Saturday, January 31, 2009

Random Thoughts on a Saturday Evening

** If you were procrastinating about signing up for Boston, or hoping to get a qualifying time in early February, that option is no more. Boston filled up as of Jan. 26, according to this press release on the BAA site. This is one of the earliest dates the race as closed, if not the earliest.

** At least 102 Brooklyn residents are signed up for the Boston race, according to the entrant database.

** Results are here from last night's Millrose Games. Lagat and Goucher were among the big winners ... anyone go? There's a link here which has some televised schedules of some of the bigger U.S. track meets.

** Friggin' cold today (again). It wasn't so bad with the wind at the back, but if you had the misfortune this morning to be running into the headwind (as I was, heading on Ocean Parkway toward Prospect Park) .... brr. The highs on Sunday and Monday (at least 42 degrees Fahrenheit according to look promising, though.

** The NYRR Gridiron Classic (4 miles) tomorrow is not closed yet, though suspect there will be some kind of cut off.

** I've always been a Marion Jones fan, and am saddened by the choices she made. This Yahoo! article offers more evidence about her fall from grace. Sigh.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Al Gordon 5K Course Quiz

OK, if you can figure this route out *without* resorting to a map, kudos ... Most people would simply run a loop around the park (which you can do, one ... or three ... times the following day at the Cherry Tree.). Hint: it looks like a figure 8, I think.

This may be an unfair shot, but does anyone remember the last time NYRR held something in Prospect Park? Wasn't there a problem with the measurement? (Yeah, it's a pet peeve of mine, especially when the mileage markers get messed up).

Anyway, from the NYRR Web site:

Enter the west side of Prospect Park on Center Drive to reach the start. The race will start on Center Drive inside Prospect Park. Turn left/south onto West Drive and continue until you reach Well House Drive. Turn left/east onto Well House Drive and continue until you reach East Drive. Turn left/north onto East Drive and continue onto the West Drive. Finish with a left turn onto Center Drive.

(An aside: This may be a great race to get your volunteer requirement done if you're doing the 9+1 qualification for the NYC Marathon in 2010. And then you can race the following day!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brooklyn Half for Beginning Runner

There's a comment on an earlier post that, rather than respond in that thread, let me talk about it here.

Samantha asked:

How's the Brooklyn looking so far? I am training to run it, but honestly, it's my first race, so I'm not sure I can get up to speed by then.

Here's a couple of answers (and blog readers, chime in, please)

First off, the Brooklyn Half is in four months. There shouldn't be a race cap (it's not being run in Central Park), and I'd expect you can put in your application by March.

You have plenty of time to train for it, and there are a lot of strategies that you can use. Jeff Galloway writes a lot about beginning runners, and he suggests using the run/walk strategy (i.e. run for 5 minutes, walk for 2) as you gradually build your mileage. The goal is stresses is not to worry about time, but the distance. I would suggest that you want to have done a run of at least 8 to 10 miles, and brought your weekly mileage up to at least 20 miles a week (it's doable otherwise, just may hurt more).

JackRabbit has a beginning runners class (fee-based) that is specifically targeting the Brooklyn Half (and there's one going on now). There are also various groups that gather at Grand Army Plaza in Prospect Park on the weekend mornings (Prospect Park Track Club and Slope Sports have one at 8 a.m. - pace and participation vary - that's free). There's also a Team in Training group that I've seen at various points in the park - I'll see if I can dig up contact info on that.

If you've never run a race before, I'd suggest running in a shorter race (5K to 10K) beforehand - not so much for time, but to understand what race conditions can be like. The NYRR has a calendar on its Web site, and I try to post races in the Brooklyn area on this blog as well.

Hope this is of some use (feel free to respond if there are any questions). Good luck!

What Chocolate Gu Tastes Like at 14 Degrees

Actually, kind of like fudge. It's debatable whether or not that's what you want halfway into a half marathon, especially when you have to chip away at the ice in the water cups to get any liquid. (I'm told, by the way, that Vanilla Gu is the most popular flavor -- my personal favorite is Tri-berry, but the case I bought late last year has already been depleted). There's also a new Mint Chocolate, but I'm not sure I want to be trying that ...

According to the CNN clock, it was 14 degrees at the start of today's Manhattan Half. It's certainly been colder, but it led to a whole lot of different race strategies.

No results yet - I'll cull out the top Brooklyn finishers and post later today.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sale at Slope Sports

For those of you who still don't have enough winter gear, check out Slope Sports this week.

From their newsletter:

Slope Sports has been in business for 5 years this month and we want to celebrate! From January 24 to February 1st, we are marking down all winter apparel 25% off.

Sale items include:

· All down jackets

· Winter running jackets & tights

· Thermal midlayers

· Baselayers

· All hats & gloves!

Manhattan Half Reaches Cap

The Manhattan Half tomorrow has reached capacity, so don't show up and expect to be able to get a race slot. That said, of the handful of people who I know have signed up, a lot are bailing, either because of calendar conflicts or the fact that it will be so friggin' cold at the start (18 degrees Fahrenheit is a possibility!)

Here's a look at this year's shirt (100 percent cotton).

Al Gordon 4 Mile Race ... now a 5K

Apologies for the delay in posting this - have been fighting a battle with a recalcitrant Norton Internet Security file that's crashing my laptop (for the moment, I'm winning).

Anyway, as an earlier comment points out, the Al Gordon 4-Mile run in Prospect Park, slotted for Saturday, Feb. 21, is now a 5K. Furthermore, the planned separate starts for men and women are no more -- it's now an all-comers race at 9 a.m. (Note, use this link, or seek the page from the calendar - the link from the NYRR home page is incorrect).

In the larger scheme of things, this is more of an irritant than anything else (as the commenter pointed out, child care now becomes an issue). No idea yet what the 5K course will be (there are a couple of tried and true ones in the park), and the likelihood that the Manhattan throng will trek out to Brooklyn that morning is low (3,000 participants maybe? We'll see).

(And remember, there's the Cherry Tree 10-mile race/3 person relay that Sunday.)

Still ... c'mon.

Memories of the Brooklyn Half's late shift last year still rankle some runners. I'm hugely in favor of more races outside of Central Park (though more races in Prospect Park isn't necessarily the solution).

If anyone is aware of why the late changes were made (permitting issue? Realization that the park loop is 3.35 miles -- I was curious what route they would take, but figured they'd end on the transverse, like the Brooklyn Half course.), please respond.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Manhattan Half Nearing Capacity

Those procrastinators who are thinking about running the Manhattan Half but haven't signed up yet should take note that there's a notice on the NYRR Web site indicating that the 5,000 race cap is close to being reached. Last year's race had 4,994 finishers, so that's not a surprise.

Plane Thoughts

Frigid morning, eh? Might have the been the first time that the length of my run topped the starting temperatures (a balmy 7 degrees Fahrenheit).

I swear, the only two things that got me out of bed was the knowledge that a) I'd already made arrangements to meet with people -- always a great motivator when it's this cold -- and b) a pretty good idea that we'd all have the same idea - make the trek from Brooklyn to see if we could get a view of the plane in the Hudson, despite the freeze. Runners are weird that way, ya' know?

Turns out, that really wasn't the strangest thing on this run (from Grand Army Plaza, over the Brooklyn Bridge, along Chambers to the West Side, and then a loop down around Battery Park before heading back - about 11 1/2 miles to 12 miles). We did see the plane, or at least the wing, sticking out of the water, but the cops were doing a pretty good job of keeping the crowd away as the workers made preparations to haul it out of the water.

But wow, it was cold. So cold that when we were coming back up to the park, we passed a guy who, I swear, had fully formed icicles coming from his beard.

Oh, and the strangest thing? Running through Battery Park, there was a wild turkey trotting around right by the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

NYRR and 2008

I'm assuming this came from a press release (couldn't easily find on the NYRR site), but New England Running News has a stat snapshot of the 2008 season.

Some highlights:

The largest race, obviously, is the New York Marathon. But what about the three smallest races?

1. USA 8K Championships (71 finishers)
2. NYRR Knickerbocker 60K (78 finishers)
3. More Magazine Marathon (140 finishers)

In 2008, there were a total of 20,782 finishers in the half-marathon Grand Prix series, with 509 runners finishing all five races and another 458 completing four of the five.

Manhattan Half is in about 10 days -- get ready!

Excluding the marathon (November), what month had the most finishers? Click through on the link above and see if you're right (oooh, blog audience participation ... so cool during this frigid evening).

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Treadmill Workouts

OK, Amy has a point about the treadmill (see previous message thread) and, given the weather forecast for the next few days, I suspect I'm going to spend a ton of time inside. Several years ago, I spent 90-plus minutes on the treadmill watching a football game (it was the only tolerable way to pass the time) -- it could happen again. (With my Patriots not even qualifying this year, go Steelers!)

So, for those treadmill runners, what are your favorite workouts if you're not just slogging away and trying to pile up the miles?

For me, there are a few:

-- The ladder: 1 mile at 8 minutes, 1 mile at 7:30, 1 mile at 7 ... and so on

-- The repeats: 6 x 800 at a certain pace, with a 400 rest in between.

-- The hills: 1 minute at 3 percent grade, recover, 1 minute at 4 percent grade, recover ... and so on. Or, if you're feeling particularly tough, no recovery ...

-- The tempo: 3 miles at, say, 7 minute pace. (How fast can you run a 5K indoors?) Discuss.

All of the above are done with an appropriate warmup (I try to do the warmdown, but usually give up after another couple of minutes).

Other suggestions?

For those of you bundling up and heading out, do be careful. Thankfully the wind shouldn't be so bad, but it's going to be CCCCCCOOOOOOLLLLLDDDDDD for the next few days.

I hate running treadmill, and so much prefer the outdoors. But sometimes, given extreme weather conditions, it's the best way to get a targeted workout in.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Running Conditions

The Brooklyn Heights Promenade is still a mess -- I'd hoped the late afternoon sunshine would put a dent in the layer of ice, which, for the most part, hasn't been cleared away. So tread carefully if you're down there over the next 24 hours.

Anyone have status reports for any of the bridges? Prospect Park? Coney Island Boardwalk?

Brooklyn Bridge Photos

If you run in Brooklyn, then you have undoubtedly run over the Brooklyn Bridge (and if you haven't -- what are you waiting for!)

Given the massive amount of tourists that deservedly throng on the bridge, my favorite times tend to be when there's no one else there - that usually is because the weather outside is horrible, or the rare days of fog enshroud it, so you can pretend you're in some magical, misty world (well, except for the cars).

There are some really nice photos of the bridge taken by Barbara Mensch that appear in today's New York Times that capture some of this essence.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

What's With the Rocks?

A quick personal note: After some hedging, decided to sign up for the New Jersey Marathon on May 3 in Long Branch. Qualifying for Boston has long been a dream of mine, though injuries and other obligations (and 15 years of no running) have worked against me. So, the routes and training you see in the next four months that occasionally spill into this blog (devoted to Brooklyn running, as always) will have that race in mind.

Enough on that: Today's running route was a traditional one. Prospect Park, over the Brooklyn Bridge, along the East River to the Williamsburg Bridge, then back through Bed-Stuy/Fort Greene (I think -- I'm going to have to check the neighborhood maps. After 10 years of living in Brooklyn Heights, I still get fuzzy on the dividing line between Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens). One benefit from running in a group - you go different ways than you might normally, which always adds to the experience.

Overall, about 12 miles (I may be a bit charitable on this one, though Map My Run seems to back me up). Highlight on this one: Somewhere on Franklin Ave. or Dean Ave., we run past a giant rock sitting in the middle of the side walk. A minute later, we saw two smaller rocks, these ones painted with an American theme. Anyone know any history on these?

Fred Lebow Results

No need to worry about a race cap at this event, with 3,224 recorded finishers.

Below are the top Brooklyn male and female finishers (ranked by overall time). Kudos to Inkul Yoo, who took first place in the Male 60+ category with a non-too shabby 32 minutes (he beat 3,000 other runners) ...

Top Men:

DAVID NASH 26:22:00
KIRT JOSEPH 28:02:00
DAVID ALM 28:03:00
ERIC WASHER 29:25:00
PAUL WONG 29:45:00
INKUL YOO 32:00:00
JOHN BIL 32:04:00

Top Women


Congratulations to everyone who ran today!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Club Points Races Schedule Posted

For those of you focused on the New York club points competition, note the schedule has been posted here.

Fred Lebow 5 Mile

Gotta love the competing notes on the NYRR Web site regarding this Saturday's Fred Lebow Classic .... (here's betting that, if there's any kind of signficant snowfall, it will become another one of those unofficial fun runs. Either way, probably not a good day to get a PR - so why not carouse in Brooklyn instead?)

There are still running spots available in the NYRR Fred Lebow Classic. If you wish to sign-up, please come to registration at NYRR, at 9 East 89th Street, during Number Pickup/Registration. See times below.

(and ...)

A snowstorm is predicted for Saturday morning, January 10. NYRR is watching the weather closely, but we do not, at this time, anticipate any changes to the NYRR Fred Lebow Classic. If changes are necessary, we will update this website by 6:30 a.m. on race morning. Please check here before leaving the house.

*** UPDATE Jan. 9 ****

As a couple of people have pointed out, the snow likely won't start until later in the day, making for clear, and cold, running conditions. Best of luck everyone!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Catching Up on Some Articles

Ahh, the holidays are almost over, and it's time to get back into the full-time training mode (one that isn't interrupted by travel and good food, that is). Along the way, some articles over the past couple of weeks that might be of interest that sparked some questions:

* Should you run when you have a cold? The New York Times investigates.

* The Village Voice takes a look at some of the Kenyan runners that dominate some of the local races. If you get past some of the snarkiness and the somewhat misguided assumptions (as pointed out by the CityCoach blog), there's some insight about what motivates some of the runners.

* Somewhat late to the party here, but don't count on being able to run indoors at the Park Slope Armory this winter.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Upcoming Races

Still culling together a list, but here's a start:

Jan. 3: Freezing Cold Hash Run, Edison, NJ

Jan. 4: Open/Masters New Year's Classic, Armory (168th St.)

Jan. 8: Thursday Night at the Races, Armory (168th St.)

(also run on Jan. 22, Feb. 12, Feb. 26)

Jan. 10: Fred Lebow Classic (5 Miles), Central Park

Jan. 18: NYS Parks Winter Run Series, Long Island

(also run on Jan. 25, Feb. 1, etc.)

Jan. 25: Manhattan Half Marathon, Central Park

Jan. 30: Millrose Games, Madison Square Garden

Jan. 31: Long Beach Snowflake Run, Long Beach

Feb. 1: Gridiron Classic (4 Miles), Central Park

Feb. 3: Empire State Building Run-Up, Empire State Building

(entries closed)

Feb. 8: Bronx Half Marathon, Bronx

Feb. 15: Valentine's 5K Run, Prospect Park

Feb. 21: Al Gordon Snowflake 4 Mile, Prospect Park

Feb. 22: Cherry Tree 10 Miler and Three Person Relay, Prospect Park

Feb. 28: Open/Master Last, Armory