Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I finished up January with an easy 6 miles this morning and 8 miles of stairs and hills this evening with my training group. The group met near Franklin Avenue and West River Road and we ran on the University of Minnesota campus. The hills this week were longer, but more gradual than last week’s hills. I kept the pace easy and ran with Mary because of this Saturday’s race. Plus I’m still not used to the hills and can’t “sprint” up them like Jenna and Joyce were doing.

I wouldn’t think I need a New Year’s resolution to help get me out the door, but apparently it doesn’t hurt. I’ve been over 300 miles in a month 5 times in my life. 3 of those occurred in the month of January – including this year’s 364 miles. That bettered my previous high month of 323 miles in January 2002. I ran 30 of 31 days and had 11 doubles for a total of 41 runs. In addition, I hit the weight room 12 times, which includes 2-3 sets of chest, bis, tris, shoulders, abs and lower back. So overall it was an awesome month. The goal now is to keep it going and not wait until next January to get over 300 miles again.

Monday, January 30, 2006


I ran an easy 6 miles on the treadmill Friday night. Saturday I was hoping to get to practice about 30 minutes before everyone else, since they were “only” going 2 hours and I wanted to get in 20 miles. By the time I got up and helped get the girls going, I only arrived a few minutes before practice. I could always add on afterwards, right?

Evan met my training group Saturday morning and joined us on the run. The number of “fast” runners in our group is fairly low, so it was nice have Evan along. We ran out-and-back on Sheppard Road, which is the route that this Saturday’s half marathon follows.

Basically, Evan and I ran with Jenna and Joyce for the majority of the run. With about 3 miles to go we went up a hill and I started falling behind. I used the downhill to catch back up. The last 2 miles I was just trying to hang on. I was getting a little discouraged until I told myself that I’m running with people that ran 2:47, 2:49 and 2:57 last year. That helped shed some of my negative thoughts. Any thought of adding on at the end we dashed by this faster pace (we probably averaged sub-7:30). However, I figure 16 strong miles is better than 20 easy to moderate miles sometimes.

This gave me 97 miles for the week. Daws has an example where he added up his weekly miles and they were “only” 99, so he threw his shoes on and went out for a mile run. He agreed that physically there’s probably no difference between 99 and 100. However, mentally the difference was huge to him. I did have thoughts of running 3-4 more miles in the evening, but after dinner with some friends and putting the girls to bed, I just wanted to relax.

This week I plan on cutting back a little. I think that will let my last 2 weeks “soak in” while providing a mini-taper for my first race in 3.5 months. I started the week with two 10-mile runs, yesterday and today. They were boring an uneventful. Maybe even unblogworthy.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


This is how Kinsey and I have been spending a lot of our time this winter - sliding and building snowmen (and forts). The hill in our backyard is not big, but we made it more fun by adding a bobsled-like banked turn which you can kind of see in the middle photo. Unfortunately, with last week's temps in the 40s, most of the snow is gone. Then again, when we get more snow, we can rebuild it. That's half the fun.


Here are some "recent" photos - from Halloween, Christmas and dance class.

Friday, January 27, 2006


I'm still not exactly sure how I got this to work. Somehow I saved the graph as a picture, then I followed Christine's advice and saved it to photoshop as a jpg. Thanks Christine. I could not get the print screen button on my keyboard to do anything.

Anyway, this is a graph of my rolling 7-day mileage since November 1st. I think it's a great visual that shows how I built my mileage for 2-3 weeks at a time, then cut back for a week before building again.


25, 3, 37, 20, 25, 44. No, those aren’t my miles per week – at least not recently. Those numbers represent the temperature during my last 6 morning runs. We’ve been all over the board lately. I almost wore shorts this morning, but it was very windy, so I didn’t. After missing the last 2 Fridays, Scott and I were back together this morning – dodging puddles and trying not to fall on our asses. We ran for 51:30 and were probably close to 7 miles. Throw in a mile with Bailey and I’m at 8 so far for the day. I have 5-6 more planned for tonight. Then I hope to finish the week with a 20-mile group run tomorrow - some of which will have to be solo.

As part of my “Old School” post from Wednesday, regarding stamina versus speed, I wanted to include a link to something I remember reading on Beck’s old site. However, I couldn’t find the link. Essentially, he talked about thinking back to the time when you were running your most mileage. Then he asks “Why did you stop there?” Yesterday I found a link to the article on Brian’s Blog. It’s a great read and a great example of why I enjoy Beck’s writing so much.

Last night I was doing some sit ups (crunches) while the girls were watching a movie. After a set I was lying there resting when I had this conversation with my (nearly) 5-year old;

Kinsey: “What are you doing dad?”
Me: “Sit ups.”
Kinsey: “Sit ups are ‘up and down.’ Why are you lying there?”
Me: “I’m resting.”
Kinsey: “Why do you need to rest?”
Me: “Well my muscles get tired after awhile and I need a break.”

That seemed to satisfy her curiosity.

Finally, I have some "pretty" graphs that I thought would post, but I’m not sure how to get them from excel to my blog. Any experts out there?

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Alright, alright, a 440 in 60 seconds is fast. I assume Lydiard was talking about men in their prime. This morning I was trying to think about this in terms for an average runner. Let’s say you can run a 20-minute 5k or roughly 6:30 pace. If so, you can probably run sub-6 for 1 mile. Doesn’t it make sense that you have the speed necessary to run faster than 20 minutes? What you’re lacking is the stamina to hold that speed. Anyway, it’s something to think about.

I came “this close” to postponing last night’s 6 miles until tonight. I thought “man, it’d be nice to have a 6 mile recovery day (instead of 12) right about now.” But then I’d have to run 12 and 6 miles today. As much as I love the “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” statement, it doesn’t work for me when it comes to running. Now maybe during my next big mileage week I can plan it that way, but to change on the fly (unless there’s a good reason) usually backfires. So I hopped on the treadmill for a very easy 6 miles.

Here are the random thoughts that went through my head during this morning’s run;

During the first few steps of my run. “This sucks, do I really have to go 12 miles?”

As I sprint across a busy intersection 1 minute into my run. “Shit, that car is coming fast.”

Within the first mile of the run. “Alright, this isn’t so bad.”

A mile later. “Hmm, 12 miles will give me 99 for the last 7 days. What if I get sick or hurt of something goofy happens? Maybe I should run 13 miles and get to 100.”

After checking a split and seeing 7:55 even though it feels like 8:15-pace. “So if my easy runs are 15-20 seconds per mile faster than last fall, does that mean my race times will be 15-20 seconds per mile faster too – just based on stamina? If so, that means last fall’s 39-minute 10K would now be 37 to 37:30. Wow, it’s hard to believe that just 3 months ago I couldn’t wait for the season to end.”

With one mile to go. “Okay, that’s 99. Hmm, this mile doesn’t feel any different than the last one.”

Done. “Yay, I’m an “official” member of the 100-mile “club.” Up next, the mile-high club.”

Finally, does anyone else like that new Nike commercial with AC/DC’s “Rock n Roll ain’t Noise Pollution” playing in the background? It has an alarm clock going off and shows a bunch of athletes getting up to workout. It looks like a bunch of weekend warriors along with Tom Brady, Joan Benoit Samuelson and 3 Oregon runners. I admit when my alarm goes off at 4:30, I think of this commercial. Thank you, Nike.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


I wanted to sleep in again today, but I managed to roll out of bed for an easy 6 miles. Surprisingly, my legs felt better than yesterday morning. I thought for sure with last night’s hills and quick pace that I’d be hurting.

Since I don’t have much else to say about my running I thought I’d post some Lydiard info regarding developing speed. I’ve seen some recent blog entries and an article in a local running magazine that mentions doing intervals to gain speed.

From Daws’s Running Your Best
Lydiard’s rationale was that runners do not primarily lack speed. Even average runners can run a 440 in 60 seconds, four-minute mile pace. Besides, speed and the ability to run while in oxygen debt can be developed in 4-5 weeks, so why waste a lot of time running intervals and speed work when performance is governed by aerobic capacity.

Because Lydiard’s athletes did lots of running, they developed such very fine endurance and high aerobic levels that once they started intervals, they cold do more volume, faster than anyone else at that time.

Lydiard’s program, essentially, is the creation of stamina as the foundation of speed.

Every once in awhile I like to read through some “old school” post that I saved over the years. Below is a post that Tom Fleming left on letsrun.com last year.
OK I found my 1975 training book: a little bit dusty...started the year off pretty crappy. w swollen Achilles tendon...but still had a 125 mile week...was able to get back up to 140 miles the next week with a 3 mile indoor track race at 168th Armory (no mondo, no banked turns…just flat wood) and ran a 13:54 for "some speed work." My feeling was that it's all about buildup of mileage...tons of it…build it up and get as strong as possible in the months of Jan and Feb...weeks 4 - 9 @140 mpw, weeks 10-14...156-157-152-166 and then down to 100 mpw and back down for a taper 11/2 weeks. Over 2300 miles for the year already...most training sessions were at 6:10 and faster...finishing off most runs below 5:15 pace! I didn't race a lot. I trained with focus, great passion and desire! Boston marathon is what I lived for. The NYC marathon meant nothing to me at all!

Favorite training session found here:
AM steady paced 14 mile run (6:15 pace) around the cedar grove reservoir PM 10 mile run w 2x1mile "pickup" en route (4:43 mile pace out at mile 3 1/2 and 4:39 mile pace back at mile 7 1/2).
Later, TF

Good stuff. I guess my suggestion is that we all need to analyze our training/racing schedule and determine if it's really best to hit the track just yet to build speed or if we should build up mileage and get as strong as possible.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


It turns out an easy morning run makes my legs feel awesome for my evening group workout. Tonight we met at the 740 apartment building near the Ford Plant. Our route was basically out-and-back (south) on East River Road.

After a warm-up we did 4 repeats of a “massive” hill leading down to the Mississippi River. Like everything else, hill size is relative. For around here, it was a pretty long and steep hill – one that kicked my ass. During the warm-up I ran with Jenna and Joyce. Once we got to the hill, I quickly fell behind. I like to think it’s because I’m carrying around these huge muscles but it’s probably because I haven’t run hill repeats in a long time.

After getting my ass kicked and being left in the dust, I continued south along East River Road by myself. If you remember my post from this morning, there was a strong wind out of the north. The wind was still strong and it made this section of the workout a breeze (pun intended). After the hill repeats I wanted to hit the lap button so I knew when to turn around. Of course, I hit the stop button by accident and didn’t discover it until about 15 minutes later.

Luckily Jenna and Joyce were soon heading back and I was able to latch onto them. It was nice having company – especially into the wind. After a few minutes Joyce fell behind while Jenna and I continued on at a decent (probably 7:00-pace, give or take 10 seconds) clip. Not sure if she knows it or not, but Jenna gave me a huge confidence boost when she said I must be running a lot of miles. I assume she meant because I was keeping up with her – and still able speak fairly coherently. So, either 1) she sees some improvements or 2) she’s reading my blog or both.

The only problem with this run is that Jenna and Joyce had to turn around early because the path was icy. That’s not a big deal, but it meant running passed our start/finish line and adding another 20 minutes or so to the run. There’s something about passing the finish line and knowing you have to keep going that is a mental kick in the pants. But I survived – 10 miles with 4 hills in 71 minutes.


Yesterday it was 3 degrees and calm. This morning it was 37 with a 20 mph wind; so much for a cold snap. The 5-day forecast has highs above freezing for each day, including 42 on Thursday. What a weird winter!?

It seems like two things are taking shape; 1) I’m to the point where my legs are achy at the beginning of my runs, but then they loosen up within a mile and I’m fine and 2) I’m starving all the time. I can’t get enough to eat. I just had beef stroganoff, corn, a side salad, and a piece of pie for lunch and I’m still hungry.

I just ran an easy 6 miles this morning. I have a group 10-mile run planned for tonight. It’ll be interesting to see how my legs feel. Hopefully this morning’s run with help shake out some of those aches.

I found the quote at the end of Mario’s post today to be appropriate.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.

T.S. Eliot

Finally, "Double" how about those Steelers?

Monday, January 23, 2006


I don’t want to be content with running 95 miles for just 1 week. The “trick” is to keep my mileage high for the remainder (other than cutback weeks) of my base phase. This week I’m going to try to recreate last week’s schedule and somehow “find” 5 more miles along the way in order to get to 100.

With that said, yesterday and today were exact duplicates (at least distance-wise) of last Sunday and Monday. Yesterday I again ran 14 miles on the treadmill while Katie napped. It’s really not that bad once you get going. My training group met in the morning and I had thoughts of joining them. However, the makeup of the group is such that I’m either pushing the pace to keep up or hanging back to run with a slower group. I don’t mind pushing the pace, just not the day after a 19 miler.

4:30 came quickly this morning and I didn’t want to get up. I had thoughts of going back to bed till 5, which would mean I’d have to double-up tonight. But thoughts of “maximizing my mileage in singles” entered my head. Plus, I didn’t want to have to worry about hopping on the mill tonight. I just wanted to get it over with.

Checking the weather before heading out the door revealed a temperature of 3. That’s about 20 degrees colder than anything we’ve had since before Christmas. Where did that come from? That’s one of the bad things about being a morning running in the winter – you don’t get to experience the “warm” temperatures.

This morning’s run covered a wide-range of feelings. At first it sucked. I was tired and stiff and didn’t want to be running. 2 miles later I warmed up and settled into a zone. Before I knew it, it was time to turn around. I few miles later I surprised myself by saying “I only have 3 more miles to go.” In the end, it wasn’t that bad and I finished with 12 miles for the day.

I’ve been checking my weight once a month on a scale at work. I always check at the beginning of the week, right after a run. On Halloween I weighed 152. Just after Thanksgiving I was 150 and then 149 just after Christmas. This morning I lost another pound and am down to 148. I probably would have been 147 but Kinsey made sugar cookies (yum, yum) with Grandma this weekend.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Well it turns out Scott is alive and well, and probably tan. He was in Mexico. We should be able to resume our Friday morning runs next week.

I ended up running 6 miles last night instead of 7, no big deal. I had forgotten how dangerous running during rush hour can be. When you combine the traffic with the darkness, all while the snow that melted during the day is re-freezeing into ice, it can make for a tricky run. No casualties, but I had to be more cautious than usual.

Coming at the end of a long week, I thought today's long run might be a struggle. However, it was much easier than I thought. My legs felt really good and I wasn't psyched out about the duration or the distance. I just laced up my shoes and put the time in.

During the run there were 3 different sections where I was able to check my pace. From miles 3.5 to 5, I was right at 8 minute pace. I was a little surprised because I don't normally run that fast, especially during a long run. Then from miles 7 to 10 I was just a shade over 8 minute pace. I was thinking about picking up the pace from 14 to 18, however the first 3 miles of that stretch turned out to be into a moderate wind. Even with the wind I was able to run 8:05 pace. Still feeling pretty good I decided to add on another mile and finishing the day with 19 miles. That gave me a new all-time high of 95 miles for the week.

Now I'm sure you wouldn't think someone who'd be happy to run 6:40 pace for the marathon would be excited about running 8:00-8:05 pace for a 19 mile run, but I am. That's probably 10-15 seconds faster per mile than I normally run my long runs. More importantly, it felt very controlled. It seemed like I was just turning my legs over quicker without any affect on my breathing whatsoever. Plus, I'm pleased with how my legs felt as I bumped my weekly high from 88 to 95.

Friday, January 20, 2006


The “problem” with the schedule I laid out for this week and next is that they each end with my long run – instead of having it at the beginning of the week. So while I’m 5.5 days (I have another run planned for tonight) through the week, I still have tomorrow’s long run “looming” over me.

I ran an easy 8 miles this morning. I usually run with Scott on Fridays, but he never returned my e-mail this week. I suppose I could call him, but I’m more of an e-mail guy. 7 miles tonight will give me 77 miles for the first 6 days of the week (and a 7-day stretch of 91). That means that 18 miles tomorrow would give me 95 for the week. I know I’m counting my chickens a little early, but it’s a little weird because it doesn’t feel like I’ve run that much.

This morning I was wondering why I've been feeling so good with my current mileage. One of the things that comes to mind is the adjustment I had in early December. After getting my head in-line with my spine, the doctor said I’d have more energy because my body wouldn’t have to fight gravity to keep my head up. Plus, having my hips aligned has to help with preventing injuries. Who knows? Maybe I’m just lucky or smarter this time around.

I’ve been trying to cut down on junk food by yesterday I went ahead and grabbed a Dove chocolate. You know, the ones with the message on the inside. My message was “Hey, why not?” Of course I immediately related that to my running. Lots of people run high mileage – why not me? Lots of people have break-through seasons – why not me? It reminded me of my second favorite quote.

You see things; and you say ‘Why’? But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not’? – George Bernard Shaw

Of course since that’s my second favorite quote, I have to post my favorite too;

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

One final note, I got my entry form for Grandma’s Marathon yesterday and sent it in today. June, 17th. 21 weeks from tomorrow.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I did get 5 more miles on the treadmill last night. I mentioned that our new treadmill has a bunch of features (that will probably never get used) on it. Last night I tried out the Fitness Test feature. You punch in your age, weight, strap on a heart rate monitor and pick a pace (slower than 8:00 pace) that you want to maintain for a (whole) mile. Since you plug in your age, I assume the program is using a formula like 220 - age or 200 – half your age. Right there the validity can be thrown out the window. Anyway, after a 3:00 warm-up, I ran a mile in 8:30 with an incline of 1% and a HR around 140-145. The results: a perfect score of 100 for a “Superior” rating. While I’ll probably never use this again, I think it’s a cool feature for someone who’s just getting into running.

This morning I started out with a mile with Bailey. Then I ran out-and-back 4.5 miles. The “out” was into the wind at about 8:30 pace. When I turned around I decided to take advantage of the wind and pick it up a little. After 2 miles at 7:30 pace I felt like I was worrying about pace instead of just relaxing. It felt forced, so I backed off the pace. This 10 mile run gives me a nice round 200 for the month so far.

So I went to the local running store, Run ‘n Fun, over lunch today. On my way there I’m following a guy with a bumper sticker of "The Bird." That’s nice. When I get to the store, the guy working remembers me from like 4-5 months ago (the only other time we've met). I mean he remembers my first and last name – after only speaking with me once. I guess those are the things that make a good sales man. Giving me 20% off a pair of shoes helps too. In the past I’d run in anything from trail shoes to bulky cushioning shoes to light weight trainers. The light weight trainers just feel so much better, so I bought a new pair of New Balance 833s. I’ll alternate them with my Asics Speedstars.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


The other day I had a link to the top U.S. marathon times in 2005. I just had a few more comments. Kevin Beck (#121) and Ryan Hill (#615) also appear on the list. For a second I thought I made the list. Check out #753 – Zeke Austin with a 2:42. I’ll take it. Actually, my Grandma’s time would have put me at 602 – on the women’s list. That’s sad.

Speaking of sad, here are the USATF Minnesota rankings by age-group. To score points you have to at least meet a qualifying standard that’s unique to each age group and each distance (5k through 50K). After that your points are based on what every one else does in your age-group. If you meet the standard but don’t have one of the top-10 performances at a distance, you don’t get any points. Anyway, look at the Men’s 35-39 age-group compared to all the rest. Only 12 guys in the whole state scored points. It’s not like the standards are way “out there;” 16:30, 34:00, 1:17:45 and 2:48 for 5K, 10K, half and marathon, respectively. The easiest standard is the 30K, which is 2:00:30 or 6:28 pace. Last May I was 4 minutes away or about 13 seconds per mile. Hmm…

Eric sent me this link of the top 2005 Road Runners in U.S. Alison wrote about them too and describes how results have to be “claimed” in order to appear on the list. Anyway, if you look at #6 - #8 you’ll see a strong contingent of 60 year olds, including the infamous Jim that I talk about occasionally. If I didn’t know better, I’d say Jim is going to sell his house and move to California to track down Len Goldman.

As for running, I ran an easy 6 miles this morning. I plan on jumping on the treadmill tonight for another 5-6 miles too.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


After what seemed like 4-5 weeks of the exact same weather (25 degrees in the morning and 30-35 in the afternoon), we finally had a change. Last night around 4:30 it started to snow. 4 hours later we had 3 inches. This morning I woke up to 18 degrees with a wind chill of 5. Granted, that’s still probably above normal for this time of year, so I shouldn’t complain.

This morning I did an easy 5 miles before work. I was a little surprised that the trails weren’t that slippery. I thought with new snow on top of ice that it’d be treacherous, but the snow actually helped with the footing.

This evening I met my training group at this icon that appears near the TCM finish line. After warming up for 10 minutes, we ran the stairs for 10 minutes, ran out and back on Summit Avenue for another 35 minutes, ran the stairs for 10 more minutes and then cooled down. That was 77 minutes, so I called it 10 miles.

Since I’m in the base phase and not the hill phase, I’ve been taking it easy on the hills/stairs. I’m treating these parts of the workout as transitions into the hill phase, even though that phase is still 7 weeks away. During the 35 minutes along Summit Avenue I felt really good. I just hung out behind a couple of people and ran control – probably close to 7:15-pace.

I’m not sure how to explain it but right now my training “just feels right.” The mileage doesn’t seem daunting. The days I pick up the pace, I feel really controlled. Physically and mentally I feel great. I’ve improved some of the “little” things too, like giving up the big cookie I ate every day at lunch, getting over 7.5 hours of sleep, stretching, and doing some strength training – including my abs and back.

One thing I’ve been considering as I approach mileage levels that are new to me is building for 2 weeks, instead of 3 weeks, before cutting back – at least for this next cycle. One of the reasons is because there’s a half marathon on February 4th that I’m planning on running. By building for only 2 weeks this cycle, I’d be able to use my cut-back week as a mini-taper as well.

Monday, January 16, 2006


“Put up or shut up” was the other title I had in mind for this post. When you’re between seasons, it’s easy to say what you want to accomplish next year or write down a schedule that spells everything out. It’s another thing to follow through when the time arrives. For me, that time is now. Right now I’m on the cusp of taking my training to another level. I took some time off after last season and gradually built back up to similar levels I’ve seen in the past. Now is the time to make it all happen. For the first time during this training cycle, I’ve spelled out what I want to run each day for the next two weeks.

I want to make sure I get my rest during this stretch, so last night I went to bed at 8:30. Today’s run called for 12 miles, meaning I had to get up at 4:30. The continued “warm” temps (basically 25-35 every day for the last month) have finally cleared a decent portion of the trails I run on. I was trying not to run hard, but it felt like I was moving pretty good. I ran miles 9 to 11 at 8:05 pace – not flying, but considering I was closer to 8:15 pace in October, I feel confident with my progress.

If you look at the links on the right hand side of my blog you’ll see links to a list to the best U.S. men (sub-2:45) and women (sub-3:15) marathoners in 2004. New lists are now available for 2005 men and women. I haven’t gone through the list completely, but some names stand out to me. Jenna is #40 and Joyce in #204. Chelle is #327. While it’s not uncommon to appear on the list 2-3 times, Duncan appears 9 times (remember, this is just 2005). Although he’s not on the 2005 list, check out the report that will land Mike on the 2006 list.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


Saturday morning I met Evan at Lake Nokomis for an 11 mile run down the Minnehaha Parkway, around Lake Harriet and back. That run means I finished my cut-back week with 50 miles – half of Evan’s mileage for the week. I’m finding that I look forward to the cut-back week during the first 3 days, then I get antsy for the next 2 days. Finally, I convince myself to lay low for the final 2 days, so I can ramp back up the following week.

Sunday would have been a nice day to run outside however, I needed to stay home while Katie napped because Amy and Kinsey ran some errands. So I jumped on the treadmill and watch the Pittsburg versus Indy playoff game. I made it 10.5 miles before Katie woke up. Then I hopped back on for another 3.5 miles to give me 14 for the day.

The other day I mentioned being intrigued by the mental aspects of sports. Today’s game between Pitt and Indy was a perfect example. Trailing 21-18 in the final minute, Indy’s kicker, Mike Vanderjaqt had a chance to tie the game with a 43-yard field goal. The announcer had just mentioned that Vanderjaqt was the most accurate kicker in NFL history when he proceeded to BADLY miss the field goal. What’d Yogi say? “90% of the game is half mental.”

Friday, January 13, 2006


I did jump on the treadmill for 5 more easy miles last night. I’m not sure if I was supposed to meet Scott this morning or not. Last Friday we talked about keeping it rolling, but never contacted one another during the week. I stopped by his house at 6 and knew I was in trouble when I didn’t see any lights on. I waited 5 minutes then just drove to my usual spot and ran 6 miles. I had thoughts of doubling up again tonight since I was hoping to get in 8 miles today. However, since I’m meeting Evan tomorrow for 10-12 miles and then ramping back up next week, I think I’ll just enjoy the nice, easy day.

I started reading Chicken Soup for the Sports Fan’s Soul the other night. Chapter 2 starts with a poem that made me think of Mike and his marathon this weekend. Obviously, it can apply to any of us.

There’s no thrill in easy sailing
when the skies are clear and blue,
there’s no joy in merely doing things
which anyone can do.

But there is some satisfaction
that is mighty sweet to take,
when you reach a destination that
you thought you’d never make.


Sometimes I think my blog entries are “cheating” because I just take emails from friends like Jim and Eric and turn them into posts. They don’t blog, so I can take all the credit.

Anyway, congrats to Jim for his recent performance at the World Snowshoe Championships in Italy. I’m not sure if that’s the official title of the event, but it sounds cool. Results can be found here. I’m not really sure what ASS means, but it looks like everyone is one. Jim finished 147th out of 478 and was the 8th of 11 Americans. As Jim (who is 61 years old) said, he was the first “old toad.”

Eric sent me an email this morning telling me how inspiring it is to think of the kick ass season I’ll be having with all my training. My response was that I’m not counting my chickens yet. He told me the same thing last year and then I proceeded to lay an egg. I do think, if nothing else, last year's training has allowed me to do this year's training – and I feel stronger doing it. This year I just have to translate all the training into racing.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


A day after saying I can’t afford to lose focus if I want to get in my mileage, I hit the snooze button. Actually, I figure it’s a cut-back week so it’s okay to run two runs of 5 miles instead of one run of 10 miles. This morning’s 5 miles was slow and uneventful. There’s probably more of the same on tap for tonight.

I admit it; I like to read blogs of people that are faster than me.
Alison introduced Mario’s Daily Runaround recently and I’ve found it interesting and informative as he posts links to other fast people’s logs.

Aren’t the Winter Olympics like 3-4 weeks away? How come I haven’t heard much about them? Maybe I’m not watching the right TV station or reading the newspaper enough. The February edition of Outside magazine did cover some of the key athletes. Kris Freeman, a cross-country skier with diabetes, had a great quote that shows how dedicated these athletes are;
I don’t view food as something to enjoy. It’s just fuel. If I don’t need it, I don’t eat it.
While I’m not that extreme, I often thought, I don’t care what it taste like, if it’s good for me.

The mental side of sports has always intrigued me. I came across this article on the mental aspects of sports. I’d never heard of “offensive” and “defensive” mental skills, but the way they’re explained makes sense.

Finally, I’ll end with a little rant. As I was heading to practice the other night one of my neighbors was “walking” her dog. Actually, the dog was walking while she DROVE behind in a van and kind of PUSHED the dog along. WTF? It was like 30 degrees outside, so she can’t use the weather as an excuse for not taking her dog for a 10 minute walk. Usually I’m laid back, but shit like that really gets to me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


I’ve been spouting off a lot of info I read from Ron Daws’ Running Your Best. Two of the key things during the early stages of the base building phase include; 1) evenly (for the most part) distributing your mileage across each run and 2) keeping the pace easy to moderate until you can handle the mileage. Basically, you throw the hard/easy philosophy (including long runs) out the window until you max out your mileage and then hold it there for a week or two. Then you can begin to incorporate hard/easy efforts and start bumping up your long run.

I’ve been in the base building phase for 10 weeks now. I think I did a pretty good job following Daws’ “plan” for about 8 weeks. The last two weeks, however, I’ve added more stronger aerobic runs and I’ve bumped my long run up to 18 miles. While I’m feeling great, I think I need to get to Daws’ basic principles next week if I want to continue building my mileage.

Evan had a really good post today regarding the hundred mile week. One of the things he mentions regarding “lower” mileage is that you can “get away” with a 6-mile day. However, as you approach “100 mpw your 6-mile day is purchased with even higher mileage on another day.” I like that quote. It reminds me of the focus and dedication required to reach my higher mileage goals. I can’t back off for even a day and still hope to reach my goals. Obviously, I’m talking about motivation-wise, not injury-wise.

As I commented on Evan’s blog, I'm still trying to get a feel for maintaining this higher mileage. While I like the idea of splitting up the 10 mile recovery days into 2 runs, I'm torn with just doing a single so it doesn't feel like I'm running all the time. It's more of a mental drain than a physical drain.

This morning I felt better than I thought I would (due to last night’s harder effort) as I ambled along for 8 very easy miles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Just because it’s a cut-back week doesn’t mean all my runs have to be easy, right? Heck, with a day off, followed by an easy 5 miler, it was like I had a mini-taper for tonight’s run and I felt great. I met my training group at Macalester College and we ran down Summit Avenue to the East River Road, towards the U of M campus.

We had a nice pack of 4 at the start of the run. Since I’ll probably be referring to these people once or twice a week I might as well introduce them. Jenna is probably the top female runner (other than the Team USA Minnesota women) in the Twin Cities. Last year she ran 2:47 (and 10 seconds) at Grandma’s and 2:50 at TCM (in tough conditions). I first noticed Joyce when she blew by me with a mile to go during a half marathon last February. As I mentioned last week, she ran 2:58 at Grandma’s. Last night I found out she dropped out of TCM then entered a trail marathon 2 weeks later where she fell and broke her foot. Roger used to run for our coach while in college. Now he’s closing in on 30 and trying to get back into racing. Last fall he ran a marathon in California in sub-3:10. Jenna, Joyce and I are going to run Grandma’s again this year, while Roger is heading to Boston.

After a couple of miles we started to do a couple of hill repeats. That combined with someone stopping to tie their shoe, someone stopping to take a leak and someone falling off the pace, the pack soon fell apart. I found myself running by myself for a couple of miles. Luckily we were doing an out-and-back route and I was eventually able to hook up with Jenna and Joyce. On the hill leading up to St. Thomas University we dropped Joyce (probably because she lost 8 weeks of training due to her broken foot). Jenna and I probably ran the last 4 miles together. Of course, that must mean I’m in sub-2:50 shape, right? Actually, it means she was probably going slow for me. In any case it was nice to catch up with her since I hadn’t talked to her since TCM.

We managed to get in 71 minutes. While it’s probably not quite 10 miles, as we used to say in the Navy, “It’s close enough for Government work.” Support our troops!

Monday, January 09, 2006


A “funny” thing happened this afternoon as I was walking around – I totally forgot about my sore leg. Up until that point I had been very aware of every slight movement and/or twinge. However, by the afternoon the soreness had all but subsided. Maybe somehow my knee pain was related to the van needing repairs. As soon as the van was fixed, my knee started feeling better. Of course, I doubt it, but in any case, they’re both “back to normal.”

I jumped on the treadmill for 5 miles tonight. I started out very easy, just to make sure there wasn’t any lingering pain that would bother me while running. There wasn’t and I went from running 10 minute pace to 8:30 pace.

While on the ‘mill I watched my new favorite sit-com; How I Met Your Mother. If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it. Since I’m on the topic, my new favorite drama is Criminal Minds on Wednesday nights.


As I was walking Bailey yesterday, I thought to myself, “If it weren’t for the slight pain behind the knee, my legs would feel really good.” As Elizabeth alluded to in a comment – having just run my highest week ever (and 241 miles in the last 3 weeks) – I should be happy to only have one slight pain.

Being a cut-back week, it’s no surprise that I took yesterday off. I iced my leg, took some ibuprofen and stretched it. Stretching really seemed to help it feel better. I haven’t decided if I’ll run today or not. I passed on the morning run, to at least give myself 12 more hours of rest before possibly testing it out tonight.

Not running yesterday allowed me to catch up on some magazines, including Triathlete and Silent Sports. While I don’t really consider myself a triathlete, I find the magazine inspiring, so I keep subscribing. I just got the Silent Sports subscription for Christmas. It’s an upper-Midwest magazine dedicated to running, biking, tris, skiing, canoeing, etc.

While I still have running goals I want to achieve, I find myself “day dreaming” about x-c skiing (including the birkie), doing more tris (maybe another Ironman), entering some mountain bike races and (I never thought I’d say this again) actually working on my swimming. Maybe I need to stop training with triathletes and reading their magazine.

One of the articles I read in Triathlete had a line I really like;

Focus on what you can do rather than on what you think you must do.

While it's common sense, it doesn't hurt to be reminded - especially at this point in my training.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I woke up with an annoying (aren't they all) little pain on the backside of my leg, behind my knee. Being a pig-headed runner that "needs to get my miles in" I didn't let it stop me from getting in my long run. The pain didn't seem to bother me as I ran 18 miles in just over two and a half hours. As I mentioned yesterday, that gave me 88 miles for the week - a new all-time weekly high. A nice way to start the New Year.

While the pain didn't bother me when I ran, I could feel it when I took Bailey for a walk in the afternoon. As with any ache and pain, I'm trying to pinpoint what caused it. There are many variables; obviously there's the high mileage (including 56 miles in the last 4 days), the bump in number of runs for the week (from 7-8 to 10), the quicker pace I ran 3 times this week, the hills and stairs I ran with P2 on Tuesday night, etc. With all these likely variables, I have a strong suspicion that it was caused by slipping on the icy trails earlier this week. At least that's what I hope it is because I think I'll be able to bounce right back after a day off and a few easy days. In any case, it's a good time for a cutback week.

They're still working on the van. It is going to cost more than the treadmill we just bought. Luckily we got the treadmill first, otherwise we might have decided not to buy it. To make matters worse, the garage is not open on the weekend. Since we both work on Mondays we needed to rent a car. And since they're not open on Sunday, we had to rent the car for 3 days, rather than just 1 day. Cha-ching, cha ching...

Friday, January 06, 2006


After getting into a nice Friday morning running groove with Scott, we haven't run together since before the holidays. This week we hooked up again for a quicker than normal (for me) morning run. I'm not sure if I'm fitter than the last time we ran together or if we slowed the pace down, but this morning's 55 minutes didn't see too hard. Throw in a mile with Bailey and I'll call it 8 for the day. That gives me 70 for the first 6 days of the week.

A couple of days ago I said I'd do "whatever it takes" to get in 90 miles for the week. Well after back-to-back double days of 15 miles and today's 8 miler (and a recent long run of "only" 16.5 miles), it looks like I'm going to be a little short. Sure I could double again tonight if my sole goal was to get to 90 miles. However, I'd rather rest up a little and bump my long run to 18 miles tomorrow. That'd give me 88 for the week, which would a new all-time high. If I feel good on Sunday I could get in 12 miles (doubtful since it's the start of a cutback week) and that'd get me 90 for a 7-day stretch.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Today’s log book entry looks a lot like yesterday’s; 5 miles in the morning and 10 miles in the evening. The 5 miles was very easy, partially due to the slippery trails. About the only time the trails I run on aren’t great is when the packed snow melts during the day and freezes at night. Usually this is in the Spring and it usually only last a few days since temps warm-up “quickly”. Unfortunately, with our warmer weather lately, this has already occurred. In addition, the warmer weather isn’t warm enough to melt the snow/ice quickly, so the trails are basically a crusty, slick ice rink. Looks like I’ll have to break the Yaktrax out until the footing changes.

This evening I met up with the same training group I join about a year ago. It’s made up of a bunch of triathletes with a few runners sprinkled in. A few people have left since last year, while there were a few new faces. One new addition is Joyce, a 37-year old mother of 3 that ran 2:58 at Grandma’s last year – a time that included about 20 bathroom breaks. During the race she would pass me, run into the bushes, pass me, run into the bushes - over and over. Obviously she has some intestinal problems that she’s working on. Anyway, I look forward to training with her for Grandma’s again.

Since I ran a harder effort last night and since I’m meeting Scott tomorrow morning, I decided to hang back and keep the pace easy. No sense busting my ass three days in a row and then trying to follow it up with a long run on Saturday.

Oh, they're still working on the van - replacing the transmission. I guess Katie won't be able to go to college any more.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


So when I picked the van up from the FIRST shop the other night they did mention that there was a “shutter” that they thought was the transmission. Now I’m not sure what a “shutter” is but when I drove it, I heard a distinct knocking in the brake pedal. So I took it back to the garage in the morning. Well, it turns out the mechanic was right – imagine that. After rechecking the brakes he came to the same conclusion – it’s the transmission. “Luckily” the transmission shop is near the brake shop and they were kind enough to go over and get the van, so we didn’t have to make another trip over there. Stay tuned.

I jumped on the treadmill last night and watched the first half of the Rose Bowl. I don’t follow college football too closely, so I was able to turn it off at half time and go to sleep even though it was the National Championship game. My run consisted of 2 easy miles, followed by 8 miles at a stronger pace, 30:00 for the first 4 and 29:30 for the second 4. This run gave me 15 for the day.

Training with P2 starts up again this Thursday night. Hopefully with my mother-in-law flying back into town and the van in the shop, I’ll be able to make it. I’m interested to see what the group looks like this year. I know some people have left, while others have joined. I guess that’s the nature of the beast.


I don’t really have a plan, per se, but if I did, this week would not be going according to it. Monday afternoon I dropped my wife’s van off at the mechanics to have them check the brakes. I didn’t notice anything, but she said they were acting up. The garage wasn’t supposed to be open, but they’d look at it on Tuesday. Well it turns out they were open, but were leaving at noon. Not a problem since my mother-in-law is on vacation and we’re able to use her van. However, I forgot to take out the car seats before dropping off the van. Amy went by later to get them, but they had pulled the car into the garage before leaving for the day.

What all this means to my running is that I would have to hang around my house Tuesday morning until the garage opened at 8. I could still get my run in before work, but with the icy paths I mentioned on Monday, I decided to hop the treadmill just to be safe. I ran an easy 10 miles at about 8:20 pace.

Tuesday evening I stopped by the garage on my way home to pay for the brakes and get the keys and then went home. After dinner we loaded everyone up to go get the van. Remember when I said “I didn’t notice anything” when I went to drop the van off? Well on the way home I did notice something. A very loud knocking as I pressed on the brake pedal. Of course by this time the garage is closed for the night.

This morning I took the van back in and ran 5 miles on my way home. I planned on running twice today anyway, so it’s not a huge deal. However, it’s a big enough inconvenience to take a car in once, let alone twice. My mother-in-law comes back Thursday evening, so hopefully they can fix it by then.

With all that said, I’m going to do “whatever it takes” to get in 90 miles this week. As I mentioned in a comment to Mike, I tend to get conservative when I approach a mileage level that’s new to me. I’m feeling pretty good lately and I feel like I’ve been hovering in the 80s for awhile now, plus next week is a cutback week. It’s time to take another step upwards – even if it requires 10 runs in the week.

Monday, January 02, 2006


I’ve been plugging along with my mileage – all easy to moderate runs. Ron Daws recommends getting used to your mileage before adding in some stronger aerobic runs. I feel like I’m at that point in my training. Yesterday’s 10 miler included 8 strong miles. While I’d like to maximize my mileage in single workouts, I think I crossed the line yesterday. This morning I felt like crap and stopped my run after 4 very slow miles. Hopefully it was just the icy paths and not the pace that took its toll on me.

I managed to hop on the treadmill for 8 more easy miles in the evening. So I got my miles in for the day, I just wish I could have done it all in one run. Again, the paths and weather didn’t help either. It was raining during my morning run, which when combined with the snow, ice and slush on the paths made for crappy footings.

I haven’t mentioned much about the weather lately. That’s because we’ve been stuck in this system where the morning lows are 25 and the afternoon highs are 32. Since the normal range for this time of year is 6 to 22, I’m not complaining. That’s one of the reasons I had such a great December.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Okay, so it seems I’m not the only one that doesn’t blog much over the holidays. Makes me wonder if any of us would blog if we had to do it on our own time. Probably, just not quite as often.

I started off 2006 with a strong run. I warmed-up for 1.5 miles with Bailey, then I ran the 8 mile loop that I have measured. I passed halfway in 30:05 and surprised I was moving that quickly. One of the reasons I was surprised was because the footing was fair to poor. I spent most of the run dodging from side-to-side, trying to find pavement.

I think it was Thomas who commented a week or two ago about being careful and not breaking a leg. It’s not breaking a leg I’m worried about, it’s pushing the pace and having my feet slip. That tends to lead to sore muscles and injuries. Part of the “problem” is that the plow they use on the paths is too wide. It’s like 6 feet wide and they must be worried about tearing up the grass because they don’t get down to the surface. If they plowed the roads like they plowed the paths people would be furious. I don’t need a 6-foot wide path. I’d rather have a narrower path that’s clear.

The second half of this 8-mile loop is much hillier than the first half. I continued to search for dry pavement and managed 30:30 for the last 4 miles. I threw in a half mile cool-down for a 10 mile run.


December was a great month for me. I finished with 316 miles, which ties for my 2nd highest month ever (323 is my best). My previous high for December was last year’s 276 miles. For the month I ran 29 days (32 times) and x-c skied 4 times. Of my 2 days off from running, I skied once and took 1 day completely off.

I ended 2005 with 2,793 miles, again my highest year ever. Last year I had 2,754 miles. I also had my fewest days off during the year, 57 – down from last year’s 63 days off. While it’s nice to set a calendar year-PR for mileage, I was a long way from my 12-month PR. From June 2004 thru May 2005 I totaled 3,120 miles.

In any case, the miles don’t really mean anything if I don’t race well and I don’t think I raced well after May. Hopefully I learned a lot and I’ll be able to apply that to my training in 2006. If nothing else, the consistent mileage, year over year, will help with long-term development. Right now I feel stronger than at any point in 2005, so that’s a good sign.