Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, February 17, 2008


I just finished reading a book, Mad Travelers, where the author, Ian Hacking, looks at the psychiatric diagnosis of dissociative fugue, a diagnosis that is rarely utilized in contemporary times, but was quite widespread in turn-of-20th-century Europe. He uses this to look at how certain mental illness diagnoses (think ADHD) are products of a specific time and place as much as they reflect a "real" illness.

My thinking on this for my blog is less ambitious and methodical. I was struck by how dissociative fugue is initiated by the irresistible compulsion in the hapless fugeur to drop everything and just take off walking to far off destinations. Such a fugue state could last several months, and typically ended with the fugeur finding himself in a strange place with no recollection of how he got there.

The urge to wander has been romanticized throughout American history - think Whitman, Kerouac, and, yes, Forrest Gump. I then think of my little daily runs as perhaps a domesticated version of this urge, a compulsion to take off for parts unknown that is invariably and quickly curbed as I always turn around and come home. But could this urge to take to the open road, modified to the restraints of civil responsibility, be at the bottom of why I run? My annual mileage typically ranges between 2,500 and 3,000 miles - which would make quite a nice little fugue episode. Maybe someday.

Had a good long while to ponder this stuff this morning, as I set out on a long run. I took a page out of the brief period that Greg McMillan coached me, where he would have me alternate long, 20-mileish runs one weekend with shorter long runs that had marathon pace segments liberally thrown in. Having run 20 last week, I laid out a 16.5 mile Hog Island loop around the airport perimeter and through Tinicum, where I would take the unmeasured Hog Island segment as hard as I dared and, after some recovery, take the measured 5-mile Tinicum segment again as close to marathon pace as I could.

This part will be technical, with lots of split times because I want to keep a record of it. If you don't skip over this, you may want to refer to the G-map I linked to in the last paragraph.
- at the 2.552 mark, just after I turned right onto Island Ave/Hog Island Rd., I take off. I make note that I pass the first radar tower (1 mile in) in 6:20 and the second radar tower (2.4 miles in) in 15:01. I run hard to a runway underpass (4.6 miles, ending at mile 7.169) for a total time of 28:19, or a 6:09 pace which got faster as I got further in. This is getting close to my ultimate marathon pace goal of around 6 minute pace.
- 3.4 recovery miles later I hit Tinicum refuge (at mile 10.549) and ran 5 sometimes muddy, sometimes slick miles in 32:31. Again the mile splits got faster as I progressed, with the last two coming in at 12:31. I then took a recovery mile through the neighborhood to make the run 16.5 miles in 1:58:49.

This was the best run I've had all year. I just felt really strong. I took John Dubs' advice on the virtues of running by feel for the first fast segment, and then just took the last part of the run, on a tried and true course, with whatever energy I had left in me. I'm surprised how much I had. With that, the run went by quickly.

This continues a phase where my head is getting out of the way and just letting my legs do their thing. I want to continue this tomorrow, when I hit the track and look to a workout suggested by Mike M. I know two hard workouts in a row is not ideal, but logistically it makes a world of difference.

Or I just might take off and run and won't come back.


Blogger Kevin said...

While doing my taxes this year, I had to calculate the length of a hypothetical commute from West Philly to Berkeley; turns out that it's 2867 miles, so you could stop by on your way to Santa Cruz.

5:30 PM  

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