Fifth Avenue Mile: The Media Experience

Not only did I have an exceptionally good race experience at the Fifth Avenue Mile this year, but I also had a great experience as a media person.

Interviewing the runners

Once again I’m reminded that, while the lack of interest in professional track and field in this country can be dismaying at times, the flip side of that dispassion is that the stars of the sport are very accessible. In my case, I can walk off the street and find them in a room, ready to answer questions. Bonus: coffee and free danishes.

Like last year,  managed to carve out a few hours to research and then speak to a few of the elites in this year’s race. After a few experiences with the NYRR press events I’ve honed my approach. First, I have to wait to see who will be made available. Usually that’s anounced about two days before the press event. Then I have to select from that list to research. I can’t interview 10 people in a couple of hours; it’s better to pick three or four and focus on them with just a handful of questions to start with. As the interview progresses, you modify questions — or just go with the conversation’s new turns. But what sometimes happens is your planned interview doesn’t turn up, but you’ll get other people you didn’t expect. That’s when my set of generic, “ask anyone” questions come in handy.

So, with my method down pat, I made a beeline for three of the runners in whom I was most interested: Shannon Rowbury, Sally Kipyego and Jenny Simpson. I will be transcribing and editing those interviews and posting them soon — probably about a week from now. They were all great interviews, as expected.

Riding on the media truck

Last year, after volunteering for this event at the start line, I hobbled down to the finish and watched the rest of the races from there, including the elite races. I couldn’t help but look with envy upon the people who got to watch those races from the best seat in the house: the back of the media truck. I vowed to be on that truck when I came back this year. It took quite a lot of persistence, but I secured a seat about 15 minutes before the women’s elite race.

The truck has two rows of seats, plus room on the tailgate if you’re brave. That’s where Mary Wittenberg and a few other NYRR staff sat last year, as they did this year. The rest of us piled up higher. You’re strapped in with a rope and off you go. I was in the top row, viewing the races with a vista that included the back of Larry Rawson’s and Jim Gerweck’s heads. I’ve included video, which is interesting to listen to because you can hear the chitchat among the reporters, which is very much focused on the quarter mile splits.

You’ll also see that the vantage point changes from “runners at 12 o’clock” to “runners at “10 o’clock” as the truck whips off to the side to allow room for the pace car and runners. After the women’s race it whirls around and whips back up Fifth Avenue for the men’s elite race.

I think my favorite part of this experience was the first trip up Fifth, when I could see my friends along the course, as well as a few women I’d raced with who were surprised to see me later on, tearing past them on that truck. One of my friends, Amy Cooper, snapped this photo. I’m in the pink. This is probably one of the happiest photos ever taken of me. Saturday was a dream day in terms of racing, friendship and the thrill of riding in that ridiculous truck.

A sweet little track off the beaten path

Joe did a recent tour of Mount Vernon’s track. Here’s my travelogue of the Edgemont High School track.

Training: Aug 21-27

Just a quickie post, and one without a visual of the week’s training. My training log is on Jonathan’s computer, which is two states to the east in a house that has no power, thanks to Hurricane Irene.

It was a nothing week for training anyway. I probably ran in the neighborhood of 20 miles if I was lucky. Since I tweaked my left hamstring last week and had a 5K race planned for this Saturday, it seemed stupid to do anything to aggravate said hamstring. I also had to travel out of town for work on Thursday and Friday and there was no time to run during those two days.That was fine since my hamstring was still bugging me. So I slathered on Voltaren and hoped for the best.

On late day Friday the Percy Sutton 5K got canceled due to all city permitted events getting thrown out due to the impending hurricane, making the decision not to race it very easy (since it was made for me!). Instead, I snuck in 4 easy miles in withering humidity before meeting up with fellow bloggers Amy and TK for a sojourn in the Poconos, a much-anticipated trip.

Today I’m slightly hung over (big surprise there) but sporting very fresh legs. Assuming I’m less hung over tomorrow, I’ll attempt a longer run. Or not. I have a slight case of the fuck its this week. That’s not such a terrible thing.

Google Search Oddities

Oh, man. I hope I made someone happy today:

“weight reduction at 46 years of age”

Posts I wish I’d written

We’ve been told for years that there are two types of runners: “slow twitch” and “fast twitch.” But those are just references to muscle fibers. What about runners’ heads and attitudes? Blogger Cris of Well. I’m TRYING to run… theorizes that, once we move into the mental realm, there are actually three types of us runners. I agree with her observations. And I am desperately trying to evolve from Type 2 to Type 3 at the moment. Read the post here.

Google search oddities

“germam fuck legs”

What a coincidence — that’s what I’m making for dinner!

2010 was blogtastic

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 52,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 205 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 713 posts. There were 184 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 27mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 17th with 2,238 views. The most popular post that day was The American Master: Khalid Khannouchi’s Second Last Chance.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and Google Reader.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for baby chipmunks, races like a girl, saucony kinvara review, raceslikeagirl, and girl chipmunks.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010. The fascination with baby chipmunks continued.


The American Master: Khalid Khannouchi’s Second Last Chance December 2010
14 comments and 2 Likes on


Khannouchis to split as couple, remain intact as coach and athlete December 2010


A few minutes with Leo Manzano October 2010


Chipmunks galore May 2008


About October 2008

As of this morning I’m less than 1,500 page views away from hitting 100,000.