Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Forsythia, for Crying Out Loud

Forsythia, the front porch, Blue Bell Hill.
Sunday's run, a fun six miles through the hills of Manayunk in my huaraches. Spring has definitely settled in. The first blooms of the season -- forsythia, daffodils, celandine -- all painted the same exuberant shade of yellow. I wonder why.

The Broad Street Run is less than four weeks away. I'm ready in the sense that I will be able to finish. I'm not ready in the sense that I am not in shape enough to turn in a decent time. Oh well.

As I've already reported here, I have not been training enough -- blame it on the weather, blame it on my health. Blame it most of all on laziness and lack of preparation. What I have learned over the years, and still forget from time to time, is that I work best with a pre-determined program. More on that in a later post.

It's all good. I'll get through the Broad Street Run. I've got time to really work on my performance for the Double Creek.  And I have decided to follow this "programme" from the Dublin Marathon website (PDF file) to get me ready for the big event.

It's hard to be anything less than hopeful this time of year.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Personal Update

Dan Allen.

Today's run, five miles in the rain.

Here it is, nearly the middle of March, and I haven't updated this blog for over two months. What gives?

I could say that it has been a terrible winter for running here in Philly, with snow and ice covering the ground through most of February. I could also tell you about a bad bout of sinusitis which waylaid me for four weeks. But this sounds like nothing but excuses.

Excuses, excuses, excuses...

Where to go from here?

Spring has arrived. The snow is gone. On Sunday we'll turn the clocks forward, providing an extra hour of light at the end of the day, perfect for after work runs. And my sinuses, like the ice clogged streets, have begun to clear. 

I'm still determined to run the Dublin Marathon in October -- paid the registration fee, booked the lodging. I've also registered for two other events, Philadelphia's Broad Street Run on May 1, and the Double Creek Half Marathon in York County in mid June.

The Broad Street Run is in seven weeks, and I am woefully out of shape. But I work well against a deadline.

So no more excuses.

And I promise to update my blog more often.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Running in the Snow

It is the day after what the Philadelphia Inquirer has rated the 17th heaviest snowfall in the city’s history, and man, I really need to go for a run.

Thirty-five degrees, bright and sunny, but a foot or so of snow just isn’t going to go away that quickly. Vibrams for traction, Injinji socks for warmth, by the end of the block my feet are soaked, my toes going numb. I push it out for a mile before I decide to cut back, give it up before hurting myself. But then my feet begin to warm up from the exercise, feeling floods back into my toes. I keep going, up and down the narrow streets of my neighborhood, figuring if I stick close to home I’ll be alright.

Mountains of snow, seas of slush, but I manage to pull out five miles. Good as long as I keep going. But as soon as I finish the run, stand outside my door and fumble for the keys, the cold slams in.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My First 10 Mile Run Without Shoes

Map of the run from Run.com.
My 10 mile run through Philadelphia's Roxborough neighborhood.
A major milepost for me last week -- I completed my first 10 mile run in my huaraches. A typical December afternoon in Philadelphia – overcast, cold (35 degrees), snow flurries. Ice along the banks of the canal in Manayunk.

I seem to be acclimating to the winter weather. My feet were cold throughout the run, but not enough to shut me down. Heeding advice I picked up from barefoot running blogs, I carried a pair of thermal socks (didn’t need them), and chose a route that in the last half provided the opportunity to bail out and grab a bus if I ran into problems.

Here’s a link to my route on Run.com, if you happen to live in the Philadelphia area. Please note that there is a significant climb about midway.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Yesterday it was my birthday ...

Cormac Clancy and Dan Allen having a pint.
Cormac Clancy and yours truly, Dublin, December 2001, just before my 40th.
Say what you will about these guys, they do take their pints quite seriously.
Yesterday it was my birthday
I hung one more year on the line
I should be depressed
My life's a mess
But I'm having a good time

-- Have a Good Time, Paul Simon

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Fusiliers Arch, St. Stephen's Green
Fusilier's Arch, St. Stephen's Green, Winter 1984-85
No run today. Instead a bike ride to Chestnut Hill, where I met Donna for a drink. Road home as it was getting dark, beautiful Christmas lights on Germantown Avenue. Biting cold.

Today I have begun the daunting task of uploading photos to Flickr to create a Gallery for this site. Most of these photos were taken close to thirty years ago,  so I may have gotten some things wrong. Old friends, if I have left out anything important, please let me know. Also, please let me know if you have your own photos or memories to lend to the effort.