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, November 16, 2008

Schuylkill Loop Race

According to my records, this is the fifth time I have run this venerable race. This year, I ran this mainly to get a recent race under my belt and get some idea of my fitness.

Conditions were classic for this race, chilly and blustery. The course is once around the the Drives - 8.4 miles. The horn went off and I fell in with Jeff Hayes, also of Greater Phila Track Club and a few years older than me. We chatted a bit and I reassured him that I didn't mind his drafting off me, as I don't benefit much from drafting off others. With that we set off into the legendary MLK headwind and picked off a few runners ahead of us. Some of them stayed with us and somewhere after the first mile (6:00) there was a tight pack of five of us. I continued pacing duties for maybe another mile and realized that I wouldn't be able to hang 8 miles with this group. I fell to the back of the group for another mile or so and focused on hanging on to the group for a quarter mile at a time. After about another mile and a half my middle class upbringing demanded that I take up pacing duties again, but Jeff said he was feeling fine and I should continue hanging in the back. I took him up on it, and told him that I wasn't long for the group anyway. I've never laid out my cards like that, but the race wasn't even halfway over yet.

Crossing Falls River Bridge, the group surged and I didn't. I clocked the four MLK miles in 23:49; I passed the five mile mark in 29:51. This was ideally the pace I'd like to have kept, but after I lost the group the miles slowed first to 6:15, then 6:25, before picking up a little at the end. I was passed twice, once by the first female finisher, an Olympian at 1500m whose name escapes me, and late in the race by the eventual second masters finisher. Finishing time was 51:14, at a 6:06 pace and 9th overall - the second slowest loop race I've run.

Don't much know what to make of it, and probably shouldn't make too much of it. I wouldn't have raced any differently, as I got what I set out for - a good idea of my fitness level. The lingering melancholy is from the uncertainty about how much faster I'll get from this. That remains to be seen. And there is always running in costume.

9.5 miles total.


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