North Brooklyn Runners: A Community Running Group Serving Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bushwick, and Beyond!

Blue Line Run Sign-Up and Call for Volunteers by nbrwebjohn
October 4, 2015, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Events, Group Runs, Inspiration, Marathon, NBR Goings On, Volunteering

October 18th, Sunday – 8:00 AM
Prospect Park

Our friends at Front Runners New York are once again hosting their annual organized marathon training run, the Blue Line Run. The run starts at Prospect Park and follows the NYC Marathon course for 20 miles to the finish in Central Park. This long run is free and will have on-course support such as bike marshals, GUs and gatorade/water. For more information and to register, please visit here.



Your Sunday Funday Run Leaders are also working with Front Runners to coordinate our volunteer participation in the run. As in previous years, we would like to offer our help at water stations. (There are also opportunities to volunteer as a bike marshals or drivers to help transport bags to the finish if interested and available.) Please get in touch if you would like to help out!

This is a great run, and a wonderful opportunity for us to work with our friends at FRNY. You must sign up on this link below to participate.

Volunteer opportuinities for this run:

  • Water station along Lafayette Ave in Clinton Hill
  • Water station near the base of the Queensboro Bridge in LIC
  • Bike Marshaling
  • Drivers to transport bags to finish

Frontrunners will provide all of the water, cups, Gatorade and GUs for the water stations & Brooklyn Running Company is going to help out with a water table at their store along Bedford.

Email with your name, email address and preferred volunteer position if you would like to help out!

NYRR Grete’s Great Gallop Post Race Brunch by nbrwebjohn
October 2, 2015, 9:00 am
Filed under: Events, NBR Goings On, Socials

You missed out on a post race club points brunch after the Bronx. But we weren’t forgetting about you, there were just too many club points races in a row, so we’ve combined them into one! So of course you’re all going to run/cheered/volunteered at Grete’s Great Gallop, my personal favorite two laps of Central Park in honor of an amazing woman who won the NYC Marathon NINE(!) times!

Afterwards, join us at the Disneyland of local Bierhalls, Radagast, for recovery bier, wurst, veggie wurst, bier and whatever else your little tuckered out heart desires. They don’t take reservations, so we’ll be trying to get there early to snag some space.



Grete’s Great Gallop Post Race Brunch

Sunday, October 4th
1:00 PM

Radegast Hall & Biergarten

113 N 3rd St, Brooklyn 11211


NBR Fall 2015 Town Hall Meeting & Board Member Elections by nbrwebjohn
October 1, 2015, 9:00 am
Filed under: Events, Inspiration, NBR Goings On

TownHallOctobert 17th, 2015
Saturday – 10:00 AM

McCarren Park Recreation Center
776 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222

(between Bayard & Driggs, right across from the track)

Fall is upon us and it’s almost time for the NBR Fall Town Hall! We’ll have elections of new board members, new coordinators to introduce you to, and a bunch of positions opening up. New member? Google Group lurker? Have some ideas? THIS IS THE TIME TO COME OUT and share your thoughts, ask questions, meet new members, and meet your leadership team. Bringing snacks is encouraged!

The meeting will take place on Saturday, October 17th from 10:00 – 11:30am at the McCarren Rec Center (776 Lorimer Street, across from the track, in the building in front of the pool).

Here is the current agenda for our meeting. If there’s anything you’d like to add, just let us know We want to hear from you! The Town Hall is a great time to let the rest of the club know what you’d like to see NBR involved with, a time to let your voice be heard. Remember, this club is member-driven, and you are the membership.


1. Board Elections

  • We will be voting for 5 board members to join the NBR board.
  • More info here on how to run.

2. Updates from the Board

3. Updates from Coordinators

  • Updates from all coordinators (Membership, New Member, Social, Gear, Race, Runs, Volunteer, Events, Treasurer, Web)
  • Introduction of new leaders
  • Description of open positions we’re looking to fill. More info here.

Facebook Invite.

Please complete the Fall 2015 NBR Member Survey. We would love to get feedback on what you do and do not like about NBR, and what you’d like to see from NBR in the future. We’d appreciate feedback from both old and new members.

We’ll discuss the results and your comments/suggestions at the Town Hall.

Functional Strength Training (Pre-Marathon Version) Workshop by nbrwebjohn
September 28, 2015, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Marathon, NBR Goings On, Pain

Wednesday, September 30th
8:15PM ish

McCarren Park Track after Wednesday Night Road Run

OR RAIN SPACE: Brooklyn Athletic Club: 8 Berry Street, Brooklyn, New York 11249

Functional Strength Training (Pre-Marathon Version!)Let’s do this! After the Wedneday night road run on Sept. 30th (so come around 815, 830, we’ll start whenever the sweaty runners come back – and bonus, our speaker is running w us, so come to the run and get your questions answered mid-run!!!) – a workshop on pre-marathon strength training:

Functional Strength Workout led by Mike Riccardi of Finish Line Physical Therapy
Wednesday, Sept. 30, immediately following the NBR run (so 815, 830)

Most runners don’t think they have time to do strength workouts in the midst of regular training – but you do! It’s as simple as spending 10 to 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the amount of time you have) after an easy run. Learn running tips, key strength exercises and stretching techniques from the experts at Finish Line Physical Therapy to keep you injury-free, especially in these final weeks leading up to fall marathons. Following the group run, Mike Riccardi of Finish Line will lead the team through a few simple (yet powerful) strength exercises that are a easy to incorporate post-run.

Bio: Mike Riccardi earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Springfield College and has been part of the Finish Line PT staff since 2014. He is recognized as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and will be a Fellow of Applied Functional Science (FAFS) from the internationally acclaimed Gray Institute once he graduates from the program in 2015. Mike has played soccer his whole life — including two years in college — and has been a recreational runner since high school, preferring Tough Mudder & Spartan Races. Call him a distance running convert? Not so fast, although he did finish his first half-marathon earlier this year.

We’ll be at McCarren Park at the Track!!!

Facebook Invite.

NBR NYC Marathon 2015 Limited Edition Singlets pre-order ’til Sept 27th, 2015 Only! by nbrwebjohn
September 21, 2015, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Apparel, Gear, Marathon

Pre-Orders are available until midnight on Sunday, September 27th, 2015.

It’s that time of year again! Only 6 weeks left to the NYC Marathon! Back by popular demand we have the limited edition NBR NYC 2015 Marathon Singlet available for pre-order.

You have until Sept 27th to place your pre-order. These are limited edition singlets and we will not order extras. Your only opportunity to order these singlets is through the pre-order.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Please make sure to order yours by Sunday 9/27/2015 so we have enough time to print these before the big day!

Pre-order here:

Go team!

Gear Shop:

NYC Marathon 2015 -Team Spot Check-in: Cherie Yanek by nbrwebjohn
September 14, 2015, 8:00 pm
Filed under: Inspiration, Marathon, Members, Races

NBR is proud to present our lone marathon team spot check-in this year.  Cherie probably logs more race miles a year than anybody.  She is always happy to share her knowledge and love of running.  What’s baking, Cherie?

NBR: Tell us a little bit about how you came to be part of  NBR. What was your first run? How long have you been involved?

Cherie: I saw a sign on a run in McCarren Park in the very first week or two of NBR. I ended up writing Aja an email, and I remember being super nervous and hoping they’d accept me. I wrote something like, “I’ve run Boston twice, and I haven’t yet run my first 100 miler, but I will in a few months, and I’ve run a bunch of 50s.” Aja wrote back something like, “You crazy woman, run with us.”

My first run was the Bridge Run. It was in the very early days of NBR – probably the first month or first few weeks even. There was just Aja, Misha, Sherry, and Matt Decker. I thought they were great, and never had so much fun after a run hanging out and drinking tea.

I’ve been involved from the beginning.

CherieYCheck1NBR: How is marathon training going? Are there any specific workouts that are really moving things along for you? Tell the NBR world a good long run story.

CherieI’ve been burned out on longer races lately – well, 100s and 24s. I am hoping to focus more on 50 milers, and am hoping to run a fast marathon. I ran a 50k at Burning Man, and considering I slept poorly (duh, Burning Man), was the organizer, and stopped to poop a few times, danced a bunch, 5:30ish is not a bad time.

I hate/love Yasso 800s. I do a lot of fartleks because tracks drive me insane. I like hill repeats on the bridges.

Good long run – the first time I went running at Rockefeller Park (where I do most of my long runs now), my friends and I got lost. We couldn’t find our way out of the park, ended up bushwhacking in the pouring rain, found the North County Bike Trail, ran on that until I found a warehouse. I left my friends and went inside and discovered it was a police station. The cops took us back to our car, letting us put the sirens on for amusement.

NBR: Which NBR runs are you attending regularly to train? Are there any NBR members who inspire you to train hard(er)?

Cherie: My schedule is really tough, but my fave NBR runs are the coffee run and the freelancers run (esp. when we have brunch after). I love runs with a food reward, ha! Seriously – I love those runs because I have used them as speed workouts when running with faster peeps, but way more often just run at a chill pace and catch up with people. NBR is very much a social occasion for me. (Hey, I met my bf via NBR. Thanks, NBR!)

CherieYCheck2NBR: What does it mean to be chosen by your peers for a coveted NBR Marathon Team Spot?

CheriePretty exciting. I know that a lot of people wanted this spot, but it means a lot that I was recognized for a lot of the hard work I have put in over the years.

Shortly after NBR started, everyone was involved in growing the club. Aja asked me to put on the educational programs/workshops. I started doing all the workshops myself, researching the topics. Then I eventually began inviting guest speakers – coaches, great athletes, trainers, PTs, yogis, etc. – which gives a much greater breadth than I ever could. We’ve had informal workshops and chats, to more formal ones. I love putting them together! It’s especially great when someone tells me what they’ve learned and how they’re using it. It makes me feel like my hard work pays off….and getting this spot also shows me that what I’ve done is appreciate. Wooohooo. Thanks, NBR!

NBR: What do you plan on eating post-marathon? What about the night before?

Cherie: After: EVERYTHING!!!!!!

Before: Not a ton.

Seriously – after the race, I’ll want something with lots of protein but also lots of veggies. I def have a sweet tooth but a few hours of gels makes me want to brush my teeth and eat broccoli. Seriously. I know I’m weird, but that’s how I am. I might head over to the Jungle Cafe to eat everything in sight.

Before – I’ll probably have pasta with a marinara sauce, or a quinoa dish. Low fiber is important I’ve learned. (The poop monster likes to visit, so you need to know what to avoid!)

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why?

Cherie: I don’t know how to answer this question. I don’t think I’m an animal, I’m just someone who likes to run in the most obnoxiously pink outfit possible.

NBR: Thank You, Cherie! We hope we can keep up with you in November.  Have another great NYC Marathon. Good Luck to all of our team NYC Marathoners. See you on the Road, at the mile twelve NBR watering hole, and hugs at the after party!

See all current & previous Team Spot recipients and their check-ins here.

Race Report: TransRockies Run – 6 Days, 120 Miles, 20,000 Feet of Gain by nbrwebjohn
September 5, 2015, 1:00 pm
Filed under: Inspiration, Marathon, Members, Pain, Races, Ultrarunning

There is something refreshing to taking on a physically challenging adventure. You all know what I’m talking about. Whether it’s your first 5K, training deeply for a marathon PR, or perfecting your dizzy bat skills… The first thing that sticks out in my mind as being the most physically challenging thing I’ve ever done was a 5-day mountain trek to Macchu Picchu a few months out of college (the Salkantay route, for any of you wondering) and the next was my NYC Marathon effort in 2011. So, it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good and tough physical endeavor to work through.

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I’d spied ads for the TransRockies Run over the past few years in running and outdoor magazines: 6 Days, 120 Miles, 20,000 Feet of Elevation Gain. My initial reaction was “woah, crazy,” immediately proceeded by “…I’m listening.” Somehow, it follows for me that the more crazy and extreme something seems, the more interested I am in it, or at least, the more the idea clings to me (ahem, NBR), so it’s not unsurprising that this might be my entry point into trail racing. And I’ve been curious about stage racing, and TRR is the perfect entry point. It’s fully supported (they set up your tents, provide breakfast and dinner and fully stocked aid stations during and after the race, and schlep all your gear), so you’re only responsible for carrying a few required items (hat, gloves, etc.) and water and nutrition enough to get you to each aid station. Most stage races require you to carry your own gear, so you’re running with a 15-pound bag every day— ask our own Zandy Mangold what this is like. Towards the end of 2014, knowing many new changes were forthcoming in my life, I thought “this is the year.” And one TRR presentation at Finish Line with an unexpected raffle prize win later, I found myself (with Misha eagerly in tow) for the 6 day, 120 mile event.

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August 11-13: Stages One, Two, and Three

Misha and I were excited, nervous, and full of energy— much like the other 400 or so runners. We met some people in the corrals, had perfect weather, and were raring to go. The first day was a tough, warm, dusty 21 miles, but it was fun, scenic, and a good kick-off. But, the next couple of days got progressively more difficult. Stage 2 was a grueling 13+ mile run starting with a big, steep climb up the Continental Divide Trail and up through Hope Pass. I wasn’t feeling well and had to pullover to just stand there when the single-track opened up as people marched by and I was slow, slow. Once over the pass, we were greeted with a steep, forested descent that coincided with whatever was ailing me disappearing, so I gleefully bombed down the rocky, tree-rooty hills, passing dozens of people descending with more trepidation, and I just enjoyed the ride. A good thing too, because by the time the path bottomed out and the now rolling course wended its way around the Twin Lakes Reservoir I felt terrible again. So with a sturdy combination of running, jogging, walking, and grit, I made it to the end of that day at last.

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Stage 3 was my darkest day. 24.5 miles starting in Leadville and running through the San Isabel Forest— should have been great. But, there are no photos, I did not enjoy myself, and I lost my mental fight. I still felt physically ill, my digestion not working with me for the third day in a row, and while the first 7 or 8 miles were okay, after a creek crossing left my feet sodden, and the pain in my lower back and quads peaking after the previous day’s beating, I lost my will to continue. Primarily walking the 7 miles to the next aid station, I tried to enjoy this nice walk through the woods, but mostly I contemplated… everything. Did I want to drop out of this stage? And how would I feel if I didn’t complete it? Did I want to even do the next three days? What was I trying to prove, what did I want to achieve? Could I trick or otherwise motivate myself into getting through the rest of the day?

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To the credit of all of the mid- and back-of-the-packers that day, many of my fellow runners paused when they saw me walking slowly with my head down, asked if I needed anything, if I was ok, offering me salt and gels, and general words of encouragement. I wanted to be able, if only for them, to continue, not to let them down. But I couldn’t escape my own mental trap. I spoke to the medics at the next aid station, a bit incoherently (so, either I’d just been in my head too long, or something actually was not alright with me, I’m still not sure) and they laid out the options: they could give me a ride to the next (and last) checkpoint or to the finish. Though I was tempted to walk the rest, I didn’t think a 10-mile walk was going to fix me. So, I took a ride to the finish, thinking that if I could use the extra time to chill out, get my head in the right place, and take some pressure off, maybe I could redeem myself in the days to come. And I got to see Misha cross the finish line (turns out he had a terrible day on the course as well), I got a massage to work out my lower back, and foam rolled my trashed quads nearly to tears.

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In retrospect, it’s easy for me to think that I should have handled that day differently. Maybe if I just camped out at the aid station for a bit I might have shaken off the darkness enough to get through the rest— I’d already done more than half the course, and had plenty of time to make the cutoffs. But, I made the decision I had to at the time, and encouraged and supported by some of my new friends on the trail, I was able to feel good about it.

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August 14-16: Stages Four, Five, and Six

And just as well, because by the morning I felt RIGHT AS RAIN and the next few days were fun. I started Stage 4 with a different outlook and approach. I changed my breakfast to something more similar to what I might eat at home (though at home I often run first thing on an empty stomach, I didn’t think that would be a great idea for 4-6 hour running days). I reminded myself I was doing this to have fun, enjoy the scenery, and challenge myself. But I didn’t need to win. I’d done more running and hiking in 3 days than I do in 2-3 weeks, so I was already proud of myself. With my body finally feeling almost normal, I decided against wearing my watch (only the time I was having mattered, not the timing), and I positioned myself towards the very back of the pack. As the run began, I took it really easy, talked to people, and I did pass many along the way, but at my own pace. I found some clusters of runners with a similar pace and ran with them at different points, gaining a lot just from being near them— observing their efforts, their form, gleaning what I could from their experience and attitudes— crushing hard on a team of two ladies in their fifties who were just killing it every day (I did tell them they were my heroes). Stage 4 was a shorter day at 14.5 miles, with a 1 mile jaunt through a creek not too far from the finish. I ran the last handful of miles that day with a new friend from the UK and we chatted happily as we navigated a descent down a rocky jeep road and treaded carefully through the creek, not minding as people slosh-ran past us. We finished strong together, and with smiles, too!

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Stage 5 was a long day, 24 miles up yet another mountain. But the views from Vail Mountain were beautiful, meadows full of wildflowers, mountains and green in every direction. I felt great and power-hiked like a champ on the long ascents. I stopped at the aid station near the summit,  had my picture taken, and ate a few salty chips and copious amounts of watermelon (I even yelled to anyone who would listen “THIS IS THE BEST WATERMELON OF THE WEEK!” . After the pain of Tuesday’s speedy descent, I approached all long or steep downhills with a bit more caution. There’s this feeling that when you’re going downhill you’re not expending any energy because gravity is working with you (if you let it), but, bombing down the hills, especially when technical, does take a lot out of you, and I wanted to save a little something in the tank for later. This seemed to work for me as I was able to take the last half to quarter of a mile at a speed I hadn’t run all week, crossing the finish line with a happy leap.

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Stage 6 came and I was definitely tired and we had another long day going— 23 miles, but I was still feeling healthy and strong, and grateful this was the only day we were faced with any notable humidity. There was a lot of magic scenery that day— tropical feeling aspen forests, dead pine forests, 5-foot tall grass and thistle fields that nearly covered the trail, and narrow, narrow single-track much of the way. But Misha and I agreed that one of our favorite parts was where we ran a few miles through and around a town— roads! While we’ve been training primarily on trails the past six months, roads are still very much in our blood and rolling hills through town were the perfect “rest” opportunity from a gentle running perspective, and I took full advantage. We were greeted at the end of the road portion by the final aid station where they were playing Prince and offering popsicles, making this the best aid station ever, and as I trudged up the 1600ft hill that made up most of the final 4 miles, I was so glad to be nearly done, especially now the humidity and heat got all mixed up. At the peak, a course marshal greeted us and said the rest of the 1.5 miles were downhill. That’s all I needed to hear. I took off and found some extra gears I didn’t know it was possible to have left at that point, and cruised down into Beaver Creek, slapping the waiting high-fives of kids in the final stretch, crossing the line, and feeling so grateful to the strength of my body, my legs, my lungs, and my mind for getting through this epic week.

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Lessons Learned

All the great things you hear about trail running and trail racing are true— great community spirit, yummy food at aid stations, and amazing support from other runners. There’s a lot of walking and hiking and taking a solid break at the aid station. And you wouldn’t think so, but unless you are running with a partner (many people compete in teams of two), there are many times you are just all alone. There are moments when this is a bit disconcerting, and you start to wonder if you missed a turn or what, but eventually someone catches up to you, or you hit the next aid station and the rank and file changes again.

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Stage 3 It made me realize why people might choose to do this as a team. You can help keep each other out of those deep mind bogs, or at least you have another person to be accountable to. The days that I talked to people and didn’t go all introspective were my best days— you kill some miles talking about what it’s like to run in other states, countries, what adventures you’ve been on, and how they came to be here. But that dark day also taught me a lot about myself— I did what I had to do to continue in the big picture, and if I’d decided to drop out of the rest of the week, I wouldn’t have known how much fun I could have— that I could feel good and be happy at the end of Stage 6 (and not only because it was over!).

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There was also much to be learned about what it’s like to run when tired. Really physically tired. It’s a thing that’s pretty challenging to make yourself do in training, but running really long and on really sore legs everyday is hard. But! It is doable. Granted, it helps when your meals are made for you and your only responsibilities are eating and sleeping, but still, it’s possible. There are people who hiked this whole thing, people who missed turns, and people who fell hard and got back up again.

Should you think you’d like to tackle the 3- or 6-day run next year, know that 2016 marks TransRockies’ 10th Anniversary, and there was much talk about some exciting extras and features — live music at every stage, a big dance after party with an 80’s cover band, etc. and it is expected to sell out quickly. I doubt you’ll find me there, but I’ll be rooting for you!

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There’s a lot more I could say about training, packing and preparing, camping every night, the food, the people, and the recovery, but I think this is enough for now. That being said, if you are interested in learning more about our experience or seeking some additional insights, I’d be super happy to chat with you. Drop me a line:

Aja’s TRR Photos on Flickr

TransRockies Run – 2015 Routes & Maps

-Aja Marsh


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