Thursday, June 30, 2005


Tonight I was supposed to meet Evan for the first time and go for a run together. Unfortunately, I had a brain freeze. For some reason I keep getting Lake Nokomis (which is off of Cedar Ave) and Minnehaha Falls (which is off of Hiawatha Ave) mixed up.

As I was driving down Cedar to Nokomis I suddenly realized I was supposed to be at the Falls. Luckily I still had 10 minutes to drive the 1.5 miles. As I sat at the Falls I was thinking back to my last email to Evan and I know I mentioned something like “it’s easy to get to for me because it’s just of Cedar” (which is a straight shot from my ‘burb). So at 7:58 I sprint back to my car and head back to Nokomis.

By this time, I’m really confused. I kept thinking we’d run the Get in Gear course which starts right at the Falls, but I kept coming back to the “just off Cedar” statement. Needless to say, we never hooked up. I ended up running 2+ laps around the lake and called 6 miles. It was the best my legs have felt since the marathon.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


My second choice for a title today was “What time is it?” After reading, feel free to tell me which one you like better – a little inter-active blog entry for you.

Really, I tried to get up at 5:20 this morning to get my run in before work, but I couldn’t drag myself out of bed. The fact that it’s pretty slow at work and my boss is gone gave me an excuse to run at lunch, or more importantly, sleep in. It’s pretty muggy again today, but at least the rain took my mind of it.

I’ve discovered that there are no good routes near my office. Every road seems to be a busy two-lane road that either leads to construction or to a busier road. Luckily the two-lane roads have a wide shoulder. Unfortunately, they have a sharp slant to them. I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t run from work that often. I actually felt pretty good today during my easy 5 miles.

Back at my desk there was a funk in the air. I finally realized that it was my wet watch band, which is made out of hemp. I couldn’t stand it any longer and I had to take my watch off. Now I feel naked. Not as naked as I feel without my wallet in my back pocket, but pretty close.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Even though today was just going to be an easy run, I decided to meet my team at the track and at least warm-up (and possibly cool-down with them). The dew point, near 70, was oppressive and I (almost) felt sorry for the group as they did 16 x 400 while I jogged 6 miles with Mary.

After watching the last of the 400s, I decided to cool-down with Mary and Sue (who’s training for Ironman Wisconsin). We ran down Summit Avenue towards the University of St. Thomas. Or is it St. Thomas University? I can never remember. It’s not a big deal to me, but it’s probably a pet peeve for those with ties to the school. Anyway, there were lots of runners and bikers out tonight. As we were running, I looked up and thought the guy coming towards us looked familiar. He was cruising pretty well and was already by us before I realized it was Bob Kempainen. He is from this area, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe he’s back for a long holiday weekend.

Speaking of elite runners, I failed to mention that Katie McGregor was standing near Lemon Drop hill on the Grandma’s marathon course. I don’t make it a habit of looking at spectators, I just happened to look over and see her. Again, it took awhile for my brain to kick in and realize it was her. I like to think I helped inspire her 10k victory the following weekend at the U.S. track and field champions. Ha!

I wonder how often elite or former elite runners get recognized when they’re out running or even just out around town. It’s not like they’re stars from a sport with a lot of exposure. I was running at Pike Island last summer with Eric and we saw Carrie Tollefson. He knows who she is, but at the time, he had no idea it was her. Okay, enough name dropping for today.

I had plans on riding my bike after the run, but by the time we finished our cool-down, I had run for 80 minutes. Being in recovery-mode, I thought that was enough for the day. I called it 9 miles, which is more than I had planned, but it was all very easy.

Monday, June 27, 2005


Hard to believe, but it’s my (our) 7th wedding anniversary today. That means Amy and I have been “together” for about 10 years and have known each other for nearly 12 years. When Amy was a sophomore in college she roomed with 7 other women. I happened to be dating one of them. Amy was dating her high school sweetheart at the time, but for some reason we flirted – A LOT. Two years later we were both single and both in town for the summer and, as they say, the rest is history. Amy and my ex weren’t roommates at the times, so I’m not sure if George Castanza would consider that a roommate swap or not. There weren’t any ménage e trois involved, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

I decided to make an effort at getting back on an early morning workout schedule. I figure if I could do it in the dead of winter, I should be able to when it’s light outside. Besides, having to battle traffic twice a day is driving me crazy. Once is bad enough. Anyway, I got up at 5:20 this morning and it was already 80 degrees with a dew point of 66. I managed to make it 5 miles on my still tired legs. I blamed some of the heaviness on the weather, but I think most of it’s from the marathon.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


I had thoughts of biking on Saturday and running today. But that’s all they were – thoughts. I ended up sitting on my ass all weekend. Actually, the weekend was not a total waste. I spent a lot of time with my girls, plus I was able to get some yard work completed. I also finally got around to grouting the tile around our “new” fireplace. I say “new” because we’ve had it for a year now. It probably took me 6 months to get around to tiling it and another 6 months before I grouted it. At least I’m consistent – every 6 months I check something off my “honey do” list.

Congrats to Katie McGregor on winning her first National title with her victory in the 10k this weekend. I guess I don’t understand the inner workings of professional running. Carrie Tollefson ran the 5k and finished 5th. Less than an hour later she had to run the first round of her best event, the 1500, and she failed to advance.

Race directors: How do you get more runners at your event? Offer prize money. There was a local 10k last year drew 50 runners with the winner running 37:48. This year they offered $10,000 in prize money, including $1,000 to the overall male and female runners. That drew 264 runners and a 37:48 would have placed 7th – among women – and 33rd overall. After failing to advance in his 1500 on Thursday, Luke Watson came back home and placed 2nd in 30:40 to pocket $700. First place went to Mathew Chesang (30:36) with Vincent Topiwo and Shadrack Kimeli also placing in the top-7. Hmm, they’re all from Manhattan, Kansas. No wonder I’ve never seen their name in the local results before. On the women’s side Sara Wells and Dana Coons of Team USA Minnesota went 1-2 in 34:59 and 35:48, respectively.

Friday, June 24, 2005


My mom sent me last Sunday’s Duluth News Tribune’s coverage of Grandma’s marathon. I thought the article on the elite men was funny. One Kenyan was complaining about the heat, while another was complaining about the humidity. I’m not sure if the writer interviewed them both at the same time or not, but I just picture these two scrawny Kenyan runners getting into it.

“It was hot out there.”
“No, it was the humidity.”

The paper said it was 59 degrees at the start (7:30 AM) with 67% humidity. At the finish (10 AM) it was 57 degrees with 100% humidity. I guess I don’t understand the whole humidity thing. I thought it represented the amount of moisture in the air. If it’s 100% shouldn’t it be raining? I’m more of a dew point guy. I know if the dew point reaches 60, it’s sticky; 70 and it’s tropical.

Speaking of the weather; yesterday was a good day to be in recovery mode. It got up to 95 here. It seems like that came out of no where too. I think it was “only” about 85 the day before.

I am back to running. Wednesday night I went out for 3 miles. It’s no surprise that my legs were really heavy. At least they weren’t sore. Yesterday I jumped on the treadmill during lunch for 4 miles.

The thought of doing Whistlestop in October, along with Doubles comments recently have fired me up. Not the “I’m going to hammer a 10 miler this weekend” fired up. It’s more of the “sit down with a calendar and pencil in what I did in 2002 and see how I can incorporate it into 2005” fired up.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


SwampTiger emailed me a good question that I thought I'd post my answer too.

When I first read your race report the other day, I wondered how you ate the night before/morning of the race. Then I saw your comment about maybe cramming too much in the pre-race meal. So what did you do for your pre-race meal? Was it different than in the past?

What I was getting at with my post was worrying about trying to follow a certain diet (like the article I posted) to a "T". I was calculating exacting how many calories I needed race morning and during the race.

I basically ate pasta for lunch and dinner the last 5 days leading up to the race - but that's normal for me before a marathon. The night before we cooked pasta and garlic bread in our room and I drank Gatorade.

For breakfast I had 32 oz. of Gatorade along with 3 scoups of CarboPro, which is a powder that dissolves instantly and is basically all carbs. I can't remember how many carbs are in a scoop, but it's a lot (Edit: I just looked it up; 115 calories and 28.5 grams of carbs per scoop. So, pre-race, I had 585 calories and 145 grams of carbs just from fluids). I also had a bagel. I was going to have a banana too, but my stomach was spinning.

I think that's the last time I'll use the CarboPro. I used it before my Ironman and puked before the race even started. I don't have problems with it in training, just when I'm more nervous. I used it before the 30k without any problems, however that was a low-key race without any pressure.

During the race I was planning on taking gels at 3, 7, 11, 15, 19 and maybe 23. Since I felt bloated, I didn't start with the gels till 5 and took them at 9 and 13 too. Then I just stopped taking them after I "shut down".

I don't think I bonked at Gma's, it was more of a mental issue. That's why I think the "recommended" gel consumption is on the high side for me. Then again, if I'd been running 6:40 pace instead of 7:40s at the end, maybe I'd need those extra 2-3 gels.


My photos from Grandma's are posted here on

EDIT: Chelle gave me a little HTML lesson on inserting photos, let’s see if it works. The second photo is me with Jim, who I mention frequently.

I’m not sure if it was the massage (gotta plug my friend’s business since she gave me 2 passes) or not, but my legs feel a lot better today. I haven’t run since Grandma’s but I think I’ll lace ‘em up tonight.

Kinsey had her tonsils removed yesterday, so Katie and I went to visit around dinner time. The hospital is near the Macalester track, so we stopped by to see the team for a few minutes. Once the group went for their warm-up, I talked with my coach about my race. We didn’t come to any new revelations. He thought my report was an honest assessment of the day. He did mention that my foot injury could have led to me not being as sharp, mentally, on race day. I suppose that’s a possibility.

I gave him a list of races that I’m thinking about doing this summer. There are 8 races on it and 2 of those I’m not too concerned if I do them or not. The earliest one that I care about is a 10 miler on July 23rd. The two most important races to me are on Labor Day weekend, one of which is my college alumni race. For some reason their five-year age groups are a year off. So instead of having 35-39, they have 36-40. Don’t ask me why – it’s Wisconsin (jab, jab). Anyway, I’ll be 36 this year and in a new age group.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


So I can run a marathon and not get a blister (other than the two that I always get under my 2nd toes). But I take the dog for a 10 minute walk in my dress shoes and I get a blister.

I went for a massage yesterday. No, that is not normal for me. However, a high school friend of mine manages a “parlor” near my job. I went to see her a couple of weeks ago and she gave me a free hour massage. Just before I got there the power went out. Luckily they had some flashlights lying around so we used those to light the room. I didn’t get the heated oils, the heated massage table or the relaxing music, but to a novice like me, it didn’t matter. My friend felt bad and gave me another pass for another hour massage.

I understand that the coolrunning and runnersworld forums have their place, but they’re not for me. Every once in awhile I’ll drop in and lurk, but the rah-rah spirit really drives me crazy. As an example, I was reading a Grandma’s report during lunch. The runner was shooting for his BQ of 3:14 (side note: I’m not sure where he got 3:14 from – maybe he was talking 3:14:59, which is actually 3:15:59 since the BAA “gives” you that extra minute). Anyway, he went out in 1:34 and struggled home in 3:49. No, that’s not what drives me crazy. It’s the comment someone left that stated something like “congrats on running a smart race.” How is that a smart race? Maybe it took guts to hang in there or survive cramps or whatever else happened to this particular runner, but I don’t think I’d call it a smart race.


Some of this is from the comments that have been posted recently. I thought I'd turn them into an entry and add a few other things.

Maybe after 8 months of solid training, I just expected a PR to be handed to me. I forgot what effort was still required on RACE DAY.

Maybe 30k at MP 6 weeks before my goal race is too much.

Maybe I need to worry less about maxing out my pre-race meal and focus more on nutrition during the race. My stomach felt funny the first 4 miles, then I ended up not taking any gels the 2nd half of the race. Maybe I don’t need as my carbs and calories as I think I need.

Maybe I need to look at every split and adjust each mile based on my goal pace. Set a realistic time goal, then just keep after it.

Maybe I was just not used to my coach’s program yet and I need to give my body more time to adjust to it and the higher mileage.

Maybe I need to stick to fall marathons.

Maybe I need a 12-week program instead of 18 weeks.

Maybe I need to focus on shorter stuff for the next year or two.

Maybe I need more marathons during the next year or two.

What’s with the volunteer at mile 25? When I had a side-stitch I was trying to massage it out. She said something like “oh, someone’s got an ouie.”

Elizabeth Yetzer won the National High School 2 mile in 10:15.73 and doubled up with a 4th in the mile in 4:43.12.

Sunday, June 19, 2005


Man, where to start? I can’t blame the weather. I’m guessing it was about 50 at the start, sunny (too sunny?) and a very slight cross-breeze off the lake. It probably got up to 60 during the race. I never really felt comfortable during the race. I felt bloated the first 4 miles before feeling halfway normal during the 5th mile. The whole time I was more concerned with my goal time than I was about “just” running. I had been checking my splits (6:39-6:46) for the first 5 miles. They were a little behind my 6:40-pace goal, but not much.

During the 6th mile I told myself to stop looking at my splits and just run. I felt more comfortable after that. From miles 8 to 13 I thought I was running pretty well. I’d hook up with a pack and really feel the energy. But then we’d go through a water stop and the pack would splinter. Looking back at my slits, I see I was not running as fast as I thought during this section, basically running 6:55 pace.

I went through the half in 1:29:13 and was thinking about negative splitting. Even though I pretty much knew 2:55 was out of the question I thought I might be able to still PR. Just after 13 I passed Jim (for the first time). Two miles after thinking about a PR, I was thinking about a DNF. I took a pit stop at 16 and it cost me a little over 2 minutes (first time I've done that in a marathon). Basically I was done after that. I thought if my parents were at 19, like they were in 2001, I'd just walk off the course. "Luckily" they weren't there. During 19 & 20 I started talking with a guy that I had been running with earlier. He was hurting and told me to go on.

Just before 22 I caught Jim (again) and ran with him up Lemon Drop Hill. I thought I dropped him, but 2 miles later he came by me again. Just before 25 I had a terrible side stitch and had to walk for 30 seconds. When I got to 25 I saw 3:00:30 on the clock and decided I wanted to break 3:10 (I was actually a little surprised by my time. I hadn’t seen a split since mile 16 and I thought I’d be lucky to break 3:15, given the way I’d been running). So after running a bunch of 7:40s and low 8s I dropped down to 7:15 for the last mile. I passed Jim (for the 3rd and final time) with about half a mile to go and finished in 3:09:06, “good enough” for 299th place overall out of 6,885 finishers.

Jim came in 17 seconds later, which was good for 2nd in the 60-64 age-group. Jenna did awesome, 9th overall woman (68th overall) in 2:47:09, which is a 3-minute PR. With Mary’s recent hip problems, she was still able to get a BQ with a 3:37:21. Chelle ran a terrific 6-minute PR with her 3:02:52. The winner of the 30k I ran a few weeks ago ran 2:35:27, while the guy who finished 3rd ran another negative split race 1:26:07/1:24:28 for 2:50:35. A college teammate of mine (D3 all-American) was the first American in 16th with a 2:23:20.

I ran my last 10K in 47:51, but I wasn’t alone. 40 of the 100 people directly in front of me finished with slower last 10Ks. I find that shocking. What the hell happened to everyone? I’m not sure what happened to me. I think I’m just a total head-case. Had I gone out in 1:27 and crashed, I wouldn’t feel so bad. But I didn’t even “go for it.” I'M such a wuss! How the hell can I run 1:25 in Feb, put in 4 solid months of training and then go through the half in 1:29 and be “tired” 3 miles later? My last mile shows I had more left. I just wasn't into it mentally - especially after I knew my goal was out of reach. That’s something I have to work on.


Just thought I'd post my time for those that are interested. I'll write a report up later today or tomorrow. Obviously, it wasn't what I hoped for.

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Not much to report today. For some reason I’ve been tossing and turning the last few nights. Usually, before a race I sleep well, at least up until the night before. I don’t know if it’s nerves or what. I don’t feel nervous during the day. At least my legs feel good. This morning I walked Bailey and I could feel a little spring in them.

I hate to admit it but I’ve been looking at the forecast a little. There’s a local weatherman who runs. In 2001 I emailed him a few days before Grandma’s and asked him the forecast. I think it was about 10 degrees warmer than he thought it’d be and there was a headwind instead of a tailwind. So I don’t put too much stock in the forecast until I stick my head out the door on race morning.

I’m only working (okay, “at work”) half a day today. This afternoon Kinsey and I are going to drive to my parent’s house. Then tomorrow I’ll drive to Duluth (about 75 miles). That way I won’t have to drive 5 hours the day before the race. Plus that’ll give Kinsey a chance to have a sleepover with Grandma and Grandpa. They haven’t decided if they’re going to come to the race or not. I kind of hope they decide to bring Kinsey since she seems to really like it when I take her to races. Plus it means we’d have a 2.5 hour drive on Saturday instead of 5 hours. If they don’t come I may decided to stay in Duluth Saturday night. I been to this race lots of times and have heard lots of good things about the post-race party. However, I’ve never stayed for it.

Anyway, this will probably be my last entry until at least Sunday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005


As Grandma’s 2005 quickly approaches, I’ve been thinking about my race plan. I’d like to try to mimic how I felt when I set my PR in 2002. What better way to get in that frame of mind that to re-read my race report from that day?

So just to make it clear, this is from Whistle Stop 2002, not Grandma’s 2005.

THE COURSE: I decided to run this race 7 weeks ago, after plans for a winter marathon fell through. I chose Whistle Stop because it’s low-key, on a soft, forgiving surface, and it’s in the town I grew up in, so I’d be able to stay with my parents. The course is run on what’s called the tri-county corridor, which is an old limestone railroad bed that’s been converted to a bike, ATV, snowmobile, etc. trail. The first 8 miles are flat. From miles 8 to 22, the course drops from 1150 feet to 620 feet – there’s virtually no elevation rise during that stretch. During the last 4 miles there’s a “whole” 20-foot rise. The first mile and last mile are on blacktop, the other 24 miles are on limestone.

THE WEATHER: When I woke up it was about 45 and misty. By the time we got in the car to drive to the start there was a steady rain. Luckily it let up right before we got dropped off. Right when we got out of the car the race director was giving the forecast. He said the winds were supposed to be from the west at 10 mph, which would be a tail wind. Then he said, “however, the winds like to swing around Lake Superior, then head back from the east, so there could be a head wind.”

STRATEGY: My strategy consisted of 3 words, patience, patience, and patience. Having only followed a 7-week program, instead of my normal 18-week program I wasn’t sure what to expect. I still had some solid training this summer and my best races in 6 years, including a 1:23:05 half and a 29:15 5 miler. Since my marathon PR was 3:00:55, breaking 3 hours was my primary goal. Results from the past 2 years showed that about 10 people would break 3 hours. I figured most people go out too hard, so early on, if I were in the top 25-30 I would be alright. That would allow me to pick people off towards the end.

THE RACE: The gun goes off and I settle in quickly. The first mile does have a little up hill, so I don’t worry about the 7:16 split. We hit the limestone trail and a pack starts to form around me. One guy is trying to run 3:15 for a BQ. Michael wants to beat his wife’s 3:03 from Grandma’s. We’re chatting away having a good time and rattling off 6:45-6:55s. A couple of more guys join us and we have a pack of 6. One of the guys, Gary, is a 50 year old with a 2:34 PR from 20 years ago. He’s looking strong and says he’d like to break 3 too. I have confidence in Gary, but the rest of the pack seems to be working too hard, too early in the race.

As we hit the water stops I grab a cup and maintain my pace. Everyone else in the pack seems to really slow down and then they spend the next 2-3 minutes trying to catch me. This continues through about 12 miles, after which it’s just me, Gary and Michael. We hit the half in 1:29:43 and I’m feeling awesome. Still lots of small talk going on as Gary and I drop Michael. At 14 miles Gary and I are both feeling great. My mind feels great too; I’m relaxed and not worried about the pace, my energy level, the slight headwind or anything. I tell him if we can maintain our pace until 20, we’ll be in great shape.

At 16 we hit another water stop where I experience my first real hurdle of the day. Right before the water stop I put a gel in my mouth. I grabbed a cup from a gal that said “water.” I lift to drink and wash my gel down and see that the contents are bright green. Shit! By the time I realize this I’ve already passed the water stop. I take a quick sip to wash down the gel and hope I don’t cramp up. Gary must have really slowed down at this aid station because I was at mile 17 before he caught up to me. I tell him about the “incident” and he decides to take a gel too, which makes him slow down. That turns out to be the last time I’d see Gary until the finish.

I approach 18 feeling great and think to myself, “there’s ‘only’ 8 miles left.” I decide to squeeze the gas a little, rather than wait until mile 20. I run 6:33 and 6:31 for 19 and 20. So far I’ve only looked at my elapsed time at miles 1, 7 and halfway. At 20 I take a peek, see 2:16:02 and “do the math” – figuring I can run 7s for the last 10k and still break 3 hours.

Right after 20 I see my parents and tell them I’m feeling awesome as they hand me another gel taped to a water bottle. Since about the halfway point people have told me I was in 21st place. I see a few guys up ahead and decide to see how many people I can pass during the last 10k. By this time, there are also half marathon walkers on the course that I’m passing. I continue to roll, running 21 and 22 in 6:25 (fastest of the day) and 6:28, respectively. I still feel good during a 6:43 23rd mile. With 5k to go I start to feel it as I slow to a 7:01 for mile 24. I “do the math” again and figure I can run 8s for the last 2 miles and still break 3.

I continue to push and move into 16th just before mile 25, which is another 7:01. Now I know sub-3 is in the bag. Since I don’t see any other marathoners within striking distance, I just maintain my pace and enjoy running the same streets I used to run as a kid – knowing sub-3 was mine. I “kick” the last block to pass a group of walkers and cross the line in 2:58:10. After grabbing some refreshments, I see Gary cross the line in 2:59:32. Michael ended up running 3:11.

This is the first marathon (out of 7) where I’ve run negative splits; 1:29:43/1:28:27. My 5-mile splits were 34:31, 34:16, 33:50, 33:25, 33:38. 10-mile splits were 1:08:47, 1:07:15 with a 42:08 last 10k.


Unfortunately, I had to re-type this whole thing and I don’t want to retype each mile split. However, their consistency is pretty “amazing” (if I do say so myself) I’ll post the short hand version.

(7:16 – slowest of the day, 41, 56, 50, 49, 46, 54, 55, 45, 40, 48, 45, 43, 50, 52, 52, 41, 33, 31, 25 - fastest, 28, 43, 7:01, 7:01, 8:30 – last 1.2)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


I met my team at the Macalester track tonight for my last quality session before Grandma’s. Everyone seemed a little squirrelly – maybe it was because most of them raced last Sunday. For the marathoners, the workout consisted of a 2 mile warm-up, 3 miles at marathon pace and a 2 mile cool-down. Basically, everyone was supposed to run the marathon pace portion by themselves and think about/visualize their race. Since we all have different time goals, that wasn’t a problem. While my legs felt a little heavy, overall I felt good. It was one of those nights were I was able to focus clearly on what I wanted, as opposed to having my mind drift all over the place. Maybe that’s due to all the carbs.

Speaking of diet, here’s a great article that I like to read prior to each “big” event. I like how it breaks down the last week into “days out” and how it talks about how you may feel sluggish, due to the extra carbs and liquids.

Also on the topic of nutrition; can someone please tell me why races (like Grandma’s) offer Ultima? Is it a money issue? A recent issue of a tri magazine did an article on nutrition and it listed Ultima under “fluid replenishment” not “sports drinks.” I can’t remember the number of carbs and calories per serving off the top of my head, but it’s not much. A doctor I know describes it as water with a Flintstone vitamin dissolved in it.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Yesterday I mentioned Elizabeth Yetzer’s fast times at the state meet. Since I didn’t run today I thought I’d share the story about the first time I “met” 2 of the 3 Yetzer girls, including Elizabeth.

It had to be at least 3 if not 4 years ago. I used to live about 2 blocks away from a high school track. One evening I was taking Bailey for a walk and we came upon 3 girls who were cooling down from a track meet. I asked them how they did. The sisters said “okay” but their friend wouldn’t leave it at that. She said they (yes, both of them) had just broken the school record in the 3200 by running something like 11:03.

I was shocked and said something like “Man, I only ran 10:50 in high school.” They were very humble and said something like “wow, that’s really good.” I’m like “Yeah sure. A whopping 13 seconds faster than you two.”

The next week there was an article in the paper about the 3 sisters. I’ve been following their progress ever since. Actually, it’s pretty hard to not follow it. Rebekah now runs for Colorado State and Annie runs for Minnesota. It’ll be interesting to see where Elizabeth decides to go in a year.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


…School – State Track and Field meet. In the first race of the meet, Elizabeth Yetzer (who’s a junior) set a state record in the 3200 with a 10:16.59 (2nd in the nation to 10:16.03). She beat Shannon Bergstedt’s (now at Stanford) state record by just over 10 seconds. On Saturday, Yetzer doubled up in the 1600 with a 4:47.12 victory, less than 1 second off her state record from last year.

On the boy’s side, Rob Finnerty established a record for a Minnesota freshman with his winning time of 9:06.80, which is 17 seconds faster than the old Minnesota record for a freshman, a 9:23.75 by Nick Schneider (Duke alumni). Actually he beat Schneider's time last year, when he ran a 9:23.65 — as an eighth-grader.

Last year was his first track season, and Finnerty remembers running the 3200 for the first time and finishing in 9:58.

"My coaches seemed pretty excited," he said of their reaction. Hmm, I wonder why.

Finnerty also came back to double in the 1600. His 4:16.95 winning time was also a record for Minnesota freshmen. He bettered the mark of 4:17.5 (converted from a 4:19.2 mile) set back in 1965 by “some guy” named Garry Bjorklund.

On a slower note, I ran 6 miles this evening. Decide to hit the local track for a mile at marathon pace, since I have not done any quality for nearly 2 weeks. It felt too fast. That’s alright. I’ll be ready to go on Saturday.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


I joined my team for my last “long” run before Grandma’s. We met at Lake Nakomis where the triathletes swam for awhile before practicing transitions. Most of them are racing the Manitou Sprint Triathlon tomorrow, so they only ran for 15 minutes. It’ll be the first tri of the season for most of them and I could sense their excitement.

I ran 20 minutes while they were swimming, then 5 of us headed out for another hour. The grand total was 10 miles. It was a comfortable pace – not really fast or slow. I feel like my legs and breathing are both coming around. Plus, no pain in my foot, so I’m confident heading into my final week.

Speaking of confidence, Jenna’s must be sky-high. Today she went “back home” for the Bellin 10k and ran 35:03. That’s 51 seconds faster than the PR she set on April 30th. Basically, she PRs everytime she laces her shoes up. I was thinking she's in 2:47 shape, but now I'd say 2:45 is possible. Note: It's always "easy" to come up with goals for other people.

Meanwhile, Jim ran a 31:08 5 mile race and won the 60-64 age-group by 55 seconds. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but I’m trying to convince Jim to join our team. I think he’s the perfect candidate for a coach. He’s highly motivated, driven and tremendously talented (not that those things are required to hire a coach). I just don’t think he grasps the hard/easy approach. He went to last Tuesday’s practice to check things out. Unfortunately, I wasn’t there due to my foot. We’ll see if he continues to show up or not.

Friday, June 10, 2005


I was just reading a regional running magazine. There's a diary of a guy who was training for Boston at the time. A couple of his comments jumped out at me.

1) "I don't have a specific goal, but I'm shooting for a 3:45. An ideal goal would be 3:30 to 3:45. I always shoot for under four hours, because you never know what the day will bring."

Yeah, I guess he didn't have a specific goal. Anywhere from 3:30 to 4:00 and he’d be happy?

2) "I find in my schedule, that if I go out less frequently, it helps me recover a lot faster. So I run three or four days a week and leave a day off in between each running day."

I'm all for following a hard/easy program, but do people really feel they need to be fresh for every run?

Maybe the lack of a specific goal and under-training contributed to his 4:38 at Boston, including a 2:50 second half. Ouch!

I ran an easy 6 miles this morning. I threw in some strides too, since I haven’t done any in 3 weeks.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


You often hear about how hard it is to predict the weather in Boston. Well, Duluth’s weather is just as screwy. For example, yesterday the high temperature in the Twin Cities was 85, while the high in Duluth (which is about 150 miles north) was 47.

I was thinking back to my previous marathons and I couldn’t remember having a great taper during any of them (especially the last 3). The chart below (sorry about the formatting, I having figured out how to insert an excel chart) shows my weekly mileage for each of the 3 weeks leading up to race day, along with my weekly average and the number of days off during those 3 weeks.

Spg ‘01 Fall ‘01 Spg ‘02 Fall ‘02 Spg ‘04
3 weeks 56 49 52 54 38
2 weeks 29 42 44 36 40
1 week 29 26 12 22 15
Average 38 39 36 37 31
Days off 6 5 6 8 7

The good news is that 3 of those 5 races resulted in PRs (Spg ’01, Fall ’01 and Fall ’02). Note: I ran 3 marathons in ’96 and ’97. The entire training cycle for those 3 races was screwed up, not just the taper.

I jumped on the treadmill for 3 miles (24 minutes) last night and felt good. I decided to take today off, even though I’m feeling good.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I got to work this morning and the power was out due to a storm last night. While I was sitting around I took the opportunity to update my running log (the old-fashioned hand-written-type) – something I haven’t been doing since I got hurt. I figured if I didn’t focus on the time off, it wouldn’t “count.” Okay, it’d count, but it’d affect me less, mentally. Anyway, I noticed that my barefoot mile was actually run on the 19th not the 26th. Where does the time go? So maybe it’s not Nike’s fault after all. After sitting around for an hour they sent us home and told us to call back at noon to see if the power was back on. If it was, we were expected to return.

I’m in the process of re-finishing our kitchen table and chairs, so I used my free time to work on that. I was going to wait till after Grandma’s to start this project but since I haven’t been running I decided to get a jump on it. Unfortunately, the power did come back on at work, so I was only able to work on it for about 2 hours.

I’m happy to report no ill side-effects from my 10 minute run yesterday. I’m to the point where I don’t even think about it any more. Due to the injury, my coach only had me running 3 times during the last 11 days leading up to Grandma’s. I told him I was feeling a lot better and asked if I could increase that. He agreed, but obviously I need to monitor my foot closely. So I’m going try to run 3-4 miles tonight.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I'm feeling A LOT better. I spent 55 minutes pool-running last night. If there's a more boring cross-training exercise, I haven't found it. After warming up I did 10 x 3 minutes hard with 1 minute rest. It was really hard to get my HR up during the first few reps, so my coach suggested cupping my hands more to create more resistance. Before leaving, I swam 2 laps for the hell of it. It wasn't as bad as I remembered. When I got home I took Bailey for a walk. I felt really good and decided to run for 5 minutes. I didn't have any pain.

This morning I spent 10 minutes each on the elliptical, bike and treadmill. Again, no pain. I'm just going through that uncoordinated-phase that occurs after taking time off. My legs felt really heavy and I just felt awkward, in general.

Now Mary is having problems with her hip/pelvis area. Jenna is in chiropractic school, so she went to her clinic for some ultra-sound. She’s a little bummed, so I told her to keep in mind that she’s not going to lose 18 weeks of fitness within a week. I also mentioned that Matt and I were talking about people getting injured or sick a week or two before a big race then coming back to PR. I remember getting some tendonitis the week of our big home x-c meet. I ended up missing 3-4 days at the beginning of the week. But on race day I felt great because I was so rested and I went on to PR. Let’s hope that’s the case this time around too.

Monday, June 06, 2005


Friday I went to the Institute for Athletic Medicine for an injury screening. I think the sports trainer was stumped. He thought it could be some inflamed cartilage or possibly a stress fracture. So I went to urgent care and had it x-rayed. The Dr. didn't see a fracture. He mentioned two possible tendons that could be inflamed. He gave a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and told me to ice as much as possible. If it’s not better by Tuesday, he said he’d refer me to the on-staff podiatrist.

One thing that came out with the sports trainer was a possible cause. He helped me remember that I ran a mile barefoot a week before. I’d think if that was the cause, it’d flare up sooner than 5 days later. In any case, I’m blaming Nike and their “build stronger feet” campaign surrounding the Nike Free shoe.

After 3 days off from exercising, I spent 65 minutes on my racing bike (I knew there was a reason I kept it) on Saturday and 40 minutes on my mountain bike on Sunday. Tonight my training group is in the pool, so I’m going to go and pool run. Then I'll re-evaluate and either try running or just workout on the elliptical machine.

Most of the swelling has gone down and it's starting to feel better. Shoes seem to really make a difference. I thought my Birkenstocks would help because they form so well to my foot, but I could really feel it in the arch. Meanwhile, yesterday I was wearing a pair of old running shoes that I now use for cutting the grass and it felt fine - even running a few steps in them.

I’m not really as pissed as I thought I’d be. I figure if it gets better and I run Grandma’s – great. If it doesn’t get better soon, I’ll skip Grandma’s, build back up over the summer and use this base for some fall races, maybe even a marathon. But right now I'm still approaching it like I'm going to run Grandma's.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Looking back in my log, I see I have not taken consecutive days off, due to an injury, in over 15 months. Now I’m just over 2 weeks from my goal race and my foot flares up. What timing!?

I’m not sure what Bailey’s problem was this morning (maybe it was because Amy’s brother spent the night with us), but she was up at 4:15. Usually, I can fall back to sleep after feeding her. However, given my “situation” my mind was going a mile a minute. Finally, after an hour of worrying if this was plantar fasciitis or not, I got up and looked in Noake’s Lore of Running. I don’t think its plantar fasciitis because the pain is around the inside ankle bone and down towards my arch – not on the bottom of my foot.

The Institute for Athletic Medicine is a local clinic that offers free injury screenings. I set up an appointment for this afternoon. My guess is they’ll tell me to lay low, ice and take an anti-inflammatory – things I’m already doing. Mainly, I want to figure out what the injury is and what caused it. Of course I’m a little concerned about Grandma’s. I figure if I can nip this in the bud over the next 4-5 days, I’d still have 10 days to get back into a groove.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


I decided to take yesterday off too, just to rest my left foot. Tonight I was scheduled to run another 3 x 2 mile workout. The paces were supposed to be 6:15, 6:00 and 6:15. I knew those were a little fast, so I spent the day at work thinking about what pace I wanted to run. I also kicked around the idea of running 2 x 3 miles – just to mix up the workout a little.

It turns out I was worrying for no reason. 10 steps into my run and I could feel the pain shooting in my arch. I turned around and changed into a wider shoe and tried again with the same results. So I went back home, took some ibuprofen and iced my foot.

What’s weird is that it felt better when I walked around the office. But as soon as I started to run, I knew I needed to take this thing seriously. It’s not like one of the “phantom” injuries that seem to pop up around taper time.