Friday, August 31, 2007


Alright, I think I’m in a little better mood today. I still have a bunch of odds and ends to get to today

First off, thanks to Don for help with my masthead question.

I found another reason to blog last weekend. The St. Paul Pioneer Press decided to combine their Outdoor and Travel sections. In the process, the local beat writer for running is basically out of a job – at least as it pertains to running articles. Some of his stuff wasn’t my cup of tea and a lot of the race results stuff was already out dated by the time it arrived on Sunday. However, I’ll still miss reading his articles as I relax with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper. Maybe he’ll start a blog instead.

On the good news front, at least if you care about Minnesota running, there’s a new Minnesota Data Running Center website up and running. Right now it’s pretty sparse, but is supposed to be loaded with records this weekend.

With my mental issues lately, here’s a sample of thoughts that have popped in and out of my head lately;

I should just run for fitness.
I should crank it up for 1 more year and see what happens.
I should only run 1 marathon per year.
I should focus on short races.

Usually the thoughts that contradict on another are thought of within 30 seconds of one another, like; I should run 85 mpw these last 3 weeks – all easy, followed by, I should run 50 mpw these last 3 weeks with lots of hard workouts.

Yesterday I took the day off. This morning I ran an easy 5 miles and felt much better than Wednesday. Tomorrow is my alumni 5 mile race. Who knows what to expect?

Quote of the day;

“Runners are brain-washed into their own self-generated orthodoxy about racing and self-worth…I rarely believe you're serious about the tugging and pulling that goes on in your head actually becoming a sea-change of behavior for you.” – Jim Graupner

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Holy cow, lot’s to get to today.

I like the idea of mental toughness, grinding it out when things get really tough, crawling inside my brain and seeing what I’m made of. In reality I’d rather have some confidence boosting workouts leading up to my main race and then feel great on race day. With the marathon, either way there’s going to come a point when you’re going to be tested mentally. Ideally I’d like to postpone that as long as possible. Already having thoughts of a DNS is “probably” not the right mindset to be in at this point. So unless things change drastically in the next 5 weeks, October 7th is going to be a bitch.

Yesterday morning I was tired and talked myself out of a morning run. Luckily the kids were at Grandma’s, so I was able to run right after work. I headed to the local dirt track for a speed workout. I decided to do some 800s and it was really ugly. I managed a whopping 4 reps, ranging from 3:00 to 3:02 with a 400m jog. I can’t even run 6-minute pace for half a mile. Instead of continuously banging my head against the wall, I just pulled the plug and jogged home.

I’m trying to remain positive, but this workout definitely doesn’t help. I guess I’ll attribute it to being tired from Saturday’s MP workout – even though I’ve had 3 easy days since then.

I (almost) don’t even have the energy to talk about the idiot that showed up for his kid's football practice and plopped his chair into lane one. As I passed the chair the first time, he’s standing next to it. I thought maybe he didn’t see me, no big deal, now he'll move it. The next time I passed the chair, he’s sitting in it! Oh yeah, he was the first one there for the practice – no one else was there. It never fails when I do a workout on a track like this, someone is always sitting in lane one, walking back-and-forth without looking, or some kid is running alongside taunting me. Back to the prairie path from now on.

Speaking of idiots, I went out at lunch the other day. The road by my office is 4 lanes and the speed limit is about 30 – but people drive about 40 on it. Anyway, these two gals were running on the wrong side of the road with their backs to traffic and they were taking up half of the right-hand lane. I know there aren’t any sidewalks, but you can at least run on the correct side of the road – or even in the grass.

Since I’m cranky, how about the worst vanity plates ever; BZ MOM. Yes lady, you’re the only one who’s busy. How do you make it through the day? Let me pull over so you can quickly get where you need to go. Oh and watch out for the two gals running on the wrong side of the road.

For you bloggers that know anything about mastheads, I’m trying to figure out how to shrink one. If you go to my profile page and click on testing123456 – I’d like some advice on how to shrink that image down.

Finally, go check out Matt Gabrielson’s latest journal entry.

Quote of the day;

“I regained some confidence in my training and racing after a few decent races over there. I feel like more than ever that everything counts – EVERYTHING.” – Matt Gabrielson

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


We’re six weeks out from TCM, so I thought I’d go through a status check and compare my current training with my Grandma’s training;

Weekly Mileage; If more is better, than I’m in good shape as the last 7 weeks I’ve averaged 65.6 mpw vs. 61.3. Edge: TCM.

Workouts; Given the condensed timeframe between June and October, I’ve had shorter hill and speed phases. At least with the condensed schedule, I've still run some good workouts. Edge: Even.

Racing; For Grandma’s I had solid 8K and 10K races, as well as two strength building 25K workouts. This weekend would be when I ran my 1:21 half. For TCM I have one 15K under my belt that’s way slower than the races mentioned above (not counting the 25Ks). Edge: Grandma’s.

Mid-week medium-long run; Limited to 12 miles this time, compared to 15 miles last time. Edge: Grandma’s.

Strides; Non-existent this time around. Edge: Grandma’s.

Core strengthening; Non-existent this time around. Edge: Grandma’s.

Mental strength; Just wanting to get this marathon over with vs. feeling like everything is coming together. At least it’s a good thing that mental toughness doesn’t factor into distance running – at least you rarely read about it, so I assume it doesn’t factor in. Edge: Grandma’s.

Now I don’t need to hear about how I’ll feel better and run faster once I’m rested or once the temperatures cool off. I know all that. I’m sure I’ve given that advice out many times.

I’m just trying to illustrate how my mindset can change in just two short months. I have six weeks to sharpen up my body and my mind.

This morning I ran an easy 8 miles - trying to make sure I'm recovered from Saturday's MP workout before doing another speed session.

Quote of the day;

“You’ve got to make up your mind. You’ve got to be determined…you’ve got to have strong motivation. It has to almost be an obsession.” - Walter Stack

Monday, August 27, 2007


It seems like about once every year or two I have a problem with my car keys during a run. The last one I remember, I took my house key with me, but locked my car key in my car. Believe it or not, there were some cops at the coffee shop when I finished my run. I thought luck was on my side and they’d be able to open the door for me. Unfortunately, they couldn’t get it open and I had to call the locksmith. I believe that was a $60 mistake.

Friday’s mistake was less expensive, but no less embarrassing. Evan, who after 7 weeks is already back from New Zealand for a couple of weeks, joined me at 5:45 AM for a nice 10 mile trail run in Hyland Park. Halfway through the run we stopped for water and I decided to use the facilities (i.e. the woods). When we got back to our cars my key was gone. I had placed it in the little pocket inside my shorts. I assume that when I squatted down, it fell out. Now I do this all the time and haven’t had any problems. It was just dumb luck that Evan was with me. He was kind enough to buy me a cup of coffee and then drive my ass to my house and back. Even without much traffic this took about 45 minutes. So a big thanks to Evan.

Saturday I wanted to get in a longer run with some MP work included. Fortunately, I was able to talk a bunch of others (Ed, Jenna, Kim, Evan, Derek, Eric and Erin from Iowa) into joining me for much of the run. I’ve always been an advocate of training with people that are faster than you. I figure if you’re at all competitive, they’ll help push you to better fitness. If not, you’ll probably just curl up in the fetal position and die. Well, I’m not dead, so hopefully my fitness level is better.

One thing is certain, this group of 2:40 – 2:50 marathoners (not counting Ed’s 2:25 potential) definitely make things look easy. After a two easy miles the pace started to drop as miles 3 and 4 were run in 14-flat. Things gradually got a little quicker after that with a 6:50 and a few miles right around 6:40. Somewhere along the way I remember seeing a 6:27. That’s when I decided to back off and run my own workout. After 10 miles we stopped for water. Then I ran 3 more miles around 6:40 pace before shutting it down and jogging the remaining 4 miles. All told, I ran 17 miles with 9 at 6:40 pace. That run gave me 72 miles for the week on 6 runs. It sounds more impressive than it is because I ran long on Sunday (instead of my usual Saturday), so I had a 20 and a 17 mile run within the same 7 day period. Normally those would be 8 days apart.

I don’t know what it was about this particular MP workout, but my hamstrings were incredibly sore yesterday. I ended up taking the day off, more so because I spent 6 hours staining my mother-in-law’s deck, than because of the hamstrings. I foam rolled my hamstrings last night, but they were still really sore this morning. I somehow slugged my way through 5 miles.

Quote of the day;

“I don’t really like to run. Doing it for five hours and 12 minutes made that much worse. But it’s the challenge and it proved very worthwhile.” – Scott Sherman

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I haven’t really been in the mood to write much lately; no interview questions, no articles and not even any interesting blog entries. Not sure if it’s a “dog days of summer” funk or what. But I did receive a really nice email yesterday from a local runner saying how much he enjoyed my blog and how it helped motivate him. So thanks to Brian for that. Maybe it’s the kick in the pants I need to make it to September.

Yesterday I headed back to the prairie loop in Hyland Park for another speed workout. This time I did 5 x “1K”. Basically I ran hard for 3:30 and recovered for 2:30. I tried to mimic a x-c workout we did in college called “recover on the run.” The first 300m or so of each K has a couple of hills that I try to run up controlled but strong. At the top of the hill I spend the next 100m sucking as much air as possible while trying to “recover on the run”. See how that ties in with the title of the workout? After recovering, focus switches to worrying about my form. It’s nothing magical, but it comes in handy during the x-c season when the terrain is constantly changing. With a couple mile warm-up and cool-down, I ended up with 10 miles on the day.

This morning I just ran an easy 5 mile recovery run. I actually brought a camera with me to take some photos of the prairie loop, however, it was so foggy, I doubt the photos will turn out.

Here’s Andrew Carlson’s latest journal entry. I think it’s time for someone to remind the other athletes to update their journals. One entry every 2-3 months really isn’t too much to ask for. Is it?

Quote of the day;

“I guess for awhile I just got a life beat down and I finally started hitting back.” – Andrew Carlson

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I’m not really sure why I’m blogging today, since there’s not much going on. I ended up taking yesterday off. It was one of those things that wasn’t really planned, but given the 20 miler the day before, I didn’t really mind. This morning I ran an easy 10 miles in Hyland Park.

I not usually one for gear review, but I bought some new shoes recently that I really like. If you like neutral cushioned shoes, like the Asics Landreth or Cumulus or Adidas Supernova Cushion, then check out the Asics Stratus. I only have a few runs on mine, but so far I really like them.

Speaking of shoes, since I don’t have anything else to say, here’s a little article I wrote for a local newsletter.

There’s no easy way to say this, so I’m just going to come right out with it. I like shoes. Yes, I’m a guy and I like shoes.

I’m not exactly sure when it started, but it was probably when I was in junior high school. At first it was mainly basketball shoes. But when I reached high school as a 5’ 2” freshman weighing 92 pounds, the hopes of any kind of future in basketball were, as they say, “Slim and none – and Slim just left.” Luckily I started running at an early age and was able to turn my shoe obsession towards running shoes. It didn’t matter if they were training shoes, racing flats or cross-country spikes; I had my favorites over the years. While I have no idea how many pairs of running shoes I’ve had over the years, there are definitely some that stand out more than others. Here’s a look back at some that come to mind.

Even though it was nearly 28 years ago, I still remember my first pair of running shoes; Brooks Vantage. They were a “lovely” shade of royal blue with a white stripe. The stripe was made out of vinyl and it would crack and peel apart. While they weren’t the most fashionable shoes ever, I still remember them to be the most comfortable shoes I ever owned. Maybe that’s just because, up to that point, I was used to either running around barefoot or wearing baseball cleats at that age – any running shoe would’ve felt great.

Growing up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, there weren’t a lot of options for buying shoes. I can’t remember the Shoe Shack ever carrying a pair of running shoes and Watland’s wasn’t much better. We either had to make a road trip to Duluth to buy our running shoes, or order them through the mail via those market place ads in the back of Runner’s World.

Imagine my surprise one day when I walked into Watlund’s and not only found a pair of running shoes on the shelf, but a pair of the all-time great racing flats. The Nike Eagles were gray and black and they were the lightest shoe I had ever felt. They were my first must have pair of shoes. It didn’t matter that the closest size was a half size too small. I made them fit!!!

As a growing 12 or 13 year old, you can imagine these already too small shoes didn’t last too long. Luckily for me, Nike came out with an even better racing flat – maybe the best ever; American Eagles. As the name implies, these were red, white and blue. How could any all-American boy say no to them? I couldn’t. I had to have them. They were so awesome I ended up with two pairs over the years.

By now I was running high school cross-country, so of course, I needed to have a pair of spikes. Now the Nike Flames may not be on the all-time-best-spikes-ever list, but they are the top of the coolest-looking-running-shoes-ever list. As you may guess from the name, they were yellow at the toe, orange in the forefoot and red in the heel. Now that I think about it, I can remember wearing these to class on occasion. I’d be slipping all over the hallways due to the plastic spike plate under the toe box. Unfortunately, I forgot these shoes at a track meet one day; otherwise I’d probably be wearing them to work on casual Fridays.

Before joining the Navy, I bought a pair of Nike Air Max to wear during boot camp. When I got out of the service four years later, I was still wearing Nike Air Max – the same pair! It’s probably no wonder I was so beat up during my first year of college. Running shoes were not meant to last for four years – even if it appears that they haven’t worn out yet.

Believe it or not, this is not an ad for Nike. In college I went through a phase where I only wore Adidas, because they were not Nike. Now I care much less about brand and more about fit. Coolness is towards the bottom of the list. And I can’t remember my last must have pair of shoes.

Although I’ve (probably) scaled back my emotional attachment to shoes, now that I’m an adult, I still enjoy when it’s time to get that new pair of running shoes. If there’s ever a reason to run more miles, it’s to buy more shoes. Right? Well maybe not, but I’m sure Adam and the staff at TC Running Company would like us to think like that.

Quote of the day;

“The hard part isn’t the work. It’s knowing what not to do, and why, and for how long – then heeding those limits.” – Joe Henderson

Monday, August 20, 2007


This will be a quick update. Friday I ran an easy 5 mile recovery run. That afternoon I drove to my parent’s house in Ashland, Wisconsin. Here’s a photo or two if you’re not familiar with Ashland. The second photo shows Ashland in relationship to Duluth, Minnesota. That line that represents Highway 61 also represents the Grandma's Marathon course. And back in the early '80s there was actually a 2 lap marathon on Madeline Island (see the first map).

Saturday I ran by every school I went to, every house I lived in, every park I ever played it, etc. That took about 5 miles. For the other 5 miles, I just ran down Main Street and added on part of the Whistlestop Marathon course. This run gave me 68 miles for the week.

Since I missed Saturday’s group run, I ended up going long yesterday. While I love the group runs, it sure is nice to go out for a solo 20 miler and be able to run your own pace. After about 70 minutes in the mist, the skies opened up and it poured for the next 90 minutes. I was a little worried because I was deep in the woods at Lebanon Hills without any ID. With all the rain recently, I was just waiting for a tree to fall on my head. Anyway, out of the 20 miles, I spent 2 of them on a golf course, 2 on the roads and 16 on the trails. Best of all, I didn’t see a soul - the entire run!!!

Recently, I mentioned the 30-day free trial I received for Accelerade sports drink. Unlike other sports drinks, their’s contains protein. That made me curious about trying their gels, which also contain protein. I took two during my long run and was really happy with them. I usually find other brand’s flavors, other than plan or vanilla, to be really sweet. However, I tried Accelerade’s Kiwi-Strawberry and Orange flavors and I didn’t find them overly sweet. They were easy on my stomach and seemed to work as well as any other gel that I’ve tried. It looks like I’ll be carrying a few of these with me at TCM.

Quote of the day;

“I somehow sensed that the marathon sprang from greatness to inspire greatness.” – Dorthy Deslongchamps

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Well, if nothing else, my last couple posts have generated some good comments, emails and discussions. I hope nobody thought I was going to jump out the window or anything. I haven’t gotten to that point – yet. As I mentioned in at least one comment, other than Sunday’s race, I feel fine. I’m not achy, exhausted or generally uninspired to run - yet.

Yesterday I ran a nice 12 miler, partially on the local golf course and partially in Lebanon Hills Park. This morning I woke up to slightly cooler temperatures (65 degrees), which aided my first speed session in this training cycle. I ran 9 miles including 6 x “600” meters. 600 is in quotes because I run these on a grass loop in Hyland Park, rather than on the track. It’s more important for me to get in some quality at a certain perceived effort, rather than go to a track and worry about hitting exact splits.

On another note: You know you’re starting to get old when all the sport stars are the same age as you. The next thing you know, they’re all 10 years younger than you. Well now I find myself interviewing guys that are 20 years younger than me. Check out my latest interview to see what I’m talking about.

Quote of the day;

“I’ve always believed that in big championship races you have to do what you think gives you the best chance at winning the race.” - Elliott Heath

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I’m still thinking about Sunday’s race and my training. I haven’t hammered anything out yet, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to add in a short speed phase. If nothing else, it’ll help me prepare for my alumni 5 mile race on September 1st. And as much as I’d like to try bumping my mileage into the 70-80 mpw range, comparing Grandma’s to Chicago, I don’t think that’s the right thing to do at this point. I seem to run better off that mileage when it’s just at an easy base building pace. However, when I combine that mileage with hills and hard workouts, it seems to wear me down.

Now that’s my short-term answer. Long-term, I want to build more mileage this winter, like 85-100 mpw. I just think that’s the only way I’m going to have any kind of breakthrough. It’s either that or try an approach that has me touching on all the different systems throughout the year. That sounds great, but with our winters, I just don’t know if I could pull that off.

I’m also trying to remind myself that I’m fitter than my 15K time. And if nothing else, last year’s 1:29:43 half marathon in August, followed by a 2:58:57 at Chicago should be enough to convince me that some races are meaningless.

Yesterday I ran an easy 6 miles. This morning I ran a nice 10 mile trail run in Hyland Park. I’m not sure if it was the storms that passed through last night or what, but Hyland smelled like Lemon Pledge in some places.

Quote of the day;

“Life is a desperate struggle to succeed in being in fact that which we are in design.” – Jose Ortegay Gasset

Monday, August 13, 2007


Is it okay to hate your birth month? I truly despise August. Maybe I should rephrase that; I truly despise racing in August. Yesterday I ran a 15K, which happened to be my first race since Grandma’s. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. I averaged 6:30 pace. To put it another way, that’s 5 seconds per mile slower than I ran for 3.8 more miles in January.

Intuitively, “training through” some races makes sense. You can’t taper for ever race and expect to be in your best shape for your key race. But why does it have to be so fucking painful? And seriously, it’s not like a 75-mile week should leave me feeling totally spent – during my warm-up.

And I don’t mind a reality check in the form of a bad race every once in awhile – except when it makes me rethink everything I’m doing. Thoughts after the race covered the spectrum from wanting to cut my hard workouts and increase my mileage even more to wanting to cut my mileage and add more speed.

I think most people’s initial reaction would be to train harder, but I don’t know if that’s the right response. Looking back at last year, I ran a half marathon in August that was also my first race in months. I bombed that by barely breaking 1:30. Afterwards, I ran a few weeks between 75-80 miles and did lots of tempo and MP workouts – all which led to a so-so Chicago Marathon.

When I compare that training to what worked for Grandma’s, I see fewer miles (60 mpw with 1 day off every week) and more speedwork. Recently I posted that I responded better to more tempos and more MP workouts. Maybe I’m underestimating what speedwork does for me. Maybe I just hate doing speedwork and that’s why I tend to avoid it.

Another thing that has changed is that I’ve tried to get in more quality within each week. If you remember back a few weeks, I posted that I only averaged 1.7 hard runs per week in the 6 months prior to Grandma’s. Since that post, I’ve average 2.7 hard runs per week. On top of that, there was a stretch where I was only getting 6.5-7 hours of sleep a night. I need at least an hour more than that.

Here are the results. This race was added to the team series, that’s why you see so many awesome times for such a small race. It’s also why you see so many state age records. I came in 75th out of 191 runners and even worse, if you look at the age-graded results.

Quote of the day;

“The object of the game in racing is to find the pace that you can just hold, that you think is going to kill you but that doesn’t – quite. This is a species of self-torture that makes nonexercisers mumble the word ‘sick,’ but I don’t think it is.” – John Jerome

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Another quick update; yesterday I ran two easy 5 mile recovery runs. This morning I did another hill workout; 10 miles, including 2 sets of 4 repeats.

Here’s my latest interview.

Since that’s all I have time for, here’s the latest article I wrote regarding the series of runners I’ve been following this year.

Reality Runners by Chad Austin

This is part three in a four part series where we’ve been following seven local runners. Each issue we feature one or two of the runners and give brief updates on the others. In this issue we’re featuring Angie Voight as she sets her sites on qualifying for the Olympic Trials Marathon and Kerry Rosane who discovering what it’s like to compete again after giving birth to her first child.

When we first met Angie Voight, she had just run a 2:58 marathon PR and was setting her sites on the women’s Olympic Trials standard of 2:47. With the women’s race scheduled for next April in Boston; that meant she basically had one year to drop 11 minutes. Last we heard from Angie, she was preparing to run Grandma’s Marathon after setting a bunch of PRs at shorter distances during the spring.

When asked about her Grandma’s Marathon performance, she said, “I thought it went okay. Not great, but okay.” On a day where temperatures were 65 at the start, under bright blue skies, it’s no surprise that many runners struggled. Angie was smart enough to realize early on that she wouldn’t be able to run as fast as she wanted to. Instead of forcing things, she focused on staying relaxed and running even splits. She was rewarded with a PR of 2:54:54.

Angie’s long-term plan has been to slowly chip away at the Olympic Trials standard. And while she’s happy to have done that during her last two marathons, she realizes that she needs something more, saying “I’m chipping away at a slower rate than I would like. I have to have a breakthrough performance if I’m going to be at the trials.” To help get that breakthrough, she’s been focusing on the workouts that have been the hardest for her in the past; long workouts at tempo and marathon pace. Luckily, Angie is able to train with other runners that are also shooting for the Olympic Trials, which helps her train harder than she could by herself.

Next on Angie’s schedule is the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, followed by a winter marathon on “a fast course.” In order to continue her improvement, she’ll have to figure out the transition from medical school to residency, as she graduated in May and started her “real job” two days after Grandma’s Marathon. Currently, being on overnight call seems to be Angie’s biggest challenge. As she puts it, “I like my sleep. I like my own bed.” Originally, she thought she could just not run the days after she was on-call. However, she realized, that alone would mean 70 days of missed training during the year.
Instead, she says, “I’ve decided that this year I’ll run when I can, sleep when I can, eat when I can and see what happens.”

Part of Angie’s motivation comes from Carrie Tollefson’s Running Camp, where she was a camp counselor earlier this year. The theme of the camp was “get after it” and that’s become Angie’s theme for the year too. She says, “I'm going to get after it in my training, no matter how hard it is or how tired I feel after a long night of being on call. My goal is to do everything I possibly can to see if I can make it to the Olympic Trials in April.”
In our final installment, we’ll check back in with Angie to see how close she is to achieving her goal.

The day Kerry Rosane found out she pregnant she bought The Complete Book of Running for Women by Claire Kowalchik because it contained a chapter dedicated to running during pregnancy. With advice from this book, along with the okay from her doctor, Kerry ran through her entire pregnancy. While pregnant, she also made a promise to herself to keep running as a priority after her son, Jamison, was born.

Kerry has been able to keep that promise by being flexible, planning ahead, and continuously looking for new ways to make it work. Knowing how important running is to Kerry, her mom bought her a Baby Jogger. This particular model had a car-seat bar, which allows for younger babies to ride along. So within a couple of weeks of giving birth, Kerry had already returned to walking and jogging a couple of miles at a time.

As temperatures cooled down, Kerry and Jamison moved inside. At first Jamison was satisfied with sitting in his swing and watching Kerry run on the treadmill. However, as Jamison aged, Kerry had to become even more flexible and creative with her workouts since he was becoming more active, still not napping for long stretches, and still did not have a very predictable schedule. They added an exersaucer, bouncer, and playpen into the mix. In addition, childcare services at the Rochester Athletic Club allowed Kerry to cross train by spinning and swimming and also allowed Jamison to get used to other caregivers.

When spring arrived, Kerry’s biggest challenge became finding time to bike outside. Kerry’s husband, James, is also a triathlete and they were able to bike together a few times, when we had childcare for Jamison. Otherwise, they had to take turns. Whatever she was doing seemed to be working. She said, “I knew my training was going well because I had set PRs in the 10K and half-marathon and had a decent showing at my first ever bike time trial.”

While those results were reassuring, Kerry’s first ever half Ironman was fast approaching, and to be honest, she found the distance to be a little intimidating. Even with a solid base of aerobic activity, Kerry’s longest ride was 50 miles, without running afterwards. For her race, she’d have to bike 56 miles and run a half marathon afterwards – not to mention the 1.2-mile swim prior to the bike ride. She told people her goal was just to finish, but secretly she wanted to break 6 hours.

The night before the race was her first night away from her son. While that was hard, Kerry actually found it very relaxing and it made the logistics of the race much easier. As you can probably imagine, with a race last 6 hours, things don’t always go as planned. During the swim a buoy broke loose causing Kerry to swim a little further than she planned. The bike course was windy and full of rolling hills. However, Kerry felt strong, so strong that at mile 45, she found her herself passing her husband, even though he started five minutes before her.

Unlike running races, which start in the early morning hours, long-course triathletes tend to start the run portion of their race in the heat of the day. Kerry started her run around noon and temperatures were already in the low 80s. To make matters more challenging, the run course also covered hilly terrain. Like most runners, Kerry hates to walk during any race, but her outlook quickly changed. “My goal became to run between each water station and then walk through those. This strategy lasted until about mile 10 when I remember having the thought that I would rather be going through labor again than finish the race because I was so fatigued! I started walking every couple of minutes,” she said.

Despite the walking, Kerry held on for 10th overall female and first in her age group, as she smashed her goal by 31 minutes and finished in 5:29. Oh yeah, she also beat her husband by 35 minutes, which she “only occasionally rubs in.”

In our last issue, we featured Marc Windahl who shed more than 90 pounds while training for his first marathon. Finishing the Fargo Marathon was definitely the highlight of his first year of running. However, running has been a struggle since then. In addition to the normal soreness following such an event, Marc has had to deal with allergy and hive issues on his feet and ankles. The raw and broken skin associated with these issues caused him to miss some training time. The missed training time led to decreased fitness, which left Marc frustrated with his inability to run similar distances and paces as prior to the marathon.

What better way to break out of those post-marathon blues than by setting a goal to run another marathon? Marc now plans to run the Outterbanks Marathon in November. Although he had to adjust the early part of his training schedule, he’s confident his fitness and motivation will soon turn around.

Following Amanda Bowman for this project has been like riding a roller coaster. I had no sooner finished the last article stating that she would not be running Grandma’s Marathon due to injuries, when she told me she was feeling better and going to give the race a shot. With a lot of bike riding under her belt and a month of running leading up to the race, Amanda was able to finish in 4:05. “I'm so happy with my achievements and how well my legs have recovered. Since May, I've been able to run without pain and my confidence has gone through the roof,” she said.

More importantly, for the first time in a long time, she no longer spends her runs thinking about where the pain is going to come from first. Instead she focuses on her "to do" list and how great it feels to be outside. And even though her running has improved, she’s very careful not to over-train, saying “I still like to hop on my bike two or three times a week and ride for 60-80 miles.” In addition, she continues to build strength in her core, glutes and hamstrings to help prevent re-injury.

Amanda has registered for the MDRA Fall Marathon Training program and has set her sites on the Twin Cities Marathon. “I feel really confident and strong. In fact, I’m going to try to beat my 3:49 PR,” she said.

While Karen Spandl says recovering from the Boston Marathon took longer than normal, it hasn’t seemed to affect her recent racing. After the marathon, she took two weeks off to help her recuperate. Two weeks after that, she PRd at the Fargo Half Marathon by running 1:46:23. June was a lighter training month for Karen. Then she decided to run her first 10K in over 20 years. While her 7:30 first mile felt “too fast”, Karen was able to hold the pace and finish in 46:25. She now has plans to run the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in September and the Disney World Marathon in January.

It’s probably no surprise that someone training for an Ironman triathlon has to deal with some minor nagging injuries along the way. Luckily for Braden Beam, he’s been able to keep them manageable. It’s not surprising either when Braden says, “I’m constantly tired because all I do is train, eat and try to get enough sleep. Although it’s never enough sleep, I still somehow manage my job and my life.” And while he enjoys the training while he’s doing it, he resents the amount of time it has taken away from his life.

Braden has been in the thick of his racing season too, which has included a handful of sprint, Olympic distance and half Ironman triathlons, in addition to the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. The good news is that while he hasn’t tapered for any of these races, he finds himself finishing faster than last year.

Early in the year, Braden was geared up to run a fast fall marathon after completing his Ironman. Now he’s not so sure, saying, “When I'm done with this Ironman, I'm taking a few weeks off to figure out if I really want to run another hard marathon. I'm sort of burned out from all of the years of endurance events.”

In our final part of this series we’ll be featuring Braden, including a report on his Ironman race. In addition, we’ll check back in with our other runners, including Keenan Robbins, who has been AWOL since we featured him in our last issue.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


I have a few other things I’m working on, so I’ll (try to) keep this brief.

I’m back to building my mileage – or at least getting back to 70 miles, like I was before my cutback week. Monday I doubled up with two easy runs; 6 in the morning and 8 in the evening.

Last night I jumped on the treadmill for a marathon-paced workout. Rather than progressively dropping the pace (like the last time I did an MP workout) after my 2-mile warm-up, I went right to 6:40 pace. This was one of those workouts where after about 2 miles at MP I started to question how long I could hold the pace. I really didn’t think I could go the 7-8 miles that I wanted. I think the doubts have more to do with the sound of the treadmill than anything else. It’s not like my legs were tired or that I was breathing hard. It’s just that the sound of the treadmill makes it feel like I’m really hauling ass. Anyway, having run 3 miles at 6:15 pace the week before, I told myself I had to at least make it 6 miles. Once I got 5 miles in at MP, my doubts went away. I dropped the pace another tenth of a miles to 6:35 and ran two more miles. Add in a mile cool-down and I had 10 miles total, including 7 at 6:39 pace.

This morning I was trying to figure out where that kind of workout fit into my Grandma’s buildup. In early March I was at the end of my hill phase and ran 10 miles with 7 at 6:43 pace. That makes me think I’m in pretty good shape for TCM. While I don’t have 3 months till TCM, my upcoming phases are going to be more condensed than they were leading up to Grandma’s. Besides, 2 months after that March MP workout, I ran my best half marathon in 11 years.

Alright, this is already getting too long. I’ll close with Brad Lowery’s latest journal entry.

Oh yeah, and here’s a photo of what I’d like to look like when I’m in my 60s – hell I’d like to look like that now. (Left to right; Norm, Paul and Jim)

Quote of the day;

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.” – Lewis Carroll

Monday, August 06, 2007


With the girls at Grandma’s (not the marathon) for a sleep-over, I was able to sneak out of work a little early and meet my wife at the movie theater. We watch the “Boren” Ultimatum. Great stuff. If you like the first two, you’ll like this one too.

After being concerned with the pace of last week’s group run, Kim and I decided to meet 30 minutes early on Saturday, in order to get in a warm-up. It definitely helped as the pace was even quicker than last week, but overall the run felt easier. I managed to get in 18 miles at about 7:20 pace.

My latest interviewee joined us for this run. That was nice because it was the most I’ve ever talked to him. Anyway, this run gave me 54 miles for my cutback week.

On my way home I stopped at the library and happened to come across this article on a guy that graduated from UW-EC the year before I got there. You don’t see that every day.

Warning: the next sentence has two words that should never appear together. Yesterday I spent about 5 hours hunched over a pressure washer as I stripped my mother-in-law’s deck. The work is not that hard, but I was pretty tired once I got home and I ended up not running. That’s not really what I had in mind for the start of a week where I hope to build my 70 miles from two weeks ago. But that’s alright. Remember, life doesn’t always fit into nice little 7-day buckets called "weeks". I’ll do what I can.

Quote of the day;

“Back then, we figured once you hit thirty, it was time to hang it up. I trained hard and quick. I didn’t really enjoy running, like most people today do. Training runs were just another entry in my logbook.”Perry Bach

Friday, August 03, 2007


It’s kind of ironic that during my drive to work on Wednesday, comedian Doug Stanhope was talking about how the media likes to sensationalize everything. Usually people say that and then follow it up by saying it’s because fear sells. Doug follows it up saying it’s because people realize their lives are boring; we’re not going to get caught in the middle of a gang shoot out or killed by terrorism, etc. His basic argument is people want to believe that something sensational will happen to their boring lives – rather than believe that they really have a much greater chance of dying without anything of significance happening to them.

Of course, that evening the 35W Bridge collapsed. While I wasn’t directly affected, it still hits a little too close to home. It hit even closer to home when one of the first people reported dead was a father of 6 and 4-year-olds. That’s how old my kids are. Damn! I can’t even imagine.

Talking about my running seems a little strange when my thoughts are with the people affected by this terrible event, so I’ll just give a brief update.

Yesterday I ran 8 miles, including 6 hill repeats up Bush Lake Road. Overnight the dew point dropped and I had a really nice 10-mile trail run this morning.

Quote of the day;

“It’s just developing the attitude that nothing can stop you.” – Ron Hill

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


A day off on Sunday followed by an easy 5 miles on Monday equals fresh legs on Tuesday. Fresh legs equal a solid tempo run; 3 mile warm-up, 3 miles at 6:15 pace (started at 6:20 and dropped to 6:07), 2 mile cool-down. I’ll take it.

This run gave me 253 miles for July, not bad considering I only had 34 miles after the first week. I ran 28 days and had 2 doubles. No races.

Today I started my 38th year with an easy 5 mile run. I was going to push this back till tonight, however, I was wide awake at 5:15, so I decided to just get the run over with.

A few weeks ago I talked about an email offer I received from someone at Accelerade. The deal was basically, “We’ll send you a 30-day supply for free if you agree to talk as much or as little as you’d like in our online community.” I signed up and received 30 ready-to-drink bottles. I thought that was a little surprising, given how much it cost to ship them. Sending the powder mix would make more sense, but I guess they wanted to give exposure to more flavors.

If I’m not drinking water during workouts, I’ll usually take Gatorade or Powerade – they’re both the same to me. After workouts/races I’ve also used Endurox, because of its 4:1 carb to protein ratio. My understanding of Accelerade is that, while it also boasts this 4:1 ratio, it’s more geared towards using during workouts/races. With that in mind, I have used it during some of my harder tempo runs lately – with no ill G.I. affects.

All of the favors (Fruit Punch, Mountain Berry, Peach Mango and Citrus Grapefruit) I’ve tried are pretty good. I’d say I like the taste better than Endurox, but not as good as Gatorade or Powerade.

Now I have no idea whether or not the drink, as the label hypes, “significantly extended my exercise endurance, sped muscle recovery and improved rehydration” as compared to other sports drinks. I wish I had that kind of connection with my body, but I don’t. That doesn’t mean I didn’t find it helpful, it just means I think I’d get a better sense of its effectiveness over longer, harder workouts/races. Overall, I do think I’ve had more success with gels than with sports drinks, so I’m interested in trying their gels, which also have protein in them.

The company seems to be spending huge money on advertising lately, which seems to be paying off based on conversations I’ve had with a few running store employees. Their biggest obstacle will be getting their product onto race courses. Seriously, it doesn’t really matter how great your product is, if I can't get it during the race, what good does it do me? My hope it that they can get their foot in the door with Grandma’s Marathon, seeing how they offer Ultima on the course – something that couldn’t even be given away at a local running store.

Quote of the day;

“If we can’t beat this guy on his honeymoon, we never will.” – Cary Weisiger, on Peter Snell’s California tour in 1963