Saturday, July 30, 2005


Since we were having Katie’s birthday party today, I was planning on running by myself, even before I found out my team was meeting on Sunday, instead of their usual Saturday gathering. It worked out even better when Evan suggested we meet at the trails near my house at 6:45. I was able to get my “long” run in and still be able to help get ready for the party.

We ended up running together for about 1:35, plus it took me 9 minutes to run there and home. So I ended up with 1:53 minutes of running, which I called 14 miles. That’s my longest run since Grandma’s. I ended the week with 62 miles, again my most since I started tapering. Since I’m planning on taking tomorrow off, I might as well post my monthly total of 222 miles on 26 days of running. That averages out to 50 mpw. While I’m not looking to run 85 mpw this time around, I’d like to get into the 60-70 mpw range. I’m curious to see if the decrease in mileage leaves my legs a little fresher for more quality workouts and hopefully faster race times.

Katie’s party was fun. She’s still not totally in to presents. She’d open one and want to play with it, even though she still had a bunch left to open. Kinsey, on the other hand, will rip them all open without stopping to appreciate what she got. Since my birthday is right around the corner, I got some cards, gifts, money and a gift certificate to a running store from my mother-in-law. She said when she went to get it the guy said “weren’t you in here last year?”

Friday, July 29, 2005


So I’m getting ready for work today with the news on in the background. They’re doing a story about how drinking milk will help you lose weight. Apparently, if you drink 24 ounces of low fat milk every 24 hours, COMBINED with a reduced calorie diet AND exercise, you’ll lose weight. Wow, I had no idea until I heard their report. Thank you Fox news.

Speaking of weight; I don’t usually concern myself too much with watching my weight, however, I’ve noticed I’m about 4-5 pounds more than I was for Grandma’s. And probably 7-8 pounds more than I was last year when I was racing well. I guess I’d better buy some milk.

I kind of wanted to do a little cross training this morning by going for a short bike ride, yet I didn’t want to set my alarm in order for it to happen. I had my bike in my trunk and I figured if I woke up early enough, I’d go for a short ride. Well, I ended up sleeping in.

I was able to get in a very easy 5 mile run in over lunch. I was thinking I’d have to run on the treadmill due to the heat, but when I checked, the temp was only 70 with a dew point of 56. I mentioned before that there are no good places to run from here. A co-worker suggested the neighborhood just across the street. I checked it out and it was really nice - rolling hills, shaded, quiet streets. The only thing is that the loop was just over 2 miles, so I had to do it twice and still add-on. I saw a fox during this run and I can’t think of any other fox sightings in my 25 years of running. That’s hard to believe, given all the trails I’ve run on during that time.

If you’ve got some time to kill and would like to see what parts of the country would appeal to you, check out this survey. It looks like I’m supposed to live in Wisconsin, Massachusetts or Connecticut. Out of the top 24 results, there wasn’t a single Minnesota city listed. Go figure.

Thursday, July 28, 2005


During my Grandma’s marathon training, Thursday’s usually meant getting up before 5 AM for a solo 10-12 mile run with up to 9 miles at marathon pace. Today’s run was my first hard workout on a Thursday since before Grandma’s, which meant a 4:40 wake up call. Believe it or not, getting up wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be.

My coach mixed things up a little this time. Instead of a straight run at marathon pace he wanted me to run 3 x 2 miles at half marathon pace with a half mile jog in between. I decided to run this on the dirt track near my office. Being my first such workout in awhile, I gave myself a little wiggle room and planned to run somewhere between 6:20 and 6:40 pace. When I saw my first 200 meters took 51 seconds or about 6:50 pace, I decided to try a new strategy. I decided I wasn’t going to look at my splits at all – I’d just run how ever I felt. I didn’t even look at my splits after finishing each rep (pat on the back). I waited until I was at my desk before I checked and I saw 13:07, 12:53 and 12:57 (for 3200 meters). So I basically averaged 6:30 pace or so. Not great, but for a solo effort at 5:30 AM, I’ll take it.

I’m not sure if Debbie runs without a watch or not, but this weekend she talked about focusing on just having fun and training however she wants – rather than focusing on speed, miles, time, etc. Even talking about her 10 mile race she said she doesn’t take her splits at all. Instead, she just focuses on her effort and how she’s feeling. She said even taking her splits, but not looking at them throws her off. For awhile I was at the point where I’d take my splits, but not look at them. Maybe I need to get back into that habit during races again.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


I had an easy 5-6 miles planned for this morning. However, I was wide awake at 5 AM, so I decided to get up and go 8 miles instead. I actually felt pretty good, considering my hard workout was less than 12 hours ago. I kept the pace really easy and tried to soak in the beautiful morning, 57 degrees, sunny, calm. It would have been perfect for a summertime road race. At the end of the run, I threw in a few strides.

With the cooler temps I got to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures after the run – a hot shower. Lately it’s been so hot and humid; I end up taking a cold shower to help lower my body temp. Cranking the heat felt really good.

Yesterday afternoon the power went out at work. After standing around for a few minutes, I decided to head down to the fitness center and do a quick weight workout. I haven’t lifted in probably 3-4 months, but I’ve been thinking about it. The power outage gave me the perfect opportunity to start again. I just worked on my chest, bis, tris and shoulders with 3 sets of very light weights. I also limited the range of motion on the chest and bi exercises to help reduce the soreness that’s sure to occur in a day or two.

After lifting I returned to my desk only to find out that the power would be out for another hour. Luckily, I have the book Ironwill in my cube. According to the back cover, it’s about “the heart and drive of the Ironman-class triathlete accurately capturing the ultra-endurance philosophy…” It’s one of those books I can pick up where I left off, even if it’s been a few months. One thing that stands out to me is how much guys like Mark Allen, Dave Scott, Scott Tinley, etc. sound like Bill Rodgers, Patti Dillon, Hodgie-san and Malmo from the “1979 vs. today” thread I’ve been mentioning lately.

For example, here’s a quote from Mark Allen.
“I’m sure that there are plenty of people who could be at the top of this sport, or any sport, who aren’t at the top because they haven’t learned to push through the pain.”
I imagine the top athletes of today have similar thoughts about pushing through the pain, but you never seem to read about that kind of stuff.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Happy Birthday to Katie!!! A.K.A., the cutest 2 year old in the world. Man, I can’t believe she’s 2 already. She opened presents from us tonight, but we’re having her party this Saturday.

The Brrr in the title refers to the 20 degree cooler temps than last week’s workout. It’s amazing what those cooler temps (65-70) do to running times. I felt awesome last night – by far the best I’ve felt since Grandma’s. We did a similar workout to last Tuesday, the only difference being three mile repeats instead of two. So we did a 10 minute warm-up, 20 minutes of hill repeats, 10 minutes back to the track and then 3 x 1 mile with about 3 minutes rest. Last week I ran close to 10 mile race pace (6:22 and 6:26). This week I decided to stop “screwing around” and ran 5:58, 5:56 and 5:55. I figure Whistle Stop is 12 weeks away and I need to get serious. I’m not positive I’ll do it, but I know if I don’t get serious, there’s no way I’ll run it.

The "1979 vs. today" thread that I mentioned yesterday also has me fired up. These guys had “no idea” what they were doing, scientifically speaking. They just ran A LOT and they ran HARD. Here’s another “Old School” article on Minnesota studs, Ron Daws and Steve Hoag, if you like that sort of stuff.


The Lactic Acid Test
New Research on Sports Stars
Reveals Biology Is Destiny;
Mr. Phelps's Flexible Feet

July 22, 2005; Page W1 (Wall Street Journal)

When Lance Armstrong pops off his bike Sunday after completing the final stage of the Tour de France, he'll have a slew of records you already know about and one you probably don't: He's the most poked, prodded, calibrated and medically researched athlete in sports history. Scientists know that his heart is at least 20% larger than a normal person's, he produces one-third less lactic acid than do other top cyclists and delivers oxygen to his legs at a rate higher than all but maybe 100 of his fellow earthlings.

While Mr. Armstrong has a comfortable lead in this department, there's a growing pack behind him. From Sydney to San Francisco, an army of people in lab coats is slowly painting a clearer portrait of what separates the world's most dominant athletes from the merely great ones. And given all the money at stake in sports, the research continues to spread beyond universities to Olympic development centers, private trainers and even shoe companies.

Most of the research done on elite athletes is closely guarded, either for competitive reasons or simple medical privacy. But some of it is beginning to emerge in scientific journals and from trainers who want to compare notes. At a time when athletes are often better known for their steroids infractions, exorbitant incomes and increasingly petulant behavior, these raw measurements offer a new (and blissfully impersonal) way to marvel at them.

So what do we know?

While genetics is only one part of the formula for greatness, scientists agree that in order to be truly dominant, an athlete has to be -- to some degree -- a genetic freak. Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps, for instance, propels himself through the water with a pair of feet that operate like flippers. Not only are they large (size 14), they're so outrageously flexible that the swimmer can lie down flat on his back, legs outstretched and, while doing so, touch the tips of his toes to the floor. "He's not your average bear," says his coach, Bob Bowman.

Andy Roddick, owner of the fastest recorded tennis serve (155 miles an hour), owes much of his power to the unusual flexibility of his ribs and spine. Bob Prichard, president of Somax Sports, a California clinic that works with top athletes, says Mr. Roddick's ability to arch his back increases the effective external rotation of his arm to 130 degrees, 44% better than the average tennis pro. While Mr. Roddick's legs help him generate power, they're not exceptional: Even though he's 6-foot-2, says his coach, Brad Gilbert, "the guy can't dunk a basketball."

Mia Hamm, the now-retired soccer star, may owe some of her famous stamina to a genetic anomaly. In a test run by the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, she produced less than one liter of sweat an hour, 25% to 50% less than normal. Bob Murray, the institute's director, says this trait allows Ms. Hamm to perform for longer stretches without having to stop to guzzle fluids.

Piling Up the Data

In some cases, new knowledge about elite athletes doesn't come from elaborate testing, but the simple accumulation of data over time. In the six years since the National Basketball Association began keeping records at its annual camp for likely draft picks, the league has measured the skills of more than 300 players. With a healthy data sample, NBA trainers now know that a typical point guard should be able to finish the league's standard sprint drill, which involves running from a standing start from one baseline to the farthest free throw line (75.2 feet), in about 3.3 seconds.

So when Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs turned in a time of 2.98 during a closed practice session, the coaches on hand knew they were witnessing greatness -- once they made sure their stopwatches weren't broken. "We made him run it again," says Spurs' strength and conditioning coach Mike Brungardt.

One of the longest continuous studies ever done on top athletes involves measuring the reaction times of elite race-car drivers. Over two decades, Jacques Dallaire, founder of a North Carolina company called Human Performance International, has tested the "decision speed" of nearly 600 elite drivers using a relatively simple machine with lights that flash in different sequences.

His findings show that an average human takes about 300 milliseconds to make a reactive decision, while an elite driver (someone like Jeff Gordon or Danica Patrick) can do it in 270 milliseconds. While this 11% difference may not seem significant, Mr. Dallaire says, it's a huge advantage at high speeds. Of all the drivers he's tested, the lowest score belongs to the late Formula One champion Ayrton Senna, whose average reaction time was closer to 240 milliseconds, or 20% better than normal. At top race speeds, Mr. Dallaire says, that's the spatial equivalent of about five car lengths.

A major goal of this research is to distinguish the physical characteristics that can be improved by rigorous training from those an athlete has to be born with. On the far end of the spectrum, scientists are already doing this: Researchers at the U.S. Olympic Training Center have developed a series of four tests for things like "maximal oxygen uptake" and "power output at lactate threshold" that can determine whether someone has the natural ability to be a top endurance athlete.

Arguably, the more precise these tests become, the more tempted overzealous parents and trainers will be to use them to push kids toward sports they are predisposed to succeed at, rather than sports they enjoy. It's also true that to some fans, learning about an athlete's genetic freakishness only diminishes their appreciation for the hours of grueling work that are required to exploit all that potential.

Lately scientists have been chipping away at some of the smaller gradations of performance. Last year, for instance, researchers at Duke University and New York's Hospital for Special Surgery published a study on linemen about to enter the National Football League. Due to the constant pounding these athletes take, nearly a third of them had developed a condition called HEPS (that's hyperconcavity of the endplates of the vertebrae with expansion of the space between disks). As ugly as that sounds, the data showed something surprising: Players who had developed HEPS were also less likely to report having lower back pain. In other words, the condition appears to be desirable.

Nonetheless, it may be a long time before scientists understand any one athlete better than Lance Armstrong. The most extensive study of the defending Tour de France champ was performed in five sessions over seven years by the Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Texas, which took Mr. Armstrong's weight and body-fat measurements and analyzed his blood and breathing as he pedaled a stationary bike.

Improved Mechanics

While these tests weren't unique, the study seems to be the first opportunity scientists have had to examine one of the world's greatest athletes repeatedly during his prime years of performance. During the duration of the study (despite being diagnosed and treated for cancer), Mr. Armstrong managed to improve his mechanics and fitness to the point that his pedaling power, relative to his body weight, rose by 18%.

What makes Mr. Armstrong so exceptional, says the study's author, Ed Coyle, isn't one physical factor that's leagues beyond anyone else, but the fact that he has several extraordinary traits, each of which exists in only a few hundred humans. When you add up the odds of all these things being consolidated in one body, Dr. Coyle says, "He's probably one in a billion."

Monday, July 25, 2005


I was thinking about my 10 mile “race” some more, along with other races where I don’t go out as fast as I “should.” It’s very apparent that I end up going through the motions. Even if I pick up the pace in the second half, there’s no way to get back that intensity/focus that’s required when you’re trying your best. You know when you start a race and you settle in and you start seeing familiar faces and you think “okay, I’m where I should be” then you can focus in on the task at hand. There was none of that on Saturday. In other sports they call it “playing down to the level of competition.” Ever play team sports where you’re on a dominate team, yet you lose to a bunch of scrubs? I used to play a lot of basketball and it happens all the time. So the moral is, if you’re going to race, race, otherwise save your money.

Part of these feeling probably come from reading this 1979 vs today thread that Double pointed out to me. If you were a running in the late 70s to early 80s and remember names like Bill Rodgers, Patti Dillon, Bob Hodge, Tom Derderian, etc. you may find this thread interesting. The good news is it's 62 pages long. The bad news is it's 62 pages long.

Hey Carl, if you’re reading, a while ago you mentioned getting your hands on some Twin Cities running magazines. Check out this link if you’re still interested.

As for running today, I made it out for a moderate 8 mile run this morning. I beat the rain, just barely. It looks like there’s a cool front coming in just in time for tomorrow’s hard workout. Hopefully, that’ll help me run halfway decent – maybe even gain some confidence.

2001 VS. 2005

In 2001 I ran Grandma’s in 3:02:56 (6:59 pace). My next race was the Lumberjack Days 10 miler where I ran 1:09:06 (6:54 pace). That fall I ran TCM in 3:00:55 (6:55 pace). So I guess I don’t feel so bad for running so slow yesterday. Besides I can name 3 people off the top of my head whose 10 mile pace was within +/- 5 seconds of their Grandma’s pace.

Since yesterday’s race (and wine drinking) took time away from my family, I took Kinsey to see Madagascar this afternoon. She loved it (it was only her second movie in a theater, ever). I thought it was just okay. It was no Toy Story, Shrek or The Incredibles.

After we got back I decided to go for a very easy, short (5 miles) run. The weather seemed a little better than in the morning. I just wanted to get it out of the way rather than wait till this evening. Some times I have a tendency to talk myself out of a run if I wait too long – especially the day after a race.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


The good news is I followed my plan (to go out much easier than normal, 6:30-6:40 range, and just pick people off as they melt into the pavement), the bad news is that it didn’t result in a “fast” time. I ended up running negative splits (34:22/34:06) to finish in 1:08:28. According to the results, I passed 18 people in the last 3.8 miles while no one passed me.

The negative split looks good on paper, but it should be “the norm” on this course, which is mainly downhill 3 of the last 4 miles. This race has a lot of potential to be a quality event, but there are a few minor annoyances;
5 porta potties for 1,100 runners and about 30-45 minutes to use them.
4 water stops didn’t seem like enough – I’m not counting the one they set up .5 miles from the finish line. WTF? Must have been for the 1 mile walkers.
Inaccurate mile markers. I normally pace myself fairly evenly, so when I see 6:41, 6:29, 6:21, 7:36, 7:15, 7:07, 6:30, 7:05, 6:51 and 6:33, something’s not right.
2.5 miles on gravel road.
Shitty weather.

Okay, okay, I’m just bitter because I paid $30 for a banana and a bottle of water. I can pickup my shirt after August 5th – at a store in the town of the race (30 minutes away).

But overall it was a fun day. I picked Debbie up and we drove to the race together. We saw Aaron and Jim before the start. Debbie was 4th woman overall (first in her age group) in 1:04:57, beating her “arch rival” by 9 seconds. Aaron was right behind her in 1:05:05. Jim ran 1:07:22 and beat both his “arch rivals” to win his age group.

After the race, Debbie and I invited ourselves to Jim’s house. Actually, we drove by because Debbie wanted to see it. Jim was outside so we went in and ended up drinking wine and eating shrimp. So I’ve car pooled with Debbie to 2 races this year and we ended up drinking wine after both of them. Hmm. After dropping her off I realized it was our anniversary. I met Debbie at a road race a year ago this weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2005


A while ago I had an entry about a guy at work who told me that running so much was bad for my knees. This is the same guy that doesn’t run because his knees hurt from playing too much basketball. Anyway, the other day he gave me a copy of a Runner’s World article regarding how to run a marathon on 3 days a week. Links to the program as well as discussions on letsrun and Runner’s World can be found here.

I was a little surprised by how “catty” the Runner’s World responses were. It was almost like I was reading letsrun. One thing that stood out to me in the article that I didn’t see mentioned anywhere is that the participants in the study lost an average of like 8.5% body fat. That’s great, but I don’t have 8.5% body fat to lose. How much of their improvements can be accounted for just because of their weight loss? I’d like to see the same study with, say Boston marathon qualifiers who are fit, lean and have been running for 10 years or more. I'd be willing to bet that the results would be much different.

Since I’m “racing” tomorrow I just hopped on the treadmill over lunch for an easy 5 mile run. I did drop down to 6:40 for the 4th mile. Maybe it was because I felt guilty about not doing a speed workout yesterday.

I put racing in quotes because it looks like we’ll be facing less than ideal conditions. I’m guessing it’ll be at least 75 at the start with dew points in the low-to-mid 60s. Later in the day it’s supposed to get up to 96 with a heat index near 105. My plan is to go out much easier than normal (6:30-6:40 range) and just pick people off as they melt into the pavement.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


So I got this email from my coach on Wednesday.

“If you are racing the 10-miler on Saturday plan on 5-6M today, and "just" 3-5M on Friday. After all, all that matters is how fast you run on Saturday, not getting an extra 4-6 miles in this week.”

I took that to mean, take Thursday off.

At 1 PM on Thursday he sent this message.

"Thursday: 9-10 miles. 3M easy warm-up. 3 x 1-mile on flat terrain @ 10-mile race pace effort. Easy 1/2 mile between. 2-3M easy cool-down."

After questioning him on if this was for the people doing the 10 mile race he said drop it down to 6-7 miles with just 2 x 1 mile repeats. I thought that was intersting, since 4 of the 5 people he sent the workout to ARE running the race.

If I did most of my runs in the evening, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, I like to do my main runs in the morning (except on Tuesday’s when I train with the team). Normally, I don’t have much planned in the evenings and I could fit this in. However, tonight Kinsey had a program at church where she sang a few songs then had an ice cream social. I promised her that I’d take her while Amy stayed home with Katie. By the time we got home it was 8:30. I suppose I could have strapped on my shoes after that and still gotten this workout in, but I didn’t.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


“Double” spent another day in The Cities for business. Given that the last store he had to visit, along with his hotel, are only 15-20 minutes from my house, it made sense to have him over after work. We were able to grill out, hang out till my girls went to bed, go for an 8 mile trail run and then work on #38 while shooting the breeze on the deck. The beer was cold, there was lots of running talk and the black flies and mosquitoes left us alone. So all in all it was a great evening.

My brother-in-law sent me this article on the best little marathons. It starts by mentioning some of the “must-do” marathons. I don’t know about you, but LA is not on my list of must-dos. Granted, being from Minnesota and having Grandma’s in the spring and TCM in the fall, I’m a little spoiled. But I don’t really need to run a race because it’s the “friendliest” (Richmond), the “extra attention” (God’s Country), or it has the “largest finisher medal in the world” (Little Rock).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I had thoughts of getting up for an easy morning run this morning. However, the Twins game went extra innings last night and I ended up staying up till 10 to watch them lose by 1 run again. I wish I had gone to sleep earlier because it was 60 degrees out this morning. So it would have been perfect for a run. Oh well, as my friend Eric says, “Live and don’t learn.”

While I haven’t mentioned him in my blog, those of you that read the comments will probably recognize “Double.” He’s in town on business for a few days, so I invited him to run with my team tonight. The workout consisted of a 10 minute warm-up to a hill, 20 minutes of hill repeats, 10 minutes back to the track, followed by 2 x 1 mile “at pace” with a 3 minute rest. Since a bunch of us are doing a 10 mile race this weekend, our coach suggesting trying to hold our 10-mile race pace.

It was toasty-warm out, probably 85 and sunny. At least it didn’t seem as humid as last week. I never felt comfortable on the hills. I just tried to maintain my form and never pushed the pace. Meanwhile, Jenna, Daniel and Double looked awesome.

It shouldn’t be surprising that someone (Jenna) on the cusp of qualifying for the Oly Trials is a lot more focused than your average weekend warrior, but for some reason I noticed her intensity more today than normal. Jenna ran her “mile” repeats in 5:29 and 5:31 while I was able to muster 6:22 and 6:26. If I was truly “at pace” that means I’d be able to run a 64 this weekend, which seems reasonable. However, I doubt Jenna will be running a 55. And then there’s Daniel, who recently race a 10k in 37:42 (6:04 pace). He was leading the hill repeats, then was able to run 5:36 and 5:25.

These differences in training methods – even though we have the same coach – make me wonder “Who’s wrong?” I mean am I slacking off too much? Are they training too hard? Is there a right and wrong answer? I should probably just worry about myself; however it’s human nature to compare yourself to those around you.

Speaking of “those around you,” the racing team from Run ‘n Fun (a local retail store) was doing 400s on the track while we were there. Granted these guys are fast (15-flat 5k), but I thought it was really strange that one of the guys had the Olympic Rings tattooed on his shoulder. To me, you should only be “allowed” to do that if you’ve actually competed in the Olympics.

Monday, July 18, 2005


I woke up to 67 degree temperatures this morning and it felt really good. It was cool enough where I could take Bailey for a mile jog. If it is too hot I just take her for a walk. After driving across town I was able to get in an easy to moderate 6 miles with splits of 24:50 and 22:20. With about 1.5 to 2 miles to go I started throwing in some strides. I figure if I’m not doing any speed work I at least need to start doing strides a few times a week to maintain some sort of leg turnover.

Last week I was leaning towards not running a fall marathon, this week I’m leaning the other way. Or at least I haven’t completely ruled a fall marathon yet. Right now I’m planning on doing a 10 mile race this Saturday and then a 10k on August 7th. After that I’ll probably determine if I’m going to run a fall marathon or not. If I run slow and don’t see my speed where it needs to be for shorter races, I’ll probably run a fall marathon. If my speed is there and I think I can run fast races from 13.1 and down, I’ll probably skip the marathon.

Part of my reasoning comes from being so far behind where I was last year at this time as far as track workouts and racing. Maybe I’m in better racing shape than I feel and I’ll be able to run a decent 5k, 5 mile, 10k and half yet this year. I’d like to be able to break 18, 29:30, 37 and 1:22:30. If I don’t feel I have that kind of speed, I might as well take another crack at 26.2.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


I ended up taking yesterday off, which gave me 51 miles for the week. Right now I’m thinking about doing a 10 mile race on this Saturday, so I’m going to play this week by ear. Maybe I’ll top 51, maybe I won’t. I don’t really have any idea how I’ll run at this race either. It feels like I haven’t done any hard workouts forever.

I really like watching European sporting events in the U.S. – mainly because of the timing. Today I got to flip between the Tour de France and the British Open. Both were over by 10 AM. Okay, the British Open went until noon, but technically it was over by 10 AM. Others would probably say it was over by 10 AM on Thursday – since Tiger already had a lead.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Nike does a fantastic job marketing their products and athletes. Anyone else see the cool Nike commercial? Like I heard someone say, it was more like watching Tiger’s home videos rather than getting beat over the head by Nike.

Today was the 9th (and final) day in a row over 90 degrees. That’s the 3rd longest streak ever for the Twin Cities, behind 14 and 11. Call me a wuss, but that “forced” me back on the treadmill again. I got in an easy 8 miles while watching the Twins lose another 1 run game to the Angels. They’ve lost 6 out of 10 games to the Angels this year – ALL by 1 run.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


This is the third year in a row that I’ve gone down to watch the Lifetime Fitness triathlon. How could I pass up the chance to watch the best in the world compete 15 minutes from our house? This year I brought Kinsey along with me. I don’t want to be one of those pushy parents that force their kids to participate in certain activities. Of course, I think it’d be cool if she decides to run or do tris. I think exposing her to these events at an early age could lead to her involvement without being pushy. It worked with me.

Anyway, here are my observations;

There are some hot, fit women in the sport. Probably some hot, fit men too – but I didn’t notice.

Triathletes have their age written on their calf, so you know how old these hot, fit women are.

This particular tri starts its athletes in 3 second intervals (rather than in age group waves). I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason to the start order, so it’s very difficult to see who is fast and who is slow.

The weather was brutal, particularly for the age group athletes who started later in the day. While the course is shaded, that doesn’t really help when it’s 97 degrees out. Water temp was 83.

70-80 people needed medical treatment due to the conditions.

I can’t believe no one got run over on this course. The run portion is on the paths around Lake Nokomis. Spectators were just walking across the paths without looking to see if anyone was coming.

There was a water table set up right after the run started. When the first 4-5 runners went by the volunteers just stood there watching. They weren’t holding out any water. Finally, they started to hold it out for the athletes.

Coolest thing I saw; a pro had a flat tire 100 meters onto the bike course. He asked a biker standing nearby if he could swap front wheels with him. The pro basically gave this guy a $500-$600 race wheel in exchange for his training wheel. Granted, it was probably free from his sponsor, but still it was pretty cool.

“Star” sighting for the day (other than the Pro triathletes) included, Olympian Carrie Tollefson, former state 3200 record holder and Stanford runner Shannon Bergstedt, and current state 1600 and 3200 record holder Elizabeth Yetzer.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I decided to sleep in today, thinking I’d be able to get in an easy 5 miles over lunch. Granted, it’d be 90-95 degrees and I’d “have to” do it on the treadmill – but that would be alright. Lunch came and went and I never made it to the fitness center for my run. I almost talked myself into taking the day off. However, I was at 41 miles for the week, I wanted to run more than the 47 I ran last week and I didn’t want it to come down to the last day – especially since I knew I couldn’t run tomorrow morning because I’m going to watch the Lifetime Fitness triathlon and it’s supposed to be 95+ again tomorrow. So I decided I’d better hop on the treadmill at home this evening.

I had no expectations going into this run. Okay, I wanted to run at least 5 miles. That was my only expectation. I started out VERY easy. I’ve mentioned this before, but at 7.1 mph my treadmill goes 8:50 pace, while at 7.2 mph it goes 7:50 pace. I should check into getting the motor tuned, fixed or replaced. Anyway, I did the first 2 miles at 8:50 pace, then gradually picked it up. I was watching the Twins baseball game and the miles were going by quickly. Before I knew it I had run 10 miles in about 77 minutes. I was able to stretch during the last inning as the Twins lost to the Angels by 1 run.


The "ever popular" 100 things about me list;

1. I’ve always lived in the Midwest – except while serving the country.
2. I was born in Michigan, grew up in Wisconsin (with one year in Illinois) and now I live in Minnesota.
3. “All” my relatives live in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio or Iowa.
4. I’m not close to any of them.
5. When I was 2 I cracked my head open.
6. My brother (my only sibling), who’s 3 years older than me, was chasing me.
7. I’ve never broken a bone in my body (other than my skull).
8. I’ve had 2 root canals – on the same day.
9. I got an elbow in the mouth while playing basketball.
10. I started running when I was 10 years old.
11. In 6th grade I couldn’t out-sprint anyone in my class.
12. That year, I won the 800 meter “dash” on track & field day.
13. My time was 2:57.
14. Johnny Bench was my first boyhood idol.
15. He was followed by Isiah Thomas.
16. I “met” Isiah once.
17. He declined a photo opportunity with his “biggest fan”.
18. I was pissed, but I still idolized him.
19. The first cassettes I remember owning were Michael Jackson – Thriller and AC/DC – Back in Black.
20. No, I’m not kidding.
21. Kiss used to be my favorite band.
22. Now I prefer Neil Young and Wilco.
23. I collected beer cans when I was a kid.
24. And baseball cards.
25. My high school’s nickname was the Oredockers – due to the iron ore docks located in the bay.
26. I knew a guy in college who knew the nickname of EVERY high school in Wisconsin (even the Trollers, Castleguards, Granite Diggers, etc.).
27. I was in the Navy for 4 years.
28. I was a Cryptologic Technicians Operator – basically, communications.
29. I held a Top Secret security clearance.
30. Places I got to see include; Turkey, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Egypt, Oman and the Philippines.
31. I’ve also been to Canada and Mexico.
32. Australia and New Zealand are at the top of the list of places I'd like to travel to.
33. I love coffee.
34. I learned to drink coffee (with cream and sugar) while in the Navy.
35. Now I drink it black.
36. I’ve never taken illegal drugs (unless you count alcohol before the age of 21).
37. I like beer.
38. I don’t drink nearly enough beer.
39. I was an accounting major – for one semester.
40. I switched to economics.
41. I’ve always loved math and numbers.
42. I should have a second degree in math.
43. I failed my last math class (trigonometry 4) by less than 1%.
44. I had Senioritis and just wanted to graduate.
45. I have an MBA with an emphasis in marketing.
46. I still don’t know why.
47. While in grad school I thought the audio-visual equipment was terrible.
48. Turns out I needed glasses.
49. I met my wife in (undergraduate) college.
50. I was dating her roommate.
51. We just had our 7 year anniversary.
52. We went to Portland, Oregon on our honeymoon.
53. Our trip included stops in Coos Bay and Eugene to learn more about Steve Prefontaine.
54. We’ve been to Boston, New York City, and Seattle too.
55. We have 2 girls, Kinsey (4) and Katherine aka Katie (2).
56. Kinsey is named after the main character in Sue Grafton’s mystery novels.
57. Katie is not named after anyone.
58. I’d like to tell people she’s named after Katie McGregor.
59. Not many people would know who I was talking about – including my wife.
60. We liked Katherine because of the many variations; Kathy, Kate, Kat, Katie.
61. I’ve also been to Washington DC, Baltimore, Charlotte, and Indianapolis
62. Places I’d like to visit in the U.S. include; San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and the Grand Canyon,
63. I have no desire to go to Las Vegas, Los Angeles or New Orleans.
64. Okay, maybe I’d go to New Orleans.
65. I enjoy yard work.
66. But I don’t believe in watering my lawn.
67. I like wood working.
68. Mainly refinishing furniture, rather than creating things.
69. (I think) I have a small bladder.
70. I’ve been known to stop to pee twice during a 6 mile run, thrice during an 8 mile run.
71. Damn coffee!
72. I’ve always been attracted to blondes.
73. I’ve never dated a blonde.
74. Hmm. I don’t know if that’s funny or sad.
75. I usually drive 5 mph over the speed limit.
76. I’ve never received a speeding ticket.
77. I was pulled over once and got a warning.
78. The officer thought I was late for class. I wasn’t.
79. I’ve never been in a car accident.
80. Happiest day(s) of my life; becoming a father. March 1st and July 26th.
81. Proudest sports accomplishments; finishing Ironman Wisconsin, breaking 3 hours in the marathon, and qualifying for the Boston marathon.
82. Most embarrassing moment; after a class camping trip my senior year of high school I was taking a shower in the boy’s shower/sauna.
83. A bunch of my female classmates walked in.
84. Everyone had a towel on.
85. Except me.
86. “I was in the pool!!! I was in the pool!!!”
87. Where’s George Costanza when you need him?
88. I have no desire to own a motorcycle.
89. I’d rather go for a bike ride.
90. I wish I would have played hockey.
91. I love to skate.
92. I prefer Coca-cola.
93. Fall is my favorite time of the year.
94. I have little interest in politics.
95. Or religion.
96. My pet peeves include people not picking up their dog’s poop.
97. And people throwing cigarette butts out their car window.
98. I’m not musically inclined.
99. Or creative.
100. Or artistic.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


During the winter, Thursdays were my day to get up 15-20 minutes early and run a little longer and faster than “normal”. I decided I’d start incorporating those workouts back into my schedule. That meant getting up at 4:45 today. I almost talked myself into going back to bed, but I reminded myself that I probably won’t be able to run long on Saturday because I’m going to watch the Lifetime Fitness triathlon.

I felt about 100 times better than yesterday. I was able to make it 10 miles in just under 80 minutes (41:30/38:40). The trails I run on are gravel in one direction, but paved in the other. Normally I run on the gravel section, but in the winter I’d do these runs on the paved section – mainly because it provided better footing. Without really thinking about it, I headed along the paved section. I was really surprised by the number of bicyclist on the trail. I must have seen 30-35 bikers. I probably saw another 10-15 walkers and even 5-6 roller-bladers (after all, Minnesota is the home of the rollerblade). The weird thing is that in 80 minutes of running I only saw one other runner.

There’s a thread on today about the funniest things that have been shouted at you while running. This one actually had me laughing out loud;

While running past a psychiatric hospital one of the residents yelled "Hey, you training for the Olympics?!?"

His buddy yelled "No, call security, he's gettin' away!"

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


It was one of those mornings where I was tossing and turning and pretty awake before my alarm went off. However, I stayed in bed and when my alarm finally went off I fell back asleep for another 15 minutes. I nearly talked myself into postponing my run, but I figured I could still get in 5 miles before work – even with “sleeping in.” In these situations, Bailey tends to “suffer” since she only gets about a 2 minute walk. Then again, it’s 75 at 5:30 AM and she’s wearing a thick coat, so I’m sure she doesn’t mind too much.

I felt really sluggish on today’s run. I’m not sure if it’s from the marathon, because of the heat and humidity lately or because of my two runs yesterday. Anyway, I made it 5.5 miles. I “had to” throw in an extra half mile today because of the extra half mile I threw in yesterday.

When I got to work there was an email from my coach regarding a 6-week strength building phase for those running a fall marathon. I sent him an email stating that I’d like to proceed as if I’m NOT going to run a fall marathon. That’s probably a pain in the ass for him since I’ll be the only non-marathoner (besides the triathletes). But I’m pretty low maintenance and he’s pretty smart, so I think we can make it work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


I feel like my running is in total limbo lately. I guess that’s normal after a marathon, but that was nearly a month. I was looking at my 2004 log from June till mid-July. During that time I ran 4 races (5 if you count my only tri of the summer) and 5 track workouts ranging from 200s to Ks. During that same stretch this year, I’ve tapered, run a marathon and recovered. I feel like summer is passing me by and I’m not in any kind of racing shape. This feeling has me never wanting to run another spring marathon – at least not one that’s in mid-June – even though I love Grandma’s.

Given my lack of speed work this summer I was pumped to get on the track tonight. However, my coach had other things in mind. While the triathletes did 8-12 x 400 he sent the marathoners off on an 8-10 mile run. There were 4 of us, me Jenna, Jim and some new blood – Aaron. Aaron is in my age group, so while I didn’t know him, I recognized his name. He ran TCM last year in 3:09:08 (2 seconds slower than my Grandma’s race) and Med City this spring in 3:10:30. Actually, I think he’s faster than that at shorter distances – at least he was last night as he kept up with Jenna while Jim and I dropped back. We were able to make it about 8.5 miles in the 85-90 degree heat. Luckily there were 2 water fountains along the route, which allowed for 3 drinks on the out-and-back course along Summit Ave and East River Road.

I also ran an easy 5 miles this morning, mainly to 1) help increase my mileage and 2) to keep me in the habit of running before work.

Monday, July 11, 2005


I had time for 8 miles this morning but stopped after 7. For some reason I didn’t want to run anymore. It was warm (75-80) for 6 AM but not unbearable. I really have no idea how people in warmer climates deal with the heat. I’ll take the cold any day.

Most evenings lately, after putting the kids to bed, I’ll relax by watching the Minnesota Twins or watching the Tour de France. I usually read a book or magazine at the same time, since neither show requires my full attention. Tonight neither show was on, due to the All Star break and a rest day. Looking through the TV guide I saw Office Space was on. I’ve heard good things about this movie so my wife and I watched it. There were some pretty funny parts but overall all I’d say it was just okay. My wife doesn’t work in that type of environment, so I’m not sure if she appreciated the jokes as much as me.

I wouldn't say I hate my job. I think that’s a little too strong. But sometimes I feel like this guy. I definitely lack passion for my job. For example, yesterday my boss and his boss were rattling off sales numbers over the weekend and talking about how we were ahead of our goal. I sat there thinking I couldn’t care less. Of course I want the company to do well, but I don’t need to analyze sales on a daily basis. Besides, I’m more of a doer. Give me a project to work on – something where I can look back at the end of the day and see I made progress. Sitting around strategizing and thinking about the big picture isn’t for me (unless it’s running).

Sometimes I daydream about other jobs that I think I’d like more; personal trainer/coach, math teacher/coach, or a blue collar job like a mechanic, plumber, handyman, construction, etc. Again, something that would allow me to see what I accomplished during the day. But having a master’s degree and a family make the likelihood of “starting over” highly unlikely.

Only 30 years till retirement.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


I’m not sure if it’s Lance’s “fault” or not, but lately I’ve been itching to go for a bike ride. I’ve even carried my bike in the back of my car for a week, just in case the opportunity arose. Unfortunately, I carried it around for nothing. Last week I emailed my coach to see what the triathletes were doing during the weekend. He said I could join them today as they previewed the Lifetime Fitness course. For those of you not familiar with tris, next weekend the LTF race will offer the largest purse ($500,000) to the top triathletes in the world. This race also features an “Equalizer” format that allows the women to get a head start. Money is then paid out based on what order people cross the finish line overall, meaning there’s no breakout for men and women.

Anyway, I decided that’d be a great opportunity to scratch my itch and go for a ride and follow it up with a run. Triathletes are “interesting” people and I haven’t quite figured out their training habits. I think they like to go all-out on the bike though. Granted I haven’t been on my bike much, but I still think I’m a decent rider (at least aerobically speaking). Well, within the first half of the ride I got dropped by about 4 riders. I’m not bothered by that but I am curious about 1 guy in particular. He was probably biking 23-25 mph, yet he only runs about 9:00 pace. How can he bike so fast, yet run so slow?

I ended up biking about 15 miles. Afterwards I jogged about 2.5 miles with a couple of gals on the team before running 2.5 miles with the guy I mentioned above. Overall, I ran for a little over 46 minutes and just called it 5 miles.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

7 OR 8

I decided to head out for an easy run around 9 this morning to help beat the heat a little. Kinsey said she wanted to come. Katie’s at the age where she usually wants to do what everyone else is doing. Given that I only have a single baby jogger (which is a good thing – I don’t think I could push both of them at the same time) they had to take turns.

I took Katie out for 20 minutes before dropping her off at home and taking Kinsey for 40 minutes (not counting the 2 stops to pick flowers for mommy). This is on of those runs that could have gone either way. I could have called it 8 miles at 7:30 pace (based on the effort, not the actual pace) or 7 miles at 8:30 pace. For no particular reason, I chose the latter. Maybe it was a subconscious decision based on the fact that 7 miles would give me exactly 10 more miles than last week, 47 vs. 37.

My wonderful mother-in-law (who doesn’t meet any of the typical mother-in-law stereotypes) volunteered to watch the girls this afternoon while Amy and I went to a movie. I can’t remember the last movie we went to, it’s been so long. We ended up going to Cinderella Man. We both really liked it – mainly because we didn’t know the story or what to expect.

Friday, July 08, 2005


This was a four day work week and I was able to get up early and run on each of those days. That’s going to be more and more important as we head towards the dog days of summer. This week started out great with temps around 60 on Tuesday. Each day after that, I swear, the temp went up exactly 5 degrees, so it was 75 this morning. I won’t be surprised if it’s 80 and 85 the next two mornings.

I was finally able to find the results from a local 4th of July 5 mile race that I’ve run in the past. It looks like my 31:22 from last year would have placed me 19th overall and 3rd in my age group, rather than last year’s 9th and 1st respectively. "Good thing" I didn't run this year.

While I was trying to find those results, I came across perhaps the most lopsided victory ever in a 5k. Chelle, it looks like this was a NYC race. Do you know anything about it?

Nothing too exciting on the running front today - just an easy 5 miles. That puts me at 40 for the week, with 1 day still remaining.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


You know when you go through certain phases of your life, like getting married, having a baby, buying a house, etc. it seems like EVERYONE is going through those same phases. All you see on TV or read in the papers has to deal with wedding dresses, baby stuff, mortgage rates, etc. I’m sure I’ve mentioned how much I think my training needs quicker, up-tempo, progression runs to help boost my fitness. As soon as I start incorporating them in my training, an article pops up here. I’ll admit I didn’t go back and read the coolrunnings link and only skimmed this article, but I thought the author had some good points. However, I’m not sure why he needed 7 pages to make them. I kept thinking to myself “didn’t I just read a similar sentence.”

I’m sure the Old School crowd is cringing at the thought of giving these workouts their own terminology – progression run. And I’m sure we’ll eventually need another article to help define them, just like we did with tempo runs. In any case, I’ve basically been adding a few runs a week where I start out easily, then gradually pick up the pace. In essence I’m trying to negative split my runs. This is basically what I did today. After running a mile with Bailey, I ran an out-and-back 7 mile route with the 2nd half about 1:30 faster than the first. During this run I was reminded that this is basically how I did a lot of my training as a kid. Nearly every run was an out-and-back 4 mile course that I’d negative split. It’s like I’m 14 years old again.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


I was able to get up at 5:20 for the second day in a row. 59 degrees was almost chilly when I took Bailey for a walk/jog. One of the reasons I like to run a mile with Bailey (before driving across town to work) is that it helps wake up my body and I’m able to go to the bathroom before my main run. Today I “took care of business” at home, but apparently it wasn’t enough. With about a mile to go, I actually had to walk for a minute to let the sensation pass. After that I was able to jog very slowly to the coffee shop where I park and relieve myself (again). I managed a very easy 6 miles for the day.

At the start of the year, I penciled in 3,000 miles as a goal. My calendar year PR (set in 2004) is 2,754 and the most I could find for any 12-month stretch (June 2004-May 2005) is 3,119. Through the first 6 months of the year I managed 1,540 miles. Since that included a measly 102 miles in June due to my injury/taper and recovery, I’m pretty confident (as long as I stay somewhat healthy) that I’ll be able to reach 3,000.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


If you’ve been checking in regularly over the weekend, I apologize for not updating my blog. It’s just very hard to find time at home to post an entry.

Yesterday I had thoughts of going to watch the local 5 mile 4th of July race. But then I started watching the “le tour” instead. I’m sure I didn’t miss much. Last year I ran 31:22 for 9th overall and first in my age group. The first 5 people were 18 years old or less. A 45 year old guy beat me, as well as an 18 year old woman, who’s a D3 all-American – gotta throw that in there.

I ended up spending most of the day playing with my kids and never “got around” to running yesterday. That’s not the best way to get consistent like I’ve been telling myself I need to do.

I’m happy to report that today I set my alarm for 5:20 and I actually got up. I went for an easy 5 miles before work. I was also able to make it out over lunch time for another 5 miles. This time I gradually picked up the pace every 10 minutes or so. It was an out and back route and I ran 20:40/19:05.

Normally I run with my team on Tuesday’s. However, I decided to get my runs in early today because I want to watch the team time trial tonight. I followed last year’s tour fairly closely on-line, but didn’t get to watch any of it. This year we have OLN, so I plan on watching as much as possible. While some of the stages can be rather boring, I find the team time trial to be fascinating.

Sunday, July 03, 2005


After failing to hook up with Evan last Thursday, we rescheduled for today. We met at Lake Nokomis and had no problems finding each other. We planned on going 6-8 miles, but if we felt good, we’d go 10-12. We decided to run along the Minnehaha Parkway towards Lake Harriet. That was a quick (in terms of time-flying, not pace) 4 miles. We decided to run the 3 miles around Harriet, which would give us 11 for the day.

It’s always interesting how easy the conversation flows when you’re with someone on a run – even someone you’ve never met before. Evan (2:45 goal, 3:05 actual) and I (2:55 goal, 3:09 actual) had similar experiences at Grandma’s, as well as similar thoughts on what went wrong. So it was interesting to compare notes.

This was my second blogger meeting. My first occurred at Grandma’s. I still have a ways to go to catch the number (at least 8) of runners I’ve met through message boards. Being an introvert, it’s interesting that I usually avoid people at races, yet have no problems meeting people on-line. It’s probably a small miracle that I didn’t have to resort to a mail order bride.

Update: I took yesterday off and enjoyed the parade in Hudson, WI. I ended the week with 37 miles on 5 days. Now I just need to build upon that.

Friday, July 01, 2005


I can’t tell you the last time I played golf – probably 2 years ago, maybe more. I like the sport, but just don’t have enough time (or money) to play very often. Maybe if I could go out and be happy with a 50-55 (for 9 holes) I’d play more often. However, I know if I played more often, I’d want to improve dramatically. It’s like I can’t do anything for fun, it always has to be competitive.

Anyway, a couple of my friends were meeting Friday afternoon for 18 holes. At first I said no. But then I realized no one was going to be in the office and it was going to be perfect weather, 75-80, sunny and low humidity. So I changed my mind and took the afternoon off. The course was in Menomonie, WI, which is about 1:15 from my house.

If this were a golf blog, I’d go into great detail about how think the rough was, how my slice (or is it a hook) was acting up, etc. But it’s a running blog and after finishing 9 holes (3 of which I actually kept score on) I went for a great run while my friends finished the back 9.

Menomonie (home of UW-Stout) is only about 20-25 miles from where I went to college. So I was well aware of the Red Cedar State Trail – a crushed limestone trail that runs along a river. It was nicely shaded, plus had mile markers posted. Since it took about 2:15 to play the front 9, I figured I could run for up to 1:45 before having to shower and meet my friends for dinner.

I started out fairly easy, then gradually picked up the pace. I’m not used to having mile markers and I decided to take my splits. The first couple were just under 8:00, then they dropped to around 7:45 until I reached the turn around at mile 6. My pace dropped to 7:30 and then 7:20 before having to go to the bathroom. After that, I couldn’t get going again and just maintained 7:45s the rest of the way. The weather reminded me a lot of Grandma’s; not a cloud in the sky, not sticky, a nice breeze every now and then.

This was, by far, the best my legs have felt since Grandma’s. No, I’m not tempted to jump into a 4th of July race, but it is reassuring to have a little spring in my step once again.