Athlinks – Another Cool Running Resource!

Hi everyone! This will be a short but hopefully a some what informative post. There is no mystery that I love running, but here is one thing that I really love about it. Just when you think you have seen it all or that you have enough websites, gadgets etc to keep you entertained with your running, along comes something that you never knew existed. A couple of weeks ago I discovered β€œThe Runner Box” and I broke it down for my readers here. Last week I finally joined Strava. Yesterday I came across our friends at Athlinks. The β€œFitness” sub folder on my iphone is growing almost daily with all of these finds!

My first thought when I came across Athlinks was β€œAll that work I spent on keeping my race log page and these guys will do it all for you!”. Essentially that is what Athlinks is, a site that pulls results from every organization that you have registered for a race with. In a way for me, it was kind of creepy how they are able to find the results of races regardless of where you ran them. But hey, these are race results and I have no shame sharing them with the world ! I always enjoyed New York Road Runners results page because it goes back several years and their stats are pretty detailed. However they obviously do not keep track of races that I do not run via NYRR. Athlinks keeps it all! You can also follow your friends on the site, assuming they are registered, and you can see their times and even make them your friendly β€œrival”. I have no rivals yet but who knows where this feature of the site will take me lol. Looking at all of the results on one nice page along with stats was pretty cool. However that feeling of bliss was quickly erased when I noticed that it has been a while that I haven’t run a race. I’m getting the urge to run again and I don’t know if I can wait til January til my next race. Hmmmmm…

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Are you on Athlinks? If so follow me and leave me a note in the comments so I can follow you back! If you are new – enjoy setting it up. Its simple and quick to setup!

United NYC Half Facebook Group

UANYCH18_Race-Header

March and the United NYC Half Will Be Here Before You Know It!

 

The calendar says that it is only November but I already have the United Airlines New York City Half Marathon on my mind. I ran the 2017 version of the race earlier this year and while I know I have not run the full New York City Marathon, I can tell you that the United NYC Half was a lot of fun and I was very impressed with the organization and promoting done for the race.

This year, they have decided to change the course up and make this a true New York City Half Marathon. In previous years, the race was run exclusively in Manhattan. This year, the race is starting in Brooklyn, and going over the Manhattan Bridge and into Manhattan up the east side, thru Times Square and ultimately ending in Central Park. Many people have expressed their excitement over the new course as it gives the race a mini feel of the New York City Marathon.

New Course Starts The Race In Brooklyn & Ends It in Manhattan!

 

One thing that I do remember about the 2017 NYC Half was the vibe that I felt days before the race at the expo, before the race on race day and of course during the race itself. I realized running this race, that there is a strong running community out there. When you come across another runner, you can usually engage in lots of conversation. Soon you find that some of your concerns, your excitements and other feelings that you thought were unique to you, are actually shared by other people.

So in the spirit of the running community, I decided to start a Facebook group that is dedicated to the 2018 version of the United NYC Half. The group is closed but just request to join the group and you will be allowed in. You can find that group here – 2018 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon. I started this because I remember getting ready for the race and not knowing what to expect, not knowing where to go, not knowing what to wear and so many other things. Now as a returning runner, I still have questions running thru my head about this race. Clearly this group can serve as a benefit to any runner so hopefully I will see you in the group if you are indeed running the race.

The group belongs to all those running the race, its not just my group. If you have a question or comment – fire away! Hope to see and meet some new faces running the 2018 United Airlines NYC Half Marathon!

MarathonFoto Always Captures Great Shots!

A Frigid Day At Vanny!

My view as I walked into Vanny once again!

In my last post I detailed my obsession with the cross country course at Van Cortlandt Park. Year after year, even after many years of being away, I can drive up to Broadway and 242nd street and see the same scene. Nothing has changed over the years. It beautiful that with so much technology and with New York City constantly developing park space, that they have left Vannie alone. But one thing I don’t ever remember, is being at Van Cortlandt Park in such cold weather in early November Man was it cold on Saturday. It was 32 degrees when I arrived and thank God the winds decided to calm down otherwise it would have been colder! I arrived to my race with about 30 minutes before the start of the race. That was just enough timeΒ to check in, stretch and say hi to alot of former coaches and other alumni from my school that I knew were there. Needless to say, there wasn’t alot of time to do all of this but I made the best of it.

xc alumni champs 2017

The Alumni From Archbishop Molloy That Ran Vanny on Saturday!

Surprisingly at the starting line, I felt good. I am sure it was the adrenalin. Once the race started I resisted the temptation to go out faster than I should. There were guys in this race that had graduated high school last May and were pretty much still in great shape. They took the pace out fast! Going over the flats and into the cow path, I could tell the cold weather was going to play a factor. I wasn’t going fast and my breathing was accelerated. Oh boy this was going to be an adventure. Once we entered the “cow path” or the woods, my breathing started to normalize some what. That is until we got to what some call” freshman hill”. This was the first of many hills to overcome. This is also where I started to pass people. Many alumni that casually run on their spare time, aren’t ready for hills. Getting over freshman hill gave me a little pep in my step. Next up, was goingΒ over the bridge and into the “back woods”!

Let me just say once again, these back woods are just brutal. You enter them making a slow gradual climb. As I completed that slow gradual climb, my first mile split came into my ears from my running app. Mile 1 came in at 7:35. Not bad considering I didn’t have time to stretch and it was taking me a while to get going! Unlike many of the races I ran this year however, this race was only 2.5 miles and I had zero time to get going because this race was going to be over soon!

Continuing in the back hills, the uphill climbs continue. It seemed like the few down hills that existed were short and steep but the uphills seemed longer. It continued like this for the next half mile. As I got into the second half of the back hills there were longer down hills and I felt myself just flying down these hills. Some of these were winding down hills and I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t worried about crashing and falling. In my high school days, I would wear spikes on this course. Today I had my typical road running sneakers with now spikes! Flying down these hills I will say that I passed a number of people during this portion of the race. As I came to the final portion of the back hills my second mile split came in and it was a 7:33. I was hoping it would have been faster but oh well- I’ll blame those uphills for that!

Layers and head gear for a frigid day!

When I finally came back across the runners bridge, there was a little less than a half mile left in the race which included a very long flat straight away many folks like to just kick in all the way to the finish line. But before that straight there is one massive down hill that can propel you into the start of that straight away. I let it all hang out on that down hill. I literally went arms out to help keep my balance and just let the down hill take me and pray I didn’t go down. By the time I turned onto the final straight away I could see a 3-4 runners in front of me. Knowing the straight away was about 400-500 meters in length, I didn’t want to start kicking too early. More important than catching those 3-4 runners in front of my was not letting anyone pass me on that straight away. My “kick” kicked in once I could see the finish line which was with about 200 meters left. I could see the clock was in “18s”. I thought to myself “I would love to finish under 19 minutes!”. The mind went blank after that and those next 200 or so meters were a forced sprint because I was toast. I thought it was a sprint but to spectators it probably looked like a jog! At the end, no one passed me on that final straight, so I was pumped about that. I didn’t catch those 4 runners in front of me but when I crossed the finish line, my time was 18:55. That means my final half mile was 3:47. At the end I ran a pretty steady pace throughout and IΒ ran a PERSONAL RECORDΒ by 35 seconds from my previous best!

In looking back, I wish I did more hill work in my workouts leading up to this race. I need to find a place however close to where I live that has hills to work on. I know that the key to running even faster on this course, is mastering the hills. That has always been the secret. For now, I will walk away with a faster time but I look forward to running Vanny once again in the near future. One side note on the day, in the alumni race, my school took the team title. Not bad for a bunch of old guys!

Until next time Vanny!