Saturday, December 31, 2005


Friday was one of those days where you're just happy to get in any kind of run. I woke up to about 4-5 inches of fresh snow. Luckily I had the day off so I didn't have to worry about the commute. Amy and I took the girls to the Children's museum in the morning and had a great time. In the afternoon Kinsey and I went sliding in our back yard and made a snowman. It was a great day with the fresh packy snow and warm (30-32 degrees) temps. We must have been outside for 2 hours. If I had sat down after putting the girls to sleep I probably would never have gotten my run in. Instead I headed right to the treadmill and ran for 8 miles.

Saturday I wanted to get in a longer run, but I really didn't have anything in mind when I headed out the door. I had thoughts of going 10 miles in the morning then another 5 or so at night. But then I figured, even though we don't have anything planned for New Year's Eve, there's no way I'm going to want to hop on the treadmill this evening. Therefore, I decided to go a little longer. I got in 13 miles, which gave me an even 80 miles for the week. I've had 7-day stretches lately have been more than 80 miles, however none of them have ended on Saturday, the end of my week.

I'll save my December and 2006 recap for another post.

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2005


My mother-in-law needed a ride to the airport at 4:30 this morning. Most “normal” people would be like “WTF?” For me, I only needed to get up 30 minutes earlier than normal. Plus, it was a great opportunity to get in a longer run on a week day. My only goal for the day was to get in 2 hours. Given the way I felt yesterday I wasn’t going to even think about my pace. If I ran 9:00 pace, so be it. 2 hours is still 2 hours.

At the start of my run my legs were really heavy, but within 15 minutes I started to feel great. 3 miles later I decided to take a split for a mile just to see where I was at. It felt like I was moving pretty well, but I never really know – especially during a morning run. I wasn’t going to be surprised if my watch said 8:30. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by the 7:45 reading.

After an hour I turned around and was still feeling really good. I decided to take advantage of the feeling and push the pace a little. On the way back, I ran a 5 mile (Zeke “certified”) stretch in 38:10 or 7:38 pace. My breathing felt really relax and I had a nice quick turnover. Having bone-dry pavement really helped – along with absolute calm conditions and 32 degrees. I added on a bit at the end for 2:01, which I called 15 miles.

Two days ago I called myself a slow poke for running over 9:00 pace. Runs like that make me worry that all the easy running I’m doing really isn’t helping. You know, “Long slow distance makes long slow runners.” While I feel I’ve added in a few stronger aerobic days, I need a lot more – but not just yet. I’m going to continue building through next week and then take another cutback week. If I can build for another 3-week cycle after that, I think I’ll be ready to bump up the intensity. That will give me the last 4 weeks of the base phase to incorporate more up-tempo runs.

I keep forgetting to mention this, but congrats to Daniel and Jose (two of my teammates) for completing the Western Australia Ironman last month. Daniel finished 99th in 10:38 while Jose finished in 13:51 (not bad for not being able to run for the last 8 weeks due to a stress fracture). Maybe DGC can find strength, inspiration, solace, etc. in Jose’s results.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I had some tired legs (and mind) during this morning’s 10 mile run. I’m not sure if the miles are catching up with me or if it’s because my schedule has changed from just morning runs to running in the evening and/or doubling up. Hopefully next week, once all the holidays are over, I’ll be able to get back into a “normal” routine.

I mentioned the slick trails yesterday. I tried to avoid them by running on the paved part of the path today. The only problem is that we got just enough of a dusting of snow to make the pavement slippery. I’m going longer tomorrow so I hope that melts off during the day.

I don’t watch my weight very closely, especially this time of year. However, I’m happy to report that I survived the last three holidays. On Halloween I weighed 152 pounds, just after Thanksgiving I weighed 150 pounds and this morning I weighed 149 pounds. Now if I can just watch my diet a little more in 2006 I may be able to race between 140-145 pounds this Spring.

I haven’t mentioned much about Christmas. I really dread all the opening of packages (not presents) and assembly. Everything has so many parts and they’re all tied down with their own string or wire. We got the girls a trampoline (it has a bar to hang onto so it’s “safe”) that required assembly. I couldn’t help but think my wife and I were doing an immunity challenge on Survivor. If so, we lost. At least on Survivor they don’t have little girls saying “How much longer?”

Finally, I’m not sure why this popped into my head during my run today, but I was wondering what would be harder to give up, coffee or beer. While I like beer, I don’t drink it very often. Therefore, coffee would be harder for me to give up. Gotta love a cup in the morning while I catch up on blogs, er, I mean work.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Rather than running 10 miles last night and turning around for another 10+ mile run 9 hours later, I decided to run twice today. I figure if I want to get past my current weekly mileage I’m going to have to start including two-a-days. I think Tuesdays and Fridays are probably my best days for doubling up.

Tuesdays work because in a week or so I’ll start running with my training group on Tuesday nights. Running Tuesday mornings will keep me in the routine of getting up early and running. Plus, I tend to run better in the evenings if I run easy in the mornings. If I keep running stronger aerobic runs with Scott on Friday mornings, an evening run will allow me to get in a few extra easy miles.

This morning I ran 8 miles at a very slow pace; we’re talking like 9:15 pace. I “blame” some of that on the slick trails. The recent warm temps have turned the packed snow on the trails into slippery ice, so about 3 of the 8 miles were rather slick.

This evening I jumped on the treadmill for another 6 miles at just over 8:30 pace. There was absolutely nothing on TV so I had to pull out a video tape of the greatest college basketball game ever play; Duke vs. Kentucky in the 1992 NCCA tourney. Man, were there some bad haircuts just 13-14 years ago.

I thought it was interesting that one of Amy’s friends dropped a Christmas card off this evening - a few days late, no big deal. The interesting part was that it included a 2-page letter documenting each month of the year, a poem that she wrote herself along with photos of the family printed on the back and a Christmas photo of the kids. Hmm, no wonder it was late.

Monday, December 26, 2005


Saturday I took Bailey for an easy 1.5 mile warm-up, then I ran 8 miles (31:50/31:10) at a slightly quicker pace (7:50) than “normal” before adding a .5 mile cool-down. This 10-mile run “only” gave me 73 miles for the week. However, that was just on 6 runs. Plus, I had an additional 2:30 of skiing for the week.

Christmas day I was able to run 10 miles before heading to my mother-in-law’s house. That gave me 83 miles in 7 runs for the last 7 days. During the run I was thinking about how this much mileage just sort of feels “right”. I don’t feel whipped. I don’t have any aches and pains. My legs aren’t trashed. Granted this is my first week back after a cutback week. We’ll see how I’m feeling after another 10 days or so.

I nearly hopped on the treadmill for another 7 miles in the evening, but I talked myself out of it. The situation was perfect as the girls were in bed, things were cleaned up and the Vikings were on TV. I could easily have zoned out for an hour while watching them. However, the only “good” reason for the 7 miles that I could think of was to get my mileage to 90 for the 7-day period, which would have been a new all-time high. I think I’ll get there in the next week or two; I just don’t want to force it.

Every year my wife goes bargain hunting with my mother-in-law the day after Christmas. They leave early which means I have to put my run off till later in the day. I was planning on going for a run around 3, but Kinsey wanted to play outside, so I did that instead. That meant I had to run after the girls went to bed. Not a big deal because it gave me a chance to try out our new treadmill. New or not, 10 miles on a treadmill is still boring. At least I was able to flip back and forth between the Timberwolves and Monday Night Football. The treadmill is nice though. It’s a lot quieter and it seems a lot more accurate than the old treadmill.

My only concern with running so late is that now I have to switch back into a morning runner. Oh well, maybe it’ll be a good transition into two-a-days.

Friday, December 23, 2005


This doesn’t happen very often. I had all morning to myself. Amy took the girls to the zoo. Normally, I’d go with, but she met a friend and her girls – so I was “off the hook.” Hmm, should I ski or run? Decisions, decisions.

With all that free time I really wanted to go back to Como Golf Course and get in a nice long ski. The only “problem” is that it was 35 degrees when I woke up and I didn’t know what the snow would be like. I didn’t want to drive 30 minutes only to find out the skiing was horrible. Instead of taking my chances, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and get my long run in a day early. That way I wouldn’t have to be away from my family for nearly two and a half hours tomorrow.

Another reason I didn’t want to drive to go skiing is that we had freezing rain last night. While I’m sure the main roads were fine, the side streets were glare ice. Because of this, I waited till 9:30 before starting my run. I probably should have waited till 10 because the paths were slick for the first 30 minutes. But with the temps rising and sunny skies, the ice melted quickly.

I’ve been increasing my long runs by 1 mile each time. My last long run was 15 miles (2:07). Since I had another “floating” half mile in my logbook from earlier in the week, I thought I’d make this run 16.5 miles. Then I could bump my next long run to 18 miles. Actually, I’m basing this more on duration and using 8:30 pace as my guide. In reality I probably could have called today’s 2 hour and 20 minute run 17 miles. Part of the run included a 4-mile stretch that I have measured. I didn’t pick up the pace at all, the footing was poor and it’s hilly, yet I still ran that stretch at 8:10 pace.

So while the skier in me curses the warm temps for melting the snow, the running in me praises the weather for allowing me to get in a nice long run.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Today is my last day of work for the week. Yay!!! I figured if I could get in a nice run this morning, I’d be in great shape for a solid week – even with taking last Sunday off to ski. I never did mention this, but if I were to follow a “typical” Lydiard program for Grandma’s, this would be the first week of the program.

I woke up at 4:30 to a temperature of 30. After finally getting used to dressing for 10 degrees, I had to re-think what I wanted to wear this morning. I’m always amazed at how the body gets acclimated. Six weeks ago, 30 would have been cold, now it’s “hot”.

I ended up running for 1:40 minutes and called it 12 miles. Towards the end of my run I had to run out on the trail 18 minutes. When I turned around I decided to pick up the pace a little. I ended up running back in 16:30. Not super hard, probably not even marathon pace. However, I thought it was a step in the right direction for what Daws would call “making a smooth transition” to stronger aerobic runs.

I’m sure Susan will like this one. My wife paid $70 to get her hair highlighted and I didn’t even notice. Oops.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


I wrote some product endorsements recently. I see Duncan has too. Of course, all the “technical” gear isn’t necessary, but what else do I have to spend my money on?

Speaking of gear, I have to thank “the Moose” for convincing me not to sell my x-c skis a few years ago. They were just sitting in my basement not being used. I thought the extra few hundred bucks would make more sense. I placed an ad on a ski website and Moose was smart enough to talk me out of it. Now I wish he had talked me out of selling my roller skis. Seriously, that 200 buck really doesn’t mean much. So another of Life’s Lessons would be; “Don’t sell your gear.”

I was interested to see how last night’s skiing would affect this morning’s run. I felt no worse for the wear and made it 11 miles in 93 minutes. Again, it was about 12 degrees and I thought it was really nice. It looks like today is the coldest day in the 7-day forecast. We’re even supposed to flirt with freezing temps next week.

After my run I was thinking about something Eric and I talked about recently. I get the impression he really doesn’t want to run a marathon next year, but he also knows, at 46 years old, his window for sub-3 is closing. That got me thinking about how quickly time flies. Hell, it’s already been 3 years since I broke 3 hours. I keep thinking I have a sub-2:50 in me. But when will I make it happen? Before I know it I’ll be 46 and wondering why I never broke 3 hours a second time – let alone 2:50.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


There’s nothing like getting up at 5:30 on your day off to go for a run. Luckily I have “fast” friends that are retired (Jim and Eric) or PhD students (Evan) and are able to run at “odd” hours. We met at Jim’s house at 6:45 for a great 90 minute run. It heated up to about 10 degrees this morning, which felt really warm after yesterday’s run. The only bad thing; after clearing my log book of my “floating” half mile last week, I introduced another one today with this 11.5 mile run.

After the run I went in for another chiropractic checkup. The good news is I held my last adjustment. She said that means my body is healing. She also said I should start to feel more energy as my body won’t have to work against gravity to keep things in line. That could be true or it could be hog wash. We’ll see…

Our new treadmill arrived today. It one of those things that’s nice to have, but I hope I don’t have to use it. The display is bigger than the old one, so I had to raise up our TV. I put an old TV stand on top of an old stereo cabinet. It looks really tacky, but it works perfectly.

One of the reasons I took today off was because Kinsey’s preschool class had their Christmas concert this afternoon. It was fun to watch (and video tape). Best of all it was about 10 minutes long.

This evening I went skiing at Como Golf Course in St. Paul with my training group. Not everyone skis, so it was a pretty small group. I liked skiing on this course because there were lots of flat sections where I could work on my technique, the hills weren’t huge and I didn’t have to worry about running into a tree. After skiing for about 90 minutes I really felt sorry for people that don’t have winter. How can you not love skiing, skating, sliding, snowshoeing, etc.?

That reminds me; I was surprised the other day when Kinsey mentioned going skating again. I think next time I’ll wear my Yaktrax instead of my skates. That’ll give me better balance, plus I’ll be shorter and closer to her. And I’ll bring a chair for her to use for balance.

Monday, December 19, 2005


So a week ago I logged a zero on the last day of my build week. Then I made my cutback week 8 days instead of 7, by skiing yesterday. I was beginning to feel like I lost the determination I needed to get my mileage where I want it. That changed today.

I woke up at 4:30 to the coldest temp so far this winter; -7 degrees with a wind chill of -20. Too cold to run with Bailey so I took her for a quick walk. It really didn’t feel that bad. I didn’t feel any wind, so that helped. Normally, I don’t like to run with a facemask because it gathers condensations and gets all clammy, but I wore one today.

I thought it’d be interesting to list everything I wore this morning.

Wind brief
Old running pants cutoff at the knee
Thick running pants
2 long sleeve shirts
1 t-shirt
Thick running jacket
Thin gloves
Lobster mitts
Facemask – actually it’s a thin helmet liner
Vaseline on the face

That was enough to keep me warm for 12 miles in 1:43. I wish I would have had a camera when I was done because my grey (or is it gray?) hat was completely covered in white frost. My thin, pliable facemask felt like it had been dipped in plastic. My eye lashes were frosting over. There was a chunk of ice on the collar of my jacket. What fun!?

Luckily it looks like this will be coldest day of the week. So getting 12 miles in was a confidence booster.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Celebrating Christmas with my side of the family this weekend meant getting up early for my run. Even though no one showed up till after noon, I wanted to take Kinsey to dance class (and Katie to watch).

I just kept the pace easy and ran for 60 minutes. That 7 mile run gave me 54.5 miles on 8 runs for my cutback week. I had thoughts of not cutting back for an entire week, but rather cutting back for 3-4 days to see if that was enough of a break for my body. However, with the snowfall and “holiday” I never really put in the effort to get back to 10+ miles per day.

For some reason I have a desire to ski more this year than any other. Maybe it’s because a guy I work with is really into it and he’s got me fired up. He even waxed my skis for a nominal amount. Maybe it’s because I know the running season can be long and if I can maintain/build my fitness by doing a new, fun, exciting activity, it’ll pay off in the long run. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to head into 2006 in great shape and run my best race in February – like I did last year. So while I want to increase my running mileage, if I feel like skiing 1-2 times a week, I’m not going to try to “make up” my miles.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that instead of running (this is the first day of a new mileage building cycle) I decided to ski instead. It was 3 degrees with a wind chill of about 15 below with bright blue skies. My hands were frozen for the first 15 minutes and I wondered if I’d be able to ski more than 30 minutes. But by the time I completed the first loop in just over 30 minutes I was toasty warm. I did one more loop and called it a day.

I have a lot of work to do – 10k of skiing in 60 minutes. That includes falling HARD on my right ass cheek twice, face planting once and a few other minor falls. The worst thing is that it took me over 90 minutes to do this workout when you consider drive time.

Friday, December 16, 2005


After practice last night I met with my coach to talk about my 2006 plans as well as better ways to market the training group. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t get home until 10 PM. I didn’t have the chance to set out any running clothes for the morning either, so I slept in today.

I was able to hop on the treadmill over lunch and get in a “quick” 6.5 mile progression run. I started at 8:30 pace and gradually dropped down to 7:00 pace. I threw that extra half mile in there because I ran half of a mile last week and it’s been “floating” around in my log book. I wanted to even that out. I know it’s silly but what are you going to do?

Dennis Barker of Team USA Minnesota-fame was interviewed for a regional running magazine lately. I thought he had a lot of interesting things to say, including;

MNRT: Would you advise most runners to simply build?

Barker: People are too impatient. You build this year on what you did last year. Katie McGregor’s running this year isn’t just about this year. It’s about last year. It’s about the last 4 years. We haven’t done anything different this year, really, from what we did before. It’s just that she’s stronger now, she can do more, and she can recover better. That allows her to be faster. But it’s the patience. People want to be good – right now. They think, “Well gee, I trained hard during the summer for three months. I should run a great Twin Cities Marathon.” But it just takes time. Because you’re changing body tissue, and that doesn’t happen quickly.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I should start keeping track of Life’s Lessons as they pertain to running. Some that come to mind are;

In the winter, start your run INTO the wind.
Do your strides on a gradual
downhill and with the wind.
During the winter base-building phase, focus on
duration, not distance.
If you’ve “been there” before you don’t have to be as
Don’t taper all summer.

You never know when these Lessons will spring themselves on you. For example, last night I went snowshoeing for the first time and came up with this one;

Don’t wear ankle socks while snowshoeing.

This morning I ran a very slow 5 miles. The trail had about 3 inches of fresh snow, so it was slow going – even in Yaktrax. This evening I met about 10 members of my training group for about an hour of snowshoeing/running. We only had 7 pairs of snowshoes, so some people had to “just” run. I used the snowshoes for about 35 minutes and then ran for another 20 minutes.

To be honest, I enjoyed the running more – even through about 6 inches of powder. The snowshoeing just didn’t do it for me. I’d rather just go for a run than lug those things around. I suppose if I were in some exotic backcountry they’d be cool. But when you’re putzing around a golf course in St. Paul they’re not so cool.

Anyway, since shoeshoeing so closely resembles running, I'm logging it as a 6 mile run.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Treadmills. Love ‘em. Hate ‘em. I know some people can’t stand them, but I think they serve a purpose. Today was a perfect example. I woke up to about 4-5 inches of fresh, unplowed snow. The temperature was fine, but I didn’t want to stumble along the unplowed trails. So I got to work early and ran on the treadmill for 8 miles. Could I have sputtered along outside for 65 minutes? Sure. Would I have received the same aerobic benefits? Sure. Would slipping and sliding it have been frustrating? Yes. That makes it a perfect day for using the treadmill.

Yesterday Yvonne posted a nice photo of her winter wardrobe. I’ve recently posted some product endorsements. Those are new, exciting products to me. They got me thinking of two other things I could live (as comfortably) without in the winter. I’ve mention that I have poor circulation before, therefore I need a good pair of mits to keep my hands warm. On really cold days, I’ll slide a pair of thin gloves underneath. Also, every winter I’m amazed at how warm my Sporthill jacket made with 3SP material is. I’ve both jacket and a half-zip top. I couldn’t find the jackets on the Sporthill site anymore, just the half-zips, so I linked the best site I could find quickly. Sporthill also make pants in the same 3SP fabric that are very warm. The stuff is so warm that I can’t even run in it until the temps get below 20.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


I got in an easy 6 miles early Sunday morning. Usually, on the weekends, I’ve been waiting until later in the day to run. However, I wanted to ski too, so I figured I’d run while everyone else was sleeping. Then they’d only “miss me” once during the day. I ended up skiing for 70 minutes. At least half of that time was on a lake where I could actually focus on my technique, rather than skiing on an actual x-c trail where I would have to focus staying vertical, avoiding rocks and sticks and constantly going up or down hills.

Yesterday and today consisted of easy to moderate 8 mile runs. Temps have warmed up into the mid-20s in the mornings. I was really warm this morning. I had my jacket zipped down and my gloves off. Then I passed a gal who was so bundled up all I could see were her eyes. It’d have to be 20 below for me to dress like that. Different strokes…at least she was out exercising.

Yesterday at lunch I was reviewing treadmills here. Then I was looking online at two different stores in the area to see which ones they carried. On my way home from work I stopped and bought a Pacemaster Gold. The review was enough to sell me on it – I didn’t even try it out. I wasn’t sure we’d get a new treadmill, but zero percent financing for a year helped seal the deal. When they deliver it, they’ll take back our old one, check it out and hopefully give us a couple hundred bucks for it.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


I admit, in some instances, I have a problem finishing what I start. I tend to do about 95% of the work and then I start thinking about what I should do next. After weeks of 70 and 78 miles, I was aiming for around 85 miles this week. I was on pace through 6 days and then I started my cutback week a day early. I didn’t make it out the door on the last day of the week. I ended up with 72.5 miles in 7 runs.

I’m not too discouraged. If I replace Saturday’s zero with last Saturday’s 12, that puts me at 84.5 miles for the “week”. As I tell other people, the body doesn’t know the meaning of a week. It doesn’t know whether my log book runs Saturday through Friday or Sunday through Saturday or anything else. The important thing is putting in the work. So while I technically didn’t run 85 miles this week, I still consider my stretch of 84.5 miles in a 7 day period to be a success; one that I will build upon after this cutback week.

I planned on running today, but things kind of unraveled. Last night was the company Christmas party. It was A LOT like a wedding reception without the bride and groom. No, I didn’t get hammered. My company actually paid for our room in downtown Minneapolis. While that was nice, it took away my opportunity for a morning run.

Next up was another adjustment from the chiropractor. She mentioned that my recent knee and arch problems are probably due to the first adjustment. My left leg was shorter than my right, so the recent adjustment could have changed my mechanics of running. She also mentioned getting new shoes.

Finally, I was going to run in the afternoon, but Kinsey wanted to go skating. I bought her ice skates last Christmas and we only went skating one time. It lasted about 10 seconds, then she wanted to go home. Today it was going okay for awhile. She’d fall on her butt and laugh. It was fun and games until she literally fell on her nose and started screaming. Amy took her to urgent care, but they weren’t able to tell if it was broken or not.

After that I didn’t feel much like running.

Friday, December 09, 2005


I planned on running with Scott this morning. Since we usually go shorter, but faster than my normal runs, I was going to double up with another run this afternoon. However, last night Scott called and said he couldn’t make it. Just in case you need some help - that’s the bad news.

Tonight is my company’s Christmas party, so I took this afternoon off in order to get ready (and burn some more vacation). The good news is that I was able to get my long run in this afternoon. After I got off at noon, I drove to Lake Harriet to start my run. I basically ran from mile 6 to mile 13 (around Lake Harriet, down the Minnehaha Parkway and around Lake Nokomis) of the Twin Cities Marathon course and back. I ended up running 2:07 and called it 15 miles. That’s a mile further than my last long run. I had thoughts of going 16 miles, but decided to keep increasing the long runs gradually. Besides, I don’t want to be too tired for tonight’s party.

Thursday, December 08, 2005


I woke up pretty unmotivated this morning. I didn’t want to get out of bed but I did. As I got bundled up for my run I turned on the Weather Channel. They said it was -6 degrees outside, which was about 10 degrees colder than I thought it would be. I took Bailey for a quick walk and thought it felt warmer than -6. But it’s the Weather Channel, how can they be wrong? So I decided to play it safe and change into a warmer jacket and pants. I was a little chilled at first, but I warmed up within the first mile. When I got to the office I checked the local weather and it said 2 degrees, so maybe the Weather Channel was wrong.

Oprah turned 50 years old recently and she proclaimed that “50 is the new 30.” Whatever. Maybe she’s just trying to make herself feel good. Maybe she’s in denial. But her statement got me thinking about my running – actually my running got me thinking about her statement. Since college, 6 miles has sort of been my standard “putting in the miles, run.” I rarely lace my shoes up for less than 6 miles. So far this winter I feel like I’ve reached a new level and now I rarely run less than 10 miles. Even though I was unmotivated this morning I still made it 84 minutes or 10 miles without even thinking about it.

This “new level” has me thinking about something I heard or read recently, “The training you do this year is for next year.” Maybe my body remembers all those “big” weeks I ran last year and doesn’t think they’re a big deal this year. I know it’s early in this base-building cycle, but I can honestly say I can’t remember feeling this good with this much mileage. Maybe doing the mileage in singles actually helps my body and mind. It doesn’t feel like I’m running all the time. At this time last year I was following the same “build for 3 weeks, cutback a week” schedule. After about 2-3 days into the 3 week, I couldn’t wait to cutback my miles. This year I feel like I could build up my mileage for another week. However, my conservative side is coming out and I’m going to enjoy feeling good, take my cutback week and hope I feel even better the following week. Or should I say, following 3 weeks?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


12 hours after my last run ended I was lacing ‘em up for my next run. I figured, of the 4 remaining days this week (and more importantly, the last 4 days before I get to cutback), today and tomorrow would be the toughest to get motivated for. Friday I’m running with Scott and Saturday I won’t have to run in the dark – plus it’s supposed to warm up to 30 on Saturday.

I thought I might be a little tired after covering 15 miles yesterday, but I still wanted to get in 11 miles this morning, so I set the alarm for 4:30. It was a calm 3 degrees outside, which I thought was a little too cold to run Bailey in. I gave her a short walk instead. That extra “free” time allowed me to start my run sooner than I thought and I was able to get in 1:41 of running or 12 easy miles.

In a comment the other day, Double mentioned the solace that comes from running early in the morning during the winter. One thing I noticed the last 2 days, the solace achieve on during a treadmill run is nothing like the solace of a run outside – not even close. Plus, 64 minutes on the ‘mill was a hell of a lot “harder” than 101 minutes in the “cold.”

Finally, I got this email the other day and I just had to post a couple of the paragraphs. This is posted without permission, so I’ll at least protect his/her identity. If only they blogged…
I have never lost the want to achieve the "perfect day" we all strive to reach; the feeling of just cruising effortlessly with no end in sight. I've had a couple of those days in life and the thousands of miles you need to get there still seem worth it. Too many people have it wrong. They think they want it, but they can't envision the years it takes. This is a craft one has to hone and work and modify and pound on. Be creative, mix things up, experiment, but don't tell me how rough the water is, just bring the ship in.

There're not many of us left Zeke; the hackers who take this stuff serious enough to go after big dreams that in the end mean nothing. Just the personal satisfaction you were in the battle and laid it all down. I don't run for health, fame, charities, etc. I run to beat people and test myself in life. I don't want to see the end of those days.............yet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


It’s cold in Minnesota in December. At least that’s what the local news wants us to believe. That was the top story on the 6 PM news for a couple of different channels. The thing is; it wasn’t even below zero at the time. Did anyone see Katie Couric at the start of the Today show this morning? She was bundled up like it was the second coming of the Ice Age. Hey Katie, if it’s too cold, go inside. I’m sure you have enough pull at NBC to tell the producers that you don’t want to be outside. I don’t understand the sensationalization (is that a word?) of such meaningless news.

With that said, I must admit that I ran on the treadmill this morning. However, it wasn’t because of the weather, which was minus 5 (minus 20 wind chill) at the time. It was because I had a second run planned for this evening and I didn’t want to have to bring 2 sets of winter clothes with me.

So this morning I ran 8 miles on one of the treadmills at work in 64 minutes. I started at 8:30 pace and worked down to 7:30 at the end. This evening I met Mary at Lake Harriet and we ran around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, 7 miles in 62 minutes. By that time it had warmed up to 5 degrees. Other than a slight breeze as we headed West, I thought it was nice out.

Monday, December 05, 2005


After a cutback week of 35 miles 3 weeks ago, I’ve had weeks of 70 and 78 miles. The goal for this week is to build on that again and then cutback again next week. As much as I’d like to get 80+ miles in singles, that’s not going to happen – at least not this week. I have one double day planned and may need two to get in the mileage I’d like.

I’m contemplating just calculating all my easy winter mileage at 8:30 pace, rather than trying to hit an exact mileage – or maybe I should just track duration not distance. For example, this morning I thought I was running around 8:15 pace. However, when I finished, I noticed I’d been running closer to 9:00 pace. I always forget how much winter footing and being all bundled up really slow you down. Anyway, I made it 89 minutes and called it 10.5 miles (even though it was probably only 10 miles).

One thing I have noticed lately is that I’d rather be overdressed than underdressed. Maybe running in the pitch black has something to do with it, but 3 degrees at 6 AM feels colder than 3 degrees at noon. So I tend to throw on an extra shirt and gloves and maybe even wind pants.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


A week or so ago, I mentioned that our treadmill kept stopping the last time I was on it. It seems to work when my wife walks, but not when I run. I called the guy that services treadmills and it was going to be at least $125 just to have him come out and look at the thing. He sounded like he really wasn’t interested in driving to my house to look at a 7 year old treadmill. However, he was nice enough to give me a list of things to look at. I did what he suggested, cleaned out all the dog hair and pushed in all the connectors.

I haven’t had a chance to test it out yet. Today was going to be the day. I thought about doing my whole run on the treadmill while watching football, but I was afraid to commit to a mill that’s been on the fritz. Instead, I would head outside for a 10 mile run. When I was done with that I hit the mill for another 2 miles. If it worked, great, if not, I’d just call it 10 miles for the day.

Most of the outside running was fine. I’m not really sure why Apple Valley can’t plow their pathways though. Maybe because it’s the weekend or the workers were tired from plowing roads. Luckily, Eagan, the town just north of me, did plow their paths and I was able to run the majority of my run there.

The treadmill seemed to be working fine – at least for 2 minutes it did. Then it shut itself off again. This time there wasn’t any power. I figured I’d blown a fuse. I replaced two of the fuses and my wife walked on it without any problems – although she says it smells a little lately. I haven’t had the courage to get back on that thing yet. It’s like a bucking bronco and I’m tired of it stopping on me all the sudden.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


It's out! This blog has been let out of the closet. My life is so boring that the only thing I could think to write about in our Christmas letter was my blog. I included a link too, so now I expect tons of comments telling me how great (or how big of an ass) I am.

Actually, most of the people will probably check out the link once. They'll find out that it is really only about running and they'll never check back again. That's fine with me. I just thought I'd throw it out there for friends and family to check out.

I guess I haven't been watching the weather lately. It's been snowing quite a bit lately (like all day today) and I haven't heard anything about it. I guess when you go to bed at 9, it's hard to follow any news.

I decided to head back to the trails for at least a 10 mile run today. We probably received about 4 inches of new snow by the time I ran. It was the light fluffy kind that makes running in it easy. Plus, being on the trails helps because the trees catch some of the snow, so there's not as much to run through.

I was a little surprised that the classical cross country ski trails had not be groomed yet. There were a few cross-country skiers out blazing their own trails. I almost felt bad about running on their path. Had it been groomed I probably would not have run on that part of the trail. This part of the trail was harder running than I had anticipated, even with Yaktrax.

I felt pretty good, no different than any other day this week, even though I went 2 hours yesterday. I managed to get in 12 miles for the day. That gave me a very solid 78 miles for the week on 7 runs. Having 4 vacation days this week has definitely helped with the running. Next week may be a different story, as I head back to work.

Speaking of Christmas cards, here's the photo we sent out this year. Maybe we should have waited until this week to take the photo because we could have had the girls in snow instead of leaves. Oh well, maybe we'll wait longer next year.

Friday, December 02, 2005


My only goal for the day was to get in a 2 hour run. I would have loved to have hit my favorite trails and just run wherever I felt. However, with the knee pain I had yesterday (and since the city decided to plow the bike paths) I decided to stay off the trails.

This run was a little weird because I started out feeling hot and overdressed. About an hour later I was cold - especially my hands. Luckily I was carrying another pair of thin gloves. I put them on and then picked up the pace for the last 40 minutes and warmed right up. I made it the 2 hours I wanted and called it 14 miles.

This evening I came across another possible reason why my knee might be bothering me. I was playing a driving game on my x-box, using a steering wheel and pedals. It's easier for me to play this game by using my left foot on the brake, which isn't how I normally drive. Well after about 45 minutes my left knee was experiencing that same achy feeling I've had running lately. So I'll have to just stick with non-racing games for the time-being.


Do you ever wish that (running) clothes would wear out faster so you could get some cool new stuff? I was at a local running store the other day and they have some really nice, technical cold weather clothing. I saw some really neat jackets. The problem is I already have about 5 running jackets. Heck, I still use the Sporthill jacket I got in college 13 years ago.

Earlier this fall I got a new Zensah seamless, long sleeve shirt. At the time I posted a link to the site, but never talked about the shirt – or how to get a 20% off discount if you’re interested.

Usually, I’m not a big fan of the form-fitting shirts. In fact, I’ve never owned one before. With this shirt I can’t even tell I have it on. It makes a great base layer. I usually throw a t-shirt and jacket or vest over top. The shirt actually makes me feel a little chilled when I first start out, but within 3-4 minutes, I’m toasty warm. Supposedly the silver ions imbedded in the fabric help to regulate your body temperature. They also keep the shirt from stinking like other technical materials.

This product was also tested by a few local runners and written up in a regional magazine. Here’s what the two runners said,

“I’m really impressed with the fabric, that is, how it feels and how it performs. I like the smoothness and how it wicked away the water and sweat. I went for an early morning run in a light drizzle. When I got home, the top was nearly dry despite the rain and sweat.”

“I wore it on a 13 mile run, which was cool at the start, but warmed into the 50s. And then I got caught in the rain. It was the perfect run to try it out, and the shirt is fabulous. It should be excellent in the winter for layering because it’s so thin.”

If you’re interested, check out the Zensah website, but don’t place an order there. Instead, send Joe Haas an email at with a list of what you’d like to order. Mention my website and Joe will give you 20% off your order.

Finally, a couple more comments on the Yaktrax. Jim read my entry from the other day and had these comments.

“They work better in some winter situations than others. They don't help in deep snow, slushy conditions, or when roads are only partially iced or snow covered. If you have to use them on hard surfaces or exposed road, they won't last very long, even though one gets the impression that they are indestructible.”

Thanks Jim.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I dropped Bailey off at the groomer yesterday and on the way back home I decided to park near the golf course go “skiing” for a while. Skiing is in quotes because I haven’t skate-skied in 3 years and my form is terrible – especially going up hills. We received another inch or two of snow overnight, so I had to do a little trail blazing, which didn’t help matters. Once I got to where the other skiers had packed down a trail the day before, it was a lot easier. I skied for about 35 minutes before calling it a day. If nothing else, my triceps got a great workout.

Later in the afternoon I headed out for another 10 mile trail run. My left knee hurt off and on during the run. Nothing severe, just a dull pain that would come and go. I’m not sure if it’s from mileage, footing, wearing Yaktrax, skiing or a chiropractic adjustment I got on Wednesday.

About 10 years ago I was playing basketball and tried to block a guys shot, rolled on/off his back and landed on the back of my neck. I went to a chiropractor for a few months, but haven’t seen one in 9-10 years. Recently my mother-in-law saw a Doctor that practices a form of treatment called NUCCA – National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association. Since she offered to pay for my initial visit, I decided to take her up on the offer. I haven’t been having any pain, but I know “things” are out of whack.

It turns out one leg is shorter than the other. That’s something I suspected because I feel myself leaning to my left as I run. Something I found really interesting was getting weighed with each foot on a different scale. One side of my body actually weighs 8 pounds more than the other. X-rays showed that my body was a zig-zag, with my head leaning one way and my spine the other. She said the off-set each other very well and that’s why I don’t have any symptoms – at least for the time being. She gave me an adjustment and then took another set of x-rays to show me the difference. Now I go back in a week and a half to see if the adjustment “held.” I’ll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


My wife and I are to the point where we buy our own Christmas presents and give them to the other person to wrap. One of the things Amy bought for herself was a new watch. Then she talked me into letting her wear it before Christmas. So with the recent snowfall, I thought it was only fair that she allow me to wear these before Christmas. I’ve never worn Yaktrax before but have heard good things about them. I was not disappointed.

I didn’t think we really had enough snow on the roads, so I just carried them when I started running. I headed to the golf course and continued to carry them. Once I got to my favorite trails I put them on and was immediately impressed. I was able to “zip” up and down snowy, leaf-covered hills with confidence. On the way back home I kept them on and tried to find every icy patch I could and didn’t slip at all. So if you do any of your winter running on packed snow or slippery roads, add the Yaktrax to your Christmas list.

While on the golf course, I noticed a bunch of cross-country ski tracks in the fairways. Even though we only have about 2 inches of snow, people had been out skiing. That got me thinking about taking my skis over there tomorrow. I’ve had a nice pair of skate skis for about 4 years, but haven’t used them much because I’m “too busy” running. I haven’t been able to convince myself that cross-country skiing is a good running substitute, even though everything I’ve read says it’s just as good, if not better. One of the problems I have is that I’m not very good with those technical sports, like skiing, swimming or golf. I rather just go out and exercise without having to think about the technical aspects.

Today’s run was 10 miles in 85 minutes. That gave me 246 miles for the month of November. For the 30 days in the month, I ran 28 days, biked 1 day and took 1 day completely off. Not spectacular, but definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


It seems like Mother Nature really can’t make up her mind this fall/winter. I can’t remember the weather flip-flopping so much from day-to-day. Yesterday it was 45 and raining, this morning it was 20 and snowing. This was the third snowfall of the year and each time has only resulted in a couple of inches. However, the timing of today’s snowfall – during the morning rush hour – couldn’t have been much worse

Luckily I have the day off (and the rest of the week) since I have to burn up some vacation time and I didn’t have to drive to work. However, I did have to drive into St. Paul to get together for a run with my retired friends, Jim and Eric. I thought the conditions looked a lot worse than they actually were – at least running-wise. We met near the University of St. Thomas and basically ran the Get in Gear 10k course twice. Actually, each loop is about 5.5 miles, so we ran for 90 minutes and called it 11 miles.

I’ve mentioned fantasy football a few times this year. I’m now aware of at least 3 “rules” surrounding this “sport.”
  1. If you make a mistake like starting someone on a bye week or someone that’s injured, you will lose that week by a very narrow margin. A margin narrow enough to swing the other way if you had not made the mistake.
  2. If you make a trade with another owner it usually looks like a good trade up until the point that you play the team you traded with. When you match up against your old players, they will undoubtedly “go off.”
  3. If you make a last minute change to your roster for the week, it will come back to haunt you. Again you will lose by a similar score as stated in #1 above.

My league is down to the final regular season week and I’m battling for the last playoff spot. I need a win against one of the top teams in the league to guarantee myself a playoff spot.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Okay, now that I’m back in the office hopefully I can post something other than a quick, boring update.

How can I be wide awake at 2:30 but then tired at 4:40? I woke up at 2:30 having just dreamt of going back to college for a year because I found out I had 1 year of cross country eligibility remaining. That must have gotten me all wound up because I tossed and turned for the next hour.

When I finally woke up it was 45 degree - too bad it included a light rain. As I took Bailey for her walk/jog the rain’s intensity quickly picked up. When I got home I was wet enough that I changed shirts, jackets and pants. If I were heading right back out the door I would have been okay. However, since I would be sitting in the wet clothes for 30 minutes as I drove across town I thought I’d better change.

Somewhere during my drive across town the rained stopped. During the first half of my run I was feeling over dressed, but then the rain came again. I was wearing some Gortex pants that I’ve had for about 20 years (and probably haven’t run in for 15). They make great snow pants when I’m playing with the kids. Apparently they don’t make such good rain pants. They absorbed the water and clung to my legs. My legs finally went numb with about 2 miles to go.

That got me thinking about what was worse; the first 4 miles of my Thanksgiving day run, 15-20 degrees into a 20 mph wind or the second half of today’s run, 45 degrees with rain into a 10 mph wind. I think I have to give it to today’s run. One reason is because when I finished I couldn’t just hop in the shower. I had to get back in my car and drive another 5-10 minutes. I dried off the best I could and got out of my wet shirt and pants, but it wasn’t enough. So give me cold and snow over rain, any day.

Oh, I made it 10 easy miles. I think I'm to the point physically and mentally where I don't have any problems running 10 miles. I don't even think about it really, I just head out the door and let my mind wander. It's a good place to be. It sure beats those 5-6 mile runs when I was just getting back into training. Those things seemed to take forever.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


We ended up getting 3-4 inches of new snow on Friday. The city didn’t bother to plough the bike paths so I ventured to my favorite running trails and found the paths to be in decent shape – already packed down by walkers and runners. My legs continue to feel good and I made it another 10 miles. That gave me a solid 70 miles for the week on 7 runs. My shortest run was 8 miles with Scott, while my longest run was 13 miles.

The temps warmed up into the 40s today, so all our new snow is gone. The melted snow created a foggy, dreary day. I had thoughts of running either on the golf course or on my favorite trails again. However, once I started running I felt really good. I didn’t want to “waste” that feeling while slugging along a wet, sloppy, slow golf course or trail. After a mile with Bailey, I ran a 10 mile loop and probably averaged around 8:00 pace.

Susan asked who's Bailey. She's my sad "puppy".

Friday, November 25, 2005


Just a quick update on the last two days. After figuring out what time we were leaving on Thanksgiving morning, I decided to "sleep in" until 5:20. The temperature continues to fluctuate. It went from 27 on Tues to 37 on Wed to 19 on Thursday. To make matters worse, there was a 20 mph wind.

Since my goal for the morning was 8-10 miles, I decided to take Bailey for a mile and then run an 8 mile loop. One of my rules for winter running is to run into the wind first. It made for a miserable first half in 35:26, but the second half flew by in 34:13.

After than we drove 3 hours to Iowa, hung out for 4 hours and then drove 3 hours back. It makes for a long day, but it's nice to be back home that night and have the rest of the weekend to ourselves. I was supposed to work today, but my boss said he'd rather have me there Monday than today. He didn't have to tell me twice. If I get enough stuff done on Monday, I plan on taking the rest of the week off - mainly to use up vacation days.

This morning's run went really well. I didn't have anything in mind other than getting in at least 10 miles. Again, I took Bailey for a mile, then decided to do a 10 mile loop. It snowed a little over night and was still snowing in the morning. There was about an inch of fresh snow that I had to run on. Not enough to make for poor footing, but enough to make for a nice cushioned run. As I headed home I still felt good, so I decided to add on 2 more miles which would give me 60 for the first 6 days of the week and set me up nicely for 65-70 miles for the week, depending on how tomorrow goes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


The reasons I’m a huge fan of the Badger Cross Country program is that; 1) I’m originally from Wisconsin, 2) they’re awesome and 3) one of my college roommates, G-man, is an assistant coach.

He sent me this photo of the team and their trophy (he’s on the far left).

Digging through my old emails, I also came across this photo of G-man and Arthur Lydiard (again, he’s on the left :-) ).

If anyone is interested in a Championship t-shirt, check this out.

Because of Thanksgiving, I didn’t think I was going to run with Scott this week. Then he emailed me yesterday and wanted to know if I wanted to meet this morning. Heck yeah. We had a nice 50 minute run around his neighborhood and Lake Harriet. Throw in a mile-plus with the dog and I’m calling it 8 miles for the day.

Over the years, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about exercising on the holidays it’s get it in early or you probably won’t get it in at all. So I won’t be sleeping in tomorrow. 8-10 miles at 5 AM – hopefully I can sleep during our 3 hour drive to Iowa. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Beck of the Pack

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I think running is like the weather. You know the saying, “If you don’t like the weather here (insert Anyplace, USA) stick around because it’ll change soon enough.” Well yesterday I was bitching about struggling through 9 miles. Today I had an awesome 11 mile run. It was a beautiful, calm 27 degree morning with an awesome sunrise during the last mile. It wasn’t particularly fast – my 5 mile splits for the last 10 miles were 43:15/41:45 – but my legs felt so much better than yesterday.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, as well as some of the comments on that post, I’d like to maximize my mileage in singles this year. I think I can work up to running 10-11 miles every morning before adding double.

Looking at my log book from last year, why the heck was I running 5 miles in the morning and 5 miles in the evening, rather than one run of 10 miles? Part of the answer may lie in the fact that last year was my first year of being a morning runner. Prior to that, I always ran at lunch or in the evening. While I did get up at 4:30 once a week for a longer mid-week run, the thought of getting up at 4:30 everyday seemed too daunting. This year I think I’d rather get into the habit of going to bed at 9 and getting up at 4:30 everyday, rather than bouncing between 4:30 and 5:00. I’ve even been contemplating getting up at 5:00 on the weekends and getting my run out of the way. That’s when you’ll know I’m “serious.”

Of course I can say all this stuff when it’s beautiful outside. Ask me again when it’s 27 below and I’ll probably have a different answer.

Monday, November 21, 2005


The other day I wrote about everyone wanting to “be there” with their training. “There” meaning being fit. Now I know why people feel that way – because not “being there” sucks.

I don’t know if it was all the golf course hills or running on the soft grass (probably both), but my legs were tired today. I managed to make it 9 miles, but it was a struggle. Here I am, not even up to 70 mpw yet and I’m already “struggling” with the mileage. Thinking back to this time last year, I was already in the mid-70 range. However, I was also averaging 9-10 runs per week. This year I’m trying to, as they say, “maximize my mileage in singles” before adding two-a-days.

The last time I really maximized my mileage in singles was the spring of 2004. At the time I had a job that would allow me to run 6-8 miles during my lunch hour. That spring I got laid off, but they let me continue “working” another two months. “Somehow” my lunch breaks started getting longer and I began running 8-12 miles everyday. I ended up having my best summer racing season.

Since I’m not “there” right now, I have to balance my daily efforts in order to make sure I can get in the next day’s mileage. Typically there’s a balance between pace and mileage, yesterday I found out that terrain also plans a role at this point. While it’s important for me to add some hilly routes to my training, I have to be careful not to sacrifice my mileage.


A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d be able to use my vacation and go to the NCAA X-C meet, but some work and family stuff came up and I wasn’t able to make it.

Two of the guys I would have ridden to the meet with covered it for Track & Field News. Charlie Mahler wrote this recap while Sean Hartnett took these photos.


37 points for the Badgers, 105 for Arkansas and 178 for Notre Dame. A 68-point margin of victory. I wonder what the record is.

The Badgers placed 5 in the top 17, 6 in the top 18 and their 7th runner was 58th overall. If you add up their score using their 3-7 runners (instead of 1-5) they would have scored 91 points and still won the meet.

Men's Team Results

Men's Individual Results

On the women's side, Stanford upsets #1 ranked Duke. Who coaches Stanford? Former women's coach for the Badgers, Peter Tegan.

Women's Team Results

Women's Individual Results

Sunday, November 20, 2005


First off, congrats to Evan, Duncan, and Seebo for their outstanding performances at the Philly Marathon. While Evan and Seebo didn’t quite achieve their goal time, they PR’d by over 4 and 3 minutes, respectively. Duncan didn’t PR. However, when you’ve done 9 marathons in 12 months (especially with his times) I think coming with 4 minutes of your PR is a very solid effort.

While I missed my opportunity to run on the golf course yesterday, I made up for it today. This afternoon I headed out the door with the thought of getting in 10 miles (9 of which would be on the golf course). This golf course is very rolling, so it’d be a great change of pace from my weekly runs.

Have you ever noticed the difference between running a 10 mile loop and just wandering around for 10 miles? After running around the golf course for a “long” time I started to calculate how far I thought I had run. I was positive I’d run at least 7 miles. But when I looked at my watch, I’d only be out there for 49 minutes – roughly 6 miles. That’s a kick to the psyche.

This is the same golf course that Evan and I watch the USATF MN X-C meet on last weekend. Since I still had 4 miles to go I decided to run the 5k course. I made one of the 2.5k loops in 13:30 – another kick to the psyche – before deciding that I had enough of the golf course for one day. I ran around the neighborhood for the rest of my run.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


Ever have one of those days running where you feel great? You charge up every hill and never get out of breath. When I took Bailey for or evening walk/jog tonight, this is how I felt. Up until that point I was almost talking myself out of running, but the way I felt running with Bailey, I knew I had to run later in the evening.

It was a nice evening and I had thoughts of hitting the golf course near my with my head lamp. However, I got sucked into a 2 hour episode of Law and Order. I figured I’d let my dinner settle for an hour before hitting the treadmill. It wouldn’t be as fun as a night time run on a golf course, but at least I get in a run.

1 minute into the run and my treadmill stops while it emits a high-pitched alarm. I shut it off and restart it. This time I make it 4 more minutes before it stops again. If you’ve ever run on a treadmill before, the last thing you want it to do is stop – without warning. After nearly breaking my lower back, I decide not to take anymore chances. No, I didn’t decide to hit the golf course after all and no, I didn’t decide to take the day off after all. I saw my bike sitting on my trainer and decided to do a little cross training by riding for an hour.

I’m happy to say that I didn’t let not getting my run in bother me either. I don’t have plans to “make up” that mileage either. This was a cutback week, so I don’t think there’s any real difference between 35 miles (with a bike ride) and 43 miles. The main thing is to be fresh as I attempt to increase my mileage the next 3 weeks.

Finally, happy 66th birthday to my dad.

Friday, November 18, 2005


I went to Susan’s blog this morning and she said, “It’s cold again, 34 degrees.” When I ran this morning it was 30 degrees and I thought, “Wow, 20 degrees warmer than yesterday, this is nice.” I suppose it’s all relative.

I met Scott again today and we did the same 6.5 mile route as last Friday. We ran 75 seconds faster this week, but it didn’t really seem like it. Looks like we won’t hook up next week because of Thanksgiving, but we’d better met the week after that because I loaned him my new Neil Young CD.

A lot of the blogs I’ve been reading lately have the same general tone that mine may have. Everyone wants to be “there” right now. “There” meaning everyone wants to be fit or be maxing out their mileage or be in racing shape. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) running doesn’t work that way. We have to “suffer” through long stretches of hard work in order to enjoy the rewards of running fast later. Probably my favorite quote regarding cross country is “Cross Country is a summer sport played out in the fall.” If that’s too deep for you on a Friday, it means if you don’t do the work in the summer, come fall, you’re season is going to suck. Obviously, now that I don’t run cross country, I have to change the verbiage so it relates to my upcoming racing season.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


It was 8 degrees when I woke up this morning. The good news is that the winds were calm. I really don’t mind this weather – in December, January or February. November 17th is a little early. Oh well, winter is like base building, you just gotta zone out and grind it out. I ran an easy 8 miles this morning without my watch. People have already started hibernating. In the fall I’d see 10 people a day on the trails, now I see 2 people a day.

How come the more I think about nutrition, the worse I eat? I’m not talking about meals, those are still generally nutritious. It’s all the sweets I’ve been craving lately. I wonder if it’s just from increasing my mileage. Heck, my mileage isn’t even that high right now. What happens if I keep increasing? I’ll need to walk around with a sugar-water I.V.

Just want to give Evan one last “have a great race” before he heads to Philly. I was a little worried that it’d be 8 degrees for the marathon, but the forecast is calling for lows in the mid-30s and highs in the mid-50s. That sounds perfect to me as long as the wind cooperates.

This isn’t running related, but if you like cool photos, check out Dave’s blog. Special thanks to Will not Bill for pointing me in Dave’s direction.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I love winter. I love winter. I love winter. Maybe if I repeat it enough, I’ll believe it. No, actually I do love winter. I just wish we could ease into it a little more. Or as Daws would say, “make smooth transitions.” Yesterday morning it was 37 and rainy. This morning it was 20 with 20+ mph winds (with gusts to 40+ mph) making for a wind chill of 0 degrees. We only got a dusting of snow, rather than the 4 inches they predicted. However, when you put it on top of the rain that froze over night, it makes for rough conditions. Luckily I was up early enough to avoid the rush hour traffic. Plus since I run on dirt/gravel trails, they don’t get icy like roads and sidewalks.

I made it 8 miles this morning. I wore my watch because I thought it’d be “fun” to see my splits. See if you can tell which half was into the wind; 36:44/33:03. I ran nearly 1:00 faster per mile during the second half!?!? I’ve mentioned that most of the trail I run on is blocked by trees; however there’s a stretch from 1.5 to 3 miles that is open to the North. Of course, that’s the direction the wind usually comes from. So while I was pretty miserable for the first 3 miles, the last 5 miles were great.

Under the category of “Art imitating Life” (or would it be “Life imitating Art”?); Last night I was watching The Office and in one scene Dwight is sitting at his desk on a Fitness Ball. You know, the kind you use for core exercises. I can honestly say that I’ve had thoughts of bringing my ball to work and using it as a chair while I’m at the computer. Would you think it’s weird if one of your co-workers sat on a Swiss Ball instead of a chair? Of course Dwight was bouncing up and down and annoying the hell out of Jim. The scene ended when Jim asked Dwight how much the ball costs. Dwight says $25 and then Jim proceeds to stab the ball with his scissors. In case you didn’t know, Dwight has a blog.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Before going to bed Sunday night I set my alarm for 4:40. Thinking I’d try to get in 10 miles before work – the day after I got a cold. Ha, that was wishful thinking!!! Sometime in the night I reset my alarm for 5:20 and managed to get in 5 very easy miles. Not spectacular but it was good to be out running. As usual, when I have a cold, being out running was the best I felt all day.

Last night all I kept hearing was “snow is coming.” Fearing the “worst” I laid out a heavier jacket, hat and gloves for this morning’s run. When I turned on the TV this morning the first thing I saw was Operation Winter: Are you ready? Then I looked in the lower right hand corner of the screen and saw that it was 37 degrees outside. It’s too dark to go back upstairs and find my other clothes. So I venture out, knowing I’m going to be overdressed. I managed to get in 7 miles with the last 6 in 51:21 (26:05/25:16). I thought I was “moving” pretty good during the 2nd half, but apparently not. That makes me want to leave my watch at home all winter.

Can someone tell me why the “word verification” for comments is 14 letters long, wavy and italicized? If we’re just trying to keep out automated spam messages, couldn’t it just be an easy-to-read, 3-letter field? Half the time I spend more time typing and re-typing this field than I do posting my comments.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


As much as I’d like to have my plan laid out for the next 4 weeks, like Andrew, I just can’t do it. I have a general idea of how much mileage I’d like to get weekly, but I also know that things pop up – things being colds, aches and pains, family stuff, etc. Not to mention not knowing how I’ll respond to the mileage from day to day, let alone week to week.

Just 2 weeks into my training I got my first cold. After weeks of 53 and 60, I was hoping to get between 65 and 70 miles this week. It looks like that will have to wait for another week, as I ended up taking today off. Had I run right away in the morning, I’d probably have been fine. However, I kept putting off my run and by the end of the night I was beat. I’m sure raking my entire yard didn’t help either.

I’m not discouraged though. Heck, after 14 days in a row I think it’s okay to take a day off – gotta build up gradually. I’ll just make this a step-back week before going for 65-70 next week. It looks like I have some vacation to burn before the end of the year too, so I’ll probably take the week after Thanksgiving off. Maybe I’ll live like a Kenyan that week and just run, eat, sleep and play X-Box.

On an unrelated football note: holy cow, the Vikings and Packers both won on the road against teams with winning records. What is the NFL coming to? Since I’ve rattled of 3 wins in a row in fantasy football, I’m happy to report my team is 6-4. Actually I should be 7-3. A month ago I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize that my defense was on the bye week. Of course the fantasy football gods realize stuff like that and I lost by 1 point.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Evan met me at my house this morning for his last “long” run before the Philly marathon, which is next Sunday. I’m not sure if Evan has made his goal public, but let’s just say it’s sub-6:30 pace. That means he’s faster than me and Scott, however I don’t get that sense when I train with him. Evan has no problem running my pace, while Scott prefers to go pretty hard when we run together. So even though I ran with faster people two days in a row, it didn’t really seem like it. That’s a good thing considering the 12 miles we covered was my longest run in 11 weeks. That gave me 60 for the week, up from 53 last week.

It was a nice run too. We ran around Lebanon Hills Park for about an hour before heading back to a golf course near my house. This golf course happened to be hosting a USATF Minnesota cross country meet today. Evan and I ran the course and were able to watch the start before running the course in reverse to see the runners a couple of more times. It was an interesting race. It only had about 50 runners, but 45 of them were studs.

I know it’s cross country and it slower, but I think the course may have been long too. The top 2 guys have snuck under 15 minutes this year, however today they were closer to 16-flat. Gals that I normally run with in the 18s were finishing in the 20s.

This afternoon I watched Ironman Hawaii on TV. I’ve ripped on NBC before for their special interest stories during other events, but I think they do a great job with their Ironman coverage. If that show doesn’t make you want to get out and test your limits, I don’t know what will.

Friday, November 11, 2005


From June 2001 to April 2002 I ran 3 marathons between 3:00:55 and 3:03:15. In October 2002 I finally broke 3 with a 2:58:10. I don’t even have to look in my log book to pin point what helped get me to sub-3. No it wasn’t hard track workouts, killer hill repeats or a large increase in mileage. I think it’s clear that it came down to running with people that are faster than me. Not every day, just once a week, usually 10-14 miles. And not super fast, probably close to marathon pace or what Daws would call (and I keep talking about) a strong aerobic effort

If I do look back in my log book, I see it started in early 2002, as I ran with Scott or a larger group of college friends 6 times before Boston. In the 5 months leading up to my sub-3, I ran with these same people 14 times. So what do you do when you figure something like this out? You send Scott an email and say “how can we make running together once a week possible?” Surprisingly, it came together quicker than I thought. I emailed Scott on Wednesday and we were able to get together this morning.

Actually, Scott and I have very similar PRs. He has run 2:56 and you could probably throw a rock from his 5k and 10k PRs to mine. However, Scott likes to train faster than I do (when I’m alone) and that’s what makes him an ideal training partner for me. This morning we ran together for 49 minutes and probably averaged 7:30 pace. Again, not super fast. However, when you’re used to training at 8:00-8:30 pace, you can tell the pace is quicker.

Ideally, I’d like to get back towards the 12-14 mile range for these runs, but since we’re doing them before work we may have to be satisfied with 10-12 miles. In any case, I think it’s a step in the right direction with my training.

Thursday, November 10, 2005


All right, apparently 2006 Budgeting and Blogging at work don't go hand-in-hand. So I've either been skipping entries, combining entries or blogging at home.

I don't really have anything too exciting to report about my last 2 runs; both 8 miles without a watch. I emailed my friend Scott and said we should try to meet before work sometime for a run. We're going to meet tomorrow at 6 AM and see if we can make that work.

Tuesday I was going to mention how great the weather has been lately. Normal highs for this time of year are 45 degrees. Lately it's been 40 at 5 AM with highs around 55-60. And the winds have been calm, which I think is unusual for this time of year. Well that changed overnight. Wednesday morning it was still 40 degrees, however we have 30 mph winds to go along with that. Luckily my trail is fairly well sheltered by the trees, so the wind didn't bother me much. Today it was calm again, but the temp dropped down to 30.

I get home from work today and my 4 1/2 year old is telling me she's in love and going to get married. There's a boy in her pre-school class that she was holding hands with today. At dinner I was asking her about him and she said he had a twin brother. So I asked if she could tell them apart and she said no. I guess they break into smaller groups and he's in her group, that's how she can tell who's who. When I tucked her in she said she kissed him then she said, "I just can't stop thinking about him." Oh we go. I'm sure it doesn't help that the neighborhood kids she plays with are 6. I was raking leaves the other day and they were all talking about who liked who.

On my list of things to do was set up a bloglines account then I read Brent's advice and set up a google reader account instead. Now I just have to figure out what it all means and how it works.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Okay, enough about the high school kids and all the 6-pack abs on Team USA Minnesota. Where am I at and/or where am I going?

This is my second week "back". Last week I ran 53 miles and this week I'm shooting for 56-60 miles. I'm trying to follow Daws' advice of keeping my daily efforts the same. To do that I keep my mileage in a narrow range, like 7-9 miles per day and keep the effort easy to moderate. Again, the idea is to get comfortable with the mileage before adding in hard/easy days and long runs.

Yesterday I ran 9 miles around 8:20 pace. I took my 2-mile splits during the last 8 miles just to see what was happening. It turns out I start out really slow, 8:40 pace for the first 2 miles. Then it looks like I drop to 8:20 pace, then 8:00 pace before finishing at 8:15 pace. What does it all mean? I don't know; it just takes up space in a blog entry. Actually it makes me think I need more "no watch" runs at this point in my training.

Today I ran 8 miles. As I mentioned last week, I decided to add some hills a couple times during the work-week. Today I added 4 "hills" at the end of my run. I'm almost ashamed to call them hills, but they're the best I've found for my current running situation.

Random thoughts:

Is there a worse vegetable than brussel sprouts?

How come you don't see more Subaru Bajas on the road?

There were 300+ high school kids that ran sub-6:00 pace 5Ks at the state meet (not including the kids that didn't qualify). That kind of time will place you near the front of most local 5Ks. What happens to all these kids?

Sunday, November 06, 2005


I was pretty excited about dropping a couple of names in this post but then I read Alison’s recent post and I knew I couldn’t compete. But I’ll still tell my story.

As I started walking the mile from the parking lot to the course yesterday at the state meet I saw a group of people, including Dana Coons and Matt Gabrielson of Team Minnesota fame. While the thought I just walking behind Dana was very inviting, I got up the courage to talk to her. Since she just ran her first marathon 5 weeks ago, it was easy to come up with at topic. She’s still in recovery mode which doesn’t surprise me. She was very nice and we probably spoke for 5 minutes or so. We didn’t get around to exchanging phone numbers or email addresses – yet.

Today’s run was a family affair. First I took Bailey for a mile and then I pushed Kinsey in the stroller for 5 miles. When we got back Katie was just waking up, so I threw her in the stroller and went another 2 miles. It was nice to take Katie last since she’s so much lighter than Kinsey. I can’t imagine trying to push them both at the same time.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


First off, I need to correct what I said yesterday about my friend Eric’s daughter, Sal. This is Sal’s 4th trip to the state meet. She finished 100th, 50th and 88th the last 3 years. I should have remember that because after finishing 50th, Eric and I predicted 25th last year.

There were 4 races today; boys and girls AA (big school) followed by boys and girls A. I just recap them in order.

Boy AA
From 2002 to 2004, Garrett Heath had a stretch where he was undefeated in cross country running, cross country skiing and track. Garrett is at Stanford now, but he has a younger brother, Elliott who’s a junior. While Elliott wasn’t undefeated this year, he won the “big one” by just over 2 seconds with a time of 15:32. Garrett has the course record of 15:11.

Girls AA
Speaking of course records, a gal named Carrie Tollefson owns the 11-year old girls record of 14:09. That was broken today by senior Elizabeth Yetzer with a time of 13:59. Two years ago Yetzer broke Tollefson’s 1600 mark and last year she broke Shannon Bergstedt’s (who’s now at Stanford) 3200 mark. I don’t know about other states, but Minnesota allows kids to run varsity from the 7th grade on. Yetzer has now place first twice, second, third, fourth and fifth at state.

At this meet her last 800 meters was amazing. She was with another gal at 3200 meters and went on to win by 18 seconds – that’s like covering the last 800 meters while the second place gal only covered 700 meters. Wow.

One final thing on Yetzer, she’ll be heading to the University of Minnesota next year.

I’m happy to report that Sal ran an awesome race. We saw her at about 800 meters and she was probably in about 50th place. Then the runners do a loop in the woods and come back by us again around 1800 meters. During this time Eric and I said she needed to really move up and be in good position by the time we saw her again. Well, she did just that as she ran passed in 9th place. Eric and I ran to another spot and during that time it looked like she made it all the way to 7th place. A different loop through the woods and we see Sal in about the same position with 400 meters to go. She’s looking good but within 15 seconds of her are about 20 other girls. We sprint to the finish in time to see Yetzer’s sub-14 and we start counting places. Sal ends up coming in 10th with a 14:45!!! What a great way to end her high school cross country career!?

Boys A

In this race report I mention the winner being a 17-year old kid (Mike Torchia) who’s won the race 5 years in a row. He also happens to be the defending class A champ. Now he’s fastest boy in the state as his 15:28 was the fastest time of the day. He also had the largest margin of victory, 39 seconds, on the day. Torchia is looking at Minnesota, Dartmouth and Princeton for colleges.

Girls A
Oh, that record that Yetzer set, it lasted about 3 hours as senior Bria Wetsch (who’ll run for Oregon next year) turned in a 13:54 to win her race by 21 seconds. Wetsch was the only girl able to defeat Yetzer during the season. A week later Yetzer avenged that loss. I guess the “rubber match” will have to be at Footlocker.

As for my own running, there were 2 hours between the AA and A meets, so I managed to get in 8 miles. That gave me 53 for the week. I’m feeling good and have been reminding myself to be patient.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Okay I figured out the header. I’m done tinkering with it for now. I have a few color changes left (I’m going for this look) but that’s it.

I’m only 10 days into my training and I’m already noticing that I’m “worrying” about pace and splits way too much. So today I decided to “leave my watch at home” (actually I wore it, but I didn’t use it – but “leaving it at home” sounds so much better). I can’t remember EVER doing that before. I also decided to “only” run 6 miles today because I don’t want to increase mileage too quickly. I’m at 45 miles now and I’ll figure tomorrow’s run will give me 53 for the week. I haven’t run that much since the last week of JULY. Man, what the hell was I doing all summer? No wonder I raced so poorly.

On my way back to my car the trail I run on crosses a road about a half mile before my run ends. I thought I’d be “wild and crazy” and take the road back. It turns out there’s a nice little hill along the way. Since there aren’t any hills on the path I think I’m going to run this hill 1-2 times during the work week, just to make sure I don’t “go soft” by just running on the flats.

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about my anniversary of running and how I thought it was earlier in October. It turns out I was right. Last night I was reading through my old log book and way in the back it says “Started running Oct. 2nd, 1979. There was also more info on my first “race.” There were 3 people in the race. I came in 2nd, one second behind the winner. I hope he felt good about sprinting to beat a 10 year old. I also found my dad’s time from the 1983 Grandma’s marathon. He was 43 at the time and ran 3:12 – not too shabby.

Tomorrow I’m going to watch the Minnesota State High School cross country meet. My friend Eric’s daughter has qualified 3 years in a row. As a sophomore she finished 100th. Last year she probably ran her worst race of the year and only managed to finish in 88th place. This year she’s running awesome, having just won her conference and section meets. She’s currently ranked 12th in Class AA. Good luck to her. I always liked what Mark Wetmore (Colorado’s coach) said in “Running with the Buffaloes” it was something like “I don’t ask my kids to run Herculean-efforts (in the big meets). I just want them to run as they’re capable.” Good advice for anyone prior to a race.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


As I was typing yesterday’s post last night, my computer re-booted itself. Of course I was on the last paragraph and I ended up losing everything. Rather than re-typing it, I went to bed. This is the same computer that won’t read the software for our digital camera. We have to take the camera in, get prints made and then scan them into the computer. So I should have Halloween pictures back by Thanksgiving.

Here’s a quick recap of the post I lost. I’m still working on my header. I’m not sure why the image got squished. I have some theories that I’m going to explore tonight.

Yesterday I ran 7 miles in the morning at 8:25 pace. Towards the end my legs were really heavy and I was beginning to think that maybe I’m doing too much after having 10 days off. I made a mental note to really pay attention to my next run and be prepared to cut back on the pace and/or distance.

Well, 24 hours later I felt great. I started easy and after awhile it felt like I was moving faster than normal, however, my breathing was still very relaxed. As I got closer to my turn-around point I looked at my watch and figured I could get in another mile and still make it to work on time. I ended up running 9 miles with the last 8 just under 8:10 pace – the last 4 of that were sub-8 pace.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


As you can probably tell, I have a new header. I was going to say I updated my header; but Susan did all the freelance work for me. The emphasis is on “free” however if by some miracle I have a 3rd daughter, I have to name her Susan. Anyway, I was going after an image that reminded me of the trails I love to run on. I need to do some more tweaking with the size and colors, but it’s getting there. Thanks Susan!

I didn’t mention this yesterday but Evan and I had lunch with Nobuya "Nobby" Hashizume yesterday. If you’re not familiar with Nobby, hopefully you will be soon. He’s in the process of organizing the Five Circles foundation which will be designed to carry on the Lydiard name and training philosophies. Here’s another article I found written by Nobby.

I had an easy 8 mile run this morning. I did the same course as yesterday and it took a minute longer. My quads were sore, probably from running pretty hard during the Big 10 meet.

There’s this gal I see on the trail quite a bit, but haven’t had a chance to talk to her because we’re usually going the opposite directions. I saw her this summer too because she worked out with the Minnesota Distance Runner’s Association at the Macalester track on Tuesday nights. This morning I caught up to her with about ½ a mile to go in my run. We only ran together for about 4 minutes but still had a nice conversation. It was the highlight of my otherwise uneventful run.


Here's my new favorite photo. I love the expression on Katie's face and the way she's lying on Amy. I wish I could take credit for taking the picture but I can't. Kinsey, who's 4 1/2 years old, took it. I'll have to ask her for some tips.

Monday, October 31, 2005


Now that I tried my headlamp out last week, I don't need it due to day light savings ending. It looks like there are 2 sides to every story. The morning runners are happy because they can see again, while the evening runners are upset because now they have to run in the dark. Oh well, in a month we'll both be running in the dark and we'll be envious of those day-time runners.

During my mile run with my dog, my legs felt like lead - probably because I was running only 8 hours after my last run ended. That's like doing a two-a-day and my body is not ready for that. But then I was surprised by how good I felt during the main portion of my run. I went another 7 miles with the first half at 8:30 pace and the second half at 8:00 pace.


Here are some photos that my college coach took at the Big 10 X-C meet yesterday.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


The Big 10 Cross County meet was in town today and if you haven’t heard, the Wisconsin Badgers (rank 2nd in the nation) totally dominated the meet.

  • They scored 16 points (15 is a perfect score).

  • Each team runs up to 9 guys. Of the first 9 guys across the line, 8 of them were Badgers. Their 9th guy finished a “lowly” 25th place.

  • They’re young. Their top-7 look like this Senior, Junior, Freshman, Freshman, Senior, Freshman, Junior.

  • For 8K, their top-5 averaged 24:01 (the next closest team was 25:06), top-7 averaged 24:08, top-9 averaged 24:18.

  • Word is they held 2 guys out from this meet that they run at Regionals.
I’m speechless; 8 of the top 9 guys in the entire conference. Just think about that in terms of another sport. For example, in basketball, their 2nd team would win the Big 10 conference title. Wow.

Ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry is “even-Steven”? He loses $20 and then finds $20 in a coat he hasn’t worn in awhile. That was me at the meet Sunday. I put my car key in my jacket pocket but forgot to zip it up. 2 hours later while standing around waiting for the awards I realize I lost my key. I tell the guys I’m with and they say that 20 minutes ago they announced that someone found a Subaru key. I go up to claim it and sure enough it’s mine. What luck!?

After 3 days in a row, I took yesterday off. Today kicked off the first full week of my new training program. You can look at this program in one of two ways; 1) I have 7 weeks to get my miles up before following Lydiard’s “standard” 12-week conditioning phase, before adding hill, anaerobic, sharpening, etc. or 2) I have a 19-week conditioning phase before adding that other stuff. I’m not sure there’s really a difference between the two. Anyway, I managed to hop on the treadmill at 8 PM and get in 7 miles.

          Friday, October 28, 2005


          Here are Katie and Kinsey playing in a pile of leaves recently. It probably triples the amount of work because I have to keep raking the leaves back into a pile, but I don't mind.

          On my way home from work today I noticed a lot fewer colors and a lot more bare trees. One of the trees in my front yard is still green (no it's not an Evergreen - I know that's what you were thinking).

          BABY JOGGER

          Here's Mike on a Muffin Run.


          Three days of running in a row and my little routines are already starting to appear. As soon as I get home from work and change my clothes, I get out both my work and my running clothes for the next day. After dinner I get my breakfast ready for the next day. When my alarm clock goes off at 5 AM I don’t even think about going back to sleep until 6. I think part of the reason I get like this is because I like base-building. Maybe I’m just one of those runners that likes to train rather than race. However, if I didn’t race I know I’d miss it.

          I updated my log-book yesterday for my 10 days off. Wow, it felt weird crossing out an entire week and writing a big ZERO (then doing it again on the first 3 entries of the next page).

          I ran another easy 7 miles this morning with the last 6 in 51:00 (25:53/25:07). Given my comments yesterday about not being able to see some of the people on the trail, I decided to try running with a headlamp. I bought it last year just as the days were getting longer, so I never wore it. I really like running with it. It produces a halo of light about 5 feet in front of me. My main goal in wearing it though is to scare the shit out of the rabbits before they scare me.

          I don’t think I’m mentioned this yet, but I’ve been leaning towards running Grandma’s Marathon again in June. I was planning on just running a bunch of 15K-30K races, but I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t sign up. Besides, I’m going to be in such tremendous shape next year, why “waste” it on a 30K that no one cares about.

          Thursday, October 27, 2005

          STILL AMAZED

          Since today was only my second day back, I was a little worried about running 12 hours after my last run. But one of my goals is to get back into the routine of running in the morning, so I ventured out for another 7 mile run. My hip/groin ached a little during the second half, but it wasn't too bad.

          I’ve mentioned this before, but probably have some new readers since then, so I’ll mention it again. When I run in the morning, for the most part, I jog with my dog for a mile and then I drive 25 miles across town towards my office. I park at a coffee shop and run out-and-back on 1 of 3 trails that are old rail road beds. Two are crushed limestone while one is pavement. They’re perfect for running in the dark because they’re flat with good footing. After the run, I grab a cup of coffee and head to work where I shower.

          Some people probably wouldn’t count the mile jog with my dog, but I do. I consider it a warm-up mile, even if I’m cooled down before I start my “real” run. With some of my newly measured routes, I think I’ll start posting my time for that stretch. Hopefully I’ll be able to see the pace go down as my aerobic conditioning improves. So today I ran 7 miles with the last 6 in 50:47, 8:28 pace (25:37/25:10).

          It still amazes me what some people will wear while running, walking or biking when it’s pitch black outside. Sure these trails are closed to motorized vehicles, but you still have other people exercising and you have to cross roads. One gal this morning was walking by herself, dressed in all black without any reflective vest or light. I’m not positive, but I think she had on headphones too. I suppose if I was going to get run over by a bike, I wouldn’t want to hear it coming either.