Saturday, November 26, 2011
instead of volunteering at the bedford turkey trot, as i've done for the last 3-4 years, this time around i manned the finish line at the greenwich alliance for education 5k. in yet another beautiful weather day, race day registration pushed participation up to 300 runners (80 for the one mile fun run, 220 for the 5k)! that's an impressive turnout for an event that was barely on the drawing board mid-october!
the only drawback to volunteering is not getting to run the race! but from my vantage point pulling tags for the spindle, i enjoyed myself vicariously as each runner crossed the finish. it was a great time!
more photos posted on facebook.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
another fantastic weather day - in the middle of november! while it was pretty chilly getting up, by 9 it was in the 40's and sunny for the first anniversary of the holiday marathons at van cortlandt park. last year the thanksgiving marathon kicked off what quickly became a holiday tradion - free cross country trail races at varying distances (from 10k thru the marathon) - and just recently the addition of a 5k course.
but in a twist from last year, the long (6.55 mile loop) wasn't available - the parks department hadn't signed off on it. instead we ran a 3.25 course that pretty much followed the traditional cross county route over the back hills. instead of 1 loop for the 10k, it was 2 - and so on (with 8 loops making up the marathon). the 5k distance was 2 loops of the parade grounds.
even with the course alteration it was still a great time. like last year, i only ran the 10k - and had to rush home to start work on our thanksgiving day dinner :D
happy thanksgiving everyone! this is probably my favorite holiday of the year - although i'd probably say that about any holiday where family and friends get the gather around the table and eat (and drink) :D
as is my routine, no thanksgiving day would seem right unless i ran a race - and in this instance it's a return to van cortandt park to celebrate the one year anniversary of the holiday marathons! hard to believe it's only been one year that mike and mike have been staging the free holiday marathon races because so many of them have been successfully put on during the last 12 months! congratulations guys!
i'll probably run just one loop (the 10k+) since i have a turkey to stuff and get in the oven!
so to everyone out there - have a great thanksgiving, and burn off some calories before dinner (or after) and watch some football afterwards :D
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
i've run a lot of races in propect park, but heading back there to run a marathon was an entirely new experience. the opportunity to run 26.2 miles in brooklyn - my hometown - had me looking forward to the inaugural brooklyn marathon since the race was officially announced last summer. normally i'm not very enthusiastic about multiple loop courses, but under the circumstances i enjoyed every trip around the park as i closed in on the finish line!
we were blessed with some fantastic weather, more like late september than late november temperatures. and, as a bonus, there was plenty of fall foliage still on the trees. my only time goal was a sub-4 hour finish. given that part of the course included 6 climbs of the notorious north hills, a four hour finish wasn't a foregone conclusion. not only did i run a sub-4, but my 3:54:26 was actually a minute faster than my finish at the nyc marathon 2 weeks earlier! but i've gotten ahead of myself.
three days earlier, on thursday night, the packet pick-up at the gibson, a williamburg local bar, was like a pre-race party. adding to the atmosphere, aside from the brooklyn and six point beer, was the locale: beford avenue - right on the nyc marathon course! what ambiance - what an auspicious lead up to the race. at the gibson i had a couple of beers (or 3) with eliot - and our only real concern was the sunday morning commute down to prospect park from westchester.
as it turned out, i wound up driving in with emmy (who only decided to run the race late saturday afternoon, after she had completed the knickerbocker 60k!). as luck had it, not only wasn't there much traffic on the ride in, but we got street parking right alongside the park - it doesn't get any easier than that! most of the pre-race activity was on center drive, the start and finish location of the race. it was as low-key a race start as i've participated in (at any distance).
in addition to the people i had expected to see, eliot, steve, and michael - i was pleasantly surprised to see ari and amy (fellow ny running show participants), cherie (volunteering at one of the water stops) and wayne (running the race), chris (who had just run a 2:39 at chicago!) and his wife bea (both running the race) and mat (who had also run the knickerbocker on saturday and would line up for the marathon) - to mention just a few. and, to help the pre-start time fly by, i was interviewed on ny1 as part of their race coverage!
as for the race itself - after a few brief remarks from two members of the city council and final course instructions from michael - steve got the approximately 300 runners officially underway around 9:15 or so. the course consisted of 3 lower loops of the park together with 6 full loops of the park. the most notable terrain feature was the climb at the north end of the park, which we would complete 6 times! to help keep tabs on the number of loops completed, runners could use 9 rubber bands (discarding one with each completed loop).
to hit my sub-4 hour target, i needed to run all 3 lower loops in one hour, and do 2 full loops per hour. while i started with the 9 rubber bands on my wrist, the mile markers were so helpful that i found myself counting miles instead of loops. my goal morphed into running sub 9 minute miles (instead of counting loops). as it turned out, i averaged an 8:57 pace (slowing with each climb and picking it up on the downhill). i was incredibly pleased that i didn't have to walk the hill once during the day :D
all in all in ran pretty consistently. here are my 10, half marathon, 20, and 25 mile splits:
10 miles: 1:27:27
half marathon: 1:54:54
20 miles: 2:56:37
25 miles: 3:42:48
at the half i was concerned enough to reassess my pace. i'm a believer that 2x your half split + 10 minutes is a decent indicator for a projected finish time. if i didn't stay focused (or pick it up a little) i'd miss the 4 hour target. as luck had it, i managed to keep it together - slowing down just about 5 minutes for the second half :D
afterwards, i celebrated with a handful of chocolate donuts - and pizza for dinner when i got home. that night a bunch of us (steve, emmy, ari, amy) regrouped and talked about our experiences at the brooklyn marathon on the ny running show (episode #55).
here are my race photos.
Monday, November 21, 2011
last night the ny running show (episode #55) was devoted to the inaugural brooklyn marathon held in prospect park that morning. participants included our moderator joe, steve (the brooklyn marathon rd), emmy, ari, amy, brenn, and me.
it was a wide ranging look at the race, including logistics, the course, participants (runners, volunteers, spectators - even "bandits") and the fantastic weather. despite all the talk about brooklyn, joe even managed to get in a few words on the mamaroneck 5k he ran that morning.
listen to, or download, episode #55 at talkshoe.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
what a fantastic day to run a marathon! beautiful weather and locale aside, it was even more enjoyable to run that marathon in brooklyn! today the inaugural brooklyn marathon went off without a hitch - with roughly 300 people crossing the finish line in prospect park.
not only did i meet my 4 hour target (3:54:26), but i actually ran it a minute faster than the nyc marathon 2 weeks ago. given that time included 6 climbs of the park's north hill, i was more than pleased with the outcome!
i'll write up a race report in a day or two. here are the preliminary results.
here are the rest of my photos posted on facebook.
Friday, November 18, 2011
who would have thought i'd be back on the nyc marathon course, headed to the gibson bar in williamsburg, for the brooklyn marathon packet pick-up?! it was deja vu walking the 4 blocks of the course (7th to 11th street along bedford avenue) at twilight, that had been packed with spectators just less than two weeks ago.
and, when i arrived the first person i see is michael, who was helping steve set-up. then, after almost a year of interaction via email, fb, phone, missing each other at races, and even podcasts - i finally met up w/steve in person! to make it an even trio, just after stepping inside the bar, eliot walked in!
you know it's going to be fun when pick-up included unlimited rounds of six point beer :D in actuality, however, the bartender kept our glasses full w/brooklyn lager while the sixpoints got cold enough to serve :O it was a great time!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
time to snuff out those filthy butts - at least for one day of the year! if you smoke, and hopefully you don't, please use today as an excuse to kick the habit - or restart a prior effort to kick it!
from the american cancer society smokeout page:
Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet more than 46 million Americans still smoke. However, more than half of these smokers have attempted to quit for at least one day in the past year.
that pretty much say it all.
QUIT SMOKING - save your life, and maybe someone else's, in the process :D
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
the weekend turned into a trail running two for the price one. not only did i run the trails of minnewaska state park at the "after the leaves have fallen" 20k on sunday, but i also put in 10+ miles on the trails of rockefeller state park on saturday. it helped tremendously that we had beautiful weather both days! i've run a both parks in the past, each one offering spectacular views, but never back to back. i last ran at "rockies" this summer, getting in a long run during the training that led up to the vermont 100. i last ran at minnewaska at the summer solstice 15k in 2010.
"after the leaves have fallen" is a tough, hilly 20k+ (most garmins logged 12.6 miles instead of the standard 12.4). but the reward is all in the running - incredible views along practically the entire course, especially the route along the ridge line. because of trail damage from prior storms, we ran the reverse direction of the summer solstice 15k - with an additional 1.5 mile out and back tacked on to complete the distance. the race finished with a loop around the lake.
it's an incredibly low-frills, old school event. aside from the registration paperwork, that's it - no shirt, no bib, no timing chip - nada! after crossing the finish line each runner is handed a numbered index card. he then fills in the relevant data - name, age, sex - and hands it it for recording. it's simple and effective - a variation of is used during the westport summer series (replacing the index cards w/popsicle sticks)!
my time goal was to run 1:45 - but, as usual, i conveniently forgot how hilly the terrain was (of which i was quickly reminded during the 2+ mile ascent to the ridge line at the start)! my 1:49:06 finish was well off my target. even discounting the couple of minutes i used to snap some pictures (i carried my camera), i would only have run a 1:47 or so. i was the 55th finisher according to my index card :D the race results haven't been posted yet, but is suspect there were about a 100 finishers.
before the start i met up w/doug - who volunteered as the sweeper. i last saw doug at the harvest half marathon he co-directed w/lisa last month. and, in another twofer - lisa herself volunteered at a water station. she and her co-volunteers manned the water table at the start of the out and back section, where runners could grab some water at roughly the 8 and 11.5 mile marks. afterwards, volunteers dished out some fantastic veggie soup to take the chill off.
the trail miles at rockies and minnewaska were actually a fantastic change of pace - sandwiched between the pavement pounding of the nyc marathon the previous weekend and the upcoming brooklyn marathon this weekend! i'm a believer in mixing up the terrain as much as possible - it keeps the runner honest. after the brooklyn marathon (on the "roads" of prospect park, actually), i may heed the siren call of van cortlandt park for thanksgiving :D
here are my photos from the 20k.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
the view in minnewaska state park are spectacular! definitely worth the long drive (1:30/45 minutes easy) up to new paltz to get there. after the leaves have fallen 20k was on my list of races to do for years. it's basically the summer solstice 15k with an additional 3 miles tacked on. for me it was the second day on the trails this weekend - with 10+ miles at rockefeller state park the day before.
my 1:49:01 was 4 minutes slower than the sub 1:45 i had hoped for - but, again, under the circumstances, i was more than pleased - especially with a scenic vista along practically every mile of the course!
here is my race report. here are the race results.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
the 2011 edition of the nyc marathon was my 10th straight finish. i would normally add, "on my way to 15," which is no longer appropriate. while the nyc marathon remains my favorite race at any distance, the urge to ante up and run it every year has cooled off following the nyrr announcement that it would no longer recognize the runners w/15 or more finishers with guaranteed entries.
in an attempt to soften the blow of that disgraceful decision, it won't take effect until 2015. so, adding insult to injury, assuming i run it for the next 4 year, that would leave me with an underwhelming 14 completions - not good enough. as a practitioner of that dying art of "if you can't say anything good, don't bother talking...," i find myself at odds with my own views.
i can't say anything good about what i perceive as the incredibly myopic and self-serving behavior of the nyrr. and for anyone who cares about my view, i think it sucks! that's putting the most positive spin on it that i can (under the circumstances) muster. maybe sanity will return and the nyrr will rescind what i see as a insulting slap in the face to it's most loyal runners. maybe - but i aint holding my breath.
so, with that uncharacteristic negative rant out of the way, i can talk about the race - which began, as most of my nyc marathon have - with a drive to white plains high school. that morning, there was an extra bus (4 instead of the usual 3). andy, owner of the westchester road runner store that organizes the bus rides down to staten island, told me that he had a surge of interest in the last week - enough to book an additional bus! i sat on the last bus w/emmy, susan, and noonie. hiro and yuki were on one of the other buses.
in what can only be described as a monumental traffic jam, we would all find ourselves exiting the buses more than a half mile from the drop off points. the stand still traffic an on access road adjacent to the staten island parkway snared dozens of similar buses - and there were plenty of other runners who joined us on the unplanned walk to enter the staging grounds. it was well after 8 when we disembarked and, since we were in different villages, we soon went our own separate ways.
after a beeline to the baggage bus, i went straight my corral (the last one in wave one), reaching it with barely 5 minutes to spare before it was closed. despite all the stress of that awkward commute, i managed to get an unoccupied porta-john without a wait! talk about a reversal of fortune! then, once the ropes were dropped and we moved forward to the bridge, i found myself with 30 seconds of crossing the starting mats when the cannon went off at the start.
in a way, the stressful start didn't impact my plans. since i hadn't gotten in much training this cycle - low mileage as a result of a string of business trips - i had a goal to finish in under 4 hours. i also took my camera with me - something i haven't done at a marathon in years. i was very glad for the camera. but i could have skipped the fanny pack, which i wore in case i tired of carrying the camera in my hands. some of my favorites were on the bridge, and as we crossed into brooklyn. especially the hand-written sign, "yo, welcome to brooklyn!" that greeted us coming off the bridge :D
the only sad moment of the day came passing the spot my mom typically spectated from. she couldn't make the race this year - which was only the second time in 2 years! not a bad track record. i love running down 4th avenue - it's always a huge rush for this brooklyn boy. i didn't see any familiar faces on the course - a stark contrast from years past when i always managed to run a few miles with friends here and there. but at the halfway point, i did see todd, catherine and marshall ulrich cheering from the sidelines! that was a great positive boost of energy!
my half marathon split, 1:46:43, was way too fast given my conditioning. there was no likelihood whatsoever that i'd come close to a 3:30 finish. maybe 3:45, but even that was a stretch. i had been running consist 7 and 8 minute miles until that point. thereafter, they would become 9 minute miles - until the end of first avenue. once i crossed the willis avenue bridge and reached mile 20, my pace dropped down to 10 minute miles. i was still moving forward, albeit at a decidedly slower pace.
the highlight - if you will - of the second half (aside from crossing the finish) was checking out the couple who had gotten married at mile 22 - at marcus garvey park. it was fun watching the crowds wish them well - and it gave me another boost of energy. still the trip down 5th avenue, to central park, was the toughest stretch of the day. once we entered the park, there were just over two miles left to go - and the park itself is always good for positive energy!
i finished in 3:55:38, an 8:59 pace. it was my slowest nyc marathon finish - but i was still a happy camper. just after the medals, i ran into the first familiar face of the day, bette, who had finished just behind me. then it was on to reclaim my bag - which, in first, was located outside the park on the south side of the american museum of natural history! from there, on to the trrc after party - and some fantastic rehydration with captain lawrence pumpkin ale and smoked porter! all in all, it was a fantastic day!
here are my race photos.
here are my post-race, party photos.
Monday, November 7, 2011
in a slight twist, taconic's post-marathon party was moved to a different location this year - closer to the park (columbus and 83rd) and an apartment with a balcony! as always, it was a great way to wind down from the 26.2 miles - especially w/some captian lawrence pumpkin ale and smoked porter to rehydrate with.
here are a few photos of runners unwinding :D
Sunday, November 6, 2011
my 10th nyc marathon is in the books! at 3:55, it was probably the slowest of the bunch - but it came in under my 4 hour target so i was very pleased!
despite the fantastic running we had, the day didn't start off auspiciously. our bus, along with the other private buses, were stopped in stand still traffic along the access road to the staten island expressway - with the bridge clearly in sight. we left the bus more than a half mile from the drop-off point - and barely got to the starting corrals before they officially closed (w/5 minutes to spare for me) :O
after all that pre-race stress, the race itself was relatively relaxing - ha! i took my camera along w/me and took some great pictures. afterwards, the taconic road runners put on a great post-marathon party :D
i'll post a race report in a day or two. here are the official results from the nyrr.
here are the rest of my photos, posted on facebook.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
after the 5k twice around the parade ground), i realized that i had now run all the holiday marathon distances, 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon (although not in that order). it was a fantastic day to be outside - and we shared van cortandt park with a high school cross country meet that added to the sense of runners "all over the place."
i actually came in second place, with a 22:07 - it had more to do with the small field than any inherent speed :O tomorrow is the nyc marathon, so i didn't want to push my luck with the 10k, or longer distances.
maybe it was the rescheduled date (moved from the snow packed last weekend) or most of the regulars were resting up for tomorrow's marathon - but the field was noticeably smaller than past holiday marathons.
smaller size or not, it wasn't any less enjoyable! i'll add a link to the results once they're posted.