First Taste of the Season

Last weekend I got my first taste of the season. No I’m not talking about the pumpkin beer or even the Oktoberfest beer that began lining the shelves back in early August. I’m talking about the cross country season and the James B Francis / Andrea Kofahl Memorial 5k at Black Creek Park.

I’d never run this race before, and probably wouldn’t have given it a chance if it wasn’t directed by Paul Glor and part of the RROY series. I’m glad I ran it, as it was a ton of fun. The race uses the high school xc course at Black Creek park which features: two trips up the sledding hill, 2 laps (in opposite directions) around the pond, grass fields, grass trails, and wide dirt trails.





Josh Harter and I ran together for most of the race, with him holding the lead and controlling the pace most of the way. I tried a few surges mid race which he easily matched and it wasn’t until the second trip up the hill with about 800 meters to go that I was able to put any kind of gap on him. Josh will become a masters runner next March and I expect to be battling him often in races for years to come.100_7960The air was so think that we could get all the water we needed by osmosis.
The win at this race moved me into first place in the RROY series. I’m hoping I can pick up a few more points at the Scare Brain Cancer Away race in October. Dan Serianni can easily catch me in the series if he runs any of the remaining races but at worst I will finish second, my best showing in 6 years of competing in the series.

Next up is the first race in the Pete Glavin XC Series on September 14th.


Spring Forward 15K RROY#1


 “It’s a little hilly, but they are mostly rolling hills.  Nothing really that bad.” Me to Kenny before the start of the Spring Forward 15K, which kicked off this years Rochester Runner of the Year Series.

I must have had such a poor recollection of the course because of the lack of oxygen going to my brain the last time I ran it.  As you can see from the elevation profile below the course does nothing but go up and down.


I ran this race once before in 2012 and it didn’t go as I had hoped.  This year went much better both in terms of my place and my time.  There was some solid competition this year, but nothing like the last time I ran when Tim Chichester won it in 48:42.  Kenny was sure to run well and after Dave Bradshaw’s 26:10 at Johnny’s I figured he was going to be well out of reach as well.  If everything broke right I thought I might be able to sneak into the top 3, but I didn’t recognize a few guys who looked pretty fast and I don’t have a good history at this race.


Kenny and Dave took it out together pretty quick but by the 2nd mile Kenny had broken away and Dave remained a good 50 meters ahead of me.


Mike Reif the GVH coach informed me around the 3 mile mark that I had about a 50 meter lead on whoever was behind me.  Dave was holding steady 50 meters ahead putting me in 3rd place with a little cushion close to 1/3rd of the way through the race.  That was enough to make me smile.

Drew had plans to run this race as a tempo run, this sounds like the worst possible thing in the world to me.  Races are tough, but tempo runs are awful.  Still this seems like something other Roadkill Racers, especially those prone to running marathons, like to do and he seems happy enough at 2 miles.IMG_25337906515270

What’s with all these smiles?  Must be because Heather Ostrander is cheering us on and is the most enthusiastic Roadkill Racer ever (as well as the provider of these pictures).  Joe didn’t seem happy with his time after the race but he ran 20 seconds per mile faster than last year so I’m not sure what he was complaining about.

Somewhere around mile 6 I caught up to Dave, who was nicer to me than anyone I’ve ever passed before giving me a fist bump and encouraging me to keep pushing.  Knowing that at least one other runner was close on my heels I took Dave’s advice and laid down a pretty good 6-7 mile split just under 5:40 pace.  Kenny of course was long gone, but Dave and a runner who turned out to be John Schnitter from East Amherst dogged my steps the rest of the way to finish.  I was happy to see Dave hold on to 3rd place by 1 second.

I crossed the line with an official time of 53:22 in second place having run a pretty steady pace. This was a 80+ second PR for me, although I’ve only run two 15k’s both on this course. The only big variations in my splits were in miles 7-9 which isn’t surprising considering they are a long uphill followed by a long downhill.  I picked up 14 points in the RROY series and a jar of organic peanut butter for my 2nd place finish.


 Kenny won in 51:17.  You can see his beaming face in the D&C story below.
Democrat & Chronicle
Full results are here: 
Spring Forward 15k Results

As a final note (more of a question really).  Can anyone explain why this always happens to me?  I start my watch as fast as I can when the starter says go, and stop it a few steps after I cross the finish line mats, but somehow my watch time is always a few seconds faster than the official time.  In this case they even had chip time and gun time which were both the same as I started on the line.  Is it just some oddity where both my watches run a bit slow?



I feel a little bit bad for not having any picture to post on my last race report so I went and got this one.

Greater Rochester Track Club website displaying the most recent RROY winners.

And bonus content, a link to the current Rochester Runner of the Year standings.  RROY Standings

Summerfest 12K — 1st, 2nd place finishes for RKR!

This was the first race that I had targeted as an “important race” since the McMullen Mile. It was the least established of the 2010 Rochester Runner of the Year series (and it had no prize money), so I figured I would be able to pick up quite a few points for the RROY competition.

The race was a 12K (strange distance for a road race) through the rolling hills surrounding Mendon Ponds park. Josh also attended, but due to his upcoming Dutchess County Classic Half Marathon, he planned to run no faster than 5:50 per mile splits.

At the starting line, we noticed that none of the fastest local guys were present, so it seemed likely that we would contend for the win (a somewhat rare occurrence for us in Rochester, particularly for a RROY series race). My plan was to take the pace out around 5:35 to 5:40 and cruise at that speed for as long as possible. I hoped to take the uphills conservatively but to hit the downhill and flat portions aggressively.

After the “gun,” or rather “Ready, Set, GO!” (does Fleet Feet have a non-violence policy or something?), I darted out to the front and no one came with me, which was surprising because my pace did not feel particularly fast. My legs immediately start to beg my brain: “Maybe we can win this without having to work too hard!” But the logical part of my brain responds with: “No! You’ll be much happier with yourself if you win AND throw down a great race time.” But then the lazy part chimes in with: “Eh, you’ve been training too hard, it’s hilly and windy, just take it easy, fool.” Maybe the lazy brain was conspiring with my legs… In any case, I knew Josh wouldn’t be too far back, and he would be more than happy to out-kick me if I were to allow complacency to take over.

I came through the first mile in 5:49. I knew I wasn’t hammering it but it certainly didn’t feel quite that slow. I made a half-hearted attempt to push the pace and split the second mile in 5:30. Very suspicious. Josh and I would later agree that the first mile marker was a bit long. Third mile, 5:40. I was feeling strong at this point, and a glance over my left shoulder on a left-hand turn confirmed that I had opened up about a 20 second lead on Josh. I definitely should not have looked back because the newfound knowledge intensified the lazy brain’s influence: “Just run 5:50s, piece of cake. That’s all Josh is doing and your lead is plenty big.” Sure enough, I split both the fourth and fifth miles in 5:53. Main lesson learned from this race: don’t look back because that just means you can run faster.

The last two miles were quite severely into the wind, which along with some uphill sections, slowed me down considerably. I had trouble keeping the pace under 6:00. I need to get used to these longer races again. The good news is, I managed to take the win, which was satisfying. I’ve been feeling fitter lately, and now that the weather is improving, I am really looking forward to some great workouts and races. Josh finished a strong second place (which gave RKR the 1-2 sweep!), and he’s looking strong for his upcoming half marathon. Stay tuned to RKR for updates.

Full results for the 12K are here.