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