Sunday, January 27, 2008

'Once a Runner' Coming Back Into Print

"Once a Runner," the classic running novel by John L. Parker Jr., will be back in print soon, according to this Running Times interview with him (so if you're just looking to read it, and have patience), it may not be worth shelling out the $200 for it on EBay). Here's a request to the Brooklyn library system to pick up a few copies.

Manhattan Half

Results for today's Manhattan Half have been posted. Kirt Joseph nosed out Jacob Cooper for top Brooklyn male (both finishing under 1:16) while Sarah Foster led the way among Brooklyn women.

Cross Country in Prospect Park

A good old-fashioned cross-country race is the perfect reminder that when you're running in Prospect Park ... realize that it's a park! And take advantage of the varying terrains rather than doing loop after 3.35 mile loop.

Today's Everything But the Kitchen Sink X/C race started just north of the Picnic House on the western edge of the park. One full loop of the meadow, sticking the edges, and doing those short, but very steep hills, and then a run down to the ballfields before heading off into the woods and doing a mix of trail, pavement, grass to create a second loop, both of them roughly 2 miles. Doesn't that sound more fun that doing two loops of Central Park as part of the Manhattan Half?

The challenging part of today's race was the terrain. Unlike the grassy section of Van Cortlandt, which seemed comparatively pancake flat, the loop of the long meadow was complete with undulating hills, tree roots and branches, sandy ballfield, and beat-up fields that have shoe prints from countless soccer games frozen in place.

No results yet (probably in the next day), but that ultimately wasn't the point for most of us today.

I'll pull together a list of local trail races, with links, in the next day or two, for those who are interested. Noting the Urban Environmental Challenge in early April, a North Face sponsored Endurance run in mid-April, the Leatherman's Loop later that month, and the Long Island Greenbelt 25K and 50K in early May - a link to most of them is here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Update on Park Slope Armory

The Brooklyn Paper this week has a not-so-encouraging update on the status of the Park Slope Armory. Essentially, it seems there are two proposals to manage the facility ... whether either will be accepted is unclear.

The pessimistic view here stands in contrast to a post on The Gowanus Lounge blog on Jan. 10, which indicates the armory may open in September.

Sale at Slope Sports

Not to be out done, there's also a sale at Slope Sports through Jan. 31 on running jackets and cold-weather gear. From their newsletter:

-- $10 off of purchases over $100
-- $40 off of purchases over $200
-- $50 off of purchases over $250
-- a whopping $100 off of purchases over $400

And plenty of other discounts, enabling folk to stock up on stuff ... with our luck, for next winter. (The pair of snowshoes I got last Christmas to do some winter workouts in Prospect Park still has the plastic wrap on).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon Movie Was Tonight

Did anyone see it? Any feedback? Heard it was sold out in Manhattan. I've also heard some rumors, completely unconfirmed, that there may be a second showing in February ...

UPDATE: 1/26. Yep, the poster is right. There's an encore showing on Feb. 21. From the people who've seen it, reviews are generally positive.

Katie Holmes and the NY Marathon

I stumbled across this the other day on the site. It's telling about our obsession with celebrities (a sad side note to offer condolensces to the friends of family of former Boerum Hill resident Heath Ledger)

Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cross Country Race

OK, apologies for the late notice - I only just noticed this cross-country race taking place at Prospect Park this weekend - at pretty much the same time as the Manhattan Half, which I've already signed up for.

Anyway, this isn't about me.

The second annual Everything But the Kitchen Sink will take place on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 10 a.m.. It's a four-mile race that includes one loop of the Long Meadow, then a big loop into the hills, trails, marked paths and stuff that makes Prospect Park ... a park.

Registration can be made online (there's a link) or through JackRabbit (did they mention it in their newsletter? I'm not paying enough attention) Cost is $17 through tomorrow, Jan. 25, and then $22 afterward. Note that no headphones are allowed. The race is chip timed.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

New Running Web Site

Hmm ... think I'll check this out. It's new (as in this month) and has podcasts, always welcome on the 4 train.

Jacket Sale at JackRabbit

Hey, a jacket sale at JackRabbit this weekend. This from their February newsletter:

This coming weekend only, we're taking 40% OFF EVERY JACKET AND VEST. Whether you're looking for a great wind-blocking Pearl Izumi jacket as you cycle your way into Spring, or a winter-weight Brooks running jacket to keep you toasty on those bitter morning runs, come in this weekend and choose from our large selection of outwear from brands including Craft, Nike, Asics, Gore, Adidas, Brooks and more! Sale begins Friday, January 25th and ends Sunday, January 27th in both stores while supplies last.

Sounds like some great stuff. Was just thinking my Asics running jacket was getting a little lonely ...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Manhattan Half

Online registration for the Manhattan Half closes tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11:59 p.m. Weather right now looks like it will be fairly decent for a late January race (possibly a light snow shower, but in the low 30s). On other thing of note: NYRR continues to "strongly" discourage the use of headphones during a race - so the group hasn't taken the step yet to ban headphones, which some other USATF-sanctioned races have done.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Exercising in the Cold

This appeared in the NY Times earlier this week (just got around to reading it), but talks about the risks (apparently few) of exercising in the cold.

Of course, I'm watching the Packers-Giants game right now (-1 degree Fahrenheit). Not sure I'd head outside if I had a gym membership (which I do) in that weather ... Thankfully, the chilly weather we've had this weekend seems to get a bit warmer as the week goes on.

Bomb Scare in Brooklyn

Runners seeking access to and from the southern end of the Brooklyn Heights Promenade this frigid morning likely had to run a gauntlet of police and emergency-services workers - if they could get by at all. Remsen Street was blocked off and at least one building evacuated after police responded to a 911 call from a man who allegedly shot himself ... and had pipe bombs in his apartment, according to this story. Things seem to be back to normal, however.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Once A Runner

So I'm getting ready to head out from work today (tonight) when a colleague drops a copy of "Once a Runner" on my desk - a book I've been seeking for months. Read the opening pages on the subway home tonight, and I've got to say, it so far lives up to the billing as *** the best running novel ever *** Why? Because, at least so far, it captures the true sentiment of what it's like to be running on a team, along with the nuances that are hard to understand ... unless you've been there. That's what makes it work.

On Sunday, while I avoid running outside to watch the Patriots (inside), you may see a few choice quotes from the book by John Parker. It's out of print, and selling for hundreds of dollars on EBay, and not listed as available at any of the Brooklyn libraries, so it's a treat to be able to savor.

"Again to Carthage," the sequel, was excerpted by Runner's World, though I wasn't able to convince my family to give it to me for Christmas.

Speaking of running books, anyone have some thoughts as the best reads? I have some ideas, which I'll post later ...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Van Cortlandt Events in the Bronx

The Van Cortlandt Track Club has a list of its 2008 events now posted on its Web site, key for those of you (and me) who love the cross-country and trail events they put on. All of those listed below, with the exception of the Riverdale Ramble, are on the trails of Van Cortlandt.

Yes, it can be a long haul by subway (more than an hour) to get there from Brooklyn, but it's well worth it. The X/C races generally have about 100 people, the trail challenge about 50. Last year's was held Boston Marathon weekend - you might remember, when the storm was pummelling the East Coast.

Here’s a list of dates:

April 6: Urban Trail Challenge (a 10K this year)
May 22: X/C Speed Series
June 1: Riverdale Ramble (road race)
June 5: X/C Speed Series
June 19: X/C Speed Series
July 3: X/C Speed Series
July 17: X/C Speed Series
July 31: X/C Speed Series
Aug. 14: X/C Speed Series

Full NYRR schedule on Web site

The full NYRR schedule is out, though if the group holds true to past years, some of the dates later in the year should definitely be thought of as tentative.

At first glance, the most interesting changes from last year: Queens Half is in August, and Staten Island Half is in September. The latter change pulls it away from right up against the NYRR marathon, where's it's been in previous years.

Brooklyn Half on April 26

The NYRR Web site has the Brooklyn Half on April 26, which as one of the posters noted, is on tail end of Passover. Given the course runs down Ocean Parkway, near a number of synagogues and temples if I'm not mistaken, the choice of the Saturday versus the Sunday (the 27th) is indeed odd. It's also possible NYRR didn't have a choice of days and it had to be a Saturday, given they need permitting from both the city as well as the parks folk to hold the race.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Brooklyn Half in late April?

Word is that this year's Brooklyn Half Marathon may take place in late April. Everything appears to be tentative at this point (hence, no posting on the NYRR Web site), so don't mark it in your calendar yet. The Club Council is meeting in the next several days, we understand, so some clarity may appear.

If it does take place then, it's both good and bad news for Brooklynites who are running Boston this year. It's not the same weekend (which has happened in the past), though it's still too close to this year's race to count on a great run.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Simple Running Route

Here's a good running route that can be expanded upon to add a bunch of mileage. Starting from Prospect Park, head over the Brooklyn Bridge, then do a loop down to Battery Park to the West Side and come back via Chambers Street. The basic run is about 11.5 miles, and there's a bathroom at the Statue of Liberty ferry, about halfway along. Those wanting to add additional mileage can do more mileage up the West Side highway, or do additional loops in the park.

Fred Lebow 5 Mile

The first NYRR qualifying race of the year has come and gone ... only two dozen more to go (more or less). Thankfully, the snow has held off this year, so some speedy times yesterday at the NYRR Fred Lebow Classic. Felipe Garcia was the top Brooklyn male, finishing second overall, with a time of 26:04 over the five-mile distance. Top female honors in the boro went to Anna Fyodorova, with a 33:15.

This Blog Can Save You Money

Check it out! Key Food is having a semi-regular special: 10 bottles of Gatorade (32 oz) for $10. Needless to say, if you drink as much Gatorade as I do (in looking at my spending on running last year, I've got to say Gatorade purchases were in the top three - I don't include beer, of course :-)), and like the smaller bottles, it's a great deal. The sale runs through Jan. 17, and it looks like it's at Key Food locations throughout Brooklyn. The 32 oz. bottle usually goes for $1.89, so it's a savings of $8.90 for each group of 10.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Some Other Good Races

From a runner who I suspect has a Connecticut connection, in response to the query about other races:

"Fairfield Half marathon in June, New Haven 20K in September, Manchester Road race on Thanksgiving for a couple of good local races."

All great ideas - the New Haven 20K is on my short list this year, if I'm around that weekend. Once I find the time, I'll create a Web site with a list of local races (and results) that people can refer to.

E-Mail Brooklyn Running

I realize that the blogosphere is still a relatively new concept, and like with its parent, the INTERNET (it needs the capital letters), a lot of people aren't comfortable displaying information. (Believe me, I know). At the same time, one of the goals of Brooklyn Running is to be able to offer information that *we all* can use. That's my agenda, pure and simple. I love to run for oh so many reasons (maintaining my mental and physical health is very high on the list), and I want to help other people pursue their goals, and have fun. This blog helps me do that.

So, that said: If you have a question or thought that you don't want on the blog, for whatever reason, just e-mail me at brooklynruns(at) I don't have all the answers, to be sure, but I'll do what I can to point you in the right direction. If your question is relevant to the general running population, I'll also try to respond on the blog (no identifying information, of course).

What Would You Do ...

... if you couldn't run. Not because of injury, or weather, but because it was unsafe to do so because of the possibility of injury or death. Because your very home was being torn apart by civil strife. Check it out here.

Where Can I Find People to Run With?

Belatedly, noticed this e-mail from earlier this week from a runner:

"I'm fairly new to the Slope area, and I wanted to find a partner/team to train for the upcoming NJ marathon in May. I would be interested most in finding a long-run partner for Saturdays, but open to working out together during the week too. Any ideas besides Craigslist to find people?"

Ahh, one of the many dilemmas of running in the city, especially when you're new. I do three separate ways: On my own, through my club, or simply just e-mailing the other runners I know and trying to set something up (I'm not sure agreeing to meet someone Friday morning at 6:30 in Prospect Park in 17-degree temperatures was the brightest of ideas, but we did see a beautiful sunrise).

Thankfully, there are a number of resources, some listed here:

-- Prospect Park Track Club and Slope Sports have a weekly run on Saturday that meets at Grand Army Plaza at 8 a.m. on Saturdays - a number of folk there are training for a spring marathon, and the runs there will be getting longer. No need to sign up or contact anyone - just show up. The group usually congregates at sidewalk in front of the entrance to the park. Some runners just do a loop in the park - others do a longer run.

-- Other clubs also organize runs. For example, Brooklyn Road Runners also has weekly runs on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m., meeting at 15th St. and Prospect Park West. They also do evening workouts on Tuesday and Thursday.

-- JackRabbit Sports has group training programs, a link is here. A lot of people do them (it's pretty awe inspiring to see 40 or more people come toward you in the park - the catch here is that there's a fee.

-- New York Road Runners has an option for runners seeking partners. I can't attest to whether this works or not, but it's definitely an option out there.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon: Jan 24

A new movie looking at the efforts to prepare and run the marathon is hitting movie theaters on Jan. 24 in select locations, for one showing only.

"Spirit of the Marathon" tells the story of six different runners as they run the 2005 Chicago Marathon (good thing they weren't trying to film the heat-stricken 2oo7 race.)

Ticket information is located here (nothing in Brooklyn, apparently - the closest place is Union Square). Undoubtedly, it will make it out to DVD in short order, one would think.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Blog of the Week

I'll get around to putting more of these on the front-page menu -- it's fun to read and see other running experiences. And I learn a lot from them (i.e. I'm not totally neurotic) ...

Live to Run, Run to Live:

Top 50 New York Races

New England Runner just arrived (along with TrailRunner and Runner's World, which means I'll have plenty of reading material to choose from on the 4 or 5 train tomorrow morning). In it, they list New York's 50 Finest races. There's no electronic version yet, though I'll check to see if I can run out the whole list. There's also no dates, not surprising since the NYRR calendar is missing a lot.

Some local area highlights from the list (not all the Central Park races are listed):

January: Fred Lebow 5K (Central Park)
February: Al Gordon Snowflake 4 Miler (Central Park)
March: Brooklyn Half (Brooklyn: If it happens this month.)
April: Nationwide Insurance 10K (Plainview, Long Island)
May: Shelter Island 10K (Shelter Island)
September: Great Cow Harbor 10K (Northport, Long Island)
November: NYC Marathon

One thing I'd note is that a lot of the races on the list are well known (Utica's Boilermaker 15K, Saratoga's X/C Classic in October), there aren't really any hidden gems that scream out: I've got to try this. (The New England races have a few).

Anyone got suggestions for your favorite races in and around the area? Think Greater New York (outside the city as well and into New Jersey). As this blog develops (and maybe a companion Web site), hopefully it can be a steady resource for you.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Just shy of 5000 runners made it to Central Park last night for the annual New Year's Eve run. Prospect Park drew its share of the running community as part of the race sponsored by Slope Sports and Brooklyn Road Runners. And the Prospect Park Track Club attracted more than two dozen runners as part of the annual Harry's Handicap race (for the second year in a row, in the rain).

A good way to start off 2008. Long run on Saturday anyone?