Friday, July 31, 2009


Hmm, where did the week go?

I decided to make this a cutback week for a few reasons;

1) I started the week with a day off.
2) After recovering from Grandma’s I’ve had weeks of 65, 63 and 75. Not killer mileage, but that 75 was my most since last August.
3) I’m racing on Sunday.
4) After this week, we are 3 weeks out from our week-long vacation. So I can cutback now, train hard for 3 weeks and then cutback while we’re on vacation.

Here’s what I’ve done since my last post;

Tuesday – 8 moderate miles with Scott in Hyland
Wednesday – 8 easy miles with 8 x 8 second hill sprints
Thursday – 10 easy miles with Rick from home
Friday – 12 miles with Scott including 5 x 3-minutes uphill at 5K pace

That puts me at 52 for the week, so I should finish with 57-60 miles. It also means I closed out July with 281 miles on 28 days of running.

And with today’s run in the books, I also closed out the 34-39 age-group.

So long…

Quote of the Day;

“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” – Richard Bach

Monday, July 27, 2009


Not a whole lot to say today, so I’ll start with a recap of my training. Saturday I joined Kim for a run at Lake Nokomis, which would allow us to watch the Boston Scientific race. We pondered why they have a separate women’s elite race for about 12 gals. I’m guessing the women would be fine with having one wave.

Anyway, this ended up being a fartlek type workout. We ran pretty hard early, slowed down to cheer, ran hard, cheered some more, found Jenna and ran a cool-down with her for awhile. Then I added a couple of miles in the low 7s to end with 16 miles for the day and 75 miles for the week.

I knew it was going to be a difficult task to get a run in yesterday. It was Katie’s 6th birthday and we had lots planned. After waking up in the tent in our backyard and opening presents, we headed to Waseca for a family picnic. Then it was back home around 5 PM for a quick snack before heading to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of Hysteria, I mean, Mall of America. If you bring proof of your birthday, you get unlimited rides for free after 5. We ended up staying till nearly 8. By that time I knew I’d be putting a zero in the log book. But after 11 solid days of training, I’m okay with that.

Given yesterday’s rest day, I decided to get in my hardest workout of the week this morning; 14 miles with 8 at MP. This was my first such workout in awhile, so I thought I’d go with more of a progression-type MP section, rather than going out hard and bombing. So, after a 3 mile warm-up, I eased into it with miles of 7:13 and 7:12. From there I was able to dip below 7-minute pace, including 6:48 and 6:45 for my last 2 miles. Overall, I think I averaged 6:58 pace for the 8 miles. Not really my goal MP, but I always seem to train slower than I race, so I think I’m okay.

Quote of the Day;

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein

Friday, July 24, 2009


Not sure what to write about the Torchlight 5K. It's been 7 years since I’ve run this race and the course has changed a little. It’s an interesting event because probably two-thirds of the first mile are along the Torchlight Parade route, so people are lining the sidewalks to watch – even if they only expected to see a parade. Being in downtown Minneapolis was cool, but it made it difficult to get in any sort of up-tempo warm-up and even strides were difficult.

I’m not sure whether this race was certified or not – but I do know that they’re mile markers were way off. With all the high schoolers in the race and the spectators on the sideline, this race went out pretty hard – and so did I. Still I have a hard time believing I ran a 5:38 first mile. In any case, I definitely slowed down the second mile, yet my split was 5:30! Now I’m just tracking my splits for pure entertainment value. Not surprisingly, “mile” 3 takes forever; 7-flat. I “sprint” home and finish in 18:56. That’s 2 seconds faster than my last 5K, but again, I have no idea whether or not it was accurate. Still it was a good effort. I ran a couple miles afterwards with Kirt and called it 9 miles for the evening and 14 for the day.

One of the nice things about my other blog is that some of the local photographers have been kind enough to give me photos. The bad thing is that now that I know them, they like to capture my image more than before. For example, Wayne took some great photos from Torchlight, but included one nasty photo of me – it’s the 67th photo. After looking at that, scroll back one and look at the size of the headphones on that kid that beat me. Plus, he has long pants and a sweat shirt tied around his waist. Another reason not to like 5Ks.

Good times afterwards as we hung out on Harriet Island for a couple of beers while listening to Kubla Khan. I didn’t get to bed till 11, but luckily I was able to sleep in and run a very easy 6 miles during lunch.

This morning I ran 11 miles including the last 10 minutes at a moderate pace.

Off topic, could you at least give me a courtesy wash of your hands after going to the bathroom – especially if you come out of the stall? I don’t know if you went #1 or #2 in there, but flushing and then making a bee line back to your cube just doesn’t seem right.

Quote of the Day;

“Goals are fuel in the furnace of achievement.” – Brian Tracy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


This may be a new one. Yesterday I woke up at 4:45 for my run. I fed the dog and took her for a walk. After we got back the skies opened up and it started to pour. I drove across town for my run and was ready to go by 5:30. The only problem was that I couldn’t make myself go. All I thought about was how tired I was during my last workout and how I didn’t want to spend the next 90 minutes in the rain. So I went back to my car and fell asleep for a good 75 minutes.

I can’t remember ever doing that before, but it felt so good!

I was able to get in a very easy 5 mile run over lunch and then another five last night while watching the Tour. Seeing Jens Voight wipe out going down a hill mountain around 50 mpw makes me glad I’m a runner. Ouch!

I ran another very easy 5 miles this morning and I’ll toe the line at tonight’s Torchlight 5K. I don’t really have any goals for this race other than to get in a hard workout in the middle of the week. It'll be interesting to see how I compare to my time (18:58) at Brian Kraft.

A little more on Brad Hudson’s book. I’ve mentioned how he talks about adapting your training based on how you’re responding. Of course, that’s easier said than done. One of the things I like is that he gives some examples of what to look for – like being able to handle distance, but struggling with hitting your speed workouts. And he also gives examples of how to correct these imbalances. I think that’s what’s missing for a lot of the books on the market. They lay out a plan and then figure you’ll just follow along as closely as possible.

Only being on my fourth week of his plan, it’s a little too early to make adjustments based on the workouts I’m struggling with. However, as someone who generally has a hard time running the fast stuff, I’ll definitely be keeping that chapter close by.

Quote of the Day;

“You are never a loser, until you quit trying.” - Mike Ditka

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


When I posted my previous 12 workouts yesterday, I was just trying to get a general view of what I’ve been doing lately that could lead to a poor workout. Steve’s comment made me go back and look specifically at what I did prior to each 10K paced workout. Doing that makes it pretty obvious;

Monday – hilly run at Lutsen (9 miles)
Tuesday - OFF
Wednesday – 4 x 5 minutes at 10K pace

Saturday – 19 strong miles
Sunday – 8 x 8 second hill sprints (8 easy miles)
Monday – 4 x 1 mile at 10K pace
I guess I should be thankful that; 1) I can run a decent workout when I’m rested and 2) I am putting in some hard work.

So it makes sense that I’m tired. It’s just that the workout called for 4 x 1 mile at 10K PACE. It didn’t say 10K EFFORT. The effort was there, the pace wasn’t. But I’m okay with that. I’m pretty sure I could hit all the workout times needed if I wanted to taper for every single workout – and then spend a day or two recovering. But I’m not training to run the most impressive 4 x 1 mile repeats. I’m training for a fall marathon. So I’ll forge on knowing that I’m putting in the work now for an October payoff.

Quote of the Day;
“Bite the bullet, old man, and don’t let them think you’re afraid.” – Rudyard Kipling

Monday, July 20, 2009


I’m still trying to figure out how to get in some of my workouts when I run with a friend and during my Saturday Group runs. Throwing in 20 minutes at MP towards the end of a run isn’t really a problem. However, I’m not sure what to do when the plan calls for 15 x 1:00 at MP with a 1:00 jog. I might just have to run solo that day.

Saturday the group was meeting in the northern metro, which is kind of a hike. So I made arrangements with Jenna and Paul to meet at Fort Snelling. The plan called for 18 miles at MP + 10%. If I base my MP on 6:40 pace (2:55), that’d mean I’d need to run 7:20 pace. Overall, we ended up running 19 miles and averaged 7:35-7:40 pace. Given that I saw a bunch of 7:20s on my Garmin, I think it was a solid workout.

Yesterday I ran an easy 8 miles with 8 x 8 second hill sprints at the end. That gave me 63 miles for the week on 6 runs.

This morning the schedule called for 4 x 6:00 at 10K pace. Last week I ran 4 x 5:00 while running sub-6:15s. Therefore, I just decided to run 4 x 1 mile today with a 3:00 jog in between. I felt fine and thought I was running the correct pace, however, the times just weren’t there. I made the mistake of not getting a halfway split on my first repeat and ended up running 6:37. I got a half split on the second one, but it didn’t help much, I still ran 6:32. The third one was a little more respectable (6:21) but I was working pretty damn hard. I was tempted to “adapt” and bag my last one, but thought I’d take an extra minute rest and then just try to run one more a little more conservatively. It ended up being 6:43.

Of course, a workout like this leads to lots of questions. Do I need more speed? More strength? More miles? More rest? Am I just fatigued? Did I screw my running by skiing all winter? Or is this just what it’s like to get old? Do I need to add weight training? Increase my range of motion? The list goes on and on.

One thing is for certain, I didn’t run poorly because of the dog days of summer. It was 60 degrees, calm and cool. If summer ever shows up, I’ll be really slow!

My honest answer is that it’s probably fatigue. I went from being the king of easy runs to king of adding some type of stimulus to nearly every run. Here’s my last 12 days;

Thursday – moderate hilly run with last mile at MP
Friday - 4 x 8 second hill sprints
Saturday – 2 hours with the last 20 minutes at MP
Sunday – 6 x 8 second hill sprints
Monday – hilly run at Lutsen
Tuesday - OFF
Wednesday – 4 x 5 minutes at 10K pace
Thursday – moderate hilly run
Friday – strides
Saturday – 19 strong miles
Sunday – 8 x 8 second hill sprints
Monday – 4 x 1 mile at 10K pace
The good news is I feel fine – I was just slow today. I’ll keep a close eye on this though.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I really like watch championship events when they’re in Europe. There’s nothing like watching the Tour or the British Open (or both) with your cup of coffee and getting your sporting events out of the way early.

Ever grab a couple different leftovers for lunch and then wonder what the heck you were thinking? I just got done eating tamales and BBQ pork chop with rice. Interesting combination.

Quote of the Day;

“In a country where only men are encouraged, one must be one’s own inspiration.” – Tegla Loroupe, Kenya, 1994 NYC Marathon champion

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Me and Kinsey kayaking, while most people were at work. Look at that synchronization of our padels.

Katie and Kinsey at Gooseberry Falls.

Kinsey and Katie looking at Lake Superior. No, they don't always get along this well. Just look at that blue sky!

Katie and Amy riding the gondola at Lutsen.

Me and Kinsey riding the gondola.

Our "puppy" Bailey at Gooseberry Falls.

A pile of my shoes that I photographed to go along with an upcoming article I wrote. No, this has nothing to do with Lutsen, but it's still a running blog.

Friday, July 17, 2009


We’ll start off today’s post with a little word of mouth. If you haven’t found it yet, be sure to check out Team USA Minnesota’s Matt Gabrielson’s blog. Rather than just spitting out a bunch of numbers regarding his training, Matt shares his insights into what it’s like to one of the best runners in the nation – and world. Follow along as he trains for the World Championship marathon that will be run in Berlin next month. That’s Germany. Not to be confused with New Berlin, Wisconsin.

Last year I blogged about the first annual Midsummer Night’s Run. Well, it’s that time again as the second annual event will be held on Thursday, August 13th. Mark your calendars for this small, low-key, 3 mile race through Cleary Lake Regional Park in Savage. Afterwards they had free beer, er, FREE BEER, from not 1, but 2 different local microbrews; Flat Earth and Surly. That alone makes the $30 entry fee worth it. So, while I’d love to finish in the top-3 again, I’d much rather have more people around to party with afterwards – as long as they don’t run out of beer. Who knows, maybe Katie McGregor will come out and party with us again.

Another thing I like about this race and next Wednesday’s Torchlight 5K is that I don’t have to waste a weekend running a 5K. I can mix them in during the middle of the week and then still get in my “real” training on the weekend.

I spent some time last night “adapting” the training plan I laid out 3 weeks ago to take into account the races I’ve decided to run. Torchlight will be my last race in the 35-39 age group. Hennepin Lakes Classic 10K will be my first race as a Master. Then I’ll drink beer, er, run at Midsummer Night’s. On Labor Day I’ll run Victory 10K followed by the City of Lakes 25K. That’s what I have tentatively planned at this time.

Yesterday I ran 12 miles, including 10 with Scott. Most of these were run through Hyland Park. With the terrain and the company, I can always count on these as being moderately hard runs. This morning I ran a very easy 5 miles with some strides. I may try to get in another 5 tonight.

Quote of the Day;

"People do not lack strength; they lack will." – Victor Hugo

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Ever think you’ve chosen the wrong career path? That thought crossed my mind during a guided kayaking trip via Lutsen Resort. My oldest daughter, Kinsey, and I went on “a 3-hour tour” and I thought that the guide had it pretty good. He kayaked on Lake Superior in the morning and then on a calmer in-land lake in the afternoon. In the winter he leads cross-country skiing and snowshoeing tours. Sounds like a good gig if you can get it.

We also spent time riding the gondola at the ski hill, skipping rocks, playing shuffle board, swimming (in a pool), eating s’mores, and checking out Gooseberry Falls.

Monday I was supposed to run 9 miles with 4 x 5 minutes at 10K pace. Having never been to Lutsen before, I didn’t really know where to run. I knew there were some trails by the ski hill, including the Superior Hiking Trail, so I just parked at a trail head and started running. Note: it’s pretty hard to run confidently when you are on new trails and you have no idea where you’re going. One minute I was on a nice trail, then all the sudden I was running in wet knee-high grass. When that happened, I turn around and found a different trail. I ventured onto the Superior Hiking Trail only to find it incredibly rocky and rooty (is that a word?). I wasn’t so much “running” as I was doing that high knee tire drill that football players do.

Needless to say, there was no way I was going to manage 4 x 5 minutes at 10K pace. Instead, I managed 9 miles and just tried to run at a moderate pace when I had good footing. Then at the end of the run, I ran up to the top of the hill where the Alpine Slide is located. I would have loved to have a camera with me, but the thought of falling and landing on my camera crossed my mind.

Yesterday we had to check out by 11, so I didn’t want to “waste” time running. I thought I’d do it when I got back home, but I eventually talked myself out of running. I had lots of “good” excuses; 1) it was 8:45 PM by the time I would have started my run and the thought of running, even an easy 5-6 miles, and then getting up at 5 AM didn’t seem too appealing, 2) my hip was sore either from sitting in a car all day, running up ski hills, or kayaking (yeah, having to steer with my legs seemed awkward), 3) I’m used to Pfitz’s program where I was taking one day off per week and I’ve just run 10 days in a row. So I’m easing into fewer days off.

One of the nice things about Brad’s “adaptive” approach to training is that if I miss or change a workout, I’m just adapting to how my body is responding. So I shouldn’t have any guilty feelings.

This morning I ran 10 miles and was able to get in my 4 x 5 minutes at 10K pace.

Quote of the Day;

"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” - Epictetus

Sunday, July 12, 2009


We're off to Lutsen for 3 days this morning. Not sure if I'll have internet access, so I thought I'd at least update my latest training.

Thursday I ran 10 miles (8 with Scott), mostly in Hyland Park. The last mile we dropped down to 6:40.

Friday I ran an easy 5 miles with 4 x 8 second hill sprints at the end.

Saturday I joined my regular group for 16 miles. The first 13 were just under 8:00 pace and then I ran the last 3 miles at 6:43 pace.

This morning I ran 8 easy with 6 x 8 second hill sprints.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Just when I thought I wouldn’t have anything to write about today, a red-winged blackbird swooped out of the sky and scared the shit out of me.

This morning I was running an easy 8 miles, minding my own business, listening to my new favorite band - Cage the Elephant - when, all the sudden there was a loud hiss in my ear. Now I’ve had these effin’ birds dive-bomb at me before, but I can’t ever remember having one fly right next to me and hiss in my ear. Just once I’d like to take a tennis racket to one of them. And don’t even get me started on the geese…

I think I’m going to change the “Summer of Chad” to the “Summer of Brad”. Hmm, that’d be SOB – maybe that’s not the best option. I’ll keep thinking about it. In the meantime, here are some more Hudson-isms;

Key sharpening workouts are most effective when they closely simulate the speed and endurance demands of your race.

The aerobic system is only one of two major physiological factors in the running performance equation. The neuromuscular system (stride power, stride efficiency, and fatigue resistance) is the other major factor.

The adaptive running approach to aerobic development is not maximize aerobic development, possibly at the expense of neuromuscular fitness factors and/or specific endurance, but to cultivate just the right level of aerobic support to achieve race goals.

There are three specific jobs you must accomplish in your training to develop the level of aerobic support you need to achieve a peak-race goal. First, you must build and maintain adequate running volume, as average weekly running volume is the strongest influencer of aerobic fitness. Second, you must develop a sufficient level of raw endurance to comfortably cover the distance of your peak race. Third, you must perform workouts that are more and more challenging to your aerobic system as the training cycle unfolds.
I’m pretty confident that my neuromuscular system is pretty much dormant. So I hope there’s a lot of room for improvement. Again, that’s one of the reasons from switching for just a pure mileage goal for the summer. It’s also part of the reason for switching from such programs as Pfitz and Daniels this time around.

Quote of the Day;

"It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, July 07, 2009


How about I start with a training update, since it’s been so long since my last post?

Thursday: 8 miles with Evan, including the last 5 minutes at MP.
Friday: I slacked off and recorded a zero.
Saturday: Group run - everyone seemed to be in holiday mode. We made it 12.5 miles and no one really seemed into it.

That gave me 50.5 miles for the week.

Sunday: 6.5 miles, including 4 x 8 second hill sprints.
Monday: 8 miles with 8 x 40 seconds between 3K and 10K pace with 1:20 jog. The black flies are starting to appear.
Tuesday: 11 miles on the LRT.

Some of the stuff I find interesting about Brad Hudson’s book;

1) I like how he talks about year-over-year improvements to training. It seems like common sense, but how many of us sit down after the season and look at what worked and what didn’t work? In addition to increasing mileage over the years, he talks about adding more “work” from year to year. That could be in the form of the number of workouts, starting workouts earlier in the year, doing more reps, etc.

2) He talks about gearing your training so that you’re able to hit all your workouts in your peak week. “Peak” meaning the largest amount of work – not necessarily the most mileage. If you can’t hit your goal times during this peak week, which occurs right before your taper, then you need to think about adjusting your race day goal.

3) He’s all about having your plan written in pencil and adapting as you go along. Each day you basically have 3 plans; Plan A is your original training for the day, Plan B is the days training scaled back, Plan C is an easy day or day off. Basically, if you can’t run Plan A, he suggests cutting the workload for the day (for example, instead of a 30-minute tempo, you’d only run a 15-minute tempo) rather than postponing it. He feels postponing it has a domino effect of pushing other workouts. If you can't scale back, then take it easy or take the day off.

4) He’ll include different stimulus – even at the end of easy runs – to help push your fitness level. So you’ll see lots of easy runs with the last 5-10 minutes at a moderate pace. He feels if you can add this little extra – without adversely affecting your next workout – then you should add it.

5) Along the lines of #4, he talks about doing more than just surviving your long runs. Therefore, he’ll mix in some quicker paces towards the end of them.

I’m sure there’s lots more to come, but so far so good.

Quote of the Day;

"I’m glad that shit’s over with.” – Doug Suker at the end of Saturday’s group run

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


All right, with all, er, I mean both of the comments left after yesterday’s post, I can tell you’re all dying to know the answer to the trivia question. In the early 80s, Grandma’s stopped timing at 4:30. This year that was probably the average time.

Working in marketing, we talk a lot about single variable testing – but only changing one thing it allows you to read the test results better. Well, that got me thinking. Since I’m already have a new training plan that I’m following, I basically have a built-in excuse not to do anything else differently. Therefore, I shouldn’t worry about adding in strength training, stretching, eating better, etc. If I didn’t do any of that prior to Grandma’s, I shouldn’t do it prior to Whistlestop.

Last year I volunteered on the TCM’s public relations committee and ended up writing a bunch of press releases and gathered bio info. After one year I thought my “talents” could be put to better use to serve the local running community. I wasn’t really sure what that would mean at the time, but now I do. I’m in the process of pumping new life back into Jack Moran’s Yearbook. For 20 years Jack create a year-end review of running in Minnesota that included Runner of the Year rankings by age-group along with commentary, top performances for the year and a list of all-time time performances. He “retired” after publishing his last book in 2005. That means the Yearbook has been sorely missed for 3 years. It’s time to bring it back.

I ran 6 miles this morning with 3 x 8 second hill sprints. It was 55 and misty again. I’m pretty sure that we’re only going to have one hot day this year. June 20th!

Quote of the Day;

"The marathon is an obsession. It has to be.” – Mark Bloom