I play the bass with folks who are in a band that is playing on the marathon course. So I took one of its songs, I customized it for NY, entitled “Gotta Go To New York”. (The original is “Gotta Go To Rehab.”) Music by Allen Reid.

Gotta Go To New York


Gotta Go to New York
Lyrics by Joe Garland, Music by Allen Reid

It’s cold and dark outside. You’re out of bed.
If you had any sense you’d be sleeping late instead.
But somehow you get your bones out the door.
This November morning is what all the training’s for.

Gotta go to New York. It’s where everyone wants to race.
Gotta go to New York. Make sure to find the right pace.
Gotta go to New York. It’s were everyone wants to go.
And it all starts at the Verrazano.

It’s when you get off the bridge that you first see the crowd.
And you never knew people could be so loud.
On Fourth Avenue you see the bank tower ahead.
But not too fast or by the Bronx you’ll be dead.

Barclay’s and BAM to Bedford Avenue.
Through Williamsburg and Greenpoint and you’re suddenly half-way through.
Into Queens, Long Island City, still feeling good.
And people still everywhere in this neighborhood.

Then the 59th Street Bridge or whatever they’re calling it today.
So many people rocking you think you feel it sway.
Then some sharp turns and you’re heading up First.
You hope for the best and fear for the worst.

Gotta go to New York. It’s where everyone wants to race.
Gotta go to New York. Make sure to find the right pace.
Gotta go to New York. It’s were everyone wants to go.
And it all starts at the Verrazano.

Into the Bronx but not for very long.
You want to look like you’re still feeling strong.
Back into Manhattan now you’re in the final five.
On Fifth Avenue Harlem comes alive.

Whoa there’s a mile hill just past Duke.
No one told you about that and you just might puke.
But the crowd carries you through mile 23.
You’re where you wondered whether you’d ever be.

Gotta go to New York. It’s where everyone wants to race.
Gotta go to New York. Make sure to find the right pace.
Gotta go to New York. It’s were everyone wants to go.
And it all starts at the Verrazano.

Now you’re in the Park but you’re all alone.
It’s just you and you to the end you’re on your own.
Still it’s beautiful as the trees are turning red.
There’s no other place you’d rather be instead.

Then past the Met, down the hill, wave to the cat.
The slight upgrade at 72nd, no one told you about that.
You make it through mile 25 and one mile to go.
You pass more and more of people getting slow.

Then back into the Park, the crowd goes wild.
And you can’t believe you’re in the final mile.
Though there’s a little hill to the finish line.
You don’t notice, suddenly you’re feeling fine.

Now you’ve done New York. It’s now your favorite race.
Now you’ve done New York. Sweat dripping down your face.
Now you’ve done New York. And you’re feeling dead.
You feel sorry for those who stayed in bed.

I had this idea but never put it down. Simple, really. It involves getting a place to stay when traveling to a race.

In 1985 Chip Carey and I drove up from New York for the Plymouth Rock to Provincetown relay, a 10-leg event populated mostly by Boston-area clubs. Indeed, Chip and I were running for the Cambridge Sports Union or some such — Chip had an MIT-degree I believe — and as the two New Yorkers, we were assigned the last 2 legs, which gave us time to get there. It was a Saturday race, and we drove up on Friday night, staying, and here’s the point, at a house in Newport RI at a friend of a friend of Chip’s. We also stayed at someone’s place in Boston before heading home on Sunday. Or in the first Shelter Island 10K, I stayed with Doug Broder, who had a house on the island, and he had two elite runners stay for the night after the race (which began late in the day).

Compare this to having to book a room at a hotel for a few nights. For some it mightn’t matter. But for others it would. So take the Boston Marathon. With entry fee and travel expense saving hundreds of dollars could help out lots of folks for whom the event has become too expensive.

My idea is to have members of a local club with rooms to spare make them available for a couple of days to people in town for the race. It would be run under the auspices of running clubs. So take the Greater Boston Track Club. A member has a room for three nights in April 2015. The GBTC gets credit for 3 rooms. Meanwhile, a Warren Streeter can have someone stay for 3 nights before New York. A member of GBTC — how the credits are assigned is an internal club-matter — can spend those 3 credits on the place in New York. Or maybe from rooms available in London by the Serpentine Club. A pool of rooms and the chance to share local knowledge with someone.

Basically it’s club runners vouching for other club runners. Like the Elks. Three days would probably be the most anyone could expect, but that’s three days off of a New York hotel bill and that’s real money.

I thought of this because it was mentioned that Airbnb is a sponsor of the NYC Marathon.

I’m going to try posting on the 50+ page at LRC, a page for people 50 and up to post what and how they’re doing. Here’s my first post:

I’ve not posted here before but I figure the act of posting may keep me honest. I’m 57 (58 in a month). Been running since 1970. Live just north of the Bronx, near where I grew up. The last few months have been ups-and-downs with little injuries creating problems. But hope, springing eternal as it does, keeps me going. I hope to race again if I can get some consistency. I’ll be brief, with some color given this as my first time. Good weather all week, especially today.

Monday: Nothing (planned)
Tuesday: 5 easy in the morning. I’d been getting lackadaisical about these, but I have to do them to get mileage in.
Wednesday: Nothing (planned)
Thursday: 5 easy in the morning.
Friday: 5 in the evening. This was a run to the Bronxville track, 10 laps, and then home. I frequently do Friday runs there because I like the rhythm I get into. Because I don’t run at night (the consequence of a post-broken-elbow ban from 2008), I’ll often drive to the track and do an easy 20 laps on most Fridays. Those runs remind me of the many times I did 4 loops of the Reservoir in the winter, flat and a solid pace.
Saturday: I worked at a local race [this was the Bronxville 2.2 and 5 miler, and I volunteered to work with NYCRuns on it] and ran around a lot. In the late afternoon, having poured myself a glass of wine and some snacks I knew I’d regret not going out so going out I did, getting in a relaxed 5 in a light sprinkle. Then I had the wine, etc.
Sunday: There’s a local trail to which I can run (it’s about 1.25 miles away) but I like to be able to get the full trail-experience so I often drive to a stable lot and head out, which I did today. There’s a “lake” with a 1.67 or so loop and then a 1.5 mile stretch. I start with the loop and the out-and-back stretch — so 4.7 — and then the trepidation is how many loops I can then put in. Last week I ran with someone and we got one extra loop. Today my objective was to do two and that’s what I did feeling pretty fresh throughout with a fast final mile. Not so fast as it might have been a few years back, but these things are relative, and I was very pleased with today’s effort.

This is a non-running post.

I didn’t realize that it was so long ago, but in February 2013 I posted about taking up the bass. Then I did posts on writing and performing with a large group of acoustic players just over a year ago. Well I’ve been doing a lot of playing recently. Craig’s List is a means to get together with others, and I’ve played the bass with a number of people. I learned that I don’t like to play with drums. (It’s the noise and the subsequent ear-ringing.) 

I may have found a potential band position with a couple of acoustics playing original stuff. Maybe gigs beginning in November. One of the fantasies is playing in a band. 

I’ve also written a lot of things. I particularly like coming up with some lines and not knowing where they will lead. It feels creative. Notwithstanding my voice, I’ve put many of them on a SoundCloud page. I think the most-recent ones are the better of them, The Call, Visit, 31 (the latter being a song for my anniversary). Slipping into some of the recent ones is a piano. I’ve gotten a “studio piano” — an electric piano that doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles just a limited number of tones. I’m trying to figure that out and integrate it into my things.

I haven’t had much to say on the running front recently. A continuation of the ups-and-downs of the last few months. Today was simply three laps of Twin Lakes, maybe 5 miles. Felt good.

Speaking of 5 miles, the Tuckahoe Challenge — a one-miler followed by a five — is in two weeks. I won’t be able to do it. There’s also a race the day before in Bronxville and apparently going into Tuckahoe and Yonkers as it meanders up the Bronx River Parkway path. While one can register via NYCRuns, the “race” page has no information except for trying to have people pledge to the cause behind the race, although the cause comes before the race. Whatever.

I’m pleased that we’re beginning to get some chit-chat on the WestchesterTrails Facebook page, which is its purpose, see if people want to get together, etc. On the other hand, I gave up on the monthly Rockies Run. The numbers had whittled down until there didn’t seem to be a point. Plus I have not been ready to run any distance up there.

Being lazy, I did a video this morning:

No, not me. As I was loping around Twin Lakes, on the east side across from Ursuline, I wondered when the marathoners would appear.  I figured I’d put something up encouraging the use of this trail for that race.

It’s simple really. When I last trained for a marathon, I did three twenty-milers. One on the roads up to White Plains and back. Once at the Rockies. Once on the Twin Lakes/Nature Study lollipop course. This post relates to the latter two.  With the caveat that I find it difficult to go “easy” on a trail since the terrain requires more than simply cruising along. Although that may be me.

As to the Rockies, I strongly recommend doing some long stuff there. Because of the unavoidable hills, maintaining a solid pace over 20 miles means getting unavoidable strength-work.

As to Twin Lakes/Nature Study, I refer to the lollipop as a loop of the lake and then the stretch up-and-back to Weaver Street. I figure it as about 4.6 miles. Do that 4 times plus a loop of the lake and you have your 20. You can also compare times for the 4.6 miles to see if, as you want, each loop is a wee bit faster than the one before. But I found that as I tired little irregularities in the course — small rocks and roots — that I barely notice when fresh become obstacles, so bear that in mind. (Also, because of its particular demands, I would not recommend doing a long run that includes Leatherstocking. Part of a long run is to develop a rhythm and to avoid overheating and I believe Leatherstocking compromises those objectives.

The main reason I suggest this, though, is the practical side. The 4.6 miles is perfectly set-up for getting water and gels without having to carry them.  While in the race itself one will take water more frequently, I subscribe to the idea that increasing the strain by pushing considerably longer between fluids (but not too much) facilitates the whole stress/recover principle. I simply parked in the stables parking lot off California — you could as easily park on Weaver by the entrance — placed a water bottle and gels on my car and stopped at the end of each loop for maybe 10 seconds.

I’m no marathon expert. I know people who have done more in a month than the two I’ve done in my life. The aforementioned runs were solo efforts and I encourage people getting together in groups (provided their paces are close enough) and I’ve seen such groups on various trails. For those in the northern part of Westchester, there’s a page by the Leatherman’s folks of weekly runs in various places. And I encourage using the WestchesterTrails Facebook page for that purpose. On raceday each of us is on her own. So I think it makes sense to at least once do a long run as a solo effort, starting comfortably and gaining pace, and confidence, as fatigue starts building.


In the 80s, there was a Tour de France for women. Officially the Tour Cycliste Féminin, it faded away and died in 2009.

The Tour de France (the exclusively-male event) ended today in Paris. Before that, however, this morning there was a 56-mile race on the course in Paris for women.

Turns out a woman from Bronxville, who will surely bristle at being described as a “middle of the road cyclist”, Kathryn Bertine is a major impetus for the event and is also behind the Half-the-Road project and directed a documentary:

It’s been a while. I’ve been frustrated. Just as I was getting places — getting regular solid runs on week-ends — I hit upon a stretch of little issues. Each would go away after a day or two but each would then be replaced by another. Right-quad spasm, left-hip pain, right-foot pain, left-calf pain. Oy.

Yet I continue pushing that rock up the hill, being thrilled about this morning’s easy 6. Because it’s not one thing I can’t, say, do exercises to address it.  So for the umpteenth time it’s back to square one.

Still, the fact is that  each time I step out the door it’s with the optimism of a newbie and when I am actually running I’m enjoying it as much as I ever have.

I’ve worked long and hard and, I think, successfully at establishin4g myself as a curmudgeon, and an elitist one at that. Every once in a while, though, something pops up that emphasizes the broad, communal nature of the sport.

On RunnersRoundTable last week (I was not involved) , a number of folks told their Boston stories, stories that exposed how important the Boston Marathon is to many people generally and how this Boston had particular meaning to three people.

RunnersRoundTable: Boston 2014

Running-wise, things have been moving along. I spent a couple of days out at Sag Harbor, and got in one very-nice run and yesterday in the humidity I made it to one of my landmarks, Hearney Road on the BRP. Week-by-week I work my way up. Scarsdale Road, Crestwood Station, Leewood. When I get to (and from) Hearney Road I feel I’ve gotten to a solid place. As noted in the following video, it was a run I needed to finish for my confidence. It wasn’t that fast, but I felt it late. So I followed it with a nice 47 minutes at Twin Lakes/Nature Study. 8 X 400 last Sunday afternoon with a 40-second rest between. Next up: Bronxville 2.5 miler on the Saturday before Memorial Day.

Well, I did head down to the Bronxville track yesterday morning and got in my Repeats. 200, 200, 400, full-length jog between.

  • 38.8, 42.3, 82.2
  • 39.6, 40.0, 81.4
  • 40.5, 39.8, 82.2
  • 40.2, 40.6, 81.7

The running was pretty relaxed, although it takes some getting used to the 400s.

But more, I wanted to post separately CG’s comment to that post and respond because I think she makes good points (I admit some typos.) She writes,

“i had to read your intro ¶ a few times to comprehend- i’m sure it’s just that i’m slow (mentally, too), and it wasn’t the grammatical errors, as i’m a neophyte there.

“i’ve wondered if it’s your ego that’s kept you out of much speed training and racing in the past few years. you’ve said you’ve had this-that-and-the-other issues, but i wonder if it’s just the fear of not running the times you used to that’s kept you away. when i was out on the track earlier today, i thought that someone like you, who (to your credit) has had very consistent race performances in the past might be intimidated when he shows up to a track workout and can no longer perform (even alone).

“it makes someone like you more like “one of us”. there a number of guys (and women) in your age group who run around your current race times out here on the island. but one thing i’ve noticed is that they deal with frequent ‘sub-par’ performances and ‘glorified training runs’ as part of a larger goal.

“the one thing that came to me as i putzed around the track this evening was that if you stop racing, you will hasten your decline even further (this is actually not a new “epiphany” for me- just something i re-acknowledge, as married folks re-acknowledge why they love their spouses). age is not working in your favor. that goes for the dilettantes such as myself, as well as the “racers” such as you.

“i would put to you, “what are your racing goals?” if it’s to run longer races, then adopt that sort of plan. if shorter (and that’s what i would pursue in your position), then adopt a more speed-focused one. running daniels’ paces for track workouts may cut it for longer stuff. even if that’s your goal, i’d say run your track workouts with other guys b/c i’ve noticed over the past few years that you have a tough time completing your projected workouts. i’m not sure there’s a one where you got through the whole thing. that said, maybe you should meet up w/guys like mark t who are around your pace now and could push you to complete the sets.

“but if your goal is to set some westchester 50+ records, you’d best work a bit harder. focus on the mile or another middle distance event. do the speed training for that. it’s another level than daniels and may help you at longer stuff eventually. find some guys to push you on the track. keep up a weekly, but slow, longerish run.

“my two. slow. cents.”

Ego plays a role. But I don’t know that it’s kept me from training. In fact ego may be preventing me from racing as much as I might for fear of falling short of my expectations. So I may make excuses for not doing the work and then justify not racing on the ground that I haven’t done the work. She’s right that the more I think along those lines and the more comfortable I am with just sleeping in the faster the decline.

In my defense, my work situation is such that I don’t often get the chance to run afterward. But cutting against that is that there’s no reason I can’t get up earlier than I do and run before. In the latter stages of winter, I got better at that, often heading down to the treadmill for 30 or 40 minutes.

She’s surely right that I need to decide what racing goals I have as that demands decisions on what need to be done to reach them. She’s probably right on the substance that I might do better focusing on shorter stuff, 5Ks and 10Ks and the like. As a practical matter, that makes sense since there are more of them than HMs around (and I expect to do the Loucks 5K in a couple of weeks).

When I spoke of Sound Shore, I noted that coaching was an excuse for structuring my own training, a win/win. (And I know there are those who took exception to my approach.) The Repeats yesterday were part of doing that, i.e., looking at where things stood and trying to specifically address them.

She’s right that it would be good to join with others for speed work, but that’s just not practical. I disagree about Daniels if only because his approach is useful for any racing distance. It’s just the types of workouts and the frequency of various types that vary. But, yes, if my goal is 5Ks and 10Ks and the like, a greater dosage of the faster types of training (Repeats and Intervals) over the slower types (Tempos) is in order.

 All-in-all, quite helpful. I’m feeling more comfortable about finding my Goldilocks LR pace and can mix that up with the harder (for me) runs I do with Warren Street or at the Rockies. mix in some serious speed work. To be clear, I don’t view speed work as a miracle cure in isolation. I view it in the context of the disconnect between the speed I can maintain in a long run and the speed I can achieve in a race (albeit using only the single data-point of the recent 15K). It may be for naught. And injuries may lay me low. We shall see.

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