Friday, September 29, 2006


I woke up to perfect marathoning weather this morning; 45 degrees and calm. The forecast is for a cloudy 60 degrees. Unfortunately, at least weather-wise, I’m not running a marathon today. Looking ahead to Sunday’s forecast for TCM and I see a low of 50 and a high of 74. That sounds pretty good to me.

One of the reasons I chose to run Chicago over TCM is the weather factor. Last year it was warm and muggy at TCM, while two weeks later in Chicago it was perfect. Everyone I know struggled at TCM or PRd at Chicago. Hopefully pushing Chicago back another week will only help “guarantee” cool conditions.

I used to (still do?) think my wife was worrying about nothing when she’d have something on her mind and couldn’t sleep. But now it’s happening to me. Usually something will wake me up and I’ll go right back to sleep. However, I woke up at 4 AM this morning and started thinking about ideas for an article. I couldn’t get to sleep so at 4:30 I got up and started my day. That’s about 30 minutes earlier than normal, so I guess it's not a big deal. I just went for a 10 mile run instead of the 5-6 I had planned. I was going to double back tonight, but I figure by 8 PM I’ll be asleep on the couch.

If you haven’t seen it yet, Duncan’s great interview of Brian Sell yet, can be found here. Today’s quote of the day comes from the interview;

“Any time you try and knock a minute or two off your time, you've got to expect it to be the most pain you've ever been in. I'm expecting the worst and hoping for the best.” – Brian Sell

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I have to admit, I have this “habit” of looking ahead to a new goal or project prior to completing what I’m working on. Yesterday I had a bunch of things floating around in my head.

First, I was sending emails, left and right, regarding my new blog. I asked a bunch of people what they thought of the idea. I also came up with a bunch of general questions that could be applied to any runner. Of course, I had to send those to some people and get their opinions and additions.

Second, somewhere along the line I became the race director of a 12k. Well, not really, but emails went back-on-forth regarding why we need a 12k in town, where we could set up a course and when we could hold the event.

Finally, I got an email last night asking if I would be interested in written a bi-monthly column for the Minnesota Distance Runners Association’s magazine. Apparently, during all the whoring, err, I mean marketing of my blog, it somehow got into the hands of the managing editor. I’m still not sure which blog she’s talking about. I only marketed my new blog, but it’s hard to imagine the one interview, of myself, would lead to a writing “career.” Of course I said I was interested. I love the sound of my own keyboard as much as the next guy.

You can see that there’s a lot going on lately. One thing you didn’t see mentioned; the Chicago Marathon. Maybe I’m better off being distracted. Then again, maybe I’d run better if I stayed focused on the task at-hand.

Anyway, it’s not like I’ve stopped training. Last night I jumped on the treadmill for an 8 mile progression run. This morning it was an easy 8 miles.

The prospect of writing a bi-monthly column did cause me to do something this morning that I haven’t done in 27 years of running. I carried a pencil and paper with me. While I’d like to think my mind is like a steel trap, I know some of my ideas while running slip my mind by the end of a run. Believe it or not, I actually used the pencil and paper too, as I wrote down 2 ideas for articles.

Quote of the day;

“Cross country is like poker. You have to be holding five good cards all the time.” – Rollie Geiger, North Carolina State coach

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I met my training group at Macalester College last night. Since most of them are running TCM (and with my recent heel pain) we just ran a moderate 55 minutes.

On my way to my group run last night I stopped at a local running store and bought the sock. I’ve used one with success for Achilles tendonitis before and it’s advertised for PF, so I thought I’d give it a shot. I loaned the one I had to my dad and I haven’t gotten it back yet.

Anyway, I wore it last night and my heel feels a little better today. It doesn’t ache every time I get up from my desk, like it did yesterday. The weird thing is my shin actually felt better this morning too, during an easy 6 mile run. Usually it takes awhile to loosen up, but it felt good from the start today.

Here’s an interesting “running with slowpokes” article that’s being discussed here.

I like Evan’s comment;

“I think that people would enjoy running more as a recreation if they built up to marathons slowly, and that more would become competitive runners if they slowly increased their race distances. If you're going from 0 to 26.2 in 6-12 months it's difficult for most people to also learn to race.”

This article was also posted on that message board. I haven’t read it yet, but my guess is that it’ll be interesting too – just based on who they spoke with.

I almost used Evan’s comment as the quote of the day. However, I came across two that I like better – both by the same guy.

“My training could be described as simple, non scientific and unmeasured. It basically consists of trying to run every day for as long as I can, considering my current physical condition. When I feel ok and have enough background, I run for 3 hours a day every day not taking note of the pace or the distance run.” – Ed Whitlock, the only runner over 70 to ever run sub-3

“It’s a bit of a bore, a bit of a chore. I don’t suffer from runners' highs. They don't exist for me. I train in order to be able to race well, I train to race. I don’t train for my health or for my enjoyment. If I didn’t race, I’m not sure whether I would train.”Ed Whitlock, who ran 3:08 last weekend at the age of 75

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Quick training update. I ran 6 easy miles on Sunday. No surprise that my calves were a little sore. Monday I managed to get back into my morning running routine. When did it start staying dark so long? I ran 10 miles and half of them were in the dark.

This morning I got up for an easy run before tonight’s workout, however my heel was sore again. And not the bruised kind of sore. It feels more like how I imagine PF (as in Phucking Fasciitis) to feel. I'll keep a close I on this one.

Instead of going back to bed I went into work early to tinker with my new project. Of course I added all my links and then blogger crapped out so I had to re-do everything at lunchtime. I haven’t double-checked the links, so I apologize if they’re not working. What do you think? Hopefully the interviews will be a little better. I just wanted to mess around a little.

Quote of the day;

“As I've mentioned before, being a running columnist has its perks, and if you don't drool on the legends, they tend to be very cooperative and very nice.” – Diane Sherrer

Monday, September 25, 2006


Ever run a “PR” and been so pissed afterwards that you can barely stand it? Saturday I ran the Bolder Options 10k for the 2nd year in-a-row. It starts in downtown Minneapolis and is a double out-and-back course along the Mississippi River. Last year I finished 3rd overall in 39:30. I finished 3rd overall again this year. The “only” problem is that I ran 42:30.

“How can that be a PR?” you ask. Well, they fucked up the course by putting the turn-around in the wrong spot.

After passing a mile in a controlled 6:17, I thought it took awhile to get to the first turn around (which should have been around 1.55 miles) but didn’t really think anything of it. When I got to mile 2 I knew something was wrong because they had the 4 mile sign right next to the 2 mile sign. If you think about it, 2 miles would mean I have 1.1 miles till the finish area. Well add 1.1 to 4 and you get 5.1. Whatever, no big deal, I’ll just forget about taking splits from here on out.

At the 5k turn-around they have a clock and I snuck a peak; 20:5X. What? That can’t be right. I glance at my watch and sure enough, it’s turning to 21 minutes. Right then I started to get pissed and basically lost all focus for the 2nd half of the race. My main goal from there was to just maintain my position, which I did.

I have some basic expectations when I enter a race; 1) keep the runners safe and 2) have an accurate course.

You can cheapen the shirt, get rid of the coffee before the start and you don’t need enough pizzas at the finish to feed an army. And get rid of the announcer who was trying to be funny while giving play-by-play of the finishers. Obviously, if you don’t have an accurate course, having the best timing system in the world that measures to the zillionth of a second really doesn’t matter either.

Afterwards I found 3 people with GPS units measuring 6.9, 6.94 and 7.07. I’d like to think I was running 6:00 – 6:10, but my guess is I was closer to 6:15 – 6:20. At least the results acknowledge the long course, calling it 6.7 miles.

One of the most frustrating parts is that I was hoping to use this race as a gauge for pacing at Chicago. Another guy was going to use it to determine his Twin Cities 10 mile goal.

I’ll stop bitching and end with something I thought was annoying but harmless. The guy standing at the 1 mile mark read our splits every time we passed him. The problem is, other than the first pass, the other times are basically meaningless. What does 14:27 mean when I’m at (what should be) mile 2.1?

Quote of the day;

“Eventually, sacrificing yourself and suffering are what is going to make the difference between he who becomes a genuine champion and he who will never be one.” - Lance Armstrong

Friday, September 22, 2006


I’m excited. Duncan had a post regarding questions he should ask Brian Sell during an interview. These interviews end up on this awesome site.

That’s not what got me excited, but it got me thinking – along with Eric’s email today that I should write a book. I’m not up to that task, but I mentioned that I’d like to be involved with covering the sport on a regional level.

Then I thought; “Why couldn't I do something like, but on a Twin Cities basis?” Heck, even if I just start out by interviewing people in the area, there has to be some interest, right?

I started listing runners who I have email address for and I came up with like 60 names. Of course they’re not all super studs, but I think there’s a lot of talent, along with some “special interest” stories. There’s a couple of coaches, some triathletes (including an IM Hawaii qualifier), a few couples, some Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers, a guy doing 50 states, a guy who did a relay in Alaska, a Pike’s Peak Doubler, a 400/800 guy, etc.

I’m very curious what you guys think, especially my local readers. Is this something that you think would be interesting? Any thoughts, concerns, feedback? All comments are more than welcomed.


I’ve just got a whole bunch of odds and ends on my mind today. No real, single coherent thought (do I ever?).

First, is an easy one; 1 month to go until Chicago.

Last night I ran an 8 mile progression run on the treadmill. I started around 9:40 pace and worked down to 6:40 pace. The entire run took 62 minutes. I had a different workout (2 x 3 miles) on the schedule, but I figured with a 10k on Saturday, I’d back-off a little. At this point I’d rather run a workout on Tuesday and a solid race on Saturday, rather than try to squeeze in 2 workouts and a race.

One thing I’ve noticed with all this treadmill running, I don’t have the same “deep thoughts” that I have while running outdoors. That’s probably because I’m too busy watching TV instead of being engrossed in my own thoughts. It probably makes for poor blog entries too, but what are you gonna do?

I did have a thought this morning regarding all the harping I do about increasing your mileage and challenging yourself. I think one of the reasons I keep mentioning that topic is because I wish someone would have beat that into my head 15 years ago when I was in my prime. Heck, 25 years ago would have been better. While my college coach was great, it was really up to you to run as much or as little as you wanted. There really wasn’t any “more is better” movement, no and no blogsphere at the time.

Speaking of "more is better" check out Jason Lehmkuhle's recent journal entry where he talks about his build up for TCM. It turns out his "down" weeks have been 120 mpw.

I have a question/observation if you watched CSI last night. How come the “crack staff” at CSI didn’t realize that the dead guy and the guy they were interrogating had the same (his and his) rings on their finger?

For you armchair chiropractors out there, check out I haven't checked it out too much, but Jim says it’s a good site. Although I’m kind of leery of anything with “wedgy” in it’s name.

How about this “top notch” information from regarding fantasy football;
Kevan Barlow may start Week 3 at Buffalo after Derrick Blaylock was held to seven yards on six carries last week. Barlow, though, didn't fare much better with 42 yards on 14 rushes.

No, 42 yards on 14 carries isn’t going to make the Pro Bowl, but I’d say he DID “fare much better” than the guy who ran 7 yards on 6 carries. That’s 3 yards/rush versus 1.2 yards/rush. Thanks for your in-depth analysis!

Quote of the day;

“What makes me happy about it is that, in a sport that doesn't have many opportunities to showcase itself, that we have built a meet here where we're able to do that.” - Steve Plasencia, talking about the Griak Invitational

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Somewhere along the way I’ve gotten out of my routine of running in the morning. I don’t know if it’s because it’s getting darker and darker in the morning or because I’ve been placing more emphasis on my Tuesday and Thursday workouts. It’s probably a combination. Since my Tuesday workout is in the evening, I’ve been telling myself that I might as well sleep in on Monday and run that evening – and watch MNF. Whatever the reasoning, I’m still getting in my miles and my workouts, so I shouldn’t overanalyze it.

I don't watch my weight too closely (don’t want to overanalyze that either), but I like to keep it down as a key race approaches (duh). I'd say 143-145 is “normal.” Lately I've been in the 140-142 range. Maybe that'll bode well for Chicago.

Last night I ran an easy 6 miles on the treadmill while (of course) watching the Twins. How can you not love this team? Down 2-1 at Boston and they rattle of 4 in the 8th and 3 in the 9th. These guys were 11-12 games back at the All-Star break. Right now they are tied with Detroit in the loss column. Let’s see; Morneau wins the MVP, Mauer wins the batting title, Santana wins the Cy Young award and Gardenhire wins Manager of the year. Oh yeah, we’ll take the Championship too.

Since it’s that of year, here’s a photo to spice up my blog.

I have to watch what I say because my friend Eric’s daughter is on the team now. The U of M is hosting the Griak Invitational this Saturday. It’s always fun to watch all the college studs (men and women) mix it up during cross country. Let’s see, I have a 10k at 8:30, the men race at 11:20 and the women at 12:10. What am I missing? Oh yeah, it’s my wife’s birthday too. Think she’ll mind watching the girls till about 2?

Finally, "thanks" to my co-worker who came to work 2 days this week with a horrendous cough. I can hear you a mile away. I "really" appreciate that.

Quote of the day;

“The footing was really atrocious. I loved it. I really like cross-country; you’re one with the mud.” – Lynn Jennings

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Just an easy 6 miles Monday night while watching the Steelers and Jaguars duke it out. Last night I met my training group from Macalester College. The workout was 2 x 3 miles at MP minus 15 seconds with a one mile jog in-between. On the way over I was wondering if we’d be on the track or not. Since I’ve been doing most of my longer repeats on the track lately, I was actually hoping for a break.

Our coach was on the same page and we ended up running the Get in Gear 10k loop. Jenna and I ended up running together, but instead of doing 2 x 3 miles we basically just ran 1 x 6 miles around marathon pace – at least my marathon pace, I think Jenna was jogging. Throw in a warm-up and cool-down and we had close to 11 miles for the night.

During our cool-down I was telling her about my recent “6 degrees of separation” experience and how I "met" Tracy through my blog. During Saturday’s group run, Naz mentioned running with a gal during a 25K race. The gal turned out to be Tracy. During that same group run we saw Jenna running with a group of people. It turns out Tracy was in that group. So right now we’re at 4 degrees of separation, but I’m sure it’ll grow.

Anyway, the story was so “riveting” that she said she had to check out my blog so I sent her the link. I'd better take back all the bad things I've said about her on here. I warned her that she might be bored to tears. For my wide Philadelphia readership, Jenna is planning on running the Philly marathon. If you have a place to stay for her, let me know. Just kidding. That’s a little inside joke because Jenna just set up her non-running brother who lives in Chicago with a house guest, whom she “met” through, for marathon weekend.

As the President of her fan club, I should be all over this announcement. Thanks to Evan for sending the link.

Since we all like to talk about the weather, I'll close with this little nugget. It was 39 degrees this morning. It seems like our mornings went from 60-65 to 40-45 without any transition. I think this cold snap all but guarantees that it will be warm and muggy for TCM in 11 days.

Quote of the day;

“Some do well in other races, some run fast times, but they cannot do well in the ultimate, the Olympics…The question is not why I run this way, but why so many others can not.” – Lasse Viren on peaking

Monday, September 18, 2006


Since I mentioned the Twins thumping of the Indians in my last post, it’s only fair to say that Friday night I ran an easy 5 miles while watching the Indians beat the Twins in 10 innings. What a goofy sport though. They put a guy on the mound with an ERA of like 36 while we put the Cy Young award winner on the mound – and they beat us. Go figure.

Saturday morning I joined the “old guys” – I haven’t come up with a better name for them yet – for a long run. We met at Fort Snelling and ended up running the Lake Street Bridge loop, back to the ranger station and around Pike Island. Since most of the guys are running TCM, we actually kept the pace controlled and stayed together for the most part. Usually we start out together on these runs, but then it’s every man for himself.

These guys make me want to run with a pencil and paper just so I can jot down all their stories regarding training, racing and life in-general. Granted, by this time next year, I’ll probably be sick of hearing “Back in the old days…” but for right now, it’s a lot of fun.

We ran for 2:32 and I called it 20. Not sure if we were going close to 7:30 pace, I say probably not. But let’s be honest, 20 looks better in the logbook than 19. It sounds better when I talk to people about my training (which is almost never). And it makes for a better blog entry. So 20 miles it is.

Seriously, whether I call it 19 or 20 doesn’t matter. I’m more “excited” that I got in back-to-back 80+ mile weeks (82 and 81) – that hasn’t happened since early March. I’m going to cutback this week, race a 10k Saturday, bump back up for 1.5 - 2 more weeks and then taper for 2 - 2.5 weeks.

Sunday I was planning a 10-12 mile run but woke up with heel pain. That’s the 2nd time that’s happened in the last month. If it’s plantar fasciitis I want to be extra cautious. So instead of running for 90 minutes, I biked for 90 minutes on the trainer while bouncing between the Vikings and Twins. The good news (other than both teams winning) is that the pain has gone away the next day on both occasions.

Speaking of injuries, I think I have some type of taper-induced injury mechanism in my body. Maybe it’s a fear of success thing. Looking back over my last few key races and it seems like something always flares up as the race draws near. Let’s hope that’s not the case this fall.

Quote of the day;

“Running is my meditation, mind flush, cosmic telephone, mood elevator and spiritual communion.” – Lorraine Moller

Friday, September 15, 2006


I had a nice workout on the treadmill last night; 2 mile warm-up, 2 x 3 miles at MP minus 15 seconds, 1 mile rest in-between, 2 mile cool-down. The repeats were run in 19:27 and 19:21 or 6:29 and 6:27 pace. All told, I ran 11 miles in 1:21 and had 16 miles for the day.

To be honest, during the first pick-up I didn’t think I’d be able to complete the workout. My lungs felt fine, but I made the mistake of dropping the pace of the treadmill from like 8:00 to 6:30 all at once. It felt like my legs were going to fly off the back of the ‘mill. It took me a half mile for my legs to catch up and finally start feeling comfortable. During the second pick-up I eased into the pace and it felt a lot easier.

Watching the Twins beat the Indians 9-4 helped make the workout go by quicker. Actually, the 7-8 pitching changes by the Indians slowed things down. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe I haven’t talked about the Twins lately. It seems like just last week they were 10 games out of first. Now they’re one game behind Detroit and two games ahead of Chicago for the wild card spot. I like what the Twin’s pitching coach said on the radio today; “We’re not looking behind us (at Chicago). We’re focused on Detroit and winning the division. Let the Tigers and Sox battle for the wild card spot.”

Since you’re all probably wondering about Joe Mauer too, I’ll give you an update. He’s cooled off a bit and is battling with Derek Jetter – down to the thousandth of a point – for the American League batting title. Right now they're both hitting around .345.

Alright, I know there are probably more runners that stop by than triathletes and you know I like to read what the elites are up to, so I thought I’d post Simon Whitfield’s blog, which I came across today.

I hate to “steal” quotes of the day but Mario posted a quote that’s too good to pass up. Going out too fast in my recent half marathon really has me focused on going easy at the start of Chicago.

“I was (watching) at the 5K with Tom. I looked down at my watch - fourteen twenty-five. Way too fast. The goal was fifteen minutes. Right then it was over. I go to the next Starbucks and get a coffee.” - Coach Dieter Hogen on Evans Rutto going out too hard two years ago at the Chicago Marathon.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Not much to report, training-wise, today. However, I did have a thought which I’ll get to in a minute.

I forgot to mention that it was 48 degrees yesterday morning when I ran. I ran another easy 5 miles last night on the treadmill. This morning it was back up to 58 degrees with a gorgeous sunrise as I rounded the west side of Lake Normandale. Too bad the sun rises so quickly. By the time I rounded the 2 mile lake again, the sun was already over the horizon. The run this morning was another easy 5 mile run – a precursor to tonight’s 2 x 3 mile @ MP minus 15 seconds. That will have to be run on the treadmill as Amy will be gone.

Okay, so my thought this morning had to do with my goals for October 22nd. Obviously, I’d like to PR. But this morning I said to myself that I really want “that feeling” that surrounds running a good race. I want Chicago to be like the day I set my marathon PR. During that race confidence abounded, sub-3 pace seemed effortless, things outside my control didn’t bother me, race mishaps didn’t phase me, etc.

Those are the things I want to experience again on October 22nd – maybe even more than a PR.

Nah. I’ll take the PR, but “that feeling” wouldn’t be bad along the way.

Quote of the day:

“Marathon running is a terrible experience – monotonous, heavy, and exhausting.” – Veikko Karvonen, 1954 European and Boston Marathon champ

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Did I mention that the Monona Terrace is the perfect set up for the transition area? Did I mention that there were lots of spectators? No wonder I didn't take any photos.


First, I have a couple of final thoughts on the Ironman before moving on. I don’t know about the rest of the country, but 55 and rain is not normal during the summer. So I think not being acclimated to those conditions made for an even tougher day. I’ve never seen so many people wearing trash bags and mylar blankets while running. Halfway through her run, I nearly missed Sara. She went by on her way to the turn-around wearing one thing and came back 10 minutes later wearing a trash bag.

Also, while watching the race inspired me to add some crunches to my routine lately, it also reminded me that there’s more to competing than having the “ideal” body type. It’s more about what’s between the ears and believing in yourself.

Last night I met my training group at the Macalester track for the following workout; 2 mile warm-up, 5-6 x 1 “mile” at marathon pace minus 30 seconds with a 2:00 rest, 2 mile cool-down.

Given that my goal MP is 6:40, I was shooting for 6:08 for the 1600 meter repeats (the extra 2 seconds were to make up for the extra 9 meters needed to get to a mile). I ended up running the first 4 reps on the track between 6:12 and 6:17. We got kicked off the track after that because of a soccer game and we ended up running one more on the roads.

While I never quite got down to 6:08, the 6:15 pace that I averaged felt extremely relaxed and controlled.

This morning I ran a very easy 5 mile recovery run. Lately I’ve been running these around 44-45 minutes. Today it took 47 minutes as I was running 9:30 pace. It's amazing how easy 6:15 pace can feel, yet how hard 9:30 pace can feel. I’ll double back tonight to help keep my mileage on-pace for 80 miles this week.

Finally, it looks like some of these elite blogs have been updated lately.

Today’s quote of the day is something I need to keep in mind on October 22nd:

“Moral of the story is that no one should ever chase a time. If you get into the race and compete well, the times always follow!” - Matt Tegenkamp

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


There’s no other way to start this post than to congratulate the Ironman Wisconsin finishers;

P2 teammates;
Sue 12:00 – getting revenge after last year’s miserable experience
Michelle 12:58 – IM rookie
Chuck 13:12 – 4th IM Moo
Rob 13:12 - IM rookie
Gillian 13:49 – IM rookie
Jack 16:33 – Celebrated his 65th birthday by becoming an Ironman

Bloggers that I recognized;
Alan 12:35
Sara 15:32

Other people I know;
Lindsey 11:54 – former UW-EC x-c runner
Simon 12:09 – former training partner
Jen 12:13 – neighbor in her 2nd IM
Wade 12:41 – ART doc, IM rookie

It was amazing to see all the athletes battle the elements and the distance. I picture ultra marathons being a lot like the Ironman. Athletes retreat to their “happy place” and just keep moving forward until they cross the finish line.

Unfortunately, watching the race wasn't as "fun" as I thought it'd be. It turns out that standing around in 50 degree temps, rain and wind for hour after hour can get old – I’m sure the athletes didn’t appreciate it either. I thought 55 and rain would be better than 90 and sun, but now I'm not so sure.

While the Monona Terrace is a perfect place for staging the transition area, there were so many spectators that I could barely see the lake. Seeing the athletes come off the helix and into T1 wasn’t easy either. After that, I had thoughts of riding the bus to Verona to watch the bike portion. However, the line was 3 blocks long without a bus in-sight. About that time Jenna called and we decided to go for a run instead. We were able to run 10 miles, clean up and relax for awhile before heading back to the race as the leaders started their run.

I was a little worried that watching the race would make me want to do another Ironman. It didn’t. The idea of doing another IM is very romantic, but on the way home I was thinking about all the behind-the-scenes training that would need to take place. There's no way I could justify going out for 5-6 hour bike rides on the weekends. The only way I could make it happen would be to use a vacation day every once in awhile to get in my long stuff. However, the thought of doing a HALF Ironman next year has crossed my mind. Each of those distances seems doable on "minimal" training; meaning I could bike and swim 1-2 times a week and be able to finish a half.

As for my training, I ran an easy 7 miles on Saturday. That gave me 82 for the week. Sunday and Monday were both 10-mile days. I had plans to stop in Eau Claire yesterday for another long run along some of the routes we used to run in college. I ended up talking myself out of that because 1) it was still raining and I’d had enough of that weather and more importantly 2) I just went long a week ago and I think I need more “speed” than endurance. Running long yesterday would mean I would not be able to do mile repeats tonight.

I'm leery about writing this, but I've been having thoughts that things are coming together at the right time here. I've been feeling pretty good lately. My knee seems fine now and while my left leg bothers me a little at the start of my runs, it loosens up quickly. I've gotten in some decent long runs, mile repeats and MP runs. I may actually run fairly well in Chicago...just under 6 weeks.

Today’s quote of the day comes from an email coach Matt sent to the P2 triathletes prior to the race;

“Ironman is a name that is earned and stamped onto your heart. It is not earned in one is earned over months of time...over months that you have successfully traveled. You now overshadow the person, the spirit, the athlete, and the teammate who you were when this journey started.” - Coach Matt

Friday, September 08, 2006


Vacation day today (and Monday). Since I'm not very good at blogging from home and since I'll be in Madison for the Ironman this weekend, you probably won't hear from me till Tuesday.

I took advantage of my day off from work to get in a dress rehearsal for Chicago. It included 4 x 5k at "MP" with a 400 meter jog in between, plus a 2 mile warm-up and cool-down for a total of 17 miles.

This workout was run on the dirt track near my house. I tried to simulate race day as much as possible; same shoes, socks, shorts and (maybe) singlet. I also set up a table with Dixie cups of Gatorade that I drank every 2 miles.

I wasn't as concerned about hitting my goal MP of 6:40 as I was about starting out like I want to in Chicago, running controlled and staying relaxed. I did that for the first 2. On the 3rd I focused on goal MP and came pretty close. For the last one I didn't worry about time at all. I just tried to stay relaxed as possible.

Here are my splits, pace and HR;

21:39, 6:58, HR 170-172
21:21, 6:52, HR 170-172
20:50, 6:42, HR 176-178
21:59, 7:05, HR 172-174

Although the weather was pretty nice; 65 degrees, sunny with a dew point around 60, I "know" it'll be nicer on October 22nd. That combined with the fact this workout came at the end of an 85 mile week - my highest since April - I consider it to be a solid workout.

So, throw in a taper, nicer weather, better footing and 40,000 other runners and I should be in for a great race.

At the end of this workout there were some junior high kids in the middle of the track for gym class. One girl asked me how many laps I had run. Not knowing the answer I said "100." Afterwards I thought about it some more and figured out I ran 54 laps on the track (my warm-up and cool-down were done on the roads). Good thing I didn't think about that before the workout.

Today's quote of the day is one of my favorites when it comes to athletics;
"It doesn't get easier. You just go faster." - Greg LeMond

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Is it just me or have all the blogger blogs been down every time I want to catch up on my reading this week?

Training update; Tuesday night I met my training group at Macalester College. As much as I’d have liked to run 6 x 1 mile at 30 seconds faster than marathon pace, I didn’t think that’d be a good idea the day after a 22 mile run. Instead I opted for a 10 mile run. I ran the first 3 miles with the triathletes. A bunch of them are doing IM Wisconsin, so they were all jacked up. The next 2 miles were solo and then I turned around when I bumped into Jenna as she was heading back. It felt like we were cruising pretty well during that last 5 miles, probably 7:15 pace or better. Since that was a little quick, I made sure to make Wednesday’s 6 mile run super-duper, ass-dragging easy.

Normally I’m pretty laid back. The one day of the year when I get super stressed out is the day of my fantasy football draft – which was last night. This year was even worse than normal. I don’t get worried about my picks, it’s just that I’m the commissioner and I get worked up over stuff like;

People showing up 2 minutes before the draft – when we have 4 people drafting online.

Saying goodnight to the girls in the middle of the draft while telemarketers are calling, pizza is being delivered, the dog is freaking out, etc.

Website and computer problems – over and over.

In the end the draft took nearly 4 hours, an hour longer than normal.

The “good” news is that I was so stressed that I couldn’t sleep this morning. I was wide awake at 5 AM, so I just got up and ran an easy 5 miles. I’ll double back tonight on the treadmill so I can flip back-and-forth between the Twins and the football game.

2 more things about last weekend’s race; 1) Compared to history it was a decent performance. However, it was 5 seconds/mile SLOWER than I was running in March. The idea is to get faster as the year progresses. 2) Looking at those times from the last 14 years, I can’t help but think; “Is this what it’s about? Busting my ass to stay in 6:00 pace shape?” Maybe it’s time to get serious or move on to something else.

Finally, best of luck to all the IM Wisconsin athletes. Between training partners and bloggers I know about 14 people competing. Looking at the forecast (62 degrees for the high and 40% chance of rain) makes me wish I were competing.

Quote of the day;

“The older I get the more the good times escape me.” – Ben Jipcho

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Wow, I just re-read that last race report. Is it just me, or was that kind of lame? That’s what happens when I blog from home rather than work – I just start typing and then hit “publish post” rather than working in Word and copying it over to my blog. Anyway, you get the gist of how things went.

Official results can be found here. As Scott said, “In a race that size (608 runners) you could easily be top 10 with 6 minute pace.” However, since it serves as the UWEC cross country alumni race, 6:00 pace is only good for 43rd place. The goods news is that I finished 2nd in my age-group – up from 3rd last year.

Others of note; the overall winner, is the 2:23 marathoner I’ve mentioned before. 2nd overall is the UWEC 1500 record holder. 3rd overall has incredible range; sub-15 5k to 7:12 100k. Apparently the guy in 4th is the son of the 1968 10,000 meter Olympic champion. And of course I have to mention 67 year old Dan Conway who ran 32:14.

A little research shows I’ve run this race 11 times in the last 14 years. My best is 28:14 and worst is 34:07 (even worse than I originally thought). Here are all of those results;

1993 29:41
1994 28:26
1995 28:14
1996 30:54
1997 31:17
1999 34:07
2001 31:35
2002 29:15
2004 29:42
2005 30:02
2006 29:50

The first 3 results are from my sophomore – senior years. The bold 29:15 is my post 30+ years-old PR. Again, that was run 6 weeks before my marathon PR. Right now we’re 7 weeks from Chicago.

Saturday’s mileage gave me a nice cutback week of 28 miles. Sunday I ran a very easy 10 mile trail run.

Monday I met Scott for a long run while watching the Victory 10k and 5k. These are some of the fastest races in the cities, but since it’s the same weekend as my alumni race, I’ve only run the 10k once.

I kind of like this long-run-while-watching-a-race thing. We were able to take advantage of the closed roads and the mile markers. I thought we were moving pretty well so I checked a few splits along the way. We had a couple of 2-mile stretches at 7:18 and 7:24 pace. After dropping Scott off after nearly 2 hours of running, I hooked up with David (34:51), Jenna (35:10) and Evan (37:20) during their cool-down and we ran the course again. I ended up with 22 miles in 2:50.

During the last mile we were able to watch the 5k finishers, which included some gal in second place (16:04) behind some guy who must have been jogging his 15:36. Oh yeah, their teammate won the 10k in 29:50.

Here are the men’s 10k results, women’s 10k results and the 5k results.

Okay, I think that’s enough links, results and name-dropping for today.

Quote of the day;

“The devotion of the true amateur athlete is the same devotion that makes an artist starve in his garret rather than commercialize his work.” - Avery Brundage, IOC president from 1952-1972

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Just a quick post on my recent running, including yesterday's 5 mile race. Friday I ran an easy 5 miles and my hamstring was still a little tender. Afterwards I iced it, took some ibuprofen and massaged it. Unbelieveably, I felt fine on Saturday morning - even during my warm-up there wasn't any pain.

Based on 'logic' and 'history' I figured I should run between 29 and 31 minutes.

Logically speaking, my last track workout consisted of 2 x 1 mile in 5:48 with roughly 2 minutes rest. That's 29-flat pace and it seems unreasonable that I'd be able to string together 3 more mile without any rest. Last weekend's first mile felt easy in 6:16 and I figure I could hold that for 5 miles which would put me at 31:20.

I'll have to resort to my log books when I have more time, but historically speaking, I've run this race probably 10 times with a best of around 28:20 and a worst around 32. Last year I ran 30:02, two years ago it was 29:42, I think in 2002 I ran 29:15 (a month before my marathon PR).

Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, blah... You're asking "What happened? How'd it go? Get on with it already."

Well what if I told you I opened up with a 5:35 mile? You'd probably say something like "Did you learn your lesson from last week?"

Yes, I learned my lesson. That's why I held back during that first mile. Granted, about half of that mile is a nice downhill. It's not so steep that you beat the crap out of your legs and struggle to maintain form.

The next 3 miles are a little rolling and I'm able to click off 5:58, 6:00 and 5:53.

Unfortunately, the race is 5 miles not 4. Just after the 4 mile mark there's a steep climb that probably last 60-90 seconds before leveling out a little, but continuing up for another 30+ seconds.

Maybe it was a mistake, maybe not, but at the top of the hill you make a sharp turn and I looked over my shoulder. There was one guy about 5 seconds back and - this is sad - I said to myself "He's not in my age-group." Of course he caught me with about 200 meters to go and I didn't respond.

Anyway, that last mile was a bitch in 6:24, but I was able to sneak in under 30 with a 29:50.

At first I was kind of luke warm over this performance. However, now that I've had a little more time to think about it, it's not that bad. McMillan converts it to a 2:55. Hell, I was prepared to step off the course at the first twinge in my hamstring.

More on the race once I get back to work and have more time to blog.

I don't have a running quote of the day, but lyrics from a song by the Gear Daddies (the best band you've never heard of), who we saw in concert last night at the Great Minnesota Get-Together (aka the state fair);

"My only real salvation...a few good friends and beer." - Martin Zellar

Friday, September 01, 2006


It’s a simple question; What the fuck? As in WTF is going on with my body? Is it my body rebelling from last winter’s high mileage? Old age? Old shoes? Wrong shoes? WTF is it?

Last night I was running 8 miles on the treadmill with 4 at MP. When I was 3.5 miles into the MP portion my right hamstring “acted up.”

I’ve never had hamstring problems.

When you’re the slowest sprinter in your high school class, you don’t pull hamstrings.

Hell, I’m so inexperienced with hamstring problems I don’t even know if it was a pull, a cramp or just tight.

Take 3 days off in order to get healthy and this shit happens. WTF?

I stopped running immediately to stretch, massage and foam roll my leg. After that I was able to cool-down for a mile.

What’s really frustrating is that these aches and pains (other than the knee) are all new. I’m used to the Achilles pain, sore arches, tight ITB, etc., but I’m not used to the shin/calf and hamstring pain. WTF?

With all these aches and pains I’m still confident that I can run well at Chicago. The other day I wrote a response to Mike’s comment saying “I'd at least like to get to Chicago in one piece - even if it only means being in 2:58 shape.” That’s my PR, so I guess I’m still of the mindset that I can at least PR there.

Not that it really matters, but I finished August with 265 miles on 25 days of running and 27 runs.

Not sure if I should post these photos (at least the one of me) from last weekend or not, but since photos help spice up a blog, here they are. The rest of the runners can be found here.

Evan finishing up a workout, Jim winning another AG award and me (in front - at least it is far away).

Quote of the day;

“Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness.” - Dostoyevsky