Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Oops - More Inside Loop!

Let's hope that Chris O'Brien's foot stress fracture heals well and allows him the time to train for the marathon in Ireland in 2012 that he's so psyched for.
Yves Roger was psyched to see the more than 60 PPTC runners at the Staten Island Half. For how fast PPTCers ran at this race and others as well, check out the Race Results page.
Remember some years ago when PPTC road tripped to Virginia Beach for the the Rock 'Roll race weekend events? This year it was rolling out of bed and making it to the Grecian Shelter area of Prospect Park for the 730am start of the Rock 'n Roll 10k on October 22nd. It was a grand day for PPTC indeed, in the park , on the roads, and on the awards podium, PPTC rocked !
The second session of the current speed training go-round saw the Thursday's group getting rained on big time at the Red Hook Track. The good news was that the workout rocked as usual with coach Tony and Charlene also getting very wet in the rain. No sitting in their car on the sidelines for these two. Can the indoor workouts at the Park Slope Armory in mid-November be that far away?
And speaking of indoor armories, the 2012 Millrose games will be conducted at Manhattan's 168th street and B'way Armory and not at Madison Square Garden come early next February
And speaking of changes in venue, by the time youre reading this, perhaps you realize that the meeting place for the PPTC monthly general meetings has been moved. As one member who prefers to remain anonymous put it, ''Well, at least you can now order up something besides physical therapy!" Many thanks to NY Sports Med for all their past hospitality. Hey, sustenance, sustenance, three cheers for liquid sustenance!!
Tom Tobin thought that driving the baggage car was probably a lot easier than running in the wet and sniffly conditions the day of the infamous ''last ten miles'' PPTC group run. Many thanks to Tom, Anne and all the others Mike thanked for making this PPTC annual event happen.
Tom Byrnes was not stranded in London hoping that some of the PPTCers on his email list would send him a few bucks to get home. Let's face it, sometimes you know when you've been hacked and when you're hacked , you're hacked. Thanks to MSN Support , especially Patrick in India, for all the help. If you're hacked and you're an MSN subscriber, call MSN support to get your password reset . This will give you the chance to reopen your email account and by changing your password from the reset, you'll have your email life back again.
But if I was stranded and broke, you would send money, wouldnt you? Well, I know who wouldnt but we'll let that be .

Inside Loop

Posted in December
Who ran what finishing times at New York couldn't include the valuable volunteer contribution of PPTC members and friends to the efforts of the United States Anti Doping Agency and its work with doping control for athletes whose finishing positions had been selected at random at this event. Thanks to PPTC's Wayne Bailey, Trey Heard, Sandra and Natacha Ferrari, and Marc McKennis. Up close and personal with PPTC were top finishers Geoffrey Mutai, Emmanuel Mutai, Firehiwo Dado of Ethiopia, and Ana Dulce Felix among others.
January 2012 will see another indoor track meet coming to Madison Square Garden. Not the Millrose Games but reminiscent of the days when there were actually three major indoor meets in the Metropolitan area, Millrose , Vitalis, and Mobil. As they say, back in the day....
Seeing Priscilla Muller starting her run into the wind on PPW and 1st street one Saturday in early November brought back some beautiful memories. We miss you Bob!
Citytri's Brooklyn Prospect Park Duathlon Sunday on November 13th found both Marc Crowther and Tom Byrnes on the awards podium stand taking home age group trophies. Thanks to the young men and women volunteers from the Lefferts Garden Association for helping Directors George and Alexandra Regan make this events a huge success. It almost seemed that the water cups wouldn't hit the ground before a vol would be there to catch it on the fly.
Lots of great suggestions on the open forum site for anyone looking for a spring 2012 marathon. Been there, done that, a marathon in the fall and then another in the spring. Training through the winter to use it before you lose it!
Word from Aunt Susan Tomasi off the beaten tredmill is that PPTCer Pete Tomasi has to hustle to cross the finish line with his son Harry in local races these days. I'm sure that if the clan was still living in Brooklyn, Harry would be a valued member of Sean Rice's Prospect Park Youth Runners!
Mid-November saw Tony Watson's Tuesday and Thursday speed workouts moving in to the YMCA's Park Slope 15th street Armory indoor track! Track is back! With the installation of seating on the upper tier of the facility, can an indoor meet be long off? Marc Crowther's interest in a not so invitational all comers mile seems to be looking good!
Will Abrams running with a group a chatty youth runners at the base of Lookout Hill puts Will back on the radar! Will's sub 3:08 at NYC put the smile on his face and I'm sure is a source of inspiration to the young runners he was training.
Lynda Mules was hooked up with the Prospect Park Alliance via the NYRR volunteering to clean up our park.This seemed to be an ideal option for the 9+1 marathon credit. According to the Prospect Park Alliance, the group got an "astronomical" amount of work done. For Lynda the highlight, though, was working along a stretch on the course duathlon. "I knew the event was taking place but was pleasantly surprised that I was able to cheer for the participants while I raked leaves." Linda seems to be saddling her ability to bike with her prowess on the roads into her thinking about a duathlon in the not so distant future...

Brooklyn Marathon runner Gary Wang ran the first half with Pieter, Tom, Mike, and Peter and they all looked great. Hope the second half went just as well. What a great race....a great atmosphere with lots of people cheering out there. I hope this is the first of many more. The Achilles Marathon in the park last run over 11 years ago evaporated after only two runnings due to logistical reasons so lets hope that this year's version of a Brooklyn Marathon continues in the park and perhaps is taken to the streets!

Meanwhile, in Philly, PPTC's Helen Dole ran a 3:07 and Matt Strawn a 3:15. Helen writes that she received at least twenty "Go Prospect Park!" or "Go Brooklyn!" along the Philly course. As she now has experienced for herself, PPTC is very well known beyond just the five boroughs! This was Matt's third marathon and he sees areas where he can pare down his time even further.

Thanks to PPTC Money Man Doug Olney for reporting in that for the first time ever, the Turkey Trot has sold out.The event reached the 2,500 participant limit the Monday before the race at JackRabbit Sports. I wonder who was the lucky 2500th entrant?
As Bill Rodgers once told me, see you on the roads.

News from Early Fall
PPTC ranting and raving about Chris O'Brien, Clair Dougherty and Stacey Ullman's completing September's Mighty Hamtpons Triathlon out on eastern Long Island's South Fork, a mile swim, 40k on the bike, and a 10k run. Welcome to the ranks of PPTCers who've tried triathloning for the first time Clair and Stacey.
PPTC sympathies go out to the family and friends of Dennis Trott. Dennis was one of PPTC's hard core ultra- marathoners back in the day. Rest in peace Dennis Trott. Let's keep Dennis and all the other deceased members of PPTC in our thoughts and prayers.
Past PPTC President Bobby Fisher's fall 2011 bike events included the Golden Apple Ride 65miles on 9/4, the Escape New York 66mile ride on 9/24, the Twin Lights Ride 75miles on the next day 9/25, the Pumkin Patch Peddle 62miles on 10/2 and The Tour de Bronx on 10/23. 'Lotsa' rides, 'lotsa' miles, but remember too, it's 'lotsa' fun! From a runner's point of view, cross training at its best. From behind the bar , of a road bike that is, the ride is what it's all about.
Great to see Richard Weaver firing up at NYRRC's Fifth Avenue Mile, one for his grandkids to be proud of! Go grandpa Rich!
There's a lot to be said for racing the smaller out of town marathons, avows Tyrone Sklaren. Venturing to Hartford in October, Tyrone found the event much more to his preference than races with casts of tens of thousands . The smaller field and more room on the road to actually see the route of the course ahead was much more to his liking. PPTC on the move in Hartford Connecticut! One thing about out of town races, if you go and wear the PPTC colors , on a singlet or a tee shirt, guaranteed that someone will step up out of the crowd and start the gab about having lived in Brooklyn, having parents or relatives who lived in Brooklyn, and maybe even having stopped by Prospect Park once.
On her Facebook page she says "I should never stop running, no matter how busy I can get from the move. I am a better version of myself when I run." We miss you CoCo!
Thanks to Bobby Fisher for sharing the news that at October's Brooklyn Triple Crown Award dinner PPTC won three of the four team awards presented, Open women, Masters women, and Masters men. Don't fight boys and girls over who gets to keep the trophy in their house until 2012's Awards dinner.

Harry's Handicap

The New Year is fast approaching and with it your best chance to beat runners you can’t catch or even see at other races – that’s right Harry’s Handicap and a chance for glory are back! Conceived over 40 years ago by PPTC founder Harry Murphy – this loop of the park prediction race is open to members and their guests and starts and finishes on the main loop at 10th Avenue near Prospect Park Southwest.
Check in at the Knights Of Columbus Hall on 10th Avenue between PPSW and 16th street from 8:30-9:30 AM. After the race come back for a pot luck buffet and please bring something! Non-Members are asked to donate $5. For members, this is all absolutely free. Free!
Please sign up now and predict your pace at In the tradition of Harry Murphy, the race directors reserve the right to handicap you accordingly.

Tyrone Slarken - from Injury to BQ

It was 7:00 a.m. Friday August 29, 2010; right before the Labor Day weekend. I was doing a fast tempo run around the outside of Prospect Park. Near Lincoln Road I tripped and *fell hard onto my left side. I tried to move, but the pain was excruciating. *A nurse on her way to work saw me sprawled on the sidewalk and called *911 - and my wife. The EMT’s arrived about 20 minutes later, and took me *to the Kings County trauma unit. I had a broken hip; one clean break in the *upper femur. I was operated on soon afterwards; a metal pin was inserted *in my leg connected to the bone with titanium screws.

After the operation the surgeon (a marathon runner himself) told me the *operation went very well. He said I could start running again in six months. *I left the hospital the next day, and the day after that I was at work. I used a walker to get around. I went to physical therapy three times a week before work, and the other days I did the therapy exercises on my own at home. In a couple of months I graduated to a cane, and I could go to the gym and take spinning classes. After a few weeks I didn’t need the cane, and I could walk on the treadmill, and around the park. I was cleared for running after the six months of rehab; I ran a couple of races in March-and I strained my hamstring. Six weeks more of spinning and walking, but it became clear what my running goal would be. I wanted to qualify for Boston again.

A fall 2011 marathon could qualify me for 2013 - when I would be 65-meaning a qualifying time of 4:10 - but I knew with the new qualifying procedures I had to run under four hours to make sure I got in. I followed Brad Hudson’s masters plan – three running workouts a week and one or two spinning classes plus weight and core training on off-days.

I ran a 1:49:43 half-marathon four weeks before my goal marathon - ING Hartford in October - so I had a decent shot at it - but I still had to do it.

Marathon day weather was good with temperatures in the 50’s. I stayed behind the 3:55 pacer for 22 miles, feeling pretty good. Then, suddenly, I wasn’t feeling so good. The mind was fine; the arms were pumping - but I felt like someone had tied 10 pound weights to my legs - and I was slowing dramatically. Every time someone passed me, and it happened quite a bit, I was afraid it was the 4:00 pacer passing me. It felt like the grim reaper was stalking me. But I kept on going (though I did not want to).

I crossed the finish line in 3:57:58. I was the happiest guy in the world. My journey was complete. The story of the broken hip was over. I was just a runner again.

Figuring out how I could run a little faster next time; maybe I should take Tony’s class again; maybe I could get a PR; a new age group for 2012; just a runner again. And it feels great.

Annual Awards Shindig

We are so excited to celebrate with our team members at the annual PPTC Awards Celebration which will take place on Thursday, February 2, 2012 7-10pm at the Abigail Brooklyn Cafe.

For the second straight year, this event will be an after-work reception in order not to interfere with weekend running activities. A reminder and more details about the venue, date and time will be sent via PPTC Bytes and posted online closer to the date.

The Awards committee is taking nominations for the following awards:

•The Bob Mueller Award for a member over the age of 50 who is a top runner and who has served the community (including at volunteering at least one PPTC event in the past year);*
•The PPTC Comeback Runner of the Year for a runner who battled injury and/or illness during 2010-2011, yet managed to race well during the past year;*
•The New Member of the Year to someone who has joined PPTC since July 2010 and contributed both in races and to improving our community; and*
•The Outstanding Single Contribution Award given to a club member who has improved club image, operations or provided a unique opportunity for member participation.

Please send your nomination with the name of the award, the member's name and a short explanation of why the person you are nominating should be considered to no later than January 15, 2012.

One final reminder: if you will qualify for the Run Brooklyn *(see the rules on, please enter your races in the *Member Racing History Database by January 15, 2012. *The raffle for the $100 cash prize will take place at the *Awards Celebration.

NYC Marathon Wrap-Up - From Mike Ring

According to NYRR’s records, 71 members of the Prospect Park Track Club finished the NYC Marathon this year! We had a few runners under 3 hours, many in over 5 hours, and dozens in between.

PPTC does a lot to get our members and our community ready, to the start line, and recovered at the end:

The "Last 10"
This run has always been available to friends of PPTC members, but for the second year in a row, we opened it up to the public.

Running the miles 16 -26.2 of the marathon is not as easy as it sounds when the City does not close the roads. The tricky part is getting from Manhattan to the Bronx. On Marathon Sunday, runners just take the road, but on any other day one has to use the pedestrian lanes. However because the Willis Avenue Bridge is still under construction, the pedestrian lanes are incomplete. So Cecil Burgin and I had to do a little reconnaissance in the week before the run. We took a pleasant walk over the bridge. We took photos and drew arrows. Then we walked back to Manhattan and had a nice lunch. Nobody got lost.

We had about 150 people RSVP that they were going to join us so we expected 300. However, the weather ranged from a cold mist to a 40° horizontal deluge, so only about 150 brave souls showed up. I got more than a few emails asking if our run had a rain date. My answer was “No and neither does the marathon." We almost lost one teammate to hyperthermia, but I think everyone who ran benefited from the run. We knew it could not be wetter and colder on marathon Sunday.

Transportation to the Starting Line
We also had our own transportation to the marathon start. For the second year in a row, we filled four buses, transporting 220 people from JackRabbit Sports on Seventh Avenue to Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island. With a little more marketing we probably could have filled another two or three buses, but enough is enough. We just made sure all PPTC people had the opportunity to sign up first.

Post-Marathon Reception
Our post-marathon reception was once again at PS 87. It is so great to have an indoor place to meet our friends and family. Even cooler is the fact that your teammates are there to give you a spontaneous round of applause when you walk into the room. This year we also arranged for post race massages, Camilo Brooks helped get out some of those knots. I thought he was going to tear me apart, but I do think my Monday and Tuesday were a little better because of him. He can be reached at 718 608 8520 or We also upgraded our reunion for 2011. Instead of having runners “sign in” on oak tag, we made a video, which will be shared when available.

There is one other thing that the general membership of PPTC might not know about the “reunion school”. It only cost us $80 to rent the cafeteria and the bathrooms. It seems that public schools are mandated to make their facilities available at a low cost to community groups. The Prospect Park Track Club is by definition a community group. I had a conversation with the custodian at PS 87 about this. Of the $80 we pay the Department of Education, the school gets about half of that to cover their payroll expenses which are actually about $250. The PPTC Board decided to make a $200 donation to the PS 87 PTA. It is the least we can do for our community,

We hope that all our runners and their supporters had a great time. We look forward to making next year’s event equally rewarding.

I would also like to thank all the volunteers who made this happen. Many people thanked me, but I would like to thank you.

Upcoming Events

As always, PPTC keeps you busy and on the run even in colder temps. And we also take some time out to celebrate our members' achievements from the past year. Hope you will join us!
January 1 - Harry's Handicap
A perfect way to kick off the new year and enjoy a potluck feast. And with the handicap - truly anyone can win! Registration will be at the Knights Of Columbus Hall On 10th Avenue Between Prospect Park Southwest and 16th Streets, 8:30 - 9:30 am. For more information on the history of this race, see page 5.

January 9 - PPTC Meeting

February 2 - Annual Awards Shindig
Join us from 7 to 10pm at the Abigail Brooklyn Cafe. See page 3 for info about this year's awards and how to nominate a team member.

February 6 - PPTC Meeting

February 19 - It’s the Cherry Tree Ten Miler and 3 Person Relay!
You know how it works – you either run three freezing cold (or unseasonably warm) loops of Prospect Park. Or you and two close friends choose to share the misery (or balminess) with a loop each.
And if you don’t want to get out and run it – we always need volunteers.

Rumors of funky headgear this year – what more could you ask for?
Well if you want to ask… may have the answers.

March 5 - PPTC Meeting*

Visit and look out for PPTC News Bytes for more info on all upcoming events

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What You Do Not Know Because You Are Not Me

We Needed a Bigger Truck
Michael Ring

I help out with a lot of races.  One of the behind the scenes challenges is getting the stuff there.  Ya know… Logistics.

A small race is not always easier.  They don’t always come with car permits, so we have to carry gallons of water and timing mats from the street to the nice part of the park where we want to start and finish our race.  Gigantic races like the Rock & Roll 10K came with Teamsters, so my job was easy.

Like this but all dinged up.
For races like the Turkey Trot we rent a U-Haul.  In the past we got a cargo van.  But even with the Bishop Ford people using their school buses the van was packed.  So this year I was going to get a 14’ truck.  This was going to make it much easier to gather up 20 cases of apples, 20 folding tables, about 50 signs, 2 big clocks 1 giant ladder and 3 big ladders, a few thousand cups and 6 giant apple pies.  I figured at 14’ truck would be fine.  I’m gonna pick up Anne (Mrs President) and head over to Costco.  But then Anne mentions that we are going to take Pat Meany (The First Lady) too.  “But it only has two seats”  “No problem,” Anne says, “I can sit in the back.”  No and No, not with all that stuff.  I get a 17’ truck, it has 3 seats.  I only costs a few cents more per mile and we were only gonna drive about 25 miles in 2 days.

Usually U-Hauls look like the ones in the photo.  They are a year or two old with less than 20, 000 miles and they run like new.  Not the truck they gave me.  I was covered in scratches and had almost a quarter of a million miles.  I was kinda glad, they would not notice the new dings I would put on it.  But the fact that the Check Engine Light was on should have tipped me off to a problem.  The U-Haul dude told me not to worry about it.   I shoulda worried.

After I picked up the First Lady and Mrs President we head over to Rothman’s to get 20 cases of apples we realized the truck is a clucker.  It doesn’t like to change gears and it was not only the check engine light. that was on.  All the gauges were in the red.  Whatever, all we gotta do is get to to Costco, Bishop Ford, and then Prospect Park.  No-so-good.  Just after I say “Wow we were actually going 30 MHP on Prospect Park South West, the engine stops.  The fact that it just started raining made it appear that smoke was coming out of from under the hood.

The the three of us abandon the vehicle in the left lane of PPSW just before Park Circle.  We called U-Haul and Tom Meany.  Before the service truck even got there the track teams from Bishop Ford began transferring the stuff from the truck into their school vans. (Yes, in the middle of the street… in the rain.)  Then the U-Haul dude shows up “Ya got gas?!!?!?”  “Yea, I got gas” He just turns the key and it starts.  He says it is fine, finish your move.  “But why did it stop?” “Don’t worry about it” he replies.  I am worried.

So we chug over to the Audubon Center at The Boathouse and unload the rest of the stuff.  We decided than to return the truck immediately instead of after the Turkey Trot.  Pat Meany (Bless her sole!) said “I will ride back with you, just in case you have any problems”  At the time I did not give that much thought,  If all went well she would have given up her ride home with her husband  walk back to 8th Ave from 4th Ave.  But all did not go well.  The truck stalled every time I took my foot off the gas.  When we finally made it up Flatbush Ave, it totally died in front of the library.  Again we called U-Haul and Tom.  This time it took 2 hours for a tow truck to come and thanks to Pat I did not have to sit there alone… in the rain… with a dead cell phone.  When Tom came to rescue us he was impressed with the quantity of steam his wife and I got on the truck windows.

Eventually a different tow truck guy shows up.  “Ya got gas?”  Not funny.  I tell him to take the thing away and I think I am done with U-Haul for a while.  Not so much.  Every 24 house for the next 4 days they call me, “When are you going to bring the truck back?”  I tell them the same thing, “You have it and when are you going to REFUND ALL my money you charged me to rent that POS?”  They have no clue.

On the Wednesday after Thanksgiving they finally figure out that they had their truck and they sent me a statement.  They are changing me for the 15 miles I put on the truck (maybe counting the miles the truck was on the hook) and insisting that they can not refund the insurance for 2 days.  They actually expect me to pay for the insurance on a truck that I did not even have on the second day. (BTW, insurance and U-Haul costs more than the daily rental rate)

So I walked over to the U-Haul place and introduced my self. The clerk looks me up on her computer and says “Are you finished with the truck yet?”  Ack.  I have to deal with a wall a bureaucracy to get my money back.  

I decided to say calm.  In reality it was not even my money, PPTC was going to reimburse me.  But that made me even madder.  This was a charity; they really should have given us the truck for free. So I walked into the U-Haul and asked for the manager.  She was there but busy.  After waiting on line I got to the clerk and said “No I do not need to rent anything, I just want to make sure I have all my facts straight before I get in touch with your corporate offices in Arizona.  When I was less than half way through my tail of woe the manager came over and instructed the clerk to issue me a complete refund.

But I did not believe it till I saw it.