Sunday, April 30, 2006


I have to keep reminding myself how beautiful last weekend was because all it did was rain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday I stopped by Jenna’s clinic and got some ultrasound treatment. My leg felt really good after that. I managed 8 miles on the treadmill after that and was even able to drop down to 6:50 pace for the last 1.5 miles.

Saturday I was able to sneak out to watch Minnesota’s largest 10k while my parents played with the girls. I was able to get in 8 miles while watching the race. As I was standing near the 5.5 mile mark, this stud was out for a “jog” with a couple of buddies. I shouted his name and he looked. He didn’t seem to recognize me, so I guess he doesn’t read my blog.

Today I really wanted to get in a long run. I figure it’s time to either train through this leg pain or bag Grandma’s. Despite spending the first 1:40 running in the rain, I was able to make it 2:47, which I called 20 miles. I could basically feel my shin, off-and-on, throughout the whole run. I stayed on either a golf course or dirt trails for the entire run to help minimize the pounding. Other than the slight shin pain, I felt really good the whole way.

Not that it matters, but my last 2 weeks ended up being 32 and 33 miles. I finished April with 251 miles after taking 7 days off, including 6 in-a-row due to my shin.

Quote of the day:
“Big occasions and races which have been eagerly anticipated almost to the point of dread, are where great deeds can be accomplished.” - Jack Lovelock

Thursday, April 27, 2006


I made it 8 miles today. It was similar to yesterday with my leg warming up after 5 minutes and then feeling fine the rest of the way. When I ran down hill or stepped off of curbs, I didn’t feel any pain, so things are looking better. My right knee was a little sore the last 2 days – probably from doing something dumb like hopping on a bike for 3 hours on Sunday – but it felt better today too.

There was a time a few months ago where this route mapping website was mentioned on nearly every blog around. Eric sent me an email recently with a link to a new and improved version. I found the improvements to be much easier to use – no more double clicking to map your next point. Plus you can search their database of over 20,000 routes.

Back to Running with the Buffaloes. It should be mentioned that Wetmore is a big believer in the Lydiard approach to training.

There is an alternative to the density of training – mediocrity. “Some guys out there, who don’t get it, they think they can be a Division 1 distance runner on 55 miles a week. Sure Goucher can be a Division 1 runner on 55 miles a week. But he’d be running 15:48, not 13:48.” – Wetmore

“I’m just worried we’re being stupid.” Reese had recently returned to running following his surgery and Wetmore questions whether Reese should be doing any workouts yet. But this is Reese’s last collegiate cross country season, and he is adamant about pushing the envelope to give himself a chance to do well at NCAA’s. They are both prepared to live with the consequences. – Wetmore

Chris Valenti leads the chase pack. “Valenti’s looking heroic today,” Wetmore observes. By way of explanation, JD says, “He’s been running 65 to 70 mpw for the last month.” “Oh,” Wetmore replies, “that’s why he looks so fresh out there.”

It is hard to make any judgments about this workout because everyone is coming into it with varying levels of fatigue.

“It’s like St. Crispin’s Day. Everyone here wants to be the real deal. Everyone in this town wants to be you, and everyone who wants to be you is in bed. I’m going to do my run so I can say I fought on St. Crispin’s Day.” - Wetmore

Quote of the day:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile
This day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England, now abed,
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

- Henry V, Act IV, Scene iii
by William Shakespeare

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I was able to swing by practice last night and have Jenna "worked me over." She definitely isolated some areas of pain in the soft tissue of my shin. Now I know where to focus my icing and massage efforts. She also recommended stretching my soleus muscle. This morning I made an appointment at her clinic for Friday to receive someultra-sound treatment too.

I managed 5 miles over lunch today. My injury felt a lot more like a sore muscle today. What took 10-15 minutes to warm-up yesterday only took 5 minutes today. Not surprising, 6 days off has left me well-rested. I averaged 7:50 pace when I thought I was running 8:20 pace.

Like I mentioned the other day, I’ve been re-reading Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear. If you’re not familiar with this book, it’s a year (or season) in the life of the Colorado University cross country team. It’s a story of triumph and tragedy that’s really well written with lots of great – as they say in the business world - “take aways.” Rather than go into great details regarding my injury and my limited running, I thought I’d share passages from the book that I really like. Just for clarification, Wetmore refers to head coach Mark Wetmore and Goucher refers to their top runner, Adam Goucher. Other names will most likely refer to other CU runners.

You’ll hear no splits, and you won’t see any mile markers. You’re running by feel. Pay attention to your sensory data. – Wetmore addressing the runners before the NCAA x-c championship meet

“This guy clearly made a jump from being inconsequential to being a dominant force in the conference.” – Scott Anderson (Princeton alum) talking about Brock Tessman

“To see Goucher, the top dog working with me, I know I’m going to run well. There’s no reason not to run well.” – Brock Tessman

“Park of his quirkiness is that he’s known for how he can speak under a crowd, not over one. In a race you’ll hear him say ‘You’re fine,’ in a conversational tone, and you’ll hear that.” – Shawn Found on Wetmore.

He mutters a thought that has most certainly occurred to all the harriers, “Fuck this shit!” and starts to walk. – Steve Slattery during a steady unrelenting ascent where he was dropped by Goucher.

The barometer Wetmore uses to gauge a successful season: did his team run their best at NCAA’s?

He (Wetmore) set about creating “an Edge City of physical wellness, always with a purpose” where he and his athletes would “suffer as much as we can to see how good we can be, safety be damned.”

“When it’s time to work, it’s time to work. They’ll find out on their own.” – Goucher regarding Wetmore and the upper classmen not addressing the freshman regarding their first run up Mags (Sunday’s long UPHILL run – at altitude)

“If someone has a bad day, we all pull together. A lot of people get distressed after one bad day, but we’re there to stabilize each other. We’ll say, ‘Don’t be dumb, you’re fit. There’s no way you can’t be fit.’” – Goucher

“‘The right stuff’ on this level, is some combination of these four qualities: talent, durability, determination, and courage. Not everyone needs to have a monster four, but everyone has to have some combination of the four of these. You need some level of all four, and not having one will kill you. If I came out for my own team, I’d cut me. I have no talent.” But a lack of talent can be made up for by an overabundance of courage. “You’re not gonna die. This isn’t jousting, but some people are just petrified. They can’t do it.” – Wetmore

Quote of the day:
“Batliner’s restraint is admirable. In a sport that demands compulsion, sometimes the hardest task is having the confidence to rest.” - Chris Lear in RWTB

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I decided to test my leg out during lunch today. I stayed on the treadmill so I could control the elevation and pace and stop at the first sign of pain. The first 10-15 minutes were a little painful, but I eventually loosened up and felt pretty good. I ended up running 4 miles, during which I dropped the pace from 10:00 to 7:30/mile. We’ll see how my leg responds to that.

Even if it holds up, there’s no way I’m racing a 10k this Saturday. Besides, it turns out my parents will be in town and I need to drop them off at the airport 2 hours after the race starts. Maybe I can talk them into going down for the race, but I’m not holding my breath.

I’m hoping to get out of a work meeting a little early tonight so I can swing by practice and have Jenna look at my leg. She just finished chiropractor school and is focusing on soft tissue. Maybe she can help pinpoint the painful area and show me some tricks of the trade.

Unfortunately, I don’t have time to post anything from Running with the Buffaloes today. I’ll end with a quote that I found in the book.

Quote of the day:
“If you’re not enjoying the journey, you probably won’t enjoy the destination.” - unknown

Monday, April 24, 2006


My leg is feeling a lot better, but it’s still not 100%. Now I haven’t decided if it’s shin splints or something in the calf. Whatever it is, I’ve been icing, massaging and stretching the heck out of it and cross training.

Friday night I rode my bike on the trainer for an hour. It was boring as hell, even worse than a 2 hour treadmill run. Saturday I parked near the Mall of America and then road my mountain bike 40 minutes to Hyland Park to watch the Trail Mix 25K, 50K and relay. A couple of my teammates ran the 25K and we also had a relay team. After watching them I rode another 40 minutes back to my car.

The nice thing about training with a bunch of triathletes is that if I need to cross-train, I still have people to exercise with. Yesterday that included a 3 hour bike ride during what the morning-drive DJ called “the most beautiful day in the history of Minnesota.” Seriously, it was probably 50 degrees and sunny when we started at 8 AM. Later in the afternoon it was 70 sunny, calm, no humidity, no bugs, etc. I told my wife if it were like this every April, there’d be a lot more people living in Minnesota. The reality is that it’s not normally like this.

With the weather, it was no surprise that “everyone” was out exercising today. Our ride took us along the Mississippi River Blvd, across the Stone Arch Bridge, along the incredible bike path that is paved all the way from Hiawatha Avenue to Hopkins. This is the same path that I run on some mornings; I just didn’t realize it went all that way. On the way back went around Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and down the Minnehaha Parkway before finishing along Sheppard Road. It’s a ride like that that makes you realize why the Twin Cities are always ranked near the top of the ‘best places to live’ lists in magazines like Outside, Runner’s World, etc.

Digging up the correct quote from Running with the Buffaloes has led to me re-reading the book. I had nearly forgotten what a great book it is. I think it tells a great story and is really well written. I’m going to talk about it in more detail and include some quotes from it starting tomorrow.

Quote of the day:
“If you want to become the best runner you can be, start now. Don’t spend the rest of your life wondering if you can do it.” Priscilla Welch

Thursday, April 20, 2006


It turns out I took some liberties with that Wetmore quote. The actual quote should read;

"When you live on Monster Island, someone's breathing fire every day."

I must have combined part of it with "when you play with matches, someone will get burned." I guess it's not a good idea to paraphrase quotes from memory.


After a day of feeling sorry for myself, I’ve accepted the fact that I’m injured. I tried to go out for an easy run at lunch yesterday, but only made it about a minute. I’m sure I could have struggled along and maybe even loosened my leg up. But why? I don’t want to limp around for the next 9 weeks and hope things are okay on race day.

My unofficial diagnosis is shin splits (or shin split, since it’s only in one leg), probably from a combination of running down hills hard and wearing shoes with too many miles on them. A specific source of pain is very hard to pinpoint. After my attempt to run yesterday I rubbed my leg down and couldn’t find any source. I feel fine walking around on the flats and uphill, but just walking downhill is painful.

The good news is that my company has an elliptical machine that I can use. I managed 40 minutes on it over lunch. The bad news is that we’re moving to a new building in a week and I won’t be able to use it any longer. Hopefully, I won’t need it in a week. I guess I’d better tune up my tri bike too. I knew there was a reason I kept that very expensive piece of seldom used equipment.

I know no one wants to see another runner injured and that “everyone” wants me to get well soon, so I’ll save you the trouble of leaving “get well” comments. I know about new shoes, RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation), ibuprofen, staying on soft surfaces, avoiding downhill and cambers, etc. No need to mention any of that stuff either. I’ve got a solid base, I won’t lose it that quickly, I’ll bounce back rapidly, blah, blah, blah.

Like my friend Eric said recently, “Once I accepted that I was injured, the pressure was lifted.” I feel the same way. I’ve known something was “going on down there” for 2 weeks, but it wasn’t enough to make me stop running. Well, now it’s enough. I’ve accepted it and I’m okay with it. I will continue to cross train and stay as fit as possible.

Today’s quote of the day is from memory so it’s probably wrong. It’s from Running with the Buffaloes, where Mark Wetmore is talking about his runners getting injured.

“If you live on Fire Island, someone is going to get burned.” Mark Wetmore

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Tonight I met my training group on the north side of Lake of the Isles. Since that’s fairly close to work, I decided not to drive all the way home and then back in rush hour. That meant that I got to the lake at 5:30, but we weren’t meeting till 6:30. Hey, I already stayed at work an hour longer than normal; you can’t expect me to stay 2 hours longer.

I figured I’d just get in a long warm-up and run around Isles and Calhoun, before running 75-90 minutes of hills. It turns out that Lake Calhoun is the place to see and be seen as ‘everyone’ was out walking, running, biking or rollerblading.

By the time I got back to our meeting place I had run 55 minutes. I kept the pace easy, so I thought I’d be alright on the hills. Wrong. It turns out that chasing Jenna and Jim on the hills requires a lot of energy. After about 4 hills I was running on fumes. When I looked at my watch I had a total running time of 1:45. That’s exactly when I ran out of steam last Saturday too. I managed another 7 minutes of running tonight and called it 14 miles.

My leg was bothering me during my “warm-up” but felt fine once I picked up the pace. That makes me wonder if it is shin splits, since the pain went away. With a stress fracture the pain would get worse as I continued to run.

I should probably keep quiet – but I won’t. I just wanted to make it clear that I’m not here to make friends. If that happens along the way (and it has) that’s great, but I don’t define my blog by being part of a community and sitting around singing “coumb by ya” (or however it’s spelled). It’s a running web log of my actual training and racing, my training philosophies, what’s going on in the sport and maybe even some family stuff.

Hopefully it is interesting and entertaining. If you feel compelled to keep reading (and even leave a comment), that’s great. If not, that’s fine too. I understand that there are lots of running blogs out there (and that number will probably continue to rise) and that we all have a limited amount of free time. As a result, we all have to pick and chose the blogs we read. For me, it has nothing to do with being an elitist or not liking someone, personally. It’s about finding blogs that meet the criteria you are looking for; informative, entertaining, funny, cool photos, links, surveys, or any hosts of reasons. If I find a blog that meets my criteria, I’ll keep reading and maybe even commenting as long as I continue to like that blog. It doesn’t matter if the person on the other end acknowledges me or not. I won’t stop reading good blogs just because I don’t get some sense of community. And I won’t keep reading boring blogs in order to make “friends.”

Quote of the day:
“If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.” Rob de Castella


As expected, I didn’t get much done yesterday afternoon. Between tracking runners at Boston and following along with the race on and, I didn’t have much “free” time.

I did manage to get out and buy some new shoes at lunch. I went with a pair of Asics Landreths (sorry Mike). I’m not sure why I bother buying shoes online (unless the store doesn’t have what I want), since the store usually give me a good deal. These were $72, while they’re $81 to $90 at, depending on your membership.

Congrats to everyone that competed yesterday. I’m looking forward to reading some race reports. Of the 10 people I was tracking, everyone had a positive split of 2, 4, 6, 8, 8, 9, 10, 14, 30 and 30 minutes. I do like to go through the results and see the first and second half splits for people. I like to look for people that blew up big-time and those that ran negative splits. I found one guy from Minnesota that ran EXACTLY even splits; 1:28:01/1:28:01. Pretty weird.

I didn’t get to see the race on TV. Hopefully my wife was able to tape the re-broadcast, but I haven’t checked the tape yet. Anyone else think it’s weird that types their webcast right from what they see on TV? Aren’t they one of the leading magazines covering this sport? Don’t they have some reporters tracking the race themselves?

Nice to see 5 Americans in the top-10. Does that mean "we're back" or does it mean Boston isn't that important to foreigners anymore? Hopefully the former.

What’s with the people that don’t say “hi” in the hallway at work? It’s not like I work for a major corporation; the company I work for has less than 200 employees. From now on if I say “hi” and don’t get a response, I’m crossing you off my “hi” list. Same goes for runners I see on the street.

How about the people that want to talk business every time you pass them in the hallway? Oh I see; it was so important that it required a random meeting in the hallway to be discussed.

How about the guys at the urinal with both hands in their pockets? Now that’s talent. I didn’t realize taking a piss was so relaxing. Can I get you a pillow?

Is every trip to the Post Office miserable? You couldn’t pay me enough to work in one of their windows. Everyone that works there just looks so worn down. I bet you don’t have to worry about them saying “hi” to one another in the hallway or relaxing at the urinal.

Quote of the day:
“Sweat, pain and exhaustion are all temporary. Finishing Boston is forever. Impossible is Nothing.” adidas poster

Monday, April 17, 2006


Can you tell from my last few posts that I figured out how to get photos from our digital camera to our computer quicker? No longer will I have to wait till Christmas to post Halloween photos.

While you’re waiting for the next 5k split for the Boston runners that you’re tracking, head over to Seebo’s blog and read his race report from the Paris Marathon.

After that, check out this article on the Barkley Ultra Marathon.

I forgot to mention that Saturday’s run gave me 87 miles for the week. That’s my most in 5 weeks. Not sure if it’s the mileage or the shoes, but something is “going on” with my left leg. I won’t call it pain; it’s more of an annoying discomfort. It’s just below my knee to the outside of my leg. Hopefully it’s just because I’ve been running in some older shoes or because my newer shoes are light weight trainers. Over lunch, I’m going to buy a pair with more cushioning.

Yesterday was my worst run in a long time as my legs were really tired. My left leg was bothering me and I nearly stopped after my 10 minutes with Bailey, but I didn’t. I dropped her off and then managed to find some grass as I made my way to some dirt trails. The grass and trails felt a lot better on my leg. I was going to do one loop around a lake and call it a day after 5-6 miles. However, I started to feel a little better, so I added on another loop and got in 8 miles for the day.

My alarm woke me up from a deep sleep at 4:40 this morning and I immediately reset it for 5:10. 5 minutes later I was still awake and decided to get up and get my run in. As usual, I took Bailey for a mile jog. Since this part is on blacktop and I’m stiff, I could really feel my left leg. Once I got on the gravel path and loosened up, I felt a lot better and managed an easy 10 miles.

Quote of the day:
“I used to rehearse the marathon in the last few miles of every long training run. It was not particularly pleasant for my training partners.” Pete Pfitzinger

Sunday, April 16, 2006


A huge thanks to TriMike for sending me this uber-cool t-shirt. Hopefully he likes the shirt I sent him - it's a secret. Shhh.

I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that spark should burn out in a brilliant
blaze than it should be stilled by dry rot. I would
rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in
magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not wast my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

- Jack London


As the work day wound down on Friday I got this bright idea to email Jenna to see if she wanted to meet for a long run on Saturday. Usually, I have a tough time getting together with people on such short notice, but everything seemed to workout well and we agreed to meet at Minnehaha Falls at 7:30 AM. Nothing like "sleeping in" till 6:15 on your day off.

Jenna brought along Derek, whom I've run with one other time. We started out along the Get in Gear course, which is a 10k we're all running on the 29th. Then we stayed along the Mississippi River for a little longer, crossed a bridge into St. Paul and ran through the U of MN campus, before finishing up along the 2nd half of the Get in Gear course. It was another gorgeous morning; 55-60 degrees, sunny with a moderate breeze.

After about 1:45 I was really starting to drag - mainly since the pace was quicker than I normally run, especially for that distance. I managed to hang on for 2:02 before saying goodbye as those guys added on some more. I called that 17 miles, even though it was probably a little shorter.

I was a little bummed about not getting in a 20 miler, but sometimes a quicker, shorter run is better than a longer, slower run. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Next weekend I'll go solo and make sure I get in a long run.

Everyone has probably heard today's quote of the day, it ties in nicely with my next post;

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Steve Prefontaine


Kinsey and Katie, styling and Katie and Kinsey hunting for Easter eggs.

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Here's Kinsey with the Cotton Candy she talked about for the 4 days leading up to the game. And here's my knock-off of Sara's photo from beautiful Jacob's field. You'll see there are no blue skies in the Metrodome.

Friday, April 14, 2006


“I” came across some cool links, so I thought I’d post another entry today.

Actually, “Bear” sent me an email on this video regarding the mindset of distance runners. Too bad it’s only 3 minutes long.

The other day, Eric was mentioning how he likes to read my blog because when I talk about him he feels like he’s a character on a TV show or something. So, I’d better post this NY Times article that he sent to me. It doesn’t have anything to do with running, but talks about names we give ourselves (like Zeke) and how that’s on the rise due to things like blogs and email addresses. Hopefully you won’t have to register to read it.

Let’s see, what else did I forget to mention this week?;

Congrats to Scott for running 6:19 pace for an 8 mile race last weekend. It looks like he could be on that sub-3 bubble at Grandma’s. His PR is 2:56, but he’s only raced one 5k in the last 2 years, so sub-3 would be a step in the right direction.

I didn’t mention that my 20k time equates to a 1:22:16 half. I’ve only cracked 1:24 twice; 1:20:21 in 1996, a month after graduating from college and 1:23:04 in 2002, two months after my first Boston. So things continue to look good. Next up is a 10k on April, 29th where I’d like to break 37 minutes.

Another quote of the day for those running Boston (just change the number from 2,000 to what? 20,000):

“The Boston Marathon, America’s greatest footrace, 2,000 Walter Mittys bucking for flat feet and a heart attack…For most, it’s the Boston Massacre.” Jerry Nason, Boston sportswriter, 1945


Hmmm, do I need to state the obvious? It’s really hard to blog when I’m NOT at work. I took 1 day off and it seems like I haven’t posted forever. So here’s a quick update;

As I was leaving work Wednesday night I was cursing myself for turning my alarm off in the morning. My exact thought was, “Shit, I haven’t run yet today.” After helping to put the girls to bed, I finally hopped on the treadmill around 7:30 with the hopes of getting in 8 miles. The Twins/A’s games was on and I just zoned out. Nearly 2 hours later I had run 15 miles.

Thursday was my day off from work. I took Kinsey in the stroller for a morning run. We started to get rained on a little, so I stopped after 4 miles. After a light shower, it turned into a beautiful day; a record high of 84 degrees (without the typical summertime humidity).

Of course, during this gorgeous day, Kinsey and I were sitting inside the Metrodome watching the Twins game. You’d think this wouldn’t bother a guy that can run 15 miles on the treadmill when it’s 65 degrees out, but it does. Indoor baseball sucks. I was sitting there wondering how hard it would be to rip the roof off the dome.

Anyway, I think Kinsey went for 2 reasons; 1) cotton candy and 2) to sing “Take me out to the ballgame.” We left after 7 innings and had a great time; 8-2 victory and sweep of the A’s (too bad it wasn’t the Tribe or the Sox), a day off work, quality time with one of my girls, etc. In the evening I managed to in another 7 miles. It was still 75 degrees out at 8 PM.

This morning I really did not want to get out of bed at 4:40, but I thought back to Wednesday and my thoughts about still having to run, as I left the office. I didn’t want to go through that again, even if the Twins/Yankees are on TV tonight. So I got up and managed 11 miles. I picked the pace up a little as the run went along; starting at 8:45s and working down to 7:10s. During the last 2 miles I slowed down and threw in 6 x 20 second strides.

Finally, I hope everyone going to Boston has an awesome race. I’m wearing my Boston t-shirt today, in honor of you guys; Woody, training partners Mary and Roger, along with Evan (who’s running for “fun”), Elizabeth, TriMike, Kim, and CanadaMike. I’m sure I missed a ton of bloggers and I apologize.

Today’s quote of the day is for those running Boston or any other race this weekend:

“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, straining upon the start.” Shakespeare, Henry V

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


First off, here’s that Pre video that I tried to link to last week. TriMike also had a post the other day with some cool Nike commercials. If you haven’t figured it out, Mike works for Nike.

Here's another visual nugget for you. I've mentioned before that one of my college roommates is an assistant coach with the National Champion Badger cross country team. G-man (in the gray suit) is one of those guys that falls into the category of "the nicest guy you've ever met." As I've mentioned in my "Welcome" post, his son is responsible for the name of my blog. Anyway, this photo was sent to me recently.

Right now I’m just trying to recover from Saturday’s race. I’m not sore, just tired. Yesterday we were treated to unseasonable temperatures as we reached a high of 80 degrees. I ran an easy 5 over lunch when it was 60. Then around 7:30 I went out for another 5 and it was still 75.

I want to start bumping my mileage back up. I haven’t been above 80 miles in the last 4 weeks due to adding in hills. This morning I ran another easy 5 miles. Tonight I met my training group for a session of hills. Like I said, I’m tired, so I had no intention of pushing the pace. I stayed way in the back of the pack.

I did manage to follow Daws’ advice on heat training tonight. Even though it was 70 degrees out, I wore long pants, long-sleeve shirt and a t-shirt. I wasn’t as miserable as I thought I’d be, but then again I wasn’t running hard. I believe this all but guarantees that it will be nice at Grandma’s.

I thought a little more about my race and came up with these “findings;”

I like my new flats (Mizuno Idatens). I think they’ll work great for the marathon.

I don’t mind being alone in a race. Just seeing a person 20-30 seconds in front of me is enough to keep me working hard.

The better I get, the better those around me are. I can’t expect that people will come back to me late in the race.

Focus on your own race. Dave told me he wanted to run 6:15-6:20 pace too and then proceeded to run 15-20 seconds faster per mile than me. That could have really messed with my head, if I had let it.

Today’s quote of the day kind of ties to one of Duncan’s recent posts:

“At some point in their life everyone has to be at their lifetime best. This could be that time for you. Enjoy it.” Eric, prior to Saturday’s race

Sunday, April 09, 2006


Miles, miles, miles. Strength, not speed. Blah, blah, blah. Why the heck should I listen to this Zeke character anyway? He’s always been ‘fast.’ He has ‘natural talent.’ He’s ‘elite.’ NOTE: these are all things I’ve read and nothing I’ve EVER said about myself.

He ran 8k in xx:xx which converts to a y:yy:yy 20k which converts back to a zz:zz 10k from 6 months ago. What the hell is he talking about and how does it apply to me? I know it is confusing to compare race times, especially for different distances. But what follows is really quite simple. This is what I sent to my coach this morning;

This pretty much sums it up;

October 15th, 2005 - 39:02 for 10K (6:16 pace)
April 8th, 2006 - 1:17:57 for 20K (6:16 pace)

In 6 months time I’ve been able to double my distance while holding my pace constant – WITHOUT doing any speed work.

Last summer I was running about 45 mpw and doing speed work. Here’s a summary of my workouts leading up to that October race;

8/30 6 x 800
9/3 5M race in 30:02
9/6 3 x 5:00 and 3 x 1600
9/9 9 x 400 @ 10k pace w/ 45 sec rest
9/11 and 9/13 progression runs
9/15 16 x 400 @ 10k pace w/ 45 sec rest
9/18 3M tempo
9/23 10k in 39:30
9/27 6 x 800, avg 2:49
9/29 and 10/6 4M tempo
10/8 5 x 800

Compare that to this winter where all I ran was miles, miles, and miles. Then throw in some progression/strong aerobic/marathon pace runs or whatever you want to call them. Top it off with hills, hills, race, hills, hills, race, etc.

Hell, now that I think about it, it almost makes me leery to run another speed workout ever again.

Today’s run include 7 very easy miles by myself on some fairly muddy trails. Then I took my daughters in the stroller for a mile each. I would have like to have included them for more of the run, but I wanted to make this an easy day and that can be hard when you're pushing a stroller. Besides, it was about 65 degrees out and they were playing with the neighbors.

Quote of the day:
"I have never been a killer. I’m not an aggressive personality and if I can remember any emotion I felt during a race it was fear. The greatest stimulator of my running was fear." Herb Elliott

Saturday, April 08, 2006


Subtitle: Who to believe? (or is it 'whom')

On Friday, Eric left me a message saying it would be calm for our race on Saturday. Then Evan left a comment saying that April was the windiest month of the year. Saturday morning, the first song I heard as I got in my car was “Against the Wind.”

I drove to Eric’s house and we carpooled about 70 miles to Rochester for my first ever 20k race. PR, baby – just for crossing the finish line. I’ve mentioned Minnesota’s racing circuit before that includes age-group ranking for meeting certain time standards. Well, odd distances, such as 20k, 25k and 30k, have much softer standards because there aren’t many races of those distances. Anyway, that means that while this was a fairly small (230 runners) race, lots of age-group studs come out in order to gain some points.

I have yet to reach any of the standards. The 20k standard for my age group is 1:17. McMillan calculates my last 8k to a 1:17:44, so I wasn’t planning on going after the standard today either. I mainly wanted to run a solid race and see how McMillan’s calculation held up for a longer race. As Evan said, a 20k is a better indicator of marathon performance than an 8k.

On the starting line, Dave (Jenna’s friend that I met 3 weeks ago) asked me what I was hoping to run. I told him 6:15-6:20 pace. He said that’s where he hoped to be too since that’s what he ran for 25k last weekend. Well, he went on to beat me by nearly 4 minutes.

So did I run well or not? Read on.

I’m happy to report that Eric’s forecast was correct. It was nearly perfect for April 8th; 40 degrees, sunny and nearly calm.

The gun goes off and we head over an overpass and people settle in pretty quickly. I plan on just running how I feel and not even worry about my watch. I never saw the first mile marker, so this strategy is already paying off. After reading Chelle’s report, I may never look at my watch again during a race. Just after 2 miles I pass the only guy that I’d pass all race. About this time, I finally start getting into a rhythm. At mile 3 I decide to start taking splits every 3 miles. I figure I want to have some sort of feedback afterwards to see if I went out too hard or too slow or to see where I died, etc.

At mile 4, the lead woman is about 20-30 seconds ahead of me. I figure if she’s still that far away at mile 8, I can reel her in. There is a little breeze on the course and somewhere between 4 and 6 there’s a nice tailwind and I push the pace. Coming back towards mile 7 into the wind, I back off a little.

I feel in total control, totally aware of what’s going on with my breathing, my stride, the wind, the gal in front of me and now the guy that’s coming back to her. I actually feel like I’m racing, whereas a typical half marathon is more like “hang on, hang on, okay now race.” It’s probably more mental than anything, but now I know I can be more aggressive in my future half marathons. And marathons?

At mile 8 I’m still feeling good and I start working a little more. The lead woman is still 20-30 seconds in front of me. She has now reached the guy in front of her and they’re working together. A half mile later I start to hear footsteps behind me. I admit, in the past I’ve let people pass me, unchallenged. I always seem to be happy with my race and convince myself to keep doing my own thing. Well today I tell myself that when this guys comes by, I’ll go with him

At this point the course takes a cruel turn. We have been heading back on the road we ran out on. It has an up and down hill section (obviously in both directions). Well, just when I got to the top of the hill and thought I was going to be heading back down, we took a right and kept climbing. Evan mentioned this to me when he described the course, but it was still cruel.

At mile 9 I sneak a peak at my watch. I figured if I was there around 55-56 minutes I could possibly get the 20k time standard. I see 56:44. Normally this would have been a letdown and I’d have given up. But I kept pushing and didn’t let the time phase me. Soon after 9 the guy behind me catches up and I go with him. I hang with him for about a half mile, but this guy is hauling. He’s not just going 5-10 seconds faster per mile than me; he’s going 20-25 seconds faster per mile.

With 3 miles to go, I back-off and let him go. He goes on to beat me by 69 seconds. He put 23 freaking seconds a mile on me and it wasn’t because I was slowing down. In fact, my final 3 miles were my fastest. My guess is that he was using the first 8 miles as a training run and then he kicked it in.

Nothing exciting happened the rest of the way. The lead woman continued to work with another guy and I never got any closer than 30 seconds. Here are my splits;

19:07 (including the cruel uphill)
18:32 (un-cruel downhill)
1:17:57 (6:17 pace)

So I missed my time standard by 57 seconds, but I’m okay with that. I’m really happy with my race and glad that I only missed my McMillan time by 13 seconds. That bodes well for my marathon. Eric ended up running 1:20:29. Complete results can be found here.

Quote of the day:
“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” Mike Fanelli, club coach

Friday, April 07, 2006


Just want to make it clear that my last 2 posts have been directed as much at me as anyone else. Hopefully they got people thinking. I’ll tone it down today.

I stayed up too late (10 PM) last night reading James Patterson’s Honeymoon. I was just going to read for 15-20 minutes, but ended up reading for 45 minutes. It’s weird. He gives you ample opportunity to stop reading, since his dang chapters are only 2-3 pages long. Yet you can’t stop reading. I guess that’s the sign of a good writer.

Anyway, 5:15 soon came. And went. I re-set my alarm for 6:15. That meant I had to jump on the treadmill over lunch, which limited me to an easy 5 mile run. Probably a good thing if I want to race well tomorrow. After lots of rain lately, tomorrow looks like a perfect day 35 to 52 with sun. Hopefully the wind will die down.

If anyone is interested in watching Pre “drop down” to the mile, check out this video. Marty Liquori “shows up” around 1200 meters.

I mentioned buying some new shoes a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t buy them online, but wanted to pass along this link to I haven’t done an extensive comparison of their prices, but they have, by far, the best photos of their shoes. They have 7-8 photos for each pair.

Quote of the day:
“Yet that man is happy and poets sing of him who conquers with hand and swift foot and strength.” Pindar, Greek poet, 500 B.C.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Yeah, I know we live a quick-fix society. I guess some of the entries in this blog are my attempt to get people to demand more from themselves and push their limits a little. It’s no different than a teacher (like Sara) getting frustrated when a student asks what’s the minimum I have to do or do I get extra credit.

I want to qualify for Boston, what’s the least amount of work I need to do? So you run a 3:10, qualify and run Boston the following year. That’s great and all, but what if you really “should be” a 2:40 marathoner? Should I be more impressed that a 2:40 guy ran 3:10 or that a 3:11 guy ran 3:11?

I guess I assume if someone is into reading running message boards and/or reading/writing a running blog, then running is a fairly high priority in their life. If that’s the case, I would hope they would want to maximize their performance.

At least that’s one of the reasons I decided to ramp up my mileage. I’m passionate about this sport and want to see how far I can take my running. One of the “nice things” about not reaching my potential when I was younger is that if I work harder now, I believe I still have a chance to break my all-time PRs.

One other thing regarding the example in my last post; the ‘someone’ mentioned “knowing his body and that he needed a couple of days off a week.” Again, if you’re (relatively) young and fit and you “need” a couple of days off a week, something is wrong. Just think; 2 x 52 = over 100 days off a year. That’s 3 months of missed training.
Keep in mind I’m talking runners here. You triathletes are on your own.

Here’s a suggestion, go to Boston this year and interview everyone that runs sub-3:10 and ask them how many days off they take per week. If the majority says 2 days a week, then you’re onto something.

Of course that’s not likely, but you get the idea. After a race I always thought it’d be cool to talk training with everyone that beat me. How long have they been running? What’s their recent base, hill, speed, racing, etc. training been like? What are they training for? Blah, blah, blah. I mean don’t you want to learn from someone that’s kicking your ass?

With all that said, I took a day off yesterday. It was a combination of feeling a little beat up, not taking a day off in nearly 6 weeks and wanting to feel somewhat fresh for Saturday's race. I sat on the couch, ate ice cream and watched the Twins pound the Blue Jays, 13-4. And it was all good.

I felt great this morning, so that's a good sign. I’m still amazed at how my legs can bounce back after just one day off. Wow, imagine if I took two days off – every week! I’d feel fresh all the time – except when I raced, I guess.

Anyway, I wanted to get in a little work, but not sabotage my upcoming race. I basically did an 8 mile progression run with 2 mile splits of 16:00, 14:40 and 14:28, followed by a 7:05 mile and an 8:30 mile cool-down. I’m also amazed at how my form feels. I’d attribute it to hills, strides and ab work. Throw in fresh legs and a little tail wind and presto – a biomechanical dream. Not really, but I felt really smooth.

Quote of the day:
“You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things - to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated.” Edmund Hillary

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Speed, speed, speed. Everyone wants to add speed. It doesn’t matter if they have a sufficient base or not. Quality over quantity – that’s the key. So and so is doing a track workout. I’m in.

Someone wants to get a Boston Qualifier and is “willing to do whatever it takes.” Then they add their own qualifiers; “I’m busy, so quality over quantity is a must. And oh yeah, my goal race is this fall.”

Well, which is it; are you willing to do “whatever it takes” or not? Are you willing to build your mileage up; week after week, month after month, year after year? Are you willing to skip certain races or at least train through them? Are you willing to focus on your own training and not someone else’s? Are you willing to train year-round (with structured breaks)? Are you willing to stick with this goal, even if it takes years to achieve?

Seriously, I think the Boston standards are something that every healthy adult, who puts their mind to it, could achieve in their life.

And it’s NOT about speed. The “someone” above needs to run 7:15 pace and says “I need sufficiently faster leg speed.” Meanwhile, they just ran sub-7 pace for 10 miles. Hmm, it sounds like they can handle the pace. What they’re lacking in the endurance to hold that pace.

If that makes sense, why would you focus on quality? Sure quality is important, but quality on top of quantity is much more important.

I keep hearing that mileage causes injuries. But how come I rarely hear that speed work causes injuries? Sure you can increase your mileage and get injured, but I think injuries are more likely to occur if you jump from easy miles into hard speed sessions.

Daws says it’s all about smooth transitions. There shouldn’t be any clear-cut lines between the base, hill, and speed phases. Towards the end of base-building you start adding in some hilly runs. The hill phase prepares you for speed, especially if you add in some strides. In the speed phase you start out with slow reps with short repeats and progress from there.

With all that said, I understand that I put a lot into my training. Running is near the top of my priorities. If it’s not as high a priority for you, then your results will vary.

Tonight was a beautiful 55 degrees, fairly calm and sunny. I re-joined my training group for a hill session. While it’s not springing, running with the group is more intense. We did 15 minutes of repeats on 3 separate hills in St. Paul. A nice cool-down with Jenna gave me 85 minutes or about 11 miles.

During the hills, coach Matt filmed us running and then played the tape back afterwards. For some reason all he taped was butt, boob and groin shots – no head or legs. It was kind of funny and a little disturbing.

Quote of the day:
“There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.” Unknown

Monday, April 03, 2006


I woke up at 5 this morning and was still a little tired. I remembered that the NCAA men’s championship game was on TV tonight, so I reset my watch for 6 and went back to sleep. Why ‘do now’ what you can put off till later?

I ended up running 10 miles on the treadmill while watching Florida pound UCLA. I didn’t really care who won, but I kind of like Billy Donavon, so I was happy. After a great tournament, the Final Four turned into the Final Bore with 3 blowouts. Still, I couldn’t stop watching Florida, even though the game was basically over.

After running, I lifted a few weights and did some crunches. Call me crazy, but I almost see a little six-pack forming. Just like anything else, it’s nice to get a little positive feedback. It actually makes me want to workout a little more and do a better job of cutting out junk food.

Now that the base-phase is behind me and I’m almost finished with hills, I’ve been thinking ahead to the sharpening/coordination phase. Daws does a good job of explaining the progression of workouts;

A fair amount of volume, relatively slow with short rests (i.e. 20 x 400 @ 10k pace with 100 jog)

Less volume, faster speeds with more rest (i.e. 1k repeats @ 3-5K pace followed by jogging until HR drops to 100)

Even less volume, faster speeds with less rest

Fast with very little resting (i.e. stride/float 50s or 100s)

However, how to mix them into a schedule and for how long is a little confusing. I thought I’d look at Lydiard’s Running to the Top as well as some Lydiard info that Mike sent me. That just added to the confusion. The workouts even varied from one Lydiard article to another. And we wonder why people think his information is confusing.

Needless to say, a little more research is needed as I head towards my final 9 weeks. I think I have my race schedule nailed down. Evan and I discussed it during our last long run. I’m going to race a 20k this Saturday and a 10k on the 29th. May 13th (half) and 27th (30K) I’ll run at marathon pace. The week before Grandma’s I may race a 5k-8k, depending on how my training is progressing.

Quote of the day:
“Look, last year, you ran the best race of your career. Everything went right and you performed at your very best. Now, if you know why that happened and you put your training plan together properly to reproduce that peak performance again on the day of the first race you want to win this season, then I would say you know something about training. Until you can do that, you don't know a damn thing about it. You are just a good athlete who, one day, without realizing why it is happening, will run a good race.” Arthur Lydiard

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I’m just a regular social butterfly. Friday I ran with Scott, Saturday it was Peter and then I closed out the weekend with Evan this morning.

Saturday was a busy morning with 4 things planned – all before 11 AM; running, dentist appointment, building buddies with the girls at church, and a chiropractor appointment.

Nothing like getting up at 5:00 on your day off to go for a run with someone you don’t know.

I “met” Peter through the forum, but Saturday was the first time we’ve met in person. I guess that’s one advantage of living about 10 minutes from the airport and Mall of America – when people come to town, they usually stay fairly close. Peter’s hotel was literally a minute jog from the trails that lead down to the Minnesota River. With all the snow melting recently, as well as the rain, I thought the trails would be in worse shape than they were. We managed a nice easy 10 mile run at 8:30 pace. That gave me 76 miles for the week in 7 runs.

Nothing too exciting to report with my other morning adventures. No cavities, we built bird feeder this year (after making a bird house last year) and I got another adjustment from the chiropractor. Then we went to McDonald’s for lunch.

Sunday’s theme was “Misery Loves Company;” 2 hours and 40 minutes, 20 miles, 38 degrees and steady rain. Not sure what would have happened if I didn’t have Evan along with me. Maybe I would have cut my run short, waited till later in the day or jumped on the treadmill. The best thing about this run was being done with it. Afterwards, I couldn’t get the shower hot enough. Luckily, Amy and Kinsey ran some errands while Katie napped – which means I napped too.

Quote of the day:
“When you do the little extras such as heat training, skipping, and springing exercises, you discover you can change things.” Ron Daws