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, June 30, 2007

Mind & Body

Again had a hard time getting out. Not so bad as last week, but I got up at 8 and was running at 10.

After some deliberation I settled on the 15-mile loop that takes me to the Art Museum, around the Drives, and back home. I would take the 8 miles along the Schuylkill hard; I would determine how hard when I got there. I was ambivalent about this run, on one hand it was shorter and slower than I thought I should be doing, on the other hand there was an inner voice that said go with this run. This moderating voice has been active lately, and, although I don't have complete faith in it, it has helped me make peace with the less than stellar mileage I've been logging lately.

There was another function to this run as well. I've got some stuff banging around my head and this run let these thoughts shake around and eventually settle to where I've got some new ideas and insights on this stuff. Its hard to explain but its almost literal, how I can let the stuff thats in my mind just be while I run and I wait for insights to come. Part of this process is that the emotion around these issues, as well as all the self-chatter, proceeds to drop away and I can visualize the stuff as I run down the road. Running is indeed therapy.

I got that mental process going and then I hit the Drives. I picked up a languid pace and hit just under 7 minute pace for the first mile of the four-mile MLK Drive chunk that I hit in 25:32. On the way back down Kelly Drive, I got up to a 6:03ish pace on the way to hitting the back 4 in 24:46. I'm very happy with this, as it all just flowed.

So my running in past weeks is not as regular as I'd like, but I'm doing well in the key workouts that I am doing. Today was a run where I feel like I converted the psychic energy I was producing into fuel for my legs. A good run all around.

15 miles in 1:49:41.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Knocking on Heavens Door

Listening to Warren Zevon this morning, and his cover of this song came on. It got me energized. Thought knocking applied to my life in several respects, all in good respects. Among them, after the last two days I'm knocking on my own door again, as I now own the house I lived in on Hazel all by myself (well, with the bank). I'll move back in August.

Got up a bit late and had to drive Tony early, so I didn't get much time to run. Ran Pine down to 63rd and back on Cedar. I'm in a slump. Don't worry, I'm not going to whine. Gotta keep it in perspective. I thought of Pat Burrell. He's getting paid $12 million a year and has the expectations of thousands of Phillies fans on him. Tony and I went to last night's game, which the Phils won in 10 innings, and Pat got up once to pinch hit. He struck out. He was roundly booed.

So not my best week sofar, two missed runs and hardly a run today. When I hear boos I'll start to worry. 3.5+ miles in 34:03.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In Training for the Guerilla in Phila

Didn't run yesterday, unplanned but probably for the best. Ian again stepped up to get me going again and we ran into what was probably the worst running weather of the year.

Hot and humid. Ian and I ran a variation of the Bloody Nipple loop that I used to run to prep for my Philly marathon training. Instead of going past the Art Museum this variation went past the zoo and cut off a few miles. The cool feature about this variation is that it includes a stretch, from 34th and Market to the stop sign before the Civil War Memorial arch, that is the toughest part of the Philly Marathon course and which clocks in at exactly 2 miles. I'd run it tempo in prep for when I ran Philly in 05, then took a downhill recovery on Black Road, and did another 2 on MLK at tempo.

So we did this loop and I was looking out to go hard. On the first stretch we nailed this in 11:29. Looking through my 2005 log, I don't see that I ran this any faster than year than in 11:50. I'm impressed with myself physically here, but I'm not too impressed with my judgment for having run it on this morning. Instead of running another two miles at tempo we ran 1.5 miles hard (9:14) to Falls River Bridge.

When we hit the base of the Bloody Nipple we ran into Veena, the inspiration for that hill's moniker. Veena started running with us up the hill, but surely decided we were too slow and graciously said she changed her mind about running hills, and headed back to Kelly Drive. That left me and Ian in a Death March for the rest of the way home.

Total 12 miles in 88:40.

Speaking of Ian, his annual Guerrilla 5k is now set. Here is his post advertising it, all are welcome:

Guerrilla 5k III: The Kevin Jude and Kevin Costello Memorial Assault on Philadelphia
Fast, Flat, and Dangerous
City Hall North Side, July 8th, 9AM.

The G5K will be a little different this year, but with all the old features you love: a complete lack of organization, utter disregard for participant safety, open streets, and course measurement that rivals Lin-Mark in accuracy. Gone are the signature hills and bucolic forest setting, traded in for crowded city sidewalks, smog, and stop lights.

Course is To Be Determined. By You.
When you arrive at the start at City Hall, you'll be shown the Start/Finish Line, and a turnaround point address will be revealed to you. How you get there is up to you. Following city streets without shortcuts will get you 5k, but shortcuts are possible, and cheating is encouraged.

As always: roads will not be closed and runners run at their own risk. Runners recognize that running is an inherently dangerous activity especially when hit by cars. Race director shall remain anonymous.

Prizes will suck and t-shirts will be ugly. More details to follow. Please RSVP here if you plan to be there.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Run Down

Don't have a whole lot of time to write this, just want to get it in for the record.

It is really hard to get to bed as early as I'd like. I'm talking like 11 pm, which is still reasonably late. Got to bed later than that and as a result had to really pull myself out of bed this morning. But pull myself out I did, and got out to run an Acme loop (36th St and Lebanon version). Cool and on the verge of rain, giving me reason to pick the pace up a little bit so that my iPod wouldn't get wet. Otherwise an uneventful run.

My throat is starting to get sore. My epiglotis feels enlarged and different when I swallow. My run this morning, a mellow 9.5, has got my butt kicked more than it should. I hope I am not coming down with something.

I'm sure several readers will be putting two and two together. In my defense, I rarely get sick so I don't necessarily blame this on lack of sleep. And I may not even be getting sick. But I do feel like I'm heading that way. Will try again to get to bed earlier tonight, and promise to whine about it if I don't.

Will keep you posted. 9.5 in 82:48.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Runner's Block

Had a hard time getting out this morning. I got to sleep in but then just sat at the kitchen table thinking about where to go.

I didn't run for the last two days. Things didn't work out for various reasons. If I had planned better, or gotten more sleep, or circumstances worked out differently, I could have gotten at least a few miles in but twas not to be. I'm not complaining and sometimes I wonder if it isn't for the better, but I'll never know.

Back to this morning, I knew I wanted to go long, I knew I wanted to go different. Running in an area for over ten years now, that is difficult to do. I considered going into Jersey, and learned (thanks to the internet) that pedestrians aren't allowed on the Walt Whitman Bridge (so much for the Marah song). I thought about driving up to the Perkiomen Trail but figured the drive wasn't worth it. Various other possibilities kicked around my head, none of them sounding right and time was moving on.

Eventually a route came to me. It was born of yesterday, where I met some new friends who lived deep in Delaware County and I realized there was much of Delco that I didn't know existed. So, in the footsteps of Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, I plotted a course into the unknown. Unlike them, however, I loaded Warren Zevon's last album into the iPod as an additional incentive to get me out the door.

I ran my usual route out a bit past the Lansdowne Sycamore, 300+ years old and doesn't look a day over 200, and turned right on Providence Road. From here on out it was uncharted territory. To my surprise, I ran into a familiar face - Chantal walking her dogs. Then, like Lewis and Clark, I headed farther west. . . through Aldan, Clifton Heights, and Springfield. Providence Road eventually became Leamy Ave as I headed north across the Baltimore Pike and then took several rights and lefts through the neighborhoods. By this point I was on the alert for seamonsters and dragons.

Instead of writing the rest of the route I'll link to a map of it. Suffice to say I continued through Drexel Hill and ended up in Upper Darby, coming out at Upper Darby High School which, coincidentally, I remember passing on yesterday's car ride through Delco. From there I headed back toward Philadelphia and got a dose of West Philly neighborhoods that contrasted sharply, both in color and in socioeconomics, from the neighborhoods I'd been running through for the previous hour. Then, 19+ miles and 2:39:38 later, I made it back home.

People have often asked whether running along Cobbs Creek, especially on the off-road trails, is safe. I usually say yes, as there are no cars along this stretch, but I'll have to reconsider. The picture here shows results from the slashing I got today from a tree branch assault. Totally unprovoked. One more reason why I dislike trails.

In closing, in today's ritual of mapping a course and then running it, I was reminded of the ritual, in Catholic mass, of saying the Nicene Creed. Every Sunday its a restating and reaffirming of one's faith. Though there was no specific ritual I could point to this morning, the motions of mapping out a route and running it felt like that, a restating of my faith. Its been an up and down month running-wise, perhaps because I've bitten off a few more miles than I can yet digest, but I plan to catch up to myself.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ordinary Run

A pleasant run. I have all types of descriptions for my runs but they rarely are simply pleasant.

The temps broke and the humidity is gone. My legs were okay after yesterday's run but not in any mood to take on anything challenging. So I just chugged along out to the Sycamore in Lansdowne and back around. The only remarkable aspect to this run was the singular lack of anything noteworthy to it. Just enjoyed being mobile and outside.

I also marveled in my iPod's ability to produce good music seemingly out of nowhere. I frequently feel like there is nothing I feel like listening to on it and I rummage around and put something on and it turns out to be really listenable. This morning it was a John Hiatt show from Austin City Limits. I had never listened to it in its entirety and it was perfect for the morning's run.

The sycamore sends its regards. 10+ miles in 84:48.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fast Friends

A friend with speed is a friend indeed.

The upshot of yesterday's blog entry was that Ian emailed me and asked if I wanted company this morning. We met at the Art Museum at 6:30 to do the Drives together.

Don't need to tell anyone how much easier a longer run is with company. We yapped about the usual things - that is anything that struck our fancy (but no animal fornication topics this morning) as we gradually picked up the pace. At the start Ian, like a hustler, said he wasn't feeling it this morning and that I should go ahead if I felt him to be dragging. First mile was a 6:55, and we worked that down to where the mile 4 checkpoint came in at 26:46 and the 4 Kelly Drive miles were in 25:13. A little fast at the end, but I didn't complain. Its a guy thing.

Goes along with unreliability and lack of chivalry.

Missed an ice cold Fresca waiting at home for me upon my return. All total 15 in 1:49:18.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Low Speed Chase

The metaphor came to me about halfway through my run this morning. It fit the mood.

I planned to do 15 today. Got to bed a little later than I wanted and set the alarm a little earlier than usual. The alarm went off and I lay there. I could not get up and bring myself to do this workout.

I ended up compromising. I slept an hour more and got up to run the Art Museum loop. 6.5 miles instead. I can shove off the 15 miler to tomorrow, and Thursday’s track workout to Friday. This is the kids’ last day of school, so I’m not pressed for time tomorrow as I was today. Friday I’m off. So that will work.

And when I got out the door I fell into my usual slow start and never got out of it. I didn’t try. On crossing the South Street Bridge I could not picture myself doing 15 this morning. I wondered if my body knew that and forced my mind to go with it, or if I was just lazy. Or whether there was a difference. It mostly lies in perspective, I decided. If I want to be hard on myself I would call myself lazy.

But what concerned me more were my thoughts on the relentlessness of these workouts, their tyrannical nature. It’s not the 15 that I’m worried about but the specter of facing months where I get up and have to psych myself to do these workouts morning after morning. That’s where this seems so damn hard.

But that is the wrong kind of thinking too. Just a workout at a time. I got one in this morning. As Reba reminded me, beats the hell out of a DNR.

Lots of people out on the bike path today. They all looked faster. Ran by Bart, who was running the other way down the bike path. He is faster. I stole a few moments to ogle his stride – light and compact with his feet close together, almost as if he were on a tightrope. Then a few minutes later I saw a shadow as he was there again, this time overtaking me from behind. I continued to lumber on.

Gonna be a hot one today. Glad I got a run in. Art Museum loop, 6.5 miles in 56:21.

Monday, June 18, 2007

That'll Do, Pig

Running is tyranny. The unrelenting nature of waking up day in and day out to a bunch of miles staring you in the face daring you to take them on. The taunt lies not in the miles themselves, I can do them more often than not, but in that as soon as they're done an equally odious workout presents itself for the next day.

I figured it would be easier to get out of the house this morning but was wrong. Got out a bit late but did my planned route anyway. Paid a visit to the Tree. I was half asleep until the horse stables, where I was charged by two dogs the size of ponies. The owner was calling their names in an exercise of futility, and I did my best Erin imitation standing there defiantly and shouting at the dogs not to f*** with me. Oh but they are friendly, the owner said, smiling uncomfortably. They were big, charging and barking I countered. That's what I get for running in the suburbs.

The Tree restored some serenity, and the rest of the run went by, giving me a total of 10+ in 82:44.

That'll do, pig. Until tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Just the Facts

Two runs this weekend. Yesterday I went long - 17.5 to be exact. Did the same 15.5 loop around the airport and through Tinicum that I did last Sunday, plus a part of the neighborhood loop through Ridley Park that I did on Thursday. Got a late start and paid for it with the resulting heat. It was a dry heat with a wind that made for primo dehydrating conditions and I couldn't drink enough liquids for the rest of the day. I found myself more patient on this run than I am on most long runs, able to focus more on reaching landmarks that I could see just ahead, rather than saying X more miles to go. This helped. I also was still able to cruise along at 7:20 or so in the last five miles. Not smoking, but where I want to be. 17.5 in 2:20:21.

Today I ran in Philly for the first time in awhile. Out to Cobbs Creek to do the Locust-Warrington loop. Again it was hot, and my time was limited, and with two hard workouts in the prior two days I took it easy today. 6+ miles in 51:34. Grace Potter and the Nocturnals on the iPod. Kevin turned me onto them, and they are coming to town next month at an XPN music festival. Good stuff. 6+ in 51:34.

77 miles this week. I'll take it.

Just the facts today. Don't have much time tonight to be writing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Back to the Track

I'm starting to get back to reading folk's blogs. There is a fine line between reading them and spending way more time than I should at it. Ian says there is some service that lets one track blogs much more efficiently, I'll have to do that. But not today.

Along with the local blogs I also got caught up on Mark's blog. Mark checks in here from time to time and got a 5k pr last weekend. Congrats. We must have been on the same wavelength today as we both headed out to the track. For me this is another sign that I'm getting serious about marathon training again. As I have no coach, I went back to picking whatever distance felt right, and this morning it was 1600's. Lets me put in mileage and not beat myself up with speed. This workout was a get reacquainted with the track run - push myself and see where I was at. No peering over the edge into the abyss today.

Ran out 2 miles to the Interboro HS track and 4 laps on the track doing strides. Once there I planned to run 4 1600's. If I got them in in under 6 apiece I'd be satisfied. Just looking to see what I've got. First one came in in 5:40, and this felt right and was pretty respectable. Next two followed at 5:38 and 5:37. Very nice. For the last one, I was right on pace for another 5:40 (1:25 quarters) through the first 1200 and let it rip. I felt that anaerobic burn with about 200 to go and held on to hit this last interval in 5:36. A very elegant workout, and a good start. I'm happy.

Mark got quizzed by a kid today, I got questioned by an older guy who was jog/walking. There were various people on the track during the time I was there - some folks walking, some high school kids half-heartedly racing 400's against each other, and a woman who was dripping with gold bling on her wrists as she jogged her laps. As I blew through the last lap of one of my 400's the old guy asks me what my best marathon time was. I blew by him without answering but he buttonholed me again on my recovery lap. I told him and he was effusive with praise, made me feel like some carpetbagger breaking the speed limit on the local-yokel track.

Got lost on the way back and inadvertantly added a half mile or so onto my cooldown. 11.5 in a total of 89:13.

Yesterday was busy. I didn't get to run until after my class let out at 8 pm. I improvised a quick 5 mile loop through Prospect Park, Essington and Ridley Park neighborhoods. Got some good ideas for future routes and got to learn the geography a bit better. But between the darkness and some tummy trouble, it was merely a run to fulfill the obligation, and even there it was only half the obligation. 5ish in 42:27.

Just a note for the record, I've been real good about getting sleep this week, going to bed before 11 just about every day. This is one of my resolutions for this training cycle.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Yesterday's workout kicked my butt. I was walking around gingerly all yesterday and couldn't even muster a trot when I got stuck in an afternoon thunderstorm on my way back from lunch at the Greenline.

So I took it easy this morning. Real easy. Headed out to Tinicum to see how far I would go. Decided to go out and back 3 miles on the Boring Part, as I wanted to avoid the full effect of Carwash this morning (it rained last night). To my amusement, the run became a progression run of sorts. First mile I could barely get moving - 9:59 (Reba: "that's slower than me") and then 9:11 and 8:48 to the turnaround. In reverse these miles went down in 8:34; 7:58 and 7:30. This put me in the unique position of not wanting my run to be over when I finished, so I took another 8:30 (turned out closer to 9) through the neighborhood streets to "cool down." The Rosebuds were on the iPod and then a mix of songs, including "Letter from an Occupant" that Some Guy once sent me. 7 miles or so in 60:54. I'd like to get in a few more tonight, but haven't been successful in doing so the last few times I've wanted to.

I also took a little time out yesterday to get reconnected with some blogs. Last two months its been all I could do to check in on the four or five local buddies I got who blog. Yesterday I expanded things again by visiting Mike's blog, one of the better known running blogs. Mike and I paced each other to PR's at last December's Cal International Marathon, and we stand to do an encore performance of this, as we are both signed up to run Twin Cities. On catching up with him I realized the value of this as a source of support, as Mike not only has a good blog to read but also is second to none in acting as glue for a virtual community of runners/bloggers. I also went back to folks who have left me comments who are around my age/speed and bookmarked them, and hope to catch up more later today. I hope I can actualize my intention to get more tuned in again, and will write more on it if I do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Nice Morning

It felt like marathon training started again today, as it was my first workout that I really didn't want to do. To the point where I was already looking for excuses last night not to do it.

But Friday's race was a wakeup call. I need to up the intensity in my training. So its time to go out harder again on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For this morning that meant that I wanted to repeat Sunday's Hog Island Road (ass-end of airport) loop, but finish it in under two hours. This meant taking 4 and a half minutes off of Sundays time for the 15.5 mile course. I planned to get the cuts by taking the 5 or so Hog Island miles hard and then taking the last 5 Tinicum miles hard.

I went to bed last night at a reasonable hour and thus was able to get myself out of bed this morning at 5, a half hour earlier than usual. I really didn't want to run this, but embraced the resistance, holding it front and center and looking it in the eye and saying to myself this is what marathon training looks like.

I made it out the door and the run wasn't bad. I pretty much build a slow start into my runs now, and the good thing about my goal for today was that I not only set a faster time, but also the places where I would cut those seconds. This let me take the early miles as easy as I wanted. I only started to pick the pace up when I got on to Island Ave/Hog Island Rd. (maybe 4 miles out). Gmapping this stretch (here) and I see it comes out to 4.5 miles. Flat and pretty straight, its a good stretch for a time trial but other than the airport infrastructure its not very interesting. Conducive to focus on pace, lamppost by lamppost. Time for this stretch was 33:12 - about a 7:20 pace. Obviously there is a ways I can still take it down but the point for today was to get back in the mindframe of pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

The next stretch where I pushed it was the last 5 miles through Tinicum. From the Lindbergh Ave entrance it is exactly 5 miles, and I now had a time to shoot for. Picking up the pace seemed easier here, as witnessed by my splits for the 2 mile and 3 mile sections that I keep track of - 13:46 & 20:43 respectively. This combined was only a little slower than what I ran these 5 yesterday. Total time for the 15.5 was 1:55:53.

This is almost a perfect start. A solid run and a noticeable improvement, but I still left myself all kinds of room for further improvement as I prep for Twin Cities. I'm a bit uneasy about the distance, as this loop is about 2 miles longer than the BN loop that this replaces. But I want sub 2:35 this time around and this is one way to get there. I don't know if I'll sustain this on Tuesdays. We'll see. But I like how I'm thinking this morning.

Came back to a breakfast that couldn't be beat. Its been a nice morning. Now off to work.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Something Wild

Got two runs to catch up on.

Yesterday's run set me out on a route that I wanted to try for a while. It goes through Essington and Tinicum townships and then circles around the ass-end of the airport on Hog Island road. This is where planes come in about 50 feet overhead as they touchdown on the runway that starts just to the left. Here I run past the fire training site with its burnt out mock fuselages. The storage tanks, the hangars, etc. Its a long lonely flat run. Loaded up my iPod with new music beforehand, and spend the run listening to Drag the River and a collection of Chris Knight demo tapes.

This loop led to, where else, Tinicum, and I took the last five miles through here. Here I started listening to John Hiatt from an Austin City Limits show, and one of the songs on there was "Something Wild." This was a motivating song from last year around this time. Hearing it yesterday afternoon automatically quickened my pace and sharpened my appetite, but the words had a different meaning this time around. I find I'm more focused this year on where I'm heading to, not what I'm running from.

I hear voices in the hall
I wake up and its nothing at all
An angry wolf or a hungry child
Or something wild
Something wild (tell me love is)...

With that I dropped the pace down from about 8 to 7:30 and came home. Good to have a kick left at the end of a 15.5 mile loop. 2:04:25.

This morning I was up and going on a regular figure 8 through the refuge. Went to a Cowboy Junkies concert in Pheonixville last night that was one of the best shows I've seen in a long time, all in all a magical night. I was listening to their new album this morning trying to relive the show. After my usual slow start I picked up the pace consistently, getting it down to about a 6:30. The four sections went down in 29:35; 14:36; 14:12 & 19:46. Just felt strong this morning and went with it. Being plugged in and focused didn't keep me from getting a good turkey sighting, as well as some herons, egrets and a flock of really bright Goldfinches.

It started to rain just as I finished. 10 in 78:09. First time I ran this loop in sub 80 minutes.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Run the Monk

Why did I think this was a good idea?

At least I had the good sense not to bring any expectations with me out to Springfield. As promised, it was 90+ degrees out, humid, and a very hilly course. The race was on a Friday afternoon, a bit like the Media 5 miler which I've been out to a few times, and a race that I never did well in. I figured this race would likely be like that.

Went to the race with Reba, who had her own team of Red Rovers all set to go. Warmed up with Ian and Dave Thomas. One of Dave's many coaching hats is that of advisor to Students Run Philly Style, a running program for inner city kids that had over 200 kids and mentors out this evening, more than half of the total people racing. I felt loose warming up, not surprising given the heat. No one fast that Ian or I recognized at the line, although there was someone in racing flats with thin sinewy legs, a receding hairline, and an all around Alan Webb look to him that got me and Ian wondering.

I go to stash my shirt at the last second and come back about 5 seconds after the gun goes off. This would probably get me disqualified if the race meant anything but I just jumped in and proceeded. When the lead pack shook out I was fourth. As promised, the hills were there, not steep but so that you were either going up or down. Mile 1 read 5:08, that had to be short. A little before mile 2 Ian catches up to me, we run together for a bit, him leading on the uphills, me catching back up on the downhills, and mile 2 goes by in 10:55. More like the pace I feel we are at. Ian pulls away and it becomes a race of attrition. There is no one in sight behind me (I am now in fifth place) and Ian widens his lead. He eventually overtakes the #3 guy and I close in on him as well, but around a turn and there is the finish, meaning I ran out of real estate and settle for fifth.

17:23. Not my finest hour, but I didn't expect it to be. This can sit in my craw for the summer and prod me to get my times down. The Alan Webb lookalike turned out to be Larry Levy, a guy I know by name only who happens to be 41, meaning I missed getting first masters. My hat's off to Larry, who ran a 16:47. I hope I get to run against him sometime this fall. The number six guy came in 56 seconds after I did.

I, like most, were drenched in sweat. I waited for Reba to come in and we all migrated back to the start, where there was a band, barbecue and beer, and lots of grass to sit. This is what races are all about. After all, you spend less than a half hour actually running the bloody thing. Also had lots of good company so that it was after 10 pm that Reba and I headed out, with any fitness gained from the run pretty much worked off.

Call it another 4.5 miles with the warmup. I didn't bother cooling down. No point to it.

Didn't run today. Should have but didn't. I have my reasons. I'm giving myself one more week and then training for Twin Cities starts to become more structured.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Monk Prep

Didn't get to run yesterday due to a work deadline. Probably better that I gave my legs a rest anyway, they were starting to whine and whimper.

I'll hit 'em twice as hard today, however. This morning I ran the 10 mile Tinicum loop and tonight I'll run the Monk 5-k.

I figure this morning's run is long enough so I'll have an excuse should Ian beat me, but I ran it easy enough so that it should not really affect my performance this evening. Besides, the Monk race is purely out of fun, as I am in no racing shape and the temps promise to be in the 90s and (my favorite factoid) this course supposedly only has 0.1 miles of level terrain.

It was already hot this morning, as I left around 10 am for Tinicum. The humidity was hanging over everything and stifling the activity in the refuge. Turtle count stood at two and the only things really moving were the Cabbage White butterflies. I again inhaled deeply through Carwash to partake of the honeysuckle perfume that seemed to have more staying power on the heavy air.

10 miles in 82:37. Sections in 28:30; 15:34; 15:37; & 22:55. Mile 1 in 9:11 and mile 10 (reverse of mile 1) in 7:40.

A happy 8 months today since the DDC.

Monk report tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


My mom was right. It was a bit chilly this morning. Sunny and crisp. Beautiful running weather.

My legs are starting to feel the effects of my increased mileage. They didn't want to run this morning, and if it wasn't for the weather being too good to pass up, I might have stayed in bed. As it was I made it out a bit later. Get in a few miles, I said to myself, even a few will feel alot better than a DNR.

Tinicum did not disappoint. Ran the Carwash and the connecting trail to the base of the upper loop, and headed back down through Boring Part. I shut out the sounds of the refuge this morning with various Cajun/zydeco stuff that I needed to get me going. A good low to the ground swampy beat got my pace up from an initial 9:37 mile to a pace just sub 8. Counted three turtles and had to shoo many geese off of Carwash. A few times I shouted and pumped my fist in the air just for the joy of being out there.

That about sums up what today's run was about. Depending on logistics I may go out for an encore run this evening.

Probably about 10k, but I'll round it down to 6 in 52:49.

PS - Good to see your comment, Bobby. Give me a holler when the 2 St. gets closer. I asked Andy about you at Broad St. Hope you been running.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


"Schafskaelte" is a term my mom mentioned to me tonight. It is German literally for "sheep's cold" and refers to a cool snap that inevitably comes for a few days in June. My mom says that farmers in Germany will wait for this cool snap to pass before shearing the sheep, so that they don't catch cold. Schafskaelte.

I'm following the Phillies on the NY Times website. Phils are playing the Mets and, in the 11th inning, Chase Utley just hit a leadoff homerun. They need to hang on now.

Didn't get to blog yesterday. Sort of a strange run. I first ran 1.75 miles from home down to Ernie's Auto Body shop, where I finally got the air conditioner in my car fixed. From there I parked near Drexel University campus and ran across South Philly, mostly via Catherine and Christian Streets, to the Shot Tower field to watch Tony's baseball team, the Manatees, hold off the Piranhas to win an important playoff game. After the game I ran back, mostly via Bainbridge St. to the Schuylkill Bike Path, across the Spring Garden Bridge and back to the car. Total, which I checked on gmap, was a little over 10 miles.

Two things I like about that run. The run probably took me around 80 minutes, yet had I driven out and back to Tony's game it still would have taken me 40 minutes, easy. So this was very efficient use of time, and saved gas. Second, this run takes me straight across South Philly, and I got to see what was shaking there. Catherine and Bainbridge Streets are just south of Center City, and alot of housing construction is either just up or still going on. It looks like Center City, in the form of gentrification, continues to creep south.

Today I headed down to the art museum this afternoon to meet up with Philly Runners. I don't know many folks there anymore, but there are always a couple. So me, Stevus and Ian set out up Kelly Drive. We lost Stevus pretty early, but Ian and I logged 5 miles on Kelly in under 35 minutes, and then I ran on Spring Garden St. to NoLibs with him, where he lives, had a glass of water, and ran back to Lloyd Hall, where my car was parked, via Girard Ave.

Ironically, running on Girard gave me as good a cross section of North Philly as the cross section I got of South Philly yesterday. Today's cross section was less interesting, perhaps because I didn't notice much more than the same dreary stuff. I thought there was some gentrification going on in Brewerytown, the section of Girard just east of the Schuylkill, but although the houses looked gentrifiable there didn't look to be much going on. Not that that is a bad thing.

Ian and I vowed (although no blood was drawn and there was no pinkie promises involved) that we would each have a 100 mile week, preferably on the same week, before this marathon cycle is through. Just not this week.

Call it 10 miles in 79.41. Schafskaelte.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Weekly High

Met Deirdre at 8 this morning on Spruce St. This works out well, as at 8 am she heads west from Center City and I head east. We'll meet on Spruce St. somewhere on Penn campus. This way neither of us has to wait if the other is running a little late.

This morning we ran into each other at 37th St. and headed over to Locust and headed out west to Cobbs Creek. Here we took some back trails and the bike path down to Warrington Ave. This is such a good place to run, I realized that as I haven't really been here in a few weeks. From Warrington we headed back to close my loop. This measured at 8 miles and timed at 65:37. Pace seemed quicker than 8.

This gives me 76 miles for the week. Surprisingly, this is my highest mileage week all year. Now it becomes the number to beat.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Slugs Mating

Got a text from Ian last night, that got me out this morning at 7:30. We headed down to the Art Museum to meet with Philly Runners at their summer meeting time, 8:00, but not before running into Erin and Iris, from whom we learned that there is another contingent of CWP runners on the streets in the mornings.

From this group we picked up Steve "no nickname" G, Jim & Deirdre, losing the first two on the way to the fire trail up on Belmont Plateau. From there it was back down to MLK, up the BN, and through Fairmount Park to the zoo, where Deirdre split and left me and Ian to run back to W. Philly.

Thats what running with friends does, gets me out and running for two hours (2:00:02) when I only planned about an hour and a half. Even at 7:30 it was hot and humid. When Ian and I got to talk about slugs mating (look it up on YouTube), then I knew we had truly talked about everything. And there's nothing like talking about Ironman tris just as you are finishing up for realizing that your two hour run, where the fork got stuck in at about the 1:40 mark, is nothing but a warm up.

Call it 15 miles. I could call it anything I want because the course is unmeasurable.

Friday, June 01, 2007

It Takes a Lot to Laugh...

It takes a train to cry. Bob Dylan. Love that song and the title came to mind in describing my running this morning. More on that in a minute.

In the meantime, it was all Tinicum, all the time. Did the full figure 8 this morning plus an extra little out and back at the top of the figure eight that took me to the Lindbergh Ave entrance and added enough so that the course exceeded ten miles. This makes alot more sense than the route I ran yesterday, which puts me on some major roads and only adds half a mile to that total.

Tinicum is also just about all dirt paths, which I liked to think was easier on the joints until I read a piece in a newsletter from The Running Place that was lying around. The RP is a running store in Newtown Square that sends out a newsletter that is obviously outsourced and mostly drivel. But put something on the kitchen table and, if its there long enough, chances are I'll pick it up. In yet one more article on shoe technology, there was a quote that interested me: "more cushioning [in shoes] is almost never the answer to most running injuries... [the] body is very capable of absorbing impact very efficiently if it has proper alignment." My thought is that if this is the case for shoes, then shouldn't it also be the same for running surfaces? Is concrete then really that bad?

Got a pr for turtle sightings this morning. Seven. All in the Carwash section. 5 laying eggs and two running on the path. I was able to overtake the latter two, but not by much. I also figured out that if there is loose sand around the path that is where to look for turtles, and became aware of all of the pits around that indicate that turtles have been there to spawn.

I was also pleased with myself as I charged, with arms waving and a loud battle cry, into the usual gaggle of Canada Geese that bully me around at the same spot on this run. This time they looked at me like I was a little nuts and took off flying.

Now for the train part. I've written in the last few posts how I have been starting slowly and speeding up by the end of the run. I visualize myself as a freight train now. Slow to start up but, once I get going, hard to stop.

To illustrate, check out these times. I split todays run into four sections, 1 & 4 are pretty close to 3 miles each and roughly mirror each other, while 2 & 3 are pretty close to 2 miles each and roughly mirror each other. The four splits were 30:48; 15:53; 15:14 & 21:13. To put the contrast even more starkly, miles 1 & 10 cover the same ground in different directions - I ran mile 1 in 10:10 and mile 10 in 6:47. Both speeds were what felt "right" at the time.

10 miles in 83:10.

Well, I wanna be your lover, baby,
I don't wanna be your boss.
Don't say I never warned you
When your train gets lost.