Saturday, February 28, 2009

There Might Be ... Hills

One of the problems of training in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan is that there aren't that many places that you can do a good long run that's got a bunch of hills. That's not to say there aren't hills - the bridges, Park *Slope*, the parks, and anything up from the river in Brooklyn generally has a fair amount of elevation gain.

For people like myself who are running either the New Jersey or Long Island marathons in May, hills don't need to be our friends. But for Boston? Oh yeah, you need hills.

So, how do you go about getting at them in a long run, without the potentially boring, repetitive loops in Prospect Park (I was talking to one colleague who was planning to do five loops!) More power to you, the folk who can handle that.

Today's run, which I'm not going to map, since it's pretty familiar territory, consisted of three segments:

* From Grand Army Plaza, over the Brooklyn Bridge, back over the Manhattan Bridge and back thru Dumbo and Brooklyn Heights (about 10.5 miles)

Hill1: Brooklyn Bridge

Hill2: Manhattan Bridge (up and down ... all the way into Dumbo)

Hill3: Columbia Heights by the Watchtower (my favorite short, steep hill)

Hill4: The long slog up Union Street back to the park.

* From Grand Army Plaza, out Prospect Park West, around the Greenwood Cemetery (counterclockwise) and back. (6 miles)

Hill 5: One off of, I think, 4th Avenue

Hill 6: The run back to Bishop Ford and PPWest

I should note the conversation we had with one of my colleagues, who actually went running in the cemetery the other day and got bagged for it. Apparently in other places, cemetery running is actually considered OK. Not here though. (With due respect, I will say, it'd be an awesome place to run).

* One loop in Prospect Park from Grand Army (3.5 miles)

Hill 7: Starting by the lake, longer and less steep than Zoo Hill.

Plenty of downhills in this three-loop run as well. My legs are definitely feeling it this afternoon as I write this. My colleague at Hills Are My Friends seems a lot happier about the route though.

One random thought: There were *a ton* of people in Prospect Park this morning - running, walking, biking, etc. That's simply awesome. Hope the snow in the next couple of days doesn't scare anyone away.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Colon Cancer 4Mile, 15K Hits Race Cap

Ugh, this doesn't bode well for us procrastinators. A note on the NYRR Web site says the Colon Cancer 15K and 4 Mile Run - scheduled the weekend of March 22 - has already reached the race cap.

The fact there aren't that many long-distance races leading up to the spring marathon probably contributed. But I suspect that some of the other races -- do I hear the Scotland Run 10K on April 11 -- are going to close quickly as well.

Oh well, looks like you'll have to run in races *outside* Central Park. Speaking of which, the Coogan's 5K is this Sunday - first club points race of the year.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Cherry Tree Stuff

Results have been posted here.

Even more blog commentary has been posted here.

Sale at JackRabbit!

Yes, it will hit 56 degrees tomorrow, but be inspired to pick up some cold-weather gear at JackRabbit Sports ... could be some good bargains. According to their e-mail:

"Spring is just around the corner, but there's still a chill in the air. Come by JackRabbit from Thursday, February 26th through Sunday, March 1st for your last chance to snag excellent deals on ALL winter apparel: jackets, long-sleeved tops, tights, pants, arm/knee/leg warmers, baselayers, midlayers, cycling toe and shoe covers, winter hats and gloves."

It's at both the Union Square and Brooklyn locations, through March 1.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm in Awe

Check this profile out ... and this one. Two different approaches to running - one older, one younger. Both of them awe-inspiring competitors.

The great thing about this sport is the huge, huge variety of backgrounds that it attracts. Anyone can do it, and that's a wonderful thing.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cherry Tree Blog Comments

Was going to do this, but someone beat me to it (and even included a YouTube video)

Check it out here ...

Cherry Tree Relay Results Posted

Results from this morning's Cherry Tree Relay race have been posted. 10-mile results will be coming soon.

A tad nippy, but conditions were otherwise beautiful. Gotta say, it's been great seeing so many runners out in the Park. Hopefully, the visitors from the outer boroughs will come back more often!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Almost 4,000 Finish Al Gordon

Results are here ... congrats to all the Brooklyn runners, and to all those who got off at Grand Army Plaza and managed to make their way in time to the start on the other side of the park. (Just kidding, sort of -- there were a ton of people getting off the 2 train at 8:45 a.m. - half hour to get settled for the start.)

Race #2 in Brooklyn's racing weekend takes place tomorrow, with the Cherry Tree 10-miler/relay. Spots are still open, but no more shirts available.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New York Marathon Application Available

The 2009 NYC marathon application is available. NYRR members, including the processing fee, will have to pay $149. This is definitely one of the most expensive top-tier marathons in the country - if not #1. Then again - you pay to be in New York (as my many landlords would certainly attest to ...).

Details are somewhat skimpy on the Brooklyn-based transportation - it looks like you have to be staying at one of a few hotels to be able to get a ride (though further details will be e-mailed in June). The local club options may still be your best bet on the day of the race (though I've heard some success stories about folk who took the ferry over and were able to make their way to the start and not have to kill themselves in the AM).

I'm not entirely sure yet how, if you race the Brooklyn Half in the requisite time, you can guarantee your slot, though I'm sure it will entail some e-mails.

Above 50 degrees (F) today ... it's definitely running season. GET PSYCHED!!!

(especially with this weekend's races!!!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

NY Marathon Application Available Thursday

According to this article in the Stamford Advocate, NYC Marathon applications will be available Thursday at noon.

Couple of notable points from the article, if accurate:

-- The entry free will be $138 for NYRR members, $171 for non-NYRR members. No mention of whether it includes start transportation.

-- June 1 is the last day to enter, with folk finding out by mid-June if they're in. (If you have a guaranteed entry, the deadlines are a bit earlier).

Given that it's a lottery, no need to rush out and get that application in.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

20 Mile Run: Prospect Park-West Side Highway

So, as the next phase of the marathon training kicks in, I've embarked on the first of a few 20-mile-plus training runs. I'll map these, along with the suggestions I received from you folk, in the coming days.

This one was a fairly uncomplicated one. From Prospect Park, over the Brooklyn Bridge, over the West Side Highway, and then north-ish to 86th Street or thereabouts. While not particularly interesting, it has the huge advantages of having bathrooms around the 5-6 mile point (a bit north of Houston Street) and around 73rd Street in Riverside Park. That means, even in the winter, you don't need to carry water unless you choose to do so.

This is a flat, flat, flat route, with the only hills being on the Brooklyn Bridge, Riverside Park (should you choose to run on the sidewalks as opposed to along the water) and then back up to Prospect Park. Great if you're looking for mileage - not so great if you want to get some hills in your long runs.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Please Wave

Hey, if you see this guy in Prospect Park, especially during a weekday afternoon, please wave ...

(The next comments will make sense if you click through the link, which is to a story in February's Runner's World.)

I'm not a waver, actually. I'm one of those eye-contact people. If I'm approaching someone (and not off in some kind of zone), I'll look at the person to see if I know him or her. If we make eye contact, I'll smile or nod -- then spend the next several minutes trying to figure out if I actually know that person. Waving ... not my style.

There are other approaches, obviously. I'm reminded of a friend of mine in high school who, while on a run, playfully punched a fellow runner (also a friend), as we ran by. That resulted in a fractured finger. Don't recommend that.

Why I Run

Every so often, something happens that simply just shows why I love this sport.

Tonight was one of those nights. I'm running home from Manhattan, along the East Side. The conditions are blustery, but not too bad (I lose my hat only once). I expect it'll be pretty bad on the Brooklyn Bridge, but am pleasantly surprised that it's fine.

I hit the Promenade. And the wind hits me back. Hard. So much so that at a couple of points, I'm literally running in place even though I'm trying to drive forward as hard as I can. I've probably been in worse while running (and I certainly have been hiking), but it's been a while.

And you know? It's fun. Pure ecstasy. (Wonder how you replicate this on the treadmill).

And can I mention, for those of you who had a chance to be outside around 5:30 - 6 p.m. and had a view of the West .... what a beautiful sunset, especially with the band of non-clouds.

This weather has been great, especially as it has coaxed everyone outside from the indoors to finally hit the streets - I can't tell you how wonderful it's been to see everyone out on the streets, in the parks etc.

Brooklyn Half Can Be Used to Qualify for NYC 09

Now this is interesting.

While the application for the 2009 marathon won't be available until next week, the qualifying standards have been posted.

For the time qualifiers (scroll down), note the following:

"You must have met the appropriate qualifying time between January 1, 2008, and May 1, 2009 (an exception will be made for runners wishing to use their time from the NYRR Half-Marathon Grand Prix Presented by Continental Airlines: Brooklyn in May, 2009). "

The race, tentatively May 30, gives the relatively fast a chance to score an entry if they haven't accomplished any of the other ways.

So, for example, if you're a 50-year-old-plus woman and you can run the Brooklyn Half faster than 1:50, you can get into New York.

Or, I should say, have the privilege of paying ... what, $200? ... for the race. :-)

The instructions on the site are a little fuzzy about how you reserve a marathon spot with a time of a half marathon that you haven't run yet (or isn't even scheduled yet), but so be it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Best Staircases

OK, so Chicken Underwear went out and started counting stairs. Reposting this on the main blog rather than leaving it buried in the comments section so people can see. I had forgotten about Roosevelt Island.

Brooklyn Half Back on May 30?

It's back on the calendar, with the following caveat:

"Please note that this date is tentatively scheduled. Final race date for the Brooklyn Half may change. "

You know, I'm just going to hold that date open and wait until it gets set in stone.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bronx Half: What Weather!!!

Wow, I'm stunned. What freakishly beautiful weather at the Bronx Half! (A boon, especially after the not-so-freakishly cold weather at the Manhattan Half). This is a race that, because of the calendar switch in past years, probably has a 70 degree temperature difference between its high and low points over the years. Today: Started off at 56 degrees, according to the race stats on the NYRR Web site (personally, that seems a little high, but there's no denying the conditions were close to perfect.) And even the wind on the Grand Concourse wasn't too bad.

One of the benefits of the figure-eight course that features a few out-and-back stretches is that you get to see how the race is developing. Teklu Tefera Deneke had what seemed to be at least 1 minute lead after the first 3 miles!!!! and dominated with a 1:08:25. Top Brooklyn male finisher was stalwart Jacob Cooper, fifth overall, in 1:13:53. Sarah Joyce took the borough's female honors with a 1:28:26 (good enough for fourth overall).

Full results are here.

March Half Marathons (more or less)

With a dearth of nearby long-distance races on the calendar in March, here are some relatively nearby options for folk looking to get it a lengthy race in preparation for a spring marathon - in all cases, though, you'll need to road trip it. I should note, there may be others, and I'll add to this as I discover them.

March 1: Boston Buildup 25K, Norwalk, CT

March 8: Celebrate Life Half Marathon, Rock Hill, NY

(Runners' World says great schwag!)

March 15: New Bedford Half Marathon, New Bedford, MA

(A great New England half - one I've always wanted to do).

March 22: NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge (15K)

(Central Park - if only it could be longer.)

March 29: Suffolk County Half Marathon, Long Island

March 29: Ocean Drive 10-Mile, Cape May County, NJ

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Valentine's 5K Run ... on Feb. 15

I realize that I didn't put together the February race calendar, but didn't want to forget to give a shout out to the Valentine's 5K next weekend in Prospect Park on Sunday, Feb. 15, at 10 a.m.

It starts near the Windsor Terrace side of the park, and does, the traditional 5K loop. Details are here.

Cherry Tree and Race Shirts

Word is from the folk at PPTC that they have 320 applicants already for the Cherry Tree Relay/10 Mile Race on Sunday, Feb. 22. The T-shirt (or should I say, nice long-sleeve technical shirt) cutoff is at 400, so if you're thinking of running, worth getting the application in. (After that, you can run, but no shirt).

Brooklyn Half Date TBD

Queries by myself and others at NYRR over the last couple of days have resulted in: Two responses saying the date is to be determined as the group discusses it with the city; one response saying the race is still May 30. (I think if it was still May 30, they wouldn't have pulled it from the calendar, however).

So, looks like we wait and see. Even if the date changes, I've got to think they aren't going to start the course on the boardwalk this year. It's beautiful in vision, dangerous in practicality - a lot of the slats are sticking up and a few are broken, making it somewhat hazardous.

Should be great conditions for the Bronx Half tomorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Where is The Brooklyn Half!!!!!!?????

This better be a mistake, but I'm looking at the May calendar for New York Runners and the Brooklyn Half NO LONGER APPEARS.

Instead, the Japan Day Run is listed on May 31 - which makes me think that, in fact, the Brooklyn Half is being rescheduled. I've also flipped through the remaining months - no Brooklyn Half.

(I truly want to believe I'm wrong, and this is simply a typo. I'd be more inclined to believe this if last year's calendar mess hadn't happened.)

Anyone have any ideas?

Higher Prices for NYRR Races

Buried in my e-mail from this morning was a pleasant note from NYRR (OK, a form letter), informing me that race prices are going to go up.

"We love to stage races for you and we would like you to join us as often as you can. Thus, we've worked hard to keep your costs as reasonable as possible. While our costs require us to raise the prices of our weekly races, we have made every effort to keep those increases modest —especially for our members. Our new race pricing, for races in April and beyond, will be posted on our website starting February 5.

I'm poking around the site, and not finding any specific mention about this, but to put in perspective, NYRR members had to pay $15, $20 or $25 for the Bronx Half, depending on when they registered, while non-members had to pay $10 more (i.e., it makes a lot of sense to become a NYRR member when the annual memership is $40, if you're planning a lot of races).

For the City Parks Foundation and the Scotland Run, both in April, the fees are $17, $22 or $25, according to the site, so if these are indicative, it means a price hike of at least 10 percent except for last-minute entries (where you end up paying more anyway.) One wonders if they could stop distributing cotton T-shirts if that would cut back on the race fees (though that might upset the sponsors).

BTW, the price for entry for the New York Marathon hasn't been posted - the application is supposed to be up mid-February - I've got to think we're going to see a jump for that as well.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Empire State Building Climb

The annual Empire State Building run is tomorrow (my aching legs - I have enough problems walking the 100 stairs to get out of the subway*). Though, I must confess - it's on my life list of races to do.

The Wall Street Journal has a nice feature on Nina Kuscsik, the first female winner of the New York Marathon in their online edition (I'm not sure if it's password-protected or not, but it will be in tomorrow's paper, it looks like) and some very down-to-earth experiences as she runs what will be her eighth race.

* A question for anyone who might know -- what's the biggest staircase in the New York subway system? (those in Washington DC dwarf anything we have around here, but I may be wrong)

NYRR Gridiron Classic Results

Some nice times at the 4-mile race in Central Park this past weekend, where more than 5,260 people finished (guess that race cap still needs a little working out ...)

Brooklyn residents Daniel Campos in the M35-39 category, and Eddie Owens in the M15-19, won their respective age groups. On the women's side, PPTC's Jennifer Ingebritsen snagged second in the W20-24 group as she led the borough females.

Full results are here ..

20 Mile Run Suggestions?

So ... now that I'm the middle of marathon training, it's time to think about the 20-mile runs. I have some ideas, but I'm curious about what the readership does when they need to go *really* long during February and March.

If you send me a route, I can try to recreate it on Map My Run (or you can build it yourself). One key factor, I realize, after running more than 15 miles last weekend without a water stop -- where can you get water (or where can you stash water bottles)?

Anywhere in the local area is fine. And obviously, all these ideas will be shared.

Leatherman's Loop Entry Starts at Midnight!

Those of you who have hopes of getting into the 2009 Leatherman's Loop muddy slog (or, as they put it, a 10K trail race -- watch the video on the site and you decide), please note: Entry starts at 12:01 a.m. tonight - and the race will fill up quickly.

Details are here ...