Saturday, December 31, 2005


Friday was one of those days where you're just happy to get in any kind of run. I woke up to about 4-5 inches of fresh snow. Luckily I had the day off so I didn't have to worry about the commute. Amy and I took the girls to the Children's museum in the morning and had a great time. In the afternoon Kinsey and I went sliding in our back yard and made a snowman. It was a great day with the fresh packy snow and warm (30-32 degrees) temps. We must have been outside for 2 hours. If I had sat down after putting the girls to sleep I probably would never have gotten my run in. Instead I headed right to the treadmill and ran for 8 miles.

Saturday I wanted to get in a longer run, but I really didn't have anything in mind when I headed out the door. I had thoughts of going 10 miles in the morning then another 5 or so at night. But then I figured, even though we don't have anything planned for New Year's Eve, there's no way I'm going to want to hop on the treadmill this evening. Therefore, I decided to go a little longer. I got in 13 miles, which gave me an even 80 miles for the week. I've had 7-day stretches lately have been more than 80 miles, however none of them have ended on Saturday, the end of my week.

I'll save my December and 2006 recap for another post.

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


My mother-in-law needed a ride to the airport at 4:30 this morning. Most “normal” people would be like “WTF?” For me, I only needed to get up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Plus, it was a great opportunity to get in a longer run on a week day. My only goal for the day was to get in 2 hours. Given the way I felt yesterday I wasn’t going to even think about my pace. If I ran 9:00 pace, so be it. 2 hours is still 2 hours.

At the start of my run my legs were really heavy, but within 15 minutes I started to feel great. 3 miles later I decided to take a split for a mile just to see where I was at. It felt like I was moving pretty well, but I never really know – especially during a morning run. I wasn’t going to be surprised if my watch said 8:30. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the 7:45 reading.

After an hour I turned around and was still feeling really good. I decided to take advantage of the feeling and push the pace a little. On the way back, I ran a 5 mile (Zeke “certified”) stretch in 38:10 or 7:38 pace. My breathing felt really relax and I had a nice quick turnover. Having bone-dry pavement really helped – along with absolute calm conditions and 32 degrees. I added on a bit at the end for 2:01, which I called 15 miles.

Two days ago I called myself a slow poke for running over 9:00 pace. Runs like that make me worry that all the easy running I’m doing really isn’t helping. You know, “Long slow distance makes long slow runners.” While I feel I’ve added in a few stronger aerobic days, I need a lot more – but not just yet. I’m going to continue building through next week and then take another cutback week. If I can build for another 3-week cycle after that, I think I’ll be ready to bump up the intensity. That will give me the last 4 weeks of the base phase to incorporate more up-tempo runs.

I keep forgetting to mention this, but congrats to Daniel and Jose (two of my teammates) for completing the Western Australia Ironman last month. Daniel finished 99th in 10:38 while Jose finished in 13:51 (not bad for not being able to run for the last 8 weeks due to a stress fracture). Maybe DGC can find strength, inspiration, solace, etc. in Jose’s results.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I had some tired legs (and mind) during this morning’s 10 mile run. I’m not sure if the miles are catching up with me or if it’s because my schedule has changed from just morning runs to running in the evening and/or doubling up. Hopefully next week, once all the holidays are over, I’ll be able to get back into a “normal” routine.

I mentioned the slick trails yesterday. I tried to avoid them by running on the paved part of the path today. The only problem is that we got just enough of a dusting of snow to make the pavement slippery. I’m going longer tomorrow so I hope that melts off during the day.

I don’t watch my weight very closely, especially this time of year. However, I’m happy to report that I survived the last three holidays. On Halloween I weighed 152 pounds, just after Thanksgiving I weighed 150 pounds and this morning I weighed 149 pounds. Now if I can just watch my diet a little more in 2006 I may be able to race between 140-145 pounds this Spring.

I haven’t mentioned much about Christmas. I really dread all the opening of packages (not presents) and assembly. Everything has so many parts and they’re all tied down with their own string or wire. We got the girls a trampoline (it has a bar to hang onto so it’s “safe”) that required assembly. I couldn’t help but think my wife and I were doing an immunity challenge on Survivor. If so, we lost. At least on Survivor they don’t have little girls saying “How much longer?”

Finally, I’m not sure why this popped into my head during my run today, but I was wondering what would be harder to give up, coffee or beer. While I like beer, I don’t drink it very often. Therefore, coffee would be harder for me to give up. Gotta love a cup in the morning while I catch up on blogs, er, I mean work.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Rather than running 10 miles last night and turning around for another 10+ mile run 9 hours later, I decided to run twice today. I figure if I want to get past my current weekly mileage I’m going to have to start including two-a-days. I think Tuesdays and Fridays are probably my best days for doubling up.

Tuesdays work because in a week or so I’ll start running with my training group on Tuesday nights. Running Tuesday mornings will keep me in the routine of getting up early and running. Plus, I tend to run better in the evenings if I run easy in the mornings. If I keep running stronger aerobic runs with Scott on Friday mornings, an evening run will allow me to get in a few extra easy miles.

This morning I ran 8 miles at a very slow pace; we’re talking like 9:15 pace. I “blame” some of that on the slick trails. The recent warm temps have turned the packed snow on the trails into slippery ice, so about 3 of the 8 miles were rather slick.

This evening I jumped on the treadmill for another 6 miles at just over 8:30 pace. There was absolutely nothing on TV so I had to pull out a video tape of the greatest college basketball game ever play; Duke vs. Kentucky in the 1992 NCCA tourney. Man, were there some bad haircuts just 13-14 years ago.

I thought it was interesting that one of Amy’s friends dropped a Christmas card off this evening - a few days late, no big deal. The interesting part was that it included a 2-page letter documenting each month of the year, a poem that she wrote herself along with photos of the family printed on the back and a Christmas photo of the kids. Hmm, no wonder it was late.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Saturday I took Bailey for an easy 1.5 mile warm-up, then I ran 8 miles (31:50/31:10) at a slightly quicker pace (7:50) than “normal” before adding a .5 mile cool-down. This 10-mile run “only” gave me 73 miles for the week. However, that was just on 6 runs. Plus, I had an additional 2:30 of skiing for the week.

Christmas day I was able to run 10 miles before heading to my mother-in-law’s house. That gave me 83 miles in 7 runs for the last 7 days. During the run I was thinking about how this much mileage just sort of feels “right”. I don’t feel whipped. I don’t have any aches and pains. My legs aren’t trashed. Granted this is my first week back after a cutback week. We’ll see how I’m feeling after another 10 days or so.

I nearly hopped on the treadmill for another 7 miles in the evening, but I talked myself out of it. The situation was perfect as the girls were in bed, things were cleaned up and the Vikings were on TV. I could easily have zoned out for an hour while watching them. However, the only “good” reason for the 7 miles that I could think of was to get my mileage to 90 for the 7-day period, which would have been a new all-time high. I think I’ll get there in the next week or two; I just don’t want to force it.

Every year my wife goes bargain hunting with my mother-in-law the day after Christmas. They leave early which means I have to put my run off till later in the day. I was planning on going for a run around 3, but Kinsey wanted to play outside, so I did that instead. That meant I had to run after the girls went to bed. Not a big deal because it gave me a chance to try out our new treadmill. New or not, 10 miles on a treadmill is still boring. At least I was able to flip back and forth between the Timberwolves and Monday Night Football. The treadmill is nice though. It’s a lot quieter and it seems a lot more accurate than the old treadmill.

My only concern with running so late is that now I have to switch back into a morning runner. Oh well, maybe it’ll be a good transition into two-a-days.

Friday, December 23, 2005


This doesn’t happen very often. I had all morning to myself. Amy took the girls to the zoo. Normally, I’d go with, but she met a friend and her girls – so I was “off the hook.” Hmm, should I ski or run? Decisions, decisions.

With all that free time I really wanted to go back to Como Golf Course and get in a nice long ski. The only “problem” is that it was 35 degrees when I woke up and I didn’t know what the snow would be like. I didn’t want to drive 30 minutes only to find out the skiing was horrible. Instead of taking my chances, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and get my long run in a day early. That way I wouldn’t have to be away from my family for nearly two and a half hours tomorrow.

Another reason I didn’t want to drive to go skiing is that we had freezing rain last night. While I’m sure the main roads were fine, the side streets were glare ice. Because of this, I waited till 9:30 before starting my run. I probably should have waited till 10 because the paths were slick for the first 30 minutes. But with the temps rising and sunny skies, the ice melted quickly.

I’ve been increasing my long runs by 1 mile each time. My last long run was 15 miles (2:07). Since I had another “floating” half mile in my logbook from earlier in the week, I thought I’d make this run 16.5 miles. Then I could bump my next long run to 18 miles. Actually, I’m basing this more on duration and using 8:30 pace as my guide. In reality I probably could have called today’s 2 hour and 20 minute run 17 miles. Part of the run included a 4-mile stretch that I have measured. I didn’t pick up the pace at all, the footing was poor and it’s hilly, yet I still ran that stretch at 8:10 pace.

So while the skier in me curses the warm temps for melting the snow, the running in me praises the weather for allowing me to get in a nice long run.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Today is my last day of work for the week. Yay!!! I figured if I could get in a nice run this morning, I’d be in great shape for a solid week – even with taking last Sunday off to ski. I never did mention this, but if I were to follow a “typical” Lydiard program for Grandma’s, this would be the first week of the program.

I woke up at 4:30 to a temperature of 30. After finally getting used to dressing for 10 degrees, I had to re-think what I wanted to wear this morning. I’m always amazed at how the body gets acclimated. Six weeks ago, 30 would have been cold, now it’s “hot”.

I ended up running for 1:40 minutes and called it 12 miles. Towards the end of my run I had to run out on the trail 18 minutes. When I turned around I decided to pick up the pace a little. I ended up running back in 16:30. Not super hard, probably not even marathon pace. However, I thought it was a step in the right direction for what Daws would call “making a smooth transition” to stronger aerobic runs.

I’m sure Susan will like this one. My wife paid $70 to get her hair highlighted and I didn’t even notice. Oops.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I wrote some product endorsements recently. I see Duncan has too. Of course, all the “technical” gear isn’t necessary, but what else do I have to spend my money on?

Speaking of gear, I have to thank “the Moose” for convincing me not to sell my x-c skis a few years ago. They were just sitting in my basement not being used. I thought the extra few hundred bucks would make more sense. I placed an ad on a ski website and Moose was smart enough to talk me out of it. Now I wish he had talked me out of selling my roller skis. Seriously, that 200 buck really doesn’t mean much. So another of Life’s Lessons would be; “Don’t sell your gear.”

I was interested to see how last night’s skiing would affect this morning’s run. I felt no worse for the wear and made it 11 miles in 93 minutes. Again, it was about 12 degrees and I thought it was really nice. It looks like today is the coldest day in the 7-day forecast. We’re even supposed to flirt with freezing temps next week.

After my run I was thinking about something Eric and I talked about recently. I get the impression he really doesn’t want to run a marathon next year, but he also knows, at 46 years old, his window for sub-3 is closing. That got me thinking about how quickly time flies. Hell, it’s already been 3 years since I broke 3 hours. I keep thinking I have a sub-2:50 in me. But when will I make it happen? Before I know it I’ll be 46 and wondering why I never broke 3 hours a second time – let alone 2:50.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


There’s nothing like getting up at 5:30 on your day off to go for a run. Luckily I have “fast” friends that are retired (Jim and Eric) or PhD students (Evan) and are able to run at “odd” hours. We met at Jim’s house at 6:45 for a great 90 minute run. It heated up to about 10 degrees this morning, which felt really warm after yesterday’s run. The only bad thing; after clearing my log book of my “floating” half mile last week, I introduced another one today with this 11.5 mile run.

After the run I went in for another chiropractic checkup. The good news is I held my last adjustment. She said that means my body is healing. She also said I should start to feel more energy as my body won’t have to work against gravity to keep things in line. That could be true or it could be hog wash. We’ll see…

Our new treadmill arrived today. It one of those things that’s nice to have, but I hope I don’t have to use it. The display is bigger than the old one, so I had to raise up our TV. I put an old TV stand on top of an old stereo cabinet. It looks really tacky, but it works perfectly.

One of the reasons I took today off was because Kinsey’s preschool class had their Christmas concert this afternoon. It was fun to watch (and video tape). Best of all it was about 10 minutes long.

This evening I went skiing at Como Golf Course in St. Paul with my training group. Not everyone skis, so it was a pretty small group. I liked skiing on this course because there were lots of flat sections where I could work on my technique, the hills weren’t huge and I didn’t have to worry about running into a tree. After skiing for about 90 minutes I really felt sorry for people that don’t have winter. How can you not love skiing, skating, sliding, snowshoeing, etc.?

That reminds me; I was surprised the other day when Kinsey mentioned going skating again. I think next time I’ll wear my Yaktrax instead of my skates. That’ll give me better balance, plus I’ll be shorter and closer to her. And I’ll bring a chair for her to use for balance.

Monday, December 19, 2005


So a week ago I logged a zero on the last day of my build week. Then I made my cutback week 8 days instead of 7, by skiing yesterday. I was beginning to feel like I lost the determination I needed to get my mileage where I want it. That changed today.

I woke up at 4:30 to the coldest temp so far this winter; -7 degrees with a wind chill of -20. Too cold to run with Bailey so I took her for a quick walk. It really didn’t feel that bad. I didn’t feel any wind, so that helped. Normally, I don’t like to run with a facemask because it gathers condensations and gets all clammy, but I wore one today.

I thought it’d be interesting to list everything I wore this morning.

Wind brief
Old running pants cutoff at the knee
Thick running pants
2 long sleeve shirts
1 t-shirt
Thick running jacket
Thin gloves
Lobster mitts
Facemask – actually it’s a thin helmet liner
Vaseline on the face

That was enough to keep me warm for 12 miles in 1:43. I wish I would have had a camera when I was done because my grey (or is it gray?) hat was completely covered in white frost. My thin, pliable facemask felt like it had been dipped in plastic. My eye lashes were frosting over. There was a chunk of ice on the collar of my jacket. What fun!?

Luckily it looks like this will be coldest day of the week. So getting 12 miles in was a confidence booster.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Celebrating Christmas with my side of the family this weekend meant getting up early for my run. Even though no one showed up till after noon, I wanted to take Kinsey to dance class (and Katie to watch).

I just kept the pace easy and ran for 60 minutes. That 7 mile run gave me 54.5 miles on 8 runs for my cutback week. I had thoughts of not cutting back for an entire week, but rather cutting back for 3-4 days to see if that was enough of a break for my body. However, with the snowfall and “holiday” I never really put in the effort to get back to 10+ miles per day.

For some reason I have a desire to ski more this year than any other. Maybe it’s because a guy I work with is really into it and he’s got me fired up. He even waxed my skis for a nominal amount. Maybe it’s because I know the running season can be long and if I can maintain/build my fitness by doing a new, fun, exciting activity, it’ll pay off in the long run. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to head into 2006 in great shape and run my best race in February – like I did last year. So while I want to increase my running mileage, if I feel like skiing 1-2 times a week, I’m not going to try to “make up” my miles.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that instead of running (this is the first day of a new mileage building cycle) I decided to ski instead. It was 3 degrees with a wind chill of about 15 below with bright blue skies. My hands were frozen for the first 15 minutes and I wondered if I’d be able to ski more than 30 minutes. But by the time I completed the first loop in just over 30 minutes I was toasty warm. I did one more loop and called it a day.

I have a lot of work to do – 10k of skiing in 60 minutes. That includes falling HARD on my right ass cheek twice, face planting once and a few other minor falls. The worst thing is that it took me over 90 minutes to do this workout when you consider drive time.

Friday, December 16, 2005


After practice last night I met with my coach to talk about my 2006 plans as well as better ways to market the training group. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t get home until 10 PM. I didn’t have the chance to set out any running clothes for the morning either, so I slept in today.

I was able to hop on the treadmill over lunch and get in a “quick” 6.5 mile progression run. I started at 8:30 pace and gradually dropped down to 7:00 pace. I threw that extra half mile in there because I ran half of a mile last week and it’s been “floating” around in my log book. I wanted to even that out. I know it’s silly but what are you going to do?

Dennis Barker of Team USA Minnesota-fame was interviewed for a regional running magazine lately. I thought he had a lot of interesting things to say, including;

MNRT: Would you advise most runners to simply build?

Barker: People are too impatient. You build this year on what you did last year. Katie McGregor’s running this year isn’t just about this year. It’s about last year. It’s about the last 4 years. We haven’t done anything different this year, really, from what we did before. It’s just that she’s stronger now, she can do more, and she can recover better. That allows her to be faster. But it’s the patience. People want to be good – right now. They think, “Well gee, I trained hard during the summer for three months. I should run a great Twin Cities Marathon.” But it just takes time. Because you’re changing body tissue, and that doesn’t happen quickly.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I should start keeping track of Life’s Lessons as they pertain to running. Some that come to mind are;

In the winter, start your run INTO the wind.
Do your strides on a gradual
downhill and with the wind.
During the winter base-building phase, focus on
duration, not distance.
If you’ve “been there” before you don’t have to be as
Don’t taper all summer.

You never know when these Lessons will spring themselves on you. For example, last night I went snowshoeing for the first time and came up with this one;

Don’t wear ankle socks while snowshoeing.

This morning I ran a very slow 5 miles. The trail had about 3 inches of fresh snow, so it was slow going – even in Yaktrax. This evening I met about 10 members of my training group for about an hour of snowshoeing/running. We only had 7 pairs of snowshoes, so some people had to “just” run. I used the snowshoes for about 35 minutes and then ran for another 20 minutes.

To be honest, I enjoyed the running more – even through about 6 inches of powder. The snowshoeing just didn’t do it for me. I’d rather just go for a run than lug those things around. I suppose if I were in some exotic backcountry they’d be cool. But when you’re putzing around a golf course in St. Paul they’re not so cool.

Anyway, since shoeshoeing so closely resembles running, I'm logging it as a 6 mile run.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Treadmills. Love ‘em. Hate ‘em. I know some people can’t stand them, but I think they serve a purpose. Today was a perfect example. I woke up to about 4-5 inches of fresh, unplowed snow. The temperature was fine, but I didn’t want to stumble along the unplowed trails. So I got to work early and ran on the treadmill for 8 miles. Could I have sputtered along outside for 65 minutes? Sure. Would I have received the same aerobic benefits? Sure. Would slipping and sliding it have been frustrating? Yes. That makes it a perfect day for using the treadmill.

Yesterday Yvonne posted a nice photo of her winter wardrobe. I’ve recently posted some product endorsements. Those are new, exciting products to me. They got me thinking of two other things I could live (as comfortably) without in the winter. I’ve mention that I have poor circulation before, therefore I need a good pair of mits to keep my hands warm. On really cold days, I’ll slide a pair of thin gloves underneath. Also, every winter I’m amazed at how warm my Sporthill jacket made with 3SP material is. I’ve both jacket and a half-zip top. I couldn’t find the jackets on the Sporthill site anymore, just the half-zips, so I linked the best site I could find quickly. Sporthill also make pants in the same 3SP fabric that are very warm. The stuff is so warm that I can’t even run in it until the temps get below 20.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I got in an easy 6 miles early Sunday morning. Usually, on the weekends, I’ve been waiting until later in the day to run. However, I wanted to ski too, so I figured I’d run while everyone else was sleeping. Then they’d only “miss me” once during the day. I ended up skiing for 70 minutes. At least half of that time was on a lake where I could actually focus on my technique, rather than skiing on an actual x-c trail where I would have to focus staying vertical, avoiding rocks and sticks and constantly going up or down hills.

Yesterday and today consisted of easy to moderate 8 mile runs. Temps have warmed up into the mid-20s in the mornings. I was really warm this morning. I had my jacket zipped down and my gloves off. Then I passed a gal who was so bundled up all I could see were her eyes. It’d have to be 20 below for me to dress like that. Different strokes…at least she was out exercising.

Yesterday at lunch I was reviewing treadmills here. Then I was looking online at two different stores in the area to see which ones they carried. On my way home from work I stopped and bought a Pacemaster Gold. The review was enough to sell me on it – I didn’t even try it out. I wasn’t sure we’d get a new treadmill, but zero percent financing for a year helped seal the deal. When they deliver it, they’ll take back our old one, check it out and hopefully give us a couple hundred bucks for it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


I admit, in some instances, I have a problem finishing what I start. I tend to do about 95% of the work and then I start thinking about what I should do next. After weeks of 70 and 78 miles, I was aiming for around 85 miles this week. I was on pace through 6 days and then I started my cutback week a day early. I didn’t make it out the door on the last day of the week. I ended up with 72.5 miles in 7 runs.

I’m not too discouraged. If I replace Saturday’s zero with last Saturday’s 12, that puts me at 84.5 miles for the “week”. As I tell other people, the body doesn’t know the meaning of a week. It doesn’t know whether my log book runs Saturday through Friday or Sunday through Saturday or anything else. The important thing is putting in the work. So while I technically didn’t run 85 miles this week, I still consider my stretch of 84.5 miles in a 7 day period to be a success; one that I will build upon after this cutback week.

I planned on running today, but things kind of unraveled. Last night was the company Christmas party. It was A LOT like a wedding reception without the bride and groom. No, I didn’t get hammered. My company actually paid for our room in downtown Minneapolis. While that was nice, it took away my opportunity for a morning run.

Next up was another adjustment from the chiropractor. She mentioned that my recent knee and arch problems are probably due to the first adjustment. My left leg was shorter than my right, so the recent adjustment could have changed my mechanics of running. She also mentioned getting new shoes.

Finally, I was going to run in the afternoon, but Kinsey wanted to go skating. I bought her ice skates last Christmas and we only went skating one time. It lasted about 10 seconds, then she wanted to go home. Today it was going okay for awhile. She’d fall on her butt and laugh. It was fun and games until she literally fell on her nose and started screaming. Amy took her to urgent care, but they weren’t able to tell if it was broken or not.

After that I didn’t feel much like running.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I planned on running with Scott this morning. Since we usually go shorter, but faster than my normal runs, I was going to double up with another run this afternoon. However, last night Scott called and said he couldn’t make it. Just in case you need some help - that’s the bad news.

Tonight is my company’s Christmas party, so I took this afternoon off in order to get ready (and burn some more vacation). The good news is that I was able to get my long run in this afternoon. After I got off at noon, I drove to Lake Harriet to start my run. I basically ran from mile 6 to mile 13 (around Lake Harriet, down the Minnehaha Parkway and around Lake Nokomis) of the Twin Cities Marathon course and back. I ended up running 2:07 and called it 15 miles. That’s a mile further than my last long run. I had thoughts of going 16 miles, but decided to keep increasing the long runs gradually. Besides, I don’t want to be too tired for tonight’s party.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I woke up pretty unmotivated this morning. I didn’t want to get out of bed but I did. As I got bundled up for my run I turned on the Weather Channel. They said it was -6 degrees outside, which was about 10 degrees colder than I thought it would be. I took Bailey for a quick walk and thought it felt warmer than -6. But it’s the Weather Channel, how can they be wrong? So I decided to play it safe and change into a warmer jacket and pants. I was a little chilled at first, but I warmed up within the first mile. When I got to the office I checked the local weather and it said 2 degrees, so maybe the Weather Channel was wrong.

Oprah turned 50 years old recently and she proclaimed that “50 is the new 30.” Whatever. Maybe she’s just trying to make herself feel good. Maybe she’s in denial. But her statement got me thinking about my running – actually my running got me thinking about her statement. Since college, 6 miles has sort of been my standard “putting in the miles, run.” I rarely lace my shoes up for less than 6 miles. So far this winter I feel like I’ve reached a new level and now I rarely run less than 10 miles. Even though I was unmotivated this morning I still made it 84 minutes or 10 miles without even thinking about it.

This “new level” has me thinking about something I heard or read recently, “The training you do this year is for next year.” Maybe my body remembers all those “big” weeks I ran last year and doesn’t think they’re a big deal this year. I know it’s early in this base-building cycle, but I can honestly say I can’t remember feeling this good with this much mileage. Maybe doing the mileage in singles actually helps my body and mind. It doesn’t feel like I’m running all the time. At this time last year I was following the same “build for 3 weeks, cutback a week” schedule. After about 2-3 days into the 3 week, I couldn’t wait to cutback my miles. This year I feel like I could build up my mileage for another week. However, my conservative side is coming out and I’m going to enjoy feeling good, take my cutback week and hope I feel even better the following week. Or should I say, following 3 weeks?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


12 hours after my last run ended I was lacing ‘em up for my next run. I figured, of the 4 remaining days this week (and more importantly, the last 4 days before I get to cutback), today and tomorrow would be the toughest to get motivated for. Friday I’m running with Scott and Saturday I won’t have to run in the dark – plus it’s supposed to warm up to 30 on Saturday.

I thought I might be a little tired after covering 15 miles yesterday, but I still wanted to get in 11 miles this morning, so I set the alarm for 4:30. It was a calm 3 degrees outside, which I thought was a little too cold to run Bailey in. I gave her a short walk instead. That extra “free” time allowed me to start my run sooner than I thought and I was able to get in 1:41 of running or 12 easy miles.

In a comment the other day, Double mentioned the solace that comes from running early in the morning during the winter. One thing I noticed the last 2 days, the solace achieve on during a treadmill run is nothing like the solace of a run outside – not even close. Plus, 64 minutes on the ‘mill was a hell of a lot “harder” than 101 minutes in the “cold.”

Finally, I got this email the other day and I just had to post a couple of the paragraphs. This is posted without permission, so I’ll at least protect his/her identity. If only they blogged…
I have never lost the want to achieve the "perfect day" we all strive to reach; the feeling of just cruising effortlessly with no end in sight. I've had a couple of those days in life and the thousands of miles you need to get there still seem worth it. Too many people have it wrong. They think they want it, but they can't envision the years it takes. This is a craft one has to hone and work and modify and pound on. Be creative, mix things up, experiment, but don't tell me how rough the water is, just bring the ship in.

There're not many of us left Zeke; the hackers who take this stuff serious enough to go after big dreams that in the end mean nothing. Just the personal satisfaction you were in the battle and laid it all down. I don't run for health, fame, charities, etc. I run to beat people and test myself in life. I don't want to see the end of those days.............yet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


It’s cold in Minnesota in December. At least that’s what the local news wants us to believe. That was the top story on the 6 PM news for a couple of different channels. The thing is; it wasn’t even below zero at the time. Did anyone see Katie Couric at the start of the Today show this morning? She was bundled up like it was the second coming of the Ice Age. Hey Katie, if it’s too cold, go inside. I’m sure you have enough pull at NBC to tell the producers that you don’t want to be outside. I don’t understand the sensationalization (is that a word?) of such meaningless news.

With that said, I must admit that I ran on the treadmill this morning. However, it wasn’t because of the weather, which was minus 5 (minus 20 wind chill) at the time. It was because I had a second run planned for this evening and I didn’t want to have to bring 2 sets of winter clothes with me.

So this morning I ran 8 miles on one of the treadmills at work in 64 minutes. I started at 8:30 pace and worked down to 7:30 at the end. This evening I met Mary at Lake Harriet and we ran around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, 7 miles in 62 minutes. By that time it had warmed up to 5 degrees. Other than a slight breeze as we headed West, I thought it was nice out.

Monday, December 05, 2005


After a cutback week of 35 miles 3 weeks ago, I’ve had weeks of 70 and 78 miles. The goal for this week is to build on that again and then cutback again next week. As much as I’d like to get 80+ miles in singles, that’s not going to happen – at least not this week. I have one double day planned and may need two to get in the mileage I’d like.

I’m contemplating just calculating all my easy winter mileage at 8:30 pace, rather than trying to hit an exact mileage – or maybe I should just track duration not distance. For example, this morning I thought I was running around 8:15 pace. However, when I finished, I noticed I’d been running closer to 9:00 pace. I always forget how much winter footing and being all bundled up really slow you down. Anyway, I made it 89 minutes and called it 10.5 miles (even though it was probably only 10 miles).

One thing I have noticed lately is that I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed. Maybe running in the pitch black has something to do with it, but 3 degrees at 6 AM feels colder than 3 degrees at noon. So I tend to throw on an extra shirt and gloves and maybe even wind pants.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


A week or so ago, I mentioned that our treadmill kept stopping the last time I was on it. It seems to work when my wife walks, but not when I run. I called the guy that services treadmills and it was going to be at least $125 just to have him come out and look at the thing. He sounded like he really wasn’t interested in driving to my house to look at a 7 year old treadmill. However, he was nice enough to give me a list of things to look at. I did what he suggested, cleaned out all the dog hair and pushed in all the connectors.

I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet. Today was going to be the day. I thought about doing my whole run on the treadmill while watching football, but I was afraid to commit to a mill that’s been on the fritz. Instead, I would head outside for a 10 mile run. When I was done with that I hit the mill for another 2 miles. If it worked, great, if not, I’d just call it 10 miles for the day.

Most of the outside running was fine. I’m not really sure why Apple Valley can’t plow their pathways though. Maybe because it’s the weekend or the workers were tired from plowing roads. Luckily, Eagan, the town just north of me, did plow their paths and I was able to run the majority of my run there.

The treadmill seemed to be working fine – at least for 2 minutes it did. Then it shut itself off again. This time there wasn’t any power. I figured I’d blown a fuse. I replaced two of the fuses and my wife walked on it without any problems – although she says it smells a little lately. I haven’t had the courage to get back on that thing yet. It’s like a bucking bronco and I’m tired of it stopping on me all the sudden.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


It's out! This blog has been let out of the closet. My life is so boring that the only thing I could think to write about in our Christmas letter was my blog. I included a link too, so now I expect tons of comments telling me how great (or how big of an ass) I am.

Actually, most of the people will probably check out the link once. They'll find out that it is really only about running and they'll never check back again. That's fine with me. I just thought I'd throw it out there for friends and family to check out.

I guess I haven't been watching the weather lately. It's been snowing quite a bit lately (like all day today) and I haven't heard anything about it. I guess when you go to bed at 9, it's hard to follow any news.

I decided to head back to the trails for at least a 10 mile run today. We probably received about 4 inches of new snow by the time I ran. It was the light fluffy kind that makes running in it easy. Plus, being on the trails helps because the trees catch some of the snow, so there's not as much to run through.

I was a little surprised that the classical cross country ski trails had not be groomed yet. There were a few cross-country skiers out blazing their own trails. I almost felt bad about running on their path. Had it been groomed I probably would not have run on that part of the trail. This part of the trail was harder running than I had anticipated, even with Yaktrax.

I felt pretty good, no different than any other day this week, even though I went 2 hours yesterday. I managed to get in 12 miles for the day. That gave me a very solid 78 miles for the week on 7 runs. Having 4 vacation days this week has definitely helped with the running. Next week may be a different story, as I head back to work.

Speaking of Christmas cards, here's the photo we sent out this year. Maybe we should have waited until this week to take the photo because we could have had the girls in snow instead of leaves. Oh well, maybe we'll wait longer next year.

Friday, December 02, 2005


My only goal for the day was to get in a 2 hour run. I would have loved to have hit my favorite trails and just run wherever I felt. However, with the knee pain I had yesterday (and since the city decided to plow the bike paths) I decided to stay off the trails.

This run was a little weird because I started out feeling hot and overdressed. About an hour later I was cold - especially my hands. Luckily I was carrying another pair of thin gloves. I put them on and then picked up the pace for the last 40 minutes and warmed right up. I made it the 2 hours I wanted and called it 14 miles.

This evening I came across another possible reason why my knee might be bothering me. I was playing a driving game on my x-box, using a steering wheel and pedals. It's easier for me to play this game by using my left foot on the brake, which isn't how I normally drive. Well after about 45 minutes my left knee was experiencing that same achy feeling I've had running lately. So I'll have to just stick with non-racing games for the time-being.


Do you ever wish that (running) clothes would wear out faster so you could get some cool new stuff? I was at a local running store the other day and they have some really nice, technical cold weather clothing. I saw some really neat jackets. The problem is I already have about 5 running jackets. Heck, I still use the Sporthill jacket I got in college 13 years ago.

Earlier this fall I got a new Zensah seamless, long sleeve shirt. At the time I posted a link to the site, but never talked about the shirt – or how to get a 20% off discount if you’re interested.

Usually, I’m not a big fan of the form-fitting shirts. In fact, I’ve never owned one before. With this shirt I can’t even tell I have it on. It makes a great base layer. I usually throw a t-shirt and jacket or vest over top. The shirt actually makes me feel a little chilled when I first start out, but within 3-4 minutes, I’m toasty warm. Supposedly the silver ions imbedded in the fabric help to regulate your body temperature. They also keep the shirt from stinking like other technical materials.

This product was also tested by a few local runners and written up in a regional magazine. Here’s what the two runners said,

“I’m really impressed with the fabric, that is, how it feels and how it performs. I like the smoothness and how it wicked away the water and sweat. I went for an early morning run in a light drizzle. When I got home, the top was nearly dry despite the rain and sweat.”

“I wore it on a 13 mile run, which was cool at the start, but warmed into the 50s. And then I got caught in the rain. It was the perfect run to try it out, and the shirt is fabulous. It should be excellent in the winter for layering because it’s so thin.”

If you’re interested, check out the Zensah website, but don’t place an order there. Instead, send Joe Haas an email at with a list of what you’d like to order. Mention my website and Joe will give you 20% off your order.

Finally, a couple more comments on the Yaktrax. Jim read my entry from the other day and had these comments.

“They work better in some winter situations than others. They don't help in deep snow, slushy conditions, or when roads are only partially iced or snow covered. If you have to use them on hard surfaces or exposed road, they won't last very long, even though one gets the impression that they are indestructible.”

Thanks Jim.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I dropped Bailey off at the groomer yesterday and on the way back home I decided to park near the golf course go “skiing” for a while. Skiing is in quotes because I haven’t skate-skied in 3 years and my form is terrible – especially going up hills. We received another inch or two of snow overnight, so I had to do a little trail blazing, which didn’t help matters. Once I got to where the other skiers had packed down a trail the day before, it was a lot easier. I skied for about 35 minutes before calling it a day. If nothing else, my triceps got a great workout.

Later in the afternoon I headed out for another 10 mile trail run. My left knee hurt off and on during the run. Nothing severe, just a dull pain that would come and go. I’m not sure if it’s from mileage, footing, wearing Yaktrax, skiing or a chiropractic adjustment I got on Wednesday.

About 10 years ago I was playing basketball and tried to block a guys shot, rolled on/off his back and landed on the back of my neck. I went to a chiropractor for a few months, but haven’t seen one in 9-10 years. Recently my mother-in-law saw a Doctor that practices a form of treatment called NUCCA – National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. Since she offered to pay for my initial visit, I decided to take her up on the offer. I haven’t been having any pain, but I know “things” are out of whack.

It turns out one leg is shorter than the other. That’s something I suspected because I feel myself leaning to my left as I run. Something I found really interesting was getting weighed with each foot on a different scale. One side of my body actually weighs 8 pounds more than the other. X-rays showed that my body was a zig-zag, with my head leaning one way and my spine the other. She said the off-set each other very well and that’s why I don’t have any symptoms – at least for the time being. She gave me an adjustment and then took another set of x-rays to show me the difference. Now I go back in a week and a half to see if the adjustment “held.” I’ll keep you posted.