A long run to the ‘Rocky’ Steps

It was a 20K on the schedule for my long run this weekend. That’s 12.4 miles for those who are mathematically challenged. (And trust me, I pass no judgement on that.) Here I am in Philadelphia on City Avenue covering St. Bonaventure’s rise in the Atlantic 10 women’s basketball tournament and I have some critical workouts to get in in the final weeks before Texas Ironman 70.3. What to do? Buckle down and find a way.

Falls Bridge -- where my long run began and ended.

I did not want to run 12.4 miles on a treadmill unless I absolutely needed to. My best running buddy Sue and I had a discussion about how to approach the long run on this road trip. We decided if I needed to, I could split it up if need be, especially if I had to do most of it on a treadmill. After an inquiry at the hotel front desk, I discovered that I was merely half a mile from a running/bike path that followed the river. Score!

With St. Bonaventure playing in the A-10 semifinal at noon, I needed to get my run in early. And so I planned to start just after sunrise. Temperatures were in the low 40s and I overdressed, unsure how cool it might be along the river. I was quite OK with that since the long run had no pace involved. The point was to get it in. And so off I went, finding the path and running along the river. Soon I came up to the boat houses and saw some rowing teams out on the water. It was quiet. Peaceful. Slightly overcast but pretty. I trotted along and took it all in. I wasn’t sure how far I would go. A friend of mine who had suggested the running path mentioned something about a loop. But in unfamiliar territory with time constraints I thought an out-and-back would be best. I kept running along the water finding more and more people out and about. I was by myself but part of a community of strangers. This was fantastic.

Eventually, I started to see downtown Philadelphia. That made me smile. I don’t know exactly why but I felt kinda badass. I could try to explain why I felt that way, but instead, I decided to just go with it. There was downtown Philly. And as I closed in, I saw the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Really? This was too good to be true. C’mon. You know what I had to do, right? I mean I’ve never seen Rocky (I saw Rocky IV if that counts) but I’ve seen the classic scene many times of Rocky running up the art gallery steps. So yes. I had to do it. And it was the perfect break time for a shot block, sip of water and photo opp. Seriously, there was something cool about running those steps on a Sunday morning, about getting in all 12.4 miles of my run and smiling the entire time. It just felt right.

A view from the "Rocky" steps in Philadelphia.

Back at the hotel, I raided the breakfast buffet which featured blueberry pancakes (their mistake) then quickly showered, dressed and got over to Hagan Arena to cover the Bona women’s game. I wished I had remembered to pack my compression socks because, truth be told, I was a bit sore as the game wore on and I sat on press row, furiously taking notes and typing erudite (or not) comments into the live blog on The Buffalo News website. The other day, I wrote how this Bona women’s team has reinvigorated my desire to do my best, to follow my passions, regardless of what other’s may think or how many people care. Sitting on press row, basking in the peacefulness of my long run, it all seemed terribly worthwhile. I showed up in my life this weekend. And it was awesome.

For those following along at home, Bona defeated host school Saint Joe’s to advance to the A-10 finals. The game is at 5 tonight on ESPN 2 (or to go my Twitter feed and click on the link for my live blog. I promise it will be a hoot.) Trust me, if you tune in, you’ll see great basketball, great athletes and may just find yourself coming away a bit inspired to do the best at whatever is in front of you that day.

And in case you need some extra inspiration, here’s the Rocky scene:



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