Monday, October 31, 2005


Now that I tried my headlamp out last week, I don't need it due to day light savings ending. It looks like there are 2 sides to every story. The morning runners are happy because they can see again, while the evening runners are upset because now they have to run in the dark. Oh well, in a month we'll both be running in the dark and we'll be envious of those day-time runners.

During my mile run with my dog, my legs felt like lead - probably because I was running only 8 hours after my last run ended. That's like doing a two-a-day and my body is not ready for that. But then I was surprised by how good I felt during the main portion of my run. I went another 7 miles with the first half at 8:30 pace and the second half at 8:00 pace.


Here are some photos that my college coach took at the Big 10 X-C meet yesterday.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


The Big 10 Cross County meet was in town today and if you haven’t heard, the Wisconsin Badgers (rank 2nd in the nation) totally dominated the meet.

  • They scored 16 points (15 is a perfect score).

  • Each team runs up to 9 guys. Of the first 9 guys across the line, 8 of them were Badgers. Their 9th guy finished a “lowly” 25th place.

  • They’re young. Their top-7 look like this Senior, Junior, Freshman, Freshman, Senior, Freshman, Junior.

  • For 8K, their top-5 averaged 24:01 (the next closest team was 25:06), top-7 averaged 24:08, top-9 averaged 24:18.

  • Word is they held 2 guys out from this meet that they run at Regionals.
I’m speechless; 8 of the top 9 guys in the entire conference. Just think about that in terms of another sport. For example, in basketball, their 2nd team would win the Big 10 conference title. Wow.

Ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is “even-Steven”? He loses $20 and then finds $20 in a coat he hasn’t worn in awhile. That was me at the meet Sunday. I put my car key in my jacket pocket but forgot to zip it up. 2 hours later while standing around waiting for the awards I realize I lost my key. I tell the guys I’m with and they say that 20 minutes ago they announced that someone found a Subaru key. I go up to claim it and sure enough it’s mine. What luck!?

After 3 days in a row, I took yesterday off. Today kicked off the first full week of my new training program. You can look at this program in one of two ways; 1) I have 7 weeks to get my miles up before following Lydiard’s “standard” 12-week conditioning phase, before adding hill, anaerobic, sharpening, etc. or 2) I have a 19-week conditioning phase before adding that other stuff. I’m not sure there’s really a difference between the two. Anyway, I managed to hop on the treadmill at 8 PM and get in 7 miles.

          Friday, October 28, 2005


          Here are Katie and Kinsey playing in a pile of leaves recently. It probably triples the amount of work because I have to keep raking the leaves back into a pile, but I don't mind.

          On my way home from work today I noticed a lot fewer colors and a lot more bare trees. One of the trees in my front yard is still green (no it's not an Evergreen - I know that's what you were thinking).

          BABY JOGGER

          Here's Mike on a Muffin Run.


          Three days of running in a row and my little routines are already starting to appear. As soon as I get home from work and change my clothes, I get out both my work and my running clothes for the next day. After dinner I get my breakfast ready for the next day. When my alarm clock goes off at 5 AM I don’t even think about going back to sleep until 6. I think part of the reason I get like this is because I like base-building. Maybe I’m just one of those runners that likes to train rather than race. However, if I didn’t race I know I’d miss it.

          I updated my log-book yesterday for my 10 days off. Wow, it felt weird crossing out an entire week and writing a big ZERO (then doing it again on the first 3 entries of the next page).

          I ran another easy 7 miles this morning with the last 6 in 51:00 (25:53/25:07). Given my comments yesterday about not being able to see some of the people on the trail, I decided to try running with a headlamp. I bought it last year just as the days were getting longer, so I never wore it. I really like running with it. It produces a halo of light about 5 feet in front of me. My main goal in wearing it though is to scare the shit out of the rabbits before they scare me.

          I don’t think I’m mentioned this yet, but I’ve been leaning towards running Grandma’s Marathon again in June. I was planning on just running a bunch of 15K-30K races, but I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t sign up. Besides, I’m going to be in such tremendous shape next year, why “waste” it on a 30K that no one cares about.

          Thursday, October 27, 2005

          STILL AMAZED

          Since today was only my second day back, I was a little worried about running 12 hours after my last run. But one of my goals is to get back into the routine of running in the morning, so I ventured out for another 7 mile run. My hip/groin ached a little during the second half, but it wasn't too bad.

          I’ve mentioned this before, but probably have some new readers since then, so I’ll mention it again. When I run in the morning, for the most part, I jog with my dog for a mile and then I drive 25 miles across town towards my office. I park at a coffee shop and run out-and-back on 1 of 3 trails that are old rail road beds. Two are crushed limestone while one is pavement. They’re perfect for running in the dark because they’re flat with good footing. After the run, I grab a cup of coffee and head to work where I shower.

          Some people probably wouldn’t count the mile jog with my dog, but I do. I consider it a warm-up mile, even if I’m cooled down before I start my “real” run. With some of my newly measured routes, I think I’ll start posting my time for that stretch. Hopefully I’ll be able to see the pace go down as my aerobic conditioning improves. So today I ran 7 miles with the last 6 in 50:47, 8:28 pace (25:37/25:10).

          It still amazes me what some people will wear while running, walking or biking when it’s pitch black outside. Sure these trails are closed to motorized vehicles, but you still have other people exercising and you have to cross roads. One gal this morning was walking by herself, dressed in all black without any reflective vest or light. I’m not positive, but I think she had on headphones too. I suppose if I was going to get run over by a bike, I wouldn’t want to hear it coming either.

          Wednesday, October 26, 2005


          Today I ended my run-less streak at 10 days. What a great day to start running again. I met Mary at Lake Harriett just after 4:30. It was about 50 degrees, sunny, and calm. I told Mary I could handle 6-8 miles. We did a lap around Lake Harriett and one around Lake Calhoun in 59 minutes and called it 7 miles.

          You know how you take a couple days off in a row and your first run back feels like you’ve never run a step before in your life? Well I didn’t feel that way at all. The pace was nice and easy and I felt smooth the whole way. Let’s see how I bounce back tomorrow.

          During my break I was going to sit down with Daws’ book and a calendar and make up my plan for next year. After reading some of the recent comments on the infamous Lydiard or Daniels thread, I think I’m better off just having a general idea of what I want to accomplish with each phase and then listening to my body along the way. I don’t think it makes sense for me to write down 70 miles for a week that’s 2 months away. How do I know how I’ll feel at that point?

          Since I seem to race well just on mileage and strong aerobic runs and since that’s the emphasis in Lydiard’s conditioning phase, I’m going to focus on taking my time building mileage. If I need to push the hill phase back 1-2 weeks or cut my anaerobic work down by 1-2 weeks, that’s fine.

          The last time I probably wrote about my training I was struggling between two things regarding my upcoming conditioning phase; 1) keeping my mileage around 70 mpw and adding more, stronger aerobic runs or 2) trying to get my mileage in the 85-100 mpw range even if it means sacrificing those important stronger aerobic runs.

          I emailed Nobuya “Nobby” Hashizume, who studied under Lydiard and he said;

          The balance between mileage and the effort, or speed, is very much individual thing. Some react better when it's slower and just pile up mileage; others respond better with higher effort and, therefore, less mileage. You will need to experiment yourself. Natural progression should be such that you just run a lot at whatever the pace you can manage (slow at first) and, as you get fitter, the pace quickens…My suggestion would be; try 85-100 at comfortable speed--meaning quite slow at first. Then see how much stronger/faster you'll get. If you feel absolutely stuffed and can't keep up the effort, you should cut down the mileage down to where you started, say, 70 or so.

          So, 85-100 mpw it is. Right now my goal is just to build up my mileage with all easy runs. I’m going to “jump in” around 45-50 mile this week and see how that feels.

          Monday, October 24, 2005


          Everywhere I look lately it’s the same story; people have just finished their season (many with marathon PRs) and they’re jumping right back into training. Some are getting hurt, some are getting depressed, some say they feel fine but they also say getting in the mileage is a struggle (Hmm, sounds like me after Grandma’s).

          Why are we so reluctant to take time off?

          I have a friend who’s got a nagging hip injury. I’ve hounded her over and over – now is the time to rest and let that heal. Why keep tweaking it in September-November (or longer) when your next race isn’t until April? Last week she sent me an article from on none other than taking time off at the end of the season.

          Ron Daws recommends taking 2-3 weeks off after the season. I mentioned Tony Schiller, the stud triathlete that spoke during our Wellness week. He says;


          I find that last sentence interesting – and true with regards to my running over the last few years. Looking back I can’t remember the last time I had a really crappy, “man, am I out of shape” race. Nor can I remember any “holy cow, where did that come from” races either.

          Last year I took 1 week “off” at the end of my race season. “Off” meaning, I biked 4 times during that period. No I haven't convinced myself to take a month off, however, today is my 9th day off in a row (I did bike once, but only 8 miles to measure a training route). Tomorrow will be my 10th and final day off for this recovery period. Wednesday I’m meeting my friend with the hip ailment. Maybe I can nag her some more about taking time off.

          Thursday, October 20, 2005


          Okay, here’s a blogger question for those that care to answer. What’s the best way to respond to comments left on your site? I see some people (like me) respond with another comment, some people go to the commenters blog and leave a comment there, others email responses. What is the proper etiquette?

          I finally got off my ass this morning and “exercised.” I rode my bike 8 miles and wrote down where the half and/or miles occur. The ride was a good reminder of how poor my circulation is in my hands and feet. It was about 40 degrees out, but being on the bike made it feel colder.

          I mentioned to my wife possibly running the Chicago Marathon next year and she was all for it. We’ll see.

          The other day I wrote about my first training log, a spiral notebook. Last night I was going through my first “real” log book, “The Runner’s Handbook Traning Diary” by Bob Glover and Jack Sheperd. It was a great book. I wonder why they stopped publishing it.

          The spine is all broken and it looks like there are a bunch of pages missing. The first entry is October 9th, 1982. That’s over 2 years since my last entry in my spiral notebook, so something has to be missing. Anyway, there’s still a lot of “good stuff” in this log book. I used to count my “week” as 7 days of running, not necessarily (or not likely) 7 days in a row. I’d only write down the days I ran. So while I may have been running 25-30 miles per week – it probably took me 15-20 days to get there.

          At the time I lived in Northern Wisconsin and there weren’t a lot of road races around. We basically ran the same 6-8 races every summer. In 1983 there’s a stretch from July 15th to August 7th where I ran 8 times and 5 of them are races. A month later I was running my first cross country season. And you wonder why Lydiard says we race too often in the U.S.

          This is getting kind of long so I’ll end with just one Daws quote today. “When you make up your training as you go, perhaps waiting to see how you feel before you train each day, it’s much like looking at individual pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and trying to imagine the picture.”


          I just got this article in an email from my college coach. He writes for Track & Field News and I thought I'd share it. Sorry if the paragraphs don't make sense as formatting may have gotten screwed up while copying and pasting.


          by Sean Hartnett

          Haile Gebrsalassie is now a marathoner. Yes, the Ethiopian gold medal magnet faltered in the final 10K in his Amsterdam assault on Paul Tergat’s WR, but his brazen 62:03 opening half and his shear magical presence is sure to have a lasting impact on the 42K event.

          World Records are often pursued in Chicago, London and Berlin, with a combination of fast courses, bold pacing, and deep competitive fields. Amsterdam was less complicated, it was just Haile and the clock.The record chase started well as Haile, a handful of pacers and Kenyan Daniel Yego simply cruised the opening half. They were not hammering, the pace was covered comfortably, even by Yengo who ran a 2:08:20 debut in Rome this spring.

          “The pacing was perfect, for me it is not so fast.”Haile recalls. “The first part was a country run, very nice I could even smell the cows. But the second part when we got back to the city was difficult because the wind increased and was very complicated.”Yego held pace until just before 30K, then Haile pushed on alone, but his race began unraveling as he notes “there were problems with the wind, and after 35K, problems with my breathing system. I had very hard stitches in my chest, and the air couldn’t come in.”

          Haile ran bigheartedly over the final kilometers to finish a disappointed 2:06:20, the year’s fastest time. “My expectation was to break the record. I felt like I ran 2:04 today,” Haile lamented, “but the wind stole two minutes from my time.”

          Despite falling short of the record, Haile relishes his new career noting “the marathon is good for me,” - and clearly Haile is good for what has become the sports most promising and lucrative event.

          Three years after his 2:06:35 third place finish in the London Marathon, Haile has found that marathon training suits his fragile legs and his growing family life well and is anxious to get on with his marathon career.“The training is not so hard on my body,” Haile offers. “I can train on the forest trails in the mountains, and I have never had to go to the track.”Gebrsallassie who just added a son Nathan to his family also notes, “I can also spend more time with my family, my business, and the charity concerns.”Haile has a great support crew with his long-time manager Jos Hermans and his assistant Michel Boeting, and coaching advisor Theo Joosten. Haile continues get advice from Ethiopian national coach Dr. Kostre but now works more independently noting “the Ethiopian system is changing because there are now so many athletes. “We no longer train at the national center, I have just have a small group that works with me.”

          Like his long-time rival Tergat, Haile recognizes that there is a learning process in the marathon and he notes, “I think you can learn things from a mistake, and from experience. I have yet to be perfect in a marathon. I have to learn a lot.” Haile adds, “remember that when I was in London one of my big problems was with the drink, Yesterday it was perfect.

          Richard Nerurkar accompanies me in training on a bike to provide fluids, so now we are already perfect on that issue, but there are one, two or three things that I am still thinking about.”

          Yet, unlike Tergat, Haile has adopted Paula Radcliffe’s ballistic approach to the marathon and every race he runs may well be a WR attempt. “Sure, why not? Gebrselassie responds with a serious smile.“This is part of my plan, I am confident I can make the time, but I don’t know when.”

          Despite being rebuffed in his record attempt, Haile admitted “after today I think that the marathon is the easiest one when I compare to 10,000. In the marathon you don’t need to sprint and run fast. You just have to keep up the pace and that is enough. You don’t need a lot of tactics you are just competing against time, looking at the clock.”

          Haile adds “I am concentrating on the long runs, more time, staying longer. I think that the third or fourth marathon will be OK. This time I only focus on the time, but in the future I will handle the finish better.” Haile concludes “it didn’t work here in Amsterdam, but I think someday it will happen that I just do the time. We’ll see.”


          Thomas Sorensen recently met Geb too and he writes about it here.

          Wednesday, October 19, 2005

          I CAN FEEL IT

          I’m getting there. I still don’t have the urge to run yet, but it is coming. I can feel it. Just walking around the office, my legs feel great. I haven’t done anything for 4 days now. I’ll probably get my mountain bike out over the next day or two, more for fun than anything else.

          Again, I’ve been reviewing Ron Daws’s “Running Your Best” to help plan my training. Since I don’t have anything to say about my own training right now, I thought over the next few days I’d throw out a bunch of excerpts from this book. These could be copyright violations, but I’ll take my chances. These first few quotes are from the Introduction and Chapter 1 (Getting Serious).

          “It is surprising how runners underestimate their capabilities. They look at current performance and fail to realize that their limits could be far beyond anything they’ve envisioned.”

          “Success is not guaranteed by thrashing yourself harder than others in training. Undirected grueling workouts more often bring frustration than anything else. Successful conditioning means knowing precisely when to work hard, when to rest, and how to match various kinds of training to your specific needs.”

          As David Moorcroft says, “There’s not a lot you can do about your natural ability, but there’s a hell of a lot you can do about the way you apply it. I’ve finally produced the performance level of which I was capable…so I can retire happy. For I’ve always thought that the most important thing is to fulfill your potential…”

          Daws talking about his high school and college years; “Most aggravatingly, I would run reasonably at the beginning of the season and then my races would begin to disintegrate.”

          “After college I decided to give it my all because there was nothing to learn from half a commitment. I wanted to see how far I could go given the talent I had. Otherwise, I would always know that whatever I did accomplish, I could have done better.”

          “Making a commitment to run comes down to how badly you want to explore your limits. It means honestly confronting your excuses. It means making time to train.”

          Tuesday, October 18, 2005


          I’m in the process (although there’s really no “process” associated with it) of taking at least a week off from running. The hardest part about doing that is this is the nicest time of year for running. It’s been 45-50 in the morning and 60-65 in the evenings.

          Yesterday I was going over my race results for the year. I punched all my times into this WAVA calculator. I used to think age-grading was silly, but now that I “qualify” (36 years and older) I think it’s interesting. If nothing else, it allows me to compare race X to race Y.

          If you’re not familiar with WAVA, it’s an age-grading system that allows you to punch in your age, sex, time and distance and it will give you such things as an age-graded result, which is your time if you were an Open runner and an age-performance percentage (the higher the better). It is this percentage that I used to analyze my races for the year;

          2/5/05 70.55%
          3/20/05 71.21%
          4/30/05 71.55%
          5/7/05 70.14%
          6/18/05 66.99%
          7/23/05 65.26%
          8/7/05 68.35%
          8/20/05 69.74%
          9/3/05 71.87%
          9/24/05 68.61%
          10/15/05 69.43%

          Other than my alumni meet in early September, my best races were in February through May. That’s probably not a bad thing, if you live in Arizona or Texas. When you live in Minnesota and are running your best races that early in the year, something is wrong. I gotta figure that out before next year.

          I just found out the Big 10 cross country meet is at the U of M course on October 30th. That’s awesome. Go Bucky.

          I also just read that Elizabeth Yetzer, the state’s best high school girl since Carrie Tollefson, (ever?) is planning on going to the U of M. Go Gophs.

          So I was tagged the other day by DCG. Apparently, “tagging” is similar to a chain letter – at least that’s how I see it. But I’ll play along.

          Again, my goal was to break 30 minutes, but I also had sub-6:00 pace (29:50) in the back of my head.
          This was the 3/20/05 race from above. I ended up running 29:56.

          I’ll tag Chelle, Yvonne, Mike, Andrew and Brent. Don’t feel bad if you “break the chain.” Nothing bad will happen to you – at least not that I know of.

          Here are the rules;

          1) Go into your archives.
          2) Find your 23rd post.
          3) Find the 5th sentence (or closest to it).
          4) Post the text of your sentence in your blog along with these rules.
          5) Tag five other people.

          Sunday, October 16, 2005

          6.2 MILES VERSUS 10K

          Did I actually break 39 minutes for 10K in Saturday’s race, even though I finished in 39:02? How’s that possible, you ask? Well as I was approaching the 5k mark, a light bulb went on. See, the 5k mark is in the exact same spot as the 10 mile mark of the half marathon. Sure a half marathon is 13.1 mile, but is the last 3.1 miles exactly the 3.1 miles associated with a 5k? If not, that means the last 6.2 miles of a marathon is not exactly 6.2 miles associated with a 10k.

          I asked my friend Eric who certifies courses for extra cash. He said…

          Marathon = 26.21876 miles (defined as exactly 42.195km) 10k = 6.2137119 miles. The difference between 10k and after 20 miles in the marathon is that the marathon is about 27 feet longer. Pretty close.

          Sure, it’s “pretty close” but 27 feet is roughly 9 meters or the difference between a 1600 and a mile. Hmm, let’s do the math; 5280 feet per mile/27 feet = 195.6. I averaged 6:17 pace, which equals 377 seconds/195.6 = 1.9 seconds. Dang, still not sub-39.

          Saturday, October 15, 2005


          Actually I should say “Cruisin’ the Corridor 10K Race Report” since that’s the real name of the race. However, it’s one of the events (marathon, half, 10k and 5k) during Whistlestop weekend, so more people associate it with that. One of my main reasons for doing this race is that it’s in my home town, so it gives me another reason to drive 4 hours and see my parents. Plus of all times to make this trip, mid-October is the best as the fall colors were spectacular.

          On race morning I woke up to 47 degrees, sunny and a strong NW wind. Since all the events bus you out East of town, I thought everyone would have a nice crosswind and tailwind. If you’re not familiar with Whistlestop, nearly the entire distances for each race are run on an old limestone railroad bed – hence the name of the race. Anyway, the corridor is surrounded by trees on both sides, so you are really sheltered from the wind. With all the leaves, you can really hear the wind, but you don’t feel it as much as if out in the open.

          Last year’s results had 2 guys around 32 minutes, while 3rd place was 40 minutes. So I thought this race would be interesting or boring. At the start, 2 guys take it out really hard. 2 more are a little quicker then me. I end up running with another guy and it looks like everyone is pairing up. Well that approached didn’t even last until the first mile as one of the guys just up ahead dropped back and I was in a group of 3.

          One guy in his mid-30s looked the part. He was dressed in all black, had the Oakley shades on and his Nike Frees. I think he might have been a triathlete because it looked like his legs were shaved. The other guy was about 50 and overweight. I was kind of surprised he was hanging with us. The first mile felt controlled, but the 5:51 was quicker than I would have liked. However, in a race this small, I’d rather run 5:51 with a couple of guys than run 6:05 by myself.

          It’s funny how our minds work. One second I’m wondering where I should make my move, the next I’m just hoping to hang on to 6th place. We go thru mile 2 in 6:11 and everyone seems controlled. We’re basically running 3 a breast with each of us alternating the “lead.” During the 3rd mile I tell myself to stay relaxed until the 4th mile and then I’d throw in a surge and see what happens. I figure I can’t wait till the last mile because I suck at sprinting. We reach the 3 mile marker (6:19) and both guys slow down. It was really weird. It’s like they said “Okay I’m halfway, I’m going to slow down.” Rather than slow down with them I picked up the pace – or at least the effort. I thought I picked up the pace, but my 6:30 4th mile says otherwise.

          While it was nice to be ahead of those two guys, now I had to run the 2nd half of the race by myself and wonder where they were at. Just after the 5th mile (6:27) the course turns left onto pavement for the rest of the race. I used the turn as an opportunity to look behind me. I didn’t see anyone running close behind, however by this time I’m passing 5k walkers, so I can’t be positive that no one is close. I tell myself if someone is running with me at 5k and they drop off that quickly, they’re not going to be coming back on me 2 miles later.

          As I approach the finish line I see the clock at 38:45 and I’m thinking I can get under 39. I pick it up a little and cross is 39:02. That means my 5k splits were (19:04/19:58). I was a little surprised to see that I put nearly a minute on the two guys I was running with; heavy guy 39:48, tri-guy 39:54.

          First place was a 17 year old kid in 31:52. A little research shows he’s won the 10k the last 5 years. How’s this progression?

          13 years old 38:04
          14 years old 34:43
          15 years old 33:13
          16 years old 32:13
          17 years old 31:52

          He’s still in high school, so I’m not sure why he’s driving 5 hours to run a 10k three weeks before state. It looks like it was a big family affair though with 4 kids and 2 adults all taking part in one race or another.

          Second place was 32:49 and third (and first in my age-group) was 36:08.

          Other notes: I didn’t stick around to watch the half or full marathoners finish. First place in the half went to fellow Eau Claire alum, Scott Chapin, in 1:13:10. Not bad for a guy who “hates running” and would rather mountain bike and cross country ski. The first woman was former D3 all-American, Sarah Anderson in 1:23:52.

          The marathon is usually won around 2:40-2:45. I believe the course record is around 2:37. That was re-written this year with a 2:31:43. The women’s winner ran 2:57:49. Third place overall went to former UW-Stevens Point uber-stud, Arnie Schraeder (who’s now 40) in 2:41:42. I first met Arnie the summer before my senior year of high school. He was a counselor at the UW-SP running camp. Back in those days the winner of the D2 and D3 cross country meets were allowed to compete in the D1 meet. I can’t remember his exact placing off the top of my head, but I want to say he was top-15. Heck, he’s probably the reason the stopped allowing D2 and D3 runners in the meet.

          Thursday, October 13, 2005

          26 YEARS

          I was planning on writing this post on October 3rd. I swear I have it written down somewhere that I started running on October 3rd, 1979. However, my first training log “describes” runs from October 13th, 1979 through August 27th, 1980. I put describes in quotes because only 3 things are listed; Date, How Far, and Time. That first entry looks like this:

          Date – Oct. 13, 1979
          How far – 4 mile race
          Time – 34 min. 36 seconds.

          This log book is actually a 3” x 5” spiral notebook with the words “Jogging Diary” scrawled across the cover – 3 different times (for emphasis, I guess). There’s even a stick figure of a guy running. Keep in mind that I was 10 years old at the time. If I had ever achieved running fame, this would probably be for sale on ebay. Actually, no it wouldn’t

          Even after 26 years I still tend to learn things from each season. Here are a few of the things I learned (or re-learned) this year. Of course, most of these have already appeared on my blog at some point.

          Periodization is important. I’m used to taking down time in the fall when the main racing season is over. I have to do a better job of taking more time off after the spring racing season, especially if I run a spring marathon.

          After watching TCM this year I realized that “no one” runs well in the heat and humidity. I always thought it was just me.

          If I want to race well (relatively speaking) in the heat I need to incorporate Ron Daws’ theory of training in the heat first. That means wearing extra clothes during practice. Daws liked to show up at hot races and see his competitors sporting a nice tan. Then he knew he had an advantage.

          I need to do a better job of explaining what plan I’m following, where I’m at in the plan, what I hope to accomplish, what was actually accomplished, etc. Just recording each run in a log book is not enough. I need an easier way to go back and see what worked and what didn’t.

          I’m not 16 or 26 any more. If I cut my mileage, I must cut my calorie in-take too. If I start sharpening for upcoming races and gain 5-10 lbs, no amount of speed work is going to make up for the added weight.

          I’m sure there are more lessons than that, but that’s a good start.

          Wednesday, October 12, 2005


          I managed to sneak out at lunch for a nice, average 5 mile run which took 39:20 - roughly 7:50 pace. Now that I’ve decided to take a break after Saturday, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. There’s nothing to worry about, no paces or miles to hit. I just ran. I’m thinking if I take tomorrow off and go easy on Friday that maybe another week will be enough time off. However, I’m not going to set a date, I’m going to play it by ear and lace them up again when I feel ready.

          After reading dgc’s comment yesterday, I realized I didn’t make it clear that I already have Neil Young’s new album and I didn’t mention that I love it. Will is the writer, so I thought his “Holy Christ, is it good.” pretty much summed it up. If you go to the "new album" link above and click on the song titles, you can hear them for yourself.

          About the only time I listen to my CDs is at work. Somewhere along the line I got in the habit of playing my new CDs over and over and over while I work. As soon as it ends, I hit “play” again. I figure it’s more of a background noise than actually listening to the CD.

          Tuesday, October 11, 2005


          I finally got my pictures back from the Guidant 10k and the Twin Cities 10 miler and marathon. They’re all shit. They’re either fuzzy or the runners are too far away. So, Alison, who takes photos for the New York Road Runners and such sites as fast-women and men’s racing has nothing to worry about.

          We have a fairly nice camera, a Cannon Rebel. I think part of the problem (other than having no training what-so-ever) is that I tried to be a fan and take pictures at the same time. I think I half-assed both endeavors. Plus, I only had 200 speed film in the camera. That can’t be good for action photos, right?

          Nothing exciting going on with my running today. I limited myself to two days off in a row and managed 6 miles this morning.

          I don’t talk much about non-running stuff here, but Neil Young has a new album out. I’m a huge Neil Young fan, so it didn’t take much to convince me to buy it, although Will’s short, but sweet review didn’t hurt.

          Monday, October 10, 2005

          THAT FELT GOOD

          I slept in this morning thinking I’d run on the treadmill during Monday Night Football. A “funny” thing happened when I got home. I had no desire to run, so I didn’t. And it felt good. I just sat on the couch and flipped back and forth between baseball and football.

          Just so it wasn’t a total waste, I read Daws’ chapter on Peaking (now that I don’t really need it for this year). Again, he mentions something that I’ve been thinking lately. He quotes Marty Liquori, “My recommendation is that you pick one big race to be the ultimate test for the season.” I take “season” to mean spring and fall, not just once a year.

          The reason I’ve been thinking about this is that the 5k and 10k races I have/had planned just aren’t “doing it” for me. There’s no build up or excitement surrounding them like there is a marathon or a conference, state or national meet. It’s really got me thinking that I need to have some big event each spring and fall to really gear my season towards. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a marathon, but I think it has to be an event that has some hype or at least some meaning to me, like my alumni meet, a large 10k or some type of series of races that I’m entered in. I haven’t worked out the details yet, just thinking “out loud.”

          Sunday, October 09, 2005


          Well, the way “everyone” PR’d at Chicago has me considering running it next year. There are quite a few bloggers who raced and I won't link to all their report. However, two bloggers performances that stand out to me are Yvonne’s 8 minute PR and The Thinking Runner’s sub-3. The top performance I came across actually goes to a non-blogger, Jen. 4 weeks ago Jen finished her first Ironman in a very respectable 12:37. Sunday she ran a 3:11 to PR by 6 minutes. That’s absolutely mind-boggling to me. Maybe I’d better start doing triathlons again if they'll help my running that much.

          I didn’t mention this yesterday, but my left knee was bothering me a little during my track workout. Last night it was still bothering me as I walked around the house. Just to be safe, I took today off.

          Saturday, October 08, 2005


          I’ve been finding it hard to do speed workouts during the week days lately. Maybe it’s because my training group isn’t getting together any more, maybe it’s due to the cool mornings or the sun setting earlier. Whatever the reason, I decided to do a track workout today. I figure with sunny skies, a light to moderate breeze and temps in the mid-50s, I wouldn’t have any excuses.

          My last track workout was 11 days ago and I managed 6 x 800, averaging 2:48. Today I thought it’d be better to sacrifice a little speed in order to increase the quantity. I thought 8 reps would be good, maybe 10 if I felt great. Looking back that was very optimistic. After 3 reps I thought if I made it to 6 I’d be happy. During the 4th rep all my thoughts were negative. Finally after my 5th rep I came to my senses. Why be miserable if I don’t have to? I realized that I have no desire to do any 5k races this fall and I stepped off the track.

          I’m more excited about what lies ahead for next year than I am about how I’d do in a 5k this year. So I’ll run a 10k this weekend, mainly because it's a small race in my hometown. After that, I'll call it a season and take 1 week off for sure, maybe 2.

          Yes, that’s my final answer.

          Thursday, October 06, 2005


          Yesterday I was half-joking when I said “tomorrow I’ll be bitching because it’s too cold.” Well this morning it was 39 degrees with a 20 mph wind. When I heard the wind, I didn’t bitch about it; I just rolled over and went back to bed.

          While I didn’t run in the morning, it doesn’t mean I took the day off. Tonight I managed 58 minutes on the treadmill with 25 minutes at a tempo pace. I’ve given up on trusting the mileage my treadmill reports. I know it’s not calibrated correctly, so I just base things on effort. I called this an 8 mile run.

          In today’s mail I got a letter from Bolder Options – the group that organized the 10K race I ran on 9/24. I won a $10 gift card to REI for winning my age-group. Cool. That beats a trophy. The letter also reminded me to look online for photos. Here’s one of me and Jim. I promise I figure out how to fit these into the body of my post – someday.

          Wednesday, October 05, 2005

          SPOOKY RUN

          Yesterday I mentioned it rained. I meant it RAINED!!! There were reports of up to 8” of rain in some parts of the Cities. After the rain passed through, the temperatures rose. By 6 AM it was 65 degrees and the dew point wasn’t much lower. When the temp and dew point are so close, it usually means fog and this morning was no different. So this morning’s run was pitch black, foggy, and damp with lightning in the distance and for about 10 minutes straight, police car and fire truck sirens. It was a little spooky.

          I find that my attitude towards running ebbs and flows with the weather lately. It’s October 5th and I’m running at 6 AM in a tank top and I come back sopping wet. WTF? I managed 8 miles in 65 minutes, but the whole time I just wanted to turn around and call it a day. In fact I wanted to call it a season. Pull the plug. Take two weeks off before ramping back up. But I reminded myself; “This is Minnesota, tomorrow I’ll be bitching because it’s too cold.” Besides, I looked at a calendar for next year and did a little planning. Even if I race through October this year and then take 2 weeks off, that’ll still give 17 weeks of conditioning. Lydiard recommends at least 12 weeks, so I think I’ll be fine.

          Speaking of Lydiard’s training plan, if you haven’t come across Mike’s Running with Lydiard blog, check it out. I like it because Mike’s fast, 30-something, with kids, training for a winter marathon (P.F. Chang’s in Phoenix) and, most importantly, he’s following Lydiard for the first time. He’s just finishing up his conditioning phase. Follow along and watch Lydiard training in action.

          Tuesday, October 04, 2005

          RANT, RANT, RANT

          I’m beginning to wonder if this is the first year that my coach has added runners to his triathlete group. I’m getting the sense that he’s not sure what to do with us, especially those that aren’t running fall marathons. After deciding not to do a fall marathon I sent him an email with a list of 5k-10k races that goes through October 29th. I guess I assumed he’d write workouts for me with the idea of peaking for that last race.

          Given that my previous schedule only went through yesterday and that Tuesdays are typically speed workouts, I emailed him this morning to see if we were meeting tonight. Usually we meet at the Macaleter track at 6:30. I figure if I didn’t hear from him, I’d just go to the track and hope someone was there, if not, I’d workout on the track by myself. At 4:20 I got a group email saying “No practice until Saturday. Enjoy some downtime after TCM weekend. This is the time of year to back-off on running…blah, blah, blah.”

          Hmm, so I guess I’m on my own for the next month. Not that I can’t come up with some workouts for the next 4 weeks, but part of the idea behind hiring a coach was trying to gain some ideas regarding tapering and peaking. Plus the suddenness of it really bites. I mean I like to kind of know what’s on tap for my hard workouts so I can mentally prepare for them.

          Tonight I was like “now what?” You know how they say you should know what you’re trying to achieve with every workout? Well tonight I felt like I had no clue. Obviously, there was no need to drive 20 minutes to the track. Should I do a track workout near my house? What kind of workout; 800s, cruise intervals, tempo run, etc.? I decided to just run to the track and see what happened.

          By this time, the weather wasn’t helping my mood either; 60 degrees for both the temperature and the dew point, plus rain. Thoughts of getting in a hard workout were vanishing rapidly. They disappeared completely when I got to the track and there was a football game going on in the middle of it. Screw it, it’s supposed to be cooler in two days. I’ll run hard then. Instead I managed 5 miles at a brisk (probably sub-7:30) pace.

          Okay, rants over (for now).

          Monday, October 03, 2005


          Well, the good news is that the Twin Cities Marathon wasn’t today. It was 10 degrees warmer this morning and the dew point reached the high sixties later in the day. A marathon today would have been even uglier than yesterday.

          I wanted to mention how Double and Peter (who post comments here frequently) did at Lakefront yesterday, but my entry ended up way too long. Anyway, Double won his age group with a 2:53:18, while Peter turned in one of the top performances of the weekend with his first sub-3, 2:59:13. Way to go guys! Complete results for these marathons can be found here. Also there are some photos from Twin Cities up here.

          I ended up not running yesterday. I figured biking 22 miles was enough. Besides, yesterday we spent the afternoon at an apple orchard. It was a lot of fun but I could wait to put the girls to bed so I could finally sit down.

          Tonight I jumped on the treadmill for an easy 5 miles while watching the Packers get beat (again). I wore my Nike Frees for the first 3 miles. That’s the longest I’ve worn them for so far. Usually I just wear them when I walk/jog with the dog.

          Sunday, October 02, 2005


          Last night it felt like I was running the marathon. I got 4 good hours of sleep and then tossed and turned for 4 hours. On my way to watch the race a bank clock said 61 degrees at 6:50. It was sticky and breezy too. About the only thing going for the runners were the overcast skies.

          I met Mary, Matt and Tony just before mile 3 of the 10 mile race. I was able to cheer and get a picture of Debbie (1:02:41), Eric (1:06:03) and Jim (1:06:48). We hung around and just watched thousands of runners stream passed. Next stop: the Metrodome to watch the start of the marathon. I mainly wanted to see the start in order to start my watch, so I’d know the “official” time.

          After hanging out a couple of minutes we had to zip ahead to about mile 2.25. We literally got there 10 seconds before Jenna. A minute or two later Aaron came by. I should mention that Jenna was shooting for a Trials Qualifier while Aaron was looking for his first sub-3 (having run 3:02-3:05 about 8 times). Next stop: mile 7.

          We didn’t beat the men’s leaders to mile 7, but probably those running 2:25 pace. Nicole Aish already had at least two minutes on second place (Dana Coons). A minute later a huge pack of women went through. Shortly after Jenna came by looking smooth. Then Aaron came by and he seemed to be doing okay – running with his training partner, John. Next stop: mile 11.

          A funny thing happened on the way to mile 11. The road we were on came out right at the 10 mile marker. Again, Jenna got there 10 seconds after us. Instead of hanging out there we went ahead to mile 11. This is when the ugliness of the day began to rear its head. Jenna came by and kind of threw her hands in the air. She was running 6:l0 pace but apparently having problems with her breathing. John put a couple of seconds on Aaron, who was shaking his head. Next stop: 13.1.

          I like watching at halfway because, obviously, you can see what people go through the half in. Joan Benoit-Samuelson came through in 1:21:11, Jenna was 17 seconds back. It seemed like a lot of women were going for the Trials Qualifier. Erin who’s run 2:53 her last two marathons went through in 1:23:46. Aaron was already beginning to struggle, crossing halfway in 1:29:45. Next stop: 17.5.

          Getting to the next stop before Jenna was hard. It’s a “good thing” she was slowing. Again, we managed to arrive about 10 seconds before her. This time the runners were going under a bridge. We were on the bridge so it was hard to get a read on how she was doing. Rather than wait for Aaron, we crossed the bridge and were at mile 21 in time to watch the 2:30 runners go by. Nicole Aish was still in the lead. She increased her 4 minute lead at half to 5 minutes by mile 20. Zika Palmer looked good and was closing quickly. Nicole would eventually hold on to win by 45 seconds in 2:40:21.

          About a 100 meters before Jenna reached us, she stopped to stretch. Matt ran down to meet her and they had a “long” discussion. Thoughts of dropping out were running amok. Matt convinced her to keep going. Watching the race, Jenna really wasn’t running that poorly. I’m not sure if she knew how fast she was running. She told Matt that she didn’t want to finish over 3 hours, however she was still on 2:50 pace (a year ago that was her PR). Next stop: I’m not sure.

          I wasn’t sure where to go next. Matt said he was going to follow Jenna down Summit Avenue. If you’re not familiar with the course, Summit is a wide Boulevard. The runners run down one side, so it’s fairly easy for someone on a bike to cheer, zip ahead and cheer some more, etc. Just before mile 23 we saw some teammates watching the race. Mary and I decided to hang out there and watch the race. We saw Jenna go by one more time.

          I hung out near mile 23 for about 90 minutes. This was the first time I really got to “relax” and just observe all the runners going by. Ugly is really about the only way I can describe it. Evan said if you ran a positive split by 7 minutes, you were doing well.

          Let see if I can list the results of everyone that I mentioned in this entry. 48-year old Joan Benoit-Samuelson ran a tough 2:46:27, Dana Coons’ first marathon resulted in a 2:46:54, Jenna ran a very respectable 2:51:23, Erin, believe it or not, ran her third 2:53(:36) in a row. Aaron’s friend John ran 3:00:46, while Aaron crossed the line in 3:24:25.

          Congrats to all who finished, including another first time marathoner who’s blog I came across recently, Brent.

          Saturday, October 01, 2005

          HEAT WAVE

          This morning Evan and I met at the Minnesota Wildlife Refuge for a run along the Minnesota River. We got the worst part (a mile stretch along Interstate 494) out of the way first and then hit the trails. Our loop took just under 70 minutes and we called it 9 miles.

          Evan is training for the Philly marathon and he’s got me considering running it next year. One of the things I like about it is it’s still 7 weeks away. That means I’d be able to lay low in the summer and get in some quality training during my favorite time of year, fall. I’m not a huge fan of traveling to a marathon, especially when Grandma’s and Twin Cities are in my back yard. I’ll have to mention it to Amy and see what she thinks.

          I was so happy that we ran in the morning. Man, did it get hot (for October 1st) this afternoon. It must have reached the low-80s and it was sunny and windy. Wasn’t it just 40 degrees 3 days ago? I spent the afternoon swimming with my family at a local YMCA. My mother-in-law gave us 10 passes that have to be used by the end of the year. We thought they’d take a pass for each adult, but they only took one for the entire family, so we still have 9 passes left.