Tuesday, October 30, 2007


One of the things to come out of my recent email discussion with Derek is that it comes down to building strength. One of his suggestions was to incorporate back-to-back workouts during the week. Looking back at my log from last year I see lots of long runs on Saturday followed by a zero on Sunday. This time around I’m trying to run stronger paced medium long runs on Saturday, followed by long runs on Sunday. Based on how wobbly my legs were during the last 30 minutes of last Sunday’s run, I must be doing something right.

Another slight tweak to my training so far has been to stick with just running once a day. I just did a quick search and I believe the 80 miles I’ve been running in singles is my best ever. Even when I had a few weeks of 90-100 miles, “only” 75ish of those were done in singles. I’m sure it helps with the ideal conditions we’ve had lately. If it’s 20 below, I may end up splitting some of my mileage into multiple workouts just to keep from freezing. Hopefully that’s still two months away.

Right now my plan is to continue building my mileage through Thursday, then I’ll just play it by ear while I’m in NYC. It’s been 3.5 weeks since I cut back, so I’m due pretty soon. And given that I ramped up from 0 to 80 mpw rather quickly, I think I’ll be content to hang out in the 80-mile range for a few weeks and let things soak in.

I’m kind of at that point where I’m in a routine and I know how I’ll feel on certain days of the week. Saturdays are longer and quicker than normal, so I’m a little tired on Sundays – especially at the end. Back-to-back harder runs means that Mondays are the worst. But I don’t worry about pace at all and just run an easy 60-70 minutes, like yesterday’s easy 8 miles. That’s enough of an easy effort to make today’s 10 miles feel really good.

When I heard Bob Dylan sing today’s quote of the day recently, it reminded me of my training; I believe in high mileage, but somehow I end up doing what’s convenient and then I come on here and repent.

Quote of the day;

“You always said people don't do what they believe in, they just do what's most convenient, then they repent.” – Bob Dylan, Brownsville Girl

Monday, October 29, 2007


I have to start the week with a big congrats to Coach Wilson and the Gopher women (photo courtesy of Eric) for their first Big Ten Cross Country title. In case you missed it, they beat Michigan State by 1 point on Sunday. Given that MSU was stronger upfront, the Gophers had to rely on their depth for the victory as their 6th and 7th runners beat MSU’s 5th place runner. Heck, even the Gopher’s 8th place runner beat MSU’s final scorer, but since only the top-7 count for team placing, that didn’t affect the outcome.

And on the men’s side, the Gophers placed 2nd behind the powerhouse Badgers. The biggest surprise of the meet goes to Hassan Mead. The true freshman won last year’s AA Class title and on Sunday, he placed 2nd overall. Defending Big Ten Champ Chris Rombough placed 4th overall.

Personally, I had a great weekend of running too. Saturday included a 14 mile group run. Since I tend to run pretty easy by myself, it’s nice to get in a stronger paced run at least once a week. Of course, the rest of the group is just jogging while I hang on by a thread, but that’s alright with me. That run gave me 79 miles for the week on 7 runs.

Sunday I bumped my long run by another mile, making it 17 miles, 15 of which were on the trails. I’m not sure what other runners are doing, but I spent over 2 hours on the trails and only saw a handful of hikers – no runners at all.

For the most part, I try to have quotes of the day come from runners. That’s not the case for today (at least I don’t think Henry ran), but I thought the quote fits, given my early morning routine.

Quote of the day;

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Friday, October 26, 2007


I was going to start this post by talking about how incredible the moon has been during the last 3 mornings. Then I got this photo in my in box from Jim and I thought it’d be a nice tie-in. It turns out a bright full moon trumps a headlamp. In the woods I still needed the lamp, but otherwise the moon was bright enough.

Today’s “deep thoughts” involved how I believe the odd numbers get short changed. I have lots of 6, 8, 10 and 12 mile runs in my log book, but there really aren’t a lot of 7, 9, 11, 13 and 17 mile runs. Sure there are some 5 mile recovery runs and 15 mile medium-long runs, but really, who wants to write 9, 11 or 19 miles in their log book? 10 and 20 look better, right? Of course, that doesn’t help explain the lack of 7, 13, and 17 milers. Anyway, I now have back-to-back 9 milers in my log book, so here’s to the odd numbers.

Hey, the all can’t be incredibly deep, thoughtful runs.

Actually, I’ve been have some really good email back-and-forths lately that are percolating and will probably turn into posts next week. That along with all the hype and talk surrounding the Trials has really gotten me fired up. It doesn’t hurt that my trip to NYC has received spousal approval, the plane ticket is purchased and the hotel room is reserved. I can’t wait! And speaking of the Trials, next Wednesday I plan on posting an article I wrote that previews the favorites, as well as the locals.

It turns out the best prep runner in the state and one of the best boys teams ran their Sectional Meet at the golf course near my house. Too bad I had to work, it would have been great to run over there and see him win by nearly a minute. The interview linked above comes from Scott Bush, who writes this fine blog on U.S. Distance Running.

After asking what drives us yesterday, I came across this quote that seemed appropriate.

Quote of the day;

"Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision." – Muhammad Ali

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Man, when did I get so busy? I guess working for a catalog company, I shouldn’t be surprised that things pick up for the holiday season. It seems like fiscal planning during the busiest time of year wouldn’t make sense, but that’s how we do it. Oh well…

It seems like all my runs have been great lately – great weather, great thoughts for future articles and future interviews.

Yesterday I worked in my mid-week, medium-long run – bumping it to 13 miles this week. The “highlight” was getting the crap scared out of me by another runner that I couldn’t see. Even though I run on trails, I still wear a reflective vest and a flashing red light, plus the headlamp. This guy said “hi” and then about 3 seconds later I spotted his reflective shoes. It's a good thing I didn't have on my iPod or we probably would've ran into each other.

This morning I ran 9 miles and added some strides.

I spent much of these runs thinking about what drives us – or, I guess, what drives me. I mean I woke up at 4:30 for this run. Does a 38-year-old father of two, marketing analyst, average runner need to get up so early to run? What’s the performance trade-off between 50 mpw and 75 mpw? A marathon time of 3:00 vs. 2:55? Health reason-wise, I’d probably better off with half the mileage – and some added strength training.

Is it all worth it? Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.

But why? I suppose that’s a question each one of us has to answer. I guess for me it’s about the challenge of putting in the work and seeing what comes out on the other side. It’s about trying to push myself and improve my results. Hopefully, at the end of it all we’re repaid with satisfying performances that we’re proud of.

If not, we just wipe the slate clean and start all over the following year. That's where I'm at now - sitting here with a clean slate. Anytime I start the base-building process, I'm always amazed at how good I can feel in just 3 weeks. Granted I'm probably not any faster, but the difference between how I feel now and 3 weeks ago is night and day.

At first I just added a quote of the day because I thought it’d be fun and a great way to end each post. However, I’d be lying if I said some of them don’t continue to cross my mind or be used for motivation and inspiration. Today’s QOD definitely comes in handy for those 4:30 AM wakeup calls.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Alright, I don’t have much time, so I’ll cut to the chase with my training and provide some links for your reading pleasure.

Yesterday was an easy 8 miles on – not surprising – tired legs. I decided to stay off the trains and run on a somewhat flatter terrain. I took advantage of being off the trails and threw in six 30 second strides.

This morning I managed 10 miles on the trails. What a beautiful morning?! 40 degrees, calm, clear – watching the sun come up over Lake Normandale as I finished my last mile was really cool. There’s something about getting up early, running for 85 minutes and not seeing a soul and finishing around 7 AM. I get the sense that I’m the only person out there training and it actually builds confidence – even though everyone else is running at other times throughout the day.

I’ve mentioned my college coach and some of his journalist work. He writes for Track & Field News, takes photos, conducts video interviews of guys like Geb and Hall. Anyway, here’s an article about his sweet gig

Runner’s World has a brief chat with Michael Reneau. Just remember where you read about him first.

Carrie Tollefson has updated her journal.

And finally, the grass roots effort to change the dates of Grandma’s and TCM has received a response from Scott Keenan, the Executive Director of Grandma’s Marathon.

Quote of the day;

“I am so thankful I am running again. The feeling I have of being able to go out the door pain free is indescribable.” – Carrie Tollefson

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Since I didn't get around to posting on Friday and I'm not sure I'll be able to post tomorrow, I thought I'd make a rare weekend entry - if nothing else, just to provide an update my training.

After Thursday's 12, it's probably no surprise that my legs were a little tired on Friday. I still managed 7 miles.

Saturday I thought about racing a half marathon on some trails, but I decided against that. I figured since I run on trails every morning and since I wouldn't be "racing" I might as well save my money. Instead I just ran a stronger paced 10 mile loop from my house. I run most of my weekday morning runs at 8:00 - 8:30 pace, so a "stronger pace" means 7:20. My legs felt great from the start and the weather was just beautiful, 45 degrees, sunny and calm - it would have been perfect marathoning weather. This run gave me 70 miles for the week on 7 runs.

Today I bumped my "long" run up a mile from last week - making it 16 miles. I have no way of knowing for sure, but this may have been the hilliest 16 miler I've ever run. I ran through Lebanon Hills Regional Park and basically spent an hour on the west side of the park near the mountain bike trails and then ventured to the east side of the park for another hour.

I'm not sure why, but I rarely run near the mountain bike trails. Maybe it's because the hills are a lot more brutal than where I'm used to running. Anyway, it was a great combination of shorter steeper hills followed by longer more gradual hills. If I can continue to build my long runs on this type of terrain, Heartbreak Hill won't be a problem - at least getting up it. Going down the other side could still be a different story.

Quote of the day;

"The great mystique of Heartbreak Hill is not getting up it. It's getting down it." - John Treacy

Thursday, October 18, 2007


More rain.

More miles on the trails.

12 miles to be “exact”.

I’m trying to add in a mid-week medium-long run. That’s something that I feel really helped me prior to Grandma’s but was sorely missing from my summer training program. Ideally, I’d like to be able to run 14-15 miles for these, but when your long run is only 15 miles, 12 miles seems like a good start.

Lately I’ve been thinking about a conversation I had with John Naslund about 6 weeks ago. It was the day before the City of Lakes 25K and we met up for a short run. We were talking about race results over the years and how the same people seem to beat him over the years. It doesn’t matter if he was 30, 40 or 50 – the same people (for the most part) beat him year after year.

I imagine that’s true for most runners, especially if they’ve been at it for a long time. I’m sure it’s true for me. Then I started thinking, “Can I change this trend, and if so, how?” For me, I think it gets back to the rededication post I had a week ago. It has to be about bumping my mileage during my base-building phase. I simply can’t believe I’ve reached my peak performance on only 60 mpw. Sure there have been weeks of higher mileage, but when you average it out for the year, I’m really only a 60 mpw runner – at best.

So I thought I’d give a brief recap of my last attempt at high mileage which took place at the end of 2005 and into early 2006.

Nov 246 miles with weeks between 35 and 78 miles
Dec 316 miles with weeks between 54 and 80 miles
Jan 364 miles with weeks between 50 and 97 miles
Feb 326 miles with weeks between 64 and 100 miles (1:24:45 half)
Mar 365 miles with weeks between 74 and 92 miles (29:15 8K)

In April I had weeks of 69 and 87 along with a 1:17:57 20K, which was a pace faster than I was able to run for 10K just 6 months prior.

A week after that 20K I was on the sidelines with a calf injury. After further review I attributed that injury to being too aggressive on the downhill portion of my hill workouts. Then last night I was re-reading Daws’ Running Your Best – the same book I read two years ago. Daws was big on “smooth transitions” into different types of training. You don’t go from low mileage to high mileage right away. You don’t jump from slow running to speed workouts. You don’t go from running on the flats to running hills.

Regarding that last sentence, he said you need to include hilly runs during your base training, prior to running hill workouts. I thought about that this morning as I was trudging up a hill in Hyland Park and a light bulb went off in my head. In 2005/2006 I did about 90% of my base training on the pancake flat railroad beds in the area. While that terrain was great for adding miles, it did nothing to prepare me for the upcoming hill phase. So while running downhill too hard probably wasn’t the best idea, running on mostly flat surfaces was even worse.

I guess that’s the long way of saying that I think I’ll be ready for the hills this time around. However, I don’t know how my weekly mileage will fare if I run in Hyland Park 5 days a week. I guess I’ll find out.

Quote of the day;

“Hills: You entered a marathon with hills? You idiot.” – Don Kardong

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Due to some car problems, I had to change my morning routine. I still got my run in, but it was from home, rather than through the trails of Highland Park. I took advantage of the local golf course and ran 6 of my 8 miles on it. Figuring the footing was a lot better than on the trails, I decided to throw in six 30 second strides with 90 seconds rest.

After the run I dropped my car off at the garage and walked/jogged about a mile to Hertz to rent a car so I could get to work. They opened at 7. I got there at 7:15 only to find that they didn’t have any cars.

What? Isn't that what they do – rents cars?

It’s kind of hard to make money if you don’t have any cars to rent.

Luckily there was an Enterprise a block away. Maybe it’s because they didn’t have any compacts, but $50+ a day seems steep to me. Although it’s kind of fun to drive something different, like the Chrysler Sebring they gave me, I probably could have taken a taxi to work for less. At least that way I wouldn’t have to worry about getting into an accident in a car that’s not mine.

I’m happy to report that I’m back on the interview bandwagon; here’s my latest one.

Finally, I’ll mention that Chris Lundstrom, Brad Lowery, and Kristen Nicolini-Lehmkuhle have all updated their journals. I admit I think these journals are interesting just because these guys/gals are freaks – and I mean that in the nicest way. With that said, I’ll mention that Chris Lundstrom’s entries are also great because he’s a terrific writer. If you have limited time, I highly recommend at least reading his stuff.

Quote of the day;
“Then I’m out on the Trials course in Central Park, seeing the race that is soon to come, imagining circumstances and outcomes, nudging my body and mind into a higher state of preparedness…a little bit each day. Ultimately, all I want from the Trials race is to hit the finish line knowing I pushed as hard as I possibly could. All the preparation is aimed to that end. Never hanging it all out on the line in the workout, but always edging up against that razor-thin line between quality training and overtraining. I finish every workout knowing I could have gone a little faster or a little longer. Hopefully I’ll finish the Trials knowing I could not possibly have done more than I did.” - Chris Lundstrom

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


There’s something eerily exhilarating about running the trails of Hyland Park in the dark, in the rain. Much of the trails are lined by trees, making it very dark. And there are usually rabbits all over the place just waiting to scare the hell out of me. The sky this morning was a scary gray (or is it grey – I can never keep them straight). My headlamp illuminated the rain coming down, as well as the breath rising from my mouth. Anyway, it all made for a spooky, Halloween-type of atmosphere.

I somehow managed 10 miles without falling or running off the trail. With the headlamp, I can either watch my footing or see where the trail goes – not both. I tend to watch my footing, which is interesting because it also prevents me from seeing any hill. I guess that’s a benefit of running in the dark.

One thing is for sure, the wet trails are doing a number on my shoes and socks. I believe they used to be white, but I can’t be positive any more.

“Someone” emailed me regarding yesterday’s article at runnersworld.com. They feel that, although Carrie Tollefson gets her fair-share of publicity, the rest of Team USA Minnesota doesn’t. Sure they’re not Olympians (yet) like Carrie, but some of the other women on the team have also won national titles.

Anyway, the email got me thinking about professional running teams. To me it seems like Brooks-Hansons is definitely the “media darlings” of the bunch. Personally, I’d stack Team Minnesota up against them any day. On the men’s side, Brooks-Hansons may have more depth than Team Minnesota, by on the women’s side, it’s not even close.

Quote of the day;

“‘They don't often win or make headlines?’ Katie McGregor has won several National Road Titles (10K – 2005 and 2006, 25K 2007) and was also the 10,000 meter Champion in 2005” – commenter on the RW article mentioned above - and no, it wasn't me

Monday, October 15, 2007


Well, I feel like I’m back.

I had a nice 12 mile run on Saturday and got to listen to a bunch of TCM and Chicago stories. All of the stories made me think of a line by Nathan last week; I’ve never been so glad to NOT run a marathon.”

That run gave me 55 miles for the week on 6 runs, plus an additional 32 miles on my mountain bike while watching TCM. Yesterday I had a great 15 mile trail run in Lebanon Hills. I ran for 2 hours and I think I saw 3 people. Since I didn’t run last Sunday, that means I have 70 miles in my last 7 days. More importantly, every run felt good. My spirits are high and my legs feel good. Even my knee that usually gives me problems when I crank up the mileage has been feeling good.

This morning the weekend mileage caught up with me a little as I felt fairly tired. I still manage to run an easy 8 miles.

When I think about feeling so good lately, I’m reminded of a comment Norm made to me; “Always train for a marathon, but never run one.” That way you get the benefits of training for a marathon without actually having your body take the pounding. Usually at this time of year I’d be taking a week or two to recover. Since I’ve already done that this year, now I’m ready to roll.

Speaking of being ready to roll, check out this great article on Team USA Minnesota coach Dennis Barker and his thoughts regarding Jason Lehmkuhle’s training for the Trials.

Quote of the day;

“There's a fine line between running great and not at all. The key for me and Jason is communication. It's my job to tell him when I think he can go harder, but also to make sure he doesn't dig himself into a hole that he can't get out of. I think that's what Bill Squires did for Dick Beardsley. My training philosophy for all distances is based on two principles: a high volume of quality aerobic running, and multi-pace training. The basic principles apply to everyone, but you need individualization of volume, specific workouts, and recovery to keep runners injury-free and mentally fresh.” – Dennis Barker referring to coaching Jason Lehmkuhle

Friday, October 12, 2007


In my blogging world, Fridays seem to be the day for providing lots of links – at least lately.

This is like the 5th post in a row where I’ve mentioned Erin. I’m sure people are starting to talk. However, I wanted to at least post her thoughts from her qualifying performance. And while I’m at it, I want to clarify yesterday’s post. She did not jump from 3:13 to 2:53 all at once. There were low 3s along the way and maybe even some high 2:50s. I was just trying to give a general correlation between her mileage and race times.

Speaking of topics that are probably getting old, here’s one last article on the Chicago Marathon. It’s a more straight-forward-in-your-face approach. Or as we tell our girls, “You get what you get and you don’t have a fit.”

For those who like history and are interested in the top Olympic Marathon finishers over the years, there’s this link. It turns out I was born 100 years too late. Had I been born 100 years ago (and able to run to my current fitness levels), I may have been in the hunt for an Olympic medal.

And if you’ve been reading the Team USA Minnesota journal entries, here’s Emily Brown’s latest.

Not much to report on my running. I’m starting to sound like a broken record; nice run, great weather, legs feel awesome, motivated to train, etc. This morning’s run consisted of 8 more trail miles.

Quote of the day;

“At mile 24 I calculated that I was under pace again, and this was the first time that I thought I might be able to do it. I spent the next two miles holding my breath (metaphorically, of course) and trying to stay calm. With a mile to go I had 7:30 minutes to finish, and I said to myself, "You train faster than that on your easy days." Still, a marathon is a marathon, and disaster can strike at any time. I didn't celebrate until I had about fifty meters to go.” – Erin Ward

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Well the desire to improve is definitely there. I feel it every morning when I’m out running. I’m excited about the prospects of training hard during the fall and winter in preparation for Boston and the rest of 2008.

I mentioned Erin’s Olympic Trials qualifying performance over the weekend. The more I think about it, and where she was a few years ago, the more inspired I am. As my friend Eric pointed out today, here’s a rough estimate of Erin’s peak mileage and her resulting marathon time;

Peak mpw - time
60 - 3:13
80 - 2:53
100 - 2:48
120 - 2:45

I’m sure there are other factors that come into play, but there is no denying that mileage plans a key role. Therefore, I’m rededicating myself to my high mileage training from two years ago. From January – March 2006, I averaged 82 mpw with a high of 100. December 2006 was another good month with 3 of the 4 weeks between 80 and 90. Then I got away from high mileage in 2007. It’s time to bring it back.

Right now I’m sitting around 50 mpw, so I have a lot of work to do. This morning I ran a nice 7 miler.

Finally, now that the grass roots effort to change the date of TCM has begun, Charlie has decided to throw Grandma’s into the mix too. You can read about it here.

Quote of the day;

“If you start to doubt yourself, remember that you're the only one. Everyone else believes that you can do it.” – Trials Qualifier Jenna Boren’s advice to Erin before her race

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Thanks to Dale for sending me this “When Marathons go Wrong” article. The more I read about Chicago, the more impressed I am with Kim’s performance. One of my Saturday training partners, she ran 3:06. Unfortunately, the results are pretty messed up and she has no idea what place she finished in her age-group.

Thinking about all the people that ran hot marathons over the weekend makes me think that these runners must be a different breed than me. Frankly, I'm concerned about racing and running a fast time. Simply running through miserable conditions (where there's no hope of a fast time) to "push my limits" isn't worth it for me. Seeing that a local 2:40 marathoner ran the second half in 2:46 just scares me. “Running” the last 10K in 97 minutes has no appeal to me whatsoever. I’ll take a DNF or DNS over that any day.

I had another nice run this morning, 10 miles on the trails. The 43 breezy degrees called for pants, gloves and a hat. I guess global warming has ended.

With running going much better, I was thinking about jumping in the Monster Dash Half Marathon on the 27th. I actually didn’t even know they had a half marathon until yesterday. I thought it was just a 5K. I was “this close” to registering last night. They almost had me with their cool shirt of a skeleton running and their cute photo of Angie and Erin dressed up as salt and pepper.

You almost had me Monster Dash. However, seeing the $55 entry fee turned me off. Yes, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and the TC 10-miler can charge that much due to their popularity and the popularity surrounding their parent events, Grandma’s and TCM, respectively. However, for me, $55 for a low-key half marathon is way too much. Maybe I’ll run the local trail half marathon next weekend instead. It’s only $25 and includes hot soup afterwards, along with a chance to win door prizes.

Quote of the day;

“I don't think anybody was prepared for what happened. I don't blame anybody — I was mad I didn't get to finish, but I think it was maybe the best decision, given everything I was hearing. I don't know what else they could have done other than maybe call if off before it started.” – Brian Hayes, who first noticed something was wrong when he was “too late” for water at mile number four

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Well, the excitement to get out of bed at 5 AM isn’t there. I’m not sure it has ever been there. It’s more of a desire or motivation to improve. That is slowly returning.

And while I’m not eager to get out of bed to run, when I do actually drag myself out for a run I feel really good. This morning I managed 8 miles in Hyland Park. Even though it’s dark in the morning, I’m still trying to run on the dirt trails (rather than the paved paths) as much as possible. This morning I used a headlamp for the first half of the run to help see the ruts, sticks and sometimes just to keep me on the trail.

As I was exiting the park near the end of my run I saw Kristen and Jason, along with another runner that I couldn’t recognize in the dark. Heck, by the time I recognized Kristen and Jason, it was already too late to congratulate them on their 10-mile results from Sunday.

Oh yeah, just so everyone doesn’t start moving to Minnesota because it’s 85 degrees in early October, it was like 55 degrees this morning. At noon it is 46 degrees. I’m going to have to dig out my hat and gloves for tomorrow’s run.

Finally, now that my running is slowly returning to normal, I’m feeling more motivated to do some more interviews. I haven’t given up on the site, even though it’s been a month since my last posting. I recently sent questions to a guy who wants to wait till April 1st to answer and a gal that just got married – so it may be awhile before I hear back from them. I thought I’d solicit ideas from any local readers (or anyone else). If you know any Minnesotans that you’d like to see interviewed, shoot me an email at chadaustin at charter dot net.

Quote of the day;

“I didn’t think there was any chance I’d be second in this field. I thought on a good day I could slip under 48 minutes, so I exceeded my expectations on both accounts. Obviously the weather’s not perfect today, so getting under 48 minutes on kind of a rough day and get second … it’s great.” – Jason Lehmkuhle

Monday, October 08, 2007


Umm, in case you missed it, it was hot this weekend. At 6 AM it was 72 degrees and the dew point was already 65. Any desire to run 26.2 miles had exited my body on Saturday when we set a record high of 87 degrees. If it’s any consolation to the folks that ran yesterday, I had a nice 10 mile run in 58 degrees and light ran this morning.

For those of you that are sick and tired of running hot Minnesota marathons, Charlie Mahler has written a nice opinion piece on why TCM should change the date of the race. And while we’re at it, let’s make Grandma’s Marathon earlier in the year.

Instead of running I was able to help out with a little reporting on the women’s race. I hopped on my mountain bike and caught the start, along with miles 3, 7, 10, 13.1 and 21. My notes can be found here. It turns out it’s hard to report on a 2.5 hour race when you only see each runner for about 2 minutes. Oh well, it was still fun.

Afterwards I got to hang out in the elite tent and act like I knew what I was doing. Actually, most of the elite-elites were gone, so I got to hang out with the local age-group elites. I’ve already interviewed a bunch of them through emails, so it was nice to be able to talk face-to-face. And I’m happy to report that I didn’t drool on Carrie Tollefson when she was standing right next to me. Maybe next time I’ll even talk with her.

As you can guess, there weren’t many performances worth writing home about, although the men’s winner ran by himself for the last 18 miles and ran a solid sub-2:14. Locally, Angie Voight continues to impress. She has aspirations of qualifying for the Olympic Trials, however, her last 2 marathons have been run in tough conditions, Grandma’s and TCM. Still, she managed to PR in both cases - dipping under 2:55 yesterday.

A week ago, Melissa Gacek ran 2:45:06 at Toronto to qualify for her second Trials. And at St. George on Saturday, Erin Ward qualified for her first Trials with a 2:45:55, while Kelly Mortenson missed qualifying by less than 90 seconds with his 2:23:28.

Quick running update; I ran 42 miles last week on 6 runs.

Quote of the day;

“Not to be today. He was on but it wasn't anyone's day. He ran well. Makes me wonder how well he could have run with decent weather. 2:22 or under? Makes you wonder.” - Pete Gilman on Josh Metcalf

Friday, October 05, 2007


Now I remember why I didn’t post for nearly a week, I didn’t want people trying to sway my decision not to run. Yes, I’m sure I could go out and run 26.2 miles. I may even be able to run around 7:00 pace – at best. But, thinking long-term – as in next year – I think the costs exceed the benefits; costs being the pounding my body would take and the number of weeks I’d have to delay my next buildup due to recovery, benefits being a t-shirt and a medal.

To paraphrase what someone once told me in an interview, “I’m interested in the competitive aspects of the sport, rather than the ‘up close and personal’ aspects.” And by “competitive aspects” I’m talking about how I compete against myself. Telling me, “Well you’d still be able to beat me if you ran.” doesn’t do it for me. I’d at least like to have a fighting chance against my past performances. I don’t think that will happen. So I’ll give up a 3:10 marathon if it means I have a better chance of running faster the next time around.

I thought I’d close the week with some links;

Here’s a story on Team USA Minnesota’s Chris Lundstrom and one on Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.

Also, Jason Lehmkuhle and Katie McGregor have updated their journals. Jason only updates his once or twice a year, so enjoy it.

Finally, I’ll throw out this article on Darrell General who’s attempting to become “the first person to qualify six times” for the Olympic Trials. Maybe he’s not aware but Minnesotan Bev Docherty has qualified and finished all six of the women’s trials.

Quote of the day;

“I ran a 2:22:36. “When I look back, I’m extremely frustrated that I never ran a sub-2:20. It’s difficult when you’re working 40, 45 hours a week and you’re trying to train between 80 and 100 miles a week. It just didn’t happen for me. It totally frustrates me still.” – Bill King, now 45

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Wow, has it been nearly a week without blogging? I haven’t blogged mostly because I’ve been busy at work. Plus, there’s not much going on right now with my running.

It turns out I miscalculated my September miles. I thought I wasn’t going to be over 100, but after Saturday’s 10 mile run, I realized I was at 92. Sunday I ran 8 on the treadmill while the Vikes and Packers were playing, so I did in fact get in a whopping 100 miles for the month.

Actually both of those runs went very well and I was even kicking around the idea of running TCM for “fun”. I was kind of curious what kind of time I could run after tanking the last 6 weeks of training. I was starting to think 3:15-3:20 would be possible. However, after watching the forecasted temperatures slowly creep up during the week, I’ve given up any thoughts of running. A few days ago it looked like it’d be a perfect 40 degrees at the start. Now it’s looking like it’ll be around 60-65.

It’s kind of funny, my cube neighbor at work is running TCM and it’ll be his first marathon. Any time his phone rings or someone stops by, he starts talking about the weather forecast. Even if I hadn’t looked it up myself, I’d know exactly what’s in store because of him. It’s kind of “fun” to listen to him freak out.

As for my own running, I’m just trying to wrap my head around base building again. The first week or two always seem to suck because I worry about pace or miles and I’m not in any kind of routine. Then I just sort of get in a zone and put in the miles. Hopefully I’ll get to that phase sooner rather than later.

I haven’t read a bunch of blogs lately, but I didn’t see a whole lot of talk about the new world record for the marathon. This post-race video interview is rather long, but since it’s conducted by my college coach, it’s worth watching.

Quote of the day;

“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience another life, run a marathon.” – Emil Zatopek