Race Report: Fred Lebow Half Marathon

Just a random note before I get into the report. I kinda wish that I never did those Shaun T Insanity workouts back in the day.


That exercise plan pretty much was the source of my back issues. I’m bringing this up (maybe I should make a separate post about it) because 4 years ago my best half marathon was a 1:48 (8:31min/mi), Now, I’ll be lucky if I run a sub 10min/mi pace for anything above a 5K. Part of the issue is I’m afraid to push myself really hard for fear of screwing up my back . . . again.

Ok, enough. Let’s talk about Fred Lebow and his half marathon.

Fred Lebow Half Marathon

Fred Lebow (June 3, 1932 – October 9, 1994) served as president of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) and was mostly responsible for starting NYC’s Marathon.

Fred Lebow
Fred Lebow in “the wild”

Date: January 19; 8:00 am 

Distance: 13.1 mi / 21.2 km

Place: Central Park, NY, NY

Weather: 41 F

Finishers: 5,272 (3,243 Men/2,029 Women) 

Offical time / pace: 2:19 / 10:37min/mi

Going into this half marathon, I had two main goals:

  • Run a sub 2:30 half
  • Run the Harlem Hill all three times

Because of my struggles with my last race, I wasn’t sure about either goal. As some may know, I struggled with digestive and back issues for the entire Joe Kleinerman 10K (***, race report).

Fred Lebow Half Marathon

Miles 1-4

I will say that NYRR (or maybe NYC) did a fantastic job of clearing all of the snow on the outer loop.

For the most part, I took this part of the race slowly (I guess the entire race was slow) because I was still nervous about my previous performance and knew that we would have to climb Harlem Hill THREE times and run the rolling hills on the west side of Central Park two times. 

Miles: 5-8

I admit that I had to walk for a little bit during Mile 8 because of the rolling hills following Harlem Hill along the west side of Central Park. Also, I lost some time because I had to pee during Mile 8 (or was it Mile 9). During this part of the race, I really took in the beauty of Central Park after a nice snow day. I was kinda jealous of all of the dogs that were fully enjoying the snow.

Fred Lebow Half Marathon

Miles: 9-13.1

Eh, the part was steady as she goes . . . I think. In my head, I wanted to try to push myself by doing fartleks (speed between two lamp posts and recovery between three lamp posts) from Mile 10 to the end of the race. My legs did not have any juice, so I started my fartleks at Mile 11. I think I was a bit hesitant because I knew that I would have to do the last Harlem hill at Mile 12. Surprisingly, I managed to catch up and pass people while fartleking. Yay me.

All in all, I did what I could, but I’m not that upset with my performance. Hey, we all gotta start at the start somewhere.

Fred Lebow Half Marathon
Some bling.

The best part of running a half marathon always is BRUNCH!!!

The next half, V-Day Half Marathon and Brunch (Rockaway Park, Queens, NY), is scheduled for Feb 15. I really hope that I make this one on time because Rockway Park is about 1.5 to 2 hours by train from our place . . . IF the MTA is not on any BS during that weekend. Fortunately, this half starts at 10 am. Actually, I better double-check because I’m not too sure about the time.

Question time:

  • Since I’m planning to run Madrid’s Marathon (97 days away), what’s the best way to train considering that I’m planning to run a half marathon every month? For many training plans, the first long run is 8-9 miles. Should I just do speed runs and hills workouts during the week and run 13.1 miles for my long run days until my training plan surpasses the 13.1 mileage near the end of February?
  • Should I start increasing my long-run distance, using this weekend’s half marathon distance as my base? For example, next week’s long run would be 15 mi and 17 mi the week after, and so forth. I like this plan, but I fear that I might do too much for the long runs in March/early April and injury myself. Also, if I proceed with the plan, I probably would end up running 30+ miles for my final long run. This may be better for Madrid’s marathon because the course is a bit hilly. 

Madrid Marathon

It does not look that intense but this sh*t is in metric.

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    • Thanks for your recommendation.

      Usually 20 miles is my max for two reasons. 1. Sometimes, I get tired of training. 2. I usually miss a week or three because of an injury or our intense summers. I’ve run a bunch of NYC Marathons, which are in Nov, so a lot of the training takes place during the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I could have sworn I commented on this post. LOL Congratulations!! I mean I think just throw in a hefty amount of hill training for Madrid and you will be ok. Have you thought about increasing your weekly overall mileage?!? It is a slow/steady process but you will see results if you do it correctly. I know a lot of people can’t because they are injury prone- but I think it would help your overall fitness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations. I’m no help beyond 13.1. Take care of yourself is my main advice. Being content with where you are now and being sensible about pushing yourself too hard are words from an old guy who wants to keep running for a while. Nice recap. Good luck with Madrid and the training that will get you there.

    Liked by 1 person

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