Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prospect Park Status?

How's Prospect Park?  Anyone go out today? (It's gotta be better than the rest of Brooklyn). I'm guessing ... runnable albeit some places where it's pretty slippery as the snow starts to get packed down.

Our friend Chicken Underwear went out yesterday for four loops (some photos - scroll down past the shot of his car)


Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Year's Races

Absolutely beautiful weather, ain't it? Perhaps it's time for the X/C skis or the snowshoes (thankfully, I got my run in early with the snow blistering my face - fantabulous!) Wonder what it's like on the Brooklyn Bridge right now ...

Some races to think about in the near future as you plot your New Year's running resolutions:

*On New Year's Eve, there's the Brooklyn New Year's Eve 5K Run at Prospect Park, about a 5K fun run starting at 11:15 p.m. (so you have time for the midnight celebration!)

*If you happen to be in Manhattan, and want to celebrate in Central Park with a bunch of your friends (or 5,000 strangers), there's the annual 4 mile run at midnight. An added bonus this year is that it's a NYC marathon qualifier (and you get to pick which one). Online registration for this race closes tonight.

*If you're a Prospect Park Track Club member (or know someone who will invite you along), the club throws its annual Harry's Handicap loop at around 10-ish in the park (the gimmick for this race is that the organizers try to predict your time beforehand, and then give you a "handicap" that tells you when you'll start. Note, this is a PPTC-club race, but as mentioned, non-members can run. A story about the race is included on the PPTC blog (scroll down).

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Numbers Game in Boston

Interesting article here on the BAA and the Boston Marathon and the challenges it faces in terms of fairly granting entry to everyone who wants to run Boston (sound familiar?). My two cents, for what it's worth:

*Lower the qualifying times and provide guaranteed entries (total, 10,000)
*Lottery for others using existing qualifying times (total 6,000)
*Charity et al (total 5,000)

Also out recently, a two-part article (part 1, part 2) over at Runners World with an interview of Mary Wittenberg

And finally, a very funny look at what Prospect Park West (and other streets with bike lanes) are destined to become

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NYRR Responds to NYC Half Criticism

OK, the word "criticism" is mild here. If you don't like NYRR, you have to read the pages and pages of comments on Facebook (maybe you can bundle it into a Kindle book ...)

And here's the mea culpa.

One solution they raised: If you run 4 of the 5 half marathon races, you get guaranteed entry in 2012. That's a decent solution.

My one reponse: Tell us *now* when those races are, and don't switch the friggin' dates on us.

And please, please, have an orderly process for the Brooklyn Half application whenever the race is posted.

If Sean Haubert, director of social media for NYRR is reading this post (you can comment on NYCRuns as well), please make sure that the process is fair, timely, and people don't get closed out without warning. And feel free to comment on NYCRuns, since a forum has been established for people to vent.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

NYC Half: Did You Get In?

A lot of NYC residents did not, and they are voicing their aggravation on the NYRR Facebook page today.

I'm still sifting thru stuff, though this appears to be the NYRR comment on the issue (again, this from the Facebook page, not from the main Web site. I'm not on other social media with NYRR, including Twitter, so there may be other stuff out there).

"The NYC Half is built on the model of the ING NYC Marathon. It's a world-class event that draws its field from around the world. As with the marathon, we segment the lottery into international, national, and local applicants. Understandably, local interest in the NYC Half is disproportionately high. We care deeply about you and hear your concerns, so we are building a guaranteed entry program for 2012."

The Web site says this:

"And there may be an additional opportunity to run this year—and let us stress “may be.” Don’t plan on it, don’t bank on it. If this opportunity happens, we’ll select additional runners in a second drawing on January 15, 2011."

For all the aggravation I've seen about NYRR policies and how they handle races, this is the biggest slam I've seen on Facebook (welcome to social media). Basically, the gripe is: A lot of non-NYC residents got in, a lot of NYC residents did not.

(I can't wait until the Brooklyn Half entry is posted.)

Seriously, though: NYC Half is a lottery. NYC Half is an international event that NYRR is putting a lot of resources into.

Yes, it's a fun race (I've done it once in its first year), no desire to do it again. (When you run through Times Square, there are tourists wondering what the heck is going on) Is it a destination race, i.e. a race you plan your entire season around ... ESPECIALLY if you live in New York City? (I'd argue no, though there are hundreds of Facebook posts that argue against me).

Just because NYRR calls it special, doesn't mean it is. (Sorry.) If you want to run a spring half, I promise, I'll give you a great list of fun races that don't involve a loop or two around Central Park. Long Island, New Jersey, Bear Mountain, Connecticut - halfs are everywhere. Including Brooklyn.

Let's not forget: assuming the Brooklyn race doesn't run into registration shenanigans: That's our race. That's your destination race if you're running a half marathon this spring. Don't get hung up on the hype. And I know there's a bit of hype about a possible Brooklyn Marathon? Maybe a half oughta be on the horizon first. In the fall.

Just my two cents. As always, I welcome other opinions and responses.

All this said: Congrats to those who got in to the NYC Half and best of luck.

Running Goals for 2011?

It's around this time of year, especially after the racing season has come to and in, that I'm surrounded by event calendars and training plans as I try to figure out what challenges/goals to I pursue in 2011?

*The marathon or the mile? Do I aim to run faster, or longer (at a relatively faster time?)
*Roads or trails?
*What races to I target. And where? Brooklyn? New York state? National? International?

Running Times
is out with a short list of training goals, which is rather intriguing:

*Run your fastest mile in 5 years
*Run a 100-mile week
*Run every day of the year
*Do 60 pushups
*Improve your hamstring flexibility by 20 degrees

The article is not yet on the Web site, though in the Jan.-Feb. issue, out on newsstands now

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Packer's Eddie Owens Finishes 8th at Foot Locker

Eddie Owens, who won the NY state championship, was 8th overall in the boy's national Foot Locker X/C race (and the top Northeast runner) Owens is a senior at Packer in Brooklyn Heights.

And here's a nice piece on him from the New York Post a few days ago.

Two Races, One Day

Not for me, I might add, but I know of at least one person who shelled out the money for the Jingle Bell Jog (at least $40) for a 4 mile loop on the roads of Prospect Park, then turned around a short time later to run the Peter Rabbit 3 Mile (?) Cross Country race (at least $7) (two loops of the long meadow/ballfield).

Haven't seen the results yet for the second race, though Brooklyn did itself well in the NYRR race. Among those who picked up age group awards were Tony Watson (M50-54) and Yves Roger (M60-64), both of the Prospect Park Track Club and Kelly Chin (F30-34, and second overall). More than 4,100 runners finished

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Using GPS for Course Measurement

Great article here detailing the details behind measuring courses, and the issues with GPS devices on accuracy

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Why I Run

To live up to standards set by the coach and the runner, as detailed in today's New York Times

Brooklyn Marathon 2011?

NYCRuns, which runs a hefty race calendar site, is helping to promote a nascent Brooklyn Marathon idea in 2011.

According to the Brooklyn Marathon Facebook page, the goal is to "run a Brooklyn Marathon through the streets of Brooklyn in 2011"

There's also a Brooklyn Marathon 2011 Web page, with the note: (don't)fuhgeddaboudit.

It's an interesting idea, though given all the red tape the NYRR has to go through (and that's with their clout) ... well, heck, anything is possible. Thoughts from the readership?

I should note: There is no race yet, no application etc., so don't read this blog entry and set Brooklyn Marathon as your goal race for 2011. (Then again, you could run the Brooklyn Half to Coney Island, then turn around and run back ...)

NYCRuns, for those who don't know, is also promoting the Peter Rabbit X/C run in Prospect Park on 12/11, and the Brooklyn New Year's Eve Fun Run (which is still going forward despite the demise of Slope Sports this year)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Date for Manhattan Half Unclear: UPDATED

As I've started to look at the schedule a bit more closely: It's unclear if the Manhattan Half is Saturday, Jan. 22, or Sunday, Jan. 23. The NYRR site right now says Sunday, Jan. 22, so something obviously has to give.

The application isn't available, though last year's race took place on a Sunday. Either way, I'd leave the weekend open if you're planning to run the race; I'd imagine this confusion gets resolved shortly.

*** UPDATE: Manhattan Half is Saturday, Jan. 22

NYRR Race Calendar Posted for Jan.-March

Key dates:

Jan. 8: Fred Lebow (5M)
Jan. 22: Manhattan Half
Feb. 6: Gridiron 4M
Feb. 26: Al Gordon 4M *** Prospect Park***
March 6: Coogan's 5K
March 27: Colon Cancer 15K

NYC Half Marathon Lottery Dec. 15

NYRR just posted the information on its Web site

Monday, November 29, 2010

NYRR Update

According to the NYRR Facebook page:

*Dates for January-March races will go live this week. Don't hold your breath for a date for the Brooklyn Half, which looks like it's ensconced in late May

*The NYC Half lottery will be held in early December. Lot of complaints from readers about timing, and some apologies from NYRR

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Race Results

Philadelphia Marathon (not searchable by city, however - am assuming those will be available later). I'm seeing Nathaniel Kuzma as the top Brooklyn finisher in 2:57:58, with the top female as Jaimie Hunter at 3:01:37 - apologies if my crude search missed some faster finishers.

NYRR Knickbocker 60K

NYRR Fred Lebow X/C Championships

Race to Deliver

I'm not seeing any results yet for Sunday's Turkey Trot on Coney Island, will post those when I locate them.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day 5: Back to Coney Island

Yeah, I've temporarily skipped yesterday since I'm still compiling thoughts, but it being a beautiful fall day, thought I'd share this first.

With the week off, and Thanksgiving travel not happening until tomorrow, I was torn about what to do today. Part of me wanted to go up to Bear Mountain/Cold Spring and kick the leaves around (though wasn't particularly looking to dealing with the traffic given I get to spend so much time in the car tomorrow).

So I compromised, and got in my longest run in a while. Compromise being a big part of the work/life/family/running schedule of course. With the trusty Metrocard, I was eager to do something long, and one way, and I realized that I hadn't been out to Coney Island since ... well, on the running front, since the Brooklyn Half. And I hadn't done a 13-mile run in a while either (with no marathon this fall, the necessity of the 90-minute/2 hour runs somewhat dropped off.)

The weather was, let's just say, delightful - probably the last day of this caliber this year. I actually brought along water in case the fountains were shut off (though both the main boardwalk fountain by Ocean Parkway, as well as all the fountains I tried in Prospect Park were on).

It was a trip well worth it. I'm a little sore after yesterday's race, though ended up just "going my own pace" - which was perfect today. After a 10-mile jaunt to the boardwalk, I tacked on another 3.5-4 miles on an out and back on the boardwalk (wow, there are some place there that are simply dangerous for runners). Midday, during the work week in the late fall, Coney Island is barren - good for the runner, bad for the economy.

A few points here:

-- One reason for the long run today is because of a simple desire to get back into the training bandwagon. (After yesterday's race, I realize that I'm off whatever schedule I would have had to peak at the appropriate time). And, while I've still got a couple of races (which will be more likely hard workouts) this week, I've got enough time to reasonably recover from today's run before the Thursday Turkey race.

-- Be creative on your runs. They don't always have to start and end at the same point. There was no way I could get out to Coney Island and back (and enjoy a run on the boardwalk) at my training level. So figure out a way, and use the subway or bus.

The route is here - not particularly unique I'll admit. Nor really hilly. (Nor is the Brooklyn Half, which makes today's run, or variations thereof, perfect to prepare for that spring half).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Empire State Building Climb Feb. 1

The application is available here - note that it's an invitational race. Even though there is a race sponsor, the entry fee has skyrocketed to $50 from $30. Given the fee increases we're seeing in other races - between $40-$55 for the Jingle Bell Jog in Brooklyn (which is being used as a fund-raiser) - you may want to budget a bit more for races in 2011.

The Joe Kleinerman 10K has closed, for those who were thinking about that race.

Still no word on the dates for road races in January and February - a post by NYRR on its Facebook page earlier this week indicates that they will be coming shortly. The one race everyone wants the date for is the Manhattan half, which has been run in late January, traditionally.

Day 2-3: "Slow Down, You're Moving too Fast"

Or, I could say "Slow Down, You Move too Fast" - which might be the more appropriate song for this (answers to both artists in a bit).

Obviously, running fast is not always a problem; and in fact, it's a goal for many of us to run *faster* - so it seems somewhat of a contradiction to say "slow down."

Yet that's one of the things to do, especially in preparation for a race or three. Yesterday's run, an early morning saunter over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, is a perfect example. Normally, especially when I'm on a solo run, I run at what ever pace I'm feeling like. Which is both good ... or bad if you're supposed to be running at a slower pace.

So, yesterday was a deliberate move. I picked out a very familiar route, and targeted *slower* time checkpoints than I might normally do. And, happily, I did. (And today, a light two miles with stretching, is a bit more of the same).

If you want to get faster, you have to mix up the pace a bit - if you run 9 minutes miles all the time, you're not going to race at 8 minute/pace. That's why tempo runs, fartleks, hills and intervals should gradually worked into your training. At the same time, the recovery days from the hard workouts are equally as important.

Sauntering over the Bridge also has the added benefit of allowing you to appreciate the surroundings a bit more (such as the temporary Parsons map exhibit on the Promenade - get to it before it rains!)

Oh, and the songs? "Lights" by Styx and "Feelin' Groovy (the 59th St. Bridge Song) by S&G. I hope it's the latter song that gets stuck in your head as you're out for a run - and that your mind doesn't wander over to something like "Mr Roboto"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Coney Island Turkey Trot on Sunday

For those missing the summer days on the boardwalk - now's a chance to revisit Coney Island for an ultraflat 5K on Sunday. Race starts at West 19th on the boardwalk, and, unless the course has changed, it's an out and back course (meaning you might have a headwind and/or tailwind, depending on what part of the race you're in).

First 500 who register get a heavy sweatshirt (you might need it); top 3 men and women get a Butterball turkey.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 1: Running at/to/from Work

One of the problems that I've faced, heck, everyone I know has faced, is figuring out how to squeeze in the time of the day to run.

Work is a complicating issue (we have to do it). Families are a complicating issue (we love our spouses and children and want to spend time with them). Other activities (friends, bars, football, shopping) are complicating issues.

And yet, we run. And that's a good thing.

Today's 7-mile outing took place during an extended lunch break. Happily I'm near Central Park, which gives me a good place to go running in Manhattan (and I'm also on the East Side, which gives me options north and south, as well as the Queensboro Bridge into Queens). The route I chose: Nothing fancy - a run to the park, a loop around, and a run back.

The orchestration, however, took some planning in advance:

*Laying out the clothes, the gu, the deodorant the night before (I've tried setting that up the morning of, that's why one year I ran the JP Morgan Challenge in work socks)

*Remembering you have an extra gym bag with you on the subway. (Yeah, I've forgotten - got two new pairs of shorts this year at the Atlantic Antic - now they're somewhere else)

*Carve out time during your work day ... and stick to it. If you pass up an opportunity to run in the AM, and then work intervenes ... you're hosed unless you can come up with a PM plan

*Figuring out where you're going to ... freshen up. Most work places don't have a shower. So you have choice: Join a local gym with a shower, or pack a good amount of baby wipes and Secret.

*If you're running to work (which I do): where is your change of clothes?

*If you're running from work (which I do): how do you include the important documents you want to take home (it's a lot easier now with e-mail and VPN access)

*Bring that MetroCard. Sometimes emergencies happen, and you need to get back to work/back home/etc.

And at what point do you leave your wallet somewhere? And where do your glasses reside?

A few tips/thoughts: Know where the closest drugstore/running store is. Be flexible with your running schedule (those days where work prevents you from running ...)

And stay committed. It takes planning and perseverance to pull this off.

Day 1: 7+ miles, 54:40. Three days until Sunday's 5K at Van Cortlandt

11 Days, Three Races: Prelude

It's not so often that I delve into my personal running and training - well, OK, perhaps more than I think. Still, I had an idea of a brief series of posts that may help both my readers (you know who you are) and myself (suffering a little bit of a running funk lately).

Just to set it up a little: I had a planned series of races in the fall, including the three that I'll mention here soon. Had decided to focus on shorter distances rather than just go for it all in a fall marathon. And my early races - great PRs, some of my best age-graded performances ever.

Then a few nagging injuries, increased work stuff, some mental running focus issues (I was setting PRs and falling further behind my competitors). Training was, well, bleah. Suffice to say, it hasn't been a great month.

Yet, here I am, with three races - on Sunday, Thursday (yep, a Turkey Trot, though not the one in Prospect Park) and Sunday (and then actually one the following Sunday). And I'm eagerly looking forward to them. I may crash and burn. But I've also figured out a way to use them to launch into a next phase of training (and of course there will Brooklyn/New York angles all over it). And finally, that's the point of this post.

So, bear with me for a tiny bit: I'm hoping the ideas I've got help out, whether you're planning your post-marathon recovery, gearing up for indoor track races or plotting an enjoyable run down on in Coney Island on the boardwalk. Hope these ideas help.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Last Day to Sign Up for NYC Half Lottery

Nov. 15 is the last day to sign up for the NYC Half lottery being held next March (and for that matter, guaranteed entries as well).

The lottery will be held in late November.

No cancellations or transfers; the entry fee (including handling charge) is $94 for NYRR, $104 for non-NYRR members.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WSJ Article on Marathon Course Change Speculation

Interesting piece of speculation about any possible changes (some radical, most unlikely) to the course of the NYC Marathon in the Wall Street Journal (registration may be required).

One restriction to adding more people (do you really need more?) has been the start and the finish (an alternate start could be in Brooklyn ...). The Olympic marathon, if it were in NYC, would have started in Coney Island and gone across the Brooklyn Bridge - not realistic for the annual footrace.

The WSJ had an article last week about attempts to add a second New York City marathon, this one run solely in the Bronx.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Why I Run

'Nuf said. This is a family blog, so I won't even describe the reactions this sign got.

Now What?

As you're sitting somewhere inside, hopefully warm, thinking about:

*How glad you are the marathon was run *yesterday* instead of *today* (it just stayed raw, didn't it? And the sleet in the AM probably wouldn't have been appreciated to those of you who ran in shorts and a singlet)

*Rethinking your past desires to live in a third-floor Brownstone walkup (at least not too many people will see you walking backward when you go downstairs)

The next big question is: What Now? (Deep tissue massage for both your legs.).

Happily, I have some other thoughts. (Beer. Well, beyond that.)

*Thinking about next year's race? Well, NYRR has helpfully provided an application already: It will only cost $167 next year (if you're a NYRR member), and $207 if you're not. That includes a non-refundable $11 processing fee, though you won't get charged the full amount until you're accepted. I need to go through the fine print to see what changes have been made. You can apply until April 30.

*Didn't have a great race, but don't want all the distance training to go to waste? Now's the time to check out Marathon Guide and see what other marathons and halfs are in the near future (create a short vacation! Somewhere warm!)

*Do the paperwork - if you need more Q races, or have to volunteer (you can fork over $1,000 to get rid of that last issue), make sure you take advantage of the remaining Q races. Walk 'em if you have to

*Stay close to home, and hone in on a couple of key races: For Brooklynites, obviously the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day is a tasty option (how can I get me a pie?). But check out a couple of the NYRR races in December, and some PRs may be in the offing. Me, I'm looking at the Joe Kleinerman 10K on Dec. 5

*Start thinking indoor track, and go from one extreme to another. I know, I know - the last time to ran an indoor mile was high school - now's the time. NYRR doesn't have the races posted yet for January, though the Armory has a list of races in January and February, and maybe you can figure out a way to sneak into the Park Slope Y and train there (though I have some good treadmill workouts).

*Chill out for a few days, relax, consider this an effort well done. Anyway, most of you can barely walk down the stairs without little yelps (it'll get worse tomorrow, trust me. Oh, and the walking backward isn't a joke - do it; you'll be happier).

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Searchable Results Available by 8 p.m.

The New York marathon site, which has been frustrating me to no end throughout the day, says searchable results will be available by then. Look for this, as well as tons of snippets of information, throughout the next few days. Congrats everyone who ran!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Book Signing at Expo

At the expo on Friday and Saturday, Brooklyn native Matt Long, a New York City firefighter and New York marathoner will be signing books and talking about his experience about becoming an athlete again after being crushed by a 20-ton bus. Book details are through the link.

Friday, 11/5
11am-12pm - I WILL RUN seminar, Matt Long + Charlie Butler ING Booth #318
12pm - 1pm - Matt Long and Charlie Butler signing copies at the Runner's World Booth

Saturday, 11/6
11am-12pm - Matt Long and Charlie Butler signing copies at Runner's World Booth

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

For Those of Us Who Aren't Obsessed With the Marathon

Note that the marathon expo over at the Javitz opens at 10 a.m. tomorrow (and continues Friday and Saturday). Even if you're not running in the race, it's always fun to wander over, soak in the atmosphere, see what kinds of bargains you can find (and freebee stuff).

And if you are running ... get pysched!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff Results

are here ... Melvyn Stafford was the top Brooklyn runner (and the top Brooklyn master), while Patricia Mulia led the way among Brooklyn women

Carbo Loading at Park Slope Food Co-op

Saw this on the Prospect Park Track Club blog, passing along an opportunity for carbo loading the Saturday before the race:

"On Saturday November 6, 2010, all are welcome, runners and non-runners alike to come share the carbo-loading pasta party at the Park Slope Food Coop located at 782 Union Street on the Second floor. The party begins at 1 p.m. Come fuel up for the biggest race in New York City with carbohydrates, healthy drinks with electrolytes while enjoying running films about marathon running. "

Training for Philly ... and Looking for a Doctor

Passing this along from one of my readers: Any suggestions?

"I'm training for the Philly Marathon, and think I may have a nasty shin splint on the very lowest part of my right leg. I feel like I should see a doctor and thought I'd ask you if you had any recommendations for a good sports medicine physician. I could obviously just scour the NY Magazine rankings but I thought that you may have someone you like. "

Part of my response to her dealt more along the lines of the decisions she has to make:

At this point, you're almost done with the bulk of your training, so regardless of the doctor decision, you have some choices to make:
> If you have access to a pool or a gym (ellipitical, bike, etc.), I'd start doing some cross training that will help ease the burden on your shin, and maintain your fitness level. When running, I'd also look for softer surfaces (run on the trails where available in Prospect Park). You can't just shut it down at this point and expect to meet your goals, though you can modify your training.
> Ice and Tylenol will take care of some of the pain, though you also need to figure out whether this is "just" shin splits or something more (and the doctor may be able to help).
> Make a smart decision on this, and also think about what your short-term and long-term goals are - you may be able to train thru this, and tough it through the race (the post race recovery may be longer, however). And be up front with whatever physician you speak with: Tell him/her your plan is to race, and what steps can you take that will allow you to fulfill your goal without clobbering your body at the end.

Marathon Weather Outlook

Right now, you'll be waking up to weather around 40 degrees, with a high for the day projected to be 51 degrees. Chilly weather to be sitting out at Staten Island for a few hours, but almost perfect conditions to run a long race, depending on when the high is reached.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New York Marathon Clock Ticks Down

And now starts the blitz of local coverage, a bit more than 7 days (tick tick tick) before the start time for many of you. (Good luck everyone!!)

The NYRR has a wealth of information. Doubtless you're aware of it, but in case you're not ...

*Week events are here: Tons of stuff worth looking at

The NYRR 5, next Friday morning, now has an additional incentive: 5 runners who enter will be guaranteed entry in the NYC Marathon in 2011 - the first 5 official entrants. I'm looking to see if this is just a guaranteed entry, or if the entry fees, whatever they may be, will be paid. (Note the $40 fee for members, the $50 fee for non-members)

Remember: Don't get messed up by Daylight savings time (back an hour that night, which of course means an extra hour you don't sleep)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Meb vs Geb

New Yorkers know about Meb. They don't know as much about Geb, i.e. Haile Gebrselassie, one of the greatest marathoners in the world. He's the fastest ever ... is he the best competitor? Interesting NYTimes article today about the upcoming race.

My thoughts: If it becomes a strategic race, Gebrselassie may be at a disadvantage (he's obviously got the speed, though NYC isn't always to the fastest). A faster pace in the beginning benefits him as the competition will slough off. But who knows! From a spectator point, this oughta be one of the best.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Variations on a Theme

When you go for a run, do you retrace the same route over and over?

An example: If you run from Grand Army Plaza to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, how do you go? Or, if you're on the base of the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn - how do you get back to Grand Army Plaza?

I ran a fairly typical run today: 11 miles, from GAP over the Brooklyn Bridge, over to Williamsburg and back to GAP (I've mapped this route before, I think, or a version of it). I'm realizing, though, that the opportunities to make things different abound, especially when you think of the cross streets involved.

An example (from above): If you run from GAP to the Brooklyn Bridge, do you run down Union to Court? Carroll to Clinton? Flatbush to Livingston (to Court)? Thru Fort Greene? What about from the other end of the run: Do you go along Bedford? Cut down to the water and head along Kent?

One thought, especially as we pass marathon season and get into the winter months, when motivation to run starts to ebb in correlation with the cold: Mix it up, have fun, do something different.

Remaining Brooklyn Races in 2010

While there is this little thing called the New York Marathon which will dominate the running scene on Nov. 7, there are a few other races out there, including dueling races in Prospect Park on Dec. 11 (assuming everyone's Web sites are still up to date). If I've missed any, give me a shout:

Brooklyn races to watch the remainder of 2010:

*Nov. 7: Prospect Park Duathlon (5K run, 14 mi. bike, 5K run)

*Nov. 21: Cosme's Turkey Trot 5K, Coney Island

*Nov. 25: PPTC Turkey Trot (5m), Prospect Park

*Dec. 11: NYRR Jingle Bell Jog (4m), Prospect Park

*Dec. 11: Peter Rabbit X/C Run (3m), Prospect Park

PPTC/JackRabbit Marathon Bus Nearly Full

Only 33 spots remain for the buses that will head to the marathon start, so sign up now (and don't expect to show up on marathon morning with cash in hand and expect to be able to get on board).

Details are here (scroll down) and sign-up info is here

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whaddayou Think About the Prospect Park West Bike Lane?

Opportunities galore to protest, and respond.

As a runner - it's easier to cross the street, though I'm leery about wayward bikers. It also keeps them off the sidewalk on the rare times I'm running there rather than in the park.

Boston Sells Out in 8 Hours

Faster than I thought, though not totally unexpected. If you were hoping to run, hope you got in.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Tale of Two Saturdays

Last Saturday, I went for a run, like I typically do. I'd been thinking about doing as many as 15 miles, though a scheduling problem meant I'd probably be able to do 12 at most. I ended up doing 8 after my legs inexplicably gave out on me. Nothing dramatic - I just reached a point in the run about 4 miles in, where they suddenly became increasingly heavy and fatigued. I staggered back the final two miles, wondering what the heck was going on. This past week of running, as I struggled with a minor injury, was also mentally tough.

Today, I went for a run, like I typically do (yes, there is a point). I was planning to run four miles easy, using a route from the Promenade over the Brooklyn Bridge and back, since I'm racing tomorrow. For those of you out there today: You know it was blustery (all the more fun). I was expecting an easy run, perhaps even tougher than usual. So I was surprised when I reached the top of the bridge and was running 30 seconds faster than I normally do on an easy day. And in fact, the whole route was done a good 1:30 faster - and I wasn't trying.

Obviously, I didn't ingest steroids or speed pills overnight. What did happen? One was a bad day, and one was a good day (I love it when the good days also occur when I'm racing: Those become "great days"). For all the training and prep work we do, I'm a firm believer that some days just suck, and some days are the absolute best.

The point: Today, many of you probably finished your last big workout before the New York Marathon, three weeks hence. For some of you, it was a brilliant 20-22 mile jaunt, for others it was a struggle and you felt like crap, and you're wondering if you're ready for the big race.

The answer: If you've done the right work, and keep yourself in check for the next three weeks, you'll probably be fine. At this point, there's not a lot you can do to suddenly improve your performance - if anything, you can hurt it.

Believe in yourself, believe that you've sweated out the miles over the past 15-20+ weeks to get ready for the race. One or two bad days during the cycle is typical; don't pysch yourself out or over worry. Get into the three-week taper mode, do what your plan calls, and start getting mentally ready.

And, if you're feeling awesome after today's long run -- feel the power and milk it. But don't get overconfident and suddenly start planning for 30 secs/mile faster pace. Look at your training and make a smart decision about what you can do.

WHOOOOH! Good luck everyone.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

WSJ Weighs in on Boston Qualifying

Just noticed this: The WSJ has an article in today's paper examining whether the female qualifying standards for Boston are "too soft". The online version is behind a paywall, though it may be freely available - search for the title "It's Time for Women to Run Faster"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Boston Marathon Registration 10/18 at 9 a.m.

Registration for next April's race start on Monday morning at 9 a.m.

I've got to tell you, I know *a lot* of Brooklyn runners who got closed out of last year's Boston race. They will all be going online that day ... as will everyone else. (Hope the BAA servers don't crash). Could it close in a day? Possibly. Will it be open next weekend (so someone can eek out that last minute qualifying time?) I wouldn't count on it.

Bed Stuy 10K Results

are here.

I should note, I've heard from a couple of people that the course may have been a bit short by about 1/10 of a mile (which, depending on your speed, is 40-60 seconds or more). No immediate way to verify this. If anyone has anything conclusive (Garmin measurement, something from the race organizers, etc.), by all means send it along.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Most Competitive Brooklyn Club?

There was a query a little while ago: What's the most competitive Brooklyn club if you want to be racing?

At varying age levels, competitive is all relative. And, frankly, sometimes getting out the door for five days a week can be seen as competitive. So let me define this before answering, and opening the door for any comments:

Competitive, in my mind, is a mission within the club to support runners as they seek to achieve faster and faster and goals, and also achieve certain team goals. Within Manhattan, for example, Central Park Track Club is a competitive team, with an application to join.

I have tons of conflicts in answering this question, so please take with a grain of salt:

*If you're a superfast male (at this point, let's say you have aspirations for a sub-1:25 half or a sub 3 marathon), I'd go with North Brooklyn Runners or Brooklyn Road Runners

*If you're a superfast female, I'd go with Prospect Park Track Club, which has greater depth than the others.

There are plenty of options out there for runners - look at the club Web sites, go for training runs with the teams, get a sense of what's the most comfortable. Geographically, you may not find a fit, so be willing to travel a bit.

Also, go to NYRR and look at the race results: See how the various runners are placing. Just because the runners are placing doesn't mean that you're able to run with them - we all have unique schedules, so top runners may not be reaching group runs.

I'd love it if club representatives would make a case as to why they are the most competitive Brooklyn club - feel free to send an e-mail, or post a response.

Fast Times at Staten Island - What About Bed-Stuy 10K?

Staten Island half results are here - lot of really fast times (the weather was unbelievable for racing today.). Heard Brooklyn's Rebecca Gorges won the Bed-Stuy 10K on the women's side, though looking for a list of results (if anyone has, let me know).

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hartford Marathon: Brooklyn Resident Finishes 13th

Tom Gatyas ran a 2:42:41 (he was the third NYC resident, it looks like)

Full results here

Saturday, October 2, 2010

5-Mile Running Route Involving Brooklyn Bridge

Got a query from a reader, to which I belatedly responded, though thought I'd throw it out there: What's your favorite 5-mile route involving the Brooklyn Bridge?

For me, it's a loop including both the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, which I regularly do.

I start on the southern end of the Promenade by Remsen, head north, then cut right on Middagh and thru Cadman park to get over to the Brooklyn Bridge. Once in Manhattan, I cut through Chinatown to the Manhattan Bridge to head back to Brooklyn. I normally head back to the starting point (which would be only about 4.5 miles), so to add to that, I'd head down to the water and run through Dumbo and the park there to pick up the extra mileage. Other thoughts?

Reminder: Liz Padilla 5K Tomorrow

For folk looking for a good 5K (with awesome weather) tomorrow, reminder the Liz Padilla 5K takes place tomorrow in Prospect Park at 10 a.m.

A full listing of local races tomorrow, and further on in the calendar, is here at NYCRuns

Mary Wittenberg Interview in Runner's World

Interesting thoughts by Wittenberg on the national/international running scene. She's already publicly said she's not interested in running USATF (Doug Logan was ousted), and I know throngs of local runners with opinions good and bad about how NYRR handles the local running scene (some complain NYRR spends too much time on attracting the stars to NYC) ... that said, it's an intriguing idea

Also, since I'm on the national topic... check out LetsRun.com for the debate about Ryan Hall's decision to pull out of Chicago because he was fatigued.

Grete's Results

Grete's Great Gallop top Brooklyn finishers by Age Group%, including club, net time and AG%

* FELIPE VERGARA, M46, WSX, 1:15:48, 85.40%

* AMERICO CEBALLOS, M55, WSX, 1:23:07, 84.10%

* JOHN M SHOSTROM, M56, BRRC, 1:24:55, 83.10%

* JOHN MACCONNELL, M25, FRNY, 1:12:08, 82.00%

* STUART MARKER, M39, GNY, 1:14:34, 82.00%

* DEBORAH BARCHAT, F62, CPTC, 1:50:29, 81.80%

* NOEL HAYNES, M64, BPTC, 1:33:50, 81.00%

* KELLY CHIN, F30,, 1:21:33, 80.70%

* KIRT JOSEPH, M39, WSX, 1:16:13, 80.30%

* WILLIAM ABRAMS, M53, PPTC, 1:25:42, 80.10%

* SAMUEL SKINNER, M68,, 1:38:41, 80.10%

* DMITRIY KOURTCHIKOV, M52, BBLP, 1:25:41, 79.40%

* MARKUS RANDLER, M38, NBR, 1:16:35, 79.30%

* DANIEL GERCKE, M44, CPTC, 1:20:55, 78.70%

* MATTHEW MALINE, M27, NYH, 1:16:05, 77.80%

* ARMANDO RAMIREZ, M31,, 1:16:06, 77.80%

* CAITLIN PHILLIPS, F28, NYAC, 1:25:20, 77.10%

* JENNIFER DANIELS, F27, NBR, 1:26:00, 76.50%

* ROBERT FRITZ, M28, NBR, 1:17:29, 76.40%

* CHARLIE M HANLEY, M61, BRRC, 1:37:05, 76.10%

* DOUGLAS CURRIER, M56, BRRC, 1:32:48, 76.00%

* RALPH YOZZO, M47, WSX, 1:26:20, 75.60%

* DAVID GOLDFARB, M19, GNY, 1:20:34, 75.20%

Age Group Results and Sharing Numbers

So ... Grete's Gallop preliminary results have been posted (more analysis in a sec), and the top two age-graded results in Brooklyn belong to runners bearing the names Pearl Jones (1st in the F 80-84 category, with a whopping 111% AG result) and Barbara Grcevic (91%, 1st in the F 50-55 category).

A quick search of past histories of both runners indicates that neither have run today's times - or anything remotely close to them - in the past. So, one suspects that the results will be adjusted, and the proper winners will be picked. (And if I'm incorrect here, my humblest apologies).

Not everyone can afford to eat $20-$25 if they can't make a race - so with that in mind, I completely understand why people sell/give their numbers away, especially for these NYRR races. But, c'mon. If you're going to do it, don't mess up the age groups.

(I've said this before, will say it again - there needs to be a process where people can give up their numbers and not suffer. It's not a difficult process, and many other races do it).

Open to other suggestions, so please chime in (and since I know NYRR folk read this blog, a) make sure you fix the times and b) listen to the suggestions).

Back off the pedestal. Results analysis coming shortly.

North Brooklyn Runners

Nice writeup on North Brooklyn Runners in the most recent issue of New York Runner.

Founded a year ago, the group has almost 400 runners, the group mixes talent (NBR's men top the open B division in the NYRR team-points standings) with diversity, attracting runners experienced and new.

"I've had an incredible experience, and there's something for everyone" says new member Katie Winther. "It's great for people new to the neighborhood, and also for those like who me who want to get faster." Most members live in Williamsburg, Bushwick and Greenpoint, though members are from other parts of Brooklyn as well.

The group's Web site is here, and there's a copy of the article as well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Welcome to October

One of the great things about running this month (my favorite month) is that you know never know what the conditions will be when you walk out the door the following morning - could be 90, could be 30 degrees. So it was this morning when I woke up, watched a little Ryder Cup and planned for a nice morning run. The rain had held off so far -- what was the worst that could happen?

Hah. Sheets of pouring, windswept water, giant shoe-sucking puddles mixed in with a precious, solitary experience of sopping footsteps chugging down the Brooklyn Heights Promenade - not a soul on it except for me. (Which probably was because it was POURING.)

That's why I run. Happy October.

P.S. Five weeks to the New York Marathon (and a week to go if you're running Hartford). Excited?!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

PPTC/JackRabbit Marathon Bus

Details are here about the PPTC/JackRabbit Marathon Bus (this year leaving from 151 7th Avenue between Garfield and Carroll) at 6 a.m. sharp. Once nice touch; JackRabbit will be open before the buses so people can get their last minute Gu/Glide and other stuff.

Also note in this link, PPTC sponsors a "last 10 miles" run the weekend before in Manhattan. This is open to the public - you don't need to be a PPTC member - and it's a great chance to see what the last 10 miles of the course are like - crucial if this is your first race.

Dec. 11 Jingle Bell Jog: Also $40

Details of the Dec. 11 NYRR race in Prospect Park are up, and it's being used as a fund-raiser for the NYRR Youth Programs - hence the hefty entry fee.

The 4 mile race in Prospect Park costs $40 to enter at this point (compared to, say $18 for the Joe Kleinerman 10K the weekend before). Included in the entry fee is a technical T-shirt, and jingle bells.

Given the economy (and the thousands of other causes), it will be interesting to see how many people are willing to pay this (unless you've left your NYRR Q races to the last moment).

Do note, for Brooklyn folk, it's an excellent opportunity to get the volunteer opportunity in.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fifth Avenue Mile Tomorrow

This year's professional version ought to be pretty awesome if you happen to be tooling around Manhattan near 5th Ave. around 12:50ish (or near your computer). The men's race features Bernard Lagat, Alan Webb and many others going after the crown. Men's bios here, women's bios here

You can watch live on LetsRun.com and NYRR (might be the same feed, not sure)

And good luck to everyone from Brooklyn who's racing the mile in many of the early races.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brooklyn Bridge Maintenance Update

Brooklyn Heights Blog has an update on what to look for, including a potential one-lane only on the bridge for runners/walkers/cyclists during the weekday as they inspect the bridge.

Having run on the bridge several times over the past few weeks, I confess I'm feeling a little claustrophobic about running through the metal section in the middle of the bridge. Part of it is the desire to look for escape routes (if I'm running at 5 a.m. and some drunken guy comes at me, I want the option to jump out on the spans). Yes, it's necessary, and yes I love the bridge, though I suspect I may also head over the oft-neglected Manhattan Bridge at times (though probably not at 5 a.m. - that's even more isolated)

Battery Park-Central Park 20-Miler

I was inspired by the article in the NYTimes last week about doing a full loop of Manhattan (32 miles). Not so inspired that I think I'm going to run that anytime soon ... however, for those of you looking to do a 20-miler, there's a relatively straightforward loop you can do within Manhattan.

The route below starts at Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall (easily reachable by the 4/5), though it can be run from any part of the loop. Very simply, it hugs the water in the lower half of Manhattan, cuts across 59th St., does an almost full loop of Central Park (except for the southern section) and continues along 59th St. to the East Side. (Note, you have to stay on 1st Ave. to 34th St. at least - this route cuts over at 23rd for preference reasons (you pass two hospitals with bathrooms ... and if you need to collapse ... to be honest).

It's a bit more than 20, I think (this can be adjusted depending on where you start the run.). Plenty of water along the way, and it's a bit more diverse than running three loops in Central Park. It's also mostly flat (which is both good and bad), though you can plan for when you want to deal with the hills depending on the subway stop you get off.

Atlantic Antic *and* Dumbo Arts Festival This Weekend

Plan your running routes accordingly - whether it's to make sure you can finish your Sunday run with a beer at the Atlantic Antic in downtown Brooklyn, or check out some stellar exhibits in Dumbo. Do note that with the throngs of people around, Atlantic Ave., particularly Sunday afternoon, will be very crowded.

New Qualifying Race for NYM 2010

I know, I know, you've been saying - there just aren't enough qualifying races for New York. I don't have enough opportunities to run in Central Park. Race fees are too low - I want to pay *double* what I've been paying. And really, really - I hate racing on the weekend - let's have an early morning weekday race!

Your prayers have been answered. Just announced: There's a NYRR 5 for family, friends - oh heck, anyone who wants to run on Friday morning, Nov. 5 at the healthy hour of 8 a.m.

(Me: Hi, boss, off to run a road race
(Boss: What? Are you kidding?)

Note there is precedent, particularly the Empire State Building climb earlier in the year, not that I want to make that argument (have done that in the past)

The course is one of the five mile variations. The race fee - right now - is a whopping $40 for members and can be up to $50 for non-members if they register after Oct. 21. (There better be a technical T-shirt at the least).

Based on my quick tally, that means, including this weekend's mile race, there are 10 other Q races remaining for New York (excluding the marathon itself). Oddly enough, while you can sign up for all the others, you can't yet sign up for the NYRR Holiday Run in Prospect Park on Dec. 11 (which makes me wonder if there's an issue with that race - either the date, location or both).

Bed Stuy 10K Oct. 10

For those of you looking for a local 10K (and are completely sick of doing loops in Prospect and Central parks), check out the annual Bed Stuy 10K. Not only will it take you through neighborhoods that for many of us isn't on the regular running route, it's also got great community support.

The timing of it is pretty cool - 4 weeks before New York, and it gives you a chance for a shorter race to work out some kinks (rather than traveling to Staten Island, which is hosting the half that weekend).

The 2009 course map is linked off the home page, and it's worth studying ... I know a fair number of people that got lost taking a wrong turn (I almost did the same during an earlier iteration of the race, and was only saved by helpful passersby). No guarantees it's the same this year, though.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Race Results: Hoban, 18-Miler, Yonkers

Hoban Run is here. The 18-miler in Central Park is here. Yonkers is here

(Apologize for brevity, just wanted to get these out)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Alan Webb Fans, Get Ready

Webb, the on-again, off-again favorite among U.S. milers (he's currently moving back to the top on the "favorite scale") will be in town for the 5th Ave. mile next weekend.

NYRR is hosting a burgers and beers event ($35 beforehand, $40 at the door) featuring Webb and Shannon Rowbury. Each ticket includes unlimited beer, wine, and burgers (veggie options, too), there's a raffle, benefits youth services division of NYRR

Of course, check out this article, which says Webb isn't drinking beer (and may not be downing the burgers,) as part of his training regimen


Either way, Webb, in town for the race, should be a great event next weekend. And you can still run!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Races This Weekend

At 5 p.m., I'm sitting at work, debating a) run home; b) go to a bar for a goodbye party; c) head home to be with the family. The answer? c), which is why I'm still relatively dry (relatively, since I got off the subway and was confronted with a whiteout of rain and wind. Hope those runners who were out there didn't get too wet (drenched is a possibility) and managed to avoid the swirling debris and falling trees.

This weekend, what to do? Plenty of options:

On Saturday, Sept. 18, check out the Harlem Renaissance Road Race (5 miles). Don't go to the Dog Run Dog that was supposed to be in Prospect Park - the Web site says it's postponed to spring (dang, I wanted to meet Rufus, the Registration Dog)

Sunday's also got some options. The third leg of the Brooklyn Triple Crown - the Chris Hoban 5 miler, takes place in Bay Ridge. If you want something longer, check out the Yonkers Marathon and Half - I want to do this someday (and maybe I'll show up for the half). Then again, you can run 3 loops of Central Park (and pay for your efforts).

The PPTC main site (scroll down) as well as NYCRuns have plenty of others as well.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Liz Padilla 5K

The death of yet another cyclist on Brooklyn's streets unfortunately coincides with the race brochure I picked up at the gym today.

The 5th Annual Liz Padilla Memorial 5K takes place in Prospect Park on Oct. 3 at 10 a.m. to remember Liz Padilla, a competitive runner who was killed in road accident on her way to work. The race is sponsored by the Brooklyn Bar Assn Volunteer Lawyers Project.

Needless to say, there are a lot of races with a lot of worthy causes. This one is ringing home today.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sad News: Slope Sports to Close

Don't have all the details yet, but Brooklyn is losing one of its premier running stores with Slope Sports shutting down. Kirsten and Haig Marino have been great supporters of the Brooklyn running community, including race sponsorship and great clothing/shoe selections. They will be missed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weekend Race Picks

There are plenty of options in the Greater New York area (including Long Island, NJ and CT): Here are three to consider as we dodge Hurricane Earl:

*9/4: Celic 4-Mile Run, Cloves Lake Park, Staten Island
There are still race-day entries available

*9/5: World Trade Center Run to Remember (5K), Governor's Island
Flat, fast loop + around Governors Island - note the Brooklyn ferry doesn't start running until 11, which is somewhat aggravating, so you have to head into Manhattan to get there.

*9/6: New Haven Road Race (5K, 20K), New Haven, CT
A bit of a travel, though if you're up for an early, early morning drive, I bet you won't hit any traffic on 95 … (hah). Race starts at 8:15. It's also the 20K U.S. Championships