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Chaya Wolf’s NYC Marathon Recap

Meb + Chaya = BFFs (Photo Credit: Chaya Wolf)

by Chaya Wolf

Race: New York City Marathon

When: Nov 5, 2017

Where: New York City, NY

What a day! What a weekend! Still riding high and processing it all.

In the days leading up to the race, I had the privilege to hear from and meet Meb Keflezighi and chat with Bart Yasso. I’m not one to gush over celebs, but these guys are humble, have a wealth of knowledge in the sport and are such down to earth humans. It took star struck to a new level. They each shared different advice and words of encouragement and I had faith that Sunday would be a good day. After pseudo-injuries and heightened anxiety (thank you taper) were put to rest with kind words by my PT, I had a good feeling about taking on NYC for the second time. I had utilized the taper period and really made sure I was on top of my nutrition. I slept, stretched and foam rolled (btw – sleep is not overrated). I felt really ready for race day.

Going into the race I had two goals, which based on most of my training runs, I knew I could attain. My original plan was to find the pacer in my corral and hang with him. But I somehow managed to lose him before the corrals even moved to the base of the bridge. He disappeared out of my sight and into thin air. So we went with plan B and ran solo.

It’s funny actually. Somehow my entire day turned into a day full of plan Bs, and no not the one from the drugstore, more like the plan you choose when the first one fails. Yet I didn’t seem to mind. It all started in the morning when I thought I was going with a bus to Staten Island and ended up in an Uber heading to the ferry terminal in Manhattan. It continued when I ran solo and finished when I dropped any goal times I had and ran for fun and redemption. Why redemption? Well, two years ago I ran NYCM as my first marathon and it derailed on the Queensboro Bridge. My only focus after that was the finish line. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t remember anything. So when I finally did finish, stressing on the word finish, and got my medal, I promised myself I’d be back. And so on Sunday, I was back.

The race started out well. I stopped on the Verrazano Bridge for a photo and then realized I had just added on 2 min to my finishing time, but I didn’t care. I was going to enjoy the course, take in the sights and see what NYC was all about. Knowing that the PPTC cheer crew was at mile 7 and my #wolfpack was at mile 8 gave me good vibes all through Brooklyn. I actually noticed the diversity of people as we moved up the avenue. Hearing “Go Prospect Park!” by random strangers, scattered PPTCers shouting my name and so many little kids high fiving was so energizing. But it was humid and my breathing started to get labored. Somewhere over the Pulaski Bridge, I missed my halfway goal time and knew that any other sensible goals I had for the race were the out the window. Adding to the humidity that was already plaguing me, I realized I was blinder with my glasses than without and decided to just stick them in my armband. My apologies to anyone I didn’t respond to past the bridge. Chances are I probably didn’t see you 🙁

After deciding to ditch my goals, I took a page out of Bart Yasso’s book and just ran happily. I took in the sights and the people. I took it slow on the Queensboro Bridge, mentally prepared myself for the crowds at the turn and just had fun. I enjoyed the music, the cheering, and the insane crowds along First Ave, 5th Ave, and Central Park. I boogied in the Bronx, silently cheered YMCA and thanked Gd when my mile 17, 19, and 23 peeps were still there when I reached them. I didn’t really stop for anyone, but noticed many of you, in the rain, cheering. Some of you saw me at my lowest points, hurting and walking; some of you saw me determined and chasing something, not sure what. Somewhere on the Willis Ave Bridge and then again in Manhattan around mile 21, I felt like I wouldn’t finish and wondered why I was doing this again. So I walked, let my breathing regulate, looked around and let everything and everyone remind me why I signed up for this. I thought I picked up the pace again, but those last few miles turned out to be my slowest. Somehow I found some mojo on 59th street, pushed myself up the final hill and finished while it was still light.

In 2015, I sat in a medical tent at mile 20 and painfully and slowly walked the last 10k. I finished with an official time of 6:24:59. In 2017, I enjoyed the course and the people. I realized what a beautiful and diverse city we live in. I appreciated the immense support and camaraderie that exists in NYC. I valued how our city came together to encourage 51,000 stupid people who thought running 26.2 miles is fun. I finished crying because I didn’t stop for medical support and I succeeded in achieving what I set out to do 2 years ago. I finished with an official time of 5:19:41. It wasn’t my best time but it definitely was a good time.

You’d think that meeting Meb and Bart was enough, but my star-studded and fun-filled weekend actually ended when I went to get my medal engraved. As you walked into Jackrabbit there was a sign that said Shalane Flanagan and Geoffrey Kamworor were going to stop by for an hour. I had already taken the day off, so I hung around a little longer than expected. I bumped into some PPTC marathoners, heard both NYC marathon winners speak, got my medal ribbon autographed by both winners and took a picture with them. So let’s just say NYCM Class of 2017, you rocked!

2017 New York City Marathon Race Recap & The Last 10 Miles with a Side of Picnic

On an overcast and humid day on November 5th, after an early morning wake-up to go to Staten Island by ferry or bus (or Uber and ferry), over 50,000 athletes cruised over the Verrazano Bridge to start the NYC Marathon.

Here is PPTC by the numbers:
169 total PPTC members in NYC Marathon
16 PPTC members BQ’ed
15 PPTC members completed their FIRST marathon.
Of those, 4 PPTCers BQ’ed in their first marathon (Do we call this a running hat trick – PR, BQ,  & first marathon?).

Top 3 Men in PPTC

  1. Shan Haq (2:52:47)
  2. Ben Collier (2:57:20)
  3. Sean Quealy (2:58:05)

Top 3 Women in PPTC

  1. Jana Trenk (3:07:50)
  2. Katie Poor (3:10:47)
  3. Mary Johnston (3:15:40)

Congratulations to our Michael Ring for completing his 30th marathon with his son, Nicholas!!!!!!!! It was over 3 years ago when he became paralyzed by Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS). After years of excellent medical treatment, hard work, and some setbacks, Mike realized his dream of once again crossing the finish line in Central Park.

Shoutouts

Marcia Brown
3:44:28
BQ
4th in her age group (60-65)

Ben Allison
3:16:01
27-min PR

Nicholas Cohen
3:22:07
0:02:23 PR and BQ
I raised $3,000 for my friend Mateo’s prosthetic leg

Julie Raskin
5:25
First marathon PR
PPTC IS AMAZING! I am so grateful for the support of the club- from the training to the magical tree all the way to the finish line. And walking into PS 87 to the cheers (and the beer) was moving beyond words!

Crystal Cun
3:31:42
50-min PR & BQ
Raised money for $4876 for Legal Services
Crystal was too modest to say,  but she was the fastest fundraiser that Legal Services has ever had.

Mey Chery
4:03:44
25-min PR & 6-month post-surgery

Sam Smullen
4:05:55
PR

Jimmy Leung
4:04:30
PR & completed 3 of the 6 World Major Marathons

Jennie Matz
4:02:25
PR

Noah Devereaux
3:02:18
PR, BQ, & first marathon!

Shane Shifflett
3:09:20
First marathon PR

Katie Daddaria
4:32:05
5-min PR on her birthday
I’ve been dealing with/recovering from PF most of the year. I cannot fathom how I did so well. Also, it was my birthday! Really amazing day. 🙂

Jana Trenk
3:07:50
PR & BQ
Not only the fastest PPTC woman, but 4th fastest overall in PPTC, & 125th American female finisher in the race

Isabel Santiago-Gordon
4:20:33
9-min PR
I found NYCM so amazing that I want to do it again.

Jack Coogan
3:44:48
PR, BQ, & first marathon!
Thanks to the Tuesday morning MTG and the Last 10 Mile Run for getting me as ready as I could be.

Mary Johnston
3:15:40
PR & BQ
14th in her age group (20-25)

Hilary Lawton
4:20:58
First marathon PR
Huge thank you to Tony and Charlene- their class was great for helping with my speed work and for meeting other wonderful PPTCers!

Kirsty Carroll
3:54:05
29-min PR & BQ
I ran my last marathon 11 years ago.

Aung Barteaux
3:33:05
PR, BQ, & first marathon!

Mike Roberts
4:20:12
First marathon PR

Michael Ring
9:52
Completed his 30th marathon

Robert DeMasco
3:49:42
32-min PR

Stuart Kaplan
3:30:50
First marathon PR
Even though I hit the wall, if it wasn’t for Matteo and Melissa pushing me along, I might not have finished.

Ricardo Dias
4:04
PR

Pamela Ritchie
3:53:59
PR, BQ, & first marathon!
Shoutout to Isaac Josephson for being my running ambassador, and Kristen Uhrich who I feel is my running soulmate.

Adam Iannazzone
3:22:17
First marathon PR

Melissa Lee
5:04:43
First marathon PR

Patrick Huang
4:20:30
20-min PR
Thanks for the support from PPTC and teammates

Eric Levenstein
4:59:25
First marathon PR

Lisa Maya Knaur
Almost 14-min PR

Carlos Vasquez
3:33:11
20-min PR

Isaac Josephson
4:24
3-min PR & 7-min course PR
I beat Ethan Hawke’s time.

Sara Devine
5:27:26
First marathon PR

Rachel Pennycuick
4:34:04
PR

Emily Rinehart
3:30:24
BQ

Sarah Singer
3:30:47
BQ

Holly Chase
3:34:49
BQ

Michael Trenk
3:36:17
BQ

Rosalba Perna
3:38:00
BQ

Maggie Carr
4:32:10
First marathon after 2 years of injury
Seeing PPTC all over the city, whether as spectators or fellow runners, made my first marathon even more special. Special shoutout to Coaches Missy, Adam, and Michael for organizing MTG – that preparation was key to fighting through the last few miles!

David Hantman
5:44:48
9.5-min course PR
He raised $1,600 for the MVRP Foundation and is still accepting donations until 12/31/17 (donate here: https://www.crowdrise.com/nyc-marathon-david-runs-for-mvrp)

Shan Haq
2:52:47
BQ

Mary Turnbach
5:26:20
4.5-min PR

Sarah Bass
6:38:04
First marathon PR

Gabrielle Napolitano
6:41:56
First marathon PR

Jackie James
4:38:46
First marathon PR

Acknowledgments of the volunteers and sponsors
Thank you to PPTC for funding the Fall Picnic, to Peter Forgach of Saucony for providing blankets to PPTCers on marathon morning (he drove from Manhattan at 3 am to deliver them!), and to Jackrabbit for letting us use their store.

Fall Picnic Organizers
Crystal Cun
Adam Iannazzone 
Lillian Park

Last 10 Miles Volunteers
Sherry Wang
Murray Rosenblith
Roshan Leslie
Adam Devine
Melissa Morrison

NYC Marathon Volunteers
Janet Gottlieb
Anh-Tuan Tran
Murray Rosenblith
Emma Walker
Geoffry Gertz
David Coleman
Isaac Murchie
Fanny Greene
Amy Sowder
Jane Yau
Roshan Leslie
James Israel
all photos on this page were taken by Marek Stepniowski
and of course, to all PPTC members who stood on the sidelines to cheer and cowbell.

Comments and thoughts from our participants

I participated in the Last 10 miles and found it so helpful! Thanks PPTC for all your support and amazing members that inspire us!  ~ Isabel

I also ran the last 10M – it was so helpful knowing what was to come in the later parts of yesterday’s race.  PPTC pacers and volunteers were awesome! ~Kirsty

I thought the Last 10 Mile Run was really helpful. At least during my last 800 meters, I knew where the finish line was going to be and that helped a ton because I knew when I could pick up the speed at the end. ~Aung

Last 10 miles was so useful. 5th ave and CP hills sucked, but I knew they were coming and so I found a final push to get over them! I’ve been amazed how open, friendly, and encouraging the club has been to all newcomers, knowing that I’m sure most of us will disappear into the ether post marathon. I’m very much going to try not to be one of those people. ~Mike
For the “last 10” I led a pace group (the last one, which collapsed 13:00 and 14:00). I’d originally volunteered for 13:00 but no one volunteered to lead 14:00 so I tried to incorporate anyone who was slower than 12:00, basically. I’d never paced before, and I think I led us a little too fast (our average pace was 12:38 according to my Garmin). So maybe some tips on how to be a successful pace leader would be helpful. Our group did spread out a bit in the last three miles and the person who’d fallen the farthest behind took a wrong turn in the park, but everyone did finish. What I’d have done differently would have been to give out my phone number to everyone in the group in case anyone fell way behind or decided to drop out so that I would know. ~Lisa
I also participated in last 10 mile and the picnic and have to say that both events were awesome.  The last 10 was a great way for me to know what to expect in the Marathon. ~Stuart
I participated in the last 10 miles also. It really helped me learn what to expect, especially the elevation changes. I believe it was part of the reason I didn’t hit the wall. ~Carlos
re: Picnic

It’s been a bit less than a year since I joined PPTC, and this was the first event I’d organized for the club. In many ways, I still feel like a green member, but it was nice to see so many familiar faces and reflect on all the new runships I’ve formed over the last year.

re: last 10 miles
He doesn’t know it, but my marathon training strategy has basically been: 1) Show up every Sat at 8 am. 2) Follow Oren for 20 miles, or until I can’t keep up. 3) Repeat.

At the last ten miles, Oren steered our 8:30 pace group like a metronome, nailing every turn in the Bronx and telling us where to conserve energy. He wins my vote for Marathon Sherpa of the Year.

…Also, we can’t forget the poncho. When Murray held up a brightly colored wrap and said, “Who wants a serape?” my hand immediately shot up. Now that marathon training is done, my biggest dilemma is whether to use the poncho as throwaway clothing or keep it. #ponchostruggleisreal ~Crystal

PRs, BQs, & AGs! Oh my!

Photo credit: Mark Guralnick

After several long weeks of sweating out miles in heat and humidity, cool crisp fall weather is finally here! And with it, PPTC members have been reaping the rewards of hot summer training.

Mark Guralnick
Brooklyn Greenway Half
1:54:37
3rd AG award (60-69)

Photo credit: Noah Devereaux

Noah Devereaux
Staten Island Half Marathon
1:23:17
7-min PR
He would like us to know that he actually raced this time, unlike the previous race, Bronx 10-miler.

Danielle Fagenblat
Staten Island Half Marathon
1:59:17
PR

Colleen Lynch
Chicago Marathon
3:29:21
BQ

Efren Caballes
Chicago Marathon
3:05:37
PR

Jimmy Leung
Berlin & Chicago Marathons
Completed 2 of the 6 Abbot World Majors Marathons so far. Will complete the 3rd at NYC Marathon.

Photo credit: Colleen Lynch

Alex Kolod
Brooklyn RocknRoll 5-Miler
39:26
PR & 2nd AG award

Roshan Leslie
Twin Cities Marathon
5:23:25
34-min PR
She also won a pair of Brooks Levitate shoes due to her race performance! She had a faster split time between mile markers 21 and 22 (hardest part of the course due to hills) than the average pace from the start of the race to the beginning of 21.

Etan Levavi
Bay Ridge Half Marathon
1:21:13
2nd place overall

Jacqueline James
Bay Ridge Half Marathon
2:09:05
1st AG (50-54)

Etan Levavi
Music that Heals 5K
17:32
1st place overall

Emily Albarillo
Portland Marathon
4:47:44
PR

Frans Albarillo 
Portland Marathon
First marathon and automatic PR

Lillian Park
Wineglass Half Marathon
1:43:27
3-min PR

Michael Ring
Staten Island Half Marathon
4:40:xx
He remembered how much fun it was to run in the rain and the police played Eye of the Tiger just for him.

Wallis Finger
Denver Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon
1:46:37
PR (8.5 months postpartum)

Run Brooklyn with Bed-Stuy Restoration 10K & Inaugural Imagine Academy 5K

by Linus Ly

I love my “job” with the Prospect Park Track Club.  The club has a program where members are encouraged to run with local races. The program, Run Brooklyn, dictates that participants must run a minimum of six Brooklyn races that are professionally-timed in exchange for a chance to win money prizes at PPTC’s annual award dinner.  “Brooklyn races” means the run course must start and end in Brooklyn, such that events like the Tunnel To Tower, which starts on the Brooklyn side of the Battery Park Tunnel but ends in the old World Trade Center site, do not count.  The “professionally-timed” condition eliminates fun runs like the Color Run series, where participants’ times aren’t recorded.

Years ago, many eligible races for the Run Brooklyn program were missed because the club was reliant upon members suggesting Brooklyn races for the program. As a result,  only a handful of Brooklyn races were ever listed fo the Run Brooklyn Program.  Some years ago, I volunteered to maintain a comprehensive spreadsheet containing the race names, dates, URL for registration purposes, and additional information, such as whether the race coincides with a popular event.  Now I also maintain a calendar that is embedded into the club’s website. Although the information from the spreadsheet and calendar largely overlap, the advantage of the calendar is that the information of competing events, such as NYRR races, are presented visually so it is easier for our members to make an informed decision on which race to register for.

I made such an informed decision last week when I forwent the NYRR Staten Island Half and ran in the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration 10K instead.  Staten Island used to be a mysterious place that I drive through along I-278 from the Verrazano Bridge to the Goethal Bridge, or some other bridge, but after spending a large amount time working there, along with running in a few races there as well, the novelty is not there anymore for me.  I like to run in different locations and this year the Bed-Stuy 10K fit the bill.

The Bed-Stuy 10K had its staging area in Restoration Plaza, which is near the corner of Fulton Street and New York Avenue.  All under one big white tent on the Plaza were a stage, DJ stand, registration table, refreshment tables, and some vendor tables.  Refreshment included coffee, bananas, half-cut bagels, small apples, and orange juices, which I believe was all donated from the nearby Super Foodtown supermarket.  In a nearby building, runners were treated to indoor plumbing for their sanitary needs, as well as a bag check area.  Maybe I was not too aware of my surrounding but I found out about the bag check purely by accident.  I think there should be more signs to point out the restroom and bag-check service.

The first event this year was the Kiddie Run.  Some five little kids, two as young as four years of age, ran a few yards to the Finish Line on Herkimer Street behind the Restoration Plaza.  Next we had a workout session led by an instructor on the floor of the big tent and three leaders on the stage.  It was a good workout, plenty enough to loosen muscles for the upcoming race.

There was no music along the race course but if there were, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds should be played.  I was afraid that I would run the wrong way because there were so many turns.  At the start, I asked a few runners near me if they were familiar with the course but they either were running the untimed 5K or did not know the course.  Luckily the corners were well-staffed, either by event personnel or by NYPD.  A safety cone with the proper directional arrow also helped in case you missed the instruction from the staff.  Something else I could use along the course was more water.  There was a station at Mile 2 and again at Mile 4, but by the time slowpoke me got to Mile 4 there were no more cups.  I think there was some water left in the water cooler, yes, the sort used in your typical cubicle office, but I didn’t want to stop completely to drink from the faucet.  Luckily, it was rainy for most of the race and I cooled down enough to not need water that much.  I don’t know the history of the race course so it might be that way all these years, with the many turns, so maybe not much can be done about it.  During the last two miles, I so looked forward to seeing the finish arch from a distance to get me going stronger.  It never came as the arch was just down the road after the final turn.

Bed-Stuy 10K, now in its 36th year, was well-organized despite the water mishap.

In contrast to the Bed-Stuy 10K, a few weeks back I ran an inaugural race, Imagine Academy for Autism 5K in Marine Park, that had some growing pains.  The race course was 3.5 times around the outer loop of the park. I was highly familiar with the outer loop because I ran many times already with NYRR Open Run.

The race was supposed to start at 10 AM, but there was a speech or two and the race didn’t really begin until 10:30.  It was a hot day so the extra half-hour made a little difference.  Although the course was just a few loops of the park, there was no water station anywhere.  After I did my 3.5 loops, the finish line was totally blocked by finishers.  People were just milling about in front of the finish mat, chatting, taking photos, and snacking.  Perhaps because it was the first time for these people to participate in a race but the situation could be helped by having the refreshment table a few yards AFTER the finish line, not mere feet in front of it.  Lastly, there was no trash container anywhere to collect all the wrappers, fruit peels, and other garbage.  Responsible runners had to go a few yards away to squeeze the trash into already-packed receptacles.  Hopefully next year these issues won’t be present and runners can have a more pleasant racing experience at this new Brooklyn race.

Purchasing PPTC Gear

You’re a new member and want to proudly represent PPTC at your future races. Or perhaps you’re a seasoned member and now your beloved PPTC singlet is worn out and seen better days. Or maybe you just want more PPTC in your life.

We have singlets, shirts, caps, and visors; all sold for $25 each for cash or check made out to PPTC.

PPTC Gear is sold at our monthly meetings, held on the 1st Monday of every month at Da Nonna Rosa (140 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215) at 7 pm (Exceptions: When the 1st Monday falls on a holiday,  then the meeting is held on the 2nd Monday of the month). If you are unable to make the monthly meeting, please email the Clothing Committee (clothing@pptc.org) to make other arrangements for pick up and payment.

Please email clothing@pptc.org to ensure that we have your size available. We are working on creating an online store for PPTC gear to improve our ability to have our members outfitted in red and white. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

New Balance Bronx 10 Mile Race Report

Race: New Balance Bronx 10 Mile

When: Sept 24, 2017

Where: Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY

Uncomfortable warm temperature and sticky humidity greeted runners on a decidedly un-fall-like day last Sunday. Was it already autumn? Who could tell? No matter, amost 15,000 runners were ready to storm the Grand Concourse, designed by an Alsatian immigrant named Louis Aloys Risse who became chief topographical engineer for the New York City government, in the Bronx.

Challenging conditions did not scare away PPTC members; 127 runners showed up, which made us the fourth largest team at the Bronx 10-Miler.

Here is Noah not racing. Imagine what he would look like if he were racing.

Congratulations to Dean Gebhardt (1:03:55), Matt Siefker (1:03:55), and Noah Devereaux (1:05:57) for being the three fastest PPTC men. Noah would like us to know that he “wasn’t really racing” the Bronx 10-Miler. He paced Captain Adam for the first 6 miles and practiced grabbing drinks from the aid station tables. For the last six miles, he felt out the paces for the upcoming Staten Island Half. In doing so, he ran an (unofficial) 5K PR and a 10K PR. If running under 66 minutes for a 10-mile race is “not really racing” for Noah, then we can’t wait to see what you can do when you are really racing. Hey team, any predictions for Noah on what he can do for the Staten Island Half?

Congratulations to Junko Matsuura (1:12:39), Leiba Rimler (1:12:41), and Holly Chase (1:14:00) for being the three fastest PPTC women.

It should also be noted that Dean’s, Junko’s, and Tyrone Sklaren‘s (1:30:43) performances garnered them a top-10 finish in their age groups.

Nothing stops PPTC!

Kudos to everyone on this illustrious PR list! Maybe the weather was warm because you guys were HOT!!!

Leiba Rimler (1:12:41) – perfect 1 min PR
Kelly Greene (1:21:44) – almost a 9-min PR
Jonathan Giles (1:11:38) – first 10-mile race
Clifford Tsao (1:19:28) – knocked 5:41 from his time last year
Issac Josephson (1:22:20) – 3:18 PR
Lisa Maya Knauer – 1:14 PR
Adam Iannazzone (1:06:36)
Rob Dekker (1:13:26)
Aung Barteaux (1:16:35) – first race running for PPTC
Sam Smullen (1:26:03)
Carlos Vazquez (1:11:59) – a minute+ faster than his 15K PR.
Michael Abrahams (1:06:44)
Jackie James (1:35:36)

Finally Murray is not the one behind the camera and our Janice is the pacer.

All photos in this post are credited to Jose Baizan.

Superfund Super Run 10K Race Report

This race report is written in a different style. I’m trying to capture the collective experience of this race, rather than my own personal perspective.

Race: Superfund Super Run 10K

Where: Greenpoint Playground to Pig Beach in Brooklyn, NY

When: Sept 7, 2017

Photo Credit: @bakline

Once a year, runners gather together at Greenpoint Playground. It’s a stealth conclave of various running clubs and some stragglers in search of the fastest route to the finish line – this year at Pig Beach. A map of the recommended route is posted on South Brooklyn Running Club’s website, but experienced runners know a better, shorter route exists. Ask for details on how they’ll get to Pig Beach, and all you’ll get is a laugh and vague, “I just hope I don’t get lost.” These are closely guarded secrets, until Strava reveals them all in exchange for kudos.

At night, rules are flipped on their heads. Runners ruled the street. In the cool crisp air, we ran fearlessly in the night. Passers-by looked on in bewilderment as a steady stream of bibbed runners flowed past. All bibbed, except for one barking Bandit whose thin lithe legs were hampered by her tethered partner’s heavier slower legs.

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but the streets of Brooklyn don’t cooperate by offering a neat perpendicular grid. You’re on your own to devise the fastest route. Several of us assiduously searched on Google maps for the shortest route. A cut through a park here, a diagonal line to run the tangent there, small slivers of distance shaved off in order to save precious minutes off the gun time.  Other runners dispatched with the idea of studying altogether, and instead relied on following more knowledgeable runners. That was a fine strategy until the leaders turned out to be faster and the followers fell too far behind to follow.

Photo Credit: @bakline

Others cursed at the obstacles thrown their way – red lights, trucks, oncoming cars, and hecklers. Some runners wander lost, despite studying hours earlier, for having missed a turn (or two) on a dimly lit street. A few surge confidently ahead, secure in their knowledge of the way having completed a reconnaissance mission in the light of day.

No matter the route, whether running as a solitary endeavor or in a pack, like wolves, eventually all runners find their way to Pig Beach. Like a swarm of bees, we rush through the doors to find the finish line, cheers, hugs, and beer. We know we’ll do this again next year.

5th Ave Mile Race Report

Noah Devereaux takes a flying leap. Photo Credit: Adam Iannazzone

Race: 5th Ave Mile

Where: 5th Ave, Manhattan, NY

When: Sept 10, 2017

On a cool crisp day, after a long muggy summer of training, 68 PPTC members were ready to take on the trial of a mile known as the 5th Ave Mile. This course is widely known as an excellent course to set a PR because of its net decline, however, anyone who has run down 5th Ave from 80th St. to 60th St. knows that there’s a slight incline in the second quarter of the race. Such a small incline is usually not a big deal, but in a short distance race like a miler, every second counts.

Women’s Results

Christine Weiher was the fastest PPTC woman (5:39).
Junko Matsuura came closely behind in 2nd for PPTC (5:41).
Alison Restak was not far behind in 3rd for PPTC (5:44).

Men’s Results

Congratulations to Etan Levavi for being the fastest PPTC member for the 5th Ave Mile (4:49). He represented Brooklyn in the 5 Boroughs Heat.
Matt Siefker was 2nd for PPTC (5:01).
Noah Devereaux was right there for 3rd (5:03).

New PRs

Let’s congratulate all these PPTC members who set new PRs for themselves.

Yulia Yomantayte (6:55) – Her first sub-7 min mile
Chaya Wolf (8:46) – She knocked off 22 seconds off her last PR set just three weeks ago.
Erica Niemiec (7:13) – Her first mile race
Kristin Stocks (7:23)
Adam Devine (5:42) – 14 sec PR
Andrew Leonard (6:05)
Adam Iannazzone (5:17)
Sam Smullen (6:36)
Kirsty Carroll (6:46) – Her first mile race and first race repping PPTC!
Isabel Santiago-Gordon (7:44) – Also her first mile race and first race repping PPTC!
Jonathan Giles (5:45) – His first mile race
Alison Restak (6:07) – 21 sec PR

Big thanks to everyone who cheered for PPTC, especially those members who didn’t run the 5th Ave Mile.

Getting To Know Al Goldstein

by Stuart Kaplan

What makes PPTC unique and special are the traditions of the club. One person who is responsible for some of these traditions is Al Goldstein, who served as the President of PPTC from 1990-1996. I should have known when I got off the phone with Al the night before the final eponymous speed series that driving him to the race would be an experience to remember.  At 97 not only was he able to give me directions to his home from mine, but also he informed me that he still drives but is not allowed to drive to the race or as he said, “ Tom won’t let me drive.”

When I picked him up I felt like I was talking to an old friend. Al starts a conversation as if you’ve known him for years, and as I drove him to the race I began to understand why he is a patriarch to our club.  As we drove to the park, Al and I talked while he gave me the fastest directions to the park including where to turn to drive into the park, even where to leave my car — true VIP status. I was with a legend, and as humble as he is about it, you could see how respected he is, as members of PPTC came up to him to shake his hand.  I was lucky enough to hear the stories about Al’s running, and why he is so important to our club.

Running at 57 and the marathons

Al didn’t start running until he was 57. His first love was basketball. Al got the “bug” for running when he bet someone he could run a mile in 6 minutes at the Lincoln High School Track.  The first time Al ran the NYC Marathon, the longest he had run before was 13 miles.  Between the age of 57 and 73, Al has run 18 marathons.

NYC Marathon -11 times

Boston Marathon – 6 times

Long Island Marathon-1 times

When Al was training for marathons, he never had a dedicated day for speed or hills. He always ran his 8-mile pace, and would incorporate hills into his runs. He used a regular watch (these were the pre-Garmin/pre-Strava days). Al said on marathon day aim slower, you will finish faster. He also said he never ran the day before the race. When Al was running marathons in the 80s it was harder to qualify for Boston. He said to qualify for Boston in the ‘80s you had to finish a marathon twenty minutes faster then you have to finish today.

[Editorial note: Here are the BQ standards for men and women in the 1980s

1980

MEN WOMEN (ALL DIVISIONS)
19 – 39: 2hrs 50min 3hrs 20min
40 and over: 3hrs 10min

1981-1983

19 – 39: 2hrs 50min 19 – 39: 3hrs 20min
40 – 49: 3hrs 10min 40 and over: 3hrs 30min
50 – 59: 3hrs 20min
60 and over: 3hrs 30min

1984-1986

19 – 39: 2hrs 50min* 19 – 39: 3hrs 20min
40 – 49: 3hrs 10min 40 – 49: 3hrs 30min
50 – 59: 3hrs 20min 50 – 59: 3hrs 40min
60 and over: 3hrs 30min 60 and over: 3hrs 50min

1987-1989

18 – 39: 3hrs 00min 18 – 39: 3hrs 30min
40 – 49: 3hrs 10min 40 – 49: 3hrs 40min
50 – 59: 3hrs 20min 50 – 59: 3hrs 50min
60 and over: 3hrs 30min 60 and over: 4hrs 00min

end of editorial note]

Renting schools after the NYC Marathon

Because Al was an elementary school principal, he knew that you could rent schools on the weekends and thus began the PPTC tradition of renting a school by the finish line near Central Park. He would line the locker rooms with towels so his runners could shower and relax after the marathon.  One year he even made five gallons of vegetable soup. When I asked him why he did this he said “I knew how great it was to have hot soup and a shower after a race.”

Teaching his students the joys of running

The best thing he did as a principal was teach every student how to run a mile.  He taught his students valuable life lessons as he taught them to run.  He told them run the mile if you feel like you have to stop walk but don’t stop running.  He even taught his students how to pace. He said you need two leaders. One leader to set the pace, and the other to check that everyone is running with that leader. If anyone runs ahead, they have to sit down.  This taught the students not to run too fast. After they learned how to run a mile, he would let them compete. He gave medals to every student who finished their race whether they ran or walked.  Later on in life, some of his students qualified for Boston by finishing the NYC Marathon in 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Running in the Heat

We also talked about running through the heat. He told a story about when he became victim to the heat during the Boston Marathon. He finished that marathon in 3h and 47 seconds as opposed to his usual marathon time of 3h 27seconds. Then five days after Boston, Al finished 5th place in his age group for the National 5K in Prospect Park. So being that there has been so much discussion about hot weather running and races that don’t go as planned I asked him how he was able to do it. This is what he said, “ I jogged every day instead of running my usual 8 minute mile and had self confidence.”

A Gift from Al

After the race, Al gave me one of his medals, which is an honor to have. Al directed me out of the park we continued to talk about running.  When I dropped him off he thanked me for driving him. I thanked him for the souvenir and for the privilege and honor of getting to know him.   He reminded me that at 97 he still drives, but Tom wouldn’t let him drive to the race.

If you would like to read more about our past PPTC presidents, including Al Goldstein, please read this page.

Race Report: Are you up for the 18.12 Challenge?

by Lillian Park

Race: 18.12 Challenge

When: August 27, 2017

Where: Watertown to Sackets Harbor, NY

Lillian: Hey, do you want to drive me to Watertown? It’s six hours north of here.

Jimmy: Why?

Lillian: There’s an 18-mile race up there.

Jimmy looks at Google maps.

Jimmy: It’s close to the border. Can we go to Canada? I need to buy Haagen Dazs.

Lillian: Sure! I’ll buy orange Fanta.

The best thing about PPTC is that no matter how crazy your idea is, you can always find a friend who’ll join you in your outrageous endeavors.

Yes, we really did cross the border to buy Haagen Dazs and Fanta. No, we can’t get these in the US. Haagen Dazs has five different flavors of alcohol-infused ice cream (Rum Vanilla Caramel Blondie, Whiskey Chocolate Truffle, Irish Cream Coffee & Biscotti, Vodka Key Lime Pie, and Rum Ginger Cookie) that is exclusively available only in Canada. As for orange Fanta, the formula for orange Fanta varies from country to country. I love the Canadian and European versions and hate the US one.

And yes, that pretty much was our real life conversation when discussing this race.

We took off for Sackets Harbor at the leisurely time of 5:30 in the morning on Saturday. Jimmy wanted to leave even earlier, but I begged for mercy and asked for another half hour of sleep. After stopping for coffee at Wawa, gas, Krispy Kreme, and visiting a friend, past noon we made it to the race expo at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield, which was the site of two major battles (first battle & second battle) in the War of 1812.  This is the war where the British troops famously burned down the White House (and something that Canadians like to take credit for as I learned when I lived in Toronto).

The theme of the War of 1812 is quite predominant throughout the race. The official route is 18.12 miles long (actually it’s shorter because I – and everyone else – always measures this course short, around 17.9 miles). They give out $1812 worth of prize money. The finishers medal and race shirt feature a patriot. I love well-thought out themed races.

The next day we parked at Sackets Harbor Battlefield, where the finish line would be, to catch a shuttle to the start line in Watertown. The weather was just about perfect – a shade over 50 degrees. Only a cloud cover would have made it better. Even without the cloud cover, the sun was not a problem. Because the race starts early at 7 am, there was plenty of shade from the trees, and when there wasn’t any shade, we were running with the sun to our backs.

Jimmy and I briefly discussed our race plans. Right before the horn went off, we mutually agreed that if we happened to run with each other that was great, but we were not to wait for the other person. All throughout the drive to Sackets Harbor from Brooklyn and earlier that morning, Jimmy swore he would start out between 9:00 and 9:30 pace. Instead, he took off charging like there was a battle in front of him that he had to storm.  I didn’t even get a chance to run with him for a quarter mile. For better or worse, I was going to run my own race and I watched him fade into the distance.

I eventually caught up to Jimmy at Mile 6.5. We briefly ran together and then I decided to go ahead because I was feeling good. At the end of the race, Jimmy told me that he followed me for the next several miles.

The 18.12 course was not exactly as I had remembered. All week I told Jimmy that it was a downhill down with one, maybe two hills in the beginning and another small one at the end.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

It is a net downhill course, but you’ll never realize it because of all the rolling hills. I counted the hills and in the end I lost track. There are a lot of hills, albeit small ones with gentle inclines, on the course. The net decline does help you and it shows up in your paces because you notice that you run faster with less effort.

Compared to last year, there was less entertainment out on the course. There weren’t any musicians, but I did see a little girl doing some Irish step dancing. The bulk of the entertainment came between Miles 8 and 13. Right before we entered Sacket Harbor, a huge group of cheerleaders cheered for us. A police officer welcomed us with the booming words, “Welcome to Sackets Harbor!” Sweeter words were never spoken. There was a pirate-themed water station with swashbuckling pirates handing out water, Gatorade, an ice cold wet towel, and sweet, sweet popsicles.

The hardest part of the race is the turn-off for the runners doing the 18.12 Challenge because you know the half marathoners have only another two miles to the finish line, but you have another five miles. At this point, I’m tired and think, “This is cruel.”

I was running really well and following the race plan that I set out for myself – to run the first five miles conservatively and then progressively speed up every five miles. A quick glance at my new-to-me Garmin (thanks, Jennie!) showed me that I was well on my way to smashing the previous year’s time. I decided to race out the final three miles and picked off runners left and right. This was really fun for me because I often fade at the end of races. I’ve been working really hard at having a strong end game, and it was nice to see progress being made.

One last turn and it’s the straightaway to the finish line. I’m thrilled to find out that I finished in 2:31:12, which is well over a six-minute PR for me. Jimmy crosses the finish line a couple minutes after me in 2:33:24, which earned him 2nd place in his age group. We both had great races.

The post-race party was wonderful. There was a ton of food (apples, oranges, bananas, sandwiches, pizza, yogurt, cookies, and more) and we were encouraged to take seconds and thirds. Fun music played over speakers. People took their time to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery overlooking Lake Ontario after the race. I chatted with other runners while waiting for the awards ceremony.

I highly recommend the 18.12 Challenge to any PPTC member, especially if you’re doing marathon training. The race is well-organized, fun, and well worth having Jimmy drive you six hours to North Country. You might have to go to Canada though.

P.S. After the race, we went to sightseeing at Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands because we felt that we didn’t do enough that day. The castle and boat tour were super cool and receive two thumbs up from us.