Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Not much going on today and I wasn’t even going to post. Then I went out at lunch and saw a gal running on the wrong side of a 4-lane road WITH headphones on. The only thing she had going for her was that it’s a bright sunny day. Come on lady, use some fucking common sense. You don’t run in the road with your back to traffic and you sure as hell don’t do it with headphones on. I guess if you’re going to get hit, you don’t want to hear it coming. Man, that pisses me off.

I’m really fired up to start increasing my miles again, but I’m not sure why. I think it’s because I enjoy base-training and the whole “numbers aspect” of trying to do more than I’ve done in the past. The race results I had last year in March and April have me fired up to see what’s in store for this winter.

It’s funny; a day or two ago I was thinking, “I’ll just take it easy for the next 3 weeks or so and just run however I feel.” Today I was thinking, “I wonder how quickly I can ramp up my mileage.” We’ll see…I am taking today off, so I'll be able to start November feeling fresh. That means I'll close out October with 177 miles.

Quote of the day;

“This obsession with running is really an obsession with the potential for more and more life.” – George Sheehan

Monday, October 30, 2006


It just occurred to me that I still have all my toe nails. This is the first marathon I’ve run where I haven’t lost the toe nail next to my big toes.

I’m even a little surprised to be reporting this, but I’m back running already. On Saturday I just felt like going for a run. I was working on another article and I figured a run would help clear my head and bring pieces of the story together. I figure if that’s my reason for running, rather than because I’m worried about losing fitness for next year, then it’s okay to head out the door.

I managed 4 miles on Saturday and Sunday and 5 miles this morning. When I finished these runs I thought; “Man, wouldn’t it be great if you could get incredibly fast on less than 45 minutes a day?”

Since I don’t have anything else going on, I’ll post the article I wrote, after the quote of the day;

“Marathon runners mainly want to finish…Marathon racers want to improve.” – Joe Henderson, Make Your Own Time

I admit it. I like to look through race results on a regular basis. And I’m not just talking about looking for my own name. I’m talking about seeing how well the top runners, people in my age group and other friends are running.

If you’re like me when it comes to race results, maybe you’re wondering what’s up in Lake Elmo too. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to raceberryjam.com and look at the results for any race in the MDRA series. Scroll down, further, further, a little further. What do you see? If you’re looking at the results of runners over 60 years old, the odds are very high that you see numerous runners from Lake Elmo placing very high in their age groups.

Jim Graupner, 62 and Norm Purrington, 63 are fixtures atop of the 60-64 year age group, while Don Wright, 65 is almost always first or second in the 65-69 age group. Besides sharing accolades such as Runner of the Year, Grand Prix series champion, state age record holder, etc. they also have something else in common. All three have called the tiny town of Lake Elmo ‘home’ for over 25 years.

Lest you think these guys are slow and are winning their age groups due to lack of competition, think again. At the Human Race 8K this year their times ranged from 29:55 to 35:13. And they’re not just limited to shorter races either. Norm and Jim have run 3:03 and 3:09 marathons in their 60s, respectively. Meanwhile, Don is no slouch either and he’s not slowing down. He’s run six marathons this year, including a PR of 3:36 at TCM.

I consider myself a decent runner and I’m competitive, by nature. However, given the strength of the local 40-44 year olds, I don’t mind being beaten by guys that are older than me. Heck, the 45-49 year olds are pretty strong too. But this year’s Holiday Inn Half Marathon in Rochester was a huge blow to my psyche. Why? Because I would have placed third in the 60-64 age group, as Jim and Norm both beat me. Third!!! I’m 37 years old. All I could think afterwards was, “If I can just maintain my speed for the next 23 years…maybe I can place in my age group.”

I decided I needed to get to the bottom of what’s going on in Lake Elmo. In October I sat down with these three men to find out what is really in the water (and beer) in Lake Elmo. While I didn’t come away with a clear-cut answer, I did come to realize that these guys are typical of all the top age groupers in our community; they’re fast, competitive, hard working and humble, while overcoming their share of obstacles.

Given their success on the roads, I was surprised to find that all three guys started running relatively late in life. Norm started running the earliest, at the age of 39, while Jim and Don have only been running for four or five years.

Let’s see, three guys, competitive runners, similar ages, all from the same small town. They must be bitter rivals, right? Wrong. Believe me, I tried to get them to admit how much they wanted to beat one another, but they never did. The best I could dig up was Don’s comment, “I look for gray hair during a race and try to beat that person.” Jim got a little more personal, “If Norm is not ahead of me I know he’s close, very close.”

While they definitely share an interest of where they stand in relationship with one another, their competitive natures also mean they’re concerned with where they stand in relationship to all runners, regardless of age and sex. But it’s not just about beating people and winning awards. During our visit there was lots of genuine concern and interest for the well being of all their competitors. Names of competitors like Mondry, Kleyman, Stauffacher and Tomczak kept coming up during our conversation. These guys truly understand that the Latin root for the verb “to compete” which means, “to seek together.”

And “seek together” they do, as each of them runs 30-50 races per year. Why so many races? As Norm said, “If I couldn’t race, I probably wouldn’t run. I really enjoy both the competition and the camaraderie. You see the same people at races and you get to know them. It’s a lot more fun if you do it most weekends as opposed to keying on 2 or 3 races.”

Hmm, that sounds eerily like a passage from Dr. George Sheehan, “Racing is the lovemaking of the runner. It’s hard to pass up. A runner has few friends and they are always other runners. The place to meet them is at the races.”

In addition to completing a large number of races, they are some of the most competitive runners around. Whether it’s Jim blowing by me during the last 10 meters of the Hennepin Lake Classic 10K, Norm going after sub-3 at the Twin Cities Marathon or Don never losing a sprint to the finish, these guys give it their all, week in and week out.

However, don’t think their triumphs have come without struggles. Each of these men has overcome adversity. Jim is just now able to run three miles after battling a seven-month bout with damaged muscles in his pelvis. Norm is dealing with osteoarthritis, which is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage of the joints. And three years ago, Don was diagnosed with myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood.

Even with their struggles, it’s clear these guys focus on the positives. As Jim states, “I fully understand that running success is a product of health and desire and that the symbols of that success are ephemeral by the very nature of competition. Running awakens me to myself and to the inspirational courage with which other people bring to their personal challenges every day.” Don’s motto is more succinct, yet no less relevant, “Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece!”

In The Complete Book of Running, Dr. George Sheehan asks the popular question, “Where have all the heroes gone?” Well, I’ve discovered that three of mine are alive and well, in Lake Elmo. To find out more about these and other local runners, go to Running Minnesota.

Chad Austin has been running for 27 years and blogging for 2 years. When he’s not doing either of those things, he’s busy looking for real estate in Lake Elmo.

Friday, October 27, 2006


My legs started coming around yesterday. Maybe foam rolling them helped or maybe it was just the passage of time. I still haven’t run since the race and I’m not sure when I’ll start again. I actually have a stronger desire to get back out there than normal. However, I also know that this is my main break for the year – barring injury – so I want to make sure I’m ready before lacing them up again.

The downtime also gives me a chance to focus on my other projects a little. Last night Jim was kind enough to host a little gathering for Norm, Don, Eric and I. I’m writing an article on the first 3 guys, so I thought it’d be nice to sit around for 90 minutes and talk running. It turns out that wasn’t nearly enough time. I’ll see what I can come up with using the material I have. If I need more information, then we’ll have an excuse to get together to talk running and drink beer. There are worse things in life.

Downtime also usually means catching up on some reading. I’m curious if there are any Dr. George Sheehan fans out there? Before passing away, he wrote numerous books on running – mostly the philosophical side of the sport. Right now I’m reading Running & Being and I thought I’d share some of the stuff that I like and/or can relate to from the book – like I did with Running with the Buffalos awhile ago.

My design is thin and linear. I am a nervous, shy noncombatant who has no feeling for people. I do not hunger and thirst after justice. I find no happiness in carnival, no joy in community. I am one with the writers on The New Yorker whom Brendan Gill described. They touched each other only by accident, were secretive about everything, and never introduced anyone properly.

Racing is the lovemaking of the runner. It’s hard to pass up. A runner has few friends, and they are always other runners. The place to meet them is at the races.

Fitness is my life; it is indispensable. I have no alternative, no choice, but to act out this inner drive that seems entirely right for me.

As a writer, I’m Eddie Stanky, a .230 hitter…When I write, I tell who I am, what I’m like, what I’ve discovered running. I’m not embarrassed to expose myself. I don’t care what I write as long as it’s true.

But writing is never easy. And no matter how well done, never to one’s satisfaction. Writing, someone said, is turning blood into ink. Whatever, the idea of suffering is so natural to both writers and runners it seems to be a common bond.

Quote of the day;

“No athlete ever lived, or saint or poet for that matter, who was content with what he did yesterday, or would even bother thinking about it. Their pure concern is the present. Why should we common folk be any different?” – George Sheehan

Thursday, October 26, 2006


In my Chicago race report I said I’d have more on this statement later; “I think my personality allows me to run (fairly) even splits, but it also keeps me from laying it on the line and going out in 1:27 and seeing what happens.” Well, it’s later.

Even before the marathon I was contemplating how much one’s personality plays in their development as a runner. It’s seems like a lot of the top local runners are also have successful careers. I wonder if these people have more of a Type-A personality where they seek perfection in everything they do, not just running.

My personality is conservative and I tend to be more of a “That’s pretty good” type of guy. Combining these traits tends to lead to a lot of compromises in training. If I’m shooting for 80 miles in a week and fall a little short, I can usually justify it with something like “My knees have been a little sore lately.” If I’m shooting for 6:10 mile repeats and I run 6:15, I’ll say something like “My legs are tired” or “I wore my heavy shoes.”

There’s always some rational explanation. It’s probably a rational explanation that these Type-A personalities wouldn’t make. They’d get in their 80 miles and run their 6:10s no matter what.

While the affects of these decisions on one week or one workout are probably fairly minor in the short-term, I’m sure they add up in the long-term. If you askd me to put a time difference over the course of a marathon, I’d have no idea. But I can’t help but think stuff like; “What if I ran my mile repeats a little faster in practice? What if I actually ran my goal marathon pace in workouts, instead of running 20 seconds too slow and “blaming” it on the fact that it was 5:30 AM or dark or windy?” Would these things have changed the outcome of the race?

Maybe my conservative approach is what makes me as fast as I am, maybe it’s what holds me back from being faster. As with everything else, there’s only one way to find out. Whatever racing I decide to do next spring, I think I’m going to have to throw caution to the wind and become a little more Type-A with my training. I know it’s incredibly hard to change one’s make-up, but I think I need to try.

Quote of the day;

“Who I am is no mystery. There is no need to tap my phone or open my mail. No necessity to submit me to psychoanalysis. No call to investigate my credit rating. Nothing to be gained by invading my privacy. There is, in fact, no privacy to invade. Because like all human beings I have no privacy. Who I am is visible for all to see.” – George Sheehan

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Anyone else hate going to back to work after running a marathon? I’m not talking about the work-part or the walking-around-on-sore-legs-part. I’m talking about the having-to-make-small-talk-about-the-race-over-and-over-with-people-who-aren’t-runners-part.

It didn’t help that a co-worker brought in cookies and then sent an email to about 30 people telling them to stop by and congratulate me.
Co-worker #1: How’d it go?
Me: Blah, blah, blah, the last 2 miles were tough.
Co-worker #1: The first 2 miles would be tough for me. Ha. Ha.

Co-worker #2: How’d it go?
Me: Blah, blah, blah, 2:59.
Co-worker #2: 3 hours is a good standard right? It’d take me 10 hours. Ha. Ha.

Co-worker #3: What’d you do?
Me: What do you mean?
Co-worker #3: What was your time?
Me: 2:59
Co-worker #3: For how long?
Me: A marathon.
Co-worker #3: How long is that?
Me: They’re all the same. 26.2 miles.
Co-worker #3: Well I don’t know. Ha. Ha.

Co-worker #4 was probably the worst. She asked how I found the time to train. But what she really wanted to do was give me the run-down of each of her 3 kids and their sleeping patterns and why she could never find time to do it.

Another co-worker is really sweet, but I swear she was more pumped up about the race, both last week and this week, than I was. She was rattling off my time, place and the number of people who ran.

They’re nice gestures, but I’d rather not have the attention.

Here’s what I really find frustrating. I keep referring back to the 20K I ran in April because it was my best race or two of the year. I ran 1:17:57 and the first place woman ran 1:17:26. That same gal ran 2:49:30 at Chicago. There’s no way I should lose nearly 10 minutes to her in a race that’s 22K longer. Even if I was injured for part of the year, that’s ridiculous.

I gave “qp” a hard time in a comment for already asking about what’s next, but that’s how we operate. We finish one race and start looking ahead to the next. I don’t know what I’ll do exactly, but as I mentioned yesterday, I need to run this distance more frequently. Therefore, I’ll probably focus on something like Grandma’s again.

My friend Scott emailed me earlier in the week and he’s really excited to train together this winter for a spring marathon. While we’ve trained together before, it always seems like we’re focusing on different races. It’d be cool to follow the same plan for the same race.

Right now I plan on taking at least a week off, maybe more. While Scott’s email has me fired up to train, I also remember how beat up I’ve been most of the year. Winter is long around here and I don’t want to go through it feeling sore on every run.

When I do get back into it, I’d really like to try and train like last winter and get up towards 100 mpw again. I think it’d be really interesting to average 80-100 mpw for about 4 months and then run a marathon. Even without any specific hard workouts, I think the strength gained through that kind of mileage would be enough to run sub-2:55.

Finally, I mentioned that I met Dick Beardsley at the expo. He was at the New Balance exhibit and although it was packed with runners, they were more concerned with purchasing high-tech gear than talking to one of the all-time legends in the sport – especially if you’re a Minnesotan. I told him how much his Grandma’s course record inspired me when I was 12. Afterwards, I remembered I had just purchased the Marathon & Beyond commemorative edition of Grandma’s Marathon, so I went back for this autograph.

Quote of the day;

“Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating.” – John Farrington, Australian marathoner

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I’ve decided not to write about sightseeing in Chicago since I have a bunch of other odds and ends on my mind.

I want to go on the record and say that I think some people are over-hyping the weather in Chicago. The whole first half was either blocked by buildings or people. Sure the last 5k was tough, but it’s not like there weren’t any tailwinds on the course.

Here’s a photo of me (in black) at mile 13;

Here’s me with 300 meters to go;

The reason I’m so happy in the photo above (and something I forgot to mention yesterday) is because I knew I was going to break 3 hours again. It’s been 4 years since I broke 3 hours. 4 YEARS…that’s too long. At some point you start to wonder if you can call yourself a sub-3 marathoner any more. I mean, it’s not like you’re an Olympian or have some other title associated with your name that always sticks with you.

The last time I broke 3 hours I made the “mistake” of focusing on triathlons the following season. While finishing an Ironman was a lifelong goal, it didn’t help in my marathon development. It occurred to me yesterday that you’ve gotten keep working on these things and learning from them. If I want to see what I can do in the marathon I’m going to have to run at least 2 per year.

Another thing I was thinking about yesterday was that the worst possibly shape to be in for a marathon is one that leaves you just out of reach for some significant time goal. This thought came about after seeing a bunch of women going after 2:47 for the Oly Trials qualifier, even though they’re probably in, for example, 2:50 shape. Rather than running their own race, they’re “forced” to go after a quicker time. Thinking back to my own marathon history, this was probably the case during my first 3 marathons when I thought sub-3 was a realistic goal. I imagine it’s the same for guys trying to run 2:22, people trying to run a BQ and right on up to people hoping to run 6 hours.

This next story was pretty cool for me, so I thought I’d mention it. In Chicago there's a free shuttle from the Hilton to the expo and back. After going to the expo I cut through the lobby and standing there is my college coach Sean. When he’s not teaching Geography, Sean’s writing and taking photos for Track & Field News. He’s been known to bike all over various courses to take photos. Here are his photos from the 2005 Chicago Marathon. Anyway, one year the race director realizes that Sean's taking better photos on his bike than the guy on the back of the motorcycle. Guess who's on the back of a motorcycle the following year? Yep. It’s Sean.

Speaking of Sean, I’m going to share a little UW-EC cross-country secret he taught me when it comes to running in cold weather; olive oil. Use it to coat your legs (and anywhere else you’d like) to help keep them warm. I use it for anything below about 40-45 degrees. I used it Sunday and my legs felt (and looked) great!

Quote of the day;

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek

Monday, October 23, 2006


Instead of one super-long post about my entire trip to Chicago I think I’ll break this into 2 reports; 1) the race and 2) sightseeing and other odd and ends.

In mid-September I posted an entry about wanting to have "that feeling" on October 22nd - that feeling that surrounds running a good race. It’s when confidence abounds and, as they say, effort becomes effortless. It’s also that feeling of hype, excitement, wonder, hope, etc. all rolled together that surrounds a marathon. I don’t know about you but I can’t get that feeling from a 5K or 10K, it’s gotta be a marathon. Sure I had time-related goals, three to be exact; 1) sub-2:55 (6:40 pace), 2) PR (sub-2:58:10) and 3) sub-3. However, having gone 16 months without running a marathon I was looking forward to “that feeling.” While “effort” didn’t quite become “effortless” it was pretty close for a large majority of the race.

I admitted being nervous when I typed my blog entry from last Monday. But I can honestly say, that’s the only time I was nervous leading up to the race. Going to the expo, meeting Dick Beardsley, watching a video of the 2005 Chicago Marathon, etc. Nothing! It was like I was a passive observer, not someone about to toe the line with 30-some thousand other runners.

I left the hotel at 6:30 and walked about ¾ mile to the start area. It was probably about 35 degrees with a strong NNW wind. I couldn’t believe it when I saw other people walking in just their race gear with a trash bag on top. I had on enough cloths to make sure I wouldn’t be wasting energy trying to stay warm for the next 90 minutes.

I was kind of surprised at how easy it was to get around at the start. I was expecting a mad house. I found a spot near a “real” toilet and just sat outside out of the wind. At 7:20 I went to drop my bag off and got a little nervous because there was a huge line trying to get to the gear check and a huge line coming the other way. No one realized that there were openings in the fence every few feet which would allow us easier access to the gear check tent. Oh well, lesson learned. Crisis averted. I still had about 15-20 minutes until the start and I did a little jogging on my way towards my corral. While I was probably running about 10 minute pace I was happy with how my legs felt.

It took me about 30 seconds to cross the mat. I felt calm and relaxed and just kept the pace easy. I said all along that I’d rather be at 7:00 pace early in the race than 6:40 pace. It turns out our hotel was located about ¾ mile into the race, right where we make our first turn. I stayed wide to the right so I could wave to my family, as that’d be the only time I’d see them. A minute or two later I cross 1-mile in 7:01. Perfect!!! I settled in from there and rattled off 6:42, 6:46 and 6:43. I’m kind of on autopilot as I respond automatically when a gap opens up and I’m feeling the headwind. I’m able to gradually pick up the pace and get on someone’s shoulder.

I’m not sure what happened during mile 5 as I ran 6:36. I backed off a little (too much?) and ran 6 and 7 in 6:58 and 6:54. Those would be my two slowest splits during the first 23 miles. About this time I’m behind two guys that are chatting away. One guy sees Chuck Engle. Apparently he’s running 52 marathons this year and he just ran 2:48 at Indy yesterday.

At mile 8 I’m back in the mid-6:40s. This is also when the urge to pee appears. While I’d love to stop and take care of the urge, I know that’s not going to happen, so I run on. I believe mile 9 is where I hit the “stop” button on my watch instead of the “lap” button. It’s not a big deal. I figured it out at mile 10 and just restarted it. My overall time will be off the rest of the way, but I’ll still be able to track my splits.

There was actually a point around miles 8-10 where I was thinking “this is kind of boring.” It’s like I wanted to pick up the pace, but I knew it was way too early. I kept telling myself just relax until halfway and then I can open it up a little.

After missing some splits due to “user error” I see 6:48 for mile 12 and 6:45 for mile 13. Just before the half I see Jenna and Matt. I have no idea how I heard them or picked them out in the crowd, but I did. Seeing them, combined with getting to the halfway point was a huge boost. I used thoughts of Matt’s training group and Jenna’s Olympic trials qualifying performance at Grandma’s to spur me on for miles 14 to 17; 6:32, 6:41, 6:38 and 6:40. The first two of those splits were into a cross/headwind. To make it worse, the packs were beginning to breakup and it was tough to find shelter.

Mile 16 is when I first thought; “This is getting tough.” These thoughts were probably due in part to my calves starting to tighten up. I could sense some negative thoughts starting to entry my mind.

It turns out mile 17.5 is the perfect place to hand out gels. Any sooner and I might not have grabbed one. Any later and I may have already been in shuffle mode. By mile 18 (in 6:51) the gel was kicking in and I was feeling pretty good – other than my calves. It’s at this point when I realized I could run 6:50 pace fairly well and that it made more sense than trying to push 6:40 pace. So I started to do the “2-mile-dance.” You know, just get me to mile 20 in 6:50s and I’ll be happy. Okay, just get me to mile 22 in 6:50s and I’ll be happy. It seemed to be working as I ran 19 and 20 in 6:50 and 6:45, followed by 6:50 and 6:51 to get me to mile 22.

This is where it gets really tough. Things started to slip as I ran my last sub-7 mile (6:54) on my way to 23. This is where the course turns north, directly into the wind, and there’s little-to-no shelter. To make matters worse, at this point in the race you’re either passing people or being passed. There’s really not a lot of drafting opportunities to be had.

While the stoppage of my watch at mile 9 hasn’t been an issue, it does mean that I’m not positive what my overall time is. There are clocks at every mile mark, which is awesome, but I’m not positive how long it took me to cross the start line. At mile 23 I’m pretty sure I’ll break 3 hours. And I’m pretty sure that 7:01 for mile 24 means I can run two 8:00s and still break 3.

It’s during these last two miles when I think back to something I wrote on the 16th; “If I slow down and it feels like I’m running 9:00 pace, I’ll probably still be running 7:30 pace. Keep fighting. Everyone else is hurting too.” I still find it kind of amazing that I can run the last 2 miles into the wind on trashed calves in 7:18 and 7:29 – yet barely hold 8:30 for some of my training runs.

Another thing I like at Chicago, is the 800 meters to go sign, followed, I believe, by 600, 400, 300, 200 and 100 meters to go signs. Somehow I spot Matt and Jenna again at the 300 meter to go sign as I “sprint” it in for a 1:33 last .2.

I knew I broke 3, but didn’t know my exact time. And I didn’t have any time to celebrate as I had to jump on the “L” fairly quickly in order to make our 2:30 flight.

I’ll end this portion of my report with a few observations;

* I need more shoe. Try a light-weight trainer next time instead of a heavier racing shoe.
* The stretch from 13-17 probably cost me a PR.
* Try taking 2-3 gels instead of 1 gel and gatorade.
* Other than that short stretch around mile 16-17, I was “there” mentally the whole race. Had my calves held up, I think I would have PR’d.
* 2:55 was probably too aggressive. All my MP workouts indicated something in the 2:57-2:59 range.
* I think my personality allows me to run (fairly) even splits, but it also keeps me from laying it on the line and going out in 1:27 and seeing what happens. More on this later.

Here are my 5K and half splits;

5K 21:09
10K 42:15 - 21:06
15K 1:03:17 - 21:02
20K 1:24:12 - 20:55
13.1 1:28:45
25K 1:44:47 - 20:35
30K 2:05:42 - 20:55
35K 2:26:58 - 21:16
40K 2:48:49 - 21:51
26.2 2:58:57 - 1:30:12

Alright, if you’re still reading, you need help. Again, I’ll post more about the weekend later.

Quote of the day;

“Those are the things I want to experience again on October 22nd – maybe even more than a PR.” - Me, 9/14/2006

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Thanks everyone. Just a quick update and I'll write up a report tomorrow. The race was awesome. I didn't run 2:55 and I didn't PR (missing by 48 seconds), however I'm happy with the race. The head wind heading north on Michigan during the last 5k (?) was brutal. Any hope of PRing went out the window with splits of 7:01, 7:18, 7:29 for miles 24 - 26.

5K 21:09
10K 42:15 - 21:06
15K 1:03:17 - 21:02
20K 1:24:12 - 20:55
13.1 1:28:45
25K 1:44:47 - 20:35
30K 2:05:42 - 20:55
35K 2:26:58 - 21:16
40K 2:48:49 - 21:51
26.2 2:58:57 - 1:30:12

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Well I didn’t get nervous typing yesterday’s blog entry. The nervousness came later in the day. After work I had time to kill before meeting some folks from MDRA regarding writing for their fine publications. I decided to stop by the local running store on my way. I knew she worked there, occasionally, but I guess I didn’t expect to see her there. You’d think the President of her fan club would be able to put together a couple of sentences, wish her luck at NYC and possibly even ask her if she’d like to be interview after she gets back to town. But nooooo...I couldn’t do it. You’d think I was going to ask her to marry me. WTF? I’m such a wimp.

I will admit that I was a little distracted though. Sitting on a table in the store was a book on the history of the Minnesota state high school track and field meet from like 1925 through 1999. It had results and photos and it was simply amazing – and I’m not even a native Minnesotan. But when you see names like Nenow, Kempainen, Holman, Plascencia, Bjorklund and even “just” guys whose names you see in the results every week – it’s pretty freakin’ cool. Now I understand why the guys whose names appear in the results every week are kicking my ass – because they ran times like 4:19 and 9:27 in high school. Frank Shorter was right, everyone did run 4:30 in high school – except me.

Unfortunately, the book wasn’t for sale. So I jotted down the author’s name, did a quick Google search this morning and BAM…there was his email address right in front of me. I sent a quick email inquiring about the book and 90 minutes later I had my reply; send $25 to said author and I’ll get a copy. Again, pretty freakin’ cool.

Anyway, off to the MDRA meeting where I held my nerves in-check upon meeting this guy. Sorry Jason, but I didn’t find you as intimidating as Katie. I met some other cool people and we just sat around and bounced ideas for topics off on another and picked up some writing tips.

When I got home I stayed up way too late posting another interview. I’m thinking if I can’t get over my nervousness this site may end up just being interviews of men. Not!!!

Alright, it feels like I’m all over the map with this post. But I’m too wound up to worry about it and I have too much to do before we leave tomorrow. If you have nothing better to do on a nice fall day and want to see how I did at Chicago, my bib is #5603.

Quote of the day;

“Men, today we die a little.” – Emil Zatopek, on the starting line for the Olympic Marathon

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I’m still feeling good as Chicago approaches quickly. What’s weird is that I got really nervous as I typed yesterday’s blog entry. The rest of the day I was fine.

I ran an easy 5 miles this morning and felt a ton better than yesterday.

Since I have some free time during the taper I decided to try and organize a bunch of running articles, race reports, race results, etc. that I’ve collected over the years. I tend to collect stuff in a big pile for awhile before finally getting around to organizing it – which includes throwing about one-third of it out.

Anyway, I came across some stuff I wrote that’s worth reviewing before Chicago. I posted all my marathon times a week or two ago. It includes a stretch of 4 marathons from June 2001 to October 2003 when I ran between 2:58 and 3:03. During that stretch I treated each marathon like a (mental) test. I would break the race down into sections (pre-race, 1st 10 miles, 2nd 10 miles and last 10K) and I’d write down notes for each of those sections. The notes would be reminders like the things I wrote yesterday, as well as affirmations, splits I wanted to hit, notes on the course, when to take gels, etc.

While I didn’t do that this time, I’ve been reviewing what I wrote in the past. Here are a few things;

Have confidence.
Focus on relaxing and remaining calm.
My practice performance indicates a readiness to excel.
Focus just enough to maintain pace.
Be patient I’m a well-oiled machine.
Stay in the moment – focus on breathing, stride, arm carriage, etc.
Reel people in.
I’m in a position to strike and get what I like.
You should exercise unrelenting discipline over your thought patterns. Cultivate only productive attitudes. You are the product of everything you put into your body and mind.
Quote of the day;

“Then the gun goes off, the crowd moves out and I struggle along as best as I can with the expectation that my first mile will turn out far too slow. I never fully credit the effects of a two-week rest, a three-day carb binge, infusion of adrenaline and caffeine, the bracing jolt of chilly morning air, etc…and next thing I know, I've gone through the first mile half a minute faster than I meant to without even trying.” - Chelle, from her sub-3 race report

Monday, October 16, 2006


I met Chelle at Grandma’s in 2005. She proceeded to kick my ass with a sub-3:03 (compared to my 3:09). To rub salt into my wounds, she did it on less mileage. Being a “more is better” type of guy, I wondered what she was capable if she cranked up her mileage. How about 2:58 at Columbus over the weekend, for starters? So a huge congrats goes out to Chelle. Nice to see all her hard work pay off.

Saturday I ran my last “long” run – a nice 13 mile trail run through Lebanon Hills Park. With all the leaves on the ground, I paid close attention so I wouldn’t trip over a rock or root. This run gave me 48 miles for the week.

As I've mentioned before 142-144 pounds is pretty normal for me. After Saturday's run I jumped on the scale and saw 137, which is kind of scary. Not anorexic scary, but like senior year of high school scary. I think I was 132-134 as a senior. I feel fine and don’t feel like I’ve done any special dieting lately. We’ll see how that bodes for Chicago.

Sunday it was beautiful outside but I didn’t run. I thought about going for a run, which would’ve allowed me to take a day off during the week instead. However, I took last Sunday off so I thought I’d stay consistent. This meant instead of running during a beautiful fall day I had to run this morning when it was 48 and rainy. I managed an easy 6 miles but felt really sluggish. I hoped my legs would feel better after a day off, but they didn’t.

So here are some things I was thinking about for Chicago;

1) Adjust my goal for hot weather. This doesn’t look like it’ll be an issue this year. However, since I’m a terrible hot weather runner, this is always at the top of the list.
2) Let the pace come to me. It’s a long race and it’s okay to take 3-4 miles to warm-up and get into a rhythm.
3) Let legs do the work rather than my lungs. If I’m breathing hard at all it better be because I tripped at the start and 40,000 runners are bearing down on me.
4) Run my own race. In a race this size, there’s going to be lots of shifting of positions throughout the race. Don’t worry about being passed early in the race. “Everyone” goes out too fast.
5) It will hurt. Even when I ran my PR the last 3 miles hurt.
6) If I slow down and it feels like I’m running 9:00 pace, I’ll probably still be running 7:30 pace. Keep fighting. Everyone else is hurting too.
7) Even if I don’t feel like drinking – drink. I have a tendency to stop taking fluids/carbs during the last 10K.

I’m sure there will be more in the next few days, but that’s what I have so far.

Quote of the day;
“At Marathon arrayed, to the battle shock we ran
And our mettle we displayed, foot to foot, man to man
And our name and fame shall not die.”
- Aristophanes, “The Acharnians,” 425 B.C.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I keep little post-it notes next to my computer and any time I think of an idea that I want to blog about, I make a little note. Well after yesterday’s post there weren’t any little yellow slips of paper left near my computer. I was out of ideas. But don’t worry. By the time I got to work this morning I had another list of ideas. They don’t really all go together, but it’s Friday so I’ll just throw it out there and see what happens.

The cold weather (37 degrees) didn’t chase me inside this morning – it was the 25 mph wind with gusts up to 40 mph. Really, I’m not this big of a wuss. But with Chicago only 10 days away I think I’ll put off as much misery until then. I ended up running an easy 5 miles on the treadmill.

Just in case you were wondering, this is a sample what my blog entries will start to look like if I’m “forced” to watch ESPN2 at 5:15 AM every day. Here’s what I learned and my comments on how they relate to running;

1) “Kurt Warner is contemplating retirement at the end of the season.” Hello! We are 5 weeks into the season and that is newsworthy? Hey, I might “retire” after Chicago. Or maybe I’ll wait till after next season. Who cares?

2) “Reggie Bush is ‘on-pace’ to catch more passes in a season than any other running back – ever.” Don’t you love the phrase ‘on-pace’? Again, we’re 5 weeks into the season. Update me when we’re about 10-12 weeks into the season. And I’d just like to apologize to everyone that ran TCM on October 1st for not congratulating you for being ‘on-pace’ for 812 miles in October.

3) I guess the Minnesota Wild are on pace for an 82-0 season. Sweet.

While I’m on the topic of other sports and since I’ve referred to Joe Mauer here before, I’ll throw this little nugget out there. Joe also played football in high school. During his senior year he threw 41 TDs with only 2 INTs – both interceptions were by Marion Barber who’s now a running back with the Cowboys. I just thought that way interesting.

Alright, back to running and a little self-marketing. I’m happy to announce that I’ve posted my first interview. Feel free to check it out and give any feedback – positive or negative, I can take it. Some people have mentioned that it’s kind of hard to read, so I may end up changing the colors.

Here were my initial thoughts;

I thought it might be too long and/or too impersonal? I just sent Don my entire list of questions and he answered nearly all of them so I just posted them all. I think Don did a great job answering the questions. Not sure if this style would work with someone that just gave one word answers. I just wonder if I should have done a little more give-and-take to focus on a few key topics and expanded on those. Partially I just wanted to get an interview up on the site since it seems like forever since I mentioned I was working on it.

I’m probably just being overly-critical. I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback. Let’s just hope I can keep the site rolling. Thank you again to Don for being my guinea pig. Dateline NBC will be calling you soon.

Quote of the day;

“Live one day at a time and make it a masterpiece.” - Don Wright

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yesterday I was going to stop by a track on the way home and get in a little MP workout. But I couldn’t do it. I’m a wuss. It was 38 degrees with a wind chill of 26. Now I like winter running as much as the next person – probably more. However, it’s not winter. It was October 11th. I decided to jump on the treadmill for an easy 5 mile run instead. I’d push my workout back a day. The 5 miles on the treadmill felt great. I dropped the pace to 7:30 and it felt like I was jogging. Normally this pace feels a little harder.

After the run I checked my emails. There was a message from my coach asking how the taper was going. I replied;

It's kind of scary. During most of my marathon tapers I have some phantom injury flair up. This time around I've been feeling really good - maybe I got all the aches and pains out of my system during the training. Just walking around the office I keep thinking 'Damn, my legs feel good.'

I've been a little bummed that I haven't hit any solid training paces lately, but I've been doing them solo at 5:30 in the morning. I feel like the effort is there. Overall I'd say things are pointing in the right direction.

After sending that message, I took the dog out before going to bed. There was snow on the ground. Granted, it was just a dusting, but still…it was October 11th.

I’m happy to say that I did get in my MP workout this morning. I ran 8 miles, including 4 x 1 mile (7:10, 7:00, 6:44 and 6:44) with a 2:00 jog in-between. Again, not quit down to MP. The way I see it I’ll have something to motivate me as I train for my next marathon. I’ll tell myself ‘Dang, if I run those workouts at 6:40 pace, I’ll run a lot better.’

When I got to work I checked the weather. I knew it was chilly, but I didn’t expect to see 24 degrees with a wind chill of 13.

Quote of the day;

“I tell people to this day that what you do (in a marathon) is directly proportional to the amount and quality of your base training. And by quality, I don't mean speed.” - David Welch, who passed away last month

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


In case anyone is interested, here's a sneak peek at my first article for the RunMinnesota magazine. Rather than just introduce my blog, I thought I'd write an article on blogging in general. It should appear in the November/December issue, so maybe there will be a bump in blog traffic.

It started innocently enough, like any other addiction. Umm, I mean habit. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had heard the word ‘blog’ before but I associated them with some off the wall organization or political movement. I never considered that there were blogs out there on topics I was interested it, like running. Then I came across an article in Runner’s World on blogging. At the end of the article it listed links to five or six running blogs. Later I followed the links and check out all the blogs.

Looking back, I think that Runner’s World article should have come with a warning label. “WARNING: Surf blogs at your own risk. You may get sucked in.” That’s exactly what happened. I found that I could really relate to one of the blogs listed in that article. I book marked it and started checking in daily. Then I started leaving comments regarding the stuff I read. Clicking on comments that others left led me to their blogs. Again I’d book mark the ones I liked and the number of blogs I read began to grow.

And then it happened, slowly at first and then more and more frequently. I kept seeing blog entries that sounded as if I had written them. The next thing I knew I was registering on a website and setting up my own blog. Re-reading my first entry I can see that I had no idea what lay in store; “The creation of this blog is spur of the moment. It could be fun and entertaining, it could suck. There’s only one way to find out.” That was nearly two years ago.

This article will list some of the reasons that runners blog, ways to get you started and tips on helping you get your blog read.

Whether you’re looking for a web log to track your training, looking to meet people with common interests or looking to hone your writing skills in an effort to get published in RunMinnesota, starting a blog may be the way to go.

Ever since I started running, I’ve kept a typical running log book that tracks mileage, time, pace, weather, races and so on. I even have a section for comments where I usually write such ‘in depth’ comments as “felt good” or “legs tired”. My blog actually complements my log book because I’m able to do a better job of expressing my thoughts and feelings (my wife will love to hear that). I can write more details about each run, why I missed a workout or switched workouts around, what’s going through my head as I taper for a key race, etc. Best of all, I can put my race goals in writing (for the whole world to see) and then write up a race report with all the gory details.

Maybe you want to “meet” runners that can relate to what you’re going through. Whether you’re just getting started with your running career, trying to break 2:30 for a marathon or are somewhere in between, there are other bloggers out there like you. Blogs offer a safe way to share experiences, offer and receive advice and even make friends in a (mostly) supportive environment.

If the social aspect is what you’re looking for there are many ways to find other running blogs. You can visit the Running Blog Family Directory at completerunning.com. It lists nearly 1,000 running blogs along with a short description of each. Once you find just one running blog the web extends from there. As I mentioned you can find more blogs in the comment section and people usually place links to their favorite blogs off to the side. Keep in mind that, like in life, bloggers tend to gravitate towards other bloggers that they can relate to. So if you find one blog that you like, the chances are that similar blogs are nearby.

Here are a few of my favorites;

Mike - A blog about trying to understand, interpret and perform Arthur Lydiard's fabled training while juggling a job and family.

Duncan - If you're looking for cynical and sarcastic, look no further.

Sara - A recent Ironman finisher whose posts are as inspirational as they are fun to read.

Susan - She's not afraid to blog about any bodily function and how it pertains to running. She's funny, clever, witty and extremely creative.

Alright, now your interest is piqued and you want to become a blogger. But how do you get started? First, make sure you have ten minutes to spare. Seriously. Websites like Blogger, Livejournal and Xanga are free and offer step by step guidelines for setting up your blog. I use Blogger and it was a simple three step process; create an account, name your blog and choose a design. If you’re still not comfortable doing it on your own, you can contact Susan at Sumyblogs and she’ll help you set up your blog for a fee.

Finally, here are some tips and advice on blogging, especially if you’re looking for social connections. First, write often. You don’t have to post daily, but if you take weeks off at a time people will lose interest. Second, keep it interesting. Not every post has to keep readers on the edge of their seats, but you don’t want to bore them to tears either. Third, if you want people to read your blog you’re going to have to do a little marketing. The best way to do that is to leave comments on other people’s blogs. Most people get comments from the same people over and over. When they see a comment from someone new they will check out that person’s blog. Lastly, use common sense. You never know who’s reading, so if there’s something you don’t want others to know, don’t post it.

Since that Runner’s World article failed to mention it, I’d better do it here; “WARNING: Surf blogs at your own risk. You may get sucked in.” It could be fun and entertaining, it could suck. There’s only one way to find out.

Chad followed his dad out the door when he was 10 years old and has been running ever since. That was 27 years ago. He's been addicted to blogging for nearly 2 years. You can check out more of his writing at Simon Says Run.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


While I’m on the topic of photos, check out Alison’s and Parker's awesome photos from Tufts. I particularly like this one with the skyline in the background. If you look close enough, that’s Adam Goucher running on the sidewalk. This one of Katie McGregor turned out just a “little” better than the one I posted below.

Yesterday I was looking at the 5K photos from TCM weekend and this one is my favorite. The guy is looking over his shoulder to make sure he still has 2nd place locked up. Right after that photo Ryan Kleimenhagen pulled away for the victory.

Just an easy 6 mile run this morning. Nothing fancy.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for today.

Quote of the day;
“It’s a strange feeling to break a world record and still lose.” – Glenn Cunningham, after losing to Princeton’s Bill Bonthron by one-tenth of a second in the 1500

Monday, October 09, 2006


I’ve mentioned that when I get near the end of things I tend to just sort of start looking for my next project. When it comes to marathons that usually means I “screw up” the taper. It’s worse than I remember. I checked my old logs and came up with the following data; Month, Year, 3 weeks out, 2 weeks out, 1 week out (peak mileage):

June 2001, 56, 29, 29 (66)
Oct 2001, 49, 42, 26 (65)
Apr 2002, 52, 44, 13 (84)
Oct 2002, 54, 36, 22 (77)
April 2004, 38, 40, 15 (84)
June 2005, 35, 9, 29 (82)
Oct 2006, 64, ?, ? (82)

It’s pretty obvious that I haven’t followed any taper plan very well. You don’t see a nice 80%, 60%, 40% cut in mileage. And as far as long runs go, I usually hear something like 20, 16, 13 for your last 3 weekends. I can honestly say I haven’t run more than 14 miles within 2 weeks of a marathon – at least until this year.

Saturday I ran 16 miles at Lebanon Hills. My legs actually had a little spring in them, which made me forget about the below average workouts I’ve had recently. I’d classify the pace as moderate – probably close to 7:40s. This run gave me 64 for the week.

Sunday I had 10-11 miles planned with 6-7 at marathon pace. Monday called for a day off. I ended up flip-flopping these workouts. Yesterday I lazed around not doing much – other than hanging out with the girls. While that was great yesterday, it meant I had to get up at 4:40 this morning in order go get in 11 miles. Just for my psyche, I’m going to stop calling these MP workouts. After a 2 mile warm-up, I ran 7 miles at 7:04 pace and finished with a 2 mile cool-down. I’ll take it.

Now that I’ve proven that my photo skills suck, I’ll get back to hyping the professional photos from TCM. Paul (the lead photographer for TCM) was even cool enough to offer some tips on my photo taking abilities (or lack thereof). Apparently he’s not afraid of the competition that I could provide. He also offered up some images for my blog. How cool is that? I think I’ll take him up on the offer of people I interview.

Alright, I better at least address the fact that the Twins got swept in the first round. What gets me is that “everyone” was so excited that winning the division also meant avoiding the Yankees. Given that the A’s were as hot as the Twins during the second half of the year, I think I would have taken my chances with the Yanks. The Tigers did okay against them. Oh well, it was still an incredible season. And it should be an interesting off-season. I’ll bet that they keep Torii Hunter and that Brad Ranke decides to play one more year.

Quote of the day;

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” – Fred Lebow

Sunday, October 08, 2006


If Katie McGregor weren't so damn fast, maybe this would have turned out.

Here are the leaders around mile 16.

Actually, I think this photo of Marla Runyan is one of the best I took - but it's still pretty bright.

I had to at least try and get a photo of Sara Wells. You can tell I was on the wrong side of the road.

This is an example of the shade/sun mix I was talking about. I actually kind of like this one because while Laurie is trucking up the hill, the guy behind her is walking and looking at his watch. He's probably "doing the math" and figuring any chance of sub-3 just went out the window.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Will you please let me know if my writing is half as bad as my photo taking? I took 2 rolls of photos at the TCM. Only about 4 of the photos are worth keeping. Problem #1 is lighting. I need to find some shady spots. The photos in the bright sun suck, the ones that are sunny with shade mixed in are even worse. Problem #2 is angle. I need to get out in front of the runners and shoot them coming right at me, not off to the side. If anyone else has tips, let me know.

Training update; Wednesday I ran an easy 5 on the treadmill. Thursday I was supposed to run mile repeats, but I basically didn’t feel like it, so it never happened. I ran the first one, but couldn’t see my marking on the path (note to self: don’t use gold paint on a black surface) so I stopped at 7 minutes. During the 2nd rep I just said “fuck it” and stopped running hard. I slowed down and just ran an easy 10 miles. This morning I ran an easy 5 miles.

Two weeks left. I can’t lose focus now. Hard workouts in the morning don’t seem to be working. I’m going to have to find a couple of nights next week where I can get away and do some harder running.

Since it is taper time, here’s an article on the topic by Pfitz.

I just came across this post on eliterunning.com. It turns out there are some really cool projects taking place in the running community. Be sure to check out the flotrack video. Here’s a blog from the flotrack guys.

Speaking of cool projects, my other projects are gradually building momentum. I’ve got questionnaires out to 4 studly 60+ age-groupers, 3 of which have agreed to answer the questions and be interview. Also, I just found out this morning that 3 other local guys (2 who have Olympic marathon trials qualifiers) have agreed to be interviewed. Last but not least, a member of Team USA Minnesota is also up to the task. So stay tuned.

Finally, a few months ago I talked about the Nude Mile. I posted a photo of one of my favorite t-shirts here. Bear was kind enough to send me a photo of this cool shirt too.

Quote of the day;

“To keep from decaying, to be a winner, the athlete must accept pain – not only accept it, but look for it, live with it, learn not to fear it.” – Dr. George Sheehan

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Wow, I was starting to think that Bloggerland was fading away. There hasn’t been much action lately and not too many comments. I guess my posts were just boring as hell. That’s alright.

Just to make it clear that I don’t have this marathon thing mastered, here are the splits from all my marathons;

1:36/1:44 TCM 1996
1:32/1:45 Gma’s 1997
1:35/1:51 TCM 1997
1:30/1:33 Gma’s 2001
1:30/1:31 TCM 2001
1:28/1:35 Boston 2002
1:30/1:28 Whistlestop 2002
1:44/2:07 Boston 2004
1:29/1:40 Gma’s 2005

As usual, Evan had some good thoughts on the topic. Speaking of Evan, check out his photos of the Griak Invite and TCM.

I was trying to think about my blog as an outside observer this morning. I’m not one to shy away from questioning someone’s training when something jumps out at me. As an outside observer of myself I’d say, “How the hell is this guy going to break 3 hours let alone run 2:55 at Chicago? He runs nearly 9:00 pace for his easy days. He tries to run mile repeats at 6:10 pace, but only runs 6:15 pace. He struggles to run sub-7 pace for 3 miles. He just ran a half marathon and barely broke 1:30. I’m just going to read along and watch this train wreck unfold.”

I know it doesn’t look good on paper, er, monitor. However, for some reason I’m confident I’ll run well at Chicago. I may not run 2:55, but I think something is going to have to go drastically wrong for me not to run well. And by “well” I mean smart, like the stretch of marathons I ran in 2001 and 2002.

Maybe I’m confident because my training isn’t really different from any other marathon training I’ve done. I’ve always run slower on my easy days, compared to other 3-hour runners. I’ve never put too much stock in hitting exact splits for workouts. I’m more of an “in the ballpark” kind of guy. I’ve always considered marathon pace to be tough, in training, especially if I’m running solo. So maybe there’s hope after all. Heck, based on mileage, I’m better off than ever before.

There's only one way to find out.

There’s a “running” blog that a lot of runners probably don’t read – mainly because Will doesn’t write about running much. He went to UW-EC a few years after me. He’s a damn fine runner and an even better writer. Check out his account of his recent Lakefront performance.

Quote of the day;

“And all was well, I tell you. The crowds cheered. They laughed and sang at my 666 jersey, chanting my name (and the devil's)…I was king of my own modest goals.” – Will, during the Lakefront Marathon

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Today’s discussion focuses on the marathon and pacing. I love this time of year; cooler temps, fall colors, marathons taking place every weekend, etc. Call me a sadist, but two of my favorite “hobbies” this time of year include 1) browsing marathon results and 2) reading race reports.

Yes, I know other people do this stuff too. However, when I look at race results I’m usually comparing first half and second half splits to see how badly people blew up. And when I read race reports I especially like to find sentences like “I felt really good at mile 2 so I picked up the pace…” Then I scroll down to about mile 16 in the report and look for the gory details.

I haven’t officially kept track of results but the same things appear in every marathon, every year, no matter where you are in the pack – people slow down. Looking at the first 500 finishers of TCM and I’d guess about 7% ran even or negative splits. A positive 5-minute split seems normal.

Since I’m a math geek, I thought I’d break that down into pace. Say you want to run 7:00 pace and finish in 3:04. Assuming you go out on-pace (which is probably a bad assumption) you’d go through the half in 1:32. The 5-minute positive split would give you a 1:37 second half for a time of 3:09. That means your pace dropped from 7:00 to 7:24 pace during the second half. Assuming you held 7:00 pace all the way to mile 20 means you dropped from 7:00 pace to 7:54 pace for the last 10k.

Those seem like rather large increases when you look at it that way. But like I said, this 5-minute positive split is “normal”. I know I’ve done it. I’m just curious why it happens. Are people doing it on purpose? Falling apart? Not realistic in their goal pace? Not adjusting their goal to the conditions?

I don’t have the answers, but I have some ideas. I’m curious to hear other's opinions.

As for my training, I haven’t quite started my taper yet. In the past I think I’ve tended to over-taper for my races. I’d get to 3 weeks out and just cut my mileage in half all the sudden. This time around I’m going to see if I can manage something closer to a 70, 50, 30 drop in weekly mileage.

I jumped on the treadmill last night for an easy 5 miles. I had a dentist appointment this morning, so I’ll have to put off my run until tonight.

I was going to give an update on my other projects, but this is already getting to long. I close with a “funny” article on Marla Runyan at TCM. I particularly enjoyed the last sentence; “I can't complain.” Based on the article, I beg to differ.

Quote of the day;

“Show me a real runner and I will show you someone who has, at least on occasion, become too wrapped up in the sport.” – Mark Will-Weber, The Quotable Runner

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had doubts surrounding 2:55 at Chicago. Some things I look at give me positive feedback – like the guy I mentioned yesterday running a 1:01:30. Another guy I beat by a minute in the “10K” ran 1:02:40 (which calculates to a 2:55) at the 10 miler. Other things give me negative feedback – like watching super strong runners walking at TCM. Even workouts like this morning’s leave me wondering.

The workout was 11 miles with 2 x 3 miles at marathon pace with a 1 mile jog in-between. I knew where my start and end points were, but since it was pitch-black I couldn’t see my ½ marks – so I just ran. I tried to stay relaxed and pay attention to my stride rate and breathing. I think I did a pretty good job with that – except for the damn kid’s song that was playing over-and-over in my head. At least it was a catchy tune and not some Barney crap.

Anyway, the first rep took 21:03, while the second took 20:43. Given that my goal pace is 6:40, running 7:01 pace and 6:54 pace is a little disheartening.

Of course I try to rationalize the situation. It’s very early in the morning, it’s dark, it’s breezy, the course is rolling and winding, I’m not rested, I’m wearing my trainers, etc.

It’s workouts like these that make me question other bloggers who run 7:30 pace every day and then run their marathon at 8:00 pace.

The good news is that this morning my legs felt the best they’ve felt in a long time – pain-wise (not springy, fresh-wise). I’ve had this dull ache that’s been running up the back of my left leg. Today it wasn’t there. The heel is fine too. So basically, “the sock” rocks!!! I’ve also stopped running in my lightweight trainers and that’s probably helped a little.

You know you don’t find many special interest stories here – since you know I’m an "elitist". But the story Scott sent me is a special interest story of a fast local guy. The guy happened to finish right in front of Scott in the 10 miler. I’m not sure how he’s going to run 6:09s at Chicago when he “only” ran 6:19 on Sunday, but I wish him luck.

Speaking of “elites” Andrew just PR’d by 6 minutes and ran his first (of many) sub-3.

There are some TCM photos here, including a nice one of Sara Wells, (of course blogger won't let me upload it) and here. I’m sure more will follow, especially from that first site.

Quote of the day;
“If the Lord had meant for man to run, he’d have given him four legs or at least made him late for the bus.” – Red Smith, sportswriter

Monday, October 02, 2006


What a great weekend; great weather, great family time, great 20 mile run, great race weekend with the 10 miler and marathon, etc. Then you top all that off with the tWINs winning their division on the last day of the season. Sweet! I could go on-an-on about the tWINs, but about 99% of the people reading couldn’t care less. So I’ll point those interested to two baseball blog’s; Pat Neshek’s and Batgirl’s . I am curious though. Why are the playoff games in the afternoon?

I started the weekend by getting in my last 20 miler before Chicago. As much as I’d have loved to sleep in, I had to make up for running and watching a race last Saturday – on my wife’s birthday. So I was out the door by 5:30. I ran the first 10 miles paved paths. Once it was light enough I ventured onto the Lebanon Hills trails.

I’m really pleased with how this run went as I felt strong the whole way. I only ate a piece of banana bread and drank some water before heading out the door. I had one gel with me and took that 2:10 into the 2:42 run – more so to practice taking gels than anything else.

At the beginning of my marathon training, my long runs usually leave me tired – to the point where I just want to lie down for awhile once I get home. Of course, with 2 girls at home and having been gone for 2.5+ hours, that’s usually not an option. The good news is this run didn’t wipe me out. I felt great the rest of the day.

This run gave me 75 miles for the week and I closed out September with 295 miles. My previous high for September was 245 miles – 11 years ago.

Hmm, this is already getting long and I haven’t even started talking about the TCM weekend. Here’s my quick take.

It looked like great weather – at least at the start. It was 40 and calm when I woke up. It was probably 45 for the 8 AM start and around 66 at noon. The skies were clear, so the course seemed to warm up pretty good. Hopefully there was enough shade to keep the runners cool.

I watched the 10 mile race just before the 3 mile mark and watched the marathon around miles 16 and 21. I’m not sure if watching has scared me or fired me up for Chicago. Watching strong runners that I know walking up the hill at 21 was not fun. Seeing large positive splits in the results is not fun. I guess if nothing else, I’m reminded to respect the distance and run a smart race. Hopefully I can remember that 3 weeks from now.

Remember the "10K" that I ran last weekend? Well I was happy to see that the guy who finished about 20 seconds behind me ran 1:01:30 for the 10 miler. That calculates to a 2:52 marathon. I’m not sure I’m in that kind of shape, but it provides more feedback than I got for my $25 a week ago.

I’m stealing today’s quote of the day from letsrun.com;

“I still run as fast as I used to. I don’t see anything that makes me think I’m getting slow.” – Mbarak Hussein after winning his second straight TCM at age 41