Running Notes – 13.1

It was the hottest day in The Buffalo Marathon’s 16 year history, topping 86 degrees on May 29, 2016.  My first Half Marathon is now in the books.  When I crossed the finish line, my initial thought was, “I’m glad that’s over with!”  Ten minutes later, I was discussing which race to do next with running friends.  Thinking back on my time during the road race, I recall many different subjects that went through my mind.  I could dedicate numerous blog posts to the things one thinks of, the heightened emotions and the mental challenges faced when pushing yourself to your limit in the company of thousands of others doing the same thing or looking on as spectators.  But what really stands out more than anything is that not even a year ago, the idea of running a half marathon had never played out in my mind at all. I never believed I could become a runner.  I’ve never been so happy to be wrong.

Running Update

Much has happened in the 6 months since I started my running journey.  I had a scare with a knee injury early on.  Thankfully it turned out to be just a minor setback.  After completing Fleet Feet’s Learn to 5k program, I began preparing for their 2.0 program which trains runners for distances of up to 5 miles.  By the time the program started, I was already running 5 miles comfortably, so I decided to move up to 3.0 instead and we worked toward an 8 mile goal.  My knee pain still kicks in from time to time at the longer distances, but I’ve learned to keep an eye on it and apply preventative measures.

My current distance PR is 8.6 miles and my fastest 5k pace is around 9:15.  Since starting, I’ve run in 4 races including a half marathon relay.  I’ve discovered the joy of trail running, conquered my fear of running in cold weather, and I’ve learned a lot about myself and about life in general.

I hemmed and hawed about what to do next and I’ve finally decided to sign up for Fleet Feet’s HFM program which consists of various training levels that prepare runners for Half and Full marathon races.  The program begins next week.  I’ll be starting at the beginner level and my goal is to run the Buffalo Half in May.  Unfortunately, I have a lot of work travel coming up in the next few weeks, which means I’ll miss out on some training, but I’m determined to stay on track.

When you’re new to something like running there are a hundred firsts to look forward to and to celebrate when you achieve them, through challenges, setbacks and all.  I am extremely grateful to those close to me who have supported me and who are truly happy for my joy.


Jim Cielencki led a 4 mile trail run at Chestnut Ridge Park in December.  I am pictured in the middle with black hat and pigtails

My first 5k

Well I did it.  I ran my first 5k on September 4.  And I surprised myself by how well I did.  After working through what turned out to be a minor injury, I ended up beating my own average pace goal by 4 seconds.  This was the graduation 5k that I’ve been training for with a beginning running group since late June.  When I started out, I set a goal of getting to an average pace of 10 minutes per mile.  I finished the Champions 5k with a time of 30:50 minutes, and an average pace of 9:56!  I’m moving on to the next level with the running group in early October.  We’ll be working to improve speed, endurance and performance at the 5K level.  I can’t wait.  In the mean time, I’ll be doing a lot of solo runs to prepare.

2015-09-05 10.13.31

I’m Back!

These shots are from my run Friday evening at Stiglmeier Park.  The fact that I stopped all along the way to take pictures means it was a leisurely run for me.  I haven’t wanted to overdo it, so I’ve been working my way back slowly.  I also ran with my running group on Tuesday, my running buddy on Thursday and with group again on Saturday morning.  All with NO KNEE PAIN!  On Saturday, we did 6 intervals of 7 minutes running 30 seconds walking and, much to my surprise, I stayed right on pace in spite of feeling behind on my cardio due to the time out for my Knee.  I’m so glad to be back to working on my goal.  The September 4th 5k is once again in my sights. I can’t speak highly enough of the benefits of Physical Therapy.