Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Barefoot" Running

Received a query from a reader, which went, in part:

"I wrote a little while back asking if you knew anyone in the Brooklyn area who could coach me, even briefly, on running and I was interested in running the "barefoot" method written about in the book, "Born to Run" by Chris McDougall"

Anyone know of anyone who is specifically coaching, or groups that are training, using this method? And, I should add to cast a wider swath - any suggestions on individual training programs (I've mentioned several in the past for groups).

I run the traditional heel-toe strike method, as do most of the people I know. Then again, a guy I knew in high school whom I ran into at the Philadelphia Marathon said he'd switched his training to this method and, after some initial discomfort, felt he was running very well.

Here's an interesting article that spells out the debate, as well as touches upon a recent study.

Not taking sides here: What I would suggest is: Do what's best for you.

As in all training programs, shoes, etc. - we all have individual quirks that make some suggestions a good idea, and make others the worst thing in the world. So do what works for you.

February Races

Feb. 2: Empire State Building Run-Up, Manhattan*

Feb. 7: NYRR Gridiron Classic, 4 Mile, Central Park*

Feb. 11: NYRR Thursday Night at the Races, Washington Heights

Feb. 13: Cupid’s Chase 5K, Riverside Park

Feb. 14: Valentine’s 5K Run, Prospect Park

Feb. 20: Run Walk for Haiti, Central Park

Feb. 21: Cherry Tree 10 Mile/Relay, Prospect Park

Feb. 25: NYRR Thursday Night at the Races, Washington Heights

Feb. 28: Al Gordon 4 Mile, Prospect Park

* Race closed

Link to Long Island Races

Link to Connecticut Races

Link to New Jersey Races

Jan. 31 Membership Deadline for NYC 2011

For those of you who are even remotely thinking about running the New York City Marathon in 2011, and are thinking of getting the guaranteed entry by doing the 9 qualifying races (plus 1 volunteer), you MUST

** be a member of NYRR as of January 31, 2010, throughout the year 2010, and at the time of application to the marathon **

That means, if you've let your membership lapse, or never signed up and are thinking about this option, get it done in the next 11 hours.

Yes, you have to do plenty of other stuff, and there are other ways to get in.

But this a crucial point for this method.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

10 Miles, 11 degrees (-12 degrees Celsius)

Ah yes, one of those morning runs in frigid Brooklyn. You know it's cold when you're running down the Promenade around 9 a.m. and *there is no one else there.* There was also a deceptive breeze blowing in your face as you cross the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan that basically just knifed through you. (The reading above came from the Watchtower clock).

And that's why I run.

Happy training this weekend, and dress warmly.

Just think - the Manhattan Half could have been this weekend. :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NYRR Race Dates Posted

As mentioned here earlier, Brooklyn Half is May 22 (no official application yet).

Other dates:

April 3: Scotland Run 10K
May 15: Healthy Kidney 10K
Aug. 7: Team Championships
Aug. 15: Bronx Half
Sept. 12: Queens Half
Oct. 10: Staten Island Half

Many of the other regular races are there, no surprises jumping out.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Haiti Relief Run Possible

At yesterday's Manhattan Half (results here), NYRR's Mary Wittenberg said that a relief run to raise funds for Haiti will tentatively take place on Saturday, Feb. 20, in Central Park. Exact details are being worked out, she said..

** UPDATE: Earlier, I incorrectly assumed it would be an NYRR run, which a commenter has told me it won't necessarily be. So, I'll wait for further details

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Is Brooklyn Half Saturday, May 22?

This site isn't linked directly from the NYRR Web site, but for all intents and purposes, this looks like the home page for the Brooklyn Half. (The address is the exact duplicate of the Manhattan half ... except using the word Brooklyn. No, it didn't work for the others).

Nothing particularly new here on the page ... except for the date: Saturday, May 22. The course description is similar to last year in that it starts in Prospect Park.

Don't mark it in pen on your calendars ... yet. The calendar is supposed to be posted by Feb. 1.

Good luck everyone who's running the Manhattan Half today. Compared to last year's conditions, the weather is simply balmy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Quick Dashes

-- According to the NYRR Facebook site, it looks like registration for the some of the spring races will be up by Feb. 1

-- A Club Council meeting is being held on Jan. 27, at which point club points races will be determined

-- Registration is open for the North Face Endurance Challenge Races on May 8-9.

-- Nice homage in this week's Sports Illustrated to Mary Decker, who set a record in the women's 1500 30 years ago at Millrose. Tickets for this year's track event can still be purchased.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sundays in February in Brooklyn

It's worth marking your calendar for any one of the following three (or all three) races that take place in Brooklyn's Prospect Park on consecutive Sundays. Conditions will be likely icy and cold - a perfect opportunity close to home to test out the results of your winter training.

Feb. 14: Valentine's 5K: Sponsored by Brooklyn Road Runners and Slope Sports

Feb. 21: Cherry Tree 10-Mile/3-Person Relay: Sponsored by Prospect Park Track Club and Slope Sports

Feb. 28: Al Gordon 4M: Sponsored by NYRR

Armory Finally Opening

Check this out: After years of delays and stalled hopes, the Park Slope Armory will be open to the public by Jan. 30. That means, a place to for indoor training on a sweet-looking 1/8 mile track (the photo above is from the Y site) and ... perhaps ... racing (though might be tough to get something up this season.)

Cost: "Charter member" sales start tomorrow, with monthly rates are $40 for adults and $72 for families, and a possible discount for a Sports Complex/Prospect Park YMCA combo membership. (And hopefully for other Y memberships as well).

Opening ceremony is Jan. 11.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Brooklyn Half in Late May, Bronx in August?

Am hearing from a few different sources that, while still tentative:

-- Brooklyn Half Marathon will be in late May. Not sure if NYRR would try to put on a race over Memorial Day weekend, meaning that perhaps we're looking at May 22/23. (Please note, even if the current plans are for late May -- we've seen the date move around a lot, particularly for Brooklyn).

-- Bronx Half (obviously at this point not in February), will be held sometime in mid-August. Ah yes, running on the Grand Concourse in the middle of the summer. That oughta be fun :-)

A lot of things go into picking the race date, so admittedly these could all change. But hopefully it gives you an idea if you're targeting either of these races. Am guessing this probably means Queens is in September, Grete's and Staten Island would be as usual in October.

BTW, Manhattan Half, on Jan. 24, has the dreaded "one-star" on the NYRR site, indicating that the race cap is fast approaching.

Team in Training Info Meetings

As I was responding to a query from a reader, I realized that I don't know as much about the local Team in Training programs as I might (and you can't miss the groups as they run in Brooklyn).

The group has regular information sessions (bars, libraries, take your pick). I've linked it here, and some of the upcoming ones in Brooklyn are listed below.

Saturday, January 9 - Brooklyn

11:00 AM
Carroll Gardens Brooklyn Library
396 Clinton Street
At Union Street

Monday, January 11 - Brooklyn

7:00 PM
reBar, 147 Front Street
Between Jay & Pearl Streets

Tuesday, January 12 - Park Slope Brooklyn

7 p.m.
Union Hall
702 Union Street
at Fifth Avenue

*Food Will Be Provided*

To RSVP e-mail Alyssa at

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Prospect Park/Green-Wood Cemetery Loop

After watching cars flailing on the roads as they attempted to stop this morning, our group decided to stick to areas where we didn't have to worry (as much) about moving vehicles. Hence, a loop around Prospect Park and Green-Wood Cemetery. Let me tell you, there's nothing like trying to finish up the run up Zoo Hill in the park and having a steady 20mph wind in your face (while trying to avoid faceplants caused by the slippery snow).

Harry's Handicap Results and Photos

are here, courtesy of the PPTC blog.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Random Thoughts on a Friday Evening

The pending stormy weather cut short a trip to Maine, so find myself unexpectedly back in Brooklyn on New Year's Day (hence all the posts). So let's clear out some backlog:

-- First off, apologies for the lack of stuff over the last couple of months (and even when I did post, I concede, they were kind of blah). Work, family and running will always take precedent toward the blog, which impacts the posts ... but even this was kind of strange. And part of it was, after running a fall marathon, I definitely fell into the post-marathon yucks.

What helped? Honestly, while I was away over the holidays, I did a couple of runs that were, well, different. This included a run from "work" to "home" that included some bounding across some highways (not advised) as part of the strategy to simply "head in one direction and then figure out where to go when I got there." And it was a blast. After being so focused on a goal, I needed to, simply put, not be. Running is fun. Never forget that.

So, I'm back. (Yippee!). And one thing I decided is to try to expand the blog a tiny bit more. So, while I'll be focused a lot on running, you might see some tangents (bars, pizza, etc.) that relate to "the running life", but aren't always apparent. (OK, I'll concede, I'm also dealing with some pizza blahs -- that'll be fixed quickly, I think).

-- Wanted to say thanks to "Meredith" who sent me a note thanking me for the blog. The point of doing this is to help folk run in Brooklyn. So will continue to try to do this.

-- The NYT had a great article the other day about my favorite running bridge that gets no respect (Manhattan, of course).

-- How many miles did you run in 2009? And what's your goal for 2010? I crested 1,000 (I think), after a bunch of injuries curtailed me. Hills Are My Friends hit 1860. *UPDATE - I ran 1,120 miles, with a top month of 183 in October (and a low month of 4, in April).*

-- "Results" are here from the NYRR Midnight Run in Central Park - basically a fun run except for those trying to win it. There were 4,465 runners.

-- One Runners World went to Rockefeller State Park yesterday - a worthwhile trip, it seems.

-- The NYRR Web site is devoid of information about this year's indoor track meets at the Armory. However, the Armory has this info about the races ... The first one is Thursday, January 7, and probably features the mile, 800 meters and the 2 mile. Cost is $15 a night (up from $10 last year)

Leatherman's Loop Registration Problems

This morning was a frustrating one for a lot of folk trying to get into the Leatherman's Loop trail race. To the organizers' credit, check out the note on the Web site, including what the organizers are trying to do about it. No, it's not going to satisfy everyone - the race cap has to remain at 900 -- but give them credit for being up front.

"It was an inauspicious start to the brand new year with record numbers of registrants—many trying yet unable to quickly register. For that we apologize and are deeply embarrassed. ..."

"By far the biggest factor was a misconfigured ‘load balancing server’ that spreads any surge in registration traffic out to multiple different registration servers in their offices. This was not configured correctly so one small server was taking the hit from the two items above and the Loop registration. ..."

"We will be looking at changes to the registration process for the future. If you have any suggestions we’d love to hear them. Some alternatives to the open registration are: lottery, staggered registration, the Dipsea combination model (invitational, open), or some other hybrid. No method will be perfect and unfortunately some will always end up excluded. "

A lot of race organizers, both big and small, could learn a lesson from being this up front when problems ensue. (BTW, my suggestion: Lottery for the bulk of the population, special entries for a few criteria.)

Dates to Be Aware Of

OK, so if you didn't get into Leatherman's Loop (technical difficulties ensued this morning during registration), realize this: Races are closing out earlier and earlier. And in 2010, expect more of the same.

In a lot of cases, the races are limited because of the course restrictions (both Boston 2010 and Leatherman's have limits because of that). Even the NYC Marathon is curtailed in size because of this.

Some races are using lotteries, some not. But I suspect this will be an ever-present theme in the coming year.

That said, some dates to pay attention to:

Jan. 5: NYC Half, being run March 21, closes its lottery. Results will be available starting Jan. 6.

Mid-January: When NYRR will post more races on the 2010 schedule, (according to a Facebook posting by Ed Fortune), which is sorely lacking at this point. I can't imagine the Bronx Half will be in February -- if you recall, it used to be run in the summer, and was moved because of the NYC Half, so it may bet moved back. The Brooklyn Half most likely will be late May/early June, based on past comments ... but stay tuned.

Jan. 17: Naples (FL) Half Marathon. I only mention because of the huge number of people I keep running into who bought condos in Naples during the real-estate boom. (I've run the half once - fast, flat course).

Jan. 17: Phoenix Marathon/Half Marathon: For those of you heading west (and I know several who are targeting this race). A great Boston qualifier ... in 2011 (sigh).

Jan. 24: Manhattan Half Marathon. Very key because ...

Jan. 31: The last day you can run a half/marathon to use as a time qualifier for New York 2010. The two exceptions, the NYC Half and Boston 2010 (which is closed).

Jan. 31: This is tentative, but one of the ways to get into the NYC Marathon is to be a member and run 9 qualifying races (and volunteer for 1). The 2010 entry set Jan. 31 as the end date. 2011 may be different, but if you're thinking of using this option, sign up *now*.

Feb. 21: Cherry Tree 10-miler/3 person relay in Prospect Park. No lottery, no restrictions, a lot of fun, either way.

March 5: Lottery applications for NYC Marathon 2010, held this year on Nov. 7

Best of luck, whatever you're trying to do.

Happy New Year!