Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Early Bird. . .

Gets to go out for a run when the temp is still only 79 degrees and the humidity is only in the double digits and there are traces of a breeze wafting about. He gets the run over with and then can smugly go through the rest of the day laughing at the heat knowing he can stick close to the A/C and not have to worry about stupid things like getting a workout in. And he gets to feel all uppity as his afternoon running friends mix tears into their sweat as the complain in their blogs about how miserable the conditions are.

Did I mention that me and KJ went out running this morning? Did the Vinegar Hill version of the Acme loop and then I added on an additional 2.5 with a 36th St. loop. KJ was dragging but then picked things up, I'm guessing to sub 7 pace, after we passed Overbrook High and got a head of steam on that long downhill on 59th St. It was fun to do but ultimately pointless, as the only reason for going fast on a morning like this is that it gets the run over with more quickly.

10.5 in 84:31. This lets me close the books on the most productive July ever, 337 miles.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bottle It Up & Go!

Ran this morning with Tina, a friend of Annette’s who, after conversation and mojitos last night, wanted to come out and run for the first time in several years. I said come on out, and to my surprise, she actually showed up this morning, 9:30 sharp, and we went out to the track.

When people ask me how to start running, I tell them to pick a time, say 30 minutes, and run for as long as you can for that time period, but taking walk breaks when needed. The idea is to keep moving for the allotted time and each following workout you run more and walk less. Once this whole time could be spent running, then shift over to measuring workouts in miles.

Tina did much better than that. We ran out to the track and did 10 laps in 30 minutes, with her not stopping to walk at all and then surprising me with a burst of speed around the final turn of the last lap. A good start; if she sticks with running she should do well.

As we ran I kept up a banter about various aspects of running, partly in response to her questions and partly in an effort to provide some diversion. Looking back, some of the topics we covered still intrigue me. Explaining the meandering flow of running conversation. Describing how an essentially solitary activity such as running can facilitate intense support and friendships. Making concrete the somewhat abstract connections I make between racing and training. And divulging to the uninitiated the secret that running slowly, almost imperceptibly, changes you – physically , spiritually, mentally, etc. – as you keep it up. I hope Tina got as much out of this workout as I did, but I probably sounded nuttier the farther the 30 minutes progressed.

When we finished Tina headed back to Annette’s and I did an additional quick 12 laps, plus another cooldown lap and the quarter mile or so back to Annette’s. This was supposed to be an easy workout for me, so I just ran fast for the joy of doing so. Those twelve laps went by in 19:25. By this time the sun was beating and the heat was rising from the track, but today this energized me, and I felt I could fly. Today I thought that maybe I can master the heat and use it to my advantage in Virginia Beach. Tomorrow I suspect that I’ll laugh at that idea.

Bottle it up and go!

6.5 this morning in 56:14 on the track. 4 this evening – Franklin Field loop to 49th St. without a watch.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mount Vernon Trail

Potomac Runners had their group run scheduled for 7:15 this morning at Belle Haven Marina, a little park on the Potomac and the Mount Vernon trail, which goes along the southern bank of the Potomac in either direction long enough to get plenty of mileage in.

This presented both a motivation and a challenge, as running with folks, at a time before things heated up too much, would make the run infinitely easier. However I’d also been up with my sister and friends until past 2 am the night before.

But I got it together and pulled into BHM right at 7:15 and could see at least 40 or 50 people milling about. Parking was a bit difficult and by the time I made it to where they were mingling, they had all left. So I started out a bit faster than I usually go and reeled in large groups of people, but never did manage to hook up with anybody to run with.

The Mount Vernon trail is like the Kelly Drive of Northern Virginia. There were hundreds of people out there running, most of them Binghamesque penguin types and many of them running in large groups (gaggles, hordes, schools?). That, combined with cyclists, made for a lot of congestion in spots, but got me thinking that if our great society were ever interested in seriously getting into collective shape, there would be many more scenes like this. And all at 7:30 on a Saturday morning.

I made a command decision to go 16 – 8 out and 8 back. I thought of going for more, but also really wanted to get back to my sisters and take a nap. So I settled for 16 miles, on the condition that I'd keep up a brisk pace. While I did go out faster than usual and got a little faster (front eight in 59:33 and then turned around to do the back eight in 57:27), I couldn’t get the pace down under sub 7. My stomach felt really sick for a mile or so at about mile 15, which was actually good in that it was the final dissuasion to go farther.

Potomac Runners had lots of Gatorade and water on hand post-run at the marina, and I sucked down their liquids but didn't socialize. I also became aware of the sun that now beat down, and (as I knew I would be) was very happy to have got my run in early.

Total with warm up and cool down was maybe 16.3 miles in 2:00:14. Excuse me now while I hit the couch!

Friday, July 28, 2006


That’s a term that my mom will recognize and should get a laugh from, but I doubt anyone else will know it. Go google it.

Couldn’t get out to run this morning until after I made arrangements for the locksmith to come over (see yesterday’s entry). That put me out the door at 9:30 and into a wall of sticky heat. This did not promise to be a run I’d remember fondly, and the combination of heat and humidity had me wondering what the RealFeel was, although I hate that concept. If anyone out there can remember PDR 2002, or was at the R&R Half last year, I would call the conditions even worse than those.

I took it easy out to the Art Museum and, as I do on my once-a-week BN workout, let it rip once I hit MLK. Mile 1 was a 5:52; mile 2 was a 5:54; mile 3 was a 5:55 and mile 4 was a 6:13, as I had to withdraw almost all the seconds I banked to finish the four river miles in sub 6 minute pace (23:54). From there the loop goes up the BN and I passed the Ford Rd. intersection in 9:58, just under my 10 minute minimum. I am proud of this – hammering that hill today was a gut check. And then the last checkpoint, which takes in the whole stretch from Falls River bridge to where Ford Road hits the Belmont Plateau went by in 19:25, 25 seconds over the minimum. By that time I was spent and the rest of the way home was a deathmarch/cooldown. 13.5 miles in 1:43:33.

If I can keep getting in workouts like this I will be able to take on anything Virginia Beach has to throw at me on Labor Day. I started the workout weighing 169, finished it weighing 162. My stomach has been queasy all day and I’ve got an insatiable thirst. But I’ll be alright, and it’s a price I’m happy to pay for the feeling of having had a good workout.

I’m on the train to DC right now, en route to hang out with my sister this weekend (in the air conditioning). Annette sent me an email a few days ago that I’ve been meaning to post here:

guess what, I ran a mile !!! Need to start a blog!

I’ll look to hook up with one of a few running clubs in the area that do long runs on weekend mornings, and hopefully add to the interesting acquaintances that I usually make when on these runs.

I Need a Miracle

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

I had a shitty day today.

Missed my morning run

Because I had to go to Harrisburg

And due to incompatible train scheduling got to spend all day there for the sake of an hour and a half meeting

Only to return to meet Cindy to negotiate our breakup over dinner (a combination I would not recommend to anyone in a similar situation pondering this)

And to top it all off I lost my keys.

Its the latter that was the worst. Whenever I came to terms with the rest of the stuff and with life in general that nagging feeling came back that there is this hole in my pocket where my keys are supposed to be. And because I can't rule out that they may have fallen into evil hands and because I have thoroughly exhausted everyplace I can think of to look, I'm going to have to postpone my trip to DC to visit my sister tomorrow and see about getting the locks changed.

And this brings me to 10:15 pm, sitting on the bed and staring at my running shoes. There was no reason at all to run. I already called KJ that I'm not going to make the Friday am run, so as to run the BN loop hard (my planned workout for today). I had a full stomach of nouvelle Mexican food and overpriced Margaritas. Outside the darkness was pierced by regular flashes of lightning. I think I went running because there was no reason to run. I ran a four mile version of the Franklin Field loop, the minimum distance I'll log these days. Didn't bring my watch.

So am I glad I did it? Honestly I don't feel any better, although I've now resigned myself to my keys being lost and have stopped obsessively searching for them. I'll feel better about it when it comes to tallying up my mileage on Sunday, as any mileage beats the hell out of a DNR.

Just one thing I got to say
I need a miracle every day.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Not Much Else to Say

Just wrote the yesterdays entry about 10 hours ago, so there's not much new to say.
KJ, Jody, the pregnant lady and I ran Acme loop (40th St. and Vinegar Hill) or eight miles and then me and KJ tacked on another 2.5 miles with a 36th St. loop through Penn. I left my watch at home and that was probably a good thing, as there were no scorch marks left in our wake.

Good to have the run out of the way today. I also seem to have beat that dreaded post travel slump where I often miss a day or two.

Not much else to say.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm Back

I'm back. . .

Back from today's run. Sweetbriar loop up to 48th St. Couldn't get up this morning so I ran this evening. Was gonna do six but felt like tearing it up so at MLK I kept running to Sweetbriar and then up the Lansdowne Ave. hill. Hayes Carll on the iPod. 8 in 61:33.

I'm also back from Iowa. I went to college at a small school in a small town, both called Grinnell. I haven't been back since the mid 80s. Kids are in Texas with their cousins and I figured I'd take advantage of my freedom and go back for a long weekend. A good buddy of mine from back in the day googled me a while back and one thing led to another. He and a couple of friends had gotten together and booked L'il Ed and the Blues Imperials (who you might have seen recently on Conan O'Brian) to play a gig on Saturday in a parking lot outside a local bar. That was the ostensible reason for my going there, and the show alone was well worth the trip. More importantly, Chris and I reconnected like 20 years was just a blip. I also walked around the campus where I had once spent a happy four years, but the place was now too different to evoke torrents of nostalgia.

Grinnell is a great place to run. You go out longer than a mile in any direction out of town and you're either in rolling hills or cornfields, with roads that turn to gravel and then dirt. The routes are very geometric, creating loops that are polygons with perpendicular corners. I got in my first 20 miler of the year on Saturday (2:49:47), a 10.5 miler on Sunday (89 minutes), and took it out to the Grinnell track yesterday for 1600s - five of them (400m rec) in 5:33; 5:31; 5:31; 5:37 & 5:40 and a total of ten miles. Ideally these would have been sub 5:30s, but what you see was all I had.

Thanks to the folks who commented and sent emails in response to my last post. I think one of the reasons we stick with this bloody addiction is because of the community that it engenders, and y'all's support means alot.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Catching Up

Been a long time since I rock n rolled. . .

As often happens when I travel, I have a hard time getting back into the rhythm of running on my return. Tuesday it was an early travel-late teaching double whammy and yesterday was exhaustion. But I had anticipated that and didn't let it stress me out. Besides, all my other blogging peeps were bellyaching about how hot it was, so it looks like I picked a good two days to rest.

It was supposed to be back to the grind this morning, but the alarm went off at 5:30 and I got up at 6:30. So my planned BN loop got drastically shortened to a 5 mile Franklin Field loop. I shouldn't have taken my watch (but I did; 43:34), but I 'm glad I took my iPod, as I got to listen to Tarika, a band from Madagascar that I got turned onto by a happy sequence of circumstances. Tarika's music is African enough to be exotic and pop enough to where I can orient it to things more familiar. At times they remind me of acoustic Los Lobos or a zydeco jam without the washboard. But a better description comes from a review that described them as having "an intoxicating sound." I prefer to call it aurally administered exuberence. If I had a mix tape of anthems for this training cycle, I would put Koba (franglais version) in the middle, at the point when a steady cadence is called for but I still have some of that beginning-of-the-race enthusiasm left.

So that was the morning. Because I am starting to fall behind on mileage, I looked to do a second workout this evening. Parenting demands were working against me, but I got in an 8-miler that started at 30th St. Station and ended at the UC Swim Club. I won't go into details except to say that I give myself an 8.5 in creativity for squeezing this one in. I will brag, however, that despite the conditions, both within and without me, I hammered out the MLK miles such that 3.5 miles went by in 19:58. That's about a 5:42 pace which for me is worthy of fist pumping and well within tempo range. Especially after the hiatus of the past few days, this puts my head right back into training mode.

Like Steve McQueen, all I need is a fast machine. That is now my ringtone and mantra!

What follows will come as a bit of a non-sequitur, and to some as a surprise to some I haven't yet told. If you're one of those folks I either haven't seen you recently or haven't had a good time or place to bring it up so I might as well announce it. Cindy and I have been separated. Keeping in mind that this is a running blog, I'm not going to go into details other than, as these things go, it has been fairly devoid of any Springerian drama and we remain amiable towards each other. But I'm starting life on my own again. This has been building for awhile, and I've dropped frequent albeit subtle allusions to it in these pages.

Its a tough process, but there are silver linings. One worth mentioning here is that I'm sure that this stuff is in large part responsible for the jolt my training has received in the last six weeks. I go in to a workout these days thinking "this is hard, I can do it," and leave telling myself "there, I'm stronger for it now." And I know if I got a head full of sad, angry or obsessive thoughts, I can go out for a run and at some point all that shit will just lift. Works better than alcohol, I daresay, and I'm on track to be in awesome shape in the fall.

I'm getting the @$% out of town for a long weekend, heading out to Iowa to visit old friends, check out some live blues, and run down long straight farm roads. I don't know if I'll have internet access, but I'll write all about it next time I make it back here.

Oh yeah, the eight evening miles went by in 61:45.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Down the Ladder

Greetings from Washington. Have a meeting here later today and stayed over at my sister's last night. There is a high school with a track just down the street, and I loaded up my iPod with new music and just took off to the track and ran lots of circles while taking the time to listen to the music.

I did a workout on the track, not to be confused with a track workout. Ran ten miles mainly to keep my streak alive (18 days now). To make it interesting, I shot for making each 1600 faster than the last. I was patient this time around and was rewarded by fulfilling my objective and keeping things easy. The 1600 times were:

9:56 (long and warmup)
8:58 (long and cooldown)
(81:19 total time)

Listened to Mem Shannon and Mighty Sam McClain on the iPod. Both of them blues, neither were particularly noteworthy.

Going to hit 100 degrees today, glad I got the workout out of the way. This will likely be the end of my double digit streak, as several factors dictate that squeezing out 10+ miles tomorrow would be a bad idea. We'll see, but I won't be heartbroken.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Went up to Manayunk to run with the Philly Track Club guys. There's always a bit of apprehension going up there, as I know I'll likely be the slowest (and oldest) guy running. That was probably the case today, but while the pace they go at is faster than my long run pace, it is still a pace I can keep up with.

Brutally hot this morning, with a lot less humidity. Somehow I imagine humidity as absorbing heat, so when the humidity is low the heat gets worse. The route we ran this morning was good for the weather, as much of it was on Forbidden Drive and very shady and the rest, through Chestnut Hill and then at the end when they went to do trails and I took the Wissahickon path back to Ridge Ave and up that hill back to Manayunk, was relatively shaded. Still, I was drenched on getting back.

Hard to tell the distance, I feel safe to say 14 miles, in 1:42:26. I underestimated the length of the loop I was to do, and when I stopped I wished I could have put more in, but 14 is plenty. Faster and shorter today. Lydiard would not have approved but there is a school of thought that says if you are going hi mileage then you are better off doing them in more or less even increments. That's what I did, but not necessarily because I set out to do that. I think what I set out to do with this route is to run long and hard in the heat as a prep for Labor Day.

Don't know how effective that training approach it, but I sure stayed true to it today.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Funerary Run

I'm not going to write much today. Just get todays run into the record. This run is Erin's fault, she suggested to take our Center City and Manayunk friends out west to see some of the funerary sculpture out at Mount Moriah. So we went down to the Art Museum, met up w/ Ian, John W., Jim M. and English Mike, and headed back out west. We saw some parts of Mount Moriah that I had not been to, more out of the way with overgrown headstones in a flowery kind of way that I would think of as a peaceful rest. We could not find, however, the one piece that Erin wanted to show us, an angel sculpture which looks like its suspended from a tree.

Anyway, miserably humid morning to run, and my legs are shot from yesterday's madness. So I hobbled along and let myself get dragged on by the rest of them. 11.3 miles on this route, 94:49. I'm glad its over.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Mad Dogs and Little Kids

I checked in with my peeps yesterday. Ian, John and Jim all were complaining how hard it is to run in this heat. I guess its a combination environmental/psychological thing that we're all feeling around now. Just gotta hang in there and stick it out.

Then this morning I joined Erin and KJ just as KJ was chastising Erin about complaining of the heat. I said if anyone was entitled to complain, it was a pregnant lady (3rd trimester no less) out for a run on a July morning. That put things in perspective for me and I felt better, or at least less sorry for myself than I did yesterday.

This morning's workout was an easy eight, Cobbs Creek to Woodland and back around. It started off hazy and humid and then the sun burned off the haze and it became sunny and more comfortable. I realized I was the only one not carrying a baby in some way shape or form. But I put in my time (with the running stroller) back in 97. 8 miles in 72:58.

I did go out again and hit the Franklin Field track at around 1 this afternoon. It took me that long to get out there due to a mixture of errands and procrastination. Not surprisingly, there was no one else out on the track when I started 800 meter repeats. I wanted to do a minimum of four good ones, and not push myself after that. First four went in 2:39, 2:36, 2:37 and 2:37, a little better than I dared hope for. After that I figured keep that up till I couldn't. Number five went in 2:39 and I then really had to push to get a sixth rep in 2:39. After that rep I knew I had peaked, and today there was no sense in continuing. So I left happy. 400 meter recoveries, 4 mile out and back. 8.5 miles total.

I'm happy with this. I trained hard and have something to show for it. It feels like this is the way I should be training for the conditions I'm likely to encounter at the Rock n Roll half on Labor Day weekend in Va Beach - my next target race. And I don't consider myself a good warm weather runner, so being able to get a track workout like that in on a day like today has me feeling good about my fitness.

I don't know if its me or runners in general but more often then not, when I pass preschool kids while running they look at me with fascination. During my middle reps a guy brought his young son onto the track and whenever I would come around the kid would start running in the adjacent lane until I blew by him. Very cute. He had a good leg turnover for a three year old, and seemed to get the gist of running. Keep him away from the track, dad, it will only break his heart.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Walking Blues

Woke up this morning, reached for my shoes
You know I got a case
o' them walking blues. . .

Its amazing how many blues lyrics can be applied to running. It took every trick I knew this morning to get myself out of the door. Perhaps the most effective one was the promise to myself that I could run at whatever pace I wanted and run with Muddy Waters on the iPod. Comfort music if you wish. The album (London Muddy Waters Sessions) was perfect for my mood this morning, and I could tune into the music at the point where the backbeat meets harmonica and guitar. Incredibly sad music.

Ran 11.5 miles this morning. Usually do speedier stuff on Thursdays but I'm pushing those workouts to Fridays for the remaining weeks when I have the Fridays off. So I just did an Acme loop (9.5 m in 79:54) and a 39th St. loop (2+m in 16:17) this morning.

This makes 14 straight days of double digit mileage. Best I can tell this beats my previous best streak of this, which was 11. The problem with getting to this point is that the relentlessness of this whole running business sets in. I put in 11 today and I know I'll wake up tomorrow morning and the monkey will be taunting me again, asking how many miles I'm going to feed him this time around. Day in, day out, with the temptation growing to take a day off and the question of why I'm putting all these miles in getting more and more unanswerable. So as this streak builds this pressure builds as well. Perhaps its at this point where the true benefits of this "exercise" kick in. . . whatever those benefits may actually be.

Gimme one more kiss babe before I go,
I'm gonna leave here running, cause walking's much too slow.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Doing Time

We are steeped in another wave of warm humidity. Yesterdays run really took alot out of me. I was dragging all day and fell asleep around 9, waking up only to go to bed.

Still feeling the effects of yesterdays run this morning. Took it slow, and tried, to the extent possible, to make a ten mile run "easy." Erin, KJ and I headed out west to Cobbs Creek, but a fussy baby and an early work schedule forced both of them to cut the run short, so we headed back on Thomas Ave and I went down to Franklin Field and back up to 49th St. (adding 4 FF laps in there) to go 89 minutes and call it an even ten.

Notice I said even ten instead of conservative ten. I really can't bring myself to burn ten minutes mapping this course, and the 1600 meters I did on the FF track went by in 8:32. So judging by that pace, I didn't do much more than ten for the whole run.

This is a day when I take to heart the advice "let your easy days be easy days" and "on easy days you should leave the watch at home" and all those other truisms that serious runners spout and proceed to ignore. On a morning like today, when my internal homeostasis matched the external conditions, it was just a matter of putting in the miles. And when I lost track of miles I just said to myself to get in 90 minutes. I hate running on time, as the run feels like a prison sentence to where, especially at the end, I feel like I'm just doing time. Even though its time meted out in minutes, you stare at the watch enough and it feels alot longer.

I'm going up to Graterford tonight, so I'll watch my prison metaphors and gain a little more appreciation, if not understanding, for being confined to somewhere for years.

That gives you an idea of my thinking pattern this morning, and shows how some runs are just better left forgotten.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

All Work, No Play

I'm becoming a dull boy.

Got a crop of deadlines again, and yesterday I did little else but run and work. Overslept and so had to cut the morning run down to six miles (Art Museum loop in 47:24) and when I got home from the office at 8 I cranked out another 4 miles (extended Franklin Field loop in 30:35), finishing at the pool and cooling down by swimming some laps (don't worry, I don't have tri on the brain).

Last night I read stuff I assigned for the class I'm teaching tonight and fell asleep on the couch. Got up, put my sneakers on, and out the door again. 13.5 mile BN loop. Ran the 4 MLK miles in 23:45, about 15 seconds faster than last week, and the BN hill (9:03) to Belmont Plateau in 16:55. These splits are all improvements over last week and the weather, if anything, is hotter and hazier this morning. So I gotta call it a good workout. My total time (98:53) was about two minutes slower than last week, and that was because I just didn't have it on the warm up and cool down, especially near the end. Once I hit the plateau I thought this run is over and just trudged the last three miles home. I left my mojo on the course this morning.

So every weeks workouts a little faster than the week before, and keeping up the high mileage. Sofar its been a good July. . . trainingwise.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

G5K v 2.0

Big day for sporting events - World Cup final, Wimbledon men's final, Tour de France, and the Guerrilla 5k.

I took my iPod with me to run again, anticipating I'd be doing some miles alone. But I ran out to the start of the G5K with KJ and Silas (22:21). Then I ran the Guerrilla 5k. Some guy did a heckuva job organizing it, as the start and finish were at the Civil War Memorial and the course was challenging and very well marked. Some guy has a future in race directing. There were maybe 15-20 people participating in the race (at least one still in utero) and, at the start, me and four others went up to the front. Rounding 40th to Sweetbriar to South Concourse, the start of this race was fast up to a little past the first mile, when it ascends up South Georges Hill (behind the Mann Music Center). Here we lost Steve K (he played soccer after our run yesterday), John W and Bike Mike, so it was just me and Stevus (short for Jesus Steve).

My plan for this race was to just hang with the fastest runner, and make sure I wouldn't get outkicked at the end. If there was someone who could outkick me, it was Stevus, so I picked the pace up a bit going up South Georges to make sure he would have to push to keep up with me, but not so fast that I would lose him. I kept some banter going so as to give the impression that this was easy for me, but he gave it right back to me. When S. Georges turned into Belmont, the course became flat again and for the final half mile it turns back onto South Concourse, for a slight downhill until the war memorial finish. Neither Stevus nor I wanted to kick, so we made sure that John W, in third, was far enough behind us as we cruised hand in hand to tie for first. Second year running I shared first place honors in the G5K. Finishing time was 19:05, I'm holding out that the course was long, way long. Yeah, that's it.

Great shirts, and book of collected Tom Tomorrow comics for a prize, and good camraderie as, except for a few folks, everyone knew each other. Took some group pictures and also some club West Philly pics, as four of the five of us were there. Cool shirts as well.

Post race I ran with Steve K to Jim's apartment in Center City (25:25), where a great post race spread was, well, spread out and we sipped mimosas and watched the Tour de France. After that me and Jody ran back to West Philly (29:15) where, after he turned home, I finally got to put my iPod on for the last half mile.

We have arrived too late to play in the bleeding heart show.

Great morning, thanks to Ian and Jim for putting the essential parts of it together.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Hill Medley Redux

I posted on the PR messageboard that I wanted to run longish this morning and the only one who expressed any interest was KJ, who said he would run down to the Art Museum with me but couldn't commit to going much longer than that.

So I met up with him at 7:55 and the two of us, with Silas always in front, headed down to the AM. I brought my iPod in case noone was waiting for us there. Of course, bringing the iPod ensures that people will be there, and sure enough Steve K, Jim M, and the pregnant lady were there waiting for us. We took a route that SK and I had done together last year which I refer to as the hill medley. It includes most of the larger hills in the area, none of which will individually break you but taken together did a pretty good job on my legs this time around. KJ left us at Girard Ave, we lost the pregnant lady after a pitstop on MLK, and Jim took Kelly Drive back to the AM, so in the end it was again SK and I finishing it up.

Its fun to check back on my writeups of loops done awhile ago, where me and SK were in a decidedly different frame of mind. Where we set out to do them in 6:50 pace last year, this year we were just happy to finish. Last year we did this turkey in 91:03, this year we plodded through it in 106:59. SK hasn't been running regularly and I shredded my legs a bit more than I wanted with yesterdays workout, so each of us was happy just to finish. I told SK I'd post the course link on this entry (see above) as well as the distance, which was 13.1 miles.

SK bid me adieu at the Art Museum and I headed home. At this point I finally got to use my iPod and I don't know if it was the GU I belatedly took or the New Pornographers that gave me the kick I needed to make it through the last 3 miles home. Total mileage, with the out and back to the Art Museum, I'm calling at (as always, conservatively) 18.5 miles.

This gets me in fighting form to defend my half championship in the Guerrilla 5k, the second running of which will be held tomorrow. Its a hard race to explain to those of you not in the know, and for those of you in this category I will refer you to my lbrr of last years maiden voyage. The course will be completely different than last year's, starting and finishing at the Civil War Memorial, something that I had suggested as I always wanted to finish under what is, for me, the most triumphal spot in Philadelphia. The rest of the course won't matter, and the only point of suspense will be whether it will be shorter or longer than 5k. More on it tomorrow.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Back on Track

Two workouts today. First was this morning, an easy 6 (56:20) on the same Cobbs Creek loop I did last night (compare times!). Ran it with KJ, no one else showed this morning. Most of the run was KJ talking about jury duty and his experience inside the bowels of justice.

Around noon I ran down to Franklin Field to do some track work. I didn't set out to do anything ambitious, just run 1600s to see what kind of shape I am in. Didn't want to push myself until I was gasping for air or anything like that (that'll come later). Rather what I wanted to do was patterned from an early scene from the movie Das Boot where the U-boat captain takes the sub down to the depths of the ocean until rivets start popping and water starts spraying, just to get an idea of how far she can go down. That was me on the track. Took her down to 5:27 and everything was fine. Took her down another 8 seconds to 5:19 for the second round and was still feeling okay. Tried to break 5:20 for the third rep and the old hull started creaking, especially after an all out dash at the end to get that 1600 in 5:22. That's as far as I wanted to go today.

So I got me a baseline for planning future track workouts and, more importantly, I break the ice for what I'm hoping is an extended engagement with the track.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Out for a little jog this morning. Franklin Field loop and two times around the track. 4+ miles, 36:46.

Merely run to fulfill the obligation, under the belief that it is better to put any distance in the log than just a DNR. Otherwise it doesn't help the cause much. Just felt real tired last night and the same way this morning. Maybe I'll get another workout in later on, but I'm not counting on it.

I felt like I was jogging while I was out there this morning. Stuck in slow gear. The pain I described from the fall I took yesterday is still around. Must be a muscle bruise - literally a pain in the ass, especially when going up steps. But it wasn't bad once I got running and should go away in two or three days. Other than that, I felt weighed down by heavy thoughts. So I just slogged along, biding time and miles.


Postscript - I did make it out tonight, Cobbs Creek loop via Warrington and 43rd - 6 miles in 48:43. Ran as it got dark and a bit spooky in the Butterfly Sanctuary, but all was okay. This makes it seven straight days with double digit mileage.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Weight

Met up with KJ and the pregnant lady this morning for a usual Acme loop. We started out silently and gradually warmed up to conversation as we passed through Penn campus. Even as talk got more interesting with stories involving persons with Alzheimers wielding firearms and naked men getting shot at by Marines, the run still went painfully slow.

Highlight of the run was getting to see a Red Tailed hawk clutching a freshly killed squirrel and sitting on a tree branch about 20 feet away from us. He apparently had no fear of us and looked as still as a museum diarama.

The relative humidity must have been in the three digits this morning. It was so humid that about halfway through the run the moisture in the air started coalescing into a steady rain that cooled things off while we ran and is intermittently continuing through the morning.

I tripped and fell going down the Locust Walk bridge. Landed on my left side and its been a pain in my butt ever since.

A day when the world feels just a bit heavier. At least my run is in the log. Went a bit further to make it ten, and probably went a bit farther than that, given that the run clocked in at 90:01. It was not a nine minute pace run, but I'm not saying it was a brisk run either.

Take a load off Anny, take a load for free;
Take a load off Anny, And you can put the load right on me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Happy Fourth. I associate long steamy runs with this holiday, and this year that tradition continues.

Slept longer than I should have and did a BN loop. I nailed the four river miles at marathon pace - 24:01; and hit the portion right after that in 17:23, including a 9:13 ascent of the BN. These are all solid splits for me, esp. the MP miles, which are some of the few I've done since April. They came naturally, so its a good measure of how things are progressing.

I'm proud of this workout. This is a tough workout, as it consists of a 3.5 mile warmup stretch, a flat marked 4 miles of tempo running, and then a 2.5 or so bust-ass over a sharp grade and keep on going to Belmont Plateau section. I'm happy with my times because for me they are fast and shows that I'm willing and able to work hard in what are probably some of the lousiest conditions for training I've experienced all year. Keep it up!

I rewarded myself with a post workout swim. 10 times around in a lap pool and once again reassuring myself that I have not the slightest attraction to trying a triathlon. Swimming is, however, the perfect cooldown exercise.

Off to see the World Cup semis in a little while - Go Germany!

Monday, July 03, 2006

In Yeadon Desperately seeking CC

Hot muggy third of July. Got up early to go with club West Philly, but it was raining and I was tired. A award-winning combination for getting me back to bed.

Got up again at 7:30 and left for an 11-mile Cobbs Creek loop. Anson & the Rockets (featuring Sam Myers) and Marah provided the soundtrack. Hot and wet, pace felt brisk but only a little faster than last time I ran the loop in late May. I just peeked at that post and the conditions were remarkably similar, and I also felt fast on that day. Only difference was that I described a Yeadon view of Center City in a grey haze, today one couldn't see Center City from the Baltimore Pike.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

My Hometown

Son take a good look around, this is your hometown.

Spent the weekend at my mom's. Don't make it up there nearly enough. Very relaxing, with hefty doses of World Cup Soccer matches, conversation and decompressing. I needed that.

I also maintained my regular running, which right now is getting in at least ten miles in a day. Just put in the miles over these last three days, still not motivated/have the energy to kick it up into training mode. The running is a bit different in upstate NY, in that there is significant topography and you can't help but get in hill work. Also, Stony Point borders on the Palisades Interstate Park system, which gives it a split personality. On one hand, its a suburb that loses more green space every time I go up there, on the other hand, there are clear limits to how much the area can develop because of the park, so its not a far run and you're on a road that seemingly goes on forever through leafy forests with hardly a car. In other words the running is very different than here in Philly.

To recap:

The best I could get in on Thursday was a 3.5 mile Franklin Field loop in 31.25. Call it as close as I get to giving myself a day off.

Went for 92 minutes on this route on Friday, giving me 11.8 miles.

Went longer on Saturday and a bit farther afield, planned the route fortuitously so that it took just about exactly 2 hours.

Scaled it back to 90 minutes and went along the Hudson riverside for some of the route. I underestimated this route and had to do a bit of a runaround at the end to stretch it out to 90. The route came out to 10.8 in 90 minutes, so I went a bit slower than on Friday.

Not going to write much more here, although lots of thoughts went through my head as my routes took me past all kinds of haunts and memories from growing up. But I spent a chunk of time gmapping all these routes, and need to get to other stuff.

Nice to get this variety in. But it'll also be nice to get back to my tried and true haunts, as it lets me focus, at least in theory, on taking things up a notch in intensity.

Its something I have to do.