Refund or Defer? What will you do??

This morning, 7 weeks after the NYC Marathon was cancelled less than 48 hrs before it was scheduled to start, NYRR and Mary Wittenberg made an announcement about the resolution that NYRR and their insurance company had come to.  NYRR had been pretty tight lipped about any sort of solution that left runners less than thrilled about whether they’d get guaranteed entry, a refund or anything at all.  In short, here’s the options:

  1. Get a full refund and with no guaranteed entry into any future race
  2. Take a guaranteed entry in the 2013, 2014 or 2015 NYC Marathon, pay the 2012 Marathon price but get no refund
  3. Guaranteed entry into the 2013 NYC Half Marathon in March and pay the fees associated with the NYC Half

Additionally, if you paid for the Marathon Eve Dinner, seats in the bandstand and a few other extras, expect to be fully refunded.  It doesn’t address the runners who ran for charity- will they have to raise their $2,500+ again to gain entry (That’s the lowest amount and how much I raised for Jack’s Fund in 2011 to get in). All NYRR says is that the charity will contact those charity runners for this year.  What about the people with a 9+1 guaranteed entry that they were planning to use for this year?  To read the full release, head over to the NYC Marathon Site or check out the Runner’s World article posted earlier today.

NYRR Join The Voices 5 Miler

This weekend was my first time back in NYC since our friend Hurricane Sandy decided to take over.  My last race out here was the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off (and what turned out to be the only race that actually happened Marathon Week in NYC).  Don’t remember?  Go over here to read about that race and weekend. 

Anyways, I came in on Amtrak yesterday morning after finding $25 one way tickets through a deal last month.  After getting in around 10:45, I headed to downtown and the WTC area to the Club Quarters which had just reopened as of Wednesday due to Sandy (that’s a bummer for business right there).  After checking in, I hopped on the train to the Upper East Side and picked up my bib and shirt at NYRR.  Long sleeved is always nice and is a welcome change from the long sleeved shirts I normally get from them during the Emerald Nut Run on New Year’s Eve.  After finding an Irish Pub with some college football on and grabbing a bite to eat and window shopping, I headed to church and enjoyed the rest of the night.

This morning brought a 645 AM wake up call even though the race didn’t start until 8:30.  Needing to actually get to Central Park on the 1 train, the line wasn’t fully up and running yet and I needed to be sure to be on the 7:35 train.  Needless to say, my running tops I brought weren’t thick enough; I was wishing I had thrown in one of my thicker layered shirts, but what can you do.  Besides, running with 3 long sleeved shirts on is fun, right?  I brought some gloves with me and my new toy, my Garmin 410 (I bought it last week off amazon.com for 1/2 off with free shipping and another $20 off courtesy of a coupon my mom emailed me.  Thanks mom!). More on my new friend shortly.  After getting to Central Park and wondering, I got in my corral and heard from a few people from NYRR, Cornell/Weill Hospital and Brain Cancer supporters/ survivors representing Voices Against Brain Cancer.  It’s a great organization so head over here.  VABC was started in memory of 24 year old Gary Lichtenstein shortly after he lost his battle with brain cancer in 2003 by his family and supports brain cancer awareness and research.

Shortly after 8:30, we got a double bull horn send off and off we went.  It was reverse of the Poland Spring 5 miler so we headed across the top of Central Park to the east side, down the east side of the park, around the Jackie O area and back up the west side of the park. About 1.25 miles in I stopped to go to the bathroom and lost a minute and didn’t even get in to go.  I gave up and started running again (after the race, I was wishing I hadn’t stopped).  I only picked up water at one of the water stops (which one, either at mile 2 or 3).  I was weaving between people for a good 30% of the race, which I hate doing.  My best advice to people is to know yourself and where to start in a race!  According to my Garmin, I ran in 46:28 with splits of: 9:27 (mile 1), 9:27 (mile 2), 9:05 (mile 3), 9:30 (mile 4) and 8:57 (mile 5).  According to the official results, I finished in 47:27 (thanks to the failed bathroom attempt, but what can you do).

I’m glad to see NYC getting back on it’s feet post Sandy.  There were chopped up and shredded up trees in Central Park, still some shops and restaurants closed down due to Sandy and that’s just on Manhattan.  Stores and organizations are still doing fundraisers and collections for Sandy Relief in other parts of the area that have been affected.  Here’s to hoping these guys get back on their feet sooner rather than later!

No NYC Marathon? Here’s to Rebuilding and Volunteering

48 hrs before the NYC Marathon was set to kick off in Staten Island and travel through the 5 boroughs of New York City, the mayor’s office and NYRR announced that it was officially canceled.  Earlier this week, the Marathon was still set to take place, but a firestorm of opinion flooded in through social media against the idea.  As a runner, I see both sides.  You don’t want your training, travel plans, money, etc to go to waste.  On the other hand, boroughs are still recovering from massive destruction from Hurricane Sandy/ Frankenstorm, the NYC subway is shut down, the Staten Island Ferry isn’t working, power is out, restaurants are shut down and NYC is trying to recover from mother nature.  Was it the right decision not to have the marathon? Yes.  Was it handled the right way?  Absolutely NOT (this is a PR nightmare for quite a few people, but I’m not going there).  So what to do now?

Runners are known to be some of the nicest people you’ll meet (so for everyone holding massive grudges against us right now for wanting to run our race, hear me out).  If you’re were suppose to run in NYC or are in NYC and looking to stay the weekend to help out, here are a few places to search to see where you’re needed

  1. Donating hotel rooms: if you’re no longer traveling to NYC, but still have your hotel room, consider donating it to someone who needs a place to stay because power is out, water is off and what not.  Head to Races2Recover to learn more.  Also, if you’re a New Yorker looking for a place to stay, head over to their website to get some help
  2. On Twitter, follow Lea Ann Kish.  Runners are meeting up Sunday, November 3 at 830 AM to donate food, water, etc to those on Staten Island needing help (Meet up at the Staten Island Ferry)
  3. Looking to volunteer? The New York Observer has a continuously updated page of places looking for volunteers or how to go about it.  Head over here to see how to help.  Everything from donating blood to
  4. Volunteers can also visit the UJA Federation of New York for places looking for volunteers
  5. In Staten Island?  Head over to Staten Island Recovers to see what they need
  6. Buzzfeed has an ongoing list of different places that need help, people to take food and water up flights of stairs, etc

Were you running and don’t want you’re training to go down the drain?  Check out some other options:

  1. Raleigh (NC) City of Oaks Marathon (November 4, 2012): if you’re in NC and didn’t travel to New York, a good option to look at!
  2. Richmond Marathon (November 20, 2012): there’s limited spaces left in the marathon, so be sure to jump on it!
  3. Rock n Roll Competitor Series: offering 20% off with BIGAPPLE code for Rock n Roll San Antonio (11/11/2012) and the Las Vegas Strip at Night (12/2/12).  20% of proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy Relief
  4. The Fort Worth Marathon (11/11/12): option for all you Texans out there!!
  5. Looking for other races in your area? Head over to Marathon Guide for some help!

If you’re in NYC, hopefully this list will help you out if you’re looking for where to volunteer at.  Here’s to something positive coming out of this weekend!

NYC Marathon or Not to NYC Marathon

This time last year, I was prepping to run the NYC Marathon.  To say that I had a blast NYC Marathon weekend is an understatement to say the least.  Fast forward 51 weeks and the East Coast is dealing with Frankenstorm and Hurricane Sandy.  Massive storms and flooding showed themselves leaving NYC and New Jersey hit the hardest Sunday and Monday.  Lower Manhattan saw flooding, Staten Island was hit ridiculously hard and the NYC Subway was shut down.  All during marathon prep week.

After the weather was done showing itself, people were left wondering this: would the NYC Marathon be moved or canceled all together?  There are things that happen on certain weekends every year (the Chicago Marathon Columbus Day weekend, the OSU Michigan football game the weekend after Thanksgiving, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, etc)- can you really not have them at all?  People were left wondering a few things:

  1. Why have a marathon and pull first responders from those truly needing help recovering from Frankenstorm?
  2. How will people even get to NYC with the amount of canceled flights from LaGuardia, Newark and JFK and route restrictions on Amtrak and the massive traffic mess with the NYC tunnels?
  3. With the amount of food, water and gatorade used, why not give it to people who are with out power and thus have no water to use?
  4. Why shut down streets when there’s already difficulty getting around and when power, etc is trying to be restored?

As a runner I can see both sides of wanting the marathon to happen and the calls to have it canceled.  After 9/11 for example, there were major sporting events and community events that went on that pulled communities together and helped with the healing process.  The NYC Marathon could bring people together to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.  On the other hand, there’s the issue of having 45000-50000 people taking over a city, shutting down streets and drawing manpower away from cleaning up the city.  You also have sponsors donating food and water to a race in a major city, yet people in other boroughs a few miles away have nothing.

Us runners are crazy, and yes, races are expensive.  People take time off work, pay for flights, hotel rooms, food and race fees ($250 ish for the NYC Marathon alone) and to have a major event caused by mother nature threaten something you’ve trained for 4 months for is mind boggling.  However, how do you ignore the fact that you’re running a race where people were swept away, homes came off their foundations and heat, water and power may be out for over two weeks?  NYRR has donated $1,000,000 to recover efforts, canceled their opening ceremonies and the NYRR Dash to the Finish 5K on Saturday.  They’ve also offered runners the chance to defer until next year through Saturday night and extended expo hours so people can still get in to pick up their bibs.  Mayor Bloomberg has given the OK for the Marathon to go on and NYRR has been hard at work to make it happen.  On social media, there’s a debate almost as hot as politics brewing about whether to have the marathon at all or if NYRR should cancel it.  With that said, what’s your thoughts?  Should the Marathon go on or be canceled this year?

Poland Springs 5 Miler: Not Even A Potential Hurricane Could Stop Us!

Apparently Hurricane Sandy and Frankenstorm thought it could stop a bunch of runners from racing. HA!!  Not so much.  The Marine Corps Marathon went off without a hitch in DC and in NYC, we were all set to go to kick off NYC Marathon Week with the Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off.  All last night and this morning, I was checking social media and NYRR for the possibility that Frankenstorm would cause the Park and Recreation system to pull a quick one and cancel the race.  I woke up around 7 and changed into my gear, ate a greek yogurt and headed out around 7:30 (I really like 8:30 starts when it doesn’t take long to get to the race).  8:05 comes around and I was able to make my way in to Central Park with a bunch of other crazy runners.

Normally, love the NYRR volunteers.  Today, the volunteers were yelling at everyone they could it seemed like if you weren’t running the trail.  They were yelling at people to get to the side walk if they weren’t running or to turn around.  Kind of obnoxious, not going to lie.  I went to the grassy area where Poland Springs was handing out water and free gloves.  Since it wasn’t cold enough to wear them, the definitely ended up stuffed in my capris (yeah, you couldn’t notice I promise).  Went I went back out to the trail, more yelling by the volunteers to get to the sidewalk when 50 feet later, other volunteers were ok with runners being along the corrals and ducking in. Oh well.

At 8:30, the gun went off and 5 minutes (ish) I crossed and off we went.  The race started on Central Park West’s side around 69th street and we headed towards the 80s/90s.  The first mile was really congested.  People had jumped to higher corrals (I can’t complain because I did too), but we had slower runners ahead of us which made for a slower, frustrating first mile.  After we passed the first water stop and mile marker, you knew you were with your right pace of people which is always a plus.  I had 2 clowns in front of me and a few other costumized people.  I kept a steady pace and was able to make up some time from the first mile.  At some point after mile 2, we turned and headed towards the east side of Central Park.  After the mile 2 mark, we had a water stop and then a quick turn- that was not what I wanted to see.  Put the water after the turn! Oh well.  Onward past miles 3 and 4 and I could tell we were almost done.  And that I should have had my yogurt earlier than I did.  We cut across to the west side of Central Park and after a few tenths of a mile, you could see the finish.  I was picking off people (woohoo!), but I was feeling the dry heaves come again. Blah!  All things aside, I finished in 47:39.  Not a bad run for my first post Chicago Marathon race.  I’ll take it.  My legs were stiff for whatever reason.  Afterwards, I found out on Twitter someone had quoted a tweet of mine in an article!!  Go take a look, I’m FAMOUS!  Ok, not really but it’s still pretty cool.

But hey, Hurricane Sandy didn’t win!!  I got back to Philly around 3:15, picked up  a few things from the store and headed home.  The sad thing is, I have to leave for my next rotation tonight 2 hours north of Philadelphia.  Finishing a load of laundry and off I go.  Please stay safe everyone!!

NYC Poland Springs Run Type of Weekend

Oh (hurricane) Sandy, why would you try and threaten my birthday weekend?? Yesterday, I decided I wanted to come out to NYC for the Poland Spring 5 Mile Run by NYRR. $32 round trip on megabits and a cheap hotel later, hear I am. I was able to still sign up at NYRR (woot!) and pay all of $23 due to my NYRR membership. Hopefully, Sandy will be nice and the Parks System won’t pull a quick one and cancel the race tomorrow AM. NYC Marathoners, I’m warming up your last few miles for you! Enjoy some race swag while you enjoy your Saturday afternoon college football 🙂

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NYRR Bronx 10 Miler

Happy September!!  The Chicago Marathon is just under a month away and I’m hitting between 40-50 miles a week and I ran 188 miles last month, the highest I’ve run in a month. Ever.  This weekend I headed up to NYC for NYRR’s Bronx 10 miler.  Is this the first time this race has been done?  I have no idea.  Is it the first time I’ve done it? You bet.  I took the train out yesterday morning after a quick 4 mile run.  After checking into my hotel (got to love hotel reward points), I headed up to 89th and 5th to the NYRR office to pick up my race bib and shirt.  I then quickly found a sports bar that was playing the OSU-Central Florida game (we all know where my priorities stand!).  I hope the Horseshoe was loud enough for the UCF coach!  I ended up in SoHo and did some window shopping and stopped at Chobani’s flagship store.  After church and dinner, I did some walking around, but kept ducking in places due to bursts of rain.

This morning, I woke up around 6:15/6:30, got changed and headed to catch the train to Yankee Stadium, close to the start of the race.  I was glad that the 4 train is express because that saved a good 15 minutes.  We arrived to our stop at 7:40 and there happened to be a McDonald’s at the stop with a bathroom.  Any good runner knows that if there’s a short (in comparison to the porta potties) line, you go for it.  After waiting a good 10 minutes, going to the bathroom and washing up, I sprinted to the start because it was 7:54.  I got to the corrals as the National Anthem was being sung (and yes, there were ridiculous lines at the porta potties).  I could have gone a touch slower, as it took about 7:38 for me to get across the start.  This was a relatively flat course.  There were some small bunny hills and one slightly larger hill due to us going under an overpass.  I was keeping a pretty good pace, but I had to keep weaving between people the first mile or two.  My feeling is if you’re already walking, move far over to the side.  I kept doing quick math in my head at each mile, subtracting 7:38 ish from the clock time to get my time.  At mile 4, we turned, as we had been heading straight up until then.  We also ran by someone who was down for the count (dehydration possibly?).  There were already police and medical help there, thus my not stoping. We kept chugging along, hit mile 5 after another turn or 2 and then mile 6.  By the time we were done with are turns, we were heading back down our initial route.  I had to walk a few times as I was getting some pretty bad pain in my toes. I’m wondering if it was my shoes or what, but it wasn’t kosher at all!!  After we passed mile 9, we saw people coming our direction who had finished and were going back to their regularly scheduled lives (as I call it).  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw someone who had finished give part of her pretzels to an older guy who was in need of some salt.  He was struggling some and just needed something to get him to the end.  This is why I love runners!  She kept saying, no take it, you’re really almost done (and we were), but take it easy!  Sure enough, a few minutes we crossed the finish.

I finished in 1:37:32, pretty good since I haven’t done a 10 mile race since the Cherry Blossom Run earlier this year.  I always forget how good of a distance the 10 mile race is.  The nice thing is that you could get a discount at the Bronx Zoo if you showed your bib today after the race.  Definitely a good race, smooth as all of the NYRR races are and something to go back to in the future!  When I got back to Philly, I did another 3 miles to get a longer run in and to get insurance credit so I can get some cash back!

Happy National Running Day! Have some discounts

National Running day is coming up, so of course, that means discounts for some of the best people ever!!!

  1. New York Road Runners: head over to their website to find out when their group runs are going on Wednesday.  They also have an Run the City Pass that gets you deals and discounts at various places in NYC
  2. Rock n Roll Marathon Series: $20 off most of their events (1/2 and full marathons).
  3. Rock n Roll Tri Series: $20 off their tri series
  4. Perk Up Half Marathon: $45 on June 6th ONLY!
  5. Trenton Half Marathon: First annual Trenton Half Marathon.  Take $20 off with THM2012REG
  6. Philadelphia Color Me Rad 5K: 20% off registration with PHILLYSTYLE (added 6/5/12 4:10 PM)


Keep an eye out on Running Warehouse and other websites, as stuff may pop up unexpectedly!

NYRR Emerald Nut Run: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

Happy Happy New Year’s everyone! Last night at the stroke of midnight, I was with 6000+ people in Central Park for the Emerald Nut Run.  This is the 4th or 5th year I’ve gone out for the run and I get to go to NYC for at least 24 hrs.  I drove to Philly with my parents on Friday and yesterday, my dad drove us in to NYC (I was pro megabus or bolt bus but somehow driving with 3 people was cheaper).  My parents headed over to the NYRR store to sign themselves up (I’d be signed up since September) and pick up bibs, shirts and hats.  They kicked me to the curb around Times Square to see if there were any cheap Broadway Show tickets at the discount ticket stop.  We found nothing good so I met up with my parents at the South Street Seaport for lunch.  Fast forward through seeing the Picasso drawings at the Frick Collection, mass at St. Joseph’s in Yorkville on the UES, dinner at Intimo and watching some of the bowl games on TV, we changed and started heading to Central Park around 11:15.

My parents are training for the Surf City Half in February (I’m jealous as they’ll see some sun and warm temperatures) so mom wanted to try and get 7 miles total.  Our hotel was 1.5 miles from the race start so we did a 1.5 mile warm up to Central Park.  Dad told me to ‘run slow’ which didn’t really work too well so I would run intervals and wait for them.  I got a really good picture of the art museum though. We made it to the start in record Guenther time, arriving a good 25 minutes early.  We were going to try and get the foam 2012 hats, but the line was so long and congested, it wasn’t even worth trying to get them.  We made our way over to the start which was chaotic (as it usually is).  We couldn’t even hop fences to get into the start because there was no room (I would have also run into the ‘I’m too short’ issue too.  We got to a point were we could at least get into line.  We did the traditional count down to the New Year with fireworks and we were off. After waiting for a good 9 minutes.

We were behind a lot of random walkers, people who didn’t know what they were doing or who were stopping to take pictures.  There was a lot of weaving in and out, but then again, this is a race that’s just for pure fun and not even timed officially by NYRR.  I saw some guys dressed up as bananas, a couple dressed as Prince William and Kate Middleton, people with New Years Hats and tutus and a whole bunch of other things.  At mile 2, we got champaign, if by champaign I mean sparkling cider.  I found a bunch of people (some who were probably a little more than drunk) giving out high 5s which I gave them and others shouting Happy New Year’s.  I ended up finishing in 39:50 according to my RunKeeper App on my phone. I made it through the end of the chut and headed to the porta potties to take a bathroom break while I waited for my parents. There was water, bagels and of course Emerald Nuts (they sponsored the race).  When I finally saw my parents, I had to signal my mom that I needed water (I missed that detail when I dashed off to the bathroom!).

I always like this race because it’s just for fun, there’s music and tons of costumes and the cops are nice (I’m convinced they’re glad they don’t have to work in Times Square, which I would be too).  To boot, it’s always your best run of the year!!  We hopped a bus back to 92nd street and showered in the hotel. Before heading to bed, we enjoyed little single servings of some good Martini’s.  By 3 AM, I was finally asleep (my parents were lucky and passed out before me).

I’M BACK!! And Good Things Really Do Happen To Good Runners!!

Holla!!! I’m back after a few month hiatus from blogging.  My last race was the Cleveland Marathon turned Half Marathon.  Today, was the last minute NYRR Queens 1/2 Marathon.  How, you ask, do you get into a sold out race less than 24 hrs beforehand?  Well the saying good things happen to good people is true.  I didn’t have to go into my last day of rotation yesterday so I took the time to NYC for a day/night.  I made the decision Thursday Night and got $22.50 round trip Megabus tickets and a cheap hotel room close to Times Square.  After meeting up with a friend from undergrad, I headed to the NYRR office to see if they had any NYC Marathon Training stuff.  I found a shirt and as I was checking out, the lady behind the desk wished me lucked and asked if I was running the Queens Half.  I replied that I wasn’t because I wasn’t expecting to be out here this weekend as it was a last minute idea to come out, but I would be doing a long run this weekend.  She whispered to me to go check at registration before I left just to be safe.  I headed up and asked and they said they were sold out but to head downstairs and someone would meet me there.  2 minutes later, someone comes down and whispers too me if I was the one asking about signing up and then handed me a registration form. SCORE!!!  I filled it out discretely and handed my $45 and she came back with my bib. YAY ME!!!!

So this morning, I was up bright and early at 4:50 and was able to catch the 5:19 N train to Queensburo Plaza and then the 7 Train to Mets stadium.  The race was at Flushing Meadows Corona Park and was a 7 AM race, but we started at 7:15 or so.  I couldn’t hear what was being said over the speakers so I’m not sure what they said the delay was.  Once the gun went off, it took another 5 minutes for me to get across the start.  The first mile or two weren’t bad but then I felt like it got really hot really fast.  I was using this as a long run and really wasn’t racing per say.  My legs were also shot from walking all day yesterday, so running with tired legs wasn’t all that fun, but I guess a run on tired legs is needed on occasion.  I’m kind of bummed I missed a dailymile meet up!  Anyways, at mile 4 I had to take a pit stop.  that added another 4 minutes to my time because I had to wait :-/  In true NYRR fashion, water stops at every mile or so (very much appreciated) as well as sprinklers/hoses to cool us off.  There were a few areas that had huge puddles that covered the entire running path.  Needless to say, we were diverted around them.  I would say one of the major things that annoys the crap out of me is when a runner is dumping 4-5 cups of water all over themselves at every water station, even when there’s hoses/hydrants spraying water for the purpose of cooling runners.  I can see doing it at 1 stop, but when it’s 6-8 stops, it adds up.  Towards the end, they were running low on water and when there’s people behind you, it’s a respect thing to leave them some.  I came in around 2:27:59, taking out the bathroom pit stop, it’s more like 2:23:59 or so.  Not bad for a last minute half marathon I suppose!

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