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, March 28, 2009

Race for Humanity 5k

This is a race put on by a sorority at USP, and the start is within a short warmup run of my house. I of course have last weekend's marathon as a ready excuse for any problems with my performance. So I figured even if I didn't race it I should at least go out and show support. Represent, so to speak.

The two prior times I've run RFH the course has wound through the neighborhoods and went within a block of my house. This year though the City tried to strongarm the race organizers into paying for much more police overtime to keep that course, and the organizers, whom I assume are college students, balked. Pay triple to get the same thing you've gotten the last three years - that makes for a good civics lesson, Philly style.

So instead they ran the course in nearby Woodland Cemetery. This means that the Race for Humanity was run through a graveyard - not sure what to make of this. Also not sure what to make out of the confluence of cemeteries and running I've been experiencing lately. Finally, it meant that the course was a loop repeated four times on an up, down and curvy road that had badly cracked pavement. And we'd have to tread softly to avoid waking the dead.

A couple of hundred folks braved the ominous clouds that hung over the morning. The student who took my registration said to make sure I write my name on the tearoff part of the bib, since "[I was] going to win." I laughed and shook my head. Mike Daigeaun, who won the race last year, was standing around the start and he didn't look to have much competition. As the gun went off I felt I could probably scam 2nd place with an 18 minute something time here but after about a half mile I felt both my achilles tendons burning. The figuring did not take long - if I were to run the rest of this race I'd risk frying my heels like I did at a Bryn Mawr speed workout last summer - it obviously wasn't worth it. So I did two things I rarely do - learn from past mistakes and drop out of a race.

After walking a little I hung out a bit with two course marshalls, one of whom is a student of mine. I busted on him by asking why he wasn't in the race and he stammered a few things before saying he was tired of giving me excuses all semester and that he just had too much to drink last night. Sounded like that was the first time he ever told that to one of his profs. I told him that there was in fact no better cure for a hangover than running.

I then moseyed over to the finish line and chatted with various folks I knew, including another student of mine who finished his first 5k here in 31 minutes. He'd been talking about his training for the race all through the semester and I was glad to see him finish.

Logistically, the race was a mess but somehow averted being a disaster. On a 4-loop course, the leaders were soon left to thread their way through the walkers and joggers they lapped, in some instances two times. Finishers were missing the chute and people who still had laps to go were stumbling into the finishing chute. A car started driving up the course and, when stopped, explained that he was late for a procession being held at the mansion. That was a first in my racing experience. But the cool thing about this was that nobody seemed irate about any of this. Everybody came out to run, few really came out to race and among those that did, there didn't seem to be an expectation of anything more than what we got. And at least the rain held off.

I jogged the half mile back home and my heel seemed okay. I'm treating this as a warning and will continue to just do miles and work in speed very carefully at a later time. I don't know what this portends for Broad Street. But I'll take it a week at a time. 1.5 miles today.


Blogger John W said...

I saw the race headline and thought "Oh no, not one week after the marathon" Smart move dropping out of the race.

I ran a similar looped event a couple years back at Villanova and it was a kick to dodge all the people I was lapping but my finish time was horrible.

12:54 PM  

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