Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Haven't run since I last posted. Back never got worse but didn't start getting better until yesterday afternoon. Now at least its not a major production to tie my shoelaces.

I had a doc's appt. this morning, mainly to get a prescription for a physical therapist. Didn't get any further insights on what's going on. Got the PT appt. tomorrow afternoon.

I'm getting the desire back to run. Best I can say is that I feel an urge to go out there and run. Not a jones, mind you, but an urge. The latter is borne of the need to fend off withdrawal, the latter seeks to recapture some of the joy running brings me.

I hope to get some miles in this weekend, we'll see what the PT says.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Losing Traction

My blogging continues to be sporadic. Coincidentally my running also continues to be sporadic.

And my luck hasn't been real great. Yesterday I got doored while biking to Penn. The door from the parked car broadsided me on my bike and knocked me into a car stopped at the intersection (38th & Spruce). It could have been alot worse for me and the bike, but my lower back is sore (bad yesterday, better today) as is my shoulder and two fingers on my right hand. I know my mother reads this, so I want to emphasize that all this isn't anything that shouldn't get better in a day or two. Still, it seems part of a pattern lately.

Given this gimpyness, I didn't run this morning. I also couldn't help but think about what this would have done to me if I had been in shape to run the Phila. Distance Run, which is tomorrow. That just confirms that it isn't meant to be.

So my running continues. 5 yesterday morning with Jody and Erin out west. Iris came too. She's getting bigger and I can fool around with her as she cruises along with us in the stroller. The weather continues to be perfect. Wish I could say that about my running.

Good luck to everyone running PDR, or Fifth Avenue Mile, tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Running Crazy

Last night I went up to Norristown to hang out with my buddy Jeff. He was a running buddy of mine, literally, around 97-98. He's since moved about a bit and we've kept in touch, but had some catching up to do.

No better way to do that than over a run. I didn't realize running was so good up in No'town. He took me on a course that went through the old State (Psychiatric) Hospital grounds, through some fields, and along running paths. Said there was more of that if I ever wanted to go longer.

All the while we chatted away and caught up. After that we hung out on his porch and drank beer and ate bad frozen pizza and continued the conversation.

4 miles or so. I held up well on my first double in a long time. But I'm not pushing it this morning.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tail Feathers

The weather cooled off a little bit, I got out a lot earlier, and that made all the difference. Sun is rising later now; I got out around 6:30 or just as it was starting to get to eye level. This left me seeing silhouettes of ducks in the Darby Creek - big familiar goose silhouettes along with smaller, more svelte silhouettes that I did not recognize and left me wondering if it was duck migration time already and they were just crashing here for the night.

Ran a short figure 8 this morning, doing my usual concentration/contemplation thing. Thoughts are becoming a little more malleable in the sense that I can bat them about my head better and leave them on the trail behind me a bit easier. However, they are legion and keep coming back. Just before I got to the "boring" part I started to pick up the pace, not by my choosing but because I just seemed to go faster. The invisible hand pushing me along. Not anything cheetah-like, but definitely sub-8 minute pace.

And the best for last. I was heading out of the boring part and saw, on a mound of dirt right off of the trail, a red-tailed hawk sitting with his back to me. I got within four feet of him and slowed down to walk the rest of the way toward him when he turns around, bobs his head a little in surprise and in the same motion takes off. I have never been this close to a wild hawk before. Months ago I got about this close to a heron who saw me and half-heartedly waddled into the marsh, but this hawk didn't look sick like the heron did He just looked like he wasn't paying attention and I snuck up on him. Be careful Mr. Hawk, if I were a fox I'd be picking your feathers out of my teeth about now.

Still not taking my watch, six miles.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Catching Up

Lately I'm getting into a habit of blogging every couple of days instead of daily like I used to. Not sure yet if that's long term or what that means, it just is what it is.

Didn't run Thursday, ran about 6 on Friday with Erin and Jody, didn't run yesterday, and ran about 9 this morning on a shortened version of the Tenicum. The overall strategy is the same - still running easy to give my heels time to, well, heal, while getting enough miles in to feed the addiction and not lose all of my fitness. I don't know how long I'll be doing this other than I don't have a target date for ramping things up again.

I said in the last post, on September 10, that I'd write some on September 11 seven years ago in the next post. Didn't think, however, that the next post would be on the 15th. One of my vivid memories of 9/11/01 was was a clear, sunny, Indian summer morning it was. I was in Springfield IL that morning and had just completed an out and back along a trail that started behind the hotel and led through forests and cornfields. I got back from this beautiful run and was walking through the hotel lobby, where the free continental breakfast was laid out and a crowd of people where huddled under the tv. I don't have to write about the rest, and the point is that I associate 9/11 with those Indian summer days, 9/11 crowds out the memories those days otherwise had of runs and football games and the like. But things are different now.

We had several of those days last week. Wednesday, when I last blogged was one of those days, as was Friday when Jody, Erin and I ran up Chester Ave until it dead-ended at Mount Moriah cemetery and wriggled between the bars of the iron fence to run through an overgrown part of the cemetery none of us had previously been in. Its strange to think that nineteenth century families dropped large sums on family burial plots that are now camps for homeless people, and that large obelisk-type grave markers are now overrun with ivy. Made for an eerie feel running through it, but also gave us a new route as we then proceeded through the cemetery to Cobbs Creek Parkway and back home down Thomas Ave.

Yesterday I just didn't run. Driving around later past the Art Museum and through Manayunk my thoughts stopped a few times to think about running through these places and I felt a loss at not having run. The first time in this slow down that I really felt a yearning to have run.

And today was a humid slog through Tinicum. The first mile had me ditching my shirt, ducking behind some bushes, and outlasting stiff legs. The second mile, through the carwash part, had an insect get stuck under my glasses. After hearing a panicked buzzing I felt a burning sensation shoot along my eyebrow to tell me I'd been bit. Nothing serious, but some residual swelling and pain remains. Things calmed down from there as I did my best to focus and just make it through the stickiness. I did scare up a big hawk that might have been an osprey, but I didn't get a good enough look at him to be sure.

And that catches me up. Heels are doing okay, not giving me grief but giving me background aches that most of the time I would see as "normal". Despite the occasional cracks I described, I'm still being patient.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Carbon Copies

Carbon copy runs today and yesterday. Both times I ran the south loop at Tinicum for about 5 miles. This took me through the carwash part, which must have been cleared recently as it was much more navigable, and back on the "boring" part. I tried to incorporate both concentration and contemplation into my run, the concentration part is going to take some doing.

Its a strange new world for me running-wise. I'm struck with how easy this is, in the sense that I'm not pushing anything distance or speedwise. The workout is light and it seems over before I feel like I've really started. This puts more emphasis on other aspects of running. I already talked about the mental part. There is also the beauty around me on these runs. As I try to stay more focused on the present (with mixed success) I become more aware of the trail laid out ahead of me and all that surrounds it. Yesterday the overcast sky infused some gray into all this and today the sky was a bright, clear blue.

Running down a trail in this morning's conditions brings back that feel of September 11 seven years ago. I'll write more on that next time.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Zen and Running

I made a hat trick since I last blogged: three runs in the last three days. Friday I ran with Jody and Erin out to Cobbs Creek and split early to run back home down Christian Street. This let me do olfactory carbo-loading as I took in the smells from Amoroso's Bakery on 55th St. and let me sing from Marah's ode to this street (albeit the South Philly stretch of it):

The sun rises on a statue of Mary
The old ladies file into commune
A fat guy in a blue Members Only
Knocks and disappears into a private backroom
The corner payphone is for bettin’ the numbers
The pizza joint is for peppers and eggs
The black boys all down in the schoolyard
Dance all crazy with the rubbery legs

So come on...

That was good for about fiveannahalf. Yesterday was another six or so running up to Cobbs Creek and back down Warrington and today marked the Cobbs Creek trifecta with a threeannahalfer back down Cedar Ave. Come on!

I've been going back to my brief dabbling with meditation a few decades back when I lived in Chicago for a half year and there was a Zen Buddhist temple down the street. Heading east these last few mornings upon endlessly straight streets I'd purge all thoughts from my head except for those directly related to running. Monitoring my body, scanning the street ahead and the sidestreets, and other immediate thoughts were allowed, all others got pushed out. Running in the present and meditating on how this made time almost stand still. Its as if I were trying to stretch time out to pass as slowly as possible. That's very much a feeling I remember from sitting meditation, and the object I set myself to was to embrace time crawling instead of the usual object of trying to make time pass as agreeably as possible.

This feeling proved good but elusive. I could hang onto it for a few blocks and then some distraction would come up and I'd be off among my usual thoughts again. Once I left that zen zone I found it very hard to return. It seems like I have one shot.

But as my running becomes pedestrian for the immediate future, I'm intrigued in pursuing this spiritual line a bit further. I thought, once I was safely ensconced back into my everyday mindset, that this is the basis for a book. In a very un-zenlike manner, I got off to daydreaming on how successful such a book can be. But alas, I googled "zen" and "meditation" and of course realized that I wouldn't be the first to tread on this ground. So I did take a little time reading what others have written. One web entry I liked described something similar to what I was trying to achieve, calling it "concentration", and contrasted it with "contemplation," which is what I usually do and also find very rewarding. He also described getting started with this concentration as something you do a little at a time and then extend it a bit more each time you do it.

Sounds like advice I give to people who are starting to run. So come on!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Assuming the Position

Ate breakfast this morning again with each leg resting on a bag of frozen veggies and propped up on their own chair. Its on its way to becoming a habit. But that means I got up and ran. Met up with Jody and Deirdre, ran out and back to Erin's new place but she was nowhere to be found, and ran with J & D for a bit until out of prudence I turned back and ended up doing the same loop as I did yesterday. With the extension I'll call it three miles. Again untimed.

Had a conversation yesterday with a colleague as I was getting cash from an atm and she was waiting on coffee. Of course she asked about my running and I said I wasn't doing much of it and in response to the expectation that the conversation go farther I went on to say some things along the line of what I've been writing of here on the uncertainty of my racing future. I quickly got that feeling that I'm giving too much info, that I should have just said something like that I'm hurt and if the "Tommy John surgery" sticks then I'll be back training for the trials in 2012. Or just that things are slow right now.

Still figuring it out.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Morning Jaunt

I'm sitting here typing this while a cold burn is going through my heels. Ran 2 1/4 miles before sitting down to coffee with my right ankle resting atop a bag of frozen peas and my left riding a bag of mixed veggies.

The most notable thing about my run this morning was that I did it. Sunny, mild early fall morning in which I left the watch at home and basically jogged to Penn campus and back. Ankles felt stiff but not sore, which is about as good as I could hope for. Tomorrow I'll plan to do a little more.

My evaluation of my running paradigm seems to be bleeding over into an evaluation of my blogging paradigm. I read through my account of last year's Stone Harbor race and it really struck me how similar my descriptions of both races are. Am I that set in a particular style? Do I have that little to say? All kinds of questions like that went through my head. And finally, what can I do and what would I want to do differently?

Don't have any answers, but thought I'd throw that out there.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Rehab (of sorts)

I was going to take my legs on a spin today but instead tossed a frisbee around with Tony for 25 minutes. As good a test of my heels as a spin around the block, and I got in some quality time with the boy. Heels held up okay and I iced them down afterwards. Will try to run a few miles tomorrow. Just found out that L'il Ed released a new cd, so at least my soundtrack is set.

I'll probably do another variation here on a theme I've been writing on for the last couple of posts. But that's a big part of what this blog is for, to work through my running (or lack thereof) issues.

I'm curious to see where my running is going to take me. Right now I visualize myself as jogging for the foreseeable future. Joining 98.9% of the running community that just goes out for a slow to modest run and is satisfied with it. Or rather, who get their gratification from something other than the relentless need to amp up performance. Part of that sounds very appealing. Part of me doesn't think the other part of me can do it.

I feel I'm at the cusp of something.

A midlife thing, perhaps.

Or maybe a metamorphosis.

Or trying something different just for kicks.

Or maybe something to keep my mind from obsessing over atrophying legs and an expanding waistline, something to be sloughed off as soon as this inflammation gets doused.

Or maybe its the start of training for Comrades Marathon 2010, the only ultra I ever want to do.

All these possibilities and still I haven't gone out and run a damn mile in over a week now. But once again, the future seems limitless.

0 in 0 with a couple of frisbee throws.