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, October 09, 2005

Delaware Distance Classic

During my warm-up run down in Wilmington, a Bald Eagle flew low overhead. Beautiful adult bird with the telltale white head and tail, flapping his wings like he was shaking out some oversized blanket.

Figured that had to be a good omen. For something.

One guy I was talking to remarked how its the same people that run this race each year. I weighed that comment against the difference of my running this last year, when I knew nobody running the race, to this year, where I knew enough folks to flit about like the social butterfly that I am not. I also knew enough folks to recognize that, as expected, the two masters guys (both GC) who would give me competition both showed.

At the gun four of us went ahead into the lead pack. This pack included RW, a Bryn Mawr store runner; KL, whom I also knew to be a bit faster than me; and GC#1 (the one I dueled last year). I knew I was in over my head, and if GC#1 kept up this pace it wouldn't be a race. To confirm my suspicions, mile 1 passed in 5:21. I backed off a bit on mile 2, mostly mild uphill, to the tune of a 5:45 split, and in doing so lost the other three and gained a guy behind me to form a chase pack. In mile 3 I dropped him and the miles started coming easy as the course took us along the Christiana riverfront. Miles 3,4 & 5 went in 5:37; 5:35, & 5:45 respectively. After mile 5 there was a slight detour around a flooded part of the course, contributing to a slower 5:56 split. After mile 6 came a turnaround and we retraced our steps; miles 7 & 8 (I missed the mile #7 marker) went by in 11:44. I thus figure that conservatively (holding a 5:45 pace) the detour added about 10 seconds each way to my time. All this time I stayed in 4th place, with GC#1 a good distance ahead of me and #5 a good bit behind me. GC#2 was not in the picture.

From mile 8 it was time to hammer it home, but a sidestitch made this difficult. Ultimately I was able to keep pace to hit a 5:47 mile 9, although #5 was now close enough behind me to where I could hear his footsteps. I fended off his finishing kick, however, and finished fourth in 53:17. This was 5 seconds faster than last year's time over a slightly longer course. Gotta be happy with that.

Notes. The race was well organized, as despite the many twists and turns there were plenty of volunteers to keep us on course. You also gotta love a race that has Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, Dr. Pepper and beer as part of their post race buffet. I came up short on the prize money as the race director decided to allow GC#1 to "double dip" and win both the masters and the 3rd place cash. This is not usually how its done, but its his race and he can give away his money in any manner he wants. Weather was overcast and cool, good for racing despite the soggy course. KF finished 11th overall and DB was second female despite (or perhaps due to) having to stop for about a minute and a half during mile 2.

Lessons learned. 1) Looking at McMillans pace calculator, this brings me down to a predicted 2:41 marathon time. While I'm not that sold on the prediction, it does show that, after controlling for the differences in distance, my times have been going progressively downward. If I play this right I can peak for Philadelphia. This is encouraging. 2) For the umpteenth race, I got blisters, and this time of the dark red variety. This would have messed me up big time if it were a marathon, and serves as fair warning to get another pair of racers before the marathon. 3) My legs tightened up quickly after the race and my achilles were not happy during the 2.5 mile cooldown, but they are now feeling fine. Managing this will be tricky, as I have three weeks until I taper and would like to train as hard as possible over the course of these weeks.

Climbing out of my post race self-absorbtion, both Chicago Marathon and Steamtown were today. The results of the former are in real time, and three guys I know who ran it were IC, who came in just under 2:51, SM with a 4:23 after a very promising first half split, and JS who went just under a 3:39 to pr! Congratulations to all. Steamtown results are not up yet.


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