With the yearly racing schedule kicking off this weekend with the Running of the Green, here is a look at my initial plans for a race calendar this year. My actual schedule feels uncertain as ever, but here is a look at where things stand today.
I ran 15 races this year, and while that is still significantly short of what I was running before the pandemic, it is almost as much as the past two years combined. I ran multiplemarathons this year for the first time since 2019, and ran a number of new and interesting courses.
Of the six trail runs that I did this year, five of them were 10+ miles, and four of them were courses that I have never ran before.
With the 2022 racing season kicking off this weekend, I finally feel confident for the first time since the start of the pandemic to make some long term plans. While I am sure there are more events to come in the fall, for the first time since 2019 here is a tentative plan for the year…
2021 was not quite the triumphant return to running that I had been hoping for with only nine completed races this year. While that is more than I ran in 2020 this year was still overly impacted by the pandemic where some spring races were postponed into summer and a few others didn’t happen at all. Somehow I only managed to run two trail races all year.
Not much to wrap up on the 2020 racing year. Pretty much everything was canceled, and I was out of shape on the few races I did run. I only ran seven races on the year, and every last one of them was on trails. A few races were deferred to 2021 (Running O’ The Green, Flower City Half, and Buffalo Marathon) and hopefully they happen, but at this point I suspect that next year’s racing calendar my be a bit light as well. But hopefully still more than seven races.
I ran 23 races in 2019 including three marathons. The race I am most proud of running was Sehgahunda, as it is a race that I had been considering running for a number of years before finally completing it this spring. I don’t think that I had any distance PR’s this year, but most of my results were still faster than I was in 2018. Here in winter it has been a full month since my last race, but 2020 should be full of plenty of running…
My yearly plans call for 20 or more races, so it is about time that I at least get some of them onto a calendar. A lot of the fall is still uncertain, and I am sure that I will run a race on at least one weekend in June, but here is what I am planning on running so far…
With the year coming to a close it is time to look over the past year of running. I ran 23 races this year so my racing miles remained high even as it felt that my training miles were lower than in years past. I completed a few new races this year including a 25k, a 14 mile trail race, a taco eating race, and a duathlon. I didn’t set any personal records at the standard distances, but I did improve upon previous years on the trails at Mendon Ponds and Bristol Mountain.
So far the only race on my 2019 calendar is the Buffalo Marathon, but I am sure that there will be plenty more…
With another running season set to start, it is time to start laying out my plans for the year. Unfortunately there is still a lot of uncertainty with my race calendar, but the following races are all within the plan.
With December upon us, my races are largely done for the year. Since March I ran in 18 races for a total of 197 racing miles. This season I set a PR in the half-marathon and 50k, and in the spring I ran my first races at the 15k and 19k distances.
Earlier this year I ran in the Right to Run 19k in Seneca Falls. The race itself is an homage to the nineteenth amendment which gave women the right to vote and had its roots in this small town in the finger lakes. Partially as a result of this branding, there were a lot of women in the race.
This was noted at the starting line when a special shout out was given to the men who choose to join in this race. At the time I thought that this wasn’t all that unusual as it felt like the women usually outnumbered the men. In fact, every previous road race that I had run in 2016 (Runnin’ O’ the Green 5 mile, Spring Forwards Distance Run 15k, and Flower City Half) had all been majority female. Over the course of a full year this pattern evened out some as most races I participated in were closer to 50/50 But for the half marathon (the traditional distance closest to 19k) a different pattern emerged. In addition to the 19k, the women outnumbered the men in both half marathons I ran this year. At three further events (Buffalo Marathon, Shoreline Triathlon, and the Rochester Marathon) a 13.1 mile race was held concurrently and all of these events were also majority female. In fact I looked for every Half Marathon I could find anywhere in the Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Finger Lakes areas and every single one of them was majority female. In fact women made up over 59% of the field in all but two of these races. I don’t know why the gender split is so large, but women have definitely proven that they have the right to run half marathons…
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.
I have two races planned for October, a 50k and a 5k. This is both my longest, and my shortest race of the year.
First the 50k race is around Lake Canandaigua and will be my first ultramarathon. My goal time for the race is six hours, but it is possible that it may take me as long as seven and a half hours. After the disaster of the Rochester Marathon it is clear that I will slow down at some point, so my plan is to take the advice of the crowds and walk up the hills, even if they find me early on in the race. Additionally there are a limited number of water stops on the course so I will be carrying water with me in this race for the first time ever. So far I have only 4 miles of practice running with a water-pack so hopefully that does not cause any problems.
My second race of the month is the Brick City 5k at RIT. Oddly this will be my first (and possibly only) 5k of the year. I would really like to break 20 minutes, but that may prove difficult with all of my training for the last year focused on longer races.
Starting with the Shoreline Triathlon on July 19th my next two big races are both triathlons. I completed the Shoreline Triathlon last year so my goal is to beat my previous time.
To improve my time for the swim, I have joined a group to help me improve my form. Unfortunately I will only get to go once before the Shoreline race so it won’t be much help this coming weekend.
My time on the bike should improve as I have just bought a new bike. My new ride is not only lighter with skinnier tires, but also has gears that all work reliably. Currently I am having an issue with keeping air in the rear tire, but I hope to have that sorted out by race time.
The run is the one section of the triathlon that I have actually been good at. All of my running times have been down so far this year, so hopefully that trend continues.
In August I will be competing in a longer triathlon as I race the half distance at the Peasantman Triathlon.
I started this year with the goal of finishing last in a race, and so far that hasn’t happened. I have been pushing myself, but my times are all going down. I ran a half-marathon the day after paddle triathlon, and instead of doing poorly finished with a PR. I ran an early season full marathon, and got another PR. I ran a 12+ mile trail race and again finished fairly well.
Next up is the 4th of July 10k, a race I have run 5 times before. First running in 2004, and then the past 4 years I have finished in 63:24, 65:12, 60:14, 55:54, and, 52:31. My goal for this year is to be under 52 minutes, but if the weather is cool (which it probably won’t be) I think attempting to get under 50 minutes is plausible as well.
On Sunday I will be in Buffalo for my first Marathon of 2015. After the Rochester Marathon last fall this will be my second marathon, and there are a few things that I am looking to do differently.
During my last marathon, I remember being disappointed when the 4:15 pace group passed me around mile nine, as my plan had been to maintain a 4:00 pace through the first half of the race. This time my plan is to go out much slower at a 10 minute per mile pace which will put me between the 4:20 and 4:30 pace groups. If I can keep this pace up for at least the first twenty miles then I should be in good shape.
At this point the weather for Sunday is still a bit uncertain, so it is hard to say how quick I predict that I will be. At the very least my goal is to PR and improve upon my time from last fall.
This coming weekend I will be participating in two significant races. On Saturday I will be participating in a Paddle Triathalon, followed by a Half-Marathon on Sunday. Between both races I will probably spend at least a combined four and a half hours on the courses.
I participated in the paddle triathlon last year (pictured above) and finished with a time of 2:41:22. I did pretty well in the run, a little below average on the bike, and rather slow on the kayak. While I was happy with the run, I hope to improve upon my times in the later two disciplines. My goal is to finish the run in 24:30, the bike in 1:22:00, and the kayaking 48:00. If I can reach these times, my finish would be four and a half minutes quicker.
For the half-marathon my goal is to finish in under two hours. This will be my third half-marathon, but (more importantly) it is the first time I have run two races in back-to-back days. I am also planning on trying something new in the race in staying with a pace group. My plan is to go out with the 1:50 group, and fall back if I need to. Having not done two races in a row before (even with a 5k) I am a bit unsure on how to rest and eat on the day between the races.
I ran 16 miles last Friday, so I feel good about the running portions of the events, but the biking and kayaking are going to be more challenging. I took a practice run in the kayak on Saturday afternoon and found the current to be fast and challenging. I am better prepared than last year, but still expect to be worn out by the time I am done paddling.
Later today I am running the Dirt Cheap Trail Race in what will be my first real race of 2015. Technically I have run two previous races early in the year, but this will be the first one without mounds of snow all over the trails.
Today’s race is on trails at Mendon Ponds park. I have run once before at this locations (show in the image above) at what I believe is tonight’s course in reverse. I ran that in 57:15, so assuming that the course is the same length my goal is to improve upon that time. Let’s see how it goes…
At the start of any race a common refrain among runners is “I just don’t want to finish last”. I understand this mindset. The idea that even if you are not close to winning, you just want to finish decently is an easy concept to get behind. Yet I do want to finish last.
I never have finished last in a race, but I have tremendous respect for those who do. Anyone who finishes last is clearly struggling to complete the race, yet manages to do so. Arguably you could say that the person in last place is pushing themselves closer to their limit than anyone else in the race.
Last year I completed my first triathlon. I finished towards the back of the pack. Yet I wasn’t disappointed with myself, but instead I was glad that I had finished my first triathlon. There were still another handful of individuals who struggled even more than I did in order to complete the course.
As much as I would like to improve upon the races that I have already proven as being able to complete, I also want to push myself farther and try to complete races that I don’t have any prior experience in. If I can barely complete a race to the point that I finish last than I can know that I am really pushing myself to my limits.
This isn’t saying that I am going to stop running in shorter races that I know I can complete, but that my training is going to focused on the events that take well over an hour to complete. While most people will focus on the word “last” here, I also want to point out the importance of the word “finish”. The goal is not to drop out of races, or to be unable to complete the course, but to cross the finish line having done something new.