Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Commodore Barry Bridge 10K

Last Sunday I ran a very small 5K in Swarthmore. It was a fun run and part of a larger festival. The course itself was pleasant - thru Swartmore College and the borough of Swartmore.

This week I did the Commodore Barry Bridge Run. It was a 5K walk and run
and a 10K. This bridge like the Ben Franklin was designed originally
without a center barrier and the lanes would change depending on the rush
hour. I guess several head ons later both bridges have center barriers.
The 5K starts in the south(east) bound lanes and the 10K in the north(west)
lanes. Walkers start behind the 10K (pretty good planning I thought since
the walkers have their own space the entire way - 10K runners cross the
entire span and return in the east lanes). On the start line a runner said
that the bridge looked a lot steeper and longer than it did on the web. And
indeed the uphill portion is daunting. Suprisingly just when you think you
crested there is another little rise (I thought it was just me but a couple
of other runners noticed it). The view from the top is spectacular -
although the day was shortly to turn cloudy and eventually rainy it was
still blue skies with views of the Philly skyline 10 miles away. On the
down slope you get a clear view of the Chester Power Station - a fantastic redevelopment project to give new life to an old power station. It should be spectacular when finished in the fall. Favorite sign - No Stopping On Bridge - good race advice. Coming back I really planned on enjoying the
downhill and I did, but the wind was very strong somewhat negating my plans
for a fast finish.

My goal was 8 minutes miles and I finished in 49:11 which was 7:56. Only
disappointment - originally I was announced as third in my age group - no
big deal in a small field - but apparently a mistake since looking at the
results this morning I see I was fourth. By accident they had no medals for
the 10K runners so at least I don't have to give back a medal.

When I came back there were many 5K runners on the scene. This race is known for a really delicious post race brunch and I figured they were still there because of the food - but many more than usual still hung around - then a friend who had done the 5K enlightened me - duh! The bridge was closed until all the walkers cleared - no one could leave! That's one way to get people to stay for the awards ceremony. Once they announced the bridge opened the crowd melted away almost instantaneously.

Coming up this week one of my favorites - Broad Street.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Tyler Arboretum 10K

This is a trail run mostly thru the 450 uncultivated acres of the 650 acres owned by the Arboretum. Several years ago the Arboretum made the decision to erect of large deer fence to protect the collections of rare plants. Going out thru the fence always seems a dramatic way to enter the woodlands reminiscent of King Kong or Jurassic Park.

Much of the run is familiar ground for it covers the trails I run every Friday. My last run on the trail was in a spring snow and today is considerably greener (although not quite a green as I expected – the cold wet weather undoubtedly). A low pressure system has stalled over this area bringing grey skies and rain, although we got through the run without rain. The course reflected that with much mud, wet courses and high water on the stream crossings.

My only goal was not to walk any of the hills and though my shorten stride was often barely running I did accomplished that.

A combination of better weather (last year a cold wet rain fell all thru the run), familiarity with the trails, and better hill running meant I was much faster then last year.

Biggest disappointment was the t-shirt – so non-descript they might as well given Hanes right out of the package. Second biggest was no plant give away. Although I always manage to kill it – I did enjoy getting a cutting of some bush or other that had traditionally been given out at the finish line.

Still it is a great spring run and a definite favorite.