Monday, March 18, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Double

Miles and I raced the Pacer's St. Patrick's Day 5K and 10K races, completing "the double" as they call it. My goal was to run marathon race pace even with the stroller. For the race, I dressed Miles with my green hat I bought on our baby moon in Ireland. With his bright red hair, he looks really good in green. I wore my green clover hat (the one that is Adidas that I wear to Celtics games), and my running socks with clovers. I pinned to him a bib on his jacket  that says future runner they gave me for him at packet pickup.

My little leprechaun ready for the races!

It was the end of a long training week. I hit 120 miles for the first time, my most ever. I ran hills on Tuesday and did some speed on Thursday (5 repeats of 4:00 minutes at sub 6:10 pace with a 1 minute standing rest). I am very encouraged for Boston with my recent training and racing.

At the start line

We ran from our house to the start line near the Washington Monument, a little more than a five mile warm up. I let him out of the stroller for a few minutes to walk and stretch his legs. He pet a dog that was running with her owner, a beautiful golden retriever that was well behaved (pictured below).

Waiting for the starting gun

For the 5K, we lined up almost at the back, standing with the 13+ minute per mile people. The first mile was slow as it took me nearly half a mile to weave through the crowd of people before finding a solid lane. 7:24 for the first mile was pretty impressive given I think I was in the 9 minute pace for a good chunk of the beginning mile. I was able to cut down miles 2 and 3 to 6:38 and 6:34. Miles shouted, "On your left" and "beep, beep" as we passed runners. I received a few kudos for my pace with the stroller. It was a great feeling. When finishing, I was able to give it a real good kick. I finished 6th in my age group of men 40-44 and 57th overall in a time of 21:17, good for a 6:50 pace.

Showing off our bling!

I let him out of his stroller in between races. We shared a Nature Valley granola bar and he danced while an Irish band played Celtic music. For the 10K, I lined up with the 9 minute group. It still took a few minutes to pass enough people to get into my pace. The course was similar to the 5K, going down Independence and up towards the Kennedy Center and down Ohio Drive by the George Mason and Thomas Jefferson Memorials. I did have to push in the middle miles, especially the 5th mile which was right into the wind. For the last mile, Miles started shouting, "Go Daddy, faster!" I was able to pass a few people and finish strong. I was the first stroller, so I was the first stroller for the 5K, 10K, and the double. I even was first in my age group (Male 40-44), so I won! I felt happy with my times as I kept my pace in range of my marathon pace. I hope to have a solid Boston Marathon - I just have to taper correctly. And, today I found out my bib is #5204. Four weeks to go!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The racing was a neat experience. I hope Miles has great memories of us running together.

Post race photo

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Taper Not Required: DC Road Runners Club George Washington Birthday Marathon

Usually before a marathon, I plan my pace, my taper, and my carb load. This race was different as I didn't expend much energy in preparation. I didn't have a proper taper - seven days out, I completed my third consecutive 100 mile week. The week leading up to the race, I took off Sunday and Monday, ran my usual pre race tempo (5 repeats of 4 minutes at 6:20 pace with a 1 minute standing rest), and planned to run a few more miles Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. But, with reports of snow between 1-3 inches on Saturday and cold temperatures Sunday, I thought the race would be canceled since it has been in the past. I was in Pittsburgh for work, so I ran 10 miles on Wednesday and 15 on Thursday thinking why taper if there won't be a race. Then the forecast changed and I received an email from the race director saying the race was on. Well, shoot! I didn't run at all on Friday or Saturday. I went into the race with low expectation. I chatted with my coach on Friday and we thought a 6:50-7:00 pace was the goal. I was going to treat the race as a long marathon pace tempo.

The start line

Friday night, my wife and I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and I bought the album, meaning I had Queen stuck in my head the whole race (We Will Rock You, Radio Ga-Ga, and Killer Queen cycled through my head during the race). Before the race, I tried to assess if there were any 40+ runners that would challenge me for first master. I thought there was a good chance I could claim that prize. We have access to the Greenbelt Youth Center for check in and to wait. The race starts a short walk away in the neighborhood and runs out to the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, three loops, and then back to finish not far from the start. They introduced the two elite athletes and off we went.

Early in the race

Turning a corner
The first mile of a marathon can be tricky. I don't want to get sucked out and run too fast: too many runners usually do that and this race was no exception. If I go out too slowly, I fear that I won't be able to get to my pace. I have to remind myself that I cannot "win" the marathon in the first few miles. I was pleased that my pace was fine. The second mile was only fast because it was mostly down hill. In the third mile, a fellow club member started to run with me. He's a 2:40 marathoner and was going out slow as he had a 100 mile week recently as well. We ran together for most of the first loop. I told him I was going to try to keep it to a 7:00 and didn't want to hold him back. We chatted casually about running, race strategy, and other topics. As we went by the on ramp to the BW Parkway, he picked up the pace and I wished him a good race.

The short out and back section before the loop

Headed to the loop

I have run this course before as I competed in the relay portion. I know where the rolling hills are. That familiarity was helpful to me in pacing and strategy. Despite not having tapered, my legs felt okay and I had settled into a slightly sub 7:00 pace. I hit the end of the first loop in about 1:07, which was on target for a sub 3:05.

First lap complete

Finishing first lap

The first few miles of the second loop have climbs, so I took it easy. I hit the half in 1:31:02 - happy with my effort and figured an even split would give me a 3:02-3. After the half, there was a chance to pick up the pace with some down hills, so I did since I felt good. At the 16 mile mark, I passed a guy I thought was a master runner. He was in his late 30s and starting to fade - he went out too fast.

Feeling good!

Thumbs up!
At this point of the race, I was lapping some runners. They served as rabbits in my mind, something to go and catch and pass. It kept me motivated and my pace steady. In my head, I had Freddy Mercury's Live Aid performance from 1985. I was able to pick up the pace slightly, dropping my average mile down to 6:55. At about the 20 mile mark which is on the third loop, I caught my friend from earlier. I encouraged him to come with me, but he was done and jogged it the rest of the way.

Having a good time!

I don't remember much about the last loop other than feeling pretty good. I started to do math to figure out my time. I thought I was in 2:59 to 3:02 range. Breaking 3 was going to be tough because of the long hill in the 26th mile. But 3:00 and 3:01 were in the cards. One by one, I was able to pick off runners ahead of me. Leaving the last lap, I saw a guy I hadn't seen and asked volunteers if he was relay. They didn't know. I caught him - he was a solo marathoner. As the climb up the final hill began, I tried to make sure I put space between us so that he wouldn't catch me. I also wanted to leave something for the final kick. Then, I heard two runners approaching, so I tried to pick up the pace. At the top of the hill, I began my kick with the goal of not getting passed. With less than .2 left, I caught one more runner and crossed the finish line, good enough to earn a top ten finish.

My finishing kick!

With a 3:01:15, it was my 5th fastest marathon (2:59:31 Houston 2016, 2:59:32 Rock N Roll DC 2018, 3:00:58 Bismarck, ND 2015, 3:01:06 NYC 2018), second consecutive 3:01, and my 45th total marathon in 27 different states. 15 of my 45 total marathons are sub 3:10 and Boston Qualifiers according to my age and qualifying standards when I raced them. While I had already run Baltimore, Maryland, in 2007 (3:49), this one gives me Maryland in under 3:30 and puts me on track for 50 states sub 3:30 (I have to redo California). It was also my first marathon in February. Once I race in August, I will have run a marathon in every month.

Finishing in 3:01:15

I was really pleased with my race. My only disappointment was two men over 40 that finished ahead of me. I wasn't going to run a 2:46, but the runner who placed ahead of me put down a 2:59:06. My effort was good for 10th out of 181, 3rd over 40, and technically 2nd age 40-49. And I did this on a course that was rolling hills with a few tough climbs.

My miles: 6:55 / 6:49 / 6:59 / 6:59 / 6:58 / 6:59 / 6:51 / 6:56 / 6:49 / 6:53 / 6:53 / 6:58 / 6:58 / 6:40 / 6:37 / 6:52 / 6:48 / 6:47 / 6:57 / 6:48 / 7:02 / 6:51 / 6:55 / 6:55 / 6:59 / 7:25 / 5:37 (final .3)

Mile mark = Overall time (Overall pace)
2.2 = 15:11 (6:54)
5.8 = 40:35 (7:00)
9.7 = 1:07:27 (6:58) finished first loop
Half = 1:31:02 (6:57)
17 = 1:57:16 (6:54) finished second loop
20.4 = 2:20:51 (6:55)
24.3 = 2:47:49 (6:55) finished third loop
Finish = 3:01:15 (6:55)
Second half = 1:30:13
47 second negative split


A sampling of the comments I received:

"Nice job, Kenny. Glad one of us continued to move forward after the half way point."
"You were strong! No taper and top 10 with negative splits! Congrats!!"
"This course was harder than NYC and you nailed it!"
"Excellent time on a real bear of a course!"
"Nice job Storm!"
"Great job Kenny - proud of this effort!"
"You looked like having fun the whole time! Too bad it takes 100+ mile weeks to look that relaxed and fast at the same time!"

Thanks to DC Road Runners for hosting a fun and well-organized race and to my supporters and fellow runners! Next up: Boston!!

P.S. For Boston, my brother is fundraising for Dreamfar High School Marathon, the charity that provided his bib. If you are able to support Team Ames, it would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Dreamfar High School Marathon 10K Ames Brother Challenge

My brother, Matthew, and I will be running our first race together on January 20, the Dreamfar High School 10K around Lake Massapoag in our hometown of Sharon, MA. To make it interesting and because I'm the competitive type, we will be racing against each other as Matt will be given a 15 minute handicap, meaning if I run a 40:00 minute race, we'll add 15 minutes to my time and then compare it to Matt's. Help us in raising funds for Dreamfar High School Marathon (his charity sponsor that provided his bib for the 2019 Boston Marathon which we plan to race together). Your donation of $10 or more will  enter you into a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.

Here's how it works:

1. Donate $10 or more here:

2. In the donation comments, indicate who you think will win by writing either TEAM KENNY or TEAM MATT.

3. We will draw the winner of the gift card from the "winning team" once race results have been posted (we will go by net time or gun time if no net time is available).

4. If we get over 25 donations, we will add a second $25 gift card for the runner ups team.

You can learn more about the Dreamfar 10K here:

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: A Year in Review

2018 was another great year of running. I tied my PR in the marathon, finished second overall and first master out in South Dakota, and ran more miles than ever for a calendar year. I started running to work regularly, which accounts for all of my additional miles. Miles and I ran a lot of miles together: in addition to regular commutes to and from daycare and our favorite loop to the Zoo, we had our first races (2nd stroller at College Park 5K and 1st stroller at Capitol Hill 10K). And, today, we ran to the Smithsonian so he could play at the Air and Space Museum, with a quick visit to my office on the Hill.

A few stats to capture 2018 in running:

Total miles (bicycle and running) = 5,063 which was 691 total hours of exercise. I cut back on bicycling since I switched those bike share commutes to runs which allowed me to increase my total miles by over 600 more than last year.

Running = 4,265 miles (previous high in 2017 was 3614). That is about the distance from Washington, D.C. to Fairbanks, Alaska. I climbed 145,840 feet while running. That's the equivalent of summiting Mount Everest (29,029 feet) just over five times!

New places I ran = Deadwood, South Dakota, St. Michaels, Maryland. It wasn't a banner year for accumulating new cities, but I'm fine with that.

My my training partner Shawn captures my year in running:

"Kenny is getting better with age and he's doing it by working harder. When 2018 ends, he expects to have run about 4,200 miles -- he's currently at 4,050 -- a lifetime high that exceeds his previous best annual mileage tally by about 600 miles.

"He's not only running more. He's running faster. Kenny ran his second fastest marathon ever in March with a 2:59:32 at Rock N Roll DC, placing second in his age group on a very difficult course. The hill at Fort Dupont at mile 23 is a doozy. His PR is on the flat course in Houston in 2016 (2:59:31).

"The following month, he persevered on a rainy, cold day in Boston, setting a course PR of 3:08:36 when many other runners dropped out.

"And at the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in the Black Hills of South Dakota in June, Kenny was the first master and second overall. He ran in the lead group of two for most of the race. He led the race outright from miles 12-14 until the winner, a 29 year-old, caught and passed him. He finished in 3:17 on a warm day when the winner crossed in 3:11. That made him the South Dakota State Master's Champion for 2018 and marked the 27th state in which he has completed a marathon.

"In November, Kenny set a course PR at the New York City Marathon in 3:01:06, easily besting his previous two attempts 3:26 (2010) and 3:12 (2015).

"He was third master at the DC Road Runners Club 20-Miler in September, setting a PR for the distance of 2:14:16 (6:43 pace).

"Adjusting to the running life as a father, Kenny placed second in the stroller division in the College Park 5K in May. He was then first stroller at the Capitol Hill Classic 10K later that month.

"He ran a 1-mile time trial in 5:15 during the summer and placed 2nd overall in the DCRRC 3K Track Championship in driving rain in July.

"And in November, Kenny placed 3rd AG/7th overall at the Camp Letts Turkey Trot Not-Quite 10K in 37:22."

It was very satisfying to see him run a personal record number of miles in 2018, improve his marathon time from 3:08:20 (Freedom's Run, 9/30/17) to 3:03:16 (Rock and Rock DC, 3/10/18) to 3:02:37 (New York City Marathon, 11/4/18). He also set many other PRs and win a few races outright and age group. It was great to run with someone who follows a similar routine and keeps pace.

The friendly competition was what was ultimately most rewarding in 2018. As I grow older, I maintain my goal of 50 marathons in 50 states. I am still striving for PRs, but I am narrowing my focus to the marathon. It was neat to train for a track one mile race even if the downpour conditions made a PR impossible. I hope that 2019 brings more PRs, milestones, and quality time running with friends and my son!

Monday, December 3, 2018

My Return to the Turkey Trot

Last year, I didn't race a Turkey Trot, so I was excited to join Shawn at the Camp Letts YMCA Turkey Chase. I signed up a few days ago when I was certain that it would fit into my schedule and that dad would join me. It was too cold for Miles, so he stayed and Mom watched him. Last year, Shawn was third overall and first in our age group so I thought this would be a good race to place high.

My father and I pre-race with the mascots. Three turkeys and a raccoon!

Shawn and I warm up for the race

Shawn stretches to "Y-M-C-A!"

I have to change my expectations when I am sick. I have battled a head cold for the couple of days. And while I was able to place in the top ten, I was barely on track to break 40. The course is not easy: it is run on a gravely road (I bruised the outside of my foot during warm up) and through a grassy field and through a trail in the woods with roots, rocks, and standing water. This is not a PR course. I tried to hang with Shawn early, starting the race on the line, but after the first mile I fell back - I made a strategic decision to try to run slower at first then close the gap later. He was wearing bright red and I could see him through the bucolic scenery. Even when he put 20-30 seconds ahead of me, I figured I could make that up over the last 2-3 miles. But coming back to the finish, I didn't have that finishing gear. I wasn't gassed, but I was stuck at my pace. Shawn finished nearly a minute ahead of me - he out-kicked a 54 year old guy to claim 5th overall.

And we're off!

The race sent me photos (link) and results. It reported that me as 8th and 4th in my age group with a guy besting me by 4 seconds. That didn’t sound right - there was no one in the 10K ahead of me. I emailed the race director about the results, pointing out that a 41 year old male from Laurel, MD, bib 153 finishing four seconds ahead of me did not race the 10K. I attached finishing video my father shot and photos from the race's pictures. And Shawn testified to back up my claim.

Early in the race
They replied, “Hi Kenny; Congratulations on a great race! We will certainly check this out. It certainly makes sense he ran the 5k but was signed up for the 10k; which is what was used for scoring. It happened more than once. Give us a couple days to gather any other anomalies and we will repost results. Thanks; Ron”

Finishing almost a minute behind Shawn
After about a week or so, they concluded that he did, in fact, not race the 10K. They emailed:

"The Race Director has authorized us to make the change moving Warren to 5k. Mark will re-calculate results and will update the posted results.
Thanks for your patience;

I appreciate that they got this right. I was moved up to 7th overall and 3rd in my age group. In the grand scheme, it means little, but it is nice to have the record accurately reflect the final results.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

NYC Marathon Race Recap

Shawn and I have run hundreds or thousands of miles together. If I had the time, I could check the exact amount on Strava, but suffice to say that between long runs, recovery runs, easy runs, speed such as tempo, fartlek, and track, hill repeats, commutes, and my pushing Miles in the Bob stroller, he's probably the person I have trained with for the most miles (my dog Sammy has definitely ran the most total miles with me). Earlier this year, I pointed out to Shawn that his half marathon time qualified him for the New York City Marathon. He had always wanted to run it so when he signed up, I signed up since I also had a qualifying time. I have entered NY by three different ways (In 2010 I had been rejected three straight times and was guaranteed entry the third year, but this was discontinued. In 2012, I raised money for the charity the Blue Card but since the race was canceled, they allowed me to pay for entry into 2013, 2014, or 2015, and I chose 2015).

Got our bibs
We took the train up early Saturday morning and found seats together where we could stretch out. We talked strategy and expectations for most of the race. As reported earlier this year, we planned to race Rock N Roll together but that fell apart prior to the first 10K. This race, we mapped out and followed a solid strategy. While we plotted strategy and logistics, we ate lunch which consisted of pasta we packed for the ride. The train was easy and when we got to Penn Station, we walked over to the Jacob Javits Center where the expo and packet pick up is held. While walking, I texted my high school friend Nicole was was running her second marathon and first NY. She was a little nervous but I texted her that it was the race that should be nervous since she was going to kick its butt! We breezed through the expo, got our bibs, took a few pictures, and parted ways. I went to meet my coach at his hotel near the finish and handed him my dry clothes. I chose the poncho option, so it was clutch that Ryan took my clothes for me to change into after the race. Everything I was wearing would be tossed and donated.
With Coach Ryan Vail. Photobombed by an unfortunate sign.

After meeting with Ryan, I met my cousin at NYU where he teaches. We went back to his place and he found an old blanket I could use to stay warm then toss at the Athlete's Village. I bought bagels to eat in the morning about three hours before the race and some to bring back to DC. We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant near his house in Astoria and I ate two baskets of bread in addition to my pasta and tomato sauce! My cousin's husband's sister is also a runner who has run several halfs. She was very excited that she was visiting during the NYC Marathon and could watch it before her plane left. I gave her my logistics booklet explaining the race, where to watch, and course information. That seemed to make her happy. After dinner, I went to bed. I woke up at 4AM (it was the end of DST so I got an extra hour and felt quite rested) and showered and ate a banana. I left around 4:45AM and his neighbors were still awake and on the balcony. The city that really never sleeps!

Bib 3211 for 2018 NYC, my 44th marathon
I took the subway from Astoria (Steinway stop) to the Midtown bus. Luckily there was a runner on the platform and I could just follow him through the subway and to the bus. We chatted with other runners on our train including a young IT professional named Sebastian from near Warsaw in Poland. On the bus, I tried to get a little more sleep. On the bus, I sat next to a runner from the Boston area who loves to run New York but has no interest in the Boston Marathon. His aversion to Boston is training in the cold. After passing through security, I found the meeting spot, the orange area therapy dog station (the dogs licked our faces as we rested). When I returned from the bathroom, Shawn was there. We rested and I asked a woman to "Share the sun" who was blocking it from warming us. Around 9AM, we got ready and headed into our corral. In the corral, we waited around with other runners. One was taking a selfie, so I offered to take his picture in return for taking our picture and sending it to me.

Shawn and I have a friendly rivalry that makes us both better runners. This race was our tiebreaker for the year since earlier, he won the 1 mile and 3K at the DC Road Runners Club track meet, and I bested him at the Rock N Roll DC Marathon and the DC Road Runners Club 20 miler. But, I would have been thrilled if we finished the race together having paced each other to a sub 3 finish. If that had come to pass, we could have raised our hands together in celebration as we crossed the line.

The weather for the race was perfect. Starting in the 40s and rising into the 50s, we really couldn't have asked for better weather. Thankfully, the heavy wind on Saturday was mostly gone for Sunday, just an easy 5 mph wind that wasn't a factor.  It wasn't too cold that we were shivering in the Athlete's Village and it wasn't too hot on the course. We brought some throwaway clothes and blankets that kept us warm while waiting that we tossed before and during the race. When the race started, it took us about 40 seconds to run over the start line. We ran on the lower section of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Our Garmins had trouble accurately finding our pace, possibly because we were on the lower bridge and also due to so many other Garmin users. I knew not to trust my watch that read an 8:30 pace (when I was less experienced, I would have freaked out thinking I couldn't get into my pace) and sure enough, we clocked a 7:30 first mile even though my watch displayed only 0.9. The next mile had us running a 6:14 mile, which was again off. I assured Shawn that our pace was perfect and not to worry. I don't think he was worried, but sometimes I like to verbalize my inner monologue.

The run through Brooklyn went very much according to plan. We were settling into 6:50 pace, the effort felt easy, and the crowds were amazing. Even though there were so many runners near us, we were able to stay together without dodging other runners or exerting more energy than necessary. We tried to stick to the tangents as much as possible - only I veered to get water as Shawn brought his own. I wore my Red Sox visor through the streets of NYC and occasionally yelled for a fan wearing a Red Sox hat to give me a cheer - 2018 World Series Champions! In Brooklyn, I looked for my friend Chris and his son Alex between miles 8-9, but I didn't spot them. We hit the 10 mile mark right on pace and cruised towards Queens. I would call out the splits for each mile and did some quick, sloppy marathon math to know we were on pace. As we left Brooklyn and entered Queens, we passed the halfway point. 1:29:35 - right on pace to break 3! Before the race, we had talked about running the first half in 88 minutes (he rejected that and stated 89/90 minutes was smarter), so 89 minutes and change was perfect.

Queens was fairly flat and uneventful. In Queens, I looked for my cousin's husband and his sister.  Unfortunately, I didn't spot them, but later they reported they got to watch the leaders. I prepared us mentally for the Queensborough Bridge which is long and slow. As we approached and began our climb, it became quiet as no spectators are allowed. Again, I feared Garmin might be off so we just held our effort and didn't worry about effort. It paid off as we ran a the bridge smartly and entered into Manhattan to huge cheers. Within half a mile, I heard my name and saw my friend Michael cheering for me. That was fun to be spotted by a friend - three years ago my friend from college not only saw me, he took a great picture.

Through Manhattan, we kept our pace and even pulled slightly ahead of the 3 hour pace team. We did not intend to do so, but our pace brought us slightly past them. The miles were adding up, but mentally I remained in a good place. As we climbed the bridge into the Bronx, the pace team overtook us but we kept them in sight. The segment through the Bronx is not that long and soon we were back in Manhattan. The last time I ran NYC, I thought I could break 3:10 and felt my chances were good but I faded. This time, I felt I was on pace to break 3:00 and pushed towards my goal. With about five miles to go, I felt a burst of energy and felt like I had lost Shawn. I don't think I increased my pace as much as he lost the pace, but in any event, I felt I was going to run the final miles alone. That is what happened. I felt strong and kept pace as long as I could, but the climb next to Central Park slowed me by 20 seconds a mile. I thought all I needed to do survive and once in the park, I could lay down the hammer. But, those rolling hills took its toll and I was fortunate not to lose anymore time. As I headed to the finish, I thought I heard footsteps and wondered if Shawn was closing in on me. I don't know if I had anything left to match him if he was going to push me. But I finished then waited a minute or so before I saw him cross. We were both very tired and excited for our effort. It was a PR for him by 39 seconds.

If the end were completely flat, I could have broken 3. Our 3:01/3:02 was a sub 3 on a flatter course. The fitness was there as demonstrated at the 20 miler. If there were no hills in Central Park, I could have broken 3:01. But, I know I gave it my all even though I came up a couple of seconds shy of getting under 3:01. I am so proud of my time and very impressed with how Shawn has continued to get faster in his mid 40s. A 3:01/3:02 in NYC is amazing for a 40 year old, and even more impressive considering my first ever marathon was a 4:10 and my two previous NYC Marathons were 3:26 (2010) and 3:12 (2015). This year, I finished 1275 out of over 52,000 runners, so I definitely beat my bib (3211). This was my fourth fastest time out of my 44 marathons.

Comparing my three NYC Marathons:

Course profile
2010 NYC Marathon (Bib 7702 / Age 33) = 3:26:01
Pace = 07:52
Place Overall = 4,047 of 44,976, Place Gender = 3,565 of 28,849, Place Age Group = 3,566 of 3,857
Place Age-Graded 6,023 of 28,850
Time Age-Graded 3:26:01
Percentile Age-Graded 60.6%
Splits: 5K 23:11 (23:11 = 7:29) / 10K 46:10 (22:59 = 7:25) / 15K 1:09:44 (22:34 = 7:17) / 20K 1:33:23 (22:39 = 7:18) / 25K 1:57:50 (24:27 = 7:53) / 30K 2:21:54 (24:04 = 7:46) / 35K 2:47:25 (25:31 = 8:14) / 40K 3:14:47 (27:22 = 8:50) / Half 1:38:43 = 7:32 / 26.2 full 3:26:01 = 7:52 (8:09 2nd Hal)

2015 NYC Marathon (Bib 5011 / Age 38) = 3:12:47
Pace = 07:22
Place Overall = 1,709 of 49,461, Place Gender = 1,558 of 28,788, Place Age Group = 302 of 4,562
Place Age-Graded 2,498 of 28,788
Time Age-Graded 3:09:38
Percentile Age-Graded 64.84%
Splits: 5K = 21:19; 10K = 42:42; 15K = 1:04:20; 20K = 1:26:13; Half = 1:31:10; 25K = 1:49:10; 30K = 2:12:20; 35K = 2:36:33; 40K = 3:02:13

My 5K splits
2018 NYC Marathon (Bib 3211 / Age 41) = 3:01:06
Pace = 6:55
Place Overall 1,275 of 52,700, Place Gender = 1,183 of 30,580, Place Age Group = 228 of 5,109
Place Age-Graded = 1,453 of 30,580
Time Age-Graded = 2:54:55
Percentile Age-Graded = 70.3%
Splits: 5K = 21:25; 10K = 42:25; 15K = 1:03:33; 20K = 1:24:52' Half = 1:29:35; 25K = 1:46:33; 30K = 2:07:34; 35K; 2:29:07; 40K; 2:51:13

Running more overall miles and more miles at tempo pace during training has made me a better marathon runner. Having to run-commute with a backpack and running my son into daycare in a Bob's Blaze jogging stroller has had no negative effect on my training - perhaps it even helped by adding a level of resistance. Adding doubles has helped me in distance racing. And, switching from a set long run on the weekends to more total mileage but no traditional long run has not impacted my training. I hope to be able to use this method to keep improving my marathon and other race times. As documented in previous blogs, since the birth of my son, my training has changed. I have had to move my runs, run/commute with a backpack, run my son to daycare in a stroller, and completely ditch large group runs. While I miss running with my club every Saturday morning and doing track with them every Wednesday night, I’ve found ways to not only continue to train, but to actually increase my mileage and effort. 

This New York City Marathon was the race I hoped Rock N Roll DC earlier this year could have been. Having trained with Shawn for several years now, we planned to race New York together, pacing and pushing ourselves to break 3. It has been tremendously rewarding to witness his transformation into such a strong and smart runner in just a couple of years. By committing himself to doing the mileage and adding in speed, hills, and tempos, he not only dropped his times and qualified both for Boston and New York, he also inspired and challenged me. Plus, selfishly, having a friend and rival to push me and motivate me benefits me. He keeps me from getting complacent. I look forward to training runs where we can talk running, Red Sox and Patriots, politics, or the day's news while testing our VO2 Max or running at recovery pace. Running alone is not as rewarding to me as having a good friend and training partner to keep myself honest.

We're not quite as fast and accomplished as Des and Shalane, but we have pushed each other to achieve results.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Taper Time for NYC Marathon

One year ago today I ran a negative split at the Hartford Marathon, good for a 3:01. Today marks three weeks to the day of the New York City Marathon. During this blog, I am sharing photos from my last NYC Marathon race in 2015 (2015 recap). In 2015, I ran 3:12 on a warm day, better than the 3:26 from 2010, my first time racing NYC. Now that I think about it, all three of my entries have come in a different way: 2010 was the old "get rejected three times and get in the fourth," 2015 I raised money for a charity in 2012 but that race was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy so I took the guaranteed entry offered for 2015, and 2018 I qualified with my half marathon time.

View of Central Park - the finish line is down there somewhere
It is officially taper time! I've written about the anxiety of the taper before, and with fewer miles to run I have to be judicious about deploying them. I will try to replicate my taper from before the Rock N Roll Marathon where I ran a strong race. Based on how I tapered and adjusting for my tolerance for increased mileage, I'm going to try to stick to the following plan:

Bib and packet pickup at the expo
Week 1 = not to exceed 80 miles, fartlek midweek, and long run with 3,2,1 MP tempo
Week 2 = not to exceed 55 miles, fartlek midweek, and long run with a 20 minute MP tempo
Week 3 = not to exceed 25 miles, 5 x 4 minutes at MP midweek, then Sunday race day!

Pre race waiting to board the bus from Brooklyn to the start at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island
This week started as a rough one for me. Last weekend on Friday night, I came down with a fever and body aches. I've heard the rule for running when sick is if it is above the head (sniffling, congestion, runny nose) it is okay to run and below the head (body aches) then to skip the run. I ended up canceling Saturday and Sunday's run and on Saturday night decided I would also give myself Monday off (Columbus Day) as well. I thought I was feeling better so I ran on Tuesday, but by Tuesday night my fever had returned and I had a nasty headache. Dayquil got me through the weekend so we could go to activities with my son like attending the pumpkin festival, but I relied on Advil Sinus to make it through my workday (it was pretty effective).

Waiting at the start line
I was able to run again on Friday and on Saturday I ran my son to the National Zoo and back. And earlier today, I ran during Miles' nap - 17.4 miles in 2 hours and 4 minutes with the middle 11 miles at marathon pace (6:45-50). The first four were a struggle but then I found my comfortable pace.

Running mile 17
The Red Sox playoff run is a threat to my taper. In 2013, their last time in the ALCS, their clinching game was the night before the Detroit Marathon. I did okay with a 3:09, but late games are not good for my rest. It is hard to be disciplined when your favorite team makes a deep playoff run.

Snot rocket?
I also have been helping my brother raise money towards his goal of $10K for his charity Dreamfar High School Marathon to get his bib for the Boston Marathon. I solicited 50 of my past donors with the email at the end of this post.

Post race celebration
Dear Friend,

As you may know, this will be my seventh Boston Marathon and while each time I’ve qualified is a truly special accomplishment, this year has added significance. My younger brother Matthew joins me on April 15, 2019, in the Athlete's Village in Hopkinton for his first Boston Marathon!

Not only am I coaching Matthew, we are also working together to raise funds for the charity called Dreamfar High School Marathon (DHSM), an organization that challenges high school students to reach their full potential—physically, socially, emotionally, and academically—through a mentor-supported marathon-training program. Over the years they have served students struggling due to gender identity issues; autism, learning disabilities, and social phobias; severe depression; homelessness, as well as the overwhelming stress to achieve success in the classroom.

We are deeply moved by Dreamfar's mission and want to help them with their goal of reaching every student in New England. If you are able, would you consider making a donation to support our team, please?

You can donate at:

Thank you for your support!

Kenny Ames

Running with my brother and our sons in the Bob's Ironman Double Stroller at the National Zoo