Brooklyn Runner

Turkey Trot Results
November 25, 2007, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Racing

Results for the 2007 Turkey Trot in Prospect Park are now up here.

November 24, 2007, 1:09 pm
Filed under: Contemplating

“Our life destination determines who we become because we are transformed into the persons our aspirations require.”

~Tim Erwin, executive coach

It’s true. This speaks to how important it is to have a goal. To know, as the director of an art gallery once told me, “exactly what it is you want.”

Years ago, I never would have thought I’d become the kind of person who gets up at the crack of dawn to run six miles before going to work to put in a full day, or order my entire work day once a week around being able to make it to evening speed workouts. I’m kind of lazy, and have a tendency toward flakiness. It’s hard to keep commitments. Plus, I treasure my sleep.

But my destination was set before me — the marathon, with a certain finish time. Fixed on that goal, the day-by-day choices became easier to make. If I wanted to make it to where I wanted to go, it became clear what I needed to do. Amazingly, over time, I changed into the person I needed to be.

How reassuring. To know that it is possible to be transformed into the kind of person you want to be — sometimes, without even realizing it’s happening.

Upcoming Races
November 23, 2007, 11:26 am
Filed under: Marathoning, Racing | Tags: ,

Running in the Turkey Trot yesterday made me feel like running more races! Doing races always has that effect on me, even if I don’t always get a personal best, and even if the race doesn’t live up to expectations.

There’s something about being up and out at an event early on a weekend morning, being surrounded by all these people who are excited about running, and going for their goals. Whether the goal is just to finish or to win the event, the ambition and effort is equally impressive. You’re out there, you’re doing something, and that’s worth something!

It started to make me think about whether I should train for a spring marathon. I was pretty much resigned to waiting until the fall to put in another season of serious training. And training through a harsh New York winter would be quite a feat — different from the challenge of slogging through a hot New York summer, but difficult it its own way. Plus I’d have to travel somewhere to do a spring race. I have to admit, though, the steepness of the challenge is alluring. . .

In the meantime, there are some upcoming races in the neighborhood that are worth looking into:

Peter Rabbit 3-mile Cross Country Run (Brooklyn Road Runners)
Sat. Dec. 1, 10 am, Prospect Park (Bartel Pritchard Square)
Online registration here.

Hot Chocolate 15K (New York Road Runners)
Sat. Dec. 1, 9:30 am, Central Park
A longer option for the 1st.

Joel Kleinerman 10K (New York Road Runners)
Sun. Dec. 9, 9:30 am, Central Park
(I’ve always loved the 10K distance. . . )

New Year’s Eve 3.3 Mile Fun Run (Brooklyn Road Runners)
Monday Dec. 31, 11:15 pm, Prospect Park (Grand Army Plaza)
Online registration here.

The Turkey Trot
November 22, 2007, 11:53 pm
Filed under: Racing | Tags: , ,

Almost didn’t make it to this race — it was a lazy holiday morning, wasn’t quite prepared mentally or physically, and a stressful/ busy past couple weeks at work left me feeling a little worn down. Still, I knew I’d regret having signed up and then not doing it. So, half awake and having ingested only half a glass of water and a cup of coffee, I threw on my running clothes and made my way down to the Wollman Rink area at Prospect Park.

Aside from running out of safety pins (!) for the bibs at the start, it was a pretty well organized event. The volunteers calling split times also gave pace times as well, which was nice. There were about 700 runners registered, and hundreds showed up and registerd on the spot. It was a festive crowd. An unseasonably warm Thanksgiving Day had most people in shorts and tee shirts. A little weird for late November but hey. . . It was clear and beautiful. Literally picture perfect running through the park.

For my part, I had a terrible race. My first race since the marathon and I had done virtually no preparation. In fact had not even been running very much at all! Mostly what did me in was the lack of mental preparation. I had no plan, no goal, had not really given the race much thought until an hour before. So, started out much too fast (a sub 8-minute pace in the first mile), and after that ran exactly the opposite type of race I normally strive for: each successive mile was slower than the one before. Oh well. By mile five I didn’t even care about my time anymore. I was suffering from a side stitch that bothered me practically the whole way through; all I wanted was to just run and feel good. Managed to finish in about 43 minutes — not terrific for me, but not bad.

Still, I was, in the end, glad I did the race. Afterwards caught up with a few people from the speed training workouts, chatted about the marathons we had run this fall, and munched on hot chocolate and bagels. The race folks had unofficial results posted by the time I had made my way over to the food tent — quite impressive (although unfortunately I don’t see results up on the web yet).

There were finisher medals for everyone. I usually don’t get a kick out of finisher medals but these were fun — brown fabric with “Turkey Trot 2007” in yellow, and a festive turkey on the medallion. Apparently they ran out and didn’t have enough for people who were finishing later. I gave mine away to someone who didn’t get one; as I was leaving the park, though, a guy was standing by the exit with a fresh box of medals, handing them out to anyone who didn’t get one.

We also got a nice black messenger bag with the Turkey Trot logo on it. Not a bad take for my 12 bucks and 5 miles. . .

A few other noteworthy observations: Top finishers from Brooklyn, Washington, DC, Texas and Rhode Island; a guy running the race with a double stroller (and smoking past most people for that matter); an entire family with race bibs on, small children and all.

Turkey Trot in Prospect Park
November 21, 2007, 12:50 am
Filed under: Racing | Tags: , , ,

This is a shout out for the 5-mile Thanksgiving Day race — a.k.a. the Turkey Trot — in Prospect Park, organized by none other than Prospect Park Track Club.

I participated in a few races of the PPTC speed series — 5K races every two weeks throughout the summer in Prospect Park — this past summer and the club is an incredibly warm and encouraging running community. I found runners of all abilities who were simply passionate about running, and becoming better runners. I also took part in the coached speed training sessions — for fee and for members only — and had a great experience. I found support, encouragement and good training, and, I got faster.

So, the Turkey Trot. On what better day to stretch your body to its limits, strain yourself physically, push yourself to burn more energy than you normally would, than on a day when gluttony and indulgence are not just allowed, but encouraged?

The race is a five-mile jaunt through Prospect Park — one big loop followed by one small loop. The leaves are ablaze in fall color, promising to be a treat, and this is apparently a real New York running tradition. Word has it that this race — thirty years in existence — was once hosted by New York Road Runners, but they dropped it. When they did, Prospect Park Track Club picked up the slack and kept it going.

The race is also a fundraiser for Bishop Ford High School’s track and running teams, which have received tens of thousands in funds raised through this event!

So, if you’re looking for motivation to push yourself, justification for eating all that food, or just want to feel good while participating in a great tradition, then this is the race for you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

A good discipline
November 17, 2007, 10:24 am
Filed under: Contemplating, Marathoning | Tags: , ,

I have often said this to friends: I wish I could apply the same discipline and focus I seem to have in marathon training to other aspects and goals in life.      

How I wish it were as *simple* to write and publish a book or create and show a body of artwork as it is to train for and run a marathon! Of course, this is not to diminish the magnitude of the marathon and the training it requires. I have the utmost reverence for the race, and for the training involved. It is a monumental task.

But training and running, for me at least, is quite simple when you boil it down. You start out as someone who runs. You give yourself four or five months. You get a training plan, and a schedule, week by week. And week after week, you make it a priority to do the training runs, and you order your schedule around it.You eat and drink what you’re supposed to, what will enhance your training. Eventually, you actually feel the benefits of the training settle into your body.  And when it’s time to run the race, you just show up. Ready to give your best effort.

If only other goals were as straightforward and clear. Instead sometimes they seem like nebulous ideas rather than tangible goals, and getting there is a meandering road, full of false starts and stops and plenty of wrong turns.

No wonder marathoning has become so popular, that 38,000 people ran in the New York City marathon this year, as opposed to 5,000 people 30 years ago. I think we all want to strive for a goal that is lofty and seemingly unattainable, and apply the effort and discipline towards achieving something great. The physicality of training lets you tangibly feel your effort and the results.

I think there must be a way that applies to efforts in other goals as well. I’m just still looking for it.  

Small acts of (un)kindness
November 14, 2007, 2:45 pm
Filed under: Contemplating

As previously noted, I’ve been laboring under the postmortem blues of having finished a marathon. I’m more tired somehow now that I’m not running 30 miles a week, altering my week’s schedule around 15+ mile runs on the weekends, speedwork on Tuesday nights, and a medium training run (5 or 6 miles) on Thursday mornings at 6. I get eight PLUS hours of sleep, and yet am yawning frequently as I slog through the day.

And I feel more irritable.

I hate it that I promulgate small acts of unkindness — scowling instead of smiling at a van driver who paused mid-block to let me cross the street, purposely not holding the door open for someone I knew was entering behind me, ignoring a coworker’s efforts at small talk.

I know it might not be a big deal to some, but I don’t like it when people are unkind for no reason, and I don’t like it that I can be that way too.