Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Last week I was concerned with getting in my 15 miler with family in town. I ended up getting up at 5:30, ran 16 miles, and was back just as everyone was beginning their day. Motivation is a good thing!

That gave me 59 miles for the week.

On Friday, I picked up these sweet shoes at TCRC. I pulled them right out of the box and used them for my 16 miler.  Love 'em! 

Nike Lunar Glide 4
I leave for Track Town tomorrow. I was originally thinking that it’d be difficult to get my training in while I’m there. But then it occurred to me, there probably isn’t a better time/place for me to get my training in. Each day’s meet doesn’t start until the mid-afternoon and I don’t have any real responsibilities while I’m there. So there shouldn’t be any excuses.

With Pfitz, Wednesdays mean mid-week, medium-long runs. Today that meant 14 miles. When the alarm went off at 4:45, I really wanted to go back to sleep. I didn’t sleep well and Scott was out of town, so no one was holding me responsible. But I knew my week would be shot if I didn’t “git ‘er done.” I headed back to Hopkins and ran on the Ron Daws 25K course again. The inner loop (along Dominick Road), combined with the outer loop (along Baker, Rowland, Bren, and Shady Oak) is exactly 7 miles. I ran that twice which allowed me to re-fill my water bottle halfway through my run. I counted at least 8 hills on each lap, so it’s a lot of “fun”. While it’s tough getting motivated for these runs in the middle of the week, it’s always a great feeling when I enter them into my log book.

Finally, I’ll close with a couple of Trials-related links. First, Lauren Fleshman continues to provide great quotes. Check out this article after she made the finals in the 5,000m despite only being able to sprint due to IT Band issues.

Locally, Bruce Brothers wrote a nice piece on 1500m hopeful, Gabe Anderson. If that’s not enough, Carrie Tollefson interviewed Gabe in this video;

Quote of the Day;

“Being a good athlete is about being delusional and forgetting the gravity of situations you are about to enter. I had been exceptional at tuning that out for so long. I had to decide with this being as good as it gets, do I still want to do this.” – Lauren Fleshman

Friday, June 22, 2012


As if I don’t have enough running-related “work” on my plate, I’ve been updating the MDRA blog lately too. I started to provide a single source for all the race results from the previous week – instead of having runners scour 12 different sites looking for their results. I’ve also been previewing some of the Olympic Trials events that have Minnesotans in them.

I never fully recapped last week’s training. I ended up running everything as prescribed by Pfitz’s plan; Sunday – recovery day, Monday – 5 easy miles, Tuesday – 8 miles with strides, Wednesday - 12 miles, Thursday – 5 miles, Friday – 9 miles, Saturday – 16 miles with 8 at marathon pace. 55 miles for the week.

This week isn’t over, but I might as well recap that too. Sunday – recovery day, Monday – 5 easy miles, Tuesday – 11 miles, Wednesday - 13 miles, Thursday – 5 miles, Friday – 9 miles with 4 at 6:39 pace. Tomorrow I’m supposed to run 15, I have family coming into town tonight, so we’ll see what I can get accomplished.

Wednesday’s run was a confidence booster. No, it wasn’t a hard workout or anything. However, it was 80 degrees with a dew point of 67 at 5:45 AM. I sucked it up, strapped on my water bottle belt, and hit the Ron Daws 25K course.

Even though it was perfect out this morning, 62 degrees and calm with a dew point of 57, I ventured inside for my run. The last time I tried a tempo run outside, it didn’t go as planned. I cut it a mile short and had no idea what pace I was running. Today I wanted to make sure I had a good workout, so I hopped on the treadmill. It worked because I felt great and ran a solid tempo.

Let me close the week with a couple of random things I’ve seen lately. Did anyone notice that Rob Finnerty earned the Olympic Trials A-standard in the 1500 last week, running 3:38.60. You may remember that Finnerty broke Garry Bjorklund’s 39-year-old record for the mile, running 4:01.09. Oh yeah, that was just over 4 years ago. Nice to see he’s coming around again. You can see his recent race below;

Watch more video of Rob Finnerty on

Last week I mentioned that Alex Ratelle passed away. Jack at paid Alex a tribute and laid out many of his unbelievable stats.

Quote of the Day;

"BELIEVE. Belief overrides confidence %100 of the time. Every champion waivers in confidence, it can be lowest right before the biggest wins. Mine was. No champion however waivers in their belief of who they are and what they can accomplish. Solidify your belief and use it! Doubt your doubts. Embrace your fears and insecurities believing in yourself and your greatness. Lean into every emotion, feeling, nerve ending as it transpires appreciating the opportunity. Above all...Trust yourself! Your instincts are organic, you know what to do and how to do it. Believe THAT!" – Arielle Verhaaren, 2012 BMX Olympian

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I probably say this every year, but I love Duluth and I love Grandma’s Marathon weekend! Even though I wasn’t racing at all, I still went up to work the expo, watch, cheer, party, etc. A normally awesome weekend was even better this year with the inclusion of the USA Half Marathon Championships.

One concern I have with my own marathon training, is trying to get it in while on the road this summer. I decided to do Friday’s run in Duluth, opting to run along Skyline Drive as well as the Superior Hiking Trail.
View from Superior Hiking Trail near Enger Park
Getting in 9 miles was relatively easy. Saturday’s 16 miles with 8 at MP would be more difficult. I knew if I waited until after the races were done, I’d never get it in. Instead, I got up with my marathon buddies and headed down near the finish line to start my run at 6:15. I ended up running the course in reverse, staying on the sidewalks – even though it often meant running around people. I did an easy 7 miles before dropping down to MP. I was able to watch the Championship race go by. I saw Abdi in the lead around the 9 mile mark and Kara in the lead at mile 7. After a couple of more miles in reverse, I turned around and started to run with the runners from the regular half marathon – again staying on the sidewalk. This worked out great because I was able to use the racers to help with my workout without being in their way. I ended up running the 8 miles at MP between 7:13 and 7:34 pace.

After watching the half marathon finishers for awhile, I biked out to Lemon Drop Hill. While I was there, Abdi and Kara were out for a cool down and I snapped this bad picture.
Abdi and Kara cooling down.
I spent the next couple of hours cheering and taking more photos. In typical marathon fashion, some of my friends ran great and some not so great.

Later that evening I was able to weasel my way into the dinner/award ceremony for the Championship event. Don’t ask me how I manage to do these things. The only thing I can think of is that “I know people.” Anyway, it turns out that I sat right next to where the awards were going to be handed out and I got a couple of better photos of Abdi and Kara.

After the awards we headed downstairs for desserts where the hob-nobbing continued. I shook hands with Abdi and I think I have him convinced to move to Minnesota – given that, I believe, he’s 3-0 in Championship races in the state. I should have asked for a photo together, but I thought that would be awkward.
Top men finishers in the Half Marathon Championships.

Top women finishers in the Half Marathon Championships.
Just a few final thoughts on the weekend. Thanks to Heidi from MDRA for the room, Bob from Grandma’s Marathon for the hospitality, Adam and Kelly from TCRC for the great RV party, and Kim for inviting me to hob-nob. Race of the weekend vote: Michelle Frey’s 1:11:45ish, which was good for 3rd place. Finally, that view coming over the hill into Duluth never gets old.

Quote of the Day;
"I love Minnesota.” – Abdi

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Thought I’d start off with a recap of my first week of training for TCM.

Sunday - Plan: 5 miles – Actual: 5 miles

Monday - Plan: Day off or Cross Train – Actual: 2 x 21 mile bike rides

Tuesday - Plan: 9 miles w/ 4 @ tempo – Actual: 9 miles w/ 3 @ tempo

Wednesday - Plan: 11 miles – Actual: 9 miles

Thursday – Plan: 5 miles – Actual: 11 miles

Friday – Plan: 9 miles – Actual: 5 miles

Saturday – Plan: 15 miles – Actual: 16 miles

Total – Plan 54 miles – Actual: 55 miles

Pretty solid week overall. You can see that I switched things around a little on Wednesday – Friday. This was so I could run with Scott on Thursday instead of our typical Wednesday run. The week also included 3 core workouts for McMillan’s DVDs.

Other than that, I have a bunch of links I want to share today. First, off all the people I wish I’d interviewed, Alex Ratelle would be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, he died on Sunday at age 87. If you’re not familiar with Alex, he was an age-group ace for many years in Minnesota. One example, running 2:30:40 (5:45 pace) at the age of 56. Since I didn’t get to interview him, how about an interview with Olympic hopeful, Heather Kampf?

And speaking of Olympic hopefuls, here are a couple of other articles worth checking out on Katie McGregor and Gabriele Anderson.

Finally, here’s a great article on Chris Lundstrom.

Quote of the Day;

"Marathons had become pretty predictable.” – Chris Lundstrom on his decision to branch out to ultras

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


With a goal on the distant horizon, I will try to post more frequently. If nothing else, it seems to help keep me motivated.

I forgot to mention a goal for TCM. Right now my recent race results point to about a 3:15, which I believe corresponds with my BQ. Not that I have plans to run Boston again, but a BQ isn’t a bad carrot to have in front of me. Of course, I hope to improve throughout the training cycle and getting down to 3-oh-something would sound better than anything above that. Thoughts of another sub-3 aren’t even on my mind.

I’m not sure if Pfitz had two 90 minute bike rides in mind when he wrote “day off or cross train” in his schedule. But that’s what he got. I’m sure that won’t be the norm, but the situation fit yesterday. Today’s workout called for 9 miles with 4 miles at 15K to half marathon pace. My Garmin wouldn’t turn on this morning, so I ended up doing this workout by feel along the Greenway. One thing I learned is that I have to start carrying water on every run now. It was only 62 degrees, but I was sweating pretty good. I have to admit that I kind of wimped out as I ended up shutting the tempo portion down after only 3 miles. I’m so used to doing these on the treadmill now, that I think I was pushing a little too hard.

I brief update on my weight, I’ve been bouncing between 148 and 150 pounds lately. That means I’m down a good 8 pounds from where I was in the winter. I probably won’t be able to drop much more without tightening the reins on my diet even more and I’m not sure I’m willing to do that.

One final observation when it comes to bikers. I don’t care whether you wear a helmet or not. However, I think you look like a dork when you are riding your bike and have your helmet dangling from your handle bars. I saw that during Saturday’s run. Also saw a kid wearing his helmet unbuckled – like that’s going to help at all. I’m not sure which is worse – probably equally ineffective.

Quote of the Day;

"It was a big ego trip. All the kids I hung around with were impressed. But then I took about a five year layoff.” – Don Kardong on a 4-mile run when he was 10 years old

Monday, June 04, 2012


Technically speaking today is the first day of my TCM training plan, not yesterday. Pfitz calls for 1 day off or cross training day per week. Today happens to be that day – what a great way to start a new plan!? I decided it was another great day to commute to work. This time I parked at Fort Snelling, so the total ride was just under 21 miles. I nearly rode my tri bike, but decided to stick with my mountain bike. I’m considering selling my tri bike - again – so if anyone is interested in hearing more about it, let me know.

As I’m biking this morning, I was thinking, who doesn’t love the Twin Cities? All but the last 2-3 miles of my commute were on bike paths. And the scenery included Fort Snelling, Minnehaha Falls, Lake Nokomis, the Parkway, Lake Harriett, and Lake Calhoun.

My running friends will be happy to hear that I bitched out every runner on the bike paths – like any other biker would do. I’m just kidding, but it is interesting to get a view from “the other side”. When you’re cruising along at 15+ m.p.h., you pass a lot more people than when you’re just running 8 m.p.h. I can see how it’d be easy for them to get frustrated with having to weave in and out of runners and walkers.

Speaking of new training plans, I took my (nearly) 9-year-old out running yesterday. She wants to go out for the cross country team I coach. We start in early August, so I’d like to be able to get her close to running 1 mile non-stop before then. Yesterday we started by running for 2 minutes and then walking for 1 minute. After two repetitions, she wanted to increase it to 3 minutes of running. We did that two more times before running one last minute. In total we run 11 of 16 minutes. Seems like a good start. Of course, the challenge will be to keep doing that (and adding more) a few times each week.

Oh yeah, yesterday I alluded to an exciting vacation that I have planned this summer. I’m pumped to announce that I’m heading to Eugene to watch the second section of the Track & Field trials. I was able to get a press pass through MDRA and they picked up my airplane ticket. So a huge thanks goes out to Heidi and MDRA. The one bummer is that I’ll miss some events that I'd really like to see, including the 10,000m, 800m and the triple jump. However, I’ll get to see the 1500m, Steeplechase, and 5000m. It’s hard to believe, but the trials start two weeks from this Friday. I’ll be heading out on June 28th.

Quote of the Day;

"Great job…And now, get your head ready to run under 13:00.” – Coach Sam Bell to Bob Kennedy after he ran 13:02

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Last week ended up being extremely “rough”. Of course, Monday was Memorial Day so I had the day off from work. Wednesday morning was Track & Field Day for Katie, so I took the morning off to attend that. And Friday I got to chaperone Kinsey to the Minnesota Zoo. Since the school is only like 2 miles from the zoo, all the fifth graders got to ride their bikes there and back.

I guess summer has officially begun. Looking at my calendar, out the 15 weeks or so of summer, I think I have 8 weeks where I’ll have to work 5 whole days. Otherwise, I’ll be out of the office at least part of the week – including an exciting vacation that I’ll announce tomorrow!

Today also marks the 18-week point from TCM. I’ve decided on following Pfitz’s 18-week plan that tops out at 70 MPW. I’ve had success with this in the past and look forward to having some structure to my training. Overall, there are some spots where it’s going to be tough to get in the training – especially with all the vacations I have planned this summer. For example, in just two weeks, I have a 16 miler with 8 at marathon pace planned. Well that’s the same day as Grandma’s Marathon, which I plan on watching. It’s not impossible to get it in, but it’s definitely more difficult than a typical Saturday run from home. Then there are a couple of 16 to 18 milers on the schedule when I’ll be with the family. Finally, I’ve been recruited for a Ragnar team, which will consists of 3 hard runs in the span of a day or so. Apparently, Pfitz never considered this when he put his schedules together. So, although I have my marathon scheduled laid out, I’m sure I’ll be making adjustments all throughout the summer.

One of the nice things about Pfitz’s program is that it’s not really much different from what I’ve been doing lately. He starts out at about 55-60 MPW with Wednesday runs of 11-13 and long runs of 15-16. And his workouts consist of 4-5 mile tempo runs. It looks like that 16 miler with 8 at MP will be the only run that’s really “new” to me during the first three weeks.

The good news is that I feel pretty good heading into the program. I finished May with 205 miles, which is a little low, mainly due to my calf “injury”. But I’d rather start my marathon training feeling good than have squeezed in 30 more miles the last week or two while still battling some aches and pains – which I’m sure more of are right around the corner.

Quote of the Day;
“Not since Bob Kennedy have we seen an American-born male distance runner run in a pack believing they could compete and run with anyone.” – recap of Galen Rupp’s 12:58 5K performance at the Prefontaine Classic