Tuesday, June 30, 2009


If you’ve been following along for awhile, you probably know I’m a numbers guy. Well last night I was looking through some of my dad’s stuff from the early 1980s. He has the results for Grandma’s Marathon from 1980 – 1982. I thought it’d be fun to compare my time and place from this year to similar times and places for those years.

1980 --- 1981 --- 1982 --- 2009
601st --- 960th --- 926th --- 151st
2:47:03 --- 2:39:39 --- 2:43:19 --- 3:09:43

At least I’m in good company, place-wise. Had I placed 151st in those 3 years, I’d have finished near local legends like; Jack Moran, Alex Ratelle, Brian Kraft, and Olympians Janis Klecker and Ron Daws. That’s some good company.

And get this, I talked about Jared Mondry’s awesome 3:07 at age 67 this year, which placed him 134th. Well, as a 38-year-old in 1981, he placed 126th.

One of the most impressive things from that era is the number of people constantly streaming across the finish line. From 2:50 to 2:55 you’d see 128 runners and from 2:55 to 3:00 there’d be another 158. That’s a 5-minute window with more finishers than from 2:15 to 3:10 this year. Thought of another way, that’s nearly one runner every 2 seconds.

Finally, does anyone want to take a guess at what the cutoff time was in those years? That’s today’s trivia question. I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

Running-wise, I ran an easy 10 miles this morning; 40:35 out and 39:35 back. It was 55 degrees and misty and I was thinking it would make for perfect weather at Grandma’s. I’m sure this year’s conditions won’t help with all the “Grandma’s is always hot” banter. And I’d really love to be able to say I won’t be back next year, but I really love this whole event. Besides, the year I decide not to run is the year it’ll be 55 degrees and misty.

Quote of the Day;

"With a marriage, you can change your mind.” – Juma Ikangaa, on the major difference between one’s commitment to running and one’s commitment to marriage

Monday, June 29, 2009


Well, after a full week of zeros in the logbook, I got back on the horse Saturday with a 6 mile run and followed that up with 8 miles this morning. While I’m back on the horse, it’s a different horse this time around. While following Pfitz’s plan for Grandma’s I noted the lack of tempos (4) and speed workouts (4) during the 12-week program. While that makes the program manageable – especially after skiing all winter – I’m not sure it’s best suited for getting me to the finish line the quickest.

So I’ve decided to give Brad Hudson’s program a shot after checking his book out from the library. He also has a website and there’s a Running Times article on him here.

He talks a lot about adaptive training and constantly evaluating how things are going and making changes along the way. To me it sounds a lot like Double’s comments about running hard when you feel good and backing off when you don’t. He also has some interesting thoughts on building muscular strength through short intense hill sprints. For example, yesterday’s 6 mile run included 2 x 8 seconds up the steepest hill I could find. That’s it for the first workout. Of course, the number of reps will increase weekly.

There are some other concepts that I found interesting too. I’m sure you’ll be hearing about them in the near future. Right now I’m on week #1 with the plan to run Whistlestop in the fall.

Quote of the Day;
"One of the things I’m sure of in training is to always change your stimulus. We’re always trying to throw things at the nervous system: Even on a long run, we’ll do a minute on, minute off, running harder at the end, we do tempo runs uphill. . . . Too often people are just doing the same training all the time." – Brad Hudson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009



I spent some more timing looking at the results from Saturday. It looks like all of the 150 people ahead of me at the finish line were also ahead of me at the halfway point. So no one passed me during the second half of the race. And it looks like I passed at least 207 people;

# passed – between places
44 – 152-200
72 – 201-300
40 – 301-400
24 – 401-500
9 – 501-600
8 – 601-700
2 – 701-800
7 – 801-900
1 – 901-1000
That puts me at 358th place, not counting people that dropped out. I’ll be sure to keep this info in mind the next time my ego has a problem with people streaming by me early in a marathon.

The recovery is going well. The only other time I can remember my legs feeling better after a marathon was after Whistlestop, which is run on crushed limestone and is pancake flat. I haven’t run a step since Saturday yet, but am kind of getting the itch to start The Summer of Chad. Actually, I’ve been giving that a little more thought lately. It’s not going to be strictly a summer of running as many miles as possible – but I do plan to up my mileage from my last training cycle. It’s going to be a summer of paying more attention to my training and not being content with just slogging through a lot of miles. More to come on this later.

Quote of the Day;

“Do most of us want life on the same calm level as a geometrical problem? Certainly we want our pleasures more varied with both mountains and valleys of emotional joy, and marathoning furnishes just that.” – Clarence DeMar

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I remember writing this after a Memorial Day 5K after placing 123rd;

Seriously, I could possibly place 123rd out of 7,000 runners at Grandma's - last year 123rd ran 3:01. Yet in the 5K I'm 123rd out of 506 runners.
It looks like Saturday’s results have been tweaked a little and I finished 151st out of 5,958. That’s my highest finish at Grandma’s ever – having finished 168th on two other occasions. Those other two years had 700 and 900 more finishers, so my percentage was a little worse this year, but not by much.

I have to give a shout out to one of my roommates from the weekend – no not you, Tappe. Sorry. I was fortunate to share a dorm room with Jared (and David). Jared is 67-years-old and he won the 65-69 age group by 30 minutes - the largest age-group victory on the day for men - when he ran 3:07:22. That broke the previous course record for that age-group by 7 minutes. Just to give you a sense of his performance, let’s look at how he would have placed in every single age-group. 20-29 and 30-34 are the only two age groups where he would not have placed in the top-15. He would have placed 5th in 50-54 and won every age-group higher than that, as well as the 13-19 age-group. Pretty damn impressive, if you ask me.

After my TCM report I got “scolded” for saying I wanted to beat certain people more than others because of things like their outfit or their running style. The scolding didn’t help as the same thoughts crossed my mind on Saturday. For instance, there was a guy wearing full-length black compression tights on a day when it was 75+ and sunny. How could I not want to beat him? I was pretty sure he was mine when I saw him walk 3 times between miles 3 and 5.

Then there were two guys with shirts that read “Why are you chasing me?” on the back. Maybe it’s not what they intended, but I thought of it as an “I’m in front of you” type shirt. As they went by me around mile 3, one of them mentioned being 15 seconds behind pace. The other one told him not to worry because they’d be able to make up the time. I know I caught one of them – not sure what happened to the other.

It’d be nice if there was a way to keep track of certain people on the course and then see how they ended up running for the day. For example, a guy came by me just after the halfway mark. He said it was his first marathon. He also mentioned that a couple of weeks ago he had just run a 1:37 – keep in mind we just passed the half in 1:35. I’m curious what happened to him.

Finally, I’ve tried using heart rate monitors in the past, but I don’t like them. Given how people extol the virtues of a HRM, shouldn’t they help you on a day like Saturday? From what I can tell, they either don’t help or people aren’t listening to them. And if you’re not going to listen to it, why wear it? Just curious.

Quote of the Day;

“I've always felt that I put everything on the line in every race I have ever run. And if you do that, no matter what the clock says, there are no bad races.”Jared Mondry

Sunday, June 21, 2009


When I wrote last Thursday's post about refusing to worry about the weather, I was still secretly hoping we'd get decent conditions. Of course, that didn't happen, but it was even worse than normal. Maybe not worse in terms of final temps - although some say they were the worst conditions ever - but worse in terms of being teased on Friday evening. My parents live about 70 miles east of Duluth. When I left their house, it was 80+ and sunny. When I pulled into Duluth around 4 PM, it was 55 degrees and foggy. Runners were almost giddy with anticipation of waking up to perfect conditions on Saturday.

Well, it was all a cruel joke. Hoping to find a cup of coffee before getting on the bus, I opened the door at 5:15 to 63 degrees without a single cloud in the sky. Right then I knew my window of 2:59 - 3:04 was closed. Again, not a big deal, I'd just adjust my strategy and race for place more than time. Now the question becomes; “What is the correct pace for such conditions?” Well, 3:04 is 7:00 pace, so it has to be slower than that. I figure it should be another 10-15 seconds slower per mile - quick math says that's about a 3:10 marathon.

I was able to start the race by running with Jim. I can honestly say, this is the first marathon that I've ever wanted to drop out of - during the first mile! Seriously, my legs felt flat. I knew I'd be fine within 2-3 miles, but I definitely wasn't happy at the start.

Mile 1 passed in 7:04 - about 10 seconds too fast. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but I also know that 10 seconds per mile too fast can ruin a marathon when conditions are ideal. Given our circumstances, I knew I needed to slow down. That's a lot easier said than done when you're 2 miles into a marathon and people are streaming by you left and right - it's not easy on the ego. But about this time I thought about Thursday’s post where I mentioned being street smart and having the ability to run smart in the heat. I figured I’d really look bad if I screwed up after writing that.

I managed a 7:13 second mile and the legs started to come around. I was still running with Jim, but it felt like he wanted to go faster than I did. That was confirmed with a 7:09 third mile and I eased up - finally letting him go. From there I settled in with splits of 7:16 and 7:18 for miles 4 and 5.

I used to think I had my pre-race nutrition figured out. I think it was at the 2001 Grandma's Marathon where I met a guy on a message board and he suggested more of a liquid breakfast. He would drink 32 oz. of Gatorade about 3 hours before the race and then wouldn't drink anything until 10 minutes before the race. This helped him get hydrated, top off his carbs and he was able to process the 32 oz. before the start. I tried it and I found it work a lot better than trying to choke down a lot of food with butterflies in my stomach and then nervously sipping water the whole bus ride to the start - and then having to stop and pee during the race. Well, it worked for a while, but now I think I've had to stop and pee during my last 3-4 marathons. This time it happened during mile 6. When I got back on the road who do I see coming by? It's the 3:10 pacer with a group of about 30 runners.

As you can probably tell by my letting Jim go early in the race, I prefer to run my own race. However, with a 3:10 in the back of my mind, I thought I'd give running with them a try. I was immediately greeted with a 7:01 mile. The pacer apologized to everyone, but I think he overcompensated because the next mile was 7:29, which turned out to be my slowest of the day. I was quickly losing patience with the inconsistent pacing, getting annoyed with all the rah-rah banter and tired of the congestion at each water stop. So the next time I felt the pace quicken, I let the group pull about 15 seconds ahead of me. I figured that might be a “fun” vantage point to watch people fall off the back of the pack.

This is what happened during my only other pace team experience at the 2002 TCM. I caught the sub-3 pace group around mile 16. At the time the group was pretty big. I maintained 3-hour pace and somehow pulled away from them by mile 19. My next sighting of the “group” was around mile 24 when the pacer came by me alone. He got his sub-3, but no one was with him.

Nothing too exciting happened as I rattled off 7:08, 14:33 (missed the 10th mile marker), 7:00 and 7:10, which means I reached the halfway mark in 1:35:09. While I knew I was right on my target pace, I also knew that I’ve only run negative splits once or twice out of 14 marathons or so. Therefore, I wasn’t 100% convinced that I was running the correct effort for the conditions. But I was feeling pretty good so I let it ride.

Maybe passing the halfway mark caused something to kick in, as the pace dropped a little. Mile 14 (6:57) turned out to be my only sub-7 of the day and I followed that with 7:08 and 7:09. Now I’m at mile 16 and I’m starting to catch lots of people. Unfortunately, I know quite a few of them and it’s tough to see friends struggle.

I’ve mentioned that mile 16 is important in a marathon because you’re either thinking darn I still have 10 to go or dang I only have 10 to go. Well, I was actually somewhere in between those two extremes. I wasn’t feeling so awesome that I never wanted the race to end and I wasn’t feeling so crapping that I was ready to step off the course. I was just kind of happy to be clicking off the miles without any sign of slowing down - although my splits for miles 17 and 18 crept up to 7:18 and 7:19 and I wondered if it was the beginning of the end. During mile 19 there’s a nice downhill and I was able to stem the tide with a 7:04, but that was followed by a 7:22 – again, I was thinking here comes the inevitable slowdown.

The nice thing about this point of the race is that the aid stations are now 1 mile apart instead of 2. All along I’ve been following the strategy I used during my 2007 Grandma’s where I managed to PR in somewhat similar conditions. Basically at every aid station I’d drink 1-2 cups of water, pour 1-2 cups of water over my head, grab a sponge, and throw a cup of ice down my shorts. Yep, down the shorts – shrinkage and all. I don’t know if it helps cool my core, but it doesn’t seem to hurt. I took gels at mile 5, 11 and 17. I planned on another gel somewhere between 20 and 22 but my stomach wasn’t feeling the best so I skipped that last gel. It didn’t really seem to hurt me as I rattled off splits of 7:14 and 7:13 to get me to mile 22.

By now I figure the wheels are not going to come completely off and I pick up my effort on Lemon Drop Hill, resulting in a 7:15 mile. All this time the 3:10 pacer is still in front of me, but his group has been whittled down to about 4 people. I passed them with a 7:18 24th mile and use the crowd to pull me to a 7:06 25th mile. Again, quick math tells me that, barring some unforeseen circumstances, I'll be in under 3:10. The never-ending 26th mile around the DECC, past the William Irvin ship, and back under Lake Street seems to be the longest mile on the course – probably because we’ve been going in a straight line for 25 miles and now we’re finally turning in different directions. The last mile took 7:25 before closing in 1:34 for a 3:09:43 - a 35 second negative split.

Again, that wasn’t the kind of time I was looking for 12 weeks ago when I started my training, but I doubt many people ran what they wanted to. In the end, I’m happy with how smart I ran. I said it’s a race and the idea is to place as high as possible. I ended up placing 147th out of 5,891 finishers. I can guarantee that there were more than 146 runners in front of me halfway into the race.

All right, this is already my longest race report ever. If you’ve made it this far – get back to work. Thanks for reading - I’m sure there will be more thoughts throughout the week.


As everyone has probably heard or read, it was another hot, humid, cloudless day in Duluth. Somehow I managed to negative split. My moto: if you can't be fast, be smart.

Chad Austin
bib number: 4516
age: 39
gender: M
location: Apple Valley, MN
overall place: 147 out of 5891
division place: 16 out of 516
gender place: 129 out of 3637
time: 3:09:52
pace: 7:15
10k: 45:34
13.1: 1:35:09
20 mile: 2:24:41
25 mile: 3:00:46
last 10k: 45:02
chip time: 3:09:43

Quote of the day;

"It's a great day... for fishing." - Jared Mondry, as we stepped outside at 5:30 AM on race day

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Ah, 12 solid weeks of training and it all comes down to one key question… What will the weather be like on race day?

Well, I refuse to make that the sole focus of this weekend. In fact, I refuse to even think about it until race morning – and only then will it be to finalize my race plan. I mean the object is still the same, no matter what the weather is – to place as high as possible. It is a race after all. And if I think about it from that aspect, I’m almost better off if it is warm. Not that I’m a great warm weather runner – I hate it like most other people. But I think I’m, dare I say, smarter than most runners. I’m not talking about book smarts, I’m talking about streets smarts. You know, the kind that only comes from having gone out too fast on a warm day myself. I think it helps that I don’t have a set time goal that I have to achieve. Sure I’d like to run sub-3, but I’ve done it before, so it’s not as big of a deal. There’s no BQ that I’m chasing and I’m not in PR shape. So if I wake up Saturday morning and the best course of action is 3:15 pace, then so be it. I’ll just enjoy passing all the people that didn’t adjust their goals.

One of the reasons I bring this up is because I haven’t looked at a single weather report, yet I’m still bombarded with updates. The funny thing is that they’re all different. This morning, a running co-worker of mine, who’s not even running the marathon, told me the conditions look favorable. At lunchtime I went to TCRC to get some gels and Kurt told me conditions don’t look very good. So I have no idea what to think. Therefore, I’ll worry about the things I can control and take what Mother Nature gives me on Saturday.

Now that doesn’t mean I’ll be back to Grandma’s next year if it’s hot again. At some point "recent history" trumps the “perfect running conditions” that the marathon uses in their marketing materials. For many, that’s already occurred, especially when you factor in the cost of lodging as well as all the new spring marathon options that have surfaced this year. It has occurred for me yet, but another warm day on the North Shore could seal the deal for me.

Quote of the Day;

“Taking a well-trained body through a grueling 26.2 mile race does immeasurably more for the self concept and self-esteem than years with the best psychiatrist.” – Dr. George Sheehan

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


As you can imagine, there’s not a lot going on – just trying to eat lot of carbs and stay off my feet. I mentioned all the food temptations the other day. I’m happy to report that I’ve only had 2 pieces of taffy. I think that’s pretty darn good given all the cakes, bars, fudge, etc. that have been throughout the office lately.

Yesterday I ran my last “hard” workout. It ended up being 7.5 miles with 2 of them at MP. I ran with Scott and we ran 13:15 for the 2 miles. That’s probably 10-15 seconds faster than my MP, but I’m okay with that. It was only 2 miles and mainly designed to keep some intensity in my week.

This morning I had to “even out” out my log book. Since I don’t like having half-mile increments just hanging there, I ran 4.5 miles. Now I feel better and my log book thanks me.

I was thinking about what kind of time I’ll run on Saturday and – if I were a betting man and given a 5-minute window – I’d predict between 2:59 and 3:04. Of course, all the typical “if the weather cooperates” disclaimers apply. Right now my game plan is to run 6:50 pace until – as John Naslund would say – the wheels come off. Hopefully that won’t happen and I’ll stroll across the line in 2:59.

With the marathon on my mind, I totally forgot to mention my last interview.

Quote of the Day;

“I think a lot comes from how much I love to run. I have fun at races, the gathering of other great runners and the cheering of my family and friends creates an environment that I love and feel so comfortable in.” - Thea Fleming.

Monday, June 15, 2009


No matter how many of these things I train for, I’m not sure I’ll ever understand why I feel so lethargic during the taper. I suppose any change to your routine is going to cause some change in how you feel. However, if I cut mileage and get more rest, shouldn’t I feel refreshed? I’m sure I will in a day or two, but the last 3 days have been more sluggish than anything.

Overall, I think I eat pretty healthy. But I have no problem grabbing a cookie or three when the opportunity arises. With less than a week to go, I do try to cut out more junk and avoid some of the empty calories. Well it appears someone is testing my willpower at work. This morning there were 2 boxes of doughnuts, 2 big blocks of fudge that must weigh a pound each, and a box full of saltwater taffy at the office. Plus, a gal stopped by and said to save room for chocolate cake this afternoon to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday. And tomorrow is her birthday, so I’m sure they’ll have more sweets then. So far I’ve been able to avoid everything, but if I’m still at my fighting weight on Saturday, I’ll be lucky.

Training-wise, if anyone cares, I ran 11 miles on Saturday, which gave me 48 miles for the week. Sunday was a day off. For some reason Pfitz has two runs scheduled for today totaling 9 miles. I’m not sure how that would really differ from just have a single 9 mile run. Maybe it’s his way of keeping from eating all night long – if I’m out running, I won’t be snacking.

I’m sure I’ve used this QOD before, but it seems appropriate anytime a big race draws near.

Quote of the Day;

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, June 12, 2009


It’s always great in the winter when you have a warm spell that allows you to wear shorts. Usually that gets me wondering what the earliest date is that I’ve ever worn shorts in the winter. I can’t say the opposite – when is the latest I’ve ever worn long pants in the spring - has ever crossed my mind.

At least not until this week.

Tuesday morning it was only 45 degrees in the morning. Sure I could have worn shorts, but with a marathon on the horizon and strides planned for the morning, I played it safe. The cool temps lately and talk on the radio of “the year without a summer” almost guarantee that it will be 114 degrees in Duluth next Saturday.

Wednesday morning was my last hard workout, 8 miles with 3 x 1 mile at 5K pace. I was probably closer to 8K pace with my sub-6:20s, but that’s all right. That night my first “phantom injury” appeared. For some reason the bottom of my right foot was really sore. So I thought it would be a good idea to go back and read the article I wrote on marathoning after last year’s TCM. It worked as I felt fine during yesterday’s easy 5 miles.

This morning was a nice hour-long run on the trails of Hyland with Evan - fresh off his 2:50 at Christchurch.

8 days to go…

Quote of the Day;

“Then there are the phantom injuries that pop up. These are the aches and pains that occur in places I’ve never had any problems ever before. If I survive all of this – while resting and stuffing my face with carbs – I’ll start to feel incredible about four days before the race.” - me

Sunday, June 07, 2009


I've mentioned that I've been re-reading Dr. George Sheehan lately. As I was approaching the finish line this morning, I was thinking about this passage from Running & Being.

The Eastern Two-Mile Championship for fifty-and-over held on Cape May was no different from an other two-mile race I have ever run. The first mile was smooth and rhythmic, the second a painful agonzing effort to maintain the pace of the first mile.

I had run the first mile in 5:28, cruising along in the steady wake of New Zealander Bob Harmon, and both of us about fifty yards astern of Browning Ross, onetime king of the forty-and-overs, now in his first over-fifty race. But as we turned for home I began to feel the heaviness in the legs, the aching muscles and the breathing getting difficult.

And then as Harmon made his move to pull up on Ross, I was faced with the choice. Accept the challenge and maintain contact, or settle for a respectable third place. It was the moment that decided the race.

Some say races are decided beforehand. Depends on the runner's motivation. If so, I would be a loser. Prior to the start, I had conceded to Ross and Harmon and was hoping to beat the rest of the twenty-five-man field. But motivation, it seems to me, rarely stands up to pain. No matter how determined you are, that determination is conceived in a pain-free atmosphere. It has no relation to the real world that comes into being shortly after starting the second mile.

Still, if motivation enhances performance, task aversion, the psychological response to the discomforts of lactic-acid accumulation, the anticipation of future agonies certainly diminishes it. Where motivation paints the future in unnaturally rosy hues, task aversion pictures it in somber grays and funeral blacks.

Task aversion is not new. Even the God-man asked that the cup might pass. We all have the tendency to give up. Army physiologist R. A. Kinsman reported that subjects working on a bicycle ergometer at fifty-six percent of aerobic capacity had quitting time ranging from one-and-a-half to ninety-eight minutes.

When Harmon made his move, I was battling all three elements of fatigue: motivation, lactic acid and task aversion. If I went with Harmon, if I maintained contact, it would mean the escalation of effort in trying to catch the supposedly unbeatable Ross, and, even worse, the possibility of actually catching up to him and then having to sprint, God knows how, to the finish. What that would mean to my already suffering body was too cruel to contemplate.

But, cruel or not, I chose the race. And, having made the decision, concentrated on Harmon's shoes. And while I sat in behind him, using his draft, focusing my attention on his feet, narrowing the whole world to just him and me, we reached Ross and passed him.

Now the pain and tension and the apprehension became unbearable. My great desire was not so much to slow down as to sprint. To sprint and get it over with, no matter how painful it might be.

And that was the way it was. With almost a full quarter to go, I took off. Not because I could stand the pain better than the other two, but because I couldn't. And because I wanted to control my own fate. Set my own pace and not accept theirs.

This much-too-early move took them by surprise and they waited, and that was fatal. By the time they came back at me, I was beyond catching because I was beyond pain.

I was moving in a sea of lactic acid, lifting legs that no longer understood what made them move. My breathing came in short, inadequate gasps, but my body no longer cared. I had broken through a barrier just as surely as I broke through the tape at the finish.

Fatigue, you see, does depend on motivation and lactic acid and task aversion, but it also depends on something else. Man's limits are not simply in his cells or even in his brain. You can measure lactic acid and stimulate brain areas with an electrode and make a person's arms and legs move. But there is no place in the brain where stimulation will cause a person to decide. No substance in his blood that cause him to believe.

That choice, that act of faith, is made in the mind. And in answering the great question. "Will you or won't you have it so?" we find the energy that conquers fatigue and conquers ourselves as well.

Too bad we all couldn't write race reports like that. Phrases like "But motivation rarely stands up to pain" and "Not because I could stand the pain better than the other two, but because I couldn't" and "I was beyond catching because I was beyond pain" might be a overly romantic, but what runner doesn't dream about staring pain in the face and coming out on top?


Less than 2 weeks to go. That seems to be the time when I get the most questions regarding my upcoming marathon. How's your training going? How are you feeling? What are you shooting for? And so on. Normally, I have to mention some sort of setback that I've experienced along the way, which, if nothing else, has left my confidence in question. Well, there's none of that this time around. I'd have to look back at all my marathon build-ups to see if I've had any others go this smoothly. I can't remember any off the top of my head.

I ran my last "long" run yesterday - a 16 miler that gave me 55 miles for the week. This morning I ran my last tune-up, Grand Old Days 8K. The only goal for the day; don't do anything stupid. I accomplished that and ended up running 15 seconds faster than at the Human Race 8K in March. After missing the first mile my splits were 12:30, 6:27, 6:23 and 6:08.

Normally, towards the end of the race, I have no problem "letting" someone beat me. By that point in the race, I'm usually content just to be finished. Whether or not I finish a place or two higher is of little concern. Today I decided to challenge that philosophy. I spent the last 2 miles running with another guy. With probably 200-300 meters to go I decide to pick up the pace. I figured I didn't care if the guy beat me, but I at least wanted to make him work a little. Who knows, maybe I could hold him off and develop a new philosophy.

I did.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


National Running Day.

I slept in.

Don't worry, I'll run tonight.

Basically, this is a non-running related post. Just have a few thoughts that crossed my mind at work lately.

1) Anyone else think it's strange for guys to wear sandals at work? For some reason it just looks out of place to me.

2) How am I supposed to abbreviate cummulative? I'm pretty sure "cum" shouldn't be used - and "cumm" isn't much better. Any suggestions?

3) I hate taking a crap at work - but today was really uncomfortable as the guy next to me made absolutely no noise. I mean come on, how about a cough, grunt, fart, etc. He literally sat there for 3 minutes without a sound. I thought he was dead.

Quote of the day;

"The little I need, I need very much. The little I want, I want very much." - Dr. George Sheehan

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I ran my last 20 miler on Saturday. That gave me 70 miles for the week and 296 for the month. When May began I added up all the miles on Pfitz’s schedule and I think it came to 304. So, overall, not too shabby.

Sunday I watched the Minneapolis Marathon at around mile 23. I’m not sure if I should be fired up or scared to death for Grandma’s after watching another marathon. Even the people that look good can still look miserable – if you know what I mean.

I was thinking about the weather for all of these local spring marathons (Fargo, Eau Claire, Green Bay, LaCrosse, Stillwater, Minneapolis, etc) and it seems like they’ve all been pretty decent. It makes me wonder if the Grandma’s folks are praying for the cool conditions that they always seem to hang their hat on – but never seem to materialize. We’ve already seen that their numbers are down due to the supply and demand of races to choose from (and expensive hotel rooms). Another hot day on June 20th could affect the number of entrants in 2010 too. I guess I’ll worry about that later.

Monday I headed back to the track for my next to last speedwork. It was another round of 600s and another round with the wind. After a slow first repeat, I decided to not time any of the remaining repeats. With less than 3 weeks to the marathon I don’t really care what my 600 meter times are. I figure more harm can be done, mentally, than benefit gained, by timing my repeats.

This morning I ran 11 miles, about half of which were with Rick. I would say I’m “edging towards” my taper. This week is still scheduled to be 60 miles. And with a race planned on Sunday – which is usually my day off – I’ll be up near 70 again from Monday to Sunday. So it'll be more of a 2 week taper this time.

Quote of the Day;

“Writing is never easy. And no matter how well done, never to one's satisfaction. Writing, someone said, is turning blood into ink. Whatever, the idea of suffering is so natural to both writers and runners it seems to be a common bond. And therefore no surprise when one turns out to be both.” – Dr. George Sheehan