Seebo's Run

A running commentary on my training and whatever else emerges from that.

My Photo
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, July 31, 2005


I haven't posted since Wednesday, but for once that wasn't a sign of backsliding.

Thursday I indeed took the day off, mostly due to the class prep that had me up late Wednesday night.

Friday, I ran 5 1/2 miles in 45:21. I had to time it so that I was back by 7 am, as C & I had a 9 am flight to Montreal. C had some free USAir tix and it was the only weekend we had this summer to go somewhere while the kids are in Texas. It was a good choice of locations to do this. Montreal is close enough to make this feasible, and a great city to explore. C & I walked all over the place, stayed at a bed and breakfast near St. Louis Square, and left with warm feelings about the city and the time we spent there.

Fortunately the place at which we stayed was not to far from Mont Royal Park. This park, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (also designed NYC's Central Park and San Fran's Golden Gate Park) is a wooded area around the largest elevation in the city (about 780 feet). I meant to run around the perimeter but unwittingly ended up on the trail that goes, in a very roundabout way, to the top. This meant 28:56 of running straight uphill and then 24:06 when I turned around and retraced my steps out of the park. Total time was 79:29, call it 10 miles conservatively. Running in the park was a bit like running on Forbidden Trail, as it is heavily wooded and you don't get much of a view on the top because of this.

Today I ran the Falls River Bridge loop around the drives for a total of 14.5 miles. Time was 110:47. I ran in the afternoon after we got back today. I was in a foul mood, as I usually am after returning from a trip, and this was a run to fulfill the obligation, making just about the minimum to be considered a long run. It was humid enough to be uncomfortable and otherwise uneventful. But it was important for me to run it as it reinforces my regained commitment towards training again.

Tallying it up, this week included runs of 10, 6, 9.5, 5.5, 10, and 14.5 miles for 55.5 miles for the week. Best week I've had in July, and now July is done. This week will be tricky as I will be in a training all week for Inside Out and both of the summer classes I'm teaching are wrapping up. If I hang on for this week then August should be less hectic.

Below are some pics of where I ran in Montreal. In the first pic, the cross is at the top, as taken from the statue of Our Lady of the High Five. Below are two other pictures of the trail near this point.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hot Air Like a Wet Blanket

The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story about the heat yesterday where they used this line, which I had put into an entry a few days ago. They must have mugged this phrase off of me. Then again, maybe my prose is devolving into hackneyed journalistic cliches.

Either way, it continues to be an apt metaphor. Ran this morning at 6 with E. for the first time in awhile. We ran down to Cobbs Creek and around the Fernwood Cemetary but decided to turn back at 67th St. instead of going the extra bit to Woodland. No point in doing the full ten this morning.

I'm writing this while waiting to cool off. The problem is, without airconditioning, I just start sweating again as soon as I get out of the shower. Pretty sad when you go to work just to suck up the air conditioning.

Anyway, I guessed it was 9 miles, but mapping it shows that it is 9.4, but that is conservative as I cut short some of the off road stuff that this loop has. Sadly, E has fallen victim to the obsessive lure of mapping out race routes on (and click on the last link) and which has already snatched the allegiance of IC. And, scared as I am to say it, I've now been sucked in to trying it, so check out here if you want to see this morning's loop. The power of negative peer influences.

Call it 9.5 miles and I don't have a time for it this morning. For at exactly 31:52 into the run at the stables E & I were charged at by two galloping Great Danes coming up the path towards us barking through bared teeth. We froze and just stood there, and E had the sense to yell back at them, which stopped them until the owner caught up to them and restrained them. For some reason I still had the wherewithal to stop my watch during this sobering interlude, but then forgot to start it up again.

So, folks, a moment frozen in time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

From Crawling to Toddling

Overslept again this morning. Not surprising I guess as I was up late last night putting stuff together for the class I taught this afternoon.

But for the first time in weeks my mental gears were turning as I got up as to how I could fit a workout in today. This used to be SOP, and I'm glad to see the mindset is back.

I squoze in a workout over lunch. Because time was tight I did it on the hamster wheel. The heat and humidity outside had nothing to do with it. Right.

I had just enough time to squeeze in six, the first and the last as warmup/cooldown miles, with the treadmill maxed for the middle 4. 4 in 24 flat. Marathon pace. Still can't picture doing another 22 at that pace, but happy to be up there again. I felt I was pushing it, which is a good feeling in and of itself. Second day in a row for that. Pacing today was courtesy of Hound Dog Taylor on the iPod. Totals are 6 in 39:04.

When I finished I was so drenched with sweat I may as well have ran outside. And made it to my office with 5 minutes to spare before the conference call.

Four days in a row. Its coming back!

Monday, July 25, 2005

If You See My Little Red Rooster

please drive him home.

Had Luther Allison's version of "Little Red Rooster" on the iPod for the final mile of my run this afternoon, I hung onto it for dear life to finish the loop.

Heat and humidity was oppressive, with the air hanging on me like a wet towel, weighing me down. Unfortunately I had a good bit of energy and started off at a good clip (the MLK mile went by in 7:10) but the weather did me in.

Actually got up this morning to run but it was raining so I went back to bed. Woke up 45 minutes later and the rain stopped. I was pissed. But, again, thank God for second chances and I ran during lunch.

Lots of dummies lined up on the sidewalk along Franklin Field, perhaps they are filming a movie there.

Sweetbriar Loop in 61:18 for about 8 miles. Faster than usual, but not phenomenal. But as much as I had in me in this weather.

Watch out stray cat people, the little red rooster's on the prowl.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Crossing Cobbs Creek

Was all ready to run this morning at 8:30 and didn't get out the door until about 11.

I spent most of that time decrappifying the laptop I am writing this on from adware and spyware. The problem is that once its on, there really is nowhere to turn to to get the shit off your computer quickly. So I took the time and educated myself and found various software programs on the web and kept at it. So I don't know if all of the stuff is off now, but all of the popups and error messages that prompted me to go on this quest in the first place are now gone. It became an obsession this morning, but a productive one.

I was talking to my mom this evening and the topic turned to the recent terrorist events. Meditating on this, on top of the spyware experience, leads me to realize what a talent this species has for developing extraordinary things and then finding ways to screw them up. Its like we're in competition with ourselves.

Having waxed philosophical, I will recap my run. Obsessing for three hours meant that it was a bit hotter when I got out the door, but the edge is definitely off of this heat wave and the conditions weren't bad. I headed due west for Cobbs Creek, wanting to close the loop that E and I had run on July 4. On that run we went through a cemetary and ended up climbing over a fence to get out of it. Today I went around the cemetary and continued on the loop.

But I get ahead of myself. There were numerous elements of the run that made it a great loop. Starting with the recently reasphalted Addison St., which was wonderfully soft and spongy to run on, and then crossing 63rd St. to go on the track behind the Cobbs Creek pool. Its a wonderfully oddly shaped track that needs some TLC, but looks to be 400 meters in circumference. I did a loop of that and hit the trails along Cobbs Creek, leading me through wooded areas alternately shady and in bloom. Past the horse stables I crossed Cobbs Creek and ventured into Delaware County. Hence the title of this post.

Doing this expanded the vistas of my runs, as I could branch out through Upper Darby, Darby and Yeadon for some extended mileage in the future. For today and navigated around the edge of Fernwood Cemetary and hit Church Road, which brought me back to Baltimore Pike and then the Cobbs Creek bike path. This path again ducked into a wooded area, where I saw goldfinches, nearly stepped on an adolescent Robin, and saw a heron fishing by some old tires in Cobbs Creek. I've said before that this is a great path to run on, although there was nary a runner or cyclist on the path. Lots of folks playing basketball and setting up picnics, however. Folks in Muslim garb in particular seemed out in force picnicking.

The bike path is also shady until I veered off at 70th St. to catch Woodland. Here, in the commercial center of SW Philly, Sunday morning was alive with gospel music flowing out of church services, reggae music from speakers set up out of stores, and a bustle I don't see on the early mornings I usually run this route. Woodland is also either up or downhill most of the stretch, which I took at a progressively faster pace.

10 miles in 75:09.

I hope this blog catches some of the energy I captured from this run. I missed this, and feel the momentum coming back. I also feel in an evangelizing mood, wanting to turn folks on to running along Cobbs Creek. Maybe as a site for the second Guerilla 5k.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sponge Bob Hat

My creativity is failing me, hence the title.

Another hot day, but a bit less so than yesterday and actually not a bad day. But running was still a sweaty business. For us burr-headed folks, sweat tends to pour down our faces a bit more intensely than for those that have more hair. My usual hat was unavailable for duty today so I had to go fishing around T's room for a NYC Marathon-Sponge Bob painters hat that I gave him as a souvenier from the NYC marathon last year. It worked fine but looked a bit goofy.

Ran the Drives w/ SG and IC until Falls River Bridge, at which point I was misled up the acclivity (in joke) known as the "bloody nipple" (turning right on the west side of Falls Bridge and heading up Conshohocken Ave). This stretched the loop to 10 miles. As always, good to have the fine company. Run took 77:20.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Further on up the Road

Where the miles are marked in blood and gold
I'll meet you further on up the road

A certain blog has me playing Springsteen songs in my head during this morning's run.

Had all intentions to do the 6 o'clock thing, like I used to once upon a time. Slept right through it.

However, I had the day off and C said she'd drive T to camp, so I got out at 8:30 instead.

I grabbed this second chance, but I also paid the price. It was quite a bit warmer out with a bright sun beating down. I ran the Acme loop and ran on the sidewalk and tried anything else I could do to maximize the shade. Tough run.

Tough but also cathartic in that I feel ready to get training again, and the old determination to get a run in was all that got me out there this morning. Things seem to be easing up a bit at work finally, and the kids flew to Texas today to spend some time with relatives. So logistically things should be easier although the week after next will be tricky. But I'll get there when I get there.

In the meantime, 8 in 60:40 and rarin' to head back out tomorrow morning.

Now I been out in the desert, just doin' my time
Searchin' through the dust, lookin' for a sign
If there's a light up ahead, well brother I don't know
But I got this fever burnin' in my soul
So let's take the good times as they go
And I'll meet you further on up the road

Monday, July 18, 2005

Learning to Crawl

Third day in a row. That's the most consecutive days I've had in about a month!

I'm in DC, attending a conference and staying with my sis. Fortunately she lives about two blocks away from a track. So after I got back this afternoon I went out and just ran. Its as steamy as it has been the last few days, with the added bonus of sunshine. Ugh. I went to the track and ran four miles, negative splitting each one. 7:49; 6:56; 6:28; and 6:07. Just ran for the joy of being able to run, and didn't let the heat get me down. 4.5 with the warmup and cooldown in 33:18.

That'll do, pig, that'll do!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Weekend Warrior

I'm currently reduced to weekend warrior status. Just hanging on trying to get in enough mileage so that I don't totally lose all fitness I've accumulated.

I've learned alot from not running as well. I haven't become miserable or impossible to live with, but by the same token that extra hour or two in my life hasn't led me to write War & Peace, but it has let me fend off sleep deprivation and help make sure that I'm not an unprepared blathering idiot two times a week when I teach a 2 1/2 hour class at Penn. Its hot enough so that there's days when I'm happy I'm not running, but that little nagging feeling is in the back of my mind that I should be running. I hear it, but it doesn't dominate.

Most of all I've learned that it takes a certain ruthlessness about training to make it through a period like this with keeping my training intact. You either sacrifice some work or some sleep, and family time, especially on travels, would have to get rearranged around the running schedule. I'm not on that level, and where a year ago it might have bothered me this year its okay. Things'll pick up again.

So whoever reads this, don 't check in every day as for at least another week or two the runs and the blogs will come sporadically. We'll see how things go then in August.

Oh yeah, the runs. Yesterday, after we got home from Rhode Island, I ran off into the sunset which would have been there if it wasn't for the haze and the clouds. Steambath, rainforest, greenhouse, you pick your metaphor but it was awful running weather. I ran the 8 mile loop up to Sweetbriar. Ran the Schuylkill bike path and got to see all the new landscaping they are putting in for which they've been closing down the path on the weekdays. Also got to run down Lex St. in the dark. The weeds that have grown high over where the houses once stood cast long shadows that really did give the block a feeling of being haunted, or at least forsaken. 8 miles in 64:47, pace on MLK was just sub 8. And my legs, which should have felt well rested, had the nerve to feel stiff, esp. in the ankles. But I didn't push them.

Today I ran home from St. Vincents. Again it was awful sticky and wet conditions. The pace was slow as I ran along the muddy brown Wissahickon and I sped things up on Kelly Drive (4 in 30:11) and then slowed only a bit to get home. Nicest part of the run was along the Wiss, all browns and greens and overgrown silence save for the background whooshes of the cars going up Lincoln Drive. Later on the sweat drenched me and stung my eyes, even though I had a cap to keep it from running into my eyes. 10 miles in 83:19.

I'll be in DC tomorrow, which actually may let me do three in a row as there is a track near where my sister lives (with whom I'll be staying). If there is then I will post.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Picaresque Adventures

I don't remember having had a run like this morning's. Between 7:35 and 11:00 this morning I ran for 2:12:32 (call it 16 miles) in several installments.

IC organized, if you can call it that, his "guerilla 5k" for this morning at 8:30. I was supposed to set it up but cannot claim any credit (or notoriety) for having done so, but I did want to get some mileage in before I went to that event at Lemon Hill. I planned to leave at 7 this morning but didn't get out of the house until 7:35, and got about 45 minutes of running in through Fairmount Park before crossing the Girard Street Bridge and meeting the folks for the "race."

11 people were in the race, which was four times around a loop of roughly .75 miles that went up and down Lemon Hill (x 4). It can perhaps be described as the way anarchists would put together a race, heavily emphasizing community, using stuff that's already available and lying around, and with heavy doses of humor. The start was under the statue of Morton McMichael, a 19th Century Philadelphia mayor who sits, I kid you not, with an outstretched hand as though still collecting his lagniappe through posterity (or at least in spirit through his successors). The start was marked by the firing of a Nerf gun and most of us hung together for the first loop around, which as I said was very hilly (hey, IC designed the course) and at one point had a large puddle almost spanning the entire road (with "warning: water ahead) chalked on the street about 15 feet in front of the puddle. As the loops passed, me and B took the lead amidst the encouragement of IC and an additional onlooker (2X4 however, as we got their support four times). As we rounded the final turn, B and I decided to clasp hands and cross the finish line in victory together in 20 minutes something, testimony either to a slow effort or a long course or a bit of both. I won a plush toy and a t-shirt that says "running sucks".

After that we went to the Art Museum to meet the 9:30 PR crowd. Bike Mike was there, whom I hadn't seen in ages, and various other folks. IC and I and another guy G, whom I never met before, ran up to Belmont Plateau and ran the trails there, which were green and shaded, but also narrow and slippery. We ended up at Strawberry Mansion Bridge and the other two went back to the Drives to finish their run and I went home through Fairmount Park to finish mine. Instead of taking the usual way back from SM Bridge, I cut back into the woods and found another Belmont trail, which led me down the infamous hill and back to the plateau. From there I took St. Georges Hill and headed home. Whew, long hot morning.

And all I got was the lousy t-shirt (and a plush toy). "Running sucks." I picked the shirt perhaps reflecting a growing ambivalence about running, or as a reflection of my mood in the aftermath of missing the last two days running. One was planned, the other, yesterday came as a result of heavy rain (my nemesis) in the morning and plans to run in the evening were dashed by an opportunity to go to the Phillies game. I'm glad I went, but it leaves me with an intensified feeling of a lack of focus towards running. I don't know if this is temporary or will get progressive, but I feel like I'm going through the motions right now, and not getting anywhere in terms of any thing I'd consider training. Its still possible to get away with this at this time of the year, but it leads me to wonder how long it will last.

I'm sure I'll continue to write about this in upcoming posts. But running was fun today, as well as exhausting, and that's a good feeling.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Two for One

Although I'm not posting to the blog as regularly as I have been, the good news is that I am getting my runs in this week.

With compromises however. Yesterday I wanted to go 13 but ended up only doing 8 due to an inability to get out of the house in the morning and having to be back in time to get T off to camp. This morning I did the same 8 mile Acme Loop as yesterday, only this time I was accompanied by E. Among the many advantages of running with E is that doing so forces me to get out by 6 am.

I have really felt swamped and stressed, mostly by the extra work demanded by the class I'm currently teaching but also by the need to be flexible with the summer holidays and changes in schedule. In addition to that, little things have started breaking down here and there and the minor inconveniences of this have started to accumulate. One of these things is a major software glitch that has immobilized my home PC and which I am currently figuring out what to do to fix.

Back to the run. When I get stressed like this I tend to notice all the decay on my running routes. There seem to be alot of gut rehabs and tear-downs that I hadn't noticed before. One row in particular, I think it was just off of Parkside Ave, where the outside brick walls were coming down and they somehow looked very thin and fragile, like they were part of a Hollywood set or a Potemkin Village rather than an actual structure. Also noticed how many vacant lots there were on the Acme loop, lots that have the characteristic wooden fence around them and mowed, suburban appearance characteristic of Philadelphia Green's involvement. There was one "control" lot that was unmowed, and that one was actually very pretty with Queen Anne's lace and other blue flowers highlighting the higher plant growth.

Anyway, same route for the last few days, and at 66:42 and 66:04, almost identical times. So combining the two into one post has a certain efficiency that, on a day like today, I find appealing.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth

Got back from out of town yesterday. My silence on the blog doesn't mean, however, I haven't been running.

Saturday I went out to Rockland Lake to run with the Rockland Road Runners. The run starts at 7:00, probably because soon thereafter the park charges $6.00 admission. Anyway, they did what I have never seen any club do, and that is leave at 7 on the dot. I was walking out of the restroom just at that time and there was this group of about 20, taking off. My mouth dropped and I checked them out and nobody looked to be running my pace, so I let them go and went to plan B. Plan B was to run three times around the 3.1'ish mile course around the lake. This was the course that I first ran with my mom when I was about 13. Once was plenty then, today I did three loops, looking to do each one faster than the last. Total time was 9.5 miles in 65:48, with the splits for the loops in 22:37; 21:04, and 20:28.

Yesterday I planned to run a 14 mile loop in Harriman State Park, but made the mistake of not running it first thing in the morning. One delay led to another and I didn't get around to running until I was back in Philly in the late afternoon. Running on a late Sunday afternoon on a three day weekend is being in interstitial time. It had a different feel to it as the position of the sun, the day's cumulative heat and humidity, and the people finishing up their day running all felt different. I felt like the run was penance for my sins, and kept it at a pace where I was pushing. First 4 miles on the drives were in 29:23; second 4 were in 28:31. Finished up at the pool club feeling caked in a particularly salinated sweat. 15 miles in 1:55:59. 8 pool laps to recover. I also ran by the Art Museum steps with the big stage from yesterday's Live 8 show still up, up for the Elton John concert and fireworks tonight. Again in interstitial time. Getting the stage view I could really see what a bad venue it is, as the audience area only starts 200 or so meters away from the stage and both sides are flanked by large trees. The audience thus can only snake down Ben Franklin Parkway to City Hall and beyond. Surely there must be a better venue.

Today I met up with E, a bit later than usual, and headed for Cobbs Creek. She found a track out there, behind the pool near where Spruce Street crosses CC Parkway. Turns out that track is a generous word for it, as it is a relatively narrow (about 3 lanes) amoeba shaped loop that, judging by the time it took to do a loop, should be pretty close to 400 meters. From there we ran some trails to some riding stables along the creek and then crossed the creek into Delaware County where we took some backroads, cut through a cemetary, ended up on Baltimore Pike and took the trail alongside the CC Parkway. Then it was Woodland all the way back home. Cobbs Creek is such an excellent area to run, and we had it all to ourselves. That run took about 88 minutes, conservatively I'm calling it ten miles as we stopped a few times for navigation and fence climbing purposes.

Friday, July 01, 2005

I'm Back

Not from the dead, but from a long break. Haven't run since my last blog entry.

This has been the longest non-injury, non marathon recovery layoff that I can remember. The main culprit has been the need to put together a course I'm teaching at Penn this month. This is a semesters worth of classes scrunched into 6 weeks. As I was on vacation last week, I was behind in putting things together and, as this is moonlighting, I'm doing this on top of everything else I got.

Even after the layoff, things go back to the usual pretty quick. Went out with E. this morning on the usual Acme loop. My stopwatch never started, probably better that way as the pace was, shall we say leisurely. I wanted to do 10 but my calves were sore enough towards the end of the run where I left it at 8. Its also godawful hot and humid again.

I'm hoping that I've settled down with my work obligations to where I can get into a regular running rhythm again. The Rock n Roll half marathon, which I signed up to run on Labor Day weekend, is now appearing on the horizon, and I have to get back into training mode. But first I gotta get back into running mode.

And that comes one run at a time.

Off to NY tomorrow to get T and to escape Live8 this weekend. Should get good workouts while there.