Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, October 27, 2006

Lansdowne Sycamore

Got up at 4:15 am yesterday to get on the road at 5:15 am so as to get to Harrisburg for a conference. Got back to Philly to teach class and then went out afterwards to catch some music at the Mill Creek Tavern. Thus blogging and running didn't happen.

This morning I gave myself a mental health day. The first step towards recovery was to sleep in (relatively speaking) to about 8, the second step was to go for a long run and clear out the cobwebs. I underestimated the distance of this loop considerably, and this should teach me to measure out loops BEFORE instead of after I run them.

The run was long and slow. It was noteworthy in three respects. First, it took me through three different counties (Phila, Montgomery & Delaware), only time I ever did more was when I ran the NYC marathon. Second, despite the overcast skies it was a gorgeous fall day awash with oranges, reds, browns and yellows. And third, I made it a point to again go up to Lansdowne and this time properly introduce myself to a 300 year old tree.

The Lansdowne sycamore sits in a postage stamp park in "downtown" Lansdowne. Its trunk is as thick as a redwood and, while redwoods go straight up, this tree is nearly as wide as it is tall. By the time I made it to the tree I had already been running for 2 hours and 45 minutes, and I stopped for a few minutes to fully take in its majesty. As I approached its girth felt more formidable, not just in its trunk but also in its lower branches, a few of which spread out low and horizontal in various directions. 300+ years old, and by the looks of it will still outlive anyone reading this. A peace and an energy emanated from this tree, and in celebration I jumped up to swing from one of its low branches, kicking my feet around. I had already done 20+ miles, more than I should have, but as I started up again and headed down Baltimore Pike for the 3 or so miles left in this homestretch, I felt a new spring in my step that was a product of either the tree's life force, the Gallobreak of walking around the tree, or the GU I took about 15 minutes before I got there. You decide.

Thanks to Rebecca for suggesting that I run by this tree. We met a few weeks ago at the Delaware Distance Classic and have built a really nice friendship since then (complete with little insinuations amidst these blog entries). She's smart, beautiful, she runs, and emails me running routes with little detours like this. To paraphrase a Robbie Robertson lyric: "A [runner's] dream if I ever did see one."

24 miles in 3:13:48. The most non-marathon miles I've run in one shot since 1997.


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