Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, September 24, 2005

20 miler #2

It takes a village to run a marathon.

And we truly had a village this morning. Twelve folks showed up this morning for the 20 miler, although not all looked to do the full 20. I think I knew everyone there, and we all hung together going up Kelly Drive and through Manayunk. We held about an 8:15 pace and the running was easy, bouncing back and forth to talk with different folks. At Manayunk I took it hard for the 1.2 miles I remember as a prolonged, tough uphill, but which proved to be neither as I made it up in 6:21. This little marathon pace interlude ended at the 20 mile point on the marathon course, but I guess it feels alot tougher at that point in the marathon than when one is fresher. I made a mental note not to bother training part of the course much anymore.

I gallowalked a bit to allow the rest of the folks to catch up and crossed Green Lane bridge to come back to Philadelphia via Belmont. I had never run this stretch but those that had warned of some steep hills. Indeed, we got a series of 3 challenging (though not impossible) hills and I succumbed to peer pressure (SK, TK, ES, among others) to take these hills hard. They lend themselves well to hill work, as each hill is tough and is followed by a more moderate downhill recovery.

Belmont across City Line down to Ford Road and onto MLK the group still hung together. A few folks called it a morning at the Art Museum and the rest of us headed down the Schuylkill bike path to Chestnut and up to 34th. Here was the second spot I wanted to do MP, two miles of it along 34th to Lansdowne and N. Concourse to the Civil War Memorial. My legs were spent, just the way I wanted them, by then and pushing it up to MP was hard. I finished the 2 mile stretch in 12:19, just a bit slower than I wanted.

By then all that were around were SK and ES. They picked it up a bit as well and were about 30 seconds behind me. We shifted back down to an 8ish pace and ran back, across the Girard St. bridge, around Lemon Hill and back to the Art Museum, tacking on an additional 1.5 miles up MLK to make it an even 20. Total time was 2:45:19, just about the time I want to stay on my feet in a marathon. Several other folks made it in behind us.

20 milers are the cod liver oil of marathon training, but this is about the most bearable way to do them. Everybody contributes something - good company, a push up the hills, keeping the pace even, working harder than the rest to keep up - which taken together creates a collective energy that pushed me to have a good and, dare I say, enjoyable run despite the difficulty of it. Its beautiful how, from what is essentially a solitary activity, such a distinct feeling of community emanates.

I also went up to Belmont Plateau this afternoon to watch the cross country meet, the something Invitational, that USP was running in. I missed the womens race but was glad to hear that JA won outright, running the 5k course in 19 something. That doesn't surprise me, as she had been running hard the two times I'd been out with them. I watched the men's race, where N? ran a 28 something on the 5 mile men's course and JH ran a 32 something, with the rest of the team well behind them. Many of the guys just seem to lose it on the last mile up and past Flagpole Hill, and it would seem that they need to put in more training miles, many more miles.

From there I went to T's soccer game across the river at Edgely (T scored the winning goal!) and then C was good enough to insist that I rest. I lay down at about 3 and the next thing I know its 8:30. Now I hope I can fall asleep again, as the Parkway Run is tomorrow morning. The prospect of running 5k on legs that just got 20 miles sucked out of them is not thrilling, but I'll be okay in the morning.

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