Thursday, January 21, 2010

Meet the Members: Traci Lester by Amy Duquette

Traci Lester

When did you start running?
I grew up in central New Jersey and first started running for fun in junior high school.  I joined the track team when I got to high school. I ran cross country in the winter, and in the spring I ran the 100 and 400 meter hurdles, along with the 400 meters and the 800 meters. I also later ran in college for a short time. It was not until my 30’s that I started distance running.

What was attractive to you about running at that age?
My older brother inspired me. He was the  NJ State Champion in the hurdles. I liked the camaraderie that running offered—the team spirit--and I also liked the good feeling that you got after a run. All of my friends were on the track team, so it was a social outlet for me, too.

What makes runners special?
Runners are special people.  They are understanding and appreciative of taking on challenges, overcoming obstacles and striving to accomplish the impossible.  Running is one of the few activities that you can do alone or in a group, and that can happen any time of the day or night.  No matter when you run, there is always someone else out there running who appreciates what you’re doing.

You said in your 30’s you started distance running?
I just completed my 8th marathon this year. I ran my first NYC Marathon in 2003 and then I became hooked on marathons…it’s like an addiction!  The first year that I entered the lottery I was accepted into NYC.  It was an amazing experience. I’ve run the NYC Marathon every year since 2003 and I’ve also done the Chicago Marathon. Along with that, I also run half marathons and have traveled across the country to run them.  Most recently I ran the SF Women’s Half Marathon.

When did you join PPTC and what brought you?
Someone invited me to run the Turkey Trot one year and that’s how I found out about the PPTC.  That was in 2004.

What do you like about the PPTC?
I like the intergenerational aspect of PPTC. There are runners from all backgrounds and walks of life. The club doesn’t feel overly competitive, so no one looks at you funny if it takes you more than 30 minutes to do a loop of Prospect Park or if it takes you more than 5 hours to run a marathon.  I never thought I could belong to a track club as an adult, but when I started meeting people from PPTC, I knew that I was in the right place.

Has the club done anything for your running?
It provides me with a group to motivate me when I need it, especially in the late summer and fall when the marathon training season is in full gear.  And, I really look forward to the post-Marathon party and the cheers that happen when you walk in the room after the race is over.   The club makes it easy for me to run in my community of Brooklyn and Prospect Park.

2010 New Year's Day Run in honor of Harry Murphy

2010 New Year's Day Run in honor of Harry Murphy

By Ralph Yazzo

The 2010 Harry's Handicap was really a result of the 2009 Harry's Handicapwhere Tony Watson, Helen Dole and I started last and finished last and did not see anyone on the course.  This was my fault. The goal of the handicap is people start at different times and finish together.  This year there was more interaction between the runners and that's the goal of all races but especially the handicap.  We really should have input from the runner, but we also have to look at the runner results data and then make a decision.  Sometimes, it works and sometimes, it doesn't.  For example, Mark Crowther worked out because he ran almost his predicted pace (faster than his voted pace) and passed a lot of runners.  Some did not work out, but that's where the voting part has to be enhanced to allow the runner to explain their voted pace.  If you think about it, if a runner's data shows an average pace of 7:30 min/mile pace and the fastest pace is 7 min/mile and they vote that they will run a 9 min/mile in the race.  It's not fair to the other runners to put them in with a 9 min/mile pace because we know they can run faster.  That's where the explanation part of the voting form comes in.

This year we did everything, looked at the race data, got input from the runners, but it would be good if we had a group to help with this.

But in the end, it's just a fun race and we all do the best we can.

Many thanks to everyone that came out for an interesting run. Here are the results by Clock Time and Net Time and Pace - predicted vs. actual and Video