Thursday, November 30, 2006


I finally finished Andrew Sheehan’s Chasing the Hawk. Before putting it away, I had one more passage I wanted to share;

In my father’s philosophy, play was something of a loss leader – something to get the paying customer into the store. Once in, my father’s readers learned that play was not all fun and games. Alas, there was also work involved or, at the very least, challenge. Agon or agony to the Greeks. Obstacles to be overcome. Impediments that strained and taxed your abilities. Without challenge, there would be no change, no growth, no peak experiences.

My father was no risk taker or thrill seeker, but he believed that in choosing the easy life, you were choosing your own soft demise, and he often quoted a poem by Robinson Jeffers: “In pleasant ease and comfort, too soon the soul of man begins to die.”…To my father, the marathon posed the most potent challenge of an unchallenging age.
By not blogging yesterday, I was able to get another interview posted. Now I just have to find time to update the links on that site - and get more interviews in the works.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but one of the nice things about “only” running 80 mpw is that I can still slack off one day during the week and still get in my mileage. Yesterday was my day to slack off as I just managed an easy 5 mile run.

Sometime during the day a cold front moved in. It must have continued moving in over night because it was 8 degrees during this morning’s 7 mile run. Now I don’t mind that kind of weather, but the 30 degree drop overnight is a little much.

Finally, it’s a sad day when the office hottie leaves the company. However, finding out that two hotties are leaving is almost unbearable. Work is already brutal enough without this news.

Quote of the day;

“Reach for what you cannot.” – Nikos Kazantzakis

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


During last Saturday’s group run I was talking with Tim about his training for the Austin, TX marathon. He started describing his training; he completed 6 weeks of high mileage, now he’s adding speedwork and then he’ll add in marathon-specific workouts. I’m thinking, “That sounds really familiar.” Sure enough, he’s following this plan from Running Times which was debated on a few blogs about 3 weeks ago. It’ll be interesting to see how the plan works out for him.

At the end of this same run I was talking with Tom and he mentioned that he was a friend and runner partner of Ron Daws for about 12 years. I “discovered” Daws’ writing about a year ago and immediately became a huge fan. Sometimes you hate to hear stories about people you admire because they don’t live up to the hype. But I was happy to hear Tom say that Ron was the kind of guy that, no matter what kind of mood you were in, you were always in a better mood after hanging out with Ron. That’s cool.

One thing that’s becoming apparent is that I don’t have enough time and energy to run 80 mpw, blog daily, interview people for my other blog and write other running articles. Something is going to have to give and it’s probably going to be daily blogging. I think my blogging and running are on opposite ends of the spectrum. I foresee running more quantity with less quality, while blogging less quantity but with more quality. Maybe.

As for running, I ran an easy 6 on the treadmill last night while trying to figure out why it was snowing in Seattle, but raining in Minnesota. This morning I ran 11 miles, including 9 at 7:38 pace. That’s a little slower than I’ve been running these types of runs lately. I’m not sure if it’s due to fatigue from the increased mileage, lack of concentration or something else. I’m not too concerned about it, but I’ll keep an eye on it. I believe Andrew has done similar training in the past and has mentioned that his “fast” and “slow” paces sort of merged together when he got tired. If that starts to happen, I’ll back off of the pace a little or add in another easy day.

I'm sure I've used this quote of the day before, but it seems appropriate for this post. Besides, it never gets old;
“When you reach the 20-mile mark of a marathon feeling utterly spent, but finish somehow, you suspect you can conquer other seemingly unbearable events in life. After you discover you can set tough goals and prevail, you realize you can accomplish almost anything you put your mind to. You don't have to look to the marvels of the Benoits, the Coes, the world-class to find your heroes; look inward to your own struggle and discover yourself. What you find may startle you, it may expose you to a whole gamut of emotions, but it will never bore you. And, as Theodore Roosevelt promised, your place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”- Ron Daws, from Running Your Best, Epilogue

Monday, November 27, 2006


I’m back, in more ways than one. Back to work after 9 days off. Man, it really sucked trying to get back into the routine this morning. The good news is that I still have 4 days of vacation that I have to use by the end of the year.

Back to blogging. It’s always been tough for me to blog from home. I guess there are too many distractions.

Back to running “high” mileage. Training since my last post has included a 10 mile progression run on Wednesday, 6 easy miles on Thanksgiving, two 7 mile runs on Friday and I closed out 80 miles for the week with a great 15 mile group run on Saturday. I wasn’t really expecting to jump from 66 to 80, but I’ll take it.

Of course, it’s “easy” to run 80 miles when I’m off from work and the weather is beautiful. Now let’s see if I can keep it going.

Yesterday I ran an easy 8 miles on the golf course near my house and an easy 5 on the treadmill in the evening. This morning was an easy 6 and I’m planning on another easy 6 this evening.

As you can see, I’ve started adding in more two-a-days. In the past I’d “worry” about when I should add doubles and whether or not singles are more important than doubles, etc. Right now I’m not going to worry about it. If I’m feeling good and have time to run a long single, I’ll do that. If not, and I still want to get in my miles, I’ll run a double – even if it means 10-11 runs a week to get 80 miles.

Best of all I’m back to running pain-free. I’ve felt really good for awhile, but have written about it because I wasn’t sure if I could believe it or not. I’ve kind of been waiting for the aches and pains to return. However, every time I start a run I think, “Dang, I feel pretty good.”

To be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to 4 months of base building on legs that ached all the time. So I’m pretty excited to be feeling good. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve felt like this. I was beginning to wonder if “old age” was setting in and if I just needed to get used to the aches and pains. Granted, I’ll probably screw it up by jumping from 30 to 80 mpw in 4 weeks, but as my friend Eric says, “Live and don’t learn.”

Today’s quote of the day probably applies pretty well from Halloween to New Year’s, if not year-round;

“Avoid any diet that discourages the use of hot fudge.” – Don Kardong

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Bill Knight, locally of MDRA-fame, asked if I'd post a story he wrote on my blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A scary running tradition

Even though Halloween is safely behind us for another
year, a small group of metro-based runners are
reluctant to let go of that fun-loving spirit. For
upwards of 20 years the Minnehaha Marathoners (MM'ers)
running club has participated in a 5k race in Anoka.
That suburb, over a long weekend, becomes the
self-proclaimed Halloween Capitol of the World. And
why is this of any importance? I mean there are some
1,100 other runners in various stages of Halloween
garb running down Main Street in Anoka for this race.
While that is true, there is only one 60-foot-long
centipede powered by 26 legs.

So what exactly is a running centipede? Well, if you
have never seen the "'pede" in action, imagine a green
and gold piece of cloth, 60 feet long, about 6 feet
wide, with 13 holes cut down the centerline. Then
picture 13 people lined up nose-to-tail, about five
feet apart. As each person slips under the cloth,
putting his or her head through a hole, something
magical happens at that moment ("TA-DA") as club
members and any running friends become the Minnehaha
Marathoner Centipede. The 'pede is "all show and slow
go" so be prepared to watch the runners flaunt it a
bit, while they throttle back to about 11 minutes a

MM'ers 'pede packs fun and speed

Typically, the MM'ers' centipede does just two runs a
year. One is the St. Paul Winter Carnival 5k race and
the other is the Anoka event. Shortly after crossing
the finish line last October, the 'pede gave a rare
interview talking about the event and the race.

"Yaaaah, that was a fun run and a fast one for all of
my legs," said the Minnehaha Marathoner centipede.

Led by the MM'ers veteran whistle blower, Tom Huberty,
the 'pede once again set eye balls a scannin' and
tongues a waggin' throughout most of southern Anoka
County ("pardon the grammar, ya all") for the running
of what was officially called the 21st Annual Anoka
Halloween Gray Ghost 5k Run and One Mile Fitness Walk.
(Whew!) The other "legs" giving life to the 'pede that
day were Lee Trelstad, Al Larson, Linda Sheppard,
Nancy Carlson, Bill Knight, and Cliff Janney, all
running club members. Special invited "legs" were
Leigh Bailey, David Janney and Nancy Johnson-Maloney.
The 'pede expressed gratitude to all those legs.

As soon as Huberty led the 'pede out the side door of
the Franklin Junior High School, a hushed rumbling
could be heard among the pedestrian spectators and
assembled runners craning their necks and elbowing up
to their tippy-toes to see this 60 foot long beauty.

"I really wasn't ready for that reaction since I've
been, well, kinda folded over and crunched into a blue
workout bag since last February," the pede said. "But
yah know, the crowd, well they began a smilin' and
then there was that geeeorgeous sun up on high. I
could hear jus a little hootin' and then, first thing
yah know, I was getting ready for SHOW TIME. Oh,
please excuse me for a shoutin'." the pede said.

Huberty and friends first warmed up some 50 feet in
front of the starting line with a slow, modest leechy
turn for the assembled eyeballs. It's a club tradition
for the 'pede leader to carry a whistle that is used
to alert all the legs of an upcoming maneuver. When
the leader turns and the legs follow, the 'pede forms
a large running circle. Turning in the opposite
direction the leader unwinds the' pede.

Warmed up and with a confident grace, the 'pede parted
the sea of runners, taking a position with other
"back-of-the-packers." There a late addition from the
crowd, Cliff Anderson, who said he was not related to
the Anoka politician with the same name (thanks
Cliff), jumped in to bring up the rear of the 'pede.

By most accounts the 'pede set off on a quick pace
down Main Street before the assembled crowds on the
curbs. Thousands of people come out each year just to
see the 'pede zigzag down the street and many of them
stay for a parade held right after the race.

"But I gotta hand it to that good ole boy," the pede
said, giving a verbal nod to Huberty. "When the crowds
were two and three and four deep up from behind the
curb, wha we jus throttled back. Give 'em what they
came to see-A SHOW. Oh, excuse me for a shoutin'. Give
'em the candy we had, jus for the kids, and the love
we had for them hobby cops, dumb enough to, er, ah, I
mean cooourageous enough to stand in the street."

The 'pede was referencing the crowd-pleasing leechy
turns performed around the "volunteers in blue" and
the tossing of wrapped candy to the scores of young
urchins holding down the curbs.

"Whall, almost all of my legs and arms got that gig
done right," the pede said. "But maybe Al is still jus
a kid at heart." The pede noticed that MM club
president Al Larson was not throwing all of his candy
to the kids.

"I'm concerned about the kids and of course their
teeth," Larson said. "Besides, those chocolate mints
were really good."

Lighter without the candy and not encumbered by the
crowds and those tempting slow-to-move public
servants, the pede encouraged Huberty to pick up the
pace, resulting in one of the better Anoka showings: a
fine time (for the 'pede) of 38 minutes and change was

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


I mentioned a week or two ago that I’m reading Dr. George Sheehan’s Running & Being as well as his son Andrew’s Chasing the Hawk. Andrew talks about how popular his dad’s book was when it was first published, despite a scathing review in Sunday Book Review. Andrew writes;

The reviewer quoted copiously from the book in the interest of ridiculing it: “‘When I run the roads I am a saint. I am Assisi wearing the least and meanest of clothes.’ Or, ‘ I am a descendant of…People of the mind. Men like Kierkegaard and Emerson and Bertrand Russell.’ Or, ‘But I am who I am and can be nothing but that.’ (I could go on). It must be all those long runs – they’ve scrambled the man’s mind.”

The reviewer did go on: “In case we question his relationship with Kierkegaard and Emerson and Bertrand Russell, he gathers together a large number of quotes from Great Minds such as Kant, Nietzsche, Plato, Socrates…(he’s nothing if not eclectic). Their works are ruthlessly excavated for material to buttress his thesis, to wit; or rather, witless: that Running is Being, that Running is the Total Experience; that Body Maketh Man and the Boston Celtics are saints.” The exasperated reviewer concluded: “If this is what running does to you, we’d better go back to crawling on all fours.”

Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated was another cynic, writing;

“I am sick of joggers, and I am sick of runners. I don’t care if all the people in the U.S. are running or planning to run or wishing they could run. All I ask is, don’t write articles about running and don’t ask me to read them.

I don’t ever want to read about the joy of running, the beauty, the ecstasy, the pain, the anguish, the agony, the rapture, the enchantment, the thrill, the majesty, the love, the coming-togetherness, the where-it’s-atness. I don’t want to hear running compared to religion, sex, or ultimate truth.”

However, these reviews didn’t stop some people from thinking Running & Being was “some kind of sacred text.” Runners carried it around, dog-eared pages, underlined passages, etc.

Maybe no one cares, but I thought it was kind of neat to read a review of a book I’m reading, in another book I’m reading.

As for my training, Monday consisted of two easy runs; 5 miles in the morning and 7 miles in the afternoon. I’m off of work this whole week, so I can do fun stuff like that. And stuff like meeting my friends Eric and Jim for an 11 mile run on Tuesday.

After the run I stopped by a local running store where this stud happened to be working. I’m happy to report that I was actually able to talk to him – unlike when I see Katie McGregor. I even congratulated him on his debut at NYC and talked a little about my race at Chicago. But I was still too chicken-shit to ask if he’d want to be interviewed for my other blog. I’m never sure where to stick that into a conversation, so it usually gets left off.

Quote of the day;

“The trouble with this country is that you can live your entire life and not know whether or not you are a coward.” – John Berryman, poet

Monday, November 20, 2006


As I mentioned, my last post was stolen from Andrew. If you haven’t stopped by his blog, be sure to check out this post where he talks about his training and links some interesting sites.

Sure this could be viewed as aggressive, but as Andrew mentioned in our email exchange; “What's the worse that could happen? Injury? Been there. Disappointment? Had that. So let's go.”

I looked back at my training from last winter and while it was pretty good, it’s never as good as I remember. It seems like I was working my ass off and putting in a lot of miles. When I looked a little deeper, I only had 7 weeks where I was higher than 85 miles.

Yeah, it’s a step in the right direction, but I think there’s room for improvement. Considering that winter is like 6 months long around here, you’d think I’d have more than 7 weeks of decent mileage. I guess when you add in time to build your mileage up and cutback weeks, it cuts into “real” training.

Don’t get me wrong; I think those things are important. But I also think there’s room for improvement, like ramping up a little quicker and taking a few cutback days rather than a whole week – especially when my mileage is still rather low.

In college it took me 4 years, but I finally learned I didn’t need to start each summer at 30 mpw and ramp up by 10% per week. When I did this, I found out the summer was over by the time I reached any significant mileage.

While the 10% “rule” probably makes sense, I think it applies more when you are stepping into uncharted waters. If you’ve been running 50 mpw and start back up at 30 mpw after some downtime, you can be more aggressive in your mileage building.

I guess that explains why I’ve gone from 40 to 57 to 66 miles in the last 3 weeks. It’s not 70 to 100 like Andrew, but I’m trying. Last year I would have taken a cutback week this week, however I’m going to keep building and shoot for 75-80 miles.

Saturday I had a nice, controlled 10 mile run at 7:25 pace. The big toe that I strained on Friday didn’t bother me at all. I guess it was just one of those freaky strains. Sunday I met Jenna for a 90 minute (12 mile) run along the Mississippi River. I hadn’t talked with her since before Chicago, so it was good to catch up.

Quote of the day;

“What marathon? Any marathon. Every marathon. It didn’t much matter. It still doesn’t matter. What counts is your desire – no, your need – to test yourself.” – Joel Homer, Marathons: The Ultimate Challenge

Friday, November 17, 2006


I’ve been thinking about Ryan’s comment from the other day. He asked if I was shooting for 2:45 at Grandma’s. I basically said that I can't really see going from 2:59 to 2:45 in the span of 8 months. I hate to put limits on myself, but man, 14 minutes is a lot of time in a short timeframe. Maybe I could see it if I were new to the sport and dropping my times left and right or if I ran 2:59 on minimal training. But I’ve been around for awhile and 2:59 was run on decent training.

It turns out that Andrew is trying to do exactly what I’m too scared to attempt; going from 2:57 to 2:45. I had to ask about his doing workouts at goal MP rather than current MP. I like his response;

Actually, I consider myself to have 2:45 speed but not distance. This is based on other indicators. So I can turn and burn paces at the lower end of the distance spectrum but not at the high end. My 2:57 is a true indicator of my marathon ability all things considered - especially my fuel economy. But I chose 2:45 specifically because that's the time I should be able to run if properly trained given my current speed.

It should be fun to follow along.

Andrew also had an interesting post awhile ago about continuously evaluating your training and making adjustment accordingly. Now I don’t feel bad about re-examining my general outline two days after I wrote it.

This morning I was thinking about my statement from the other day, “I’m really more concerned about bumping my mileage (than dropping my pace).” I think I really need to focus on building my mileage right now. Once I get to a level I’d like to hold, then I can worry about pace a little more.

Last year I followed Ron Daws’s approach which is to spread out the week’s effort evenly from day-to-day while building miles. Don’t worry about running hard or adding long runs just yet because those are the things that wear you down and can lead to decreased mileage. Again, once you get your mileage where you’d like, then you can start running harder and increasing your long runs.

Today’s run was going to be a progression run. I got down to 7:30 pace but during the 4th mile I felt a sharp pain on the bottom of my right foot - between the ball of my foot and the big toe. It was okay once I slowed down, but anytime I tried to push off harder to pick up the pace, it hurt. So I backed off and ran 8 miles at 8:00 pace.

I’m just stealing this whole post from Andrew as today’s paraphrase of the day also comes from his site;

“If I write out a twenty week plan and complete week number one, I am not now starting week number two of twenty. Rather, I am now at week number one of nineteen.” – Renato Canova

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I’m still not sure about the whole "slow and easy" approach or the "medium-hard" approach to base building. I figure I tried "slow and easy" last year, so I’ll mix it up a little this year. Maybe once the snow flies and the paths get slippery I’ll change my approach. If nothing else, yesterday’s medium-hard led to some new mind games. When I got a little tired, instead of having negative thoughts I focused on the positive, “Hey, I’m recruiting new muscle fibers.”

Eric had some good comments about the schedule I posted yesterday. This may be more appropriate;

Sunday – ass-dragging slow
Monday – ass-dragging slow
Tuesday – MP + 20ish (7:10)
Wednesday – MP + 40ish (7:30)
Thursday – ass-dragging slow
Friday – MP + 20ish (7:10)
Saturday – 2+ hours

I found out during today’s 8 mile run that “ass-dragging slow” means about 8:45 pace for me right now. There’s definitely a whole different “flavor” between 7:10 paced runs and 8:45 paced runs. At 7:10s there’s not a whole lot of “sitting back and enjoying the run” going on. I’m guessing that blog entries will be a lot different on those days too.

I think today’s quote of the day applies to cross-country Nationals too, which are right around the corner;

“The start of a World Cross Country event is like riding a horse in the middle of a buffalo stampede. It’s a thrill if you keep up but one slip and you’re nothing but hoof prints.” – Ed Eyestone

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Emails with friends regarding yesterday’s post led to a few “discoveries.” Some people run this medium-hard effort naturally during their every day runs. Maybe that’s why they’re good.

Also, a friend brought up the fact that, in college, I’d always get injured around 55 mpw. Thinking back, it probably wasn’t because I was running medium-hard/medium-hard efforts during base training. But rather because when I moved to the speed work phase, I ran hard/medium-hard, rather than hard/easy.

Anyway, I’m still not sure if “Mystery Coach” is the author of the article I mentioned. I emailed the author to find out his take on the two interpretations, but I haven’t heard back yet.

I followed through with another medium-hard effort today and felt pretty good during the run. I managed 11 miles, including 9 miles at 7:27 pace.

Right now here’s what I’m thinking my weeks will look like for awhile;

Sunday – 2+ hours
Monday – ass-dragging slow
Tuesday – MP + 20ish (7:10)
Wednesday – MP + 40ish (7:30)
Thursday – ass-dragging slow
Friday – MP + 20ish (7:10)
Saturday – MP + 40ish (7:30)

While that schedule focuses on pace, I’m really more concerned about bumping my mileage. If these paces leave me so tired that I can’t get in my miles, I’ll back off of the pace.

I’m not sure where my mileage will go. I’d like to try to get up to 100 again. However, I’d rather hold 85s for a longer period time, than just run a few 100s. Of course, this is all easy to talk about in mid-November when it’s “warm” and the paths are clear. 6-8 weeks from now it may be a different story.

Quote of the day;

“In the struggling faces of the runners is written a dimension of human experience that cost me dearly, but, at least on marathon day, seems worth the price.” – Jerome Groopman in the New York Times

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


The other day I mentioned making some changes to my base training this year. I didn’t lay out any specifics, mainly because I didn’t have anything in mind at the time. One thing that will definitely change from last year is the amount of hills I run. Last year I ran all my weekday runs on a pancake flat trail. In April my company moved locations and I’ve been running most of my weekday runs on much hillier routes.

In addition, I’ve been trying to run faster on some of my runs. Last year I was content to just focus on increasing my mileage – even if it meant running very slow every day. While I was able to run a lot more miles than “normal,” I may have sacrificed some speed along the way.

Mike had a recent post written by a “Mystery Coach” that was very insightful. The comments afterwards help clear things up even more. Here are the key things I took from the discussion;

Lydiard’s runners were training to be racers not trainers. Sometimes I feel like I’m training to train, rather than training to race.

Steady state conditioning is where you develop the capacity to run and run and not get tired (i.e. stamina) – and you can do it again the next day.

Hard/easy has its place during the speed work phase, not the base training phase. Hard/easy during base training undermines stamina development.

LSD training (like I was doing last year) builds endurance, but not stamina. Instead, we should focus on medium-hard/medium-hard/medium-hard, during the base phase to build both endurance AND stamina.

Why? Because muscle fibers are recruited progressively as you run faster and faster. Hard/easy allows some of your muscle fibers to recover in-between hard days. Therefore, you continue to work the same fibers over-and-over. Consistent medium-hard efforts force you to recruit new fibers.

They will protest at first.

Sample workout; a hard 10 mile run at MP + 20 seconds the day before a 20 miler at MP + 40 seconds.

It takes hard work.

What makes some of this stuff so confusing to me is the definition of things like steady state, medium-hard, moderate, ¾ effort, etc.

I believe I know who this “Mystery Coach” is and just last night I read an article by him in our local running magazine regarding the Lydiard Method. In the article he mentioned that the Marathon Conditioning phase (aka steady state conditioning) is “slow and easy” running. He mentions leisurely pace and not worrying about minute-per-mile pace.

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but MP + 20 seconds IS NOT “slow and easy” for me. Based on Chicago that’d be 7:10 pace for me. Even MP + 40 (7:30) takes some effort for me.

He does mention that “runners are shocked at how weak their steady states are.” Maybe that’s what I’m experiencing when I see “7:10” and “slow and easy” side-by-side.

Today’s run was definitely my quickest in a long time – much quicker than anything I ran last year during my base phase. I ran 9 miles, including a 7 mile stretch at 7:17 pace. I’m sure it helped that I felt awesome. My legs were springy and my lungs felt like they’d never run out of oxygen. Now let’s see what happens tomorrow with another medium-hard effort.

Today’s quote of the day would answer my “Chicken and the Egg” post from Friday;

“Workouts show what condition you are in, they don’t make you into that condition.” – Mystery Coach

Monday, November 13, 2006


Is it sad when Veterans don’t even realize it’s Veteran’s Day until 6 PM?

Saturday I went to the Midwest Regional meet, hosted by the Gophers. The Gopher women looked tough as they finished 2nd to Illinois. The Gopher men looked strong too, but so did the 5 teams that finished in front of them.

At the meet I met Gloria and Pat for the first time. These are 2 women that have given a tremendous amount of their time and energy into making the Minnesota running scene such a great place; Gloria through the Minnesota Distance Running Association and Pat through Team USA Minnesota.

I first learned of Gloria at the 1997 Grandma’s marathon. At the time I had only been in Minnesota a year. It was my second attempt at the distance and there was a stretch during the race where I kept hearing, “Nice job, Gloria.” I heard this over-and-over and I kept thinking, “Who the heck is this Gloria gal?”

I ended up running 3:17 that day and got my butt kicked by the 49 year old. Gloria thinks she ran 3:12 that day. She was able to put that “brutal” performance behind her and run 3:03 at the age of 50 the following year.

Needless to say, Gloria (and Pat) are definitely candidates to be interviewed on my other blog. Speaking of which, I posted another interview over the weekend.

As for training, Saturday’s 8 mile run gave me 57 for the week. Sunday I had a great 12 mile trail run at Willow River State Park in Hudson, WI. It’s near my mother-in-law’s house, so I went there while she hosted a baby shower. This morning was another 8 miles before work. I decided to get off my regular paved path and hit the dirt and woodchip sections. I was a little worried about being able to see ruts, roots and rocks in the dark, but it turned out alright.

Quote of the day;

“Success is 90 percent physical and 10 percent mental. But never underestimate the power of that 10 percent.” – Tom Fleming in Joan Samuelson’s Running for Women

Friday, November 10, 2006


Hmm, I guess logbooks aren’t an interesting topic.

During this morning’s run I came up my version of the “chicken and the egg” dilemma. I was thinking about a guy I just interviewed. He likes to do 3 x 3 miles at just faster than marathon. That’s similar to this workout I did before Chicago, although I ran a little slower than goal marathon pace.

At the time I ran that workout, my goal was 6:40 pace. However, my average for the first 3 repeats was 6:51 pace. My pace at Chicago was 6:50 pace. The question then becomes did I race as I trained or did I train (and race) at the shape I was in? I don’t have an answer, but it made me think back to my Type-A post again.

I don’t know if it’s becoming more Type-A, changing my training, staying healthy or something else. But I don’t think there’s any denying that something has to change if I’m really serious about trying to run 2:55 or faster.

This morning I ran and easy 7 miles, backing off the pace to 8:25.

Quote of the day;

“The way we perform is the result of the way we see ourselves. To alter our performance we need to alter or change ourselves and it is that changing that’s difficult.” – Gary Elliot, Allison Roe’s coach and co-author of Every Runner’s Companion

Thursday, November 09, 2006


I’ve been keeping a logbook for so long that it just seems natural that everyone keeps one. However, I’ve recently come across two very good runners who don’t/didn’t keep a logbook. Is your blog enough or do you keep a logbook too?

I’m curious if anyone out there has met Dr. George Sheehan? I'm curious to know what he was like in-person. I’m currently reading Running & Being as well as Chasing the Hawk, which was written by one of his sons.

I’ve never read a writer who quotes other writers so much. It seems like he’ll quote 2-3 people in every paragraph. I was wondering how he was able to do that until I read his son’s book. In it he talks about his dad’s writing taking over his life and that he had stacks and stacks of books and articles all over the house.

Running & Being has some interesting stuff in it, but it also has some stuff that I find boring. Here’s some more of the stuff I like;

The runner does not run because he is too slight for football or hasn’t the ability to put a ball through a hoop or can’t hit a curve ball. He runs because he has to. Because in being a runner, in moving through pain and fatigue and suffering, in imposing stress upon stress, in eliminating all but the necessities of life, he is fulfilling himself and becoming the person he is.

I have given up many things in the becoming process. None was a sacrifice. When something clearly became nonessential, there was no problem in doing without. And when something clearly became essential, there was no problem accepting it and whatever went with it.

From the outside, this runner’s world looks unnatural. The body punished, the appetites denied, the satisfactions delayed, the motivations that drive most men ignored. The truth is that the runner is not made for the things and people and institutions that surround him.

In this surrender, the runner does not deny his body. He accepts it. He does not subdue it, or subjugate it, or mortify it. He perfects it, maximizes it, magnifies it. He does not suppress his instincts; he heeds them.

Today’s run was the same 8 miles as on Monday and Tuesday – just a little faster, 7:40 pace. For some reason my legs feel better, ache and pain-wise, than before running the marathon. Since it seems like I’ve been banged up since April, I’m not complaining.

Quote of the day;

“There’s not a lot you can do about your normal ability, but there’s a hell of a lot you can do about the way you apply it.” – Dave Moorcroft

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Questions that still remain from last year;

Is there a worse vegetable than brussel sprouts?

Why don’t we see more Subaru Bajas?

Can someone tell me why the “word verification” for comments is 14 letters long, wavy and italicized? If we’re just trying to keep out automated spam messages, couldn’t it just be an easy-to-read, 3-letter field?

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

This year’s state meet results show that 75% of the boy’s field (319 runners in 2 races) broke 18 minutes. Both boys' races went out fast as the “worst” mile split was 5:34 in the AA race and 5:49 in the A race.

It’s nice to see that “we” final stole some talent from the soccer fields as the girls' AA champion played soccer up till this year.

I was up before my alarm this morning, so I just got up and added on a couple of miles to my run. Just so you don’t think it’s 18 degrees every day in November around here, it was a beautiful 54 degrees this morning.

I ended up with 10 miles at 7:55 pace. That’s probably 15-30 seconds/mile faster than last year. Plus my routes this year are hillier than last year. I think last year I was making a conscious effort to slow down. This year I’m just running however I feel.

Quote of the day;

“Five minutes of discipline – that’s all it takes. When you get up in the morning, hit the head, pull on your stuff and get out the door. Everything else just falls into place.” – Paul Fetscher, Warren Street Athletic Club

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


The nice thing about keeping a blog is you can zip back to last year and see exactly what you were doing. Being in the early stages of base-building, I could just about copy and paste last year’s post and call it November 7, 2006.

Where am I at and/or where am I going?

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

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

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

The first 7 days of November last year, I ran 8, 7, 9, 6, 8, 8 and 9 for a total of 55 miles. This year I’ve run 7, 7, 10, 7, 8, 8 and 8 for a total of 55 miles. Today’s 8 miler was the same as yesterday, except it was 2 minutes faster – just under 8:00 pace.

Quote of the day;

“If you can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then willpower is no longer a problem. It’s raining? That doesn’t matter. I am tired? That’s besides the point. It’s simply that I have to.” – Emil Zatopek

Monday, November 06, 2006


This will probably come as a surprise but my wife always tells me, “It’s not your message, it’s your tone.” And she’s not talking about my blog.

I thought I’d address this whole “Elitist” title that keeps getting thrown around. Whether it’s on my blog, another blog or some message board, it always reminds me of people using the “Race Card.” Don’t agree with someone. Oh, they’re faster than you. They must be an elitist. From what I can gather on, they can’t even agree on what it means to be elite, let alone elitist.

It’s no secret that I aspire to get faster. Heck, I can’t think of a single runner I’ve met in the last 27 years who hasn’t felt the same way.

I’ve been slow before. I remember running a 99 minute 10 mile race and being happy that I broke 100 minutes. However, I’ve never been fast. None of my PRs are anything special. I’ve never won a race or been the best runner on a team.

What I lack in speed, I make up for in passion. Whether it’s my own running, seeing friends succeed, learning about the history of the sport, etc. I enjoy it all. It’s the most basic sport out there yet there’s so much to it.

As I was thinking back to all the runners I’ve met over the years, I couldn’t think of a single runner who has wished harm upon their competition. In fact, runners seem to encourage their competition to run their best. They even go so far as to share their running “secrets.”

Believe me; you don’t have to be an elite runner to share knowledge with one another. If that were the case I’d say it’s a good thing all the teachers and coaches in this country are elite. I’d hate to have someone who’s only in, say the top 5%, sharing their knowledge and passion as they teach our children.

It’s not like running knowledge is what’s keeping me from being elite. And it’s not like elites are elite because of their vast running knowledge.

I’ll try to work on my tone, but my message will still be the same; work hard, push yourself, run more than ever before, ask questions and share your experiences. You will improve. So if I have something to share that I think will help, I will. If you have something you think we help me, go ahead and comment. With that said, here’s an article I’ve read recently that I really like.

As for my current training, on Saturday the girls took turns riding in the jogger for 5 miles and then I added 2 miles by myself. That gave me 40 miles for the week. Sunday I ran 8 miles at around 7:30-7:45 pace, which is pretty quick for a solo run for me. I seem to be letting the pace flow more during this base-building period than in the past. If I feel good I just go with it. This morning I ran 8 miles at about 8:20 pace.

Quote of the day;

“To run is to live. Everything else is just waiting.” – Mark Hanson in The Complete Book of Running

Friday, November 03, 2006


Come on Lance, this isn't the TdF.


The only reason I ran 10 miles this morning was because I was wide awake at 4:15. By 4:45 I figured I might as well just get out of bed and get in a longer run. It seems that whenever I’m working on an article or post another interview it causes a loss of sleep.

Anyway, it was a crisp 18 degrees outside this morning, which leads me to today’s debate on winter running. A friend is looking for hardcore winter runners to be interviewed for an article on winter running. I said, “I’d guess that most, if not all, of the top local runners are hardcore.” She thought I was being optimistic.

Now I’m not talking about Joe and Jane jogger. All one needs to do is compare a run around Lake Calhoun in the summer to one in the winter to know that Joe and Jane are “hibernating.” In the summer, one lap around the ever-popular lake will nearly drive you crazy as you weave in-and-out of all the traffic on the paths. Come winter, you’d think you traveled back in time forty years to the pre-Running Boom days, as you have the paths to yourself. You almost forget you’re in a major metropolitan area.

My statement refers to the people finishing in the top 5-10% (maybe more) of their age group. These guys and gals are not taking 3-4 months off entirely from training and then placing high in their age-groups. Running doesn’t work that way, especially given the strength of the local running scene.

Heck, if you can handle 18 degrees on November 3rd, you can handle 90% of the weather we’ll have this winter. If you can’t, then I wish you luck. You can try to do all your winter running on the treadmill, but base training is hard enough without using that mind-numbing apparatus.

This next topic will probably piss people off, but oh well…I wasn’t going to post about it, but the more I thought about it this morning, the more I felt I needed to post about it. I know we’re all one big happy running blog community and we all want to make friends and have everyone like us. However, I think it is okay to pick at people’s training and ask questions – either to help them or to gain a better understanding yourself.

With that said, when someone mentions that the marathon plan they followed didn’t have any tempo runs, but it has her doing them 10-11 days after the race, I have to ask “WTF?” Not only do I not understand the training, I don’t understand all the comments like; “Great job with the training.”

Again, go ahead and support one-another, but don’t be afraid to challenge someone either. Hell, if you don’t like what I’m doing, go ahead and tell me. I’ll take your opinion into account and weigh it against my own ideas – and then go with my own ideas anyway. Just kidding. I’ll use your ideas and then call them my own – if they work.

Quote of the day;

“There is a marathon lifestyle. It is called sacrifice. I would like to exemplify it more than I do.” – Phil Curatilo in The Marathon: What It Takes To Go The Distance by Mark Bloom

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Today’s question; What do you do for the 3-4 weeks post-marathon? Do you do some type of reverse taper? I’m “struggling” with making sure I’m recovered and the desire to build my mileage back up. Mark had this quote on his blog recently;

“Resuming training is much like pulling an onion out of the garden and discovering that it is not yet fully grown. One cannot thrust it back in and expect more growth! Physiological and psychological fatigue must be fully resolved if the total approach to beginning another training cycle is to be one of excitement, anticipation, and willingness to rededicate one’s life to training.” Better Training for Distance Runners, 2nd Ed. Martin & Coe

I feel that the “excitement, anticipation and willingness to rededicate” is already there. And given that I’m usually conservative in my approach, this is a little weird for me. Maybe it’s that whole issue with wanting to change my approach and be a little more type-A. I may be burnt out by December 12th, but I’m willing to take that chance. With that said, I ran another easy 7 miles this morning.

We had our first parent-teacher conference ever, last night. It turns out we have the best kindergartener in the world. Apparently she’s adopted just the good traits from my wife and me. It must be our fantastic parenting skills.

Maybe it’s because I ran D3 in college, but I really like what this blog is doing.

As I’ve said before, politics don’t really interest me, but I think this photo is great.

Quote of the day;

“Don’t let the planning and analyzing get in the way of the doing and enjoying.” – Joe Henderson

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


In 2005 I ran my most yearly miles ever; 2,793. Looking back, it’s kind of pathetic because it included a 5-month stretch where I only averaged 36 mpw. 5 months!!!

If I look at my last 12 months, I’ve run 3,127 miles. That’s better, but it still includes two months of 26 mpw.

Yesterday I posted that I ran 177 miles for the previous MONTH. Later in the day I got an email from a guy saying he ran 147 miles for the previous WEEK. Another gal (who ran an earlier fall marathon) just posted on a forum that she ran 350 miles in October.

Obviously, I need to do my own training, but I do use things like these for motivation. Seriously, 300 miles in a month doesn’t really seem like a lot. It’s “only” 10 miles a day or 70 mpw. Yet I’ve only been above 300 miles on 7 or 8 occasions in 27 years, including four times last winter. It’s interesting that each of these occasions has occurred in the months of December – March. Maybe I should work on getting in more miles in during the summer months next year.

But first I have to get through the winter. And that’s exactly what it felt like during this morning’s 7 mile run, as it was 20 degrees out. The ski hill near where I run is already making snow. And so it begins…winter and base-building.

Looking ahead to Grandma’s Marathon, it’s kind of weird but Pfitz’s 24-week plan would start on January 1st. If I went with his 18-week plan, I’d be able to run the local winter half marathon and then recover for a week before starting “official” training.

I don’t know the answer here, but this thought popped into my head recently. I know Boston Qualifying times can help motivate us and make us faster, but I’m curious if they can also make us slower. Say I’m hoping to run sub-3, but things don’t go as planned and I run 3:05. Instead of being pissed at missing my goal, I’m happy that I BQ’d. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Instead of using my results to motivate me for future training, I’m actually content because of the Boston standards.

Quote of the day;

“Our thoughts and beliefs are the blueprints from which we create our physical reality.” – Lorraine Moller