Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Sure, we bitch when it’s below zero for two weeks straight. And we piss and moan when a snow storm cancels our plans. But last night was a reminder of why we live in Minnesota; 30 degrees, calm, clear skies, sliding in the backyard with the girls before dinner, etc. Pretty nice!

Today the alarm clock went off before I wanted it to. I ran through my head every possible reason why I should roll over and go back to sleep. None of them were very good, so I got up and went for a run. Of course, once I was done I was really glad I got my ass out of bed. Similar to last Friday, I wanted to get in a hill workout before a new batch of snow comes our way.

I managed to get in a 10 mile run with 9 hill repeats. That gives me 275 miles for the month. That’s way down from last year’s 326 miles, but I’m not too worried. As I’ve said, I’m looking to take a more conservative, but longer-range, approach this year by running fewer miles, throwing in some quality earlier in the year and keeping it rolling longer than April.

Speaking of hills, I looked at Lydiard’s schedule and he has a 4 week cycle that starts 14 weeks out from your goal marathon. I’ll have to think about that a little more in the near future.

Anyway, the weather from last night carried over to this morning’s run; 25 degrees, calm, clear skies, etc. Plus the sun is starting to come up during my run. Yay! The nice weather got me thinking about what’s the best weather for winter running. Of course anything above 40 is great, but let’s be realistic – that doesn’t happen too often around here. A few weeks ago, I was pretty pumped when it was 18 and calm. After this morning’s run, I’m not sure there’s much better weather for this time of year.

Quote of the day;

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered with failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory or defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Yesterday entailed a couple of easy runs, 6 in the morning and 5 at night. While I’d like to eliminate some of these second runs (while keeping my mileage the same), that may have to wait until spring gets a little closer. I don’t even know why, really. But I keep thinking, “Once spring gets here, I can get ‘serious’.”

I did pull Pfitz’s Advanced Marathoning off my shelf the other day. I’m thinking about jumping into one of the programs pretty soon and using it for Grandma’s. First, I want to refer to Lydiard’s schedule and see when he suggests adding in the hill phase. I think that really helped me last year (before I got hurt) and I’d like to include it this year too. While I’ve been running hills once a week, I’m thinking more of a 3-4 week ‘phase’ that includes 2 workouts per week – maybe even a little bounding. I’m still 16 weeks from Grandma’s, so even Pfitz’s program would basically be base-building at this point, so I have some time to figure things out.

I had a fairly nice 11 mile run this morning. After finishing I got in my car and my first thought was, “It’s nice having that done for the day.”

During the run I saw some guys out for an early morning x-c ski. That’s one of those things I wish I were able to do more often. Last year, I skied a handful of times. This year I haven’t been out at all. Not having snow till mid-January is probably part of the problem. Then it melted by mid-Feb. Now we have snow, but it’s practically March – I’m ready for spring. Besides snow, you have to worry about waxing, driving to trails and technique. Since my technique isn’t very good, I struggle going uphill. And if you can’t go uphill while skiing, you’re in trouble.

It’s easier just to go for a run!

I'll end with this great photo (courtesy of Team USA Minnesota) of the women's silver medal team at the Yokohama International Women's Ekiden in Japan (left to right; Deena Kastor, Carrie Tollefson, Katie McGregor, Amy Rudolph, Jen Rhines, Jenny Crain and Elva Dryer).

Quote of the day;

“To be a champion, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will.” – Sugar Ray Robinson

Monday, February 26, 2007


It’s nice when you can come to work Monday morning, send a friend an email describing your weekend and then just copy and paste that email into a blog entry.

I had a lot of plans for the weekend – most of which were cancelled due to snow, or should I say the threat of snow.

Friday night, right before going to bed, the weather forecast called for 2-5” of snow in the morning. Since my parents were flying out for a cruise in the morning, they were all worried. Saturday morning we woke to no more than a quarter inch of snow, so they were able to get out okay.

Later in the day Saturday and into Sunday the snow got worse. I had plans to drive 90 minutes to Wisconsin to meet some friends – those plans were cancelled. Reports of spinouts and accidents even “forced” me to stay away from a 30th birthday party in St. Paul. I guess I’ll just have to catch the 40th!

I’ve heard reports of 8"-15" across the metro. And it sounds like it’s supposed to snow/rain off-and-on all week long.

After dropping my folks off at the airport, I decided to get my run in since the conditions weren’t too bad. I guess I’m not used to doing a hill workout on Friday because my legs were trashed. I doubt I was running faster than 9:00 pace. I cut my 8 mile loop short and finished with 6 miles. In the afternoon I hopped on the treadmill for 5 more miles. This time my legs felt much better. That means I finished the week with 66 miles.

One thing I need to focus on is the positives. There have been some weeks where I haven’t hit the mileage I’ve wanted. However, if I look at my logbook since recovering from Chicago, I’ve been between 49 and 90 miles. That’s a stretch of 16 weeks where I’ve averaged just over 70 mpw. For me, that’s pretty solid.

With all the snow, Sunday was a treadmill day. I ran 11 miles and threw in two sets of 3 miles at marathon pace, with a two minute jog in-between. This run made me realize that my cold from last week still lingers a little.

Finally, I’ll close with another interview.

Quote of the day;

“I focused less on the outcome of each race and more on the pure joy of running and the process of training. By that I mean I really focused on making sure my training was going well and I was hitting my key workouts. I also reconciled that I was not going to PR at every race. I focused on doing well at a few races per year. Once I started doing all of that the results took care of themselves. I had not set a PR between 2000 and 2004. I have set all of my PRs since 2004.” - Tony Kocanda

Friday, February 23, 2007


I’m starting to feel a little better. Yesterday I ended up running two easy 6 mile runs. This morning my legs were feeling really good, so I decided to throw in a hill workout. Lately, I’ve worked up to 2 sets of 4 hill repeats with about a 10 minute jog in between. Today I thought about doing 2 sets of 5, but after the 5th rep I decided just to keep doing repeats. I ended up with a total of 8 repeats during the 10 mile run.

It was nice to get in that workout because we’re supposed to get dumped on with snow – starting tonight. Who knows what the footing is going to be like for awhile? It’s hard to do a hill workout when you’re battling a foot of snow – unless you’re Rocky Balboa.

Anyway, I’ve heard reports of “The largest storm of the year” and “The largest storm in 8 years.” I don’t know about you, but when “the year” is only 7-8 weeks old, hype like, “The largest storm of the year” doesn’t really mean that much. Now, “The largest storm in 8 years” means something! We’ll see…my parents are supposed to fly out tomorrow morning. Let’s hope they make it out – otherwise they’ll be stuck at our house.

Here’s an interview that I wasn’t sure if I’d get back or not. I submitted it to the team’s admin rep about 6 weeks ago. Without any direct contact with the athlete, you never know what will happen. I’m happy that I got it back. Hopefully the other two I submitted will get back to me too.

Quote of the day;

“It is quite the paradox to be a runner that hates pain, but is most successful at the events that cause the most pain.” - Emily Brown

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I decided to take the day off from work today. Looking back, I should have taken yesterday off from work. If I wasn’t sneezing, I was coughing. If I wasn’t coughing I was blowing my nose. I felt bad for my co-workers. I did manage to sneak out of work an hour early and get a little rest.

I was smart enough to put a zero in the logbook yesterday. No sense stressing the body, even with an easy run, when it’s crying out for rest. Since I’m feeling better, I ventured out for 8 miles today. I had thoughts of running 11 miles but, not surprising, my energy level is down. So I cut the run short.

While I was low on energy, the weather (40 degrees, partly sunny) helped alleviate my lack of energy. It was one of those days where you think to yourself, “We made it. We survived another winter.” Sure we could get snow dumped on us – as early as this weekend – but with each passing day the chances of more sub-zero temps continues to diminish. Besides, any snow we get probably won’t hang around too long.

Alright, enough about my sickness and the weather. Go checkout this Katie McGregor interview. Hmm, I guess there's no reason for me to interview her now - at least for awhile.

Quote of the day;

“It makes it a lot harder to make teams when so many women are running well but it also helps us because we are able to push each other. We are all really motivating each other.” – Katie McGregor

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Maybe a 20 mile run and 85 mile week weren’t the wisest things do to when I felt a cold coming on. But, you know, “I gotta get my miles in.” I set my alarm for 5:15, but this morning I figured another hour sleep would be better for me. That turned into 30 minutes, as my sick kids decided to crawl into bed too.

Normally, if I’m sick, I feel my best when I’m out running. It really clear things out and is usually the best I’ll breathe all day. Maybe I’ll hop on the treadmill tonight. I guess I’ll just play it by ear.

In any case, I don’t have much to report, so I’ll leave you with another interview. It’s a little more unique that the other ones I’ve done.

Quote of the day;

"Yeah, I can get a little anxious before her races. I think it’s a combination of knowing how hard she’s worked, the importance of every race in this sport and just knowing that she has the talent to win every time she steps to the line." - Charlie Peterson

Monday, February 19, 2007


I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job of balancing my running workload, both within the week (alternating hard/easy days) and across weeks (with the use of cutback weeks). Friday I just ran an easy 5 mile recovery run (following Thursday’s hard effort). Saturday I met a group for 14 mile solid miles. Overall the pace was probably 7:20-7:30, but I’m pretty sure there were a couple of 6:50-7:00s in there too. That gave me 81 miles for the week on 9 runs.

Ever get where your mind is telling you you're hauling ass, but if you just listen to your body, you’re actually feeling comfortable? That’s kind of what the second half of Saturday’s run was like. When we were running sub-7:00s, my mind was saying this is too fast. However, my legs felt fine and my breathing was controlled. So I just tried to relax and roll with it. That’s something I’ll have to work on in races too. I’m thinking 2007 may be the year of ‘no splits’ while racing. Instead, I’ll just focus on listening to my body.

A week ago, my long run switched to Sunday, so I thought I’d roll with it this week too. The girls had a sleep-over at Grandma’s, so that made it much easier to be gone for nearly 3 hours as I ran 20 miles. If tired legs and a general lack of energy mean that you've put in some quality training the previous days, then I must be doing something right. This run gave me 85 for my "unofficial" week.

This long run was one of those long runs where you want to be alone because you don’t want to slow anyone down. I doubt I ran any of the miles under 8:00 pace. The ultimate test came at mile 16 when I swung by home to get warmer gloves. I was tempted to call it a day, but I got a drink, downed a gel and ventured back out for another 4 miles.

This morning my legs were still incredibly heavy, but I managed to slog my way through 5 miles. I doubt I was moving faster than 9:00 pace today.

Right now I’m think I may take an extra day or two recover early this week and then just focus on a Wednesday or Thursday workout, rather than trying to squeeze in two workouts and a long run. I’d rather err on the side of caution with too few workouts at this point.

For all you Minnesotans that were bummed by the lack of Runner of the Year honors this year, check out these rankings. For those of you not familiar with the process, each different distance has a qualifying time (see the “Qualifying Performance” section) by age group. People in that age group that meet the time standard are then ranked accordingly. The top 10-20 (depending on age group) performances earn points. If you’re good enough to run multiple top times then you can bump others in your age group down. For example, if I run the top 3 times (yeah, right), I’ll max out at 10 points. However, the next place in my age group would get 7 points instead of 9. Also, they only count your 5 best scores. Roll it all together and you have the RoY.

Quote of the day;

“From high school to college, you went from running 30 miles a week to running 60 or 70. Your body adapted. You improved. Throughout college, I experimented with higher and higher mileage. It followed, then, that making the next leap to the national scene would require higher mileage and even greater adaptation. Well, it worked for a while. I improved a lot…My endurance was phenomenal. But what I lacked was the ability to understand and implement elite-level training and/or I lacked the guidance of a coach who understood. I had this tremendous foundation off of which I built very little.” - Joey Keillor

Friday, February 16, 2007


Pat, pat…

That sound you hear is me patting myself on the back.

I was hoping to get in 10 miles last night – preferably as an up-tempo workout. I ended up getting in 12 miles with 9 of them at 6:46 pace.

As a result, I rewarded myself by sleeping in this morning. I laid out my clothes and said if I was wide awake, I get my run in. If not, I’d sleep-in and run tonight.

I slept in.

While the interviews I’ve been doing have been entertaining, I also try to get more out of them than just that. Last night I was thinking about Joey’s comments regarding cutting his mileage, but focusing on his workouts;

I was mostly in the 50-60 mile-per-week range. Notable was the fact that almost every workout I did was a home run. I may not have been running much volume, but I was fresh enough to attack each workout with vengeance.

While I wouldn’t quite say I attacked this workout with vengeance, I was pretty excited to get it going. Prior to the half marathon, 6 miles at 6:48 pace was my best up-tempo workout this year. So I’m pretty happy with 9 miles at 6:46 pace. A workout like that will erase all negative thoughts regarding not doing any up-tempo runs in the two-and-a-half weeks since the half marathon. If nothing else, the extra rest was probably a good thing. Besides, I’ve run three solid hill workouts in that timeframe, so it’s not like I’ve been sitting on my ass.

Finally, I’ve been meaning to post that Kristen Nicolini has updated her journal.

Quote of the day;

“I’m a believer in evidence-based results. You either run a particular time for a particular distance, or you don’t. There’s no “I’m in shape for a 2:19 marathon”. You either do it, or you’re not in that kind of shape.”– Joey Keillor

Thursday, February 15, 2007


This week’s rolling right along. Yesterday was an easy 6 mile run. That put me at 45 miles with 3 days left. I guess my mini-slump is over. Then again the real test is tonight. I ran 5 miles this morning, but have an up-tempo run planned for tonight. Getting in 10 miles would set me up for 80+. But I said that last week around this time, so we’ll see.

Lately I’ve kept telling myself that THIS will be the last sub-zero run of the winter. If I can believe the forecast, it looks like that may actually be the case, tomorrow. Heck, even if we have a cold snap later, I wouldn’t mind. I just want THIS one to be done with.

Last night I posted a new interview. I “joke” about having favorite male and female runners. This project definitely makes that difficult. Every time I interview someone, they become my new favorite. This one is no different.

Eric should be thanked for tying Joey to one of my previous interviews, which kind of got the ball rolling for this interview.

Quote of the day;

“Knowing nothing about distance running, the splits were meaningless to me. What I felt, though, was my pounding heart, flaming lungs and burning muscles and a sense that I could compose myself and keep that discomfort under control — and still push myself to go faster. It was a great feeling…riding the line at the edge of disaster.”Joey Keillor

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Over the weekend, while my mini-motivational meltdown was taking place, I had a bunch of thoughts I wanted to blog about. Then yesterday I started talking about the cross-country meet and all those thoughts went out the window.

My main thought dealt with being an analytical numbers-type and how that comes into play with my confidence when I know I’m not running as much as I was last year at this time. I tend to think (for the most part) more is better. And the numbers for the first six weeks of 2007 don’t lie, when compared to 2006; 385 miles vs. 456 miles.

As I’ve said before, ideally I’d like to remain healthy past April. Then I could easily make up that mileage difference. However, that’s still 10 weeks away. I need to get (and keep) my act together. Grandma’s Marathon is only 18 weeks away.

Luckily I know I’m fit (due to my weekly up-tempo runs), based on my half marathon results. However, I haven’t really done any up-tempo work since the half marathon two-and-a-half weeks ago. I need to get back to doing one of those workouts each week. If I can’t do that and I can’t keep my mileage consistently “high”, I’m really going to be screwed.

The good news is that this week has started of really well. After 16 on Saturday, I ran two easy 6 mile runs yesterday. This morning I made it 11 miles, including two sets of four hill repeats.

While it looks like temps will be below zero the next two mornings, it’s supposed to warm up to 20 degrees on Friday and Saturday. Hopefully I can motivate myself to a 20 mile run too.

Oh yeah, this doesn’t really go with anything, but I weighed myself before and after putting on my -10 degree running outfit; 143 pounds vs. 151 pounds - eight pounds of gear. I thought about adding up the dollar amount of gear, but thought better of it. I’d like to at least THINK running is an inexpensive sport.

Quote of the day;

“Other people may not have had high expectations for me…but, I had high expectations for myself.” – Shannon Miller

Monday, February 12, 2007


Last week was a rollercoaster of motivation regarding running. On Wednesday, I really thought I was going to get back to the 80 mile range for the week. However, things went downhill in a hurry. I only managed 49 miles for the week.

Wednesday night I ended up staying up till midnight trying to start my brother-in-law’s car. He and his wife went on a trip and left their car at our house. We ended up getting it going, but not until I “lost” 3 hours of sleep. I made half of that up by not running Thursday morning.

No problem, I’d just run in the evening. Wrong. I’ve been unmotivated about getting on the treadmill in the evenings lately. By 8:30 I was asleep. That means I put a big goose egg in the log book for Thursday.

Friday I was able to get out in the morning, but only managed 6 miles. No problem, I’d just add another run in the evening. Wrong!

Luckily, everything was lining up for a nice, long solo run on Saturday. I’ve wanted to get back in the 18-20 mile range and Saturday I had the time to do it. I just didn’t have the desire and I’m blaming it on the weather. Due to family commitments I had to start my run at 8:30, when it was still 10 below. I’m getting so fucking tired of 10 below. I read that we’ve had like 12-13 days in-a-row where morning temps have been below zero – the longest stretch in 8 years. I’m to the point where I can only handle 8-10 miles before going crazy. Saturday it was 8.

Sunday afternoon it actually got up to 20 degrees, but it felt like 50. So what did I do? I ran for 2 hours. ON THE TREADMILL. Don’t feel bad, I was watching Track & Field, along with highlights from the national x-c meet, so the 16 miles went by fairly quickly.

Speaking of the national meet, congrats to Elliot Heath for winning the junior race – the same day his brother broke 4 minutes for the mile - and Jason Lehmkuhle for securing the final qualifying spot on the world team. My favorite male and favorite female runners just missed qualifying. Andrew Carlson just missed qualifying too, here he shows how muddy the course was – in case you couldn’t tell from the previous photos.

Finally, here's a photo of Katie and two of Jason that were sent to me for posting. Thank, Heidi.

Quote of the day;

“There is always room for improvement, you know – it’s the biggest room in the house.” – Louise Heath Leber

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


More of the same. Another 10-mile run this morning - just without yesterday's hills. The weather still sucks. It’s finally warming up to nearly double digits in the afternoon. However, that does me little good when I’m running at 5:30 AM. At least it wasn’t snowing today.

My string of interviews has hit a slow patch. I guess I shouldn’t have posted 3 interviews within a week. Oh well, I could sit on them to space them out, but that doesn’t seem right either. With cross-country nationals this weekend, I may try and contact some of the Team USA Minnesota runners again – especially if they run well. I think the key with them is going to be keeping the interviews short-and-sweet. 15 questions is probably a little over-the-top. They’re probably more likely to respond to 5-10 questions. At least that’s my new theory. Or would it be hypothesis?

Since I don’t have anything else exciting to talk about, I thought I’d share a new project I’m working on. Here’s the introduction;

In the last issue of RunMinnesota I posted a “want ad” seeking runners with interesting stories that I could track throughout 2007. Think of it as Reality TV, in print. What my in-box was lacking in quantity of respondents was more than made up for by the quality of the respondents.

Each of the seven runners that replied has a unique story that is unlike the others in the group. We have a new mom, first time marathoners, Olympic Trials hopefuls, college students, triathletes, etc. You name it and I think this group has it. This article serves as a quick introduction of these runners and their stories I’ll be tracking throughout the year.

It’s not uncommon for runners to miss a race here or there due to injuries, but how about missing an entire racing season? That’s what happened to Amanda, 27 of Circle Pines, MN in 2006. We’ll track her physical and mental recovery, as she plans on running two marathons this year, Grandma’s and Twin Cities.

While Karen, 45, of Moorhead, MN has been running for 33 years, it took her 31 years before she ran her first marathon. In her second attempt, she qualified for Boston. This April she will toe-the-line in Hopkinton for her first Boston Marathon.

Last July, Marc, 41, of Fargo, ND was “stricken with adult-onset athleticism.” At the time he tipped the scale at 295 pounds. He has since lost 50 pounds and plans on losing another 75 pounds. Along the way, he’ll be running his first marathon.

Keenan, 23, of Mankato, MN is looking to “take steps toward getting back to a decent level” of running. We all know “a decent level” is relative from runner to runner. For this college student, it means sub-15 and sub-32 for 5K and 10K, respectively.

After giving birth to her first child last August, Kerry, 26, of Oronoco, MN feels in “better shape than ever.” She will be training for two half Ironman events and two marathons this year. Her biggest challenge will be time management, as her husband is also a triathlete who’s training for Ironman Wisconsin.

Speaking of triathletes, Braden, 40, of St. Louis Park, MN is training for his first Ironman in August. The newly minted masters runner is also a Clydesdale, weighing in at 205 pounds. In the fall he will be looking to garner his first Boston qualifier in 14 attempts.

Last but not least, Angie, 30, of Minneapolis, MN would like to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon by running 2:47. That means the UM medical student will have to shave 11 minutes off her personal record. We’ll follow along to see if her “ambition outweighs her talent”, as she has said.

There you have it, the seven runners that I’ll be tracking throughout the year. We’ll laugh. We’ll cry. We’ll vote people off. Oh wait, we won’t be voting people off. However, we’ll do our best to chronicle their unique, ever-evolving stories throughout the year. Stay tuned.

Chad Austin, 37, of Apple Valley, MN has never given birth, never weighed more than 160 pounds and has never had a shot at qualifying for the Olympic Trials Marathon. He has run Boston, he has completed an Ironman and he has been injured.

Quote of the day;

“Sports is life with the volume turned up.” – Barry Mano

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Last night I jumped on the treadmill for an easy 5 miles. I watched CBS’s uber-hyped “Rules of Engagement” and actually liked it. Of course, all the funny lines were used in the commercials, so we’ll see if they can keep it up.

This morning I was back outside for a 10 mile run, including 2 sets of 4 hill repeats. While I find it difficult to do up-tempo runs in this weather, I have no problem doing hill workouts – probably because I’m not focused on speed at all, just strength. Plus, I find the miserable weather (-20 windchill with flurries) and the misery of hill repeats kind of cancel themselves out. When I get tired of the weather, I think about the hills. When I get tired of the hills, I think about the weather.

I think I figured out part of the problem with running in this weather – I don’t do it enough. Not in the sense that I enjoy it and want to do it more, but in the sense that I don’t do it enough, so I haven’t figured out the proper attire. Believe it or not, this usually leads to being overdressed – except for my face. I’m really not a fan of facemasks, so my body tends to be toasty while my face just goes numb.

This morning’s attire included wind briefs, two pairs of pants, half tights, two long sleeve shirts, my thickest jacket, a vest, two hats, socks and shoes (duh), and mitts. Or should I say MITTS?

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally figured out the glove/mitt situation for negative temps/windchills. I wear a pair of fleece running mitts under a pair of rawhide choppers that include a liner – a total of 3 layers. I tried a fourth layer last Saturday and it was too much. But if I ever run when it’s minus forty or minus fifty, my hands will be set.

Quote of the day;

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it: the whole story doesn’t show.” – Andrew Wyeth, American painter

Monday, February 05, 2007


Friday I ended up running two easy 5 mile runs. I thought for sure I was only going to get one in. After putting the girls to bed, I started to get comfortable in front of the TV. At 9 PM I started watching a new show and just said, “Screw it. If I’m going to watch this, I might as well be on the treadmill.” As an added bonus, if I run on the treadmill at night, I’m usually pretty good about throwing in some crunches and strength work afterwards. Now I’m not going to win any Mr. Olympia awards, but it beats “wishing” I were doing strength work.

Saturday, Jenna and Kim were silly enough to join me (or maybe I was silly enough to join them) when the windchill had to have been at least -25 degrees. We ended up running 16 miles at a hair under 7:20 pace. Given all the clothes I had on, I was surprised by the pace. At least we were smart enough to run into the wind at the start of the run – giving us a nice 8 mile stretch with the wind (mostly) at our backs. We all agreed it wasn’t that bad, but we also agreed that having company definitely helped.

That gave me 74 miles for the week on. I just can’t seem to get over the 80 mpw hump – it’s been 5 weeks now. Hopefully this cold snap will pass early this week and I can get back into that range. I need to get my long runs back to at least 18 miles too. I had two 18 milers in December and one 19 miler in January.

I started this week off with 10 miles on the treadmill while watching the second half of the Superbowl. I thought the game was entertaining, although I never really felt Chicago was really in it. As for the ads, I thought the CareerBuilder ads were the best; “Last man standing gets THE promotion.” All you Garmin owners should write a letter to the company and ask where your hard-earned dollars are going. They’re certainly NOT going to the advertising department. The guy turning into a robot and blowing up the “map monster” was the absolute worst.

Quote of the day;

“The cool wind blew in my face, and all at once, I felt as if I had shed dullness from myself.” – Burl Ives, American musician

Friday, February 02, 2007


A bunch of the Team USA Minnesota runners have updated their journals recently;

Andrew Carlson

Brad Lowery

Katie McGregor

Carrie Tollefson


Well, I think Bart and Richard asked the $64,000 questions yesterday;

Bart: “How do you interpret running 39 seconds faster than last year? Do you feel you're in better shape this year and ready for a great racing season, or do you feel the tempo runs have you closer to your peak earlier in the season?”
Yes, I feel I’m more fit than last year and that I’m ready for a great racing season. One of my initial thoughts after the race was, “Let’s not fuck this [the 2007 racing season] up now.”

I’ve been willing to give up some mileage this winter, if it means making it past April healthy. For those new to my blog, I was running record mileage last year and racing very well in the spring. I got injured in early April and missed Grandma’s Marathon.

One thing I’ve seen a lot lately is that there’s a difference between “running” and “training.” I know during the winter I get into a rut of training. I’ll go months with a lot of miles, but zero quality. By quality, I’m talking about tempo/steady state/strong aerobic – whatever you want to call them – runs. I get into this comfort zone where all my miles are done at 8:30-9:00 pace, which is MP + 2:00. Granted there’s weather and clothing to deal with, but that’s still relatively “slow.”

This year I actually felt stronger during the last 5K of the half marathon than I did last year, when I was running more miles. Mike’s been talking about muscle fiber recruitment lately and maybe that’s what happened; while I wasn’t running as many miles, I was recruiting different muscle fibers by doing harder runs once a week.

No, I don’t think tempo runs have me closer to my peak. It’s February 2nd, I had better not be close to my peak yet!!!
Richard: “Do you think from year to year 39 seconds can be chalked up to training, luck, attitude or perhaps just mentally being in the right place at the right time?”
I don’t know if people think 39 seconds is a big deal or not – heck it’s only 3 seconds per mile. That’s why I think it helps to have some non-time goals. When I take into account the weather, how strong I felt the last 2-3 miles, negative splitting, etc., I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.

I’m trying to decide if my consistency (1:24:55 in 2002, 1:24:27 in 2005, 1:24:45 in 2006 and 1:24:06 in 2007) is a good thing or bad thing. I guess it’s good that I haven’t slowed down from age 32 to age 37, but I haven’t had a “breakthrough” either.

I’m reminded of a comment I made to the first group of older guys I interviewed. I said something to the affect that, “It sucks to train your ass off and only run 40 seconds faster than the previous year’s time.” One of them said, “Wait till you train your ass off and are HAPPY to run 40 seconds SLOWER than the previous year’s time.” I guess that puts it in perspective.

Quote of the day;

“Unless you perceive yourself as someone who is going to be a good runner, you’re never going to be one.” – Gary Elliott and Allison Roe, Every Runner’s Companion

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I think I have to stop watching the weather reports. The local weather people keep freaking me out with their “Operation: Winter” graphics and talk of a cold snap. To listen to them you’d think zero degrees was the coming of the next ice age. I nearly talked myself out of running this morning because of it. Luckily I was wide awake at 4:45, so I got up and went for a 10-mile run – despite the weather.

I was going to post this yesterday, but I thought answering Mike’s question was a little more exciting. About once a year I get a wild hair…and focus on the mental aspect of the sport. I usually grab a book on the topic off the shelf and dust it off. One of the books has an exercise where you answer a list of questions after each race. I’ve done it in the past and find it beneficial, especially the parts on what did you do well/poorly. So, since I raced last weekend, I thought I’d answer the questions here.

Name of race: Winter Carnival

Date and Time: 1/27/07, 9 AM

Location: St. Paul, Sheppard Road out-and-back

Distance: Half marathon

Competition: Road Race

Weeks (months) since last race: 3+ months

Weather and course conditions: 15 degrees, Mod NW wind, toughest from 5.5 - 6.5

Goals: Time - 1:24 + or - 1 minute. Non-time - Run smart. Don't give up at the end of the race.

Race strategy and possible mishaps and contingencies: Run smart/controlled first half, then pick it up.

Mental preparation strategy: Relaxation, visualized race.

Duration of warm-up and cool-down: 2M w/up and 0M c/d.

Arousal level (1 low, 10 high) on the starting line: 4

Finish time: 1:24:06. Overall pace: 6:25.

Place: 19th out of 1311 overall (1.4%), 19th out of 788 men (2.4%), and 9th out of 233 in 30-39 age group (3.9%).

Splits: 42:25/41:41. 6:20 first mile and 1:04:00 thru 10M.

Things I did well in the race:
Didn't let the weather or the "false start" psych me out.
Great pacing early on (6:20 at the mile). Felt controlled.
Didn't worry about splits, just ran.
Hooked up with Melissa and another guy by mile 2 or 3 and worked together until mile 10.
Ran my own pace up the hills at miles 5 and 10. Didn't worry about the gap that formed – just regrouped on downhill.
Didn't let the first half split of 42:25 bother me. I was confident I could run negative splits.
Passed 8-10 runners during the 2nd half, including 4 in the last mile or so. No one passed me.
"Normally" I'd have been content to finish where I was at, but I kept pushing and passed 4 people at the end.

Things I need to work on:
Found it hard to get a good draft when heading into the wind.
A few negatives thoughts creep in towards the end.
Need to add some affirmations.

Performance rating (1-10). How close did I come to what I was capable of running that day? 8-9
Mentally playback the best parts of the race. Check here___X___

Other comments about the race: 39 seconds faster than last year on less mileage, but more tempos. Dressed just right; long sleeve shirt, arm warmers, fleece vest, thin pants, hat, gloves and mitts. I also usually list times of key competitors and people I know in this space.

Quote of the day;

“Goal setting is not a mind game. It is a process of developing the internal willpower to accomplish what you have set out to do.” – Joan Benoit Samuelson