Monday, May 28, 2012


I’m guessing that, when it comes to injuries, I’m no different than any other runner. Whenever the topic of an injury comes up, I’m willing to bet that the words “it’s weird” are included 99% of the time. Actually, what we’re experiencing probably isn’t weird at all – it’s normal. It just feels weird to us. For example, a couple of weeks ago I had a flare up in my lower back. After sitting for long periods of time, I could barely stand up straight. The weird thing with that pain is that it didn’t bother me when I ran. And it went away almost as quickly as it arrived. It probably helped that I jumped on it and went to see Jenna, the healer of all things soft tissue – and more.

As awesome as Jenna is, there are some instances where I try to be self-supportive and treat my injuries myself. Like with my recent calf issues, where I spent 3 days of cross training and foam rolled the crap out of it. Friday I decided to test it out with an easy 5 mile run. Things seemed to be going okay, but then I felt a little tweak going up a hill. I backed off the pace and managed to make it back to the office. In hindsight I wish I would have worn my compression socks, but I didn’t want to look like a dork running from my office.

Saturday morning I had mentally prepared myself that my run may turn into a walk if I had indeed tweak my calf. The weird thing is that I felt fine and was able to run 9 hilly miles on the trails of Hyland. Perhaps wearing compression socks made all the difference. As the day went on, I kept waiting to feel pain in my calf, but it never appeared.

So it feels like I may be recovered – at least temporarily. Talking with Kevin on Saturday’s run, we basically determined that there’s always going to be something “wrong”. The days of long pain-free stretches are probably over. Honestly, I think it’s good to acknowledge that and to be aware of that. It was just last summer the I got so frustrated with an achy knee, that I shut things down in the summer. Hopefully, accepting that this is the way it’s going to be from now on will help keep me from shutting things down again. It’s hard to run a fall marathon when you don’t train during the summer.

Unfortunately, tweaking my calf on Friday was enough to make me bail on the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. I ended up giving up my slot to another runner. And I decided to skip today’s 5K today too, even though it’s an MDRA Grand Prix event.

Quote of the day;
"The 'spikes' it is finished for me.  I am 39.  I have failed to qualify for the Olympics.  And there is a very strong younger generation in Ethiopia now.  I tried to qualify for my fifth Olympics. And I don’t regret trying to do so.  I simply came up against stronger rivals on Sunday.” - Haile Gebrselassie

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It seemed like there was a stretch of about 6 years where I blogged every day or at least every week day. That’s hard to believe, given how little I’ve been blogging lately. What the heck did I used to write about so much?

My calf that cramped during my last race recovered quickly, only to cramp again during my run on Monday. That made me curious. If a muscle cramps, is it more susceptible to future cramping? I’m not overly concerned – yet. However, I’ve been laying out a training plan for TCM and that’s supposed to start in early June. Plus, I’m supposed to run a 5K on Memorial Day. I’ve also managed to weasel my way into the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and it’d be nice to be able to run that. I’ve been foam rolling like crazy, along with wearing my compression socks as much as possible – including at work.

I jumped on the elliptical machine yesterday and today I commuted to work on my bike – at least part of the way. I drove to Lake Nokomis and then biked 17 miles from there. Of course, that means another 17 miles tonight. I really like commuting by bike, however, it means I won’t get home until after 6:30 PM.

Quote of the Day;

"I would never use Rod Dixon as a pace man. Off the track, we are good friends, but on the track we are very competitive. It’s me for me and Rod for Rod.” – John Walker

Sunday, May 13, 2012


It’s been 5 years since the last time I ran the New Prague Half Marathon. In 2005, I was in arguably my best-ever post-collegiate shape. I ended up running 1:21:49 at New Prague, a post-30 years old PR by 1:15. Of course, I wasn’t hoping to run that fast this year, but I was hoping to dip under 1:30 after running 1:32:30 at the Winter Carnival half.

Typically, it’s windy whenever I’ve run this race. The fact that it’s run amongst the farm fields usually makes the wind worse. Plus, the course is a big square, which means that you have to run in each direction for nearly 3 miles before getting any sort of break from the wind. Well, we didn’t have to worry about that this year as we got a break from the wind for the entire race. Conditions were right around 60 degrees, sunny and only a slight breeze.

From all my days of trying to break 3-hours, I know that I need to run 6:52 pace if I want to break 1:30. This is a pretty low-key race, so it was nice to recognize a few familiar faces before the start, plus it helps with pacing during that first mile when you’re trying to settle in. As the gun goes off, I’m trying to gauge myself against those around me. I’m just behind Michael and Willie, both who’ve kicked my ass all year long. I wonder if I’m going out too hard. But I’m also with Jim, who I figure will run in the mid to upper 1:30s. And the gal I finished just ahead of at Get in Gear is right in this pack. I feel comfortable, so I figure I’m right where I need to be. Finally, we get to the mile and I see 6:53 – nearly perfect!

We actually have a rather large pack of about 10 people as we make our way to mile 2 in 6:55. There’s a hill during the next mile and I lose the pack a little. I’m okay with that as I enjoy running by myself. At this point there are 2 high school kids about 15 feet in front of me, with the bigger pack just in front of them. The kids are chatting away as if they’re just out for a jog – must be nice!

Between miles 2 and 6, I remain in the same position, having rattled off splits between 6:49 and 6:58. The course is constantly rolling. There seems to be more up hill than down, which makes gauging my actual pace a little difficult. Afterwards Jim joked, “Where were the downhills.”

By now we’ve been traveling east and south of town. I’m looking forward to getting to “mile” 6.5 because we turn west and start heading home, which is a nice mental boost. It’s also at this time where the pack starts to string out and I am able to start catching some people. The first person I catch is Michael. This is another mental boost because I think he’s been in every race I’ve run this year – and beaten me every time. The mental boosts transfer to quicker splits of 6:43 and 6:48 for miles 7 and 8. During this stretch I pass 5 more runners. I also pass a little girl cheering. She tells me that I’m “almost done” even though I have over 4 miles left. “Cute!”

I get to mile 9 feeling pretty good. I can see the gal that I ran next to at Get in Gear up ahead of me about 30 seconds. Typically, I like to run a smart race and save something in the tank for the last 5K. If that was the case today, I think I can catch her. However, within a mile I’m not feeling so hot. We go up a fairly large hill and I lose significant ground to the runners in front of me, along with any mojo I had when I was passing other runners.

At mile 10 I take a look at my overall time and see 1:08:50. Quick math tells me that that’s 70 seconds less than 7:00 pace, which is 6:53. I am right on track for 1:30. Given the way I’m feeling, I figure I’ll be closer to 1:30:30. During the next mile I keep repeating, “Get me to mile 11, get me to mile 11…”. The remaining 5K is too much to comprehend, but I can deal with the last 2 miles.

Somewhere around this point my left calf begins to cramp. In 30+ years of running I can’t think of ever getting a cramp, other than a side-stitch. Every time people tell me they start to cramp in a race, I just kind of nod my head because I had no idea what they were talking about. I guess now I can relate. I finally get to mile 11 in 6:59. Now I tell myself to hang on for another half mile or so because that’s were the next turn is. I make it and take a quick glance over my shoulder. I know, I know, the race is in front of me, looking back only encourages the runner behind me, blah, blah, blah. I guess I just had to know how many runners I should expect to pass me during the last mile. It looks like only one guy is close enough to catch me. At least that seems like the best case scenario at this point.

Mile 12 passes in 7:05. I figure if I can run another 7:05, the guy behind me will have to run 6:50 to catch me. I remember that this is an MDRA Grand Prix event. Plus, given the rather small field, there could be age-group awards on the line, so I try to hold him off. We make a couple more turns and he doesn’t seem to be gaining. Then with about a quarter-mile to go I hear footsteps – at first they’re behind me, but very shortly they are in front of me. If nothing else, this guy help push me harder than I would have if he weren’t in the race.

While he pushed me during that last mile, there’s no way he pushed me to the 6:17 split that I saw on my watch. I figured the mile markers were probably just off a little throughout the course. Not a huge deal, but what it did mean is that I was no longer on pace to run 1:30:30. As I approached the finish line I saw 1:29:40, which meant I had to pick it up even more to sneak under 1:30. I managed to do so by 2 seconds. Good for 28th overall and 2nd in the 40-44 age group.

The 1:29:58 is 2:29 faster than my Winter Carnival Half Marathon, so things seem to be going in the right direction.

If you’d like to read about people setting PR’s, be sure to check out Nichole’s and Steve’s reports.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Surprise! I’ve actually been feeling pretty good lately. Saturday was my longest run since Grandma’s Marathon last year, as I made it 18 miles. Without a spring marathon on the horizon, I’ve been keeping my long runs around 16 miles. In addition to bumping my mileage, it was one of my faster training runs that I can remember recently. After running the first 4 miles solo as a warm-up, I joined my normal Saturday group and proceeded to click of 7:30 miles. Best of all was that things felt really comfortable until that last 2 miles. I ended up taking Sunday off and closed out the week with 55 miles.

This morning I woke up with a stiff lower back and was wondering if I’d be able to run at all. After a sluggish first mile in 8:36 I started to feel really good again. I ran an out-and-back course and without even thinking about it, each of the first 6 miles was faster than the previous; 8:10, 8:03, 7:59, 7:54, 7:53. Again, this felt really comfortable, so I tried to pick it up a little bit more during each mile and finished with 7:48, 7:31, 7:28, 7:21.

It seems like a lot of other people with similar race times as me train a lot faster than I do, so these splits probably seem really slow. However, for me, they’re a lot quicker than “normal” so maybe things are turning around. Either that or I just ran too hard and now I’m screwed for this weekend’s half marathon.

Quote of the Day;

"The long run is the single most important ingredient to marathon success.” – Bob Glover