All posts by Michael Ring

Coached Speed Workouts – Winter/Spring 2016

Want to get faster, stronger and more efficient in your running?  Do you want to improve your running form, learn more about injury prevention, stretching and strengthening drills? Coach Tony Watson and Assistant Coach Charlene Kohler-Britton offer 10 week speed work sessions for $50 that includes all the above, and more.

Sessions are offered for beginner/slower runners (Thursdays) and experienced/faster runners (Tuesdays).  These workouts are for PPTC members only. The next 10-week sessions start on February 16 & 18 and will be held in the Armory through the 2nd week in March. The outdoor sessions will begin on March 15 & 17 and we meet at Bartel Pritchard Square.

Register here. (Note, an active membership in the Prospect Park Track Club is required to participate in this program.)

IMPORTANT – You need to sign up no later than Sunday, February 14, as we have to provide the Armory with a list of attendees before the first night of the session. NO showing up Tuesday with your payment!

The training sessions will meet each week at 7:00 PM.

Each week a suggested training program will be sent by email after each session. Each includes a program for those runners training for 10K distance and under, as well as a program for those who are training for half to full marathons.

Attached you will find the Info Sheet that we need each runner to complete, even if you’ve run with the coached speed program before. Please carry it with you for your first session and we will collect them before we begin. If the speed workouts are new to you, please bring your race history (2014-present).

Again, we wish you a warm welcome and look forward to working with each of you.

Best,
Coach Tony & Charlene

Buses to Fort Wadsworth and a warm dry place to meet after the 2015 NYC Marathon

The Bus
On Marathon Sunday, we are happy to announce that JackRabbit Sports is again joining us in transporting Brooklyn runners to the Start. Buses will be leaving from in front of their Brooklyn store at 151 7th Avenue (between Garfield and Carroll) and will take you to Fort Wadsworth. We need everyone to arrive no later than 5:45 AM and the last bus will leave no later than 6 AM and will not wait. We will fill the buses one at a time and as soon as they are filled they will leave JackRabbit will be open at 5 AM on Marathon Sunday. They will be providing  a bathroom, a place to be warm and dry, and the opportunity to purchase any last minute items.

Register For The Bus Here (Almost sold out, if you can’t register through this link there are no seats left)    Our busses are full.

In addition, we will be offering a bag check so you can have clean, dry clothes and other belongings waiting for you when you finish – bags will be at the PPTC Marathon reunion area (see below).  Bags will be brought from JackRabbit to PS 87.  So if you need anything at Fort  Wadsworth, don’t leave it at JackRabbit.  Please make it as small a bag as possible, we don’t plan on renting a truck. If you want us to bring your bag to the school do not take it on the bus, leave it at Jackrabbit. And please make sure your name and phone number is on the outside.

The cost for bus transportation is $15 for PPTC members and $20. for “friends.” All seats are prepaid and go quickly. There are no walk-ons – reservations are required. If you are taking the PPTC bus, you will need to be in front of Jack Rabbit Sports no later than 5:45 AM to be checked in.

The reunion school
After the race we have our own Marathon reunion area. You can meet your friends and family at PS 87, located on West 77th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam. It is just 2 blocks from the finish line. We will provide hot chocolate, fruit, cold soda, bagels and an indoor restroom with a place to change. This event is free and open to PPTC Members and their “friends” who joined us on the marathon bus. We just ask that you let us know if you are going to join us.  Again please RSVP  here if you plan on coming to the school.

If you checked a bag with us when you boarded the bus at JackRabbit it will be waiting for you at the school. We will be waiting at the school until about 6 o’clock. If you’re going to PS 87, after you finish the marathon, exit the park at W. 77th St.Walk past the museum, cross Columbus Avenue and the school will be halfway down the block on your right side. We will be entering through the playground not the front door.

And Prospect Park track club members, if you’re not running the marathon this year this is a great way to be involved and help your teammates and friends. Check your inbox to find out how to volunteer on this day. The bus is full

2015 PPTC Turkey Trot

unnamed (1)November 26, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Presented by JackRabbit Sports

RESULTS!

PHOTOS! Club photographer Larry Sillen took over 3,000 photos of the event, divided into four albums. Feel free to download your photos and share them with your friends!


One of Brooklyn’s most popular races, this spectacular 5-miler is the perfect way to kick off your holiday season! The early start time guarantees you’ll make it home for turkey.

Walkers are welcome, but due to liability reasons we cannot allow strollers or pets.

At least half of the proceeds from this year’s Turkey Trot will benefit the brand-new PPTC Grants Program, which provides assistance to organizations that advance Prospect Park Track Club’s mission of promoting running in Brooklyn. The first class of recipients will be announced Thursday, November 29.

They're Off at the Turkey TrotYou’ll start on Center Drive near East Drive. When you finish near the Oriental Pavilion, one of our local heroes will place a medal around your neck. (You can see the course map here.)

If you’re fast enough to place in the top three, you’ll also receive one of our famous holiday pies!

You can leave a bag, but please pack light owing to security precautions. PPTC is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

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We strongly recommend you use mass transit. The Q train and the B12, B16, B41, and B43 buses work well. (Google Maps can give you precise directions.)

Like last year, we will be selling old race swag after the PPTC Turkey Trot for $5/item. Please bring  cash.


PACKET PICKUP

JackRabbit Union Square, 42 West 14th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues
Monday, Nov. 23, 4-7 p.m.

JackRabbit Brooklyn, 151 7th Avenue between Garfield & Carroll Streets 
Tuesday, Nov. 24, 4-7 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 25, noon to 6 p.m.

Audubon Center off the East Drive
Thursday, Nov. 26, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. (race day)

Find our event on Facebook.

Any questions? Email the Race Director. (Again, we apologize, but no additional spaces will open up for registration.)

Coached Speed Workouts – Autumn 2015

Want to get faster, stronger and more efficient in your running?  Do you want to improve your running form, learn more about injury prevention, stretching and strengthening drills? Coach Tony Watson and Assistant Coach Charlene Kohler-Britton offer 10 week speed work sessions for $50 that includes all the above, and more. Sessions are offered for beginner/slower runners (Thursdays) and experienced/faster runners (Tuesdays).  These workouts are for PPTC members only, and are held in Prospect Park and at the Red Hook Track. The next 10-week sessions start on September 15 and 17.

SIGN UP HERE.

The training sessions will meet at the Bartel Pritchard Square (BPS) entrance of Prospect Park (across from the Pavilion Theater) at 7:00 PM each week and the Red Hook Track.  Red Hook Track sessions will be announced in advance, and you will have the option of meeting at the track or meeting at 6:45 PM to run as a group from BPS to the track.

Each week a suggested training program will be sent by email after each session. Each includes a weekly program for those runners training for 10K distance and under, as well as a program for those who are training for half to full marathons.

Attached you will find the Info Sheet that we need each runner to complete, even if you’ve run with the coached speed program before. Please carry it with you for your first session and we will collect them before we begin. If the speed workouts are new to you, please bring your race history (2014-present).

Any gear you have can be stored in our car each week, so please do not be concerned if you are arriving straight from work. We also provide water after each session if the weather permits.

Again, we wish you a warm welcome and look forward to working with each of you.

Best,
Coach Tony & Charlene

Coached Speed Workouts – Summer 2015

Want to get faster, stronger and more efficient in your running?  Do you want to improve your running form, learn more about injury prevention, stretching and strengthening drills? Coach Tony Watson and Assistant Coach Charlene Kohler-Britton offer 10 week speed work sessions for $50 that includes all the above, and more. Sessions are offered for beginner/slower runners (Thursdays) and experienced/faster runners (Tuesdays).  These workouts are for PPTC members only, and are held in Prospect Park and at the Red Hook Track. The next 10 week sessions start on June 30th & July 2nd.  

SIGN UP HERE.

The training sessions will meet at the Bartel Pritchard Square (BPS) entrance of Prospect Park (across from the Pavilion Theater) at 7:00 PM each week and the Redhook Track.  Redhook Track sessions will be announced in advance, and you will have the option of meeting at the track or meeting at 6:45 PM to run as a group from BPS to the track. Meeting at the track is preferred. More information on that will be forthcoming.

Each week a suggested training program will be sent by email after each session. Each includes a weekly program for those runners training for 10K distance and under, as well as a program for those who are training for half to full marathons.

Attached you will find the Info Sheet that we need each runner to complete, even if you’ve run with the coached speed program before. Please carry it with you for your first session and we will collect them before we begin. If the speed workouts are new to you, please bring your race history (2014-present).

Any gear you have can be stored in our car each week, so please do not be concerned if you are arriving straight from work. We also provide water after each session if the weather permits.

Again, we wish you a warm welcome and look forward to working with each of you.

Best,
Coach Tony & Charlene

2015 Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series

 We’re gearing up for another great summer of evening 5K races in Prospect Park! Registration for the full series and the first race is now open.

The first edition of the 2015 Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series will be Wednesday, May 20, with the gun firing as soon as cars are out of the park (a little after 7:00 p.m.).

We’ll hold a race every other Wednesday thereafter through August 12, seven races in all:

May 20
June 3, 17
July 1, 15, 29
August 12

This year, the Al Goldstein Series will be based at the Bluestone Cafe in the Lakeside Center. The nearest subway is Parkside Ave.  This map indicates these locations.

In a nutshell, we’d really like it if you register online. In order to “incentivize” you, in-person registration at the park to $10, cash only.  This is due to the additional effort required for last-minute data entry.  It’s a lot easier for us if you sign up in advance. It helps us produce the results quicker and with much greater accuracy – improving the race for all.

Until June 2nd, you can register online for the entire series – all 7 races – for only $25.  When you pay for the entire series up front, you will receive a bib with a timing chip that you will use at each race. Bibs are non-transferable.   **If you don’t bring your bib, you will have to pay the in-person registration fee of $10.**

If you don’t want to sign up for the entire series, you can register online for any of the 7 scheduled dates, up to 10 am on each race day.  Online entry fee is $5.  You’ll still be able to make a last-minute decision to race and save some cash!  Also, you can only register for all seven races up until the second race.

Also if you want to sign up a large group and pay all at once, please email mring@pptc.org in advance of the race.

Number pick-up and in-person registration start at 6 pm. In person sign up closes at 7 pm and the race starts as soon as possible after that. We make an announcement and head to the start as a group.  Timing mats will only be at the finish line, so don’t be late. Following the race we will distribute awards at the Bluestone. Results will be posted here.

We race rain or shine but thunderstorms make last minute cancellations a possibility. The decision to cancel will be made from the park at the start of the race.  We don’t cancel the race because of a forecast.

Regular race type bag check will be available at all races.  But one of the cool benefits of being at the Lakeside Center is the fact that they have lockers and bike racks.

You don’t have to be fast to enter, but these races will help you find out how fast you can be. You don’t have to run to have fun either, instead you can support your fellow runners by being a volunteer.

For all questions, please email mring@pptc.org.

The Al Goldstein Speed Series Is Coming!

PPTC is gearing up for another great Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series presented by JackRabbit!   The 2014 Summer Speed Series 5K races will be held every other Wednesday evening starting on May 21, followed by June 4 and 18; July 2, 16 and 30; and August 13 and 28.  Online registration for the entire 2014 series or for any of the 8 scheduled races is available here.

Please continue to read for important changes to the staging area, course, and registration process.

For at least the first few races of the series, registration, bag check, and the post race will be at The Peristyle, adjacent to the finish line.  The starting line is just on the main drive in the park near where Parkside Ave. intersects Ocean Ave.  The nearest subway is Parkside Ave.  This map indicates these locations.

We also have a new entry fee structure for 2014. In a nutshell, we’d really like it if you register online. In order to “incentivize” you, we are increasing in-person registration at the park to $10, cash only.  This is due to the additional effort required for last-minute data entry.  It’s a lot easier for us if you sign up in advance. It helps us produce the results quicker and with much greater accuracy – improving the race for all.

Until June 3rd, you can register online for the entire series – all 8 races – for only $25.  When you pay for the entire series up front, you will receive a bib with a timing chip that you will use at each race. Bibs are non-transferable.   **If you don’t bring your bib, you will have to pay the in-person registration fee of $10.**

If you don’t want to sign up for the entire series, you can register online for any of the 8 scheduled dates, until 3 pm on each race day.  Online entry fee is $5.  You’ll still be able to make a last-minute decision to race and save some cash!

Also if you want to sign up a large group and pay all at once, please email theteam@nycruns.com in advance of the race.  They will be happy to accommodate you.

Number pick-up and in-person registration start at 6 pm. In person sign up closes at 6:45 pm and the race starts as soon as possible after that. We make an announcement and head to the start as a group.  Timing mats will only be at the finish line, so don’t be late. Following the race we will distribute awards at the Peristyle. Results will be posted at here.

We race rain or shine but thunderstorms make last minute cancellations a possibility. The decision to cancel will be made from the park at the start of the race.  We don’t cancel the race because of a forecast.

You don’t have to be fast to enter, but these races will help you find out how fast you can be. You don’t have to run to have fun either, instead you can support your fellow runners by being a volunteer. Email membership@pptc.org if you want to volunteer.

For all questions, please email membership@pptc.org.

 

 

When is it too frigid for Michael Ring?

“Ya know it’s cold — Michael is wearing (long) pants!”

Yea, that’s what they say. I am not so much into putting on what others think is an adequate amount of clothing. It is not that I don’t feel the cold; I just don’t let it bother me so much. But it does not always work out.

I once did a couple of laps of the Park when it was 25° and snowing pretty heavily. When I finished the run I noticed that the snow was not melting against my bare legs. So it rinsed it off in a hot shower. The weird thing was that after the hot shower the skin on my legs was still cold to the touch. Then during the next week the skin was extremely dry and there was a great deal of peeling. A few weeks later I showed my legs to my cousin, a runner and an MD. She slapped my head and told me that another loop of the park would have caused permanent damage; I had first-degree frostbite. Not so bad.

One of the NYC Marathons I ran back in the mid-90s was about 40° at the start. It was so windy that some of the hospitality tents blew over. They announced that runners should be wary of hypothermia. They said the first sign of hypothermia is confusion. That’s funny, how do you know you are confused? (Whose head is on so straight when they are running a marathon?) I started that race in my PPTC sweatshirt, a ski cap, and a pair of gloves. When I passed Union Street in Park Slope, I felt warm enough to shed the sweatshirt, but I accidentally gave the hat and gloves to my wife as well. As soon as I got to Fort Greene I missed the hat and those gloves. The run over the 59th Street Bridge was kinda sucky. My big problem was the fact that the tin foil sheet the give you after the finish does not work unless properly taped down. Also, our after-party was almost at West End Avenue. Walking over there I had to pause to sit on a stoop. After some indeterminable amount of time I realized I needed to get up. When I heaved myself up I realized that I did not know which way I was walking. I suddenly realized that I WAS CONFUSED. Luckily, I looked up and saw the PPTC banner directly across the street. When I got into the cafeteria I remember being covered in every body’s blanket and still shivering uncontrollably. Then I felt the need to get sick, and I did. Then I had some hot cocoa and felt fine. That was no fun.

My worst experience with the cold was when I joined my wife for a ski trip to Killington, Vermont. I was not into skiing so I told her I would meet her at the ski lodge. Our hotel had a gym but I could not bring myself to get on that treadmill. I asked the concierge how far it was to the lodge at the ski slope. He said it was 12 miles, 6 miles down the road and one turn. I could not get lost. It was about 0 degrees outside the hotel, but sunny and there was no wind. The road was well plowed and the snow was piled high along the shoulder. I put on all my clothes; a wicking layer against my skin, an insulating layer and then a windbreaker. I had 2 pairs of gloves, a hat and a balaclava.

The first 6 miles was great but there were big problems when I made that turn. It was all uphill and into the wind. The sweat that had wicked away to my middle layer froze really fast. When I say “middle layer” I am not just talking about my clothing. My middle layer got real cold, really cold. I realized my current activity could be categorized as how stupid people get killed. It took me a few minutes to find shelter. I ran into a bar and asked the bartender if I could use the rest room. I did not know why he was staring at me when I walked in till I looked in the mirror and saw the frozen spike of hair sticking out of the side of my head.

When the cab came to take me back to the hotel I explained that I had no cash, only the subway token I keep in my shoe. That token gets me home from anywhere when I am running back in Brooklyn. I hoped he would let me go into my room to get his fare. He insisted that I only pay him with that token, that my story was worth more than cash. I am sure that that token is still hanging from the rear view mirror of some cab in Vermont.

My wife would not have been waiting for me. They closed the mountain because it was too cold to ski!

I have no stories to tell about running in hot weather.

What you do not know because you are not me – It was a good summer

The first race of the Al Goldstein Summer Speed Series Sponsored by JackRabbit was May 22, but for me it all began in March.  That was when I missed the Race Committee Meeting where it was decided that Steve Lastoe and I were no longer the Race Directors, we were the Series Directors and Matt Strawn and Tom Tobin were the Race Directors. I was cool with that, and Steve was too.  I think Matt and Tom missed that meeting too, but it all worked out for everyone.  This all worked out fine.

 Among the four of us we all got to miss races as needed and focus on what we did well.  Steve handled  all the blinky lights in the truck.  His crew took data from multiple sources and pumped out race results.   Matt got us enough volunteers to make this all happen.  We had an abundance of happy PPTC people who were eager to help.  Tom solved problems before they happened, our supplies just appeared.  Then he ran the race!

 Just a few years ago we were happy when 40 people ran the race.  These 40 people had a great time; we were able to score the race using stopwatches and clipboards.  But it really can get messy if you try to score a race with more than 100 people with pens and paper.  So we would tell the runners to keep the race a secret so it would still be manageable.  Then in 2011 we let Steve beta test his timing equipment and one of our races.  IT WORKED.  Yes, the equipment worked.  But it also worked for our race.  We realized we could still have a small race but it did not have to be for only as many people who you could score with a pencil.

 This year we averaged 240 finishers per race and everyone had a great time.  We learned some lessons and made some adjustments but it was a great summer.

 July 3rd was a typical summer evening with a threat of a storm and just at 7PM that became reality. Yea, super rain.  It was basically my call as to whether or not to cancel the race.  But everyone was there and we were all soaked already.  Also I was planning on running it.  I had been thinking about this race for a long time.  Ya see, the last time I medaled in a race was on the eve of my 30th birthday.  In July of 2013 I was a newly minted 50 year old, with a fresh chance to score in my age group.  So we ran through flash floods on the park drive.  When we all finished we were as wet as we could have been if we were swimming.  And when we finished we hugged like it was Woodstock   So, as a punishment for making everyone run in the rain, I finished 5th in my age group.  Two weeks later, with 30 more finishers that earlier time would have gotten me a silver medal.  I love this sport.

 We also paused in the middle of the summer on July 17th to celebrate the life of Paul Soskind.  After the race we had a feast.  I am pretty sure we will find something to celebrate every year.

 Next year we will have at least one change.  We found we can easily handle 300 people running the race (maybe even 500!?).  The problems are when 100 of them show up in race day to fill out a paper application.  Almost all the errors in the results where when a person signed up on race day.  There are just too many ways to make a mistake.  Next year the race will still cost $5 online till 3pm, but if you show up with cash it will be $10.  We are even going to come up with a simple way for youth teams to sign up.

 Finally, I have to share one of my favorite moments of the summer.  It was very small but really sums up the Summer Speed Series experience.  I met someone at the Park Slope Food Coop that runs about 50 miles a week, but never raced.  He thought every race was like the Olympics and he would just get stompled.   Naw, come to our Wednesday evening race, you will have fun.  He did. After the race he whispered a question to me “Am I supposed to tip the people who watched my bag?”  I have him a big hug and said “No, just thank them.  We are all volunteers”.  With that I would like to thank all the volunteers who made this summer great

Michael Ring