My Most Recent Review Of The United NYC Half Course!

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Fantastic Group Of Runners This Past Sunday Who Ran The Course!

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to tackle the United NYC Half Course with members of my We Are NYC Running Club and members of the United NYC Half Facebook Group! It was a beautiful Sunday morning for the run. A little chilly but we waited around for everyone in a nice section of Prospect Park that had lots of sun shining on us. In seeing this course again this past Sunday and in running it the last few years, I thought I would share a review of the course.

Some of you may know that the United NYC Half Marathon course has changed from previous years. In 2019, the course started inside of Prospect Park Brooklyn for the first time. This past Sunday, we pretty much excluded the first two miles which take place inside the park. As far as those two miles are concerned, based on my running the race last year, you will encounter an uphill in the first mile. It comes in the second half of the first mile and it’s a net climb of about 80 feet. Just around the time that you finish that first mile you will exit the park and encounter crowds for the first time. You will be on Flatbush Avenue and you will head out on a 1 ½ mile out and back on Flatbush Ave adjacent to the park. The first half of this 1.5  miles is a steady downhill. Be careful though because you will have to come back up that same stretch but this time do it uphill.

Once you are done with this out and back, you will be at around the 2.5 mile mark and you will be passing Grand Army Plaza and leaving the park completely. Here you should encounter a good amount of spectators. When you reach this portion, do your best to put your adrenalin in check because the next mile or so is a steady downhill! Strava measured this mile to be a decrease in elevation of about 96 feet. I have to admit, this is also a nice wide road with lots of local shops. Assuming it is a decent weather day, I am 99% positive that this stretch of the course is going to be filled with spectators on race day. With that said, these spectators, along with the steady downhill will you give you the temptation to unleash a fast mile. I will say to just be careful here, because you have a long way to go and some challenges ahead.

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Having Fun On The Manhattan Bridge This Past Sunday (photo credit Bon R.)

 

As you reach the mile 4 mark, you will start your climb onto the Manhattan Bridge. This is where your work and challenges will start. From the 4 mile mark, its a long steady climb onto the bridge until you get to the middle of the bridge. Your total climb will be around 90 feet. As you get to the summit of the bridge take a nice exhale for two reasons. First, the views are amazing here so enjoy them! Second, the next mile and change is a nice and steady downhill. I strongly suggest you enjoy this stretch. Let your muscles recoup. Think about taking a gel or some type of energy supplement at this point because you will need it for the second half of the race . Think about how you feel. Keep your emotions in check and remember, you are here to have fun!

Once you get off of the Manhattan Bridge you will enter Chinatown where the crowds are always amazing! Soak in the crowds because you are headed for the FDR Drive soon. The FDR drive is a popular NYC highway that closes one direction just for you on this day. On the surface, New Yorkers may think that it is pretty cool to be running on the FDR Drive, but I find that these approximately three miles can be pretty boring miles on the course. Yes, there are nice views of the east river but the crowds are also very small on this stretch. As I mentioned, your time on the FDR is close to three miles as if boring miles are not enough, you will also gradually be climbing throughout these three miles. I did say that the second half of the race would be challenging right? (lol)

FDR Drive

Its a long stretch of close to 3 miles on the FDR Drive!

You will finally exit the FDR Drive at 42nd St as you pass the United Nations, another very nice scenic view during this race. As you start to head west on 42nd street, you will be passing the 10 mile marker and you will continue to climb in elevation for about 40 feet until you get past 5th avenue. Here you will begin a small gradual run downhill that will take you into a very cool portion of the race, none other than Times Square. I mean other than New Years, eve, Times Square never closes for anyone but on this day, it closes for you! Take this stretch in because once you turn onto 7thavenue at around mile 11 and approach 45th street you will begin an approximate one mile climb up that will take you up another 40 feet in elevation and will leave you right at the entrance to Central Park. As you run thru Times Square, take a look for the Youth Run that shold be taking place on the right side of 7thavenue. I think its pretty cool that they are running their own race, while we run ours!

Back to our race though, as you finish your uphill climb on 7thavenue, you will enter Central Park and soon approach the 12 mile marker. Once you enter the park, a series of small uphills and downhills will await. Nothing too drastic. Keep it all together here and focus on your stride as you’re still about a mile from the finish. The park has always given me adrenalin. There is some rich running history here as it’s where the NYC Marathon finishes every year. Use this adrenalin to push you that last mile. During this last mile in the park, you will make a left turn at 72ndstreet. Save some juice for this last quarter mile because there is one more sneaky hill in the last quarter mile as you turn left again onto Central Park West Drive. Give it all you have on this hill because just beyond it, is your finish line!

I can’t rel you how much I love this course. The views, the towns that you go thru, Times Square and Central Park all make it amazing! A personal record is not impossible on this course, but it is also not easy. How you attack this course will be key. Go out too hard during the downhills in the first half and you will may pay the price on the hills that await you on the 2ndhalf of the course. For me take advantage of that last mile in the park. It’s a great mile to finish a great half marathon!

I hope you have enjoyed this review of the United NYC Half Course! As always you can follow me on Strava under my name Cesar Trelles or on Instagram @catrunsnyc_2018 ! Leave me some comments after the race on either of these on what you thought of the race course! Good luck to all of those that are running the 2020 United NYC Half Marathon!

NYC Half Times Square

The Only Race To Take You Thru Times Square!

NYC Marathon Transport & Bag Check Decision Time!

Hello class of 2019 TCS NYC Marathoners!

While we are still over 3 months away from the actual day of the TCS NYC Marathon, the next couple of days are very important days to all of us. On August 1, New York Road Runners will allow you to go into your profile to let you choose your transportation options as well as your bag check options. All you have to do is log into your account and go to your NYC Marathon entry within your profile and select your options.

For those who have run the marathon before, by now you likely have your preferred options and know how to respond accordingly. It may be helpful for experienced runners to chime in on your opinions below in the comments section!

However, if this is your first time running the race, then it may be worth it for you to proceed reading! Here is how I break down the different options that will be in front of you soon!

Transportation Decisions

Staten Island Ferry

Riding the ferry to the start line does provide an amazing view!

NYRR will give you two options with respect to the transportation that they provide to you. Those options are either chartered buses or the Staten Island Ferry.  Before I go into these decisions, I will start by saying that your transportation to this race is like no other traveling you have done for any other race. Unless you are staying in Staten Island close to the start village, you will need to give yourself plenty of time to get to the starters village. Remember, there are 60,000 runners making their way to the start line with you!

The FIRST transportation option is a chartered bus that leaves from two (2) locations. You can choose to take a bus that departs from either the NY Public Library (42nd Street & 5th Avenue) or from New Jersey departing from MetLife Stadium (parking lot K).

If you happen to be staying in Manhattan or anywhere near Manhattan, I strongly suggest the buses that leave from the NY Public Library. The bus from the NY Public Library will take you straight to the starters village in Staten Island. In fact this ride is so smooth that the NYC Department of transportation has arranged to have the roads leading to the starting village closed off and strictly only for the buses. It is my thought that NYRR hires every charter bus in NYC for this event because the parade of buses seems to be continuous. NYRR will ask you to pick a time slot where you will board the NYC buses, but to be honest, just show up with plenty of time before your start time and you will be able to board a bus.

With that being said…I strongly suggest giving yourself three hours of traveling and prep prior to your wave start time regardless of which option you choose. Ideally, traveling will take you between 60-90 mins and then getting thru security will take you some time as well. With that being said, it isn’t a bad idea if you factored in even more time to travel!

I can’t comment here about the bus from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey but I have to imagine that it is similar to the bus that leaves from Manhattan and runs very smooth.

The SECOND transportation option is taking the The Staten Island Ferry. Like the buses, the ferry also leaves from Manhattan, near Battery Park, but departs once every half hour. Unlike the buses, it isn’t a continuous departure. If you choose to travel via ferry and you happen to miss a ferry, then you are waiting a half hour for the next one. Something else to keep in mind is that once you are off the ferry, you will still have to board a bus from the ferry terminal to the starters village. In 2018, there were serious delays with this shuttle buses from the ferry terminal. Will NYRR fix them for 2019? Lets hope so!

Bag Check or No bag Check?

Aside from transportation options, NYRR will also ask you to declare whether you will be utilizing their bag check system or not. For ease of reference, you will check your bag in at the starters village in Staten Island and it will then be transported to the finish line area in Central Park. The weather in New York City can be very unpredictable and its hard to say what you will need after your race months in advance. But I will say this, if you plan on meeting someone after the race or if you are staying in Manhattan afterwards, you might want to consider the option against bag check. I say this for a few reasons. The first reason is that if you decline bag check, NYRR give you a very cool insulated poncho. No this isn’t an aluminum heat wrap but a very nice insulated poncho! This poncho cannot be obtained by any other methods other than by declining bag check on the day of the NYC Marathon. A picture of the poncho is below as it is being worn by a bunch of runners!

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You can only scoop up these cool ponchos if you decline bag check!

Also a deterrent of bag check for me is that the walk off after you cross the finish line will be even longer if you have to pick up your bag from bag check. For comparison, the walk off if you opt for no bag check is roughly a half mile to exit the park at which point you receive your poncho and continue on your way, However…if you have to retrieve a bag from bag check, you can end up walking close to a mile to retrieve your bag and you guessed it – no pretty poncho! Walking a mile after you have run 26.2 miles can be quite daunting.

Finally, the third reason I lean away from bag check is because of the complimentary runners aide bag that is given. While the bag is a very nice gesture by NYRR, it will include two bottles of water/gatorade, a protein drink and some other nutrition in the bag. If you are tired, the bag will weigh a bit as will the bag that you retrieve should you be checking one. I just wanted to mention this if you were still considering checking in a bag as carrying two bags after 26.2 miles might be a drag.

Overall, my personal opinion is to decline the bag check and grab the cool poncho. Of course I say this because I will likely stay at a hotel in Manhattan after the race and will just make may way to the hotel to change. But if you have to travel after the race, checking a bag to get into some fresh clothes might be for you. Just give yourself even more time before the start of the race to go thru the bag check area as that will also require more time from you before you start the race.

At the end, lets hope that the decisions that we are about to make in the next couple of days regarding bag check and transportation are the hardest decisions that we will have to make during our journey to the marathon! Making the decisions to run the 26.2 miles was clearly the easy decision right?

If you have any questions regarding the bag check or transportation options you can reach out to me on wearenycrc@gmail.com or DM me on Instagram at @catrunsnyc_2018 . Enjoy your decision making day!

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The finish line awaits!

Preparing For The NYC Marathon

Hi everyone, Cesar here chiming in on marathon training prep! While the NYC Marathon is still more than 20 weeks away, many runners are starting to ponder how they will be preparing for their big race in November.

If this is your first marathon, I strongly suggest follow a training plan. Why you ask? Training for a marathon is unlike any race you may have done previously. Training for a half marathon is no where close to training for a full marathon. I highly encourage runners not to try to “wing it” with your training. I’ve seen people do this and it results in injury and none of us want that!

With so many training plan options out there today, choosing how to prepare for a marathon can be almost as daunting as running the 26.2 miles! Doing a simple google search for “Marathon Training Plans” will give you several results, all of which will cost you nothing to follow them. On the other extreme, organizations suchs as New York Road Runners offer comprehensive plans with different features that can add up and cost you a pretty penny. Since your race fee is so high, opting for one of these may not make sense for you.

So what is runner to do? Every runner will be different on how they will approach this however I wanted to suggest a couple of things that you should ensure are included in your training.

Remember It Is Your Plan! There are alot of plans out on the internet that are very generic in nature. They will tell you to run the mileage but once again, every runner is different. Some may need more time to build up their mileage than others. If this is your first marathon, ask yourself and be honest with yourself if jumping to 26.2 miles will be a big jump for you. If so, be mindful of these generic plans and how quickly they outline your jump in mileage. Also make sure that the paces prescribed in these generic plans make sense for you. If you need help figuring out what pace you should be training at, you can drop me an email at my contacts below!

Build the Base First! While everyone is eager to get race day ready, it is extemely important not to progress your mileage too fast. Make sure that your plan has you building a base of miles first before you jump into higher mileage or jump into drastic speed work. Your first 3-4 weeks of your plan should include building your base. your runs should be around 4-7 miles and not much longer. Also these miles should be done at an easy conversation pace and no where near your race pace. Adding in some strength training and core work at your gym will also help prepare your legs for the demands of increased mileage which will come soon!

Once Your Base Is Built It’s Time To Build Mileage This part of the plan is inevitable. To run 26.2 miles, you need to train for 26.2 miles. However this is the area where many people risk injury. It’s not a smart practice to jump from 6 mile long runs to 15 mile long runs. That’s where injuries occur and exhaustion can set in because your body just isn’t used to that increased mileage. A good rule of thumb is to increase your weekly volume by 10%. If your plan has you jumping more than 10% to a new long run, maybe it time to think twice about that plan.

Also something to note, based on how many weeks you are training, try to maximize your longest run between 20-22 miles. This is where the longer plan (ie 18-20 weeks) is prefereable. There are a lot of plans that max out their longest long run at 18 miles. That’s 8 miles more that you are asking your body to give you without knowing how it will respond. With that being said, be mindful of trying to rush your training to get to a 20-22 mile long run. Getting there should be a gradual process that progresses along the lines of what I previously recommended of adding 10% each week.

Don’t forget speed work and hills! Speed work may not be for everyone but if you are looking to run a certain time then don’t skimp on the speed work. Long intervals such as 1200 meter repeats and mile repeats are perfect speed drills to implement when training for a marathon.

Unlike speed work, for the TCS NYC Marathon, hill work should definitely be part of your training! There are 5 bridges to overcome on this 26.2 mile trek in addition to other hills (more on those at a later date). Make sure that your training plan implements hill repeats thru out! If you live in the NYC area, I strongly suggest working out on any and all of the bridges that are part of the course.

  • Pace is a critical part of your training! I’ve seen so many plans that just detail the mileage to be done on a daily basis with no mention at all as to pace. Some experiences runners may know the paces they need to run during their training but not every runner will know! Your plan should be descriptive as to what your pace should be on a daily basis especially if you are looking to run under a certain time. Long runs should be done at a vey relaxed pace or how some call it, a conversation pace. Speed workouts should be done at a much faster pace but not necessarily all out. Then of course for those who are looking to run under a certain time, there is the ever popular “marathon pace”. This is the pace that you will need to average to hit your desired time. Some of your runs should be run at marathon pace but it shouldn’t be all of them. I’ve seen people train at marathon pace all the time and that type of training is not sustainable over the course of 16-20 weeks. On some of your runs, your plan should include portions of your runs where you work up to marathon pace and hold it.
  • Somewhat related to this is working on achieving negative splits on york long runs. For those unfamiliar with the term, negative splits is when the second half of your run is faster than your first half. Training your body for this will help you overcome “the wall” which usually hits in the second half of a marathon.
  •  In closing, there are ALOT of things clearly to consider when choosing a plan but it is worth your time to research and ensure some of these are addressed by your training plan. After all, it’s your race, and you want to run YOUR time!

    If you are still unsure about which plan to choose or if you are unsure about the paces your training runs should be at, you can always drop me a line at wearenycrc@gmail.com and I would be glad to assist!

    Additionally contact me about personalizing a plan as well based on your needs! Good luck to all marathoners and their training!!!

    Cesar

     

     

    Smile Samantha! You Are Our Member Spotlight Of The Week!

    Always with a smile, Samantha has been featured on many NYRR promo ads!

    Another week has passed so it’s time to shine the spotlight on one of our members! Today we are happy to shine that spotlight on one of our very first members, the always smiling, Samantha M.!

    Samantha has always come to club gatherings with tons of energy, a positive attitude and of course her vibrant smile.

    Samantha started running in 2001 in college when she felt she was overweight and as a result, it made her self-conscious. At the time she had an unpleasant dance teacher that would make her feel uncomfortable about her weight so she turned to running to prove that teacher wrong and feel better about herself. Little by little she would set small benchmarks for herlsef measured in city blocks.

    When she’s no running, Samantha loves singing and dancing!

     

    Eventually she had worked up to a mile and before she knew it she was running as far as 5 kilometers! As running became a healthy obsession, she would run at the gym on treadmills admittedly so she could watch trashy TV (lol). Ever increasing her mileage, she joined New York Road runners in 2012 and ran her first 5k that year. Fast forward to today, Samantha has run over 80 races with NYRR!

    Being a runner since 2012, Samantha stumbled across We Are NYC Running club last year while training for the United NYC Half Marathon. Why would Samantha join a running club though after being a runner for 6 years and having success with it? Samantha points to the amount of support that she felt from strangers who shared the same common goal as her and had a true genuine love for running.

    3rd from the right, Samantha was at the very first official club meet up!

    Samantha was part of the first unofficial meet up of the club back at the 2018 NYRR Gridiron 4 miler run. That day she felt the group had something special just from spending 15 minutes together with the group before the 4 mile race. With many years of running already under her belt, she wanted to be part of something bigger where she could talk to people and not be judged. She remembers many years back still to that dance class teacher where she made to feel so small. Being a part of this club, she no longer feels that at all! Since joining the club, Samantha has loved being a member as she points to the many fabulous, strong, dedicated and down to earth people she has met. She adds that running a race is so much better knowing that you have a lot of people out there rooting for you and running with you. Just yesterday, Samantha ran her 22nd race as a member of We Are NYC Running Club as she ran the NYRR Gridiron 4 miler with the club and celebrated a year of running with her new found running family!

    Looking forward, she continues to think about running the TCS NYC Marathon as a long term goal. For now she is concerned with committing time to train for a marathon as she knows the amount of time involved with it and she does not want to take that time away from her family, especially her three year old son Harrison. Speaking of her son Harrison, he himself has already run some races with NYRR. Samantha plans on continuing to have Harrison run more races this year while she continues to prepare for some more half marathons herself with the 2:00 time barrier as her ultimate goal!

    Pictured here at the Bronx 10 Mile, Samantha ran 22 races with We Are NYC RC in 2018!

    We are fairly confident that Samantha will break that 2:00 barrier if not at the NYC Half Marathon, perhaps the Brooklyn half marathon! Once she has done that, if she hasn’t changed her mind about going for the TCS NYC marathon, she may just be content with continuing another fun hobby of hers – performing and singing famous Broadway musical scores on top of her radiator with her son Harrison!

    Here are some words that some of our members had for Samantha!

    Fellow Club teammate Marjorie

    Fellow Club teammate Cesar

     

    Monday Member Spotlight Time!

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    Our Member Spotlights Bassem Reaches “50” Days On His Run Streak

    In continuing with our We Are NYC Running Club member spotlight, our next awesome member is one of our more vocal, motivated, and loveable members. Bassem has been a long time runner and has logged well over 60 races just with New York Road Runners alone. Three of those races have been the New York City Marathon. In 2018 he opted not to run the NYC Marathon and focused on the Philadelphia Marathon instead. It resulted in him running a personal record of 3:49:22 after having a previous record of 4:52 in NYC! An outstanding PR of over an hour, but what makes this even more fantastic, is that Bassem just turned a young 50 years old!

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    Bassem Last Month At The Joe K. 10k

    Realizing his accomplishment this year, Bassem now has his eyes set on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. He would have to knock off another 25 minutes on his marathon time but he says there is something different now about his training. As noted earlier, Bassem is a long time runner, but this year he has seen improvement thanks to the support that he has received from his “We Are NYC Running Club” members. He points at the motivation factor as well as accountability being a huge boost to his training. While his pursuit of the Boston Marathon is currently a long term goal, his short term goal is to keep his current run streak alive. A couple of months ago when he turned 50 years old, Bassem decided to start a “run streak” where he runs at least one mile each day. Last week during one of our weekly group runs, Bassem reached 50 days on that streak and doesn’t plan to stop any time soon! How long can Bassem go? We shall see!

    Seeing how much the club has given him this past year, Bassem is always willing to give back. At group runs and on race days, Bassem is always willing to give runners advice based on his past experiences. Whether it may be about running apparel, nutrition or race logistics, you can count on Bassem to give you his words of wisdom.

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    Bassem (on the right) With His Vuvuzuela @ The Fred Lebow Half Marathon!

    Bassem doesn’t stop there either in supporting his running club teammates. Coming out and cheering with the club as part of our infamous cheer squads is something Bassem enjoys doing. If you have run any races in Central Park recently, you may be familiar with the loud echoing sound of a “vuvuzuela”! Yup – one of those vuvuzuelas is likely Basem!

    His energy and dedication to the club make him a clear candidate for today’s spotlight and he is just another reason that We Are NYC Running Club continues to thrive today!

    We will leave you with some words from Mr. Vuvuzuela aka Run Streak Man, aka Ragnar Guy aka Boston Marathon hopefully, aka BASSEM!

     

    NEW FEATURE – Monday Member Spotlight

    Cheryl crushing the 2018 TCS NYC marathon this past November!

    Good Morning Running Community!

    Over the past (almost) year, We Are NYC Running Club has grown tremendously and with over 450 active members worldwide sometimes it’s hard to keep track of who is up to what. So to assist with keeping up to date with our members, we’ve decided that starting in 2019, we would introduce one outstanding member per week to showcase who they are and why they are such a great teammate.

    It is our honor and privilege to introduce the first ever Member Spotlight: Cheryl F. (IG: @cfriscia). 

    Cheryl has been such a supportive and compassionate member from the day she joined the club. She puts 110% into everything she does whether it’s encouraging her teammates during group runs or organizing a Cross Fit class for the club. Cheryl is committed to taking We Are NYC Running Club to the next level.

    Cheryl is a survivor of stage 3 kidney disease. With her kidneys failing in 2014, she was hospitalized and underwent two years of intense treatment. While she avoided a transplant, she has come back to full health thanks in part to a complete diet change and lots of exercise. In April she celebrated her full recovery with our running club by running the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K.

    With the arrival of her first grandchild and watching her son get married, Cheryl experienced it all this past year! She capped off a triumphant year by running and completing her first marathon, the TCS NYC Marathon, and her teammates were there cheering her on all across Manhattan!

    When Cheryl sets goals, she hits them! Check out some highlights on Cheryl and hear what other members had to say about her character and impact she’s had on the club! We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store for you, Cheryl! Thank you for being the personable, driven, and kind member that you are!

    Here are some member messages about Cheryl!

    Some kind words on Cheryl from teammate Derek S.!

    More kind words from teammate and good friend Rosa S.

    A big thank you to our teammate Casey (IG: @caseyalexandrafit ) for her work on this!

    Be on the lookout every Monday for our latest Member Spotlight!

    Happy running to you all!

    Cheryl holding her newborn grandson earlier this year!

     

     

    Upcoming WE ARE NYC RC Runs!

    Happy hump day to everyone out there! The sun hasn’t come out in New York city that much the last few days but that doesn’t keep this group from running. So many of our members continue to post their “rainy days” run since they keep gaining their motivation to run in the rain from the group itself! Another benefit of being part of a running community like ours!

    With that being said, here are some of our upcoming group runs that you all can partake in to keep that motivation going! Hope to see you at one of these!

    Club Members At Last Weekend’s 5th Avenue Mile!

    WEEKLY GROUP RUN IN CENTRAL PARK! (all paces are welcomed!)

    • WHAT- Weekly group run (5-6 miles)

    • WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

    • WHEN – Thursday, September 13, 2018.

    • TIME-Meet up at 6:00pm, leaving run center at 6:15pm

    Taken at the last workout led by club member Tobias

    5 Mile Run & HIIT Training!

    • WHAT- 5 mile Central Park Loop/HIIT workout 10 mins of high intensity interval training, followed by a one mile run to a location in central park. Repeat 5 times for a total of 5 miles and 50 mins of HIIT. Led by one of our club runners Tobias!

    • WHERE- Central Park – Meet At NYRR Run Center (320 West 57th street, NY, NY)

    • WHEN – Saturday, September 15, 2018.

    • TIME-Meet up at 8:00am at Run Center

    Members at the NYRR 15 Mile training series! 18 Mile one coming up this Sunday!

    NYRR NYC MARATHON TRAINING–18 MILE RUN!

    • WHAT- 18 mile training run. While this is a NYRR run, you can run this together w/ a club member! After all, it is an 18 mile run!

    • WHERE- Central Park – Meet by 102nd transfers on East side by softball field 8.

    • WHEN – Sunday, September 16, 2018.

    • TIME-Meet up at 6:30am, run time 7:00am!

    This Thursday – Special Queens Group Run!

    Hey running friends! I wanted to jump on here to tell you about a special group run this Thursday!

    For this one week our club is heading on over to Flushing Meadow Park in Queens. Why? One of our original members who came to the first ever group runs and was a regular many of the early group runs has become one of the heads of the NYRR Open Run at Flushing Meadows. Melanie will be hosting her first NYRR Open Run on this day and she asked if her club could be there to support her on her first official NYRR Open Run. I think it would be nice to do this so we are headed to Queens!

    The loop in the park is a 5k but she says runners do it multiple times to get their miles in. There are bathrooms on site and volunteers on hand to watch people’s bags. You can either drive there or take the 7 train. It may be a bit of a commute from the city but its a one time deal for a team member, so hoping folks can troop it out there this one time!

    See you all there!

    • WHAT- Weekly group run (3-6 miles)

    • WHERE- Flushing Meadow Park close to the Children’s Carousel

    • WHEN – Thursday, August 30, 2018.

    • TIME-Check in is 6:45pm, run starts at 7:00pm!

    NYRR asks that you signup for the group run by filling out the below form prior to coming to the open run!

    https://openrun.nyrr.org

    Tidbits & Insights For Saturday’s Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon!

    Well New York City, this weekend BROOKLYN takes center stage!

    This Saturday May 19th New York Road Runners will be hosting the largest half marathon in North America when 27,000 runners are expected to be set loose onto the streets of Brooklyn to wind up on the boardwalk at historic Coney Island! Its time for the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon!

    Getting into the race can be a task as this year’s race was SOLD OUT in just a few hours! So if you got in and will be one of the 27,000 participants – congratulations! However now you have to run this race and here you are in the home stretch of preparations. No worries, I’m going to try and help you out!

    BIB PICK UP & EXPO

    The Brooklyn Half Marathon Expo is set up and ready to go! (photo credit – NYRR)

    Unlike most NYRR runs, you won’t be able to pick up your bib at the NYRR Run center. That’s ok though! This pickup will be a lot more fun. The Brooklyn Half Marathon Expo is where you will have to pick up your bib and you might as well give yourself some extra time when you are there because there is much more to do than just pickup your race bib!The expo is open Wednesday thru Friday from 12pm – 10pm in Brooklyn Bridge Park – Pier 2. In addition to picking up your bib there will be tons of merchandise on sale, live music, food trucks selling their fare, course strategy tips from NYRR coaches and one hell of a view of the Manhattan skyline! The expo is outdoors so come on out and enjoy yourself in the NYC open air!

    Whatever you decide to do at the Half Marathon Expo just make sure you get there because that is the only way for you to obtain your bib! Unlike other NYRR races, you won’t be able to pick up your bib the morning of race day! If you can’t make it you can assign someone as your proxy for pickup. They will need your race confirmation form, which you should be able to get from your race profile and a copy of a legal form of identification.

    TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM

    With the Brooklyn Half starting at the Brooklyn Museum and ending at Coney Island, public transportation is really the only way to get to and from the race. Keep in mind however that it will be Saturday morning and the subways tend to alter service on a lot of subway lines. Be prepared to get up very early and plan for a long commute if you are going go the race from any where other than Brooklyn. The 4 or the 5 trains are your best bet. Depending on which wave you are in will dictate which subway stop to get off at. Wave 1 runners should get off at the “Franklin Avenue subway station“. Wave 2 runners should get off at the “Grand Army Plaza Station“. The the subway stop and where they are relative to the starting corrals is in the map below which has been provided by New York Road Runners.

    Map of the starting area! Photo courtesy of NYRR

    In order to verify that the subway nearest you is running on Saturday morning, or if you want to see how often it will be running at an early time of day, I highly suggest using the MTA Trip Planner website . The website allows you to set your starting point as well as your destination and it will give you the best subway route to get you to your destination This trip planner will tell you of any interruption in service on Saturday morning and will also give you the approximate time when your train will be arriving. I have used it before and have found it to be very reliable.

    Additionally, folks travelling from Queens or Long Island might want to consider using the Long Island Railroad as an option to get to the start. The Atlantic Terminal railroad station is not too far from the start area. There is a 5:31AM train leaving Jamaica and arriving at Altantic Terminal at 5:51 for wave 1 runners. Then there is a 6:18AM train arriving at 6:39 for wave 2 runners.

    As for cabs and Ubers of course they are an option but be ready to jump out of them blocks from the entrance to your corral as traffic is sure to build in the surrounding blocks to the corral entrances. Adding to the potential delays is the real possibility of rain for that day. Be prepared for slower traffic as a result of this. As with public transportation, factor in some extra time into your cab ride just to play it safe.

    Finally do you insist on driving and having your car at the finish line? I highly suggest against it! In years past NYRR has had access to the New York Aquarium Parking lot. Not this year. As for the MCU Park parking lot? That lot is off limits because it will be the bag check are to pick up your bags after the race. Outside of local street parking, realistically, there is no where reliable to park by the finish line or even the starting line for that matter. But if you insist on driving, consider parking near the Barclays Center as there are plenty of garages there and the streets should be open in this area as the race does not pass thru that section of Brooklyn. The start line is about a 10-15 minute walk from Barclays center and the train ride after the race from the finish area is about a 30 minute ride. In my opinion if you don’t want to risk getting on public transportation, this might be your best bet!

    STARTING TIMES, BAG CHECK & SECURITY

    So all the scrambling to get to the starting area via different forms of transportation but what time do we have to be there? See the infographic below brought to you once again from the good folks at NYRR.

    Infographic showing important times that you should know for race day! Courtesy of NYRR!

    Oh yes – some of the times listed for wave 1 are EARLY but don’t think they are lenient on them just because they are early. For example the bag check closing at 6:10am is a big deal. Why? Since the finish line is no where near the start, all bags are transported to the finish line. If you are in wave 1 and you don’t check your bag in by 6:10am, the vehicles transporting your bag will likely be long gone shortly after 6:10am. Of course you can check your bags in with the wave 2 folks but those vehicles may not get to the finish and be set up for drop off until later. For those that are considering not dealing with bag checking, as of the writing of this blog, race day is calling for a 90% chance of rain. With these odds, we are likely going to get wet. I would personally want to change into a dry set of clothes at the end of the race, but hey, that’s just me!

    As for corral closing time, if your corral closes, you will likely be sent to the last corral in your wave. If you weren’t assigned anywhere near the last corral, this may put you into a frustrating position of having to weave in and out of runners that may not be running at your pace.

    Therefore it’s important to note the times and factor in extra traveling time so that you have enough time to meet all of the suggested checkpoints above. Be reminded that after you check your bag in, you will have to go thru a security check point similar to that at an airport that requires you to empty your phones and metallic objects into a bin and then walk thru a metal detector. Many folks don’t realize how much you will have to do before you enter your corral.

    So to summarize, your commute, bag checking and security checks all have to be factored into your morning in order for you to make it to your corral in time. Oh and then you have to run 13.1 miles! (lol),

    COURSE STRATEGY

    Members of We Run NYC Running Club at the start of their BK Half Trial Run!

    So you nailed your commute, had a great breakfast, mastered bag checking and security and now you are finally in your corral. Now what?? Relax and smile like the folks in the picture above. Why are they smiling? Well, myself, along with about 40 other awesome runners who for the most part are members of We Run NYC Running Club took a test run of the course a couple of weeks back. Here’s how I saw the course on that delightful day!

    Miles 1-4: The first mile for the most part is down hill as you ascend down Washington Avenue. WARNING! Resist the temptation to fly in this mile as it is only mile 1! As you loop around Empire Blvd to come up Flatbush Avenue, you might recognize this stretch if you ran the United NYC Half Marathon. This stretch of Flatbush Avenue is the area where the starting corrals were located for the United NYC Half. This stretch takes you up a slow hill that will bring to the end of mile one. You will then come to Grand Army Plaza where you will circle the plaza and go back down Flatbush avenue the same way you came up it before. So that uphill you climbed in mile 1, you will be going down the hill as you begin your 2nd mile. But once again, hold back on the speed! The toughest part is yet to come! From here you will run on the perimeter of the park until you enter Prospect part just before the 4 mile marker.

    prospect-park-1

    A beautiful running park, Propsect Park will bring you the toughest hills of the race!

    Miles 5-7: These 3 miles are entirely within Prospect Park. The park itself is a beautiful oasis in the middle of Brooklyn. But beauty may not impress upon you during the race because the miles within the park are where your hardest work will be done! I am just going to say it – mile 5 is almost entirely uphill. There may be 2 small declines but you are climbing in elevation for the entire mile. This is why I mentioned to hold back on the throttle when you ran those down hills in the first 3 miles. But at the end you know yourself best. If you are a hill runner and haven’t run hard in the race up until this point, then go for it! If you tend to despise hills, then take a mulligan in mile 5, get thru it and look ahead to mile 6 because this is where the party begins for most. Mile 6 will take you down a gradual hill after which you will wrap around the west end of the park on your way to exiting the park at the end of mile 7. Once out of the park, you will hang a left and run onto Ocean Parkway who will be your friend for the next 6 miles!

    Miles 8-13: These miles are why people love the Brooklyn Half Marathon! With the exception of going under an over pass and having to climb back up to street level on a couple of occasions, you won’t see a hill the rest of the way. This stretch of the race will take you straight down Ocean Parkway where a lot of local residents will be cheering you along the way. The only intriguing section I find about Ocean Parkway is around the 11 mile marker. Right around Ave W, the road hooks slightly right and when it does, you can finally see the end of Ocean Parkway for the first time. Here is where some runners will make a decision. At this point, you only have about 2 miles to go in the race. You can go for it and hit those final two miles hard if you have the endurance to do so. Alternatively, you may not want to allow yourself to pick up the pace if you can’t hold that pace for two miles. Either way, you can smell the finish line. As you cross under the Belt Parkway, you will be a mile from the finish. Coney Island will start to come into view. At the 20k marker you will leave Ocean Parkway for Shore Road which you will take until you see the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster where you will make a left and head to the boardwalk for that last 0.1 miles.

    POST RACE FESTIVITIES AND OTHER AMENITIES

    BKHalfFinish

    Theres something about crushing 13.1 miles and finishing on the boardwalk at Coney Island!

    Congratulations – you made it! Once you have crossed the finish line in front of Tom’s of Coney Island, your personal celebration is just beginning. The post race walk off will lead you down the boardwalk just past MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. The walk will lead you into the parking lot of MCU Park, where you will retrieve your checked bags, assuming you checked one in. Either way once you are done with the bag check area, NYRR has some post race festivities inside of MCU Park which you will be able to access directly from the parking lot area. If rain did fall and you are looking to get into those dry clothes I recommended bringing earlier, kudos to you for packing them and rest assured that you will be able to do so once inside MCU Park.

    Once you are done with your day at the race, NYRR members can have their medals engraved at the NYRR Run Center! You can head there right after your race as they will be engraving from 11:00am – 5:00pm on race day! Too tired or don’t feel like heading back to Manhattan after the race? No problem. Engraving will also be done on Sunday May 20 from 10:00am – 5:00pm and finally on Monday May 21 from 12:00pm – 7:00pm.

    In closing, this course is a fast course and has been known to produce a lot of personal records. You can nail your training for this race however if you don’t plan your logistics right, you may end up stressing yourself out prior to the race and it may derail your potentially strong results. However if you plan correctly, you could walk away with not only a personal record but one hell of a great day running the street of Brooklyn!

    Good luck to all of the runners running the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon on Saturday!

    If you found this information helpful, follow me on twitter @catrunsnyc or on Instagram @catrunsnyc_2018. 
    Looking for a fun group to workout with and run with? Look no further than my fellow teammates at We Run NYC Running Club!  Look for them as well on social media: Twitter: @WeRunNYCRC or on Instagram: @WeRunNYCRC .

    Trial Run Of The Brooklyn Half Course!

    My friends! We are less than 3 weeks from the NYRR Popular Brooklyn half marathon! This race came pretty fast but I’ve seen many of you getting at it with all of your training runs!

     

    This Saturday, May 5th, 2018, I will be having a trial run of the course with members of the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon Facebook Group that I host . The trial run is as it sounds – a practice run of the entire course- yup 13.1 miles this Saturday morning! The trial run is free and everyone is welcome to join!

    *MEET UP SPOT🏛️🏛️

    As this is a trial run of the course, I would like everyone to meet up at Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238) at 7:45am! Please do not be late!

    Yes thats nice and early in the morning but keep in mind, the actual starts at 7:00am on race day anyways! This gives you a chance to wake up early and practice your routine and route to the start line!

    *TRANSPORTATION TO START🚕🚆🚗

    For those of you that don’t live in Brooklyn, can I suggest driving to the finish line area, by Coney Island and parking by the finish line. There is a parking lot in MCU Park that if you manage to park there before an attendant is present, you pay nothing! If an attendant is there, I believe it is $15. This lot will only work for the trial run this Saturday because for race day; this lot will be off limits as it will be used for bag check pickup.

    For this Saturday however, if you park by the finish line, you can then either take a subway to the start or Uber which is about $10. A few of us are sharing uber’s to the start from the finish line. In order to do this, I would suggest being parked by 7:15-7:30 at the latest!

    Of course you can take the subway to the start line. The Eastern Parkway Brooklyn Musem stop on the 2-3 line seems to be the closest station to the start line. Check the MTA website to make sure these trains are running on Saturday morning!

    *COURSE MAP!🗺️🗾🏔️

    Course map courtesy of New York Road Runners

     

    The course map is above. I also posted details of the the start area and finish area are below. Some of you may remember the trial run of the United NYC Half Marathon course that I held back in February. Unlike that trial run that we held, we should be able to run this course fairly close to the actual course. If you remember we couldn’t get on parts of the United NYC Half Course. That shouldn’t be the case here for the trial run of the BK Half. We should be able to see the entire course!

    Here’s a brief overview of the course and what we plan on running on Saturday!

    -The course starts at the Brooklyn Museum and we will run south along Washington Avenue, down to Empire Blvd where we make a right and another quick right onto Flatbush Avenue.

    -Next we head north on Flatbush Avenue, towards Grand Army Plaza. Runners of the United NYC Half may remember this stretch as it was the starting corrals of that race.

    -One we approach Grand Army Plaza (at approximately the 1.5 mile mark) we will loop around the Plaza and then head back south on Flatbush Avenue, til we get back to Ocean Avenue.

    -We will take a slight right onto Ocean Avenue and proceed straight until we get to Parkside Avenue where we will make a right onto Parkside Avenue. This will be around the 3 mile marker on the course map.

    -Continuing west on Parkside Avenue we enter Prospect park near Machate Circle where we will then proceed to do a full loop within Prospect Park.

    -After one full loop within the park, we will exit the park close to where we entered it for the loop and run onto Ocean Parkway. Once we leave the park we should be 7 miles in

    -Once on Ocean Parkway we will stay on Ocean Parkway and head south for a little over 5 miles until we turn onto Surf Avenue. On the course map this is around the 20k marker or 12.5 miles.

    -We will continue west on Surf Avenue for about a half mile until west 10th street where we will make a left onto west 10th street once you pass by the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster.

    -Take west 10th street one block to the Coney Island Boardwalk – once you get to the boardwalk make a right.

    -Run on the boardwalk until you reach “Tom’s of Coney Island” -this is the approximate finish line of the race!

    *PACE OF RUN ⏱️⏱️

    grouprun

    Group runs are as much about fun as they are about the run!

     

    Some things to note – this is not meant to be all out pace. Personally I will enjoy this run and i think you all should too! The weather is supposed to be nice. My definition of nice is Sunny with temps in the 50’s and 60’s for our run! I will likely snap some pictures along the route for myself so that i don’t have to do that on race day! Have fun with this run on what is shaping up to be a gorgeous day!

    As for paces, this trial run is for EVERYONE! As I mentioned earlier, I did one of these in the pouring rain in February for the United NYC Half and 12 of us completed the trial run successfully as we split up into similar pace groups. I plan on splitting the group up into the following pace groups:

    *Under 9 minute mile pace

    *9-10 minute mile pace

    *10-12 minute mile pace

    *over 12 minute mile pace

    It is highly suggested that you note the course directions above as we likely will not stay together in one big group due to the different paces we have. As such, I would be appreciative if anyone is familiar with the course and would like to volunteer as “pace group captain” on this date for any of the above pace groups!

    *OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER

    Also to note are bathroom breaks – try and hit the bathrooms before you start. I have been told that there are portable bathrooms at 5 different locations on the loop within Prospect Park with 2 portable bathrooms where we enter and exit the park to and from our loop.

    The stretch along Ocean Parkway is mostly residential so I’m not sure if you will have access to bathrooms during that 5 mile stretch. Or course when we get to Coney Island, there should be public rest rooms to use also.

    As for hydration and nutrition, please bring your own! There are 5 water fountain stops within the Prospect Park loop. However once we exit Prospect Park, I cannot guarantee that we will pass by open store fronts.

    Additionally please bring your own gels or anything you may consume for a 13.1 run.

    Once we are done with the run we can hangout on the boardwalk and maybe catch a cold adult beverage to “re-hydrate”!

    If you have any questions or comments – please do comment below! As I mentioned, it’s going to be a nice day on Saturday – let’s get together – meet some fellow runners and take one huge step towards getting ready for the Brooklyn Half Marathon!

    Trial run will be sponsored by We Run NYC Running Club but by all means open to all!

    See you all on Saturday!

    Starting area map courtesy of New York Road Runners

     

    Finish line area map courtesy of New York Road Runners