by Sean Laude

My recounting of this year's Chicago marathon begins four years ago, after I crossed the finish line at the 2012 edition of the race. The three hours and twenty-six minutes it took to run my first marathon did a number on my legs. I could not stand up under my own power, so a very helpful volunteer had to cart me the half-mile or so back to bag check. I was in a world of pain, but I felt ecstatic. I was filled with the idea that anything is possible. Less than two months later, I moved to Brooklyn.

Many of you know that I grew up in Chicagoland and repeatedly espouse the virtues of the CTA, the serene beauty of running along Lake Michigan, and why deep-dish is the ultimate form of pizza. As one of the weirdo kids who “played” cross-country and track, the mythos of marathon distance was embodied in that local event that ran every second Sunday in October. I hung posters of Khalid Khannouchi and Paula Radcliffe from their record-breaking runs on my bedroom wall, no less than 26.2 miles from where they broke the tape in Grant Park. As far as I knew, it was THE marathon - no other race compared in my youthful imagination.

In 2013, I ran it again, proudly sporting the emblem of our favorite bridge. I made the trip the last two years to cheer on my friends and wave high the NBR flag. A sense of hometown pride overcame me at the end of a 20-mile run before last year's race, and I declared that If I failed to run a BQ in the upcoming NYC marathon, I would sign up to run Chicago again. Unfortunately, (or very fortunately) the twin forces of unseasonably warm weather and an ungraceful shuffle up Fifth Avenue made that declaration binding. The clock started ticking the moment my post-race haze cleared - while donning the $250 poncho and trundling down the subway stairs at 72nd street.

I have worked with a coach for the past two seasons to help me improve my triathlon game. This year I let him sketch out my marathon season as well (I had only a scant nine weeks to turn around all my cycling and swimming fitness and focus it exclusively on the run). For the greater part of the last two years, I instructed him to leave holes in my schedule on Tuesdays and Thursdays for me to fill in with tempo and track, respectively. Part of working with a coach is putting your trust in his schedule and letting him fill those days with unorthodox workouts. Up through the end of successful tri season, I had also run massive PRs in the 5k, 10k, and half. Gaining that elusive marathon PR after my disastrous NYC attempt last year would be a fitting conclusion to this season. I was willing to give it a shot and really commit to structured long-distance training for once.

Race morning I felt as ready as I have ever been, that is to say: full of excitement, doubt, and carbs. Our Chicago crew had done a fantastic job tucking into Midwestern-sized piles of food the days before the race - four of my meals yielded another meal-sized bag of leftovers. Josh Hatcher and I travelled to the race together, meeting up with Evan, Daeha, and Lavar on the train. The trip to Grant Park was pleasant compared to the rigamarole of getting to Fort Wadsworth, and we had a moment to enjoy the sunrise before hitting the streets in the crisp autumn morning. Josh, Evan, and I met up with Joe and Crow in the corrals and we positioned ourselves in the crowd, near one of two large three-hour pace groups. They announced the elites and it seemed like the starting horn went off without much fanfare.

Words cannot describe what it feels like to push yourself at a pace for longer than you ever have before, the metaphor of wheels about to fall off a race car notwithstanding. Chicago is obscenely flat, the scenery interesting and the crowds incredible and loud. All of that fed a newfound focus that drowned out a mounting fatigue that ebbed and flowed in the terra incognita between miles 13 through 19. On a lonely stretch of road before Pilsen, I caught up to Evan Cooper and gave him the best-but-probably-incoherent encouragement I could muster (we're now 1-1 at the distance after he passed me in Harlem last year).

I very literally threw down the gantlet at mile 20, tossing my gloves at some unsuspecting spectators. They say the “race” doesn't begin until 10k remains, but I'm inclined to call it an "exercise in sheer will to get your legs to move". I was so intensely focused that I missed Emily, Tom, and Sara cheering around mile 23, but heard, dream-like, Chris and Magda screaming my name along Michigan Avenue. The pace group I glommed onto most of the race slipped away and the other one blew by shortly thereafter, but I was intent on finishing the race on my own.

The course has a gentle incline in the last 400 meters before turning into the finishing chute, but this joke of a hill turned cruel by a stiff headwind off the lake. A Dashing Whippet dropped the hammer in this final stretch and I somehow summoned the kicking power to match his stride. All the emotions of finishing hit me long before I even crossed the line, bursting out as a simultaneous cry of joy and roar of pain past the timing mat:


Nearly a four-minute PR. An eleven-minute improvement over my last Chicago effort. A Boston Qualifier. I stopped, landed stiff-legged, and felt my right glute collapse. I could not keep moving under my own power, so a very, very nice volunteer helped walk me through the finish line area to collect all my post-race survival needs (special thanks to Joe Chan for fetching me extra Gatorade). I was stiff and getting cold, but I felt ecstatic. I grabbed a beer and the celebration really began.

Marathons are unreasonably difficult; I will not be disappointed if my time doesn't make the cut-off for Boston. I’m still searching for bigger reasons to dedicate myself to the distance other than a jacket with a questionable color palette or to rise to the expectation that you should be good at this distance because you can run a fraction of the distance very fast. I get the magic of running to Boylston Street. I can imagine the sense of accomplishment finishing a marathon or ultra every other weekend. My own reasons will find me at some point. Until then, I will be there, cheering for you at the side of the road, you mighty, galloping mares and stallions racing towards the finish line.

I'm touched by the number of people who tracked me and offered encouragement and congratulations from afar - your support meant the world to me. I would not have had such a great experience without my Chicago crew - I sincerely hope you enjoyed all my long, pizza-themed emails.

Finally, to NBR: you are my running family - keep being incredible. Thank you all and I'll see you on the run soon!


Chicago Race Report - WE ROLL DEEP

by Beverly Walley

This race isn’t only running a marathon. It’s an NBR experience.  Sean Laude, Nancy Lin, & Matt Goodman curated a Chicago tour de force. Big thanks to them for making sure the crew had options for the fun stuff that comes along with a race weekend.
H.J. & I opted to stay in the Loop area so that we would have an easy walk to the start line at Grant Park. Without a subway, ferry, & bus trip, my brain invented reasons to be anxious — like having a borderline panic attack when my watch read 7:00 AM instead of 6:00 AM. I started sprinting for bag check.  H.J. had a non-reaction, “Why are you getting all weird? Do you think it’s 7 AM?” Lesson learned: my Garmin does not auto adjust for time zones.
The point being it is easy to roll up to the start of the Chicago marathon. Plus, they have a famous fountain to stretch by and a million port-o-potties. They do not, however, have Dunkin Donuts coffee everywhere. Anyway, we ran into Casey Baxter and made some poor stranger take a million photos of us.
My start was in Corral E, which was the last red corral. It took about 10 minutes to cross the mat. I tried to get to the 3:45 pace group in my corral, but was finding it too congested. I took a line for the outside and ran behind two girls. They had obviously trained together and had all their splits planned out. Their chitchat was stressing me out. I felt like an unintentional creeper, so I passed them and the 3:45 pace group. Gulp.
The beginning miles weaved through downtown Chicago. Lots of people cheered from the bridges so looking up was very fun. I noticed my first “If Trump can run, so can YOU!” sign — I think that was by far the most popular sign on the course. I didn’t notice much else until I ran into Matt Goodman someplace on LaSalle St. We had a brief hello and I kept picking up my pace. Matt asked me “Are you trying for this pace?” And I replied with the dumbest of all marathon answers, “I don’t even know what pace I am going. I feel good, so I am gonna go with it and hope it lasts.”
I ended up running into another 3:45 pace group…probably for corral D or C. At this point, I figured, “I should hop into this pack and hang on.” We ran steadily, but I really hated it. It felt claustrophobic with too many people bunching up, big guys bumping into me, and, honestly, running slowly. As soon as the road widened at a water stop, I passed the group. I thought, “This is going to come back to bite you at mile 22.”
Next thing that I clearly remember is the amazing NBR cheer squad! I saw Tom Essex & Emily Hafner.  Then I ran smack into Madeline Muzzi. She was looking really strong. I waved and she yelled, “What are you trying for?” Truthfully, I wasn’t paying attention to my pace. I hadn’t looked at my watch yet, so I repeated the same dumb thing, “Running by feel. Feeling good, so I am gonna go with it and hope it lasts.”  Anyone that has run a marathon will tell you this is a completely stupid strategy.
At the halfway point, I decided to look at my watch for the first time since the 7 AM EST /6 AM CST debacle. It read 1:47.  I have run 1:47 half in a marathon before, so I wasn’t overly concerned. I was thinking positively and hoping that my pace would hold to mile 20. Then I planned to see what the last 10K would bring (and I was expecting it would bring pain.)
The second half of the Chicago marathon entered a good neighborhood block party, but then the spectators really thinned out. We ran into a warehouse/industrial zone. I was expecting to fall off my pace soon, so I started downing Gatorade and stockpiling gels. The weird thing was that I still felt great and no one was passing me so I rolled with it.
I hit Chinatown. Loved it! By far my favorite part of the course—the streets narrowed and they had some dope drumming.  The rhythm was automatic. It reminded me of NYC. Then I had the best thought ever… you will not hit hills coming out of this section! And I saw the cheer squad again! I distinctly remember Emily and Sara Dirks with little plastic feet.
I ran into Sarah Murphy, flying despite being injured, and Meg Duffy, persevering despite serious cramping. I saw Magda cheering on the right hand side of the road. I was surprised and excited to see her. We roll deep with runners and spectators! Finally, I allowed myself to look at my watch again and thought, “OMG! They aren’t kidding about tall buildings messing with GPS signals.” It was not humanly possible that my time could be correct.

Casey, Bev, & H.J.

Casey, Bev, & H.J.

But then it hit me — no one was really passing me. I was definitely ahead of a 3:40 pace group. I never saw a 3:35 group, so I had to be somewhere sandwiched between them. For my age, 3:40 is a BQ. Basically, I was sitting on my big chance and the realization that it was the clock versus me. Normally I would choke.
But not knowing the city or the landscape really helped me. As I approached the final mile, I imagined a Thursday night track workout. As the distance signs reduced, I thought, “You can do anything for 400 meters.”  This was the biggest hill in the course as it was up a highway on-ramp. Whatever… I heard Jose’s voice in my head screaming, “Run through the finish. Run through the line.”
Crossing the line, I looked at my watch, still feeling shock. I looked at the race clock, did some math, and started crying.  If my math was correct (a big if) I ran 3:36:54. My PR was 3:50:51. Not wanting to look totally insane, I pulled it together, got my medal, my heat sheet, and a free Goose Island.
Two sips into that beer I was like, “Nope, I can’t drink this yet.” So I had two PRs on Sunday, the race and I tossed a free beer. I got my phone and heard from so many NBR people. I really got emotional that so many of you cared to track me. Thank you! I think your positive energy helped me pull off a great race!

Team Spot Check-in: Brinda Ayer

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?

BA: Unlike many of our teammates, I've never lived in North Brooklyn and didn't have much geographical reason to get involved with NBR. But I would always see the team roll so deep at NYRR races, each runner looking strong and swift and like he or she was having the time of their life. I'd never been on a sports team of any kind before, but the idea always intrigued me—great support, both on and off the roads, and a pretty sweet singlet. So when was training for the Brooklyn Half by myself this spring, and saw a random Facebook event for a long training run hosted by NBR, I decided to check it out. It took place in April and it was still really cold out and I was so out of shape. I couldn't even make it up the Williamsburg Bridge without stopping! But several amazing people in my pace group high-fived me and encouraged me to keep going anyway, and so I eventually ended up at Urban Rustic afterward, where I met Jessica and Anne and Mary and a bunch of other wonderful people. Y'all haven't been able to get rid of me ever since! 

NBR: 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. 

BA: Marathon training is going really well! As many of you may know, the race I originally planned to run and have been preparing for was the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20—two weeks after NYCM. And now, I've been lucky enough to get a spot for New York, so the plan has changed in a great way! As I tend to suffer from severe FOMO, I ended up starting my training alongside the people getting ready for New York, so fortunately, won't have to adjust my schedule too much to race two weeks earlier than planned. 

As for long runs, I've been running with a pod of trusty Narwhals most weeks, but have gone rogue a few times when my schedule hasn't aligned with the team's; it's, unsurprisingly, much harder to stay motivated when you're by yourself and the miles don't fly by nearly as quickly as in the company of good friends. Memorable long runs for me were of course the hot and humid ones down Summer Streets, and the one I forced myself to do after Fifth Avenue Mile—measuring at about 17.5 miles, it was the longest run I'd ever completed in my life at the time, and, what do you know, I've lived to tell the tale. 

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

BA: I try to go to TNT as much as possible, as well as Just South Wednesday morning runs (JS represent!), Hellkatz track, and, like I said above, Narwhals. It's such a treat to be able to hang out with your friends and get fitter and faster at the same time, all before the sun rises. As for inspirational NBR members, oh man, there are WAY too many to do this list justice. But Jessica, Emma, Nancy, Kalli, and Sophie are just a few of the incredible women from whom I've learned so much and aspire to be more like. 


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

BA: It's probably one of the biggest honors and coolest opportunities I've ever been afforded, and especially so because this is my first marathon! Since I moved to New York three or so years ago, I've entered the lottery and haven't won a single time. So getting this spot after I had resigned myself to just running it next year, via 9 + 1, was an enormous surprise and delight. I'm more than a little terrified, but I absolutely cannot wait! Thanks a million, NBR!

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

BA: I'll use any excuse I can to eat pasta, so it's convenient that spaghetti is an effective pre-race food. And probably a cookie, because #carbs, if anyone wants to make the trek to Levain with me the night before.

BA: Post-race: I think the better question is, what WON'T I eat? 

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why?

BA: Just South feral cat for sure! 


Team Spot Check-in: Sue Walsh

Update: It's September 3 and I haven't run in 4 weeks now after a what-should-have-been-nothing bike accident, only two or three hours after I originally wrote my Team check in. I fell after my wheel hit another bike's wheel, tearing my ACL completely and creating what my Doctor says is a "complex tear" in my meniscus. I've been mobile for the past 2.5 weeks, but limping so much that I'm starting to get tendinitis in my hip. So my PT at The Finish Line asked that I try to practice walking, a full gait with my injured leg. Heel, then roll on your forefoot, than push off. Running seems like the furthest thing from my capabilities, like the person who was training for the marathon, who lead Tempo Tuesday and Doves was a different person than who I am now. We never know when our lives change, when nothing can turn into something and that something can turn into unknown. When our expectations deviate in a dramatic way than what we thought would be. Being injured, in a way that limits your mobility and independence, changes the way you experience the world, producing choices in how can handle it. Resisting it is futile: it won't produce a new ACL for me, it won't magically fix my meniscus. All I can do is whatever it takes to care for this awesome knee, who after 37 years has supported me through 19 marathons, tens of thousands of miles, helped my femur recover from a fracture 33 years ago, helped my hip recover from surgery 6 years ago. It is without question that I'm not running the marathon, but you all can wager with confidence that I'll be cheering for everyone who is. See you on the streets...sometime!

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?

SW: My first run with Tuesday Tempo AM, about 5.5 years ago. I joined to get back into racing after recovering for a while from hip surgery. I thought, "Hey I'm in pretty good shape, I'll be okay." But got majorly crushed on the Kent Ave Speedway. But I made a commitment to myself, to keep coming back. And I still want to keep coming back. 

NBR: 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. 

SW: Training is going pretty well. Last year, I tore my glute medius and it's still giving me problems. I'm also experiencing pain in the hip that I had surgery on. (If only I could understand why I love doing this activity that sometimes feels like is destroying my body!) I'm feeling a little apprehensive, but getting more info from my doctor this week. This will be my twentieth marathon and sometimes I still feel like such a beginner. Many times, I've felt the best workouts were just long runs with as many miles at marathon pace as possible. A pretty literal workout for the race. But I've also been trying to do easy runs at an honest easy pace, so wondering how that will affect things. And, of course, I'm a devoted Tigerwolves and Doves runner. I've been leading them for 2 years with no intention of stopping. 

Long runs so far this year have not been memorable. But, man, I've had some absurd runs in the past. Including one in Stockholm, where I had no watch, no phone, no map. Was planning on running 12 miles. I thought I was on one island, but had unkowningly crossed a small river and was on another. I had no idea where I was. The sun was setting. It was February. I had my Nike Free's on. There were increasing amounts of ice, so sometimes running was like not even an option. Just sliding. No one was around, it was wilderness. (An awesome part of Stockholm is it's partly urban and partly wild.) I found myself in a pet cemetery, dating back to the 1800s. I kept running / walking / sliding in what ended up being circles, trying to just keep it mentally together and came across a gentleman with a cane and an old fisherman's sweater. It was a moment of cinema. There was no option except to ask him where to go, and in true kindness, he gave me clear instruction. I found my way off the island and sprinted like 5 miles back to the city center. Another memory is last summer, running with Matt Schenker, breaking down and crying on Flushing Ave after 16 miles in 85/90 degrees with maybe 90% humidity. I just stopped, with my head in my hands, tears uncontrollably running down my face, and was like 'why are we doing this to ourselves??' So he still makes fun of me for that. 

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

SW: I normally go to Tigerwolves, Doves, sometimes Hellkatz, sometimes Narwhals. Inspiration is not hard to come by on this team. Any workout I've come to, there's always people who inspire me. If I had to choose some names, Marie Barnett is always an awesome source of optimism and energy and she happens to be a beast on the roads. And has probably one of the toughest jobs I can imagine. My fellow Doves ... Rebecca, Emma, Miriam. Matt Schenker, who I run with a lot, is super inspiring. We trained for Chicago last year together, but now every race he does he's further ahead of me! Now we can only do easy runs together and I tell him he only does it out of pity for me. :) It's a pity run. Then you see Ben Leese on Strava running something insane, like over 100 miles a week with easy runs at like 6:30 pace or something equally outrageous, knowing he has a family and an intense job. And you're just like WTF. So, so many awesome people to witness and to know. 

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

SW: I feel 100% grateful. Truly. Thank you! When I joined this team, I only wanted to come out and run, get faster, hopefully qualify for the Boston Marathon. It was very much just about 'me'. But now, I love being a part of this larger team. I love leading Tuesday Tempo and Doves. I would say I love the 'community' of NBR, but that's such an annoying word full of baggage and cliche. Instead, I just perceive it as a huge group of friends who help each other through running, get faster, feel better, whatever. Now, maybe it's not as important to be obsessed with my own performance, as we all are naturally programmed to be, but instead be obsessed with everyone else's. Maybe age changes you in this way. And the friendships I've made on this team, I hope they will last the entirety of my life.

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

SW: Post marathon? Depends how the race goes, if I feel like celebrating. :) But if it's good or if it's bad, I'll definitely have some brews. 

Before? Probably something simple. Rice / pasta / veg. Nothing complicated. 

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why?

SW: TigerDove. For obvious reasons. 

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Team Spot Check-in: Aldo Ceresa

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

AC: My first NBR run was in April, 2015. I’d started running in 2013, and remembered dodging herds of NBR bridge runners on several Saturday mornings while running with my girlfriend at the time. After we broke up, I was looking for some motivation to increase my running game, as well as a way to reintroduce some social aspect into running. NBR has provided both of these in spades.

NBR: 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.

AC: I only started doing races late last year, and have never run a marathon, so I’ve nothing to compare it to, really. However, I just posted my first week of 50+ miles, and logged my first 20-miler while visiting family in Michigan. It was great to survey neighborhoods I’ve known since childhood and to revisit my old high school grounds, though sadly the track was fenced off. Having grown up as a not particularly athletic kid, it felt triumphant, somehow. Anyway, temps were in the 80s, and I had to stop for Gatorade three times, but I didn’t feel completely destroyed afterwards. Hooray! Besides adding some longer runs, I’ve also been mixing in cycling and strength training a good bit. Monday night plyo has been an essential ingredient in this. More skipping and squatting and lunging and conga lines, please!

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

AC: I’ve been a regular on Monday nights and Saturday bridge runs since I first started running with the team, but often add Doves, Tuesday night tempo, Thursday night track workouts, and weekend long runs as my schedule allows. NBR has no shortage of talented, hardworking people. Some folks who’ve been particularly helpful and inspiring to me include Tom Virzi, Russell Wight, Quang Ton, Drew Reynolds, Jeff Skaar, Jessica Boucher, and Nancy Lin. Of course there are many others as well.

NBR: What does it mean to be chosen by your peers for a coveted NBR marathon team spot?

AC: As a relative NBR newcomer with no marathon experience, I was surprised when I got the word from Logan that I’d been awarded a team spot. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity, and appreciate all the work that goes into all the great things the club does. I look forward to running with friends and teammates, and to greeting the NBR cheer squad at Mile 12. Volunteering at the water table last year was a great experience, and the spirit of camaraderie that pervaded throughout the day’s events cemented my own relationship with the group, I think. It will be fun to see the table from the other side this time around!

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

AC: I’m sure I’ll do some serious carb-loading the day before. Salt bagels. Maybe some cinnamon cranberry walnut bread from the Northside Bakery while I’m at it. I expect I’ll have to wait a bit before I begin to replenish afterward, but hope to be ready for pizza and beer by the time the party kicks in on Sunday night.

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why?

AC: Hmm…What animal is it that gets a late start, but once it gets going, revels in in its newfound ability, and can’t imagine how it managed even to breathe before this discovery was made? Some kind of formerly pent up horse, or maybe an antelope set loose upon an open prairie after a comfortable but unfulfilled life at a petting zoo? Yeah, one of those…

Team Spot Check-in: Russell Wight

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?

RW: My first NBR run was back in January 2012. It was a Wednesday night run. I was fairly off and on for the first two years, however. I only really started getting serious when I did the 9+1 in 2014 and doing races and stuff. I became a Monday night run leader in October 2014. 

NBR: 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.

RW: I’ve been doing a lot of strength training the last month or so. Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to transition into more running. I’ve followed the Hanson’s training plans for my last few big races. My favorite workouts are the long tempo runs. I really feel that those runs help to get you focused on running a steady pace for a long time. 

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

RW: I lead the Monday night run, so that’s my jam. I also do Tom’s Plyo workout Monday nights. Aside from that, I bounce around a lot, doing the Saturday or Sunday long run, Wednesday night run, and Thursday track

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

RW: It’s pretty awesome. I know there’s a lot of people who have worked really hard to contribute to NBR over these years, and it’s really wonderful to be chosen to represent NBR in the greatest race ever! My goal this year is to run under 4 hours.. I’ve run two marathons already, and in both races I hit the wall pretty hard. I’m hoping to use the lessons from those races to put together a great race and give everything I’ve got. 

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

RW: I’m a fan of barbecue - you may see at Mable’s smokehouse right after the race. As for the night before - I’ve done Thai Curry the last few big races, and surprisingly it’s worked well. And I’m pretty sure that I do Peter Pan donuts both before and after the race. (It’s carbs, right?) 

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why?

RW: Hmmm, not entirely sure. 

Team Spot Check-in: Jeffrey Skaar

photo by Vincent Wai Him Hui

photo by Vincent Wai Him Hui

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?

JS: The story of my running origins in general and with NBR are part of the ongoing TNT series, for anyone to find on the Google group. My first run was a Wednesday Night Road Run in 2013, when I discovered what I now consider the first rule of NBR: subtract at least 15 seconds from the pace that anyone says they are going to run. I have been a regular with WNRR ever since, and I became a run leader in 2015.

NBR: 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.

JS: Um…. can I plead the 5th? Those of you that know me know that I’m not so good with training plans. I will get mileage in, but I won’t track or plan it incessantly. I have never keep a training log, and I don’t plan on starting. Also, I’m not so good at varying paces. Is this limiting my ceiling? Definitely. However, for me, running is a release. If I tracked it incessantly, I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much. With that in mind, what workouts really help? Anything with hills. All my favorite routes have them, and I know I’m in shape when I feel good running a route that includes something like Union St. Even better - trails, although they are in short supply. So far this year, my best training run was a race (Finger Lakes 25K). As far as my overall training, the spring season was a painful slog, but lately some bounce has been returning to my step. Apart from the oppressive heat, I’m feeling pretty good.

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

JS: Since I’m not a morning person and I work from home, I run screaming from the house every night. WNRR, TNT…sometimes plyo or track. If it is a night NBR workout, I’ve been there. I try to get my distance in with Narwhals or SFR. If I can couple a Narwhals workout with the Bridge Run, even better. Inspiring NBR members? Where to start. There are too many to list, but it starts with anyone volunteering in any position (even if it isn’t training specific). It’s also great to watch everyone throw themselves into a goal - whether it’s the new runner that goes from a first NBR run at the back of the pack to throwing down fast times in races or established runners seeking bulletproof BQs. Finally, we have our fair share of speed merchants that seem so agonizingly close at the start of a run/race and end up being specks in the distance, way ahead.

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

JS: There are so many people in NBR that give so much of their time to the team. I’m extremely honored to have been chosen for an NBR team spot. I hope to contribute to returning the favor by working the water table again next year.

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

JS: I can’t eat immediately after long runs, so I’ll do my best to choke down a protein bar after finishing. After that, I likely won’t be able to eat for a few hours. However, by the after party, I’ll be eating anything and everything in sight. Also, beer and whisky. The night(s) before will probably be some simple pasta.

NBR: What is your running spirit animal and why?

JS: Mountain Goat. Quick, but not the fastest. Likes hills and trails. Stubborn as hell.

Picture This: What Volunteering at the NYC Marathon Looks Like

With less than four weeks to go before NYRR closes volunteer registration for the 2016 NYC Marathon, we thought we’d take this opportunity to re-live some of the fun and excitement from last year’s volunteer shenanigans. How? Through photos, of course—take a gander!

For those of you who’ve never volunteered at a race before, or who’ve never volunteered with NBR, here’s your chance to see what the fuss is all about. Not only is it a great way to give back to your team, it's the best spot to watch the marathon up-close. For the more seasoned volunteers among you, we invite you to take a walk down memory lane and remind yourself how rewarding volunteering can be, and why it’s so important.

When you’re done perusing the photos, we hope you’ll feel inspired to register for this year’s race. The Mile 12 Fluid Station is located at Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street in Williamsburg. Signing up is easy-peasy. Just create a NYRR account or sign in through your existing one. If you need help or have questions, feel free to email us, or ask Lilly Stevens, Rachel Rose, Logan Yu, John Riccardi, or any of NBR’s leadership.  

We hope to see you there! 

- Rachel

Thanks for the photos, Ken!

NBR Pride Run Thanks

by Jeffrey Correa

Dear NBR,

I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for the extraordinary commitment you all make every year to the Pride Run. I'm so proud of our team, particularly in light of the recent tragic events in Orlando, for making this race such a huge priority for the club. Special thanks to our amazing "Voluncheer" squad.

For me, the Pride Run is especially important, as it is in a sense, my "spiritual" anniversary with NBR. (Many) years ago, when I was in middle school, I ran cross country and really loved it. Unfortunately, when I moved on to high school, I started out with our cross country team and encountered a significant amount of bullying because I was gay. Sadly, that experience made me leave running and all sports behind.

Just a few years ago, I decided I wanted to start running again. I knew I needed the support of a team, and assumed that based on previous life experience, I should just join the Front Runners as I knew that I wouldn't encounter significant bias and harassment.
I registered for the Pride Run, and spent a couple of months training. I wasn't that fast, or that strong, but it felt great to get out and participate.

As I finished the race, walking around with friends, I noticed a very lively group of runners on the side of the hill. They all seemed to be having a great time, and I especially noticed their singlets and shirts that said, "North Brooklyn Runners". I thought, "I live in North Brooklyn, maybe I should check them out instead."

When I got home that afternoon, I did a search for NBR, and joined the Google group.
Flash forward a few years and I now have the honor and privilege of serving you all as the Board President of NBR.

I love this club precisely because of what we demonstrated today, and demonstrate every day. No matter how old or new you are, fast or slow you are, if you run marathons or 5K's, and no matter who you love, you belong here. This club's commitment to making every member feel included is the best part of who we are. I'm so grateful for the love and support of my teammates, and hope that you all feel that too.

Thank you for creating such a welcoming environment at all of our runs, races, and social events. It means so much to people, more than you probably know. And, thanks again for your participation in this year's Pride Run. I'm so proud to be a part of this club, especially in a moment when we all need to come together and care for and support each other.

Wishing you all a very festive Pride weekend, and look forward to seeing you out on the road very soon!


Jeffrey Correa
NBR Board President