Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Sarah Palin named her kid Track. She can't be all bad.

I was all set to blog on this morning's run earlier, but couldn't get online. Now the days events have overtaken me, so I need to be brief. Not the way I like to write, but I want to get this down.

Headed down to the track this morning. Wanted to get in a track workout, didn't want to go all out. Kind of a gut check workout - see where my head and my heels were at. As a result, I did longer reps - 2x3200 with an 800m recovery - so that I wouldn't have to go so fast. Anything under 13 minutes was fine with me, as often happens I overachieved with a 12:22 and a 12:29. This was about the pace I did on last Thursday's MLK Drive miles, and is good to build on. In an ideal world rep 2 would have been faster than rep 1, but it wasn't there and I didn't push it too hard. Just getting back on track. Get it? Haha.

Sofar heels feel fine.

Ran 2.5 miles home. All totaled 10.5 miles.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Curb Enthusiasm

Got an urge to blog again this morning. Got the urge despite (or perhaps because of) having two deadlines weighing heavy on my mind and the kids at home. Its a beautiful summer morning, and my desire to write likely reflects my feeling good about my running.

Its easy to wax positive about all the running I want to do on a day when I don't run, as I did yesterday. Its well known among writers about how much easier it is to get to the point of being "ready" to write than it is to actually write. It was a different story at 5:45 this morning when I got up. It still did not feel at all upbeat and enthusiastic heading out the door 35 minutes later. And once I was out I was into the moment more than I was filled with the self-consciousness of this morning's run being part of anything much grander. I leave that to writings such as I did last night.

I met up Deirdre at where Race Street meets the Schuylkill bike path. We headed past Lloyd Hall over Lemon Hill and into Fairmount Park. We talked about our weekends and the chatter got on to other topics including one of our pet peeves - those who fear that running in Philadelphia is unsafe. We both have our takes on this - Deirdre responding that it is less safe for a woman to be at home than running the Philadelphia streets, as violence against women is far more pervasive at home than in public places; and I maintain that it is far safer to run in the city than in the suburbs when you factor traffic fatalities into the equation - something that is more prevalent in the suburbs.

We are clearly both biased and admittedly are likely to twist things to align with our points of view, so I did a quick google to see what there was on the web on this. The answer is, of course, that it depends on how you twist things around. One article says that when you just look at fatalities (traffic or homicide) at the hands of strangers - which speaks to the concerns voiced by people bringing this up - urban areas are indeed safer. Another article I found muddles the case a bit more but asserts that there will always be an irrational fear of the spectacular (albeit rare) event over the more mundane. And thus it is fated that people will continue to post to the Philly Runner message board inquiring about their safety when they ponder running the streets of this fair city.

And to show my enthusiasm this morning I tacked on ten extra minutes to make this route which got my mileage up over 8. In 70:03. Life is good. My run is over, and I can again be enthusiastic about all the running I can do in the future. Be careful out there.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Reasons not to Run

So I got to nine days straight running yesterday. I met up with Deirdre yesterday morning early and we ran out to the Ben Franklin Bridge and back around. The run down entailed going through sleepy South Philly neighborhoods, and once we got to Center City I got this feeling of being in control of my geography by just being able to run past different places and landmarks and navigating around them by foot. Hard to explain, but definitely liberating. 14 in 1:50:26.

I ran early yesterday so that Reba and I could pack up and go up to NYC for a wedding. The bride has run NYC Marathon a couple of times, which was one of the reasons the couple chose the reception hall, Gustavino's, which is located under the Queensboro Bridge and built into the arches of the bridge. The place itself is very elegant (with no hint of the cars driving the bridge overhead) and right at that signature moment of the marathon when you run off of the bridge and onto First Avenue.

With that inspiration, you'd think a run this morning would be a no-brainer. It wasn't. I decided to take a day off and sleep in, with the partying and the running of late, it seemed a no-brainer. But it was a beautiful morning and our hotel room was two blocks away from Columbus Circle, and I longed for my running shoes. Reba and I did get out and walk through Central Park a bit, which was as vibrant as ever.

New streak starts tomorrow morning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 8

Day 8 of consecutive running. Didn't want to do anything too strenuous. Started out oh-so-slowly to Erin's house. Met Erin & Deirdre at Erin's house and then lost Erin at 60th & Pine. She may have been overcome at our having lost that prominent celebrity yesterday evening. Deirdre and I continued the run down to Mt. Moriah and back on Springfield.

I gained momentum as the run got longer. At first I thought I'd only last to Cedar Ave, then as I got more comfortable I had to limit myself to the route we did, as I could have gone on forever. First really humid sticky run of the summer. I think there will be plenty more of those, however.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hot Wheels and a Gravel Road

This blog has, if you haven't noticed, become a weekly instead of a daily feature. I've felt uncomfortable with that. I used to say the workout isn't done until its been blogged, but things have obviously changed. I'm still working through those changes, getting used to them, wondering if they'll be permanent, but for now that is how it is.

That is not to say I haven't been running. After missing last Wednesday and Thursday due to Maricela's graduation from high school (yay!) and family coming in, not to mention the rain, I've run every day since then. Its been quality running to boot, but my legs have been feeling very beat up. And today's run probably won't help that.

This morning I took it down to the Drives to spin my wheels a bit. A bit on the humid side, cloudy, but still way cooler than it has a right to be. I haven't done any extended fast stuff since my achilles pain kicked in again, and I just wanted to take it faster than I usually do. From sub 7 minute pace at the first quarter-mile I felt good and dropped it to a sub 6:30 pace by the mile mark and continued to lower it until I finished the three MLK miles in 18:48. That is not much slower than I had been doing before my latest round of agida (thanks to Reba for that word) set in. This includes the last quarter trekking it uphill to Ford Rd. on top of Strawberry Mansion Bridge. I love that finish, giving it all to finish strong despite a steady uphill (not to mention having to brave the morning rush hour in crossing MLK). When I finish that and beat my goal time, it might be the best feeling I'll have all day.

Deirdre and I ran around 11 on Monday after Erin decided to sleep in. We went up over Strawberry Mansion Bridge, around the reservoir, and back across Girard by the zoo. That was a scenic run on a beautiful summer morning, and I took a piece of that run and incorporated it into this morning's run. There is a fire road that runs from Belmont Plateau all the way to Ford Road. I have known about it as it is the trail where you turn off to go to the infamous Parachute Hill. I just never made the connection to run it in conjunction with my SMB loop. So instead of running down Chamounix today I took the road less traveled and it was beautiful. An oasis of solitude, birds chirping, and soft gravelly road in the middle of Philadelphia. I thought of the feature in Runner's World called "Rave Run" where they'd put a picture of a runner in beautiful scenery and thought that between running along the Schuylkill, running the fire road, and then through the Horticultural Center, I'll put this run up against any for scenery and serenity. And I smugly wallowed in what a great city Philly is to run in.

This morning is the kind of run that keeps me going, and the urge to write about it, perhaps to gloat a bit about it, gets me coming back to this blog, for while I'm not as true to it as I once was, I can't leave it either. 11 miles (or so) in 89:36.

Recap of past week:
Yesterday: 7 miles in 62 minutes (w/ Erin) up through Mt. Moriah and back down Springfield;
Tuesday: 5.5 mile Art Museum loop, untimed;
Monday: 12 miles (see entry) w/ Deirdre; 95:35;
Sunday: 5.5 miles, Warrington loop untimed;
Saturday: 14 miles, up to Manayunk and up the 3 Bears in pouring rain, 1:56, w/ Deirdre, John Dubs et al.
Friday: 8 miles out west with the full Club West Philly contingent

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Putting in Miles

After coming home from trips in the past, I've warned against the letdown that occurs. You put in the effort to run while traveling but then it falls apart when you return home. Well, my running was, shall we say, relaxed on the West Coast last week, but I've been getting out these last few mornings.

This morning I forsook a hard workout and did an easy eight up and around Sweetbriar. I enjoyed it. Skies were still grey from last nights downpour and it contrasted with the prominent greens along Boathouse Row. I felt like I was in an oil painting.

I'm back to just putting in miles. 8 in about 67 this morning.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catching Up

I see that my last post was on June 4. Eleven days ago.

I had a couple of good weeks before that last post, things have slowed down again since then. I'll try to reconstruct, not because it would necessarily interest anyone but because I like to keep a record of my runs. I'm afraid, however, that some will be lost to a poor memory.

Fri, June 5, I ran an Art Museum loop. 6 miles.
Sat, June 6, I ran a Mt. Moriah/Kingsessing loop. 6 miles.
Wed, June 10, I ran a FF loop, 3.5 miles.

That was the ancient history. Again, I may well have missed a workout but that is the gist of it. On the bright side, it rests a borderline Achilles inflammation. On the darker side, it shows how busy-ness combined with a lack of drive to make regular training a priority easily gets in the way of things. Not that this is bad, its more like its a choice. Whether its a choice I want to make is what I've been wrestling with for awhile now and going over and over again, in one form or another, on these pages.

Which takes us to recent history. I took a trip to LA, starting last Wednesday. This let me run through Skid Row, downtown, and South Central LA for an hours worth on Friday, recreating the loops I ran last December when I was there last. Then, when work was done, we stayed a bit in Santa Monica. The original Muscle Beach. The claim is that its the birth of the physical fitness movement of the 20th Century. I ran two hours, one hour south through Venice Beach and Marina del Rey, then turn around and run back. I'll call it 14.5 miles. Lots of thoughts to write of California, but I'm not feeling it this morning. Jet lagged out, looking at alot of stuff waiting for me at work, and bummed because I have all this time I have to take off by the end of the month or I lose it, and not seeing the opportunity to use it all up.

I did drag my jet-lagged ass out of bed to meet Erin and Jody at 6:30 for a run out to Mt. Moriah and back (Chester Ave up, Thomas Ave back). Easy 5ish, glad I made it out.

There, all caught up.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Up and Down

I don't run in the rain. I've tortured myself about it and decided there are some things I just don't do. So you can call me whatever you like, but when I was set and ready to go and I looked out the window at the downpour this morning, I stayed home. I know nobody is calling me anything, and that I'm writing this mostly to myself. It doesn't help that the rain didn't last very long.

And as I write this I'm thinking if I can cut loose a bit this afternoon. My schedule is very flexible of late as I have the fortunate problem of having to take 12 vacation days before the end of this month or I lose them.

Instead of running I'll play catch-up on this blog. Yesterday Erin, Jody and I found a better way to get to Bartram's Gardens on our way to an easy 5.5.

The day before it was a 7.5-mile Sweetbriar loop. My heels are still tender enough to where I am not pushing the tempo. Monday and Sunday were days off. And I can't remember what I did on Saturday. Think Seebo. Oh yeah, I went on a Kingsessing loop through Mt. Moriah cemetery. I'm guessing that's about 7, don't feel like gmapping it. Which takes me back to when the Achilles pain flared up.

So I'm on three-quarter speed, part due to the inflamed tendon, part due to life, and part due to weather. A few weeks up, a few weeks down. That's how my running is going.