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, April 29, 2006

Get your Beach Body in 28 days

An article featured on a magazine cover I saw today. Reminded me to register for the RocknRoll half marathon in Virginia Beach on Labor Day weekend. This year we got a hotel reservation on the beach and the whole family will go.

Didn't run yesterday. I've noticed that the hardest time to run is the day after a punishing run. Throw in some complications in my schedule and its almost a sure bet that taking the day off will be very tempting. I succumbed to that temptation yesterday. I am not yet in training again, so I wont beat myself up about it.

That made it more important to get out today, so I don't slump. Once again it takes a village. . . Tony had a baseball game this morning during my usual running time, but Jeff came through this afternoon and took Tony to play with his son (and Tony's buddy) Julian, which gave me a few hours to take off. I was going to do the 13-mile BN loop, but early on I decided I had it in me to go 15 on the Fall River Bridge loop, which goes from my house around the Drives and back. Gorgeous afternoon to run, lots of people out.

I planned to take the Drives briskly, by which I meant sub 7 minute pace. First mile went in about 6:30 and felt easy, so I kept dropping the pace and hit the Falls River bridge (4 timed miles) in 25:16. The four miles back to the Art Museum got dropped further, down to 6 minute (i.e., marathon) pace (4m in 23:59). This pace was relatively easy at first and I had to push a bit to keep it up at the end. Couldn't have done 26 of those today, but I was happy to get those four in. Looking at my running log, the last time I did this loop I ran those 8 even a little faster. This piqued my curiosity, as I couldn't remember the workout, and sure enough I wrote all about it here. The conditions were quite different.

On the cooldown I ran into Allen W, a guy who lives in the neighborhood whom I last saw in Wilmington back at a 5k race in January. I beat Allen that race but his times have dropped substantially since then to where he seems in shape to throttle me soundly when we both race Broad Street next Sunday. We talked about getting together for some runs and I hope it works out, as he is the kind of guy I need to be training with.

Ate a cold stromboli and the leftover end of Tony's hot dog for lunch just before the run. Not exactly performance enhancers. Also realized midway through the run that all I had to drink all day was a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee before Tony's game. That made for an uncomfortable cooldown.

Penn Relays was packed this afternoon. Kevin F, Chuck and a couple of other guys are running on a team in the Masters 400 relay, and Duncan is running today as well. Wish them all luck. Considered going but would have had to give up my run. I think ultimately running is more a participatory than a spectator sport, so the choice for me was clear. Training starts in earnest for me again after Broad Street, and I need to get more obsessive about it. Today was a good, albeit modest start.

After all, I need to get my beach body before the Virginia Beach half.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bottle Days

You know those days that you wish you could bottle and put up on a shelf and then open on race days. When running goes fast and comes effortlessly, and its just a joy to be out there.

Well, today wasn't one of those days. Not enough sleep over the last few days and general malaise had my legs sore in a way that, if it was an ICD-10 diagnosis, would read "leg soreness - not otherwise specified." Still, I ventured to do 11 miles on Strawberry Mansion loop, if nothing else as an exercise in mental toughness - forcing myself to go longer and to pick it up in a vague kind of way along the 3.5 MLK miles.

Even running past Penn Relays, going full swing at Franklin Field, failed to inspire me. My head was in a fog not unlike how I felt in Paris or how you see in Claritin commercials. Getting down to the river, it took a whole lotta mental oomph to push it down to 6:45 for the first mile, about 6:25 for the second mile, and about a 6 minute pace for the last mile and a half. Total for that 3.5 stretch was 22:08 - 6:20 - which I'll take on a day like today. Brisk but not fast, it forced me to push, which is a skill that needs developing as much as any other.

The rest of the run was non-eventful. Beautiful day, first one of the year where I doffed the shirt and worked on my tan. Ran past Lex St. and construction is in full swing now, looks like houses are going up. For some reason they don't have basements - wassup with that.

Total time was 86:13.

And now that the monkey has been fed for the day, I can look forward to going to Penn Relays after teaching tonight; I should get there in time to catch most of the 5000m and 10000m action and watch people who, for another year, innoculate me against any foolish thoughts that I may get that hint that my running is anything approaching hot shit.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Get It While You Can

Its been hard finding a few minutes to blog lately.

Running's been a challenge as well. Mainly work intruding on the times I usually set aside to run. Some cool stuff I'm working on, but setting up and doing the analyses just eat up time. Perhaps I should set up a blog about that.

Anyway, in lieu of a normal run yesterday I ran down to Tony's Little League game after work and back. Two sessions separated by about two hours. Left USP and sliced across South Philadelphia on Federal Street to Shot Tower, which is almost to the river. 4 miles and a little bit on the gmap-pedometer. Made it there in 28:07; made it back in 25:56. Running Kevin F. style.

I figured the real time for the combined runs was about 20 minutes, as that was the time above getting down there by car in rush hour that it took me. Time spent running instead of time spent driving.

This morning it was the usual West Philly Four. We ran the old Acme loop - 40th St. and Upland. Deliciously chilly out, we seemed to work it together, each person taking turns setting the pace and the others falling into a pack. Don't know why it happened today, just seemed to click. Pace was brisk but conversational. I really have to push harder these days on a morning workout following a workout the night before. 60:49, about 2.5 minutes faster (for 8 miles) than when Erin and I ran it last week.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Revolutionary Run

The Earth was not in fact changed due to this run. No paradigm shifts have emerged and I still believe that the earth revolves around the sun.

But the "revolutionary" in this run was more likely the reference to the race being held in Valley Forge. From my memory and from what the race organizers were saying, there has not been a race in VF in recent memory, so maybe things did change. VF has alot of trails and roads that wind through rolling hills and beautiful scenery, and it is a popular area to train. And judging from the attendence at this inaugural running (1000+), there is plenty of demand for a race up there. So maybe the people did speak, or literally voted with their feet.

I won't usually travel this far for a 5-miler, but the race was on the Mid Atlantic USATF Grand Prix circuit which the PAC track club is competing in. So myself, Cindy and Tony took the 25 mile trip up there. I got lost driving through the park, and in so doing realized why people love running up here. Everything is now lush green and colored with blooming flowers and trees, with a mist hanging over the fields from the rain the night before. Chilly temps and overcast skies made for good conditions.

A good number of folks up there that I know, and I also got to meet Duncan, a guy who lives and trains up there and has a blog with a following among runners (read it here for another take on this race). Also got to meet another guy, who introduced himself as the guy I dropped on the last hill at Cesar Rodney a few months back. He said there won't be any hill on this course for me to do that again. I couldn't tell if this comment was good-natured or ominous, so made a note to watch my back.

My plan was to do a one mile split that scared me - to, as I told Duncan, "run like an idiot" and then hang on. He suggested, more with body language than words, that this was perhaps not the course to do this, with its many rolling hills. The clock at the mile 1 marker was indeed scary, flashing 5:02, but my stopwatch read a less scary 5:21. After this, though, the hills started and despite my plan I slowed to 5:46, as the lead pack of four to which I was hanging on to moved ahead of me. A quick look behind me saw that my Cesar Rodney rival was behind me in sixth place.

At this point the run was both beautiful and difficult. Ups and downs along narrow roads winding around the park, with deer looking us on (and no doubt thinking how slow humans are) kept my pace at 5:42 (mile 3) and 5:47 (mile 4). Mile 5 was easier, and I took it at 5:21 to get into the finish in just under 28 minutes (27:59). I remained in fifth place the whole race, getting close to #4 at about mile 4 only to get outkicked and never getting challenged from behind (my CR rival apparently didn't need a hill to fade a few places). Duncan came in second, Jeff H, Ira M, Bill K and Joan A, all from PACTC, came in 7th, 13th, 62nd, and 253rd (Bill ran a 3:28 in Boston last week and somehow managed to run this; I last saw Joan 2 weeks ago spectating in Paris). KJ (also now on PACTC) ran his first 5 miler ever in 31:17 and snagged some age group shwag.

All in all a meaningless but entertaining race, so I'm not going to dissect what another 5 mile finish in the high 27s bodes for my running career and the future of humankind.

Cooled down with KJ and Duncan, and hung around and socialized for a bit afterwards as usual before heading back to the city and working off my fitness with a big hot pastrami sandwich from Koch's Deli. We also had dinner with friends later that day at, somewhat ironically, the Marathon grill.

Look what's happening out in the streets [Got a revolution, Got to revolution]
Hey I'm dancing down the streets [Got a revolution, Got to revolution]
Ain't it amazing all the people I meet [Got a revolution, Got to revolution]
One generation got old, One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold.

~ Jefferson Airplane

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Revolution Starts Now!

Woke up this morning to the rain. Got the NY Times and started reading it, and then decided to go out and run anyway. By the time I got out the rain was reduced to drizzle and, with the cloud cover and cool temps, the conditions were actually good to run.

Ran down to the Art Museum and met up with Philly Runners. Among others, Ian showed up and for my venturing out into the wet weather I was rewarded with a loop around the Drives with him. We caught up filling the other in on our respective marathons and then continued just jabberig, all at about a 7 minute pace. I noticed it was conversational in that we were able to yap without getting out of breath.

Altogether, conservatively, it was 14.5 miles in 1:46:45. This puts me over 1000 miles for the year. Last year I didn't do that until April 26th, so I'm 4 days ahead of myself mileagewise. It feels a bit deflating that this year doesn't seem much different than last year in this respect.

But, as a good American, I need to look ahead and, in the words of Pumbaa, get my behind out of my past. Plan for Revolutionary Run tomorrow is, again, to go out and run a 1-mile split that scares me and let the rest of the race fall as it may. Then its Broad Street and back to building base mileage. If I start now I'll have a lot of time until the fall, and if I can do that it will make a big difference over what I did last year.

Revolutionary Run. Sounds subversive, like something Homeland Security should be concerned about (if it were done right). Or at least have a moment of silence to remember Tommie Smith and John Carlos in Mexico City '68. Now there was a revolutionary run.

The revolution starts now
When you rise above your fear
And tear the walls around you down
The revolution starts here

You may recognize that Steve Earle lyric from a Chevy commercial.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Good Luck Paul and Mike

Typical for Friday mornings, I went running carrying the weight of all the crud that builds up over the course of a week. I told Erin I wanted to run a "comfort" route, something that was familiar and required me not to think. Erin tends to dislike the tried and true, so we compromised by doing the original version of the Acme loop, which takes us down 40th Street and around the old food distribution center. 8 miles in 63:38.

As has been the case lately, the morning was perfect for running. I also ran the first mile or two with a moderate but lingering cramp in my quad. Never had that before.

As we went up the hill along the food distribution center, we sent good karma along Paul's way. Paul ran with us for awhile last summer while he was visiting here from London. He would always charge up that hill and most of the time I wouldn't even try to match him. We don't run that hill much anymore, but do call it Paul's Hill for that reason. Paul ran a 1:23 in a half marathon a few weeks ago, so he's got more than a good shot at a Boston Qualifier when he runs the London Marathon on Sunday. But 'nuff said, as I don't want to jinx him.

English Mike is also going back to Brittania to run this Sunday, so I'll extend best wishes to him as well. Mike says he's not going for the BQ yet in this race; instead looking to PR, which is somewhere in the low 3:50's if I'm not mistaken.

Due to the time difference, I won't be following London like I did the Boston race. Instead it will be more of a Christmas morning effect, where I'll bolt up out of bed and run to the computer and search for their results.

And hope their efforts will inspire me when I do the Revolutionary Run in Valley Forge later that day.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


As in Did Not Run / Will Not Run today.

As in Marathon Recovery / Laziness.

As in I've got nothing to say.

As an alternative, read Ian's Boston report here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


All four of us were out this morning. The consensus was to try somewhere different, and so we headed down to South Philly again. Went down 22nd this time a few blocks south of Dickinson and then over to Grey's Ferry and up and around GF Ave and 47th St. South Philly running makes for a good loop that way as you can go down through Center City and come back through SW Philly.

The big news of the morning was Erin explaining to us why she would not be running a fall marathon.

We also discussed Venn diagrams in relation to how we couldn't judge, from our little worlds, that only ten percent of Americans don't have cable tv. Make sense? It did this morning.

Deirdre kept us moving and I'm too lazy to map it out, so I'll say we covered 6.5 miles in the 50 minutes and 47 seconds we were out running.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

South Philly Runaround

Another sightseeing run, albeit a gritty one.

I was easy on myself this morning and slept through my 5:30 alarm, but it was just too nice a day to take a dnr. So the plan was to run for 60 minutes during lunch, going down to the other side of the South Street Bridge and turning right onto Schuylkill Ave instead of the usual left I take.

This is South Philly. I always thought of it as claustrophobically narrow streets, dingy rowhouses and cars parking in the middle of streets until Deirdre took me through some quiet, leafy, sun-dappled streets that forced me to totally reassess my impressions. Damn. I tried to recapture that today by going east on Christian St., south on 16th St a little past Oregon, and then back up west then north. I did again find the little oasis neighborhood I was so impressed by (down around 18th & Shunk, shhhh . . . don't tell anyone) as well as a series of other distinct neighborhoods on unfamiliar streets, including Point Breeze and Grey's Ferry. Then it was up and over the Schuylkill via the Grey's Ferry Bridge and a rear entry back into USP.

Been running these streets so long and there are still vast domains of unexplored territory. 60 minutes turned into 75:32, call it conservatively 9 miles.

Boston Marathon was yesterday. Thus I spent the afternoon in the office, refreshing my browser every five minutes or so and following very exciting men's and women's races, as well as the exploits of various friends and running acquaintances. It was an emotional experience and I really wished I was there. Thoughts of Boston have been going through my mind ever since, thoughts which are too numerous to write about beyond wondering if it is a coincidence that Boston is so close to Easter, as it is the high holiday of running and the day beyond all others where I feel the strong sense of community that comes with participating in this bloody sport.

And congratulations to all who ran, and particular shouts to Ian and Steve; Paul, Bill, John & Daniel, and also Jambal.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mount Moriah

Beautiful spring morning, still got cobwebs in my legs. Erin didn't feel like going hard either so we chugged out to Cobbs Creek and ran around Mount Moriah cemetery a bit.

I've written about Mount Moriah in blog entries past, it is old and neglected with lots of overgrown nooks and crannies, Civil War heroes and way cool mausoleums, and some good hills. In short its a good place to run if you feel more like sightseeing than running, and its somewhat telling that I haven't been there in a while.

8 miles or so in 69:18

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Paris Marathon

I'm back. We got in on Friday and then I was in DC for a family Easter.

Here's a recap of Paris. These next few days may be a little crazy; hopefully I'll get back a regular blogging routine.

Our week in Paris was awesome. Combining vacationing and marathoning is something I highly recommend. Activities like climbing up Montmartre to Sacre Coeur and taking long evening walks in the City of Lights provide an excellent post marathon recovery regimen, and place the marathon into a larger gallery of experiences and memories.

However, just like traveling abroad requires adapting to some adversity, likewise be flexible when running marathons abroad. In hindsight, I might have added some 1 a.m. workouts to my training regimen to prepare for the jet lag that hit me harder than I thought. Italian restaurants are not what most people look for when dining out in Paris. And then there is this business about kilometer splits.

You’ll also realize that American marathons pamper runners way too much. In Paris there was one porta-potty per corral, probably a ratio of about 1:1000. I was staying in an apartment right off the Champs-Elysees about 500 meters from the start and I ran back there to do my pre-race business. At refreshment stops you get bottles of water that you unscrew yourself, half bananas that you peel on the go, and orange wedges. Watch your step if you are in the back of the pack, and don’t be looking for that Clif-Shot stop at mile 18.

The runners also seemed to take themselves less seriously, with a good number of runners in costume or carrying banners. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Paris Marathon, organizers distributed floppy yellow Gilligan’s Island type hats, which many runners actually wore. My goal was to beat anyone with a floppy hat on, but I don’t think I was successful.

This costume bit was a problem at the start. Although I was supposed to have a “preferred start” and had to jump through all kinds of hoops to prove myself eligible for it, guys (less than 20% of the runners were women) in all shapes and sizes and various costumes managed to start before me. So the start has me running downhill on the cobblestones of the Champs-Elysees, around the Place de Concorde, down the Rue de Rivoli past the Tuileries and the Louvre in conditions that are really claustrophobic - passing guys dressed as waiters (holding up trays with wine bottles and glasses) and the like, and also negotiating around regular “islands” of spectators who inexplicably plant themselves right in the middle of the street.

This chaos is probably a blessing in disguise as it forces me to start slow. First 5k goes by in 19:12. I’m at the Place de Bastille and finally getting elbow room. I take the traffic circle here and almost run right into the water stop located right on the tangent. Note to self: be prepared for anything.

The shape of the course is basically a long flat oval, going through the center part of the city for the first 10k (next 5k go by in 18:37) and then turns around in the Bois de Vincennes, a big park on the east side of the city. Here you get woods and some solitude (and a chance to recover if you missed the porta potties) and some gentle inclines. The third 5k chunk went by in 19:22, the fourth in 18:53, and then it was through some East Parisian neighborhoods and up to the half mark (21.1 in km’s). On leaving the woods the crowds pick up a bit and at the half point they funnel the runners so that you are forced to go through a big inflatable arch single file.

Halfway split was 1:20:23, meaning I’d have to negative split the second half of the marathon to beat my goal time of 2:40. I get cheered on by Joan A., who runs with the PAC club, who is the sole person besides my family I know who is anywhere near this race. By this point my head is starting to feel out of sync with my body, akin to the beginnings of an out-of-body experience, that is likely from jet lag. The course now goes west along the Seine and I mark off the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Louvre (again) and various bridges, as well as a series of tunnels that we go through that feel like rolling hills in and out of darkness.

At this point I’m still passing folks on a regular basis and for awhile play tag with two other guys who are doing the same thing. For some reason, in addition to putting bib-numbers on the front of their singlets, many runners also put a bib with their names on their back. I’m not sure why they do this, other than so I can curse by name the stream of runners who abruptly cutting in front of me throughout the race. Must be a French thing. Nevertheless, the next 5k goes by in 19:03 and the 5k after that in 18:58. I’m now at 30k and across from the Eiffel Tower. Cindy and Tony are here to cheer me on, as are a bunch of “amis de parque” who are dressed as squirrels and acorns and trees. My head is feeling really heavy and my neck is starting to hurt from supporting it (yes, I know this is weird), but I’m starting to entertain thoughts of 2:40 again.

I eat my second GU (I was smart and packed my own) and take my only water of the race. I did just as I watched the others do: unscrew the cap, pour out some of the water, and then drink. But I’m not practiced at it and my stomach doesn’t receive it well so I give it up. Somewhere around here mile 20 hits and I know there won’t be a big kick happening today. We are now in the Bois de Boulogne, the big park on the west side of town at the other end of the oval. I find people to hang onto, but get that feeling where I know I’m slowing but there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. Next 5k confirms this as I hit 19:21. Now comes the disadvantage of counting kilometers; I have no clue as to what my finishing time will be.

Just run, the time will take care of itself.

All marathons, regardless of place or culture, are hard at this point. The park seems endless. Kilometers are supposed to be shorter than miles, but there are also more of them. The 40k mark finally comes up and I see the last 5k went by in 19:39. My legs ache, I just can’t get my head placed to where it sits comfortable on my neck, and, as we hit the Avenue Foch for the last 2k and a little bit, I’m done. Interestingly, the French cheers (and the crowd support was solid except for the wooded areas) almost exclusively consist of two words: “allez” (go) and “courage.” At this point in the race, I take the latter to heart.

I’m a bit disappointed to see the finish line clock turn over to 2:42 in the distance, but I know I have a shot to go sub-2:42 with my chip time. One last burst up a small incline and I cross the finish in 2:41:52 – a PR by about 20 seconds.

I’ll take it. A PR is a PR, and I now inch down to become a 2:41 marathoner. I look back and can’t think of anything different I would have done differently in the race – all went steady until the last 10k, and the difference was in just not having that final kick. Whether that was due to gaps in training or to jet lag or to biorhythms I’ll never know. Gives me something to focus on for next time.

Did I say this marathon doesn’t pamper you?! The end was very businesslike – give us back the chip, here is your medal. No congratulations or other praise is put forth, and for my part I just keep walking. I look to get a massage and see, too late, that the massage tent is also the first aid tent and the folks who are popping blisters are also those who are rubbing down legs. It feels like a M*A*S*H tent in there and I just keep walking, looking straight ahead and thinking of a happy place. I meet up with Cindy and Tony and that they are the only ones I have to debrief with; I have met no one else who speaks anything but French.

We walk back to the apartment we are staying at, past the L’Arc de Triomphe and up the Champs-Elysees where the start was. All traces of the start are gone and it is a busy Sunday morning down Paris’ storied thoroughfare. This leaves my memories, which will mix in with the sights I see for the rest of the week as many portions of the marathon course become woven into a rigorous week of sightseeing and an unforgettable trip.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Fine Tuned

I'm ready to go; to get on out there and shake em on down!

Just got back from Franklin Field track. Dropped Tony off at school, got good wishes there from Bryant and Jeff, and then kept running down to FF, where I also got promised that good karma would come my way on Sunday from KJ and Deirdre, who were wrapping up their workout on the track as I got there. KJ is looking in very good shape for a week into fatherhood.

In what is now tradition, my last pre marathon track workout was 5 x 1000 m reps (w/ 400 m recoveries) - a 5k on the installment plan. The payments came out to 3:19; 3:16; 3:20; 3:18 & 3:18 for a total time of 16:31 (8.5 miles total). Just the right effort - hard enough to be challenging but not so hard as to push me to the edge. If I was a wind-up toy then this would be the winding up, now I just need to be set down at the starting line and I'm ready to go.

Weather forecast for Paris on Sunday is high 40s, partly cloudy, and light wind. Almost perfect. I'm taking the day off and packing leisurely before flying out late this afternoon. I don't know if I'll get any internet access while I'm over there, if so I'll give a quick update on how things go; if not I don't know if the race results will be online, as the 2005 results are nowhere to be found on the web. The link to Paris Marathon is here.

I got a good feeling now, like I will be breathing rarified sub-2:40 air at the finish on Sunday. Stay tuned.

Gonna shake em on down!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Dog on a Leash

As has been my habit of late, I overslept the morning after returning from a trip. Was late enough to where I missed hooking up with Club West Philly, but not too late to where I couldn't get in 6 miles (51:27) on an Art Museum loop.

In place of my usual morning company, I took Kenny Brown (on the iPod) with me. His driving blues had me wanting to speed things up to where I consciously had to hold back. I liked this feeling, and visualized myself as a dog straining on a leash. Good metaphor for Sunday.

Shake em on down!

Trip to Columbus went well. I learned, in a way I won't forget, that Ohio is still on Eastern time. Don't know why I thought it was Central time and I set my clock back an hour. Dutifully woke up at 6 to get in a workout and, while thinking idle thoughts in the bathroom realized that Ohio is east of Indiana and thus must still be on Eastern time. Luckily I realized this before my 9:00 meeting, but unfortunately it was like Daylight Saving time all over again, as in the poof of a thought I just lost the hour I planned to run. I went to the fitness center (2 doors down from my hotel room) with the intention of getting in a quick, fast 3 miler anyway. One treadmill was busted and I got on the other and quickly cranked it to 10 and, not 2 minutes later, the treadmill promptly stops (I nearly went flying) with the message "adjust tread." Reset the machine and tried it again (a little more cautiously) but got the same message. At this point I decided it wasn't meant to be and took a DNR before sitting in meetings and planes for the rest of the day.

Shake em on down!

In the process of this I have realized that one reason I have the negative thoughts I discussed on the last blog entry is that I don't feel like I've had the control I wanted over my working out the last month or so. A big part of feeling on top of my running is that I'm hitting workouts, getting miles in, and otherwise doing things as planned. Instead its been negotiating traveling, health stuff, and other things thrown my way that have been far from catastrophic, but has left me adapting and adjusting and bringing my mileage down. Looking back, its not been a bad taper, but its just not one I've felt much control over. So I'd like to just let go of that.

Shake em on down!

I'm ready to go. Straining against that leash. That'll be my strategy for Sunday and my mantra as well. I'll head out to the track one more time tomorrow morning, rev that engine before the long flight, and write one more blog entry.

Shake em on down!

PS - on the left is a picture of me and Ian just before the tape, in our mad dash for first place (and cosmetics) at the Race for Humanity 5k two weeks ago. KJ commented that all that was missing was Jambal. But don't we make a fine couple?! Thanks to MaryKate, one of the race organizers, for emailing the photo to me.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Lost Time

I'm feeling time crunched, to the point of where writing a leisurely long blog entry seems an extravagant luxury. This feeling is made all the more acute with the loss of a perfectly good hour this weekend in the dubious name of Daylight Saving.

There is not a whole lot going on with my running anyway, but that is the best time to write about it.

Yesterday was a beautiful day to run. Did a hard 11 (76:52), including 3.5 miles at marathon pace, up to Strawberry Mansion Bridge and through Fairmount Park. Then today it was back to leaving in the dark, all the while I'm thinking where is this daylight we're supposedly saving?! I cut our usual Acme loop way short to get in an easy 4. Deirdre and Erin were in solidarity with my taper and cut it off early as well, although they did go on through West Philly after I turned home. Call it 4 miles, 33:42.

Not much more to do now to prep for the marathon but fret over all kinds of things and take it easy. I can't get out of my head that I am stale, that that week I missed in mid-March basically led to an extended taper. I fight that, as I've been racing consistently to a predicted 2:40 (my goal time) and have got the training in. I should do well, but I have less confidence in this than I did for Philly. Need to visualize a good race. My head says I've got a good day in me; I just need to keep convincing myself of this.

I'm also, a bit late, starting to read up on things Paris. Should have started doing this weeks ago. One interesting piece I read was the French's difficult relationship with their history. I suppose all countries have such a relationship, but the French even more so given that their history is quite a bit longer than that of the US. The author basically wrote on the comparative virtues (and pitfalls) of remembering vs. forgetting history. I never thought of it in that way before. After I read this I did Sundays run, in which I went past Lex St., where they are busy now building what looks like affordable housing over the site of the "massacre" I've wrote about here several times earlier, without a trace of its past. Same question. . . do you remember something like the killings that happened 5 years ago or do you just keep going like they never happened? If the former, how? If the latter, is it even possible to just forget?

Lots of thoughts here, something I'd go on about if I had more time.

But I'm going to Columbus tonight and tomorrow, and am stealing minutes from getting my stuff together for this trip. So I'll check in again, probably on Wednesday.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Terra Incognita

Ran 90 minutes with Deirdre this morning at a bit faster than usual clip. I don't know if I could retrace the route we took, so conservatively I'll call it 12 miles.

My plan was to run the 2 miles that separates our houses, meet up with Deirdre, and we'd go into South Philly and at some point cross over to West Philly and get home at around 90 minutes, upon which Deirdre would run back to Center City. Ended up she took me through all kinds of funky South Philly nooks and crannies, mainly in far SW South Philly, that I'd never been to and which either had fascinating architecture or were quiet, shady neighborhoods with modest twin houses. Both were far from the blocks upon blocks of narrow streets and claustrophobic rowhouses that I associate with the area. Perhaps I need to target my runs more in that direction, although the shortest way to get there requires going down Grey's Ferry Ave, which is not the most runner friendly stretch.

So I'm feeling rested up for Paris. Weird thing about this marathon is how little info on it there is available on the internet. Fortunately however I got a call last night, out of the blue, from Joan A., who I know vaguely from PAC TC and who learned, through the running grapevine, that I'm going to Paris. Turns out her husband, who lives in Paris, is running the marathon as well and she's going over there too. She very graciously answered alot of my questions on the marathon (she'd run it twice) and offered to take Cindy with her to spectate. So now I know things like Paris marathon has a dearth of portapotties, part of the course goes through various tunnels, and water stops hand out bottles of water, along with bananas and orange wedges, that can make for very slick traction as everyone discards the related detritus. Hopefully I'll be far enough up front to where that won't be an issue, but I'll definitely pack my own GU.

Aside from the practical tips its good to know that there is some support out there in Paris and affirms, yet again and in yet another way, that it takes a village to run a marathon.