Marathon (watching) ready

51D1E9B0-F4EF-44B6-82E6-F3EE93887ADDAfter months of training, I’m ready.

I’ll be back with a full report after the race, but here’s my game plan for tomorrow:

7ish – Head out early to run miles 3-7 backwards, starting at 3rd St in Park Slope and ending at 95th St in Bay Ridge (where I’ll refuel at Rocco’s). Potential additional stop: Panadería Don Paco López.
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2018 NYC Marathon spectator’s guide to Brooklyn (and Queens)

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I’ll be there.

It’s back, for the fourth consecutive year!

To help you have the best possible marathon-viewing experience, I’ve compiled pointers from my own past races – those I ran (2005, 2006, 2009 DNF, 2014, 2015) and those I watched (2007, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2017). This summer and fall, I ran the course (in manageable segments), seeking out interesting places to stop for a bite to eat and something warm (or cold – one never knows what kind of weather the first Sunday in November will bring) to drink.

This guide, like the three before it, is unabashedly Outer Borough-centric. That’s true for several reasons. First, I’m an Outer Borough kind of gal. Second, the crowded viewing spots along First Avenue and Central Park don’t require a guide; they’re where people go by default. Third, and most important – I honestly believe that your viewing experience will be better here. You’ll be closer to the action, and also closer to the real spirit of the race, and of the city.

Plus, the eating is way better.  Continue reading

NYC Marathon spectator training report

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Yes, but will it be open by the first Sunday in November?

It’s September! Were I running the 2018 NYC Marathon, this would be my monster month: I’d be piling on the miles, trying to live right, and generally being an extremely boring person. But just because I’ve retired from marathoning doesn’t mean I’m not training. Now, though, my training is focused on being the best possible spectator (and possibly coaching others toward their own personal spectating bests).

To that end, I set out on this steamy Labor Day morning to run a (small) portion of the marathon course. I’ll be doing a lot more of that over the next month and a half, aiming to publish an all-new course guide in the second half of October. In the meantime, here are some teaser pictures from today’s training run.

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What, no beetroot?!?

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Sacks of flour and poppy seeds (not pictured) leave me hopeful that this in-the-works-for-over-a-year Shelsky’s outpost will in fact be opening soon.

Race report: 2018 Popular Brooklyn Half (May 19, 2018)

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Defending my home turf (photo credit: Luke Redmond)

Let’s begin by contemplating the marketing genius who connected this race, which routinely sells out in less than an hour, to its new title sponsor, Banco Popular. Was it the result of a caffeine, doughnut and Gatorade-fueled spitballing session in a New York Road Runners conference room? Did someone at Banco Popular, possibly a runner themselves, come up with the idea? Or was it – as my friend Michael, who has some tenuous family connection to the world of marketing consultants, tells me is most likely – the handiwork of a professional branding matchmaker?

However it happened, this popular race is now officially Popular.  Continue reading

Race report: the NYC Gaza 5(ish)K (March 24, 2018)

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Photo credit: Murray Rosenblith

How can you not love an event that bills itself as a combination 5K and dabke party? I ran this race two years ago, missed it last year, and was thrilled to be running it again. It’s less a race than a community celebration . . . for Brooklyn’s Palestinian-American community, primarily, but also the larger Arab community, the Muslim community, Jewish peace activists and various and sundry other folks. While I was shamefully lax in my fundraising this year (by which I mean, I didn’t fundraise at all), other participants raised thousands of dollars for mental health services for kids in Gaza.

The first indication that this race is going to be a little different is the fact that a “light breakfast” (I’m quoting from the official schedule of events) is served beforehand. The starting time is approximate – hey, it starts when it starts – and so is the distance. Two years ago, we ran a smidgen over 3 miles; this year, we ran a full 3.3 mile loop of the part. There are more walkers than runners, and even among the runners, it was evident from the starting area chatter – “I hope I can finish . . . how will we know how far we’ve gone?” – that many were running their first 5K. (Or better – given the vagueness of the course measurement – their first 5ishK.) Continue reading

Race report: Prospect Park Track Club Cherry Tree 10 Miler (February 18, 2018)

710BB4E2-3CA6-46E2-81A2-DA2A35CA7295This race, sponsored by the best running club ever, is a President’s Day weekend tradition. Its official name alludes to the legendary honesty of Brooklyn battler (and father of our country) George Washington. Its unofficial name – “the race for the hardcore” – alludes to the fact that mid-February can be a pretty miserable time of year for three full loops of Prospect Park.

Not yesterday, though. The snow that had fallen overnight was already melting in the bright sun and 40-something temperatures, and the park roads were mostly – but not entirely – clear of slick spots by the race’s 10 am start. Conditions, in other words, were perfect: comfortable, but just sloppy and slick enough to justify taking it easy.

More races should come with built-in excuses. Continue reading

An eater’s guide to the NYC marathon course – 2017 edition

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It will also make you hungry.

(NOTE: This post has been updated as of September 2018, with closings noted. Expect an all-new course guide sometime in the second half of October.)

Not running the marathon this year? Aren’t you the lucky one! While the runners are suffering (and oh, how they will be suffering – sure, they’ll be all smiles in Brooklyn, and some will be grinning and pumping their fists as they cross the finish in Central Park, but somewhere between, believe me, they will suffer), you can be eating. And exploring some great neighborhoods. And cheering, too, of course.

2017 is the third edition of this guide. You can find the 2015 and 2016 versions here and here. Rather than repeating myself, I’m letting these two posts stand on their own merits, with minor updates (closings, in particular, are noted). To get a full sense of your options, as well as general race viewing advice (and some great writing, of course), do check out these older posts.

So what’s new this year? Continue reading