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Friday, July 31, 2009

New Friends, The NYC Half, and Un-Half


Recently, I noticed a team at several races called Powered By Dim Sum..hmm..first I thought it was maybe a computer program, like Java, but no, it's a running group that likes to eat dim sum. Cool. If you read my blog regularly, you know I love dim sum (known as yum cha in Australia), especially chicken feet and any other 'nose to tail' parts.
I thought Powered By Dim Sum and Team Joe Coffee. Huh. Maybe we could be friends. Jerry, who seems to be the Team Leader, has agreed to join forces loosely. We have invited his team to run with Joe, since they don't have regularly scheduled runs. In exchange, we get to tag along for dim sum...also, they have organized their own Half-Marathon the same date and time as the NYC Half. August 16th. 7 a.m. The difference is there is no fee to run...also no T-shirts, no water stations, no nothin'. Afterward, we will all meet up at Jing Fong. Read Jerry's email below.

Due to stronger incentives for PBDS members to be cheapskates, PBDS will be holding their 4th Annual PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon on August 16th, 2009.

The PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon is for those who found their net worth to be lower than the Titanic and for those who didn't wake up for several days to make it in time to sign up for the NYC Half before it closed out.

The PBDS format is causing NYRR to change their format for the NYC Half this year. For NYC half, its now First come first serve for race entry instead of lottery. For PBDS its first show up ON TIME, then run. Those who are late will not run because we will not be around. For PBDS, we have done our halves without any sponsorship. For NYC Half, NYRR has reduced their sponsors by getting rid of NIKE.
The theme for PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon 2009 will be Milking NYC for what we can get out of it. We will use their roads and pedestrian pathways for no money, we will use their bridges for no money. we will even use their water fountains in the public parks for no money. In return for the milking, you will receive nothing from us. No t-shirts, no water tables, no marked paths, no forced, smiling volunteers to guide us in the right direction. I know this is a culture running shock to some of you who before could afford the NYC Half but this is how it is done when you come down to our level. This year we must institute 2 pace group. Slow and Fast. I will be with the slow group. Those who are considering to be in the fast group should familiarize yourself with the route. We will not lose people or leave anyone behind. Those 2 girls that we somehow misplaced last year found their way back to the start. So technically we did not lose them since they were found.

Here are the details of the PBDS Poor Runners' Half-Marathon

START TIME: 7AM, That means START running at 7AM.

Course will be:
1ST LEG Start on South St. and Market St. (Chinatown)----Up East River park----To Williamsburg Bridge and over----around the Navy Yard----To Brookyn Bridge and over----to Entrance to Manhattan Bridge. 8.08 Miles

Start On Entrance of Mahattan Bridge----Over Manhattan Bridge----Up Jay St.----Right on Tillary St.----Brooklyn Bridge and Over. 3.05 Miles

Start Off Brooklyn Bridge----left on Park Row----Left on Broadway----Continue on State St.----around State Plaza----pass South Ferry----Up South St.----Finish at Market Slip. 2.23 Miles

ROAD CLOSURE: None, unless you use your body to block the cars.

POLICE PROTECTION: They will be protecting the NYC Half. Not us.

WATER STATIONS: There are 2 water fountain in the 1st Leg. 1 water fountain at the beginning of the 3rd leg. If you have water belts, Bring it!

STRAGGLER BUS: More Like straggler walk back to the start for us.
MEDICAL SUPPORT: None, so don't get hurt.
BAGGAGE: Can be stored in my place.

SCORING/TIMING: whatever your watch tells you.
DISTANCE: Total distance is a little greater than 13.1 So train for that extra .1 or .2 miles.

If you can make it, Email me directly at

More Recipes from the NY Philharmonic Extravaganza

There have been many many requests for the recipes of the delicious food that was cooked by Team Joe runners at the NY Philharmonic picnic in Central Park (luckily everything was eaten before the rain came down!).

So fellow runners and readers, here we go:

Corn & Jalapeno salad(serves 6) - from Caitlin

1 cup walnuts
4 cups (from 4 ears) fresh corn, raw or cooked (I always do it raw, as I like the crispness)
2 jalapenos, seeded and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt & black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta (I always use a bit more!)

Toast walnuts in 400 degree oven for about 8 min, or until fragrant. Let cool and roughly chop.Combine all ingredients (including walnuts) except feta in a large bowl. Mix, let sit, and add feta just before serving. Freakishly easy!

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche (Serves 6-8) - from Laura

Rich shortcrust pastry:

6oz (175g) plain flour
pinch of salt
4oz (125g) hard margarine or butter
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

8oz (225g) frozen chopped spinach
1oz (25g) butter
1 small onion (peeled and diced)
4oz (125g) mushrooms (sliced)
3 eggs
1/4 pint (150ml) double cream or crème fraîche
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
large pinch of dried basil

Preheat oven to gas mark 6 (200ºC, 400ºF). To make pastry, sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Cut in margarine or butter, then rub in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Bind together with the egg yolk and water to form a dough. Chill for 20 minutes. Roll out the dough and use to line a 9-inch (23cm) loose-bottomed flan ring. Place a piece of greaseproof paper on the pastry, then fill with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool. Turn oven temperature down to gas mark 4 (180ºC, 350ºF). Cook spinach according to the directions on the packet. Drain well. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add onion and fry until soft but not brown. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, spoon into pastry case. Beat eggs and cream together and season well with salt, pepper and the basil. Pour into pastry case and bake for 20-30 minutes (or until just set). Allow to cool.

Flapjacks* - bonus recipe from Laura

4oz butter
4oz soft brown sugar
3oz golden syrup or honey
8oz rolled oats

Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (350ºF, 180ºC). Melt butter, sugar and syrup/honey over low heat until smooth. Stir in rolled oats. Press into greased baking tin. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before cutting into fingers. Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing.
* In the UK, flapjacks are made out sugar butter oats honey etc, and pancakes are batter things that you fry.
In the US, the words flapjacks and pancakes are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. The pancakes may have other ingredients in them, such as oats, honey, etc., but we still call them either pancakes or flapjacks.

Sorry readers, no recipe for the cupcakes yet - they are a secret - you will have to come to Team Joe Sunday run and get them out of our cupcake baker extraordinaire - Laura. Plus they have a shot of Joe espresso, so even better]

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hmm...What To Call This...

Tri'd and Failed(to change my own tube)? Tri'd and succeeded(in never giving up)?

Yesterday was the NYC Triathlon. It was my 3rd NYC Tri and 6th Olympic Tri overall. I've been extremely lucky in the previous 5 in never having a flat tire or an accident, so yesterday, I actually was more or less expecting the flat. When it came, I just said to myself, "Oh yeah, there it is." and hopped off my bike to change the tube. I'd never actually practiced the move before, but had seen it enough to feel confident I could do it.

I couldn't do it. 20 minutes of trying and my hands cramped up. 25 minutes more of standing on the side of the highway with bikers racing past, a look of relief in their eyes that it was me and not they who were stranded. Finally a young woman with a flat wheeled over to me and we commiserated. She tried to get get my tire off and also was unsuccessful. 15 more minutes and I decided to fill the tube with a CO2 cartridge and try my luck at riding. When the tire was full, I could feel the spot on it where the air was escaping. I got on the bike and rode another mile or so before the tire was again flat. I tried to fill it again, but was unable to inflate it. Now, I was stranded AND alone again on the West Side Highway at around 165th street. Luckily there was a nice view.

Now, before the flat, I had been having the race of my life! My swim was great, my transition pretty quick, and I had been steadily passing people on my bike. Team Joe member and Tri coach Deb Mahanger had raised my seat an inch and it made such a huge difference! I almost felt like I was cheating! So, when I was standing on the highway, I got a mite frustrated because I knew I would have had my best tri time ever.

After waiting for over an hour, a passing cyclist told me that the Toga Bikes help truck was just behind and so in me awoke new hope for a finish! However, 30 minutes more passed before they came by. By then there were no more passing bikes. Not one.

Toga changed my tube. To make me feel better, the guy (with huge muscular forearms) said that my type of wheels and tires were really tough and hard to change. Thanks guy.

I called Anthony because I knew he'd be very anxious. He had to know SOMETHING had happened. The last time I called him during a race, I had a terrible ankle sprain (see earlier blog entry from January). Anthony was the go-to person for live updates to my parents and to our friends.

Finally, I got back on my bike and raced back to Transition. I put on my Team Joe shirt, grabbed some ShockBlocks and began my 6 mile run across 72nd street and up and around the park. 72nd street still had a few cheerers out and many finishers, all of which cheered for me as if I were a hero. It was so nice of them and their encouragement helped me along. The hills in the park felt different than usual. Steeper, longer, harder. People continued to cheer me on, last as I was. They looked a little surprised that I was last and was running pretty quickly, considering. I was probably running about a 9 minute/mile pace.

The finish line couldn't come fast enough or be a more welcomed sight. The announcer called out my name as I crossed the finish line. I got my medal and a wet cold towel. All was well again.

Triathlons are exciting for the very reasons we fear them and fear the challenges and unknowns in life. You know there will be pain, you don't know if you will fail or succeed, you have no control of the weather or of the people around you. There will be a flat one day, maybe today.

We do tri's because they test us. Do we give up when we get a flat or do we do everything we can to finish, even if it's in last place? We get scraped up, swallow Hudson River water, get kicked in the face, want to cry while riding uphill, face 6 miles of running when already exhausted. We want to just stop, but we don't. That is life in a 3 hour race. That is why I love triathlons.

That, and the free T-shirt.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tri This!

I THINK I can, I THINK I can...that's usually my motto when on the bike portion of a triathlon that I haven't trained enough for. How does one train ENOUGH for a race with 3 different muscle groups working against each other? 

Sunday is the NYC Nautica Olympic Distance tri! .9 mile swim in the Hudson, 25 grueling miles on the bike, and 6 miles of running on brick legs. yay. I mean YAY!!!!

If you care to watch and get some great photos, there are several spots to watch the beginning or end of each segment. See below.    

Team Joe runs are as scheduled. Saturday 9:30 from Waverly (you can wish me luck in person), and Sunday at 9:30 from Columbus...You can go after you get up at 5:30 a.m. to watch the swim start at 6:30, the bike start around 7, and the run start around 8:45.

Hey- I'm not the only crazy nutjob doing the race! Kristine Riisberg, Ani Go, and Laren Spirer are also doing it! Good luck Ladies!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Katie Lee Joel’s Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Cookies

For the Team Joe Potluck Picnic last Friday, I wanted to try my baking skills and thus made this batch of Dark Chocolate Chunk and Dried Cherry Cookies, courtesy of Katie Lee Joel.

I share this recipe with you all, fellow runners:

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (be sure to use a high-quality chocolate with more than 60% cacao) [Anthony's note: I used 62% dark semisweet Scharffen Berger chocolate - YUM]
  • 1 cup dried cherries (about 6 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.

Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a bowl using a handmixer), beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture. With a wooden spoon, fold in the chocolate, cherries and pecans (if you’re using them).

Scoop by the heaping tablespoonful onto two nonstick or greased cookie sheets. Bake until golden and chewy, about 12 minutes, rotating the sheets after six minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack to cool and repeat the process with the remaining dough.

Makes about 40 cookies (depending on how big you make them!)

If you bake a batch, why not bring them along and share them with your fellow Team Joe runners. It's probably best to eat them after the run and not before.

Potluck Picnic Culinary Winner

Friday was great fun at the last NY Philharmonic a fresco of the season. Thanks to Caitlin, who got there at 3pm, armed with several blankets and books, we had a spot that was so close, I could actually see the stage! It may be the first time since middle school that I manned first base on a baseball field, and although I didn't catch any flying balls, all of the culinary efforts were home runs! I promise to get a few recipes up here soon.

Around 22 people showed up, both runners and the people who love them. Runners from "Waverly Saturdays" and "Columbus Sundays" mixed easily; it was no Jets vs. Sharks, but a cohesive group of cool folk.

Some of the gourmet highlights: eggplant lasagna, fresh corn feta and jalapeno salad, watermelon feta salad, Israeli couscous salad, homemade frittata, homemade quiche, homemade cupcakes, homemade chocolate chip dried cherry and pecan cookies, and much much more! Loaded plates were passed, wine flowed, clothes stayed on( you can't have everything), but besides that, it was a regular Bacchanale(stay tunes on Shakespeare in the Park, because they're putting on "The Bacchae" by Euripides...very light and happy... in August)! 

The Phil, conducted by newcomer Alan Gilbert, played some Copland American Songs, sung by Nathan Gunn, and then Mahler's Symphony #1. Both were wonderful, and I would have loved to hear the culmination of Mahler's effort, but lightening and rain ended the concert early. at around 9:35, roughly 100,000 people ran out of Central Park and away from the open ground where lightening was more likely to strike.

Home we all went, full of great food, conversation, musical glories and wet shoes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Joe Picnic This Friday!

Listening to the NY Phil play Copland and Mahler while laying on the grass sipping Sauvignon Blanc and sampling runner cuisine is just about the best thing to do on a summer Friday evening in NYC. I know, because I've done it. Trust me on this.

This coming Friday, the music starts at 8pm, but a few of us brave Teamsters will be gathering on the lawn starting at 4:30 to stake out territory. We'll get as close as possible, but based on Shakespeare in the Park this year, we'll still be miles away. It's amazing what people will do for free stuff! (like run 6 miles for a $2 coffee...)

Anyway, this is a potluck, so bring your favorite dish. I'm thinking veggie lasagne, and I know there's a salad or two coming along, as well as some dessert. Bring wine, cheese, bread, whatever.

I already have plates and cutlery for up to 28 people, as well as cups that I'm stealing from work.

Call me when you get there to find us. 917-825-1654...although sometimes reception is poor with 30,000 other people also trying to find their friends. Good luck.

Free Running Lesson!

 Jae has come to a couple of Team Joe's runs to give us free running workshops. Now she's offering them again this week in Central Park. I have found them to be very helpful with my own running style. Check it out! -Gabby

The Secret to Fluid Running
Thurs, 7/16, 6:30-6:45 pm
Sat, 7/18, 7:30-7:45 am
meet at Engineer's Gate, Fifth Ave and E. 90th St.
If you take a pounding when you run, this lesson will help you smooth out your stride.  It'll also help you optimize your stride length.  Take it either Thurs or Sat as a warm up to your run.

Click on title above for info about Jae Gruenke and Balanced Runner!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Back in the Berkshires!

It has been abnormally chilly (49-67 degrees) in Lenox, Massachusetts making it perfect running weather!

My run this afternoon took me to Tanglewood where tonight Christian Tetzlaff will be playing (among others) Beethoven's Kreutzer Violin Sonata. I find it interesting that the sequence of keys he is playing is: G A G, which is probably what I'd do if I sat through THREE Beethoven Violin Sonatas. (Beethoven is great, but three!)

There are a few more hills around here than I'm used to after running along the Hudson, but I was able to make it home without sticking around for the Beethoven!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ohio running is where it's at!

Anthony and I are in Cleveland! Still!

After a 12 hour journey on Thursday, including a 3-hour delay at La Guardia, followed by the cancellation of our flight, a cab ride over to Newark for a new flight, another 2 1/2 hour delay there, we finally landed safe and sound at 12:30a.m. at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport! While waiting at the 2 airports, we sampled the very best in airport cuisine and met some very nice people. Did you know that Newark Concourse C now has a wine bar that offers flights of wine for $7 and nice cured meats and cheeses? Well, it now does! We did some shopping, some strolling, and if it wasn't probably a crime, we would have gone for a jog.

When I think about my city of birth and childhood, I think about the running trails it hosts. We ran a few of my favorites this weekend. Ohio has many thousands of acres of parks, with many trails for running, biking and horseback riding. Friday, we ran through the beautiful neighborhood of Shaker Heights, Ohio, past beautiful turn of the century mansions and around scenic lakes.

July Fourth, we did a 6 mile run on the Chagrin reservation towpaths, a pretty adventurous trail run with streams to walk over via large rocks and twists and turns that revealed ever more beautiful land that will never be built on.

Today, I took Anthony to Peninsula, Ohio (click on the tile above for website about the town) for a trail run that started at a historic railway station and went by a swift river that beckoned for a swim. I declined.

We decided to stay an extra night to enjoy the sound of the birds chirping outside my folks house. Not a neighbor in sight or within earshot. Aahhhhh!!! If only Midtown were this quiet and Central Park had bubbling rivers that one could take a dip in without getting a ticket.


Sunday Columbus Avenue Report. As a limerick

On Sunday the Fifth of July
Four runners went running, but why?
They ran for four miles,
were greeted with smiles
and lattes, though some preferred chai.

Full disclosure: technically, new runner Danielle had iced tea, but chai was easier to rhyme in this context.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Running Bellies - guest blog by Krs10

Ok, I cannot believe I am sharing this photo as I look like a big fatty, but Gabby thought it would be good to share the adventures of a pregnant runner for posterity. My friend Becca, on the far right, and I, on the far left, were both about six months pregnant for the Manhattan Mini 10K, June 7th, in Central Park. She decided to get a small shirt so that she would have it for the longterm; I decided I might need more XL’s for the summer, so I look like a blimp. All through the race people were cheering Becca on for being pregnant and probably just feeling bad for me that I was so fat and slow. I wouldn’t mind that much if a really hot and fit looking Aaron Eckhart of In the Company of Men fame hadn’t run right by at the end of the race as we were milling about and made eye contact (well, maybe he made eye contact because I was staring at him and scaring him.)

For some reason it isn’t that strange to be at the beginning of a NYRR race with thousands of women and no men. It is a good testament to how many women run in NYC that it doesn’t feel odd when it is just women. I was nervous before the race, much like I might be before a half marathon rather than a 10K. Five and a half miles is about the limit of my general running these days and sometimes I walk a little then, and for some reason a 10K in a public race was intimidating. I felt nauseous and dizzy before the start. But, once we started it is just so fun to run with other people (yay, Joes!) and we went a nice slow pace with a particularly slow start from the crowds so that I felt fine and peppy the whole way. Unusually, the race starts up Central Park West starting from Columbus Circle before entering the park in the 90’s and it did feel empowering to see a beautiful avenue lined with towering buildings filled with women running. That they would shut down a whole road for us was flattering. Our group hung together and chatted the whole way and the park is so nice and cool under the canopy in the shade that it was really a pleasant experience. All five of us finished together – a lovely women’s outing. Hopefully, the NYRR’s will start age-group categories for pregnant women like four months, six, months, eight months, so we could maybe win something for once, but I guess that would be ill-advised as it would encourage women to push it and compete, which is not recommended.

Given no other contraindications and if you are a regular runner, running is fine all through pregnancy and can provide a number of benefits to mother and baby. (See Exercising Through Your Pregnancy by James F. Clapp III) Pregnant women even have certain competitive advantages like higher blood volume and better heat radiation. Apparently, the East Germans tried to cheat in one of the Olympics by making sure their athletes were 12 weeks pregnant, which is supposedly like blood doping. Nobody I have spoken with, though, has felt like a superior athlete at 12 weeks, but hey.

The hard part is knowing your body, which is changing every day. As a runner, you generally know good and bad pain, when to push it if you are tired and flat and when not to. When you are pregnant it is much harder to gauge all that especially since the general population is expecting you to stop running; you feel a much greater burden of responsibility. There is always the nagging fear that you overdid it and did something bad. In some ways being pregnant is probably similar to being an older runner. You have to be very regular and keep it up or it is hard both mentally and physically to get back into it. So I try not to take more than a couple days off doing other activities because otherwise I lose confidence that I will be able to keep this up throughout, which I hope to do for all the health benefits, both mental and physical for me and the hanger on and because running rules.

So hope to see you all along the West Side Highway Park this summer. I’ll be the bulging one in the giant t-shirts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cleveland Bound. Again.

Check out the utube video link above about Cleveland. It's rough, but funny. I will be running and eating and celebrating The Rocket's Red Glare in the heart-shaped state in the midwest this weekend. 

It's actually quite nice, despite all the jokes. It's green, it's quiet, and there's amazing running to be ran in thousands of miles of parks. 

As for the Team Joe runs, as far as I know, most people are here and I know for a fact that people will be running Saturday and Sunday, although running with hangover Sunday may be rough. Drink lots of water. Weather looks clear for the weekend, but based on recent events, you may want to check your Crackberry on your way to the run.