Wednesday, April 30, 2008


My tight hamstring is feeling better. I had a tough time getting at it with a foam roller, so I took “the stick” to it a couple of nights ago and woke up feeling a lot better.

I’ve been hitting the trails in Hyland Park every morning and enjoying the cool (30-40 degrees) temps and the early morning sunrise. Yesterday I ran 7 miles and today I made it 10. Today was the first time I was able to just relax and have a nice easy run – rather than trying to exercise some Boston demons or trying to whip myself into shape for TCM in just one run. Not that I was running overly fast earlier in the week – it’s just that my mind was running 100 mph, thinking about Boston and TCM.

It seems like I got a lot of the "look on the brightside" comments after Boston. I understand what people are saying and I'm sure I react the same way after others have a poor race. However, believe it or not, it's okay to be disappointed. It's not like I'm going to jump off a bridge or something. I'll just use it as motivation to train better this summer.

The other day I mentioned Chelle’s awesome PR. At the time she didn’t have her Race Report posted. It’s up now, so be sure to check it out.

Also, all along I said the women’s trials were pretty wide open and that someone could come out of no where and claim a spot on the team. Well, no one did, but Tera Moody came close as she PR’d by 13 minutes to finish in 5th place. Check out Alison’s interview HERE.

If that’s not enough, you can also check out my latest interview.

Finally, who says running is not a contact sport? (Photo by Shawn Price)

Quote of the day;

“I actually was disappointed with my race in the Human Race. I thought I did not execute that race the way I would have liked. I did not challenge myself enough mentally and physically to do my best.”Rase Troup

Monday, April 28, 2008


Well, apparently I can’t follow Hal Higdon’s advice of doing nothing for the week after the marathon. I made it 5 days without running, but yesterday I was itching to run. Maybe it was because I watched the women’s trials on MSNBC earlier in the day or perhaps it was because I saw that Chelle PR’d at the Louisville Marathon. She’s proof the perseverance and hard work pay off.

In any case, I went out for a nice 7 mile trail run yesterday and 6 easy miles this morning. My right hamstring is really tight. It bothered me a little before Boston, but not enough to do anything about. I’m trying to foam roll it out, as I don’t want to have this linger all summer long.

Right now my plan is to follow Daniels’ 24-week program for TCM. The first six weeks are base-building – of which the first week was recovery from Boston. I haven’t followed one of Daniels’ programs since 2001 when I dropped my (very soft) marathon PR from 3:17 to 3:03 in one race. I don’t foresee another 14-minute drop in my future, but I think it’s realistic to believe I could run in the low 2:50s. So, here we go again…another training cycle. I feel like I’m ready to prepare for a fast fall marathon.

One note regarding the MSNBC coverage; Overall, I thought it was pretty good. However, this was the Olympic Trials, which means that the top-3 places matter. Although they covered the battle for third a little bit, they failed to mention much about it during the last 10K of the race. They showed Blake leading fourth place by 7 seconds with 10K to go and then showed her coming into the finish. How about a little update from time to time? Of course, I was there so it’s not a big deal to me.

Quote of the day;

“The will to win is nothing without the will to prepare.” – Juma Ikangaa

Friday, April 25, 2008


Well, either yesterday’s trivia question was incredibly tough, or no one gives a damn. In case you missed it, here was the question;

If you look at this year’s top-3 finishers, what is unique about their performances when you compare them to the women’s trials in 2004? Hint: focus on the top-5 finishers from 2004.
To help you out, here are the results from 2004;

1 – Colleen De Reuck
2 – Deena Kastor
3 – Jen Rhines
4 – Blake Russell
5 – Magdalena Lewy Boulet

Since De Reuck withdrew due to injury and Rhines decided to focus on the track this year, it means that the top-3 returning finishers from 2004 were the top-3 finishers in 2008.

Maybe it’s just me, but that seems like a pretty cool stat. I’d guess that that’s never happened before in any trials – men’s or women’s. Heck, maybe it’s never happened in any other event either. I’m too lazy to research it.

Anyone else think Deena's outfit in the photo above looks out of place? And where are her flowers? It looks like she went back to the hotel and showered while everyone else was still on the course. Come to think of it, that's entirely possible with Deena.

Awhile ago Ryan posted that he wasn’t sure he could PR on Boston’s course – based on what he’d heard/read. I commented that while I didn’t PR at my first Boston, I was only 2 minutes away from my qualifying time. Therefore, I think it is possible to run a PR there. This year, after writing that I have no idea how to run that course, Ryan wanted to know if I changed my tune.

Well, I think it’s still possible to run a PR there. Yesterday I pointed out Thea’s and Phillip’s results. And Mike ran a 3-minute PR there. So, yes it’s possible. I guess I just hate seeing someone who’s never seen the course say they can’t run well there because that’s what others have told them.

Ryan, you’re still on the upswing of your running career, PRing nearly every time you lace up your shoes. I think that increases your odds of running a PR there too. Don’t limit yourself based on what you read on some message board or blog.

Quote of the day;

“For a week after your marathon, do nothing.” – Hal Higdon

Thursday, April 24, 2008


All right, let’s play a little trivia. I came across an interesting tidbit last night when I was writing a little recap of the women’s trials. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else, so I thought it’d make for a fun trivia question. I'll provide the answer tomorrow.

If you look at this year’s top-3 finishers, what is unique about their performances when you compare them to the women’s trials in 2004?

Hint: focus on the top-5 finishers from 2004.

While you think about that, here’s a recap of the rest of my trip. I flew into Boston Saturday afternoon and after dinner walked to Fenway Park. I didn’t plan on scalping tickets, but was drawn inside by the mystique of Fenway Park. I almost had as much fun watching the fans as I did the game. They’re definitely a unique bunch. They’re very vocal and social and aren’t afraid to throw the F-bomb around within seconds of meeting someone new.

Sunday was obviously the Olympic Trials Marathon. It’s kind of funny that there wasn’t a single word about the trials mention on any local TV station. However, that didn’t stop spectators from coming out of the woodwork. The scene along the course was absolutely spectacular – far more spectators than in New York City for the men’s trials in November. Although, I’d still put the men’s race ahead of the women’s in terms of drama for actually making the Olympic team.

Watching the strong Minnesota contingent was awesome. A couple ran PRs, some ran average, and a few struggled more than I would have liked to have seen. But that seems to be the case with every marathon; some friends run great, some average, and some struggle.

Speaking of that, I have to give a shout out to Thea and Phillip from P2. After running 3:04 in the heat at last year’s TCM, Thea shaved 7 more minutes from her PR by running 2:57:31 (1:30/1:27 splits). I don’t know what Phillip’s PR was prior to Monday, but I know it wasn’t below 3 hours. He busted through the 3 hour barrier with a 2:55:54.

I don’t know if I’m getting sentimental in my old age or if I was just running so slow, but during Monday’s race I was able to appreciate some of the sites along the way – at least more than during my other previous Boston attempts. And maybe my memory is just fading, but I swear the crowds were much thicker than 2002 and 2004.

As I was thinking about the crowds from the Red Sox game, trials, and Boston Marathon, it dawned on me that they’ve VERY different than fans in the Midwest. I think Midwesterners watch sporting events to be entertained, while East Coasters really become part of the event itself.

Here we clap and say, “Nice job” as the runners go by.

There they clap, scream, and make as much noise as possible to encourage the runners on.

Here we’re more concerned with cheering for people we know.

There they don’t care if they know anyone, they cheer equally for each runner.

The weekend included some celebrity (in the runner-sense) sightings as well, including; Ryan Hall, Alan Webb, Uta Pippig, Scott Douglas, Frank Shorter, Steve Jones, Sonia O’ Sullivan, and The Hoyts.

Finally, here’s an article regarding cheating to get into the Boston Marathon.

Dang, this would have been a great quote of the day on Sunday. That brings up a couple of questions. How did they make their judgement? And did anyone ever get pulled from the start?

“No weaklings will be permitted to start in the marathon tomorrow.”Boston Herald, April 18, 1900

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Obviously, it was a busy weekend with lots going on. I figure I’ll focus on my race report today and then highlight some of the other events throughout the rest of the week.

Near ideal conditions for the race, so I can’t use that as an alibi. The temps were probably 50-60 degrees throughout the day. There was a slight headwind, but I only really sought shelter behind other runners about 3 times throughout the race. It was really cloudy right up until the start of the race and then the sun came out. It made things a little warm at times, but again, I can’t complain about the conditions – although the right side of my body is totally fried from the sun.

Last Thursday I wrote;

I figure I’m in good enough shape to at least give myself a chance to break 3 hours. For example, going out at 7:00 pace and coming through the half in 1:32 is probably not a good idea because I’m not sure I could run 1:28 over the second half of that course. I’m more likely to go out at 7:00 effort. Given the early down hills, that should get me through the half between 1:30-1:31. Once in the hills around mile 16, my plan is to pass as many people as possible.
I basically did the first part, passing through the half in 1:31:12 – including a 20-30 second pee break around mile 12. However, I failed to do the second part. Now that I look back, given my fitness level, those were probably conflicting goals. I could either put myself in a position to break 3 hours or pass as many people as possible after mile 16, but not both.

There are so many things I love about Boston and the marathon; the city is beautiful and I love the mystique and history surrounding the event, along with all the landmarks; clock tower, Wellesley and all the other universities, Newton Hills, including Heartbreak, Fenway Park, the Citgo sign, Bolyston Street, and the enormous crowds along the way . However, the course itself is not one of the things I love. Quite frankly, I have no idea how to run it. People say, “Hold back” on the early downhills, but honestly I ran my best Boston in my first attempt when I didn’t know any better.

I think what it really comes down to is what Barney Klecker told me;

My feeling is that you have to condition your body for the pounding of the road for 2+ hours. Yes, you have to run fast, but your body has to be able to take the pounding.
My venture into x-c skiing this winter was a great hiatus from running. Cardiovascular-wise, I think I was in shape for sub-3, however, my legs just weren’t ready for the pounding given that I cut back my mileage starting in January. My feet were starting to ache within the first 10 miles, then my hips and finally my quads.

I was basically on about 6:55 pace through mile 16 and then slowed to about 7:30 pace for the next 3 miles and then slowed again to 8:00 pace the rest of the way. I was actually a little surprised to be running 8s because it felt like I was run 10s. Here are my 5K splits;

22:09 (pee break)

Half splits were 1:31:12 and 1:40:57 for a final time of 3:12:09.

Maybe I could have pushed harder and held 7:30s the last 7 miles, but even then, that’d only put me around 3:08. I guess on the bright side I’m qualified for next year’s race.

In reality, I’m not as much disappointed in my race as I am disappointed in my training. At least I learned something along the way. I’ll never ski through the winter and then try to run a marathon before June.

Quote of the day;

“Maybe it’s time to admit that running 26.2 miles is as irrational and illogical as batting a fuzzy ball back and forth across a net, chasing a little white ball around the golf course, or committing assault and battery between two sets of goal posts. None of these games serves any great purpose, none has any great importance to the survival of mankind, but they all have great meaning to the people involved. That’s all we should ask of our play.” – Joe Henderson

Friday, April 18, 2008


All right, what am I supposed to blog about today?

Yesterday I mentioned in an email that my legs have felt springy the last few days. That’s a nice feeling.

I finally, checked the weather and it looks good. Hopefully it won’t rain a bunch before the race so we have to sit around for 4 hours in a swamp.

Speaking of weather, I forgot to mention this about a week ago. Someone told me that the weather should be nice in Boston because it’s nice here…in the Twin Cities.


They’re like 1500 miles apart. Can you really say something about their similar weather patterns? 10 days before the event, no less.

Be sure to check out Down the Backstretch for an interview with Jenna.

Quote of the day;

“I am not certain where my fitness is right now but I do trust in the training I have followed consistently over the past 4 years is still in me and the "character building" runs this winter were beneficial mentally.” - Jenna Boren.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I ran my last “hard” workout before Boston last night. 6 miles with 3 x 3/4 mile at 6:30 pace with a minute rest between repeats.

I guess I should be outlining some intricate race plan to reach my goals, but I don’t really have one – at least nothing “intricate”. I figure I’m in good enough shape to at least give myself a chance to break 3 hours. For example, going out at 7:00 pace and coming through the half in 1:32 is probably not a good idea because I’m not sure I could run 1:28 over the second half of that course. I’m more likely to go out at 7:00 effort. Given the early down hills, that should get me through the half between 1:30-1:31. Once in the hills around mile 16, my plan is to pass as many people as possible.

It’s as simple as that. Then again, it always looks simple on paper.

I’ve been avoiding looking at the weather so far. Yet people feel inclined to give me weather reports. I figure I’ll look tomorrow night so I know what to pack.

Since this is another boring post, I’ll just direct you to a New York Times article that Eric sent me this morning. After reading it, I told Eric;

I give the NYT credit for covering these topics, but some statements aren't really accurate;

"Hall, who can run almost a four-minute mile."
I guess my definition of "almost" is different than their’s since she probably "only" runs 4:30ish.

"On Saturday, she takes a 14-mile run at a pace (5 minutes 45 seconds per mile) that is between what she runs in races and her easy days."
Saying a pace is between what she races and her easy days isn't very informative as it could be anywhere from 4:30 to 7:00 pace. And 5:45 pace for 14 miles is like a 1:15 half marathon - probably very close to her race pace.

"...should she decide to run that distance at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials or at future Olympics."
I didn't realize she gets to decide what to run "at future Olympics" I thought she had to qualify.

Quote of the day;

“We took off and it wasn’t too bad for a half-mile, and then we started going up this hill. God, the only thing that kept me alive was the hope that I would die.” – Bill Bowerman after being introduced to hill training by Arthur Lydiard

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


He’s baaaack. Yes, Evan is back from New Zealand yet again. Yesterday morning we were able to meet up for a nice 8 mile trail run in Hyland Park.

At lunchtime I swung by the store. I didn’t need anything, but since it was 65 degrees out, I thought I’d better get away from my desk for awhile. Besides, I figured the visit may help fire me up a little. I ran into Laurie, who will also be in Boston, Adam, Kurt, and Matt. It’s always good to “talk shop” with those guys. Too bad my lunch break is only “30” minutes. I also saw a co-worker was there who will be running her first marathon at Fargo next month and then Grandma’s in June. That seems aggressive to me, but when you’re fired up, it’s hard to hold yourself back.

Jenna (via Michelle) sent me an Excel spreadsheet that was designed to help with pacing at Boston. It wasn’t just goal time divided by 26.2 miles. It takes into account all the hills on the course as well as different strategies (even pacing, strong finish, etc.) that you hope to employ. It is so over-the-top that I immediately thought, I wish I could put this on my blog. Then it occurred to me, Google is your friend. HERE is a link to download the file. If I ever get this anal, please shoot me.

Finally, believe it or not, not everything is about running. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned some ads that annoyed me. Recently I came across an adblog that’s kind of entertaining.

Quote of the day;

“Sometimes people would think Fargo was at altitude because I would take everyone’s breath away.” - Andrew Carlson

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


No time to post anything "original" today, so a big thanks to Kim for sending me this fun email;

Here is the Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition. Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent.

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.

13. Pokemon, n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with yiddishisms.

15. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

16. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Not sure how you could have missed it, but Ryan Hall ran 2:06:17 at the London Marathon over the weekend. You can watch the best journalist (and my former college coach) in the sport conduct and interview with Hall HERE.

Again, not much going on with my own running. I was finally able to get on the trails for the first time over the weekend.

Since not much is going on, I’ll point you in other directions.

The more I read and hear about Andrew Carlson, the more I like him.

Be sure to check out all the other podcasts on the final sprint site.

Carrie Tollefson and Emily Brown have updated their journals too.

And here’s a fun article on natural enemies of the runner.

Quote of the day;

“Engineers can prove that a bumblebee, with its heavy body and little wings, can’t fly. But nobody tells the bumblebees. – On why Bill Bowerman’s likening some runners to bumblebees was a badge of honor

Friday, April 11, 2008


Happy 30th birthday, Brian Sell. In your honor, I shaved my beard and now look like this.

I was going to take a self-photo, but I forgot. Maybe I’ll do that next week. I just hope I don’t get mistaken for Brian in Boston. would probably be overrun by people wondering why Sell ran 3:10, instead of 2:10.

Wednesday night I ran 8 miles with 5 miles at marathon pace. I didn’t have any miles marked and I wasn’t wearing a HRM, so I’m just guessing at the pace/effort.

Shitty weather [I won't bore you with the details - go to any other Minnesota blog if you're interested in a weather report] yesterday, so I ended up taking the day off.

Hey, it’s taper time.

Shitty weather this morning, so I slept in.

A couple of weeks ago I vaguely mentioned a fun project I was working on. The first part of that can be seen HERE. Long time readers of my blog can only imagine how hard it was for Charlie to recruit me to help out. Stay tuned for more such interviews in the future.

Normally the quotes of the day are serious. Once in awhile I have to go with something that’s fun;

“Inspired by the Golden Boy's performance in London, American youth put down their footballs and basketballs and pick up their heart monitors and inhalers. American 20 somethings quit their high salary business jobs to live in the woods to train full time and chase their dreams. American Moms and Dads of adult children collectively groan, roll their eyes, and go bankrupt.” - Less Than Their Best, referring to Ryan Hall’s influence on U.S. distance running after he wins the London Marathon this weekend

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


It’s probably no surprise that taper time is pretty boring. I ended up taking yesterday off – mainly to catch up on sleep. Our youngest daughter has been sick and decided to climb into bed with us each of the last 2 nights. If I’m healthy for Boston, I’ll be surprised.

I’m happy to report that I’m an uncle. My wife’s brother and his wife had a baby girl, Elizabeth Grace, last night. Our girls are extremely excited and looking forward to donating all their old toys and clothes to the baby.

That’s all I have. I probably wouldn’t have posted today if I didn’t have that news to share.

Quote of the day;

“I never before nor afterward saw Bill [Bowerman] so awed as he was by Arthur’s [Lydiard] runners taking three medals, two gold.” – Barbara Bowerman

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


Not much going on. I ran an easy 6 miles while watching the NCAA men’s basketball championship game. I’m to the point in my life where usually I don’t care who wins, I just want to see a good game. So it was nice to finally see a good game! It seemed like the last 10 tournament games were all won by 20 points.

Has anyone else out there been listening to any of the Runnerville weekly podcast or their Toni and Matt show? If so, what do you think about them? At first I found them interesting, but now I’m kind of getting bored. They keep hammering the “what’s wrong with our sport” drum. It’s getting very tiresome.

One interesting topic is; does the Olympic movement actually hurt the sport of running? If you think about it, the sports that have athletes that are successful, monetarily, don’t put all their emphasis on the Olympics. Sports like baseball, hockey, basketball, tennis, soccer, etc., are part of the Olympics, but their athletes don’t focus entirely on the Games. And football, golf, and Nascar aren’t even Olympic sports, yet their athletes are able to earn a decent living.

So the question becomes; would our athletes be better off, financially, if there was more emphasis on the sport, year-in and year-out rather than just for a couple of weeks every 4 years? Maybe that means developing some sort of road racing series or a track and field league. I don’t have the answers, but with things like bull riding, ultimate fighting, bass fishing, etc. getting more air time than running, it seems like there could be an opportunity to increase exposure.

Unfortunately, I’m more willing to bet that people just don’t care about being entertained by runners or track and field athletes – no matter how it’s packaged. And no matter how incredible the athletes are – which ties in with this comic that Eric sent me last week;

Quote of the day;

“I don’t remember my victories. Only the losses. The losses I see every step of.” – Dyrol Burleson

Monday, April 07, 2008


I’ve probably known this all along, but yesterday it occurred to me to blog about it. There’s really a very simple way for me to know when I’m enjoying running. It’s not about pace per mile, MPW, heart rate VDOT, etc.

The simple measurement is that the miles during a race go by incredibly quickly. I'm not talking about time on the clock, but rather time in my head. It's that sensation you get when you think, Wow, I'm at another mile marker already.

That’s it. It’s that simple. If I run a race and it’s over before I know it, then it’s fairly safe to say I enjoyed the experience.

Now it doesn’t necessarily mean I ran a blazing-fast time. It could mean I ran a smart race – or at the very least, a conservative race early on and then finished strong.

This all occurred to me after running the Ron Daws 25K on Saturday. With Boston only 2 weeks away, I didn’t want to race all-out. Yet, with no real idea of my fitness, I wanted to put worth some effort to help figure out how I should pace at Boston.

I started out with a controlled first mile in 7:18 and immediately thought okay, I can handle that pace at Boston; 3:10 will be my goal.

Sidenote: Why do some guys feel compelled to push it hard on the uphills no matter what? We were 5 miles into the race and this guy next to me was breathing like it was a 10K. When we hit a hill he pushed the pace and I let him go. Then just after cresting the hill, I blew by him just by maintaining my effort. It must be an ego thing.

Anyway, soon after that I ran with another guy and we settled into 7:05-7:10 pace and then ran some 7s has we reeled in a pack of 4-5 runners around mile 8. The guy I was running with was really strong through mile 9 and then when we got to mile 10 it was like he just ran out of gas and he immediately slowed down. Rather than let him hang on, I dropped the pace as low as 6:40 – if you can believe the mile markers. Before I knew it I was at mile 14 and couldn’t believe how quickly the race was going by.

I ended up a few seconds under 1:48 or 6:57 pace on a very hilly course. That gives me a little confidence heading into Boston that I can at least put myself in a position to run sub-3 and not worry about a total meltdown.

18 miles for the day, 50 miles for the week. Time to taper.

Just to show how completely shot I was at the end of last year, I ran the City of Lakes 25K, which is a much easier course, 2 minutes slower than Saturday’s race.

Quote of the day;

“Thrust against pain. Pain is the purifier. Walk toward suffering. Love suffering. Embrace it.” Percy Cerutty to Herb Elliot

Thursday, April 03, 2008


I assume every runner has a nemesis, probably more than one (I’m not sure what the plural of nemesis is). You know, those people who always seem to be around you in every race. You may not even know them, but you recognize their name. If they happen to be in your age-group, it stings a little more when they beat you.

For me, one such nemesis is Scott Ramberg. I’ve never met Scott, but he always seems to run the same races as I do and he always seems to be a little faster. And, of course, he’s in my age group – at least he was until he turned 40. So I’ll have a little over a year before joining him as a master.

Anyway, after awhile you’ll do anything (within reason) to beat one of your nemesis. Yet you don’t wish ill-will on them. So hearing that Scott recently had a work-place accident where he basically fell four stories and landed on his face was heart-wrenching. The good news is that he’s recovering at home and able to get in some biking indoors.

You can read his complete story HERE. Click on “Read Story” under “My Story” to read his wife’s description of the accident. You can also email Scott your well-wishes at rambe8 AT aol DOT com. Here’s to Scott getting back on his feet and back to knocking me down the age-group rankings next year.

On a brighter note, here’s one of my favorite photos I dug up recently. It’s my college cross country team doing a workout at Lowe’s Creek in Eau Claire, WI. It’s nice to remember what it’s like to be fit and ripped. Even though I’m the one in the back, I'm sure I was running a hell of a lot faster than any workouts I've done recently.

Quote of the day;

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I ran 8 miles last night with 3 cruise intervals; 3 x 1 mile with 1:00 rest. Not sure if I’m just not used to going fast or if my fixed treadmill isn’t calibrated correctly, but 6:30 pace seemed really fast. I followed that run up with an easy 6 miles this morning.

Today’s bumper sticker sighting;

Powered by carbon offset credits.
Anyone else already tired of hearing; “It is what it is.”? I seem to hear this all the time now and can’t help but shake my head at the depth of that statement.

I finally got around to conducting another interview.

The women’s trials are still 2.5 weeks away. Since Running Times and have their previews published, I thought I’d better go ahead and post mine. The problem with this article is that due to publication timelines and due dates, it had to be written 3 months before the trials.

Olympic Trials – Women’s Marathon Preview
By Chad Austin 1/18/08

Wide open. That’s how I view the Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon which will be held in Boston on April 20th. The reigning silver medalist, Deena Kastor, is heavily favored to win the race. But two of the top five qualifiers, Jen Rhines and Team Minnesota’s Katie McGregor, have chosen to focus on the track in 2008. That makes the battle for the three coveted spots on the Olympic Team wide open. That being the case, the chances are that even the most die-hard fans of the sport may not be familiar with some of the names near the top of the final results. This article looks to shed some light on the matter by looking at the favorites, the contenders, the dark horses, and the locals.

The Favorites:

Deena Kastor. Age: 35, PR: 2:19:36, Qualifier: 2:19:36, London (’06).
It’s hard not to single out the 2004 bronze medalist as the race favorite. In addition to being the American Record holder, Kastor is the only American to ever run sub-2:20. At 35-years old, her reign as the queen of U.S. distance running may be coming to an end soon. However, her speed and experience make her as much of a lock as anyone in the field.

Kate O’Neill. Age: 27, PR: 2:36:15, Qualifier: 2:36:15, Chicago (’07).
While O’Neill only has the 12th fastest qualifying time, she has a few things working in her favor. First, that performance was her marathon debut. Second, it was run under the brutal conditions at Chicago last year. Third, and maybe most importantly, she’s running very well right now, having won the 2008 U.S. Half Marathon title in Houston with a time of 1:11:58.

Elva Dryer. Age: 36, PR: 2:31:48, Qualifier: 2:31:48, Chicago (’06).
Dryer is already a two-time Olympian, having qualified for the 5000m in 2000 and the 10,000m in 2004. Now she has her sights set on making the team in the marathon. She made her marathon debut in Chicago in 2006 where she ran 2:31:48. More recently, she ran 2:35:15 at the 2007 New York City Marathon. On the downside, she dropped out of the U.S. Half Marathon Championships at mile nine.

The Contenders:

Colleen DeReuck. Age: 43, PR: 2:26:35, Qualifier: 2:33:18, Chicago (’06).
DeReuck definitely has experience on her side. Prior to winning the 2004 Trials and placing 39th at the Athens Olympics, she represented South Africa in 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games. However, with experience comes age, and DeReuck will turn 44-year old the week before the trials. She recently finished 17th at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships in 1:14:58.

Marla Runyan. Age: 39, PR: 2:27:10, Qualifier: 2:32:17, Twin Cities (’06).
Throughout her career, Runyan may have possessed a wider range of speed than anyone else in the field. The former heptathlete, ran the 1500m at the 2000 Olympics and the 5000m at the 2004 Olympics. Like DeReuck, age is not on the 2006 Twin Cities Marathon champion’s side.

Mary Akor. Age: 31, PR: 2:33:50, Qualifier: 2:33:50, Twin Cities (’06).
Minnesotan’s may be familiar with Akor as she placed second behind Runyan at the 2006 TCM and then won the 2007 Grandma’s Marathon. Akor also stands out because she races marathons more frequently than any of the other qualifiers. In the last two years, she’s run at least 15 marathons. The big questions will be whether or not she can recover and peak for just one race.

Blake Russell. Age: 32, PR: 2:29:10, Qualifier: 32:31.90 10,000m.
People may remember Russell from the 2004 Olympic Trials Marathon. After a slow opening mile, she surged to a huge lead which she held until mile 18. She remained in the top-3 until the final 400 meters, when Jen Rhines passed her, pushing Russell to fourth place. As the only qualifier, other than Kastor, with a sub-2:30 since the last trials, Russell should be one of the favorites. However, injuries have kept her from running a marathon in over three years. She took advantage of a new rule that allows runners to qualify for the marathon trials by meeting 5000m or 10,000m standards. Having not run a marathon so long, it’s hard to know what to expect from Russell.

The Dark Horses:

Turena Johnson-Lane. Age: 32, PR: 2:34:43, Qualifier: 2:36:15, Twin Cities (’06).
While she currently resides in Baton Rouge, LA, Johnson-Lane is originally from Brainerd, MN. Her 2:36:15 is currently the 13th fastest qualifier. She’ll be running her second trials and looking to improve on her 19th place finish in 2004. Recently she ran 1:14:36 at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships.

Michelle Lilienthal. Age: 25, PR: 2:35:51, Qualifier: 2:35:51, Twin Cities (’06).
All Lilienthal has done since moving up the marathon is drop her time from 2:49 to 2:40 to 2:35. If she can continue to improve at such a rate, she could be in the mix. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much about Lilienthal since she joined Team USA Minnesota last August.

Nicole Aish. Age: 31, PR: 2:40:21, Qualifier: 2:40:21, Twin Cities (’05).
Although her PR is slower than some of the other dark horses, Aish recently placed fourth at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships with a 1:12:32 PR. And if how well her coach/husband, Michael Aish, has been running lately – winning the Phoenix Marathon in 2:13:20 – is any indication of her chances, Nicole could be a factor.

Desiree Davila. Age: 24, PR: 2:44:56, Qualifier: 2:44:56, Boston (’07).
Davila is in a similar situation as Kate O’Neill. She ran her qualifier under less than ideal conditions at last year’s Boston Marathon and she’s currently running very well, finishing only 14 seconds behind O’Neill at the half marathon championships. Plus, she has the advantage of being a member of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project, which experienced tremendous success at the men’s trials.

The Locals:

Nicole Cueno. Age: 28, PR: 2:42:03, Qualifier: 2:42:03, California International (’07).
Cueno enjoyed a decorated track and field career while at Grinnell College. She was the Division III 1500m champion as a junior and both the 5000m and 10,000m runner-up as a senior. After a handful of 2:55 – 3:10 performances, Cueno got serious in 2007 when she ran 2:52:42 at Grandma’s Marathon. Still nearly six minutes from qualifying for the Trials, she simply followed that up by running nearly 11 minutes faster at the California International Marathon in December.

Jenna Boren. Age: 31, PR: 2:42:39, Qualifier: 2:42:39, Houston (’07).
The St. Olaf College graduate has enjoyed success on the roads, earning Minnesota Runner of the Year honors each of the past two years. After gaining her initial qualifying performance (2:45:54) at the 2006 Grandma’s Marathon, Boren improved over three more minutes at the 2007 Houston Marathon.

Melissa Gacek. Age: 31, PR: 2:45:06, Qualifier: 2:45:06, Toronto (’07).
While Gacek qualified for the 2004 trials, she was unable to finish that race. She started 2007 by running 2:52:45 at Houston. At Grandma’s Marathon she missed qualifying by a mere 59 seconds. Three months later she qualified for her second trials by running 2:45:06 at Toronto.

Erin Ward. Age: 34, PR: 2:45:58, Qualifier: 2:45:58, St. George (’07).
Ward’s marathon progression looks like a staircase. After running a bunch of 3:05 marathons she broke through with a 2:53 in 2004. She ran that time two more times before running 2:48 in 2008. Last fall Ward made a wise choice of heading to the St. George Marathon, rather than face difficult conditions at TCM or Chicago. She was rewarded with ideal conditions, and more importantly, a 2:45:58 qualifing performance.

Marie Sample. Age: 31, PR: 2:46:00, Qualifier: 2:46:00, California International (’07).
Sample could have been considered one of the heartbreak stories leading up to the 2004 Trials. Twice she missed qualifying for that race by less than 30 seconds. She spent the next few years focusing on raising her family. With the 2008 Trials on the horizon, she refocused her energies towards running by cutting back on her work schedule and increasing her mileage. It all paid off with a 2:46:00 performance in December.

Alright, there you have it. I could go on and on by including former Team USA Minnesota runner Dana Coons, more Hansons-Brooks athletes, the handful of gals that ran 1:13 at the half marathon championships, or triathlete turned marathoner, Desiree Ficker. Hopefully you got the sense of just how wide open this race will be.

Whose day will it be on April 20th? There’s only one way to find out.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


In like a lion.

Out like a lion.

Four to seven inches of new snow in the metro area sure made the trees pretty. I thought some picture on my blog would be cool, but it’s easier to just post a link to Mike’s blog. Plus, you’ll get photos of the Twins there. Like I said last year, you can’t go 162-0 if you don’t win the first game.

With the new snow I decided to sleep in. I’ll jump on the treadmill for a little quality while the Twins try to make it 2-0. Plus the extra rest might help my left heel, which has been a little sore the last two mornings. Not sure if it’s PF or not. I only notice it a little walking the dog in the morning, then don’t think about it the rest of the day.

Since I don’t have any running to report, I’ll list a bunch more odds and ends that I’ve noticed lately;

We received a(nother) Yellow Pages phone book the other day. It’s seems like we get 3-4 of these a year. However, this was the first ever hardbound edition we’ve received. Not sure about you, but I think we use the Yellow Pages about 5 times a year – if that. So, why in the world do we need a hardbound edition?

I picked up the May issue of Running Times because it had Kara Goucher on the cover, along with a women’s Oly Trials preview (more on this later in the week). As an added bonus, there was an actual article on a college kid that applied Lydiard’s training to his program. I had high hopes for the article, but after reading it I didn’t feel like a learned anything.

I also picked up the June issue of Running Times. I haven’t read the whole thing yet, but they’re revamping their magazine to include more articles on high school, college and Masters running. I may have to breakdown and get a subscription.

I finished Marathon Woman by Kathrine Switzer. I can honestly say, even though I knew her name had something to do with the Boston Marathon and women’s running, I really had no idea how much she meant to women’s running. She’s not the first woman to run Boston - that's Roberta (Bingay) Gibb, but rather the first woman to register and run Boston. She was also basically responsible for getting races sponsored, for example, the Leggs Mini-Marathon and the Avon International Marathon. Plus, she was instrumental in getting the women’s marathon added to the 1984 Olympic Games.

Quote of the day;

“As soon as I began running the distances, I found I no longer had any interest whatsoever in church or organized religion…When I ran, I felt like I was touching God, or God was touching me, every day. So the idea of only finding God one day a week inside a building seemed absurd, when for miles around in open country and wild landscapes I felt God everywhere.” – Kathrine Switzer