Thursday, August 31, 2006


I’m back on (or is it off) the wagon. I ran 6 miles last night while watching the Twins lose another game to the Royals. It turns out the Royals pitchers have an ERA of about 6 – except when they pitch in the Dome and it’s like 1.5. With their next two series against the Yankees and Tigers, losing a series to the lowly Royals is not the best way to stay in the wild card hunt.

If you’re interested in a baseball blog, check out Pat Neshek’s. He’s a new middle reliever for the Twins that just got called up in the middle of the season. It’s pretty interesting to read his thoughts about the whole process, along with his thoughts of playing for his hometown team.

But this is a running blog not a baseball blog…

After getting my ass chewed out by Mike yesterday, I’ve come up with a new plan (or two). Actually, sorry Mike but I can’t give you credit. I’ve had these plans penciled in for a week now, but I do appreciate the gentle reminder.

I keep mentioning “plans” because I have 2 options for the last 7 weeks of training. Option A is 4 weeks of “high” mileage (at least 80) followed by a 3 week taper. Option B consists of 2 weeks of “high” mileage, cutback week, 2 weeks of “high” mileage followed by a 2 week taper. Right now I’m leaning towards “B” because 1) the cutback week will keep me from getting too trashed and 2) there’s a 10k I might run at the end of the cutback week.

12 days till Ironman Wisconsin. I’m looking forward to watching it and cheering and drinking beer while watching and cheering. If you need a little inspiration, check out Mike’s IM Canada report. Not sure if the triathletes out there read Triathlete magazine’s Mitch Thrower’s blog or not, but it’s usually entertaining around Ironman time.

Quote of the day;

“Where am I?” – Ron Clarke upon regaining consciousness on the stadium infield at Mexico City

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I haven’t run in 3 days; Sunday was completely off, Monday I biked for 75 minutes and yesterday I biked for 60 minutes. I don’t have any great excuses for the time off except that this is a cutback week before I make a final push towards Chicago. I want to give my legs a few days to (hopefully) heal some aches and pains.

I tried something new while biking on the training Monday night; playing x-box at the same time. It worked out pretty well as I was only playing golf. It sure made the time go by fast. I was 45 minutes into the ride before I even noticed.

Last night I went to the Twins game with Scott, Bear and Tom. Scott got the tickets through his wife’s office. It turns out the Metrodome isn’t that bad – when you’re sitting 3 rows behind the 3rd base coach!!! Too bad we didn’t have any offense to cheer for during the 2-0 loss. Thanks Scott.

Before the game we met up for beer and brats. Bear was wondering why I didn’t just race the half marathon after going out too hard. That’s a very good question. I think I had my mind made up that it was going to be a marathon-paced workout. Once in the mindset, it’s hard to shift to a different (more painful) strategy.

I forgot to add my splits from the race. If anyone wants to view them, here they are;

6:16, 6:40, 6:39, 6:47, 6:43, 7:10, 14:02 (two miles), 7:09, 7:03, 6:54, 7:00, 7:20 (last 1.1)

Quote of the day;
“I’m not a machine that can be wound up every day.” – Herb Elliott, after being asked to run a sub-4 the night after his WR 1500

Monday, August 28, 2006


The good news is that the 6:16 first mile felt really easy. The bad news is I was trying to hold 6:30-6:40 pace. You can guess where things went from there. Downhill.

You can save yourself some time and stop reading now if you’re looking for a report that refers to a PR or even a solid MP workout. If you want to know what random thoughts went through my head during this race, continue reading.

During the first mile: Okay the lead women are in front of me. There’s Evan, who wants to run 6:20 pace, just up ahead. There’s Tim, who ran a 40-minute 10k last week. Jim, who’ll probably run 1:28ish, is right next me. That’s good, nice and controlled. This should be around 6:30 pace. Here’s comes the first mile. They have a digital clock at the marker. That’s cool. What’s that? 6:0X? Slow down, slow down (like slowing in the last 25 meters is going to make a difference)! 6:16!! Shit!!!

Mile 2 in 6:40. Alright, that’s much better.

Mile 3 in 6:39. Okay, I can do this.

Mile 4 in 6:4-something. Is that a 1 or a 7. Damn, it’s a 7. That felt too hard to be a 6:47 mile.

Heading down a gradual hill. Now I’m moving. Hey, maybe mile 4 was a gradual uphill and that’s why it was slow. Mile 5 in 6:43. What? Again, that’s way too hard to be MP.

Alright, back off the pace, go by effort and stop looking at your splits.

Dang here comes the leader. I guess this is an out-and-back course. Hmm, maybe I’ll be at 6 by the time he gets to 8. I wish I were fast.

Damn, she’s (gal along the side of the road) really cute. I really like gals in baseball caps for some reason.

Oh “yay” here’s a gravel road. Here comes the gal that only beat me by a minute at the 20k in April. At least she’s still running well.

Here’s the turn-around point – finally!

I wonder if Marisa is running. If I knew what she looked like I’d look for her.

Where’s mile 7? Where’s mile 7? Where’s mile 7? There’s 8.

There’s that cute girl again.

If I hold this pace till 10 maybe I can “kick” it in.

Okay, I think I have my entire blog entry written now.

Here comes a water stop. I’ll take Gatorade this time. At least I can practice that.

Here comes a windy stretch. Jump behind this guy and draft. At least I can practice that.

Mile 10, okay pick it up a little.

That didn’t last long.

Okay, just maintain your position.

Damn, here comes someone. It’s probably the guy I just pulled away from. Nope, it’s Naz (the guy who convinced me to run this race). “Thanks” Naz.

This (other) guy in front of me keeps picking it up and then slowing down. I should just blow by him.

Hey there’s that cute girl, again.

I go by him. That will impress her.

He’s still there.

Push the downhill.

He’s still there.

I hear “go daddy – yay” cheers and they’re not for me. That’s not fair.

He passes me.

Screw it.


Wow, I can’t believe I broke 1:30.

Post race analysis:

For someone that prides themselves on pacing, that first mile was a huge disappointment. But still, given that I should be able to run 6:16 pace for 10 miles, I should have been able to hold 6:40 pace after backing off.

It’s better to have this happen now than in October.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a BFD. I got in a long run at a solid effort – whether or not the pace was what I wanted. But I’d prefer to have a confidence boosting result at this point in training.

I always seem say something like “I’m never going do another race when the dew point is over 60 degrees.” Yet I always seem to forget that statement.

Finally, just to spice things up, I’ll end with my real excuse. Simply put, sex the night before a race is bad. The good news is that now I won’t have to worry about trying to “get some” the night before Chicago with my kids and mother-in-law in the room.

So what happens now? “Bad race” means “train harder” right? Well, sort of. My first order of business is to make this a cutback week, partially to 1) help me recover from the half, 2) help heal my aching legs and 3) provide a mini-taper leading into this Saturday’s alumni race.

After that I’m going to get back into higher mileage weeks because 1) that’s what worked for me leading up to that 20k in April and 2) Chicago is just another stepping stone along the road to being a better runner – a road which will need more than 65 mpw to pave.

Evan ended up with a nice MP workout, finishing in 1:25. Jim held on to win is age-group in 1:28:52. His arch-rival Norm was between the 2 of us, which means I would have placed 3rd in the 60-64 age group. Now if I just don't slow down in the next 23 years, I'll be set.

Quote of the day;

“Talk to me not of time and place; I owe I'm happy in the chase." - Shakespeare

Friday, August 25, 2006


I finally found some photos from last weekend’s women’s race. Including this super cute picture...

Damn you blogger!!! I can't upload the photo, so make sure to check out this one.

…have I mentioned that I’m the unofficial president of the unofficial Katie McGregor fan club? I saw her a couple of times after the race but was too chicken to go up and talk to her. You know, it might freak her out if I tell her I’m the president. Anyway, I’m sure she’s an avid reader of my blog – so she knows how I feel. Closed circuit to Katie; great job last weekend – you look to be in top form again.

I just ran 5 very easy miles this morning, probably around 9:00 pace. During my run I saw a lot of runners and walkers out and about. I got to thinking how weird it would have been to be a runner in the 50s or 60s. Since running wasn’t that popular back then, you probably wouldn’t see anyone else on the roads. That would be really weird.

The goals for tomorrow’s half marathon are to run it around marathon pace and, more importantly, make it feel as comfortable as possible. Sean (from yesterday’s list) says to make it feel like you’re sitting at home in your easy chair.

I thought about racing it but something I read recently is sticking in my head. It had to deal with how our body adapts to the specific stress we put on it. The stress I aim to put on it come October 22nd is 6:40 pace, not 6:20 pace. Therefore, tomorrow’s race will be a step towards adapting to that type of stress.

There are some things about this race that are eerily strange;

Prior to this year, I’ve never raced in Rochester, MN. My last race was in Rochester.

That race was 2 months before Grandma’s. This race is 2 months before Chicago.

That race was a 20k. This race is a half marathon.

Looking back, my legs were sort of bothering me prior to that race. Lately, my legs have been bothering me.

Within a week-and-a-half of that race I was injured…This time I'm smarter than that

I don’t have a lot of health problems (other than running related). If I did, I’d definitely print out one of these medical I.D. cards. Thanks to Jim for sending the link.

Finally, (I’m “stealing” this from Yvonne) if you thought treadmills were boring, go here and watch the “Here It Goes Again” video.

Quote of the day;

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

Thursday, August 24, 2006


During last night’s easy recovery run I felt okay. I planned on running 5 miles but about 3.5 miles into the run I felt some pain in my knee. Therefore I cut my run a mile short. No biggie...4 mile recovery run vs. 5 mile recovery run.

Afterwards I repeated the stretching/foam roller/icing routine that I also performed prior to the run. I threw in some ibuprofen for a bed-time snack and was good-to-go.

This morning I met up with Scott for a run around Lake Calhoun. A week or so ago, Scott sprained his ankle. He’s doing a lot better but declared we had to “start out slow” today. That sentiment lasted for about 1 block. Soon we were picking up the pace. By the time we hit Calhoun, I’d say we were running MP. One way to tell that we were moving pretty good is that the conversation between us all but ceased. Usually we’re chatting away, but today we were both fairly focused on our running. No complaints though. Thursdays are supposed to be my tempo/MP days.

A mile with the dog and 8 with Scott gave me 9 miles for the day. Best of all they were pain-free, so hopefully the stretching/foam roller/icing routine is paying off.

One of the running forums that I visit is made up of a lot of Wisconsinites. One gal lives in the town I went to college and she knows my college coach. She was kind enough to post Sean’s “10 Ways to Think Like a Marathoner:”

1) The marathon is a 30 mile race.
2) The marathon behaves like a pendulum.
3) The BRAIN is the most important muscle for the marathon.
4) Have a race plan and a mantra.
5) You can NEVER be too patient in training and racing.
6) Marathon training must be sustainable.
7) Only run hard with a plan and a purpose.
8) The marathon can smell an injury 26 miles away.
9) 90% of injuries occur in 10% of running time.
10) The marathon is a 30 mile race.

There’s some confusion regarding #2. She thinks it has to do with explaining the “wall.” You have some ups and downs during the race but at some point it is going to stop. You need to try and make that come as late in the race as possible. One way would be to do caveman-like over-distance runs.

As for the mantra, Sean likes to keep it simple - Homer Simpson-like simple. For example, late in the race, “left, right, left, right…” would be a perfect mantra.

Finally, this is not a map of the half marathon I’m doing this weekend. I’m posting it because I wonder if anyone can figure it out. Look at how close (and far) some of the mile markers are. There’s no way they can be correct.

Quote of the day;

“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.” – Jerome Drayton

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


After taking Monday off I managed to double up yesterday. I ran an easy 5 miles in the morning. I started with a 9:05 mile and gradually picked up the pace without thinking about it. I was a little surprised to see 7:47 for the last mile. If I had to guess I would’ve said 8:00-8:15. Maybe I’m in better shape than I think.

In the evening I met my training group at Macalester College. Coach Matt advertised the workout as a hill session, but I thought of it as more of a tempo run. We ran “mile” loops around a park on St. Clair for 35 minutes. The loop consists of a gradual hill and a steep hill and we switched directions after each loop. I continue to get “killed” on the hills, especially the steep one. Either I’m not a strong hill runner or I’m not working as hard as everyone else. In either case, I think I’ll be adding more hills to my winter base training. Anyway, with warm-up and cool-down I got in another 10 miles for the day.

My knee was sore again when I got home so I took time to ice it and foam roll my quads and calves. One minute I’m thinking about increasing my mileage, the next I’m just hoping to make it to the starting line in one piece – even if it means biking every other day. Maybe I just need a break from any type of hard workout, like hills and track.

I don’t really have anything else exciting to write about so I’ll include another top-10 list from non-blogging Eric. You may remember his lists on why rollerblading is better than running and why running is better than rollerblading. Today’s list; why being out of shape is better than being in shape:

1) Every workout is a hard workout.
2) You have energy for things other than running.
3) You get to enjoy food more because you don't have to eat all the time.
4) You get to use a notch in your belt other than the innermost.
5) Shoes last longer.
6) Your weekends aren't taken up with races.
7) It takes longer to catch up with joggers of the opposite gender.
8) Your running has a huge upside potential.
9) You can get nostalgic about how fast you used to be.
10) You can run, stretch, and shower in the time it used to take you to run.

Quote of the day;
“If a hill has its own name, then it’s probably a pretty tough hill.” – Marty Stern

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


And so it starts. My oldest daughter has gone over to the dark side. Yes, she had he first soccer practice last night. I’m still holding out hope that she’ll come back. Only time will tell. But it looks like my next 8 weeks will be filled with “action packed” games that end tied at 0-0.

This is just a reminder that; I. Must. Run. In. The. Mornings. Yesterday I figured I’d run in the evening – after practice. Even though we got home around 7:15, by the time the girls got to bed I didn’t feel like exercising at all. So I took the day off – no biking or anything. A big goose egg in the log book. I did this with the condition that I’d double-up today.

That brings me to today’s survey. You just completed a nice weekend of running; 20 miles Saturday and 15 miles on Sunday. Now you have the following 4 choices, which do you pick (and why)?

1) High Mileage Hank: Easy run Monday, easy run Tuesday morning AND a hard workout Tuesday night.

2) Everyday Eddie: Easy run Monday, hard workout Tuesday.

3) Soccer Dad Chad: Day off Monday, easy run Tuesday morning AND a hard workout Tuesday night (same mileage as Everyday Eddie).

4) Recovery Reggie: Day off Monday, sleep in Tuesday, hard workout Tuesday.

At the beginning of the week I wanted to be Hank. This morning I nearly turned into Reggie. Luckily I managed to remain Chad.

Today is the 22nd. Since Chicago is October 22nd, that means I have 2 months left. With this milestone I’m going to try and focus on eating better – mainly just by cutting out the garbage. I took a step in the right direction this morning. Our neighbors gave us some salt water taffy for watching their cats while they were gone. As some other bloggers would say “I heart salt water taffy.” It turns out I’m the only one in our family that hearts said treat. Since I can’t imagine that a pound of taffy around my waist will be much help in 2 months, I brought it to work where it will no doubt be gone by 5 PM. Nothing like fattening up your co-workers.

Quote of the day;

“One time I asked Clarence DeMar why the Orientals and Finns were such good runners and he said, ‘They don’t eat as much as we do.’” – Johnny A. Kelly

Monday, August 21, 2006


At the tail-end of Saturday’s 20 miler, I bumped into a couple of the guys from the Saturday morning group I’ve been running with recently. A conversation I had with Naz lead to today’s post. As a refresher, Naz is the ONLY guy (or gal) who’s run ever Grandma’s and TCM. He’s also the guy who from 1974 to 1999 ran at least one sub 2:50 – each year. So far this has all been hearsay. I hadn’t spoken with him one-on-one, yet.

During his cool-down we get to talking about his ultra days. He said he did them for awhile but since everyone that he saw running them got slower, he stopped doing them. I’m thinking he did them for 2-3 years, maybe 5-6 races. It turns out he ran 50 of them! In the 1980s he ran 80 races that were either a marathon or longer. Umm, that’s 8 per year for 10 years! Heck if they were all evenly spaced, he’d be doing one every 6.5 weeks. And it’s not like this guy was “jogging.” We ran 3:08-3:15 for 50k. That’s 6:05-6:20 pace. Keep in mind during this period he was keeping his Grandma’s/TCM and sub-2:50 streaks alive.

So anyway, later in the conversation he asks me what I’m training for and I tell him Chicago. He asks me if I’m running this race, that race and the other race. I say something like “No, I have a 5 miler I’m doing the week after” or “No, it doesn’t fit into my training plan.” Later it hits me. He must think I’m a total wuss; “This guy can’t run a half marathon the weekend before a 5 miler? How the hell did he ever get into our training group?”

This whole conversation got me thinking about if we’re all just way too soft nowadays. And it’s not just me. Prior to the men’s race I bumped into my college buddy who dropped out of Grandma’s (after running 2:23 last year). He said he’s only got one more shot at trying to qualify for the Olympic marathon trials. Now I’ve run for 2:23, but I still had 5 miles to go when I did it…anyway I’m thinking “One more shot? The trials are like 14 months away. You could squeeze in 2 or 3 more marathons – if it meant a chance at the Oly Trials.” Hell, Naz would rattle off 9 or 10 marathons (or ultras) during that timeframe.

Seriously, I think we get too caught up in following things “by the book.” We’re too concerned with following “the plan,” not racing because we’re not ready or we don’t think we can recover, sticking to our heart rate zones, taking splits for every mile, making sure we have the right songs playing in our iPod, etc. So I say screw it. This Saturday I will do that half marathon that’s only 1 week before my alumni race. I may even get crazy and race it, as opposed to doing it at marathon pace, since I highly doubt that Naz and the gang ever ran a race at MP.

Oh yeah, yesterday I ran another 15 miles, 8 or 9 of which were with Evan.

Quote of the day;

“Run hard, be strong, think big!” – Percy Cerutty

Sunday, August 20, 2006


It turns out I’m two-for-two when it comes to the last two races I wanted to run; twice I’ve waited till the day-of to register and twice I’ve found out there wasn’t any race-day registration. What’s up with that? Is this the new trend in road racing?

So instead of running a 10k on Saturday I decided to get in 20 miles while watching all 3 races. That run gave me 64 miles for the week on 6 runs – plus an hour of biking.

In the women’s race, Katie McGregor was 10 seconds off the Minnesota State record that she set last year, winning in 32:27. Marla Runyan was nearly a minute back in 33:18. The rest of the top-5 was Kristen Nicolini, Jenny Crain and Jenelle Deatherage. In the men’s race, Mathew Chesang won in 28:57, five seconds faster than Jason Lehmkuhle who ran the fastest time ever in Minnesota by a Minnesotan. Complete results can be found here.

Later that evening I’m checking my emails and there’s one from some Tracy I’ve never heard of with the subject “Was that you?” I almost deleted it without reading it. Luckily I took a closer look. It turns out Tracy lives in the area and she found my blog awhile ago, through Alison’s blog. Anyway, during her race, she recognized me from my profile picture (umm Tracy, you’re supposed to be focused and in the zone – not looking at all the “studs” running around). A huge congrats goes out to Tracy for PRing and breaking 40 for the first time. In the process she ran with some of the top local women and gained confidence for future races.

On another race note, congrats to coach Matt for his performances at Pike’s Peak marathon over the weekend. Matt was 51st overall in the ascent on Saturday in 3:01:44 and 31st overall in the marathon on Sunday in 4:57:53. That placed him 5th overall among “Doublers.” If you look at the doubler results you’ll see a guy from Spain in first and then 12 of the next 13 guys are from Colorado. The only flatlander in the mix is Matt. Also, congrats to teammates Erik and Moira. Erik ran the ascent in 3:47:44, shaving 20 minutes off of last year’s time, while Moira completed her first ascent in 4:04:27.

Quote of the day;

“If the coach cannot do it, he cannot ‘teach’ it – only talk about it.” – Percy Cerutty

Friday, August 18, 2006


Man, was I tired yesterday. Katie waking me up at 1 AM and me not being able to fall back to sleep till 2 AM sure didn’t help. When I got up at 5 AM and couldn’t keep my eyes open I knew running in the morning was not going to happen. I laid down on the couch and slept another hour.

All this means is that I had to jump on the treadmill last night. I ran 8 miles with 4 of them at marathon pace. I’m thinking about running a 10K tomorrow, so I didn’t want to run too hard. This morning I ran a very easy 5 miles.

There are actually two 10Ks tomorrow – one for women and one for men. Somehow they get away with offering a lot more prize money to the women. If those numbers were reversed, I’m sure the women would be outraged. In any case, they get some decent women at this event. Last year Katie McGregor won in a Minnesota state record 32:17. Other runners included Colleen DeReuck, Sylvia Mosqueda, Nicole Aish, and other Team USA Minnesota members like Jenelle Deatherage, Carrie Tollefson, Sara Wells and Dana Coons, who’s no longer with the team. So whether I run the men’s 10K or not, I’ll be there to watch the women’s race.

The other day a friend sent me a “Getting to know your friends” email. It contained about 40 questions, 37 of which I don’t think any of my friends would really care about. Seriously, what kind of soap and shampoo do I use, what’s my favorite advertisement, have I cried in the last 24 hours, do I believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or angels, etc.

Nothing too exciting, but one question did jump out at me; have you ever put a body on fire just for amusement?

Hmm, I suppose people would want to know that. Maybe that’s how they catch serial killers. They send out random surveys and slip in one question like “Have you ever killed anyone for sheer joy?” Then when they say “Yeah, back in the 1994…” their friends turn them in.

In honor of tomorrow’s all-women’s race here’s today’s quote of the day;

“They meant, of course, the first American man, so they should say so.” – Doris Brown Heritage, on hearing Craig Virgin described as “the first American” to win a World Cross Country title. She had won five.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Wow! I felt REALLY good last night. It's one of those things where you force yourself to take a day off (on Monday) and you beat yourself up for not “getting in your miles” and then the next day you have an awesome workout. Kind of makes me forget about that easy 5 miles that I didn’t run.

Last night I met my training group at Macalester College. After a 2 mile warm-up, we ran a 20 minute tempo on rolling hills followed by 2 more easy miles back to the track. Then we did 2 x 1 “mile” where I ended up running my 2 best times of the year, both 5:48. We ended with a 2 mile cool-down.

The most impressive thing to me about this workout is that I only had 1:47 rest in-between the miles. The last few times we’ve done this workout we were supposed to have a 2:00 rest, but we were really taking a 3:00-3:30 rest. So basically cutting the rest in half was a huge shock to the system.

The other good news is my knee felt fine during the run and it feels good today.

While it does feel great to bounce right back after a day off and have a great workout, I still believe it’s more important to run tired. You can’t be cutting back before every hard workout and expect to maximize your training. But as Chicago gets closer and closer I find myself focused on getting in some solid workouts followed by nice easy recovery days.

Alright I have to mention this before I forget. I admit I don’t know anything about ChiRunning, but I’m skeptical. A week-and-a-half ago there was an article about a local runner who is the only “certified ChiRunning instructor in Minnesota.” This guy is 47 now, but back “in the day” he was 2:24 marathoner.

“He achieved success using traditional approaches to running, like logging 100-mile weeks. But he also knew the pain of injuries: stress fractures, torn cartilage in the knee, plantar fasciitis.”
So am I supposed to assume now that he’s a ChiRunner he’ll be able to log 100-mile weeks PAIN FREE? Or does it mean that in order to be pain free he has to run FEWER MILES? Or is this just a way for him to cash in by holding ChiRunning clinics?

There was a part of the article that tried to describe ChiRunning saying something like “your foot lands underneath you and you’re landing on your mid-foot.” Sure that sounds great, but right next to it was a picture of the only “certified ChiRunning instructor in Minnesota” and he was CLEARLY over-striding and landing on his heel.

One last thing I have to get off my chest and hopefully spread the word. If you receive any of those chain emails with stuff like cookie recipes, don’t dial this area code, boycott gas stations on this date, etc. Go to a site like Hoax Busters or Snopes and find out if it’s “real” or not before forwarding it to your entire list of contacts (or at least me).

Quote of the day;

“If you have not figured it out by now, I include a LOT of stairs training, so you are not too tired to step-up on the podium after the race.” – coach Matt

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Here's a new one. Yesterday I was just about to pull into the parking garage and head out for my run when I noticed that I didn’t grab my shirt and slacks. I hang them near the doorway and grab them on my way to the car. I had to drive back and get them and wasn't able to get in my run. After two consecutive strong 15 milers, I wasn’t too heartbroken.

Instead of getting my run in last night, I decided to hop on my bike (and trainer) for an hour. I figured with my knee acting up, I’d be better off with a little cross training.

My knee hasn’t been too bad, but I do feel it when I run. The problem is I only feel it when I run. By the time I get home from work, I’ve forgotten about it and therefore, forgotten about icing it. I did remember to ice it 4 times over the weekend, so hopefully that, combined with the biking will be enough to help it recover.

I have a couple of other things that I want to talk about, but I spent the lunch hour setting up my fantasy football league, so those other topics will have to wait.

Quote of the day;

“The wreath or death!” – A common oath of ancient Olympians

Monday, August 14, 2006


I suppose I should throw in a little training update. I’ve been a regular social butterfly lately. Thursday I met with Scott for a strong 8 miles. Friday I ran a very easy 11 by myself. Saturday I ran 15 with the Saturday morning Masters group. That gave me 62 miles for the week on 6 runs. Sunday I ran 15 with Jenna.

I’ve mentioned before that Minnesota has a Running Data Center that does a phenomenal job at keeping track of all the road running records since 1986. Each year the put together a yearbook that highlights things like the top runners in each age-group during the year, the best times during the year, all-time records, etc. Last year was the 20 edition, so it contained more historical information that normal. If you’re a fan of the sport like I am, it’s a great source of information to see who came before you.

Unfortunately, many of the races pre-1986 were not certified, therefore they don’t count. As a result, there are no records for guys like Buddy Edelen and Ron Daws and only a few records for Garry Bjorklund, Dick Beardsley, etc.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because this Saturday morning Masters group that I just started running with is made up of guys that were absolute studs – and still are. After a little digging through the yearbook and running with the group, here’s what I found;

Bruce was named the Best Runner in Minnesota over the past 20 years for BOTH the 40-44 and 45-49 age groups. Between the ages of 41 and 44 he ran 4 marathons between 2:22 and 2:26 (wava 90%+). At 44 he ran 31:24 for 10k (wava 93.3%). He’s now 62 and complains because he “only” runs 40 mpw.

Doug was named the Best Runner in Minnesota over the past 20 years for the 35-39 age group.

John is the only person to run all 30 Grandma’s marathons AND all 25 Twin Cities marathons. I thought that was impressive until I heard he also ran sub-2:50 for 25 or 26 CONSECUTIVE years.

I get the sense these guys have been running together for like 25-30 years. Tim said he used to come in last at every Saturday morning run – and he was a 2:25 marathoner.

Hell, Jenna, who just qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials is practically the worst person I ran with over the weekend – and that’s no disrespect to her. Of course, all those guys are blogging about Zeke being the worst person they ran with over the weekend.

I just hope some of their talent rubs off on me.

Speaking of Masters runners, I just came across this on It was written by a very fast 45 year old in California...

Perhaps we should review a few rules of masters competition:

1) None of us is as good as we used to be. Masters is a competition of who gets slower slowest, an understanding that should keep all of us humble.

2) The competition ends when the race is over, and the camaradery begins (again!).

3) We root for one another - always! - because we recognize that without our peers we have no sport.

4) Having been through open competition, we recognize that "winning" is a momentary, fleeting accomplishment - that it won't bring any lasting happiness the way family, career, and friends will - but that staying healthy and competing with like-minded people in the sport that we love will make our days much better.

5) Winners shouldn't gloat - ever. We're always one step away from a hamstring pull, plantar fascitis, or some wicked sprain/strain that we never even knew existed until we turned 40. We spend 4 out of every 5 years getting older and slower while new "young" blood spills into our age division. And, most importantly, it's disrespectful of the effort every one of us old fogies has to make just to be here.

6) Finally, our fellow masters athletes are some of the best people I know. Why would any of us want to do anything other than make our peers feel as great about themselves as we want to feel about ourselves.


Normally I just respond to comments with another comment, but the recent discussion probably warrants a follow-up post.

First off, good points everyone, interesting discussion. I agree that the “line” is curved and shows diminishing returns over time. However, I think, due to the lack of higher mileage samples, this particular graph levels off too quickly. If I threw in results for high-mileage guys like Duncan, Evan and Mike, the graph would probably extend a little higher before leveling off.

As they say, this sport is an experiment of one. Punch in your data and see what happens. You may be surprised.

I agree with Yvonne that there’s a lack of discussion regarding the mental aspect of our sport. However, I doubt that comes into play much on this graph. If someone’s not doing mental toughness exercises at 30 mpw, they’re probably not doing them at 70 mpw. Even if they added them to the mix, it would only shift their data points up a bit. For example, a 1% increase in wava % is roughly 2.5 minutes for me in a marathon. Is the mental aspect going to gain me more that that? I doubt it.

Talking about “time since couch potato”, I'm not saying everyone needs to jump from 30 mpw to 70 mpw. I've always suggested that people need to push themselves a little more - gradually over time – rather than limit themselves to X mpw.

One thing the graph doesn't show is someone running 30 mpw and running an 80% wava. It doesn't matter if they've been running 12 months or 12 years. That mileage WILL NOT cut it when it comes to “competitive” running.

One of the reasons I came up with this topic is because I kept seeing comments on other blogs like;

“Wow, 46 miles this week is a lot.”

Umm, no it’s really not. Not if you want to get to Boston.

“Oh, you’re doing fine at Y mpw. Don’t listen to what everyone else says.”
I think the reason people say stuff like this is because THEY don’t want to put in the work themselves and they don’t want to see you improve either.

“So and so ran 3:10 on Z mpw.”
How do you know that person wouldn’t run 2:50 on more miles?

At the end of it all, this was just a visual exercise to show that as mileage goes up race times go down. Maybe it’ll get some people to take action and change their training. Maybe not.

Quote of the day;

“What else would you want in a marathon? Grandma’s Marathon starts in the middle of the woods, runs along the beautiful shores of Lake Superior, and finishes at a pub.” – Garry Bjorklund

Friday, August 11, 2006


I posted my survey (yes, this is the last you'll hear of it) on and added some more data points. Getting data from a bunch of different people has been cool. You can "see" a steady line of increasing performance up till about 60-70 mpw then the line begins to flatten out. Maybe that's how it really works or maybe I just don't have enough data points from people running over 70 mpw.

One thing that stands out to me, you don't see any wava % of less than 60% for anyone running more than 50 mpw. For those of you that have no idea what a 60% wava means, here's an example: A 35 year old female with a wava of 60% would run a 3:51 marathon. A 40 year old man would run 3:35.

In any case, what's even more interesting is getting various points from 1 person and seeing them go from 58 wava on 45 mpw to 68 wava on 80 mpw. Some of this data is very linear. I need to dig out some old logs to see how this applies to my training/racing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Man, I wish I would have paid attention in some of those statistics classes I took in college. Then maybe I’d be able to make better sense of the survey I posted about 2 weeks ago. I could rattle off a bunch of R-factors, coefficients, standard deviations and bell-shaped curve lingo. I could speak to mean, median and mode. I’d throw out Nth this and Nth that, hypothesis here, null hypothesis there. You’d all be on the edge of your seat and by the end of the post you’d say “Damn, I gotta get out and run more miles. Thanks Zeke!”

But all I have is this scatter plot. I converted everyone’s time, distance, sex and age into an age-graded % using this calculator and plotted that against their average miles per week. Hopefully it’s enough to get you to say “Damn, I gotta get out and run more miles. Thanks Zeke!”

A few things to note: 1) running a 3:22 marathon on 20 miles per week IS NOT normal and 2) many of the respondents are triathletes. Therefore their mileage may appear “low” but keep in mind they are also biking and swimming.

In any case, even with the relatively low number of responders, I think the graph shows a strong correlation between increased weekly mileage and increased wava percents (i.e. lower race times). So get out and run more.

I had a Boston Marathon shirt on at work last Friday and a gal asked what place I came in. I really had no idea. After visiting marathon guide I knew the answers;

In 2002 I was 1,396th of 14,400 runners.
In 2004 I was 4,302nd of 16,743 runners.

She responded with “Wow! You beat A LOT of people.” However, I was thinking “Man, a lot of people beat me.” I guess we have different perspectives.

Just an easy 7 mile recovery run today.

Quote of the day;

“The marathon, you see, is my benchmark. It is the status symbol in my community, the running community.” – Dr. George Sheehan

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


It's been 4 days since my last post, so this will mainly be a boring training update.

I’ve run over 50 miles on some great trails since that last post. Friday morning I got in 11 miles before work. I finally decided to get off the paved trails near my office and hit the dirt/wood chip trails. The black flies seemed to have settled down and a little bug spray is enough to get me through the run.

During my feeble attempts to get a new training group started, I was invited to join a group that meets every Saturday morning at various spots throughout the metro area. This week they happened to be meeting a mile from my house, so I couldn’t pass it up. Some of these guys were driving 30-40 miles to get to, as they put it, “the best trails in the metro area.” Given that these trails are in my backyard, it’s cool to hear such high praise.

These guys are all great runners too. Every year they are near the top of their age-groups for the Runner of the Year rankings. Even though they are all older than 45, they were still kicking my ass all over the trail. But that’s alright. I managed to run a total of 19 miles, which is my longest training run so far this time around. This run gave me 81 miles for the week.

It’s probably no surprise that something is bothering me, given how quickly I’ve ramped up my mileage. My right knee has been feeling a little sore for about a week now. So that, combined with having family in town for the weekend, I decided to take Sunday off.

Yesterday I took the day off of work and went swimming with the girls. Prior to that, I got in 10 miles of progressively faster running. I ran 3 times Jensen Lake, which is about 2.2 mile around in 16:22, 15:53 and 15:05. My legs really bounced back from the day off and felt nice and springy.

That springy feeling carried over to today’s 11 mile trail run too. While I didn’t run as hard as yesterday, I did run stronger than normal. I figure I might as well roll with it while it’s there. Tomorrow will probably be another story.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how to approach my Chicago training. Should I try to build up to 100 mpw again and really go for it? Should I not worry about mileage and focus on key workouts instead? Should I do whatever it takes to stay healthy (whatever that means)? Of course I’d like to “go for it” but having missed my last marathon due to an injury, I also want to make it to the starting line.

I emailed my thoughts to Evan last week and I thought I’d get a two sentence response. Instead, I got a response that basically turned into this post for him.

I’ve only known Evan for a short time, but I respect his opinions on training. I don’t think I’ve ever run with someone who has such a strong sense of what certain training stimuli, whether it’s mileage or specific workouts, etc. will do for his fitness.

With all that said, I’ve decided to skip my Tuesday night group track workouts for a few weeks. Instead, I’ll focus on getting around 80 mpw on singles with some strong efforts, recovery days and long runs mixed in.

Quote of the day;
“The only wall Benoit ever hit was the outfield fence with a double in the gap at the Bowdoin alumni day softball game.” – Amby Burfoot, on Joan Benoit Samuelson

Friday, August 04, 2006


I had a bunch of thoughts I was going to post today, along with some links, but all that pales in comparison to what follows. Rather than clutter up this post with a bunch of other garbage, I’ll keep it simple.

When it comes to Ironman, if you;

* are currently training for one
* have completed one in the past
* have ever wondered about what it’s like on race day
* have just watched it on TV

check out this first-timers race recap from IM Lake Placid.

Today’s quote of the day comes from the recap;

“To borrow the words of E.L. Doctorow, racing an Ironman is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but somehow you can make the whole trip that way.”

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Here’s the original “that guy” article.


I wish I could take credit for this post. Yes, I wrote it but the original idea came from an article I read awhile ago. I think it may have been about 3 years ago - back in my triathlon days. I should have printed the article and put it in my fruitcake folder, but I didn’t.

Anyway, the article was about “that guy” (or gal). He could live in your town, go to the same church, work at the same place, etc. You know who I’m talking about. That guy that’s faster than you, stronger than you, fitter than you, etc.

You envy him. You want to be like him. You want to beat him.

It’s no secret that running is a competitive sport where the results are very black and white. It’s easy to see who “won” on any given day. We train hard. We write each run down in a log-book. We track miles and time. We spend time thinking about improving ourselves and moving up in the standings. And we dream about beating “that guy.”

A lot of time and energy is put into beating “that guy.”

However, do we ever stop to think that we are “that guy”?

To someone else, we are “that guy”. We are the guy they wish they could be like. They wish they were as strong as you, as fast as you, as fit as you (and, of course, as handsome, hot and sexy as you – I had to throw that in). They train in order to be like you and to beat you.

And this isn’t just limited to other runners. People at work or school or church would love to be as fit as you. They'd love to be able to do the things you do. The gal at the coffee shop says “You’re crazy. I could never do that.” But deep down she’s thinking, “Why the hell don’t I do something like that?”

I use a lot of bandwidth telling people to step up to the plate, bump their mileage, shake up their training, push their limits and find out how good they can be. Today I’m saying, take some time to enjoy your accomplishments and realize that you are “that guy”.

This morning I ran with “that guy” Scott for a 50-minute loop around Lake Harriet. Throw in another mile with the dog and I’ll call it (a short) 8 for the morning.

Today’s quote of the day goes very well with my post from the other day describing what it feels like to be a first-time marathoner building up your long run.

“When I did this three years ago, it was like death. When I did it last year, it was like near death. This year, it was just really hard.” – John Howie, wheelchair racer

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


While the temperature only got to 75 or 76 yesterday, the dew point was still soupy at 72. And I can’t remember the last time it rained here. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was back in April. It’s been super dry all summer-long. Well that all changed last night. It was raining at the start of our group’s run, but the sky really opened up as we were finishing our last hill repeat. It continued to pour during the first of three one-mile repeats. Standing water on the track and 20-25 mph winds on the back-straight definitely slowed times from last week, as I only managed 6:19, 6:24, 6:19. All told, I got in 12 miles last night, along with 6 in the morning. So August is off to a good start. I’m on-pace for 558 miles this month.

Wait. I ran an easy 5 this morning, so I’m only on-pace for 356 miles.

During last night’s run I was talking with a guy who’s a perfect case-in-point for my post yesterday. He’s not a first-time marathoner, but I think he has an aggressive goal, compared to his training. He wants to drop his PR by 8 minutes and qualify for Boston with a 3:10 at TCM. Given that he’s running circles around me on the hills and track, you’d think it wouldn’t be a problem. However, a red flag went up last night when he said, “I’m not worried about the miles. I’ve run 11 miles so far.” I’m thinking, “Chicago is 3 weeks after TCM and I feel like a slacker for only running 17 miles so far.”

While I hope he reaches his goal, I just don’t see it happening unless he steps up his training – starting like tomorrow.

Now they’re saying Landis’s tests show synthetic testosterone. Greg LeMond is urging Landis to tell the truth. Thanks to Eric (the non-blogger) for the links.

I’m to the point where I think they're all dirty. I've come to the conclusion that anyone faster than me is dirty. Alright, maybe it's not that drastic, but anyone who makes a living at sports is on “something”.

My question for LeMond is “How do we know you were clean”? Maybe you just were never caught and now you know you don’t have any samples "on ice" that could be tested with new technology.

Hell, if the first riders of the tour were taking amphetamines, why should we assume drug use has ever stopped?

On this topic, here’s a “fun” video.

Today’s quote of the day comes from a post, so I cannot vouch for it’s accuracy.

“Miles are miles and work is work, the time of day means nothing.” – Mark Nenow, former American Record holder at 10K who was known for running late at night.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


First off today, I have exactly 3 more years until I become a master.

Where did July go? Seems like just the other day I mentioned that I wanted to run in the upper-200s for mileage. With last night’s easy 5 miles, I managed 291 miles for the month. That’s a PR for the month of July, by 25 miles. I ran 30 of the 31 days and doubled up 4 times. While I’m happy with July, especially considering I “lost” May and June to injury, I’m hoping for better numbers in August.

During this morning’s easy 6 mile run, I was thinking back to my first marathon. I thought I’d post what not to do, for all the other first-time marathoners out there. In 1996 I was just coming off my senior year of college track, so I was in pretty good shape at the beginning of the summer – probably 17:00-17:30 5k shape. In June I ran just over 1:20 for a half marathon. Then my training or lack there of, took over. Being a new college graduate and looking for a job, living with my future in-laws and not “having” to prepare for cross country had a major (negative) impact on my training.

By the time race day rolled around, 17 miles was the upper limits of my long run, which I ran once. To compound my lack of training even further, I went out too hard. I can’t remember the splits off the top of my head, but I know “we” (yes, you know who you are) were running sub-7 pace through 8 miles before I decided to back off. At halfway I must have been around 1:32. I continued to run, albeit slower, until mile 20 or 21. Everything after that is a blur of walking and jogging. I survived to finish in just over 3:20. Not terrible, but given where I was at in June, I could have broken 2:50 with proper training.

One of the reasons I bring this up is that there are some first-timer blogs out there. They seem to be in really good 5k shape, but may or may not be prepared for 26.2 miles. Sure they may be following a decent plan; whether it’s a beginner, intermediate, or advanced plan doesn’t really matter. What matters is that their goal matches the plan. There’s nothing wrong with following a beginner’s plan, but you can’t expect to run an aggressive goal off that kind of plan.

The one thing I remember about training for my first 2-3 marathons is how hard it is to build up your long runs. Now that I’ve done a bunch of marathons (and long runs), running 20 miles is not a big deal. But the first time I went from 13 to 15 to 17; it was tough.

Back in 1996, I didn’t have access to a bunch of other marathoners and their thoughts. But with blogging, we’re able to read what others are going through. That can be good and bad. It can help motivate us, but it can also lead to unrealistic comparisons. Just because you have a similar 5K PR to someone doesn’t guarantee that your first marathon time will be similar to their marathon PR.

So today’s advice is as follows; if you you’re running one of the many fall marathons out there and it’ll be your first one, make sure your goal matches your training.

Quote of the day;
“Everybody talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” - Mark Twain