Running with Eric

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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.

First Triathlon in Four Years

On sunday I ran (biked and swam) the peasantman triathlon in Penn Yan. This was my first triathlon since 2017 my first return to the peasantman since completing the half in 2015. Going into the race I knew that I was being powered more by enthusiasm and excitement than by actual training, and opted to step down to the intermediate distance. I finished the race in 4:11:54.

Going into this race I am fairly sure that I have not actually swam at all within the past two years. Probably not the best prep for what was the second longest swim of my life. Still I finished the mile in 55:06 which while near the tail end of the pack, was more or less in line with what I expected and actually slightly quicker than my average pace during my last tri.


I biked the 29 mile lap in 2:12 in what was the most difficult part of the course for me. With my slow swim I had a fairly lonely bike ride after turning away from the bikers on the sprint distance course. I did pass one rider (and gained ground on many others), but didn’t see to many people on the course until some of the other distance competitors started catching me towards the end of the loop. Maybe it is because I could only really compare myself to the sprinters and the leaders of the full, but it felt like my bike just didn’t go that fast even when I was maxed out going downhill. Still the final downhill into Penn Yan was a ton of fun and allowed me to reach some speeds that would have been reckless without someone directing traffic at the bottom of the hill.

The bike portion (and my lack of training on the bike) is what really held me back from going for the half distance. I could have managed a longer run, and the swim distance is barely different, but I would have really been in trouble had I needed to do a second lap on the bike.

The transitions between events are not the most exciting parts of the race, but they are a part of it nonetheless. I mention this only to point out that my 39 second transition was actually the quickest in the field. I may not have won the swimming, or the biking, or the running, but I was the T2 champion.

For the run I completed the quarter marathon in 1:01:25. This was the one discipline that I was actually prepared for, and while I passed a handful of people I started too far back to really move up the field. The run was quick and steady even if I didn’t have much of a finishing kick after racing for four hours.

This is going to be my one and only triathlon for the year, but I should have some more foot races coming up before too long.

Fastest 5k of the year

On tuesday night I ran the Run Our River 5k along the Genesee River in Rochester. I finished the race with a time of 25:16 which is the quickest 5k I have ran all year.

Traditionally I don’t run that many 5k races, but this year’s race calendar appears to still be feeling the lingering effects of covid. I was two minutes quicker than earlier in the month, and a minute ahead of my time from April. The improvement isn’t even due to the weather, as I ran this on a hot July night.

The first two miles of the race went fairly well. While I did get passed a good amount on the first mile, that was probably more a result of starting to close to the front than pacing myself wrong. The final mile was a struggle mainly because I miscalculated where the finish line was. Thinking that the race ended just past the Ford Street bridge I started pushing myself way to early when I still had well over a half mile still to go. But I am not going to complain too much about my best time of the year.

My next race will be the Peasantman Triathlon on August 15th. This will be my first triathlon in over four years and my first return to the Peasantman since 2015.

5k before July 4th

With the 10k that I typically run on the fourth of july not happening again this year, I instead ran the Fairport Firecracker 5k on Saturday morning. I finished the race in 27:09 which is a minute slower than I ran back in April.

I went out at a pretty good pace knowing that this race was significantly shorter than last weeks marathon. However at roughly the half way point, it became clear that I had started too fast so I had to slow down to more of a long distance pace for the second half of the race.

This was my third weekend in a row with a race, so it appears as if the running calendar is starting to get back to normal.

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.

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 confidante that I can finish.

Back on the running trail

Wednesday night I ran my first trail race of the year at Durand Eastman Park, ironically at the site of my final trail race from last year. I finished the course in a rather slow 47:55 which was well off my pace from last fall.

I had gotten almost no sleep the night before, so I knew that my performance wasn’t going to be great from the get go. I actually fell into a nice pace on the flat sections, but the trail was mostly hills, and I ended up walking too many of the uphill sections.

Both the Flower City Half and the Buffalo Marathon are scheduled for June, but I may find another race to run before then.

First road race in 500 days

On Saturday morning I ran the 100 Days of Hope 5K in Gates. This race celebrated the 100th day of 2021, and was the first road race I ran in 500 days since the 2019 Turkey Trot.

I finished the 3.1 miles in 26:01 which is a minute and a half slower than my last 5k. However after not racing for so long I really had no clue what to expect my time to be. I felt very dead after the first mile, and probably started out too fast. The final two miles were more steady but never really felt fast.

As vaccination rates continue to climb, hopefully we can return to a more normal looking race calendar for the rest of the year.

Running away from 2020

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.

A Halloween Trail Race

On the morning of Halloween I ran the final Dirt Cheap race of the year at Durand Eastman Park. I finished in 40:25 which was quicker than I was last year. In fact this is a course PR for me, and while this year’s course did not include the opening loop around the shelter the 1:46 improvement over my 2017 time should more than make up for that.

The morning of the race was very cold, and I regretted not wearing gloves, but the ground was fortunately dry. I had a few minor slips as I slid down the side of a leaf covered slope, but no major tumbles on the course. As with the last race this was a wave start, and I had a good amount of company for the first half of the race. It was probably the best that I felt in a race all year, even if I am aware that my training doesn’t really have me prepared for marathon distances I was running last year.

Anticlimactically this looks as if it might be my last race for the year. I didn’t end up running a single road race. Hopefully the running calendar looks more normal in 2021.

Finally running a real race

Sunday morning was the fourth Dirt Cheap race of the year after being postponed from some point in the summer. And for the first time since March, I crossed the starting line with other people. The race used a number of wave starts, so I started with a very small number of people but this was better than a time trial. (Even if one of the waves was literally starting as I approached the finish line.)

The downside of starting with others is that my competitive side got the best of me and I went out way too fast. The course was a short four miles, but I struggled mightily on the hills. I finished the course in 45:51 which didn’t feel fast, but was slightly quicker than the august race which was mostly the same course in the opposite direction. So perhaps the encouragement (and pacing) of the other runners was helpful, because my training sure hasn’t improved.

The final race of this year’s dirt cheap summer series will be on the morning of halloween at Durand Eastman Park.

Running among protests and pandemics

On Wednesday night I ran the third Dirt Cheap Trail Race of the year at Mendon Ponds park. I finished the course in 50:54 which is just 13 seconds behind my time from last year. Given how physically and emotionally drained I felt following the past week of protests, and how almost all training this year has gone out the window, I was surprisingly happy with this result.

Like the previous two dirt cheap races this was run as a time trial in order to minimize crowding along the trails. Perhaps this solitary running would encourage me to run my own pace instead of going out too fast, but I felt a bit sluggish. Roughly two thirds of the way through the course I was passed by a girl, and while I couldn’t quite keep pace with her, she didn’t completely pull away and I had someone to chase for the rest of the race. This really helped me to finish strong and was probably the closest thing I have had to feeling like I was in a real race since the pandemic started.

Rumor is that there will be another two dirt cheap races in October, but after the excitement of the past week I have officially given up on any long term planning.

Running the hills of Mendon

2020 has been such a crazy year that dirt cheap races are apparently now happening on Friday nights. Anyways yesterday was the second dirt cheap of the year, this time at Mendon Ponds Park. As with the previous race this was structured as a time trial.

I finished the course in 47:27 which placed me into 22nd place for the second race in a row. However, with a slightly larger field this constitutes a slightly better finish. Despite the many races I have run a Mendon Ponds, this was a very different course than those I have run in the past so I don’t have anything to compare to.

Running solo (only passing walkers, and getting passed once in the final mile), I once again found it tricky to pace myself. No one on the course to compare myself to, and with an unfamiliar route no idea how close I was to the end, I never knew when to push or when to keep it steady. Meanwhile some extremely steep up and down sections forced me to walk here and there anyhow. To make things worse, I twisted my ankle about three miles in and was simultaneously scared of pushing it too hard, and scared of slowing to the point where it would swell up.

It looks like the next race is going to be back on a wednesday on September ninth (once again at Mendon Ponds). Although to be honest this year is leaving me a little timid about making plans for an event over two weeks away…

First Race in Five Months

On Wednesday night I ran the first Dirt Cheap Trail Race of the year at Black Creek Park. This was my first race in over five months which I believe is the longest gap that I have had between races in the past decade.

As the first race that I have run in the middle of the pandemic a few things were a bit different. The race operated as a time trial with runners free to start at any point within a two hour window. With the starting times so spread out, and the field limited to those who (like me) signed up for the series back in March, it was a bit lonely on the course. I only saw five other runners the whole time, and (by definition) none of them were running at a similar pace to me. I understand that the race has to follow whatever the current state guidelines are, but I would have preferred to see a traditional race format. For a race through the woods with such a small field, everyone was going to spread out fairly quickly anyhow.

For the race itself, I finished the course in 47:20 which placed me as the 22nd fastest finisher, but was slower than 2019 and 2018. Perhaps I was slow because I lacked the energy and adrenaline of a standard race. Perhaps it was because I am out of shape after having an empty race calendar all summer. Or maybe the 85 degree heat, and that fact that I had been working outside all morning meant that I wasn’t going to put up a great time on this day even if this had been a normal year.

Overall I found this race format a bit uninspired. While I will complete this series (another race is scheduled for next friday), I don’t plan on going out of my way to sign up for many races until they start looking like races again.

Many loops in the park

On Saturday Morning I ran the Last Runner Standing race in Basil Marella Park. This race consists of a simple one mile trail loop and an ever decreasing time limit to run the loop each lap. I had never run a race like this before, and additionally I had never been to this park and the weather was unclear, so I had a lot of uncertainty going into this event.

For the first loop we had 20 minutes, but I decided to take the course at a slow and steady jog to see what the course was like and get a baseline for my pace. I finished the first mile in an easy 10:30, and then decided to relax and walk the next three laps. Down to a 16 minute time limit (and honestly feeling restless after not running for the past hour) I began a system of running two thirds of the loop, and then walking to the finish line. This gave me a roughly 12 minute lap time, so I repeated this for the next two laps.

Now down to a 13 minute time limit I finally had to actually run and while attempting to repeat the casual pace of my first lap, I instead ran a 9:40 which turned out to be my quickest loop all day. I eased up a little for the next two miles, but essentially kept the same pace.

For the eleventh mile the per lap time limit was down to ten minutes, and it was clear that I was falling behind the pack from the very start. Still I tried to stay positive and push through knowing that I only had to match the same pace as before. Unfortunately time ran out shortly after I rounded the final corner and I was eliminated from the race. This was extra frustrating given that I had been below ten the previous three laps when I had more time.

Still this was the longest I had run since November (even discounting the miles I walked) and a reminder that I need to get back into shape. I guess that I will be going out at a slow pace at the Runnin’ of the Green next Saturday.

An Early Year Trail Run

On wednesday night I started the year with a mid-January trail race at Mendon Ponds. Although billed as part of the ‘Snow Cheap’ series, some unseasonably warm weather took away any elements of ice and snow, and left us instead with a mud run in the dark.

I finished the course in 30:11 which was quick enough for a 64th place finish.

Ironically the weather was much nicer than my last race at this park in mid-November. Perhaps my next race will be a proper run in the snow.

Running through 2019


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…

10th Year at the Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving I ran the Buffalo Turkey Trot for the tenth time. The race started in 1896 so I have only ran in 8% of these events, but that is more times than I have ran any other race.

I finished the 5 miles in 40:37 which was a minute and a half quicker than last year, and only two minutes behind my PR from 2015 (and 18 minutes quicker than my first time on this course).

This race is always a mess of people that have no idea what they are doing and this year was no different. I started as close to the front as I could and still ended up starting behind a guy carrying a canoe and hundreds of walkers. However, once I got going the run wasn’t too bad. It was cold, but far nicer than last year, and inexplicably at the finish line they gave everyone a loaf of bread.

A Three Race Weekend

Over the weekend I ran the Dirt Cheap Stage Race, which consists of three trail runs over the course of three days. My total time over the event was 3:33:05 which is quicker than 2017, but slower than my times from 2016 and 2015.

Stage one of the race is a short night run which is the least interesting of the events in this race. Temperatures were colder than expected, and I made the decision to continue wearing my warm-up gear during the race. By mile three I really felt overdressed, but it was probably the right decision. To keep my feet warm I wore an old pair of shoes that were clunky and didn’t have much traction. Between the footwear, the snow, and the dark it was a miracle that I remained upright through the whole race. I finished the first stage in a pedestrian 39:53.

The next morning for stage two it was still cold, but the sunlight made a world of difference. I finished the fiveish miles in 52:17 which was four minutes quicker than I was when running in similar conditions in 2017. However it was behind my pace from the other two years, and slower than I was on a near identical course earlier in the year.

My biggest problem on the second stage was my sneakers. For some reason I used the same old pair I ran the first stage in, and the age of the glue combined with the moisture of the snow lead to some of the traction falling off before the race even began. Throughout the whole race I felt the shoes crumbling beneath my feet, and half a mile from the finish I lost the sole of my left shoe completely. Despite all this, I don’t think it actually effected my race all that much. I only had to make major adjustments on a single downhill, and me getting winded on the hills had more to do with not running any trail races since September.

Sunday morning brought better weather (and proper shoes) and I put in a much better run. I finished in 2:00:55 which is ten minutes quicker than my last time on this course, and just eight seconds behind my time from 2015.

For some reason the first 4.5 miles were the trickiest part of this race for me. The race starts on the east side of the park which is relatively dry, but also very much not flat. I was walking the steeper uphills from very early on, and knowing that I wasn’t even half way done had me leaving this section a bit concerned. The next two miles of this race in the northern part of the park are mostly flat, and while I was too tired to really attack the course, I felt that I ran solid through here. The second half of the course wasn’t particularly fast, but was less worrisome and never felt slow. The trail flattens out again for the final mile, and that was easily the best mile that I ran all weekend. I felt pretty good at the finish, and in hindsight probably should have started pushing the pace a mile or two sooner.

I felt that my running got better as the weekend progressed, but now everything is covered in snow and my running is mostly done for the year. My next race will be the Buffalo Turkey Trot which I will be running for the tenth straight year.

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 short trail race

On Sunday morning I ran the Heather Frazer Boyum Iron Angel Memorial 5k race in Perinton. I finished in 26:30 which is a bit slower than I was the last time I ran the race in 2014. This race is on trails that I run often, and so close that I walked from my house to the starting line.

Compared to many of the trail runs I do, the hills on this course were not all that large, but it is far more elevation than your typical 5k. Given the measured distance (although probably a bit long), there was a bit more of a feeling of urgency in this race. While I have run one other 5k so far this year, my legs much prefer the more casual pace of a longer trail run like the Webster Classic earlier this month.

My next race will be significantly longer as I will be running the Niagara Falls International Marathon in October.

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.

Webster Trail Classic

Running through WebsterOn Saturday morning I ran the 10 mile Webster Trail Classic in 1:53:33. This was my first time running this race, and I was the 63rd finisher which made me the median runner in this race.

The Dirt Cheap race in Webster Park has always been one of my favorite courses to run, so I jumped on the chance to run another race that starts in the same park. The course is far from flat, but the hills are not all that steep, so I was able to run the full route.

The middle mile is a loop around the outside of a large field, typically I am not a fan of these sections and prefer to run through the woods. However, in this race it was actually kindof nice to be able to mentally take a bit of a break in the middle of the course.

This is only the third new course I have run so far this year and my inexperience with the path resulted in me first pushing towards the finish line far too early, and then being unprepared to when the finish line finally did show up.

My next race is the Rochester Half Marathon and will be my first road race since the Fourth of July.

Mendon Ponds Trail Race (again)

On Wednesday night I ran the final Dirt Cheap race of the year at Mendon Ponds Park. I finished in 50:41, which is roughly a minute quicker than the last three years, but a tad bit behind my time from 2015.

The weather was perfect, and while it had rained the night before the trails were not quite as muddy as they had been in the past. The steep hills in this park really took me out of my pace, but overall I felt the run went fairly well.

My next race will be my sixth straight trail race at the Webster Trail Classic.

Running at Black Creek Park


On Wednesday night I ran the fifth Dirt Cheap Race of the year. I finished in 45:05 almost a minute quicker than last year.

While it was warm in the sun, most of the course at Black Creek Park is thankfully in the shade. The course was dry, and more uphill than I remembered, but the wide trails were easy to run. I felt like I was getting passed a lot, but the improvement in my time from last year shows that it was actually a decent effort.

My next two races will also be on trails as I start September with the final Dirt Cheap Race and the Webster Trail Classic.