All posts by Lillian Park

Ask A Runner” How do you handle Hot Summer Running?

By Stuart Kaplan

Disclaimer: The Advice given in this blog is from the experiences of the runners who completed a survey. This information has not been endorsed by PPTC

I will never forget that humid day in June when I ran the Queens 10K. Humidity got me. I fell victim to summer running when I began to black out 100 ft before the finish line. Even though I finished that race (not remembering crossing the finish line), the pictures are proof that heat and humidity got the best of me that day.

Even the most experienced runners have to modify their running to handle the hot weather. According to Kristen Dold of Runner’s World, “science says training in the heat is worth the trouble: Hot-weather workouts teach your body to sweat more, increase your blood-plasma volume, and lower your core body temperature- all adaptations that help you perform better in any weather.” Although this can all lead to improvements in running, from my own experience, it can also be a pain when summer running is also training for that big race in the fall.

Summer running can truly challenge us.  In my own experience changes in pace and dehydration have both been challenges that I have had to deal with. In order to overcome these challenges, I try to get up earlier to run. The later it gets, the hotter it gets. On those hot days I know my pace won’t be the same, I spend more time concentrating on my form, my breathing, and pay closer attention to my hydration. I read an article in Runner’s World “Six Ways to Run Long and Strong in the Heat” by Jenny Hadfield. She  makes the point, “In the heat concentrate on effort not pace.” I am learning to listen to my body. If I need I slow down especially if I’m running in the direction of the sun.

On hot days I also like to rehydrate with a Nuun after my run.  Hydration should be a constant even on those off days. A friend of mine gave me great advice. She said that during a race on a hot day she took some cold water and poured it on the back of her neck and her wrists. By doing this she said her body temperature began to decrease, and her pace then increased.  I have found in my own experience that doing this helps.

We recently sent out a survey asking runners in PPTC about their experiences with running in high temperature and humidity.  Out of the 30 responses, 18 runners (60%) said their biggest challenge was the change in pace. Seventeen people (56%) said that dehydration created challenges for them. These two issues can truly affect training. Read more to learn about their challenges with summer running, the ways in which they have overcome these challenges, and some advice and takeaways on ways we can better prepare ourselves for running in hot weather.

Roshan –Member of PPTC for two months: Challenges- The Heat, Motivation, and Preparing for a Race

 It’s hard to get up early enough to beat the heat! But I know I need to get out there for marathon training. Group runs help with motivation but it can be hard going to bed early on a weekend to get up early the next day. I’ve started to try and plan more interesting routes and explore parts of the city that I don’t usually get to anymore. I had a 12 mile run recently and decided to map it out that I did a nice route in Manhattan ended at Pier 11. I live in Brooklyn Heights and took the ferry back after the run. It was the greatest feeling to sit on top and feel the breeze. It was fun! Helps with my motivation when I feel like I have a good run regardless of heat or motivation.

Noah – Member of PPTC for one year. Challenges:  Dehydration, Changes in Pace

 I had to slow down when it first got hot.  It took about a month to get workout paces back up to the level they were in the spring. Had to remember to drink water regularly but not too much at one time. Nuun tablets and coconut water are lifesavers. Electrolytes are real.

 

Jana- Member of PPTC for two years –Challenges: Dehydration, Changes in Pace, Preparing for a race

Last year I was well trained for the 2015 Boston Marathon. The weather was very hot and humid on race day. I went out at my originally planned pace and ended up dehydrated and in the medical tent at Mile 8. I was devastated and that night I signed up for the Vermont City Marathon a few weeks later. On the day, it was 88 degrees and sunny. I was able to finish that marathon, but the heat really got to me and my time was an hour slower than my goal! Often times, I have felt sluggish and thirsty during hot weather days.” I began to do most of my summer runs very early in the morning before the sun was out. I accept that my pace may be slower on a hot day. If it is extremely hot on one day, I might move my long run to the next day. Overall, being flexible, being kind to myself and adjusting my expectations for time when needed.

Advice

  • Adjust your time expectations–set a slower goal time.
  • Run by effort, not by pace because the heat WILL affect your pace.
  • Be kind to yourself. If the weather is not ideal for a race, it’s ok if you so not perform at your full potential.
  • Hydrate well before, during and after a run on a hot day.
  • Bring water with you so you can drink while running on a hot day. Whether it is a hydration pack or handheld bottle–just make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Run very early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the sun beating down on you.
  • Wear light and breathable clothing.

Questions:

  • For a goal race, exactly how much should you adjust your time goal based on the temperature?
  • Does the heat have a greater effect on race result when the distance is longer? I noticed that I’m better able to run a fast 5k on a hot day than a fast marathon.

Rachel Member of PPTC for four months.  Challenges: The Heat, Motivation

In the hot weather, I never want to go outside let alone run, the heat kills my motivation and makes me feel exhausted all the time. Run very early, run shorter distances more often rather than one long run (too draining), and HYDRATE so much. I also like to use Emergen-C tab before runs and organic Gatorade (it’s really tasty!) after runs. Recovery after runs is really important for me in the heat, getting the right nutrition afterward. I also let myself nap after weekend runs to re-energize. it’s made me more methodical in how I plan my weekly runs and how I recover from runs. It also made me less afraid to just get out there even if I think I may not be able to finish my distance or get the pace I want. 

Advice: Give yourself extra time to prepare, get out earlier, and take a longer recovery.

Questions: Is there ever a temperature/humidity index/air quality alert that you really shouldn’t run in? What are the warning signs that you should look for in case you’ve pushed yourself too hard in the heat?

Sam: Member of PPTC for 1yr 4months-Challenges: The Heat, and Motivation

I found that getting out to run is the hardest thing about running during hot and humid summer days. Once laced up and outside, it’s one foot front of another. Then heat and humidity hit you and I’m drenched in my own sweat. It’s more of mental challenge from there on than physical since once my mind says it’s too hot, my body tends to break down and doesn’t want to move. However, when I’m mentally strong as sometimes I am, it becomes much better run than a winter day. I carry a bottle water during the run and I wet my head with cold water. If I’m running in the park, I stop by the Center Drive and wet my head. I’m not sure if I’m improving as a runner but having committed to running at least two miles a day no matter the weather condition has got me out and do the daily run. I’m able to run much better in the heat and humidity that before so I guess I have improved running in the hot and humid days.

Advice:  Wet your head down with cold water to cool down. But most of all, slow down. It’s much easier to run your distance by slowing your pace than trying to run fast so you can get out of the heat. Also, you are still getting your workout by going the distance.

Adam Member of PPTC 6 months-Challenges: The Heat, Dehydration

Counterintuitively I am a more consistent runner in the summer. My biggest obstacle is running before sunrise, so with the long summer days, I don’t find it difficult to get in the miles. I started running in Atlanta, GA where hot, humid days are the norm. However you have to stay hydrated if you want to train and heat-adapt successfully.

It is so important to stay hydrated. Don’t just hydrate before you go out. You should be hydrating consistently on your off-days, when you go to bed, and when you wake up in the morning. I have an insulated water bottle that I load up with ice and keep with me all day. I think the key is to have consistent fluid intake rather than a quick spike in fluids right before a run. If you overload your system all at once, you’ll just pee the water right back out. Staying hydrated has kept my pace consistent during summer training. I find that I don’t need to slow down much unless I’m running at 1 or 2 in the afternoon (and why on Earth would you do that)?

Advice: Stay hydrated every day, even when you are not running. Try to find routes with shade, and either bring water or plan a route that has water fountains available.

Lillian- Member of PPTC 2 Yrs Challenges: The Heat

I’m very much a fair weather runner. I know heat and humidity affect everyone, but I’m disproportionately affected, in particular with humidity. I slow waaaay down.

 I spent more time doing heat adaptation – more slow running in the heat. It’s not about the miles or the pace, but just time spent under the sun, so when I need to run fast, I’m more used to warm temperatures. Also, I freeze water in a Simple Hydration bottle (for which I’m a brand ambassador because I love this product so much). The ice melts during the run so I have icy cold water to drink and to sprinkle over my head. It helps to cool me.

I ran my fastest AGSS last week on one of the hottest days of the year. I didn’t wilt under the heat the way I did all summer long last year. I’m running faster under warmer temperatures, which bodes well for fall racing.

Advice: Oh, the usual advice of try to run during cooler times of the day, drink lots of water, remember your electrolytes, and back off the pace. Now is not the time to summon your inner Eliud Kipchoge.

Anonymous: Challenge: The Heat, Motivation

It’s frustrating to have to slow down so much and have a higher RPE. I don’t like to run really early in the morning, but it gets tough later in the day, especially with long runs.

I do end up trying to run earlier on long runs. I try to be forgiving of myself when it comes to hitting all of my pace goals and expect easy days to be a lot slower. Running with other people helps in terms of motivation.

I started marathon training last summer when there were a lot of really hot days. I doubted my ability to meet my marathon goals a lot, but having gone through that tough summer helped me cultivate patience and some necessary grit.

Advice: I think you should still work to have quality workouts, but I think some things might have to give in the heat. For example, even if you have a handheld water bottle, you will probably have to stop during your long run to fill it up. Adjusting your expectations can be helpful. You can expect to go slower than what you’d like and still expect to do well in the fall.

Anonymous: Challenges: The Heat, Dehydration

I find myself really nauseous after long runs. Also–I try to run early in the morning (6 am) so it’s sometimes a struggle to get out of bed

I am more responsible about hydration and electrolytes. I drink a lot of water (and Nuun) the day before an the morning of. I swear by the Endurolytes Extreme salt pills, one before my run, and one for every hour I’m running to ensure I don’t suffer from electrolyte balance. I also make sure I have a simple snack (like a PB sandwich, some leftover pasta, or a piece of fruit) waiting for me at the end.

Advice: Listen to your body, don’t feel bad about slowing down, and drink water well before you’re thirsty!

Questions: Any suggestions for quick-ready to eat snacks for before/after runs? Also–summer running clothes are tiny–how do you carry your nutrition?

Isaac Member of PPTC 1.5.yrs- Challenges: Heat, Changes in pace

Long weekend runs start at 6:00 am

Articles to read:

Tips for Training in Hot Weather” By Kristen Dold

 “Six ways to Run Long and Strong in the Heat” by Jenny Hadfield

PPTCWoW: McMillan Hilly Broken Tempo Workout

by Adam Devine
WorkoutMcMillan Hilly Broken Tempo Workout
 
Description of workout:
15-20 min warm up, 3 mile tempo, 3 min recovery jog, 4×30 sec steep hills, 3 min recovery jog, 3 mile tempo, 15-20 min cool down
 
What distance is this geared towards:
10k/Half Marathon
 
Goals or Intentions of this workout:
This is great for a 10k or half marathon. The first tempo run should feel relatively steady and the second tempo run should be very tough. The short, steep, hard hills in the middle flood your legs with lactic acid so that you enter the last portion of the workout feeling like you are deep into a hard race. The aim is to run the second tempo run at the same pace as the first one. It teaches you to learn to dig very deep when you are tired and want to stop. This is a valuable thing to learn because we usually face the toughest miles in the end of our races.
 
Results you have experienced with this workout:
At best, you’ll feel stronger and faster in your last miles of a race. At worst, this workout helps strengthen your mental fortitude.
 
So give this workout a shot if you’re up for it, and talk to your teammates afterwards about how it felt. Happy Running, and thanks, Efren!!
 
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!

Member Spotlight: Interview with Janet Gottlieb

Interview by: Jana Trenk

Jana Trenk joined long time PPTC member, Janet Gottlieb for a mid day loop of Prospect Park, starting at Grand Army Plaza.  Janet gets in 15-20 miles per week, and has been a regular at New York City area races since 1984!

How long have you lived in Brooklyn? Where are you from originally?
I have lived in Brooklyn (first Bay Ridge, now Park Slope) for 31 years. I grew up in The Bronx, and lived in Queens as a young adult.

How did you start running? What got you interested in running?
When I was a teen, before I knew anything about training or specialized running shoes, running seemed a great way to get cardio exercise, and living near the Jerome Park Reservoir, a popular running loop, made it very convenient. In my late twenties, now properly shod, I began entering local races in Queens and also NYRR races.

How has running changed your life?
Running has helped keep me fit, and the people I’ve run with have become some of my closest friends. Some people become so totally consumed with work that they forget health and fitness, but registering for goal races required me to take time for running throughout my working life.

For many years, I considered marathons to be things other people did, and then, when I was 45 and going through some personal adversity, I went to the NYCM Expo and decided to sign up for the Prague Marathon the following May. The demands of marathon training are a great distraction, and I recommend a first marathon to anyone having a hard time who already has enough of a base to contemplate it.

What are your goals for the future?
Unless a brand new, odd distance race is offered, I know my PRs are behind me, but I expect to stay active even if my finishes are DFLs.

Janet with her dog, Cathy. Photo credit: Paul Schickler

What do you do outside of running? Can you tell us a little about your work, hobbies, life other than training?
After more than 33 years working as an attorney for the Administration for Children’s Services, I retired in the Fall of 2015, allowing me more time with my husband Paul, a retired teacher, and our dog Cathy. With New York’s museums, theatres and varied neighborhoods, there’s always plenty to do.

What was it like running in New York in the 80s? How was running culture similar or different to running in 2017?
 It’s my sense that people who ran in the 80’s, obviously a smaller group than we have now, made it their #1 priority, more important than civic action and sometimes even relationships. When there was a plan to make big changes, good for business but bad for park users, in Flushing Meadow Park, I expected my running friends would want to join in opposing the politicians advocating for them, but they didn’t seem to care. Today’s runners—and it may be because this is Brooklyn, and not changing times—recognize how civic action can work in their favor: When I came to Park Slope twenty-five years ago there were cars in the Park almost all the time on weekdays. Political pressure changed that.
Women were certainly in the minority of runners in the eighties, and I got used to being told by the ignorant that jarring one’s reproductive organs was unhealthy. Many got tired of being “welcomed” by runners and then mansplained, which is why women-only events were established. Now there are many New York races in which we predominate!
Those who were involved with PPTC in the old days report that it, too, used to be male-dominated and much more speed-driven and less welcoming of non-champions than it is now.

 

 

 

Race Report: Al Goldstein Summer Series #5

(Left to Right): Junior, Alexis, and Erin volunteering at bag check. Photo credit: Larry Sillen

Race: Al Goldstein Summer Series 5K

Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

When: July 19, 2017

On hot, hot, hot evening, 394 intrepid runners lined up in Prospect Park for Al Goldstein Summer Series #5 on July. The only things hotter than the weather were the performances from PPTC! As you can see, the master runners came out in full force to show us how to run in the heat.

Congrats to:

Dean Gebhardt (18:25) for being the first male PPTC finisher. His performance also garnered him 1st place in his age group (50-54).

Matt Siefker (18:26) followed closely behind Dean to be the 2nd male PPTC finisher.

Melvyn Stafford (18:35) came in as the 3rd male PPTC finisher. His performance earned him 2nd place in his age group (50-54).

Jana Trenk (19:09) is the first female PPTC finisher. She also is the 2nd place winner for the women.

Daniel Dougherty (21:01) received 2nd place in his age group (60-64).

Shania Smith (21:29) is the 2nd female PPTC finisher and won 3rd place for her age group (15-19).

Leiba Rimler (21:56) is the 3rd female PPTC finisher and her performance garnered her 2nd place for her age group (30-34).

Robert Herel (24:46) received 3rd place for his age group (50-54).

Jacqueline James (27:54) won 2nd place for her age group (50-54).

Al Prawda (28:18) came in 1st for his age group (70 and over).

Claire Dougherty (28:30) won 1st place for her age group (60-64).

Donna Newton (29:54) earned 3rd place for her age group (55-59).

Lisa is crossing the finish line. Photo credit: Larry Sillen

Much thanks to this partial list of volunteers at last week’s AGSS 5K. If your name is not on this list, but you volunteered, please email me at blog@pptc.org to let me know and I will fix the omission.

Veronica and Andy are working on race registration and bib pick-up. Photo credit: Larry Sillen

Michael Ring
Tricia McNaughton
Kathleen Lewis
Jimmy Leung
Yoshie Niitsuma
Andy Wong
Sam Smullen
Veronica Antoine
Chaya Wolf
Fran Kotkov
Doug Olney
Melissa Lee
Amanda Jean
Linda Ewing
Kate Dalton
Priscilla Upshaw-Wimbley
Murray Rosenblith
Missy Burgin
Howard Abrams
Junior Passee
Alexis Davidson
Bruce Weiner
Erin

Race Report: Manitou’s Revenge

By Matthew Imberman

Race: Manitou’s Revenge

Where: Catskills, New York

When: June 17, 2017

This is the description from the Race Director:
“THIS IS NOT LIKE ANY OTHER ULTRA YOU’VE RUN BEFORE!
This is a grueling, gnarly, nasty course with approximately 15,000 ft. of climbing, much of it rocky and precipitous.  To be sure, there are some runnable sections, but you will more often find yourself hiking uphill or down, sometimes hand over hand.  Expect this course to take you much longer than your average 50 miler. That’s why we are allowing 24 hrs. to complete this monster. Because of its remote and difficult nature, there will of necessity be a limited number of aid stations, 8 or 9, and runners should be prepared to spend up to 3 or 4 hrs between aid stations. You will have to be reasonably self-sufficient. To make matters worse, the course gets progressively more difficult as you go along! And to top it all off, the average runner will have to tackle this hardest terrain in the dark.”
Back story: I don’t know exactly why I ended up choosing Manitou’s as my goal race for spring/summer ultra season, but whatever it was, I’m thankful for it. There are race formats (5k, 10k, 26.2, etc.) that create and sustain meaningful product and process goals: breaking three hours in the marathon, or going sub 24 hours in a 100 miler, I imagine. Then there are races that because of their historical importance, the challenging nature of their terrain, their location the weather, or a combination thereof–become a life’s work, with rewards that come not just from achieving a specific time, but from starting and (hopefully) finishing the journey. Manitou’s Revenge is one of these races.
This was my second time running and finishing the course. I ran it in 2015 in just over 18 hours, recovering from a hip flexor injury, and on the edge of being overtrained from a long marathon to ultra season, with lots of work pressure to boot. I don’t add this in to apologize for my less-than-stellar result: 1) just finishing Manitou’s within cutoffs is something to be proud of and 2) Everyone who trains for this race a little or a lot probably has their own “niggle” that they could use to handicap themselves. It’s more to remind myself that you can’t expect results that you don’t plan for. This time around I had fewer miles on my legs, and fewer days out on the trail; however, I had a clearer idea of the course, I had arguably trained more specifically and somewhat more intelligent given how I had to be creative with my training to make it fit around family and work. I thought if I had the best day ever, the weather was great, and everything went perfectly I could finish ~16 hours. Given that the weather was far less from perfect I’m thrilled with my results; however, there are some things I could have done in-race to scrape away at least 30 mins, but I’ll get to that. Anyways…
Training for Manitou’s was extremely non-linear, which is to be expected given the whole circus of two kids and two jobs. Throw in planning a move that happened two days after the race and it gives an idea of the creativity with which I’ve had to approach training: running mostly to and/or from work, long runs on a Sunday night, taking off a few Fridays to get some trail time in. This sport is a labor of love, so none of this seems like a sacrifice to me. This season I relished every run I got, and constantly felt appreciative of being able to get a run in, and, at times, anxious that I wasn’t getting enough mileage in.
Plans for the race only jelled in the final week. I was hoping to stay closer to the start and sleeping in until at least 4 am for the 5 am start; however, a lot of that hinged on my friend, Brennan’s plan, as he was trying to decide between pacing me for the last half of the race, or running the full length himself. He decided to run the race and with everything going on I had neglected to line up any alternative crew to help with logistics for the point-to-point format of the course, so I decided to make peace with staying close to the finish and waking up at 2:15, so we could get to the buses that left at 3:30 to transport us to the start.
Brennan and I left the city midday on Friday and got up to Phoenicia at around 2, had some lunch, and went to our motel in Big Indian to get our start kit, drop bags, and finish bags ready. I had packed a week out from the race because I knew there would be too much going on week off to not be a total spaz. I had some PB&J on the way up so I wasn’t really hungry for lunch. We got settled at the Starlite Motel in Big Indian, which was actually pretty awesome, and headed into Phoenicia to pick up our packets. We had dinner at Brio’s (chicken fajitas, latkes, and beers) and the headed back to finalize our bags for the big day.
Weather for race day was all over the place: 70 and sunny to 85 and thunderstorms. After 3+ rainy hours my first year, I decided to play it safe and plan for rain which never arrived but would have been most welcome. The entire day was incredibly humid and I kept wishing for rain. It had been insanely hot earlier in the week, and then rainy followed by humidity, which meant the very rocky course was made even slicker. And then the mud. But I digress.
Here’s what I ended up using or packing for the race:
Breakfast
Peanut Butter on wheat bread
2 scoops of Ucan in 10 oz of water, 1 hour before start
Start kit:
Salomon Half-zip t-shirt
Salomon Exo short tight
Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin3 5 Set Pack (2015 model)
Naked Running band waist pack
Raidlight 600ml soft-flasks with straws x2, filled with water
Hydrapak 24 oz. soft flask, empty
Scott Kinablu SuperTrac shoes
Injinji trail mini-crew socks (changed at Platte Clove—too thick)
Half buff
Black Diamond Ultra Distance Z-Poles
8 gels
2 bag of pro-bar chews (1 with caffeine)
1 bag of honey stinger grapefruit chews
Black Diamond Storm headlight (2017 version) plus 4 extra AAA batteries
2Toms anti-chafe stick (applied, not carried)
Med kit: SCaps x 7, Pepto x 2, Tums x 5, tincture of benzene, mole skin pre-cut, safety pin, anti-septic gel, tiny lighter (in hindsight probably not needed)
iPod shuffle
Drop bag for Platte clove (31.5):
La Sportiva Helios SR shoes
Injinji Original mini-crew socks
Patagonia t-shirt
Inov-8 shorts (not used: Salomon’s were awesome)
Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 3 Belt Set
8 gels
3 bags of honey stinger chews (1 w/caffeine)
Black Diamond spot headlamp (not used; leant to a runner who forgot to pick up his lamp at platte clove)
Hydrapak 2L bladder
Arcteryx packable rain jacket (not used)
Finish:
Some kind of IPA from Other half courtesy of Brennan that I couldn’t finish
A bagel and cream cheese plus a bag of combos because I forgot to get food from the post-race buffet because I wanted to let Clara know I wasn’t dying somewhere along the Devil’s Path.
Race:
I was in Wave 5 which meant I had an extra 25 minutes to wait in the musty men’s room hoping, in vain, to be able to crap. As opposed to my first Manitou’s, I managed to make it a ways into the race before the lack of bathroom magic caught up with me. Like with most of my ultra-distance races above 50k, though, the lack of said bathroom magic caught up to me later in the race.
My start group was pretty somber and we trudged through the first few miles on the road in eery silence. It was a mixture of all the ultra types ones come to expect: the over-eager bro who wants to talk about all the races they’ve run and their training, the quiet mice happy to trudge along unnoticed, the grizzled vets doling out (unasked for) advice about the course, life, etc.. I was probably all of these at various points during the race, but at the start I was just trying to wake the fuck up.
We hit the left turn for the Black Dome trail and the gradual climb towards the Escarpment Trail. I felt kinda sleepy but my legs were finally waking up. During the first stretch, everything felt fine except that I felt like I was slipping and sliding all over the place. This was worrisome as I had worn my Scotts in a rainy 7+ hour day in Hudson Highlands and felt very confident. The trouble was that the rocks had developed a slippery coating thanks to the humidity during the week. I fell like 3 times in the first 20 miles, including one really splashy fall that ripped open my right forearm, leaving me dripping blood through the end of the race. I’m not ever going to be confused with Killian on the trails; however, I’m generally pretty nimble so it was disconcerting, to say the least. I was running with a really nice biologist from Vermont named Palmer, and she actually said at one point she wished she could buy me new shoes. So…yeah. This, however, is why we plan ahead. I knew I had shoes at Platte Clove that had served me well at the same point in Manitou’s in 2015 (note to self: just start in the La Sportiva Helios SR—they’re perfect for this course), so I decided to not stress and just focus on getting to through the first 50k without falling too much. It meant I was a little more hesitant than I normally would have been, but at least this was the easiest part of the course.
I felt generally fine through the Escarpment trail, which in itself is no picnic. I used my poles more than I thought I would have, and after a few times of taking them out and them stowing them in the naked band, I decided to just run with them in my hand which was the right decision. At some point around Blackhead Peak, the high point on the course, I passed Amy Hanlon who reminded me not to let her beat me (words that would play out in my head later on) and then also Brennen, who was in the wave ahead of me. He had mentioned at the start that he was going to drop at Platte Clove (~31M). Manitou’s is definitely a race where you have to be fully committed mentally, even if you’re afraid of what you’re committed to, so I wasn’t surprised to hear him say he was planning on dropping at North/South Lake). I felt for him, as I know what it’s like to DNF, and I also know first-hand how hard the course is. Given that he was flirting all season with not running the race, I think he made the right decision and I’m sure it wasn’t easy. God knows he’s run plenty of tough races and if it was time to call it quits, that was the right call.
I made it to North/South Lake mostly running with Palmer and Adam Moody, who I’d later learn was the same guy Brennan had camped out next to for Twisted Branch 100k. The descent down from Stopple was unmemorable but I felt more confident with my footing than earlier in the race. At north south I showed off my dripping arm wound for Joe Azze who was taking pictures for MPF (must have seen him like 4 times on the course) waved off medical help, ate some watermelon, stuffed my empty zip lock with potato chips, downed some Coke, and left Palmer behind, picking up a guy named Scott, also from VT, who would eventually finish 30 minutes ahead of me (I think).
I ran the long downhill to Palenville pretty well, eventually catching and passing Adam on the final descent that must be an out-of-service jeep road. It was rock-hopping at its finest, but I enjoyed it for the most part and rolled into Pallenville pretty focused: fill up the empty 24 oz. bottle for the 10M stretch without any aid, down Coke, pack zip lock with potato chips and Swedish fish as I was down to a few gels, and get moving while stuffing my face.
I headed out with two full 600ml bottles and the spare 24 oz. in the rear, plus some extra food. The road section was uneventful but I burned 5 mins spacing out and then having to consult my map about location, all for no reason as it was clearly flagged and I had followed the turns. I hit the sketchy back yard section and was either caught or caught up with Adam (probably the former) and headed uphill with my poles at the ready. I was kinda zoned out and didn’t catch the right turn past off the street onto the long path, and ended up heading up a jeep road for about 1/2 mile with Adam (sorry!) until I realized we were off course and we backtracked and headed onto the long path for the long climb up to KHP. The climb was worlds better than two years ago, when I had to grab downed limbs off the trailside to aid my shitty ascent after having snapped a trekking pole over my head on a nasty fall in the escarpment section. The poles were definitely helpful in taking some strain off my legs, and the work in the gym this season meant my upper body was ready to pick up the extra load. Still, I think a goal this summer is to practice climbing sans poles, as I think that’s going to be part of how I get better at Manitous. Back to the story…
The climb up was fine, but as we approached the flat part before KHP shoulder, that’s when the course got muddy. At some points it was shoe-sucking mud that left my kicks nicely coated in red-clay mud. At other points it was just slickly mud that made for anxious foot placement. All-in-all not exactly what you want after a long grind uphill, but thems the breaks. I forgot how pace-killing the descent down to Platte Clove is in comparison to the one to Palenville. I would hit stretches where I was running reasonably well, and then all of a sudden be tip-toeing around streams, mud, rock slabs, and other obstacles. Not as runnable as I remembered, but fun nonetheless.
I rolled into Platte Clove at ~31M with a clear idea of what I needed to do, but maybe an unrealistic idea of when I might finish. I knew from the first 10 miles of the race that I was going to switch into my La Sportivas; however, it’s never as fast to swap shoes as you think it’s going to, so from now on I’m just wearing the Helios SRs for everything. This year I’ve used them for a pretty tunable 50k and the hardest part of Manitou’s and they’ve been great. I also took the time to change shirts as my first one was totally soaked, and swapped out my naked waist band for my Salomon waist pack as with all the sweating it started to bounce around a lot. I grabbed 7 Huma gels (3 caffeine and 4 regular) and the remaining three bags of honey stinger chews, plus filled up my zip lock with potato chips, pretzels, and some m&ms. I also grabbed my bladder for the long stretch in the Devil’s Path, and uncharacteristically filled up one of my bottles with Gatorade. While I may not have been able to crap in the morning, this was one of those days where my body was happy with whatever I ate (which makes sense as I only grabbed stuff that instantly felt appealing). I also drank some pickle juice and a PB&J wrap and then headed off for the gradual climb up to to the Devil’s Path, and Indian Head.
I had been leap-frogging with a few groups of runners leading up to this section that I would see throughout the rest of the race: Adam, Tommy, Bob, and a few others whose names escape me. We fell into a loosely formed group for a decent stretch of the Devil’s Path, which definitely helped.  In looking back at my splits from 2015, I ran the first 50k only like 10-15 minutes faster this year than I did in 2015; however, I ran the Devil’s Path about 45-50 minutes faster than in 2015, and part of that is from not having to go it alone this time. It’s a humbling and amazing stretch of trail and this time around I felt much more comfortable; although, the humidity was definitely getting to me. There’s very little runnable terrain at all during this 7-mile stretch, but in retrospect, there were times I would have benefitted from running even the short stretches that permitted it, as you can save enough small moments of time to add up to a decent accumulation of minutes. In fact, that’s the story of Manitou’s: you’re not going to shave a ton of time off any one section. Improvement in this race comes from not wasting any time (in aid stations or otherwise) and from running every stretch of trail where the terrain allows for it. During the Devil’s Path you are hiking so much that you get lulled into the belief that you won’t run. It’s hard to motivate yourself to run little patches of trail knowing that after 50 feet you’re just going to have to hike up, climb up/down, or butt-scoot down a rock face again; however, that’s what I need to do.
My trekking poles were both a gift and a curse during this section: more helpful on the non-scrambling sections of climbing than I would have thought, but a bit of a nuisance on some of the downhills and downright treacherous on any of the scrambling or butt-scooting sections. In looking at the faster race finishers it seems like one thing I need to do is just spend more time on technical ascents practicing hiking and running without poles. In general, ascending has never been my strength, so I’m making this summer’s trail focus ditching the cheating sticks. But I digress…
I took one decent spill on the Devil’s Path and managed to land with a point slab of rock directly between my ass-cheeks. Honestly, I have no words. It was just an amazing bit of shitty luck. My new-found running friends thought it funny enough, and who can blame them: it’s not every day someone loses their virginity to a rock. At this point Adam had moved ahead and I was running more with Tommy and his crew. I was definitely drinking enough–maybe too much–as I seemed to need to piss every 45 minutes.
I hit Mink Hollow after like 11 and a half hours of running (about 45 mins faster than in 2015) happy to see some familiar faces, including Lisa who was killing it running the aid station. I think I saw Mendy there, and Adam’s wife Jennie. I grabbed some Swedish fish, some more Gatorade (no Coke as they didn’t have any…rats!) and some more potato chips and maybe some more pickle juice and headed for the last climb on the Devil’s Path, up Plateau. In my mind and in reading up on this stretch, it seemed like it wasn’t as bad as the previous stretch I had just completed. Somehow, that wasn’t actually the case and I suffered a little on the climb and then again on the descent, but it could also have been that at this point I felt the need to heed the call of nature, so wasn’t eating as much, and thus flagged on energy. I spent part of the climb up and a descent down Plateau running with a guy and his pacer. I can see how a pacer in this section helps, as you’ve gone through the hardest part and you’re pretty beat up, but with the right encouragement you can start to establish a decent pace again. I hung with them, staying even or behind on the climb and then leapfrogging ahead on the descents until eventually the call of nature was loud enough that I veered off trail to dig a cat hole and TCB. Maybe TMI, but squatting after 12 hours of really technical trail running isn’t exactly easy on your legs. So yeah, lost more time here, but it was much better than the alternative. I was far enough off trail so as not to be noticed, but positioned in a way where I could see who was catching up to me. Eventually I’d regain the positions and time later in the race, picking up the last one on the final 3 miles descending down Tremper.
The distance between Mink Hollow and Silver Hollow Notch is much longer than I remembered it to be. At this point I was mentally feeling a bit checked out and frustrated by my pit-stop in the woods, so I put my headphones in one ear and hunted for music on my Shuffle until Jay Z’s “Dirt of Your Shoulder” came on, and cranked it on repeat until I hit the  Silver Hollow Notch aid station at around 43 miles. It was my favorite AS in 2015 and was again this time. They had cheese wrapped in salami, fruit, and Coca Cola with ice! Deliciously cold ice. They were kind enough to not only fill up one of my bottles with Coke, but throw ice in as well. I’m definitely doing a bottle of Coke from now on. I get why Ben Nephew uses it instead of water. Who cares if my teeth will probably fall out: that shit is amazing. I even sat in the chair for a few minutes while they filled up my bottles, luxuriating in the Euro vibe and sucking down cold pop.
With a newfound appreciated for refrigeration, I headed back out into the woods, for the short ascent up Edgewood Mt. and the descent down to Warner Brook. The climb felt like nothing after the Devil’s Path, and the descent is decently runnable. I didn’t move as quickly as I think I could have during this section, but I was also pretty spent from the previous 44 miles of humid fuckery. When I finally got to Willow Brook (which was pretty well overflowing by this point) I took a moment to plunge in, renewing my sprits and waking up my dog-tired legs before the climb up Tremper. Last year I had done the climb and ascent of Tremper in driving rain and in the dark. I was happy to hit the climb mostly in daylight this time, although I again got fooled by some of the false switchbacks and took a little too much time looking for blazes. The volunteers and RD do as good a job flagging a course like this as you can (definitely a good number of confidence flags for the stretch from Silver Hollow to the finish) but it’s not a race for people who need to know they’re on the right trail every 10 feet. I’m not exactly the best navigator, but still I made it through OK, and doing this in daylight gave me a much better appreciation for this stretch of trail, and I think I’ll remember it much better or next time (and there will be a next time!) It’s another climb that feels pretty easy in comparison to everything else you’ve been through already.
I ended up getting caught by a guy named Morcin, and we agreed to run together to the Willow aid station, but I mentioned that if my legs felt good by the top of Tremper, I would push on the descent. It was getting dark by this point so I pulled out my headlamp, however, with the humidity we were now running in fog, so wearing the headlamp on my head made it almost harder to see. I decided to just carrie it in my hand, which worked reasonably well but was a bit annoying, Morcin hadn’t pulled out his headlight yet even though it was pretty dark, and I had started to regain some energy so pushed a bit on the climb up to Willow. I was surprised he still hadn’t pulled out his lamp as we neared the AS and I asked what was up and he explained that his headlamp didn’t seem to be working. I had grabbed my spare at Platte Clove in case I had a rough time on the Devil’s Path and wanted to use it in my hand or around my waste for depth perception. Willow was easy to spot with its tikka torches. I grabbed some broth and a little more coke and then took of with Morcin again. We split up for a bit as I stowed my poles and had to retie my shoe, but I caught him a bit later. I also passed Adam during this section, who I was sure was going to beat me as he was moving so constantly during the race. He’s a great guy and I hope to run with him again.
The descent down Tremper was much like I remembered it from 2015, minus the driving rain. I caught about 5-6 runners during this stretch, and it felt good to let my legs open up on the still rocky but decently runnable terrain. I felt like I was flying but was probably running like 10 minute miles. Still, after a long day I’ll take that. Even for someone who loves downhill running, I’ll say that a 3 mile descent after 50 miles feels kinda cruel. Still, I loved this part of the race as you can smell the barn at this point. I continued to push it until I hit the last aid station, grabbed my vest, said hello to the french-speaking pace I had run with during the Devil’s Path and let him know his runner was on the way. I was glad to hit the road, and passed one more runner on the way to the finish.
The approach to the finish wasn’t as surreal as the first time–in the rain, fairly delirious from never having spent that much time moving, and definitely out of calories–but it was special nonetheless. I was very happy to have shaved an hour off my previous year’s time, but also aware of how I could have made that gap even bigger. Still, I was ecstatic to have finished the race for a second time, with most of my body and pride in tact, and feeling pretty decent, all things considered. In any other race I’d feel let down knowing I could have finished faster if I made different choices, or had better weather, or any of the other things we tell ourselves to motivate us to return again and to handicap our own efforts. The real feeling I’m left with is one of accomplishment, as this is as much if not more so an epic adventure than a race.
Brennen was at the finish line and had brought my bag from the car. I sat for a bit and changed and then said goodbye to some friends and headed back to the motel so I could call Clara, have a beer, and eat the only food available: a bagel and cream cheese and a pack of combos–dinner of champions. I slept pretty fitfully but awoke feeling not totally destroyed and well enough to drive us home. I walked in the door a few hours after leaving Phoenicia and was greeted by my older daughter, Frankie, who immediately remarked on the large boo boo on my arm, and then demanded I read her books. Then we moved two days later–arguably harder than the racve.
Summary:
Things that went well:
-nutrition and hydration felt on point
-as opposed to 2015 when I went in a bit injured, I felt relatively strong on descents
-felt stronger on technical ascents than I have previously and all the repeats at Beacon and Tammany paid off
-Gear: alomon vest remains a workhorse; La Sportiva’s are great, Huma gels are still good, trekking poles were helpful, going with half-tights was key; new Garmin is great
-time spent reviewing race reports ahead of time paid off in terms of setting expectations during the race
-mindset much more focused and calm than two years prior: had strategies in place for how to get through the roughest stretches of trail, deal with the lows, and extend the strong parts. In general just felt much more positive
-I know that between work and family obligations my training would be compromised; still, I felt I trained specifically enough given my time constraints that it translated into a good results, even if I suffered from the weather
-Tammany training is probably the best thing I could have done for Manitou, and next time I need to spend more time there
-Aid station efficiency was pretty good, barring Platte Clove
-Slept reasonably well the night before thanks to doing my meditation. Side note for anyone who uses headspace: do English people’s voices make you mad sleepy now?
-I spent a lot of time running alone but was still able to push myself and focus
Things to improve on:
-find a way to take a crap before the race start: look at food week leading up to race
-do recce on escarpment section as this is more runnable than memory served me and with practice this could be a good way to make up time
-have crew, if only to sleep closer to start and not wake up at 2:15 AM
-Don’t change shoes: start in Helios and plan to finish in them—have a backup pair of helios at Platte Clove just in case
-Try to use AS’s more for food and not have as many gels; take coke in one bottle after Palenville; eat more real food
-Try pushing a bit harder in first 50k—nothing dramatic, but shaving off 20-30 mins here seems possible
-Try not using poles or saving them until Platte Clove to just have less weight on you and one less thing to worry about.
-Get out of Platte Clove faster…this is the one reason to have a crew here. Lost too much time sitting and sorting through shit, even though I didn’t overpack my drop bag and knew what I was going to get.
-Run each and every section of the course–especially on the Devil’s Path–that feels runnable, even if that means having to transition back to hiking quickly.
-Don’t use poles on Devils path as it makes you more hesitant. You know it’s hard but you also know the terrain by now. Use your body more and just get up and down as quickly as you can given the terrain
-Take Tremper harder: it’s shorter than you think and you can bomb the downhill off it
-Don’t second-guess your bearings as much: you’ll know if you’re seriously off course and by now you know the course so stop consulting your phone and just run.
-gear: Scott Kinabalu SuperTracs probably had too aggressive a lug height and pattern for this course and would be better for a soft ground race or something with less wet rock; take running band isn’t as good as the Salomon 3L (although it’s made much better); Injinji Trail socks are too thick and hot and soak up water; Probar chews taste like soap; Poles, while a net benefit, are annoying at times (still more helpful than hurtful).
Things not to do:
-Land ass-first on a rock
-Fall on the Escarpment trail
-Have that much sugar ever again
-Mix Swedish fish and potato chips
-Not eat dinner after a race
-Move the week after a race
FWIW I’ll probably be back next year.

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 CityStrides.com, 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.

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