Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Parkway Run 5k - Easy on the Eyes

I made it to the race.

One of the many nice things about the Parkway Run is that its a warmup run's distance from home. So I can run out there and not have to worry about getting in a few miles before the race. I felt fine at the warmup and did not anticipate having a tough time with the run, although I ran 20 yesterday. After all, it was only a 5k.

Besides, alot was at stake. Me, along with IC, RW, JM and SG had our team title from last year to defend, and we were not going to let the top team prize, dinner at the Four Seasons (one of the top restaurants in Philly) go without a fight. We were back, as "Easy on the Eyes," with me and IC complaining about our lack of training, SG licking his wounds from a tough PDR last week, RW recovering from having a car run into him on his bicycle, and JM, for the second straight year, sporting a vile hangover. So we were all raring to go.

I also ran for the first time in a spiffy dark blue singlet with "Philadelphia Athletic Charities" track club written on the front, the team I'm affiliated with for USATF purposes and in a dogfight for the Grand Prix title with South Jersey Athletic Club and another club whose name currently escapes me. C & T came down to cheer, lots of folks around, and when the start was delayed by 15 minutes due to problems with street closures, everyone just started yapping with one another like some big sweaty cocktail hour.

The one problem with this race is that it starts on Logan Circle which is, well, a circle, so right at the gun everyone converges to make the tangent. I didn't get far enough out in front early so there was more jostling than I'm used to for a 5k. So I settled down a little farther back and just started reeling people in. Among the first was a guy I recognized from dinner last week at a local restaurant, where he was sitting at a table next to us (outdoors) with a particularly yappy dog. PH was the next guy I recognized, and then came mile 1 at 5:27, right on target. I lost a few seconds as I was boxed in on the downhill to MLK but passed those folks and kept going. KF was now in my sights and I passed by him just before mile 2, which I passed in 5:28. I now became Borrowed Time, catching up with anyone who started out too fast. I could see CS off in the distance, too far, but IC was in my sights ahead of about 4 other guys. Another problem, however, with these 5k races is that they're over too damn quickly, and the best I could do was reel in the other four guys before the finish line came upon us. Some of these guys then found their kick at the end, so I dueled them, including SC of the Central Park TC, whom I had met at other races, and AL, a Russian guy who I had dueled in other races in past years, among them. AL nipped me, I nipped SC, I don't remember the rest of the guys except, from the results, seeing that a 50 year old guy from SJAC who got ahead of me at Stone Harbor now beat me again by a few seconds. I never did challenge IC, but we both ran for the same crudites, so that was okay. Anyway, final 1.1 was a 5:59 (5:26 pace) so I got in at 16:56 - one second slower than last years Parkway Run and leaving me well satisfied at getting in under 17.

Whew. The best part of the race, however, is not the competition but the shwag. I was first in my age group, which scored me a certificate for a night at the Crowne Plaza, and Easy on the Eyes repeated the team title, and this year we got dinner for 10! Plus the Four Seasons put on what has got to be the best post race breakfast buffet ever at any race anywhere (well worth the race fee in and of itself), supplementing the bagels and bananas (which they offered, perhaps to mock other races) with scrambled eggs, sausage, little baby quiche like pastries, and coffee and hot chocolate for all 1800 or so runners and another couple of thousand walkers, spectators, and the homeless who hang out at Logan Circle.

Word is the whole affair raised buttloads of money for childrens cancer. So I guess everybody wins, although I most pleased with how I made out this morning. This run is growing each year, and my prediction is that in a few years its going to become a monster race and too big to be any fun to go to. But I'll enjoy it while it lasts.


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