Running Review 2016


It was all but inevitable that I'd do a write up covering my year in running. I'll largely skip the parts I covered in my First Half of 2016 Review. Overall it went well: no real injuries to speak of, multiple firsts and PR's, and our Thursday running group at ROHV held steady.


The main race for the second half of the year was the Peekskill Brewery Mile. It was supposed to be in mid-August, but the weather was atrocious so it was delayed until the end of August when it was merely uncomfortable. The race had a nice turn out, including a live band and food if you wanted to pay for it (racing entitled you to a free beer, so that was nice). Unfortunately I didn't have my watch for the race, so I don't have my splits. The first quarter of the race was downhill, so that was probably my fastest 400m ever. At the bottom of the hill you take a right turn and do a flat out and back. On the back end of this section the wheels started to come off for me and I started to get passed by a lot of folks. Once you get back to the intersection it's a short straight run through the finish. I ended up at 6:12, which was good for 7th in my age group and 30th overall. I was hoping to break 6 minutes, so I guess that's my goal for next year.

My next race was more of a “fun run”. The Taconics put on a “Guess Your Time” 2.5 mile race in September. You had to enter your estimated finish time when registering; the winner was whoever actually ran closest to their entered time. I guessed a pace of 8:16, figuring it was a nice in-between pace (not flat out, and not easy). My actual pace was 7:35, which was “good” for 20th out of 34 runners. Oops. Kind of a win for going a lot faster than I meant to!

My last race was the Harry Chapin Run Against Hunger 10K, by far the most tenured race for me (this was #8). I was able to PR with my first ever sub-48 10k time, which was pretty cool. My time was 47:53 overall, which was about a minute faster than last year. The 7:43 pace was basically on par with the Frozen 5 miler I did earlier in the year. I actually placed a little higher overall, but worse in my age group compared to last year.

My last race was the New Paltz Turkey Trot 5k. It's a nice flat course that more or less goes along the Wallkill River, part road and part dirt rail trail. It's actually one of the busier races I've run in over the past decade, with 864 finishers. I paced my sister in our first race together. We may have ran a lot faster than she wanted, so I can't say I'm the greatest at it. We finished in 27:02 (8:43 pace) which was around 215th overall.

Overall I was pretty happy with my races throughout the year. I felt pretty fast, but still with room to improve. Getting my first half marathon under my belt was a nice feeling.


After following an explicit training program for the half race early in the year, the rest of the year I more or less flitted from one type of run to another. About the only plan I had was to try to do some real track workouts in order to have a decent showing at the mile race in late summer. Aside from that I tried to get in at least one long run a month (generally opportunistic with the rare non hot-and-humid day). Oh, and after getting injured every few months last year my goal was to be healthy all year!

Once the weather finally wasn't oppressive (sadly not until late September this year) I was able to run normally again. I did some hill repeats and other “fun” runs to do some prep for the 10k in mid-October, but other than simply running more often I didn't really do any training for it. As a result, I'm pretty sure if I do a more fleshed out training program I can still get faster (and if I do a flat course, I should pretty easily get a PR; so that's nice).

This year we did the second running of Shoes to Brews, a fun group run where we (mostly) meet up at the running store and take the train down a few stops (for further meet ups). We run a bit on the road, but mostly on the Old Aqueduct Trail down to the Yonkers Brewery. To prep for it this year I was “smart” and actually used trail shoes. And since I don't normally run trails, I did a few practice runs on some trails near my house. The “brews” run is around 13 miles, so it was double the longest run I had ever done in trail shoes, but they worked out well (not a single trip or stumble on my part!). And unlike last year, my knees felt fine during and after the run. So that was cool. The only downside was I messed up my gps, so I'm not sure exactly how many miles I did (I ended up running with people who ran all the way from the store, so their gps's weren't close to mine). Anyway, similar to last year it was a fun destination run. And we had a lot of people, so we totally took over the place!

Now, for the numbers and graphs and whatnot. Over the past year I've (occasionally) worked on a program to help me better track my runs. While garmin's web site is okay, and strava is nice for social, both are often lacking on the data I want to see (especially without having to dig for it). And of course you're limited to whatever information they have; importing from other sites isn't always feasible (I'm looking at you, nike+. You're horrible). And some things like official race times are nice to track, so I've always thrown those into a spreadsheet. So, my local app can parse a variety of sources (namely, ones I've used over the years; nike+, runkeeper, and garmin being the main ones). Retrieving the data from the raw source was one adventure that I largely solved early in the year. But… the data isn't always great. Namely, even when exporting a lot of these tools don't include everything you store on their site/app (e.g. shoes, route names, descriptions). So, I'm still going through the process of tying spreadsheet data with device data, and of course making a local app to make it easier for me to use. Since that was kind of the point to begin with. Good times.

First up, a handy dandy chart for comparing mileage year over year:

Next, a little screen shot of my WetzRun web app:

Quick notes (everything is an estimate; yeah I have numbers, but they're not 100% since you have things like accidentally stopped/started gps tracking counting as two runs)

  • For the year: 187 runs for 891 miles over 5 days and 20 hours. 2015 was 125 runs for 619 miles over 4 days and three hours.
  • For the first time I broke 100 miles in a month, ending with 116 miles this afternoon. Last year September was by far my best month at 94 miles (no others were even over 80).
  • July had the fewest miles (47). This summer was extremely hot and humid (not helped by said weather starting early and ending late). Last year my lowest month was December at 11 miles.
  • Most miles in a week was 31 a few weeks ago. Last year my highest weekly mileage was 27.
  • I didn't skip any weeks, which is a personal record. But I did have a few different weeks with only one run, the lowest being 4 miles. Guess when that was?
  • My longest run of the year (and ever, for a few weeks more) was 14.26 miles, just a little better than last year's best at 14 miles even.
  • I did 13 runs of ten miles or longer, up from 4 last year.
  • My best group run pace on the year was 7:54. Last year's best was 8:09.
  • Excluding demo runs, I've used four pairs of shoes this year (as seen in header image). I went through two Asics Cumulus 17's (one carried over from last year) and a pair of 18's are my current workhorse. I also have Saucony Peregrine 5's that a friend gave me as like-new-hand-me-downs that I use for trail runs. I still use the 17's on occasion to both mix things up and to keep the mileage lower on the “good” pair.
  • During one run, a forest hawk flew right by me carrying a freshly killed squirrel. I saw it land down the road to settle in for lunch, but it was startled by an oncoming truck. It flew further down the road and perched in a tree. I tried to get a picture, but it was on my phone so it's hard to make out details.

Future Plans

By far my biggest plan for next year is to attempt my first ultra marathon, which will most likely be the Sybil 50k in late April. It's local and odds are will have people I know running or working at the race. I'm excited and of course nervous. I have a 16 week training program I'll be following as best as the weather will let me. Pretty much everything about it after the first month will be uncharted territory for me. It'll be much further and with more elevation gain than anything I've done. And the longest of the training long runs will most likely be my first marathon distance, so there's that!

In addition to the running plan, I've picked up a new jump rope (I had a cheap plastic one, the new one shouldn't tangle, etc.). While it might not get a ton of use if we get a lot of snow this year, that also means I'll get to go snoeshoeing so I won't complain too much.

One other fun bit (that I can make use of year round) is that I found my old hacky sack. I also discovered that I'm now pretty bad at it. So that'll be a fun task to help maintain agility, as well as serve as an alternative warmup for runs/cross training.

Outside of the 50k I'm not making any race plans. I'll see how my body holds up and play the rest of the year by ear. I'll be migrating to a new age group for the 2nd half of the year, but it's still a fast one so I'm not sure it'll help much for placing.

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