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, June 28, 2006

Like Steve McQueen

All I need's a fast machine
I'm gonna make it alright

I love Sheryl Crow. I love her music too. Sheryl, if you're reading this, hope your recovery is going well.

Closed out yesterday with 10 down to the Art Museum, up around Fairmount Park, and back home via Belmont. Another timer malfunction, so I don't know how fast I was going. Say it was half-fassed. We started out with a posse of eight, which then whittled down to me, Ian, Stevus, and John Dubs. Good company.

Another late night last night and so I missed the West Philly folks this morning. Got out and did six on my own, out to Cobbs Creek and back via Warrington. 49:39. I'll look to get in another four this evening.

Some guy I know plans to run Berlin this fall. Sorely tempting and I thought it over muchly on this morning's run. Came to the decision, much as I tried not to, that its not gonna work for me. Combination of running a half on Labor Day, the relatively short lead time left until the race, and that with my fall teaching load I'm not going to be able to take enough time off to make it worth the trip. Wish I could go, but this replants the seed, maybe for next year.

I wanna rock and roll this party
I still wanna have some fun
I wanna leave you feeling breathless
Show you how the west was won
But I gotta fly, I gotta fly o

Like Steve McQueen. . .

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We Have Arrived too Late. . .

to play the bleeding heart show.

Not sure exactly what that means or its relevance to this morning's run other than I was listening to the New Pornographers' cd Twin Cinemas and had to play "Bleeding Heart Show" three times in a row before I could move on to the next song. An amazing pop song that shifts gears four times and, by the end, its jamming on the outro (which lasts half the song) and singing the refrain (that is this entry's title) again and again and again like a mantra to where it almost seems to make sense and I want to speed up my leisurely lope around the Franklin Field track with my fist pumping in the air.

Easy four this morning, Franklin Field loop and two laps on the track. Four miles in 35:29. This is a set up run for a later run with the PR Tuesday evening crowd. If any of you slackers are reading this, make sure you come out tonight.

The only other thing of note is that I left my shoes in the office last night. In deciding against running in basketball shoes, I dug out a pair of Nike Zoom Air's I had stashed in a remote corner of the house. They have maybe 30 miles on them. I ran 2 races in them - both pr's (including my still standing half-marathon pr) but then the air cushion in the right sole ruptured, so each time my foot strikes it makes an loud exhaling sound. I had them wrapped up and ready to send back to Nike (Rittenhouse Sports, where I got them, wouldn't exchange them) but never got around to it. So they are my in-case-of-emergency-break-glass shoes. And now they go back to the closet for another indefinite period.

Goes to show there is support all around you, you just need a problem and some looking around to realize it.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Getting in Ten the Hard Way

This run was a bit nuts. I slept in this morning (see yesterday's entry) and set off to run from USP's rec center at around 5, meaning to go ten miles.

I get down to the South Street Bridge and this realization comes over me that I never locked my locker at USP. I rarely get these "I left the coffee pot on" feelings, and this one was strong enough that I went with it and turned around. For a mile and a half back I ran in suspense - did I, didn't I, and was my stuff still there. I got back and sure enough the locker was closed and the lock was unlocked. Stuff was untouched.

So now what? I got the bright idea to go on the hamster wheel and watch the World Cup match Switzerland v Ukraine on the omnipresent tv sets. Should have done this from the outset, I thought, for when I got on the overtime was just ending and the shootout phase was beginning. I was rooting for Switzerland, as my dad's family is Swiss, but alas their run came to an end.

When teams lose in the World Cup its so sudden and so final. You look around to see if there is anything that can be done, any way there could be another chance and then the realization hits you in the gut that your team is going home. Happened with the US, and now Switzerland. This leaves all my hopes with Germany now.

The only victory today (the Phils also lost their fifth straight this afternoon after coming back from a 6-0 deficit) came over the treadmill. I ran a little over 1.75 miles and went to peg it to 10 and then the treadmill seized up (almost lurching me over its front) with a message that "sensors are inoperative" after which the LCD display went dead. I took some solace in that I for once outlasted a treadmill.

So the first three miles (outdoors) went in 23:06, the second 1.75 went by at an undetermined time, and I was determined to get the run over with after Switz lost, so the last 5.25 went by (after switching treadmills) in 33:22. Got in my 10.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Crossing to Camden

Its late, I just got back from catching my second Springsteen show this week, this time up in Holmdel NJ, right around Asbury Park. Not as good a show as the earlier one in Camden, but still better than 99.9% of what's out there.

Wanted to put in a quick word on todays (now yesterday's) run. This one was largely for therapy. After Saturday's run I felt depressed and possessing a newfound vulnerability. One day I'm trying to squeeze as many miles as I can out of this month and the next day that unsettling experience. So I went to the pharmacy and then put $2 in my shorts this morning and did a route that stayed close to SEPTA at all times. Everything felt fine as I left and kept feeling fine as the run unfolded. I loaded my iPod up with music I was unfamiliar with - Broken Family, New Pornographers, & Liz Mandville Greeson.

The run went down South St. and then north through Center City to the Ben Franklin Bridge, a destination that was way overdue. I have never run on it and often said I wanted to. Its a great run. The pedestrian walkway is about 10 meters higher than the highway, and the view is spectacular as you rise up to the middle of the Delaware and then descend again into Camden. I ran enough in Camden to see a bunch of hot rods lining up for the San Juan Bautista parade. Then it was back over the bridge. Ideally it would have been the Walt Whitman bridge, but the BFB more than sufficed. After that climax it was up Spring Garden to Lemon Hill and then home via Girard and 41st. 14 miles on this route. Time was irrelevant.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Burning Matter

I got mentioned in the misadventures of Ian and Jim the other day. Apparently Jim twisted an ankle on the trails and had a difficult time getting home. They must have had enough time on their hands to think of my bellyaching, both to them and in writing, on my disdain for trailrunning.

Well, today it was my turn to be waylaid. And it wasn't even on the trails.

This morning's run started innocently enough. I met Deirdre out at the corner of Belmont and Montgomery and we headed up towards Manayunk, taking the Belmont Plateau path that is more like a gravelly road. I like this "trail" as it is straight, wide, shaded and in the woods enough to hear and see birds of all sorts. We ended up at Strawberry Mansion Bridge and went up MLK Drive to Falls Bridge. Deidre had leg problems and turned around before we hit the second bridge, and I was on my own going up to Manayunk.

I won't go into details here, but going up Main St. I started having pain from hemorrhoids. Bad. Really bad. This has been an occasional and merely bothersome problem before, but never like this. Feeling the pain and only imagining what eight more miles were going to do, for the first time in my life I stopped the run and realized that, at the farthest point away from home, I was stranded.

Main Street was closed off for a street festival and just as I stopped it started to rain. It was a painfully lonely feeling to feel this physically miserable with little more than a pair of shorts and a pair of shoes on. I asked a cop if there was any way to make a phone call and he grudgingly gave me a quarter (which I am thankful for). This made me feel like a criminal who gets one phone call. I called my neighbor Jon who fortunately was home and came to get me. This goes to show that it not only takes a village to run, but it takes a village not to run.

So lessons learned. First, get a little shoe pocket and put a SEPTA token and a few bills in it. Second, go to a pharmacy and make an appt. to see a doctor. In that order. I already did the internet thing and it really wasn't very helpful. Running is supposed to help clear up hemorrhoids, in my case it exacerbates them.

So, call it 7 in 62:37. One more roadblock or, should I say, one more problem to get behind me.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Friday Blather

Back to running w/ Club West Philly this morning. Myself, KJ & son, Deirdre and Jody showed up. We did the Acme loop down 40th St., which in hindsight was not a good move as when 40th becomes Parkside Ave the southbound side is torn up, making it rough sailing for running strollers. This led to me and Deirdre, who was favoring the outside of her right foot this morning, pulling away from the other two, and we reached mitosis upon hitting 52nd St. Since no-one got stranded I guess this was okay but I felt bad about it nonetheless. On the other hand I got to talk with Deirdre a bit and was appreciative of this opportunity. Something about running, with a common wavelength brought on by the shared activity and both of us looking ahead, makes for good talking.

Got in 8 in 66:01; I want to tack on 4 or so later on and finish up at the pool and cool off with some laps. Started to lift again, upper body stuff, and learning the hard way exactly how these muscles function (and believe me, you use them) in running. Weight continues to hold steady at 169, which means I got to shop for new pants but otherwise I'm happy with this.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Yesterdays run was flighty, today the work resumed. Ran up to the Art Museum, then the loop around the Drives, and back home. Pace was slow - did the MLK river miles in just under 8 pace and continued a sleepy 7:50 pace back down Kelly until I was the victim of a slow pass. Ordinarily on a day like today I would have let the guy go, but he was wearing a fuel belt. So I pulled in behind and then alongside him and shifted into a 7:15 pace. This time the other guy initiated conversation and it was a lesson in you can't judge a runner by his fuel belt, as he was putting in miles in preparation for the Lake Placid Ironman next month and had as little trouble keeping up the conversation at this pace as I did.

That made the Kelly Drive miles, usually the longest and most God forsaken on this loop go by much quicker. 15 miles represents the outer distance of what I consider an intermediate run, and to do this on a weekday, knowing I'll get in a proper long run on the weekend, makes this workout really long. Add to that the soupy nature of the air this morning and I'm glad its in the logbook.

15 miles in 1:58:05.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


The last three nights have been late nights. Thus I haven't made it out of bed the last three mornings. Thus the absence of blogging. At least opting for sleep over running the past few mornings will keep my mom happy.

Fortunately two out those three nights have been late due to pleasureable pursuits. Sunday night I road tripped to Atlantic City to see Etta James and Susan Tedeschi, and last night I took the kids to see Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions band. Totally amazingly awesome concert, on many levels. Maricela was not jazzed to go, and left the show a total convert. I told her I shouldn't have taken her, as there won't be any concert that she will see from here on in that will be as good. To which she responded "I know."

So this evening I did something that I seldom do, and that's take my own advice. A week or two ago I left a comment on Jim's blog after he had missed a few days and told him that even if you can't get a full workout in, at least go out for a few miles and avoid another goose egg in the log book. This turns momentum around, instead of letting it slide further down. For just like miles build more miles, inactivity breeds more inactivity.

Thus I went out this evening to do six. I hoped to just lope around on the Franklin Field track for awhile at whatever pace I wanted, but the track was closed by the time I got there. On the way down Spruce Street, on the stretch just south of 38th Street which I seldom take, I ran into Juergen, a buddy from my Penn days whom I hadn't seen in awhile. So my run was interrupted for about 20 minutes as he told me about moving to the suburbs and commuting to NYC. I was glad to reconnect and the running felt easy all the way down to the Schuylkill Path.

Getting onto the path put me just ahead of a young blond guy who made a point to keep up with me as I made a point to gradually up the pace. He then pulled even with me and I got me a good old fashioned pissing contest, getting the pace all the way down to what felt like six. I felt good as his breathing got somewhat labored. When this happens, instead of taking the pace down even more I like to initiate conversation. Usually that leads to a terrified look, an incoherent response, and a slowed down pace.

This time the guy had the sense to slow down and suddenly the contest was over as quickly as it started. We crossed the Spring Garden Bridge and chatted, and I ended up inviting him for our MWF Club West Philly runs. Brendan said he'd like to make it but I'll be surprised if he does. I liked the guy - aside from being a good runner he was not built like a runner. Too broad chested. A guy I can relate to.

So a fun run, in the sense of the presence of play and something magical. Tomorrow the plan is another 13-15, so it'll be back to work. But today was a key step to getting back to that place. My monthly mileage goals are pretty much shot, but I care alot less about that today than I did yesterday. And I have more than a goose egg to show for today. Long six in 47:47.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Beat the Heat

Got in a run with KJ and Deirdre this morning. Yes, Deirdre is finally back from her trip out west. They wanted to do trail running, which I'm not crazy about, but I wanted the company. So we went down to MLK Drive and back up to Belmont Plateau, where I just followed them as they went bushwhacking through the endless trails that crisscross and curve around the wooded area at the plateau. There is a nice, straight somewhat gravelly road that cuts through the area and goes out to Ford Rd, nice and shady, that is my idea of good trail running, but whenever we'd get on it KJ and Deirdre would quickly turn off to a narrower more serpentine path. Like I told Deirdre, I'm too big for this, too clumsy, and I like zoning out on long straightaways, which I can do on asphalt. Deirdre said trails are good for me; maybe she's right.

At least it was shady, and today that was a good thing. Supposed to be a scorcher. Its impossible to g-map a course like this, so conservatively it was 15 miles in 2:08:24. That puts me at 80 miles for the week. First time in a long time.

Cindy is calling - Fathers Day and we're all going to the Blue Rocks game in Wilmington. I'm outta here!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Media 5 Miler

Raced the Media 5 miler yesterday. One of those races where I enjoyed the scene more than the racing.

This year the race, held in a small town-cum suburb about 45 minutes west of Philly, was put on by Delco Running Club up until this year, when, according to Delco, the Town of Media basically engineered a hostile takeover of the race organization (see here). Given this is a pretty big race and assuming that the Town doesn't have alot of experience in putting on a race, this leads to a high risk for screw ups.

Nonetheless, I went out, grabbing a ride with KJ and family. The setting looked small town American, with the start being on Main Street, shops and all festooned in red, white and blue. By the time we got there they ran out of race numbers (I had not preregistered) and was prepared to run as a bandit, but Jeff Crago, who heads up the Bryn Mawr Running Club, got me in officially and with just enough time to use the portajohn and get to the start.

At least I thought I was pressed for time. Hurry up and wait, as the race was delayed for 15 minutes to get the course marshals and police lined up. This gave me time to size up the competition. Along with KJ, there were Phillyrunners Scott, Jim, Ryan, Tim, Monika, Liz and probably one or two I'm forgetting. Ryan brought a cowbell and gave it to Jim's girlfriend under the condition she use it. At the start I talk a bit with Chris ? from Wissahickon Wanderers and Kevin M. from Valley Forge Striders. I also see John Carroll and with that kiss goodbye any hopes at being top masters. As usually happens with this race, the area racehorses were well represented.

The horn finally sounds and I try to go out slow. When the dust clears, however, I find myself about ten feet behind John Carroll and decide to stay behind him. Mile 1, with a nice sized downhill and uphill, goes by in 5:19 and I'm still with him. He is the first guy I've seen go through a water stop and actually speed up while grabbing a cup. Mile 2, also hilly, goes by in 5:30 and here Carroll puts the hammer down and I know better than to respond. Watching him run for those two miles was my favorite part of the race.

The race is two times around a 2.5 mile loop. This means that, while the crowd support automatically doubles, so do the number of hills. And this really wears on you. Splits tell the story from here on in: 2:42 for mile 3, 5:58 for what seemed like an endless mile4, and a wee kick at the end to nail the last mile in 5:39. 28:13 is the official time, good for 13th place and 2nd master.

Not worth an in depth post mortem. I never feel like I do very well here, as the course is hard, the weather is always warm, and I'm never in racing shape in June. I see last year that I ran this in 28:06. Just like last year, I had the feeling that I ran out of gas about a quarter mile too early. Just before the finish, the legs were willing but the lungs just couldn't put out. Just couldn't. Its a nice way to spend a Friday evening, but runningwise it is just an exhibition. To quote Chuck S - "a bad race is still a good workout".

Ever run a race where there was no water at the finish? Well, this was my first one. Walk about a mile down and they had free samples of Fuse, and for lack of anything else I got a cup of their green tea, which was undrinkable. A bit farther down they were giving out lemonade and punch in little cartons, but nary a drop of water anywhere. As the folks like Chad B. came in, stories mounted about how the finish line backed up as far as two tenths of a mile, so after about 40 or so nobody had a valid finishing time. Looks like some major boo boos here, we miss you Delco.

They did give out cool mugs as shwag and had local massage therapists out there who knew what they were doing (at least the one I got). And lastly, a shoutout to Monika for taking me home.

Wrap up with todays run, a hot one from Port Richmond to the Walt Whitman bridge and back with Kevin F. 51:42 going down and 47:16 coming back up (98:58 total). That was the hardest thing I did all day, as afterwards me and Kevin watched World Cup soccer all day, including a great upset by Ghana and a valiant tie by the US. Kevin freely spouted his considerable soccer knowledge and I soaked up as much of it as I could, and I'm having a great time following the matches this year. If Germany plays England, however, our friendship will be sorely tested.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Shakedown Street

Nothing shaking on Shakedown Street
Used to be the heart of town
Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart
You just got to poke around

Didn't get around to posting anything yesterday. It was an abbreviated run, 6.5 miles of the Art Museum loop in 54:50. I had to get home in enough time to make down to Center City for a doctor's appointment at 8. The doc checked out my neck, took the stitches out, and said I was good to go. Also said I could fully resume any physical activities, including running. I thanked him and wished him well.

I was going to tack on another 4 that evening but after dinner it felt too much like junk miles, and I bagged it. I watched Bull Durham with Maricela instead.

This morning was another short run. The Media 5-Miler, one of the few Friday afternoon races around, is this afternoon and so this morning was more of a jog than a run. KJ, who's also running this afternoon, bailed after a hard workout last night, leaving me, the pregnant lady, and Jody to head west. Jody has been running with us on a regular basis now for a few weeks, apparently undeterred by our weirdness.

We ran west out to Merion St., which runs parallel between Lancaster Ave and the railroad tracks. Its one of those interstitial streets where people mine for "stressed" bricks from the decaying housing, there are enough tires to construct a playground and a life-sized Godzilla sculpture, and you wouldn't be surprised to see a body lying among the weeds. There used to be a house with lots of ironwork and a mailbox with a Hell's Angels motif, but that's gone. Its not as scary on a bright June morning as it was on a December's false dawn.

Going back east on 54th St. a woman gave us a shout-out, "I should be running with you."

I shot back, "Put out your cigarrette and c'mon." I can't believe I said that, perhaps it was in celebration of the public smoking ban that City Council passed yesterday.

5 miles in 42:17. Wish me luck this afternoon.

I can't get around it and I can't run away
I need a miracle every day

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Tag Team Partners

Yesterday I crowed about what a beautiful, clear sunny day it was and today Center City was again looming off in a hazy distance.

Erin overslept and so KJ/Silas and I took off for Cobbs Creek on Cedar Ave without her. We are now hyperaware of street factors affecting stroller negotiability and Cedar is wide. Despite our best efforts at ensuring a smooth ride, Silas became crotchety at Cobbs Creek by Thomas Ave, necessitating a pit stop. While KJ changed Silas' diaper, Erin reeled us in through having taken a shorter course and with a pregnant burst of speed. KJ then tagged her and she continued to run with me as KJ cut his run short and went home with a still-crying Silas.

The pregnant lady and I continued down to Woodland, talking of death and social Darwinism, and then again ran into KJ and Silas (now asleep) at around 54th St. We all ran back to 43rd Street, and I added some extra distance through Penn campus to make my jaunt a long ten and giving me a week’s worth of double digit mileage days. 89:46; nothing too strenuous. Deidre, we need you back.

Tipped the scales at 168 today, another new adulthood low (by point of comparison, I’m the same height as Allen Iverson and he’s listed at 175). Reminds me of a famous quote from Once a Runner, “if the furnace is hot enough it will burn anything.” The temperature is rising, my friends.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

As the Hustle Breaks into a Run

There's a black cat that's settled in on my block. This morning as I turned onto the sidewalk to run, there he was right in my path. . . Going through Penn campus behind the hospital I ran past an attendant and a cop who were wheeling a gurney covered with a dark green blanket out to a waiting hearse. I crossed myself and kept running.

And proceeded to have one of the best runs of the year. The four river miles went by in 24:55 (sub 6:15); and I hit the Ford Road/Conshohocken Ave intersection in 8:30 on my way to a 17-flat in the stretch out to Chamounix/Belmont Plateau. And this wasn't no bottle it up and go run, this was a run where I had to push, curse, and make myself promises I knew I wouldn't keep to coax out the river miles, and then beg, wheedle, grovel and plead with myself to keep going to the plateau. All the while fiddling with these damn new earbuds I got that are a bit too big for my earholes. But all is forgiven with a run like that. Just where I want to be in June; if I run like this come August however I'll be pissed. 13.5 miles in 95:20.

Crisp sunshine this morning. This is a rarity for a Philadelphia June, folks. Read a random blog entry of mine for last June and you'll see the sweltering humidity we usually get. Listened to Marah "If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry" twice (I'm currently o.d.'ing on this album) and cooled down to Los Super Seven, and now even have some time left before work to get this blog entry in. Can't beat that.

Burn off the morning smog with heat that's blazing from my rush
I'm paying dearly for this flash of light I have become
I can't just hold my breath and stop a pulse I'm not controlling
So I hit the pavement as the hustle breaks into a run

PS - Scott, old boy, where you been lately? Drop a line here and let folks know you're still alive. Or better yet, update that blog.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Easy Blogging

Stretched the Zoo version of the Acme loop into 10+ miles and called it an easy day. Sad how my standards for whats easy have gone up like that. Fortunately the expectations of speed haven't increased correspondingly, as the total time was 91:30. Pace was a bit quicker than divvying that by ten, and also included the Gallowalks necessitated by running with the pregnant lady these days. Superdad (i.e., KJ) was there as well, minus the boy wonder. Conversation was varied, but settled on the issue of the pros and cons of attending your children's sports activities.

Just as the running was easy, so will the blogging be today.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Walt Whitman Bridge (reprise)

Maybe six will bring me luck
Got a little shake I kept in the fridge
Gonna drink my bean and [run] out smoking [to] the Walt Whitman Bridge

A Marah song I was raving about a few weeks back, and that now has become an anthem for this training cycle. Lyrics here are slightly altered.

I hooked up with Kevin F. again this morning and we ran six along the Delaware to the Walt Whitman and back up to Port Richmond. Kevin's a good friend; letting me vent and spout as we carved up this 12-mile turkey three minutes faster (93:38) than last time without really trying. Chilly this morning with a strong headwind on the way back.

74 miles this past week, coming off the surgery. Looking for more this coming week.

Got a picture of my lover's lips before they dried up under my kiss
A prayer in my heart I'm too scared to recite
Oughtta toss that stale loaf of words to the birds as a monument to my whole life

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Case Against Trailrunning

Met the 9:30 Philly Runners group at the Art Museum, where I hooked up with Ian and Goat and headed off to Belmont Plateau to run around the trails. Ian gets off on leading us around on these incredibly winding through the brush paths where we get all turned around, run about 2 0r 3 miles in the space of .25 square miles, and end up about 20 feet from where we plunged in. As usual, I was super paranoid of twisting something, came real close several times to wiping out in the mud, and at 6'1" get more than my share of bushwacks.

So I'm in no danger of becoming a trailrunner. There's comfort in knowing that.

The company, however, was worth it on this breezy, sunny morning. Kelly Drive is getting all set for the big bicycle race they're having tomorrow, and we took advantage of free ice tea samples being distributed. We got back to the Art Museum at about the same time as the rest of the Philly Runners who took the conventional loop around the Drives, and it was good to stick around a little to socialize before heading back home.

Call it 15 miles in 1:58:31.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Before They Make Me Run

Patchwork of miles this morning. The center of gravity for Club West Philly appears to be shifting to KJ's, as we met over there this morning and again took off for points west on Pine, to Cobbs Creek, and back on Woodland. The pregnant lady was in good form today, doing blistering striders to get ahead of us so that she could use the portajohn and rejoin us without us losing stride. Jody hung on for eight on a run that he understood to be only six, and KJ realized what shitty condition the SW Philly streets were in. Silas, the only sensible one among us, dozed for virtually the whole run.

As for me, after we did eight I tacked on another 1.5 down to 39th St. to make it 9.5. No time available due to a timing malfunction. When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and bowl of oatmeal as I set about to locate a suitable venue for watching Germany in the inaugural World Cup game this afternoon. I didn't bother taking off my shoes, as I went right back out the door and ran with Tony as he biked to school and continued down to Franklin Field. On the track, I ran a 3200 in 12:38 and went back home. Total was an additional 5.5 miles.

Dunno what to call that 3200. Just ramped it up to where I felt fast but comfortable. I figure that will be my baseline for pacing future river miles, and this pace will eventually drop to marathon pace and then to tempo pace. But its still early for that, right now I'm just thinking miles.

And for what its worth, I weighed in at 169.5 today. I keep track of my weight and pulse (both taken upon waking up) in my running log, and this is the first time in the 5 years I've been keeping a log that I've gone below 170 (and I'm guessing the first time I've been at this weight in adulthood). Not sure what to make of it other than I figure it can't hurt my racing.

Maybe those stones were heavier than I thought.

After all is said and done
Gotta move while it's still fun
Let me walk before they make me run

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Uptown Toodeloo

Lost my boots in transit, pile of smokin leather.
I nailed a retread to my feet and prayed for better weather.

Been singing that ever since college in celebration of getting through a, shall we say, difficult week. One nice thing about working at USP is that we get Fridays off in the summer. Of course, in this job you're measured by your output, not by a clock, so I usually end up working some on Fridays anyway, but at least it will be at home and on my terms.

Hooked up with Ian and John W. this evening and got me back sumodat mileage I've been giving up over the past week. I love running with those guys, probably because I don't get to do it nearly enough and today was no exception. Fast pace and fast talk leads to a run that just flies along. We meandered through Fairmount and you can check out our course where Ian plotted it here. Its a bit misleading as that straight line through the woods at Belmont Plateau is actually an incredibly serpentine trail. That and I tacked on a warm up/cool down out and back to/from the Art Museum.

Conservatively, 14 miles total in 1:45:51.

Little Red Rooster's back on the prowl.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Maiden Voyage

Today was Silas' first trek out with us in the baby stroller. Silas (KJ's kid) had a grumpy looking facial expression under a cap that made him look like a dwarf, but he lay in the stroller quietly for a little while before promptly falling asleep. In other words, a highly successful initial workout for him.

We were a motley crew, as along with KJ and Silas it was me with my bandaged neck, the pregnant lady (aka Erin for those not in the know) whose runs now require portapotties at maximum intervals of six miles apart, and Jody, who has no apparent physical limitations. Loop was out to Cobbs Creek via Pine and back along Springfield, with a little extra warmup around the neighborhood while KJ was finishing pre-run logistics. Call it an easy (in the slow sense) 8 in 71:47. For me, I am getting out a bit longer each day and am keeping that "back from a teeth cleaning" feel in my legs. Tomorrow I go for a follow up appointment with the ENT guy, and then hope to torque it back to double digit days.

Babies in running strollers take me back to 1997 when Tony was a baby and I first got this insane notion in my head that I could run marathons (and before I realized I liked running them). I was in grad school and staying home with him on afternoons and used this time to strap him in a stroller and take off on training runs. I have always imagined rides all around town at a speed ideal for sightseeing with a parent in earshot but not sight, others around you (today it was like we were the Secret Service) and lots of smiles from passers-by transmits incredibly good karma for the kid and contributed greatly to his mellow disposition. Hopefully it will signify the beginning of his future running career. Good memories, and I'm glad KJ and Silas now get to experience that as well.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Dear Prudence. . .

won't you come out to play
Dear Prudence, greet the brand new day
The sun is up, the sky is blue
It's beautiful and so are you
Dear Prudence won't you come out and play

These lyrics were ringing in my head this morning. Continuing to exercise prudence by exercising prudently. Little more this morning and a little faster - 6.5 mile Art Museum loop in 53:16. Running was easy - not in slow but in requiring minimal effort. Legs feel fresh, kinda like your teeth do after you've been to a dentist for a cleaning. Afraid of putting miles on them again and losing that feeling.

Morning is pleasantly cool with a breeze. Air was hazy around Center City this morning with a plasticky burning smell, suggesting there may have been a big fire. But there were beautiful purple flowers behind the guardrail at Spring Garden St. by the mouth of MLK Drive.

Another day in a tough week, but as I caught myself telling a friend yesterday - "I run marathons, I can make it through this." Also keeping my buddy James in mind, who lost his dad yesterday.

Monday, June 05, 2006


Went out this morning very easy. Set out to do 11, said that was nuts and decided on six and shortened that to four as I did a Franklin Field loop to 49th St. 39:04. Like I said, jogging.

The neck held up fine. I know there are some of you out there who will question why I ran at all. I'm just going to say that what went on with my legs didn't affect my neck at all. Still, I did stay on the side of prudence and ran very easily.

I needed this run. Its going to be a tough week.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


I'm back home. Everything went fine. Docs took out two stones and a salivary gland and I spent the night at the hospital. Today is pretty much downtime and do nothing. Let alone run. I feel about the same as I did when this gland stuff acted up in the first place, alot of discomfort in my throat, and pain when I jolt it. So when that eases I'll hit the roads again.

In the absence of running, I have some time to kill. I did some virtual cross-training, going back in my blog a little before I got the gland problems, to March 4, where I had left off my Chatauqua. Here I finished mapping out the first 694 miles that I ran in 2006 and had ended up in West Liberty, Kentucky, just past the Pink Palace, otherwise known as the East Kentucky Correctional Facility. I guess I finally made it out on parole, and have just tracked another 300 or so miles which takes me up to 1000 miles and New Harmony Indiana. According to my log I would have passed by here on April 22nd.

I remember New Harmony from a college class I took called American Utopian Communities with Jon Andelson, who, 20 years later, I see is still teaching at Grinnell. Scottish industrialist Robert Owen bought New Harmony and tried to create a society that tried to abolish money, commodities, social classes, etc. However, as these things often go, this social experiment only lasted for a few years before it all fell apart. And now the internet is full of pages with glossy pictures of idyllic small town life in New Harmony complemented by antiques and shopping and bed & breakfasts and gleeful commodification of its history. I think where I part with my old professor is that it's this cooptation of history that interests me more than the original utopian society. But for a prime example of that I only have to drive about 50 miles west to Lancaster County.

I don't expect to be running tomorrow and so plan to continue my cross training to complete the remaining 400 miles and have the Chatauqua fully updated again.

Friday, June 02, 2006


11 miles this morning. SMB loop. Another one of those runs that started out slow and feckless before I found a cache of energy that turned it into a run I was satified with. 89:52, with 3.5 river miles in 24:54 - a sub 7:10 pace. The rain last night did absolutely nothing to wash away the humidity, and it looks like we're in the middle of one of those wet blanket heat waves.

So that makes 11 straight double digit mileage days. 136 miles total over that stretch. With that under my belt I'm satisfied that I've trained hard and am ready for surgery. I didn't taper as much as I might have liked, but I think pre-op tapering is overrated anyway. I go in at 8:45 this morning, and appreciate any thoughts/prayers you send my way.

While this is routine surgery and it is very unlikely anything adverse would happen, nonetheless my mind drifted there during the run this morning. Drifted along the lines of Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request." I didn't have the time/talent to come up with anything like that, but if I were to go then I'd like my ashes spread around the Drives by a group of folks over the course of a tempo run so that they can swirl around in the multi-directional headwind and my spirit can push you folks along in those countless 5k and 10k races and haunt the bejesus out of you when you decide to turn around at the John Kelly statue.

But that's if I die. More likely I'll be back here Sunday or Monday spraying more blather into the ether.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Orange Ball in Gauze

Didn't get to blog yesterday. It was an uneventful run anyway, the 8.5-mile version of the Acme loop with Erin and then another 1.5 miles in a loop to 39th St. through Penn. All told, the 11-mile run went by in a pedestrian 86.30. That run also closed the books for May, in which I logged a total of 284 miles. I was aiming for 300+, but I'll take it.

This morning was another BN loop. My head was tired and my legs were tired so I told myself just finishing would be a good achievement. As I hit the river miles I got a bit more ambitious, resolving to run the 4 miles in under 30 (ended up hitting it in 29:55) and the BN stretch in under 10 (hit 9:57). This contributed to a total time of 106:54 for the 13.5 mile loop, a bit slower than I had been doing the loop recently.

Again, the best part of this run was that I ran it at all. The sun was an orange ball behind a shroud of gauze. It was a mental wrestling match with myself on MLK Drive not to turn off either on Montgomery or Ford Rds. and cut a few miles off of this morning's loop. My goals for the river miles and the BN, while not overly ambitious, were nonetheless goals that did force me to pick up the pace and push. And it is in the pushing where I got the workout. That is something that anyone can pick up from reading this, take a stretch of your run, pick a goal, and just push it a little for that time. Get out of your comfort zone. And then give yourself some miles to crawl back into your comfort zone afterwards if you want.

Deep thoughts. Also makes the tenth straight day of double digit mileage. And tomorrow I go into the hospital for my "procedure." I'll try to squeeze one more double digit day out before I go in tomorrow, and to blog some thoughts on all this afterwards. Then I can recover without feeling the need to go run.