will be a highway overpass. Hopefully my legs can recover in time.

Wineglass Marathon

On Sunday I ran the Wineglass Marathon from Bath to Cornell. I finished in 4:38:12 and while this was slightly slower than I was hoping for, it was only six minutes off from my PR. Despite things not going well in the final 10k, it was actually a fairly good time a quite a bit quicker than my marathon from earlier in the year.

The day before the race the forecast called for no rain. An hour before the race the forecast said that the rain would stop soon. Instead it rained all day long. Normally I like to run in colder temperatures, but combined with the rain it was very cold at the start and never really got significantly better. However for a marathon I guess being too cold is better than being too warm.

I started the race with the 4:20 pace group, and the first mile felt really easy. I did a good job staying with the group and hit the 10k mark just under 62 minutes. By mile nine I was feeling good and pulled ahead of the pace group a bit and would stay ahead of the pace group until mile 18.

I reached the half way point in 2:09:34 still feeling good, but also realizing that this course wasn’t as downhill as promised. While far short of the hills on the Rochester marathon course, Wineglass includes a fair number of rolling hills that keep the course from really being all that much easier than a flatish marathon like Buffalo.

By mile 17 I was starting to feel tired and knew that eventually I would have to slow down a bit. I maintained pace for a sub 4:20 marathon up until the 30k point and then backed off a bit. I started walking a little after 20 miles, but by the 35k mark I was still on pace for a 4:28 finish. Unfortunately I just couldn’t quite keep that up and ultimately crossed the line in 4:38.

Still there were some good things to take away from this race. My pacing through the first 30k was strong and steady, and a pace that I would be comfortable staying at for my next marathon. Also my time of 2:28 for the second half is actually the quickest I have ever ran the back half, and therefore this was also the closest that I have ever come to having even splits at this distance.

Another Marathon in Buffalo

On Sunday I finished the Buffalo Marathon for the fourth time. I finished in 4:56 which is far from a PR and my slowest time on this course. Unlike last year when I set a PR, I knew that my training wasn’t any good coming into this race. Still I proved that I could complete a marathon without really training, and still reached my goal of coming in under five hours.

The plan was to run steady with the 5 hour pace group, but I got stuck at the back of the starting queue and by the time I caught up to them that pace felt too slow. Despite trying to pace myself, I actually started picking up speed passing both the 4:50 and 4:40 pace groups, and posting my quickest split between the 10k and 15k timing mats.

By the out and back just before mile eleven I caught a glimpse of the 4:30 pace group and realized that (by chip time) I was actually on track for a PR. I began wondering if I could maintain even splits for the rest of the course. Spoiler alert, I could not.

The course inexplicably doesn’t have a splits at 13.1 miles, but my 20k split implied a sub 2:15 pace for the first half. I began slowing down on mile 15, and just short of mile 17 I walked a bit and unhelpfully calculated that I could walk the rest of the way and still finish before the course closed down. Still I didn’t really fall apart at any point in the race and ultimately even ran the final mile a bit quicker than last year.

Hopefully I will actually be able to train for my next marathon, which at this point looks to be the Wineglass Marathon in the fall.

26.2 Miles through Rochester

On Monday I ran the Rochester Marathon for the fourth straight year. I finished the course in 5:21 which isn’t that fast, but given my lack of preparation was actually far better than I expected.

Coming into the marathon under prepared, my plan was to take things slow and just survive the course, to walk the uphills even when they came in the early miles. My dad was running the half, so we stuck together through the start of the race and passed the 5k mark at 31:36, which actually would have lead to a great time if we kept it up through the miles (and hills) to come.

We got separated at a water stop near mile four, and I walked my first hill just short of mile five, and my second just short of mile six. The next next three miles were a bit boring over a slow incline, before dropping through the river valley again and heading to the turn around point. I reached the half way point in 2:22. I kept this pace through mile 17, walking the steeper hills and taking gatorade at each stop, but otherwise jogging at a steady and consistent pace. For the next few miles I pushed on with a run/walk approach where I would stretch out the runs for any section that included a bit of downhill. Also as it got later in the day the temperature began to rise.

After passing the turn around point at mile 24 I knew I was in the home stretch and dropped into the final (and steepest) downhill of the race. I over extended my right leg a bit and felt a twinge in my leg. Thankfully I was already close to the end. I walked the large hill coming out of middle falls, but given my current pace this didn’t really set me back too much. At this point I was close enough to the end to want to push to the finish, but my leg would occasionally seize up and hold me back. With half a mile to go I decided to just go for it anyhow and run through the pain to the finish line, and ended up with a time that was actually quicker than where I though I was going to finish.

Despite not feeling that quick, my time was faster than last year, and only two minutes behind my pace from 2015. It was far from the disaster that it could have been while still being almost an hour slower than the Buffalo marathon earlier in the year.

My next race is the Can Lake 50k ultra-marathon in early October. Thanks to an upcoming vacation in California, I am not going to be all that well prepared for that on either.

Marathon PR

On Sunday I finished the Buffalo Marathon in 4:31:44 which is a five minute improvement over my previous PR from two years ago. I had hoped to be a bit quicker, but I can’t complain about setting a new personal best time.

The weather was much better than last year, and I started the race too fast. A bit past the two mile mark I came across the 3:50 pace group and stayed with them until mile six. I felt good during this section, but knew that I wasn’t at a sustainable pace.

I crossed the half way point at 1:58 which is the quickest start that I have had in a full. While I was starting to feel myself slowing down, I reached the 30k mark (in just under three hours) before I had to slow to a walk at any point.

The section between mile 17 and 22 was a bit rough, but after passing Albright-Knox I found a more steady pace. While I managed to power myself to the finish line, my legs didn’t have anything left to give too much of a push at the end. Still, it was my quickest marathon ever.

Rochester Marathon

race_2213_photo_44991295_wideOn Sunday I ran the Rochester Marathon for the third straight year. After being a bit disappointed in my performance in this race last year, I decided to change my strategy a bit by carrying my own water and by starting with a slower pace group. Unfortunately this didn’t really help, and my time of 5:34 was actually a bit slower than last time.

I started out with the 4:20 pace group, which is a slow start for me, but after the second hill at mile six I started to fall behind. I finished the first half in 2:17 which is the slowest opening 13.1 that I have ever run. The second half of the race was mostly just dragging myself to the finish line. Hopefully I can get things back on track for the Canandaigua Lake 50k in October.

The Buffalo Marathon

B9On 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.

A slow Marathon

On Sunday I ran the Rochester Marathon, and finished with a disappointingly slow time. I was off my planned pace by mile 11, and occasionally walking by mile 16, so I knew fairly early on that it was not going to be a good finish.

My final time of 5:19 is actually not the slowest I have ever done, but this was my first marathon where I didn’t PR, so I was disappointed to have lost so much time since my race in Buffalo.


I ran the first half of the race in 2:04, which while slightly slower than I hoped for is a respectable time. The second half of the race was a disastrous 3:15 which was inexplicably even slower than my run in the half-ironman. While I would love to blame this course’s many hills (and they were partly at fault), the real problem was that I didn’t get in the long training runs that I needed to prepare for the race. I now have three weeks to get ready for my 50k, so hopefully I can get prepared by then.

Marathon PR

crop2On Sunday I improved my marathon time by over an hour compared to my first race at that distance last fall. Unfortunately there is a bit of uncertainty over my exact time. Officially my time is listed at 4:36:34, but this is inconsistent with the on course timing that indicated that I was two minutes faster. Either way it was much quicker than my previous marathon.

My plan to stay with the 4:30 pace group ‎for the first 10k really did not work out. Crowding at the starting line forced me further back than I had hoped, and I went out a bit quicker than I planned anyhow. Planned 10 minute miles turned into 9 minute miles, and I passed the 20k mark on pace to finish the first half in under two hours. This both placed me ahead of how I started my previous marathon, and also my time running the half on the same course last year.

One of the main strategy differences I used for this marathon was taking the time to stay hydrated. Beginning at mile 6, I walked through each water stop ‎usually taking two glasses of water. As a result I felt much better in the second half despite the faster start.

Last marathon I was struggling by mile 15, while this time I made it past mile 21 before feeling any pain. The final few miles were certainly slower, but not by enough to really ruin my overall time. Hopefully I can push through a bit farther next time, and finish below four and a half hours.