4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for August 2009

Improved Bike Lane Coming to Allen St?

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My run today to the Williamsburg Bridge took me down 1st Ave and then Allen St to Delancey.  There has been a bike lane on Allen St for as long as I’ve been running down there, but it is a bit of a joke.  Lane was blocked in a couple of spots by long term construction, and in much of the rest of the area, the lane markings have long since  faded away or been obliterated by construction.  So today, I was pleasantly suprised to see new chalked markings on Allen.  Looks like the new bike lane will be on the inside, along the ‘mall’, and protected from traffic by a buffer zone.  Car traffic will be reduced to 2 lanes, from the current 3.

I wonder whether having the bike lane on the inside of the street, at the median, will present another set of problems, namely getting into and out of the the lane, but I think the buffered lane will be a big improvement.  I only hope they get the new paint down quickly, as there is definitely confusion out there.  Some drivers were respecting the old lanes, and some were respecting the chalked outline of the new lanes.  That is clearly a recipe for disaster.  More info on the overall plan from The Lo-Down.

I’ll be running down Allen lots of times as I continue my training for the New York City Marathon.  Looking forward to trying out the new configuration when it is all done!  On a similar note, I’m still loving the bike lane on Ave A.  It really has made Ave A more orderly in terms of car traffic, and much, much safer for runners and bikers.

Written by SCL

August 20, 2009 at 9:24 pm

Posted in Bike Lanes

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East River Waterfront Esplanade and Piers Project

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Last week, I followed Mayor Mike on Twitter, when he spent the day posting his own tweets.  Yeah, it was a gimmick, but it got me, and am I glad it did.  Today, this tweet caught my eye: “A Waterfront Project as Cool as the HighLine”: Announced plan to refurbish 2 piers & build esplanade along East River http://bit.ly/11EZIR

As a resident of Stuyvesant Town, and a frequent runner down East River Park, and the entire esplanade down to the SI Ferry terminal, I’m always interested in hearing about improvements that will be made.  Of course, I’m hugely skeptical as well, as I know that most of the East River Park Esplanade has been closed since July 2001, and is only now, 8+ years later, starting to near completion.  I most recently commented on it here.  I also remember about 4 years ago, passing a Fox 5 reporter on my morning run taping a segment in East River Park talking about all the amazing improvements that would be made to the park and the entire stretch of the East River below the park.  Years later, and still nothing. 

Until now?

About 2.5 months ago, on a run, I noticed a new area of construction near South Street Seaport, and wondered what it was.  Well, according to New York City Economic Development Corp (from here), it is the first step in rebuilding the entire esplanade, and the official groundbreaking was today:

“For reasons of design, schedule, and cost, and as a result of the large project size, the ERW project will be constructed in stages. Construction of the esplanade from Wall Street to Maiden Lane is the first construction package, which began in Spring 2009. This portion of the project will showcase the Esplanade design including the seating, planting, paving, railing, and lighting that are proposed for the entire Esplanade. In these two blocks, there will also be unique amenities including steps that lead to the water’s edge at Wall Street.  Future construction stages will begin throughout the rest of 2009 and into 2010, including Pier 15 and Pier 35.”

The overall plan sounds, and looks, very exciting – a 2 level pier, rebuilt piers 15 and 35, Class 1 bikeway, urban beach (phase 2), etc.  While it looks overly ambitious, I will try to be optimistic here and think that they could get this done, and in our lifetime!  Of course, by the time it is all done, I’ll probably be moved out of Stuyvesant Town and won’t be around to enjoy it.

Written by SCL

August 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm

NYRR Switching to Chronotrack DTag?

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I recieved my Marathon Handbook in the mail this past week, and noticed that one of the ‘changes for 2009’ is the switch from ChampionChip to the Chronotrack DTag timing system.  Then, this weekend, I was trying to do some planning for upcoming races, and noticed that many (all?) of the upcoming 2009 races are also using DTag.  The DTag system is a disposible RFID device that also attaches to your shoe and provides timing for races.  In fact, this was the system used when I ran the Austin Marathon earlier this year.

Hadn’t seen any official announcements on this, but wonder if this is a permanent switch.  Apparently, it was already used earlier this year in the Mother’s Day Race.  Personally, I have owned my ChampionChip since the 2000 NYC Marathon, and really like being able to stick it on my shoe and not worry about it during races.  It is also great that I could use it at other non-NYRR events also using the ChampionChip system.  But, on the flip side, I’m sure most people don’t own their chips and have to then deal with the hassle of leaving the chip behind after the race and getting charged if it gets lost.

Will reserve further judgement until I try the new system myself and see how it goes.  As long as the timing is accurate, and the system is not difficult to use, then perhaps this change is for the best?

Written by SCL

August 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Posted in NYRR

Tagged with , , ,

Blog anniversary of sorts

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I started this blog in March of 2008, with the idea that I would chronicle my attempt to run a marathon under 4:30.  I managed to post 5 times that month, but then stopped.  At the time, I was just getting started with my bike riding for the season, and getting into my triathlon training for the Philadelpiha Sprint Triathlon.  It seemed like each of my posts were more related to biking than running, so I stopped posting.

Then, on August 1, in a panic, I realized the NYC Marathon was only 3 months away.  Around that time, I started up my serious training, and my blogging, and off I was.  This marks my 199th post, altough only 198 have been published so far (my Austin Marathon race report is still in draft and half done 😦 ), and has really become a place for me to just document what I’m doing, how things are going, my successes, my failures, and my attempts to do better than has come before.  Even though I’ve now fallen in love with DailyMile (see my profile here) and I use that as sort of my daily running log and social network, this blog is still where I go to write in detail about what’s happening.

I know there aren’t a whole lot of you that read my blog regularly, but, I’ve virtually met lots of great and inspiring people who do read, and sometimes comment, and I really appreciate all of your interest, support, and well wishes!

I finally bested 4:30 in the marathon in Austin, but not by a lot, and I know there is lots of room for improvement.  Can I get to 4:15? Sure. 4:00? Maybe. Boston Qualifying? Doubtful. Doesn’t mean I won’t try!  This is the place you’ll hear all about it!  Hope you keep coming back…

Written by SCL

August 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Posted in Reflections