Sunday, August 31, 2008

Run Allan Run

Here's a blog entry from a guy in the UK (I think), who just spent some time in Cornwall, clocking down the time until New York (62 training days from today).

It features a photo of a mushroom (or is it a toadstool?) Nuf said. This from a recent post (Week 11):

"However, my “I’ve not smoked for eleven months and I’ve run a marathon” treat will be at Balthazar in New York, which is my favourite. (”Ooh, look at Mr Smartypants with his favourite restaurant in New York,” said a voice in my head when I wrote that. But actually it is because it is in New York and therefore something extraordinary and part of the whole experience of being in New York that makes it my favourite."

If you've got blogs that you've seen and want to mention them, send them along -- I figure there are 40,000 different stories, and you'll see a smidgen of them on this blog, so call out the highlights!

A Brooklyn Resident's Training Regimen

So, the Daily News today has an article about the country's fastest ... Chihuahua, who resides in Brooklyn and is facing a title defense.

I kid you not.

There are choice excerpts about Maddy's training regimen, including stair climbing, sprinting, long hallway runs and swimming. Suspect some of us two-legged competitors might get a few tips - after all, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there ...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New York Marathon Blogs

So, as we approach the New York Marathon in nine weeks (!), figured I'd offer a sampling of blogs and comments leading up to the race. No rhyme or reason to the picks, just giving everyone a chance to see what other people are experiencing.

Today's comes from NYC Marathon '08:

"Carbo-loaded on a box of macaroni and cheese yesterday evening, and devoured another box after today's run.

If you'll notice at the top of this page, it looks like I've run nearly as many miles as I've biked so far on the training plan -- I've only biked one more mile. Ridiculous!"

New Trail Race in Westchester

Just stumbled across this race, taking place in Sept. 28, courtesy of a local blog. Rather than wait for the calendar, am linking to it now because the entries are limited to 200. Looks cool.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's Get Ready for the Fall

Whew, the "summer" is almost over, and it's been pretty intense. A couple of trips thru the main Portlands of the U.S. (including a run in the Hood to Coast relay race), a strange recovery to my knee injury (it doesn't hurt, I don't know why, not questioning it), some great races at the Olympics. (Bolt? Bekele? Both awesome.)

But I'm ready to get ready for the fall racing season. My target races are in November, and because of the knee injury destroying my summer base building - it's all X/C for me. Then, maybe, a winter marathon? We'll see. Such decisions are not unique, as I'm sure many of you who are aiming at New York and running into injury problems may need to revise their plans.

A September and October schedule for upcoming races will be upcoming later this weekend as I have the Labor Day weekend to track down some races. I'm also going to post a revised X/C schedule, now that the local USATF has posted its schedule. Rest assured, pretty much every weekend through mid-November has an X/C race, including many in Van Cortlandt.

On Sunday, of course, is the massive Nike Human Race (the New York version is over on Roosevelt Island) -- though I'm expecting that for most participants, it will be less a race than a mass celebration of runners who wear Nike products. There's also a 4 mile X/C race up at Van Cortlandt Park. For those who want to see some national competition, the New Haven 20K takes place on Labor Day. Live blogging on the race takes place here.

Marathon trainers can also benefit from the three-day weekend: How about a 15 mile run on Saturday, recovery on Sunday, and then a 10-mile run on Monday?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Summer Issue of New York Road Runner Out

This season's issue, which I got in the mail today, is a special themed issue for the 50th Anniversary of the club, lots of good stuff to spark memories.

In the "This Running Town" newsletter, some photos of runners with Brooklyn ties that I recognize (and I'm sure there are more), including Michael Rieman (PPTC), Chris O'Brien (PPTC), Chris Potter (CPTC), Daniel Campos, Chad Tibbets (BBRC), Jene Shaw (BRRC) and Steve Remy (BRRC). Doubtless there are more.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Upcoming X/C Races

Here’s an initial attempt to gather some information on local cross-country races. The USATF schedule isn’t up yet, so there will be some Saturday races in Van Cortlandt. I would expect another December X/C race in Prospect Park as well. For those of you who are traveling in an around the Northeast, Chuck’s X/C calendar was a welcome find.

NYC Cross Country Schedule

Sunday, Aug. 31: Henry Isola X/C Classic, 4M, Van Cortlandt
Saturday, Sept. 13: USATF-NJ 5K X/C Championship, Holmdel, NJ
Sunday, Sept. 21: Fred Lebow Cross Country 5K, Van Cortlandt
Sunday, Oct. 12: Harry Murphy Cross Country 5K, Van Cortlandt
Sunday, Oct. 19: Kurt Steiner Cross Country 5K, Van Cortlandt
Sunday, Oct. 26: USATF-NJ 8K X/C Championship, Deer Path Park
Sunday, Nov. 2: Bad Boys 8K (info TBA), Van Cortlandt
Sunday, Nov. 9: NYRR Cross Country Championships, Van Cortlandt
Sunday, Nov. 30: Pete McArdle X/C Classic, 15K, Van Cortlandt

Other links for information

Chuck’s X/C Calendar (Lots of info for the NEast)

USATF-Metropolitan: No schedule yet for fall 2008

USATF-New England: If you happen to be further Northeast X/C calendar

Nice Piece on Hiking Precautions

When I'm not running, and I have the chance to get out of town, I like to spend some time on the trails. Not necessarily trail running (though that's a blast as well), but simply putting on a pair of hiking boots, grabbing some water and energy bars/Gu/gorp (peanut M'ms, mixed nuts and raisins are a fave), and going for a nice relaxing saunter. It's a great way to get a workout in and cross-train, while putting a lot less pressure on my aching legs (enough of the pounding on the pavement, already).

In New York, my favorite get-out-of-NYC-jail places are on the trails in and around Bear Mountain and Cold Springs/Breakneck Ridge (basically, something that's in reach of some public transportation). In New Hampshire, it's the White Mountains, especially the Presidentials. Just finished a week away in Maine in the mid-coastal region, and stumbled across a well hidden blueberry patch (mmmm, wild blueberries)

Of course, we all need to be careful, because unexpected things can happen, especially when you're on your own and help isn't anywhere nearby. So, articles like this, that appeared in today's Boston Globe magazine, are a welcome reminder. What I liked about the story is it didn't create the doom and gloom scenarios that can happen, but the realistic situations that *do* happen and what you can do to mitigate any problems that might occur.

Another Reason to Run in the Summertime

One of the nice things in Brooklyn is that you can constantly be surprised by the nice things that show up.

For example, the new addition to the Brooklyn Bridge Park that's open through Labor Day. Located at Pier 1, across from the River Cafe by the water on the Brooklyn Heights/Dumbo line, it's a smattering of picnic tables, grassy hills, and three very important things for an evening saunter, say, over the Brooklyn Bridge and back:

-- Tons of Porto-Potties
-- A nice misty spray thingamajig that cools you off without getting you sopping you wet.
-- A working outside bar, with decent beer ($6-$7 a pop) so you can properly relax after your run.

Is this not a great thing? Sign says it's open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wave Starts at New York Marathon

Just noticed this on the NYRR Web site - there will be wave starts at this year's race, meaning you may start as early as 9:40 a.m. or as late as 10:20 a.m. Each wave will have about 13,000 runners.

That should ease the congestion at the start, though it definitely raises the bar for NYRR to make sure things go smoothly so that people with like times are running together.

Let me explain this point: your final time will be a chip-based time, so that won't be affected by the time you start (though starting 40 minutes earlier on a warm day may give those some added advantage.) But we all have colleagues and competitors whom we like to gauge our performance against -- hopefully this won't get mucked up.

The corral starts at the NYRR races seem to be effective, though there are bugs to be worked out. A colleague of mine with a 7:58 pace was put in the first corral today, while runners who signed up at the last minute were included in the 3000+ corral, seemingly without regard to time. Today, not a big thing. In the future ...

By the way, for Brooklyn runners: How are you planning to get to the race start this year? Take the "official transportation" (given that you've been forced to pay for it already) or plead with the local groups that have run buses to keep doing it?

NYRR Team Championships Results

Individual results have been posted for the men's and women's races. Team results are expected by Tuesday.

Race Volunteering

There was a query a little while ago about what the best race to volunteer for to fulfull the NYRR requirement.

Let me dodge the question, a little bit, while making the case for making sure you volunteer at a race this year - any race this year, or do some kind of volunteer work to support the local running community.

The one time I've volunteered at a NYRR race, and this was a while ago, there were numerous options, whether it's setting up the water tables, to calling out splits (though I'm not sure if this still happens) to helping keep the runners inside the running lanes (so Central Park doesn't get upset the racers). It's a few-hour commitment, one day a year.

But please, please, don't limit yourself to the NYRR races. The local races always need volunteers. Contact the Prospect Park Track Club ( to offer to help out at their 5-Mile Turkey Trot, now the Speed Series is almost over. Or check out the monthly calendar on this blog to see if there are local races at which you can help out.

In answer to the question: Does it matter which one you do? Is there a "best" one? I'd probably not wait until December, when a) it'll be cold - there's nothing worse standing a water table where the water has frozen and b) a ton of people will realize that they haven't volunteered yet, so will be showing up to help. So I'd pick one in the fall, where you can enjoy the weather and run in the park afterward. (Blog readers, feel free to chime in).

Marathon Qualifier Added

Injured runners take note: The Harlem Health Walk-a-Thon, being held on Aug. 23, has been added as a marathon qualifier. No running is permitted.

"The 2-mile walk raises money to support the Harlem: Healthy Eating and Living (HEAL) Initiative and celebrates historic Harlem," according to the NYRR Web site.

This will make it the second-easiest qualifier on the schedule (there was the race in the winter that was canceled, but all entrants got credit).

For those of you looking to qualify for New York and limit the mileage, note the Fifth Avenue Mile on Sept. 21 and the Norway Run (I think, though it's not entirely clear) on Oct. 4 - the 1.7 mile distance is run before Grete's Gallop. If my memory serves me correctly, if you enter both races, you can knock off two qualifiers in 1 day.

One would think NYRR would simply have people write out a check so they can get into the marathon if this keeps up ... oh wait ...

Remember, besides the races, you need to volunteer for one race. More on this in a sec.

Women's Marathon Coverage

While NBC will have snippets of the women's marathon coverage tonight, those interested can "watch" the Runner's World blog for coverage.

Bolt. 9.69. Awesome.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Runner Killed on Atlantic Ave.

As I'm out of town this week, I'm only gradually getting up to speed on some of the more pertinent events.

Brooklyn Runner has links and information about what happened to a runner who was killed on Atlantic Avenue and Fort Greene in a completely random traffic accident.

Think You Know the 2008 Olympics?

OK, I'll be the first to admit. While I hate a lot of the NBC-inspired hoopla, I'm a huge Olympics fan. I don't really remember the 1976 Games - I'm sure I watched some of it, since I was first introduced to sports on a national level with Game 7 of the Red Sox-Reds World Series (no, not Game 6, Game 7, so I was introduced to pain.) I do, however, remember the 1980 Winter Olympics, complete with the Miracle on Ice. As sappy as that is ... I'm a fan.

So I'll be glued to the set, as well as online (, specifically for track and field, but also for the general sports interest. Water polo? Table tennis? All hours of the day and night? I'll be there.

(I am, however, trying to figure out how I'll watch the men's marathon and be cheering on my Hood to Coast teammates - a challenge I will overcome).

Anyway, if you're a track fan, and think you know who's going to win, it's worth checking out this contest whereby you could win $1 million!!!! (OK, picking the 100 meter top 3, even the winner, could be challenging. Will Tyson Gay show up? Is he too hurt to make it to the finals? And what about the women's marathon? Paula, are you there? Deena, are you preor-deened for gold?)

You have to pick a perfect ballot to win ... from there, it goes swiftly downhill. But bragging rights are key.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

PPTC's Frank DeLeo Honored

Frank DeLeo of the Prospect Park Track Club was inducted into the Broadway Ultra Society Hall of Fame last weekend. DeLeo, who can often be found at some of the shorter races in Prospect Park, has been New York Road Runners Ultra Runner of the Year three times.

Air Quality

Interesting piece in the New York Times today about running in Beijing, and the issues that athletes, both professional and casual, face in dealing with the poor air quality.

It's easy to take that for granted, though I'm sure many of us are cognizant of the various smog alerts that have occurred over the years (and if you hail from Los Angeles, I'm sure you've seen your fair share.)

Me, I'm going to enjoy some pristine Maine air for a while ...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

PPTC Speed Series

Jeff Decker finished first at the latest entry of the PPTC Speed Series on July 30, running a 16:17. Stephane Pere ran a 19:26 to take honors as the top female.

Sixty-eight runners finished the race, which was promoted as part of the MAC Grand Prix series. That was just two more than finished the previous Speed Series race (on July 16).

Two more Wednesday races remain - on Aug. 13 and Aug. 27. Race time is 7 p.m., and it costs $5 - a great bargain and a chance to pick up some hardware.

Finding a Hill to Train

The New York Times ran an article yesterday on the Incline, a killer trail used for workouts by athletes in Colorado Springs.

Brooklyn's got nothing like that, but the need for hill workouts, especially for those of you running fall marathons with some hills (think New York) or cross-country, is key.

So, where do you go?

-- the Bridges: Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg all have long stretches of uphill at a moderate grade (less than 5 percent) that can be used for a workout. A popular loop is the Brooklyn/Manhattan bridges, but why not make it a Brooklyn-Williamsburg run?

-- Zoo Hill in Prospect Park: A half-mile stretch that starts near the Prospect Park zoo and continues up, and up -- and gives you a great workout. Run six to eight of them. (Other places in Prospect Park include the trails - including the Stairs - and the hill on the other side of the park, Or run a fartlek on the upper meadow and power up the short, steep hills).

- Park Slope. The last thing you want to do coming after a 12 mile run is to head up to the park - a good 5-7 minute slog. For those of you who like Union -- head two blocks over to Carroll, which has much less traffic.

- Any place you can come off the waterfront. From Dumbo, from Williamsburg, from Red Hook you name it. The downside is there's often traffic that can interrupt your stride.

- Columbia Heights in Brooklyn Heights. In between the pier that has the Ice Cream Factory, and the Brooklyn Height Promenade, is a short, steep, 8 percent grade hill that stretches for 150 yards or so.

-- Indoors on the treadmill. Don't knock it - the treadmill can give you a great workout without the knee-pounding from have to do the downhills.

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