About Sam and Steve

About Sam

28 years old
Resides in Syracuse, NY


400 - 51.7 (2001)
800 - 1:53.94 (2005)
1000 - 2:25.18 (2006)
1500 - 3:50.20 (2004)
Mile - 4:08.84 (2006)
3000 - 8:31.25 (2006)
5000 - 15:04.53 (2006)
Half-marathon - 1:17:08 (2011)
Marathon - 2:49:35 (2011)

The Sub-15 Quest

I'm well aware that running 14:5X is not a feat that many runners consider impressive. That said, I think Steve hit the nail on the head when he made the pilot episode for this project: There seems to be a ton of guys who assume they'll do it in college but just never do. While I never ran the 5000 much, I always figured that I was in good enough shape to break 15 minutes. What held me back in the end, though, was the fact that I wasn't ready for the sustained sort of pain required to do it.  There's no real excuse other than the fact that I either wasn't fit enough or tough enough for such a horrendously long race.

I met Steve during my first year of medical school, mired in burnout, and only a few months after making my last effort at breaking 15.  Five years later, both of us have finally mustered up the willingness to put in the work necessary for giving it another go.

High school:

I was fortunate to be part of a successful high school program with a great coach in Scott Weeks who was (is) a very successful runner himself.  While I haven't confirmed it, I would go out on a limb and say that Scott is the only person to break two minutes in the 800 every year since he first did it, without ever running over two minutes.  Do the math on that.  He first broke two minutes when he was 16.  He's now 40 with the #1 masters time in the world and has never been over two since.

Our school was small (about 80 kids graduate each year), but our team was able to establish a core group of people that were willing to work hard and trained together well.  I had my first breakout race as a sophomore when I ran 4:31 for the 1600 at the state meet.  From there, I progressed enough to run a 1:55 800 in my last high school race.  Despite initially not wanting to go to Cornell because it was too close to home, I really liked the food, and found myself heading there after graduation.


Freshman year, I wasn't in shape to handle the bump up to 8k in cross country, but I ran OK indoors before getting injured for outdoors.  Robert Johnson of Letsrun.com fame came on board for my sophomore year and helped me walk away with a Heps title in the 1000 before I graduated.

After Cornell, I spent a year on the team at Delaware running cross country and outdoors, then another year running pretty competitively while I finished my Master's degree.  I had attempted one 5000 ever before this last year and ran my still-standing PR in that first attempt.  I tried twice more to run 14:35-range and, as we all know, I failed miserably.

{Note:  Obviously this section is super concise considering the fact that about 90% of what's in my running brain comes courtesy of my Cornell track friends.  Sorry guys. The editorial staff has been riding me lately.}

Medical school:

Medical school makes it really hard to run well, and the fact that I was burnt out by the time I started didn't make training any easier.  Thankfully, running a few days each week didn't feel too bad either, and the fire to compete was never put out completely.  I also never put on serious poundage.  So I got that going for me.


In addition to thanking Steve for his obvious contributions to this project, I'd like to extend props to my friends Gordon and Ross for partaking in the first inadvertent and unintentional steps toward the goal, with last year's Marathon à Trois adventure.  Thanks also to everyone who's supported the blog thus far, either through submitting a workout or just watching the videos.



~~~~~~~~       ~~~~~~       ****      ~~~~~~    ~~~~~~~~~

 About Steve

28 years old, Syracuse NY

400: 53
800: 1:57
1500: 4:04
3k: 8:37
5k: 15:08
8k: 25:45
10k: 32:07
15k: 49:54
Half marathon: 1:09:09
Marathon: 2:33

There are two central theses to sub15minutes.com 1) You don't need a specific training plan to run PRs.  What you need is to consistently run fast workouts and to believe that those workouts will make you better.  2) Teammates, friends, and training partners largely define one's running potential (through motivation, criticism, and helpful feedback).  Keeping this principle in mind, I'll share a little about my running career by telling you about the people who have shared in the journey. 

High School:
I have a handful of colorful coaches and teammates to thank for a memorable high school career.  First and foremost is my father, who gave up his state ranked varsity team to coach my modified team when our school threatened to cut the program.  He taught me to "never look back" and "if you can't beat 'em, cheat 'em".  My HS coach, Raff, taught me more about life then running.  It took me some years to realize the life lessons were more valuable.  Tommy Bradway helped make me part of the "best one-two punch in the MHAL".  More importantly he taught me how to be cool.  These encounters amounted to a handful of league/sectonal titles in XC and track (3200 & 1600), with 17th and 5th place performances at the state meet in 2000-2001.

I spent 2 years at Central Connecticut State and 2 years at Marist.
CCSU: Tim Longacre introduced me to high mileage and taught me much of what I know about training.  Matt Kalinski helped me believe that running is more about how hard you work than how much talent you have.  Mat Cote provided synergy and Zak Tembi taught me how to rap. I also learned how to run the steeple (9:39).
Marist: Pete Colaizzo taught me to train within myself (perhaps the hardest lesson for a college runner to learn).  Sean Hopkins and Geoff Decker let me live in their closet when no one else would take me in.  You may notice that a generous portion of our blog workouts are submitted by Marist runners.  They are my extended family.  Most of my PRs were at Marist and I have all my teammates to thank for helping along the way.

Med School:
Kirk Dornton was instrumental in helping me continue my post-collegiate running career, creating imaginative workouts such as "Vanny-Sim".  During med school I've managed to train consistently, running PR's from 15k up to the marathon.  My wife, Christine, has been my most valuable training partner and supporter through it all.  As I graduate in May and move on to residency an even more daunting schedule looms.  I would like to break 15:00 before 60 hour work weeks become 80 hour work weeks (and I turn 30).

I have to thank 3 sets of people for helping with this project:
1) My family, who has always supported my addiction to running.
2) Sam, for agreeing to accompany me on this crazy journey.
3) Friends and blog viewers, without whose participation we would have no workouts to run.

Thanks for reading/watching.