Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Once a Runner in April 2009

According to this Slate article, "Once A Runner" will be republished in April 2009. (An earlier post on this blog, based on a Running Times interview, had suggested this year, which obviously isn't going to happen.)

"Again to Carthage" was OK, but somewhat a disappointment when compared to the standards that Parker set. (I know why he set it up the way he did, and appreciate that, but still wanted something more). The article on Slate is somewhat negative, but don't be discouraged.

If you have never read, ''Once A Runner" is the best book depicting running at the competitive level that's ever been published. Why? It captures both the pressure, the skills, and the inanity the top-level runners cope with on a daily basis - something that can't be captured in the daily/weekly/monthly press. It's fiction, yes, but I'll be grabbing it for my bookshelf and sending some early Xmas presents.

Happy New Year

It's going to be cold outside tonight. More power to those of you doing the midnight races.

And for some inside training, note the following workouts (so you can get ready to race in the frigid winter I suspect this will be -- last week's 65 degrees not withstanding).

Friday, December 26, 2008

New Year's Eve/Day Races

At least three in the area that you want to keep your eye on:

The New Year's Eve Fun Run (11:15 p.m. in Prospect Park)

The Midnight Run in Central Park

Harry's Handicap at 10 a.m. New Year's Day in Prospect Park (mostly a Prospect Park Track Club event, but guests welcome). The quirky thing about this one - you get a head start based on your previous times (the goal for organizers is to have all races arrive at the finish line at the same time, which never happens)

Early forecast: High 20s for that evening ...

USATF Lifts Headphone Ban

I still think it was a good idea ... anyway, race directors now have the discretion to make a decision as to whether to have a ban or not.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hope the holiday season is peaceful, and the running gifts are plentiful!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

NYRR Volunteer Program Extended

Somehow, this doesn't surprise me - figuring that a lot of people left their volunteer "requirement" to the last moment as they sought to get a guaranteed entry into the New York Marathon in 2009. Now, you have until the end of January ...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why I Run ...

Tonight was a perfect example.

After setting up arrangements to meet some friends at Grand Army Plaza, I was stymied by the sluggish MTA service this evening, so arrived 15 minutes late.

Figuring I'd meet up with anyone who did make it, I started a clockwise route of Prospect Park, only to quickly find another runner, who'd also missed her group start.

Our 10 minute conversation was pleasant (she found her group, I didn't), but so was the winter wonderland as the snow kept falling, creating the magical scene that occurs every December during the first or second snowfall.

I got hammered with snow in the eyes on the top half of the park (memo to self: wear baseball hat over Under Armour beanie), but the run home was simply beautiful. Holiday lights, early snowfall - what's not to like?

Friday, December 12, 2008

NYRR Race Registration Dec. 15?

Apparently NYRR race registration for the first three months of the year will open on Dec. 15.

NYRR will accept 6,500 runners for the "capped" races, figuring that no-shows will bring the count down to 5,000.

Will March races close out that day? Doubtful. But if you're doing the 9+1 strategy to get into NYRR Marathon, it's worth keeping this in mind. I seem to recall one of the articles - it may have been the NYTimes -- that said 10 of 27 races last year crossed the threshold.

Meanwhile, keep in mind that there are hundreds of other races in the Greater New York/New Jersey/Long Island area. And while the New York Marathon is admittedly special, you don't have to commit your running life to Central Park.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

Sitting here, trying to figure out why my neck muscles have contracted for the second time this month (might have something to do with trading the bed for the couch after our 2-year-old refused (again) to sleep through the night in her bed ...) Ahh, but there is more worthy commentary ...

** Think runners are obsessive? Try these hikers who go after the 48 4,000 footers in New Hampshire every month of the year (I've got about two-thirds of them at least once) ...

** My blogging friend whatyoudon'tknowbecauseyourarentme culled these comments from the blogosphere about the PPTC Turkey Trot - a great selection (and thanks for the kudos!)

** The New York Times has this about the NYRR capping races in Central Park at 5,000. Head honcho Mary Wittenberg also talks about caps for the NYC Half and NYRR Marathon, though these are already in place in some fashion because of the lottery.

** Speaking of which, I bet tomorrow's Joe Kleinerman breaks 7,000 finishers ... and the Peter Rabbit X/C race in Prospect Park breaks 70 ...

** Which would be worse - running the Queens Half in August or the Bronx Half in the dead of summer?

** Did you get your volunteer duty done yet?

** Slope Sports and JackRabbit are among the Park Slope merchants participating in the Buy in Brooklyn campaign Thursday night, with many open later that evening to encourage some holiday shopping. Definitely worth checking out to see what deals are available.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Many NYRR Races Capped at 5000 in 2009

This posted on the NYRR Web site in relation to Central Park races:

"Why is NYRR capping races?
At NYRR races, our commitment is to deliver a high-quality runner experience. Our races are more popular than ever, so we are capping our Central Park races at 5,000 participants to enhance the race-day experience for all. Some races, such as the NYRR New York Mini 10K and Grete’s Great Gallop, will have higher caps; these races will be identified on our online race calendar. Kids’ races will not be capped."

Immediate implication: Many of the races were hitting 6,000 or more - that means that stragglers will no longer be able to sign up at the last moment. Does mean that, theoretically, things should move smoother.

What's not said here: Central Park folk are getting upset at us runners on the weekends.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Six Months to Brooklyn

Some not-so-random thoughts in the wake of the Brooklyn Half being scheduled on May 30. (Let's assume, for now, that that date is locked in place, though this early on, there are certainly no guarantees).

- My first reaction was that it was Memorial Day weekend (an absolute race killer). Instead, it's the weekend after - so basically, the second weekend of "summer."

While temperatures will hopefully be moderate, it means we'll be running into some of the summer Coney Island crowd. (I'm sure the borough isn't going to be too thrilled about the potential traffic issues).

- So, if Coney Island traffic becomes an issue ... does that mean the course changes? (Running four loops in Prospect Park ... blech.)

- Given a preference, would much rather do a summer half marathon down Ocean Parkway rather than the Grand Concourse in the Bronx (something called trees ...)

- Some temperatures (and dates) from past races

2004: April 24, 65 degrees
2005: March 19, 44 degrees
2006: March 18, 33 degrees (windy)
2007: April 18, 41 degrees (windy)
2008: May 3, 48 degrees

- The later date means that Brooklyn can't really be used as a training springboard for a spring marathon (yes, you can find a summer marathon, but ...)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Brooklyn Half Marathon May 30

Don't know if this date is set in stone, but it looks like the Brooklyn Half has been pushed all the way back to May 30!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trail Race Calendar

The folks at the American Trail Running Association have posted a preliminary 2009 calendar. This version is sorted by state. Note this is all preliminary, but gives you some ideas of what's forthcoming.

PPTC Turkey Trot Results

Results are in for the Thanksgiving Day race ... 1,288 finishers.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Some Calendar Items

Few quick things for the calendar:

Dec. 7: The Peter Rabbit 3 Mile Cross Country Run, 10 a.m., Prospect Park, sponsored by Brooklyn Road Runners. Register on Race starts and finishes at 15th St/PPW

Dec. 14: 5K Jingle Bell Holiday Race & Walk in Prospect Park, 10 a.m., More information here.

Dec. 31: Brooklyn's New Year's Eve Fun Run, 11:15 p.m., sponsored by Slope Sports and BRRC. Start at 9th St. and PPW, followed by fireworks and music at Grand Army Plaza. Register at

Also, looking ahead to next year:

Feb. 21: The Al Gordon Snowflake 4 Mile Run is now listed on the NYRR calendar as taking place in Prospect Park! That likely means that the Cherry Tree 10-Mile Run will be held the following day. Again, this far out, all things are tentative.

May 9: The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain has been scheduled for this day, with 10K, Half Marathon, 50K and 50 Mile events.

Happy race planning!

Great Day for a Turkey Trot

Temperatures may not have reached 40 degrees at this morning's Turkey Trot in Prospect Park, but the bright sunny day lured more than 1,000 (?) runners to pound out five miles before dispersing to parts unknown for their Thanksgiving Day celebration.

Nice swag too: A sturdy duffel bag that will certainly become home to a lot of running gear (though I might figure a way to distinguish the black bag from the others...)

Results and photos when available. Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Evening

** I'm listening to the Boston-Montreal hockey game over the Internet, and trying to decide if it's more or less interesting than trying to watch the streaming video, with limited audio, from the Division III National X/C championships from earlier today. (I've got some NYU ties, so was hoping for the upset ... no luck ...) So far, the jury is out ... Hope the Div. 1 Nationals are better.

** If you haven't signed up for this Thursday's Turkey Trot in Prospect Park, don't wait until the last minute. Race applications are higher than ever, and it's possible that last year's record turnout will be threatened (meaning you show up, get into the race, but won't get the swag). Details here about how to sign up for the 5 mile race. (And hey, if you pick up your stuff at JackRabbit, support the local running community)

** PPTC has a link to some comments from the finisher's of the NYC Marathon earlier this month. If you download, note that it's an Excel file.

** Good luck to everyone running the Philly Marathon tomorrow. Hopefully, the colder temperatures won't affect the times too much (though have got to admit, my run this morning was curtailed because I just simply couldn't get my legs loosened up)

** Am hearing some rumblings that we *might* see more NYRR races outside of Central Park in 2009. This, obviously, would be dependent on a ton of factors - city permits, venues, etc. Worth keeping an eye on, especially if any come to Prospect Park or elsewhere in Brooklyn (hey, maybe a Red Hook track series?)

** Speaking of JackRabbit, some good and bad news. The good: they will have a huge post-Thanksgiving clearance sale. The bad: It's only at their Union Square location, according to the recent newsletter. Still, an opportunity for some cheap running stuff as we head into the dark days of winter (I need new tights, I realize).

Friday, November 21, 2008

PPTC Cherry Tree Race

Speaking of 2009 races, looks like the PPTC Cherry Tree Race will be held on Feb. 21 (3 loops of Prospect Park).

Various sites and groups are starting to post their races - don't expect that all of these are going to be set in stone, but it helps to get some planning in for your winter training.

** AN UPDATE. It's possible that Cherry Tree could be on Feb. 22, I'm told. So keep an eye out on the PPTC Web site for the schedule - more information may be available at next week's Turkey Trot **

Some 2009 NYRR Races Posted

Some race dates have been posted on the NYRR site for early 2009 through March.

No sign yet of the Brooklyn Half. The Manhattan Half is Jan. 25, the Bronx Half is Feb. 8, both Sundays.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Single Best Thing for U.S. Running ...

... right now would be to have Ryan Hall win the 2009 Boston Marathon in a close duel. He's signed up to run, according to this.

With due respect to the tremendous accomplishments by members of the U.S. Olympic team (think Lagat, Goucher et al) and other runners in other events across the country -- having an American runner win Boston or New York given their high profile would go a long way to moving the sport forward.

Understand that my coming of age was during the heady years when Bill Rodgers and Alberto Salazar were dominant. And understand that the number of people who run and participate in 5Ks to marathons on a weekly basis is *huge.* The talent that's in high school and college now - regardless of sex, age, ethnic origin - is just simply amazing.

But no one knows about it.

Running as a sport ranks somewhere behind indoor lacrosse in the U.S. viewing public's imagination. And someday, somehow, that's got to change.

I don't want the 2012 Olympics to arrive and for NBC to again think that showing the races on tape delay in the U.S. is acceptable. And having Ryan Hall be able to bask in the spotlight that he's already so deserving of (his races so far have been incredible) might be the thing, the tipping point that pushes it over.

One can only hope. (Hmm. Ryan's Hope ... )

Monday, November 17, 2008

Upcoming Brooklyn Races

Gradually I'll get an updated race calendar out that takes us through the end of the year. Wanted to highlight three Brooklyn races though ...

Nov. 23: Coney Island 5K Turkey Trot

Nov. 27: PPTC Turkey Trot 5 Mile

Dec. 7: Peter Rabbit 3 Mile X/C (in Prospect Park)

When Is a Four Mile Loop Not?

Check this out from City Coach, which questions the course measurement for the NYRR Knickerbocker 60K and the Race to Deliver 4-Mile Loop, both of which use the inner loop at Central Park for their race.

Results from both races are linked above.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New York Relay Race in May 2009

Ever wanted to run relay races similar to Hood to Coast or Reach the Beach, but didn't want to travel to Oregon or New Hampshire?

A New York version will take place next May. 12 people running 178 miles over 36 legs (so each person runs 3 legs ranging from 3 to 8 miles each).

Details for the race, which runs from Woodstock to the Bronx, are here. It's part of the Ragnar Relay Series.

It's a little pricey: potentially more than $100 a person, and each New York-based team has to come up with three volunteers. However, having done Hood to Coast earlier this year, I can attest that these races are a blast. Ironically, the hardest part isn't necessarily the running, it's the logistics.

It's great to see the opportunities out there for people who want something different than the loops around Central or Prospect parks.

Why Do I Run?

Today's jaunt along the Shore Road Parkway was a perfect example of all the things I love about running:

-- Good mix of runners

-- Great running weather (if you like rain that is)

-- No pressure to perform - just a day to get a run in, regardless of the pace

-- Hot apple cider at the end

I know the mileage on the map says it was less than 13, though part of that is my inability to get the map to behave, and part of it is it doesn't reflect the ins and outs on the path in the parkland on the other side of the Parkway (if you want flat, straight, and great views, stay on the water side of the Parkway). I'd probably say today's run was about 13.5 miles.

It was fun to be reminded the joys of running in the pouring rain (oddly, as I write this, it's nice and sunny outside). But my last two runs - a 7.5 mile jaunt into the Thursday night drizzle and today's, have both left me looking for a towel when I got home. There's something so ... I don't know, peaceful, yet exhilarating, about getting absolutely hammered with the pouring rain and the wind, and then turning to the person next to you and seeing she's enjoying it just as much as you. It's also great to just be able to simply plow through foot-deep puddles because you have simply no choice (and you're already so wet that it doesn't matter).

One footnote about this run: Greenwood Cemetery is a great 3.5/4 mile loop that can be done on its own or as part of some running in Prospect Park.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

In the News

Some stories of interest that caught my eye ...

** A Morgans Hotel exec who uses New York City as his playground ... the workout routine is pretty impressive for someone who's working full-time (you may need to have WSJ registration).

** I forgot about this article, then remembered it when I, uhh, gently motioned with one of my hands at a car that cut me off on Union and Court (the great thing about it - you're already in your running gear if need be). Not sure we learn anything from it though: Runners. Cars. We don't like each other.

** A Brooklyn resident apparently wrote in to the "Ask Miles" column in Runner's World with the following question: "How should I react to rude comments? If I hear "Run, Forrest, run" one more time, I'm going to snap." (An aside, I haven't even heard that comment in the past decade ... ohh, where have you gone Tom Hanks.)

** Brooklyn's got a hockey team! (Note to self, if you're flipping off someone, make sure they aren't a member of our latest and greatest).

Hot Chocolate 15K Renamed

Somewhere there's probably a release on this, but noting the NYRR Web site now has the December 15K renamed after Ted Corbitt (a very nice gesture).

Never fear, you still get hot chocolate!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More Blog Comments from the NY Marathon

From What You Don't Know Because You Are Not Me

"On Fifth Ave in Harlem I told the man at the water table that I was sick of Gatorade. I wanted a beer. He said he would get me a Coors Light. I told him I just ran 24 miles to get me a real fuckin beer."

From Skirting Marathons ...

"Only 6 days out from the race, I feel completely recovered and ready for another marathon tomorrow! Well... I may not run another race tomorrow, but I'll take my son out for a morning jog."

From Challenge Yourself

"The last time I was in New York was 25 years ago with some college buddies. I thought the traffic was the worst I had ever seen, drivers extremely rude, and the city was dirty. I did not feel safe walking downtown in the middle of the day. Now, in 2008 the traffic is still nasty - but there is less honking (I guess there is a law with a $350 fine). The people are friendlier and I felt completely safe walking the streets late into the evening. On to the marathon, or should I say the "Moving Sea of Humanity".

From Chiropractic San Diego (in case any of us are out there anytime soon):

"I started training back in late February, so it's been about 8 months. I logged 792 miles over that time (not including the race itself). It's always been a dream of mine to run the NYC Marathon."

And this blog is alleging someone cheated ...

Prospect Park to Battery Park

I've done this route before, and linked a map to it, but worth mentioning again. Not only do you get the Brooklyn Bridge (twice), but you get to meander in Battery Park and check out the Statue of Liberty from afar (and there's a bathroom there, which is always a plus). The mileage is a little iffy - if you take a direct route and follow the roads, it's probably closer to 11.5, but if you meander back and forth on the sidewalks, it's closer to 12.

PPTC and BRRC Group Runs

My run today, an almost 12-mile loop that included a run over the Brooklyn Bridge and some meandering in Battery Park, included a) a Brooklyn Bridge "virgin" - i.e., he'd never run over the bridge and b) a fellow runner who said he'd never have run that long today if he didn't have company (though he was easily capable).

Running is both individual (i.e. you have to do it yourself, and you have no one to blame but yourself when things don't go your way ... most of the time :-)) and also group-oriented. Since I started running at 15, I've met some amazing people, some of whom I'm lucky enough to consider friends, but many more who have darted into and out of my life and blessed me with their experiences, commentary and simple running-ness.

Every run I do with other people, I learn from them, whether it's 50 minutes of complete silence (the art of concentration), or an hour of debate about who's to blame for the global financial crisis (which helped distract me from the various aches and pains in the joints today).

Sometime ago, I promised some information about group runs, so here's a smattering. Don't worry about protocol -- if you want to join the individual clubs, then sound out members during the run. But don't feel pressured.

Despite various club ... uhh ... idiosyncracies (you think Obama/McCain is political?), when it comes down to it: We're all runners. And one of the great things about runners: We want to help other people run better, and we all have opinions.

Prospect Park Track Club

Tuesday at 7 p.m., speed session at 15th St. and Prospect Park W (fee applies, check Web site)
Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at Grand Army Plaza
Saturday at 8 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza (sponsored with Slope Sports)

Brooklyn Road Runners

Saturday & Sunday: 9:00 AM at 15th Street and Prospect Park West
Tuesday & Thursday: 6:45 PM at 9th Street and Prospect Park West

This, might I say, is not all encompassing: Various groups and stores, including JackRabbit and Nike, also organize runs, but just to get you started.

I'll be the first to admit, trying to jump into a situation where you don't know anyone can be daunting. But if you run, you're already past the first hurdle. Reach out ... or simply show up.

Don't get discouraged if you send an e-mail and no one responds (hint, hint to one of the clubs listed beginning with the letter B - if you get e-mails from runners who have questions: Respond!). Just show up. There are enough running groups at Grand Army Plaza on weekend mornings that it's not impolite to invite yourself along and suss them out.

Or, dare I say it in this completely hypersensitive world of ours: If you've seen a face several times during the daily run, simply introduce yourself and see if they want to run with you. The answer may be "no" (and honestly, there are days when I need to burn off steam, and the last thing I want is company).

Then again, the answer may be "yes." Take it from there.

Happy running.

Water Fountain Woes

The great water fountain shutoff has begun. Fountains in Cadman Plaza Park and in City Hall Plaza on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge were found to be (gasp) not working.

Note that the shutoffs seems to take place in waves - for example, the main one in Prospect Park by Grand Army Plaza is still working (albeit clogged, so it's kind of gross to drink from).

Good thing it's going to approach 60 degrees today ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Running Fun

Apropos of nothing, was reminded of the following video from Brooks that came out, what, two years ago? And remembered how perfect it is ...

Two Deaths at NY Marathon

By now, you've heard about the two deaths related to this year's New York Marathon.

I'm linking to a Newsday column here from someone who thinks NYRR is getting a free pass from the media, and argues that if the deaths had happened in other sports, there's be outcry and calls for government investigation.

I'm not sure I agree with the premise. Then again, this NY Times column puts a weird spin on it.

Sadly, there are going to be tragic circumstances at endurance events (the memory of Ryan Shay last year still echoes), and that no amount of preparation or precaution from race organizers is going to prevent this. What's the solution: Do you mandate that everyone pass some kind of fitness test?

Regardless of the circumstances (and my sympathies go out to the families of the victims), it's a reminder that we should all be careful and listen to our bodies, and respond appropriately.

New York Marathon Demographics

The New York Marathon folk keep adding to their results page as more information becomes available.

* Brooklyn Road Runners finished 18th among the men, led by Taylor Delhagen, and 22nd among the women

* 37,899 people finished the race.

* Of that total, slightly more than 40 percent completed their first marathon.

* Two-thirds of the finishers were men. 8,411, or less than one-fourth, were NYRR members.

* The listed temperature was 47 degrees (hah!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Others Write About Their NYC Experience

Some samplings from the blog postings across the Web (again, if you've got your own, please e-mail me at brooklynrunning(at)

From 2008 Journey to the New York Marathon:

"I will make this short, because I will give a full play by play later (and re-edit this blog), and then once again when the pictures are in, but I will say this. I went for broke. And I am glad I did. At one point I did one of my miles in 7:58."

Run Dangerously has some photos ... as does NYC Loves NYC ...

From Pink is the New Blog:

It’s unclear just how much money Ryan managed to raise on behalf of Team Fox (named for Michael J. Fox which seeks to raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research) but I’m sure he managed to pull in some much needed funds. Well done, Ryan ...

More to come ...

Top Brooklyn Woman

According to this article, Victoria Ganushina of Brooklyn and the Warren Street Social & Athletic Club was the top Brooklyn woman, finishing 20th overall among women with a time of 2:43:55. Her time was the second-best among local runners.

No Brooklyn men in the top 5 local runners, at least not yet.

Taylor Delhagen, from Brooklyn Road Runners, ran a 2:40:41, finishing 132nd among the men. There's no city breakdown on the results (unofficial so far), so it's easily possible that someone was faster.

** UPDATE: Edvard Gapak captured first for Brooklyn men with a 2:22:37.

Queens Triumphs Over Kings

... and everyone else in the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge. Results are below, a photo above (which due to some poor, poor camera work, has everyone in the photo *but* Danielle).

1 Moore, Susan (Queens), 3:24:26

2 Santamaria, Kelley (Staten Island), 3:33:32

3 Stone, Lisa (Manhattan), 3:35:20

4 Thompson, Barbara (Bronx), 3:43:26

5 Hansen, Danielle (Brooklyn), 3:45:47

Race Day Aftermath

A hearty congrats to everyone who helped out at this year's race. It's a massive endeavor, and a massive cleanup ... as you can see.

Race Day

Awesome race for everyone involved. It was chilly at the start, but the headwinds coming down Fourth Avenue, at least for some runners, weren't as bad as they could have been.

I watched just before Mile 9 at the corner of Lafayette/Cumberland (right by the stereo system that inspired people with such ditties as "Eye of Tiger" and "YMCA" (which became a participation sport), as seen by the photo above.

I'll relay some individual Brooklyn times as they become available: NYRR doesn't list finishers by city, so impossible to get everyone, but can nab some of the club times ...

Got a story to tell? Send an e-mail to brooklynrunning(at) and let me know.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NYRR Financing

For those of you (and I know there are many) who have questioned the NYRR approach to fundraising, spending, etc.

Here's a chart, courtesy of the New York Times, about their finances.

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Afternoon

* For those of you who are inspired by the efforts of those running tomorrow: A reminder, there are four potential qualifying races left this year (you need nine), three of them in December. And you need to volunteer for a race as well.

* There are, of course, other ways to get into New York, many involving cash. A look at a possible new way ...

* Anyone want to take bets on what year full entry fees into New York will surpass $200? I'm betting 2010.

* They've started doing painting on the Brooklyn Bridge. Today and tomorrow, the bike lane was closed; would suspect that the running lane will "run" into problems in the next couple of weeks while the weather is still nice.

* Speaking of weather: Can you imagine what would have happened if the race was held this past Tuesday? What a mess.

* Applications for the PPTC Five-Mile Turkey Trot are kicking around - can do it via mail or online. Info is here. Worth signing up early - last year, the weather was great and generated more than 1,100 finishers, and a mob scene at the race day entry table. (Of course, there have been the 20 degree days as well). Put your marathon training to good use. ... and you can win a pie!

* You can tell the writers at the New York Times are running out of things to say about the marathon. Note today's top story ... and this quote regarding those who take the public option on the Verazzano ...

We don’t encourage that,” said Peter Ciaccia, the race’s technical director. “Especially on a windy day.”

* Amid all the slew of advice you're getting and having to process, remember two things:

-- You get an extra hour of sleep tonight.
-- Don't try anything new tomorrow. You've spent the last six months/year training for this thing - don't ruin it by introducing a new pair of shoes.

* For those of you trapped under a refrigerator, with only a TV remote to keep you company: The race will be broadcast on Channel 4 starting at 9 a.m. Hoping desperately that they keep the inane commentary to a minimum ...

* I'll do a separate entry on this later, but I'd love to here from people who run the race and have stories/experiences to tell. Feel free to e-mail me or simply respond to the appropriate blog post. Everything is fair game ....

The Day Before

One of the notable things about going for a 9-10 miles run the day before the New York Marathon (smart only if you're not running it) is the things that occur:

-- Seeing runners in town for the race posing for pictures on the Brooklyn Bridge or the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

-- Seeing a decided drop in the number of runners on the roads (despite it being one of the finest days for running this fall

-- Making plans for the marathon-watching party (and handicapping your friends' chances, based on their training. Invariably, it's going to be a PR :-) as we cheer them on at Mile 9)

-- Feeling the aches and pains of the run reminding you why you're training faltered a bit, preventing you from this year's race.

Best of luck everyone who's participating in this year's race, or who has friends competing. It looks like it'll be a little cool in the morning, but could be almost perfect running conditions.

Oh, and before I forget, this week's running route - a simple run from Prospect Park over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, with a mild detour over to the Promenade. While the mileage here says 8.6, I'd guess it was a little bit more.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bigger Marathons?

How big can you get?

New York Marathon guru Mary Wittenberg has indicated she'd like to expand the current race size, and the wave start may be precursor.

Other marathons may grow as well as more and more people participate in the 26.2-mile event. But in some cases, the roads simply can't handle the size of the race.

An interesting discussion in this morning's NY Times.

P.S. Aren't you glad the race wasn't yesterday? Latest weather forecast for Sunday, high of 50, with that threat of showers seemingly dissipated

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Spectating Advice

Just got an e-mail from my friend J, who's running the marathon next weekend. In it, she mentions a few great spectating ideas, which I'm going to crib for this post, and add a couple of my own ...

-- Make sure your friends know what time you expect to run next Sunday, and just as important, *what time you start*. The wave start is going to wreak havoc on some planning (especially if you have people who are starting in separate waves.

-- Tell them what you're planning to wear. The more distinctive, the better. Give them some options (if it's cold, I'm wearing this, if it's pouring, I'm wearing this). Current weather forecast: showers, a high of 54, but that will change. If you've run the course before, and are comfortable with this concept, tell them what side of the street you're running on (this is especially important in Brooklyn, where the slightly different routes will have people running in different areas).

-- Give them some prime viewing locations. If you've got some really dedicated friends, get them up to the Bronx (the Bronx? They have a zoo there?) Getting that inspiration and support if you're hitting the wall around mile 20 is invaluable. Don't tell them to try to shout your name at mile 16 coming onto First Ave. It's a mob scene, lots of fun, but even if they can get a spot near the front, it'll be hard to see you.

-- Get some white tape and paste your name/nickname on your shirt. I've gotta say, I thought this was a stupid idea, until I realized that people were calling out the names of the people running next to me, and realized what kind of lift they were getting from hearing their names yelled by complete strangers.

-- Have your friends sign up for Athlete Alert, so they know when you've passed certain check points. Figuring most people have cell phones (including some of those running), so it's a good way to make sure folk are aware what's going on, especially if you're unexpectedly forced to stop.

-- Have a meeting point set near the finish; and then have a backup meeting point if it's a mob scene.

Anyone have other ideas?

In the News

Some random musings from my survey of the news this morning ...

- Strange question in the FYI column this morning in the New York Times:

Will I lose more calories if I walk the 6.1-mile Central Park loop clockwise or counterclockwise?

The answer, according to NYRR is no difference. But somehow I think the question begs another couple: Which way is easier? And does it matter where you start?

Most of the time, if it's not a race, I start in the southern end of the park on the East Side, though I've started multiple different places and I'd be hard pressed to say which direction I've run more frequently. But mentally, I think running counter-clockwise is probably a tiny bit harder. It may have to do with Cat Hill (the steep hill coming up from the boathouse).

Anyone have a preference?

- The New York Observed column this morning is kind of quirky, about the nicknames one gives to familiar, yet unknown faces, one sees while running in Prospect Park.

Favorite 10 Mile (Plus) Runs

What a beautiful morning. If only New York was this weekend (OK, it would have been a little bit chilly at the start).

One of the laments I've heard from my running friends and colleagues is the difficulty in finding new routes. I've posted a few of them over time, but will readily admit this has been lacking.

So, without further ado, let's get going.

This morning's adventure is elegant in its simplicity, has a bathroom about 4 miles into the route and one at the end. Essentially, start on the southern end of the Brooklyn Promenade, make your way over the Brooklyn Bridge, head down to the East River and run along the path there until you reach the Williamsburg Bridge (if you go about 200 yards past it, there's a bathroom - albeit one that's a bit skeevy - and water fountain), head back over the bridge, and then hug the water as you return back to your starting point. (The second bathroom, which isn't labeled on this map, is at the Pierrepont playground, about 100 yards from the starting point).

Why I like it: the Williamsburg Bridge isn't crowded, and you have a steady 1.5 miles uphill (not steep), meaning you have to work it as you approach from the East River. It's also a fairly scenic route, with views from the bridges, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and runs through Williamsburg, Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Run For Your Life

"Run For Your Life," the Fred Lebow movie, comes out on DVD on Oct. 28, and will be appearing at the Village East on Oct. 29. Info follows (from an e-mail I just got):

*** NYC Premiere & Theatrical Run begins this Wednesday, October 29th at the Village East Cinema (12th St. & 2nd Ave.)

*** DVD Release (with nearly an hour of extras) from Universal Home Video & Screen Media Films on Tuesday, October 28th

More info here ...

(I just got "Spirit of the Marathon" from Netflix, so will be using that for running inspiration, just as soon as I can get my kids to stop watching "Sleeping Beauty")

Daylight Savings Time

And if you didn't have enough to worry about: Daylight Savings Time ends on ... Nov. 2.

The good thing about it: You get an extra hour to sleep (spring ahead, fall back ...)

The bad thing about it: I feel bad for the runners who don't realize this and show up at their transportation an hour ahead of schedule.

This Year's Lance Armstrong?

Two years ago, when Lance ran for the first time, the running community (OK, my small subsection of the running community) was outraged at the amount of attention being focused on some cycling guy, who wasn't even training properly.

Would be break 3 hours? I remember entering a pool, missing his time by at least 6 minutes (on the slower side).

It reminds me of the year that P Diddy ran (and in fact, I think I almost crossed paths with him that year ...). You get so focused on someone else, or maybe the media does, and then it snowballs. Ulimately, it comes down to the fact: the marathon is a goal distance and a goal race for a lot of people, and New York is one of those must-do races.

Last year, Katie Holmes was the focus. (err, maybe my focus.). This year ...

I'm not sensing any outrage or massive support for the "celebrity" racers this year. Brandi Chastain? Kerri Strug? Hope they do well.

As for the pros, you can pick how they do in this pool being run by the NYRR, with the winner getting a Toyota Prius. (An aside: Running? Betting? Maybe it'll make people pay enough attention to the best runners in the world). If Paula hadn't run Beijing, I'd like her to win again, but I'm wondering if she'll be recovered enough.

One Week From Now ...

Many of you who read this blog will be sitting, hopefully relaxing, filled with somewhat nervous thoughts about the race the following day. You'll be thinking about the weather, how you'll handle the key points on the course, your start (I actually think the wave starts will make things go smoother, albeit completely muck up spectating plans), and how exhilarated you'll feel as you exit Central Park to run the final stretch on 59th Street (before heading back in).

So, for the next seven days, let me offer you advice, ideas, thoughts, mostly from other people as they get ready for the BIG RACE.

(An aside - every one of my friends who knows I'm a runner ask me if I'm running New York. Every year, without fail. It's what they know, not the cross-country slogs in Van Cortlandt or the countless of local races throughout the tri-state area. So, for all its problems and frustrations, let's give it it's due ...).

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting It Right

Nice to see Nike and the organizers of the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco doing the right thing.

I've been slow in blogging on this, but Arien O'Connell, a fifth-grade teacher in Brooklyn, ran the fastest time at the marathon last weekend (Awesome race, I might add). Yet, she wasn't the first person to cross the finish line.

Confused? Welcome to the world of elite running.

Back in the day, everyone started at the same time, and the first person to cross the finish line was the winner. Now, with electronic chips and elite starting times, the rules have changed. Only those running in the elite race could win.

O'Connell didn't push to get in the elite pool. Her time of 2:55:11, done within the general population of racers, was faster than anyone in the race. But because she wasn't an "elite" runner, she wasn't eligible to "win."

Now, to be fair, race strategy is dictated by who is running with you, so there's no guarantee she would have won if she was in the elite group. But, still ...

The solution: Co-winners of the race, and no elite start next year.

See the article from the New York Times here, which has a photo (so if you see her running in Brooklyn, say "howdy.")

There's mention, btw, at the bottom of the article, that the elite start at the NYC Half Marathon (also sponsored by Nike), might end up changing as well.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Who Is Marcus Garvey?

It's a question that came up today during my run of the last 10 miles of the New York Marathon. A training run, purely, since I won't be participating in the extravaganza in two weeks (except as a spectator).

Four of us, part of a larger group that did the run, carved away from others because of speed, traffic light timing and the simple fact that we've been running together for so long this year. Only one of the four is doing the marathon, so we were there to get our own 10 mile runs in, calm any jittery nerves, and tease her (and each other) as we wended our way through the streets.

It's one of those runs that in itself isn't overly special, except that it was. It *is* the last 10 miles of one of the most famous marathons in the world, and it was done with some friends, which made it all the more special.

The route itself is pretty straightforward - from the Queensboro Bridge on 59th Street (just after mile 16), you just head up 1st Ave., cross over the Willis Avenue Bridge, do a left-right-left combination and cross back into Manhattan on the Madison Ave. Bridge. From there, it's down 5th Avenue until you enter Central Park, with a slight detour around Marcus Garvey Memorial Park (hence the question that came up during the run.)

So, who was Marcus Garvey? One of the most influential black leaders in the early 20th century ... and more. One of the great things about New York is the history nestled everywhere in the five boroughs, and so often, with everything else going on in life, it's so easy to ignore things that you see every day (or in this case, at least once a year for the past several years).

Monday, October 13, 2008

Other NY Marathon Bus

Just stumbled across this on the Brooklyn Road Runners Web site:

"For those of you who are running the NYC Marathon, BRRC will again this year, have a bus leaving from 15th st and PPW, at 6am. To reserve a spot on the bus, contact Steve Bonal at 917-238-9447. The fee is $20 for non-members, $10 for members."

For those of you (Brooklyn residents) who are taking a bus to the marathon, I'd urge you to consider the PPTC or BRRC buses if it will save you time and give you an extra hour of sleep before the race.

You will spend a few hours sitting around in Staten Island anyway, so this may make the journey and time spent before the marathon a little more palatable. Yes, you had to pay the money to NYRRC, but it's worth writing that off (and sending them a note about it).

Get to the 'Point 5K Results ...

in Greenpoint, are here. Still looking for the Bed-Stuy 10K results ....

Brooklyn's Foot Locker 5-Borough Challenger

Danielle Hansen, 44, a "running mom" and a member of the Prospect Park Track Club, is this year's representative in the five-borough challenge, according to this blog entry.

Hansen will run with the four other borough representatives for the first 13.1 miles of the November race before racing to the finish. If like other years, the marathon telecast will showcase the start of her race and provide periodic updates.

Hansen ran a 1:43:21 on Sunday at the Staten Island Half.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

What Is the Hardest Half?

This question comes up all the time, in various forms or fashion. Today, being Staten Island, I got the question: Is it harder than Brooklyn? And what's the hardest half?

Being the ultimate equivocator, my response: It depends. I haven't run Queens, so can't comment on that, but Staten Island remains my favorite half. I like the combination of rolling hills and flat parts, I love the volunteer and spectator support.

Is it the hardest half? Well, let's think about weather, elevation, your personal shape, etc. Personally, I think running the Bronx half in the dead of summer has been the most difficult in terms of conditions/course/etc. of my races. Then again, while Brooklyn is "mostly flat,'' try competing in sub-freezing temperatures with a headwind. And we're all familiar with the Central Park hills, esp. those in Harlem (and the familiarity helps a lot - I know how to run Central Park, albeit not always with the best results).

One way to look at it is to consider the number of people who finish under 1:30, and then create a percentage based on the overall finishers. (This method has a *ton* of flaws, not the least that Staten Island, because it's the closest in time to the New York Marathon, loses a lot of runners.)

That said, for illustrative purposes only, let's take a look at how the half marathons stack up:

Staten Island: Oct. 12
Finishers: 3624
Sub-1:30: 182
Percentage: 5.02

Queens: Sept. 14
Finishers: 3,059
Sub-1:30: 81
Percentage: 2.65

Brooklyn: May 3
Finishers: 5,832
Sub-1:30: 351
Percentage: 6.02

Bronx: Feb. 14
Finishers: 3,265
Sub-1:30: 164
Percentage: 5.02

Manhattan: Jan. 27
Finishers: 4,994
Sub-1:30: 272
Percentage: 5.45

So based on this, one could argue that the Queens Half was the hardest this year, and Brooklyn was the easiest (or put another way: You had a lot better chance running a faster time at Brooklyn than Queens this year).

Knowing from colleagues about the number of turns on the course, and recalling the weather: 73 degrees, 87 percent humidity, according to the Web site ... Queens this year definitely has an argument for the being the toughest. (And Brooklyn racing conditions were pretty sweet).

As mentioned above, there are tons of holes in this methodology - you'd need to take a look over time, use runners that had the same level of physical fitness, compensate for weather, etc.

It's open for debate, as always. And congrats to everyone who completed at least one of this year's Half Marathon Grand Prix (once a list surfaces for the Brooklyn residents who knocked out all five, I'll post it).

Chicago Marathon Finishers

Formatting on this is going to be a little off, I think, but here's a list of the Chicago Marathon finishers who are listed as being from Brooklyn.

Runner Age Gender Finish

Garcia, Bruno 27 M 3:06:49

Clausen, Adam 26 M 3:13:41

Towle, Scott 30 M 3:22:48

Quarfordt, Erik G 33 M 3:23:32

Remy, Steve 41 M 3:24:29

Casaburri, Teresa 27 F 3:36:12

Ha, Theresa 27 F 3:38:12

Derman, Jeff 37 M 3:40:00

Scott, Todd W 30 M 3:43:22

North, Matthew 29 M 3:44:11

Calabrese, Alexis 21 F 3:46:52

Macnerland, Nathan 24 M 3:48:00

Ogrodowicz, Mark 50 M 3:53:39

Kraszewski, Andrew P 25 M 3:55:23

Reiter, Lisa 34 F 3:55:24

Kasmarcak, Jeremie 26 F 3:58:30

Cordes, Jill L 38 F 3:58:58

Rogness, Jill C 26 F 4:02:39

Thomas, David 28 M 4:03:13

McKeon, Kevin 51 M 4:04:06

Maynard, Roger 46 M 4:05:34

Caruso, David 36 M 4:07:17

Benn, Bradlee A 33 M 4:07:59

Capece, Carol 30 F 4:25:24

Rajan, Sonali 25 F 4:27:24

Lucas, Chris 26 M 4:28:56

Gallagher, Mary Katharine 46 F 4:29:58

Roberts, Robin N 32 F 4:30:46

Lemus, Luisa F 31 F 4:31:24

Cesare, Patrick 45 M 4:32:43

Amori, Amy 30 F 4:33:21

Bullock, Amanda 24 F 4:34:55

Collier, Casey O 27 F 4:36:33

Dodge, Catherine M 30 F 4:38:56

Wille, Patrick J 31 M 4:38:57

Wharton, Emma 35 F 4:40:54

Antler, Ashley 28 F 4:43:29

Latoszek, Tadeusz 53 M 4:46:21

Zellmer, Stacie K 22 F 4:46:36

Breyer, Melissa 43 F 4:50:23

Bwerinofa, Rumbidzai 34 F 4:51:39

Felker, Brent T 34 M 4:53:16

Foster, Yvonne 27 F 4:53:43

Chattoraj, Kathleen A 37 F 4:54:14

Harker, Kristen M 25 F 4:55:33

Krissoff, Sarah R 30 F 4:56:34

Lee, Chang B 42 M 5:00:04

McCullough, Kat 26 F 5:06:18

Kravitz, Avi 30 M 5:08:07

Hanford, Daniel L 39 M 5:08:52

Ortiz, Carlos M 67 M 5:12:28

Bocker, Jennifer M 35 F 5:12:45

Rosenberg, Bryan 26 M 5:20:14

Ausmus, Brittany A 26 F 5:29:41

Koram, Antoinette 26 F 5:31:00

Lass, Randi 41 F 5:33:54

Leng, Jennifer 27 F 5:39:14

Farber, Seth J 45 M 5:41:49

Durka, Ralph 11 M 5:48:11

Ashok, Anu 27 F 6:20:50

Navarrete, Benjamin 60 M 6:31:59

Sunday, Kirk 32 M 6:46:29

Rizzo, Mike 39 M 6:51:16