Wednesday, November 30, 2005


My wife and I are to the point where we buy our own Christmas presents and give them to the other person to wrap. One of the things Amy bought for herself was a new watch. Then she talked me into letting her wear it before Christmas. So with the recent snowfall, I thought it was only fair that she allow me to wear these before Christmas. I’ve never worn Yaktrax before but have heard good things about them. I was not disappointed.

I didn’t think we really had enough snow on the roads, so I just carried them when I started running. I headed to the golf course and continued to carry them. Once I got to my favorite trails I put them on and was immediately impressed. I was able to “zip” up and down snowy, leaf-covered hills with confidence. On the way back home I kept them on and tried to find every icy patch I could and didn’t slip at all. So if you do any of your winter running on packed snow or slippery roads, add the Yaktrax to your Christmas list.

While on the golf course, I noticed a bunch of cross-country ski tracks in the fairways. Even though we only have about 2 inches of snow, people had been out skiing. That got me thinking about taking my skis over there tomorrow. I’ve had a nice pair of skate skis for about 4 years, but haven’t used them much because I’m “too busy” running. I haven’t been able to convince myself that cross-country skiing is a good running substitute, even though everything I’ve read says it’s just as good, if not better. One of the problems I have is that I’m not very good with those technical sports, like skiing, swimming or golf. I rather just go out and exercise without having to think about the technical aspects.

Today’s run was 10 miles in 85 minutes. That gave me 246 miles for the month of November. For the 30 days in the month, I ran 28 days, biked 1 day and took 1 day completely off. Not spectacular, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


It seems like Mother Nature really can’t make up her mind this fall/winter. I can’t remember the weather flip-flopping so much from day-to-day. Yesterday it was 45 and raining, this morning it was 20 and snowing. This was the third snowfall of the year and each time has only resulted in a couple of inches. However, the timing of today’s snowfall – during the morning rush hour – couldn’t have been much worse

Luckily I have the day off (and the rest of the week) since I have to burn up some vacation time and I didn’t have to drive to work. However, I did have to drive into St. Paul to get together for a run with my retired friends, Jim and Eric. I thought the conditions looked a lot worse than they actually were – at least running-wise. We met near the University of St. Thomas and basically ran the Get in Gear 10k course twice. Actually, each loop is about 5.5 miles, so we ran for 90 minutes and called it 11 miles.

I’ve mentioned fantasy football a few times this year. I’m now aware of at least 3 “rules” surrounding this “sport.”
  1. If you make a mistake like starting someone on a bye week or someone that’s injured, you will lose that week by a very narrow margin. A margin narrow enough to swing the other way if you had not made the mistake.
  2. If you make a trade with another owner it usually looks like a good trade up until the point that you play the team you traded with. When you match up against your old players, they will undoubtedly “go off.”
  3. If you make a last minute change to your roster for the week, it will come back to haunt you. Again you will lose by a similar score as stated in #1 above.

My league is down to the final regular season week and I’m battling for the last playoff spot. I need a win against one of the top teams in the league to guarantee myself a playoff spot.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Okay, now that I’m back in the office hopefully I can post something other than a quick, boring update.

How can I be wide awake at 2:30 but then tired at 4:40? I woke up at 2:30 having just dreamt of going back to college for a year because I found out I had 1 year of cross country eligibility remaining. That must have gotten me all wound up because I tossed and turned for the next hour.

When I finally woke up it was 45 degree - too bad it included a light rain. As I took Bailey for her walk/jog the rain’s intensity quickly picked up. When I got home I was wet enough that I changed shirts, jackets and pants. If I were heading right back out the door I would have been okay. However, since I would be sitting in the wet clothes for 30 minutes as I drove across town I thought I’d better change.

Somewhere during my drive across town the rained stopped. During the first half of my run I was feeling over dressed, but then the rain came again. I was wearing some Gortex pants that I’ve had for about 20 years (and probably haven’t run in for 15). They make great snow pants when I’m playing with the kids. Apparently they don’t make such good rain pants. They absorbed the water and clung to my legs. My legs finally went numb with about 2 miles to go.

That got me thinking about what was worse; the first 4 miles of my Thanksgiving day run, 15-20 degrees into a 20 mph wind or the second half of today’s run, 45 degrees with rain into a 10 mph wind. I think I have to give it to today’s run. One reason is because when I finished I couldn’t just hop in the shower. I had to get back in my car and drive another 5-10 minutes. I dried off the best I could and got out of my wet shirt and pants, but it wasn’t enough. So give me cold and snow over rain, any day.

Oh, I made it 10 easy miles. I think I'm to the point physically and mentally where I don't have any problems running 10 miles. I don't even think about it really, I just head out the door and let my mind wander. It's a good place to be. It sure beats those 5-6 mile runs when I was just getting back into training. Those things seemed to take forever.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


We ended up getting 3-4 inches of new snow on Friday. The city didn’t bother to plough the bike paths so I ventured to my favorite running trails and found the paths to be in decent shape – already packed down by walkers and runners. My legs continue to feel good and I made it another 10 miles. That gave me a solid 70 miles for the week on 7 runs. My shortest run was 8 miles with Scott, while my longest run was 13 miles.

The temps warmed up into the 40s today, so all our new snow is gone. The melted snow created a foggy, dreary day. I had thoughts of running either on the golf course or on my favorite trails again. However, once I started running I felt really good. I didn’t want to “waste” that feeling while slugging along a wet, sloppy, slow golf course or trail. After a mile with Bailey, I ran a 10 mile loop and probably averaged around 8:00 pace.

Susan asked who's Bailey. She's my sad "puppy".

Friday, November 25, 2005


Just a quick update on the last two days. After figuring out what time we were leaving on Thanksgiving morning, I decided to "sleep in" until 5:20. The temperature continues to fluctuate. It went from 27 on Tues to 37 on Wed to 19 on Thursday. To make matters worse, there was a 20 mph wind.

Since my goal for the morning was 8-10 miles, I decided to take Bailey for a mile and then run an 8 mile loop. One of my rules for winter running is to run into the wind first. It made for a miserable first half in 35:26, but the second half flew by in 34:13.

After than we drove 3 hours to Iowa, hung out for 4 hours and then drove 3 hours back. It makes for a long day, but it's nice to be back home that night and have the rest of the weekend to ourselves. I was supposed to work today, but my boss said he'd rather have me there Monday than today. He didn't have to tell me twice. If I get enough stuff done on Monday, I plan on taking the rest of the week off - mainly to use up vacation days.

This morning's run went really well. I didn't have anything in mind other than getting in at least 10 miles. Again, I took Bailey for a mile, then decided to do a 10 mile loop. It snowed a little over night and was still snowing in the morning. There was about an inch of fresh snow that I had to run on. Not enough to make for poor footing, but enough to make for a nice cushioned run. As I headed home I still felt good, so I decided to add on 2 more miles which would give me 60 for the first 6 days of the week and set me up nicely for 65-70 miles for the week, depending on how tomorrow goes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


The reasons I’m a huge fan of the Badger Cross Country program is that; 1) I’m originally from Wisconsin, 2) they’re awesome and 3) one of my college roommates, G-man, is an assistant coach.

He sent me this photo of the team and their trophy (he’s on the far left).

Digging through my old emails, I also came across this photo of G-man and Arthur Lydiard (again, he’s on the left :-) ).

If anyone is interested in a Championship t-shirt, check this out.

Because of Thanksgiving, I didn’t think I was going to run with Scott this week. Then he emailed me yesterday and wanted to know if I wanted to meet this morning. Heck yeah. We had a nice 50 minute run around his neighborhood and Lake Harriet. Throw in a mile-plus with the dog and I’m calling it 8 miles for the day.

Over the years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about exercising on the holidays it’s get it in early or you probably won’t get it in at all. So I won’t be sleeping in tomorrow. 8-10 miles at 5 AM – hopefully I can sleep during our 3 hour drive to Iowa. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Beck of the Pack

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I think running is like the weather. You know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather here (insert Anyplace, USA) stick around because it’ll change soon enough.” Well yesterday I was bitching about struggling through 9 miles. Today I had an awesome 11 mile run. It was a beautiful, calm 27 degree morning with an awesome sunrise during the last mile. It wasn’t particularly fast – my 5 mile splits for the last 10 miles were 43:15/41:45 – but my legs felt so much better than yesterday.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, as well as some of the comments on that post, I’d like to maximize my mileage in singles this year. I think I can work up to running 10-11 miles every morning before adding double.

Looking at my log book from last year, why the heck was I running 5 miles in the morning and 5 miles in the evening, rather than one run of 10 miles? Part of the answer may lie in the fact that last year was my first year of being a morning runner. Prior to that, I always ran at lunch or in the evening. While I did get up at 4:30 once a week for a longer mid-week run, the thought of getting up at 4:30 everyday seemed too daunting. This year I think I’d rather get into the habit of going to bed at 9 and getting up at 4:30 everyday, rather than bouncing between 4:30 and 5:00. I’ve even been contemplating getting up at 5:00 on the weekends and getting my run out of the way. That’s when you’ll know I’m “serious.”

Of course I can say all this stuff when it’s beautiful outside. Ask me again when it’s 27 below and I’ll probably have a different answer.

Monday, November 21, 2005


The other day I wrote about everyone wanting to “be there” with their training. “There” meaning being fit. Now I know why people feel that way – because not “being there” sucks.

I don’t know if it was all the golf course hills or running on the soft grass (probably both), but my legs were tired today. I managed to make it 9 miles, but it was a struggle. Here I am, not even up to 70 mpw yet and I’m already “struggling” with the mileage. Thinking back to this time last year, I was already in the mid-70 range. However, I was also averaging 9-10 runs per week. This year I’m trying to, as they say, “maximize my mileage in singles” before adding two-a-days.

The last time I really maximized my mileage in singles was the spring of 2004. At the time I had a job that would allow me to run 6-8 miles during my lunch hour. That spring I got laid off, but they let me continue “working” another two months. “Somehow” my lunch breaks started getting longer and I began running 8-12 miles everyday. I ended up having my best summer racing season.

Since I’m not “there” right now, I have to balance my daily efforts in order to make sure I can get in the next day’s mileage. Typically there’s a balance between pace and mileage, yesterday I found out that terrain also plans a role at this point. While it’s important for me to add some hilly routes to my training, I have to be careful not to sacrifice my mileage.


A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d be able to use my vacation and go to the NCAA X-C meet, but some work and family stuff came up and I wasn’t able to make it.

Two of the guys I would have ridden to the meet with covered it for Track & Field News. Charlie Mahler wrote this recap while Sean Hartnett took these photos.


37 points for the Badgers, 105 for Arkansas and 178 for Notre Dame. A 68-point margin of victory. I wonder what the record is.

The Badgers placed 5 in the top 17, 6 in the top 18 and their 7th runner was 58th overall. If you add up their score using their 3-7 runners (instead of 1-5) they would have scored 91 points and still won the meet.

Men's Team Results

Men's Individual Results

On the women's side, Stanford upsets #1 ranked Duke. Who coaches Stanford? Former women's coach for the Badgers, Peter Tegan.

Women's Team Results

Women's Individual Results

Sunday, November 20, 2005


First off, congrats to Evan, Duncan, and Seebo for their outstanding performances at the Philly Marathon. While Evan and Seebo didn’t quite achieve their goal time, they PR’d by over 4 and 3 minutes, respectively. Duncan didn’t PR. However, when you’ve done 9 marathons in 12 months (especially with his times) I think coming with 4 minutes of your PR is a very solid effort.

While I missed my opportunity to run on the golf course yesterday, I made up for it today. This afternoon I headed out the door with the thought of getting in 10 miles (9 of which would be on the golf course). This golf course is very rolling, so it’d be a great change of pace from my weekly runs.

Have you ever noticed the difference between running a 10 mile loop and just wandering around for 10 miles? After running around the golf course for a “long” time I started to calculate how far I thought I had run. I was positive I’d run at least 7 miles. But when I looked at my watch, I’d only be out there for 49 minutes – roughly 6 miles. That’s a kick to the psyche.

This is the same golf course that Evan and I watch the USATF MN X-C meet on last weekend. Since I still had 4 miles to go I decided to run the 5k course. I made one of the 2.5k loops in 13:30 – another kick to the psyche – before deciding that I had enough of the golf course for one day. I ran around the neighborhood for the rest of my run.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Ever have one of those days running where you feel great? You charge up every hill and never get out of breath. When I took Bailey for or evening walk/jog tonight, this is how I felt. Up until that point I was almost talking myself out of running, but the way I felt running with Bailey, I knew I had to run later in the evening.

It was a nice evening and I had thoughts of hitting the golf course near my with my head lamp. However, I got sucked into a 2 hour episode of Law and Order. I figured I’d let my dinner settle for an hour before hitting the treadmill. It wouldn’t be as fun as a night time run on a golf course, but at least I get in a run.

1 minute into the run and my treadmill stops while it emits a high-pitched alarm. I shut it off and restart it. This time I make it 4 more minutes before it stops again. If you’ve ever run on a treadmill before, the last thing you want it to do is stop – without warning. After nearly breaking my lower back, I decide not to take anymore chances. No, I didn’t decide to hit the golf course after all and no, I didn’t decide to take the day off after all. I saw my bike sitting on my trainer and decided to do a little cross training by riding for an hour.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t let not getting my run in bother me either. I don’t have plans to “make up” that mileage either. This was a cutback week, so I don’t think there’s any real difference between 35 miles (with a bike ride) and 43 miles. The main thing is to be fresh as I attempt to increase my mileage the next 3 weeks.

Finally, happy 66th birthday to my dad.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I went to Susan’s blog this morning and she said, “It’s cold again, 34 degrees.” When I ran this morning it was 30 degrees and I thought, “Wow, 20 degrees warmer than yesterday, this is nice.” I suppose it’s all relative.

I met Scott again today and we did the same 6.5 mile route as last Friday. We ran 75 seconds faster this week, but it didn’t really seem like it. Looks like we won’t hook up next week because of Thanksgiving, but we’d better met the week after that because I loaned him my new Neil Young CD.

A lot of the blogs I’ve been reading lately have the same general tone that mine may have. Everyone wants to be “there” right now. “There” meaning everyone wants to be fit or be maxing out their mileage or be in racing shape. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) running doesn’t work that way. We have to “suffer” through long stretches of hard work in order to enjoy the rewards of running fast later. Probably my favorite quote regarding cross country is “Cross Country is a summer sport played out in the fall.” If that’s too deep for you on a Friday, it means if you don’t do the work in the summer, come fall, you’re season is going to suck. Obviously, now that I don’t run cross country, I have to change the verbiage so it relates to my upcoming racing season.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


It was 8 degrees when I woke up this morning. The good news is that the winds were calm. I really don’t mind this weather – in December, January or February. November 17th is a little early. Oh well, winter is like base building, you just gotta zone out and grind it out. I ran an easy 8 miles this morning without my watch. People have already started hibernating. In the fall I’d see 10 people a day on the trails, now I see 2 people a day.

How come the more I think about nutrition, the worse I eat? I’m not talking about meals, those are still generally nutritious. It’s all the sweets I’ve been craving lately. I wonder if it’s just from increasing my mileage. Heck, my mileage isn’t even that high right now. What happens if I keep increasing? I’ll need to walk around with a sugar-water I.V.

Just want to give Evan one last “have a great race” before he heads to Philly. I was a little worried that it’d be 8 degrees for the marathon, but the forecast is calling for lows in the mid-30s and highs in the mid-50s. That sounds perfect to me as long as the wind cooperates.

This isn’t running related, but if you like cool photos, check out Dave’s blog. Special thanks to Will not Bill for pointing me in Dave’s direction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I love winter. I love winter. I love winter. Maybe if I repeat it enough, I’ll believe it. No, actually I do love winter. I just wish we could ease into it a little more. Or as Daws would say, “make smooth transitions.” Yesterday morning it was 37 and rainy. This morning it was 20 with 20+ mph winds (with gusts to 40+ mph) making for a wind chill of 0 degrees. We only got a dusting of snow, rather than the 4 inches they predicted. However, when you put it on top of the rain that froze over night, it makes for rough conditions. Luckily I was up early enough to avoid the rush hour traffic. Plus since I run on dirt/gravel trails, they don’t get icy like roads and sidewalks.

I made it 8 miles this morning. I wore my watch because I thought it’d be “fun” to see my splits. See if you can tell which half was into the wind; 36:44/33:03. I ran nearly 1:00 faster per mile during the second half!?!? I’ve mentioned that most of the trail I run on is blocked by trees; however there’s a stretch from 1.5 to 3 miles that is open to the North. Of course, that’s the direction the wind usually comes from. So while I was pretty miserable for the first 3 miles, the last 5 miles were great.

Under the category of “Art imitating Life” (or would it be “Life imitating Art”?); Last night I was watching The Office and in one scene Dwight is sitting at his desk on a Fitness Ball. You know, the kind you use for core exercises. I can honestly say that I’ve had thoughts of bringing my ball to work and using it as a chair while I’m at the computer. Would you think it’s weird if one of your co-workers sat on a Swiss Ball instead of a chair? Of course Dwight was bouncing up and down and annoying the hell out of Jim. The scene ended when Jim asked Dwight how much the ball costs. Dwight says $25 and then Jim proceeds to stab the ball with his scissors. In case you didn’t know, Dwight has a blog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Before going to bed Sunday night I set my alarm for 4:40. Thinking I’d try to get in 10 miles before work – the day after I got a cold. Ha, that was wishful thinking!!! Sometime in the night I reset my alarm for 5:20 and managed to get in 5 very easy miles. Not spectacular but it was good to be out running. As usual, when I have a cold, being out running was the best I felt all day.

Last night all I kept hearing was “snow is coming.” Fearing the “worst” I laid out a heavier jacket, hat and gloves for this morning’s run. When I turned on the TV this morning the first thing I saw was Operation Winter: Are you ready? Then I looked in the lower right hand corner of the screen and saw that it was 37 degrees outside. It’s too dark to go back upstairs and find my other clothes. So I venture out, knowing I’m going to be overdressed. I managed to get in 7 miles with the last 6 in 51:21 (26:05/25:16). I thought I was “moving” pretty good during the 2nd half, but apparently not. That makes me want to leave my watch at home all winter.

Can someone tell me why the “word verification” for comments is 14 letters long, wavy and italicized? If we’re just trying to keep out automated spam messages, couldn’t it just be an easy-to-read, 3-letter field? Half the time I spend more time typing and re-typing this field than I do posting my comments.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


As much as I’d like to have my plan laid out for the next 4 weeks, like Andrew, I just can’t do it. I have a general idea of how much mileage I’d like to get weekly, but I also know that things pop up – things being colds, aches and pains, family stuff, etc. Not to mention not knowing how I’ll respond to the mileage from day to day, let alone week to week.

Just 2 weeks into my training I got my first cold. After weeks of 53 and 60, I was hoping to get between 65 and 70 miles this week. It looks like that will have to wait for another week, as I ended up taking today off. Had I run right away in the morning, I’d probably have been fine. However, I kept putting off my run and by the end of the night I was beat. I’m sure raking my entire yard didn’t help either.

I’m not discouraged though. Heck, after 14 days in a row I think it’s okay to take a day off – gotta build up gradually. I’ll just make this a step-back week before going for 65-70 next week. It looks like I have some vacation to burn before the end of the year too, so I’ll probably take the week after Thanksgiving off. Maybe I’ll live like a Kenyan that week and just run, eat, sleep and play X-Box.

On an unrelated football note: holy cow, the Vikings and Packers both won on the road against teams with winning records. What is the NFL coming to? Since I’ve rattled of 3 wins in a row in fantasy football, I’m happy to report my team is 6-4. Actually I should be 7-3. A month ago I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize that my defense was on the bye week. Of course the fantasy football gods realize stuff like that and I lost by 1 point.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Evan met me at my house this morning for his last “long” run before the Philly marathon, which is next Sunday. I’m not sure if Evan has made his goal public, but let’s just say it’s sub-6:30 pace. That means he’s faster than me and Scott, however I don’t get that sense when I train with him. Evan has no problem running my pace, while Scott prefers to go pretty hard when we run together. So even though I ran with faster people two days in a row, it didn’t really seem like it. That’s a good thing considering the 12 miles we covered was my longest run in 11 weeks. That gave me 60 for the week, up from 53 last week.

It was a nice run too. We ran around Lebanon Hills Park for about an hour before heading back to a golf course near my house. This golf course happened to be hosting a USATF Minnesota cross country meet today. Evan and I ran the course and were able to watch the start before running the course in reverse to see the runners a couple of more times. It was an interesting race. It only had about 50 runners, but 45 of them were studs.

I know it’s cross country and it slower, but I think the course may have been long too. The top 2 guys have snuck under 15 minutes this year, however today they were closer to 16-flat. Gals that I normally run with in the 18s were finishing in the 20s.

This afternoon I watched Ironman Hawaii on TV. I’ve ripped on NBC before for their special interest stories during other events, but I think they do a great job with their Ironman coverage. If that show doesn’t make you want to get out and test your limits, I don’t know what will.

Friday, November 11, 2005


From June 2001 to April 2002 I ran 3 marathons between 3:00:55 and 3:03:15. In October 2002 I finally broke 3 with a 2:58:10. I don’t even have to look in my log book to pin point what helped get me to sub-3. No it wasn’t hard track workouts, killer hill repeats or a large increase in mileage. I think it’s clear that it came down to running with people that are faster than me. Not every day, just once a week, usually 10-14 miles. And not super fast, probably close to marathon pace or what Daws would call (and I keep talking about) a strong aerobic effort

If I do look back in my log book, I see it started in early 2002, as I ran with Scott or a larger group of college friends 6 times before Boston. In the 5 months leading up to my sub-3, I ran with these same people 14 times. So what do you do when you figure something like this out? You send Scott an email and say “how can we make running together once a week possible?” Surprisingly, it came together quicker than I thought. I emailed Scott on Wednesday and we were able to get together this morning.

Actually, Scott and I have very similar PRs. He has run 2:56 and you could probably throw a rock from his 5k and 10k PRs to mine. However, Scott likes to train faster than I do (when I’m alone) and that’s what makes him an ideal training partner for me. This morning we ran together for 49 minutes and probably averaged 7:30 pace. Again, not super fast. However, when you’re used to training at 8:00-8:30 pace, you can tell the pace is quicker.

Ideally, I’d like to get back towards the 12-14 mile range for these runs, but since we’re doing them before work we may have to be satisfied with 10-12 miles. In any case, I think it’s a step in the right direction with my training.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


All right, apparently 2006 Budgeting and Blogging at work don't go hand-in-hand. So I've either been skipping entries, combining entries or blogging at home.

I don't really have anything too exciting to report about my last 2 runs; both 8 miles without a watch. I emailed my friend Scott and said we should try to meet before work sometime for a run. We're going to meet tomorrow at 6 AM and see if we can make that work.

Tuesday I was going to mention how great the weather has been lately. Normal highs for this time of year are 45 degrees. Lately it's been 40 at 5 AM with highs around 55-60. And the winds have been calm, which I think is unusual for this time of year. Well that changed overnight. Wednesday morning it was still 40 degrees, however we have 30 mph winds to go along with that. Luckily my trail is fairly well sheltered by the trees, so the wind didn't bother me much. Today it was calm again, but the temp dropped down to 30.

I get home from work today and my 4 1/2 year old is telling me she's in love and going to get married. There's a boy in her pre-school class that she was holding hands with today. At dinner I was asking her about him and she said he had a twin brother. So I asked if she could tell them apart and she said no. I guess they break into smaller groups and he's in her group, that's how she can tell who's who. When I tucked her in she said she kissed him then she said, "I just can't stop thinking about him." Oh we go. I'm sure it doesn't help that the neighborhood kids she plays with are 6. I was raking leaves the other day and they were all talking about who liked who.

On my list of things to do was set up a bloglines account then I read Brent's advice and set up a google reader account instead. Now I just have to figure out what it all means and how it works.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Okay, enough about the high school kids and all the 6-pack abs on Team USA Minnesota. Where am I at and/or where am I going?

This is my second week "back". Last week I ran 53 miles and this week I'm shooting for 56-60 miles. I'm trying to follow Daws' advice of keeping my daily efforts the same. To do that I keep my mileage in a narrow range, like 7-9 miles per day and keep the effort easy to moderate. Again, the idea is to get comfortable with the mileage before adding in hard/easy days and long runs.

Yesterday I ran 9 miles around 8:20 pace. I took my 2-mile splits during the last 8 miles just to see what was happening. It turns out I start out really slow, 8:40 pace for the first 2 miles. Then it looks like I drop to 8:20 pace, then 8:00 pace before finishing at 8:15 pace. What does it all mean? I don't know; it just takes up space in a blog entry. Actually it makes me think I need more "no watch" runs at this point in my training.

Today I ran 8 miles. As I mentioned last week, I decided to add some hills a couple times during the work-week. Today I added 4 "hills" at the end of my run. I'm almost ashamed to call them hills, but they're the best I've found for my current running situation.

Random thoughts:

Is there a worse vegetable than brussel sprouts?

How come you don't see more Subaru Bajas on the road?

There were 300+ high school kids that ran sub-6:00 pace 5Ks at the state meet (not including the kids that didn't qualify). That kind of time will place you near the front of most local 5Ks. What happens to all these kids?

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I was pretty excited about dropping a couple of names in this post but then I read Alison’s recent post and I knew I couldn’t compete. But I’ll still tell my story.

As I started walking the mile from the parking lot to the course yesterday at the state meet I saw a group of people, including Dana Coons and Matt Gabrielson of Team Minnesota fame. While the thought I just walking behind Dana was very inviting, I got up the courage to talk to her. Since she just ran her first marathon 5 weeks ago, it was easy to come up with at topic. She’s still in recovery mode which doesn’t surprise me. She was very nice and we probably spoke for 5 minutes or so. We didn’t get around to exchanging phone numbers or email addresses – yet.

Today’s run was a family affair. First I took Bailey for a mile and then I pushed Kinsey in the stroller for 5 miles. When we got back Katie was just waking up, so I threw her in the stroller and went another 2 miles. It was nice to take Katie last since she’s so much lighter than Kinsey. I can’t imagine trying to push them both at the same time.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


First off, I need to correct what I said yesterday about my friend Eric’s daughter, Sal. This is Sal’s 4th trip to the state meet. She finished 100th, 50th and 88th the last 3 years. I should have remember that because after finishing 50th, Eric and I predicted 25th last year.

There were 4 races today; boys and girls AA (big school) followed by boys and girls A. I just recap them in order.

Boy AA
From 2002 to 2004, Garrett Heath had a stretch where he was undefeated in cross country running, cross country skiing and track. Garrett is at Stanford now, but he has a younger brother, Elliott who’s a junior. While Elliott wasn’t undefeated this year, he won the “big one” by just over 2 seconds with a time of 15:32. Garrett has the course record of 15:11.

Girls AA
Speaking of course records, a gal named Carrie Tollefson owns the 11-year old girls record of 14:09. That was broken today by senior Elizabeth Yetzer with a time of 13:59. Two years ago Yetzer broke Tollefson’s 1600 mark and last year she broke Shannon Bergstedt’s (who’s now at Stanford) 3200 mark. I don’t know about other states, but Minnesota allows kids to run varsity from the 7th grade on. Yetzer has now place first twice, second, third, fourth and fifth at state.

At this meet her last 800 meters was amazing. She was with another gal at 3200 meters and went on to win by 18 seconds – that’s like covering the last 800 meters while the second place gal only covered 700 meters. Wow.

One final thing on Yetzer, she’ll be heading to the University of Minnesota next year.

I’m happy to report that Sal ran an awesome race. We saw her at about 800 meters and she was probably in about 50th place. Then the runners do a loop in the woods and come back by us again around 1800 meters. During this time Eric and I said she needed to really move up and be in good position by the time we saw her again. Well, she did just that as she ran passed in 9th place. Eric and I ran to another spot and during that time it looked like she made it all the way to 7th place. A different loop through the woods and we see Sal in about the same position with 400 meters to go. She’s looking good but within 15 seconds of her are about 20 other girls. We sprint to the finish in time to see Yetzer’s sub-14 and we start counting places. Sal ends up coming in 10th with a 14:45!!! What a great way to end her high school cross country career!?

Boys A

In this race report I mention the winner being a 17-year old kid (Mike Torchia) who’s won the race 5 years in a row. He also happens to be the defending class A champ. Now he’s fastest boy in the state as his 15:28 was the fastest time of the day. He also had the largest margin of victory, 39 seconds, on the day. Torchia is looking at Minnesota, Dartmouth and Princeton for colleges.

Girls A
Oh, that record that Yetzer set, it lasted about 3 hours as senior Bria Wetsch (who’ll run for Oregon next year) turned in a 13:54 to win her race by 21 seconds. Wetsch was the only girl able to defeat Yetzer during the season. A week later Yetzer avenged that loss. I guess the “rubber match” will have to be at Footlocker.

As for my own running, there were 2 hours between the AA and A meets, so I managed to get in 8 miles. That gave me 53 for the week. I’m feeling good and have been reminding myself to be patient.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Okay I figured out the header. I’m done tinkering with it for now. I have a few color changes left (I’m going for this look) but that’s it.

I’m only 10 days into my training and I’m already noticing that I’m “worrying” about pace and splits way too much. So today I decided to “leave my watch at home” (actually I wore it, but I didn’t use it – but “leaving it at home” sounds so much better). I can’t remember EVER doing that before. I also decided to “only” run 6 miles today because I don’t want to increase mileage too quickly. I’m at 45 miles now and I’ll figure tomorrow’s run will give me 53 for the week. I haven’t run that much since the last week of JULY. Man, what the hell was I doing all summer? No wonder I raced so poorly.

On my way back to my car the trail I run on crosses a road about a half mile before my run ends. I thought I’d be “wild and crazy” and take the road back. It turns out there’s a nice little hill along the way. Since there aren’t any hills on the path I think I’m going to run this hill 1-2 times during the work week, just to make sure I don’t “go soft” by just running on the flats.

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about my anniversary of running and how I thought it was earlier in October. It turns out I was right. Last night I was reading through my old log book and way in the back it says “Started running Oct. 2nd, 1979. There was also more info on my first “race.” There were 3 people in the race. I came in 2nd, one second behind the winner. I hope he felt good about sprinting to beat a 10 year old. I also found my dad’s time from the 1983 Grandma’s marathon. He was 43 at the time and ran 3:12 – not too shabby.

Tomorrow I’m going to watch the Minnesota State High School cross country meet. My friend Eric’s daughter has qualified 3 years in a row. As a sophomore she finished 100th. Last year she probably ran her worst race of the year and only managed to finish in 88th place. This year she’s running awesome, having just won her conference and section meets. She’s currently ranked 12th in Class AA. Good luck to her. I always liked what Mark Wetmore (Colorado’s coach) said in “Running with the Buffaloes” it was something like “I don’t ask my kids to run Herculean-efforts (in the big meets). I just want them to run as they’re capable.” Good advice for anyone prior to a race.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


As I was typing yesterday’s post last night, my computer re-booted itself. Of course I was on the last paragraph and I ended up losing everything. Rather than re-typing it, I went to bed. This is the same computer that won’t read the software for our digital camera. We have to take the camera in, get prints made and then scan them into the computer. So I should have Halloween pictures back by Thanksgiving.

Here’s a quick recap of the post I lost. I’m still working on my header. I’m not sure why the image got squished. I have some theories that I’m going to explore tonight.

Yesterday I ran 7 miles in the morning at 8:25 pace. Towards the end my legs were really heavy and I was beginning to think that maybe I’m doing too much after having 10 days off. I made a mental note to really pay attention to my next run and be prepared to cut back on the pace and/or distance.

Well, 24 hours later I felt great. I started easy and after awhile it felt like I was moving faster than normal, however, my breathing was still very relaxed. As I got closer to my turn-around point I looked at my watch and figured I could get in another mile and still make it to work on time. I ended up running 9 miles with the last 8 just under 8:10 pace – the last 4 of that were sub-8 pace.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


As you can probably tell, I have a new header. I was going to say I updated my header; but Susan did all the freelance work for me. The emphasis is on “free” however if by some miracle I have a 3rd daughter, I have to name her Susan. Anyway, I was going after an image that reminded me of the trails I love to run on. I need to do some more tweaking with the size and colors, but it’s getting there. Thanks Susan!

I didn’t mention this yesterday but Evan and I had lunch with Nobuya "Nobby" Hashizume yesterday. If you’re not familiar with Nobby, hopefully you will be soon. He’s in the process of organizing the Five Circles foundation which will be designed to carry on the Lydiard name and training philosophies. Here’s another article I found written by Nobby.

I had an easy 8 mile run this morning. I did the same course as yesterday and it took a minute longer. My quads were sore, probably from running pretty hard during the Big 10 meet.

There’s this gal I see on the trail quite a bit, but haven’t had a chance to talk to her because we’re usually going the opposite directions. I saw her this summer too because she worked out with the Minnesota Distance Runner’s Association at the Macalester track on Tuesday nights. This morning I caught up to her with about ½ a mile to go in my run. We only ran together for about 4 minutes but still had a nice conversation. It was the highlight of my otherwise uneventful run.


Here's my new favorite photo. I love the expression on Katie's face and the way she's lying on Amy. I wish I could take credit for taking the picture but I can't. Kinsey, who's 4 1/2 years old, took it. I'll have to ask her for some tips.