Tuesday, May 31, 2005


I forgot to mention yesterday that when I was pushing Kinsey before the start of the race we passed a porta-potty with about 20 people in line. Kinsey said something like "there sure are a lot of runners that need to go to the bathroom." I guess I'm used to it, but if you're seeing it for the first time, it probably does standout.

Throughout the day I kept noticing this pain on the inside of my left foot - near the ankle, running down towards the arch. When I got home from work I could see it was swollen. I iced it a little before heading to practice for our first track workout together. I told my coach that we had a nice turnout (probably 15 people), he said people always come for the track workouts.

We were split into 3 groups. Two marathoners and two Ironman triathletes were doing 4-6 x 1600, the other triathletes were split into 2 groups, based on speed, and were doing 4-6 x 800. Since Jenna raced yesterday she wasn't there. My schedule called for 6 repeats in 6:00 with 400 jog. I thought 6:00 might be a little fast, so I focused more on feel than trying to hit that pace. I ended up running 6:02, 6:08, 6:08, 6:02 (I got pushed along by the fast 800 group), 6:05, 6:06. I'm happy with those results. I felt very controlled and know I could have run faster.

For some reason our coach based our recovery on the first person to finish the rep. So while I finished in say 6:05 and had a 2:30 jog, Mary finished in 7:15 and only got a 1:20 jog. That didn't seem to make sense to me. Still, Mary handled it well and had a great workout. I think her 3:30 goal is well within reach.

I should mention that it was a really nice night, 75 degrees, low humidity and only a slight breeze on the back stretch. Maybe I can still get acclimated to warmer temps before Grandma's - just in case.

I felt my foot a little during the warm-up, but it didn't bother me at all during the repeats. I iced it some more once I got home. With 2.5 weeks to go, I'll be monitoring it closely and erroring on the side of caution.

Monday, May 30, 2005


Ever wake up to perfect weather (60, sunny, calm and no humidity) and wish you’d signed up for a race? That’s what happened today. The Brian Kraft 5k is a little over 1 lap around Lake Nakomis.

Flat + no sharp turns + top local runners + perfect weather = FAST

I’m not sure what the hell the weather people were looking at last week, but they got it WRONG. They kept talking about the cool, rainy weather over the holiday weekend. I thought about taking Kinsey with me to watch the race, but given that forecast, I didn’t want to mention it to her. When I saw how nice it was I asked her if she wanted to go with. She said yes and was very excited. Unfortunately, we had to leave Katie behind because I only have a single baby jogger.

We got there about an hour before the start so I could get my run in. I tried to explain everything to Kinsey, so she’d have an idea of what to expect. I was thinking about running to the mile maker, then after the runners went by, we’d go back to the finish. However, Kinsey wanted to see the start of the race. So we watched that, then ran to about the 2 mile mark to cheer people on.

Jenna just continues to impress. She was the 2nd woman overall in 17:09 (16 seconds behind a gal that ran at the U of M). Jim bounced back from three less than satisfying longer races (including a 1:06:00 10 miler on Saturday) to run 18:42. Complete results can be found here.

Sunday, May 29, 2005


My schedule called for a day off this coming Wednesday, but I decided to take it today. We went to the zoo this morning, then everyone took a nap. As the day went on, the weather got better and better, so I ended up playing outside with the kids all afternoon. Not running just felt right. I don't even feel guilty.

Saturday, May 28, 2005


Today's run was supposed to include a 4 mile warm-up, then 10 miles of progressively faster running - dropping the pace from 7:15 to 6:30 before cooling down for 3 miles. I thought about running a local 10 mile race for this workout, but decided to save my money and run with my training group.

Looking back, if I was really concerned with the specifics of this workout, I should have run the race. The group met at 9:30, but since they were only going 90 minutes, I started at 8:45 then joined them. Well that basically meant I did a 4 mile warmup and 1 faster mile by myself. Then I joined the group I ran another 4 miles before picking the pace back up for 45 minutes. I have no idea how fast I was going. It better have been sub-6:45 pace. I finished with a 10 minute cool-down and called it 17 miles. I believe that gives 71 for the week. That'll drop by about 10 mpw during each of the last 3 weeks leading up to Grandma's.

At first I was a little bummed that this workout didn't go like it was suppose to. However, given Tuesday's hard hills, Thursday's mile repeats and the fact that my race is 3 weeks away, 17 miles with 8 miles at sub-7 pace is probably "enough."

Friday, May 27, 2005


For some reason I don’t really mind going to the dentist. I was there about a month ago to get a crown on a molar that chipped. While “digging around” my dentist discovered a cavity where I already had a filling. Now when your cavities start getting cavities, you know you’re in trouble. Actually, I haven’t had a cavity for probably 20 years. But I guess when you have as many filling as I do; there aren’t many teeth left that can get a cavity. Anyway, I got this cavity filled this morning. I like to practice my relaxation skills while I’m in The Chair. I figure if I can relax there, I can relax anywhere – even during a marathon.

Watching the weather this morning they said the National Weather Service predicts below average temps for Minnesota during the next 3 months – based on trends. I don’t care about 3 months from now, just as long as it’s cool 3 weeks from now. I’m not sure if today is any indication of conditions at Grandma’s, but the high in Duluth is supposed to be 45 degrees. It’s May 27th and I ran 5 miles over my lunch break in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. 3 minutes into my run it started to rain. It didn’t last long. 30 minutes later it was sunny. I wish it'd make up it's mind.

Yesterday I did my good deed for the day, hooking Chelle up with a room in Duluth. As my friend Mary said, “If I were in a bind, I’d want someone to help me.” And so we did. The last time I ran Grandma’s, I met “Doc” whom I’d only previously known through a message board. He’s a great guy. I had dinner with his family Friday night, then Saturday we ended up running next to each other, which was unplanned, for about half the race. We both went on to PR. I predict more of the same this year.

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Somewhere along the line I migrated my Thursday morning runs to the evening. It probably has to do with 1) the “nicer” (and I use that term VERY loosely) weather and 2) switching from “up-tempo” runs to “pace” runs. Anyway, this migration was never really communicated to my wife. So when she said she wanted to run some errands after the kids went to bed, I was “forced” to run on the treadmill. It wasn’t a big deal. Speed workouts on the treadmill seem to go by really quickly. Plus I got to watch the Twins beat the Indians in 11 innings. The 3rd consecutive extra innings game between the two teams.

Jack Daniels would probably call tonight’s workout Cruise Intervals; 6 x 1 mile at more of a tempo pace, with a quarter mile jog. Since I’ve already mentioned that my treadmill is not calibrated correctly, my times don’t really matter. I basically ran between 6:00 and 6:10 with 1:45-1:50 jog. With warm-up and cool-down I got in 11 miles in 75 minutes. Next Tuesday I’m supposed to do this same workout on the track with my team. So I’ll see how much harder that will be.


The tanker truck I mentioned yesterday closed the Interstate for the evening rush too. Like an idiot, I forgot to check the traffic before leaving work. I guess assuming the accident would be cleaned up after 12 hours was a mistake. So I spent 90 minutes in the car again.

I did an easy 3 miles this morning, just to loosen me up for tonight’s mile repeats. My quads were really sore – probably from running down Davern Hill. I ran on the grass during the downhill portion, so that had to help a little. Can’t imagine what they’d feel like if I had stayed on the road.

“We” hired a new Chief Marketing Officer about 2 months ago. I have yet to talk to him – other than saying “hi” in the hallway. Keep in mind our entire department is probably only 15-20 people. Anyway, today’s his birthday. Someone brought in bagels and a card for the occasion. I thought it was interesting that everyone who signed the card (including me) basically just said “Happy Birthday” and signed their name. I guess it’s hard to add much more than that if you don’t know the person.

Oh yea, I was checking out the results from the Green Bay marathon. This is cool, but kind of scary too. Look at all the splits they provided. Plus a “Map of runner location.” I wonder how well it worked during the race. I don’t know the runner personally, but I “met” her husband during a marathon once. His goal was to beat his wife’s time from Grandma’s earlier in the year (3:03ish, I believe). He didn’t.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Every once in awhile I have a run where the only thing I can think about is food. Today I ran a VERY easy 5 miles just before lunch. About 2 miles into the run I was starving and thinking about the taco salads they were serving for lunch. I’m sure it doesn’t help that all I had after last night’s run was some Endurox and a bowl of cereal. I know. I need to do a better job of re-fueling, especially after a hard workout. But there wasn’t anything in the house that I found appetizing.

This morning a tanker truck, carrying pesticides, blew up
on the road I take to work. So my 40-45 minute commute turned out to be an 80 minute commute. At first I was sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a different highway. Then I decided to take the “back roads.” It probably wasn’t any faster, but I drove along Minnehaha Parkway and around Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. It beat the stop and go of the highway.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005


What a beautiful evening; 70-75 degrees, sunny, a dew point of 45 and no wind. A great night for our last hill workout before Grandma’s. We met at Macalester College again and ran 8 times the dreaded Davern Hill. The hill is fairly short, but steep. It’s probably about 400 meters long and ¾ of that is steep, before leveling off a bit. It was kind of hard to tell how I was running, since I wasn’t used to that type of hill. I felt okay during the hills, nothing special.

Afterwards, on the flats, I felt really good. After 75 minutes we were back at the college. I agreed to add-on with Jenna, but only if she agreed to slow down. We ran for another 27 minutes. I’m not sure what pace we were going, maybe 7-flat. It felt fast, but controlled.

Usually Jenna’s way ahead of me so we don’t get much time to talk. Last night was probably the 4th or 5th time we’ve run together for an extended period. She’s also a fan of the sport, so it’s really fun to run with her. She knows a lot of the fast local runners, as well as some of the Team Minnesota people, so it’s fun to talk about them.

We ended up running 1:42, which I called 14 miles. It was probably a little shorter than that but I don’t really like to have halves in my log book. I always feel like I have to run another halve before the end of the week, just to “correct” it.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Here's a letter I got from my coach today. The CAPS are his.

FUN and CHALLENGING sessions are scheduled for the next 2 weeks.

JUST THINK: only 4 weeks to grandma's!


1. EASY DAYS are short and EASY (heart rate under 140; effort @ 60%, and 45:00 or LESS of running on flat terrain)

2. FUEL your muscles right after KEY runs AND throughout the day to keep your energy and performance levels HIGH

3. KEY DAYS REQUIRE A KEY MENTAL FOCUS. plan for, expect, and make success happen for YOU

4. RACE PACE EFFICIENCY and STAMINA will be boosted by the TEMPO, PACE, and FAST endurance runs. DO THEM as written, and REST-UP for them, and REST AFTER them as well. GET TO KNOW YOUR RACE PACE GROOVE and POSITIVE SELF-TALK.

5. START TO REDUCE X-TRAINING, and increase resting time and non-exercise time to increase success on key days, and to prevent any lingering fatigue in the weeks prior to grandma's

6. ENHANCE YOUR RACE READINESS CONFIDENCE with YOUR successful performance in KEY sessions

enjoy it all


Just an easy 6 mile run this morning – nothing exciting to report.

At work this morning I got a meeting notice for 12:00-1:00 meeting. The organizer said “Sorry about this time but it was the only open time.” Oh really? I wonder why. Does it have anything to do with a thing called LUNCH? If this was the only time this has happened it wouldn’t be a big deal – but it seems to happen about once every month or two.

During the meeting she kept talking about flushing things out. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it is fleshing things out. I’m not sure where the saying comes from. Given some of the projects I’ve had a work lately, I’d like to flush them out.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Or should I say “Does everyone think they suck?” I went for a nice 10 mile trail run today. The whole time I was thinking about this topic. It stems from a couple of things; watching last night’s track meet and reading through the Minnesota Runner’s Yearbook, which list (among other things) the top runners in each age group. I’m sure hanging out with Jim doesn’t help either. He thinks everyone can win their age group at every race.

During this run I was also thinking back to a post that I read awhile ago on letsrun.com. It was short and sweet; “I’m tired of sucking.” That’s how I feel sometimes. Granted, at races, I tend to beat 95% of the field, but it’s the other 5% that I compare myself to. Non-runners (and probably some runners) don’t seem to understand that.

More importantly than that other 5% is just 1 person – me. How do I compare to myself? Yes, last year was my best season of racing since college. And yes, I’m running even better this year. However, my college PRs are always in the back of my mind. It’s a little frustrating to run roughly 50% more miles/week now, then while in college, yet have slower times. Those results nearly make me want to go back to the days of 50 mpw and the 29-30 8k guys running “easy” days with the 25-26 minute 8k guys. I know that’s the “wrong” approach but I was sure a hell of a lot faster. Have the 9 years slowed me down that much?

But it’s not just me. The whole men 35-39 age group sucks in Minnesota. The editor of the Minnesota Runner’s Yearbook summed it up “…it’s still true that more men 40-44 meet the 35-39 standards than do the younger men.” Maybe everyone is busy with their career and family. Note: the men’s 35-39 standards have actually been loosened a little – the website just hasn’t updated them yet.

So here’s my thinking. In 4 years 2 months and 9 days I’ll be a Masters runner. (Does any other group of people, other than runners, actually look forward to turning 40?) If I stay motivated and keep improving maybe I’ll be able to approach the 40-44 standards (and possibly some all-time PRs). I just hope all those guys I used to run with in college don’t come out of “retirement” once they become a Master. Maybe I’m just dreaming, but I guess that’s what gets me to lace up my shoes every day.

Saturday, May 21, 2005


Since I’ve had some Achilles problems in the past, I decided to take yesterday off. Today I planned my run around a local 5k that I wanted to watch. It’s an out-and-back course along the River Road and it’s a unique in that the men and women have separate start times. I ran for 90 minutes along the Mississippi River before heading out onto the race course where I was able to watch the women finishing up. I looped back to the start and talked with Eric and Jim a little then jogged out to the mile maker. They both went out a little fast (around 5:30 and 5:50). Eric ended up running 18:15, Jim ran 19:09. 81-year old Lloyd “Forever” Young ran 25:37. I knew this was a smaller event, but was a little surprise by the “slow” winning time of 19:28 for women, while only 2 guys broke 16.

I ended up running just under 2 hours and calling it 15 miles. For the week I finished with 67 miles on 6 runs.

This evening I went to the Minnesota Distance Invitational. Unfortunately, it was way too windy for any really fast times. But it was still great to see most of these local athletes compete. Results can be found here. And some of the best track and field photos I’ve ever seen can be seen here.

My wife is hot and I’m very happy and I don’t want this to turn into a letsrun.com “hotness” thread, but is there a hotter team than the Team USA Minnesota women? And is there anyone cuter than Sara Wells?

Thursday, May 19, 2005


I didn’t even run on my treadmill last night, but I hate it. After completing last Thursday’s workout (6 mile tempo run with the miles at 6:45, 6:15, 6:00, 6:15, 6:00 and 6:15) on it I felt really confident. However, after tonight’s run, one thing is for certain, my treadmill is not calibrated correctly.

I decided to do tonight’s workout on the track to make sure my pacing was accurate. The dirt track near my house tends to get soft and soggy and given all the rain we’ve had lately I decided to avoid it. There’s a high school about 3 miles from my house. I thought that’d be a little too far for a warm-up and cool-down, so I drove. Good thing because they had a track meet going on and I had to drive to a different high school.

Tonight’s workout originally called for 3 x 2 miles, alternating the pace for each rep, 6:30, 6:15, 6:30, with a mile jog between. After comparing it to last week’s workout, which didn’t contain any rest periods, I told my coach it was too easy. He suggested dropping the paces by 15 seconds.

After a 2 mile warm-up I started the first rep, going through 200 meters in 45 seconds. Oops. I let off the gas and settled in, finishing the first 3200 rep in 12:34 (6:19 pace). On the second rep I decided just to check my pace every 800 meters. Even though I was supposed to run 6:00 pace, I was a little surprised to see 3:00 and 6:02 for my first 2 splits. I slowed a little and finished in 12:09 (6:07 pace). The last rep was a mess. I thought 6:15-6:20 pace would feel easy after running 6:07 pace. It didn’t. My first lap was at 6:30 pace, so I picked it up. While I was happy to go through 1600 in 6:20, I had zero focus. I was thinking about stopping. Then they started to lock up the gates and I was thinking how I’d finish my last mile if they kicked me out. On top of that my stomach and my right Achilles were starting to act up. So basically I just went through the motions and finished in 12:48 (6:26 pace). Afterwards I did a mile cool-down in my bare feet. Who needs Nike Frees – at least this time of year?

Overall, it was a decent workout. I just think my treadmill workout last week set me up for “failure.” I should know better than to believe what my treadmill tells me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Grandma’s marathon is 1 month from today. It’s coming fast. After 3 nice weeks at the beginning of April, the weather has been shitty for the last 4 or 5 weeks. Noreen said it best last night. She checked the weather before practice and saw it was 66 and mostly sunny. She didn’t believe it and had to double check.

This morning’s run was an easy 6 with some strides. It started in light sprinkles but included 2 bouts of absolute downpours. I figure with the rain, sleet, wind and cold conditions I’ve trained in lately, the only weather I won’t be prepared for is hot, humid and/or sunny.

She’s only 4, but I don’t think I’ll have to “worry” about Kinsey becoming a triathlete. Tonight during dinner we told her we signed her up for swimming lessons this summer. She had a total meltdown that lasted 5-10 minutes. Now she knows how her dad feels about swimming. Actually, I think she was just really tired and that she’ll love it once she starts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Tonight my team met at Minnehaha Falls for a hill workout. So far our hill workouts have been running a hill 1 or 2 times and then running on flats for awhile before finding another hill to climb once or twice. Last night was pure hill repeats. We started with a hill that I didn’t even know existed. It went from the River Road, under the Ford Parkway Bridge down to the locks. It’s the hardest hill I’ve run with the team and we did it 5 times. Then we jogged closer to the Minnehaha Creek and did 4 repeats of a longer, more gradual hill. Afterwards we jogged over to one of the VA buildings and did an even longer, even more gradual hill 3 times. To be honest, I wouldn’t have even called the last one a hill.

It was weird because Jenna wasn’t there tonight. She’s probably staying on the flats after her half marathon last Saturday. Daniel looked really strong. I hung with him for the first 3 repeats, but after that I “let” him go. My legs didn’t feel that bad, but they weren’t their freshest either. Overall we ran for 74 minutes, which I called 10 miles.

Monday, May 16, 2005


I just ran an easy 5 miles this morning and I think that’s about all I could handle. My legs were really heavy. I’d be surprised if I was running faster than 9-minute miles.

I don’t think I summarized last week at all. Since this looks like a short entry, I might as well do it here. I ended up with 60 miles on 8 runs with Thursday’s tempo run being “the best” of the bunch. So it looks like my mileage has dropped off a little lately. I have more 60-70 mile weeks, than 70-80 mile. At this point in my training, I’m okay with that. Right now I’m more concerned about having solid hard workouts and recovering quickly after an easy day (besides, 60-70 is still as good as, or better than my past marathon training). I’ll be interested to see how my legs bounce back for tomorrow’s hill workout. Usually I run my long run on Saturday and then have 2 easier days before running hills. This week I'll just have one easy day between.

On a non-running note, I was walking Bailey tonight and there was a kid shooting hoops in his driveway. It was great to see the youth of today outside on a dreary day. As I approach him, I noticed he had a BIG bag of something like cheese puffs in his left hand and he was shooting with his right. I just thought it was weird. At least he was “exercising.”

Sunday, May 15, 2005


I had a 20 miler scheduled for today. Even with walking the dog, eating a light breakfast and drinking some coffee, I was able to hit the roads by 7:45. While I was walking the dog, my left arch was hurting. I figured I’d start the run and if it bothered me, I’d cut it short and go long next weekend. Maybe it was just a cramp because it didn’t bother me during the run.

I decided to head to my favorite trails and just wander around. I spent just over 2 hours on the trails and only saw 8 people (6 walkers and 2 runners). With about 30 minutes left I decided to head to the track just to see what pace I was running. I figured I was running between 8-8:15 pace. Mainly I wanted to make sure I wasn’t running like 8:30 pace. 4 laps later my watch showed 8:12. I used that mile to determine how long I needed to run to get 20 miles – 2:45. So I stayed on the track for another half mile before heading home and running for 2:44 – close enough.

This was actually my first solo long run in awhile, so I tried to keep moving as much as possible. When I do long runs with my team there always seems to be some standing around and waiting. Not a big deal, but I thought I’d make sure I could go long without the breaks.

Oh yea, I passed a RV park as I was leaving the trails too. If you owned a RV, why would you go “camping” in a suburb? Seems silly to me.

Saturday, May 14, 2005


Friday night I just jumped on the treadmill for 7 easy miles – nothing exciting. Saturday was the garage sale (actually it was Friday and Saturday) that caused me to rearrange my racing schedule. My wife was excited to make about $300. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that we probably spent $5,000 on those same items.

The weather pretty much sucked all day Saturday. The nice thing about that is they shut the garage sale down early and I was able to run during the afternoon, rather than waiting till the evening. Luckily, there was a break in the weather when I left. It had stopped raining, but it was still only 45-50 degrees and windy. I decided to run one of my favorite loops, which is 10 miles. I don’t care for the first 1.5 miles, but after that it’s not bad – even with the first half into the wind. This was one of those runs where you feel pretty good and pick up the pace a little. At first your breathing is a little hard, but soon it becomes easier than running slow.

About halfway through this run it started pouring – with some sleet mixed in. It didn’t last more than 10 minutes before the sun came out. Goofy freaking weather! At least by this time I was on the best part of the loop - a gradual downhill with a nice tailwind.

It sounds like the conditions were pretty miserable at that half marathon I had to skip this morning. Jenna came in 2nd with a 1:20:11. The gal that was 3 seconds behind her at Get in Gear ran the last 5k 26 seconds faster than Jenna to beat her by 9 seconds. So I’m sure she’s pissed. Debbie came in 7th with a 1:24:54. Jim had a miserable experience with a 1:34:38 that included a 25:13 last 5k. Maybe it was a blessing that I was “forced” to miss this race.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Okay, I’ll admit it, I own a pair of these. I like adidas and I like light weight trainers, so I thought “what the heck.” Given some of the comments and looks I’ve gotten since buying them (I shouldn’t be surprised) I think they’re better suited for early morning runs (especially in the winter, in the dark) or treadmill runs in my basement. That being said, I decided to wear them last night for my workout.

To be honest, when I saw last night’s workout (3 mile warm-up, 6 continuous miles at 6:45, 6:15, 6:00, 6:15, 6:00, 6:15, 2 mile cool-down) I thought it was going to be too hard. I ran on the treadmill and just decided to go for it, if it was too hard, I’d just back off. It turned out to be a great workout. The 6:45 seemed very easy, 6:15s were controlled and the 6:00s were comfortably hard. Actually, the 2nd and 3rd 6:15s, after running 6:00, seemed like a jog. Next week I’ll probably run a similar workout on a track, just to see the difference between that and my treadmill.


Sleeping is about all this weather is good for, that and maybe growing grass. That is if grass grows when it’s 36 freakin’ degrees – at noon – in mid-May. Since I slept in I decided to hit the treadmill at work over lunch. It wasn’t so much the rain that kept me from going outside as it was the temp and the winds. I just did an easy 5 mile on the treadmill prior to tonight’s hard workout. Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I’ll have to be on the ‘mill for that run too since my wife will be gone.

While I was running and watching the weather forecast, I remembered that I’ve run one race in each month, Feb-May this year. The race in February had, by far, the nicest weather of the four races. Remember, I’m in Minnesota!!!

They finally posted the results from last weekend’s race. Jim finished 9th in 2:12:28, and 81 year old Lloyd ran 2:57:43 (roughly 9:30 pace). I believe that’s an age group record by nearly 30 minutes. The guy (Mark) in 3rd has now passed me late in my last 3 races. He starts out very easy and then reels people in. I felt better after talking to him. He’s running Grandma’s too and is shooting for 2:52. Frank who finished in 6th was in 4th for about 16 miles. I was about to concede defeat to him and then all the sudden he started walking. I think he turned around and saw Mark and me behind him and it “freaked him out.”

Here’s a random thought I had recently. When you let kids put on their own shoes, 95% of the time, they put them on the wrong feet.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I just did an easy 8 miles this morning with some strides thrown in towards the end. Instead of just lumbering along, thinking of whatever popped into my mind, I decided to try and focus on things I’d like to think about during Grandma’s. Yes, I have a list of affirmations and images that I like to practice before my races, especially marathons. I find I run better when I “pre-program” my mind, rather than leaving my thoughts to chance once the gun goes off.

Of course, I let me mind wander too. But it’s always nice to be able to reel it in with some positive thoughts and images when I want to. Some of the affirmations are as simple as “Calm and confident, I run great” and “I’m in a position to strike and get what I like.” One of my favorites comes from a tempo run I was doing a year or two ago. I was probably running 6:15 pace and passed some kids playing outside. One kid said “he’s flying.” Some of the imagery I use includes picturing me as a well-oiled machine or a wedge (if I’m running into the wind). Given the conditions so far this Spring, the wedge might come in handy at Grandma’s.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Bailey was more squirrelly than normal this morning. She was up at 4:30 “asking” to be fed. If I don’t feed her, she goes over to my wife and whimpers. I didn’t want her to wake Amy up, so I got up and fed her. I thought about going for an easy morning run to help bump my mileage a little, since Sunday and Monday were low. Then I thought “30k is a long way, I need to recover” and I went back to bed till 6.

Our group met at the Lake Harriet Bandshell tonight. Located in Minneapolis, it’s the southern most lake that’s part of a chain that includes Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. As you can imagine, these lakes are a popular place to run, bike, rollerblade, walk, etc. They are also the site of numerous races throughout the year and also part of the reason that the Twin Cities Marathon is known as “the most beautiful urban marathon.”

We stayed around Lake Harriet for awhile before heading down Minnehaha Parkway, which is also part of the TCM course. I think this was supposed to be a hill workout, but it wasn’t very hilly. I didn’t mind at all since my legs still felt tried from Saturday. I’m not sore at all, just a little tired. I kept the pace easy for the entire 73 minutes, which I called 9 miles.

Monday, May 09, 2005


I ran an easy 5 miles yesterday. Actually, it wasn’t easy it was slow - very slow. No surprise, my legs were really heavy. However, they weren’t too sore, so that’s a good thing. One of my concerns with doing a 30k instead of the half marathon I had planned was that I’d trash my legs and screw up the rest of my training. I ran 5 miles over lunch today and that felt a lot better. Still slow, but relatively pain-free once I got going.

Saturday’s race made it clear that there are a few things I need to work on over the next 6 weeks.

1) Calming my mind. While I didn’t really have any problems holding my marathon pace, my mind was racing faster than it should have been. I think if there were other people to run with, it’d have been easier to relax and focus inward. Even though this was a marathon paced run for me, the size of this race had me worrying about the guy in 4th and Eric in 3rd. I don’t think that’ll be an issue at Grandma’s since Eric’s not running and it won’t matter if I’m in 75th or 76th place or whatever.

2) Consuming gels during the race. I carried a flask with me that holds 5 gels. My plan at Grandma’s is to take a gel every 4 miles. Given the different location of water stops on Saturday, I had to improvise. I ended up taking a gulp of gel at 6, 9 and 12 miles. When I finished I noticed I only took 2.5 gels. The main thing was to make sure the gels didn’t bother me while running at marathon pace. Sometimes I try to convince myself not to take a gel, even though I know it’s the “right” thing to do. I gotta work on that.

3) Diet. I’m not going to obsess over it, but I think I can stand to lose 3-5 lbs before the race. Right now I weigh 148. At the end of last season I weighed 5 lbs less. So I passed on the Macadamia Nut cookies at lunch today.

4) Core. When my last cold hit I stopped doing ab workouts. If I can get back into doing them a couple of times a week, I think it’ll help.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the things that come to mind immediately.


The Run Around Woman Lake 30k was a great tune-up for Grandma’s marathon. My goal was to run at my goal marathon pace (6:40). Temps were decent, 55 at the start, 60 at the finish and overcast. It was fairly windy, probably 15-20 mph. Luckily the trees helped block some of the wind. The course was similar to Grandma's with rolling hills throughout.

I tried to mimic Grandma’s as much as possible. Except for the McDonald’s I had for lunch on Friday, I think I did a pretty good job. I took Friday off from work and running and rode up with Eric and Jim. It’s about a 4 hour drive, so a little longer than it takes to get to Duluth. That night we ate at the spaghetti dinner and were lucky enough to have Lloyd “Forever” Young join us. I don’t know about other states, but Minnesota does a great job tracking age and age-group records for various certified distances. Well, Lloyd is 81 and every time he laces them up, he sets a record. It was really neat sitting there listening to his stories.

Saturday morning I woke up about 3 hours before the start and ate the things (bagel, jelly, banana and 32 oz of Gatorade with 2 scoops of CarboPro added) I’m going to have before Grandma’s. I also had a gel about 15 minutes before that start. I have to see how many carbs and calories are recommended before a marathon, but I think I did okay with 225 grams of carbs and 925 calories.

This was a really small race, maybe 50 people. I ended up finishing 5th overall in 2:04:24, which is 6:41 pace. My halves were 1:02:26 and 1:01:58. 3-mile splits were 20:14, 20:19, 19:43, 19:40, 19:51 and 20:08.

So, I was within 1 second of my goal pace. The effort was a little harder than I had planned and at first I was a little bummed about that. But after thinking about racing 10K last weekend, a hard hill workout on Tuesday, the windy conditions, lack of people to run with and lack of taper, I'm feeling more confident about sub-2:55.

Eric went out hard and held on for 4th in 2:03:21, which was just over 3 minutes faster than last year. He’s running really well this year. Jim was ahead of me the first 3 miles. He slowed some, but held on to finish under 2:13. All 3 of us won our age groups and door prizes, so it was a great weekend.

I’ll link to the results once they’re posted. And more details to come when I get some more time.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


I had my alarm set for 5 AM today. Bailey woke me up at 4:55, “asking” to be fed. Yes, that’s normal behavior. I decided to crawl back into bed after feeding her, figuring I could run tonight. Screw “living like a clock” I never should have mentioned it in my blog. However, by 5:05 I was wide awake. I decided to get up and get my run in - that way I can veg-out tonight to Survivor and CSI.

It was a pretty uneventful run. In fact, I felt pretty “blah” the whole way (8 miles). For the second day in a row my left hamstring felt tight. It didn’t seem to bother me too much though. I even threw in some strides at the end because I haven’t done any for over a week.

I’ve been at my “new” job about 8 month now. My last cube was decorated with a bunch of running posters, but I haven’t gotten around to decorating this cube. Last night I saw I poster from last year’s Boston Marathon that I’ve never put up. It’s a nice aerial photo that shows about a quarter mile of the road and it is solid runners. Over the top is a yellow “painted” box with an “inspirational” message from adidas. “Sweat, pain and exhaustion are all temporary. Finishing Boston is forever.” And “Impossible is Nothing.” Both statements have a box with a red check-mark in them.

Okay, that’s probably more than you cared to know. Anyway, I decided to take it to work. When I unrolled it I noticed the same photo on each side. I thought that was really weird. Then I looked closer and saw (in very small, “ghosted” font) the names of everyone that had registered for the race. It took two sides to list everyone, that’s why they needed the image on both sides. Now, thinking back, I remember they did this in 2002 too. However, that year the background was mostly a solid color so it showed up better. Looking at it a year after the race, I’m sure it lost some of its “excitement.”

Wednesday, May 04, 2005


So much for getting back to “living like a clock.” Katie had another “episode” 2 nights ago, so I slept-in and just went for an easy 5 over lunch. The nice thing about waiting till lunch is that the weather was perfect – 55 sunny, blue sky, light winds.

Last weekend’s race and yesterday’s hill workout has me thinking about the strengths that different runners possess. I’ll use Deb and Eric as examples. On 4/9 they both ran a 20k. Deb ran 1:18:53 and Eric ran 1:20:00. On 4/30 they both ran a 10k. Deb ran 38:02 and Eric ran 37:14. Basically, Deb had to slow down only 13 seconds per mile to double her distance, while Eric had to slow down 26 seconds per mile. If you plug their 10k times into McMillan’s calculator, their 20k times should be reversed.

Another example, during last night’s hill workout Daniel was running about 5-10 feet behind me on all the hills. On the last repeat I thought “I’m going to bury him.” Instead, he came blowing by me and probably put 10 seconds on me within a half mile. However, during the cool-down, once I stopped dry-heaving, I was running comfortable hard with Jenna while Daniel fell off the back.

Granted these are just 2 examples, but I’m sure we all know people that run great 5Ks, but their marathon times don’t “hold up” or people that can whip themselves into racing shape quickly or run up hills effortlessly. I’m curious if this is due to training or genetic makeup or mental strength or something else.

I suspect a lot of it has to do with genetic makeup, meaning fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscles. Training’s got to have something to do with it too. If you’re doing tempo runs you’re going to be better suited for the longer races. I think part of Daniel’s “problem” is that he’s a triathlete and he hasn’t been doing some of the longer up-tempo runs like Jenna and I have been doing. He’s tough on the hills though – at least the last one.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005


After seeing snow flurries the first two days of May, we finally got some decent running weather – 53 sunny and fairly calm. I met my team at Macalester College again. In the past, I’ve complained about some of the smaller groups we’ve had and not having anyone to push the pace. Tonight was another small group but Daniel (one of the triathletes) was running hard and together we chased Jenna. We ran for 1:34 and I called it 13 miles. About 40 minutes of that included variations of the Twin Cities Marathon hills from mile 21 to 22.

After the last hill, Jenna, Daniel and I ran a 5-mile “cool-down.” That’s in quotes because we were probably going sub-7 pace. It was interesting to talk to Jenna about her Get in Gear performance. The race pays 3-deep ($1,000, $500 and $250). Last year Jenna was 4th. This year she was 3rd and the gal in 4th was only 3 seconds back. She talked about how this gal kept surging then she would fall back. Daniel watched the race and he said at the 6 mile mark he thought Jenna was going to come in 4th.

I was planning on running a half marathon on the 14th. However, a few logistical issues, family-wise, aren’t going to allow that to happen. Instead, I’m going to do a 30k this weekend with Eric and Jim. I’m going to run it as a tune-up for Grandma’s and try to mimic June 18th as closely as possible. At first I was a little leery of running hard for that far a week after my 10k, but my coach said if I wasn’t sore at all from my race, it’d be a good tune-up. Now I’m more excited about it than I was the half marathon I was planning – maybe because based on last year’s results, my marathon pace would place me in the top-5.


This blog makes me feel like an author writing a story. And like any good story, you need a cast of characters. I thought I’d give a little more background into Eric, Jim and Debbie.

Eric and I “worked” together at my last company. We did not actually work together; in fact, neither of us did much work. Hmm, that’s probably why I got laid off (that’s another story). Eric has since left the company too, retiring at the ripe old age of 46. Anyway, at first, we both ran over our lunch hour, but not together. Then we bumped into each other at a 5k, got to talking and eventually started running together over lunch. At the time Eric was probably a low-19 5Ker on about 40 miles of easy running a week. Now he’s a sub-18 5Ker and I’d like to think all my hounding about increasing his mileage and adding speed work has contributed to his improvement.

Eric is very friendly and easy to talk to. At a race “up north” last spring he met Jim. If you’ve been following along, you know that Jim is the super stud whose goal is to set a state record for 60 year olds - every weekend. For those of you familiar with the WAVA age-grading calculator, Jim’s time from Saturday calculates to a 32:20. Plus, he is the nicest, most humble state record holder you’d ever want to meet.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Eric, it’s don’t be afraid to go up and talk to someone at a race. Okay, last summer it took me 2 races to get up the courage but I eventually talked to Debbie. Both races were 4 milers and it was all I could do to hold off this first woman overall. While talking, we found out we live about 2 miles from one another. Deb is bubbly, full of energy and always smiling.

So what do you do during the summer with 4 people (2 retirees, a substitute teacher and someone who’s laid off) who run similar times? You form a training group and try to run each other into the ground. All right, it wasn’t that dramatic. But we did do a few track workouts together, some “easy” days and some races. Looking at the 4 of us, you’d never guess that we trained together. “Unfortunately” I’m back in the work-world and won’t be able to participate in our weekly track workouts this year.

Monday, May 02, 2005


While I was getting dressed for my run this morning I was watching the weather on TV. The weatherman said through the first 3 weeks of April we were on-pace for the warmest April ever. After everything was said and done, we finished in 11th. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the cold April weather at the beginning of the month. In fact, if there’s any month where I’d like the warm days at the end – it’s probably April.

I dragged myself through an easy 6 miles this morning. I definitely felt the race and my long run from yesterday. Hopefully I’ll bounce back by tomorrow night’s workout.

Lots of race results from the weekend that included people with ties to Minnesota or Wisconsin. This is not an all inclusive list. It’s mainly top names that people will recognize with a few that you might not.

5K – Badgers – Matt Tegenkamp 13:31.98, Matt Withrow (red-shirt freshman) 13:35.32, Chris Solinsky 13:38.92. Sean Graham (former Stillwater high school and William & Mary star) 13:42.28. Garrett Heath (former Winona high school star and red-shirt freshman at Stanford) 13:56.40. Antonio Vega (U of MN) 14:10.01 and Forrest Tahdooahnippah (no, I’m not kidding - Stanford) 14:10.86. Women – Dana Coons (Team MN) 16:31.61.

10K – Badgers – Simon Bairu 28:04, Matt Downin (former Badger) 28:37. Andrew Carlson (U of MN) 28:56. Matt Gabrielson (Team MN) DNF. Women – Katie McGregor (Team MN) 31:25 (26 second PR).

10K – I don’t know these guys but 2 freshman from D3 schools in Wisconsin ran 30:11 (Scott Mueller - LaCrosse) and 30:18 (Tyler Sigl - Platteville) in a race that D3 X-C champ Josh Moen (Wartburg) ran 30:14. Heather May (doesn’t have any MN/WI ties that I know of, she used to post on Beck’s Donnybrook) 36:18.

1500 – Luke Watson (Team MN), 4:03.67, Matt Grosse (UW-LaCrosse alum) 4:08:44, Toby Henkels (Team MN) 4:11:43 – PR. Women – Janelle Deatherage (Team MN) 4:22:77.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Well I’m glad I wasn’t racing today. I went for my run at 11 AM and it was 38, windy with flurries. The first 1.5 miles included Bailey, while pushing Katie. Then I dropped them off and pushed Kinsey for 6 miles. Finally I was able to run the last 6.5 miles by myself, on the trails. The nice thing about this shitty weather is that not many people use the trails in those conditions. As I thought that to myself, I looked up to see a walker. It turned out to be Deb. I barely recognized her with her hood up and big mittens on. I ended up running just under 2 hours and called it 14. That was probably further than I needed to go, but I felt guilty about not cooling down very much yesterday.

Last week’s mini-taper resulted in only 48 miles. That was my lowest total since I got the flu in December. I ended April with 279 miles. I ran 29 of 30 days, including 4 two-a-days. I actually thought I’d be over 300 miles. However, there were numerous occasions where I told myself not to worry about mileage and that the main thing was getting in solid workouts and recovering from them. Still, that was my highest April by 36 miles. 5 of my last 7 months have been all-time highs for those months.

Quick rant: I forgot to mention this yesterday, but they ran out of medium and large shirts yesterday. Apparently you could pick your shirt up before race day or even that morning. I’m still not sure how the hell that happens with a race that’s been around this long.