West Point Half Marathon – Race Review


Frank Shorter, gold medalist in the marathon at the Olympics in 1972, once said ‘Hills are speedwork in disguise.’ One thing I could have used more of was hill training for this race. West Point Military Academy, built right in the middle of a mountain range close to Bear Mountain State Park in upstate New York definitely has some steep HILLS. I’m currently a little less than 180lbs and by far not lean and due to this when I hit a hill I immediately slow down and others begin to pass me. Although I did achieve my desired goal for the race 1:44.13, breaking the 8 min pace mark of 144:52 mark, I didn’t due to well on the hills slowing down to about a 9 min pace. After this race I will make sure to include more hill repeats in the future to improve both climbing hills and running down them fast under control. 33552107091_960240ebde_o-2.jpg


I started the race really fast (as planned) to try to make up time for what I knew I would lose running the hills. Although I know most do not recommend starting out fast I warmed up really well and knew that if I didn’t start fast I probably wouldn’t have reached my desired goal. This strategy actually worked out because at the end of the race there is a MONSTROUS hill that I ended up walking a little because my pace was as fast as my walk. (That’s how steep of an incline it was!) Overall I think it was an ok day with some hill experience for future races. My splits are below.

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It was also my son’s first race! We have been running a lot around the neighborhood and I was excited for him to run with his mother during my race. He kind of killed his pace not for the lack of hill training like Dad but for of course the leafs and puddles! 🙂 A kid has to stop and play right even if its a race. He was the youngest by far and him and his mother had fun.

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Next up is the Queens Half Marathon right in our neighborhood. I’m expecting another PR and will probably shoot to stay with in 7:30-7:40 range for this next race. For future goals I’m going to work on getting my 5k time down to around 18mins and then my half marathon into the 120s. I’m still seeking my idea racing weight with diet and excercise. As soon as I can get into the lower 170s and into the 160s I should be going a lot faster. Trust the process and stick to training.




Plateau? No way!


The danger in any training is falling into a routine that doesn’t include different levels of varying intensities, hill training, sprints, plyometrics, and strengthening the core just to name a few. Plateuing results. In training you want to continue climbing the mountain of reaching your goal. To be honest most of my life I have ran on pure athletic ability and I’ve not been consistent or included smarter workouts with different levels of intensity and also have not included portion control for my diet and a fuel/hydration plan for racing. I even did an Ironman and didn’t have such basic necessities. Basically I didn’t know. Well from here on things will change and my training will become smarter. Increasing mileage and consistency at 10% per week, incorporating speed training and hill repeats, and not forgetting core training and plyometrics is the goal.


Update: This week my lovely wife purchased me a new watch that is more accurate for pacing. The Garmin 310XT is an older model of the Garmin line but it’s within my budget and although a bit larger I like the big dial so that I can see my pace easier. The watch uses satelite technology versus the Iphone that uses cell towers. This should help with the inaccurate heart rate and pacing I’ve been experiencing on my entry level Suunto watch that I’ve been using. I owned the Garmin 305 before and ran my fastest races with the watch so I’m pretty excited about getting it out for a try whenever the cold weather passes. Until then I will remain in the comforts of the gym and the treadmill.

This week I also increased my mileage into 30+ miles a week. I do plan on increasing my mileage to 50-80 a week but for right now I’m happy with my progression. I’ve lost 17lbs and I’m on my way to my ideal racing weight. It’s also a lot easier to run lighter.

Enjoy this video of my long run with Niketown when running in Central Park. There were a lot of good runners there with a lot of different pacers. This is exciting for when I begin running faster with more consistency I will graduate up to a different pace group. Until I lose a little more weight and add more of a base I will hold off before pushing it too fast. Smarter running and injury free pays off.

Jalpenos and Core

Jalpenos … also newly referred to by me as ‘Satan’s candy’ is not something to eat before a run. Although good for the diet because they contain capsaicin a compound that speeds up calorie burn it is on the other hand not good for runs!


After a nine mile run yesterday I struggled to get back to my apartment in the city. I only had to go a couple blocks and barely made it but it was the first time doing the #2 with my jacket on! Could you imagine if that was at a race? That wouldn’t be good!

Also I began a core challenge this week. A strong core, adominals and back, allow you to maintain good posture while running especially in the longer runs. This minimizes the impact on the legs and leads to better performance.

Core Challenge



  • 15-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 1 minute)


  • 20-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 1 minute 20 seconds)


  • 25-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 1 minute 40 seconds)


  • 30-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 2 minutes)


  • 35-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 2 minutes 20 seconds)


  • 40-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 2 minutes 40 seconds)


  • 45-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 3 minutes)


  • 50-second plank hold
  • 10 back extensions
  • REPEAT 4X total (collective plank total: 3 minutes 20 seconds)

Progress: Heart rate training vs. Just trying to run a faster pace


The body is an amazing thing. Ryan Hall, a famous American olympian runner once said, ‘You start off training and you can’t run a mile at your race pace then after training you can run 26.2 miles at the pace you trained for’ (Assuming you don’t get injured). I’ve been training for 2 mos. and lost 16lbs so far. I’ve learned a lot about pre, post, and recovery to run smarter and picked up a better diet with portion control. I’ve also started taking some supplements like fish oil, multi-vitamin, and cytomax. I’ve learned that pushing yourself hard with a running group without not knowing the workout can be counterproductive and lead to injury. Increasing workouts at 10% each week is smarter and you know your body better than anyone else.

Today I noticed some slight progress after 2 mos. of getting started. Due to the cold weather I’ve been running on the treadmill and have been training by Dr. Maffeton’s heart rate philosphy. He states that you need to ‘run slower to run faster’ referring to heart rate training following the ‘180 rule.’ I’ve been training at a 147-150 heartrate for about a month after learning about this training style. Usually I run around 6.0 speed on the treadmill before my heart rate reacheds 147-150 range but now I run (at the same heartrate) 7.0 speed. Although I was not a big fan on treadmills before it has been nice indoors in the winter months in NYC building a base without freezing together and risking sickness. It also has allowed me to run at a consistent elevation and to be able to monitor my fitness increases. Cardiovascular health is amazing to watch and see improvements when you are running at a faster pace and not out of breath with a lower heartrate. Like a said before I’ve never trained like this. You have to trust the method and buy in before training. Before I would just go out for a run and run faster and lack consistency with my workouts and training. Now I hit my training days with a better plan and diet and I’ve seen amazing improvements already. It really does work and afterall isn’t that what we are after. The most healthy and effective workout to achieve our goals?

I will hit 30 miles per week in training next week as I progress at a 10% increase per week towards 60+ miles/week for marathon training. I hope to also start the vlog (ocassional updates via video blog on Youtube) in the future soon for I just got a GoPro.

Have a great day!