Summer races – an omnibus report

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My #1 summer racing goal: NOT to require ambulance services

Here it is: an overview of my summer 2016 racing season, presented chronologically. Since I’ve fallen so hopelessly behind on race reports, I’ve stinted on the usual copious detail and tried to tease out broad themes instead.

NYRR Retro 4 Miler (June 4). The official theme of this race was running “old-school.” Sweat bands, “Stop Pre” t-shirts and pscychedelia abounded (kudos to the PPTC teammate who wore a vintage team singlet picked up at the Beacon’s Closet resale shop). Continue reading

Eating Avenue U: Quick bites (and bobolinks)

IMG_4286One downside of less time spent birding is less time spent exploring neighborhoods adjacent to birdy areas. Add to that the construction-related closure of the Avenue U station on the Coney Island-bound F train, and my effort to eat my way up and down Avenue U, from Gravesend to Marine Park, has slowed considerably.

Reports of bobolinks at the Salt Marsh Nature Center sent me back to the neighborhood recently. And because birding requires sustenance, I worked in a few quick food stops.  Continue reading

A Queens interlude

IMG_4235Although I’ve categorized this post under “Seen on the run,” that’s not entirely accurate. My number one training goal for this month is to avoid heat stroke, and so my trek to Astoria last week to see the Welling Court murals was accomplished via N train and a slow, shuffling walk down 30th avenue. (Truth be told,”slow” and “shuffling” are also pretty good descriptions of my running these days.)

The plan – to the extent I had one – was to see the murals; try the falafel and shawarma at King of Falafel and Shawarma (henceforth, “KOFAS” or simply “the King”); and use my NYC ID to sign up for membership at the Museum of the Moving Image. If I stumbled across some other interesting stuff along the way, so much the better. Continue reading

My biggish year (mid-summer update)

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After hitting the magic 200 number back in May, I fully intended to give bird-blogging a rest. The plan was to refocus this blog on other things (running! interesting or odd things seen while running! food to fuel my running! and, of course, politics . . . because nothing fuels my running like rage!).

Then the summer doldrums hit.

But here I am, back at it, with a quick update of birds seen over the last two months. That would include the fine specimens at the top of this post, spotted by the Brooklyn Navy Yard yesterday and photographed today. Turns out they’re part of an art installation to dramatize the effects of climate change (you can read about the project, and the artist behind it, here). In addition to provoking thought, they also lent a note of grace and beauty to the landscape – something we could all use more of, especially after this past week. Continue reading

Eating Avenue U – Pho Vietnam

imageI haven’t been eating my way up and down Avenue U as quickly as I originally intended, but fear not: Eric is on board, and we have a plan. Last Friday, we kicked off our Memorial Day weekend with a ride on the F train and an exploratory, menu-reading stroll that led us to one of two Vietnamese restaurants on the avenue.

I have a soft spot for hole-in-the-wall type places, and since I’m not a restaurant reviewer, I have the luxury of keeping these food posts positive. In that spirit, here are things I liked about Pho Vietnam: Continue reading

Race report – the Brooklyn Half (May 21, 2016)

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The track cat made it to the beach. (Photo credit: Andy Wong)

Runners who take racing seriously know the importance of race-specific training. Most training programs include the same basic components – short, speedy intervals; longer tempo runs at a fast but sustainable pace; hillwork; long, slow distance to build aerobic capacity – but the emphasis given to those components and the way they fit together will be different if you are training for the mile versus a 5K versus a marathon. Your training should mirror your goal race.

By that light, the race I’ve been training for these past few months would combine running and birding – by, say, subtracting the number of species seen over a 10-mile distance from your finishing time. I’m pretty sure I could kick ass in a race like that.

Unfortunately, the race I was actually running was the Brooklyn Half Marathon.  Continue reading