Monday, December 28, 2009


Holidays used to be a time when I was able to use my time off to ramp up my training. That wasn’t the case this Thanksgiving or Christmas. Last week started off with 3 runs and 3 skis in the first 4 days, then the holidays arrived – along with the snow – and I only managed 1 more ski the rest of the week. I finished up with only 23 miles of running, but also had 60K of skiing, along with a foot of snow shoveling. The important part is that we had a great Christmas and now I’m refreshed and ready to take on 2010.

While I do love all the snow, especially for skiing, it really sucks for running. I’m not sure if it’s because of the timing with the holidays and/or the weekend or the sheer amount of snow, or what, but none of the local sidewalks are plowed. With a new work week, I’m hoping they get plowed today, but I have a feeling we might not see pavement again until April. Anyway, that really limits your options when it comes to exercising. You can do loops around your neighborhood, drive somewhere, hit the treadmill, take the day off, or strap on the skis. Whatever the case, I need to make a better attempt as the New Year’s holidays approach.

On a sad note, RIP Cindy Brochman.

I pulled today's Quote of the Day off of a comment by Tim O'Brien on her Caring Bridge site;

“Do not stand by my grave and weep,

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond in the snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle Autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry:

I am not there, I did not die....."

Monday, December 21, 2009


Last week I wrote about trying to get to 60 MPW like it was some mystical/magical number. It’s not. It just happens to be the next 10-mile increment over where I’ve been. In any case, I did manage 61 miles last week. The week included 6 hill repeats on Monday, 10 miles on Wednesday with 6 of them at 7:00 pace, and I finally got over 2 hours again on Saturday’s group run. Throw in an hour of skiing and I had over 9.5 hours of training for the week.

A few weeks ago I was laying out my upcoming racing schedule and I came across another run, bike, ski triathlon. I did one last March and it was a blast. However, after thinking about it for awhile, I decided not to do this one. It looks like I didn’t miss much, as the results show that only 12 individuals and 5 teams participated. Right now my winter races look like this;

1/9 Pre City of Lakes Loppet 15K X-C
1/23 Winter Carnival Half Marathon
2/7 City of Lakes Loppet 35K X-C
2/13 Pre-Birkie 42K X-C
2/27 Birkie 50K X-C

Anyone else out there getting Running Times? Is it just me or does it seem like they’ve been doing a great job lately? I’m not sure if it has to do with them and Runner’s World being under one company now or not, but it sure seems like the two magazines are a lot more differentiated lately.

The latest RT talks about stuff like comparing past training cycles, figuring out if you’re stuck in a rut, and, if so, how to break out of it. It hit home with me because last year I entered the spring in pretty crappy running shape. Then after Grandma’s I convinced myself I was in a rut and I needed to change things around. It was pretty easy to blame it on poor running on skiing. However, as I look back, I think it has a lot more to do with my lack of running. Or maybe it was my lack of running and skiing. Cutting back on running to ski would be fine – if I were actually skiing an equivalent amount. Now that I look back, I see that I was averaging less than 7 hours a week of aerobic activity last winter. If I look back two years, when I was running fairly well, I see I was averaging over 8 hours. It doesn’t sound like a bunch, but if you calculate that out for the three months leading up to the Birkie, that’s nearly three more weeks of training.

I’ve already run more this December than I did last December and January, combined. And with some upcoming time-off, I’m thinking my skiing will catch up to last year’s too. So, as of right now, I think I’m in a good position to ski well at the Birkie and be a lot more fit entering the spring racing season.

Quote of the Day;

“Wow, this weather is incredible.” – Some gal getting out of her car at Hyland on Friday when it was 25 and sunny

Friday, December 18, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009


I’m trying to increase my weekly mileage – it’s just not happening. After finally getting into the 60-mile range last week, I was back to 50 miles this week. But I won’t complain too much because I had a few solid runs; tempo, hills and progression runs.

I had a 4 week stretch where I ran a tempo run once a week. I followed that up with a 3 week stretch of not doing a tempo run. Last Sunday I managed 10 miles, including 5 at 7:03 pace. That’s better than the tempos I was doing back in early November, so I’m making progress. Tuesday my run included 6 times Bush Lake Road hill. Saturday I ran an 8 mile progression run where I dropped down to 6:30 pace at the end.

I really need to start including at least a 2-hour run once a week – especially if I really want to get over 60 MPW consistently. When you don’t run further than 10 miles on any given day, it makes it hard to run that kind of mileage.

Some readers may be surprised to hear that I still haven’t strapped on my skis yet. With our initial snowfall last week, the opportunity never really presented itself. This morning we received another few inches of snow that’s definitely going to open up more skiing options. So I may not get to 60 MPW until March. Who knows?

I will say that I do love running in the winter. I know some people hate it, but I think it’s awesome. Sure 20 below sucks. The footing can be really shitty a lot of the time. And I don’t need 6 months of the stuff. But I’ll take it over 74 and sunny every day of the year. Give me the variety. Make me feel alive. And make me feel like I’m the only one on the roads.

Quote of the Day;

“Joanie, if marathons make you look like this, please don’t run any more.” – Joan Benoit Samuelson’s mom, in a letter after seeing Joan’s exhausted face in a newspaper photo after running 2:22:43 to win Boston

Friday, December 11, 2009


The more I blog, the more stuff I see coming across my virtual desk. Of course, some of it’s better than other stuff. And some of it sucks and gets deleted right away. Today I want to share a site that I heard about back in early November. It’s called “The Clymb” and as the email said;
It’s a private sale network that will give you access to insider pricing from an amazing group of outdoor brands. If you climb, hike, run, ride, paddle or ski, you’re gonna love this. Here’s how it works: you accept this invite and The Clymb will hook you up with deep discounts, usually 50-70% off retail, on gear from a different leading brand each week. Each brand’s product is available for 3 days only or until it’s sold out. Membership is free and by invite only.
I totally love the idea of this site, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t ordered anything from it yet. My problem is that unless it’s running or skiing stuff, I’m not really much of a gear guy. If you’re into hiking, rock climbing, camping, and such, this is the site for you. In the last month they’ve done exactly what they’ve said they’d do, which is offer over 50% off of name brand outdoor products. I’ve seen Merino wool sweaters, winter jackets, backpacks, sunglasses, ski goggles, and helmets so far.

If you fancy yourself an Outdoor Person and you’re into this kind stuff, be sure to check out their site; here’s an invitation.

Just to be honest, the email also stated;
Additionally if you like what we are doing you can invite friends and receive $10 off a future purchase for each friend that signs up and purchases something.
That’s nice, but it's not a big deal to me. I just know there are a bunch of people out there that like their gear and they might find this site right up their alley.

Quote of the Day;

“Ignore, when, whether you are tall and thin or short and stocky – whether they laughed at you at home or at school. Indeed – to hell with the lot of them if you ‘feel’ you can do it.” – Percy Cerutty

Thursday, December 10, 2009


All right, things seem to have settled down in my life, so let’s see if I can get this thing fired up again. I’ve actually been feeling pretty good about my running lately. After a cutback week the week of Thanksgiving, I bounced back with 62 miles last week. That’s basically my highest week since July.

However, yesterday we received our first significant snowfall of the year, so I’m sure I’ll be strapping on the skis soon. The weird thing is that I’m not super fired up about it yet. I am signed up for the Birkie and I do want to ski well there. However, I’m just not taking the approach that I have to ski as much as possible this season. When I think about last year, there were quite a few days that I tried to ski even though the conditions weren’t very conducive. For example, if it gets too cold your skis just won’t glide. This year I’m just going to go for a run instead. No sense banging my head against a wall.

I mentioned that one of the reasons I haven’t been blogging is that I was busy working on a Minnesota Runner of the Year project. The way it basically works is that there are a set of standards for various distances for each age group and sex. Anyone that meets those standards qualifies to receive points at each distance. Simply put, the person with the most points wins.

If you look at the standards, you’ll see that some are much easier to achieve than others. Typically speaking, distances like 20K and 30K that aren’t run too frequently are much easier to meet than the often run 5K and 10K. As a 40-year-old man, I’d have to run 35:30 for 10K (5:42 pace) or 2:06 for 30K (6:48 pace). If you’re familiar with a WAVA age-grading calculator, the 10K converts to 78.5% compared to 70.7%. That’s a huge difference. My all-time 10K PR only converts to 77.2%.

The reason I bring all this up is because the numbers don’t lie. The thing I noticed while working on the Runner of the Year project is that each runner is usually racing within a very narrow WAVA % band. They’re usually running between something like 83 and 85%, for example. They’re not running 76% one week and then 89% the next.

I understand that’s not an earth-shattering realization. But I got to thinking about my past racing, WAVA %, the standards for 40-44 year old men and how I could use this info for setting up my goals for 2010. If I look at my best races recently – say, the last 3 years – they convert to WAVA % between 71.4% and 73.9%. Now, if I convert the Runner of the Year standards to WAVA %, there are only 6 distances that fall within that range; 12K, 15K, 20K, 25K, 20M and 30K.

I’ve been trying to determine a 2010 race schedule based on meeting some of these standards. As I mentioned before, most of these are seldom run distances, so it’s not as easy as it sounds. There’s basically one race in the state for 12K, 20K, 25K and only two for 20M and 30K. Throw in the fact that the 12K and one of the 20M are the same day and that I’ll be on a vacation at the end of May. Therefore, it looks like I might only be left with 2 or 3 chances to meet those goals during the first half of 2010.

There will be more to come on the topic as I give it more thought.

Quote of the Day;

“God determines how fast you’re going to run; I can help only with the mechanics.” – Bill Bowerman