Friday, September 30, 2005


Well, our cold-snap has come and gone. It lasted one day. Not that today is hot, but after 40 degrees yesterday morning, it was 52 this morning. Temps for Sunday’s marathon keep creeping up too, plus it’s been windy lately. Again, I’m glad I’m not racing.

Call me crazy but I outlined a schedule of where I can watch Jenna and Aaron from based on ease of travel, travel time between locations (based on biking 12-15 mph) and their paces. I plan on being at the start and then seeing them at 2, 7, 11, 13.1, 17.5, 21, then probably the finish.

I closed the books on September with a 5 mile run at lunch. I’d call it a moderate run (38:30), not hard and not easy. That gave me 186 miles for the month. Since mileage is secondary this time of year, I’m not too concerned about it being so low. At least I’m a lot more consistent than I was in August, 4 days off vs. 9 days off.

I was never really able to figure out why I couldn’t post a picture of the trophy I won from last Friday’s 2 mile Wellness Race. I'll try again and see what happens.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


I guess I’m so into the habit of taking Wednesday’s off lately, that I took yesterday off without even thinking about it. I brought my cloths with me and thought I’d make it out over lunch. The next thing I know I’m eating my lunch and the thought of going for a run never crossed my mind.

It is September 29th, so I shouldn’t be too surprised by this morning’s 40 degree temperature. Someone at work said it was 18 in northern Minnesota. Now I like cold weather as much as the next Minnesotan, but that’s too cold, too early. For me, 40-45 would be perfect for a marathon. However, it doesn’t look like the cooler temps will hang around for this weekend’s Twin Cities Marathon. Right now they’re predicting lows of 60, which means it’ll probably be around 65 at the start. Highs are supposed to reach 77. At least it sounds like it’ll be overcast. I told a friend that I’ve raced in crappy conditions too many times to worry about what other people will be experiencing.

This morning I ran 7 miles with 4 miles at an “up-tempo” pace. Actually, I was planning on a tempo run (using the definition of 10k pace + 15 seconds). Using my less than stellar 6:22 pace from Saturday, that’d mean I should run around 6:35-6:40 pace. After warming up for 2 miles I managed splits of 7:18, 7:00, 6:50 and 6:50. Again, I didn’t look at my splits until afterwards, so the “disappointment” didn’t sink in until I finished.

Okay, disappointed is too strong a word. But man I was working to hard “just” to be running 6:50 pace. I thought I was “flying” during my last 2 miles. Maybe I can blame being tired from Tuesday’s workout (although I felt okay), not being warmed up properly (this is most likely the case), or my mile markers not being accurate. Anyway, instead of getting down on myself I told myself that I now have a baseline for this type of workout. Besides, you can’t be disappointed when you have nothing to compare the workout too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


I decided to head to the Macalester track again tonight and join my teammates for a track workout. Not surprisingly the numbers were down. There were probably only 5-6 of us there. With Jenna running the marathon and Jim running the 10 miler on Sunday, they were just doing a pace run. Two others were doing 400s. That left me all alone to do my 6 x 800 workout. Although I ran them by myself, it was nice to have other people on the track too.

After running 30:02 (6:01 pace) 3 weeks ago then 39:30 (6:22 pace) last weekend, I wasn’t really sure what to expect tonight. During that 3 week stretch I’ve really only done 3 VO2max-boosting workouts. Last year I did a lot of 800 meter workouts and I finally started getting under 2:50 towards the end of the year. So I was really happy with tonight’s times; 2:47, 2:46, 2:48, 2:48, 2:49, 2:52. On the first 4 I was going through 400 meters in 82, then fading. On the last 2, Matt suggested going out slower, then bringing it home quicker. I got the first part right with an 84 and 85, but never really brought it home. In between the reps I took a “400” meter jog. Actually it was longer since I ran in lane 3. Time-wise, my rests were 2:35, 2:43 (water), 2:52, 3:09 (water, brief pacing chat with coach), 2:49. Last year I think my rests were all 800 meters or close to 4:30. If so, that means tonight’s workout is one of my best in awhile.

So what does it all mean? Right now I’m planning on running 3 more races this year; a 10K on 10/15 and 5Ks on 10/23 and 10/29. The 10K is flat, but it lacks competition, so it might be a solo effort. The 5Ks are supposed to be flat and fast and I’d like to get under 18 minutes.

Monday, September 26, 2005


After running relatively hard on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I decided to keep things really easy Sunday and today. I managed 5 miles each day at a pace slower than 8:30 pace. That should allow me to bounce back and be ready for a hard workout tomorrow night.

Wellness Week wrapped up on Friday, but since we could still count our minutes for Friday, final results weren’t sent out till today. We had a great team with each member “working out” (remember walking, stretching, lifting, attending seminars, etc. all counted) over 2 hours every day (we had a total of 2,085 minutes). Believe it or not, that was only good enough for 2nd place. Another team, which consisted of dock workers, was given credit for 3,420 minutes. Apparently they were allowed to count the number of minutes they loaded/unloaded trucks during the day. I’m not upset that we lost, but I am upset because that doesn’t really seem fair. Whether or not it’ll keep me from participating on a team next year, I don’t know yet. I mean, I don’t need the motivation to work out. So what’s the point? I suppose I’ve set the precedent of being on a team and now they’ll expect me to be back next year.

Oh, I biked the run course over lunch and it was very close to 2 miles. There are a lot of tangents on the course, so I’m calling it accurate, but not certified.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I’m still not sure what to think of this race. Overall, I ran a smart race and was in control the whole time, but in the end, the time was slow (39:30). This race is in downtown Minneapolis, right along the Mississippi River and is a double out-and-back course. I thought I wouldn’t like that layout, but I actually did. It was a little hillier than I had imagined, being along the river.

After last evening’s hard 2 mile effort I wasn’t really sure how my legs would respond, so when Jim asked me what I was going out in, I said 6:15-6:20. True to my word I passed the mile in 6:15 with Heather, the lead woman. We were about 3 seconds behind Jim. Since Heather and Jim are usually good for around 39-minutes, I felt comfortable with my positioning. A half mile later I made the first turn-around in 7th place. First and second were out of sight, but 3rd-6th were just in front of me. Over the next quarter of the race, I continued to run a comfortable, even pace, going through miles 2 and 3 in 6:21 and 6:20 and reaching 5k in 19:38. During this stretch I also moved into 3rd place with Jim close behind in 4th. For some reason, Heather dropped off the pace.

At the halfway point I’d guess the leader was around 17:30, while second was around 19-flat. I was still feeling really controlled and thought negative splits would be likely. I even had illusion (delusions) of catching the guy in 2nd. I continued running even-paced miles; 4 in 6:19 and 5 in 6:20 before “tailing off” to 6:23 for the last mile. 1:32 (which seems inaccurate by a good 10 seconds) for the last two-tenths brought me home in 39:30 – 19:52 for the second half. Jim rolled in 20 seconds later. Heather faded to 41:26. Around 4.5 miles, I saw her neck and neck with another gal. She ended up finished 51 seconds behind her. Ouch.

Like I said, I don’t know what to think. I felt relaxed and controlled, but that should be expected when I’m running 20 seconds/mile slower than what I ran in April. Maybe if this had been a big race with more people to run with, I could have pushed more. If I plan on running 2-3 more 5k this year, I definitely have to get my head around pushing the pain threshold more.

Friday, September 23, 2005


My company wrapped up Wellness week with a 2 mile “race” this afternoon. Last year’s winner, Tom, was looking to defend his title. I thought I’d research my competition, so I searched his name on a website that keeps track of most of the local races. I only got one hit, a 35-minute 5 mile race in June. I figured I could run 6:30 pace and still win. Since I’m doing a 10k tomorrow, I was a little torn; should I go “all out” or should I run just fast enough to win. I chose a combination.

I ran “easy” for the first 4-5 minutes with Tom and another guy right behind me. Then the course takes a hard right and there’s a gradual downhill. As soon as I turned the corner I picked things up and started running hard. I hate to say it, but I turned around a few times to make sure I was clear. I crossed the line in 12:09. Tom was probably another 30 seconds back, with 3rd place 30 seconds behind him. I’m not sure how accurate the course is. My guess is that it’s a little short. If I have some time next week, I may clock it on my bike.

26 years of racing and I can’t remember ever winning a race. While I was in the service, I used to “win” the 1.5 mile Physical Fitness runs. This felt a lot like that. Maybe winning a “real” race would feel the same, I don’t know. Also, in my 26 years of racing, I’ve never won a bigger trophy.

Hmm, for some reason the photo of the trophy is not uploading. I'll take a look when I have more time.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


What happened to all the “free-time” I used to have at work? Man, I’ve been so busy, I’ve barely had time to surf running site, read blogs and update my own blog. Normally I like to keep entries separated by date, but if I do that for the last 3 days, they’d probably be 3 short, boring entries. Instead I’ll post 1 medium, boring entry.

“Double” was in town again this week and we were able to get together Tuesday evening for a run. To help with logistics and saving time, he just met me at my house. We ran along some of the bike paths in the next suburb over, near my old house. Part of the course has some miles marked. We both felt flat, but I was still surprised to see that we were barely under 8:00-pace. It sure felt harder. After 7 miles into our 9 mile run we finally started to feel better and pick up the pace. Or did we pick up the pace and then start to feel better? Either way it was a nice run.

Wednesday I decided not to run. Instead I joined some co-workers for a 50 minute bike ride over our lunch hour. We had great weather, 70 degrees and sunny. Afterwards, the company gave us box lunches and we had a little picnic.

This morning I decided to do a progression run. I probably “need” an anaerobic workout more than a progression run. However, with tomorrow’s 2 mile “race” and Saturday’s 10k, I didn’t want to push things too much. So I thought I’d try out my newly marked miles and see what happens. Since it was dark, I took all my splits but didn’t look at them till I was finished. I ended up running 8:33, 8:04, 7:27, 7:13, 6:55, 6:54, 8:30.

Monday, September 19, 2005


This week is Wellness Week at my company. They have various events set up throughout the week, such as Pilates, Yoga, Biking, Health Fair, etc. Things wrap up Friday afternoon with a 2 mile “race”. Actually it’s a 2 mile run, I added the word “race”. Another activity consists of teams of 3 tracking their minutes of “wellness” throughout the week. The two women on my team are very solid. They are 2 of the few people that use the workout facilities on a regular basis.

I like the idea of tracking minutes, but I’m a little torn. This should be the part of my season where I’m scaling back my exercise time and focusing on rest and intensity. Luckily we can count such things as going for a walk, stretching, attending Wellness seminars, etc. I figure I could do a little biking too, which wouldn’t wear me out too much. This morning I biked for 45 minutes along the trails I normally run. That gave me a chance to figure out where some of my mile markers are located. I figure if I try to push the pace a little more this upcoming base-building session, it’d be nice to have an idea of my pacing.

Wellness week kicked off with a motivational speech by Tony Schiller who, at 47, is one of the top masters triathletes in the U.S. I found an interesting video clip of one of his speeches at this site.

Later this evening I ran an easy 5 miles on the treadmill while watching Monday Night Football, then I stretched, lifted and did some ab work. All totaled (biking, running, walking the dog, attending the speaker, etc), I had 165 minutes of “wellness”.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


A couple of weeks ago Dale (a guy who works for my former employer) asked if I'd like to join a team for a relay race in town. I didn't have any other racing planned so I said sure. Dale, who's just coming back from a stress fracture assured me that it'd be "just for fun." Not that that would make any difference.

Most of the 23 teams that competed in this 5 person relay were made up of "hard core" runners that represented the top teams in the area. Each member ran 1 lap on the dirt/gravel trail around Pike Island, which is part of historic Fort Snelling. Our team of 3 men and 2 women was one of two teams in the co-ed division, which guaranteed us a trophy.

Robert lead off with a 20:31, Dale followed with a 20:52, Robert's wife Ellen went third in 24:53, Sandy was next in 24:41 and I ran 19:52 (6:20, 6:26, 6:32, :34) as the anchor. Times are basically meaningless unless they're used to compare to other runners. When I do that I see that I'm basically where I "should be" compared to a few people I raced earlier this summer. We ended up placing 18th overall and 2nd in the co-ed division.

I should mention that this was a solo time trial for me. The only runners I saw on the course where the ones that were cooling down. There weren't any other teams with +/- 3 minutes of us. Still it was a unique, fun event - something different than just racing on the roads all the time.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Usually I have a very good sense of my pace. However, lately I’ve felt fairly clueless as to my pacing during some runs. So today I decided to go to the track and just run steady at various efforts and see how that corresponded with various paces. Since I’m racing tomorrow, I didn’t want to go too hard, capping my speed at marathon pace. I ran 10 minutes to the track and then every 800 meters I picked up the pace, dropping from 8:05 to 7:45 to 7:15, then I ran a mile in 6:50 before running home another 10 minutes. All told I ran 5 miles in 38:30.

I think this run helped with my pacing. The 8:05 pace seemed in-line with my easy pace of 8:15ish. 7:45 seemed moderate while 7:15 felt quick, but doable. 6:50 required some concentration and I doubt I could maintain that for 26.2 miles at this point.

This evening Jim had me, Eric, Debbie and her husband over for a dinner party. It was a beautiful night and a terrific setting. We ate in Jim’s screened-in out-building that reminds me of a ski chalet. It’s got a dinner table that sits 6-8 people and a fireplace with another 4 chairs in front of it. Very nice. Debbie and her husband are probably still there, but Eric and I left at 10 PM.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Today’s weather was awesome; 65 degrees, sunny, dew point of 50 and a slight breeze. It would have been a little warm for a marathon, but it was perfect for an easy 5 miles (42 minutes) over lunch. Perfect for golf too, which is where “all” my co-workers are today.

Last night I had to pick my parents up at the airport. Last weekend they few to Washington state to visit with a couple they met at the Boston Marathon in 1985. They’ve exchanged Christmas cards over the years, but that’s been the extent of their contact. I guess retirement allows you to travel more often. Just think if they had blogs 20 years ago.

I’ve mentioned that I’ve been thinking about next season quite a bit lately. One of the things I need to do a better job of is tracking my program. I’m not talking about just logging what I do each day. I’m talking more about having some big picture overview that’s easy to view and know where I’m at (or want to be). Something that says November through February are base-building months, March is hills, April is anaerobic – but with more details.

Sure I’ve followed Daniels and Pfitz programs in the past, but even then I’ve never made any notes like “Starting Daniels Marathon Plan B” or “Using Pfitz’s 18-week, 70 mpw plan.” Sure I could pain-stakingly go through my log book and figure things out, but there’s got to be a quicker, easier way to get the gist of the entire program, how it went and what my thoughts were along the way, without having to page through my log book week-by-week.

My coach has a decent spreadsheet that outlined my 18 weeks before Grandma’s. It listed each week, races planned, the phase (base, strength and pace), mpw, long run, weekend mileage and training focus. I think I’d like to have a space for comments and key reminders (like “think about adding more up-tempo runs” or “make smooth transitions between phases”) as well as thoughts regarding how things are going.

It’s been nearly 26 years, I figure it’s time to “get serious” and try to make heads or tails of my training rather than just “aimlessly” running and logging my mileage.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Yesterday I decided to extend my streak off taking Wednesdays off to 3 weeks in a row. This morning I decided to do a workout similar to last Friday’s 1:30 on/:45 off workout. The “on” portion is at 10k pace. Last week I shut things down after 9 reps. Daws recommends this workout with 20 reps. I figured that’d be too large of a jump in one week and I decided to do 2 sets of 8 reps with a 5 minute jog between the sets.

The first set was difficult logistically, not physically. That’s because it was pitch-black and I couldn’t see my watch. I had to keep using the light on my watch in order to know when to start and stop each rep. Also, since this workout is on the bike path, rather than the track, it’s a little difficult to know what 10k pace is. I figure if I go “too fast” then 45 seconds isn’t enough recovery and I need to slow down a little.

Doing speed workouts in the dark is new to me this year, so I’ll have to get used to them if I plan on racing through October. It was a year ago that I started my current job. However, I was done racing for the year, so I never had to do hard workout in the dark.

The other day I mentioned the brutal Ironman Wisconsin results for some of my teammates. Today I’d like to congratulate a gal I trained with in 2003, Julie Hull. Julie was 2nd in her age group and qualified for the 2006 World Championship race at Kona, Hawaii. Now I don’t feel so bad about getting biked into the ground by Julie.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I swear this is exactly what I’ve been thinking about doing for next year…

If racing were simple a year’s work would involve something like a big build-up during the winter, sharpening and racing until summer, backing off during the summer to recharge the mental and physical batteries, briefly rebuilding and racing again through late summer and fall, resting, and then starting the whole process over. The advantages are 1) the main mileage training is done in the winter when you aren’t (or shouldn’t be) racing, 2) you are in peak condition in the spring and fall when the weather is right for fast times, and 3) you get to back off during the summer heat.
Daws goes on to talk about big exceptions, like having your key race in the middle of summer. Luckily I don’t have to worry about that as there really aren’t any races that I “have” to do from mid-June to mid-August.

Tonight I met my teammates at the Macalester track. As I suspected, there weren’t many people there – only about 7-8 of us. Most of the triathletes are done with their season, plus a lot of people had long (half ironman, ironman, 10 miles, 25k) races last weekend. Jenna, Roger and I formed a small group and basically performed a progression run – gradually picking up the pace throughout.

We ran down Summit Avenue to the Cathedral and back to the River Road before returning to Macalester. On the way back our coach pulled alongside us on his bike and started talking. Jenna used that opportunity to pick up the pace and pull away from us. Roger and I continued on, finishing with 76 minutes which was at least 10 miles, maybe 10.5. Since I hate those halves in my log book, I’ll leave it at 10.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I was thinking about the statement I made the other day and its accuracy.
Hmm, so all this time of slogging through 85 mpw should have been 70 mpw at a faster pace? I’m definitely going to keep this in mind as I plan my next season.
While it’s “accurate” it can also be misleading. Sure I ran some 85 mile weeks last winter, but am I really an 85 mpw runner? Looking back at my log, I only ran over 80 mpw 6 times during my base-building. Hell, if you think about it, 70 mpw is basically 300 miles per month. In my entire 25 years of running I’ve been over that mark 3 times.

So what does that mean for my next base-building session if I want to run 30-40% of my mileage near my marathon pace? Obviously, I’ll have to play it by ear. I’m curious to see what 70 mpw with that kind of pace work feels like. But I’m getting ahead of myself, as there are still races to run this year.

Today I just ran an easy 5 miles before work. My legs felt terrible. Hopefully it’s just due to the heat and humidity and hopefully this is the last wave of that weather.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Not much to report from the weekend, running-wise. After two harder workouts on Thursday and Friday, Saturday was an easy 5 mile run. That gave me 46 miles for the week. Obviously, that’s not huge mileage, but it’s my 3rd week in a row over 45, so I’ve been consistent.

Somewhere along the line the weather turned hot, humid and windy. Thoughts of doing a 5k on Sunday were diminishing quickly. They completely evaporated when some friends invited us to go swimming and grill out. It wasn’t a late night, but by the time we got the girls to bed it was 9 PM. I set my clothes out, but didn’t set my alarm. I figured if I was up and ready to go by 6:30, I’d race. I wasn’t, so I didn’t.

Instead of racing, I hopped on the treadmill for a 10 mile progression run while watching the dreadful Minnesota Vikings.

The weather didn’t keep my friends from racing over the weekend. Debbie and Jim ran a 10 mile race. Debbie was 1st woman and 4th overall in 1:02:42, Jim was 6th overall in 1:06:14. Jenna (1:36:21, 1st woman), Evan (1:42:57), Aaron (1:45:28) and Eric (1:46:36, first race since May) all ran a 25k.

Today was also fourth time Ironman Wisconsin was held in Madison. The first year the weather was cool. Since then, it’s been brutal. When I did it in 2002 it was 85+ degrees and sunny. I think that was mild compared to today’s weather, which was much windier. Results show that nearly 20% of the field dropped out. Of my 4 teammates that competed, 2 DNF’d and 2 had times way over their goals. But no matter their time, they’re still an Ironman. No one can take that away from them.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Last night I only read one chapter from Daws’ Running Your Best, titled Aerobics and Anaerobics. It basically told me everything I’ve been doing during my base phase has been wrong. I’ve mentioned a few times that I need more up-tempo/progression runs in my training. Apparently I need A LOT more.

"During your buildup…it’s difficult to log much more than 30 to 40 percent of your mileage near your fastest aerobic pace."

“Fastest aerobic pace” meaning your marathon pace or a little slower. 30 to 40 percent? Man, I’m probably closer to 10 percent. I’ve been doing one such workout per week when it seems I need 3 or 4. But how do I get there when I’m running “high” mileage? Glad you asked. Read on.

“As you become fitter and have reached a high but endurable weekly mileage, you should not try to run more miles, but more at or near the fastest pace you can without becoming anaerobic.”

Hmm, so all this time of slogging through 85 mpw should have been 70 mpw at a faster pace? I’m definitely going to keep this in mind as I plan my next season.

In addition to the above quotes, I came across a VO2Max building workout that I thought would fit in nicely to my training; 10 x 90 seconds at 10k pace with a jog lasting only 1/3 to 1/2 the duration of the rep. I ended up doing 9 x 90 seconds with 45 second jog. The 9th one seem harder than the others and it didn’t seem like I was recovering as quickly, so I pulled the plug rather than force one more.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


If you read my blog regularly you’re probably going to be overwhelmed with Daws and Lydiard references for awhile. I’ve been reading Daws’ Running Your Best: The Committed Runner’s Guide to Training and Racing. I’m a big highlighter guy. I like to read with a highlighter to mark the key things on each page so I can go back and easily find the key points. The problem with doing that with this book is that half of the book ends up highlighted. Seriously, this book is 20 years old, but it’s one of the best, if not THE best I’ve read on training. It’s not super scientific like Daniels’ Running Formula, but Daws writes in such a way that everything seems very logical. He’s got me excited to start training for next season, even though I’m still in the middle of this season.

One of the things Daws keeps mentioning is making smooth transitions from one phase of training to the next. When I looked at my log book last night, I noticed I did this with my anaerobic workouts last year. I was doing 80-100 meter strides through out the year. Then a few weeks before I was going to be doing harder 400s and 800s, I started doing 200 meter pickups for a week or two, then 300 meter pickups for a week or two. The idea being that I didn’t go from 0 to 800s in one workout.

Even though I’ve done one 800 workout and numerous mile repeats, I thought it’d be a good idea to do some 200-300 meter pickups today. Again these would help prepare me for future 400s and 800s. In addition, they’d be “easy” enough to not wipe me out for a 5k this Sunday.

Well right at the last second (just as I was finishing my warm-up) I had a moment of indecision and decided just to do an up-tempo run. My reasoning was that I could get in an up-tempo run and a shorter speed workout on consecutive days, rest on Saturday and race on Sunday. I figured the up-tempo run would require more time to recover, so I did that first. I ended up warming up 20 minutes, running up-tempo (marathon pace or faster) for 30 minutes and cooling down for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I’ve finally learned not to set my alarm for 5 AM after a Tuesday night workout because I just turn it off and reset it for 6 AM anyway. Now I just set it for 6 and if for some reason I’m awake before that, I have my running clothes ready to go. Today was not one of those days. I didn’t even want to get up at 6, but I did. I brought my running clothes to work in hopes of getting out for a run at lunch. Usually I can’t use this excuse, but I was so swamped, I never made it out.

This evening I sat down with my log book from last year to help determine what I want to do for a workout tomorrow morning. I noticed that I only ran 6 days a week during last year’s racing season. That seemed to work well, so I decided to take today off too, since it’s been a week since my last day off.

So you’re probably thinking “why does he have to determine his own workouts if he has a coach?” Good question. First, my last schedule went through August 28th and I haven’t seen a one since. Last Tuesday I got an email saying I’d have my new schedule on Wednesday. Thursday at 6 PM, I finally got an email (rather than the normal excel file) with workouts through Monday. Second, I’m not sure if my coach received my last email regarding not doing a fall marathon and focusing on shorter races instead. Granted, his college cross country teams are back in town, but he had time to send me a bill yesterday. I’ve talked to other teams members and they’re in the same situation. It’s frustrating.

Next season I think I’m going to see if I can cut a deal with my coach and use him more as a consultant. After reading all these Daws and Lydiard books lately, I’d like to write my own schedules and have him review them. Plus, I’d still like to train with the group a couple of times a week.

Speaking of Lydiard, I’ve also been trying to work through this thread on I waited till it was 15 pages before I started reading it and now I’m trying to play catch-up a little at a time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


I had a nice group workout tonight. The size of the group was pretty decent, however most people either raced yesterday, are racing this weekend, or their season is over. I ended up running with Roger, who’s training for a fall marathon in California. We met at Macalester College and started out by running down Summit Avenue towards downtown St. Paul before heading back to the Macalester track. After a 2 mile warm-up we did 3 x 5:00 with 2:30 jog in between. The pace during these pickups was a little faster than a tempo pace. We weren’t going all-out. Once back on the track, we did 3 x 1600 in (5:55, 5:59 and 5:55) with 2:30 jog after the first and 3:20 rest after the second.

Overall I felt really good. I’m trying to build on the confidence and mental energy that finally seems to be coming around. During the 1600 repeats I really focused on staying relaxed and positive. Coach even mentioned how good my form looked. That was cool. I’m also trying to do more of the “little things” like stretching, lifting, core strengthening, relaxation exercises and watching what I eat.

That brings me to the whole “chicken and the egg” issue. Am I running better because I’m doing all these things or am I doing all these things because I’m running better? Has my confidence increased because I’m racing faster or am I racing faster because my confidence has increased? Usually I’d say I do all the little things and my racing improves, however, this year I think it’s the opposite. My last race was a huge improvement and I began to think about salvaging this season. As a result, I started to pay attention to the “little things.”

Monday, September 05, 2005


The thought of racing a 10k two days after Buckshot was already losing its appeal DURING Buckshot. Honestly, I didn’t think I could turn around in 48 hours and “go to the well” again. In addition, the great weather we had on Saturday had turned into 70 and muggy by this morning. Finally, I’m just starting to gain some momentum and I’d hate to take a step backwards with what had all the makings of a poor outing. So it’s no surprise that I decided not to run the Victory 10k today. Instead, I went to watch, run the course and cheer on teammates Jenna, Aaron and Jim.

This is an out and back course, so I stood near the 2 and 4 mile marks. Jenna had an awesome race getting the victory in 35:09, which is just a few ticks off her PR. She put 41 seconds on the 2nd place gal over the final 2.2 miles. Somehow I managed to miss Aaron on the course. He finished in 38:22 after going through the mile in 5:45. Jim kicked ass too, running 38:50 to win his age group by 54 seconds. Roughly 50 minutes after finishing, he doubled back with a 19:52 5k.

As for my running, I did an easy 4.5 miles yesterday because I was still thinking about racing today. Today I managed to get in nearly 10 miles while watching the race. My calves were a little stiff, but overall I didn’t feel too bad. Last week I ended up with 47 miles.

Warning: marketing pitch ahead. At the race today I ran into a college alumni who’s selling a new line of high performance apparel called Zensah. It’s seamless, moisture wicking material out of Italy that doesn’t hold odors like some high-tech materials. It sounds like they’re just getting into the U.S.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


“Pleasantly surprised” would basically sum up the results from this race. After running 6:03 pace for a flat, fast 5k two weeks ago, I though 30:30 would be an aggressive enough goal. Mainly I wanted to place in the top-3 of my age-group. That was even one of the goals I wrote down when I first contacted Matt to coach me at the beginning of the year.

As mentioned yesterday, the weather was awesome. It was probably 65 degrees. The only thing I had wrong was the overcast skies. It was actually very sunny, but with the low humidity it was very pleasant.

Splits for this race really can tell a really goofy story if you don’t know the course. At least half of the first mile is downhill. It’s one of those perfect down hills too. It’s more than gradual, so you actually feel it, but it’s less than steep, so you’re not putting on the brakes the whole time. Since the course starts and ends in the same spot, you have to make up for the downhill somewhere. That occurs right after the 4 mile mark with a steep hill that takes about 75 seconds to get up before leveling out to a gradual hill for another 45 seconds. With that said, I ran 5:33, 6:03, 6:08, 5:56, 6:22 for a 30:02. Good enough for 40th overall and 3rd in my age-group. Results can be found on Badgerland Striders.

Last year I ran 29:42, but I was right at the peak of my season, having already raced 11 times in the previous 3 months. Since Grandma’s marathon, I’ve raced 3 times this year. While I’m happy with the time and age-group place, I still have some work to do. I was just hanging on the last 1.5 miles and I didn’t really respond when people passed me. I think that’ll come around with more speed work and more racing.

Friday, September 02, 2005


I currently use this online running log. It’s nice because you can set up a team and see how others are training. I’m on two teams; a group from the hillrunner forum and alumni from my college. One guy from the latter group is running Twin Cities Marathon. He just finished a 455-mile month. That’s “only” 103 miles per week, but it looks like a hell of a lot more when you see each day broken out. I was more impressed with his comments. Nearly every comment spoke of something hurting. I guess that’s a given when you’re running that much. Maybe that’s the difference between “average” and “above average”. The average runner takes the day off; the above average runner pushes through and gets his mileage in.

After reading Self-Made Olympian, I decided to get Daws’ other book, Running Your Best. Last night I read the first couple of chapters. He mentions Ron Hills’ streak of running 20 years in a row without missing a day. Now I hear about “days run in a row” streaks all the time. What makes Hills’ streak even more impressive is that it includes running TWICE a day everyday (except Sunday) for 20 years. I’m sure he wasn’t pain-free for each of those 7,300 runs!

Speaking of books, I’m trying to add to my collection of out-of-print running books. I also bought Clean Pair of Heels and Kiwi’s Can Fly through adebooks. I also picked up Steve Scott the Miler, 26 Miles to Boston, and On the Run From Dogs and People from Half Priced Books. I mainly bought those last 3 because I had a gift certificate from my birthday.

With a race tomorrow, there’s nothing exciting to mention regarding today’s run; 5 easy miles with 3 strides thrown in at the end. I could mention that the weather was stunning, 65-70 and sunny with a dew point less than 45. Alumni weekend is notoriously hot and humid. So it figures that after a summer of bitching about the weather, tomorrow looks like it will be awesome; probably 60-65, overcast and low humidity. I think I can break 31, but would guess that sub-30 is out of the question. Goals: 30:30 and top-3 in my age group.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


As I mentioned yesterday, I have 2 races this weekend. I wanted to get in some faster work today, yet not leave me tired for the weekend. The solution? The fartlek workout I did last Sunday. This time I did it during the course of an 8 mile run. Two days after my Sunday fartlek, my legs felt good for the 800s, so hopefully they’ll feel good for Saturday’s race.

It’s funny how our perspective changes over time. Yesterday I mentioned my “whopping” 181 miles in August. Last night I was looking through my old logs from college. My best season of cross country came after running 184, 186 and 185 miles in June, July and August. Remember, that’s the key base-building stretch for college runners. Man, that’s only 42 mpw. Not that sub-17 and sub-35 are fast time (by college standards), but how the hell did I ever run that fast on 6 miles a day?

Doesn’t it seem reasonably to think if I double my base mileage, I should be able to run faster – even if it’s 10 years later? I suppose "all else" would have to remain constant for that to really be the case. I have about 25 seconds per mile to drop from my best performances last year. That’s not going to happen this year. Maybe next? I suppose that’s what keeps me going.