Seebo's Run

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

My Photo
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I wish I could give you an update on my running, but there is nothing to update. I tried to do a few easy miles on Wednesday evening but got in about two minutes worth before my heels made it clear that any running would be more inflammatory than it would be therapeutic. And yesterday when I tried to high-tail it to happy hour at El Vez my heels shut me down.

So I took the time I would have spent running this morning and iced and stretched. My new mantra is to take the time I spent running and do therapeutic stuff.

Other than that, I don't expect to do much beyond recreational running (oxymoron?) for the rest of the fall. Just like I initially hoped that the quick flare-up of achilles pain would mean a quick healing, the persistence of inflammation a week from Stone Harbor leads me to expect this to be lingering.

I'm still okay with that, though I do miss running. I think alot about this change in running habits. I realize how much of my identity is invested in running fast everytime someone asks me about my running and I offer up that there is nothing on the agenda. I think about taking the hour or so I spent a day on running and using it to write instead, but as you can see from this blog I haven't gotten too far with that either.

And M is yelling that she is ready to go. Going to pick out tiles for a kitchen project. Gives me an excuse to duck out.

0 in 0.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stone Harbor 10K

I had a nice weekend. One last hurrah for summer. Reba and I went to North Wildwood last night to stay with teammates Bill and Eileen at their place in prep for this morning's run. Good pasta loading meal in front of the tv and the Olympic marathon.

This marks at least the fourth time I've run this little race. Stone Harbor is a shore town and the race starts and ends right by the beach, runs around some flat town streets, and while the course is easy the weather never is. That, combined with it being in a training month, never makes for a particularly good performance. As I've been hinting over the past week, I didn't expect this year would be any different.

And it wasn't. I spoke today for the first time to David, the guy I'd battled for the Grand Prix championship in 2006. I nosed him out for first by a very small margin that year. Its strange because, as the scoring is all based on age graded times, we competed against each other but never really raced each other. I'd invariably finish several minutes ahead, but his 12 years on me would render our finishes very close once our ages were taken into consideration. Its telling that we both talked about how it takes longer to heal as we get older, and I went on, probably a bit too much, about my current ailments.

The gun sounds and we run through the cannon smoke that wafts over the course start. No sooner did we get through this than my heel starts to nag. Its runnable but I know I'll pay for it after the race. I start easy and pass the numbers of people who started out too fast on my way to a 5:56 mile. I feel okay and say if I keep sub 6 minute splits I'll be satisfied. But mile 2 comes in at 6:04 and both heels are hurting now. At the 5k mark half the field turns off to finish and the other half turns around to backtrack on the course. The split is about an 18:45 and I now will be satisfied to finish under 38 minutes.

The turnaround lets me see where I'm at. Five guys in front of me, and to my surprise David is about 10 meters behind me. This sucks, as we are battling it out in the Grand Prix again this year and on one hand, our virtual tie means he is giving me an age graded ass-kicking, and also means that, given the shape I'm in, he might beat me outright. The next two miles were run hearing his footsteps, and its only after the five-mile mark (30:30) that I finally start to lose him. One guy with a big kick passes me at about the six mile mark and I finish first master in 38:09.

Reba and I proceed to have a nice breakfast and afternoon at the beach, slowed a bit by my badly aching heels. I'll have to take this situation day by day for now, but if I had to guess I'd say that this acute phase will die down pretty soon, but that I'll have a tougher time shaking the inflammation for good. So it'll be rest and jogging for awhile. Right now, the prospect of this and an abbreviated or non-existent fall season doesn't particularly bother me, but I expect that these emotions will rollercoaster. But I get ahead of myself. A day at a time, so as the miles decrease my pondering how my running future will look will likely increase.

And thanks to several folks who offered their assistance to me in various forms post-race, especially to Mike who dug up a bag of ice for me and Reba, who had the patience to hang with me on the beach as I walked at the speed of a two-year old.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Blake Russell

My drifting mind was thinking about the women's marathon last week and I couldn't think of the third female, American marathoner on the Olympic team. Tried every mnemonic trick I could think of and finally just let it rest. Within ten minutes the name bubbled up. Blake Russell.

I don't have a crush on her, nor do I know much about her, nor did she fare very well in the Olympics. I just liked the zen of how her name bubbled up to my memory after its unfortunate submergence.

My thoughts are getting heavier all the time, to where it is more often that I have difficulty skimming the ones I need off of the top.

I liked today because I felt the obligation to run and acted on it. I slept in a bit and went to the Clark Park farmers market and morning coffee with Reba. It was only after that, when the sun was reaching its zenith, that I laced up my shoes. The temptation not to run was great, but not going out was never in question. It was not so hot as it seemed, I ran a slightly short Strawberry Mansion Bridge loop and picked it up a little on MLK so that three miles came in in 20:56. Otherwise it felt good to be out there, good to be working out instead of jogging.

10.5 miles in 84:50. That's about as far as I wanted to go today, am racing tomorrow at the Shore. God help me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Trail Least Traveled

Slept a bit late so I didn't get the mileage in that I wanted. On the bright side, I'll be better rested for Sunday's Stone Harbor race.

Got the rare treat of running the first mile with Reba, she pulled me along to an 8:44 split at mile 1, faster than I usually do it on my own. After that I got a good car washing through the interesting part on my way to a short figure 8 loop.

The short figure 8, instead of going around Darby Lake, goes through the recently re-created wetlands. Upon going there a choice of three paths is presented. One has always been there, the second is new and cuts off a bit more, and the third had, up to this morning, been unexplored.

The three barricades put up by the rangers should have told me that just because the path is less traveled doesn't mean it is the quickest way to enlightenment. By the third barricade, the path was overgrown and the sandy dirt was loose - getting into my shoes and making a muddy mix with the dew that was landing on my legs from the undergrowth. But once I get that far in I usually end up plodding ahead instead of ignominiously turning back. Not always the wisest course, but it worked out this morning as I eventually landed on the main path and now know not to take this third path again.

Seems like there should be a metaphor in this. 6.5 miles in 57:47.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wee Wee Wee (All the Way Home)

I stranded myself in Prospect Park last night, meaning I had to run home this morning regardless of how I felt. Fortunately my legs felt better than I dared hope.

So the run was strong. I once had a grand plan to do a hard workout today, but a steady destination run was the wiser way to go. Again sunny and cool. In face of the traffic down Chester Pike I felt nice and smug about the green-ness of running home instead of driving home. Plus the time saved. If I do this a few more times you might start to see a halo forming around my head.

Better sign off before someone smacks me. 8+ in 66:21.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Psychics, fortune tellers, and the manufacturers of Magic 8 Balls all make alot of money from people who have to know something in particular and can't wait until that answer becomes apparent.

The same motivation led me to the track yesterday after the kids and I got back from our road trip. I planned a lactate threshold workout of 4x1600 (30 sec recovery) to answer two basic questions: how much fitness do I still have? do I still have to worry about my Achilles tendons?

The answer to question 1 was quickly apparent. I wanted to start at sub 6 and have each rep go a little faster than the last. At 5:56; 5:52; 5:51 and 6:06 I showed myself to do well at pacing but ran a bit slower than I would have liked, even after taking into account the short recoveries. At least with the last one I know I ran the last three as hard as I should have, I just realize that I have lost a good chunk of fitness over the last month. This Sunday's Stone Harbor 10k will probably reinforce that, but at least now I can have realistic expectations. 8 in 62.21.

As for question 2, the answer is complicated by my running in new shoes. The New Balance 826 light weight trainers that I got feel very stiff, especially in the heel. I wore them last night to break them in and they dug into my heel, making it hard to tell which is tendon pain and which is the shoe. I got up this morning and my legs, heels included, really felt stiff and sore. I ran a short figure 8 at Tinicum, and started at a pace not much faster than walking. Progressive splits were 11:08 (mile 1); 21:06 (mile 2) and 30:20 (mile 3), coming down to an 8:41 pace for the last mile. I don't remember ever recording an 11+ minute 1 mile split. Now my legs feel beat up like after a hard track workout, although I don't think the workout was that hard. 6.5 in 63:52

So one question is answered, the other one is still up in the air. Maybe I'll consult a psychic.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Greetings from Wooster, Ohio.

But that is not from where I ran today. This morning we woke up in Cleveland. I booked a hotel on the internet because of a good package deal that included free tix for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. Turned out it was in the heart of Cleveland Clinic, a sprawling medical complex about 4 miles east of downtown.

A little glimpse of a map is a dangerous thing. I saw that Lake Erie appeared within running distance. So when I headed out for my 60 minutes worth I went in what I thought was that direction. Anyone who's run or driven much with me knows I don't have much of a natural sense of direction. So when I make a few turns or veer off into another direction then that will lead me to think I'm going in one direction when I'm going in another. Then comes an inevitable moment of realization. This happened around 2.5 miles in when I found myself headed towards downtown on St. Clair. Then I headed down 72nd in the direction I thought was towards Euclid Ave and got another moment of clarity when I saw Lake Erie. At least I got the goal I set out for. At least now I was sure of the direction to go in and ended up finding my way back to the hotel after running 59:52. Total route is here.

It all underscores how running is a great way to explore a city. The slice of Cleveland I ran through was generally run down. It started through the 89 St. Historic District, with big old houses that looked to be in disrepair and bedecked with fire escapes and similar detritus that suggested they were cut up into apartments or functioned as group homes. But their potential was not hard to see, and they screamed to be gentrified. From there it was through some middle class areas around a park and then, after my turnaround at the lake, through block after block of dilapidated freestanding bungalow type housing which I imagine is hard hit by the foreclosure crisis.

After a visit to the R&R HoF and an hours drive south I'm now in a hotel in Wooster, watching the Olympics with the kiddos. Tomorrow is college day, where we check out the College of Wooster in the morning and Oberlin in the afternoon. Then its a long drive and we're home.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Postcard from Pittsburgh

Greetings from Pittsburgh. Rather about 10 miles up I-376 from Pittsburgh. I'm writing from a cheap room at a Comfort Inn. I got a run in this morning, and the internet is free, so I'll get a blog entry in as well.

The run was a reconnaissance run. Just headed out a road for 30 minutes and headed back. Once I cleared the interstate crossroads traffic nightmare it was all suburbs and hills, the scenery as non-descript as my pace, with the latter dotted with medieval-themed subdivisions - Kings Dale, Stratford, and the like. Further down the road the houses got older and working class looking, and while my architectural vocabulary fails me, they were alternately clapboard and brick with front porches that left little room between house and highway. This was Turtle Creek, and this was where I turned around to return the way I came. Route is here.

I'm in a running purgatory of sorts. On one hand, this wasn't much more than a jog, on the other hand getting any kind of run in on vacation is a good accomplishment. I wish I currently felt better about my running, but instead of telling myself to feel better I'm just telling myself to be patient.

Read a book review in last weeks NY Times Book section about the memoir of a writer who runs. Haurki Murakami. The reviewer panned the book convincingly enough so that I doubt I'll pick it up, but the review did bring out the interesting comparison on how the discipline of running is similar to the discipline of writing. Those thoughts were in my mind on this morning's run. Don't have the time to write now - checkout is in 6 minutes. But maybe next time.

7 miles in about 61 minutes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Doldrums

I know, I know. It's been awhile, almost a week, since I've posted.

Good news is that I've been running, bad news is that I really haven't been training. Works picked up, kids are around, and other stuff is going on as well. All good, but hasn't made for getting back into the swing of things. Tomorrow the kids and I are road tripping to Ohio, so another 5 days of sporadic running and blogging.

I need to get to bed, so I'm just going to give a recap of what I've been up to.

Today - didn't get out this morning, but got in 3 this afternoon in 22:40. This was serendipitous, as I took Tony to a soccer scrimmage deep in the bowels of South Jersey and there was a track right next to the field he was playing on. So I spent the second half of the game running. I had on running shoes, but must have looked a sight doing strides in cargo shorts and a polo shirt. I don't think I got much physical conditioning, but mentally it made me tougher as the last thing I wanted to do was run that and the surface of the Triton High School track was worse than the Franklin Field surface.

Yesterday - 74 minutes, reverse Woodland loop down to 43rd and out to Locust. Call it 9.5 miles.

Tuesday - DNR

Monday - 70 minutes. Woodland loop with a 43rd St. add-on to meet Deirdre. Call it 9 miles.

Sunday - 2 hours flat. Tenicum and an add-on through Prospect and Ridley Parks to get the desired time running. Made it home just as the rain started that would last the rest of the day. 14.5 miles.

Saturday - no time. Short figure 8 in Tinicum. Easy 6 or so.

So there it is. I'm maintaining and not really fretting about any fitness that I've lost. I'll holler back at y'all when I'm back on Wednesday.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Friday (in case you didn't know)

Beautiful morning to run. The full CWP contingent was again there and we headed west, debating the origins of the term "water bug" along the way. Went back on Warrington and then I ran with Deirdre down to Penn campus, where she kept going and I stopped in my bank for cash and then to the social work building where i had parked my bike yesterday evening. I cycled the last mile home, which is about as close to triathlon training as I'll get.

Saw my doc today. Aside from giving me a pedicure, from the way he talked we are back in the realm of avoiding overuse injuries, which is familiar (if not always well-observed) terrain for me. He prodded around my tendons a bit, and they felt surprisingly pain free given that they are tender even in the best of times. This was the best news from the visit. Otherwise he said come back for a follow up appointment in a month but I don't think I'll schedule it unless something flares up again.

That's the news from Lake Wobegon, where the men are fast, the women are faster (and looser), and all races turn into PRs.

8 miles in 63:45.

PS - Good to hear from you Jim (one of the few remaining folks who appreciates Doppel Loopers). Don't have any other way to contact you since you moved to the 'burbs, so I'll give you a shout here. Get that blog going again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


I learned early on that, when you read a barometer, you don't read the pressure value as much as you look at whether or not this value has fallen or risen since the last reading.

Applying that to my running, today was more sore than yesterday, and I'm concerned about the direction things are heading. I woke up later than I wanted, which meant I couldn't run as long as I wanted. That issue proved moot, however, as there was a kind of roving soreness about my lower legs and ankles, some of which was unmistakably in the Achilles tendon. Low grade, but worse than its been lately. But low grade enough to where I can run through it if it doesn't get worse. Key word here is "if".

Soreness and uncertainty like that also releases mood-dampening chemicals which in turn facilitate a certain self-absorption that is evident in this post. Please bear with me here.

On the bright side, it was cooler and less humid today as I did a Warrington Loop out to Cobbs Creek, and I was glad to be out at all.

5.5 miles in 47:42.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wet Cheetah

Took my last dose of steroids and figured it was time to get on with my life. Met the usual CWP suspects and took advantage of Iris' sleeping in by running places that strollers wouldn't go. This ended up being mainly out behind the baseball field at Penn and then on a back road along I-76. Then the route morphed into a usual Art Museum loop.

Legs feel fine and even, dare I say, well rested. Imagine that. No excuses not to bump my mileage back up again, I'll wait a bit before bringing some speed back into things. One thing I've noticed, in my hypersensitivity to tendon pain, is how many little niggling incidental pains I run with all the time but just shut out. That's all I noticed today.

With about a mile left to go the sky opened up and it poured. While I'll never do pool running, I am learning to like running in the rain. Even did an extra few blocks to savor the drenched state I was in.

Call it 7 miles, no time.

Monday, August 04, 2008

More Running in Place

2 1/2 miles around the Penn campus loop, down to 36th St. this time. Again untimed.

Everything around my Achilles twinged and teased, but the actual Achilles tendon seemed okay.

Amy Winehouse doesn't do rehab (I know, she actually does), and I don't do pool running (and I actually won't). No no no!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Jogging in Place

Quick update on my weekend. This is day 3 of my 7-day course of steroids to speed up the healing of an inflamed Achilles tendon. I've been taking my meds as directed and nothing feels much different but the pain in the heel is gone.

Given that, I took a little spin around the neighborhood yesterday and this morning. Both the same route, down Baltimore to 39th St., through Penn campus and back home. About 1 1/2 miles total each time. Yesterday I went in the middle of the day and I was hyper-aware of each little ache and pain. Had aims to make 3 miles but decided to be prudent and cut it short. Reminded me a bit of when I came back from my ankle sprain in that I felt real uncomfortable and uncertain on my feet. But I know that will pass.

Made it out this morning again and felt a very low grade but definite pain of the inflammatory sort coming from my left heel. So again I cut a longer run short. Nothing serious but I am intent on not pushing things. Just seeing how things are feeling, a reconnaissance run of sorts.

The last two days have felt like jogs. Just getting out and getting some miles in for no particular purpose. It felt like it did when I started running, before I got hung up on races and placing and PRs and the like. Just going out and running. I remember on Mon-Wed-Fri I'd do a four mile loop, and on Tues-Thurs I'd do the one I ran this weekend. A much different time. Someday, maybe this fall or maybe a decade or two from now, this'll be the running I'll be returning to.

Then, in contrast, Ed Maher from Mid-Atlantic USATF sent around the Grand Prix standings at the halfway point. Ten races, and you have to score in 8 of them. Scoring is age graded. I've already missed two, so if I'm going to do anything in this competition I'll have to run in all five upcoming races. Taking that into consideration, me and my rival from 2006, David James, are in a virtual tie for the lead. With some others, including Matt Vavala, breathing down our neck. This sounds like too much fun to pass up.

So mixed feelings this weekend as my Achilles tendon hopefully benefits from the rest its getting. Two times 1.5 miles, e-free (meaning no watch and no iPod).