Tag Archive: “running”

VXX Report

On Saturday I ran the 43rd annual Vestal XX (20k) road race. My time was 1:35:44, which is better than my rookie result from 2011 (1:36:17), but not as good as last year’s time (1:33:19). I am pleased that I ran consistent splits of 7:45/mile or just under. However, I had hoped to accelerate to a more aggressive pace as the race progressed, similar to my Bridge Run performance. I couldn’t muster the guts. There’s always next year, though, and the year after that, and the year after that… and if you manage to run the Vestal XX twenty times without croaking, you get a special award! A mug.

Posted on Thursday, June 20th, 2013.

Binghamton Bridge Run


(I was waving to the camera, not flapping my wings like a bird. Photo by mom.)

I ran the Binghamton Bridge Run half marathon this Sunday. Here are the official results: I ran a 1:38:47, and nailed my target average pace of 7:30/mile. My time was about a minute slower than last year’s result (I notice a number of acquaintances’ times were as well), but I ran a much better race this year. I started off relatively relaxed (my early miles were around 7:40 or 7:45) and just gradually increased my pace, staying on the offensive throughout the entire race. It felt very good to remain in an attitude of control the whole way, never lapsing into the psychological state of “just hanging on” – a real risk during the lonelier back half of a long race, in my experience. I hope to carry this confidence into next month’s notoriously hilly Vestal XX.

Posted on Monday, May 6th, 2013.

Running Calendar Update

Instead of running the Uphill Mile race in Ithaca this weekend, I plan to watch the Binghamton Circuit Race and get a couple long runs in in preparation for the Binghamton Bridge Run half marathon next weekend.

Posted on Friday, April 26th, 2013.

One Down

As planned, I ran the Forks XV this past Sunday. It was the 40th running of the race but my first time running it. Here are the official results. I did the 15k in 1:08:30, at an average pace of 7:21 per mile.

Next up is the Remington Murder Mile in Ithaca on April 28. I’ve also added the Oneonta Tuff eNuff Challenge 5k obstacle course to my summer calendar.

Posted on Tuesday, March 26th, 2013.

Just go for a run

It’s been a month since I announced the resumption of regular running. So far the job has just been to build a steady platform for subsequent training. For me, this is about establishing a routine practice more than meeting any particular performance goals. The greatest challenge is avoiding unplanned lapses; based on past experience, breaking routine for as few as two days sets a negative precedent that can unravel my previous efforts. My guiding principle to counteract this risk is that it doesn’t matter how far or how fast I run, as long as I do go for a run.


It works. The February graph above is from MapMyRun (modified to mark peak distances). I haven’t stuck to a six-days-on/one-day-off schedule perfectly, but neither have I let any exceptions grow into longer interruptions. Once I actually get out and start moving, any reluctance burns off like a morning fog, often to be replaced by delight in the experience of stomping around in the rain or working up a sub-zero sweat. Reasons not to run are legion, but none of them matter once you do.

Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013.

2013 Race Calendar

Forks XV (15 km.) – Sunday, March 24

Remington Murder Mile (1 mi. w/500 ft. climb) – Sunday, April 28

Binghamton Bridge Run (half marathon) – Sunday, May 5

Vestal XX (20 km.) – Saturday, June 15

Whiteface Mountain Footrace (8 mi. w/3500 ft. climb) – Saturday, September 14

Wineglass Marathon – Sunday, October 6

Philadelphia Marathon – Sunday, November 24?

Schedule is subject to change. Training resumes tomorrow, February 1!

Posted on Thursday, January 31st, 2013.

Summer Running Update

After a relatively leisurely winter, I started running in the morning (sometimes early in the morning) this spring. In my experience, running first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day – it wakes you up, and you feel like you’ve already accomplished something by the time you sit down to breakfast. Despite those advantages, I’ve rarely managed to run in the morning on a regular basis until this year, so it has been a worthwhile project.

In early May, I ran in the Binghamton Bridge Run half marathon. It is a flat course through familiar territory. I only put in a week or so of distance training before race, but I was content with the 1:37:57 I managed to run.

On June 16 I ran in the Vestal XX, a pretty hilly 20k race. I ran it last year, too, and was pleasantly surprised to improve on my time by a few minutes, for a 1:33:29 this year. My strategy going in to the race was to “run smarter” – to refrain from going too fast early on in order to avoid running out of energy in the second half of the race, as I did last year. This strategy paid off, and I enjoyed one of the most competitive racing experiences I’ve ever had (moving up in a leapfrog fashion with a small but growing pack) through much of the second half.

I’m not sure what my next event will be, but I’ll post another update here once it happens.

Posted on Saturday, June 30th, 2012.

Lock Laces

First, a caveat: What I like about running, as a sport, is that it’s such an elementary activity. There is very little expense or equipment required to get started. All you really need is any old pair of sneakers (if even that). Yammering on about particular kit is a favorite activity of enthusiasts of all kinds, but an interest in details should not be construed to mean they really matter, or that you must be equally familiar with them to be considered legit. Bear that in mind as you read on.

What I’m trying to say is, I’m about to tell you about my shoelaces.

Lock Laces

You know the cliché about how long it takes some women to “get ready” to go out? That’s me, getting ready to go for a jog. Indecision about what to wear, or whether I need a hat. Another sip of water. And most of all, tying and re-tying my shoelaces. I’m like Goldilocks: it’s gotta be just right. Not too tight; not too loose. (I’m talking about the shoelaces now, not Goldilocks.)

So, I bought a set of Lock Laces on Amazon for like five bucks. The locks themselves are little spring-loaded plastic stocks for your shoelaces. Press the button to adjust the tension and release it to clamp the laces in place. The laces that come with Lock Laces are elastic, although I suspect they’d work fine with regular laces.

The point of all this is to make it easier, and quicker, to adjust the fit of your shoes. At this point some readers may wonder whether I am in fact even capable of knotting shoelaces in the regular fashion. I am! (And I remember the exact moment, kneeling before the living room stove, when I learned the knack of it.) But it’s nice to get the right fit without a lot of fiddling, and to be able to make adjustments while you’re on the go without pausing for more than a few seconds. That’s especially helpful in winter, when fingers may be too numb to knot laces with aplomb.

There are additional benefits similar to those yielded by the traditional double (or triple) knot: your laces don’t come untied, and the risk of having your foot broken by a shoelace caught in your bike’s chainring is greatly reduced. (Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me and it’s terribly frightening, as if an unseen hand had suddenly burst from the earth and gripped your ankle with the ferocious tenacity of the damned.)

“My shoes have stayed securely in place on my feet and my feet have been pretty comfortable. What more can you ask?” – tl;dr summary

Anyway, I have been running with these laces for the past week or two. So far, I like them. I can’t say they’ve really cut down on my “getting ready” time (distractions are easily substituted), but my shoes have stayed securely in place on my feet and my feet have been pretty comfortable. What more can you ask? I do think the elastic laces may count for more than I had originally thought, especially with a combination of flexible shoes and vigorous motion (they stay snug without feeling restrictive as the shape of the shoe changes).

All of the pleasing benefits I have enumerated here probably also apply to Velcro shoes. Sadly, there seems to be a near-total dearth of Velcro shoes marketed to the ambulatory adult crowd.

And yes, my running shoes are fluorescent orange. It helps low-flying planes avoid my wake.

Last but not least, for more more information about shoelaces and knots than you ever knew existed, go check out Ian’s Shoelace Lace.

Posted on Sunday, February 26th, 2012.

A Moment in Motion

A haiku about running in the winter, composed while running in the winter:

Footprints in the snow:
I’m tracking other runners,
racing against ghosts.

(Running west into a bracing flurry on Clifton, I noticed another runner behind me. Our paths soon diverged. Coming down Fuller Hollow twenty minutes later, I saw recent prints, stride-lengths apart, smoothed by just a dusting of snow, and knew I had come upon the trail of my pursuer. As I ran where the other had ran before we met, I came up with these lines to remember the moment.)

Posted on Sunday, February 12th, 2012.

Running Lights

Why don’t more people lace mini LED lights into their shoelaces? Probably because it would be distracting and useless. It sure looks cool from six inches away, though.


Posted on Sunday, February 5th, 2012.