All posts by Lillian Park

Race Report: 2017 NYRR Brooklyn R-U-N 5K

Photo credit: Jimmy Leung

RaceNYRR Brooklyn R-U-N 5K

Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

When: July 17, 2017

Prospect Park Track Club had an amazing day at the 2017 NYRR Brooklyn R-U-N 5K yesterday at Prospect Park! We had 94 runners run for PPTC, which was just behind Team for Kids who fielded 95 runners. We blew away North Brooklyn Runners, who came in 3rd with 59 runners.

Despite the warm and muggy conditions (and a decidedly PR-unfriendly course), a number of PPTC members had outstanding performances.

Congratulations to:

Matt Siefker (18:29) for being the fastest PPTC member. He came in 26th overall, 25th for men, and 6th for his age group (30-34).

Leiba Rimler (21:29) for being the fastest PPTC woman. She came in 284th overall, 22nd for women, and 5th for her age group (30-34).

Anthony Watson (21:32) came in 2nd for his age group (55-59).

Maggie Deschamps (23:12) came in 2nd for her age group (50-54).

Marcia Brown (23:44) came in 1st for her age group (60-64).

Edwige Sucher (24:11) came in 1st for his age group (45-49).

Tyrone Sklaren (26:05) came in 3rd for his age group (70-74).

Charlene Kohler-Britton (31:53) came in 1st for her age group (65-69).

Francisca Daza (46:49) came in 1st for her age group (70-74).

The PPTC Women’s team came in 2nd for the team competition.

PPTC WoW: In/Out K’s

By Adam Devine

Greetings, fellow warriors! After a one week absence, the WoW is back. To those that are doing MTG you have an awesome set of 400s coming your way, but the WoW could be an excellent second speed day if you are so inclined. Today’s workout comes from my fellow team captain, Missy Burgin!

Workout: In/Out K’s
Description of workout:
You do a 2-3 mile warm up, and then go straight into a  kilometer at Half Marathon pace. Your recovery is a kilometer at a moderate pace (I did 6:40 HMP and 8 min recovery pace). You do this anywhere from 6-8 times each, straight into a cool down, and before you know it, you’re running 13-15 miles for a weekday workout.
What distance is this geared towards:
Marathon distance
Goals or Intentions of this workout:
Long sustained effort toggling between race paces. You become very familiar/comfortable with the paces over long distances. So when you get to the last few fast efforts, your legs are lethargic, but not shot.
Results you have experienced with this workout:
Missy used this workout to fly to an 8 minute PR in the marathon. Great work, Missy!
So give this workout a shot if you’re up for it, and talk to your teammates afterward about how it felt. Happy Running!
The Workout of the Week is a way for members to share what has worked for them in their training. The workouts are meant to be suggestive only. Anyone with health concerns should consult a healthcare professional before starting any rigorous training program. Workouts are often most effective as part of a formal training plan, and you may want to consult a certified coach or trainer. Happy running!

Race Report: Coney Island Creek 5K

by Linus Ly

Race: Coney Island Creek 5K

Where: Kaiser Park, Brooklyn, NY

When: July 16, 2017

I like pleasant surprises.

My friend Josh was instrumental in helping to bring back the Brooklyn Triple Crown series of footraces last year.  The series ran for many years but after Hurricane Sandy hit New York, the series disappeared.  I already knew about the Staten Island Triple Crown and even ran two out of the three races.  The same people, Complete Race Solutions and the Staten Island Athletic Club, now organize both series.

For some reason, I thought the Coney Island Creek 5K (CIC5K) was going to take place on a Sunday.  It’s summertime and my family wants to have things to do on Sundays, so it appeared I wouldn’t be able to participate.  Eventually I realized that the race would be on a Saturday.  Thursday night I happened to pass by the packet pickup site, VitaminShoppe at Caesar’s Bay and  I figured it’s a local race that I want to support so I registered that evening.

What I love about the CIC5K is it was really close to home.  It is basically within Kaiser Park near Mark Twain Middle School.  I used to run there regularly.  I cannot stand races that require me to travel more than an hour, wait around perhaps another hour, then do the race in 30 minutes or more, then another trek to get home.  With the CIC5K, I would be able to just walk over, 20 minutes maybe, 30 minutes top.

I did walk to the race site, in 31 minutes according to Strava.  I met friend Sheldon for a warm up run on the nearby streets.  At the NYRR Queens 10K a few weeks ago, I also had a warm up run and I felt better during and after the actual race.  I thought from now on I should always have a warm up run.  Besides, I need to cross off a few streets in the area, for, of course.  I am sure I ran the nearby streets before, somehow the lines don’t show in CityStrides.

As more friends show up, I learn that Jimmy is in my age group and I joked that my hope for first place age group was dashed, I would have to settle for second place.  With the typical NYRR and NYCRuns races, the number of participants is so large that the chance of a slowpoke like me winning anything is infinitesimally small.  The chance is greater with the smaller races and there are many such races in the City.  I recently turned 50 years old too so there is hope there too.  One popular joke is that if you live long enough, eventually as long as you finish a race you’ll win because you’ll be the only person in the age group.  There weren’t that many people at the CIC5K but I didn’t know who else was in my age group, other than Jimmy.  I would just have to do my best and hope for the best.

The Coney Island Creek 5K course consisted of two laps within Kaiser Park and ends with an almost full lap on a track. There was no start mat.  When the time came, the race director walked the group over to the starting line and, after a few speeches, gave us the signal to go.  I was only a tad behind the starting line, probably at the fifth row, with about five or six people per row.  I jokingly asked “Where is Corral L?”  There was no need for a corral with a small field. During the warmup run, my left knee felt a bit weird.  The pain seemed to travel down below the calf but it went away afterward.  I did more stretching during the wait for the race to start.  Whatever it was I held back a bit in the beginning.  It was a bit scary to see all the runners in front of me taking off.  I just kept my regular pace.  There was no need to dodge slow runners because there were not that many people and the course

During the warmup run, my left knee felt a bit weird.  The pain seemed to travel down below the calf but it went away afterward.  I did more stretching during the wait for the race to start.  Whatever it was I held back a bit in the beginning.  It was a bit scary to see all the runners in front of me taking off.  I just kept my regular pace.  There was no need to dodge slow runners because there were not that many people and the course was wide enough.  One by one I passed the kids, and then the women who went into walking mode.  I know, nothing to write home about, but in the running world, lots of time the little kids are pretty fast and so are the women.

Just as I started to pass the front of Mark Twain M.S., some guys started to pass me.  I thought they were such fast runners that they already started to lap me, even though I didn’t even hit the first mile yet.  I found out later that they were speedy late-comers who thought the race was scheduled for 9 a.m.; the race was scheduled for an 8:30 start, but it was delayed. I passed two more women.  There was a third woman but I couldn’t catch up to her in the first mile.  By the second mile, she took a walking break and it was my chance to pass her but before I did that she resumed running.  A short while later, during the sandy portion of the course, she walked again and this time I actually passed her.  My lead was short-lived as she resumed running shortly after I passed her and she regained the lead.  Unfortunately for her not long after passing me she had to walk again.  I once again passed her and kept going.

I should have studied the course better and only knew vaguely that it was two times around the park, that the third time I hit the entrance to the track I should enter it for about a loop of the track.  I wasn’t sure by the time I finished the second loop of the park and had to ask the race director to confirm.  I was so glad it was over.  Hot and humid weather does not work well for me.  I perform better in cold weather.

Linus accepting his 2nd AG award. Photo credit: Jimmy Leung

Many of my teammates from the Prospect Park Track Club won age group awards, including a number of 1st place.  For my Age Group, 50-59, when the third-place winner was announced and it wasn’t me, my hope was dashed.  Oh well, run faster or find another small race, I thought.  But it turned out I was the second-place winner, with Jimmy in first-place, just as I joked before the race.  Pleasant surprise indeed!

In the days leading up to the CIC5K, Josh had many announcements on Facebook about which sponsors had come onboard for raffle prizes, in addition to the Chipotle BOGO coupon and $2 (?) Coney Island Brewing Co. given to every registrant. There were indeed many prizes: baseball caps, running socks, $15 Grimaldi coupon, $25 Brooklyn Running Co. gift card, and other high-valued prizes that I cannot recall at the moment. Knowing my luck, I didn’t expect much but when the winner for the last $25 BRC gift card was picked, the person wasn’t present and my number was picked!  Woohoo!  Second-place Age Group AND a $25 gift card, the day sure started on a good note!

Race Report: New Jersey Marathon

Oren Efrati

By Oren Efrati

Race: New Jersey Marathon

Where: Oceanport, NJ

When: April 29, 2017

I had signed up for the NJ marathon in a burst of enthusiasm right after the New York Marathon.  I was not sure what to expect since I had never run a spring marathon.  I was loosely following the Hal Higdon 18-week Advanced training plan, but customized it a bit with some longer long runs, and swapping a cross-training for one of the running days.

The day before the race, I convinced my family that the beautiful sunny day was a perfect time to get lunch at a seaside restaurant in Long Branch, NJ, and by-the-way check out the expo and start and finish lines.  Glad I did, since it eased my nerves a bit to see what to expect the next day.

The weather gods were smiling on Sunday, as the temperature dropped to what felt like perfect conditions.  It started around 59F, and the forecast had the temps dropping during the race, which almost never happens.  There was good cloud cover for most of the day, and the feared predicted strong winds never showed up.

Besides weather and training, race day nutrition is key for me. I tried as much as possible to replicate what I did in November, which worked well then.  That meant eating a bigger breakfast than I would normally, plus Gatorade and Shot Bloks before the race.  During the race, I had 4 gels, 3 salt tablets, and lots of Gatorade and water.  The cups that were handed out were small, so I tried to take three at the stops, which were about every two miles.

I arrived at Monmouth Park around 6:15 am (which is actually a horse racetrack) by car.  I left most of my things in the car, and then walked a few minutes to get to the bag-check area and corrals.  Actually, much easier logistically than most other marathons.  I entered the coral around 7:10 am, and found the 3:25 pace group before the horn went off.

The pace group was great, met a bunch of nice folks, each with their story of what brought them to this spot.  A woman running her first marathon, who wanted to run under 3:30.  Tony was trying to inch closer to his 3:15 BQ time.  And Liam (well known from Brooklyn races), who ran Boston 8 times, had a lot of good advice during the race (“At some point in any marathon it becomes the most important one you have ever run.”).  I ran a few miles with Claire from PPTC who was racing the half.  She and Michael Silver eventually sped past our pace group.  There were lots of cheering along the course at various spots, and I enjoyed seeing the various beach towns and boardwalks.  Christine was a one-woman PPTC cheer zone at mile 10 and the finish. I was also happy to see Sam and Jennie on the course.

Things were going well until late in the race, where I did not manage to hold on to the pace the whole way.  As I was getting into mile 23, the pace group was inching away in the distance.  There were a few other casualties from the group and we all ended up separating into our own pace.  So going into mile 24 I was pretty much alone with one long straight road to go down.  I had brought a small music player in my pocket, and put it on for some extra motivation.  It helped to take my mind off the difficult last few miles.  So listening to Girl Talk by All Day for the last stretch, and then I saw Christine cheering and the finish line, I was very happy to be done.

Even though I didn’t hit my A goal, I still managed a 2 minute or so PR, and finally got that 2-handle on my marathon time (3:28:59  official).

I drove back with Christine and Puff for the ride back to Brooklyn. I felt New Jersey Marathon was definitely a great marathon and I’d recommend it.

Member Spotlight: Anh-Tuan Tran

Member Spotlight is a feature on the PPTC blog to introduce our wonderful members to a wider audience. As a club with over 800 paying members, we know PPTC runners are doing incredible things.

Anh-Tuan Tran

Recently Jana Trenk met Anh-Tuan, a fairly new member of Prospect Park Track Club, after work for one of his usual running routes, a partial run commute from Union Square to Flatbush. Anh-Tuan recently ran 70 miles at the Laurel Highlands Ultra!

 Jana felt inspired to get some insights into an ultra runner’s mentality, so she grabbed a slice of pizza to fuel herself for their conversation during their run. 

Read Anh-Tuan’s interview by Jana.

How long have you lived in Brooklyn? Where are you from originally?

I’ve lived in Brooklyn for 9 years. I was born in Lancaster, P-A but did some growing up in Hershey.

How did you start running? What got you interested in running?

To cope with a breakup, I was doing a ton of aimless walking (both sober and not), which was getting old. We’re talking 2-3 hours each night after work for about two months. My little sister recognized that this roaming habit could be channeled into something that actually counts as exercise for an otherwise-healthy 28 year old, so she paid my registration for a 10k in Trenton. On that day I was not interested in pursuing anymore running, but I came around before long.

How has running changed your life?

Running has connected me with a lot of great individuals. I’ve made friends who will drop everything and come running for 13 miles at almost a moment’s notice. Other people I call friends I have met only once during a race, but over a couple of hours on the trail we’ll talk each other through some big life questions. It’s a remarkable diversity of community resources that are available to runners.

Running has also encouraged me to question my perception of limits. Five years ago I was in a lot of pain after running that first 10k. I was certain it was going to be the most mileage I’d ever do. A couple of 50k’s and one 70 mile race later, I now often question the signals that my body gives me. That skepticism extends to other times in my life where I’m tempted to throw in the towel, but I’ll instead take a step back and check in with myself to see if my complaints are legitimate. It’s a useful tool.

And, I dropped smoking like a bad habit after 10+ years.

What are your goals for the future?

I have dream races like the Ultra Fiord in Patagonia and Hardrock in Colorado. However, I also want to strike a balance and expose myself to other endurance activities that have a team aspect. I recently learned about outrigger paddling where you are six people in a canoe and participate in endurance events like 3-day races or expedition paddles. That kind of very pure team environment appeals to me.

I also really want to become one of these people who can get into the water and swim for a couple of hours straight. That would be cool.

What do you do outside of running? Can you tell us a little about your work, hobbies, life other than training?

I work for the Wildlife Conservation Society supporting field conservation activities across Asia (my office is in the Bronx Zoo). Currently, I’m enjoying poems by people like William Carlos Williams and Raymond Carver. Please give me recommendations! I live with two of my favorite beings, Hilary and Rosie. One of them is a cat.

Follow Anh-Tuan’s training on StravaJoin PPTC on Strava

Race Report: Subaru Stampede Half Marathon

by Jennifer Adams

Race: Subaru Stampede Half Marathon

Where: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

When: July 9, 2017

A cowboy walks the streets of Calgary

I am starting a position at the University of Calgary and since I will be spending most of my year here, I thought the best way to self-induct into the local running scene was to sign up for the half marathon. There was a 5k and 10k option, but I understood that only the half participants would receive a medal so the medal won.

This half marathon coincides with the annual Calgary Stampede. The whole town, I mean, city turns into a scene from the Wild Wild West with almost everyone donning cowboy hats, boots and their finest western-esque gear.  You could learn a little more about the Stampede here and some of the animal welfare issues here.

I’ve become so used to the sardine corrals of the NYRR races that I was surprised at the race cap of 1,000 participants.  There are probably that many people in one corral.

For those people who registered before June 1st, the bibs were personalized with first names.  For those who registered after, there was a space to write your name and sharpies supplied to do so.

Calgary currently has a heat advisory, so the race organizers admonished participants and volunteers to hydrate properly both before and during the race as well as take advantage of sponge stations. So I limited my pre-race wine and drank plenty of H2O and electrolytes.

Not having a car, I took public transportation to the start of the race.  With a start of 7:20 I left at 5:30 in order to give me plenty of time to figure out where I was going.  Walking through downtown at that time, I encountered a jackrabbit looking all thuggish and thought to myself about the questions my middle school students always asked about animals, “If a Calgary jackrabbit and NYC rat got into a fight, who would win?”

I made my way to the start of the race. I was there early so had time to stretch, use the portapotties (no lines!!!) and make my way to the start. With everything having a Stampede theme, we were serenaded with country music and invited to sit on haystacks while we waited for the start time.  After a countdown and “Yeehaw,” we were off promptly at 7:20.  The first two kilometres (remember, this is Canada) were through local streets. During this part of the race, I kept holding back, reminding myself that I have not trained in dry heat so be careful.  I ran a comfortable pace for the first almost 8 kilometres (Canadian spelling) but then the altitude kicked in, something I neglected to consider in my decision to run the race.

At a little more than 3,000 ft (1,000 m) above sea level, while not high enough for Olympic training, it is high enough for athletes to feel the effects during endurance events. And feel it I did.  First my legs started to feel heavy (versus just tired) and then I felt like I was catching my breath.  So, between this and the dry heat, my decent pace dropped to a walk/shuffle gait. Thankfully the scenery was enjoyable—much of race encircled the Glenmore Reservoir, which was combination of lovely views of the body of water and birch forests (on an asphalt path). Although it was mostly flat, there were a few short roller coaster-like hills with steep inclines and declines and bridges. There were ample water stations and volunteers along the course, all very friendly and most donning their finest Stampede gear.

I made my way, slowly, out of the reservoir and the biggest “hill” was during the last 2.5K of the race—a pretty steep switchback ramp to an overpass over the highway.  After the ramp, it was pretty much a downhill and flat run to a 200m finish on the Glenmore Athletic Park track.

I finished, not my best time but a done time. Got my Stampede-themed medal (a sneaker with a spur) and then all runners were treated to a traditional Stampede breakfast—pancakes, maple syrup and beef sausages.  There were also scones, Muscle  Milk bottles, juice, and oatmeal.  It was quite the post-race buffet.

Overall, it was a good race and a good induction into running in Calgary.  There were ample water, volunteers and post-race food. If I am here in July next year, I would do it again and hopefully by then be prepared for the altitude.