Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Brooklyn Half Non-Update

NYRR is still working on the race. Note this recent Facebook post, in response to people gently pushing so they can make travel plans, etc.

"We're trying to get May 30 nailed down. Promise will shout from rooftops when confirmed. Sorry for the delays on this one. We're working on it, truly."

We wait. And wait. And think about other races that weekend (sigh).

Which reminds me ... April/May races forthcoming shortly. There's a lot of stuff outside of Manhattan, so please, take the opportunity to celebrate your winter/early spring training and a) look for a PR-type race or b) look for the adventurous/fun race that you'd never do otherwise (or c) both!)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

From Brooklyn to Boston

Three weeks to go for those of you who are running Boston this year - and what an exciting time this must be! For those of you doing the traditional taper, this is the last big weekend of training - from here on it's pulling back, doing the important prep work to get ready for the race. One of my friends said she just got the race instructions in the mail -- awesome.

New England Runner lists the top Boston 2009 qualifiers by state. And it's of great comfort that some of the ones from New York are from Brooklyn.

Jorge Eliecer Real (Open M): 2:28:44
Kelly I. Chin (Open F): 2:47:47
Arlen N. O'Connell (Open F): 2:55:11
John E. Grant (Veterans M): 3:20:01

Congratulations in advance to everyone who is running this year.

Friday, March 27, 2009

More Half-Asterisked Moves

I've got good news and bad news.

The good news: the Brooklyn Half is not alone in the calendar shenanigans.

The bad news: More calendar shifts for the half marathons

So, the Queens Half is now scheduled for Sept. 20, the same day as the Fifth Avenue Mile (you may actually be able to do both, depending on your speed and your transportation from Queens). Then again, why?

And the Nike Half? Pulled from the schedule for now (it'll be back - there's too much prestige involved here).

Facebook users pointed out both of these things on Wednesday -- whether or not you're a fan of Facebook, it seems right now that the best information about NYRR is coming from their Facebook group (though no responses yet from NYRR.)

No update yet on the Brooklyn Half. Nine weeks to go before the tentative date of May 30.

There's one possible upside here: While *racing* Queens, Grete and Staten Island on three out of four weekends is a mess, the fact that the second and last long NYRR training run was scheduled for Aug. 1 means that people looking for *training races* will have ample opportunity.

I'm hoping that somewhere, whether it's Facebook or in a local newspaper, NYRR will explain the difficulties it's facing in scheduling these races and why these moves. Just pulling them from the calendar or shifting them around: Not cool.

Spring Has Sprung

Phew. Spring has finally sprung. And the forecast is grand - in the 50s for the next 10 days. It's only going to get better from here.

Thousands of Brooklyn runners are taking to the streets and the park, enjoying the warmer weather. And, as noted by a poster earlier this week, and reaffirmed here, you can again get water in Prospect Park! (I have to say, a running friend of mine saw the picture and immediately congratulated the photographer on finally figuring out how to use the fountains :-))

Me, I'm spending my days in the gym and in physical therapy, trying to erase a nagging injury (so apologies if the running routes are a little sparse -- I may live vicariously through some other runners -- and by all means, if you have a great route you did, send it my way!)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brooklyn PTA 5K

Here's a save the date for a 5K in early May - Brooklyn PTA's 5K Run for Schools takes place on May 2 at 10 a.m., with profit being divvied up among Brooklyn schools. Definitely worth checking out. T-shirts, post-race brunch, and I'm sure lots of screaming, happy kids will be on hand.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brooklyn Half Update, Sort of

Mary Wittenberg posted this to the NYRR Facebook site on Sunday (I might have seen it earlier if I hadn't lost all my groups with the new Facebook redesign ... I know they're here, somewhere ...)

"We are quite hopeful of posting the date (still finalizing May 30) and the course this week. Hang in there - by end of week we should be in position to share the information. thanks for your patience all, Mary"

Thanks, btw, for NYC Running Blog for pointing this out.

Running Repeats

Please ignore the harsh temperatures outside - it's purely a blip in the march to continued good weather and putting those somewhat smelly tights and tops (OK, maybe it's just *my* washing skills leave a little to be desired) into the closet for another year.

It's also spring track season, though most of us won't go near a track during the year at all. Thankfully, there are plenty of places you can do repeats/interval workouts in Brooklyn (note the tortured transition here - ultimately, this is the point I want to make in this post).

If you're training for distances from the mile to the marathon, getting in some speed work is key. If you train your body to run faster, doing a variety of shorter- and longer-distance intervals, you'll perform better in races. I'm not going to tout the merits of how and why - if you've never done it, then check out some of the articles on Runners' World.

Where? Ahh, let me give you some suggestions:

First off, if you do have access to these tracks scattered throughout the borough and want to get a flat, fast measured workout, note this list. I've only run on the Red Hook track, which is usually scantily populated. (Since I'm not familiar with many of the others, apologies if this list is outdated and the mondo tracks have been replaced with weeds.)

If you don't have access to the tracks, here are some other places, with some measurements, for better or worse, to help you plot your workout. I'm pulling these measurements from various places on the Web, so if they are off by a bit, my apologies (please let me know and I'll fix)

* Prospect Park: It measures 3.35 miles around, and now, courtesy of some gremlins, has a 5K course marked in parts (complete with 1/4 increments) and a 10 mile course as well if you want to do mile repeats. I've been asked before if there's anyone with measurements for workouts on the paths, and need to do some further investigating on that front.

* Cadman Plaza Park: One of the posters reminded me of this today - a tad more than 0.4 miles around, right by the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.

* Running the bridges: The Manhattan Bridge is 6,885 feet long (though it's unclear what the start and end points might be from a running standpoint. What's perhaps more important: The span is 1,470 ft (448 meters).

* The Brooklyn Bridge has these little factoids, according to Brooklyn Bridge Facts and Information:

Brooklyn Bridge East River Span: 1,595.5 feet

Length of Brooklyn approach: 971 feet
Length of New York approach: 1,562.5 feet
Official length: 5,989 feet, or 1.13 miles.

* The Coney Island Boardwalk measures 2.7 miles, according to the New York Parks Department,
from W. 37th Street to Corbin Place

* The Brooklyn Heights Promenade - roughly 1/3 of a mile long (1,826 feet, to be exact)

Doubtless there are others - anyone want to offer your favorites?

Weekend Race Results

Prospect Park Duathlon results are here.

Colon Cancer 15K Results are here, while 4 Mile results are here. Interestingly enough, the combined finisher total for the two races is about 4,400 -- it either means that the NYRR race cap is set too low to get the desired 5,000 cutoff (taking into account no-shows), or that a lot more people are signing up, and then not showing, than have done so in the past.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Half Marathon Popularity

Check out this quote, from a Washington Post article about the popularity of half marathons, and tomorrow's marathon/half marathon in the U.S. capital:

"The half marathon has gained in popularity over the last few years because the training commitment is much less than the marathon and runners still gain a tremendous feeling of accomplishment," said Kathy Freedman of the Capital Running Company, which is helping to time tomorrow's events.

The Brooklyn Half Marathon remains *tentatively* scheduled for May 30. Good thing it's not a popular race that draws 5,000 to 6,000 people, that people specifically train for ... (ohh, wait ...)

Give us a firm date ... please.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Running With the Animals

One of my secret wishes has been to go running up at the Bronx Zoo (another one of those places that would probably frown if you laced up your running shoes for an early mornings saunter.)

The paths look great, and think of the scenery! You could see lions, and tigers, and bears - oh my! (And run really, really fast, if you got into the safari zone)

And those pathways are so much longer than Prospect Park Zoo (believe me, I've had the wonderful experience of chasing my children around there on a weekend afternoon, especially after my muscles have tightened following a long run earlier in the day).

Alas, the trek to the Bronx is a bit much ... but now, check out this 5K at the Bronx Zoo on April 25. And it's for a great cause.

"Run to help save Gorillas in 2009. We need your help in protecting a species that is at great risk of extinction."

Doesn't quite look like they are pushing it for the competitive aspect, but that's fine.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Huge Turnout for Beginning Runners Class

Happened to be near Grand Army yesterday morning for the first of three beginning runners classes, co-sponsored by the Prospect Park Track Club and Slope Sports. There had to be at least a couple of dozen runners there - dwarfing the usual PPTC/Slope group that usually shows up. People of all ages, sizes etc. were there - simply awesome.

Some comments from the PPTC blog on this (scroll down past the race results).

NYRR 8000 Results

The results of the NYRR 8000 have been posted, with more than 4,500 finishers listed. Below are the top finishers of Brooklyn residents age 50-54 (no particular reason why these specific results were chosen, just wanted to give a shout out to people who are performing at the top of their age bracket in the borough).

Top Brooklyn Finishers, Male 50-54


























Top Brooklyn Finishers, Female 50-54


























Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When Will They Turn on the Fountains?

Ahh, it's the popular question this time of year ... and every spring it seems to be different.

An e-mail into the parks department has gone unanswered so far. And a query to a colleague I have generated a shrug, and the answer that there's one guy who covers the district, and he determines when they get turned on.

The warmer weather hints that it should be soon ... but when? And where? Should you note one of your favorite watering holes being brought back from its winter slumber, please message in ...

(For those in despair, remember that there are still sinks in the park bathrooms that are open, and there is a working fountain at Pierrepont Park off the Brooklyn Heights Promenade).

Race Updates

Some race updates (or lack thereof)

NYRR 8000, March 14: Closed due to capacity issues in Central Park

More Marathon/Half Maraton, April 26: Closed

Brooklyn Half Marathon, May 30? We hope so.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

March 5K in the Park

And I mean in ... part of the Prospect Park Duathlon that's being held on March 21, they've introduced a new 5K only for us runners who hesitate to strap on the cycling shoes.

Details on the Fuggetaboutit 5K are here on Saturday, March 21.

This is the route, I believe ...

RUN through Brooklyn's only forest, past it's waterfalls, under the Nethermead and East Wood Arches, through the Cleft Ridge Span Tunnel, over the Binnen and Esdale Bridges, and around the Long Meadow. You will always remember this run!!!!

And you get a technical T-shirt (can't have too many of these) and a water bottle

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Steve Martin? Meryl Streep?

Numerous reports in the blogosphere have Steve Martin (I saw him in a Boston hotel elevator once), Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin filming in Prospect Park, which could interrupt your loops. Anyone have some first-person sightings? Commentary?

Perhaps there's an opportunity for an overdressed, sweaty runner to have a cameo, or even one of those distance shots ... (ahh, there's incentive to go running in frigid temperatures).

Not sure the hype will surpass when George Clooney and Brad Pitt were in Brooklyn Heights recently for some shots of "Burn After Reading."

Free Beginning Runners Workshop

Prospect Park Track Club and Slope Sports are teaming up to provide a beginning runners' workshop on consecutive Saturdays in March (14, 21, 28) at 8 a.m. at Grand Army Plaza

According to the post on the PPTC Web site:

"Each session will illustrate practical tips that will help runners stick with a program, develop good technique, and progress gradually and safely towards their goals. All paces are welcome. We’ll be regrouping at specific points along the run, and nobody will be left behind. We’ll meet on the sidewalk at the Grand Army Plaza entrance to Prospect Pk. The program is free, and we encourage you to attend all three sessions. Non club members are welcome."

Brooklyn Bridge Rehab/Armory Hearing

Two developments of note, according to the local media:

The Brooklyn Bridge rehab begins this summer, according to Brownstoner. Not entirely clear what that means for pedestrian traffic (i.e. us runners), but suspect there will be some disruptions on top of the usual tourist dodgeball.

There's a hearing next Monday for the YMCA to operate the Park Slope Armory, according to this article in the Brooklyn Eagle. According to an article I saw in the Brooklyn Paper, it's possible it might the indoor track might be open in May, just in time for the first 70 degree day of the year :-). All kidding aside, can't wait for this thing to get finalized.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Reebok Grand Prix May 30

The Reebok Grand Prix, scheduled for May 30, has been selected as one of the IAAF's new Diamond League events, starting in 2010.

That means that it will be part of a 12-race circuit that attracts some of the top runners in the world. Lot of details still being worked out, and I suspect 2009 won't be a slouch, but it's a definite step forward in getting track and field on the higher echelons here in the U.S. (The other U.S. race is the Prefontaine Classic).

P.S. On its own, if all the dates hold, it means you can have a brilliant running day on May 30 - run the Brooklyn Half, while away some of the early afternoon at Farrell's, and then head out to Icahn Stadium for the race at 3 ... (uhh, maybe get a shower in there at some point :-))

Prospect Park in the Snow

After tromping around with the kids in the morning, I ended up doing 8 miles on a treadmill at the gym (I even wore my iPod to pass the time -- egads) this afternoon. Doubt I would have gotten in the mileage, but it probably would have been a lot more beautiful if I'd headed out to the park.

Back in the 50s next weekend, it looks like.

Caumsett 25K and 50K Results

Results from the Caumsett 25K and 50K are posted here. Frank Deleo was the top Brooklyn finisher in the 50K, while Teresa Casaburri was the top Brooklyn (and top woman) finisher in the 25K.

Running Where You're Not Supposed To

So, to follow, running is prohibited in Green-Wood Cemetery (that's the right spelling, btw, despite my elimination of the hyphen in previous posts).

And, as you can tell, it's something that the guards are looking out for. Admittedly, that seems to be in conflict with the desires with us free spirits (then again, the Civil War spirits might not be a fan), but so be it ...

In talking more to folk, it does seem to be a cemetery-specific thing. Obviously, most of the cemeteries are smaller and so wouldn't be part of any route. But there are plenty of places out there where it is permitted.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Coogan's 5K Results Are In

I keep wanting to call this the Coogan's Bluff 5K. Anyway, the snow held off this morning, and the times were fast, fast, fast.

It was a club points races, to be sure, so it attracted a lot of New York's top runners. But a brief statistic of note:

Number of runners who broke 20 minutes today: 392!!!
Number of runners who broke 20 minutes at the Al Gordon Snowflake 5K in Brooklyn: 155
Number of runners who broke 20 minutes at last year's race: 138

Races to Build Your Vacation Around

Every year, there are races across the country to build a vacation around -- but many of them are tricky to get into, whether it's because of a lottery or the slots fill up quickly.

Here are three upcoming races, with deadlines, that I'm looking at. Anyone have some favorites they are tracking as they make some plans this summer?

** Mount Washington Road Race, Pinkham Notch, NH, June 21. (Lottery being held now through March 15): Only one hill, as the promotional materials state, and one of the pre-eminent mountain races in the country.

** Beach to Beacon 10K, Portland, Maine, Aug. 1. (Entries start at 12 noon on March 15): A good old-fashioned 10K, with ties to Joan Benoit.

** Falmouth Road Race, Falmouth, MA, Aug. 9 (Entries by lottery May 1-15, with decision by end of May): One of the country's best road races.


Upcoming Races

Here's a list - let me know any that I missed.

March 7: Kings Park 15K Run, Kings Park, NY (LI)

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

March 8: ShamRock & Roll 5K, New Haven, CT

March 8: Boston Buildup 25K, Norwalk, CT* (postponed from 3/1)

March 8: Forest Avenue Mile, Staten Island

March 14: NYRR 8000, Central Park

March 15: Go for the Green 5K, Smithtown, NY (LI)

March 15: St. Patrick’s Day Classic, 4M, Fairfield, CT

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

March 15: St. Patrick’s Day 2M/10K, Yorktown, NY

March 21: Huntington’s St. Patrick Run, 4M, St. Patrick, NY (LI)

March 21, St. Paddy’s Day 5K Run, Staten Island

March 22: Colon Cancer Challenge, 4M/15K, Central Park (RACE CLOSED)

March 22: Leprechaun 5 Miler, Madison, CT

March 22: Milburn Spring Run, Milburn, NJ

March 28: Fool’s Rogaine, Harriman State Park

March 28: Fisherman’s 5K, Pt. Pleasant Park, NJ

March 28: Run for the Heart 5K, Rockaway, NJ

March 29: Suffolk County Half Marathon, Long Island

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

March 29, Mudder & Grunters, 5M, Yorktown, NY

March 29: May the Road Rise to Meet Ye 5K, Patchogue, NY (LI)

March 29: Ridge Runner 5K, Basking Ridge, NJ

March 29: Boston Blowout, 30K, Fairfield, CT

April 4: Nationwide Insurance Run for Aspire, 10K, Plainview, NY (LI)

April 4: Easter TSA 5K Run, Wantage, NJ

April 4: Building Tomorrows 5K, Bloomfield, NJ

April 5: City Parks Foundation 4M, Central Park

April 5: VCTC Urban Environmental Challenge 10K, Van Cortlandt

April 5: Indian Trails 15K, Middletown, NY