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, October 29, 2009

Hard Rain

Pitter patter of rain made it hard to get out of bed and even harder to get out the door the last two days. Add a semi-bum foot to the mix and it looks like I won't be atop any championship podiums anytime soon.

I did see a doctor today and got a scrip for Physical Therapy.

And I did run. Easy 4 on my newfound loop under the South St. Bridge. Nice morning to run, wish it could have been more.

I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,

And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Two Trick Pony

My blogging lately has revolved around two topics - my bum foot and my running with BOMF. Don't have much else to talk about today. If I dwell on my foot, I'll whine some more about my half-fast running. Circumstance here haven't changed much.

That leaves BOMF. This is now my second week of getting up earlier to meet in SW Philly at Outley House at 5:45 to run with a group of folks. I don't know much about Outley other than it is a shelter on the magnitude of 200-300 beds with a therapeutic component to it. Somewhere I heard referred to as a "rehab shelter". A group of mostly guys, about 10-15, staying at the shelter and a few "non-residential" runners meet and we go run. I had initially thought of this as a good way to get mileage on my easy days, but recently these "easy" days have become my hard days and I've cut back on my mileage by biking to Outley.

A week in, I've already figured how to time my arrival to avoid most of the stretching that they do before the run (I'm already warmed up when I get down there) but have gotten there in time for a huddle to recite the Serenity Prayer, 12 step style, before heading out to run. I've been running with whoever is in front of the pack, which has worked well in that its been different people on each run. Runs have been anywhere from 3-6 miles.

The running is different than other group running I've done. Some of it is obviously the socioeconomics, but it is also due to most of the people there not having been involved in running that long. Both those factors create an absence of little nuanced running-related things that I only notice in their absence, and make me realize how homogeneous the typical running groups are, and how even the most friendly running groups can be intimidating to the uninitiated. It's hard to pin down, and I'll write more about it in some future post when I can offer more specifics.

But in writing this I realize that is the difference of this group, that it is a running group less socialized to the running "norms" of the masses and leaves me feeling the outsider. The run today was down the Cobbs Creek bikeway to Baltimore Ave, about 2.5 miles, and back. Reese and I started at a steady pace that from his breathing I didn't think he'd maintain. We were joined about a mile and a half by "Cheeks", who caught up to us for a bit and promptly started walking. Following this the pace undulated somewhat between faster and slower, with Cheeks either falling back and catching up or running ahead and walking until we caught up. We'd run as a threesome at times and at other times there would be a good spread between us. The running paralleled the way I was feeling - alternately connected and disjointed. Reese thanked me for slowing down to run with them, something I hate when people do because, I think, I feel their discomfort where I feel there shouldn't be any. If I wanted to run faster I'd have run faster. I started to explain this but couldn't find the words to do so. So I let it drop.

New situations bring out the sociologist in me. I'm very aware that I'm still new to this scene so I largely take it in and try to figure it out and where I belong in things. And I heed some other 12-step advice, to keep coming back.

As a postscript, I ran 5.5 miles around the Art Museum loop yesterday, took Saturday off and ran 6 miles up and down Woodland Ave on Friday. Yesterday's run felt fine but subsequent frisbee tossing and apple picking got my foot worked up again. It didn't feel bad after this morning's five, however. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Serenity Prayer

Went out to run with BOMF group again this morning. This time I ran down there and back and did the group run in the middle. For the group run, I ran with the same guy I did the mile with on Monday. He's a good runner and about my age. Conversation was guy-style: sporadic with stretches of silence in between. That suited my mood and somehow seemed appropriate for running down Lindbergh Blvd. with the sun rising to our right. Gonna be another nice day I'll spend in the office.

This made for 10+ miles, which was more than my foot could handle. Things felt okay but the heel pain came on slowly and more diffuse around the ankle. Different style than before. And its been with me since. I iced it while eating breakfast but that seems to make the pain worse. Pain is nagging, not debilitating.

Obviously I'm still trying to figure this one out. For now I'll stick with my every-other-day schedule and perhaps, gasp, schedule an appointment with some healthcare type. Nothing else seems to be working.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Every Little Twinge

Cycled to SW Philly to run with a Back on My Feet group. We met outside of a transitional housing program where 11 out of the group were living, and another 2 volunteers set up the workout. Everyone was very welcoming and, after a mile warmup, the group did a timed mile on Paschall and Woodland Aves. and I got in about another mile cooldown.

I figure I'd run the timed mile as fast as my foot would permit but no faster than whoever was in front. My foot, in contrast to last Mondays workout, went fine as I applied some speed and I stayed abreast of another guy and we both finished the mile in 7:04.

I'll write more about this BOMF group as I go to more of the runs. I felt very much on the outside of something, which is as it should be, and I am content to continue running with this group and see what unfolds. I don't feel like I got much of a workout in today but I am glad I felt this good on the few miles we did.

And now I'm back to obsessing over how my foot is doing, analyzing every little twinge. Dunno what else to do.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Same route, same time of day, same almost-wet weather. Same almost PF on the right foot.

Actually the route was a few blocks longer to make it 5 miles.

I'll keep doing this half-speed, half-mileage running until things get better or worse. They can't stay like this forever.

Go Phils.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Combined Reba and I almost ran a marathon today. Okay, so she ran 21 miles and I did 4.8.

Rainy, miserable day. I ducked out during a mid-afternoon lull and ran a slightly more extended version of the route I've been running lately out to under what will someday again be the South Street Bridge and along 76. This time I returned over the Gray's Ferry and back on 47th St. Route is here.

Rain was intermittent while I ran. I spent much of the run obsessing about my foot. I slipped some barely used orthotics that I had into my (new) shoes hoping that will make a difference. The pain was still lurking yesterday (a DNR) but, as is the pattern, it felt fine to run on today. I may be overanalyzing, but it seems like the pain is moving from the bottom of my heel up about an inch to under my arch. Still trying to figure out how to beat it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Shoes

A little redbird was chirping this morning about how cold it was. This got to me, to the point where I was considering gloves. But I wore my favorite long-sleeved t-shirt instead, with oversized sleeves that my hands could just curl into. And, though chilly, it was not cold and I was fine. Still, it is the first long sleeve run of the season.

I've been skittish with my heel. It again has gotten to the point where I have no pain. While I have not been great with stretching and icing it (which actually seems to aggravate the pain), I have gotten new shoes. I laced these up for the first time this morning and headed out on the 4 mile loop I did Thursday.

I felt very mild discomfort in my heel this morning. I was careful to keep the pace slow, minding the fact that I really aggravated it with that little fartlek I did on Monday. The run felt really good, though I felt there was a governor switch planted in my head that kept me from going too fast. This eased a bit at the end of the run, as I felt a good strong rhythm and my foot felt fine.

If blogs are exercises in self-absorption, then this post localizes this absorption even further to my foot. I'm thinking the plan right now is to run through it for awhile, albeit at easy paces. Pick up mileage before cautiously reintroducing speed. Also holding off with any medical intervention. And I'll keep going with the golf ball. There is an odd relaxation involved with doing that.

One thing I've been this time around is patient.

Tomorrow I'm set to run at 5:45 a.m. with a Back on My Feet group. See how that goes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Steelers Country

Greetings from the Hampton Inn in Belle Vernon, PA, deep in the heart of Steelers country.

On the last leg of a fantabulous road trip out to Ohio and Indiana. I haven't run all weekend until this morning. Reba mapped out a route into the hills, and we went out together. It didn't take long to get out of the interstate sprawl and into farmland, where cows were checking us out and pheasants were flying across the road.

All was not agrarian bliss, however. I slowed down to read a historical marker about some local luminary named Cook and sped up to catch up with Reba. That little burst was all it took to get my ankle bottom hurting again. It seemed completely cleared up after the weekend off and its back. Not extremely painful but there. That is disappointing. I suppose I'll have to seek out PT now.

So plan is to continue running low grade. 5.5 miles this morning, untimed.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Jackimo feen-i ay!

If You Don't Like What the Big Chief Say...
Just Jackimo feen-i ay!

Was listening to the Neville Bros. on my run this morning.

For the first time since I got the heel pain a week ago, I went on a run rather on a jog that merely served to feed the monkey.

I was going to run out to Franklin Field and back through Penn Campus and made it out behind FF when I spied me a pedestrian footbridge out over the railroad tracks which likely would take me down to the edge of I-76. With this link I could run out to the Penn ballfield and back around.

And so I called an audible and swung around. In doing so I ran under what will one day again become the South Street Bridge and got to see the progress being made. They are in the midst of laying the steel girders that will underpin the road bed. Suffice to say there is much work remaining to be done.

This then led to a service road going right next to I-76. Doesn't sound great but amidst all the whooshing of cars there is some green and, more importantly, a feeling of solitude. Its a nice run, and, as important, it is a rarely traveled run. Loop comes to 4 miles, untimed.

I felt my heel a bit at first, and then it was fine. I stretched and iced afterwards, and the heel actually felt worse after I did this. I've been running a golf ball under my heel while I work, and that seems to help, and I ordered new shoes. The only thing left is arranging the physical therapy, but I'm going to wait on that and see how it goes over the weekend.

Didn't run yesterday but did bike down to Center City in the morning to attend an orientation for Back on My Feet. For those of you who don't know them, they basically set up runs at transitional housing facilities where "non-residential" volunteers and "residential" program participants meet up and run. I decided to join when I saw that they have a 6 a.m. run out of Outley House, which is on 69th and Woodland... right on my Cobbs Creek loop when I run it out to Woodland Ave., and only a little bit earlier than when I go by there. This means I have run past the facility dozens of times, but I have absolutely no mental image of it.

The plan was to fit this in with my easier runs. Now with my heel problems I may have to adjust this, probably by biking out there to run for the first few weeks. Stay tuned.

Day before yesterday was an easy 2.5 miles.

Heading out of town for the long weekend, probably won't post again until Monday or Tuesday.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Shoes and Balls

Quiet weekend, runningwise.

Went to visit my mom in NY on Friday and Saturday, and didn't even pack my running shoes. Took those days completely off due to the right heal pain from Thursday's run. I was limping visibly on Thursday, not so badly on Friday, and not at all yesterday. Today was okay until I put my running shoes on, and, like a conditioned response, the heel pain made its presence known again. I nonetheless jogged an easy two miles and the pain, while there, wasn't bad. It got to be where I didn't feel comfortable with the footstrike, a disconcerting feeling I last had when I was coming back from an ankle injury in 08. Did some thorough stretching and icing following the run, which is unusual for me.

Plan is to continue to do easy mileage for the near future and see if this gets better, worse or whatever.

Got suggestions for new shoes and golf balls. My shoes aren't old yet, but I may get a replacement pair (it's the running equivalent of rebooting your computer), and I actually have some Mayes College golf balls lying around my office that I'll put to good use tomorrow.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Bridge Too Far

I write often about my resistance to running workouts - of difficulty getting out the door or, once out the door, getting the momentum up to initiate the effort. This resistance is not irrational, and today's workout is proof of that.

Today was a return to the Bloody Nipple. This is the most odious workout in my repertoire. Done right, it consists of a 3 mile warmup to MLK, four MLK tempo miles, and then a recovery up and over the Bloody Nipple hill and around to Belmont Plateau, another almost 3 miles, done as quickly as possible (a recovery on the run).

Wanted to get those four miles in under 24, total time was 24:06 (6:06; 5:58; 5:58; 6:04). Unfortunately that was all I had. I got this sinking feeling, right after I finished, that I was about six miles from home with nothing in the tank. I also got a bruise-like pain in my heel starting in the last half-mile of my tempo.

I went through some old posts to see my BN workout times in the glory days of 2006. My best times for the tempo miles was in the mid-22 minute range and for the BN part was in the low 16 minute range. I couldn't imagine doing that this morning.

I also saw that, in September 2005, I had a blog entry with the same title as today's about doing this loop. An excerpt reads:

After that the run devolved into a death march, where you are spent and just trudge miserably on home. It is one of the ugly facets of training, where you just have to suck it up and ponder the fact that today was overdone.

This pretty much describes the last six miles of my run. The only difference is this heel pain, which continued and is still with me as I write this. Looking on the web, it seems alot like Plantar Fascitis, the only common overuse injury I've never had. Based on this, looks like I'll be taking a few days off. I feel okay about that, but that may be because I'm still in denial. It nevertheless keeps up this up and down pattern I've been having lately. But the ups continue to get uppier, so I'm willing to be patient.

I've now got almost five years of blogging under my belt. Two things amaze me: how I can read about workouts that I can only vaguely remember and how I can have the same ideas about workouts (and even the same blog titles) and think they are original.

13+ miles in 107:30.