Running with Eric

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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.

10k through Lancaster

On the Fourth of July I ran the Depew/Lancaster 10k for the 8th time. With the oppressive heat, this was one of my slower times on the course taking 56:14 to finish.

The first two miles went pretty well at an 8 minute pace, but after that the heat started to catch up to me. The worst part was (as always) the fourth mile down columbia. While much of the slowness was due to the heat, I wish my finish had been closer to previous years.

Next week I am off to Europe, so it will be awhile until my next race.

Another Trail Race

On Wednesday night I ran a trail race at Lucien Morin Park. I finished in 45:45 which was a bit slower than I was in the past few years.

The race started in waves, and I was stuck in the awkward position of being one of the faster runners in the second wave. I spent at least the first half mile in second place and feeling the pressure to set a good pace. Halfway through the race I noticed that my car key was no longer in my pocket, which was a bit concerning. The second half of the race was tougher for me as I was physically drained from going out too fast, and mentally drained trying to figure out how I was going to get back home without my keys. I couldn’t even bring myself to give a full push for the final stretch as I already knew that my time wasn’t great, and I anticipated having to rewalk half the course looking for my key.

Fortunately someone had found my key, so there was no further drama, but it had given me a scare for half of the race. My next run likely won’t be until the 10k on the Fourth of July.

5k at the airport

Yesterday I went to the airport to run a 5k. I finished in 25:07 which was slower than I had hoped for, but a bit quicker than my last 5k.

This was a race that had been on my radar for a few years, but just never quite worked out until now. Unfortunately I only signed up two days ahead of time so I didn’t have any time to do any speed training to take advantage of the flat course.

My next race will be the opposite of flat, as Wednesday will be a return to the trails for a run in Lucien Morin Park.

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.

Another year at the Corporate Challange

As a 3.5 mile tuesday night race, the corporate challenge really is a unique race. This past tuesday I ran the race for the second year in a row, finishing in 28:27 which was disappointingly a bit slower than last year.

Initially I had considered taking it easy for this race, however the weather was pretty perfect for a run, so I decided to be more aggressive. Now I will get back to resting as the Buffalo Marathon is only a few days away.

Running through Letchworth

On Sunday I ran the Middle Falls 10K at Letchworth Park. I finished in 57:33, which due to the elevation was a decent time and put me into 17th overall.

The course was an out and back and started off aggressively downhill. I was running in the top six for the first mile, and while I knew that it was an unsustainable pace the downhills made it feel easy. I reached the half way point in 15th, and if not for a steep uphill for the last quarter mile, I would have put together a fantastic split time.

Of course when an out and back starts out downhill, you have to run back up for the second half. While I had expected half the field to pass me on the way back, instead I held my own, not seeing anyone at all until two runners passed me in the final half mile. I was happy with how I did in this race, particularly because I hadn’t decided to enter the run until I decided that I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to go to Letchworth.

My next race is the Corporate Challenge tomorrow night in downtown Rochester…

Running the trails of Durand Eastman

Wednesday night I ran the second Dirt Cheap race of the year at Durand Eastman Park. I finished the run in 46:21 which was quicker than 2015, but slower than I was the past two years.

I was thankful that this trail was more dirt than mud, yet I tripped once a little over halfway through. Overall I felt ok, but am feeling unprepared for the Buffalo Marathon at the end of this month.

Taco de Mile – 4 Tacos & 1 Mile

On Saturday night I ran the Taco de Mile which was a one mile run that involved stopping every quarter mile to eat a taco. I finished this event in 11:24, which like, I guess is a good time. I finished 36th out of over 300 although I am pretty sure that doesn’t count for anything.

I showed up for the race dressed as if I was about to run a marathon, which made me feel a bit silly about the whole thing, but I own dedicated running clothes and not any taco eating clothing. The first half of the race went smooth, although I did feel a little silly stopping for water after only a quarter mile. However by the third taco I was breathing heavy and eating a bit slower. Still I pushed through because it was only a mile.

My next run is the Dirt Cheap Trail race on Wednesday. For this one, I won’t eat until after I am done.

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.

Flower City Duathlon

With temperatures barely above freezing and the Genesee River moving quicker than usual, the kayaking was canceled and I ended up in my first ever Duathlon. I finished the run/bike/run in 2:30:57.

I ran the opening 5k in 23:33 which is a little slower than I have done in the past, but a fairly decent time given that I didn’t feel like I was pushing myself.

On the second stage it felt like I hadn’t ridden a bike in half a year, mostly because I hadn’t. This proved problematic on the third hill when I touched the front derailleur for the first time and my chain fell off. And after fixing it, it fell off a second time five seconds later. After finally getting things sorted I finally gave up any pretense about worrying about my finish time, and was able to simply enjoy the rest of the bike ride. I finished the bike portion in 1:34:51, which while slower than my 2016 time it was also inexplicably three minutes quicker than last year.

For some reason run/bike is easier than bike/run and this showed on my final run which took thirty minutes. While my pace was steady, it felt slow. However given the running is inherently quicker than kayaking this is still the fastest I have ever finished, even if it was in a different event.

First Trail Race of the Year

On Wednesday night I returned to Mendon Ponds to run 2018’s first Dirt Cheap race. I finished the run in 59:43, which was slower than I wanted.

Going into the run I knew that the trail was muddy, I knew that I was behind in my training, and I knew that the weather was cold and rainy, so I didn’t expect to finish with a great time. Still I was disappointed to be over ten minutes slower than last year.

My next races are the Flower City paddle triathlon and half-marathon.

15K through Mendon Ponds

On Saturday I did my longest run of 2018 with the Spring Forwards 15k in Mendon Ponds. I finished with a time of 1:32:41 which was good bit slower than when I last ran this race two years ago.

For better or worse, I ran the first mile 15 seconds quicker than my opening mile from last week, but was already at least three minutes behind by the time I got to the five mile mark. Part of the problem was that unlike last weekend, the weather stayed cold and never quite became nice. However the real problem is that my weekly mileage is still far too low.

Next weekend is Easter, so I won’t have another race until April.

Starting the season with a St. Patrick’s Day race

On Saturday morning I ran Johnny’s Runnin’ O’ the Green for the third time. I finished the five miles in 43:09, which is quicker than I was in 2013, but slower than 2016.

While I already knew that I was out of shape, I now have the data to prove it. Now that season has restarted, I will be running the Spring Forward 15k next week.

2018 Race Calendar

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.

Running over the snow

On Wednesday night I ran in the Snow Cheap race in Seneca Park and finished in 31:27. Not only was this my first race of 2018, it was my first run of the year as the single digit temperatures had kept me inside since before Christmas.

On race night the weather was actually quite nice, but the trails were still 100% packed with snow. For the first mile I did ok, as I could run a bit to the side of the path where I could get some traction despite the snow being deeper. Things got worse as the trail narrowed and at the half way point I started falling over occasionally, including a pair of downhills where I didn’t even make an attempt to remain upright.

So overall it wasn’t my best run, but after not doing any races since Thanksgiving I was just happy to be back at it.

Running through 2017

From April through November I ran in 20 races this year. Along the way I set a new PR for both the half-marathon and full marathon distances. I finally ran the corporate challenge, came last in a triathlon, and ran many many trail races.

Hopefully 2018 is just as exciting…

Buffalo Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving I ran the Buffalo Turkey Trot for the eight year. I finished the five miles in 40:34 which is a minute slower than last year. This is almost identical to the pace I held for a shorter 5k a month ago.

After 122 years, the Turkey Trot continues to be the oldest race in the country, but it is likely to be my final road race until the spring.

A Weekend running through the woods

This past weekend I ran the three stages of the Dirt Cheap Stage Race for the third year in a row. However, unlike the past two years this time around I was running through the snow.

I have never really had too many expectations for the opening 5k given that it is a trail race through the dark. This year the weather had me unsure of what to wear, and right before the race I ran back to my car to change into a pair of shoes that are not really for running and a bit too lose. This indecision on my gear was a bit of a problem all weekend actually. It ended up taking me 38:35 to finish a course that was too cold to really be fun.

Running on the trails was much more enjoyable the next day, at least until I lost my shoe in the mud during the fourth mile. My time of 56:37 was slower than last year. Part of this is due to not doing enough training, but dealing with the colder weather and the mud did not help either. For much of the last mile I was unable to really run properly as the mud required me to slow down in order to keep my balance, (and this would be a problem for the final mile of Sunday’s eleven mile run as well).

The final run on Sunday was finally an actually nice day to run through the park. However at 11 miles I know that I was going to have to pace myself, and not give the race quite the same push as I was capable of last year. As a result, my time time was once again slower coming in at 2:10:41. The first half of this run is on the eastern side of the park, where I was perhaps a bit to cautious on some of the hills, but the running was fairly easy. As I got to the second half of the race the mud once again became a problem for me. Incidentally I actually fell after hitting a root around mile 9, but once I got up it didn’t effect the rest of my race nearly as much as being unable to trust my steps in the mud.

My final race of the season is Buffalo Turkey Trot which I will be running for the eighth year.

Brick City 5k

On Sunday morning I ran the Brick City 5k at RIT. I finished in 25:15 which is a bit slower than I had been hoping to do, and behind my time from the 2015 version of this race. However in my defense it has been over a month since I ran a road race that was shorter than the marathon distance.

The run started well enough, but having gotten used to the more casual speeds of distance and trail running I could feel it in my legs almost immediately. I did a decent job keeping a pace for the first two miles or so, but was unable to maintain that speed and dropped back to something more casual for the final mile.

My next race will be in early November, back on the trails of Mendon Park.

Completing an ultra-marathon

On Saturday I completed the Can Lake 50k ultra-marathon for the third time, and the fact that I finished the race is pretty much the best thing that I can say about the run. I truly blew up towards the end and finished after 6:48 which is a good bit slower than I was the first two years I ran this course.

At the start of the race I went out quickly, initially finding myself solidly in fourth place, which was very much reminiscent of my start last year. After the out and back, I began getting passed by a few of the other runners, but my pace felt steady and the run was still going according to plan.

The weather had started rainy and later turned to sun, which is opposite of what I find ideal, but I had planed to change my shirt at the 12.5 mile mark anyhow. After the aid station I walked the hill, ran down to the lake, made it to Bare road without incident, and even passed someone going up Bare hill. At this point I was tired, but felt like I had more energy left than at the same point in the previous years so I wasn’t all that worried.

By mile 21 my legs were starting to hurt a bit, but I was still moving well, so I didn’t give it too much mind. My water had gotten low sooner than in years past so I refilled at the 23.5 mile aid station feeling that I was almost done. However a bit past the 24 mile mark is where disaster struck.

My left calf cramped up to the point where I couldn’t move it and I had to stop for a few seconds. When I got moving again, I found that I often had to slow to walk to prevent my leg from seizing (and my right calf got in on the action as well). By the time I was three miles out from the finish I was wholly incapable of running and (far too close to the finish to take a DNF) had to walk the rest of the way.

I really love the final two miles of this course as it winds its way downhill to the finishline, so it was heartbreaking to have to walk this whole section, and made my actual finish a bit anti-climatic.

My time was slower than the past two years, but given how poorly the final seven miles went I fully expected my time to well over seven hours. I don’t have any split times, but given that I managed to stay below seven hours with all that walking indicates to me that I had previously been on pace for a rather solid run.

My next race will be one-tenth of the distance, next week at the Brick City 5k.

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.

Final Dirt Cheap Race

On Wednesday night I ran the final Dirt Cheap Race of the year at Mendon Ponds Park. This was my fourth straight trail race and while it didn’t rain while I was on the course, the trail was very muddy which hampered my ability to run some sections.

I finished the fiveish miles in 51:58 which is just 18 seconds off my pace from last year. This slotted me into 74th place and the top third off all finishers.

My next race in the Rochester Marathon which I am severely under prepared for. My weekly mileage is about half of what it should be, so I am keeping my expectations low.

Running through Durand Eastman Park

Wednesday night I ran another trail race through Durand Eastman Park. I finished in 42:06 which is a PR for this course.

In the three years that I have been running this race, I am fairly certain that I have yet to complete this course without at least one wrong turn. Still, I finished in 79th place and in the top quartile of runners.

One mile run

On Tuesday night I ran a one mile race at Cobbs Hill Park. This was my first time running the mile since high school, and I was not sure what to expect for a race this short. I have not even ran anything as short as a 5k this year, but I figured that I would give it a go and aim for a six minute mile.

From the start it was clear that this was going to be a sprint, and was not really a pace that I was comfortable with. I finished the first third of a mile at two minutes, which was right on pace but I knew there was no way for me to continue going that fast. I finished the next two laps with a pace of 2:30 each, giving me a total time of seven minutes.

So apparently my mile isn’t quite as quick as it was back in high school. Good thing I plan on spending the rest of the year going longer distances at a slower pace.