Seebo's Run

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

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Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gone Fishing

I hate coming back to this blog after I haven't posted for a while.

But life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans.

The highlight of my week is that I am now married. Reba and I tied the knot (a double knot like the kind you do at the marathon start-line that won't come undone) on Saturday at a great little ceremony-reception we had at home with about 40 of our closest family and friends. In addition to the great company, it was good food, good music (provided by Maricela's band) and plenty of alcohol. It was all we could have wanted out of that evening.

And so here we are now in Sonoma where Reba and I are honeymooning. We got in today and will be hanging out in wine country and then San Fran for almost two weeks. We aim to have it a balanced vacation, with a good bit of biking, hiking, canoeing and, of course, running which we plan to cancel out with plenty of wine and foodie food. I just planned out tomorrow morning's running route and the elevation map looks pretty sick, with a loop that goes from a little above sea level to over 1100 feet and back down in about 8 miles. Tune in tomorrow and check it out.

And now to catch up:

- today was a DNR;
- yesterday was a 3.5 mile leg stretcher on a Franklin Field loop;
- Monday was a 48 minute run (5.5 miles, conservatively) through Bartrams Gardens, 58th St., and back on Florence Ave.
- Sunday was a DNR
- Saturday (wedding day) was a 7+ mile run of two times the lower Tinicum loop (around Darby Lake). This was a great relief of the pre-wedding jitters, it allowed Reba to be the runaway bride, and Scott, Sarah, Tammy, Polly and Todd all joined us.
- Friday was a 50+ minute run (6 miles?) out to Cobbs Creek and back on Springfield with the full contingent of Club West Philly.
- Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week I don't think I ran anything. It was a bit crazy that week, as I had several work deadlines and wedding prep that all rolled up into one giant stress ball. Looking at it now, its funny how I blew off running as it is times like that when I need running the most. But it is also times like that when I stay up to the wee hours and just can't drag my ass up early in the morning to run.

But now I've got almost two weeks of relaxation in a beautiful place to do it. I am also still on east coast time, which means that I should be wide awake around 5 a.m. tomorrow morning, perfect for getting my running thing on.

Monday, July 20, 2009


No running this weekend. I'm resting until my shoes come in.

That being said, I met up with Erin and Jody this morning. I threw out my current shoes when I last ran on Thursday, and used an old, old pair of racers that I have lying around for just such emergencies. They have their miles on them, but were still springier than the shoes I'd been running in. This makes me feel even more that my pains are related to shoes.

This morning's run was un-eventful. Out to Cobb's Creek, took some trails along the river rather than the usual bike path for much of the way, and headed home down Springfield. Weather continues to be unbelievably nice, hope it stays this way through Saturday. It seems like too much to ask.

Call it 6 in 55 minutes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Chasing Reba (or We Were Promised Jetpacks)

Woke up this morning when Reba got in after running an Art Museum loop. 45 minutes later I found myself heading out on the same route.

This is the first time I've run in three days. The first day off was planned to rest my Achilles, which were getting sore. The second day was one where my tendons still didn't feel right, but work obligations also played into it. I told myself that it all kind of worked out, that my other commitments acted as a sort of protective factor to prevent an impending injury. This sort of "everything for the best" approach, where the result explains the process, is what I hate about evolutionary fill-in-the-blank approaches that are in vogue these days, and I have to pause as to whether I'm doing the same thing with my running (or lack thereof).

Turns out in this case my layoff, for whatever reasons, was for the best. I ran a very sluggish loop with my tendons laying low but making it plain that they were just one fartlek away from flaring up. I was reduced to plodding, and while its not unusual for me to have such a pace on my early morning run, what is unusual is the restriction of knowing I couldn't break out of it if I wanted to.

I also realized one likely culprit are my shoes, which are worn well past their natural life and are hanging on until the cavalry arrives in the mail in a few days. So I'll take it easy at least until then.

So the saving grace of my run was that I overhauled my iPod before I left and put on some new music. This is something I should do much more often than I do. The band on the rotation this morning was We Were Promised Jetpacks, a great name for music to run by. Its one of my efforts to listen to contemporary stuff. It came well reviewed and has a driving beat, like Interpol or Coldplay, that I like to run to. For what its worth, it gets the Seebo thumbs up.

With that my run felt like going on a car ride just to drive around and listen to the radio. No particular purpose for the running this morning save that it gave my body something to do while the ear buds mainlined music into my brain.

5.5 miles in 54 minutes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Leg Stretcher

Worked late last night and slept through meeting up with Club West Philly. Had a appt. this morning but still managed to lace up my running shoes and get in 3 miles. Days like today, getting a few miles in is a whole lot better, mentally if not physically, than chalking up a DNR.

The run was nothing spectacular, just a jaunt down through Penn campus. The weather is still mild and the traffic a bit heavier than it is an hour earlier. But it feels good to get a run in.

It also let me monitor my legs a bit. Both achilles tendons were tender at the ankle this morning. Tender, not sore. But I won't be heading out to the track tomorrow, as that would be pushing things.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Missed signals with Deidre and John but Plan B worked out nicely: I hitched a ride with Reba out to Tinicum and took the long way home.

This meant doing the figure 8 around Tinicum, like old days, another loop around Darby Lake (I call this the bottom loop, Reba calls it the top loop) and then home on the roads. After the figure 8, about halfway through the run, I stopped by the car and had a little picnic of Gatorade and Gu. Reba finished up her run around this time and we got to chat. A woman showed us a turtle with yellow markings on its shell and told us of the restorative powers of stinging nettles. Then I was on my way around the lake today.

A bit steamier than it has been (i.e., more like July), enough to make me thankful for the abundance of shade on the trails. My right heel and left hamstring were both a little sore, so I was happy for the softer surface. I did not appreciate, however, the wet bushwacking that was required in the carwash segment. But otherwise, little has changed at Tinicum and it was like visiting an old friend.

The run home was longer than I remembered it being. I ran home down Buist Ave, which I was unfamiliar with but was a better alternative to Lindbergh Blvd. as it was less trafficked. I started baking in the sun at around this point however, as my planned two-hour run dragged into a 2:22:19 run. I'm happy about this, as two hours for a long run has been approaching a rut with me.

Call it 17 miles. That gives me 50 for the five days I've run this week. All is good now that its done, I've just been very thirsty since I've finished.

Oh yeah, no run yesterday. I think shifting to every other day mode when the workouts got a little more than my legs could handle turned out to be a good idea. And the porch sale went well.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Random Notes

I did yesterday's workout today. The usual. Head down to MLK and run 3 miles as fast as I can. Fast wasn't as fast as the last couple of weeks, 3 in 19:12. Still, I was glad to run fast for 3 miles, as I still had alot of residual crud in my legs this morning. One of those mornings where I made a deal with myself that if I just got out to the Art Museum then I could run as fast (0r slow) as I wanted, and then just ran whatever I could. I knew from the first accelerated steps this would not be as fast as the last few weeks, and that took any pressure I put on myself off.

I wonder if I will get substantially (say tempos at 5:30-5:45 pace) faster again, or if this is my plateau.

I took the fire road again from the top of Strawberry Mansion Bridge once the tempo run was done. Its a really good reward for having done the workout. Totally alone in the middle of the city.

And the weather continues to be amazingly perfect.

And finally, with today's workout I now have a new load of crud in my legs and I continue to gimp about. Tomorrow we're having a porch sale, so I'm either gonna run easy or not at all, and then we'll see what Sunday brings.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


I was hobbling around all day yesterday like I had just finished a marathon. One of those days when I could almost hear people around me saying "and running is supposed to be good for you?"

Its not a worrisome pain, other than it makes me realize how much my body has to build up again to get me in any kind of semblance of the shape I long for. But given that I don't want the pain to turn into anything worrisome, I'm taking the day off. Despite what is one of the nicest mornings of the year.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

One of those Mornings

Not the most enjoyable run this morning.

I knew it would be such with my first step out of bed, landing on legs that were still hurting from yesterday's workout. Thus the run started off slow and wobbly in what was easily a 10+ minute pace.

Most of the first half of the run I felt sick to my stomach. This landed me the dilemma of keeping my commitment to meet Deirdre at the Chestnut St. Bridge or just going home. I kept running.

I made it to the bridge, 5 minutes late, and no sign of Deirdre. I wait about five more minutes and plod on toward Lloyd Hall, Lemon Hill and parts beyond.

I really don't want to run by this point but I want to get some miles in and things settle down. The second half of the run settled down and picked up a bit, although I never came close to hammering it. But I felt good enough to appreciate the warm but crisp morning and all the shade that is the reward for getting out early.

I ran for almost 73 minutes, figuring I had eight miles easy. I g-mapped the course I ran and didn't even get 7 3/4.

One of those mornings, glad I kept going.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Half Full

or half-fasst?

Pushed my run back about 45 minutes so I could have some coffee with Reba this morning, as she went into work late. Its a nice little ritual we used to do alot more than we get a chance to do now.

Afterwards I headed out to the 58th St. track. The sun was beating down when I got there. Nothing too imaginative today - 4x1600 (400m rec). First one in 6:01; then 5:57; 6:08 and 6:24.

I was really psyched about the 5:57, its been awhile since breaking 6, and is harder on that track due to conditions. But I clearly gave it too much on that rep, as the next two suffered. I was really spent on the last rep.

So I'm not sure what to focus on in this workout - whether it was a good workout or a bad one. As with most things in life, its a shade of gray. What I can tell you, however, is that for the rest of the day my legs have had that old familiar beat with a baseball bat feeling. Its a dull aching pain, but a good pain as it indicates hard work as opposed to an injury alarm. So I guess I'm continuing to progress.

10 miles total in 78:54.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Easy run this morning. Its supposed to be hot today but not so much at 6:30. Met up with Deirdre and Erin and we ran down to Bartram's Gardens and back around on 58th and Florence. Not much beyond that to report. The temptation was there to run longer but I cut it short to 45 minutes. Guessing 5.5 miles.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Weekend Update

Happy Fourth. About the best running weather I've ever had on such a holiday weekend.

Friday I took the day off to sleep in and celebrate Reba's birthday.

Saturday I went up to Bryn Mawr and met up with Mike McGrath and six other folks from out there. Eight of us became four who went for 12 miles and, with some stops and starts along various trails, ended up with about 12.5 in 1:47. With the trail detours and the water stops it was hard to get a rhythm going, but there was good company and lots of hills. The group is more "grown up" than the Saturday group at the art museum; they are all my age as well as my pace. I like that. Its also good to run with Mike, which I don't get to do often, especially at a time when we are both happy with our still modest training achievements.

12 miles yesterday left me with a decision this morning of whether to call that my long run or not. I still wasn't sure as I took off this morning, up 36th, past the zoo and onto the fire trail. Instead of turning up Ford Road I sealed my decision to run longer by continuing up the narrowing trail in search of the elusive Wooden Nipple. The WN is known to a select few and I had never run it, though I have heard it mentioned enough to know it exists. My rule of thumb was to stick to my right when the trail split. I had a bit of trouble finding the trail again when I came out at the Chamounix Stables and after that it became an uphill bushwhack that reminded me why I don't do trails. The story ends happily as I did make it to the summit and came down the more familiar Bloody Nipple to Falls River Bridge. By then playing Henry Stanley had taken its toll, and my heart was no longer into it as I trekked back down MLK on my way home. I got some of my mojo back towards the end and finished what should have been a two-hour run in 2:12. Won't do that one again but have now expanded my knowledge of Philly running just a wee bit more.

That gives me 64 miles for the week and for the third straight week I've been happy with my training. Future is brightening.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


Ever since I've been running on MLK, since 1997 and back when it was known as West River Drive, I've run by a statue of St. George slaying the dragon. Its a cool statue, with George kind of slight and boyish, sitting naked save for his helmet on a horse (that can't be comfortable) and about to put the finishing spear thrust into the belly of a dragon lying on its back at the horse's feet. The dragon is more scrappy than fearsome, alot smaller in stature than I picture dragons.

This provides fodder for some internet detective work that I do every once in awhile when some item on my run catches my interest (what did we ever do before the internet?). Looking up the St. George and the Dragon statue, I get this info from

The statue, whose sculptor is unknown, was cast in 1876, in time for the Centennial. After speaking with Margot Berg, the director of the City's Public Art Program, we determined this as the journey for the sculpture: it was commissioned in 1876 and after the Centennial placed on the portico at St George's Hall at 13th & Arch. In 1903, when the Society moved to 19th & Arch, so too did the sculpture. In 1923, it moved again with the Society to 19th & Spring Garden. In 1935, for some reason, it was moved into storage at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where it stayed for 40 years. In 1975, they dusted it off and dedicated it on West River Drive, in time for the Bicentennial. That's where it remains today -- Martin Luther King Drive, near Black Road.

Then there is the psychological aspect of this statue. The slaying of one's dragons. I thought of this as I was doing my tempo run this morning. The dragon of the morning was not a particularly odious one - run the three miles in under 19 minutes. I had done this last week, but had my doubts as to whether I could do it again as my body feels pretty beat up lately. Made it up to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge in 18:54, so the dragon is slain with a few seconds to spare. I'm liking how I can start a bit slower on these runs and then still manage to finish in under goal time. So the dragon is dead at least for the day, but it'll be back next week.

That was the highlight of my morning run, which was essentially a repeat from my workout last Thursday. I like running this loop alot more since I substituted the fire road trail for the roads that took me over Belmont Plateau. The fire trail gives me a run through the woods that I look forward to as I hump it over the MLK 3. This morning I had a member of the Fairmount Park Track Club - an adolescent deer - run ahead of me for a bit before diving off into the woods. Total of 11 miles in 91 minutes.

Yesterday's run with Deirdre was a merry chase through Center City, South Philly, and then SW Philly on this loop. Good for 8.5 miles in 73 minutes. Its been a period of exploring new routes lately, and its helped with reinvigorating my running.

Speaking of dragons, the ones that inhabit my workspace are roaring, I better stop here and fight them back.