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, May 28, 2009

Blues for Achilles

For some reason the world seemed a sad place this morning. I wasn't so much feeling sad as I felt more in touch with the sadness all around. Maybe there is no difference in this distinction. Headed out into the overcast with Patty Griffin on the iPod singing her portraits of lonely lives.

Steeled myself for ten miles, up the Acme loop. When I hit Penn campus I finally got mentally focused on doing this run. Just about then I became aware of increasing soreness in my achilles tendons. The decision to turn back up Market Street and head home was almost immediate.

I suppose it was easier to make this decision because I had myself set on running 10 before I cut it short. It was also clear that doing so this morning was pointless. Run easy today, maybe a little longer tomorrow, and see how things go. On those times I get achilles pain, it usually comes after a track or a hill workout.

I did get in 3.5, untimed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

All I Really Need to Know...

I learned on the track. For instance:

Lesson 1 - life is not linear. In an ideal world you work hard and you see results. The track tells you that reality is much more capricious. I did okay on 1600m repeats when I first started up again on the track 2 weeks ago, got slower last week, and this week my four 1600m reps were virtually identical to those I did last week: 6:12; 6:06; 6:04; 6:05.

Lesson 2 - when all else fails lower your standards. I thought I could go faster this morning and when that didn't happen I started grabbing onto smaller positive stuff that I could get out of this workout. Hence what I am most proud of is on reps 2 and 4 my times would have been even slower had it not been for a pair of final lap dashes where each came in at 1:29 (sub 6 minute pace). This pace is a psychological milestone/barrier for me at the moment so its good to see I can get under this at least some of the time.

Lesson 3 - when you get stuck, let it go. When I do this ideas seem to bubble up. Especially when there is a 2-mile cooldown to jar things loose. I don't seem to be making much progress in taking 1600m reps head on, so I'm thinking next week I'll do 800s to get my legs turning over a bit faster, and then move back up to 1600s.

Lesson 4 - life is interstitial. Best parts of this morning's run were things like the cool breeze hitting my face on the backstretch, the way the greens stood out against the gray sky, and the beauty that emerges from the interplay between nature and the crumbling remnants of Philly's postindustrial past.

Sounds like the beginnings of a book here, one more that I'm unlikely to ever write. In the meantime, 10 miles total in 83:20.

PS - for the record, dnr yesterday and 5.5 miles (Warrington loop) on Monday, untimed.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Ran a similar loop to what I ran Wednesday, just went down 46th instead of 49th streets. That made it 8.5 miles or so. This puts me over sixty miles for the week. I'm happy about that.

Otherwise not much to report about a hot humid holiday weekend morning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Running Just Not Writing #2

First things first. Big news of this post is that Reba and I are engaged. Happened on Thursday under the Lansdowne Sycamore. We've been talking about it for awhile, and plan is to have a low-key wedding celebration later this summer. Life is good!

Running is good too. I'm on my way to closing my second straight solid training week. Each run would, in less hectic weeks, be a blog entry in itself. But here is a recap on the last three runs:

Thursday was an 11 mile Strawberry Mansion Bridge loop with three tempo miles. I remember feeling very stiff and unmotivated. I popped a sports-gel before I left to see if it would motivate me any. I didn't feel any more energetic, but did squeeze out an 18:58 over the three tempo miles with the last two miles catching up after a somewhat slower 6:35 first mile. Was it the gel? I didn't feel any burst of energy, I feel like the time came from a concerted effort to push and seasoned with some grit. But who knows. Don't remember the time for the whole loop, its not important.

Yesterday I had my blog entry outlined before I finished the run. It was a glorious run, one of those you wish you could put in a bottle and wish that it didn't have to be used on such a relatively inconsequential run. It also marked what I call my return to the hamster wheel, meaning that I have returned to tallying the miles in my head. I really want to run 60 this week, and as a result I extended my run by one bridge and did a 9.5-mile Montgomery Bridge loop. Don't remember the time, do remember that running was fun that morning.

And today I went out to run long. I started by heading out to the sycamore on my usual 10-mile route and extended this loop by going deeper into SW Philly at the end. My goal was to go 2 hours. Ran for 2:01:33. Had to map it for mileage and it fell a little short of 14 miles, so I call it 13.5. Had I known I'd have thrown another ten minutes in. This morning was a hot one. I'm glad I got out early and glad that I have the long run over for the weekend.

This leaves eight miles for tomorrow and I get 60 for the week.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Never Broke a Sweat

Got up and out this morning at 6:20, despite a late night last night. Don't know if Club West Philly left before I got there or if nobody showed. Either way, I made my own way on a well worn path up to the Art Museum and back via Sweetbriar Ave. and 42nd/48th Sts.

Made my easy day an easy day by leaving my watch at home. Left my music at home as well, making the run a bit old school, just me and my thoughts for as long and as fast as I wanted to go. Beautiful morning, chilly enough so I never broke a sweat.

7+ miles on this route. Time known only to God.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I got out of the house at 6:35 today, that's progress. Headed out to the 58th St. track to build on last week's workout. I figured I did 3x1600 in 6-flat apiece last week, let's see if I can do four of them today. Things didn't quite work that way - the first 400 came in at 1:35 on the way to a 6:12 time for the first 1600. The next rep came in at 6:06. Number 3 was in 6:05. And after a mad dash over the last 200, the final rep was in 6:04.

A good track workout means that I leave with some new insight into myself. Today I felt like I challenged myself from where I was at. I like the track I'm running at, complete with its cinder surface, the grass encroaching into the first lane, and the joggers and walkers, mostly older African-American men, who sometimes move to the outside lines when I pass and sometimes not. These singular features make for times that can only approximately be compared to other tracks, so the best yardstick becomes past performance. By this measure I did worse today than last week. After the first 400 I knew I would. But taking the first 1600 as a measure, I did progressively better with each subsequent rep. So disappointment gets tempered with satisfaction at having hung in there. It feels like I made the best with what I had this morning, and I left the track feeling good about the workout.

It felt mature. Not mature in the sense of being all grown up, mature in the sense that I felt in a place this morning when old times and aspirations were not so important, and I was more oriented to the moment - with where I was at both with myself and my surroundings. Its hard to put into words.

On my first lap I passed an older guy jogging his laps. I said "good morning" and he responded in kind with labored breath. I expected he'd finish soon and there'd be one less person to run around. I lapped him numerous times during my intervals, first arcing around him and towards the end he started using the middle lanes so I could keep on the inside. After I finished and started my cooldown home, he was still doing laps around the track.

All totaled, 11 miles in 89:48.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forbidden Drive

Wind blowing and rain hitting against the window was the first thing I heard this morning. I let out a groan and Reba recognized that as the sound of my trying to get out of running this morning. Still complaining, I pulled myself out of bed and we headed up to Roxborough, where we met up with one of her friends who lives right off of Valley Green Inn on Forbidden Drive. The two of them did their loop, and I ran home from there.

Running conditions were dry and otherwise great. Everything is a dark lush green shade from all the rain we've been getting. Running Forbidden Drive makes it easy to imagine that Philadelphia is light years away. From there I headed down Kelly Drive and then the Schuylkill Bike Trail and through Penn campus, and added another two or so miles so as to make it a two hour run.

That gives me 52 miles this week. I wanted to start counting my miles again next week and shoot for 50, but I'll have to up my target now. I'll be in Boston tomorrow, and I'll just take the day off.

14.5 miles on this point to point in 2:02:14.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Running Just Not Writing

Last time I blogged was Tuesday. I've run every day since then. Each run I figured out what I wanted to blog about the run and each day I've (obviously) not taken the time to set it down. So I'll just catch up today.

Wednesday I ran with Erin on a somewhat crazy loop south on 47th Street, across Gray's Ferry Ave, and down the embankment, across the Septa tracks, and through the post-industrial detritus to pop out at 58th Street. We then ran that back home. Between the embankment, the weeds, the traffic and the like it is safe to say this will not be a regular route. Just because a route is different doesn't make it good.

Thursday I couldn't get out of the house to run my planned 11 miler. This remains a problem and I was prepared to write about it, but its too late to blather about it now, until next time. Or you can just read my April 30th post, as I complain about the exact same thing. Ran a 5.5 mile Art Museum loop instead, the rain poured for the last half mile of the run, glad to get in the house and thought maybe this wasn't the best morning to run all those miles.

Friday I did the 11 miler, an SMB loop, the one that I should have done on Thursday. Ran three miles for speed - 19:02. One mile longer than the fast stretches I've been doing, and the second hard workout of the workweek. Run felt good.

And today, I didn't get out till around dinner time. I was working all day, mostly on getting the house together again after we had painters do major work for the last week. It came out really nice, but its almost as big a job cleaning up the dust and related mess they left behind. The house is clean again and feels much better. I think, however, that I got the bigger workout here. My legs were dead and I was tired by the time I got out to run a Warrington loop, so it was an easy 5 anna half.

That brings me up to date. Hopefully I'll get some miles tomorrow and it'll be a decent week; one to build on.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


On most mornings I'll try to come up with excuses not to go to the track but today, from wherever, came this need to go to the track. Problem was finding a track to go to. So I sought out Atlantis, the mythical track in SW Philly that is the subject of many an apocryphal tale, but has never been seen by anyone I know.

Yes, I hyperbolize, and the mystery was quickly deshrouded by scanning Gmap, where I located this oval at 58th and Elmwood. I was excited to scout out new territory, and ran about 2 miles up there to discover pretty much what I expected - a somewhat overgrown cinder track. The infield was freshly mowed, but the grass overflowed out to the track so that in many places running on the track necessitated running in what would be Lane 2. There were also several walkers on the track who most of the time would not budge from their inside track position.

So with those challenges I set a goal of 3x1600 at 6 minutes with a 400 m recovery. I had to push to get this, but get it I did: 6-flat, 5:58, 6-flat. Just about right for where I'm at. I think success all depends on the goals you set. This morning's wasn't too particularly ambitious, but it leaves me feeling good.

Sunny spring morning, new horizons, a good running day. All in all 11 miles - 6 on the track and 5 on this loop out and back to the track.

Oh yeah, Florida was fun. Didn't run on Friday or Monday, but got in 95 minutes (call it 12 miles) on Saturday and 45 minutes (call it 6 miles) on Sunday. Both runs were through and around the streets in the over-55 neighborhood we were staying at, in the heat that would get up to low 90's. I ran Saturday's run hard. For some reason running those streets reminded me of running 5k's that snaked through suburban streets, and I worked my way into that state of controlled breathlessness that comes in those races. Left me feeling content that there is still some fight in me.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Fairmount Park Trivia

Q: What do Shubert, Goethe and Verdi have in common?

A: They all have statues in the Horticultural Center that I passed by this morning.

Culture on the fly.

Still didn't make it out this morning before 7, but I'm working on it.

The rain thats been drenching this city let up a bit this morning. Grey skies and 50's, good running weather. As Reba says, the animals are going to be lining up two by two pretty soon.

Ran two miles in 12:32 on MLK. This was my vegetables for the day, eaten so I can grow big and strong. I hope to increase the portion next time.

For dessert I meandered through the Hort. Center. Explored a little bit, took some time to check out the sculptures that dot the place.

My encyclopedic knowledge of porta-potty locations in Philadelphia paid off on this morning's run, but forced me to add about an extra half mile on my usual route.

All in all a fun morning out, 9.5 miles in about 75 minutes.

Yesterday I ran about 6 (guesstimate) in 45:52 with Erin and Jody.

Off to Florida for the weekend. See if can run, and write, from there.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Shouldn't Have

worn my watch this morning. Thought I was going at a descent clip this morning. Then I timed my MLK miles and saw that I was taking them at an 8:30 clip. Not that it matters a rat's posterior, but I guess it does. I'd like to think I was going faster.

My stops and starts continue. I've been writing about them for so long now. Busy weekend and rain laid me off for three days after doing 6 on Friday. I set the alarm for 5:30, didn't get out of bed till 6:15, and didn't get out of the house until 7:15. This early sluggishness is a bad habit, but like many they are hard to break.

Run was drizzly but good. Took it out to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and back through Fairmount Park. One reinforcer of getting out later is that I've now worked the Horticultural Center into my regular route. About a half mile of no traffic and blooming purple bushes, and I can reach over the fence and grab some zen out of the Japanese Garden.

And the amusing thing is that my watch is at home so I can't even record the time. Gmap calls it 11 miles.