Saturday, April 30, 2005


My goal heading into this race was to run 37:30-38:00. After thinking about it some more I thought sub-37:45 would be more appropriate and I even had thoughts that I was being conservative. Race morning, I awoke to temps around 40 with a slight breeze. At 7 I took the dog for a quick walk/jog and my legs felt really good. I picked up my friend Deb and we drove to the start. Actually, since I thought it’d be too difficult to find a parking space near the start, we parked across the river and walked. It ended up taking us nearly 15 minutes, which was a little longer than I had hoped for. The nice thing was that we both already picked up our race numbers and chips, so we didn’t have to check in at all. We still had 45 minutes till the start when we met up with Eric and Jim. Eric immediately proved my parking theory wrong, as he was able to park a block from the start.

I went to the baggage drop with plans on leaving my bag, going out for a warm-up, then getting my bag and changing into my race gear. The lady taking my bag was shocked that I’d want to get it back before the race started. She said something like “it’s going to be to chaotic for that.” So I went to plan “B” – throwing my stuff in Eric’s car. To make a long story short, I was kind of scrambling before the start. I ended up only getting in about 15 minutes of running with some strides.

When the race started, Eric somehow put about 5 seconds on me just by snaking his way through the crowd. That was alright because history has shown that Eric goes out too quick for my taste. With the downhill first mile, I knew it would be a quick opening mile. However, I went out a little quicker than I would have liked – going through the first mile with Deb in 5:46. Eric was already about 10 seconds in front of me. Deb and I ran together for the 2nd mile (6:01) too. We had a little cross wind, so we tried to tuck behind the people in front of us. Somehow I ended up with no one to block the wind for me, so when a guy came by soon after the 2nd mile, I jump behind him. This is also the last time I saw Deb.

About 2.5 miles in, we have our first uphill that leads over the Lake Street Bridge into St. Paul. While I’ve been running a lot of hills in practice, I still don’t consider myself a strong hill runner. I can usually maintain my effort and get up them okay, however, there always seems to be a few people that pass me. With the hill, I knew this mile would be slower (6:07). Right after the 5k (18:36) the toughest hill on the course appears. I’m able to hold my position on this hill and pass a guy on the downhill afterwards. The up hill was enough to slow my 4th mile to 6:08.

I should mention that Eric has this BRIGHT BLAZE-ORANGE shirt that he races in, so it was very easy to see him up ahead of me. When we raced in March he jumped out to a huge lead of 30+ seconds during the first 3 miles. At mile 4 I closed the gap to 11 seconds before he kicked it in to beat me by 23 seconds. The closest I got today was probably around 4 miles, when I was about 20 seconds back. I ran the 5th mile in 6:07 but it wasn’t enough to close the gap. The last 1.2 miles (7:33) included another bridge climb and a headwind crossing the bridge. I held on to finish 110th in 37:43, which was 29 seconds behind Eric’s 37:14. Deb crossed the line as the 10th woman in 38:02. Jim finished in 39:15 and was disappointed because the winner of his 60-64 age-group was only 5 seconds in front of him. Jenna, from my training group, ran an awesome race. She was the 3rd woman overall (1st American) in 35:53, which I believe is about a 16 second PR.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this race. On Memorial Day last year I ran a flat, fast 5k in 18:44. Today I ran 8 seconds faster than that, then followed it up with at 19:07. Also, last summer I did a lot of road races and speed workouts and I peaked with a 37:32 10k on Labor Day. Finishing only 11 seconds behind that time, on a tougher course, without any speed work is a step in the right direction.

Complete results can be found here.

Friday, April 29, 2005


Not much to report today – just an easy 5 miles – so I thought I’d throw out a couple of links on running.

Registration for the Twin Cities Marathon kicked off last night with a mile race in downtown Minneapolis. I didn't run this race, but here are the results. Keep in mind that the TCM usually fills within 1.5 to 2 weeks. So if you're thinking about running, sign up sooner rather than later.

Here’s the link to a 5-part series on Kenyan running by Scott Douglas. It’s been posted on numerous sites, so maybe many of you have already seen it. But I think it's worth posting here too.

Oh, I've been meaning to ask what the going rate is for a quality 10K around the country? I believe the race I'm doing tomorrow started out at $24 or $25. I paid $29 and I think race day registration is like $32. All of these rates seems REALLY high to me.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Today I decided to run the Get in Gear course to help prepare myself for this Saturday. I ended up running 8 miles total with 2 x 1 "mile" in 7:00 with a mile jog between. I run on these roads quite a bit, but like I said before, I’ve only run this race once. After today’s run, I may have to change the strategy I posted 2 days ago.

This is a beautiful course, of which about 3 miles follow the Twin Cities Marathon course (roughly miles 16-18 and 20.5-21.5). It starts at Minnehaha Falls Park and runs along the West side of the Mississippi River for about 2.5+ miles, crosses over the river and comes back along the East side, crosses the river again before finishing back at the park. The first 2.5 miles of this of this course should be smokin’ fast, as it’s all gradual downhill to flat. It then has a little climb as we cross over the Lake Street Bridge into St. Paul, so the 3rd mile could be a little slow. Just after the halfway point the biggest hill on the course appears, leading up to the University of St. Thomas. Even with the “free-fall” after this hill, I expect the 4th mile to be the slowest. The 5th mile is all flat and the only climb during the 6th mile the Ford Parkway Bridge heading back to Minneapolis.

Given the layout of the first 2 miles I’m now planning on playing closer attention to effort than pace. If I hit those first 2 splits in sub-6, as long as I’m not breathing like I’m running a 5k, I won’t be too worried. I think the key for me is to get to about 3.5 miles (the top of the hill) feeling decent. Then I should be able to pick up the pace and finish strong. The more I think about this race and my training, the more I think I’m being conservative with my 37:30-38:00 goal. I think I could feel like total dog shit and still break 38. I guess I’ll find out on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

3 IN 18

As I started today’s easy 7 miles my legs felt terrible. What a contrast from yesterday when my legs felt great for both runs. Then it occurred to me that this was my 3rd run in the last 18 hours. My “normal” two-a-days would give me 3 runs in 24 hours. I don’t know if those extra 6 hours make that big of a difference or not, but it sure felt like it today.

Who’s the coach that suggested “living like a clock” meaning going to bed, getting up, running, etc. at the same time every day? I did a lot better job of that in the winter and I think I need to get back into that routine – at least for these last 7 weeks leading up to Grandma’s. No more of this staying up late playing XBOX, then sleeping in and skipping my morning run.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


No, this post has nothing to do with the Michael Jackson trial.

I slept in today but was still able to get in an easy 5 miles over lunch. It was one of those runs where I felt really strong and my form felt really good. Throughout the run I was thinking about my strategy for this weekend’s race. Since I went out too hard in 2002, I think I’m going to be more conservative this time around. Even if I go out in 6:05-6:10s, for the first half, I think I can still run 6:00 pace for the second half. That’d get me around 37:30-37:45.

I joined my team for a 10-11 mile evening hill workout, starting at Macalester College again. As I drove to the run it was raining pretty hard. Luckily, by the time we started, it tapered off. While the 40 degree temps and winds weren’t ideal, at least we weren’t soaking wet.

I started off really easy as I chatted with a gal in the back of the pack. After 15 minutes I picked it up, but I never really pushed the pace. 40 minutes into the run Jenna turned off to add-on some miles, but I followed the group back and stopped after an hour, which I’m calling 8 miles.

On the way home I felt guilty for not following Jenna and getting in a few more miles at an honest pace. It’s a balancing act of “mini-taper” vs. “training through.” Granted, Grandma’s is my main goal, so I should probably be training through. However, running a fast time this weekend can also provide a big confidence boost leading up to Grandma’s.


It’s been awhile since I’ve taken a day off, so I didn’t run today. Actually there was some more reasoning behind my decision than that.

1) My last day off was 56 days ago. The streak before that was 55 days. I’m not a big streak guy. I’d rather run fast race times than say I’ve run X miles everyday for the last 25 years.

2) Tomorrow is a single run, but I thought I’d do an easy 5 in the morning, before my evening workout. I think the easy runs loosen my legs up for the PM workouts. So I’m not really skipping a run, I’m just moving it over a day.

3) Most importantly, I got a new XBOX baseball game that I want to play tonight. Yes, I admit it, I’m a 35 year old video game junkie. I grew up with pong, space invaders, pac man, asteroids, etc. Now I’m more into the sports (baseball, football and golf) and racing games than anything else. But I only like to play the sport games when they’re in-season. Just think how much better I’d be at running if I could change all those video game hours into running hours. Nah!

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Last night my training group had a party for 2 people that are moving to California. This was my first social gathering with the group. It was interesting to see everyone in their “normal” clothes and talk to them outside of a workout. A couple of people who I thought were very quiet – weren’t. I guess oxygen debt has a way of keeping people quiet. It was a good time, but I didn’t get home till 1:30, meaning I only got 5 hours of sleep. When you have 2 kids, 6:30 AM IS sleeping in.

I was supposed to run 10-12 miles but ended up only running 6. Kinsey wanted to come, so I pushed her the whole way. After having a bunch of days in the 60-70s and sunny, it was hard to explain to her that – even with the clear blue skies - it was cold outside. I let her wear shorts, but we had 2 blankets and a pair of sweat pants – for when she figured out that 45-50 degrees, sunny and very windy wasn’t as warm as she thought. She did – when we started heading into the wind.

My legs felt pretty good. I’m sure the soft surfaces of yesterday’s run helped a lot. This should be a pretty easy week as I drop down to 55-60 miles – sort of a mini-taper before this weekend’s race. Although Get in Gear is Minnesota’s largest non-marathon, road race, I’ve only run it once. In 2002, I ran a similar time for The Human Race in March as I did this year. That year I went out too hard at Get in Gear and held on for 39-flat. I’d like to break 38 this year and would be really happy to run 37:30 or faster.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I did the first part of my long run today while watching the Trail Mix. My training group had 3 people running the 25k, including our coach, a mixed relay team and a member on another relay team. This is a very hilly trail race that consists of a 12.5K loop. After watching the runners start, I ran around on the flatter section for an hour. Prior to the race I told Mary I’d run the 2nd lap with her. She came through the halfway point in 1:04 and looked strong. When I joined her, her 8:15 pace was a shock to my system. Even though I’d been running around, it took awhile to get into a rhythm.

In 1997 I ran this course in 2:00:22, prior to my 3:17 at Grandma’s. 8 years was long enough for me to forget how tough this course is. One of the hills is long, narrow and rocky. It leads to the top of a ski hill and probably takes 3-4 minutes to get up. Once at the top, you crest the ski hill and go down a very steep slope. Shortly after that there’s a section with wood chips. While great on the legs, the wood chips absorb all the energy out of your legs.

All of our hill training must be paying off because Mary ended up running even splits. She passed two women in the last 5k to finish in the top-10. Our coach ran well, finishing 2nd in the 45-49 age-group, Jose ran a 2:17 and the relay team took 2nd in the mixed division.

I ended up running around for 2:57 and called it 21. The only “bad” thing is, with all the standing around to cheer and talk with everyone, it took me three and a half hours to run for that long. So for my last two 20 milers I’ll make sure to run them as continuously as possible. Overall for the week I ended up with 82 miles on 9 runs.

Friday, April 22, 2005


Shouldn’t be Surprised
I went to bed last night just before 10. Katie, who has suddenly developed separation anxiety, was crying by 11:30. She was fine as soon as my wife or I went in to check on her, but as soon as we left, she started crying again. At 1:00 I tucked her back in then pulled up a sleeping bag and slept next to her the rest of the night. It seemed to have worked as she didn’t make a sound the rest of the night.

Since I only had 1:30 of sleep before Katie woke up, it felt like I’d just taken a nap and I was wide awake. While I was lying there I was thinking “I shouldn’t be so surprised how well my workout went tonight.” Last year was my highest mileage year ever and I had my best summer of road racing since college. After finishing my last race of the summer in September, I took a week off before building my mileage back up. In the 7 months since then, I’ve averaged over 280 miles/month or 65 mpw. Through September of last year, I averaged 50 mpw. So hopefully I’m developing capillaries, mitochondria and other things at a cellular level that I can’t see that will make me faster.

New Theory

With last night’s workout and Katie’s “episode” it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I slept-in today. Instead, I slugged my way through a very easy 5 miles at a not-so-marathon-pace of nearly 9 minute miles. During these 45 minutes I developed a “new theory” – when the wind speed (25) is half of the air temperature (50), it doesn’t make for ideal running conditions. Okay, maybe I’m not going out on a limb there.

From 3 to 2
With less than 2 months till Grandma’s, I’ve been trying to figure out what shoes I’m going to wear. I’ve been thinking about either 1) adidas RATs Racers, 2) New Balance 833s or 3) Nike Skylons. I’ve worn RATs Racers for my last 3 or 4 marathons and I did last night’s workout in them. I like how light they are, but I think this time I’m going to go with a little more cushion. Being a spring marathon, I’m a little more concerned about trashing my legs for the rest of the summer. I really like the feel on the 833s, but I’m not sure if they have enough cushioning either. So right now, I’m leaning towards the Skylons.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Since my morning run was only scheduled to be 5 miles today, I slept in and ran it during my lunch break. My cold still has me all stuffed up, but I felt okay once I got going.

This evening's run was a 10 miler with the middle 7 "at pace". I decided do this workout on the dirt track, ala Beck, near my house. During my warmup I thought I'd try running 2 x 3 "miles" @ 6:40 pace or 2:55 marathon pace with a 400 meter jog between the sets. Once I started the workout, I checked my splits every 400 meters and I was surprised by how easy 6:40 pace felt. I kept clicking off the miles and decided not to take a break after 3 miles. Instead I'd go 6 miles straight. The miles continued to go by quickly I still felt good, so I just did all 7 that I had planned. My splits were 6:38, 6:42, 6:39, 6:39, 6:41, 6:40 and 6:48 (I lost focus - thinking about what I was going to write for my blog entry :-) ).

Needless to say this workout has me pretty fired up, especially since last week's 6:52 pace felt much more difficult.


Ealier in the week Alison wrote an entry about what’s next for her. As I read it I thought “that’s exactly what I do.” After a goal race, when I’m just getting back into the swing of things, running comes first. Then as I get more consistent I start adding other “things” to my training, like eating right, stretching, strength training and mental training.

Last year I tracked my eating using Fit Day for awhile and I found my diet usually fell into the 60/20/20 range (carbs/protein/fat). Since I tend to eat a lot of the same foods, I’m pretty confident my diet is fairly healthy.

Stretching and strength training are the first things I usually slack off on. As I get older, I tell myself I need to pay more attention to them - more for a healthy lifestyle than to help with my running. Strength training is like coffee and sex, there are articles supporting and refuting all 3 when it comes to enhancing athletic performance. I tend to agree that strength training should be sport-specific. I also think there’s something to all this talk about core strength, core power, core performance, etc. So this is the first year I’ve done any type of ab work.

Since college, I’ve been intrigued by the mental side of sports. It’s interesting that we hear about it all the time with top athletes, yet very rarely read anything about it in the top running or triathlon magazines. To me sports psychology is more than just having a positive attitude. It’s about the ability to relax, visualize, focus, build self-confidence, etc. If you’d like to learn more, you can get a used copy of The Total Runner for less than a buck. Another option is Running Within.

I often wonder if the Tiger Woods, Michael Jordans or Lance Armstrongs of the world apply some of the techniques in these books or if the mental side just comes naturally to them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Kinsey at the park. Posted by Hello

Katie's first haircut. Posted by Hello

Bailey looking sad. Posted by Hello


I woke up with a sore throat and stuffy nose this morning. I had an inkling yesterday that I was coming down with something. It doesn’t help that Katie was sick over the weekend – and we shared a spoon. Hey, it was ice cream and I thought she just had a tooth coming in. Oh well. Once I get up and get moving I don’t feel too bad.

It does make me wonder if all my mileage is taking a toll. I’ve never run more than 2,800 miles in a year and right now I’m on-pace for about 3,500 this year. If I had to choose between getting a cold or getting injured, I’d take the cold any day.

I managed an easy 7 miles this morning in just under an hour.


Doug Kurtis wrote up a review of OLNs marathon coverage too.

Some of the race reports I saw on were titled things like;

Beaten Back by Boston Again!
Another Boston Meltdown
Another Crash & Burn in Boston

One runner actually had a great race, running 2:54 to PR by 9 minutes. That's very impressive.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005


My work department went bowling tonight. We hired a new Chief Marketing Officer about 2 months ago. Apparently he’s trying to create a fun work atmosphere. I have yet to formally meet him, although he apparently knows my name since he says "hi" in the halls. I skipped the only staff meeting he’s had so far, since it occurred a half-hour after I leave for the day. I also skipped bowling, since my team trains together on Tuesday night’s. Actually, I probably would have skipped it no matter what night it fell on. But having it on a Tuesday gave me a “legitimate” excuse. A former co-worker might call those CLMs – Career Limiting Mistakes (or is it Maneuvers?).

We had a good turnout for tonight’s run – meeting at Macalester College in St. Paul. From there we headed over to the hills in the Highland Park and Mac/Groveland areas. Even with the good turnout, not many were pushing the pace – probably because many of them are racing either a 25k or a 50k relay on the trails of Hyland Park this Saturday. I’m not racing - I'm opting for a 10k on the 30th instead.

Just like last Tuesday, I ended up chasing Jenna all night. I didn’t feel quite as good as last week, so it felt like I was way behind her. We ended up running just over 70 minutes. It was probably more like 9.5 miles than 10, but I don’t really like “halves” in the log book, so 10 it is.

Speaking of work, I was in a meeting this morning and found out the guy sitting in the cube across from me is my boss’s boss. He’s been here a couple of months too and I knew he was a VP, but I didn’t know that my boss reported to him. I guess you can tell how much I care about titles and career paths.


Well, it’s the morning after Boston – is there a pill for that? I followed a handful of people on-line and it wasn’t pretty. It looks like most people ran at least 8 minutes slower during the second half of the race. I haven’t talked to anyone yet and have only read one race report, so I’m not positive what happened. While it wasn’t 85 and sunny like last year, it was 70 and sunny at the start – less than ideal.

I “ran” last year in those miserable conditions and I’ve said if I knew how to get back to Boston, I’d have dropped out around mile 8. I ended up running 3:50, which was 52 minutes slower than my qualifying time. I wonder what that record is. The “nice” thing about running so slow is that I recovered a lot quicker than normal. As a result, I was able to apply my marathon base to a summer full of short races and ended up running my best times since college. So if Boston didn’t live up to your expectations, there could be a silver lining.

I watched OLN’s coverage last night. Are you telling me there’s not a U.S. distance runner with a communications degree or the desire to commentate? Instead we have a long jumper (Carol Lewis), high jumper (Dwight Stone) and Lewis Johnson. I’m not sure Mr. Johnson’s background, but I’d venture a guess that it’s not distance running. Here are some observations:

4-5 miles into the race, eventually women’s winner, Catherine Ndereba, is about a minute behind the leaders and Carol thought the race was over. I think anyone who’s run a marathon, let alone on the Boston course, would know that a minute with 20+ miles to go is nothing.

Early in the women’s race Carol said something like “the weather is picture perfect today, you couldn’t ask for anything better.” Then her very next sentence is “The runners probably wish it were 10 degrees cooler.” Well, which is it? I guess it was perfect for sitting on your ass, but too hot to be running.

Throughout the race I kept wondering why Ndereba was wearing that black headband that covered her ears. It looked more like a winter headband than a sweatband. After she won, I figured out why. It was to protect her head from the laurel wreath that they present to the winners. Why didn’t they just place a crown of thorns on her head?

Note to the BAA: these runners have tiny heads. You might want to scale back the size of the wreaths a little. It was more like a necklace for the men’s winner.

Anyone see when they introduced us to the top elite runners? It was like when they introduce the starters for Monday Night Football. They showed each runner standing around in the same John Hancock turtleneck and BAA jacket as they gave a little bio of them. Well, they showed the runners face for about half a second, then the camera start zooming in and moving from left to right and up and down. It was very annoying. Just hold the camera still.

It was nice to see Alan Culpepper crack the top-5. I knew his results from following on-line. If I hadn’t, I’d have been more upset by OLN’s coverage. Is it that hard to mention the top Americans a few times over the course of 2 hours?

Okay, this is probably too long of an entry already. I'll just close by saying I ran an easy 5 miles with strides this morning and my legs felt much better. I have a hard workout planned with my team this evening too.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Yes, it’s Patriot’s Day today a.k.a. the day of the Boston Marathon. I don’t know that many people running this year. Those that I do, I hope you have a great race. I’m more of a “great race” person than a “good luck” person. I figure if you’ve done the training, luck plays a very insignificant role in the race. If you haven’t done the training, then lucks not really going to help you anyway.

Remember that heavy feeling I had in my legs on the hills yesterday? Well it was with me the entire way today. Good thing I only had 6 miles planned. Hopefully, they’ll bounce back before tomorrow’s workout. Plus I’m supposed to run 75-80 miles this week and I rather not do that with the legs I ran on this morning.

Sunday, April 17, 2005


Since I wasn’t able to run with my team yesterday, I wanted to go a little harder today. That meant leaving my 40 lb. daughter and baby jogger at home. 10 minutes into my run I decided to do a mile around a dirt track, just to see what my easy pace is these days. That ended up being 8:05, so I figure the 8:20-8:30 pace I’ve been using for my very easy runs is fairly accurate.

I was thinking about running on the trails for about an hour before heading back to the track and running another timed 3 miles near marathon pace. However, as soon as I set foot on the trails, I knew there was no way I’d be going back and running 12 laps on the track. This was my first time on the trails since last fall and it was great to be on them again. How can you not like running on trails? I’d do it every day if I could.

Despite yesterday’s rain, the trails were still in really good shape. I felt pretty good on the flats, but my legs felt really heavy every time I went up a hill. Since leaving the track I had picked up the pace a little and I was probably running 7:45s. I stayed out for just over 1:40 and called it 13 miles.

Saturday, April 16, 2005


My 4 year old and I signed up for a “building buddies” class yesterday at our church. So instead of running 13 miles with my team, I was building a birdhouse. We were supposed to nail the birdhouse together, but the first nail split the wood. From then on we proceeded to just glue ours. It actually worked out really well. It took awhile to let the glue dry after each step. However, after watching frustrated fathers bend nail after nail, I knew we choice the right way.

I was hoping to get in a run after lunch but it kept raining and raining, so the rest of the afternoon was all about TV and popcorn with the family. I figured the Twins baseball game was being re-broadcast at night, so I’d just run on the treadmill and watch that.

I can’t remember the last time I saw anything dealing with arm wrestling. Today I saw 3 arm wrestling matches on TV. I flipped to ESPN to see what was on and they had the left-handed, heavy weight championship match on. We can’t get them to show any running races, but they have arm wrestling on their main station. Then we watched Princess Diaries and Julie Andrews arm-wrestled a machine at an arcade. Finally, Lizzie McGuire arm-wrestled a boy in her class. So there you have it, more proof that things do happen in 3s.

I did manage to get on the treadmill at 7:30. I decided to switch today’s 13 with tomorrow’s 10, since tomorrow is supposed to be a nice day. I just kept the pace easy and finished in just under 80 minutes. For the week I ended up with 62 miles.

Friday, April 15, 2005


I tried VERY hard to sleep in today. At 5 AM I told myself I could run at lunch or this evening. Even the thought of running in 60 degree, sunny weather didn’t help. I reset my alarm for 6 AM, but that didn’t work either. I was awake. So I got up and got in 7 miles with some strides before work.

I was talking with a guy at work the other day about running. I ran into him in the locker room last week during one of my lunchtime runs. We’ve talked running a few times since then and he knows I’m running Grandma’s. Yesterday he asked me if I was running TCM in the fall too. I said no because I was going to focus on my speed and just run shorter races. He said something like “That’s good, all that running can’t be good for your body – long-term.” I didn’t say I wasn’t going to run, I said I wasn’t going to run a fall marathon.

I guess these non-runners think we train for a race, run it, then just sit around until we decide on another goal. Besides, I’ve been running for 25 years. When are these long-term injuries going to start affecting me? Of course this advice was coming from a guy who complains about his knees and not being able to run much because of BASKETBALL. Let’s see; you/me, running/basketball, lateral movements/straight line, etc. I see the correlation now.

I tried to explain that I’d still be running “a lot” in order to get faster at shorter distances too. His response? “Intervals, intervals. I know, I ran high school cross country.” Yes, I agree intervals are important in the development of speed, but you still need a base in order to build that speed on. I thought about explaining this, but decided not to waste my time.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


Thought I’d better post the results from this morning’s run right away, since you’re all probably on the edge of your seats.

It was a great morning, 40-45 degrees, clear and no wind. I started with an easy 2 miles before picking up the pace. It took about 18 minutes to get to the track. Once I got there I just kept right on running. I ran 3 miles (okay 4800 meters) on the track in 20:38 or roughly 6:55 pace before heading back. Overall, I ran 12 miles with the middle 8 at an up-tempo pace.

I tried not to pick up the pace while on the track, but human nature may have kicked in a little. One thing is or sure, the 3 miles on the track were more stressful than the other 5 miles. There’s just something about being on a track that makes you think you have to worry about every lap and hit your splits – even though I only looked at my watch after every mile. The weird thing is the track was only about 10-12 feet wide - that made the straights look really long and the turns seem really short. At first I questioned if it was accurate or not. But given my pace and effort, I think it was.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my pace. If I only ran 3 miles at that pace it’d be a little disappointing. I have to remind myself that I ran 8 miles at that pace, not just the 3 on the track. It was comfortably hard and I know I can run faster.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Just an easy 6 miles this morning. This seems like the first Wednesday morning in a long time where I’ve been able to run in the morning after running hard the previous evening. Somewhere along the line I started sleeping in and running on the treadmill in the evening. Losing an hour of sleep to Day Lights Savings didn’t help either.

No wonder, I just looked in my log and it’s been 4 weeks in a row.

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s up-tempo run too – for the same reason. 5 of the last 6 weeks I’ve run these on the treadmill. Plus, I’ve decided to run in the opposite direction as I’ve been running my other up-tempo runs because there is a dirt track about 3-4 miles away from where I park. That’ll give me that chance to run 3 or 4 miles on the track and actually figure out what pace I’m running. In the winter I’d turn around after averaging 7:30 pace and then pick it up a little from there. In reality, it felt like I was going a lot harder than 7:30 pace. Hopefully I’ll learn something tomorrow.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


After running with my team nearly every Tuesday and Saturday for the last 8 weeks from the St. Paul YMCA, we got a change of scenery. Tonight we met near mile 19 of the Twin Cities Marathon (only a runner would describe it that way). For those of you familiar with Minneapolis, that’s the corner of the Franklin Ave. Bridge and the West River Road. From there we ran a bunch of the hills up from the Mississippi River, along the U of M campus.

What a difference a week makes. A week ago I skipped my hill workout and went to sleep early because of a cold. Tonight I felt really strong and pushed the pace for most of the 10 miles. For some reason the stronger runners haven’t been showing up lately. I can think of 3 guys and 1 gal that usually push the pace, but weren’t there. Instead I ended up chasing Jenna all night. Her PR is 2:50, but I’d guess she’s in 2:46 or 2:47 shape. A gal she recently beat by 18 seconds in an 8k just ran 2:48 at the women’s 40+ marathon in NYC.

We talked a little about our Grandma’s goals. I got the feeling Jenna wants to keep her time goal to herself. That’s fine. I’m sure if I was running near the men’s Olympic Trials standard, I’d keep things to myself too. I told her about my 2:53-2:55 range and she said that "shouldn’t be a problem" (famous last words). She thought I’d be shooting for sub-2:50, based on our training runs. While I take that as a compliment, I also have to keep things in check and make sure I set a realistic goal. Then again, I don’t want to be overly conservative.

Monday, April 11, 2005


I just ran an easy 6 miles this morning. My legs felt surprisingly good, given that I ran nearly 4:20 over the weekend. About the only thing interesting that happened was I saw a gal up ahead that was wearing a flesh colored shirt. Obviously, I knew she was wearing a shirt, but until I got within 100 feet of her, I couldn’t tell the difference.

I’ve been thinking about my Grandma’s goal a little bit more lately. Plus, last weekend I had 3 people asked me what my goal is. So, I thought I’d better get something down in writing, because, as they’d say in those Franklin Planning sessions, “an unwritten goal is just a wish.”

I have 2 more months to go and a few more races, so I’ll wait to write anything in stone. But right now, at a minimum, I want to PR, which would mean breaking 2:58. However, I like round numbers and 6:40-pace is a nice, round number that translates to sub-2:55. That feels possible. But then I think; there’s a gal that beat me in two 10Ks last year, by 6 and 13 seconds, who went on to run 2:53:01 at Twin Cities Marathon. So maybe 2:53 is possible, even though “they” say men slow down more than woman, the longer the distance.

My recent 8k predicts a 2:57:03 using the McMillan calculator. In the past, the results of this calculator are pretty “typical.” That means I’ve never been able to run my predicted marathon time. However, this year I feel stronger than I do fast, so maybe this is the year of change – or maybe I’m just fooling myself.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


So I got back from my 20 miler yesterday and had an urgent message from my friend Scott. He was going baby jogger shopping and he wanted to know what to look for. I’m no expert but I gave him some advice. He was fired up, like “going to purchase one that day” fired up. I was glad to hear that. We ran in college together and have trained together 1-2 times per week during our marathon build-ups. He has about a 2:56 PR, but running has taken a back seat since his first child was born last July. I tried to encourage him to get out and run as much as possible because we all know it’s easier to STAY in shape than it is to GET in shape. So hopefully he’s done enough running that he’ll be able to crank it up if he wants to. Plus he’s mentioned some interest in being coached too, so maybe I can convince him to join the team. Then we could go after sub-2:50 together next year.

Speaking of baby joggers, my daughter wanted to run with me again today. I love that she wants to go with me, but I’m also torn because Sunday’s are the only day I can run the awesome trails near my house. Oh well, the trails will have to wait. I ended up pushing her for 80 minutes, then running with the dog for another 10 minutes. I called that 11 miles even though I wasn’t going 8:00-8:15 pace. The effort was there – especially the day after a 20 miler.

I need to do a better job of eating and hydrating on the weekends. For example, today I had eggs and cinnamon rolls with coffee this morning. Then I decided to go for my run at lunch time without eating anything. I chugged a glass of water before leaving and brought a water bottle with me. By the time I got home I was starving so I ate everything I could find – most of it wasn’t the healthiest food around.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


What about “lack of strength in lack of numbers”? After missing a key workout on Tuesday and cutting my mileage a little on a couple of other days, my main goal was to get in my 21 mile run today. Since the triathletes only had a 90 minute run planned, Mary and I agreed to meet before practice in order to get some miles in. Mary’s shooting for around 3:30 at Grandma’s, so I don’t mind running her pace – it’s a nice warm-up. We ended up running 65 minutes together and commented on the strong winds a few times.

For some reason we only had about 10 people show up today. Within the first ½ mile we split into 4 groups. Jenna, Brian and our coach were up front, I was by myself followed by a pack of 3 that included Mary. Normally I don’t have a problem running by myself, but today it was windy – brutally windy, like white-caps on the Mississippi River-windy. Of course the first 3 miles or so were directly along the river, into the wind. About the time I turned away from the river my coach was looping back to tell everyone where to go since this was a new route. 2 minutes later I had no idea where I was going so I looped back and ended up running Sue, who’s training for her first Ironman. We were going a tad slower than I wanted, but I wasn’t feeling that great, so I didn’t mind too much.

After finishing the run with Sue I looped back to get Mary since we both had 20 more minutes to run. I really hate running by the finish location of a run when you still have more running to do. I told Mary we need to either meet earlier or add-on before we run by our cars. Anyway, I managed to get in 2 hours and 49 minutes of running. At first I wrote 21 miles in my log book. But after thinking about it a little more, I wrote 20. I figure I was closer to 8:25 pace than 8:00. In the end, 2:49 is 2:49. Whether I write 20 or 21 in my log book won’t affect my fitness.

For the week I was supposed to run between 80-85 miles. With my cold I was able to manage 68. That's a little depressing. However, looking back at my previous marathon training - 68 miles would have been a high week for me. So I can't be too upset.

Friday, April 08, 2005


Ever get the feeling you have ESP or premonitions? Today I was finally able to get up at my normal time, in order to get my run in before work. I drove across town to the coffee shop near where I work. Most weekdays I park there, go for my run, get a cup of coffee then head to the office. To make things easy with my keys, I have a key chain that separates into two when you push a button. That way I can just carry my car key with me and leave my house, locker and bike keys in my car. Well, about a mile into today’s run I was thinking, “What would happen if I left my car key in my car and carried my other keys with me during my run?” Maybe it was a premonition or maybe the jingling in my pocket felt or sounded different. In any case it was a fleeting thought that I didn’t pay much attention to. I continued on with my run, getting in an easy 6 miles.

Of course you know where this is going. Once back at my car, I unzip my pocket and take out my damn house key. I look in my car and sure enough, sitting on my seat is my car key. Now here comes the (almost) cool part. I go into the coffee shop and who’s sitting right by the door? 2 cops!!! So within 2 minutes of getting back to my car, the officers are trying to get my car unlocked. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it opened (that’s why I said it was the “almost” cool part). I ended up calling a locksmith who opened my door in about 2 minutes – for $55. At least the coffee shop workers felt sorry for me, so they gave me a free coffee.

Thursday, April 07, 2005


Well, almost back to normal. I had 2 runs planned for today, an easy 4-5 and 11 with the middle 8 “at pace.” Seeing how running at lunch worked out so well yesterday, I decided to do that again today. That gave me the chance to sleep in another hour. I didn’t feel very good during my easy 5, but I was determined to at least try and run tonight. Worst case scenario I’d get in another easy 5. Maybe my morning run loosened me up or maybe I’m just getting over this cold. In any case, as soon as I hopped on the treadmill I felt pretty good. After 2 miles I started dropping the pace gradually after every mile and ended up doing the next 6 miles in just over 42 minutes. Now I’m almost certain my treadmill is not calibrated correctly. I did the last mile at 6:40 pace and felt very controlled. That just doesn’t seem right, given this cold. I cooled down another 2 miles and was able to get in 10 for a daily total of 15.

I spent the early miles watch Survivor tonight. Anyone see the final immunity challenge between Stephanie and Bobby John where they had to make fire? I think Stephanie won because she piled up the kindling and then put her coconut husks on top of that. Therefore, her flame was that much closer to her torch. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


While the cold weather is gone, my cold still lingers. I decided to sleep in today. I thought I’d see how I felt as the day progressed before deciding if/when I’d run. I had my running cloths with me and decided to head out at lunch time for an easy 5 miles. I only take a “30 minute lunch break.” So getting in 5 miles, showering and eating lunch was tough – but I managed. :-) The great thing about running with a cold is that it’s usually the only time I can breathe. My college coach used to refer to running with a cold as “poor man’s altitude training.”

I love to talk running as much as the next runner. I like to check out other running blogs, go to a handful of message boards and email my running friends. I like to ask questions and share ideas too. I also like giving advice too. Actually it’s more of a love/hate relationship because typing advice usually comes across like "Well, thankyou Mr. Know-It-All."

I was thinking about this the other day because my friend, super Jim (I gotta work on “blog names” for my friends) likes to race. Make that LOVES TO RACE!!! You may remember from earlier entries that Jim is 60, but he’s incredibly fast – like best ever in the state fast. Anyway, I think we’re 14 weeks into 2005 and between snow-shoeing and running, he’s raced 13 times already. We got to talking about races for the upcoming season and I told him I thought he was racing too much and I gave him my coaches’ advice:

Emphasize training over racing. Select a few, key race dates that allow you: REST to TRAIN, TRAIN to RACE, and RACE hard for an important GOAL. TRAINING IS the way to get faster, so do not race too often. Race 1-2 times per month, and build those races around important training preparation periods. Remember, the less often you race, the MORE mental energy you have to unleash on event day.

He replied, “I had cut it down from 52 to 34, but maybe I can get rid of a few more.”

I told him I think it really depends on what you want to get out of racing. If you like to race every weekend, that's fine. But if you'd rather run the big, more important races 5-10 seconds faster per mile, then you needs to prioritize your races.

Afterwards I was thinking “Who am I to give advice to this guy who wins his age group every weekend?” Hell, the only time I bring home hardware is if I run the small local-yokel races that no one else goes to. I’m 25 years younger than Jim and I can BARELY beat him now. Hmm, maybe I should start racing as often as Jim.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Today’s plan called for a double day with 5 easy in the morning and 11 miles of hills in the evening. Usually I run with my team on Tuesday evenings, however my wife had a meeting tonight so I couldn’t make it. I was a little bummed at first, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I got my 5 miles in during the morning and even threw in some strides. Then as the day progressed I felt worse and worse. I was getting a cold and had to blow my nose every 30 seconds. By the time I got home I just wanted to go to bed. If my wife didn’t have her meeting I’d probably have joined my team for 11 hilly miles. Instead, I opted for getting more rest and went to bed at 8:15.

In the past, missing a workout would probably really freak me out and I’d be trying to “make up” the miles that I missed. I’m still a little disappointed because this is supposed to be my highest weekly mileage during my marathon build-up. But I figure it’s more important to get healthy as soon as possible. Besides, if I only run 65 or 70 miles this week instead of 85, is it really going to make that big of a difference? Right now I want to get healthy so I can get in my 21 mile long run this Saturday.

Monday, April 04, 2005


So I’m driving to work this morning at 6:30 and it’s 50 degrees, when I see a guy running without his shirt. Come on now – it’s not that warm out. Put on a tank-top if you’re that hot. Maybe if it were 50 and sunny in the afternoon, it wouldn’t have bothered me at all.

I think I’m still “messed up” from Day Light Savings, so I decided to sleep in today. Instead I would do my easy 7 miles on the treadmill while watching the NCAA Championship basketball game. I worked my plan to perfection until I realized I started my run too early. Given that “Prelude to a Championship” took nearly 30 minutes, the only part of the “game” that I saw while running was the introductions. Not a big deal since, I was able to catch up on Desperate Housewives instead. Plus I was able to get in a pretty good ab workout once the game did start. I’m actually starting to like this core training and have been looking forward to working on my “6 pack.”

For some reason I was overly sore tonight. Not sure if it was because I stopped at the park yesterday for 30 minutes during my run, before running that last mile home. Or maybe pushing a 40 lb. kid in a stroller for 70 minutes takes its toll.

Sunday, April 03, 2005


My dog, Bailey, just had her annual exam on Friday. As usual, she’s a little overweight. She gets “walked” twice a day. A walk can be anything from 2 houses down and back or up to 30 minutes. Plus, I probably run with her 4-5 times per week for about 10 minutes each. I used to run anywhere from 20-30 minutes with her on the weekends. However, the last time I did that she ended up at the vet’s. She was acting like she had a stroke – couldn’t walk with the right half of her body. The vet said a piece of cartilage probably broke off and was causing the problems. So now we keep the running to a very easy 10-15 minutes.

Since I had an easy 8-10 mile run planned for today I decided to start out with Bailey for the first mile or so. Then I dropped her off and picked up Kinsey – my 4 year old. I decided to push her along one of my 8 mile loops. Within 10-15 minutes she was asleep. It was a terrific spring day at least 60 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze. Right around the 7 mile mark of this loop, there’s a park that we drive to every now and then so the kids can play. I figured we’d stop by and play for a half hour before running the last mile home. About a half mile before we got there, Kinsey woke up and I told her I had a surprise for her. She’s too smart for her own good because she knew right where we were going.

I know some people “freak out” about stopping during their runs and stuff, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. Even during the weekdays, Bailey and I will run for a mile, then I’ll drive 30 minutes to work before finishing my run. I don’t think it’s going to make or break my race results.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


What better way to break in my new Skylons and shorts than with a 12 mile run? I was excited for this run with my team. We were supposed to run along the Winter Carnival Half marathon route (out-and-back) and push the pace a little during the second half. It was a beautiful morning about 40-45 and sunny. For some reason not a lot of our team showed up. Those that did – no one wanted to push the pace. Another guy and I took the lead and I doubt we were running sub-8:00 pace. We just chatted away – actually he chatted while I mostly listened.

The way back was more of the same. We probably ran about 30 seconds faster during the last 5 miles. I felt controlled that whole way but the other guy seemed to be breathing a little. That was a little confidence booster because this guy is a decent triathete and we’re usually near each other during our Tuesday hill workouts.

Funny story of the run - I nearly flattened a bikers tire for him. Two guys were coming towards us. We were in the shade and I had sun glasses on and I couldn’t see a broken bottle. I kicked it right as these bikers passed us. Luckily it missed their tires. I doubt they would have appreciated a flat tire too much.

I finished the week with 64 miles on 7 runs.

Friday, April 01, 2005

$205 LATER

April Fool’s Day consisted of an easy 7 miles with some strides thrown in at the end – nothing spectacular.

During my lunch break I drove to Gear West ( to pick up some energy gel for my Grandma’s Marathon training. $205 later, I left with a running jacket that I didn’t need (but it was 40% off), a $40 (ouch) pair of Nike shorts that I like because they have a zipper pocket in the back that’s just the right size for a gel flask, a pair of Nike Skylons that I plan on wearing for Grandma’s and some Hammergel. I just bought some Skylons (my first pair ever) a couple of months ago, but they’re ½ size too big - fine to train with, but I want a little snugger fit for the marathon. I also have some gels from Road Runner Sports ( that my parents got for me at Christmas time, but I wanted to try Hammergel this time around. I’ve used it in the past, but have never raced with it. I remember it being a lot thinner than other gels, that’s why I made a special trip to buy some. Well I tried some when I got home and it was thick like all the other gels. So, I don’t know if they changed the formula or what. I guess I could add a little water to thin it out.