Thursday, March 31, 2005


I don’t really have anything to exciting to report for my last 2 runss in March. Yesterday I waited until the evening to run and then I just hopped on the treadmill for an easy 7 miles.

While I was walking the dog this morning I talked myself into running on the treadmill again. It was 40 degrees, but the winds were 15-20 mph and I didn’t feel like dealing with them. So, call me a wimp. I was supposed to be 10-11 miles with the middle 6-7 at an up-tempo pace. I’ve been trying to run the max distance each day, but today I wasn’t really into the run. 7:00 pace was feeling “too difficult” so I only did 6 miles at that pace and 10 miles total.

I had a really good March. I ran every day and finished with 316 miles. That’s only the 3rd time I’ve ever been over 300 miles in a month. One thing that stands out is that I did this on 33 runs, averaging 9.6 miles per run. The other 2 times I was over 300 miles I ran 323 miles (January 2002) on 36 runs (9.0 miles per run) and 314 miles (January 2005) on 43 runs (7.3 miles per run).

On to April…

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Well there was no question about shorts or pants today. Since I waited until the evening to run, the temps had a chance to heat up – and they made it all the way to 67 degrees. Remember, I’m in Minnesota, so that’s pretty hot. After 15 minutes of running I ran by my car and dropped off my baseball hat because it was “too hot.” After that I joined my team for long hilly run. Usually they run between 45-60 minutes on Tuesday night. Today they went 75. By adding my 15 minute warm-up beforehand, I had my 12 miles. I actually felt really good and did push the pace like my coach suggested.

The run consisted of a lot of hills and stairs. There’s a long hill in St. Paul that leads to a great running store (Runners Edge) on Grand Avenue. I’ve always driven that hill and thought, “this would be a great hill to run.” Well, I got that chance tonight and I was right. While it “sucked” it was “great” at the same time. If that makes any sense? I’d take that hill – or any hill, for that matter – over the stairs my coach has us doing. Stairs are just brutal!

Since the triathletes were only going to spin for 15 minutes after the run, I decided to join them. After that we did some abdominal exercises for about 10 minutes. I’ve never been a big ab guy, but I’m trying to change that. All I hear now is “core this” and “core that” so I thought I’d better give it a shot and see if it helps. Awhile ago I was on the treadmill and saw an infomercial for Since the first DVD, ball and pump were only 10 bucks (well, more like $17 with shipping and handling), I bought them. The only thing is that it’s a membership deal where they keep sending you DVDs every other month. Not a big deal until I got my second DVD and it was 40 bucks (again, more like $47 with shipping and handling). That seems steep for a 25 minute workout video and some flashcards. I plan on sending that back and canceling my subscription. I have enough different exercises; I just have to stay motivated.

Monday, March 28, 2005


I probably could have run in shorts this morning. It was 35-40 degrees, depending on what info I choose to believe. The TV news in the morning is usually 5 degrees warmer than the bank clock near where I run. Since 40 is sort of my cut-off for shorts, I decided to “play it safe” and wear long pants. I only ran 6 miles, so it wasn’t a big deal either way. I was fairly tired again this morning. Running 9 hours after last night’s 10 miler probably didn’t help matters. I threw in a few strides towards the end of today’s run. They were kind of “half-assed” but better than not doing anything.

I scored a pair of thin white running gloves during the run too. Actually I saw a single glove and ignored it, than about 5 minutes later I saw its mate and picked it up. Since I run out-and-back, I picked up the other one on my return trip. I already have a pair of white ones, but you can’t have too many.

I got the next 2 weeks of my program from my coach today, along with the following message “On Tuesday and Saturday, plan to run up front with Erik or Leonardo, ok? That will challenge your muscles and mind a bit more.” I guess my ability to run at the back of the pack when I was flat on Saturday didn’t impress him. He’s probably right. Plus, since this week’s mileage is only 65 with Saturday’s run being 12, I should feel a lot fresher than last week.

12 weeks till Grandma’s!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2005


It was harder to get my run in than I expected today. Since it is Easter Sunday, that means driving about 45 minutes to my wife’s hometown, going to church, then heading to her mom’s house for lunch and an Easter egg hunt. By the time we got home at about 3 PM the NCAA tourney was on again. Being from Wisconsin, I had to watch the Badgers battle the Tar Heels for a spot in the Final Four. While it was close the whole way, I never got the sense that the Badgers were going to win. Afterwards, Michigan State and Kentucky played a great game to determine the last Final Four spot. During this game I was still trying to decide what I was going to do about my run. In the past, I’d have just talked myself out of running and written down ZERO in my log book. Since I have some goals I want to achieve, I’m more motivated. Lately I’ve been hopping on the treadmill but, since it was about 45 degrees outside, I wanted to get out – even if it meant running in the dark.

After putting my kids to bed I was able to get out around 7:30. I had an 11 mile run on the schedule but decided to just run an 8 mile loop. I figured that’d be better than zero. Awhile ago I borrowed a friends’ GPS watch and ran this loop. I’m pretty good at judging pace and distance, but was still surprised when I finished the loop and the watch read something like 8.015. Anyway, tonight I kept the pace comfortable. I went through 4 miles in 31:58 and ended up running even splits for the 2nd half. Feeling pretty good and “not afraid of the dark” I decided to add on 2 more miles. So I ended up with 10 for the day. Not bad.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Off-site training for work that is. That makes it hard for me to update my blog. Hard to believe it’s been a week since my last post. Where does the time go?

Here’s a summary of my week. Monday I ran an easy 7 just to shake the legs out after my race. I didn’t really feel any soreness – it probably helped that I didn’t wear my ultra light racing flats for the 8k since it was my first race of the year. Tuesday I ran with my team and did 12 miles with hills. I felt surprisingly good, given that my race was only 2 days ago. Wednesday was another easy 7 miles. Thursday was a double day with 5 easy miles in the morning and a harder 11 in the evening. I decided to run my second run on the treadmill, so I could watch the NCAA tourney again. I warmed up for 1.5 miles then ran 8 miles in just under 54 minutes (6:45 pace), followed by a 1.5 mile cool down. Friday morning I did an easy 7 with strides on tired legs. Saturday was another run with my team and ended up being my longest run in 10 weeks. While the triathletes ran 90 minutes, I ended up going 19 miles with a few hills thrown in. My legs weren’t as tired as yesterday, but they just felt flat. So I kept the pace easy and ran at the back of the pack. Seems like a lot of the group was tired, especially the people that raced last weekend.

I ended the week with 81 miles on 8 runs. I’ve probably only been over 80 miles about 10 times in my life. I can remember my first few times over 80, it was a big deal and I’d be really tired and worried about getting injured. Now I’m feeling really strong and just think of it as another solid week.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


The Human Race 8K is not quite and out and back course. It runs about 2.25 miles out, loops around a college, and returns about 2.5 miles. Temps at the start were around 35 degrees with sunny skies and a slight E wind – meaning a first “half” headwind. The first mile is a gradual uphill, so when combined with the headwind I decided to go out controlled for the first 2 miles, re-assess as we looped around the college, then hopefully pick it up once the wind was at my back. Again, my goal was to break 30 minutes, but I also had sub-6:00 pace (29:50) in the back of my head.

One thing that’s unique about this race is that it starts on a boulevard-section of Summit avenue. The elite men start on one and the elite women start on the other. I like to start with the women since I’d usually place in the top 10-15 (if I were a woman) and it makes it easier for me to pace. So the gun goes off and I stick to my plan. About 2 minutes in I see Eric about 5 seconds in front of me - he’s basically leading our side of the road. I was a little surprised because last week I told him I’d like to break 30 and he said he wasn’t ready for that. But I look around and I see familiar faces, so I know my pace is in the ball park. About 3 minutes into the race the boulevards merge and we form 1 big pack. I remain controlled and hit the first mile in 6:06. It’s a tad slow, but that’s the toughest mile on the course. Feeling controlled I think sub-30 is possible. During the 2nd mile I was breaking the wind a little until a guy passed me and I jumped behind him. It wasn’t a brutal wind, but I thought the less resistance, the better. We hung together and passed 2 miles in 12:03 (5:57).

Given this course layout, I usually get to see the top men heading back right before I start looping around the college. This year I see the top-3 before I make the turn. 3 blocks later and we’re heading back the way we came. The tail wind feels good and I pick up the effort and pass the 3 people in front of me. The 3rd mile is a very gradual uphill, which I pass in 18:05 (6:02). Running the course beforehand, I know there is a steeple with about 1.1 or 1.2 miles to go. That steeple also represents where the course begins its gradual downhill to the finish. I keep telling myself to stay relaxed and just make it to the steeple. I do a pretty good job and pass 4 miles in 24:03 (5:58). I figure sub-30 is in the bag, but 29:50 could be tough. I see Eric up ahead again (probably 10-15 seconds) and he’s having a great race. My legs feel strong, but I can’t really turn them over any faster, even with the gradual downhill. A couple of guys pass me and I don’t go with them. I manage a 5:52 for the last .97 of a mile and finish in 29:56. One goal achieved, one missed.

Others: Eric ended up at 29:33, while the 60 year old Superman, Jim ran 30:35. The group I’ve been training with ran well, Jenna 28:34 (2nd overall woman), Mary 36:35, Jack (63 years old) 38:46 and Noreen (who’s really a fish) 40:22.

On the positive side: Last year I ran a 5k on Memorial Day at 6:01 pace and finished the year on Labor Day with a 10k at 6:03. So to start this year off with an 8K at 6:01 pace is great. Plus, I finished 48 seconds faster than I did last year.

Race History Date Time Pace
Human Race 8k 3/16/1997 32:14 6:29
Human Race 8k 3/28/1999 34:19 6:54
Human Race 8k 3/19/2000 30:09 6:04
Human Race 8k 3/18/2001 29:52 6:01
Human Race 8k 3/24/2002 29:20 5:54
Human Race 8k 3/21/2004 30:44 6:11
Human Race 8k 3/20/2005 29:56 6:01

I still remember thinking after that 1999 race "how in the hell am I ever going to break 3 hours for the marathon?"

Saturday, March 19, 2005


Well, yesterday’s flurries kept coming and coming and the wind kept blowing and blowing. We ended up with 5-6 inches of new snow. It sounds like we were right on the edge of things. The northern suburbs barely got any snow, while 30 miles south of me got a foot or more of snow.

Normally, the day before a race, I like to get my run “out of the way” early to give myself 24 hours to recoup. However, with my daughter’s dance class in the morning and fresh snow that needed to be slid on, I didn’t get my run started until 7:30 PM. Not a huge deal because I was just running an easy 5 miles, plus tomorrow’s race isn’t until 1:20 PM. Yes, 1:20 – that’s not a typo. I have no idea how they determined that time.

I was a little worried that yesterday’s snowfall might make the course slippery, but I think the roads should be clear. It’s on a main road and with the high(er) afternoon sun today, we should be good to go. Sounds like temps will be in the mid-30s. That’s not bad. It’s still kind of weird though because the half marathon I ran on Feb 5th was 15 degrees warmer.

I ended the week with 62 miles on 7 runs. Through the 19th I’m at 190 miles. I’m on pace for 310 miles, which would only be the 3rd time I’ve broken 300 miles in a month.

Friday, March 18, 2005


I think I just need to get back into the routine of running every morning. Sleeping in is great – that morning – but the next day it sucks. Not only did I have to work to drag my ass out of bed at 5 AM, but I was greeted by 20 mph winds and flurries – not a good combination – ouch. Today I was wise enough to run into the wind first, however that only lasted 2 miles because the wind was so bad. I decided to turn around and seek shelter on the more wooded part of the trail, even though it meant I’d have to run the last mile or so into the wind. That turned out to be a wise decision as even the bare trees were able to provide some shelter from the wind. I ended up with 7 miles. Tomorrow will be even easier with 5-6 easy miles planned prior to Sunday’s race.

I mentioned earlier in the week that this is my favorite race. It’s the Human Race (formerly St. Patrick’s), an 8k that starts and the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul and basically runs out-and-back along Summit Ave., which is the same stretch from about 21.5 to 24 miles of the Twin Cities Marathon. It’s a fairly quick course with some gradual hills along the way. I think the main reason I like this race is because there’s a lot of buzz surrounding it, locally. It’s usually the first race for the USATF Minnesota road series, as well as the Minnesota Distance Runners Assoc. So, it’s really the first time that we get to see the top local runners since October. Plus, usually, spring is in the air. However, they’re forecasting temps on Sunday between 20-35 degrees. GOAL: sub-30:00.

Thursday, March 17, 2005


I made the “mistake” of looking at the TV guide last night. I saw that NCAA basketball tourney was on TV tonight. That “forced” me to sleep in this morning and do my up-tempo run tonight on the treadmill, while watching the games. It was a toss-up for me. I really like to get my runs out of the way in the morning. However, I’ve been getting sick of winter lately and its dark cold mornings – especially Thursdays. Even though it’s been around 15-20 degrees lately in the mornings, which really isn’t that cold, I’m just ready for a break. Plus running tonight gave me an extra hour of sleep. Even though I was up feeding the dog at 4:45, I just went back to bed.

I don’t mind the treadmill, especially if I’m doing a harder effort. And I mind it even less if there’s something decent to watch while I’m running. Even though I was yawning all the way home from work and didn’t really want to get on the treadmill, I was able to pump out 11 miles without even thinking about it. I did a 2 mile warm-up, 7 miles that averaged out to “7:00 pace”, then a 2 mile cool-down. I used quotes around my pace because I don’t think my treadmill is very accurate. Either that or I’m in terrific shape because 7:00 pace felt VERY comfortable.

It probably is time to get the treadmill re-calibrated though. We’ve had it 5 or 6 years now without any maintenance – other than vacuuming out the dog hair and tightening the belt. I know it’s not accurate at certain speeds, I’m just not sure about all speeds. For example, if it’s going at 7.1 mph, I’ll be running 8:50 pace. However, if I bump it to 7.2 mph, I can hear the motor kick-in and the pace drops to 7:50. That kind of sucks because I like to do my easy runs somewhere in the middle. Running half at 8:50 and half at 7:50 gets me there, but it’s not the same.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


I just ran an easy 8 today. Halfway through the run I met a guy named Dave who was running with his 2 huskies. They were beautiful dogs – one was completely white, which I’d never seen before. One stopped to do his business, so we said good bye. About a minute later they caught up to me. Apparently the dogs like to “lead.” I could just imagine being on a sled and having a team of dogs pull me along – led by these two.

Dave seemed like a nice guy. However, when his other dog did his business, I noticed Dave didn’t pick it up. Granted the dog was off to the side of the trail, but you still have to pick up after your dog(s). Being a dog owner myself, that’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

Speaking of dog poop, the house 3 doors down from me has 2 huge labs. The owners let them crap in the yard all winter long without picking it up. Now that the snow has melted, for the most part, I see about 500 piles of crap in their yard. I remember walking by last year on a nice spring day and the owner was out there with a scooper and a 5 gallon bucket. Call me crazy but I’d rather just walk my dog and pick up after her one at time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I had 12 miles planned for tonight. Since most of my team only had a 45 minute run planned, I got there early and did a 2 mile warm-up before joining everyone else. Tuesdays are usually hills or stairs. Tonight we ran an out and back course that contained one long, gradual hill followed by a short steep hill. Since those were the only 2 hills we ran, I considered that a break from the hills.

Usually, I’ve been hanging back on these workouts a little. However, lately I’ve been thinking that I need to push the pace more on Tuesdays. I keep thinking back to my college days when every easy run seemed like a tempo workout for me. I was a lot faster back then – on a lot less mileage. Yes, granted I graduated 9 years ago, but given my increased mileage, I think I should be faster than I am. Therefore, I figured it can’t hurt to push the pace on Tuesday’s group runs. I tried that tonight and it worked really well, probably because 1) I felt really good and 2) I was running with Jenna, who has a 2:50 marathon PR. We just started talking and ended up pulling away from the group within a mile. We ended up running 10 miles together at a comfortably hard pace – at least for me. She was probably just jogging.


Tuesdays I run with my team in St. Paul after work. So I can’t write about today’s run yet. Instead I thought I’d write about a guy I “caught” in a white lie the other day. I was running with one of my new teammates and we were talking about races we’ve done and are planning to do this year. He’s a triathlete, but since I’m training for marathon we eventually got around to his only marathon attempt last fall at the Twin Cities marathon. Now this is like our 2nd time running together, so we don’t really know how fast one another is. He proceeds to tell me how he was on 3 hour pace through 20 miles before cramping up and finishing in just over 3:30. That seems reasonable, I’m sure it’s happened a million times.

I admit I was a little curious, so I went to the website to check out his story. Well the first split I see in a 1:32:30 half. Hmmm, it’s “close” – sort of – but it’s not really 3 hour pace. Maybe he was able to pick it up before crashing. “Luckily” the Twin Cities marathon also tracks another data point later in the race, usually 30k or 20 miles. So I look and I see 2:18 and I’m thinking, “Wow, he did pick up the pace.” 2:18 thru 20 miles is 6:54 pace, very close to the 6:52 pace needed for a 3 hour marathon. Then I look closer and see that it’s a 30k split, not a 20 mile split. I guess he didn’t pick it up after all.

He did actually finish in 3:31:25, like he said, but there’s no way he was “on 3 hour pace” at all, let alone for 20 miles. Maybe I over-reacted by “checking-up” on this guy, I don’t know. Maybe because breaking 3 hours took me so long to accomplish that I take it personally when people throw that time out.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Just a nice easy 6 mile run today. Usually I take the dog for about a mile in the morning and then I drive 30 minutes across town to near where I work. That allows me to exercise the dog and avoid the morning rush hour. Well this morning Bailey didn’t want to run for some reason, so I didn’t force her. I just drove across town, ran my 6 miles and threw in some strides at the end.

Every morning (okay, nearly every morning) I drive across town and park my car at a coffee shop before going for a run. Then I buy a large dark roast and head to the office to shower and start my day. I do this for a few reasons; 1) as stated above, to avoid the rush hour, 2) because I love coffee and 3) this particular shop is next to two old rail road beds that have been turned into limestone (maybe) trails. These trails are great because no motorized vehicles are allowed, they’re soft and they’re (for the most part) away from civilization. The things I don’t like are that they’re flat, flat, flat and that nearly all of my Mon-Fri runs are out and back over basically the same trails. I’ve only been running on these trails since Sept and it hasn’t been a big deal so far, mainly because it’s been pitch black outside. Now that it’s (slowly) getting light out, I may have to venture out and find some new routes. Of course, I’ll still park at “my” coffee shop.

Sunday, March 13, 2005


It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep feels like, especially if you haven’t had one for awhile. Between a 4 year old coming into our room every night, a 1 ½ year old who usually makes noises throughout the night and a dog the “insists” on being feed at 5 AM, it’s tough to get a good night’s sleep. The 4 year old was gone, the 1 ½ year old didn’t make a peep (or at least I didn’t hear her) and the dog – well I still fed her at 5, but then went back to bed. I know what you’re thinking, but if I don’t feed her she keeps pestering me every 15 minutes until I do feed her.

Today’s run called for an easy, flat 13. I kept the pace easy, but couldn’t find any flat land. The loops around my house aren’t super hilly, but they’re not flat either. My legs felt okay, given that I did 17 yesterday. So 30 miles for the weekend or nearly 4:15 of running.

I forgot to mention my weekly total after yesterday’s run. I ended up with 76 miles. This week will be closer to 60-65 with my favorite race this Sunday. More on that throughout the week.


Well I survived another night out on the town. It started out with a tour of the greatest brewery around, It turns out the Head Brew Master is the uncle of my friend’s wife. Since our tour was at the end of the day, afterwards he joined us for a few samples. Pretty cool! While we were at the brewery, winter reared its ugly head. Snow, wind and cold temps turned the roads into glare ice, making our 20 minute drive back to town into a 45 minute drive. The good news is that we got some bad info regarding spring break. The “kids” were in town. Up until about 10 PM we weren’t so sure, then they started coming out in droves. Us old-timers nearly went to bed at 10 but ended up making it to 1:30. That’s not bar-time, but not bad for a bunch of 30-somethings.

Back at the hotel I set my alarm for 6:30. Surprisingly, I was wide awake at 6:10. I got up showered and hit the road, while my friends slept in. I’m sure they think I’m crazy for getting up so early “just” to go back for a run. My team meets at 9, but they only run for 90 minutes. Since I had 17 planned I got there about 45 minutes early in order get some miles under my belt and warm up. Did I mention it was 13 degrees? What the hell, it’s the middle of March. Let’s go with the warmer temps already!!!

It’s not surprise I didn’t feel awesome today. I just wanted to make it 17 miles and get home. I figured I could get a nap in because my oldest daughter was going to a play with her grandma, then spending the night at her house. Sure enough I survived the run and was able to get in a 90 minute nap. On top of that I was able to get 10 hours of sleep. Now I just need to stop staying up so late.

Friday, March 11, 2005


If I could have hit the snooze button this morning I would have. However, I’m going out of town with some high school friends this afternoon and there’s no other time for me to get my run in. Good thing it was just an easy 6 miles. Nothing too exciting to report. I did pass two runners who were going in the opposite direction. Right when we were getting ready to exchange greetings, one of them tripped and fell. You don’t see that too often.

So this afternoon I’m heading back to where I went to college. We were all excited to hang out with the college kids (read college babes), but yesterday we found out the school is on spring break this week. There will probably be some people out, but not as many as usual. A few of us are staying the night including me. However, I’m planning on leaving around 7 AM so I can get back and train with my team in the morning. Hopefully that 17 I have planned with hills won’t be too painful.


Thursdays are hard for me. They might not be my hardest or longest effort of the week, but when combined with getting up earlier than normal along with a second run in the evening, it makes for a long day. “Earlier than normal” means getting up at 4:40 in order to get in a 12 mile run before work. Ideally, I’d like to do that in the evening, but with a young family, I try to make my running “invisible” to them. I suppose I could do it after they went to bed. Maybe I’ll do that this summer once it gets lighter.

Anyway, my AM run called for a 2 mile warm-up, 8 miles at “pace” and 2 mile cool-down. I know “pace” is very vague, it’s an up-tempo run, but not a tempo run. It’s faster than “normal” but slower than marathon pace. Clear a mud, huh? Today it was just one of those runs that I wanted to be done with before it even started. 1” to 2” of fresh snow didn’t help matters, especially in the pacing department. The first half wasn’t too bad once I got going. When I turned around I figured out why – I had a moderate tail wind pushing me a long. I usually try to run into the wind first, especially in the winter. But I’ve been running my pace runs along the same out and back route so I don’t have to keep worrying about where to turn around. We’ll I paid the price yesterday. I ended up negative splitting, but only by about 10 seconds – with a lot more effort exerted.

I really tried talking myself out of the PM run, but managed to hop on the treadmill for 5 miles. Watching VH1’s “Most Wanted Bodies” made the time go by quickly. The only bad thing is that I only made it to about 30th. The top 30 bodes are on too late. Maybe I’ll catch them one of these nights.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Instead of using my sub-3 as a springboard for “success” and building off it in 2003, I took the year “off” to obtain another life-long goal – becoming an Ironman – which ($10,000 later – okay, more like $6,000 later) I finally achieved at Ironman-Wisconsin in September, 2003.

For awhile I was fired up about triathlons and even thinking about my 2004 season. Then I thought “I’m 34. If I want to see what I can accomplish in running and if I ever want another chance to approach my all-time PRs, now is the time. I’m not getting any younger.” So last year I did one sprint triathlon without any bike or swim training. Otherwise I focused on shorter road races and set most of my post-30 PRs which I mentioned earlier.

So now what? What are my goals and how do I get there? I signed up for Grandma’s marathon, which is June 18th. While I haven’t set a goal yet, I think something like 2:53-2:55 is possible, maybe faster depending on how training goes. I remember watching the Twin Cities marathon last fall and a gal I finish about 10 seconds behind in two different 10Ks during the summer, ran a 2:53.

I had no problem staying consistent and motivated this winter, however I kept questioning whether or not I was doing things “right.” I tend to get in a rut in the winter were I do all my runs really slow, like 8:00-8:30 pace. Meanwhile, I keep reading about 3:30 marathoners running 7:30-8:00 pace on their “easy” days and I think “WTF.” So I decided to hire a coach for the next year or two and see if it makes a difference. It’s not the most dynamic website, but you can learn more at The main thing I like is the group training sessions, which I try to attend 2 nights a week. This is only my 4th week with Matt, but so far so good. I don’t want to give too many of his secrets away, but likes to oscillate weekly mileage, he follows a hard/easy schedule and he also loves hills.


Normally I do my runs in the morning. However, last night’s 1 hour test was, obviously, last night. It ended 8:30, meaning that today’s morning run started 9 ½ hours afterwards. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good given the short rest period. I kept the pace incredibly easy, around 8:45-9:00 pace for 7 miles. I may have picked the pace up a little when I saw a couple of runners coming towards me, but made sure to check my ego after they had passed. While it was only 10 degrees when I started this run, there was a bright sun coming up, which increased the temp to 15 by the end. Man, it’s nice to see the sun again. Now we just need warmer temps.


Since I only had an evening run scheduled for today, I got to sleep in an extra hour. Hmmm, sleep!!! That felt really good.

Tonight’s workout was a 1 hour test to see how far I could run in that amount of time. My coach and his other athletes were there too (more on them in another blog) with his marathoners doing 1 hour and triathletes doing 40 minutes. All the ‘mills were full at first, so I did about 12 minutes on the elliptical. That’s the first time I’d been on such a device.

I was finally able to get onto a ‘mill and did a mile to warm-up. Based on my recent treadmill workouts and my recent half marathon (6:27 pace) I figured I’d be able to handle something between 9.0 and 9.3 mph. So I started out at 9.0 for 2 miles before bumping it to 9.1. At first I couldn’t tell the difference in pace and I thought about bumping it up a tenth of a mile every 2 miles. At 4 miles I bumped it to 9.2, but any thoughts of going faster quickly faded as the miles began to accumulate. I ended up with 4.53 miles at the halfway point. A glance to my right showed a triathlete is running 9.3 mph. I take solace in the fact that he’s near the end of his workout and he’s “only” running for 40 minutes – telling myself I’d be at like 9.5 mpw if I only had to run for 40 minutes. Damn, competitive nature!

From time to time my coach would come in for updates on time, distance and cadence. He seemed to make a big deal about me being able to keep my cadence at 95. I’m thinking “I’m on a treadmill, going the same pace – I’m kind of “forced” into keeping the same cadence. Either that or fall off.” The triathlete next to me has completed his workout and leaves. I look around and see 1 other person in the room. 40 minutes ago there were probably 20 people on treadmills or ellipticals. It cleared out in a hurry. So, I’m “stuck” by myself for the last 4 miles of my workout, which I maintain at 9.2 mph. During the last mile things are getting tough and it feel like my form is going to shit. I try to focus on relaxing and it helps a little. Finally I’m done – completing 4.59 miles during the 2nd half for a total of 9.12 miles or roughly 6:35 pace.

It’s a solid effort, but I can’t help but wonder how the hell I can run 6:27 pace for 13.1 miles in a race, but only 6:35 pace for 9.1 on a treadmill. I guess it has to do with being on a treadmill and lack of the competition surrounding a race. 6:35 pace is also equal to about a 2:52:30 marathon, which I think is in the ball park for my spring marathon – give or take 1:30. Okay maybe not give 1:30, but certainly take 1:30. Anyway, on the treadmill, there’s no way I could maintain that pace much longer. Good thing marathons aren’t run on treadmills.

Monday, March 07, 2005


…on sleep that is – at least a little. I managed to go to bed at 8:30 last night. While that sounds early, I get up at 5, so that’s only 8.5 hours of sleep. I like to see the temps before heading out the door for my run. This morning the weather man’s map showed 20s to 40s across the region. Then he said “these are wind gusts not temps.” Great! At least it was still mild with temps in the low 30s, however Spring is gone. The long-term forecast did not have a single temp over 35 on it.

I ended up running an easy 8 miles. My legs were a little tired, probably from the hills, but I suppose it could be from pushing a 35 pound kid for 85 minutes yesterday. Hopefully they’ll bounce back for tomorrow’s hard workout.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


I made the mistake of staying up till 2 AM last night. For someone that’s usually in bed by 9 PM (even on the weekends) that’s late. Especially when “sleeping in” means 7 AM when you have 2 young daughters. Actually, my 4 year old woke me up around 5:30 when she crawled into bed with me and my wife. After having her fidget and sing songs for 5 minutes I got up and went to her room till 7:30.

Spring was definitely in the air today as the temps topped out at 60 degrees after being in the 30-35 range lately. Today’s run was an easy 10 and, given the weather, my oldest daughter wanted to come along in the stroller. When I push her, I just base my run on effort rather than actual distance. So even though we probably only went 9-9.5 miles, I called it 10.

Saturday, March 05, 2005


I had a harder workout planned for today, 12 miles with the middle 8 consisting of rolling hills. After warming up with my dog, I headed over to Camp Sacajawea – I like to refer to it as Mt. Sac, after the running-based relay event – which is about a 3 minute jog from my house. I like running hills there because there’s a perfect 1 mile loop that’s steep in 1 direction and gradual in the other. I proceeded to run 8 loops, alternating directions each time around. During the end of my last loop I was thinking about what a great loop that this is. 2 minutes later, I’m literally 50 meters from the exit, and the park ranger “pulls me over.” After asking if I live around the area, he explains that this is a Permit Only park and that I can’t run there. They don’t want strangers running around while kids are playing. In the last 2 years I’ve only run/biked there 4-5 times, so it’s not a huge deal. And once the snow melts I’ll be able to venture to my favorite trails and find some hills. But it still sucks.

Friday, March 04, 2005


Nothing too exciting with my run today, just and easy 8 with some strides at the end. However, it was the first morning run since the fall where I didn’t need the little strobe light I wear on my hip. Most of my runs are on a trail that doesn’t allow motorized vehicles, but I still wear the light so the bikers don’t run me over.


Shortly after graduation I ran a 1:20:25 half marathon. Less than 4 months later, with a goal of sub-3 hours, I ran my first marathon in 3:20:01. Plug 1:20:25 into the www.mcmillanrunning conversion calculator and you don’t get anything close to 3:20. It actually comes out to 2:49:36. That shows you that these calculators are only accurate if you do the proper training. When your long run is only 17 miles, it doesn’t matter what kind of speed you have for 5k, 10k or even halves, you won’t hold up for a marathon. After two more attempts at sub-3, which turned out to be 3:17 and 3:26, I decided to put running on the back burner and attend graduate school.

I did a little racing while in graduate school, including my favorite 8k, where I ran 34:19 or 6:52 pace. Some of you people may recognize that pace. If you hold it for 26.2 miles you’ll break 3 hours – by the skin of your teeth. I thought “How the hell am I ever going to run sub-3 if I can barely run 8k at that pace?”

MBA in-hand, my 31st birthday around the corner and my college PRs a distant memory, I decided to get serious about running again. Actually, the break in competitive running was good for me. It allowed me to put my college PRs behind me and focus on racing based on the shape I was currently in, not what I’d done 5 years ago. In fact, I created a new list of post-30 PRs including, ~18:00* (5k), 23:22 (4M), 29:15 (5M), 37:32 (10k), 1:23:04 (half) and 2:58:10.

*Last year I ran two 5Ks, one in 17:40 that I felt was short and one in 18:15 that I felt was long.

A year later, I decided to try another marathon and actually follow a program in the process. I picked Jack Daniels’ program leading up to the 2001 Grandma’s marathon and was able to drop my time to 3:02:56, a PR by over 14 minutes. I changed to Pete Pfitzinger’s program and 4 months later ran 3:00:55 at Twin Cities and 3:03:15 at Boston in 2002. Finally, lucky #7 produced my first, and so far only, sub-3. That came at the Whistlestop marathon in Ashland, WI, which happens to be where I grew up.


I want to try to post my daily workouts, along with some background info. So before I get to the "History of Zeke - Part 2, here's my workout from yesterday.

I’m lucky enough to work for a company that has a “fitness center” in its basement. It has some free weights, weight machines, 4 treadmills and a pair of stair masters, ellipticals, and bikes. When I run in the morning, I do most of my workouts outside. However, if we get a lot of snow or ice or if it’s “too cold” I’ll hit the treadmill. For me, “too cold” has been about -10 degrees this winter. Now that it’s March, it’s not likely it’ll get that cold again and it wasn’t that cold yesterday - it was actually about 5 or 10 degrees. However, after tasting 40-50 degrees a little last month and running outside most of the winter, I wasn’t in the mood to run in the cold. Besides, I had a harder workout planned and I wanted to get a better sense of pace, so I headed inside.

I was surprised to find someone in the fitness center before me, since I got there at 5:45. I was also surprised to see that we were down to 3 treadmills. The gal walking was on the nice treadmill. It’s wider and softer than the other 2, but more importantly, it has a place for water bottles. Not a huge deal, I hop on one of the other treadmills and figure she’ll be done walking by the time I’m done with my warm-up. 3 minutes into my warm-up, she tells me to switch treadmills with her. I tell her it’s not a big deal, but she insists. I just thought that was really nice of her.

As for my run, Thursdays are one of my harder days. It consisted of a 1.5 mile warm-up, 9 miles of up-tempo, progressive, pace work – or whatever you want to call it - and a 1.5 mile cool-down. I haven’t done a lot of these workouts lately, so during the 9 miles, I erred on the side of “too slow.” I started out at 7:15 and decided to pick up the pace every 3 miles, dropping to 7:00, then 6:45 for the final 3 miles.

While I hope my next marathon is faster than all those paces, I’m always amazed at how hard this kind of workout feels on a treadmill. I don’t know if it has to do with the sound of the motor, running in place or what, but it sure felt harder than 9 miles at 7:00 pace. Maybe it’s because my easy days are so slow that 7:00 pace just feels that much harder. If that’s the case, I hope my body and mind adjust after getting a few of these workouts under my belt.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


So why read my blog? No, I’m not trying to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Trials marathon or shed light on how to lose 50 lbs through running or write about some quest to run 300 miles without stopping. I’m just a “normal” runner looking to improve my race times. I’m 35 and have been running since I was 10. 25 years later I still have a passion for this sport and a passion to see how fast I can get before father time slows me down.

I know what you’re all thinking. How fast is this guy? What are his PRs? At least that’s what I think when I read info about a runner. The thing about how fast someone is, is that it’s all relative. I consider myself to be a decent runner. I’m faster than most people, but there are lots of people faster than me – and those are the ones I compare myself to.

I ran x-c and track in high school where I finished with 1600 and 3200 meter PRs of 5:01 and 10:52. I spent the next 4 years in the Navy where I spent less time running and more time playing basketball – my first love. One day while sitting at sea I was thinking about what all sailors think about – where else I'd rather be. While contemplating whether I should re-enlist or get out and go to college, a shipmate of mine, who was a runner too, convinced me to get out of the service, go to college and run x-c and track again. 6 months later I was at UW-Eau Claire (W is for Wisconsin), trying out for their x-c team. Luckily this division 3 college didn’t cut runners from their program. I was there from 1992-96 and while I was never a force I was able to drop my PRs to 9:40 (3k), 16:50 (5k), 28:00 (8k x-c) and 34:57 (10k).

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


No, my name is not Simon and it’s not Zeke either. “Simon says Run” comes from a college roommate of mine. His dream is to open a running store someday and he asked my thought on names. Since he named his son Simon, I came up with “Simon says Run.” I thought it’d be a good name for this blog too, since the creation of this blog is spur of the moment and I had to come up with a name while registering. Zeke is actual a pen name I use when posting on running message boards. That comes from my boyhood idol, Isiah Thomas – it is his nickname. I actually started using it while I was in the Navy. My job involved communications and typing messages to other ships. At first I used my initials, CA, but everyone kept asking me if I was from California. Yea, like that’d be so original. So that’s where and how Zeke came about. However, no one calls me Zeke, really, just a few people I’ve met through message boards.

Anyway, back to the blog. Two months ago I probably couldn’t tell you what a blog was. However, one day I was surfing Beck's Cognitive Emesis and I came across Alison's blog While reading her blog I kept coming across entries that sounded if I had written them (except for all the elliptical training she does). So I thought I’d give this a shot. It could be fun and entertaining, it could suck. There’s only one way to find out.