Saturday was a great day for a race and once again we had a great showing on the men’s side of the team. It was warm out there for the Central Park Conservancy Run for Central Park, though that’s nothing new for July in NYC. In spite of that we had a PR setter and a few out of town runners come out to support the team on what turned out to be a great 4 mile race.
The men’s team once again placed in the top 15 overall, earning 14th place with a cumulative time of 02:04:40!
Congratulations to Jeffrey on a great 4 mile PR and Sally who placed 7th in her age group. Great running as well by everyone who came out to run for the team. We had a few notable runners in from out of town, namely Lary and Sally Simpson (who also happen to be my parents) came all the way from Telluride, Colorado. Lary was one of the participants of the original and fabled Put Up or Shut Up 1 mile race that took place in Eugene, Oregon in the summer of 1980.
June 17th – 6:30AM, time to get up, up, up. It’s Father’s Day and also NYRR’s second annual Portugal Day. This is my first short distance race in a few months, and it’ll be interesting to get back on the roads for speed running after a spring existence consisting of training and running in a marathon and distance relay.
7:15AM, after a one mile warm up from my apartment to meet the team, I’m getting in the proper mindset to race. I know that I put in my share of hard mileage from Boston training and this brings a tough edge that serves me well in racing. With bags dropped off, great weather, it’s time to stretch out and shake loose the cobwebs. It’s great to see John D., Tait, Andres, and JP as we have a full racing team (despite various injuries afflicting most members) and a cheering fan in John E. Unfortunately, we missed Jeffrey and his smiling face prior to the race, but that didn’t deter him from hitting a PR in the race.
Post-Race with Andres - Courtesy of Tony Cheong
7:50AM, busy corrals, beautiful day, lots of familiar faces in the corral. I spot some folks from the WSY, DWRT, and RUNNYC teams, great to quickly catch up with Mike, Marvin, and Tony (whose photo is shown above). With a few minutes left prior to the race, the well-known refrain of the national anthem passes through our ears, and then it’s time for the final race instructions. Settle the nerves, trust the training, start off easy and see how it goes. Compete and do what you can.
8AM, the gun goes off with a bang, and we shuffle step to the start. I see a hole on the right side, and I lunge for it and part ways with Andres. It’s not an efficient strategy to weave, but since there is only limited distance/time to make your moves, every person in front of you is someone running in your way.
1st mile: This feels great, I pass a familiar West Side Y runner in the early going and also spot our soon to be Kansas City-bound super-runner John who is cheering on the team, iPhone in hand, recording the action. I monitor my handy GPS watch a little to ensure that I’m not going out too fast, but everything feels great, so why not be a little aggressive and try to catch people?
2nd mile: Seeing a familiar Niketown runner (David), cheering on the sidewalk by 90th street was a welcome surprise in the early going. I decide to try to slow down a little because I thought my quick 1st mile would have bad repercussions for the latter stages of the race. Little did I know that I ended up going much faster in that 2nd mile than the previous one. I felt good passing other runners, and just viewed it as a good hard tempo run or a crazy relay running race that I had done earlier this year (see Long Distance Relays). Breathe, focus on your stride, don’t worry about the other racers passing you and their pace, just yourself, I tell myself.
3rd mile: I spot the lead female runner on the East side of the park, and make a point to catch up to her, stay in stride and continue trying to build a gap. Focus on the next runner, make them the target… “GOOOO JUSTIN!!!” I hear the shout which interrupts my thoughts and though I can only slightly move my head, I have a vague notion of who it is. It’s clairey from the fitness social networking site, Fitocracy giving me cheers and props.
4th mile: Nothing notable here except that I continue to make progress, catching up to a couple of Dashing Whippets who had passed me earlier in the race when I was deliberately saving up some energy. Seeing John on the East Side taping the race (see above), also provides a pick-me-up, while I tear down the familiar Central Park roads to approach the final mile. I spend most of this mile dreading a mini-wall that might hit since I thought that I went out too fast. Surprisingly, it never hits.
Mile 5 - Courtesy of Heidi Tanakatsubo
5th mile: This is the money-maker mile, the smile mile, where the true grit comes out. I hear shouts and screams in this mile, but they all faded into the chorus as I focused on my finish. I did get a great photo opp from Heidi (see right) cheering on in the race. Back to the race itself, I sped up maybe 1/3 into the final mile and determined to hang on, using some of the slight downhills to carry me through while employing a strategy of trying to catch runners even if they were faster than me. I managed to pick off a few runners until about the last quarter mile where all I could hope for was not getting outkicked. As I approached the imaginary tape, I believed that the 28 minute mark would be elusive on this day since the timing clock was reading around 28:10.
I sprint-kicked to cross the line, and once done, I bent over, stopped and looked at my watch and saw 28:02. I was happy as I knew that this was a significant PR. Only later did I see that my true chip recorded time was 28 flat, even better. An improvement of 1:15 from the same race a year ago. With my fastest mile being my last, this was a good, solid effort. However, there’s room for improvement. There’s always room for improvement. That’s why I race, and that’s why I train. You’re always tinkering, learning, and trying to be the best possible you.
Great job to all runners, and ridiculously awesome job to the members of Team Firspring. Keep working hard and thanks for reading.
The Brooklyn Half 2012. It is always a special race, not least because of the spectacular setting, dramatic finish on the boardwalk and all the spectators, but this year was different. This year it was run “unofficially” in honor of the great Adam Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, who passed away earlier in the month after a 3 year battle with cancer.
At the starting line a few stilt walkers and other carnival types greeted and psyched up the participants, alluding to carnival that once was Coney Island, where the race would culminate. As always, runners received course instructions from Peter Ciaccia, who was earlier spotted directing traffic (ed. note: is there anything this guy doesn’t or can’t do?). Though, at the Brooklyn Half, unlike all other NYRR races the highlight of the pre-race antics is without a doubt Marty Markowitz, who this year declared his dream to “one day look like Mary Wittenberg”.
Courtesy of NYRR
With a new course for this year, the race itself was the big question mark, but it proved to be a great revision to a classic. From Eastern Parkway and Washington Ave, at the footsteps of the Brooklyn Museum, we ran south down Washington before turning up Flatbush towards Grand Army Plaza were the scope of the race suddenly came into sharp relief. 16,000 registered runners stretched out from the Botanical Gardens around the Plaza and back down towards the south entrance of Prospect Park.
After entering the park, the course became familiar. The battle up the hill of East Drive was tough enough only having to run it once and heading across the over pass onto Ocean Park was as exciting as ever.
The men’s team ran the first half together before gaps began to open, when Andreas and John (who wasn’t seen again until the finish and who set a new PR for the half) picked up the pace and left Jeffrey and me behind. This seemingly endless stretch of Ocean Parkway is an ideal battle ground to test one’s persistence and resolve, and it delivered as always. The streets run through almost the entirety of the alphabet until finally making the long dreamt of turn onto Surf Ave, a final push up to the boardwalk and then you bring it home for the finish. The ocean on your left and the Brooklyn Cyclone ballpark on the right, it is a great and dramatic finish.
In the end, the men’s team held on to score 19th position in a cumulative time of 07:14:12 for both A and B teams. It is a big step up from last year when we placed 24th overall with a cumulative time of 7:39:15. Congratulations guys, especially to Andreas for running his first half and to Billy for running a new PR and really putting the heat on!
One the women’s side, while we didn’t quite have enough runners to score, Ashley, Maria and Olof all set new PR’s! Congratulations to everyone who ran!
Another year and the Scotland 10k delivers once again! The predawn weather sure was crisp but as the sun rose over the tree tops on the east side of Central Park, the radiant heat brought the morning air up to perfect early spring running temperature.
I’d like to welcome our new members to the team and give a thanks to those who continue to come out and make our squad an up and comer to watch. We may be small but the growth is organic and we are certainly starting to make an impact in the racing community. Plus, as Frida likes to say, everyone is so nice!
So far this year, the team is really scoring well. The men’s team again had a record placement, ranking 14 out of roughly 50 other teams in both the A and B divisions with a cumulative time of 03:14:08! Its a huge jump from our 29th place and cumulative time of 3:30:33 from last year!
So here’s to a steadily growing team. Let’s keep the momentum up as Spring unfolds at the upcoming Brooklyn Half. Don’t forget to register for the other upcoming points races on the calendar:
As many may already have heard, NYRR has changed a few things about guaranteed entry for the 2013 ING NYC Marathon. The beloved 9 + 1 program has NOT changed, but other qualifying standards have. Time qualifying standards have increased significantly, but as Amby Burfoot has expertly written in the following article, using the AG percentage does not equate to guaranteing entry for an equal or comparable number of men and women across age groups. The AG % scale is heavily weighted to favor men in the younger age brackets. To their credit, NYRR and CEO Mary Wittenberg have acknowledged the discrepancy and are in the process of developing a response.
Regardless, it is an very interesting assessment of the AG graded system and what it is and what it is not. Specifically, it is meant only to rate a specific performance against the world record time in that distance and nothing more.
Check it out the article here on the Runner’s World website.
It was a great day for a race, and what a race it was! There was a definite chill in the air, but also an unmistakeable energy as we warmed up for the first club points race of the year. Congrats to everyone who ran and what a great showing! Coogan’s is always a highlight with the music, the unique location and the buzz in the bar itself for the post race brunch.
We had a number of new comers to the team for this one and we’re excited to see how the team continues to grow. For a number of us, it was a “get the kinks out” kind of a race, except of course Justin, who is peaking for his upcoming Boston Marathon. He hit it hard and didn’t let up, averaging a blistering 5:38 pace, which is smoking fast for this very hilly coarse.
As a team we took 17th position overall, which includes the division 1 big boys like NYAC and West Side Runners. This is a small but significant improvement from our 18th place finish in last year’s Coogan’s 5k and I think it bodes well for an even better team performance over this coming year.
With the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having in NY, I thought I should take advantage of it and run some trails. Last year at this time, all these routes were buried under a ton of snow. Today’s run was up Bull Hill (near Cold Spring in the Hudson Highlands Park). It was free of snow, but still littered with crunchy leaves. The trail is mostly runnable, though there are some long stretches of really rocky terrain that make it pretty slow going. A long, continuous ascent and a max elevation gain of about 1200ft make it not exactly easy going, but the payoff from the crest of Bull Hill offers a great view of the Hudson!
Its a new year and we’ve got the year’s NYRR race calendar all locked in. The first race is open for registration (Coogan’s 5k on March 4th) and we are hoping to open the year with a strong team performance! Mark your calendars now and plan accordingly, this is going to be a big year for the team, so don’t miss out!
Coogan’s 5k – March 4th
Scotland 10k – April 7th
Brooklyn Half Marathon – May 19th
NY Mini 10k (women’s team only) – June 9th
Portugal Day 5mile (men’s team only) – June 17th
Run For Central Park 4mile – July 14th
Team Championships 5mile – August 4th
Harlem 5k – August 25th
Fifth Ave Mile – September 22nd
Grete’s Great Gallop Half Marathon – September 29th
NYC Marathon – November 4th
Join The Voices 5mile – December 2nd
It has been a bit quiet on the Firspring blog, but we’re back and just in time to report on the latest Club Points race, the relatively diminutive (at just over 5,000 participants) Central Park 4mi. It was a warm and humid morning for a short and fast race today. The men’s team just barely scraped together enough runners to score a point. In this race it was Justin leading the team with a very fast 22:51! Everyone ran a great race and while we were missing a few of our regulars either due to injury or pregnancy, I was really happy to welcome a couple of new runners to the crew. Thanks to Kit and Brendan as well as Nima and Layla for coming out to cheer on the Firspring runners.
If all goes well we should be able to pull together a full crew of 10 for the upcoming Team Championship race on August 6th! So sign up today in order to secure your spot on the team.
Another fantastic day for a great race! Saturday was the annual running of the Brooklyn Half Marathon, the second of the 5 borough half marathon series and arguably the best. It was a foggy morning as the runners toed the line in Prospect Park, but once the sun broke through and the sky cleared up, it turned into a great day for a race. The two laps in Prospect Park put us through the ringer in the first half of the race and then it was a straight, if not somewhat dull, shot down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island for the finish.
Congratulations to all the Firspring runners for a great race and a solid team showing in the third team points race. We had two finishers in the top 100, a number of big PR’s and strong performances from everyone!