8 Years Later, I’ve PR’d in the Mile

The Race

It was like 85 and sunny which wasn’t ideal. I knew there’d be a few in the 4:30s but didn’t want to wait if it went out slow.

Lap 1

I was in lane 1 and in the lead around the first turn but had company. Good. I was taking hand splits like a noob but had no other option. We hit 409 in 68.5. Not too bad.

Lap 2

I pushed cause I thought the pace was too slow, and it was. My mouth was also completely dry at this point. We hit 809 in 2:17.3 (68.8). A little slow, but still okay.

Lap 3

I started gapping the field a little on the third lap which was ultimately bad because we all slowed too much. We hit 1209 in 3:26.5 (69.2). Shit, this PR might not happen.

Lap 4

I knew I had something left and started going right at 400. With 200 left I had company, and could feel the guy right behind me. We kicked it in hard and finished in 4:30.90 to 4:30.99 (64.4). He says he didn’t let me win but I actually think he did and that he felt bad that I led the whole thing.


I’m absolutely pumped. First REAL PR in 5 years. Experience / racing this a few times also made a huge difference.

If it was 65 degrees, overcast, and we had a pack going through in ~2:14, I genuinely think I could run close to 4:25.

“Nice race, Sam.”

I also think this has implications on my 5k potential now. I’m running more mileage than last year and am ~5-10 seconds faster in the mile. If I ran 15:44 last year, I really think I could go (well?) under 15:30. I just need a race to do it in.

Consistency pays is all I can say. I’m not doing anything drastically different other than a bit more mileage and getting to the track on a regular basis.

Hopefully there’s more to come here.

Two Milestones May Go Down in This Mile

I’m racing a mile today at GA. I ran 4:15 in the 1500 there two weeks ago while negative splitting and thinking I could run faster.

There are two milestones that I’m going for:

  • A PR – 4:33.5 from high school.
  • The Stortz Family Record – Jeff ran 4:32.x in high school and STILL has the fastest mile PR of us all.

I don’t know if there will be competition, but the weather looks okay (80 and cloudy) and I’m confident I’ll race smarter my third time around.

This guy holds my current PR.

The plan is:

  • 68.0 @ 409
  • 2:16.0 @ 809
  • 3:23 – 3:24 @ 1209
  • Go HAM.

This is my oldest PR in the book, set in May 2009. If this falls, I have to believe I’m in PR shape for the 3200, 5k, and 8k.

If I fail, I’ll delete this post.


1500 / 800 Results Are In – Winner Is…

1500 – 4:15.30

800 – 2:08.75

Winner – Coach Carl Blickle with guesses of 4:16.05 and 2:08.87 for a net difference of 0.99 seconds!

Read a great post-race interview here… Thanks a TON to Dave for finding it.

The 1500

Famous. I made it.

I wanted to be aggressive, ideally hitting ~2:15 or so at the 800.

  • 400 in ~68.7 and I was in 7th. The pace was slowing so I went.
  • 800 in ~2:18.0 (~69.3) and stepped on the gas cause I felt good.
  • 1200 in 3:26.0 (~68.0) still feeling good.
  • Last 300 in 49.3 (65.7 pace) for a final time of 4:15.3.

Somehow that’s a 1500 PR, as my fastest in college was a 4:15.57.

I can definitely run faster. I was running around people the whole first 400, was alone from 450 on, and had more in the tank when I finished.

I want to run a mile TT where a rabbit (Drew?!) goes 67 / 2:15 / 3:23. I think ~4:30 is in the cards with how I felt yesterday.

The 800

Does anyone actually like the 800? I got out in literally last place.

My 200 split was 32.4 while my next 200 was 31.4. That’s not how you run the 800.

I was rigging up pretty good for a 2:08.75. This was no doubt a harder effort than the 4:15.

The 800 sucks.

Thanks for guessing!

1500 / 800 Double – Guess My Times & Win

I’m racing the 1500m and 800m at GA’s track tonight. Closest to guessing my times in both events wins $10 and a hand written note by yours truly.

Race Fitness / Thoughts

2:09.11 from freshman year in college. Can I beat that?

I ran 4:38.1 two weeks ago for a full mile closing in 66 so I had more left in the tank (worth ~4:17 1500m). I’m going to go out harder this time (~2:15 at 800) and hope for the best.

The 800 is going to be a total crapshot. I’m really bad at running the 800. I’ll have ~45 minutes rest. Anywhere from 1:59 – 2:20 is reasonable.

Choosing the Winner

Smallest number of ABS(Guess 1500 – Actual 1500) + 2(ABS(Guess 800 – Actual 800))

Good luck!

Sam & Drew Race Again – Place Your Bets

Drew and I have raced open events against each other twice (I think (there may have been some 800s in there but I don’t count those)).

The first was a 1500m at West Chester my senior year. Drew out kicked me by a c*nt-hair to win 4:15.09 to 4:15.57 (note Wacker’s 4:30 and Jamie’s 4:41 too!).

The second was the Alumni mile this year where Drew took 6 months to get out of shape so I had a chance to win. We both under-performed and I won 4:46 to 4:49.

Now that we’re both in shape, it wouldn’t be fair to race a 1500 / mile. I’d need at least a 20 second head start based off of Drew’s 3:56 from Swat.

Instead, we’re going to race at the 5000m at Ursinus tonight so it’s a little more even. Unknowingly we both projected ourselves for ~15:40.

My plan is to run 5:00 miles for 3200m then go from there (15:37 pace). Drew could be anywhere from 15:00 to 16:45, but I’m hoping we run together for at least a mile (or two (or all 5000m)).

I’d say I have the slight edge since I’ve run the 5000m a lot more but Drew is a wild card and clearly in good shape.

These odds were thrown together in two minutes so good gamblers should be able to exploit them.

Sam -5.00 (even)

Drew +5.00 (even)

Sam Moneyline (-125) 

Drew Moneyline (+125)

Either under 15:30 (+350)

Either under 15:40 (+150)

Either over 16:00 (+150)

Either DNF (+500)

Place your bets!

Last Chance Training – Update 5

The Last Two Weeks

Since Swarthmore I’m on my own schedule doing my own workouts.

I hit ~50 miles for both of the last two weeks and have had some encouraging results the last week especially.

4 mile tempo

5:46, 5:45, 5:38, 5:35 feeling pretty relaxed the whole time. I didn’t look at my watch expect for mile splits, as I’m trying to “feel” tempo pace as opposed to hitting a prescribed pace. This was good.

6 x 400 with 400 jog followed by 4 x 200 with 200 jog.

Averaged 69.1 and 33.0. This was basically all out and I can’t remember the last time I did a speed workout that fast.

This workout isn’t actually that impressive, but I’m not a speed guy, and I want to stay in touch with mile pace as I think my 4:33 PR is attainable, so I was pretty happy with this.

My last three runs

I did the 4s & 2s on Friday, then felt great on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

I did 7 in 48:00 closing hard, 7 in 46:15 closing harder, then 8 yesterday in 52:30 closing in 12:00 for the last two miles feeling fantastic.

It’s unusual that I have this many days in a row feeling fresh. I’m either in great shape or going to feel horrible today.

Upcoming Races

Ursinus has an open meet on Friday, June 9 where I’m going to do the 5k in hopes for a fast time. If I was in 15:50 shape two weeks ago, I have to think that in another two weeks I’ll be in sub 15:40 shape (and actually closer to 15:30?).

Then, GA is hosting a few meets open to the public. I plan on doing the mile on Tuesday, June 13 and probably the 5k on June 27. I’m also doing the Tex Mex 5k on Wednesday, June 21.

It’s racing season. I’m in shape to race. This is the best time of year.

Dear Younger Me: Lauren Fleshman

Lauren Fleshman wrote a letter to her younger self that I thought was worth sharing.

For those who don’t know, Lauren Fleshman was a very successful runner for the US from the early 2000s until about 2012. Here’s a good race of her’s.

The letter touches on the issue of young runners, specifically girls, going through puberty, and how it affects their running and personal health.

Puberty affect boys and girls unfairly when it comes to running. For boys, it’s an automatic performance enhancer. For girls, it’s a total guessing game, and often leads to a decrease in performance.

However, girls, and more specifically, coaches, don’t handle this well. Pressure exists to perform well in the short-term and this often results in sacrificing health, most notably in the form of an eating disorder.

The athletes are too young to recognize how serious it is and the coaches (not all, but too many) are too selfish to stop it. This can be a plague on college teams and the culture is such that girls on the team often don’t speak about it at all despite everyone knowing what’s going on.

This issue isn’t talked about enough based on the amount of impact it has on young women in the sport, so Fleshman’s letter, and any other effort to bring this issue more to the forefront of high school / collegiate running is a positive.

Last Chance Training – Update 4

The heat sheets were sent out yesterday for the Swat Last Chance meet. Out of about 100 athletes entered in the 5k, my 15:45 seed time puts me around 80-85. The problem is, I don’t think I can run my seed time.

The Last Few Weeks

Two weeks ago I did 2 x 3200 w/ 2:00 rest in 11:05 and 10:53 with a 5:23 last mile which was the first workout where I actually felt “good” since returning.

Two days later I did 6 x 1000 with 400m rest closing in 3:08 and 3:06 which has been my best workout since returning.

The last 10 days or so has been pretty easy, just making sure I’m ready to race.

The Race

Breaking 16:00 is the default goal. It’s a downer, but I have to be realistic and accept I’m probably not in shape to run 15:3x or even 15:4x.

There are 40 people in the heat. I expect it to be fast. If they want to elbow and surge for a good spot a few seconds ahead, go for it. I’m going to be in the back and on the rail.

The other curve ball is my race likely won’t start until about 10:45 PM.

From here to…?

This meet is both motivating and discouraging at the same time. Motivating because there’s so many fast runners, but discouraging because even at my best, I’d still be mid-pack in the slow heat.

Regardless, I’m not taking a break. I’m counting the ~20 days of the flu as my season break and continuing from there. There are a few races I have eyed up in June / July and no doubt the goal remains the same, <15:27.

I’ll post an update after the race. Here’s to 15:xx!

Nike, Breaking2, & Eliud Kipchoge

Early this past Saturday morning, Nike and their crew made their much publicized attempt at breaking two hours in the marathon.

I wrote this post months ago when it was announced which was largely critical of the attempt.

The Attempt

It took place on a 2.4k race track in Milan, Italy. There was a phalanx-type drafting strategy with pacers switching out every few miles, along with a Tesla pace car going exactly 4:34 mile pace to keep them on track. Kipchoge, Desisa, and Tadese hung in the back getting their fluids constantly.

Desisa dropped off the pace first, then Tadese, both before they reached the halfway point. However, everyone knew the only man with a real chance was Eliud Kipchoge. Through 35k (marathon is 42k) Kipchoge was actually on pace.

He faded in the last few kilometers and ran an astounding 2:00:25

My Thoughts

Eliud Kipchoge is a god damn legend.

The general consensus leading in was 90% no chance, 9% small chance, and 1% they’ll break two. This wasn’t about Nike and all the gadgets / science they could put behind breaking 2:00:00. This was about Eliud Kipchoge putting on a performance that no one expected. Desisa and Tadese fading horrible is even more evidence of that.

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Shoes were not the answer.

Nike claims the “Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% makes runners 4% more efficient compared to Nike’s previous fastest marathon shoe, whatever that means. It certainly doesn’t mean “wear these shoes and run 4% faster”, because if that were the case, Kipchoge’s time in “real” shoes would’ve been over 2:05, which, given the conditions, frankly would’ve been a pretty horrible run.

Running was cool for two hours.

Nike went HAM promoting this and it worked. It was live on Twitter (great idea), much hyped, and non-runners actually followed this to some extent. For a sport that lacks any mainstream marketability, this was a pretty big attraction and opens the doors to future “stunts” like this.

But, ‘real’ running may have taken a shot.

My fear prior to this was that this would diminish future marathons. Two hours is easy to remember. Everyone will have that as the anchor in their head. When someone runs 2:10, or 2:05 and even 2:03, the casual fan will view it as “meh”.


Although I still won’t buy Nike products, all things considered, this event was generally a success and I’d say it was good for the sport.

Last Chance Training – Update 3

I haven’t posted an update about my training for a while because of how bad it’s gone.

“I think I’m in 15:40 shape”

I started to hit a groove and was feeling really fit about 7 weeks into it. My first race was planned for March 25 and I thought 15:40 was a realistic goal. On March 23 I got the flu.

The Flu

I didn’t run for 10 straight days, and then for the following 10-15 days or so I couldn’t muster up much more than ~4-5 mile runs at a slow pace which left me exhausted.

By the time I’d gotten over the flu I had lost fitness. I’m a couple weeks back into “real” training but it’s been rough.

Last week I had three notable runs:

  • 3 mile tempo @ 5:34
    5:37, 5:35, 5:32. I probably tried a little too hard to hit the 5:34 average.
  • 4 x 1200 @ 3:50 w/ 2:30 jogging rest
    A total disaster. I went 3:53, 3:56, then threw in the towel 200m into the third interval when I was on over 4:00 pace and dying. Not sure what happened
  • 12 mile long run
    This was yesterday. I did the first 6 in ~6:55s and the last 6 in ~6:40s feeling relaxed the whole time. I was happy with this.

Where does this leave me?

I signed up for Swat Last Chance which is Monday, May 15. I was actually starting to believe I would PR with the way things were going. At this point, sub 16:00 is even a stretch, but I’m going to run it no matter what.

I don’t look at this as a failure. If anything I’m encouraged. Things were going really well and a stroke of bad luck dashed this training cycle. I’m not giving up on PRing. It’s going to happen.