Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Okay, yesterday’s QOD may have been a little over the top, but not much. Looking through the results again, I literally saw 12-15 friends, training partners, and acquaintances less than 1-minute in from of me. Now it’s not like I have this killer instinct where I need to crush everyone in a race, but it is a little frustrating to see that many familiar names “within reach”.

It also kind of puts into prospective how hard we train for such little gains. I mean 12 seconds faster per mile over 8K is basically 1-minute. It can be the difference between 31:00 and 29:59 - the difference between an average race and a breakthrough race. It’s that “unforgiving minute” that has already been written about.

All the emphasis that we place on it seems kind of silly at times, but it sure can be a driving force behind our sport.

Quote of the Day;

"When the competitions begin, it’s hard not to become addicted and want to be better than the competition.” – Michael Woell, local cyclist

Monday, March 29, 2010


To me, Sunday’s Human Race 8K represents the unofficial kickoff to the 2010 racing season. If you are super bored, you can probably scan the archives of this blog for race reports for the last 6 years (damn, have I been blogging that long). I’m sure they all contain in-depth analysis with splits, workouts and mileage leading up to the race, year-over-year comparisons, etc. This year I’ll just say I finished in 31:31, which was 12 seconds faster than last year. Best of all, I finished 2nd in the 40-44 age group…for people from Apple Valley. Actually, I was first is you count “just” runners. :-)

I wasn’t going to include a bunch of analysis with this race report, but I came across these numbers this morning. They’re my average monthly mileage for January – March, along with the time I ran at Human Race.
352 – 29:15 (2006)
305 – 29:20 (2001)
284 – 29:33 (2007)
230 – 29:52 (2000)
293 – 29:56 (2005)
225 – 30:02 (2008)
222 – 30:44 (2004)
138 – 31:31 (2010)
116 – 31:43 (2009)
Not quite every year, but for the most part the years with the most mileage lead to the fastest times. Obviously, the last two figures don’t include skiing mileage.

Just looking at this year’s time and comparing it to past years, it’s easy to get bummed out and frustrated. I started to go down that road, but then I realized it’s way too early in the season to do that. So I thought I’d try to give myself an honest assessment of the race. Overall, I’d say it was pretty average. I think I paced myself well, the first 2 miles passed in 6:20 and 6:15. The third mile marker arrived was about 45-60 seconds too early, so I stopped looking at splits after that. Maybe I’ve been doing this too long, but I never seem to be nervous on the start line any more. And more often than not, it’s easy to say “screw it” when someone passes me towards the end of the race.

Should I been fired up for every race? If so, maybe it’s time to retire from racing. Either retire or get fired up again - one or the other. If you want to read race reports of people that are fired up, check out Steve's new shiny 5K PR and Nichole's new shiny 8K PR.

For now it’s time to get fired up for Grandma’s. It’s very clear that the 45 mpw I’ve been running lately aren’t going to cut it. The Daniels’ Plan has started with the idea of doing workouts on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That might mess of some group runs and stuff, but I’ll try to make it work the best I can.

Today’s QOD is in honor of getting beaten by everyone I know yesterday;

"In case you haven't been keeping track of current events, we just got our asses kicked." -Soldier, from the movie Aliens

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Okay, I'm officially done with feeling sorry for myself about transitioning from skiing to running. The snow is gone, the storage wax is on the skis, I have my running legs back under me, and I have a plan.

Grandma's Marathon is 12 weeks from today. I spent the morning looking at training plans and landed on Daniels. Last year I did a 12-week Pfitz plan and just snuck under 3:10 at Grandma's. This year I'll try Daniels and see what the results are. You know, we're an "experiment of one" and all that jazz. Looking at Pfitz this time around, I didn't think it had enough Threshold and MP work.

We'll see what happens. I'm kinda pumped.

Tomorrow is the Human Race 8K in St. Paul. One of my all-time favorite events. I know there have already been races this spring, but for me, it kicks of the spring racing season. It always a chance to see runners you have seen since probably October due to hibernation, er, I mean, winter.

No QOD today. Instead, I want to share a poem I came across in an MDRA newsletter from 1978 entitles Footpaths.

I've raced the mighty river's flow
And bucked the northwind's icy blow
I've run the marshland's heathered plains
And bathed myself in April's rains
Like children playing games for fun
I've found the race is in the run
And win or lose or first or last
It matters not, the die is cast
I run to find what I can find
Along the footpaths of my mind
I've run in dawn's ethereal glow
And chased my shadow in the snow
I've jogged along with summer's breeze
And shuffled through fall's frosted leaves
Like mountain streams in springtime's rush
I've sprinted out around the crush
Of bodies bent on victory
Then settled back in reverie
I run to find what I can find
Along the footpaths of my mind
Those icy blows, those April rains
Those grueling races, numbing pains
They only serve to spur me on
So I can face another dawn
Like passion's lovers wrapped as one
I've found the race is in the run
To answer them, that ask me, "Why?"
To answer them, I just reply
I run to find what I can find
Along the footpaths of my mind

- Footpaths by Pete Galatowitsch

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


If I just wait long enough to plan my 2010 schedule, it looks like things will just work themselves out. I was kicking around the idea of heading back to Chicago for a fast fall marathon. Well, that race closed as of yesterday. So if I want to run a fall marathon, I’ll have to come up with another option. Perhaps I should run TCM again. It’s still the only marathon course I’ve run, along with Boston, that I haven’t broken 3 hours on. That would make for a good challenge. I did sign up for Grandma’s Marathon this week. As of Saturday I’ll have 12 weeks until race day.

I want to make one last push to get people to purchase a copy of A Minnesota Runner’s Yearbook 2009. It’s one of those projects that’s a lot of work, but in the end it’s worth it. Unfortunately, it’s in jeopardy of dying a slow, painful death if we aren’t able to sell any more copies. One thing to keep in mind, while 2009 may be fresh in your mind, years from now you may want to look back and see who was kicking ass in 2009. The Yearbook makes that all possible, all for the low, low rate of $10, plus $2 S&H. So if you want to see future Yearbooks – even if you got a complimentary copy this year - let USATF Minnesota know by sending your money by mail to:

USATF Minnesota
960 Douglas Road,
Mendota Heights, MN 55118

For more information, contact Craig Yotter at office@usatfmn.org.

Quote of the day;

“Believe in yourself, know yourself, deny yourself, and be humble.” - John Treacy

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Man, last week really sucked. I basically had a sore throat and stuffed up nose from Sunday through Thursday. And I only managed 24 miles on 4 runs – each of them crappy. I basically spent the week cursing the fact that I ever started running. Then on Sunday, the sun came out and the temps were in the mid-to-upper 50s, and I had a great run.

Rarely when I run by myself do I average below 8-minute pace. But on Sunday, I managed 10 miles at 7:30 pace. I didn’t feel fast or smooth, but I felt strong. Hopefully that’s the residual effect of skiing all winter – probably combined with pent up frustration from the previous week. In any case, I needed that!

I still don’t have any direction planned for 2010. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been thinking about just doing some new events; 50K, Paavo Nurmi Marathon and a mountain bike race. However, part of me wants to take a crack at a fast fall marathon. A lot of this will depend on whether or not I get into the mountain bike race, which has a lottery system. That race is in September and I think it’d be difficult to train for it and a fast marathon at the same time. And there’s still the question as to whether or not I should run Grandma’s Marathon this year.

Right now I’m thinking, if I get into the mt. bike race I run Grandma’s in June, a 50K in July, Paavo in August and the mt. bike race in September. If I don’t get into the mt. bike race, then I’ll focus on a fall marathon. How’s that for narrowing things down?

Finally, congrats to the Team USA Minnesota runners on their performance at the Gate River 15K in Jacksonville. On the women’s side Katie McGregor won her fifth US title with a PR of 49:51, beating a very strong women’s field. Meghan Armstrong was 16th in 53:39 and Michelle Frey was 22nd in 54:33. Although she’s not on Team USA Minnesota, last year’s Runner of the Year, Jennifer Houck placed 15th in 53:05. And on the men’s side, Vega placed 3rd in 43:56 Lehm was 4th in 44:00, Smyth was 7th in 44:42 and Moen was 20th in 46:00. And Chris Erichsen, again, not on Team USA Minnesota but 3rd in last year’s ROY rankings placed 25th in 46:38.

Quote of the day;

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Not much is going on lately, just mourning the passing of another ski season. I tried to get out one last time on Sunday, but conditions were slushy and slow. My transition back into a runner is not going very well either. I thought by running more in December and January, compared to last year, I’d be better off in March. However, running only 61 miles in February caught up with me and I feel like a newbie all over again. Catching my first cold of the winter hasn’t helped either.

While I struggle to get healthy, rekindle my love of running, and figure out a plan for 2010, I suggest you go and read about someone who has all those things figured out.

In other news, I did not apply for that LTF job that I mentioned in my last post. Actually, this opening looks even more appealing – even though I don’t “understand the technical aspects of performance xc skis” or have “significant xc ski race and/or ski sales experience.” Other than that, it sounds good. I should mention that I’m happy with my current job. However, it probably wouldn’t hurt to update my resume, since it’s been 5 years.

Quote of the day;

"Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing." - George Sheehan

Thursday, March 04, 2010


This week I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want to do this year. Awhile ago I mentioned trying to run some fast times at some of the less popular distances, like 12K, 15K, 20K, 25K, and 30K. Right now the thought of running hard for 10K or less seems unthinkable. Maybe that’ll change as I slowly, very slowly, transition back into running.

Or maybe I don’t even worry about transitioning back. Part of me thinks about spending a year focusing on skiing, just to see how much I can improve. Of course, another part of me knows that the first time I fell on my roller skis and landed on my ass, I’d be reaching for my running shoes so fast, it’d make heads spin.

Another part has me contemplating entering some events that have been on my “bucket list” like a 50K, the Paavo Nurmi Marathon, and the Fat Tire. The 50K is in April, which could be a difficult turnaround. I suppose I could always find one later in the year if I’m not ready by mid-April.

The year will end with at least one goal achieved. I finally finished the Harry Potter series. Now I’m not sure what to do with myself. I’ll eventually read Born to Run, but I have an article that needs to be written before I can focus on that.

Finally, my friend Scott thinks I should apply for this job. Anyone have any contacts at Lifetime Fitness?

Quote of the day;

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.” - Charles Kingsley