Watching the NYC marathon in Brooklyn – 2016 edition

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“What’s good?” – this post tries to answer that

(NOTE: originally published in 2016, this guide has been reviewed and updated as of September 2018, with closings noted. Stay tuned for the all-new 2018 edition, to be posted sometime in the second half of October.)

Less than three weeks until race day on November 6!

If you’re running, this is high-anxiety time, when every training sin (workouts missed, long runs bailed on) comes back to haunt you; when thoughts of everything that could possibly go wrong run through your mind in a continuous loop (you fall off a stool while reaching for a high shelf and twist your ankle, you miss a connecting flight and are stranded in Atlanta, you contract food poisoning the night before the race); when your interpersonal relationships are strained by this obsession of yours that no one who’s not running quite understands.

But if you’re spectating along the course, as I will be this year, this is a fun time. Instead of visualizing the long climb up the Queensboro Bridge, you can visualize brunch spots; instead of obsessing over those twinges in your left calf, you can obsess over finding the best tacos in Sunset Park; instead of planning your best race, you can plan your best race day.

Last year’s guide was pretty popular, and I’ve gone through and made some quick updates and corrections to keep it useful for 2016. But because it was so much fun to do the research, I’ve been back out there running the marathon’s route through Brooklyn (in nice, manageable segments). In the process, I’ve found a whole bunch of additional places worth checking out.

So, here it is – the all-new 2016 edition of one Brooklyn runner’s totally idiosyncratic guide to where to eat, and what to do, along the NYC marathon course.  Continue reading

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Chasing Boston (part 10 – the end)

Still smiling after 22 miles - a personal record (Photo credit: Eric Brooks)

Still smiling after 22 miles – a personal record (Photo credit: Eric Brooks)

Well, I did it. I finished the New York City Marathon in 3:58:50, well under my Boston qualifying time of 4:10:00.

I’m not sure which makes me happier this morning: the fact that I’ll be joining Kathrine Switzer and a whole bunch of my friends in Boston on April 17, 2017, or the fact that I don’t need to run another marathon for almost a year and a half.

I didn’t achieve my most ambitious time goal, which is OK. Nor did I achieve my goal of negative splits. If I wanted to be hard on myself, as I often do, I’d describe the execution of my race plan as “start slow and finish slower.” If I were to cut myself some slack, I’d point out that this was the most evenly-paced marathon I’ve ever run, and that five of my fastest miles came in the second half.

I must be getting soft in my old age, because I’m inclined to cut myself some slack.

Besides – given my adventures in the medical tent at the finish line, no one could accuse me of not giving this race everything I had.

Here, then, is my race report.

Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 8 – race goals)

My race gear, at least, is ready.

My race gear, at least, is ready.

So what exactly are my goals for Sunday’s race (other than qualifying for Boston, of course)? I realize I’ve been a little vague in these posts. Obviously, I have goals – but publicly committing to them is scary. Will the marathon gods punish me for my hubris?

Scary or not, it’s time to come clean. Continue reading

All my marathon anxieties (now in one convenient post)

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Here’s hoping my legs hold up better than the tape I used to customize my singlet.

Six days until the New York City Marathon! Time to relax, rest up, eat right and . . . freak out. As I write this, all my marathon anxieties are jostling one another in my head as they vie for the title of Biggest, Baddest Worry of Them All.

Here, in no particular order (because the order keeps changing), are my marathon anxieties. Continue reading

One Brooklyn runner’s totally idiosyncratic spectator’s guide to the TCS New York City Marathon

Welcome to Brooklyn, baby.

Welcome to Brooklyn, baby.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Originally published in October 2015, this post has been updated to reflect business closings (a sad fact of life for restaurants everywhere, perhaps especially in gentrifying sections of Brooklyn) as of September 2018. 


This is for you, marathon spectators! Thanks for listening to our whining, humoring our obsession, pretending to understand our talk of intervals and tempo runs and split times and generally putting up with us throughout our months of training. As if all that isn’t enough, you’ve further agreed to stand outside for hours in whatever weather November 1 brings. Some of you have traveled long distances and invested significant sums of money to be here on marathon day.

You deserve the race of your life.

I’ve been a spectator along the marathon course about as many times as I’ve actually run the race, so I know a little bit about spectating. The main thing you need to know is that it’s great; prepare yourself for a wild, raucous, exciting time. It can also be a little tiring. It may be cold. Cheering for random strangers will leave you thirsty and hoarse. At some point, you will get hungry.

Since I’m a runner who gets cold and thirsty and hungry a lot, and who uses many of her runs to explore Brooklyn neighborhoods (including, of late, obsessively running portions of the marathon course), I can help. And I want to help, because your cheers are what make the New York City Marathon, in my biased opinion, the greatest race in the world. Continue reading

Chasing Boston (part 7 – final training recap)

Less time running = more time to customize my singlet with kinesiotape

Less time running = more time to customize my singlet with kinesiotape

Less than two weeks until the New York City Marathon – which means the hay is in the barn, as they say. (I have no idea why that agrarian image has become the go-to metaphor for marathon training, but it’s what everyone says. Even here in Brooklyn, where there is little hay and few barns.)

From here on out, nothing I do is going to increase my fitness in any appreciable way. I can still mess myself up, though, which seems a little unfair. The balancing act between now and November 1 involves:

  1. Cutting back on mileage enough to allow my body to rest and recover.
  2. Maintaining mileage sufficient to satisfy my body’s craving for consistency and routine.
  3. Continuing with workouts at marathon goal pace, intended to drill it into my overly enthusiastic legs and my traitorous, self-deluding brain. (The latter is the bigger challenge.)
  4. Not tripping and hurting myself.
  5. Not going crazy.

All in all, I’m pretty happy with my training. Continue reading