Sunday, February 28, 2010

Al Gordon 4-Mile Results

are here, with 3,684 finishers. Turned out to be almost a perfect day to race - Prospect Park, while wet in some spots, seemed fine during a loop I ran later in the morning (love the huge snowman at the Bartel Pritchard Square entrance.)

Nicholas Holowka took Brooklyn's top male honors, finishing ninth overall in 21:47, while Jessica Sebor (25:22) nudged out Prospect Park Track Club's Helen Dole (25:24) for the top female honors among Brooklyn runners. I'll crunch the numbers a little bit in the next few days to highlight some of the other performances - some great stuff, it looks like.

Phew: three Sunday races in Prospect Park over the last three weekends. It gets a little more sporadic over the next month or so, but there are plenty of upcoming races, both there and throughout the borough. Working on a March-April list now (and I've already got a couple from your e-mails) - if you know of a local race that might not hit the overall radar screen, by all means drop me a note.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Al Gordon 4-Mile Race

As of now, the race is still on tomorrow at 9 a.m. in Prospect Park. A posting on the NYRR Web site indicates that an update will be given at 4 p.m. today.

After running a couple of loops in the park this morning - it's definitely passable. The question comes with the big thaw today - will it freeze overnight? If so, there are going to be likely some dicey situations - perfectly fine if you're going out for a casual run, less so if you're part of a 5,000-person throng aiming to race.

My guess is the race will go on, though I wouldn't be surprised if it was made a fun run.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Other Bloggers' Thoughts on the Cherry Tree

I was set to do this, then realized - hey, the PPTC blogger is doing it.

So, click on this and scroll down a little, and you'll see a bunch of commentary about the race.

(Yeah, I could do it, but feeling lazy. Thinking about the fact that the snow that had melted away this week is going to likely be replaced tomorrow. At least it's in the 40s most of next week.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Manhattan Bridge Access

This isn't the most elegant of maps, but gives you an idea of where the Manhattan Bridge pedestrian access in Brooklyn - by the intersection of Jay & Sands streets (yeah, the start arrow didn't quite get it). In response to a reader request: If you're running down Flatbush Extension toward Manhattan ... take a left on Tillary, and a right on Jay Street.

Or, conversely, take the F-line - when it's running - to York Street and follow the base of the bridge back into Brooklyn.

Or .. just ask. When I first moved to Brooklyn, I had no idea how to find the Brooklyn Bridge. And so a helpful neighbor pointed me in the right direction. I hope I've repaid that favor over the years ...

Cherry Tree Results Posted

Results are here ... Looks like over 1100 runners (including relay teams and 10-milers). Congrats everyone.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Cherry Tree: Great Race Today

Great conditions for a mid-winter race, and a lot of people seemed to be having a blast. Looked like more than 100 relay teams, and hundreds of runners out for the 10 mile race (I heard a total number of 1,100 starters, but that was third-hand.). No results yet, but they'll be coming, and I'll try to collect, or post links to, other blogs from people talking about the race.

One thought from the trenches: For those of you who have never done a relay race, whether it's a track event (4 x 400), or one of the 24 hour events such as Reach the Beach, or something like this (3 x 3.35m) - it's a lot of fun, and especially great if you're participating in what is a smallish running community where you know a fair number of people (or at least recognize them from loops in the park) and can even participate in a bit of trash talk, even in the team names (Gotta love "Faster Than Dan")

But mostly it's simply cheering everyone on.

Especially if you're not ready to race 10 miles, put this race on your calendar for 2011 and find some friends.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Running and the Subway: Cherry Tree Detour

OK, so I know the MTA has to do work on the tracks. But those running the Cherry Tree this Sunday, take note: the F line will be "f'd" up.

From the MTA site:

"Local shuttle buses make all stops between Jay St and Church Av: Bergen St, Carroll St, Smith-9 Sts, 4 Av-9 St, 7 Av, 15 St-Prospect Park, and Fort Hamilton Pkwy."

That means, the closest subway to the start is now reachable by bus. Ugh.

Options: Other than the R train (which will drop you off along 4th Ave.), the 2/3 to Grand Army Plaza, and then run a mile plus to the start or to Bishop Ford for registration. Busing is an option, just give yourself time.

Ultimately, it gives you a chance to do a warmup, so not too bad.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Next Sunday's Cherry Tree Nearing Race Cap

Race organizers are indicating that next Sunday's Cherry Tree 10-Mile/Relay in nearing it's 900-person race cap, so if you're planning to run, it's worth signing up *now*. So in other words, don't count on being able to sign up on race day.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Promenade Path Seeking Runners on V-Day

Early morning shot of the Promenade today. No runners, just a beckoning path to the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Running Tips When the Snow is On the Ground

Some quick thoughts on what to do when the snow is covering your favorite running route:

-- If you have a gym membership, or have shelled out the money, a treadmill is always an option. Since it can also be a boring option: Mix up the run. Run at a 9 minute pace for 2 miles, then start increasing the speed by 30 seconds a mile ... or increase the elevation ... until you reach a barrier.

-- Do other workouts. Cross-country ski. Hike in the snow. Eliptical in the gym. Get the heart rate up, and get moving.

-- Prospect Park is generally cleared of snow of the outer loop fairly quickly. So use the mileage markers to set up a workout. Or, if the Center Drive is cleared, do a so-called "figure 8" - doesn't matter which direction you go, just cut across Center Drive (the "upper" drive) each time you pass and create a figure 8. That's 4.5 miles.

My run today: I ran counterclockwise for a bit, hooked up with folk and ran back to Grand Army, then did a full counterclockwise loop, and then a figure 8.

-- Look in your neighborhood for low-traffic/well-plowed roads. For example, in Brooklyn Heights, when the Promenade is a mess, I'll try to do loops that include Columbia Heights and Hicks Street. Obviously, depending on the hour, it's not feasible. Build out a 1-mile loop, and run it for a few - it's worth the effort.

-- Get accessories. I can't speak to these personally, but folk I know use mini-crampons or "micro-spikes" to gain traction. For example, check out this. No, you won't run as fast, but that's not the point - you want to equal the effort you planned for that daily run.

-- Travel to Naples, Florida (you can do it for $240 on JetBlue to Ft. Myers if you leave Friday, Feb. 19, and come back the following Thursday).

Valentine's Day 5K Tomorrow

Reminder, the Valentine's Day 5K is tomorrow, sponsored by Brooklyn Road Runners and Slope Sports.

Race starts at 10 a.m. Cost is $12 (I'm not sure if there's an additional fee for race-day registration - I can't find anything on either of the group's Web sites). Here's info from the Web page:

"This race is a standard 5K loop of Prospect Park starting by the Windsor Terrace entrance of the park and finishing in the parking area at 15th street. Preregistration will take place at Slope Sports the week before the race - stop by for number, shirt and list minute items - and race day at the KofC, off of PPSW on 10th avenue, where there will be a bag check and post race refreshments. Trophies will be top 3 male and female and top 3 in 10 year age categories, top 5 in 40-49."

According to the Slope Sports Facebook page: Register in the shop and get 20% off anything!

Running Conditions - Please Chime In!

Whooh. Just back from a 16-mile run, much of it in Prospect Park, where the outer loop is in pretty good condition. A good number of runners and bikers out there.

The upper loop transverse - Center Drive - is passable, though there are a couple of slushy/packed snow patches. The lower transverse, by the lake, is not in great condition, particularly the bridge that's been blocked off.

Other areas that I saw:

*The Brooklyn Bridge is in surprisingly good condition - the running and bike lanes are both narrowed because the piled up snow, but it's definitely runnable.

* The Brooklyn Heights Promenade has a two-person-wide lane running through it. So if there's no one there, no problem. If there's a dogwalker in front of you, with one of those extending leaches ... problem.

* The Cadman Plaza "track" is covered in packed snow.

* Court Street sidewalks are in generally good conditions. The big problems are the secondary street crossings, where it gets a little dicey at times.

* Union Street is OK. Most of the sidewalks are good, but there are places - particularly by the Gowanus, where they are still covered in snow and there are some serious ice patches. The bike lane is only partially plowed.

* In running along most of the secondary streets, the sidewalks at this point actually seem to be the best bet. Running in the middle of the street is workable (watch for cars, obviously), though all the car owners that waited until today to shovel out their cars are now shoveling the snow into the street.

What about other places? Ocean Parkway? The Coney Island Boardwalk? Shore Road Parkway? Other bridges? If you've been out there running, please comment away.

Friday, February 12, 2010

PPTC Speed Series Dates Set

The annual 5K series, which takes place in Prospect Park, kicks off on May 26, and runs every other Wednesday throughout the summer. Exact dates are on the PPTC Web site in the calendar.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Random Thoughts Before the Super Bowl

-- Here's a look at the Armory schedule for the indoor track in Prospect Park. Right now, while there's a discount if you're a Park Slope Y member, it doesn't look there are any other deals. From the folk I've spoken to, the track looks pretty sweet. Anyone been there? What are your thoughts?

-- New York Times has an article on one of the finishers at last Tuesday's Empire State Building Stair Climb. It's definitely one of those events runners have to do once.

-- Here's a great link for those considering trail races in the coming year. Greater New York, New England and some Pennsylvania events are covered, and, based on the races I'm aware of, it's fairly comprehensive. Thanks Chris!

-- Internet registration for the Prospect Park Track Club's Cherry Tree 10 Mile Run/3-Person Relay ends Feb. 17. (And, of course you can do race-day stuff, though note it's capped at 900). I've done the 10-mile race in year's past (not a fan of racing three loops in the park, but so be it), this year I'm doing the relay, with a bunch of friends from past running experiences. It's a lot of fun, racers have received technical, long-sleeve T-shirt in past years, and is a great way to judge your winter training in a low-key, fun experience. Oh yeah, and then there's this: "Enjoy a post-race massage courtesy of the Swedish Institute massage therapist interns!"

Gridiron Race Results

... are here. David Nash was the top Brooklyn finisher among men, clocking a 20:59 in the frigid 17 degree temperatures this AM (and a lot colder when the wind got involved - anyone try the bridges this morning?). Among women, Kristan Lucas ran a 24:06. Congrats to everyone who ran, and go Colts! (Prediction: it's tied, Manning has the ball, and drives for winning score).

Brooklyn Bridge Park - Now in Spring?

Parts of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, which looked like they'd open in the winter (and seem to be done, if you look from the Brooklyn Bridge or the Promenade), now won't open until the spring.

Articles by the Brooklyn Paper and the New York Times spell out some of the issues.

Admittedly, it's only a small part of the run, but it'd be kind of fun to incorporate into the Brooklyn Heights/DUMBO loops.

Friday, February 5, 2010

NYRR Boosts Race Entry Fees

There's a statement on the NYRR Web site that explains why they are doing it:

In short:

"... We are faced with rising costs across the board. Subsequently, we have raised member pricing by $1 in the early and late registration periods, and non-member pricing by a little more. In our half-marathon series and Grete's Great Gallop, events which have grown in scope and expense, prices have increased to $25 for members in the early registration period with additional increases for the late periods and for non-members."

So, to put in perspective, prices for the Manhattan Half:

Members Jr/Sr Members Non-Members
On or before January 9 $17 $9 $30
January 10-23** $22 $15 $35
Event Day** $25 $20 $40

Prices for the Brooklyn Half:

Members* Jr/Sr Members* Non-Members
On or before May 7 $25 $10 $40
May 8- 21** $30 $15 $45
Event day** $35 $20 $50

One can look at it in a couple of ways. First the logistics of pulling off a half-marathon, especially when you have to close the roads, are daunting. And with New York state and NYC both suffering budget-wise, one would think that the support from those entities has to be reduced.
Also, sponsorship money is probably down. And still, $25 for a decent half marathon with relatively few frils -- that's a good bargain.

On the flip side: Runners in the halfs who register early have to pay 47 percent more. And when you look at the potential extra fees (and the inevitable procrastination by runners), it's likely you've just shelled out extra race fees this year that could go to a pair of running shoes.

(BTW, if you're not a member, and you run a lot of races: Why aren't you signing up?)