Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Orleans

The full scale of the disaster that is now New Orleans hit me this morning when I opened the NY Times. I stole a couple of minutes before going out to scim over the front page and set my mind racing to the seemingly infinite contingencies that stem from these accounts of the destruction. It wrenched my stomach like no other news story since 9-11.

I won't go into details but this mornings run let all of these thoughts and reactions babble out and E had insights of her own. If not therapeutic, it felt somewhat cathartic.

This morning's run was an otherwise uneventful Acme loop run, 8 miles done straight and none too strenuously in 67:27.

Got an email from erstwhile and now honorary running partner PB saying he ran an (unnamed) half-marathon in the UK, coming in 7th with a 1:30:50. Excellent job, and shows that he is on track to run well in NYC this fall.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

White Line Fever

I'm appropriating the title from a Merle Haggard song about truck-driving (no, not cocaine) and applying it to my feelings about the track today.

Went out to the Franklin Field, which I've decided is the one spot in this world where I most directly face the chasm between what I can achieve and what I want to achieve.

Figured I'd set a doable goal of four 1600's at 5:30 pace. The results were: first rep in 5:34, second in 5:33, then 5:39 and final one in 5:55. One more instance of thinking I'm being conservative when I'm setting goals that are a little too ambitious.

Again, that won't bother me as long as I'm on an arc of improvement over the fall. Its too early to tell if that is the case or not.

Paradoxically, I'm most proud of my last rep, as I felt cooked by the end of the first 400 and really had to push to get under six despite every fiber of my body commanding me to stop this silliness as I was already running too slow for this rep to be of any consequence. Going up against such mental and physical limits, often at the same time, that is why I both love and hate the track.

Although it may not sound like it, I'm shooting to make this an easy week, given that the past three weeks have all been 70+ miles and I've got the half-marathon coming up this weekend. I did take yesterday off, and (except for Thursday's tempo run) will go mellow for the rest of the week.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Stone Harbor Lions 10k

All races should finish at the beach. ~KF

This race felt like a big race in that KF came over last night to stay with us so we could get an early start to the Shore this morning. He fixed an awesome Shrimp Alfredo for a carbo-loaded dinner, we watched the DVD Dogma, and all went to bed by 10pm so we would be bright-eyed and bushy tailed when we had to get up at 5 this morning. We saw the sun rise and were the only car for most of the way down Route 55 through NJ and got into Stone Harbor by about 7:15. The staging area was on the other side of the dunes from the ocean.

Conditions were about as good as could be hoped for, humid and warm but with the sun blocked by clouds and an ocean breeze. Today marked KF and my first time running under the aegis of the Philadelphia Athletic Charities Track Club, who were out in force today in the ongoing battle with the evil South Jersey Athletic Club (this time on their home turf) for the club title in the Mid Atlantic ATF Grand Prix series. There were also some Kenyans there (which meant there must have been prize money), including Ronald Mogaka (who won the Broad St. Run a few times) and Anastasia Ndereba, Catherine's younger sister and a 2:29 marathoner in her own right. Even in today's weather they were in sweat pants and jackets zipped up to the neck until just before the race. Besides that a good number of Philly area people made it down for today's race.

The race started and I fell in with a pack of 6 or 7, going through the first mile in 5:35 and the second in 5:36, right at my goal pace. In mile 3 myself, PACTC teamate CS and EK, one of the better Phila-area female runners, broke away from the rest of the pack while hitting mile 3 in a slower 5:47. I'm starting to feel it by now and resolve to hang onto them a mile at a time. Mile 4 passes (5:45) and I'm still with them, but then EK tells me and CS that she is going to reel in Ndereba by mile 5 and takes off. CS follows, I don't. Mile 5 passes sadly in 6:09 as does a 51 year old SJAC guy, and I pick things up slightly in the last 1.2 (7:15; or a 6:03 pace) for a 36:10 finishing time and 12th place overall. As a postscript, EK did reel in Anastasia to win and CS ran my goal race in the low 35 minute range. KF finished a bit behind me and got 3rd in our age group.

So, not the time I wanted and a bit disconcerting to slow so much in the last 2 miles. Maybe that was due to yesterday's 18, or this morning's humidity, or some other reason, but I'll eschew the excuses and call it a tune up race. I've got several months yet before I want to peak and I feel that my training is just starting to hit a groove, so I should be able to improve on this. It also lets me set a more realistic (i.e., conservative) goal for next weeks R&R Half.

Postrace was fun. I give alot of credit to 3M, who came down w/ me and KF and put up with the weirdness of a race as seen through the eyes of the uninitiated. I told her the race would only last 45 minutes and then we could do beach & boardwalk for the rest of the day, but I forgot to tell her that the postrace stuff would take awhile. And this one seemed to go on endlessly as there were tons of doorprizes that went before the usual shwag. But to avoid dragging that out, we did go for our swim and it was wonderful!

All races should indeed end at a beach, and next weeks race should make it two in a row.

The PACTC folks who stayed until the bitter end of the awards. I'm the one who looks ready to jump into the ocean.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

It Don't Come Easy

The song came on almost as I started the car after finishing my run.

It was on WOGL, best of the 60s & 70s, which I've been listening to in the car alot lately. It doesn't flog the dead horses of that era like the classic rock stations do, instead mixing up rock, motown, soul, and pop from that era in a format and style that sounds like a radio station from that era. No, I've not been paid to write this (although it sounds like I have) but its rare that a commercial radio station strikes my fancy these days, and they did play the aforementioned Ringo song that perfectly captured my mood after running 18.5 this morning.

There were about 5 guys in front of the Art Museum this morning, and out of them TK and IC (aka the original Lindsay Lohan) were looking to go long, so the three of us set out on a course I had mapped out that would give me 15 as it passed my house, at which point I would bow out and they could run another 3-5 miles in getting back to the Art Museum. We set out on the old faves, up Lemon Hill, Lansdowne Ave Hill and the Bloody Nipple, but then kept straight on Ford Road and into Wynnefield (Will Smith's birthplace). Most of the roads we took from there I was unfamiliar with, which I like, and among other places we ran by the St. Joe's University track, which I knew existed but never knew exactly where it was located. We kept heading west, with one minor glitch, to whatever part of Fairmount Park is all the way at the western edge of Philadelphia. From there we went south until we hit the Cobbs Creek bikepath and I was back in familiar territory. TK and I showed IC the Cobbs Creek track (a story for another blog entry) and then further down the bike path until we hit Warrington and then my house. I felt strong, so instead of biking back to the Art Museum, I just ran the last 3.5 miles back and then IC put in a little extra to hit 20.

Damn, I get tired just running that far.

This was a bit more than I wanted to do, but not because I felt tired but rather because I'm racing 10k tomorrow. So its the feeling you get after drinking a few more beers than you planned and vaguely dreading having to get up for work the next day. On one hand I felt strong and the company was good, but you may be subjected to some whining in tomorrow's race report.
It don't come easy, you know it don't come easy
Its my mantra today as I continue to get more focused on the upcoming fall. I've downloaded the song and have been playing it on repeat as I've been writing this. The music to this is brilliant, as it raises up a basic fact rather than turning it into a complaint or a romanticization. Plus its got killer horns.

Send up positive energy to me for tomorrow's race, as I'll need all the karma I can get.

Oh yeah, today's course is sueandpaulled here for those interested.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Daylight Saving Time

The sun was not quite up yet this morning when I met E. I commented how this was a sign of fall, and the darkness would progress to where we would again be starting our runs in the dark.

E commented on how daylight saving time was scheduled to last longer in the fall as part of the new energy bill. The early morning runner lobby was obviously not consulted on this, as it means more running in the darkness for us. Discussion quickly passed on to the general absurdity of this bill as an energy saving measure. A quick google of "daylight saving time" and "energy bill" showed, predictably, a bunch of news stories on this topic. Its remarkable how even such a minor factor creates this huge rigamarole and then, in a more sinister vein, how this DST change brilliantly diverts attention from the real aims of the energy bill, including consumption as usual and the quiet transfer of billions of dollars to various energy interests. So I'll be thinking about these outrages once darkness really hits. But then I see that this DST change won't hit until 2007. So not only is it a dubious sacrifice, but a dubious sacrifice deferred way into the future.

Wow, with that rant I feel like I'm really blogging. It also makes me realize what a slow day it is otherwise. E and I ran the Acme loop but, amidst a strong fermenting smell around the distribution center, we decided to extend the loop out on Jefferson/54th to Wynnefield and loop back around on Overbrook to 59th. We got a bit disoriented as 59th at one point becomes 57th St., but there was the familiar hulking fortress of Overbrook High to orient us. Total per sueandpaul was 9.3 miles, time was 78:11. That has gotta be a short measure.

Got a nice comment from MS, who somehow stumbled on yesterday's blog entry. MS lives down the street and we ran together a little bit back in the day before she had twins and I started upping my mileage. Good luck with your relapse into running.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Loneliness of LD Running

I slept in (relatively speaking) this morning. Glad I did.

Several folks are fixing to get together at the Art Museum at 6pm to run, but I chose to run on my own over my lunch hour and then work a bit later to get in a full workday. The main reason I did this was not that I'm antisocial but I knew I wouldn't get in my marathon pace miles running with a group.

So I went out by myself, and left my iPod at home as I knew it too would impede a serious workout. I ran the 11.5 mile version of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge loop from USP, taking the 3 MLK miles at marathon pace. This is an easier version of the tempo workouts I've done in previous marathon training cycles, as in the past I've substituted tempo for marathon pace (about 15-20 secs per mile faster) and run that for a bit longer. I'll work up to that, however I had all that I could handle today.

The first mile went by in 6:10, leading me to mentally wring my hands as to how I couldn't get my pace down under 6. However I harnessed the power in my self-pity to get mile 2 down in 5:55 and mile 3 in 5:52, giving me a total of 17:57 for the 3 miles, or 3 seconds under my goal time. I also was happy with negative splitting each mile and recovering after a slow start. So training is continuing to come along. After I got nice and out of breath on this part the next segment goes up the Ford St. hill and then its a long but easy cruise back to USP. Beautiful day to run although still a bit on the hot side. I didn't hydrate well this morning so I got to take notes as my body progressed through initial stages of dehydration (nothing serious). Total time 93:13.

So while I missed the company, I'm glad I got this workout in, which went a long way toward getting back the marathon training rhythm. Now I have to decide whether to sacrifice mileage in the upcoming days so as to be sufficiently rested for Sunday's Stone Harbor 10k, or whether to "train through" it and then do a mini taper for next week's R&R half marathon. My inclination is to make the latter the target race, and to use this Sunday's race as a barometer for how I'll do.

Oh joy, racing season mindset is upon me again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


Beautiful morning, best adjective for it is crisp. Feels like September.

Despite that, I had a hard time getting up and out. I really had to push myself, with my rational side begging me to go back to bed. But I plodded to the bathroom and then outside. Met E and we ran Cobbs Creek, deciding to cut the run short by going home down Warrington. Once I got going I was up for heading all the way down to Woodland, but it was wise to return on Warrington as my legs started giving me overuse pains with about a half mile left to run.

Sueandpaul says the course was just under 6.5, but it felt longer. We'll call it 6.5 in 57:03.

Now the challenge is to make it through the rest of the day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Track Meet #2

First things first. I did a double session today, ran a slow four miles this morning. Franklin Field loop with two laps on the FF track. Haven't run on the track in months, and nice to see that it is accessible again to us common folks. Otherwise it was one of those runs where I should have left the watch home. But the main purpose was to stretch my legs and get some mileage in. 36:32.

The second Wissahickon Wanderers track meet was today. Same usual suspects, save the conspicuous absences of IC and CS, but E and TK made it out, giving us a strong West Philly contingent. First event was the mile, which I no longer even pretend I care about, and finished in 5:22, a few seconds faster than last week but still interval workout pace. The only thing notable was that TK, after shadowing me for three laps, pulls ahead and whips me soundly on the last lap. I think the word is out, I have no finishing kick. If there was something I'd consider selling my soul to the devil for, it might be that.

These WW track meets are always social as much as running affairs. Scott introduced himself, whose blog I've been enjoying for awhile as he is both local and often has excellent comments and insights about things running and things happening during the run. Turns out that we worked together on some projects several years ago and have several mutual friends. I remember him as heavier, which is no surprise given that he's run alot since then. We talked for awhile and he also told me that the Acme food distribution center, which I've been running by several days a week, has been shut down for several years. And I never noticed. I just figured things were quiet there because it was early.

The other event I ran was the 5k. This was a rematch of last week, except for the absence of IC and numerous other runners present. It started a bit faster, thanks in part to me as I took pacing duties for the first 2 laps and then some guy I don't know in a Rohm & Haas shirt passes me and takes about a 30 meter lead. First mile passes in 5:32 and I'm dueling it out with KF, each of us overtaking the other several times, all the while slowly reeling in the R&H guy. Mile 2 passes again in 5:32 and I throw in a surge and overtake R&H for the lead and put some more space between me and KF. But now its another guy breathing down my neck. I spend the next several laps doing all I can to keep up the pace and get a lead on CS, as I know he'll outkick me in the end. And, my friends, that is exactly what happened on the homestretch as CS just turned it on and I didn't have anything left. Final mile was a 5:30 and final time was 17:11. Much better effort than last week but I'd like to get that 5k time under 17 again.

All combined 7 miles for the afternoon; 11 total for the day.

I think I'll head out to the crossroads.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Art Museum Again

E had a 10 mile route exploring new territory all laid out for today but then wasn't up to it, so we did the Art Museum loop. Conversation was good and the run was none too strenuous. I planned to tack on a few more miles at the end, but cut it short when nature called around 51st St. So I'm calling it a long 7 in 60:52. Weather is cooler and sunny.

That's it for today.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Shake Em on Down

One of the benefits of getting my pc back in working order is that I can again download new songs onto my iPod. Today's download was a Mississippi Fred McDowell album featuring him live on electric guitar. He plays a trance-like driving locomotive blues, endemic to the Delta area, the kind that I love to run to. Maybe that's why my next marathon will be Memphis. Shake em on down.

Today was an easy day. Art Museum loop. This used to be my bread and butter run but now its an easy run. I didn't get out until about 3, it was hot, but that was okay today. Lent authenticity to the music.

6.5 in 52:59. 73 miles for the week. Shake em on down!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Getting the Groove Back

I just went through my blog entries from the last 6 weeks and updated my log. My log is a basic Excel spreadsheet that I made a few years back and it, like most of my other stuff, was held hostage by a failed hard drive for which I had to cough up a ransom and now am going about gradually reinstalling and rearranging stuff on my PC.

So while my training was less than stellar I also felt like I was training through a fog, as I lacked a big picture in which to fit my everyday workouts (or lack thereof). So today I went back and did the depressing task of filling in all the DNRs that accumulated, esp. in July. For once I won't bore you with numbers, but see that I have accumulated half a mile less this year than I had at this point in '04, and actually have about 15 miles more accumulated than in '03, which is the year in which I had run the most miles. If I remember correctly, last year around this time I started lapsing into IT band problems which, while not disabling, led me to cut down in mileage for fear that it would get worse, which it never did. So if I stay healthy this fall and train regularly, I should still have a good year mileage wise.

Considering I have about the same training as I did last year also gives me hope for the PDR this year. I managed to go sub 1:16 last year, and I'd be thrilled to do that again this year. But this year is different in several respects, and I also have several races in between to both gauge my fitness and to potentially wear me out. I'll take them one at a time, first being Tuesday's track meet, in which I'm ready to do a bit better and incur some revenge after last week.

All this blather and I haven't even gotten to today's run. I hooked up with IC and his friend J this morning to do 18. IC was torn between me, whom he felt he was slowing down and J, who consistently lagged behind us although we were at about a 9 minute pace. This made for an interesting workout. The pace was nice in the beginning as my legs are pretty beat up from this week's mileage. Easing into a pace that was just that, ease-y, was very relaxing and let me do start this run out in a very comfortable zone as we chugged up Kelly Drive. After awhile it did get slow and I figured I'd go 81 for 9 miles and then turn around and see how much faster I could do the back 9. We went up Kelly, through Manayunk and up the towpath past Shawmont and the trailer homes along the Schuylkill and I turned around about 5 minutes after IC and J at the base of some industrial park. I started the back part at what felt like about 8 minute pace and gradually upped the pace. When I got back to the marked Kelly miles I hammered it but alas, the hammer was a bit muted as the last 3 miles went by in 19:51. No way I was gonna get it down to marathon pace this morning. Ran into (literally) RL during the cooldown, who I used to run with before he moved out of Philly. . . and now he's back.

God I'm blabbing on today. The run was challenging in that, in the spirit of a long run, I was on my feet for a long time and, at the same time, I pushed the pace pace a bit. I'm coming back. The log, too, brought back that training feeling.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Recurring Relentlessness

Another one of these "less than 12 hours later and here I am in front of the blog again" feelings.

I remember particularly from last winter the feeling of the relentless pace set by training day in and day out, and am feeling that again. This morning it was particularly strong, as I had just plopped into bed after a run last night and the alarm goes off at 5:30 with another run staring me in the face. Fridays its even harder, as it feels like the wear and tear of all the weeks runs has accumulated. But I did get myself together and out the door to meet E at 6.

We ran Cobbs Creek this morning, west on Osage and then back east on Woodland. It was not a route I would have chosen at the start of the run, and it took me at least the first 30 minutes of the run to get comfortable, both mentally and physically, with running. But the morning was again cool and there was a quiet calm along the Cobbs Creek bike path this morning. Conservatively, 9.5 miles in 77:45.

And the training just keeps going. Long run on the weekend, track on Tuesday, Stone Harbor 10k next weekend, and we did make arrangements for the R&R half marathon on Labor Day weekend. When my legs are aching I like to think they are getting stronger, like that old cliche "pain is weakness leaving the body". I think "one day at a time" is a preferable cliche, get up each morning and eke out one more run to keep that relentlessness at bay for just awhile longer.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I'm Gonna Cry a River (Little Milton: 1934-2005)

Little Milton died on August 4. I didn't find out until the weekend (consistent with my daughter's accusations that I'm "so two weeks ago") and for this morning's run in his honor I had "Tin Pan Alley" on the iPod and bid him farewell. Rest in peace.

This mornings run was a 4 mile Franklin Field loop. They still had all the movie trailers and assorted stuff sitting at FF. The weather is cool and pleasant now, with a bright morning sun to illuminate the Furness Library's red sandstone exterior, one of my favorite run-by sights located on Penn's campus.

Speaking of people passing, this mornings route also went by Koch's Deli, a legendary local institution where Bobby Koch held court with amazing sandwiches and bad jokes. He passed recently as well, as had his brother Lou some 7 or 8 years ago. He too, will be missed by many.

They say death comes in threes, so we need one more for the hat trick. 4+ miles went by at the speed of a funeral procession in 38:54.


Did a double today by meeting J, A, and TK at the Art Museum after work. IC laid out a course but conveniently declined to show up, so I had three of the uninitiated ask me where this "bloody nipple" thing is. So I led the lambs up Kelly Drive to the slaughter, with TK changing the words around as he sang the chorus of Sunday Bloody Sunday. But I hyperbolize, as I'm known to do every so often, as all three chugged up the hill just fine and have now been inducted into the Order of the Bloody Nipple. It was one of those rain in the sunshine afternoons where the river revealed the complexity of its moods and made me feel I was in a Thomas Eakins painting.

I was commenting to TK how we often take for granted the beauty that surrounds our beaten path around the Schuylkill: both the natural beauty and the statues, bridges, architecture, etc. interspersed among this.

A got the hardcore runner award as he did three more miles (I'm taking him for his word) after we all did the 10+ mile route. I hammered the last mile (6:30ish) and finished in 81:58.

So I ran 14 miles, biked about as much during the course of making various appointments throughout the day, and walked about a mile with M to get back and forth to Saad's for some felafel and baba-ghanoush after coming home from the run. It's been a good day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

PB's Last Run

Today was PB's last run with us as he will return to England at the end of the week.

It's strange to see PB go, as he had got to be quite the regular. This morning he recruited a colleague, Ben, to come with us and there was PB, leading us around the course like a native. And as usual he charged up the Jefferson St. hill which, as a going away present, we have now renamed "Paul's Hill." Good luck Paul and we'll be looking to see how you do in NYC come November.

The usual Acme loop, 9 miles in 70:33. A bit fast considering last nights activities.

Last night was the first of the Wissahickon Wanderers' summer track meets. It started raining just as soon as I headed up to Roxborough with KF and CS. This put a damper on the attendence but unfortunately kept all the wrong people away, as the faster runners still showed.

Or perhaps it was the right people who showed, as there was a palpable bond in our willingness to be out there in that steady rain. The bond was almost of a religious nature in our communal defiance of adversity so as to partake of the sacred ritual of running around the hallowed oval.

It was a good thing I'd been spending the last week suppressing my expectations. I participated in the first event, the mile, and ran the first 400 in 1:15, on pace for my eventual goal of breaking 5 minutes. This quickly proved to be unsustainable, however, and to make a short, miserable story shorter and less miserable, I plodded through the last 3 laps alone to finish in 5:23. I hate the mile. But I took a shot at sub 5 although realistically I had no right to expect better than what I got as this was my first time setting foot on a track since before Boston. KF ran a solid 4:57, IC and CS both beat me handily, and I did finish ahead of CS.

The second event I ran in was the 5000, which was the funniest race I've ever done. Only four of us, myself, IC, KF, and CS lined up to run it, so it was more of a challenge among friends. "Well, one of us has got to finish last" was how IC put it, and as we started it seemed like each of us was shooting to be that guy. A very tactical race, with all four of us sticking together and IC seeking to throw our rhythms off by killing us with the one-liners he'd throw on the track. The best one (which I hope translates to writing) was in response to our split for the third lap, which the official called out 4:43 and to which IC said "that was a blistering mile there boys." I almost fell of the track. The real first mile split was about 5:48, after which I picked up things a little and KF picked up things even more and by the time 2 miles rolled around (5:40ish) KF had a small lead, CS was in hot pursuit and me and IC were battling it out for the bronze. As I said, very tactical but I couldn't get a big enough lead to fend off what I knew would be a final burst by IC, so I finished as the caboose in 17:35. I had too much fun to complain about that, however, and it just makes me that much more motivated to return to the track. But probably not before the second meet next Tuesday.

After the events, which also included a distance medley, which we were all to exhausted to care much about, there was easy conversation and pulled pork with various fixings to work off any fitness we might have acquired during the meet. I left feeling wet on the outside but warm on the inside, and if there were an answer to the question "why do I run" it would have to lie somewhere in last night's events. I got home and went straight to bed.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Why is it that Guys who Try to Simultaneously Drive 2 Golf Carts. . .

are always the same guys who charge up hills?

Maybe PB can answer that one.

The two of us and E did the 36th St. version of the Acme loop again today. I was late getting out of the house this morning, so didn't get to set the watch, but remembered it was 6:08 when I headed out. I finished at 7:20 for a time of 72 minutes for the 9-mile loop. About what we've been running this loop.

Had a heavy rain last night. While E regaled us with stories of watching SUVs stall while trying to get through the flooded 43rd & Baltimore intersection, I lamented about getting water in our basement yet again. Depressing to the point that I had a hard time getting up and out this morning, but (as I knew I would be) I am now glad I made it. Especially as I'll have to sit in conference sessions for most of the day.

At least last nights rain cooled the temperatures a bit, so I can't complain about that.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Same Weather, Different Day

Was proud of myself for getting out to run at 8 am this morning, though running conditions were already tough. Went with C to the Drives, C walked and I ran. I felt morally superior as I ran into RD at Lloyd Hall when I was done and he was starting. But then I had to swallow my pride later in talking to JG who said he went out at 6:30 this morning. But regardless of the time, the weather sucked.

I figured I wouldn't get myself up to do speed, so I did hills instead. Hills are easier to regulate exertion, as you just increase speed until you get the breathing difficulty level desired. This probably sounds weird, but I have a rating scale for this upon which I can peg my exertion with the appearance of reliability. Running hills hard also makes me glad I took LaMaz (sp?) classes, as I use the breathing exercises they teach. Didn't do Cindy a lick of good, as all that went out the window as soon as labor kicked in, but it has stayed with me. Anyway, I took one of IC's copyrighted courses that featured a medley of greatest hills in that area - Lemon Hill, the Lansdowne Ave. hill, the hill off MLK up and over Ford Road, (of course) the Bloody Nipple, and the Ford Rd hill itself down to Strawberry Mansion Bridge and then over to Edgeley Field. Call it 9.5 in 74:51.

I haven't added it all up, but it gives me about 75 miles for this week. That puts me back in the zone, especially on such an unforgiving week such as this one was. Goal this week is to keep building on it, and work in the speed. Oh yeah, and not to embarrass myself too badly on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

More Baby Steps

Hot, sweaty baby steps.

Friday was a now-usual Acme loop down to 36th St. to pick up PB. E was unable to join us due to her preoccupation with a book from an unnamed best-selling children's series led her to oversleep.
PB and I had a good conversation, mostly about marathon related stuff where he asked and I probably spouted more stuff than he wanted to hear, but hey, he's a captive audience. Otherwise, the heat and mugginess just keeps going on. We ran the 9 miles in 71:52, just about a minute faster than Wednesday's running of the same course.

Oh yeah, PB wanted to know where the course went, as, being from London, the poor guy has no clue where I'm dragging him around to. Since I know he reads this blog, the link is

Today was the baby steps. I planned to go long, but cut it short, I planned to run 4 miles marathon pace, but had to slow them down. It was hot, but not excruciatingly so, but it was really really humid. So I ran down to the Art Museum, joined up with a bunch of Philly Runner folks, ran with them up to Falls Bridge, then hammered. Wanted to try out marathon pace, see if I still had it. This would be in the 6-6:05 range. First mile 6:07, then 6:12, then 6:30, and then 6:34 (4 in 25:23 total). This tells me various things, mainly that it was too damn hot to do this kind of workout. But psychologically it puts me a bit closer to the training mentality (hence the baby steps analogy). I also will scale back my expectations for Tuesday's track meet. After I finished this "dash" I stopped for a bit at the base of the Art Museum and dunked my head in the fountain, and mooched gatorade off of LG and E. Socialized a little too long, and was stiff on doing the final leg home. I felt like I breaked too long to call it a true long run (I am a purist after all) but nonetheless covered 15 miles in a relatively slow 1:21:15. I'll take it.

Did I mention it was hot and humid today?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Only Mad Dogs and Marathon Runners. . .

run around in the noonday sun.

Thought last night that it was high time to get back to the track, so I planned out a track workout for noon today.

In heading over to the ARC, I realized how warm it was and that I maybe should have checked a weather forecast. But I sucked it up and decided to head out to Franklin Field anyway. As a precaution I took a water bottle with me. says it is 92 degrees out. I jogged the 1.25 miles to the FF track getting myself psyched to run mile intervals and was ready to go when I got there only to see that they were still shooting a movie there. A few weeks back I wrote of how they were assembling dummies outside of FF to be used to make up spectators, and today they were in full action filming. I was going to go up to a cop to ask him about this when I realized that his uniform wasn't quite right and realized that he was a movie cop. I peeked into the field from the South St. gate and saw what looked like a big crowd in the stands, but looked closer and saw it was the dummies. Anyway, a security guard said they were making a movie about the Eagles and Jim Capaldi. I asked who he was and she shrugged her shoulders. Later on I realized where I heard the name - he played with Stevie Winwood in the band Traffic. So I don't know what this movie is about, all I know is the track will be closed until August 22.

This created the immediate problem of what to do. Like I said, it takes some effort to get me psyched to do these bloody track workouts, and there was a palpable letdown when I realized that it wasn't going to happen. So I decided to slog the Sweetbriar route with the stipulation that I could go as slow as I wanted, and even threw in a few Gallowalks to make sure that I wouldn't be doing this loop for time. I pretty much held up my end of the bargain, as I clocked the MLK mile in 8:40 and the whole 8ish mile run in 71:15. Sunny hot run solely to fulfill the obligation.

The more long term problem is that I need to stop running and start training again. I need some track work to see what kind of shape I'm in, and also for some practice for two meets (each of the next two Tuesdays) sponsored by the Wissahickon Wanderers and then also need to get in shape for the Stone Harbor Lions 10k at the end of this month, where I'll be running as part of the Phila Athletic Charities track club. PAC is the only outfit around that has got guys my age who run faster than me, so I figure if I cant beatem then join them. We'll see where it goes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Surge Suppression

This was my second run in the last 12 hours. Met E and then PB and headed out on the 36th St. version of the Acme Loop. This took us up a previously unexplored stretch of Mantua Ave. between 36th and 40th Streets that features particularly picturesque renditions of urban decay. One of these runs I'm going to bring my digital camera along and this'll be one of the places I'll take pictures. One of the plusses of this loop is that I don't think we've ever run it the same way twice.

PB kept E and I on our toes (literally) today, as he kept surging ahead. I kept thinking this boy needs to get schooled but kept waiting until further along in the loop. By the time we were close to the finish I just figured I'll show him next time.

I'm not going to measure this course, but it should safely be 9 miles, run this morning in 72:17.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

"Thank God for the rain to wash the trash off the sidewalk"

A quote from Travis Bickle in the movie Taxi Driver.

I saw the movie last night and the quote came up in our running conversation today. I've realized this summer what an apt metaphor it is. The rain from the last few days has finally removed some of the stink from the streets around here. The heat and humidity provide ideal grounds for all sorts of stuff to fester (one of my favorite English words) and also facilitates a spike in the fly population. A guy I knew even said that during hot, humid dry spells like these he could smell the accumulated dog urine everywhere. Anyway, you get the picture.

Thus a run like today, after a good soaking rain this morning, felt cleansing and cooler, although the humidity was right up there again. Me, IC and SK, whom I haven't run with in months, did the bloody nipple the way it was supposed to be run - uphill. IC is starting to refer to the BN in human (and not altogether platonic) terms. I ran out to the Art Museum, met the other two, ran up Kelly over the BN and onto Ford, Montgomery & then Belmont roads. My buddies left me at Memorial hall, and I plodded home. The Negro Leagues mural on Belmont & Parkside is finally finished. It came out good, especially since the colors are fresh and vibrant, and the mural, with lots of action poses of old Negro League ballplayers (the site sits on where the ballfield used to be that the Philadelphia Stars played in), lets the formerly nondescript corner radiate energy.

Could have used some of that energy myself. I bit off a little more than I could chew today and really plodded the last two miles home. sueandpaulling the course says its almost 14 (13.8) miles, I'll call it 14 as in plotting out this course you can't help but cut corners. Total time was 1:46.23.

If you want to check out the course map go here (and zoom out the map a bit). The satellite photography is pretty cool. I plotted the course clockwise, but I ran it counterclockwise.

It Takes A Village. . .

To train for a marathon.

I turned in the grades for this summer course that has been my nemesis for the past month, and true to form I was still finishing this up at 7 am (grades were due in at 10 am) when E and PB must have been finishing up the run I should have been part of.

But I managed to hook up with IC this evening. We met at 6 at the Art Museum and ran up Lemon Hill, over the Girard Bridge and up Belmont to do the Bloody Nipple backwards and then over the Falls Bridge and down Kelly Drive back to the AM.

I run w/ IC rarely enough to where its a treat when I do. He was in good form yesterday and I wasn't, so I was hanging onto his ass with a rope toward the end as we cranked out a sub 7 pace. But the conversation was such that I didn't think of how badly I was dying. What more can one ask for?

IC said he'd sueandpaul the distance, and in the meantime I'm calling it 10 in 71:52.

Friday, August 05, 2005

End of the Week

Hard to believe that its Friday already. As I've mentioned previously, I've been participating in a training all week that has yet again interfered with my running. But that's okay as the training has been a remarkable experience that I feel like writing about at length but wont as it strays a bit far from running. I will however, post this link if anyone wants to see press coverage on this program.

I did run on Wednesday and also this morning. Both times E & I hooked up with PB, whose here from England taking a class for 3 weeks at Penn. We've taken him on our usual routes through the parts of Philly not seen by tourists that often, and he's been real game about following us around and listening to us spout our various blather about Philadelphia. In return, he asks good, basic questions that make you think. We talked about the comparative murder rates in Philly and London, and I remembered that when we were in Montreal, a city with a population (1.8 mill) a little larger than Philly (1.5 mill), the news had a story of a homicide and mentioned it was the city's 14th of the year. In comparison, Philly marked its 213th homicide of the year a few days ago.

E said she was running out by Mount Mariah Cemetary on Tuesday and saw police searching for a body of a woman who'd disappeared and whose story has attained a high media profile. She said that the police had trouble handling the cadaver sniffing dogs in the cemetary. Duh!

Anyway, it continues to be humid. Thursday did an extended Acme loop, 10 miles in 76:55, and we'll call it 9.5 this morning, going out down to Penn, out to Cobbs Creek, and home via Warrington Ave. in 74:45.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Fortress of the Flying Monkeys

I'll get to the title in a minute.

I'll make this post brief as I have to finish a class prep tonight and I'd like to get to bed at only a fairly unreasonable hour.

This is the last crazy week, but it will probably be crazier than I thought. I just got back from Inside Out training, which has started by living up to expectations. But the travel back and forth to the boonies and the classes and related stuff will make it tough to get a full running week in.

Anyway, E and I made a detour to meet PB, a guy we hooked up with on the web who is in Philly for a few weeks, but jet lag got the better of him. So we continued on our Acme loop. The heat and humidity are back, although it wasn't as bad as its been. There was a foreboding mist looming over West Philly this morning, looking as if rain was imminent. From the north side of Lancaster, Overbrook High School was shrouded in the stuff, and looked somewhat like the lair of the flying monkey's in the wizard of Oz.

Hope I get at least a few miles in tomorrow, we shall see.