Wednesday, April 30, 2008

brooklyn half marathon and nyc marathon registration

wow, the contrast between the registration experience for these two events couldn't have been more different (or stressful)!

as a major league procrastinator, i normally wait until the last possible moment to register for a race. sometimes i learn the hard way, such as getting closed out of a race entirely (2006 disney goofy challenge and 2006 chicago marathon). but with the passage of time, i'll revert back to my old habits.

yesterday i logged on to nyrr to register for the brooklyn half marathon. that went smoothly - and was done with the paper (keystrokes) in no time at all. but good things only last so long. next up was clicking over to the nyc marathon site (a separate being, apparently, from the regular nyrr site). i clicked my way over to the registration page, and will admit that i felt slightly upbeat doing this two days before the deadline for guaranteed entry!

there were two choices guarding the entrance way to the application - method (a) for those w/a user name and password, and method (b), for those like me that didn't realize we had the aforesaid items. there was a third option (which i'll refer to as "i") for invited runners to submit an invitation code. i went with option (b) and was promptly informed that i MUST use option (a) because i already had a user name and password!

that's when the little hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention and an alarm bell sounded inside my head. in an almost mocking tone, an internal voice said to me, "wow, i didn't know we had a user name and password?!" "we don't," i answered myself back, continuing this internal dialogue. well after a few unsuccessful efforts to negotiate with this immovable guard to the application, i realized there would be no registration for me that night.

i sent an email to the marathon site, and called the nyrr office a couple of times this morning. then, finally, i received an email with the critical data. i would never have guessed that my user name was, in fact, my email address! while the user name was plausible, there was no way i created a string of eight upper and lower case letters and digits for a password! computer generated, probably. created by me, impossible!

not one to ever look a gift horse in the mouth, i immediately took those two precious bits of information and logged on to the registration page. the user name and password worked - and, after i submitted the necessary information, i could finally relax. a few minutes later, and a $136 lighter, i received an email that confirmed my registration! even with all that distraction, i still had 24 hours to spare until the deadline ;)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"run for your life" fred lebow movie afterparty at reboot

i didn't have time write this up yesterday. after the premiere of "run for you life," we went to the party hosted by flatbush pictures at reboot, an organic vegetarian restaurant in the east village. since it was so close to the theater, emmy, rob, sue and i walked there.

mary wittneberg was there. she told us the nyrrc is looking into the possibility of staging an ultra on randall's island (in addition to the knickerbocker 60k in november)! that's something i hope finds its way onto the nyrr schedule!

bob glover was there. emmy asked him where his wife, shelly, was (co-author with bob of "the competitive runners handbook). bob said that she's tapering for an upcoming marathon - but will be at the friday night screening of the film. last year, we rode down on the wtc bus to staten island for the start of the nyc marathon with shelly.

we also met another bob, the uncle of a film crew member. he's run 25 consecutive nyc marathons! it was fun trading war stories of marathons past with him. since emmy has run 18 nyc marathons herself, they had plenty to talk about.

and, on the refreshment side, i got to try a new beer - brahma. initially, i thought this was from india (named after the hindu god of creation). turned out it was from brazil - go figure! i also tried a couple of brooklyn brewery beers; pilsner and brown ale. good stuff to go with the sushi platter that greeted us at the start, and replaced with various pizzas afterwards.

all in all a great way to celebrate the premier of a great film!

here are a couple of photos:

sue, emmy and nina kuscsik outside the theater following the premiere.

rob and emmy at reboot, chatting with prudence, the archival producer.

Monday, April 28, 2008

"run for your life" fred lebow documetary: movie review

yesterday was the world premiere of "run for you life" at the tribeca film festival. this documentary on the life and times of fred lebow was a fun, insightful and well constructed examination of lebow the man, the marathon he created, and the world-class event it's now grown into after almost four decades. the film works especially well as it blends archival footage, which was no small feat to assemble, with present day interviews of lebow's family, friends, and co-workers. among the notable runners in the audience was national distance running hall of famer nina kuscsik, who, among her impressive achievements, ran the first nyc marathon and won it in 1972 and 1973.

the film started off with images of men running laps of yankee stadium in the bronx of 1969. fred, then working in the garment industry, made his way into this off-beat group of runners and, through sheer force of personality, convinced them to not only move their runs down to central park, but to actually stage the first ever marathon there. i won't recount the evolution of the nyc marathon from the 4 loop course of central park to the current 5 borough extravaganza; that story can be found a few mouse clicks away thanks to the internet.

what isn't easy to find, and probably wouldn't be found but for this film, are the real world interactions among the organizers and participants. one throw away line where someone said, "it (holding the marathon in central park) would never work because we can't keep count of the laps?!" just one of the seemingly logistical nightmares that seems quaint in the "chip" age. watching footage of the early races, that were put together shoestring budgets before computers and the internet, with handwritten entry blanks, and manual score keeping, transports us to another era of running which is barely a generation removed, but light years apart from what one would experience in a race held in central park today.

the film also captured a less than flattering aspect of lebow's character. the women's mini-marathon, a breakthrough for women's road racing in the early 70's, had fred recruit playboy bunnies to increase awareness of, and participation in, the event. today, that juxtaposition could be viewed across a spectrum from quaint to sexist, depending on the lens of political correctness that defines the viewer. that episode, and the even more startling revelation (confession) that with respect to his personal relationship with women, fred was only interested in the initial challenge, but not the subsequent relationship, hardly speak well of the man.

but then there are the altruistic moments, the scenes where fred is constantly seeking to promote running and racing in an effort to expand participation in our sport. there was his foresight in the decision to buy the building that currently houses the new york road runners club. and then his just plain dumb decision to publish a book that bragged about paying elite runners appearance fees "under the table!" that came as news to the new york city officials he enlisted to put together the marathon, without charge to the nyrr for the city services. the revelations in his book resulted in then-mayor koch's edict that the city had to receive an amount equal to the total sum paid to the elite runners. a costly price to pay for "bragging."

the film, primarily via interviews with fred's sister and brother, managed to cover his childhood and the ugly confrontation with the horrors of the holocaust. his family was kept apart for years in the aftermath of world war II. later, in the united states, he americanized his name from fischel lebowitz to fred lebow. then, in a reversal, he reclaimed his identity at because, "he didn't want to die under a false name." this poignant moment is presented, via an interview, as just another "off the cuff" thing fred thought to do.

while most nyc runners (i won't extend that generalization to non-runners) are familiar with the image of fred running the 1992 marathon with grete waitz, there was hardly a dry eye in the theater after watching the footage of fred finishing that memorable run, then-mayor dinkins draping the medal around his neck, and fred slowly kneeling down to kiss the finish line! the film concluded at this point, and the last image we see is of fred and ted corbitt standing in front of the road runners building.

after the movie, director judd erlich introduced the crew and individuals behind the movie. he also took audience questions.

director judd erhlich and current nyrr president mary wittenburg.

director judd ehrlich and me.

final word: go see this movie!

after the tribeca film festival showings, there are as of now, no official plans in place for distribution of the film.

here is link to my prior coverage

Sunday, April 27, 2008

sybil ludington 50k photos and results

age group award ceremony!
(anton's photo)

here is my race report

emmy takes second place!
(anton's photo)

richie, takes second place in relay!

the race organizers at the finish line

anton, in boston blue!

nick, just after finishing!

emmy finishing!
(anthony's photo)

emmy and me in mile 28
(anton's photo)

group photo with joe, mile 27
(anton's photo)

eddie and meredith at mile 16 aid station
(anthony's photo)

trying to get to the start on time!
(anthony's photo)

link to official results

rr: sybil ludington 50k

what an adventure we had getting to the start of this race! emmy and i left my house at 6:50 for the 8:00 a.m. start and a 30 minute drive turned into an hour long one! instead of going the way she knew (we've done this race twice before), emmy tried out brand new mapquest directions and, as luck had it, stopped a few hapless souls to ask for directions - when we were literally a mile or so away from the start. anyway, what fun would it be w/out a little pre-race excitement to get the adrenaline flowing!

emmy let me off in front of the vfw hall while she parked the car. i ran inside to register with 10 minutes to spare. it was cutting things a little close because the runners get driven to the start which is about a mile down the road! luckily anthony, meredith and eddie were there and gave us a lift to the start. we arrived there exactly at 9, but the race didn't actually get underway until 9:08 - just enough time to catch my breath and say a few hellos (rob, richie, sal, tom, grant, admas, and ruth - phew)!

this frightening elevation profile of the sybil course
is courtesy of anthony's race preview!

then we started running! the coolest thing about the first mile was that i found a quarter on the road - and stopped to pick it up! aside from that find, the run down route 6 and south lake boulevard, on the southern end of lake mahopac, was the worst part of the day. no shoulder and no cars smaller than s.u.v.'s on steroids made this a stressful experience. even at that early hour there was heavy traffic! emmy, grant and i reached mile 5 in 43:03, an 8:37 pace. it was way too fast - but more a reflection of the desire to get this dangerous stretch behind us, rather than bank some fast miles. and we still had more miles along the narrow, winding south lake drive alongside the heavy traffic before we turned north onto route 32, and ran with relatively lighter traffic.

this course is full of rolling hills. while there are a few significant climbs, most are individually small but spaced so close together that the cumulative effect makes it difficult to grab any meaningful recovery on the downhills. that early in the race it wasn't noticeable. in fact, it was the heavy wind that really wore on me, not the hills. i missed the 10 mile marker, but the three of us reached the half marathon at 1:58:43, a more realistic 9:03 pace. at that point we were running alongside the boyd corner's reservoir - a beautiful (if hilly) stretch of road off the beaten path.

just beyond mile 16 was a sight for sore eyes - meredith, eddie and anthony at their roadside aid station. seeing them was definitely a welcome mental boost. i waited there for emmy and grant to catch up. then grant took off (oh to have fresh legs - haha) on ahead. emmy and i would run the rest of the race together from that point. she was already felt the effects of the constant ups and downs. and to make matters worse, she had lost the two midols that grant had given her a few miles earlier. she wasn't alone - just before the 30k point my shin started acting up again - drat! when we reached the next aid station, mile 18.7, kathy made my day with some extra strength tylenol!

the next stretch, along white pond road, brought back some rain soaked memories. this was the toughest stretch for me back in 2006 as heavy winds blew rain horizontally off white pond!! it was also the where i missed the mile 20 marker in previous years - and once again, this time around. but i knew that the next aid station was around mile 21, just before we turned onto route 52, so that was the next milestone.

the next course landmark was a run along peckslip road, which in prior years was an unpaved stretch of dirt roads. this time, we were surprised to find the entire length paved! that made for some easier running, especially on my quads. we exited peckslip road and made a left onto church hill road and a long stretch of uphill climbing until we reached the left turn onto gypsy trail road, and the location of the 24.7 mile aid station. kathy had leap frogged to this aid station from where we had last seen her at the 30k mark. she was kind enough to take my long-sleeved shirt back to the start w/her.

emmy and i reached 25 miles in 4:14:11, a 10:10 pace, and the marathon split at 4:24:24, a 10:05 pace. this was my slowest marathon split in any non-trail ultra. between the growing soreness in my shine and the heavy wind (especially the wind) the course had taken it's toll on me and the remaining 10k was starting to seem like a real slog. one highlight along this stretch was catching up to joe handlman, 78 years young! he set off two hours earlier than the race start and was on track to finish yet another sybil. in fact, there was a celebration birthday cake waiting for him at the vfw hall.

another surprise was our friend anton, from the wolfpit running club, driving alongside joe as his mobile crew. anton occasionally stopped for some picture taking and also drove alongside us for a bit chit-chatting with emmy about this and that. anton had run boston last week and was wore the new blue tech shirt we had gotten! very chic :) soon enough we reached the last aid station, 2.5 miles from the finish. we didn't linger, with about a mile to the causeway and then a straight shot back to the finish. mile 30 was just over the causeway, 5:03:45, a 10:08 pace. at that point, pain and exhaustion aside, all we wanted to do was get this race over with - so we "sprinted" the last mile in 9:21 and finished in 5:13:05, a 10:05 pace!

phew! this course definitely got the better of me out there. even with a 3rd place age group award, i was hardly pleased with my performance. there's no particular thing i can point to (except the constant headwinds really demoralized me - and i feel badly that emmy had to endure my mantra of expletives in the face of it). but i still enjoyed myself. the post-race socializing with my friends more than made up for hilly, windy conditions. and the growlers of captain lawrence beer at the awards ceremony was a great surprise! i tried the pale ale, the double ipa, and the smoked porter! somehow that made all the soreness melt away!

next up, the brooklyn half marathon!

here are the race photos.

check out anthony's race report and slide show!
check out emmy's race report and photos!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

sybil ludington 50k update: rr and photos to follow

in terms of excitement, getting to race headquarters - the putnam vfw hall pictured here - was a a great way to kick off the morning. emmy and i left early enough that even with a handful of wrong turns, we still made it with barely 10 minutes to spare before the start!

the finish, just in front of the statue of sybil ludington. this is a tough course, and today it got the better of me. my 5:13 was one of my slowest finishes in a non-trail 50k. emmy and i ran the entire race together, occasionally joined by other runners for a few miles. emmy was the second woman overall! my finish was good enough for third place age group award.

meredith, me, emmy, and anthony in front of the sybil statue. meredith, eddie (taking this photo) and anthony manned the aid station at mile 16.

rob and i grab a few minutes of rest before walking back to the vfw hall for post-race food and drinks (which included captain lawrence beer)!

here is my race report.

here are more of my race photos.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"the greatest game" book review

as a yankee fan i can't help but love "the greatest game: the yankees, the red sox, and the playoff of '78." part of the charm was a trip back memory lane - i watched this game as a 16 year old with my father and brother in the living room of our house in sheepshead bay, brooklyn. even more fun was reading the book surrounded by red sox fans. i took it with me to boston last weekend when i went there to run the boston marathon. i read the bulk of the book deep in the heart of red sox country.

the high point of this locationally heightened reading experience was sitting at the bar of boston beerworks, directly across from fenway park, and reading it as i drank a "victory red" ale on sunday afternoon. it didn't really matter that "victory red" was brewed in 2004, to celebrate the red sox finally winning the world series after 86 years. nor did it matter that the road to that victory included a dramatic series win over the yankees in the playoffs.

while not quite the same atmosphere, i finished the book last night here at home. the present-day yankees were on cable, but, unfortunately, didn't follow the script for a winning tableaux. they lost that game to the white sox, 7 to 6. that loss didn't, however, diminish the impact of my favorite passage from "the greatest game," which came right after bucky dent's home run:

"outside fenway park, in a nearby dorm room, a college student yanked his television's plug from it's socket and threw the television out his window, several stories high. similar reactions were occuring from maine to connecticut and across the country."

not sure if that anecdote is more urban legend than reality (no citation to source) - but i don't really care. it captures the tension (or exasperation) of the moment perfectly.

as to the book itself, structurally it alternates a chapter for each inning of the playoff game with a chapter on the back story of the yankee-red sox rivalry, the players (managers, team owners, et cetera), and the 1978 season itself. this format worked well for me and i enjoyed the back story as much as the retelling of the playoff game. it was especially worthwhile because bradley interviewed many of the participants and incorporated their stories into the narrative. it was a well-researched book. however, for someone looking for a shorter, less detailed look back, check out, "a day of light and shadows."

my only quibble with "the greatest game" is the hyperbole of the title. to lapse into the vernacular, it "aint" the greatest game. while it would be included in such a list, i certainly wouldn't top that list. but title aside, it's a great read and a great book. a colleague of mine, but unfortunately a die-hard met fan, has already asked to borrow my copy. this is from a fellow brooklynite that (as yankee "hating" met fan back in the day) was crushed when they won the game! time heals all wounds - and now it's just nostalgia. i get a trip to shea w/him to compare notes afterwards.

now what's a yankee fan like me going to do at shea??

my earlier posts on this: the book signing and the follow-up.

thinking about the sybil lundington 50k

tomorrow is the sybil ludington 50k in carmel, new york. sybil is the third race in the 2008 new york ultrarunning grand prix series. anthony's race preview, which includes the course map and elevation profile, is a must read!

this week i've done two recovery runs: 4 hilly miles at a slow pace on tuesday, and 6 miles along my regular post road route on thursday.


8:27 17:25
9:26 26:52
8:45 35:36

8:54 average pace

and, thursday:

8:03 16:18
7:33 23:51
7:33 31:24
8:06 39:30
7:42 47:12

7:52 average pace.

this afternoon i'll run an easy 4 miles to cap off the week leading up to sybil.

a brief review of my two prior sybil races: the 2006 edition was my very first ultra. that year include plenty of wind, cold rain, and even snow! what a way to start off on the world of ultras! the 2007 edition was a weather reversal, with lots of sun.

sybil 2007: 4:34:31, an 8:51 pace. 2007 official race results.
sybil 2006: 4:43:52, an 9:08 pace. 2006 official race results.

i didn't write a race report for 2006, but here is my 2007 race report.

i'm looking forward to the race tomorrow. the roll call includes emmy and rob, as well as the regular broadway ultra society cast of characters. plus, anthony, meredith, and eddie will set up and man an aid station along the course!

full report and photos tomorrow!

update: emmy just posted pictures from last year's race - including one of us in front of the sybil statue

Thursday, April 24, 2008

todd's boston marathon race report: guest post

i'm very happy to post my good friend todd's boston race report. todd and i have know each other for years and been to some great races together - the wurtsboro mountain 30k and the escarpment trail run come to mind. todd is also a fellow deadhead - and it was the tie-dyed bandana that caught my attention across the corral and led us to find each other! he also had a dancing bear sweatband on his wrist.

fyi, todd is currently the president of the orange runners club and a former crafter of some awesome home-brewed beer!


our view from mile one!

The 112th running of the Boston Marathon is now in the books. This year was my second consecutive Boston, and with last year's event in mind, one phrase continues to ring in my ears, and that is: What a difference a year makes!

The 2007 edition will be known to most in our generation as the "nor'easter Boston." But this year's weather could not have been more different. A glorious starting temperature of about 49 degrees treated us to a grand exit out of Hopkinton. Last year, I ran the first 13 miles with my friend Gary. He and I lined up together again this year, but I was also joined by my friend John from my weekend run group, and my friend Frank from down Westchester way. Frank and I had intended to meet up at the race last year, but the foul weather made pre-race communication difficult, and then we somehow had failed to see each other on the course as I passed him during the second half. But this year, Frank hollered out my name as we stood in corral #9, and it set us up for a greatly enjoyable first 14 miles together.

After the gun, Frank and I kept a slow, steady pace from the start, while John and Gary ramped it up over the first ten miles. At mile 8, Frank started feeling strong, and managed to put some space between he and myself. But by mile 10 we were shoulder to shoulder again, and not even a mile later, we caught Gary and John, who had slowed to make a "pit stop." Soon after that, we made our way toward the "screech tunnel," otherwise known as the half mile stretch that is Wellesley College. Legions of young ladies looking for kisses line the roadway, screaming so loudly that you can hear them a full quarter mile before reaching the throng. Well, not wanting to miss an opportunity, I confidently stopped and planted a wet kiss on a pretty flower dressed in a tie dyed sundress. She was a good kisser, and received my overture just as confidently as I had put it forward. :)

From that point it was where the race really began. I reached the halfway point in 1:40, exactly the same time as I had last year. But this was a different year, one in which my training left an awful lot to be desired, and also one in which I was planning to run another 26.2 only five weeks later. And so, I didn't push the pace. I was nursing two different injuries that I suffered during training, so my most basic goal was simply to make it to the finish line.

I plodded on, dealing with the pain from the injuries as best I could. Then, something happened. My phone, which I was carrying, rang. WTF? At first I thought "anybody who would call me KNOWS I'm in the middle of a race right now, so I'm definitely not going to bother." But then I decided on a different tack. Here was a chance to take my pain out on someone else ! So I answered the phone "Hi, I'm running the Boston Marathon. I can't talk right now. Why are you calling me?" I hear a woman's voice on the other end. "Todd?" "Yes," I say "who is this?" "It's Tara." she says. My friend Tara from Middletown. My friend Tara, who is RUNNING THE SAME RACE AS ME. "Where are you?" I ask her. "I'm at mile 12, where are you?" "I'm at Mile 17," I reply. "We shouldn't be having this conversation." So anyway, we exchange a couple of further remarks like 'how are you feeling?' and 'I'll see you at the finish' and then I'm back into my race focus. But as it turns out, it was a great diversion, as I was just reaching the first of the vaunted Newton hills, and the levity of the phone conversation helped me to temporarily forget about the work that lie immediately ahead.

Well, the hills came, and then one after another, they went. Before I knew it I was hauling down the backside of Heartbreak, past the cheering crowds and beer drinking guys of Boston College. Cleveland Circle lied dead ahead, and only 5 miles left of my second journey from Hopkinton to Copley Square.

As the discomfort of my two injuries began to nag, the general "pain-all-over" discomfort of those last three miles superceded all else, and never was there a more welcome sight than the "One Mile To Go" sign on Commonwealth Ave just the other side of Kenmore Square.

Then, the right-hand turn onto Hereford, with crowd noise almost deafening. And finally, the last left-hand turn onto Boylston, with the Boston Marathon finish line only 4 blocks away.

And with the most coveted finishing mat in the history of running beneath my feet, I gasped, and smiled about a finishing time that I never would have predicted when I got up that morning - 3:22:32. I had re-qualified for next year's race. Last year I had expected it. This year, I was simply grateful. Grateful for the whole experience. Grateful to be there with so many of my running buddies. Grateful for the beautiful weather, the amazing crowd support, the tasty beer at Cuff's Pub only 3 blocks from the finish line. But most of all, grateful to be blessed with the opportunity to experience this great race not once, but twice.

And as to next year, I hope to be able to say again

"What a difference a year makes!"

gene's boston marathon rr: guest post

i'm very happy to post my good friend gene's boston race report! we've been to a few races together since we met last year at the lake placid marathon, including a warm day in chicago last october for that marathon. i spent race morning in boston with gene and the members his running club, the peterborough roadrunners, from ontario. they were so gracious and welcoming that i felt like an honorary canadian for the day!

fyi, gene is president of the club. here is some local coverage of their club's boston experience from the petersborough examiner.

gene had an awesome day, finishing in 2:56:17!

here is his race report:

gene (in blue), and his friend steve, after 26.2 miles

Awesome Boston

It’s been two days since I ran my 5th consecutive Boston Marathon and I’m still glowing from high of running it in 2:56:17. Not only a PR for me in Boston, but also a new PR overall. And this was also my 40th marathon, another milestone.

After last year’s nearly canceled event due to a Nor’easter, the weather this year was near perfect. The morning was crisp, cool and overcast – but no rain. Our Peterborough, Ontario run group congregated at the Boston Massacre statue in the Commons right at Tremont. Deb came out to wish us well, and we also had Frank join us. Frank’s a fellow Maniac and all around good guy.

Our group of about 12 runners congregated under two large speakers near the infield fence of Hopkinton High. There was lots of nervous laughter and excitement. We all took turns speculating on what the race would bring. Then it was time to head to the corral. The weather was about 45 degrees, perfect for shorts and a singlet.

I was in Corral 2, which was the closest I’d been to the front. I consecutively lowered my corrals over the past 5 years from #9 to 7 to 4 to 3 to 2. Guess where I’ll be next year!

As soon as the gun went off at 10 a.m., we were on our way. My biggest challenge in any race is to try to hold back at the start. But it’s Boston and that means a 4 mile downhill. I settled for a comfortable 6:29 mile pace, a bit faster than my 6:35 that I wanted to hold. Oh well…
I felt great for the first half – ran it in 1:25:08. Hmm, could I put in a 2:50? I also had some fun running with Lance Armstrong who I chased down around mile 11. I passed him and made my way through the scream tunnel of Wellesley. This was my day.

The challenge with Boston of course is the relentless downhills and the pounding on the quads. At around mile 14 my quads started to burn, so I took some salt pills and downed another gel. My pace slowed a little, but not below 7 minute miles so that was a good sign.
Lance and a small posse caught up to me about mile 16 just before the real hills and passed me after about a ½ mile. Hey, he’s won the Tour 7 times, he can beat me.

I hit the first hill and found that to be harder than I recalled. Oh oh, this could go either way. The irony of any marathon is how you can feel so great one minute, then fall apart completely a minute later. Don’t think about that – I told myself.

I got through the next 2 hills and then muscled through heartbreak. At the apex of heartbreak, I knew I was going under 3 hours. I had about 5 miles to go, with the first one a speedy downhill through the Boston College crowds. I was locked and loaded.

At about mile 22 Nate sided up to me. He told me he felt great – he was having the best run of his life. I did not share the same sentiments. I expected him to leave me in the dust, but he ran with me for about a mile, then he paced out in front of me.

Nate is a good friend and a fierce competitor. But he made two small mistakes. The first was to pat my ass when he caught up to me, the second telling me how good he felt. He got into my head and I knew I was going to make him pay for that. Hahaha

At about this time, our friend Brian, was watching from the sidelines cheering us both on. I knew we had a race and I was unsure whether I could take Nate down, but knew I had to give it all I had. Considering Nate started one corral behind me, I assumed he’d beat me on official time, but I was going to out kick him to the finish.

The kick lasted the last 2 miles. I finally caught up to Nate around mile 24 and silently slid past. I knew he’d see me, but I didn’t want to rile him too much so I said nothing.

We both pushed through the last mile onto Boyleston. I knew he was behind me by the roar of the crowds. Nate has a reputation of riling the crowds on the finish chute and the roar was deafening. But I kept kicking. I finished about 30 seconds ahead of Nate and felt that at least I had him at the line. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that we found out that I beat him overall by 2 seconds. That was a great way for us both to finish.

So now I am recovering from my best race to date and am ready to prepare for the Flying Pig Marathon on May 4th. Could that be my 2:50 race? I’ll certainly put my best foot forward.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

tribeca film festival: "run for your life"

we interrupt coverage of the boston marathon to mention that today is the official opening of the 2008 tribeca film festival here in downtown manhattan.

the crop of new films at this year's edition of the film festival includes one that will interest runners in general, and new york city marathon lovers in particular: "run for your life," a documentary on the life and times of fred lebow. lebow organized the first nyc marathon in 1970. in 1976, he moved the multiple loop course out of the confines of central park onto the streets of the 5 boroughs, and turned the marathon into the citywide event we run today.

"run for you life" makes its world premiere is this sunday afternoon. the movie has its own blog, which is worth visiting out because it's posted links to sites providing additional coverage. the movie is a production of flatbush pictures, in brooklyn.

my friends emmy, rob, sue, and i, will be among those nyc marathon fans in the audience!

check back on sunday night for photos and a review of the movie!

update: here is the link to my review of this great documentary. and, here is the link to the "after-party" at reboot.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

rr: 2008 boston marathon

short version:
i had a great time in boston this year. it was an especially sweet moment running down beacon street during the last mile as i realizing that i was just about to finish - when only two weekends ago it seemed as if i'd have to sit this one out. i had no illusions about running the course hard, but i surprised myself by with a 1:40 half marathon split. that was a direct result of running the first half with my good friend, fellow deadhead, and all around great runner (especially on trails), todd.

for the next two miles i seriously considered pushing the second half to shoot for a 3:20 - 3:30 finish (which had been my original goal). but the rational part of my brain took over and won the debate. it was a tough call because i felt absolutely no pain in that leg. the only discomfort was the typical wear, tear and fatigue one feels 25k into a marathon. but it was the right call. my pace dropped over a minute per mile and i walked the uphills in newton for a second half split of two hours.

the 3:41 finish mirrored my 2007 finish!

here are the official splits:

5k 0:24:05
10k 0:47:45
15k 1:11:17
20k 1:35:33
half 1:40:50
25k 2:00:37
30k 2:29:23
35k 2:59:36
40k 3:28:56
8:28 pace

long version:

saturday and sunday
this is much more fun to write because i can add a few tangents. we (pat, katie and i) drove up saturday afternoon and arrived in waltham around 6 - an easy 3 hour drive. this would be our third stay at this hotel for the marathon. the first two year we stayed in boston. while it's more convenient to stay in the city - and it avoids a 20+ minute ride on the green line - it's certainly more costly. one benefit to this hotel is it's location directly across from the hobbs brook basin - a great place to run.

i wanted to go to the boston beerworks at fenway park that night. but a lack of parking because of the game and a 1+ hour wait for a table (no reservations taken), made the decision to skip beerworks easy. pat and katie ate at bertucci's instead, while i had a burger king whopper and ipswich ale for my dinner.

sunday morning pat drove me to the riverside station for the ride into boston. i had a busy day planned: watch the women's trials, pick up my stuff at the expo, walk over to fenway park and visit beerworks, and then head back to waltham and get in my 4 mile run. while i was in boston, pat and katie would be in neighboring weston, visiting one of pat's college roommate.

in front of the hynes convention center as i was on the phone with my friend and fellow marathon maniac, gene, i was surprised by my friends, bekkie and joe, also marathon maniacs. since gene planned to watch the trial from the north end, i would try to meet up with later. instead, bekkie, joe and i walked down to the start and watched the women warming up for the 8:00 start. that's when we ran into ryan hall - or, more accurately, bekkie spotted him standing right next to us! after saying hello, he was gracious enough to pose for a picture!

we also met up with jim gerwick, an editor at large for running times. for me it was deja vu all over again because last year, right after i finished the freedom run, jim spotted me walking down boyleston street toward the convention center. last year, he was the only friend i ran into the entire weekend in boston! after saying hello to jim, and watching the start go off, we walked down to boyleston street and massachussetts avenue to view the race. i stayed to watch the women come thru the first loop.

then, since it was almost 9 o'clock, i walked over to the expo. after i picked up my stuff i called john king, a fellow runners world forumite. he had just purchased "the stick" and walked over to meet me at the entrance. we checked out the expo, where i headed over to the vintage gear table and picked up a 2007 cap. then we found a couple of his friends at the addidas booth trying on running shoes. they planned to take in the red sox game at fenway that afternoon.

my trip to fenway would precede the actual game. but before the game i headed back over to where bekkie and joe were and watched the last lap of the race. i was awesome to see deena come thru the 800 meters to go mark in the lead and on her way to victory with a sub 2:30 finish! i stayed there to watch joan samuelson pass - on her way to a sub 2:50 finish! then i took off for the walk to fenway.

when i arrived there were already fans lined up at the race day window and even more milling around the stadium. there was already a line to get into beerworks! since i only wanted a beer, just walked up to the bar and ordered a victory red (only 86 years in gestation). for the second red sox victory, they brewed victory white. as a yankee fan, deep in the heart of red sox country, drinking their victory beer at the bar was quite the heady experience! i was taken enough to buy a victory red tee shirt to wear to my next yankee game - haha.

to veere off on a tangent: during my first boston marathon in 2004, while i ran the race, pat and katie were at fenway park watching the game! at the finish, when i found them at the family reunion area, they each wore a red boston cap! at first i thought that was the joke - when i found out they actually went to the game i was speechless! the red sox played the yankees that day, and won, on their way to breaking the curse of the bambino and winning their first world series in 86 years! we still have those caps, but they haven't been wore since!

after the pre-lunch pint of beer i decided to have some lunch. so before i got back on the t for the ride back to waltham, i ducked into a mcdonald's for a quarter pounder. that was to even out the junk food karma. saturday night was a whopper and ipswich ale then, on sunday, a quarter pounder and pint victory red ale! not the healthy pre-race meal plan one should follow - but enjoyable!

when i got back to the hotel, i changed into running clothes and went out for a 4 mile run (2 out and 2 back) along the basin. last year i did the freedom run instead of my typical pre-race run. this year i put off the run until the afternoon because of the trials. except for windy conditions off the water, it was a beautiful day to be outside. then, back at my room, i decided it wasn't worth the hassle of going back into boston for the pasta supper. so after some chinese food i did a little reading and went to bed early.


pat once again woke up early so she could to drive me to the riverside station. there were a half dozen runners already there waiting when she dropped me off at 5:40. when i exited the station and began walking toward the buses, i had my phone in hand and was about to call gene. then i spotted the bright yellow marathon maniac jacket in front of the statue and realized he and his club members were right in front of me! after a quick group photo we all boarded a bus for the ride to hopkinton.

gene was intent on going sub-3 and enjoyed listening to all the younger kids (20 and 30 year olds) giving him grief about his age and how he wouldn't keep up with them. since gene and i are the same age (in fact he's a year older), us 40 somethings needed to stick together. but, with my 3:45 target, i wasn't in a position to help him - haha. at the village we all sat together to the left of the stage - behind the welcome to hopkinton sign.

i gave john a call on his cell and introduced him to gene, since they had similar time goals. afterwards, john introduced me to fellow runners world forumite, kurt ("fishmagic"). i said hello to shane (who i had met at the expo) again. he and john had gone to the red sox game - but left early and didn't see the come from behind victory! i commisserated with them before heading back. at 9 we walked over to the baggage buses to drop off our stuff, then headed to the corrals. i said good-bye to gene as he made his way to the second corral and headed to the tenth.

that's where first noticed the tie-dyed bandana on someone's head. after a closer look i realized it was my friend todd! that was an incredible surprise. he was there with two of his running buddies. after some quick introductions, the race started. they ran together, while todd and i paced each other for the first half of the race.

another tangent. this was the reverse of last year, where i couldn't find any friends. despite cell phones, todd and i didn't find each other. more amazingly, emmy overslept and almost missed the last bus! even with the two of us seeded in the same corral, we didn't find each other that morning! even finishing with similar times, we didn't catch sight of each other the entire day. and todd, who started out behind us, caught up and passed me without either of us catching sight of the other one!

so this year started off with a great deal of socializing. we ran together until a bit past the half-way mark. after the wall of sound and cheering section at wellesely, we were on a decent 3:20 pace. todd went on to finish up in 3:22, i dropped my pace significantly and walked the uphills in newton to finish in 3:41. the second half of this marathon was more of a training run for me. i said hello to bekkie and joe as they cheered on the runners just before mile 18. just before the 30k point i caught up to my friend michael, a/k/a torpedo and said hello - before he took off to tackle the hills. the remaining 10k was uneventful until the finish - which never loses its lustre!

here are my splits

7:38 15:43
7:34 23:17
7:33 30:50
7:43 38:33
7:34 46:07
7:33 53:40
7:35 1:01:15
7:39 1:08:54
7:43 1:16:37
7:46 1:24:22
7:41 1:32:04
7:55 1:39:59
7:59 1:47:58
8:16 1:56:15
7:55 2:04:09
9:35 2:13:44
9:55 2:23:19
8:40 2:32:19
9:38 2:41:57
10:49 2:52;46
9:11 3:01:57
10:19 3:12:16
9:08 3:21:23
9:14 3:30:37
11:08 3:41:45 (1.2 miles)
8:28 pace

next up: sybil ludington 50k in carmel, ny.

earth day 2008: green comic relief

we interupt the boston marathon coverage for a little green earth day comic relief! king features syndicate has announced that it would publish "green" themed comics today, in honor of earth day! a few are actually funny!

check out the daily green to see all 45 of the earth day comics strips.

Monday, April 21, 2008

boston marathon: photos part two (marathon maniacs)

me and dave (washington)

me, bekkie and joe (connecticut)

gene (ontario), amy (south dakota), and me

some clubs make marathon maniacs seem a
bit tame by comparison!

boston marathons: photos part one (athletes village)

me and gene

gene, me and some runners from peterborough.
check out this local coverage of their trip to boston.

me and john

john, shane, kurt ("fishmagic"), and me

searchable official results

boston marathon update: rr and photos to follow

just got home from boston: a quick update, i finished in 3:41:44 (a whopping 7 seconds faster than 2007 - haha), for an 8:28 pace.

it was a great day all around. rode to hopkinton with my friend gene and his buddies from peterborough, ontario. also spent a some time with my friend john. then, just before the race started, i caught sight of my friend todd - and we ran the first 20k+ of the race together.

i also got to see my friends bekkie and joe cheering on the runners just before mile 18. a few minutes later, just before the 30k mark, said hello to my friend michael, a/k/a torpedo, on the course. strangely, however, didn't see anyone from wtc, or taconic, this year.

ran the first half hard, with a 1:40 split at the half. took the second half easy, and walked the uphills in newton. no pain, whatsoever, in my leg!

now it's time to check emails, catch up with mail, take a long hot shower, eat some dinner, and drink a few adult beverages - not necessarily in that sequence - haha.

will try to post race day photos tonight and a full race report tomorrow.

thanks to all my friends that wished me good luck up in boston. all those messages contributed to the positive karma that followed me in beantown today!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

hobbs brook basin, waltham: 4 miles

north end of the basin

a few small islands in the basin

view from the gate house

i did my four mile run this afternoon along a beautiful (if somewhat windy) stretch of water, the hobbs brook basin, adjacent to the double tree hotel we're staying at this trip

boston beer works: fenway park

fenway, getting ready for game day

already lining up for beer works - before noon!

a sign that needs no introduction!

women's olympic marathon trials: photos

deena, 800 meters to the finish!

joan, 800 meters to the finish!

the start on boyleston street

the pack rushes by at the start!!

more on the trials when i write-up my race report. these are a few photos that i took this morning.