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.

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.

Dirty German Endurance Fest Race Report from Captain Adam

Sara, Jana, Shan, & Adam

by Adam Devine

Race: Dirty German Endurance Fest

When: May 13, 2017

Where: Pennypack Park, Philadelphia, PA

So this may be a long recap, but it was also a long race, so bear with me.

I did the North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain last year, but wanted something not quite so challenging course-wise this year, so at the suggestion of Jana and Shan, I signed up for the Dirty German Endurance Fest 50 mile race. It is in Pennypack Park in Philadelphia, and has a lot fewer climbs and rocky bits, so I thought it would be a slightly saner endeavor. I was wrong.

In the 10 days or so before the race, the forecast went from mostly sunny with highs in the mid 60’s to downpour and low 50’s. Sara and I went down to Wilmington, DE and were graciously hosted by Shan and his parents. We went shopping the day before to stock up on supplies and then relaxed and watched the Avengers with Shan’s dad (a definite highlight of the trip).

We got up at 4:15 am, packed up the car, and headed out after only one small freak out where I couldn’t find my wallet. The rain had started in earnest, but I kept hoping that I was perceiving it letting up a little, even as Shan kept changing the wipers to higher and higher settings. We drove up to Philadelphia with minimal fuss and used the flush toilets at a Wawa near the park as a luxury, where we ran into our first fellow participants.

Once we got to the start area we ran into Jana and Anh-Tuan, but only had a little time to get our bibs, set our drop bags, and take a second to appreciate how miserable the conditions were. I was running in my normal shorts and singlet with a handheld water bottle, and as I scanned my fellow runners with their Camelbaks, ponchos, packs and hats and gloves and compression socks, I commented that I felt underdressed. “That’s because you are!” chuckled a gentleman with 15 lbs of extra gear. I usually feel very intimidated at the start of a race, like everyone else is going to fly by me, but for the first time ever I had a sense that I belonged among those other runners, that I had trained as well as possible and fit in, even if I wasn’t wearing as much as they were.

“That’s because you are!” chuckled a gentleman with 15 lbs of extra gear. I usually feel very intimidated at the start of a race, like everyone else is going to fly by me, but for the first time ever I had a sense that I belonged among those other runners — that I had trained as well as possible and fit in, even if I wasn’t wearing as much as they were.

Before I knew it, they were shuffling Shan and me into the herd, and we were off for the first of three 16.5 mile loops in the park. We fell in toward the back of the pack, and just sort of settled into a rhythm. The conditions weren’t too terrible, some puddles and mud, but nothing too bad. I was happy to have serious trail shoes with what amounted to cleat treads on the bottom. Shan was obviously struggling to keep his footing in his AB2s, but we slowly moved up through the pack.

We almost went off course at one point, but were hollered at by two women and realized our mistake. I think Shan and I decided it was best to stick with them for a little longer and let them lead the way, content to be safe in a pack. We stayed there for most of the first loop until speeding up a bit towards the end. The course was really well marked, the aid stations were evenly spaced and well stocked, and the volunteers were all super cheerful and helpful. I can’t say enough about how well this event was organized and executed in really terrible conditions.

At the start of the second loop I quickly noticed two things:  1) we were probably a little quick on our first loop and 2) an extra 2.5 hours of rain and a couple hundred runners worth of footfalls hadn’t done the course any favors. What used to be small puddles were now like the world’s worst kiddie pools, and they rerouted us across a condemned bridge instead of one of the stream crossings because it was safer.

The extra mud was playing havoc with my footing, and I was really feeling for Shan, but was also approaching what I consider to be the hardest part of a 50-mile race — miles 20-30. That is where my survival instinct kicks in and my brain starts telling me it is better to stop. Along a particularly muddy section, Shan dropped back and I had to make the conscious decision to stay on pace because if I slowed I didn’t know if I would be able to finish.

I figured I was in the top 20 or so, and was just focused on keeping moving as fast as I could. The lead woman passed me, and we chatted a bit, mainly my letting her regale me with tales of her 100-mile races as I panted and tried to keep up. I was happy for the company, but she soon left me behind.

At this point, I was running by myself, but I was not alone. I had read that positive self-talk helps other runners, so I started talking to myself, telling myself that I could do this, that I had trained hard, that I had been through worse. I also started thinking of all the people that I had the opportunity to train with over the last few months, even if we only shared a few miles, and I began to thank them out loud for helping me along this journey. Knowing that I had a whole team with me helped immensely.

My second lap was about 20 minutes slower than the first, but I still had a slight hope of averaging a 10 min mile by doing the last loop in three hours flat. This turned out to be a false hope. I have never run a Tough Mudder, but that is the only thing that came to mind while traversing the last 16 miles. It was nothing but puddles, mud, and slogging, accompanied by the squelching of my shoes and my increasingly labored breathing.

Fatigue had set in, but I knew I was doing well overall. I had seen the lead woman drop out after taking a tumble, and was passed by Chris Scarpetti, a very accomplished ultra runner, with about 12 miles to go. I was feeling alternately bone weary and giddy, finding myself laughing at the absurdity of what we were doing. The last few miles ticked away, and my goals kept getting pushed back, but I had no doubts about finishing now; it was merely a question of how much more suffering was in store. I consciously didn’t press the pace too much, knowing I wanted to cross the finish line strong and not sobbing. I also made sure to thank all of the volunteers on the last lap, knowing that they were the real rock stars on that day, standing in the cold for hours on end just so a bunch of crazy runners could gallivant through the woods.

As I headed out of the woods for the last time I started going at a pace that could be considered “running” and saw Shan scrambling out of his car to join me. He was shoeless and chasing me like a crazed animal, shouting what I thought was an encouragement. Sara and Jana were there at the finish cheering too, and I ran through the finish arch just relieved it was over.

At that point, I saw a volunteer approach me and say, “Third overall!” while attempting to hand me a jug, a hat, and a box. I was slightly confused, as I had no idea I was in third, and had never even considered the possibility of a podium finish. The box contained a little cuckoo clock that says “3rd Place Dirty German,” a really cool and unique award. I wanted to hug and high five everyone and tell them I loved them, so I did. We took a bunch of pictures and ate some AMAZING bratwurst and sauerkraut.

Within minutes of finishing my body started to revolt: shivering, cramping, and pain, oh so much pain. Hips, feet, and ankles were especially bad, but it was just general pain. We piled into Shan’s mom’s car, trying our best not to destroy its interior too thoroughly, and headed to a post race feast of Five Guys and frozen yogurt, which tasted amazing after months of low carb training. More hugs and high fives were exchanged, and Shan and Jana dropped us off at the train station to head home.

Forty hours or so later I feel moderately human again. I managed four miles at a decent pace this morning, and I don’t seem to have done any lasting damage. I continue to be amazed at what I am capable of, but also know that I am only capable of doing this with the love and support of those around me. If you are reading this, I am truly grateful to have you as a teammate and in my life. You all continually inspire me to become the best possible version of myself. Special thanks to Jana and Sara for sticking around in the cold rain at the finish after kicking butt in their own races and to Shan for joining me on this crazy journey and providing accommodations, chauffeuring, coaching, and inspiration. Finally, thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Haq for allowing us to stay in their home and for letting us trash their car. I hope the smell comes out soon.

Al Goldstein Summer Series #7 Race Review

Photo Credit: Murray Rosenblith

Race: Al Goldstein Summer Series #7

Where: Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

When: August 16, 2017

The last 5K of the Al Goldstein Summer Series took place on Aug 16th. Over 500 runners came to participate in PPTC’s final 5K for 2017. We look forward to seeing everyone again in November for our Turkey Trot!

Once again, PPTC had a great showing and came away with a few awards and PRs too.

Women

The top three women for PPTC were Jana Trenk (18:46), Leiba Rimler (20:24), and Shania Smith (20:47).

Congratulations to Jana for coming in 2nd overall female for AGSS #7.

Kudos to Kathleen Lewis (29:12) for her 3rd place in her age group (55-59).

Once again, Leiba is on the podium with 1st place in her age group (30-34).

Shania‘s performance garnered her 1st place in her age group (15-19).

Marvelous Maggie Deschamps (22:35) takes 1st place in her age group (50-54).

Jennie Matz came away with 2nd place in her age group (40-44).

Congrats to Judith Diers (25:50) who received 3rd place in her age group (50-54).

Other top ten performance in age groups

Colleen Lynch (23:09) (30-34)

Lindsay Turley (21:39) (35-39)

Holly Chase (22:07) (30-34)

Hannah Southworth (23:02) (25-29)

Wallis Finger (23:10) (35-39)

Lisa Smith (27:56) (45-49)

Ulla Griffiths (28:43) (45-49)

Janice Fuld (28:50) (50-54)

Congratulations to these women for setting new PRs!

Jana Trenk (18:46)

Leiba Rimler (20:24)

Maddie Coultrip (24:23) – A big welcome to Maddie! She’s new to PPTC and this was her first 5K. Many more to come we hope!

Katie Dadarria (26:50) – After dealing with plantar fasciitis for five months, Katie’s back faster than ever!

Men

The top three men for PPTC were Sean Quealy (17:12), Matt Siefker (17:42) and Dean Gebhardt (18:23).

It should be noted that Sean’s performance was good enough for a 10th overall finish.

Congratulations to Dean for his 1st place AG award (50-54).

Melvyn Stafford‘s (18:41) performance earned him 2nd place in his age group (50-54).

Kudos to Anthony Watson (20:52) for his 2nd place showing in his age group (55-59).

Kudos to our own Larry Sillen (45:43) whose photographing did not get in the way of his taking 1st place for his age group (70+).

Other top ten performance in age groups

Alexis Davidson (31:54) (60-64)

Matt Siefker (17:42) (30-34)

Robert Dimock (19:44) (40-44)

Oren Efrati (20:50) (45-49)

Howard Abrams (21:41) (50-54)

Tom Sheridan (22:03) (50-54)

Sam Smullen (23:03) (55-59)

Tom Tobin (24:50) (60-64)

Frank Deleo (25:54) (60-64)

Lawrence Balick (27:20) (60-64)

Richard Cahn (57:55) (65-69)

Tim Peck getting his PR! Photo Credit: Missy Burgin

Congratulations to these men for setting new PRs!

Ahn-Tuan Tran (22:37), who broke his old time of 24:10 set earlier this summer at AGSS #1.

Sam Smullen (23:03)

Tim Peck (29:06), which is an 1:40 improvement over his previous PR.

Of course, PPTC would not be able to put on its events without our incredible volunteers. We would like to acknowledge and thank our members who volunteered for AGSS #7.

Veronica Antoine
Michael Ring
Liz Grammer
Priscilla Upshaw
Paul Lowe
Charlene Kohler-Britton
Eliza Varner
Sara Devine
Sam Smullen
Missy Burgin
Tricia McNaughton
Murray Rosenblith
Mervlyn Baptiste
Chaya Wolf
Rich Nolan
Janet Gottlieb
Eric Levenstein
Junior Passee
Natacha Ferrari
Nicholas Cohen
Stuart Kaplan

Race Report: Michael Ring’s Club Team Championship

I always used to find a way to run this race. I never tried to run my fastest because my fastest cannot ever help the team. Sometimes I ran the men’s race and then the women’s race just to get in the extra miles. A few times I ran all the way to the start because recently it began coinciding with the first day of the Summer Streets program.  Whenever possible, I scheduled my family vacations around this race.

But in May of 2014, I lost control of the ability to schedule vacations and races. I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome; my immune system malfunctioned and started treating the myelin sheets of my motor nerves as enemies. I went from marathon-ready to paralyzed in a few days. (Eventually, I was re-diagnosed with a rare variant of this rare disease. I have acute motor axonal neuropathy. That means my immune system attacked the motor axons themselves.) It was a no-brainer to ask for a medical deferral in the marathon I was going to run the end of that month. But it never occurred to me that I wasn’t going to be able to show up for a 5-mile race in August.

Between May and July I moved from one hospital to another five or six times. Most of them happened with a strange sense of bureaucratic emergency. Doctors and social workers worked together to find me a bed and then with hardly any notice at all, I was transported to a different hospital. But my wife and I had some say in where I was going for the last hospital. At that point I needed to be transferred to a long-term subacute medical facility, known to most people as a nursing home. My wife visited these places and let me know that they would all suck and that there was a facility that had the best physical therapy, and the worst food, but was in Chinatown. The place they came in second on her list was on Fifth Avenue around E 100 Street. Looking back, it was probably selfish of me but I really wanted to be uptown, near Central Park. I had this fantasy that I could get a day pass from rehab and get to Central Park to see the Club Team Championship Race. I wanted to see the race and I wanted to be seen.

On August 2, 2014 I put on my happy face when a few of my teammates ran south on Summer Streets to visit me in Chinatown after the race. After they left I went to my happy place; I reviewed all the times I ran to the start of this race. Running over the Brooklyn Bridge as the sun was rising, running up Lafayette and Park Avenues. I remembered what it was like to run from Brooklyn to the northern end of Central Park arriving just 90 seconds before the race was to start. I also remembered what it was like to run through the Park Avenue Tunnel at 34th St. because the police weren’t looking. Although this disease was able to temporarily take away my bodily functions, it couldn’t touch my memories. But the memory I replayed countless times was what it was like to run that last mile in a race that ends at the 102nd St Transverse – with the hill behind me and that long straightaway past Engineers Gate, then a slight left turn and the sounds of cheering teammates.

In 2015 I got a ride to the race. I had just graduated from using a walker to a forearm crutch to get around. I don’t think anyone knew how challenging (frightening) it was for me that day. My balance was terrible. Well, it wasn’t really a balance issue, I was still suffering from a lack of proprioception in my legs. That meant that while I had the nerve function hold up my body weight and walk, I couldn’t always tell where my legs were. It was weird. I don’t think anyone noticed my tears of joy when I got up to the top of that big rock so I could see everyone run by. I remember looking back at Mount Sinai Hospital to the east of Central Park thinking that symbolically that’s where I was last year and looking forward to Park Drive and knowing that was where I would be next year.

And yes, in 2016 I ran the race. Running isn’t really the word I should use. The New York Road Runners Club allowed me to start behind the women in their race so I could finish among the slowest men. I walked. My body wasn’t ready to run yet.

But this past Sunday, I was able to live the dream that I had three years ago. And Holy Moly, I was incredibly happy with myself because this was a race. I just went to the New York Road Runners Club race results website to see if I met my goal of sub-20 minute miles. Not only did I do that, but I beat someone. I did not come in last!

Okay, back to talking about race strategy. My plan for this race was to alternate running and walking every minute. I actually installed a boxing match timer on my phone for one minute rounds and one minute rest periods. (The Galloway apps that make audible alerts cost money. WTF).  The race started with a little problem. I couldn’t get the app to work and I didn’t want to stand at the starting line fiddling with it. So I decided to just count my steps – 50 walking steps and then 60 running steps. I did that for the first couple of miles but I was beginning to lose my mind. Luckily, I noticed how evenly the cones were put out by the New York Road Runners. So I’d run for three cones and walk for two cones.

Credit: Linda Chen

But then there was the last quarter-mile. That quarter-mile that I ran so many times in my head. I started to think about how glorious it was to be living that this dream. This quarter-mile was better than I remembered it. It wasn’t just the Prospect Park Track Club cheering for me. It started with the cheers zone from North Brooklyn. I saw someone I didn’t even know pointed me and screamed, “Look it’s Michael Ring and he’s running!”  So, I had to clear my head because I had to do two things; I had to run the rest of the way and more importantly I had to not fall down. The not falling down part became a big challenge when one of my favorite teammates slammed into me tapped me on the shoulder.

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m just about to send this off to the Communications Committee. There is something I need to add. At last night’s membership meeting I had intended to stand up and tell my story when Tom asked about recent races. I’m sorry, but I couldn’t do that. I started to choke up as I raised my hand. I’m saving the water works for November’s meeting.

Race Report: NYRR Team Championships 2017

Mary receives high fives from her male teammates, who stayed to cheer for the women. Photo credit: Noah Deveraux

For a period of time, it looked uncertain as to whether the NYRR Team Championships would go on with the rain and lightning in the area, but in the end, lightning decided to stay away, leaving only humidity behind. A team of 74 PPTC runners (43 men and 31 women) ran 5 miles for glory on August 5th. The men’s race started at 8:00 am and the women’s race started at 8:45 am. Here are few PPTC highlights.

Men

Congratulations to Ben Collier for being the fastest PPTC man in the NYRR Team Champs (30:15).

Dean Gebhardt and Matt Siefker came in 2nd and 3rd for PPTC men (30:26 and 31:02, respectively). Dean came in 4th for his age group, which is also the highest age group placement for men in PPTC.

Congratulations to Tyrone Sklaren (43:57) and Dan Dougherty (35:29)  whose performances garnered them top ten finishes in their age groups (5th and 10th, respectively).

Big birthday PR for Jimmy Leung (38:52)! Congratulations, Cronut Prince!

A PR for Ben Allison (32:18)! Congrats!

Congratulations to Sam Smullen (40:48) for his PR!

Noah Deveraux (31:37) raced his first 5-miler and therefore gets an automatic PR!

Women

Congratulations to Jana Trenk for being the fastest PPTC woman in the NYRR Team Champs (31:39).

Mary Johnston and Missy Burgin came in 2nd and 3rd for PPTC women (33:40 and 35:31, respectively).

Congratulations to Charlene Kohler-Britton whose 7th place in her age group is the highest PPTC women finish we have for the age group divisions (53:36).

It should be noted that Mary Johnston and Claire Dougherty (46:21) finished in the top ten for their age group (9th for both).

Carla Benton (38:30) and Hilary Pauli (43:31) both got new 5-mile PRs in this brutal weather. Great job, ladies!

Congratulations to Rachel G. (41:40) for her PR as well!

Big thanks to Linda Ewing, Crystal Cun, Tom Meany, and Eric Levenstein, our “picnic” organizers, for hauling all the goodies to Starbucks because the weather forced them to pre-emptively cancel the picnic. Post-race fun was had with at Ryan’s Daughter.

Race Report: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon

Henrik runs the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon

by Henrik Hartmann

Race: Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon

 

Where: Toronto, ON, Canada

When: May 7, 2017

The Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon is a fast and PR-friendly course that makes for a beautiful weekend trip across the border. I signed up on a whim two weeks before the race because my spring training had been good. I had initially planned some trail races in spring and to do a road marathon only this fall – but I felt ready, so why not give it a try?

Unfortunately, the conditions were less than ideal. Days of rain had flooded parts of tToronto and strong winds of 20-30 mph were forecast for race day. But there was no backing out now and in the end, it turned out to be a great race for me after all.

The first half of the course is downhill and with the wind in my back, I felt like flying. I passed the half marathon mark well under my target time and still felt fresh. The route continued through the scenic downtown area and along Lake Ontario for the second half. The wind now blew straight into our faces and I was lucky to find a group of runners who pulled together to share the lead work and draft off each other.

A few miles before the finish, our group started to disintegrate and I could feel my quads shut down from the impact of the earlier downhill sections. My splits began to drop but I forced myself to not let up and finished utterly exhausted but thrilled. With a time of 3:01:23 I had beaten my old PR by more than eight minutes and achieved the Boston qualifying standard for the first time.

The Goodlife Marathon is a well-organized race with a friendly vibe. For being in one of the largest North American cities, the race was relatively small (only about 1,200 Marathon participants). It didn’t feel like in New York or Berlin, where the whole city is taken over by the event. I guess this has its upsides and downsides. Sightseeing and great food options made the trip worth it despite the weather and I was rewarded with a superb race experience.

Pre-race meal: Phở Hưng Restaurant – extra-large special beef rice noodle soup
Post-race meal: Antler Kitchen and Bar – wild boar, bison and deer burger

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