Monday, July 30, 2007


My last post asked some somewhat rhetorical questions about adding more tempo runs into mix since I seem to respond very well to them. As usual, Gregg gave some good advice, basically stating that I should mix up a longer MP with a shorter, more intense, LT workout – and make sure that my easy days are truly easy. This is kind of the way I was leaning when I posed the questions. I need a little more variety than just a bunch of longer runs at 6:50 pace. Plus, I need to think about adding in a short, but important hill phase.

Seeing how I didn’t think I’d get much response here, I posted the same questions on this somewhat regional forum.

Friday I was looking at my training leading up to Grandma’s, focusing on the number of workouts per week. I labeled any thing that was either tempo, hills, MP, race or over 18 miles as a workout. Based on those criteria, during the months of December – May, I averaged 1.7 workouts per week. 1.7 workouts per week over a 6 month stretch!!! That doesn’t sound like a hard/easy schedule to me. It’s more like hard/easy/easy/easy. It seems like there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Saturday’s run had me thinking about this a little more too. I joined a group and ended up running 16 miles. Based on the criteria above, this wouldn’t qualify as a hard day – even though the 7:05 miles in the middle of the run had me feeling different. So that raises more questions, should I 1) slow down and add more miles, 2) drop the pace or 3) change my criteria, to make this a hard day? 1 and 2 are difficult during a group run. I thought about either getting to the group runs early to add-on a warm-up or getting my long runs in by myself. We’ll see...

Anyway, Saturday’s run gave me 70 miles for the second consecutive week. After weeks of 66, 70 and 70, I’m going to cut back to 50-55 this week. To help accomplish that, I took yesterday off. It was my first day off in 24 days.

Dang, this is getting to be a long post. If you’re interested in Team USA Minnesota at all, check out this article. Also, this article on Brad Lowery fell through the cracks.

Quote of the day;

“In this sport, there's a fine line between running great and not running at all. Brad is finding out that when you get in really good shape, it's important that you don't go over the edge.

You could end up not being able to compete at all, or not being able to run your best. We're working on getting him to do good solid workouts instead of trying for great ones all the time.”
- Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


I have a whole bunch of things to get to today, let’s see how many actually make it into this post.

First off, Happy 4th Birthday to my daughter Katie. She’s so funny. You know how kids like to say they're either, for example, 3 or 3 ½? Well I’m pretty sure that even yesterday Katie thought she was 3 ½. She’s a day away from turning 4 and still claiming to be 3 ½. I thought that was cute, but I’m biased.

During my last training cycle, I think it started to sink in that I respond pretty well to long tempo and marathon-paced workouts. That got me wondering if more is better – can I add another such workout into my weekly mix and make better gains? How many similar workouts can I mix in? Would I be better off with a longer MP workout and a shorter, harder tempo effort? Of course, given TCM’s hills during the last 10K, I need to start working those back into the mix. If I do all those things, I’d be basically following a hard/easy routine with less emphasis on speedwork this time around.

Anyway, with all this in mind, I decided to run another long tempo run on the treadmill last night. I managed 12 miles with 8 of them at 6:50 pace. I think I should probably call these "progression" runs, instead of "tempo" runs. After a 2 mile warmup, I started out at 7:00 pace and gradually dropped down to 6:35 pace, by the end of the run.

While I was on the treadmill I was watching le tour. There’s nothing like watching the top-4 riders in the race, including the yellow jersey, duke it out on the final hill of the race – only to see a “Breaking News” scroll across the bottom of the screen saying that the guy wearing the yellow jersey has been kicked off his team. But what I find most annoying is listening to the announcers talk about the shame Vinokourov brought to himself and his team in one sentence and then in the very next sentence they say something like, “It's too bad because he's one of the all-time greats.” It's like they think this is an isolated incident when in reality, I highly doubt it was his first time trying something like that. These guys don’t just wake up one day when there 28-years-old and say, “Boy, this tour is making me tired. I think I’ll blood-dope today.”

Yesterday I ripped on the Twins. The responded by giving up 11 runs – IN THE 6TH INNING!!! As someone on the radio said, if you take away the 6th inning they would’ve only lost 2-1. Talk about a silver lining. In their 101 games, they’ve scored 2 or less runs 28 times. I mean, 28 times!!!

Bart asked if I’d heard anything about the Pan Am Games being televised. No, I haven’t. And this morning I realized that the 16-day Games have been going on for 13 days already. Nearly 2 weeks in and the only thing I know about the Games is that a bunch of Minnesotans did very well in the junior competition.

Alright, enough negativity. I’ll end with a link to my latest interview. If you’ve ever wondered what happens to young stud runners as they age, check it out. Hint: they become old stud runners.

Quote of the day;

“I get amused when young runners talk about “burnout” because I can say that I don't feel I have ever really had burnout in all my years of running – maybe just some injury ‘delays’”Bruce Mortenson.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Let me just say that while I enjoy watching the Tour de France, I do so under the assumption that all the riders are dirty. That way, when I see articles like this, I just think it’s par for the course.

Last night I ventured outside for my run since the Tour had a day off and the Twins aren’t worth watching. [Someone please explain to me how a team with a reigning Cy Young winner, league MVP, batting champ and Golden Glove center fielder (who’s in a contract year) can only play .500 ball]. I headed out for my run not knowing if I’d go 5 miles or 10 miles. Seeing how I immediately felt tired (either from the previous day’s tempo or the hot and muggy conditions – or a combination), I opted for the mere 5 miles.

About a mile and a half into the run, I bumped into Jen, whom I first met about 4 years ago when I was doing triathlons. Now I like to give triathletes crap as much as the next person, but Jen is cool. She’s one of those people that would make a great training partner, especially since she lives about a half mile from me and has like a 3:11 marathon PR, which she set a month after an Ironman – so she’s tough. However, our work and run schedules don’t match at all. I had to settle for just turning around and running back with her, before adding on a couple of miles in my neighborhood.

Here’s a story from my vacation that I keep forgetting to tell. I’m at the eye doctor’s office and he’s got a poster up from the reality TV show Grease. It turns out his daughter is the gal that won the competition and now she’s in NYC preparing for Broadway. I thought that was pretty neat - it's something you don't come across every day.

Finally, check out Chris Lundstrom’s latest journal entry as he prepares to run the marathon at the Pan Am Games.

Quote of the day;

“As much as I love to run, there are days when the second 10 mile run of the day has very little appeal, whereas the couch and spacing out to re-runs of Seinfeld look really great. I rarely give in to those urges to slack off, and while there are more talented runners than me out there, I always feel confident in the work that I have put in. It will be very exciting to see how I can stack up against the other marathoners of the Americas.” – Chris Lundstrom

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Last week I mentioned this Nutritional Survey that my neighbor’s sister is conducting. My neighbor was kind enough to drop off a 6-pack yesterday for “all my efforts.” Even though he’s a mountain biker, he’s pretty cool that way. I thought if I hyped "his" bike company, maybe I’d get a case of beer out of the deal. Just kidding. But if you’re in the market for a new bike, go check them out.

Maybe I’m the only one, or maybe my neighbor is the exception, but I kind of find it odd that he’s not into “The Tour”. Are bike riders so niche that mountain bikers don’t care about road bikers – and neither of them care about triathletes? Is that like road runners not caring about track or cross-country runners? Or maybe it’s like marathoners not caring about ultra marathoners. Who knows?

Anyway, I jumped on the treadmill for 11 miles last night, including 6 at 6:57 pace. Not spectacular, but given that it was my first longer tempo since Grandma’s, I was happy with the result.

Plus, I know the results would have been better if I hadn’t eaten one of these in the afternoon. Apparently, they give me the shits. I guess that’s good to know - at least for me (maybe not you). I’ll keep that info in my own Nutritional Survey.

I’m also back to adding some strengthening exercises to my routine. In addition to some core work, I’ve added some wall squats with a fitness ball behind my back. I’ve also added lunges onto one of these stability pads. The squats and lunges will hopefully help with the knee pain I’ve been having, off-and-on, for several months.

Quote of the day;

“Road racing is rock ‘n roll; track is Carnegie Hall.” – Marty Liquori

Monday, July 23, 2007


Vacation is over. Back to the grind. It was a typical vacation. Things moved slowly the first day or two, then before I knew it, it was time to head back to work. I got most of my odd jobs finished and was able to hang out with the kids some too. However, the deck is still not finished, so now I’ll have to figure out when I can get that taken care of.

I’m happy to report that I was able to get in 8 miles on Saturday. Seeing how we were at my brother’s house, I wasn’t sure what my training would end up looking like. That run gave me a nice, even, 70 miles for the week on 8 runs. Yesterday I managed 5 miles before leaving Madison and another 5 on the treadmill in the evening.

This week I’ve decided to switch my runs to the evening because 1) the Tour de France is getting exciting and if I watch it at night, I end up staying up till 10 PM. That’s too late if I want to get up at 5 AM or earlier, 2) it’s going to get hot and muggy, even at 5 AM, so I don’t mind being on the treadmill and 3) I’m going to work on adding in some longer tempo runs. Running them on the treadmill in the winter worked, so I’ll try that approach in the summer too.

Finally, congrats to Matt Gabrielson for his recent 5K PR. Here’s his entertaining post race interview.

Quote of the day;

“I have been waiting for three years for a personal best in the 5000. It has been a little bit of a rough road on the track for me but the lesson learned is to just keep plugging away.” – Matt Gabrielson

Friday, July 20, 2007


Just a quick post to ask for everyone's help. My neighbor's sister is a runner and nutritionist. She's co-authoring a nutrition book for marathoners and half-marathoners and trying to get as many runners as possible to complete a survey to learn more about what runners are doing in terms of nutrition before, during and after the race. If you have 10-15 minutes, please help her out by completing the online survey. Thanks.

I had a great 16 mile run yesterday. The weather broke just in time - while it was still 68 at 7AM the dew point was down to 58. I met up with Eric and Jim (it's nice to have retired friends) and we basically ran the Get in Gear loop multiple times (2 with Jim and all 3 with Eric). According to PR's mile markers we were running 7:50 at the start, dropped as low as 7:18, before backing off to 7:30s towards the end.

This morning I thought I'd be a little tired, but I got in a nice 10 mile run in Lebanon Hills. I'm not sure if it's the cooler temps or what, but there wasn't a black fly to be found. Hard to believe given that we're in the 3rd week of July.

Sorry no quote of the day today. Gotta run.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


If nothing else, blogging keeps me honest. Monday afternoon I posted about wanting to build my mileage. Monday evening I was sitting on the couch with only 6 miles for the day. I really just wanted to veg, but thought back to my post and dragged my ass out for another 5 miles.

Yesterday was another challenge. I'm trying to re-finish my deck. The problem is you can't do it above like 85 degrees. So I have to work in the morning and early afternoon before the sun comes around the house. So I postponed yesterday's run until the evening, so that I could work on stripping my deck.

After all that manual labor, I was a little leery about having to hop on the treadmill at 8 PM. However, it was one of those runs that within 3 steps I knew was going to be a good one. My legs felt really good and I managed 10 quicker miles in 76 minutes.

Now I sit here at 5 PM without any miles for the day, yet, and a 7 AM 16 miler planned for tomorrow. It might just be an easy 5 or 6 tonight. We'll see.

Since I'm watching the Tour de France, I'll use one of my favorites for the quote of the day;

"It doesn't get easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Monday, July 16, 2007


I'm on vacation this week, so if my blogging is sporatic, you'll know why. I don't really have any plans for the week, just running, hanging out with the kids and doing a bunch of odd jobs around the house. I'm mainly taking the week off because I have 4 weeks of Paid Time Off and so far I've only used 4 days.

Not much to report running-wise, as I'm still just building my base. I ran 8 miles on Friday. Saturday I joined Jenna, Kim and Kevin for a "long" run. I was thinking at least 12, but I actually ended up with 15, by far my longest run since Grandma's. The hardest part of the run was finding a parking place, as we met down by Lake Nokomis so we'd be able to watch the Life Time Fitness triathlon. I still enjoy watching that sport but am content to just be a runner.

Anyway, I'm still feeling good during my runs and I ended up with 66 miles for the week on 7 runs. I'll take it! This week I'm hoping for a little more although we'll be on the road Friday-Sunday as we travel to Madison, WI.

Yesterday I jumped on the treadmill for an easy 10 miles. The newpaper said there was a track meet on TV, but they were showing auto racing instead. No worries as the Hy-Vee triathlon was on TV, as well as the Twins.

The building up of mileage finally reared it's ugly head this morning, as my legs were tired. I was thinking about 10 miles, but decided to cut it to 6 miles with the hopes of jumping on the treadmill tonight. Ideally, I'd like to build my mileage in singles, but right now I'm just concerned with building my mileage. Period.

Quote of the day;

"My only “training philosophy” is consistent, year-round running. I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to keep racing frequently and stay injury-free." - Jim Ramacier

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Yesterday’s post led to an good question by Bart;

Do you think the miles you’ve run over the last three weeks are important for your recovery and preparation for a fall marathon or whatever is next on your schedule?
After reading his question I immediately thought of a couple of things that I’ve read in the past. First, with this sport you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. Second, it takes twice as long to re-gain what you lost.

I know it’s important to recover from my last marathon before jumping into training for my next marathon. However, it’s hard to imagine taking 3 weeks completely off between a spring and fall marathon, especially if you believe that it’d take 6 weeks to get your fitness back to where it was. Doing that would only leave me 7 weeks until TCM.

I’d be much more inclined to take 3 weeks off after a fall marathon because my next marathon would be at least 5-6 months away and 8 months away if I were doing the ever-popular TCM/Grandma’s combination.

With all that said, I was basing my Grandma’s recovery off of my Chicago recovery. Last fall I took 5 days completely off and then bumped my weekly mileage from 40 to 80 in 4 weeks. I’m not sure why that strategy didn’t work this time, maybe it was the heat or maybe I beat my legs up a little more.

So to answer Bart’s question, I don’t know if those miles (or lack of) will be important for TCM or not. I’d guess that if I put together 12 more solid weeks of training, I won’t care what I did the 3 weeks immediately following Grandma’s. However, if I’m fatigued and sore the rest of the summer, I’ll be kicking myself for not waiting until I was fully recovered before beginning to train again.

Anyway, based on how I'm feeling this week (another, quicker 7 miles this morning), I'm pretty confident about the 12 more solid weeks of training.

Today’s quote of the day may be my new all-time favorite;

“Speed is relative, effort is universal.” – Paul Giannobile

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


The difference between running this week and the previous 3 weeks is like night and day. I’d venture a guess that the first 3 weeks post-marathon are a lot like what people who don’t enjoy running experience every time they do run. You’re tired and achy all the time and none of the runs are very fulfilling. It’s no wonder they hate running. They never make it to that euphoric 4th week.

After putting in 74 miles in 3 weeks, I’m on-pace for over 60 miles this week. A lot of that has to do with having a leg that doesn’t hurt like hell. Note to self: don’t wait 3 weeks to make an appointment with Jenna in the future. I guess the good news about waiting 3 weeks is that it “forced” me to get in a nice recovery period.

Besides my leg feeling better, I just feel like I have a lot more energy. Yesterday I ran 8 miles and today I ran 10. I’m sure the cooler temps help too, as during today’s run it was 58 degrees – in mid-July!!! During the run I was wishing I could get in a nice 2-hour mid-week run, but I don’t think I’m ready for those yet.

Here’s another interview for those that are interested.

Quote of the day;

“No, I didn’t study running very much. I started running to lose weight. The science part of running doesn’t really interest me. I enjoy competition and being outside. I think I improved because I raced a lot and added mileage.”Jim Ramacier

Monday, July 09, 2007


I was, in fact, able to completely pull my head out of my ass last week. Gregg’s advice of waiting 3 weeks after Grandma’s to finally feel recovered was right on.

Friday I felt great and managed 9 miles in Lebanon Hills. That afternoon I stopped by Jenna’s office. After awhile I didn’t think she was going to find anything wrong with my leg – but then she found it – a very tight knot just at the very top of my calf muscles. I’d tell you the real name of the muscles, but I missed Anatomy class that day. Jenna also showed me a couple of exercises I’m going to try to incorporate to strengthen my knees/legs.

Saturday, after closing the bars at 2 AM, I was just happy to get in 6 very hot miles. You’re probably wondering why a finely tuned runner such as myself would be closing the bars – or at least why I’d get up 5 hours later for a run. Well, it was all part of my 20th high school reunion. That’s right, I’ve been out of school longer than it took me to get through school. While I didn’t go to any of the “formal” activities, I’m happy to report that it was a pretty fun weekend – with a smattering of awkward conversations mixed in just for good measure.

Sunday I jumped on the treadmill for the first time in a long time. I was flipping back and forth between the Tour de France and the men’s finals at Wimbledon – next thing I knew, I had run 10 miles. Nice.

This morning I managed 8 miles. Right now I’m just trying to wrap my mind around the whole concept of base-building again. When I base-build in the winter I just kind of get in a zone and am just content to run mileage – even in crappy weather. I’m sure we’ll have crappy weather in the next 6 weeks too, just the opposite kind of crap.

Quote of the day;

“It’s an unvicious cycle; when I am happy I am running well and when I’m running well I am happy…It is the Platonic idea of knowing thyself. Running is getting to know yourself to an extreme degree.” – Ian Thompson

Thursday, July 05, 2007


That sound you hear is me (hopefully) pulling my head out of my ass.

You know something is wrong when your wife asks, “When are you going to start running again?” and you’ve been running for the last 2 weeks.

I take it she’s either 1) getting sick of having me around because I’m not running as much, 2) she senses my frustration recently and wants me out of the house more or 3) she’s amazed by all the projects I’ve completed (or at least plan to complete) around the house lately.

Yesterday was a reminded that if I want to run from home, I have to do it early in the morning – especially on holidays. I kept telling myself I’d go later, but never made it out the door. Maybe that had something to do with my leg feeling pretty good this morning. I made it 6 relatively pain-free miles. I could still feel my leg, but it wasn’t painful. I still don’t have a lot of confidence in it, so I’m planning on visiting the doctor tomorrow. I think I’ll have her look at my knee too and see if she notices anything. It hasn’t been bothering me lately, but it’s the one that acts up every time I bump my training load.

Question for other bloggers; Did anyone else get an email from Accelerade about getting some free product for agreeing to write about it on your blog? I’m sure it was a form letter; Dear (enter name here), I’ve been reading (enter blog name here) and it’s really great… Anyway, I was curious if anyone had any experience with this. Even given the form letter, it looked pretty interesting. I may take them up on their offer.

Here’s another interview if you’re interested.

Quote of the day;

“I am huge believer of the Lydiard system. I really feel mileage is the key to successful marathoning and Lydiard is a huge proponent of this. I think sometimes people think there is a magic pill or track session that will produce results but a lot of it lies in the mileage, while throwing in some of the quicker stuff to spice it up from time to time.” - Chris Grossinger

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


I think I’m onto the post-marathon depression stage; 1) I’m tired on nearly every run and 2) my leg continues to bother me. Both of which make it very hard to get motivated.

This is the third week post-marathon, so I need to start getting my act together soon. To help “fix” #1, I think I need to get back into a routine of going to bed at 9 PM, eating better, hydrating better and adding back in some core strength work. To help “fix” #2, I think I need to see the doc or get a massage.

Since my recent "training" is so lame and I don’t have anything enlightening to write about, go check out my two latest interviews.

Quote of the day;

“Running changed my life. I became a different person when I became a runner. Growing up and as a young adult I was so painfully shy. I held myself back in so many ways because I was afraid to try things. For some reason, running never intimidated me. I would walk up to total strangers and ask about their training. I would meet people I didn’t know and do workouts with them on the track. I traveled to races constantly. I always felt very confident and comfortable with myself when I was around other runners.”- Kelly Keeler-Ramacier