Friday, March 21, 2008

Colon Cancer 15K One of the Largest

The Colon Cancer 15K, run earlier this month, had 3,281 finishers - that makes it one of the largest 15K races in the country. Based on a list printed in the spring issue of New England Runner magazine (based on research by Stockade-athon 15K Race Director Vince Juliano), the Colon Cancer's size would rank it fifth overall. Among the races it trails: the Gate River Run in Jacksonville (11,326), the Utica Boilermaker (10,882) and the NYRR Hot Chocolate 15K, with 4,766.

Spring Has Arrived

... and the first full day brought out some beautiful views, but gusty winds which meant the winter hat still was an essential part of the runner wardrobe. Still, some color among the green gives promise to some warmer temperatures ahead ...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Brooklyn Half Starts at Coney Island

NYRR has posted the course description for this year's race, which is as follows and seems to be identical to last year:

"Start on the Coney Island Boardwalk at West 2nd Street. Head west to a turnaround at West 36th Street and proceed east. Exit off West 10th Street and continue east on Surf Avenue to Ocean Parkway. Turn left/north onto Ocean Parkway to Prospect Expressway to Park Circle. Enter Prospect Park at Park Circle and head east on South Lake Drive. Continue around the northern end of the park, returning south on West Drive. Turn left/east onto Hill Drive and left/north onto East Drive. Turn left/west on Central Drive to the finish."

I'm not sure why it took them so long to post the description, but it puts to rest, at least for this year, any thoughts of starting the race in Prospect Park.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Also on May 4, Lots of Bikes

I live in a very closeted running world. I used to cycle, and if so I would have realized ... May 4 is also the date of the Five Boro Bike Tour. That ought to make for some interesting choices.

Then again, according to this blogger, Travelographer, it's an opportunity to compete in a weekend biathlon ...

Winners and Losers

With the Brooklyn Half being pushed back a week to accommodate the "Brooklyn community," let's take a look at who gains and who misses out from this decision. Please note: There's a lot I don't know about this, so some of this is guesswork.


- The unnamed "Brooklyn community," which made its presence known to NYRR. So far, no information exists about who made what kind of pressure, though given the initial curious scheduling choice (a Saturday during Passover), one has to wonder.

- Runners who will gain from an extra week of training, and had a scheduling conflict on April 26.

- Runners looking to use the half marathon as a qualifier for the NYRR Marathon. According to an e-mail from the Prospect Park Track Club, and seemingly verified on the NYC Marathon site, the date for running a qualifying time to gain a guaranteed entry for this year's marathon has been pushed back to May 3, up a couple of days from May 1.


- NYRR. Give them credit for keeping the race around the same time, but the communication on this has been lacking, and they've messed up schedules for other runners and other races. Five thousand people will still run.

- Runners who had already built their schedule around an April 26 date, or who now can't make the race. NYRR will offer a chance to switch to another race, or a coupon good for another race, but as you may have seen from a previous poster, that doesn't quite do it.

-Possibly other races. May 3 isn't so bad (and apologies if I'm missing some races), but on May 4, there's the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia (10 miles and flat), the New Jersey Marathon and Half, and the Long Island Marathon and Half, all of which may have appeal to Brooklyn runners. Note if you want to run in New Jersey that weekend, you better sign up fast - they are approaching their limit.


- What caused the switch?

- What's the course? Note the Web site *still* doesn't say where the race is starting. Will it start in Coney Island, as in past years, or is there a possibility that it starts in Prospect Park and goes the other direction?

- Can NYRR settle on an annual date for this race (and the other half marathons in the Grand Prix series) or will they keep yanking them all over the calendar?

Brooklyn Half Now May 3

The following was posted on the NYRR Web site earlier today:

Due to concerns in the Brooklyn community, the date of the 2008 NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix Presented by Continental Airlines: Brooklyn has been changed from Saturday, April 26, to Saturday, May 3, at 9:00 a.m.

More details to come.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Brooklyn Half Update

Actually, this is more of an update to say that ... there is no additional news. Despite the fact that NYRR hasn't reposted the Brooklyn Half notice on its site (and it still looks like you can sign up for the race), it definitely will not occur on April 26.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Three Functional 18-Mile Runs

There are times when you need to build in some mileage and you don't want to do anything complicated. Better yet, you might want to do some surges along parts of the route, or compare certain segment times with others. Or you're running with people who are doing a slower/faster pace than you, and want to all end at the same time. Or you want options to bail along the route. Regardless:

Below are three ideas, all starting and finishing at Prospect Park at the Grand Army Plaza entrance:

1) Crazy 8 Loops in Prospect Park: This one has the advantage of staying in the park and is a little less burdensome than trying to several 3.35 miles loops (though that's always an option). Start at Grand Army Plaza and take a left, going down the big hill. When you get to the first transverse (Center Drive), take a right. Follow the road until you reconnect with the big loop (West Drive). Take a left, and follow the roadway counterclockwise all the way back around to the Center Drive. Take a left, and repeat your trip up the transverse. This time, however, when you connect back with the West Drive, take a right and wend your way back to Grand Army Plaza. When you've completed the Crazy 8, that's 4.5 miles. For 18 miles, do four of them. (I'm reading this back and it sounds a lot more complicated than it is - basically whatever direction you go, run down Center Drive and choose the opposite direction).

ALTERNATIVE DIRECTION: When I've done this, I've alternated directions, partly for a change of scenery, partly because of the hills. Yes, you end up at the same place. But one direction has the big downhills, the other direction has the big uphills. The uphills (which you'll pick up if you start the route counterclockwise) are great for someone who wants to simulate some of the hills on Commonwealth Ave. in Boston during the Boston Marathon.

2) This one's just as simple, though, I'll leave it up to you what order you do them: Two loops of Prospect Park, and an out-and-back to Coney Island via Ocean Parkway. Prospect Park has hills, lots of water options (less so during the winter, but they are there in the bathrooms) and no/little traffic. Ocean Parkway has no hills, lots of traffic and virtually no water until you get to Coney Island, so either bring water or bring cash to buy water at one of the stores on the side streets. (RUNNING TIP: check out the hospital about 3/4 a mile from Coney Island). What I might do, especially if I'm running with people who may not want to do the full 18, is do a full loop of the park first, then head down to Ocean Parkway. The Ocean Parkway out and back is a bit more than 11 miles. You can also tack on some running on the boardwalk if you want to stay running on the flats.

3) Prospect Park, head over the Brooklyn Bridge, across Chambers Street to the West Side Highway for another 4.5 miles (up to about 64th St.) and then return. Did this today - couple of bathrooms at the 6/7 mile and 11/12 mile points make this a year-round option (and the bathrooms are relatively clean). The beauty of this route is that you can truncate the mileage at any point (run up to Canal Street and back for a 10 miler) or extend it past the GW Bridge.

There are plenty of other routes in Brooklyn that can get you the 18-20 miles distance, particularly if you run in Bay Ridge and head down toward the Verrazano Bridge, or if you head out near Floyd Bennett Field - yes, Brooklyn has a National Park, which is beautiful, though a bit isolated. The three I spelled out today have advantages is that they are all close to public transportation and give you bailout points, or opportunities to do more/less.

There are all fairly straightforward runs, so I'm not posting a map on this, though happy to do so if any of the above is confusing.

NYRR 8K Results

1780 runners participated in the NYRR 8K yesterday, part of a series of races that featured some of the world's best runners. Results are here.

New York Food Fells Webb

Food is often on the list of reasons on why people travel to New York, and no wonder. But maybe they should avoid press conferences if they can.

Both Alan Webb (that's American mile record holder Alan Webb, I should say) and Shalene Flanagan cited stomach issues after yesterday's 8K race in Central Park, according to this New York Times article. Webb was unable to recover, though Flanagan finished first.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brooklyn Half Postponed!!!!!

The Brooklyn Half, scheduled for April 26, has been postponed indefinitely.

A notice that was posted on the NYRR site earlier today (since pulled down), said the following:

"Due to concerns in the Brooklyn community, the date of the 2008 NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix Presented by Continental Airlines: Brooklyn will be changed from Saturday, April 26, to an as yet undetermined date. At present, we are no longer accepting registrations for this event. If you have already registered for this race, you will be given several options in response to this change; you will receive an e-mail shortly with the new date and particulars of these options. Stay tuned."

While the notice is no longer on the site - in fact, everything looks hunky-dory if you go to the Brooklyn Half information page - a separate query confirmed the race won't be held on April 26, at least at this point.

Lot of questions here, none of them with great answers:

-- Why was it postponed? Was it a Passover conflict? A problem with the Parks department? Issues involving the size of the race? Right now, it's all speculation.

-- When will it be rescheduled? At this date, it could be problematic. Not only has NYRR unveiled its schedule of races for the year (though many can be changed, especially in the second half of the year), you've also got scheduled conflicts involving both Coney Island and Prospect Park. And creating travel headaches to get to Coney Island in the summer is not a way to win more friends "within the Brooklyn community."

-- What race alternatives do I have? I feel for the JackRabbit group that is specifically training for this race, as well as the numerous people out there who have been focusing on this race -- Brooklyn's largest. I'll try to pull together some worthwhile alternatives for folk hoping to pound out a good long-distance race.

-- Could it still be held April 26? Until we know the reasons why the race date is being changed, it's hard to know if the decision will be reversed.

More information on this as it becomes available.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Colon Cancer Results Now Available

Results from yesterday's Colon Cancer runs, both the 4-mile race and the 15K, are now available. Combined, the two races attracted more than 6,000 finishers.

Having run the 15K, can report two pieces of news, one good, one bad.

The good news is that it appears some kind of deal has been worked out with Central Park in that, rather than confining runners to the bike/running lane for the entire race, most of the roadway was devoted to runners' usage. And even though an organized walk was taking place at the same time of the 15K, there didn't seem to be much of a hitch as people shared the route.

The bad: Despite umpteen numbers of races in Central Park, there was a problem (yet again) with the mileage markers. This time, mile 2 in the 15K appeared to be the culprit.

The top 25 male finishers from Brooklyn in the 15K are listed below, with category, overall place and overall time.

GEOFF DECKER M24 3 49:27:00
JACEK BORAL M36 5 49:39:00
TAYLOR DELHAGEN M23 18 51:47:00
JACOB COOPER M33 24 52:36:00
KEVIN ARLYCK M35 34 54:03:00
DAVID ALM M32 37 54:04:00
JOSE SANTIAGO M52 48 54:50:00
JAMES RIDDLE M32 56 55:18:00
CARL SELYA-HAMMER M27 107 57:57:00
KAROL KIELBASA M19 117 58:21:00
PAUL WONG M43 118 58:21:00
BEN NILSESTUEN M25 119 58:22:00
TIM MONTI WOHLPART M36 125 58:40:00
DEAN GEBHARDT M41 126 58:42:00
JOSHUA RANGER M31 128 58:52:00
MATTHEW DAVIS M32 131 58:59:00
ALEXANDER MILLER M39 132 59:03:00
RICHARD A BUCKHEIT M50 137 59:08:00
STANISLAW JAREMKO M45 138 59:08:00
PETER KREBS M36 167 59:51:00
LUIS TRIAS M34 172 1:00:03
JUSTIN CANNA M15 174 1:00:09

Friday, March 7, 2008

Runner's World Article

The April issue of Runner's World contains an article titled: "The very best two-man, heavy-footed, overscheduled, highly caffeinated running club in all of Brooklyn,'' penned by Robert Sullivan.

The article, which doesn't seem to be online yet, is a wry look at his running club of two. As he points out in the article:

"... to me, a running club is about running. A running club is about getting the other guy out there so that he'll do the same for you. It's about routine. It's about who's buying the coffee, how are the kids? A running club can be the difference between being a sometimes runner and a regular runner, between having to take cholesterol medication and not taking it, between sleeping well and staying up all night worrying about banks and taxes and credit-card statements -- stuff middle-aged people like me find themselves doing when they don't run. And one more thing I can personally attest to: Running clubs, big ones or small ones, can just plain make you run faster."

Amen to that. Both Brooklyn Road Runners and Prospect Park Track Club have weekly Saturday runs in Prospect Park, as well as other runs listed on their Web sites. More comfortable in Manhattan? NYRR has a vast list of clubs on its site - worth checking them out. And maybe you'll run into Sullivan at some point: his club's name is 7 at 7 Club (he and the one other member), as they do a 7 mile run to a local park and back.

He doesn't identify where he lives, though am guessing it's in Brooklyn Heights/Park Slope or thereabouts, based on his Thursday morning run (6 miles at 6 a.m., going over the bridge into Manhattan and back) and his Saturday morning run.

Spring Ahead

This weekend, we lose an hour of sleep/running/bar time ... whatever. Make sure to set your clock ahead by an hour, especially if you're racing on Sunday (say, for example, at the Colon Cancer 4 Mile or 15K races in Central Park.)

Of course, we got an extra day last week, but it just doesn't seem to be a fair tradeoff.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Salsa, Blues and Shamrock 5K Results ...

are linked here.

Few Things for the Calendar

March 5 is the first day you can sign up for the lottery for the NYRR Half Marathon, held this year on July 27 (I miss the Bronx Half in the middle of the summer). To run, NYRR members must shell out $75 (!) while non-NYRR members must pay ($80). It's a lottery, so if you don't get in, you're out a $5 processing fee.

March 6 is the NYRR Club night, ticket info is available on their Web site.

March 8 is the Kings Park 15K out on Long Island

March 9 is the first NYRR Club Points race of the year, the Colon Cancer 15K (though a 4 mile race will also be run that morning beforehand).

A more comprehensive list of March and April events will be posted as soon as I'm back.

How Fast Can You Run?

How fast can you run? No, seriously, how fast can you run? Top speed? All out? For how long? What if you could run faster than that?

The New York Times Play magazine from over the weekend has an article about the Bluestreak training program over at Chelsea Piers, which includes a treadmill with maximum speed of 28 mph and an incline of 40 percent (to put in perspective, I think my gym's treadmills top out at 10 mph and an incline of 15 percent).

The writer discusses bursts of speed training, similar to being pulled along by a truck, to enable your body to run faster than it could on its own. And according to the Chelsea Piers Web site, the program can lead to a 0.2 second reduction in your 40-yard sprint. That probably won't help me in marathon training, but for the shorter races, needing a better kick ...

Probably not for everyone, especially at the steep price ($1200 for 20 sessions). But it's fun to think about the possibilities.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Brief Hiatus

This is the image that greets me daily as I take a brief hiatus. Running in 80 degree weather, with beautiful sunshine and green stuff around certainly beats the alternatives in Brooklyn - and better yet, with no apologies to Hank Steinbrenner, I get to do it in the middle of yet another pocket of Red Sox Nation.

Brooklyn Running will be back and running in the middle of next week.