Monday, August 27, 2012

Taking the Easy Way Out

I am normally an all-kinds-of-weather runner. Running in a freak October blizzard? Check. Running in a hurricane tropical storm? Check. Triple-digit heat? Check. Freak lunchtime downpour? Not so much.

Today on my lunch break I went for what was supposed to be a nice easy run over the Manhattan Bridge and back. My office doesn't have windows (hey, at least I have a door that shuts) so I never know exactly what the weather will be doing when I get outside (yes, I've heard of, but half the time it's wrong and the other half the time I'm too lazy to check it). Anyway, when I went outside it was drizzling slightly. Okay, I said to myself, you got this. It's better than extreme humidity.

Unfortunately, just as I was running under the Brooklyn Bridge, mother nature decided to go crazy on me. Niagara Falls was literally transported 400 miles to New York City where its force was unleashed over lower Manhattan.

Maybe that was an exaggeration. Maybe.

Anyway, I gave up and did 4 miles on the dreadmill at the gym down the street from my office. Yes, I may have finished my run soaked in sweat, but at least I didn't get rained on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

No Baggage Policy Doesn't Go Far Enough

Sorry for the radio silence folks. I was on vacation for several days and when I got back into town I had interviews to prepare for, relatives to entertain, and work to catch up on. Somehow, the blog got put on the back shelf.

Well, if anything could get me out of hibernation, NYRR's just-announced "No Baggage Policy" is it. For anyone who hasn't heard already, NYRR sent an email to New York City Marathon participants yesterday outlining "a new policy designed to ease finish-line congestion"--no more checked bags. Plenty of people seem really upset about this idea: no longer can you bring a book, your favorite blanket, or a cell phone to the start unless you're willing to throw it away donate it or carry it with you on your 26.2 mile jaunt. 

Where did she get that flag? Not from her checked bag.
I for one, however, support NYRR wholeheartedly. I've always said, if there's one problem with the NYCM it's congestion. In fact, I think NYRR missed several other opportunities to ease congestion during marathon weekend so I'm offering some additional suggestions.

Eliminate Friday/Saturday Packet Pick-Up - The expo gets really crowded Friday after work and all day Saturday. Since the expo is much more manageable when it opens on Thursday I suggest NYRR eliminate the other congested days and just hold a one-day expo.

Eliminate the Port-O-Potties in the Athletes' Village - With over 45,000 runners, Ft. Wadsworth is unbelievably crowded before the start of the race. I believe the runners need all the space that can get. To help ease the congestion, NYRR could do away with port-o-potties since they take up so much extra space. People can just answer nature's call once they get to the Verazano Bridge.

Open the Roads to Traffic - Runners aren't the only ones who have to deal with congestion on Marathon Sunday. Trying to get around NYC in a car can be pretty difficult when 26.2 miles of surface roads are closed to through traffic. NYRR should work with the city to keep the roads open during the race so that drivers don't have to deal with congested side streets.

Ban Spectators - Sure it's great to have your family and friends cheer for you along the course, but imagine how frustrating it can be for them to try and work their way past 2 million other spectators to see you. Rather than subjecting them to this torment, NYRR should simply ban all spectators from the course. They can watch the race from the comfort of their homes thereby saving them from dealing with congested sidewalks.

And finally....

Reduce the Field Size - Call me Captain Obvious, if NYRR recognizes that having 45,000 runners causes serious congestion at the end of the race, rather than increasing the field size they should reduce it. Adding an extra 5,000 runners isn't going to do a thing to make the race less crowded, no matter how many proverbial baggage trucks are eliminated. Hmm... I think I might be onto something.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Come Run With Me in Harlem!

Next Saturday, August 18th, I'm putting together a course preview of the Percy Sutton 5k (which is the following weekend). We'll be covering the 3.1 mile course starting in St. Nicholas Park before continuing south to Morningside Park. Since this route features the streets and parks of Central and South Harlem, I figured I'd invite any readers along for the run.

This course preview will be the start of the Dashing Whippets usual weekend long run so if you're looking to do your long run for the week, I've got you covered there too. After running through Harlem, we'll be traveling south through Central Park to advantage of Summer Streets on Park Ave.

Even if you only want to run a few miles, come enjoy beautiful Harlem and meet some new runner friends.  There will be folks of every speed so no need to worry about getting left behind.

Here are the key details:

What: Percy Sutton 5k Course Preview and Run through South Harlem

When: Saturday, August 18, at 8:30 am
Where: W 135th St and St Nicholas Ave

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mid-Week Musings

As the Olympics continue it's been really nice to see all the positive coverage that American runners are getting. Given all that coverage, I figure you're probably getting a healthy dose of Olympics from your TV watching, newspaper reading, and water cooler talk so I'm not going to touch on the games today--though I'm really excited that Galen Rupp and Mo Farah will be in the 5000m final, especially given their great 10000m performances. (Oops, couldn't help myself).

Anyway, I offer you three haikus inspired by my recent training experiences.

The Ice Bath
Fill the tub with ice,
Water, time to soak, get in
Jesus Christ it's cold

Solid food is rough
Scientists created gel
This stuff tastes like crap

Post Run Meal
Post run must refuel
Ingest carbs protein and salt
Beer and nachos work

Friday, August 3, 2012

And They're Off!

 Track and field at the 2012 Olympics is officially underway! Several preliminary events have already happened this morning but what I'm really excited about are the Women's 10,000m today (3:25pm) and the Men's 10,000m tomorrow (3:15pm). Oh, and that little race--which one is it?

The Olympic Marathon Course
The Men's 20km Race Walk WOMEN'S MARATHON!!!! That's right--it's Sunday at an ungodly hour (for us Americans) so I'll be watching it on tape-delay when I wake up (I'm going to a friend's bachelor party Saturday or you better believe I would wake up early and watch it live). This should be an awesome race to watch.

The organizers have designed a brand new course, one that will maximize views of London's famous sites like Buckingham Palace, Parliament and the Tower of London. It won't be as fast as the London Marathon course, which is pretty flat, because this one includes several short steep uphills and downhills along with tons of turns (including 4 U-turns!). Nevertheless, with an amazing field we should still see some great times.

For the US, our best hope of a medal in this event lies with Shalane Flanagan who took bronze in the 2008 Olympic 10k. Kara Goucher could also surprise us with a podium finish, though I think it's more likely she'll be in the lower top-10. As I reported earlier in the week, Desi Davila has been having some serious issues so--assuming she makes it to the start--I don't think she'll be much of a contender. Perhaps the biggest threat is Kenya's Edna Kiplagat who took gold in Beijing. No matter what happens, it should be a great race.