Thursday, March 29, 2007


Last Thursday I happened to be wide awake at 4:30, so I decided to add a medium-long run to my week. However, my Achilles acted up and I had to limit the run to 7 miles. This morning I had to take some friend to the airport…AT FOUR AM!!! Actually, my wife was going to take them, but I figured if I dropped them off then I could take another crack at a medium-long run.

Everything worked out. I felt really good and was able to run for 2:04, which I’ll call 15 miles. About half of the run was on the Hyland Park trails. I think normally these would un-runable at the end of March. However, due to our relative lack of snow and our early-season heatwave, the trails were in awesome shape. That bodes well for the 25K that I’ll be running on those same trails on April 21st.

I’ve been kicking around ideas regarding what training plan I want to follow leading up to Grandma’s Marathon. I had thoughts of adding in a 2-3 week Lydiard-like Hill Phase. However, due to a few factors, I’ve decided against that; 1) the way my calf, Achilles and knee have been lately, 2) the race is 11 weeks away, and 3) in the last couple of years I think my Hill Phase was too long. Besides I had a stretch of 10 weeks where I did 9 hill workouts.

I’m going to go back to following Pfitz. I haven’t decided if I’ll follow the 70 mpw plan (which seems a little low) or the 70+ mpw plan (which seems a little high). I may just split the difference. Since the first part of his plan is base-work, I’m just going to jump in as if I’d been following his schedule all along. Guess what his medium-long run for the week is? 15 miles! And I didn’t even know that prior to today’s run.

When I wrote this article on Jim, Don, and Norm nearly 5 months ago, Jim suggested I submit it to some of the smaller local papers near where they live. I put it off and put it off, but finally got around to contacting three different papers. Two said they were interested. So far the Stillwater Gazette is the only one to take action.

Pretty cool. At least I think so.

Quote of the day;

“Above all, challenge yourself. You may well surprise yourself at what strengths you have, what you can accomplish.” – Cecile M. Springer

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I had a lunchtime meetings, so not much time to write. However, something has been weighing heavily on my mind lately, but I keep forgetting to post on it. I really want to know if there’s an uglier logo than the one the NCAA uses? Are you telling me they couldn’t come up with something better than a blue circle with NCAA written in it? Every time I watch a tournament game, that big blue dot annoys me. I guess all the creative students go to vocational schools.

Anyway, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling pretty good. No more pain in my Achilles. My trigger point no longer hurts. My knee is still a little achy, but hopefully that’ll continue to get better as my other aches disappear.

I thought about getting in a hill workout yesterday, but since I slept in that pretty much ruled that out. Instead, I decided on some tempo work last night. I’ve been doing some longer (7-8 miles) runs at marathon pace lately. Last night I thought I’d mix it up a little with shorter reps, but faster. I was planning 3 x 2 miles with a couple of minutes rest in-between. I hit the first one in 6:15 pace and then took a 2:30 rest. I think I let the pace of the second one get a little too quick. I started breathing pretty hard for a tempo, so I backed off a little toward the end, again finishing in 6:15 pace. 2:15 rest wasn’t enough, as I was struggling with the third rep. I decided to call it a workout after a mile in 6:17. Throw in a couple mile cooldown and I got in 10 miles for the day.

This morning I ran an easy 6 mile recovery run in the rain – so much for 80 and sunny.

Quote of the day;

“There’ll be two buses leaving the hotel for the ballpark tomorrow. The 2 PM bus will be for those of you who need a little extra work. The empty bus will leave at 5 PM.” – Dave Bristol

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


If there was better weather yesterday somewhere in the world than the Twin Cities, I want to hear about it; 80 degrees, sunny, light breeze, low humidity, no bugs. That’s the kind of weather that makes me want to drink beer.

Unfortunately, a couple of beers led to a trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. That led to me being unable to get back to sleep for what seemed like 2 hours. As a result, morning came early and I was still tired. Even after feeding the dog, brushing my teeth and checking the weather, I couldn’t drag myself out the door. I went back to bed, so I’ll have to run tonight.

My last couple of posts, along with a recent article published locally, entitled “Development of Optimum Stride Length” got me thinking about the ancillary training that I could do to improve my running. I always hear about runners who have imbalances, which lead to injuries. It makes me wonder what my deficiencies are and if I could improve if certain areas were more flexible or stronger. Could I run the same or better with less mileage but more ancillary work? Would I be less prone to injuries?

The article I mentioned above gave a list of exercises and drills designed to “reduce ground contact time.” Included in the list are things like crunches, bounding, power skips, barefoot running, etc. These things always sound great on paper, but I rarely find myself following through on them.

It’d be nice if there was a (cheap) way to figure all this stuff out. What works and what doesn’t work. And it’d be cool if there was a way to quantify these types of things. That way you could rank-order the various exercises in order of importance.

Quote of the day;

“Concentration is the ability to think about absolutely nothing when it is absolutely necessary.” – Ray Knight

Monday, March 26, 2007


Ever feel that you’re just being tested? I used to think that race results were basically just a matter of motivation; runs lots and get good race results, let motivation wane and results will suffer. Of course, that’s still true, but other factors sure seem to be more and more prevalent as I age. Since I’m no longer 20 years old, jumping on injuries as soon as possible seems to be more and more important.

Looking back at last year’s log book, I started the first 3.5 month of the year by averaging over 80 mpw. For me, that was huge, consistent mileage. Unfortunately, I spent the next 2.5 months struggling with an injury. Rather than seeking help immediately and treating it aggressively, I hemmed and hawed. I’d take a few days off or cross-train, then I’d throw in a few hour-long runs and then, come the weekend, I’d run 20 miles. Of course, I wasn’t heeled, and I’d repeat the cycle again. This lasted 4-5 weeks before I declared myself injured.

What are those 12 steps? Denial? Acceptance? Wikipedia says these steps are part of the process;

• admitting that one has a serious, uncontrollable problem;
• recognizing that a higher (spiritual) power can help;
• inventorying and admitting character defects;
• asking one's higher power for deliverance from these defects;
• making amends to those one has harmed; and
• helping others with the same problem.

This year I've vowed to change. As I mentioned in my last post, I didn’t think the pain I’ve been experiencing lately was due to my Achilles Heel. The pain was there, but the “normal” symptoms weren’t. No swelling. No tenderness to the touch. It wasn’t painful right from the start of my run. The final sign was when I ice-massaged that area on Friday, it sent “shockwaves” across the bottom of my foot, to my toes.

Time to seek out my “higher power”.

I called Jenna and she was kind enough to give me a treatment on Saturday. She was able to find a nasty trigger point in my upper calf. I’ve been icing, massaging and foam rolling that area all weekend. It seems to really have helped. I was able to run 9 on Saturday and 11 on Sunday. This morning I ran an easy 6 miles and threw in 5-6 strides. While I’m no longer experiencing pain in my Achilles, I’m not quite ready to declare victory yet. I’ve been experiencing some constant achy pain in my knee lately. My guess is that it’s due to the trigger point in my calf. I’ll continue to monitor it.

Since I’m normally on here bitching about the weather, it’s only fair that I praise it once in awhile too. The last few days have been incredible; mid-60s to 70, sunny, light breeze. Today is supposed to approach the record high of 74. It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago I was talking about how great 26 degrees felt.

Quote of the day;

“Those who say that I will lose and am finished will have to run over my body to beat me.” – Said Aouita

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I had a nice 8 mile run on the treadmill last night and was ready to proclaim, “No harm, no foul” regarding my Achilles. This morning I was wide awake at 4:30, so I decided to get up and get in a longer run. The mid-week, medium-long run is one things that’s fallen by the wayside during the cold months. Today was the perfect opportunity to reintroduce it. Unfortunately, just like Tuesday, my right Achilles acted up about 4-5 miles into the run. At least I was wise enough not to have an out-and-back course planned. I ran on it for a couple more miles, getting in 7 for the day.

It seems weird because Achilles pain is usually there, or it’s not. I don’t remember it being something that would flare up after 40 minutes of running. Oh well, it’s happened on two of the last three runs, so I’ll have to monitor/treat it. It doesn’t seem swollen or tender to the touch, and doesn’t hurt walking.

Alright, enough about that. Looking through the results from Sunday had me doing my best Jack Nicholson imitation, “Is this as good as it gets?” I’d like to see a study that looks at how runners race times change over time. I’m wondering if people, in general, finish with similar time from year to year. Of course, you have to take into account things like how new they are to the sport, age, etc. For example, here are my results over the years from the same 8K;

2000 - 30:09 – 30 years old
2001 - 29:52 – 31 y.o.
2002 - 29:20 – 32 y.o.
2004 - 30:44 – 34 y.o.
2005 - 29:56 – 35 y.o.
2006 - 29:15 – 36 y.o.
2007 - 29:33 – 37 y.o.

Part of me is happy to not be slowing down during the last 8 years, but part of me thinks stuff like, “Where’s the breakthrough?” Then I think, “Given that I’m already behind last year, is it possible to have a good year?” Of course, I think I can, otherwise I just wasted the last 5 months of training. If I don’t have a good year, then maybe it’s time to throw caution to the wind and shake up my training. I mean, if the “same ole’ same ole’” is always going to lead to 29:33, I either need to 1) learn to be happy with those results or 2) figure out a way to improve them, even if it means increasing my chance of injury.

Again, enough about me. Chris Lundstrom has updated his journal. And believe it or not, some of the Mammoth Lakes, CA group has too; Ryan Hall, Sara Hall, and Deena Kastor.

Quote of the day;

“One of these days and it won't be long
Going down in the valley and sing my song
I will sing it loud and sing it strong
Let the echo decide if I was right or wrong”

- Bob Dylan, Silvio

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


No news regarding my Achilles. I slept in this morning I will give it a go on the treadmill tonight. It feels fine walking around the office – I don’t even think about it – so that’s a good thing.

As readers of my blog, some of you may consider yourself privy to the articles I’ve been writing for the MDRA’s magazine. Of course, others probably don’t give a damn, especially if you don’t live in Minnesota. Well, it’s that time again. Below is an article I just finished about the history surround the club, the Minnesota running scene and the magazine. Thanks to Jim and Eric for providing some, much needed, feedback on my (very) rough draft.

The Minnesota folks may want to wait 2 months until it’s in print. The non-Minnesota folks may have already hit their “back” button. In either case, if you make it all the way to the end, there will be a cool “link” waiting for you – for you listening pleasure.

Maybe you missed it. I know I nearly did. As I did a little research for this article in early March, I noticed that it was the same day that the MDRA was born, March 12th. Happy 46th Birthday, MDRA, or as it was called back then, MRRC – Minnesota Road Runner’s Club.

As I wrote in my last article, I may not be a history buff, in general, but I love to read about running history. That got me thinking, “What’s the history behind the beginning of the MDRA? What was the Minnesota running scene like at that time? And how has the magazine you’re holding in your hands changed over time?” This article will try and take us back to the ‘60s and ‘70s to shed some light on those questions.

Is there a better way to start a running club than with a race? The “5 mile” race (later measured to be 4.6 miles) was held at the Columbia Golf Course and seven runners finished. After the race, the club held its first meeting, in the friendly confines of the parking lot. During that first year of existence the club had nine dues paying members and put on 14 races. By the end of the second year, memberships (20) outnumbered races (17). While MDRA still continues to organize about 20 races a year, their real growth has been in the number of memberships, which are approaching 3,000.

You may have heard of some of the races sponsored by MRRC at that time; Fred Kurz Memorial 10-mile Handicap Race, which is arguably the oldest continuously run race in the Midwest. I say arguably because some people give that title to the Lake Johanna 4 miler, which actually moved from the Columbia Golf Course, site of the club’s first race. There was also the Raspberry 5 miler, which still takes place every July in Hopkins. As for marathons, the 1963 Land of Lakes Marathon was the first marathon in the Twin Cities in over 50 years. The race had five entrants and three finishers. That’s a far cry from marathoning in Minnesota as we know it today.

While those three events are fairly “normal”, the same can’t be said for every race during that timeframe. Apparently the ‘60s and ‘70s were a popular time for racing on the track and relay races. For example, here are some events that you just don’t see anymore; 10-mile, 20K and 1-hour, where runners try to run as far as possible in 60 minutes, all on the track. As for relays, there was the 2-man/10-mile relay where runners alternated 440 yard repeats and the 24-hour relay where teams of 10 alternated running mile repeats for an entire day.

Even other events that were “normal” had strange things about them. For one, Certification didn’t seem to be a big deal as numerous races were run at unique distances. I found results for races ranging from 1.3 miles to 8.2 miles to the Jackrabbit “15” which was certified at 15.202 miles. And it’s not just the distances that were unique, the categories were as well; sure there was the open race, but there were also races specifically for girls, coaches, women and even joggers. In one such event, the first three finishers were not eligible for awards because they finished under the “jogger minimum” time limit of 12 minutes for the 2 mile “race”.

Obviously with all these races, the club needed a way to disseminate news and information to its members. In 1967, this magazine – known as the Minnesota Distance Runner newsletter, at the time – was born. It was billed as, “an infrequent, but worthwhile publication of the MRRC.” And it was “published at infrequent intervals 4 times yearly according to the mood, whim or training schedule of the editors.” Keep in mind that 1967 was prior to the internet-age. Therefore, the newsletter was the best and probably only place where runners could find a race schedule, entry forms, and results. They could also find an occasional article within the pages of the newsletter, like “Heat Hazards to Runners” and “Living with Winter Weather.” An interesting side note; this was the same year that another publication, Distance Running News, was also born. You probably recognize it as Runner’s World.

Overall, those newsletters were really no different than today’s RunMinnesota. What was different was the overall feel of the newsletter. Given the relatively small number of runners at the time, the newsletter had a distinct close-knit feel to it. There was a lot of “inside” information distributed throughout the issues. In some instances the newsletter was even used to “call people out.” For example, they published a list of names whose memberships would expire “if they don’t fork it over.”

Another example was aimed at a race director, “If you’re looking for the race results for the trackorama 10,000 meter race, so are we. Race director Ron Daws has still to turn in the results (nearly 3 months now). In case you’d like to express your concern…” The article proceeded to list Ron’s home phone number. This was definitely an interesting approach. It’s even more interesting if you take into account that Ron Daws was Olympian Ron Daws. Try and imagine this magazine chastising a current Olympian and then listing their home phone number, and nowadays, email address, so you could voice your displeasure directly.

In addition to “outing” people, the newsletter was also used to remind runners to be safe. A somber example; “Remember that damned few of the driving public are track fans and you’re in an awfully poor position to argue about your right of way with 3500 pounds of steel and glass coming your way at 50 mph.”

I mentioned that the newsletter was the best place to find race results at that time. Looking through these old results, three things jumped out at me. First, some people have been involved with the sport for a long time, like; past MDRA presidents, Jack Moran, Rick Recker, and Dave Kuehn, Dennis Hahn, whose photos often grace the pages of another local running magazine, top local coaches Dennis Barker (Team USA Minnesota and Augsburg College), Steve Plasencia (University of Minnesota), Scott Christensen (Stillwater), Rick Kleyman (Armstrong), and Grandma’s Marathon Race Director Scott Keenan. I won’t disclose their ages. Let’s just say all their names appeared in the race results a long time ago.

Second, lots of today’s top runners followed in the footsteps of other family members; recent Olympic Trails Marathon qualifiers Mike Reneau and Pete Gilman have fathers (Jeff and Allen, respectively) whose names appeared near the top of the results 30-some years ago. A quick scan of recent results shows they’re still finishing near the top of their age group. Another name from the past is Greg Yetzer, father of probably the fastest sister-trio around, Rebekah, Annie, and Elizabeth. Of course their mother, Mary, an outstanding runner in her own right, probably had something to do with their speed. One last name that I easily recognized was Kempainen; only this time it was Olympian Bob’s older brother Todd. Knowing how this sport works, I’m sure there are many other similar examples that I missed.

Finally, prior to looking over the results, I was sure that I’d see Olympians Ron Daws and Garry Bjorklund, along with sub-2:12 marathoner, Steve Hoag’s name at the top of every race. While they did win their fair share, there we a lot of other guys winning too, like Tom Hoffman, LaVerne Dunsmore, Chuck Burrows, Glen Herold, Chuck Ceronsky and Don Timm. When I asked Hoag about that he said; “Yes, winning was pretty spread out, due to the talent here. Interestingly, for every name you mentioned here, I can come up with 3 or 4 names equally as good; Mike Slack, Garrett Tomczak, Bruce Mortenson, Jim Ferstle, Dennis Barker, Mike Seaman, Van Nelson, etc. There was incredible talent in this area at that time, and deep.”

Hoag went on to mention how the following local women were also nationally recognized; Jan Arenz, Val Rogosheske, Alex Boies, and Jill Hanson. These are the women that would blaze a trail for other top local women, including; Olympian Janis Klecker, Grandma’s Marathon and Twin Cities Marathon Champion Jan Ettle, and the one and only 6-time Olympic Trials Marathon finisher, Bev Docherty, just to name a few.

While the MDRA is going strong, it wasn’t always clear how much the club would prosper. Even 13 years after helping to start the club, Pat Lanin had reservations about where it would go from there, “I don’t see MDRA dying. I think that it’s going to make it. If I had really built up an organization that was worthwhile, it’ll keep running long after I’d stepped down. I think that the thing is viable on its own and it should, hopefully, last. There are just too many people who at least seem interested enough not to let it go. I can’t imagine it dying.”

Indeed there have been, and still are, people interested enough in the MDRA to not let it die. Whether you were at that first club meeting or just became a member, you are responsible for the club’s success. Here’s to the next 46 years.

Alright, as promised (hopefully you didn’t just skip ahead), check out It allows you to key in a musician and then it creates a play list of similar artists – for free. I’m not positive how they determine “similar artists”. The other day I punched in Neil Young and an hour later I was listening to Hole. But if you're in need of some new music while at your computer, check it out. Thanks to Scott for the link.

Quote of the day;

“Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.” – Paavo Nurmi

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


Can’t believe I forgot to mention Sonya Decker’s name yesterday in the list of people I’ve interview. She was breathing down my neck with a 29:46. It was her first time sub-30 in 10 years and good enough to win the Master’s division.

After my last race, I mentioned the questionnaire that I fill out after racing. I’ve been kind of hit-or-miss with it in the past. I’m trying to be more vigilant this year, so here it is for Sunday’s race;

Name of race: Human Race
Date and Time: 3/18/07, 1:20 PM
Location: St. Paul, Summit Ave. out-and-back
Distance: 8K
Competition: Road Race - MN 8K championship
Weeks since last race: 7 weeks
Weather and course conditions: 30-35 degrees, Mod S/SE wind, 70% headwind
Goals: Time - Beat last year's 29:15, possible sub-29. Non-time - Execute race strategy.
Race strategy and possible mishaps and contingencies: Get a good start, focus more internally and use the downhill during the 2nd mile. Stay out of traffic around Wm. Mitchell. Gain energy from the people heading out. Drive the hill in the 4th mile and then use the downhill from Snelling Ave. on.
Mental preparation strategy: Relaxation exercises and visualized race/strategies.
Duration of warm-up and cool-down: 3M w/up and 4M c/d.
Arousal level (1 low, 10 high) on the starting line: 6
Finish time: 29:33. Overall pace: 5:57.
Place: 104th out of 947 overall (11.0%). 102nd out of 593 men (17.2%), 10th out of 66 (15.2%) in 30-34 age group.
Splits: Didn't wear a watch; heard 5:58, 11:50 (5:52), 17:54 (6:04), 29:33 (11:39)
Things I did well in the race:
Did a fairly good job executing my thought process.
Didn't panic when I was all by myself during the 2nd mile.
Things I need to work on:
While my thought process was good, my visualization could use some work.
I wonder if things would have been better or worse had I tagged along with the guy who passed me at 1 mile. He closed the gap to the pack ahead of me while I got caught in 'no-man's land'.
Now that the sidewalks are clear I need to add in some strides.
Work on diet. No more eating all the leftover pizza in the office and no more 'handfuls' of candy.
Get back into core strengthening.
Performance rating (1-10). How close did I come to what I was capable of running that day? 7
Mentally playback the best parts of the race. Check here___x___
Other comments about the race:
McMillan calculates my 1/27 half marathon at a 29:59 8K, so I'm making progress.
Felt like something was missing, like another gear or leg speed, which makes sense because I haven't been doing strides and my hill workouts haven't been as intense as last year.

Quick recap of my recent training; Last Friday I ran a 10 mile progression run on the treadmill, dropping the pace from 8:40 down to 6:40. Saturday the girls wanted to come along, so they took turns being pushed in the stroller for a total of 7 miles. Maybe not the best idea the day before a race, but the pace/effort was really easy. Those runs gave me 50 for the week.

With warmup and cooldown, I ended up with 12 miles on Sunday. Yesterday was an easy 6 mile recovery. This morning was an example of what’s wrong with my out-and-back routes. About 4 miles into a 10 mile run my right Achilles started to ache, so I turned around and cut the run down to 8 miles. That helped, but I still had to run 4 miles with a sore Achilles. I guess that’ll teach me to go from tempo runs at 6:30 pace to racing at 6:00 pace. I’ll wear the sock tonight and see how things feel in the morning.

In contrast to yesterday’s quote of the day;

“Second place is not defeat. It is a stimulation to get better. It makes you even more determined.” – Carlos Lopes
[Hmm, if second place makes you even more determined, what does 104th place make you?]

Monday, March 19, 2007


Well, the good news is, if I were a woman, I’d have placed 2nd overall (to Jenna’s 27:42). Last year I would have been 9th. The bad news is that’s more of a testament to who wasn’t there on the women’s side, as 7 of the 8 women that beat me last year weren’t there this year.

I’m still not sure how to feel about the race. I give myself a “B”. It was okay (29:33), but not as great as last year (29:15). I’m trying not to let it sap my gumption. Given that 6:00-pace seems to be a mental barrier for me, it was good to get under that – even if it was only by 3 seconds per mile.

Prior to the race I thought I’d try something new. I took my watch off. I figured that way I wouldn’t be tempted to worry about my splits. Then, of course, it turns out they have a clock and someone reading each split anyway. Oh well, I tried.

I’m happy to report that I followed my race plan pretty closely. I focused on how I felt and what I wanted to think about throughout the race. Unfortunately, there was still a little “something” missing, like an extra gear or a little quicker stride.

This is basically an out-and-back course, so you’d think even under the worst conditions, you’d only have a headwind for 50% of the race. However, given the direction of the wind, it felt like we had a headwind for about 70% of the race. To make matters worse, somehow I ended up in “no man’s land.” After passing the first mile (flat to gradual uphill) in 5:58, I found myself running alone. There wasn’t a single runner within 5 seconds on either side of me. So the 2nd mile (mostly a gradual downhill) ended up being a solo 5:52.

Talking to a lot of people it sounds like the 3rd mile was the slowest for most runners. I think I ran a 6:04, but that’s just doing the math in my head. I was able to pass a couple of people during this mile, but still never really had anyone to run with.

The 4th mile was a gradual uphill – about halfway through, it finally felt like we got a little tailwind. Since I’ve been getting splits all along, now I’m kind of curious what my 4th mile split is. Of course, the clock has malfunctioned and no one is there to read splits. Given that I ran 11:39 for the last 2 “miles”, I figure I ran the 4th in about 6-flat.

The last mile is a gradual downhill and I just tried to hang onto my position. Based on the crowd, I could tell there was a bunch of women right behind me. Sure enough, 5 crossed the line within 16 seconds of me.

It’s interesting that even though awards are based on gun time, results are listed by chip time. Chip results have a gal finishing in the same time as me, even though no one was around me.

I thought it’d be fun to took at the results and see how some of the people I’ve interviewed ran;

Joey Keillor 4th 24:22
Pete Gilman 10th 24:59 (his dad was 6th in the 60-64 age group, 35:53)
Mike Reneau’s dad was 2nd in the 60-64 age group, 31:55
Jason Finch 30th 25:58
Jenna Boren 1st woman 27:42
Tony Kocanda 63rd 27:48
Erin Ward 13th woman 30:31
Jim Graupner 1st in the 60-64 age group, 31:26
Tracy Hirigoyen 22nd woman 31:37
Don Wright 3rd in the 65-69 age group, 36:59

If you’d like to get inside the winner’s head, check out Patrick’s race report.

In honor of Patrick and Jenna, today’s quote of the day;

“First is first, and second is nowhere.” – Ian Stewart

Friday, March 16, 2007


Figuring this is a cutback week and since I haven’t had a day off in 3 weeks, I decided to put a zero in the logbook for yesterday. It’s kind of weird because even though it’s only 1 day off, technically it’ll be 2.5 days between runs – 6 AM Wednesday to 8 PM Friday. It feels like I haven’t run forever.

Since I don’t have anything else to write about, I’ll post updated journals for Jenelle Deatherage and Ryan Kleimenhagen.

Quote of the day;

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become.” – Brooke Foss Wescott

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Not much to report today. I got so carried away talking about gumption the other day that I forgot to post my training.

Monday night it was still 52 degrees at 8 PM, so I headed outside for my easy 5 mile recovery run. I was a little surprised by how good I felt given my efforts over the weekend. That changed on Tuesday, as I was more tired than on Monday. Oh well, no big deal. I just postponed my hill workout a day and ran an easy 6 mile recovery run.

Yesterday I headed back to the hills for a 10 mile run that included 2 sets of 4 hill repeats. This morning I slept in. I figure I can hop on the treadmill tonight (and probably tomorrow) and watch NCAA hoops.

I’ve spent a lot of time on these runs thinking about a race strategy for Sunday’s 8K. If history is any indicator, I’m usually around 29:50 to 30:10. However, last year, somehow I turned out a 29:15. I’d love to break 29 this year, but I’m going to focus more on how I feel and let the result take care of itself. Therefore, my race plan is all about what I want to think about throughout the race. Splits aren’t even on my radar.

Man, it’s hard to believe it’s been nearly 5 months since the Chicago Marathon and that I’ve only raced once in that timeframe.

Quote of the day;

“Never let yesterday take up too much of today.” – Texas E. Schramm

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


One of the great things about running and racing is that even if you have a shitty year, you can take a little downtime, rebuild your base and start the following year with a clean slate.

While I wouldn’t say all of 2006 was "shitty" for me, there was a point I went from running “great” (April 8th) to not being able to run (April 18th) at all.

Eleven days, that’s all it took.

While last summer didn’t go has I had planned, I did manage to battle back and run a decent marathon in the fall.

Now it’s time to do it all over again.

Heading into winter, I never know how things will come out on the other side. Of course, I want to run as many miles as possible and put myself in position for a great year of racing. However, there’s a lot of time between November and March and there are a lot of factors that are out of my hands.

Well, the other day I was thinking, “I made it. I’ve survived winter and put in some solid base-building.” With the spring racing season right around the corner, it’s time to see what all my hard work corresponds to.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine said, “I think it’s going to be a great year.” I have to agree. That’s the sense I’ve been getting lately too.

I hadn’t been able to put my finger on why, until I came across something in a book last night. The author was talking about gumption and its role in racing well. He talked about building momentum, as in having your training and racing build throughout the season. For example, he talked about doing a baseline workout 3-4 times during the year. That’s nothing new. However, you only do these workouts when you know you’ll run better than the last time.

The same goes for races. If 5K is your key distance, you don’t do it every week. You jump in some shorter races to get faster and some longer races to get stronger. Then when you know you’re ready, you jump in another 5K. That way your gumption is always high and you’re always building your momentum.

If you’re not sure what gumption and momentum are, check out this race report. I think it’s safe to say that Thomas’ gumption and momentum are very high this week.

Unfortunately, my interview gumption has been low lately – too many other things going on. In the meantime, check out this interview of the D-III National Champion in the mile. Speaking of National Champions, I do hope to have an interview ready to post soon of a Minnesotan who just became a D-I National Champion. Stay tuned.

Quote of the day;

“How fast, or where you finish, doesn’t necessarily count for everything. But how you raced against yourself counts for almost all. Inevitably, most runners eventually conclude that the race is against themselves – and how you conduct yourself in the face of adversity, or how you bounce back from defeat, can often mean more than a time or place.” – Mark Will-Weber

Monday, March 12, 2007


As Colonel Smith of the A-Team would say; “I just love it when a plan comes together!”

That’s how I felt about last week, especially my long run on Saturday. Coming off of last week’s 81 miles, I was able to get in some quality on Tuesday and some hills on Thursday. All I needed was a nice long run on Saturday to finish out another strong week.

Of course, I’ve been in this position before and then something won’t quite go right. For example, it’s 20 below zero, I wake up to 2 feet of new snow, I have family commitments and/or my legs just feel like crap.

Well not last Saturday; the weather was a beautiful 45-50 degrees, sunny with just a slight wind, the family was at a show all afternoon and my legs felt good. So I pulled on my shorts (for the first time this year – at least, for a run outside), laced up my shoes and hit the road for a 20-miler. I’m not worried about pace right now, but it seems to be coming along. I think the first 13 were right around 8:00 and then I picked it up to 7:30 pace for the last 7.

That run gave me another 81-mile week. Now I’ll cutback a little this week, before racing an 8K on Sunday.

Yesterday I ran a little earlier than on Saturday, so I didn’t get the full affect of the nice weather – it was “only” 40 out when I ran. I figured I’d be pretty tired and have to drag myself through 12 miles. However, I felt pretty good once I got going and found myself running some 7:30 miles and feeling pretty comfortable. For me, on a solo run, the day after a 20-miler, that’s pretty good.

I rewarded myself for the solid weekend (and back-to-back 80 mile weeks) by sleeping in this morning. I figure that will; 1) give me more time to recover, 2) let me gradually transition into daylight savings and 3) force me to do some ab and strength work tonight after an easy run.

Quote of the day;

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” – John Wooden

Friday, March 09, 2007


This is nothing new, but I read somewhere recently about how running opens up the mind and allows thoughts to flood in. I’d agree with that, because some of my most creative thoughts occur to me when I’m out running. However, I’d also say that this doesn’t occur all the time and you can’t force it to occur. It just sort of happens.

Today was one of those days for me. I only did a 6 mile recovery run, but I had tons of ideas rush into my head. Hopefully I’ll be able to turn a few of them into articles. I’d better because I was beginning to worry that I’d used up all my good ideas.

Here are some of the ideas;

1) A list of all the things I’ve (finally) learned about running. Most of these probably aren’t new, like “Listen to your body.” But they’ll have “my take” on them.
2) A review of some of my favorite running books, websites, on-line articles, blogs, etc.
3) Things I love about running.
4) And a list of common excuses that we “all” use. Maybe it'll be something like when people decipher the personal ads. For example, "great personality" means, "I'm not much to look at". For running, it'd be something like, "I was 'training through' this race" means "I haven't been training at all."
The last one came to me after listening to the local sports talk radio station on the way home. They were running down a list of the top-50 alibis used by the local sports teams. This list will have a lot more meaning if you’re familiar with the Minnesota teams. If not, maybe you can come up with your own list.

Quote of the day;

“Even when I went to the playground, I never picked the best players. I picked the guys with less talent, but who were willing to work hard, who had the desire to be great.” – Magic Johnson

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I posted yesterday’s entry a little earlier than normal because I wanted to stop by the running store over lunch. Not that I wanted to buy anything – I just needed to get out of the office for awhile. Plus, the local store is under new ownership, so I thought I’d swing by and wish the new owner (a guy I run “with” sometimes) well. Anyway, guess who’s working.

Yep, Katie McGregor.

I told her about my dream the night before. I think I caught her a little off-guard, but she recovered well. I think she was happy with her new 8K “PR”.

I probably should have mentioned to her that I read her journal recently and that’s why I probably dreamed about her. I don’t want her to think I’m some letsrun-hotness-thread-reading-college-aged-loser. You know, I’d hate for her to think I were still in college. Oh well, it’ll all become clear once she reads this.

Not sure if it’s because I limited myself to a single 8 miler, instead of two 5 milers, yesterday, but my legs felt really good today. I felt pretty springy, as if I had the best running form in the world.

For some reason, the springy feeling didn’t carryover to the hills. I felt okay, but not as good as I did on the flats. After the first hill repeat, I almost blew off the rest of the hill workout because I knew I’d have a more enjoyable run on the flats. But sometimes “more enjoyable” is not the goal. I need a hill workout – even if the hill was snow-covered and slippery. I managed two sets of four reps during the course of 10 miles.

I always think of this, but never post it – until today; it bugs me that “they” plow the paths with some huge 8-foot wide machine. As a result, they usually end up leaving about 2-3” on snow on the path. I’d rather see them use a smaller machine and get down to the surface, leaving a nice clear 3 or 4-foot wide section.

Quote of the day;

“In all of my years of running, it seems that most, if not all, of my competitors have become my close friends.”Carrie Tollefson

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Last night I had a dream that Katie McGregor and I were hanging out. It was a typical dream in the sense that I didn't remember the whole thing when I woke up and what I did remember didn't really make sense. For example, it was like Katie was making an appearance somewhere and we were chatting backstage. Then all the sudden I was at my daughter's birthday party and her and her friends were lining up to have their picture taken with Katie. After getting the girls lined up, I went to get Katie. By the time we got back into the room, the girls were outside playing soccer. I guess they thought that was more important than a photo op with one of the country's best female distance runners.

Then there was the part where Katie was disappointed because she wanted to run an 8K in about 25:00 but she ran "too hard" and finished in 24:30. Note: Katie's PR is 25:36.

Speaking of Katie, you can find her new journal entry here. And if you ever wondered what elite athletes think of their competitors, check out Carrie Tollefson's journal here.

As for training, I jumped on the treadmill last night for some up-tempo work. I ended up running 10 miles, including 7 miles at 6:43 pace (or about what I'm calling marathon pace). While my legs didn't have a ton of zip, I'm starting to feel "normal" after being sick 2 weeks ago.

Today I decided to just run a single 8 mile run, instead of two 5 mile runs - not because singles are better than doubles or anything "scientific". It's because that second run in the evening doesn't allow for anything other than putting the girls to bed, running and putting myself to bed. I have two projects I'm working on and if I don't make any progress in the next few evenings, I may get "fired".

One week into March and I'm at 83 miles. I'll take it.

Quote of the day;

“Things turn out the best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.” – Daniel Considine

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I saw an article written by the local running beat writer the other day and I thought about blogging about it. It looks like Evan beat me to it.

As I commented to Evan, my issues are; 1) He said Carrie Tollefon ran 5K in 19:30 (which would be about 6:15 pace – for an Olympian), when she actually ran 6K. 2) He said the U.S. women were 2nd by 16 seconds, but a few paragraphs later he gives the times; 2:14:48 to 2:16:04. I guess those other 60 seconds don't count. 3) Finally, and probably my biggest pet peeve, I’m pretty sure all "his" quotes came from other sources - he's just repeating them.

Oh well, what can you expect from someone who published the wrong URL for the Minnesota Distance Running Association’s website a few weeks ago? I guess we should be thankful that running is covered at all in the newspaper.

Speaking of writing, does anyone else ever get tired of the whole “blogging scene”? Ever wonder if typing up all these thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. are worth it? I seem to go in these spurts where I wonder if my time and efforts could be put to better use. I guess it depends on what each of us hopes to get out of it.

If I just want to put my thoughts down on “paper” for myself, then this is the way to go. If I want to “reach” people with my writing, I probably need to shift my focus. It’s not that people can’t be reached through blogging, but I think that requires a lot of “marketing”. And I don’t have the time or energy for that.

As for training, last night I ran an easy 5 miles. This morning I decided to avoid the -3 wind chill and the icy paths. Instead, I opted for another easy 5 miles on the treadmill. Tonight I’m planning on an up-tempo workout too.

Quote of the day;

“The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Monday, March 05, 2007


I guess about half of Minnesota stayed home or left early on Thursday because the commute was a piece of cake. We were allowed to leave around 2, so I was able to hang out with my daughter on her birthday, as well as get in another 5 mile run in the evening.

Seeing how “everything” was closed on Friday, I slept in – figuring I wouldn’t have to go to work and I’d be able to run whenever I wanted to. When I called the office at 6:45 there was an automated message telling people the building would be open and that we should “drive carefully.” So much for running whenever I wanted to. I ended up hopping on the treadmill in the evening for a 10 mile run.

Ten hours later I was back on the paths for a long run. I ran the first 4-5 miles solo and then joined Evan for 13-14. When it was all said and done I called it 18 miles in 2:26. Spring marathons season must have kicked off because there were tons of groups out training around the Lakes and along the Parkway.

So I ended up with 81 miles for the week on 9 runs. I’d like to stay in the 80-85 mile range this week and then throw in a mini-tapper before an 8K on the 18th.

Yesterday my wife returned a video case to the library – without the video. I volunteered to return the video during my run. I put the movie in the waistband of my pants and 4 miles later I dropped it off at the library. Even though it was in a plastic zip lock bag, you may not want to check out The Rescuers Down Under from the Eagan library. Heck, with inter-library loan you may want to check that one off of your list for all of Dakota County.

I added on a few more miles and ended the day with 12. When I got home, guess what was sitting by the TV? The video’s case! Apparently she didn’t return it like she thought. Oops.

This morning was the opposite of a runner’s high. I was wide awake and had time to get in 9-10 miles, but everything (legs, weather and paths) was pretty miserable, so I stopped after 5 miles. I guess, with 30 miles in two days and 40 in two-and-a-half days, I should not be surprised that my legs were tired. Temps in the low 20s with about a 50 mph wind (okay, I’m exaggerating a little) and lack of plowed paths didn’t help matters either. I guess the city of Bloomington has spent their budget for plowing sidewalks and paths as the lake I run around was down to a single track packed down by pedestrians. Plus we’re at the time of year when the sun will melt the snow during the day, only to freeze at night. So the clear paths are usually covered with glare ice.

Okay, that’s enough bitching for a Monday.

Quote of the day;

“My responsibility is to get my twenty-five guys playing for the name on the front of their uniform and not the one on the back.” – Tommy Lasorda

Thursday, March 01, 2007


First off, Happy Birthday to my wonderful 6 year old daughter, Kinsey. 6 years ago it was a beautiful 50 degree day – a classic “in like a lamb” day. Had Kinsey been born today, it may have been in the backset of our car, as we would surly have been stuck in rush hour traffic – made worse by a classic “in like a lion” day. Gotta love March!

Normally, I’ll write my post and then grab a quote book and add a quote of the day. If possible, I try to tie them together. Given that all I’ve been talking about lately is the weather, it’s not always possible to tie them together.

Yesterday I just wrote down the next available quote and didn’t really think much of it. Then I read Mike’s comment and I started to think a little more about my post and the quote. In my post I wrote about not being worried about running 51 miles less this February, than last February. Then I quoted something about “daring mighty things” and “winning glorious triumphs.”

Did I seriously put that stuff in the same post?

If I analyze the two side-by-side it seems like they’re complete opposites. In the first two months of 2006 I averaged 82 mpw. So far this year I’ve averaged 66 mpw. That’s a 16 mile per week difference. Over 2 miles per day difference!!! Am I really “daring mighty things”?

Does playing it safer than last year, in hopes of producing consistent quality training for the entire year count as a “glorious triumph”? Or should I be cranking up my training, even if it means that two seasons in-a-row could be “checkered with failure”?

I know these are just rhetorical questions with no right or wrong answers. And I know that anything can be justified if you try hard enough. I just hate to come on here and post things that are so blatantly opposite.

Anyway, today’s morning run consisted of an easy 5 miles through about 2 inches of new snow. If I’m able to make it home before midnight (due to the blizzard) I’ll get in another easy 5 miles today.

Oh yeah, speaking of the blizzard, I don’t know why but I thought it was funny yesterday when a local weatherman blamed the storm for “being late.” It wasn’t that his forecast was wrong – it was the storm’s fault.

Quote of the day;

“Don’t just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade.” – James Bennis