Saturday, May 21, 2011

Brooklyn Half: Quick Reax and Random Thoughts

Some highly subjective comments about today's race - as always, feel free to agree/disagree/comment away:

*The volunteers at this race rock. Seriously. Mary Wittenberg said they were on hand at 1 a.m., and the effort showed. From the directions and the organization to the water stops (more on these in a sec) - they did a great job.

*The weather was ... well, as predicted, those who love heat and humidity had a great day. Took me a mile before I was dripping (and that was even before I started dumping cups of water on me). Thankfully, Ocean Parkway was mostly in the shade as I was running down (I'm wondering if the sun had gotten higher though as the race progressed?)

*The past several days of rain had a minimal impact in Prospect Park, though I wouldn't be surprised to hear of some slips and falls - in a few cases, parts of the inside lane really weren't suitable for running, and the puddle at the southern end of the park, while smaller than usual, was very present and made for interesting navigation during the first loop

*I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on the second loop of the course, when the faster runners and slower intermingled. During the long downhill on mile 6, when people separated, I think it was fine. But mile 5, from GAP to 15th Street? A bit messy.

*No way to back this up, but was mile 6 a tad long? (and I would think that mile 5 possibly a tad short as a result). Until losing it in the final mile of the race, it was my slowest mile by a good 10 seconds (and yes, I realize that part of the run was on Zoo Hill).

*Water stops at every mile (almost) on Ocean Parkway were incredibly helpful. The one quibble I'd have is the very first water stop (at mile 1), which may have been set up there because of the park construction, was a little too soon for most runners (of course it was welcome at mile 4).

*I think I've expressed some doubt about the change to the course a few years back, but I think I'm now a total convert - it's a hassle to finish in Coney Island and get back, but I like getting the hills out of the way early and being able to pound it out (or in today's case hang on) during the flat part for the second half of the race. (For the first time in three years, I wasn't fixated on the alphabet streets, which certainly helped.)

*One wonders whether the MTA and NYRR talked about the date before the race. I completely understand that work has to be done on the tracks, but having the F out of commission (shuttle buses aside) isn't a very smart move. (And, this probably could have been avoided by the people who got burnt by this, but the Brooklyn Bridge was also closed to Brooklyn bound traffic early in the day, which didn't help some folk.) It's never a good thing to see a couple of hundred people sprinting to the start during the national anthem (very beautiful today, btw).

*Part of that may also have to do with the bathrooms. The lines looked really long today. Longer race commute means more bathroom needs, me thinks.

*Is there a way to avoid closing baggage claim at 6:30? I'm sure there are reasons, but it gets messy, especially when folk are getting to the race late.

*Set the Brooklyn Half date now. Saturday, May 19, 2012. Get the speculation out of the way. Just do it.

*The water at Coney Island: a bit chilly, but was definitely worth walking into the surf to soothe some sore muscles.

*Runners are good people. After suffering brain freeze when I checked my bag with my Gu (so much for my perfect pre-race preparation), a friend's friend gave me a strawberry-banana Powergel as I was getting a bit desperate. Without that, my final mile almost-collapse would have happened a) a lot earlier and b) would have been a collapse. So thanks.

*I've got ties with/friends on both clubs, but I'd love to see a North Brooklyn Runners (95 finishers)/Prospect Park Club (89 finishers) showdown (and throw in Brooklyn Road Runners (17 finishers) to boot).

Brooklyn Half Results Posted

Details are here

Surprising fact - only 5,909 finishers, down from 7,015 in 2010 and 9,641 in 2009.

More to come ...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last Minute Thoughts for Tomorrow's Brooklyn Half

*So the weather isn't really going to cooperate. If anything a little rain might be nice. We're talking 61 degrees and humid at the start - and it'll be 66 by the time you finish. So make sure you're properly hydrated, hit the water stops at the race - even consider carrying a water bottle.

*The F-train - well, it's a bit fff-d up if you get my drift. No F-train between Jay Street and Church Street, which means you might need to rely on the shuttle bus the MTA will have running. It's also going to make it a bit of a hassle to get out to Coney Island (or back), especially for spectators, if that's the line you're relying on. Details are here. Obviously other ways to get to the park; Grand Army Plaza is about 1 mile from the start, however.

*Remember you need to use the clear plastic bag for your baggage.

*Do not wear your ugly orange Brooklyn Half shirt during the race. You haven't earned it yet :-)

*Do, however, soak your legs/body in the surf.

*Above all, have fun. No, it's not likely that you'll convince many people to join you in Coney Island at 9 a.m. So kick back, have a Gatorade/beer or two, and get them out there for later in the day.

Good luck everyone.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brooklyn Half T-Shirts

Just picked up my shirt. Good news, it's a tech shirt. Bad news (and this is debatable): it's kind of a light orange.

Hey, at least the sun is out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Night Speed Series at Icahn

It's easy to miss (not posted on the front page), but NYRR has its annual speed series at Icahn track for folk who want to hone their speed.

It's too late for tonight's race, though there are dates on May 31, June 14 and June 28, with events ranging from 400m to 5000m as well as relays. Different events are held on different dates, and you can run more than once for $10 for each meet.

Portugal Run Closed

For those planning the Father's Day race (now the Portugal Run), NYRR has posting on its website that it's now closed.

I'm still hoping I get a Portugal Day card from my kids ...

Brooklyn Half Weather

The sun is out now (I swear, I saw it for a brief moment), a brief respite the misting, spitting, drizzling, pelting, pouring rain we've had over the past couple of days (and more on the way it seems through Friday).

(Of course now it seems all the water fountains are on!)

I had early hopes of temps in the 50s for the 7 a.m. start of Saturday's Brooklyn Half, only to be dashed by NY1. And a check at indicates this is the current forecast:

High of 71, low of 59, possible thundershowers.

For the heat-misers among us, rejoice. I'm suspecting it's going to be a sweaty, humid mess (like it was this AM ugh). It may be dry, which is a good thing. And keep in mind, if you know the shoes that you're going to race in, keep them dry - the last thing you want is to head to the starting line with shoes still damp from Thursday's run.

Friday, May 13, 2011

PPTC 5K Race Series

What's not to like about this annual race series?

*5Ks every other Wednesday in the park.

*Low-key, yet intense competition.

*Great opportunity to get medals in your age group.

*Wonderful chance to work in some tempo runs into your long-distance training.

Here are the dates:

May 25
June 8
June 22
July 6
July 20
Aug. 3
Aug. 17 ****(site says Aug. 18, but because it's supposedly on a Wednesday ...)

Each race starts/finishes by the Oriental Pavilion (on the zoo side of the park) around 7 p.m. (a bit later usually because PPTC waits for the cars to clear the park.)

Quick Look at Races This Weekend

Complete list here of area races. Some comments/highlights below:

Healthy Kidney
(tomorrow) has closed, so don't plan on getting in on race-day entries. Race start at 8 a.m. for those who did get entries. Expect it to be packed - last year's race had 7,839 finishers.

Buckley's to Kennedy's 5K on Sunday always get's a large local contingent up in Queens.

Millrose Games at the Armory?

Interesting article in the NYTimes yesterday about the Millrose Games possibly moving to the Armory.

Obviously, since the Armory seats 4,000, you're going to see a lot of demand for those seats (last year's games had 7,000, making MSG look barren). And that kind of atmosphere - completely sold out track meet - will be intense.

Yet there's going to be something lost there. It's sad also that USATF may pull funding if the move occurs.

I'm from a generation that would watch Millrose on PBS TV growing up, and I've managed to catch it live once while here in NYC. It's a great meet, yet I understand when change has to happen. Hope it works out.

Catching Up

Wow, I am lame. Brooklyn Half in eight days, tons of races both behind us and ahead of us. Not even an injury to excuse me (OK, yes I tweaked my knee the other day, though that's part for the course.). Lot of stuff to cover, lot of things to talk about.

Let's go.

Friday, May 6, 2011

NYRR Race Update

Few things if you haven't already seen on the NYRR website:

*Japan Day race is now 8:30 a.m.
*Health Kidney race May 14 is almost closed
*Wall Street run May 17 is closed, as is the NYRR Mini 10K in June
*There's a new 10K, Boomer's Cystic Fibrosis, on July 9
*July, August, September races are open for registration. Shockingly enuf, the Queens and Bronx halfs aren't filling up as quickly as Brooklyn (I'd like to think has to do with borough pride, though the heat might have something to do with it.

Brooklyn Half Course Map Posted

No real surprises here: the course starts on Wellhouse Drive (the "lower" transverse if you're coming from Grand Army Plaza), does two-plus loops before heading out along Ocean Parkway and finishing up on the boardwalk.

Phew. The comment earlier and the lack of a course map had me a tiny bit worried. (After all, how many race dates has this race had, and different tweaks of the courses?)

Bring on the great weather, btw: 70 degree days will be the norm for a while, which indicates that we're probably on for a slightly warmer day when the race comes around, even with the 7 a.m. start.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Random Thoughts on a Sunday Evening

Having completed a run over the Brooklyn Half Marathon course earlier today, my dislike for the Ocean Parkway segment continues. Blech. But it is what it is, and it's refreshing to know that my ability to read the alphabet is still there (look, there's Avenue M ... Avenue N ...)

*If you did get one of the coveted slots (there's an offer for a number on Craig's List to buy one for $25 - not endorsing, just saying), make sure you're taking the time to go over the two parts of the course. Running Zoo Hill twice isn't a picnic.

*One of the highlights of the run today was being able to do it with two complete strangers (brought together by organized happenstance). The conversation flowed well, and it's always great to meet people who have the potential to be running friends.

*Gotta say, after watching the NYC 5-boro bike tour, I'm plotting how to run on the BQE.

*What's up with the water fountains in Prospect Park? Finally the ones on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade got turned on, but some of the oldies but goodies at PP (including the one in the woods by the GAP pathway) are nowhere in site. Even the ones by the lake are sporadic - some on, some off.

*We're hip-deep into spring racing season, and there's a ton of stuff out there. One race coming up next weekend is a hidden gem - the Newport 10K in Jersey City. Fast, flat course, easy to get to, and it doesn't consist of a loop in Central Park.