Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Not a lot going on lately. It seems like I always have a bunch of little stuff on my mind – maybe I can wedge them all together and make a single post.

54 miles last week on 6 runs. No, that does not include my “Good Run Spoiled” workout from last Wednesday. I’m still squeezing in 2-3 strength workouts a week, trying to do strides once a week, and still running with Scott twice a week. I’m thinking about a cutback week this week – mainly due to the holiday. Plus that way I’ll be able to go into the new month all gung-ho.

So a friend of mine created a Facebook page and invited me to view it. Of course, I have to have a Facebook page myself in order to do so. I did create one, but I’m not sure I understand the proper etiquette. I mean am I supposed to accept everyone as a friend? Or can I pick and choose? I know we went to the same college – 10 years apart – does that mean we’re friends. I’ve never met you. I can see how you’d just want to approve anyone and everyone that comes along, but then I can also see just approving the people you’d actually call friends, you know, in “real life.”

I mentioned that my new favorite show is My Own Worst Enemy. Apparently, my attempt at word-of-mouth marketing didn’t work too well as my wife told me the show is being cancelled. I guess the good news is that now I don’t have to stay up until 10 PM on Mondays.

I finally got around to posting another interview. You can also find updated journal entries for Carrie Tollefson and Josh Moen.

Quote of the day;

“If people think I’m not a real runner because I don’t (or didn’t) do marathons, that’s just fine. I’m ok with concentrating on shorter races. That’s what I’m better at and that’s what I like better.” - Dan Morse

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Mark Twain once said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Last night I found my running equivalent, “Hiking is a good run spoiled.”

I finally got around to going to one of these x-c ski classes that I’ve mentioned. The class is basically October – February. They roller ski until it gets too dark, then they switch to dry-land training like hiking and bounding drills until the snow finally arrives. During last night’s hike, I spent the whole time thinking about running. I mean, wouldn’t it be better for your fitness to run, rather than hike? Not to mention, I would have stayed a heck of a lot warmer by running.

After our hike we sprinted up about a 10-second hill, twice. I was thinking what someone else said, “Is that it?” From there they moved onto bounding drills, while I ran to my car. It was just one of those things that you realize right away isn’t what your looking for – especially when I factor in the drive time and time away from my family. Maybe once we got some snow and they’re able to provide some skiing pointers, it’d be worth it. But as far as getting the most bang for my buck (and time), this wasn’t the best option.

Quote of the day;

“One tiny area of pain had been added to another until a vast catalog of discomfort had been logged.” – Mike Plant, author of Iron Will

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


And so it begins…I find myself paying more attention to my weekly mileage lately – building it, along with my weekly long run. Last week I had 45 miles and my “long” run has reached 12 miles. The mileage is still low enough where I can still incorporate one day off per week.

I’m not sure why it was such a revelation, but yesterday it occurred to me that anything new is going to be a learning process. I can't expect that just because I say I’m on a health-kick that all the sudden I’m an expert on nutrition. It’s going to be a learning process and it’s going to take time. It’s probably at this Revelation Stage where people fall off the wagon of whatever it is that they’ve vowed to change. They realize that it’s hard work and decide they don’t want to put in the effort. Instead they revert back to their old ways.

Part of my revelation occurred when I realized that the cereals I eat aren’t as healthy as I thought they were – at least according to Nancy Clark. In her book, she lists 5-6 key things to look for in cereals. I figured my Raisin Bran and Cheerios were better than Captain Crunch and Fruity Peebles, so they must be what she was referring to. Once I looked at the numbers, they’re not as good as the guidelines that Nancy recommends. So it looks like I’ll have to do a little grocery shopping.

These are just little things I’m trying to change – along with switching from instant oatmeal to regular oatmeal – that I hope will add up over time.

I admit I don’t understand a lot of this nutritional stuff. Intuitively, it seems like a Chipotle burrito is good for you – assuming you pick ingredients like tortilla, beans, chicken, salsa, and lettuce. This cool nutrition calculator for their burritos lets you can see exactly what you’re getting with your order.

Quote of the day;

“The Ironman is about people who become heroes. It’s about an impossible task proven to be possible year after year. It’s about athletes, the fast ones and the slow ones alike, stripped of everything but the simple desire to take one step farther than they themselves believe is possible.” – Mike Plant, author of Iron Will

Friday, November 14, 2008


The stuff I’ve been reading lately – the 2 books I mentioned Monday, as well as some Dr. George Sheehan – has talked a lot about the pain management side of running. This has me thinking back to my TCM performance. Afterwards I said I was pleased with my race. However, when I think about it from the pain management aspect, I can’t help but feel like I took the easy way out. With any marathon things are bound to get tougher towards the end – that’s a given. And while that was the case at TCM, thinking back, it seemed like I was dealing with discomfort, not pain. Even though I was passing 60 people during the last 10K, I can’t remember thinking about digging deep, making things hurt a little more, pushing myself to my limits, etc.

Here’s what Sheehan had to say in Running & Being about a similar performance;

You may have seen my name in the Shore Marathon results; “69th, George Sheehan, 3:18:32.” Not bad, you might think. Not a bad place, with 235 starters. Not bad for time, about midway between my best (3:02) and my worst (3:33) serious efforts. You might think that. And you would be wrong.

Because it was a marathon without tears, without pain, without distinction. It was a marathon that I am ashamed of, a marathon I would like to forget. It was a marathon that proves there is a point where prudence becomes timidity, where caution becomes cowardice, where respect becomes fear.

The 26.2-mile distance tends to make all runners prudent, cautious and respectful. “Anyone,” said the great Percy Cerutty, “can run twenty miles, but only a few can run the marathon.” That extra six miles changes the game from penny ante to table stakes. Your entire physical bankroll can dissolve in a matter of minutes.

The runner knows that no matter how he feels at any particular stage of the race, disaster may be waiting for him at the twenty-mile mark. This makes the marathon a chancy and risky business, where the initial pace can be all-decisive. Too slow and you have a poor time; too fast and you may not finish. So those even more timid sometimes use the first seven miles to warm up, and thus change the marathon into an ordinary twenty-mile road run.
Now I’m not going to go so far as to say I’m “ashamed” of running 3:05. But looking back, I wonder if I was too timid and turned the marathon into “an ordinary twenty-mile road run.”

Here are a couple of updated Team USA Minnesota journals; Chris Lundstrom, Meghan Armstrong, and Katie McGregor.

Quote of the day;

“Members of the endurance subculture grow so close to the subject they lose sight of the vastness of their achievement. Without thought or even the barest of acknowledgement, they pass through mental and physical boundaries on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the public stands in awe.” – Mike Plant, author of Iron Will

Thursday, November 13, 2008


A few weeks ago I posted some pre-Halloween pictures that weren't very good. Here are a couple more that are better. I really like the first one of just Katie - notice the whole "hand on hip" pose.

It was a perfect night for trick or treating - we didn't even need to cover up the costumes with winter coats.

I'll be happy when all the candy is finally gone - probably just in time for Thanksgiving.


One thing I forgot to mention yesterday, I did not run a fall marathon in 2006, so that explains a little why my November and December miles were so high. Right now it feels like I’m not running that much, but I think I can still run about 200 miles this month. Heck, I remember being in college and thinking 185 miles a month was a lot.

While I may not be running a lot right now, I’ve gotten into the routine of running with Scott twice a week. Tuesday we run Hyland Park and Thursday we run one of the lakes or the parkway. We typically run 60-65 minutes which has been 8 – 8.5 miles. That means we’re running faster than I would be if I were by myself, which is probably good for me.

I received a renewal notice from the USATF yesterday. Any other members out there? Anyone else questioning what they get for their money? Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but the only reason I can see to renew is because it’s required to run the team circuit. Given that I’m no where near being a scoring member, I wonder if it even makes sense to renew.

In case you missed it, Leinie’s has a new super yummy seasonal beer; Fireside Nut Brown!!!

Quote of the day;

“The Ironman’s ability to crown heroes and humble fools is undiminished. Its disrespect for perfect bodies is as cruel and unrelenting as ever. If anything, the new technology, the superior conditioning of the athletes, and the increased intensity of the competition have merely whetted the race’s appetite for destruction.” – Mike Plant, author of Iron Will

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Rather than recreating the wheel, I thought I’d look back at 2007 and see what training I was doing leading up to my PR at Grandma’s. Here’s what I found;

284 miles
50-78 mpw (64 avg)
2 days off
4 doubles
4 hill workouts
3 tempo runs of 4-6 miles
1:24:06 half marathon
19 mile long run
11 mile med-long run

275 miles
49-81 mpw (69 avg)
2 days off
6 doubles
4 hill workouts
2 tempo runs of 6-9 miles
No races
20 mile long run
12 mile med-long run

293 miles
50-81 mpw (66 avg)
2 days off
3 doubles
2 hill workouts
2 tempo runs of 5-7 miles
29:33 8K
20 mile long run
15 mile med-long run

254 miles
55-70 mpw (59 avg)
5 days off
4 doubles
No hill workouts
2 tempo runs of 7-10 miles
37:47 10K, plus 2 25K “races” at 7:00-7:10 pace
22 mile long run
15 mile med-long run
2 workouts of 600m
3 strides

268 miles
59-62 mpw (60 avg)
5 days off
No doubles
No hill workouts
2 tempo runs of 6-7 miles
1:21:49 half marathon and 17:52 5K
2 20 mile long run
14 mile med-long run
2 workouts; Ks and 1200s
3 strides
It should be noted that I also ran 290 miles in November and then 350 in December – so I had a solid 7 months of training leading up to the race.

Looking back, it appears January – March were pretty similar. Then in April I made the decision to take one day off per week and cut hills, while adding in shorter speedwork.

I’m not sure how realistic it is to try and recreate this plan in 2009. For sure I won’t have 290 miles this month. Keep in mind, all of these numbers from 2007 were before I started skiing. In any case, it is interesting to lay out the high points along the way and see that there is in fact a reason for why I ran so well. Of course, it also means that I have a lot of work ahead of me if I want to run that fast again.

Quote of the day;

“When you realize too late that you took all that aerodynamic crap a little too seriously and still have a marathon to run, it’s not what bike you’re riding, but who you are, deep down inside, that makes the difference.” – Mike Plant, author of Iron Will

Monday, November 10, 2008


I’m happy to report that my “master plan” for getting woefully out of shape is working very well. I especially notice it when I’m on a group run and we come to any sort of incline. I’m immediately left in the dust and sucking wind like it’s a 5K.

The health-kick is still in effect for the most part – although there are some things I can work on.

Eating-wise I think I’ve made some good improvements. For example, if I have a craving for sweets during the workday, I make sure I’ve eaten all the food I brought with me to work. That usually includes carrots, fig newtons, an apple, etc. And if I do succumb to the craving, I try to limit my intake by enjoying just one helping – rather than wolfing it down and grabbing two or three more. I’ve also been replacing evening snacks with ready-to-eat cereal, oatmeal or malt-o-meal.

As far as strength training goes, I’ve pretty my given up on the Core Performance plan as it’s written. I just don’t think my schedule is conducive to 6 times a week of their program. Instead, I’ve been mixing in a bunch of their stretching and strengthening exercises 3 times a week.

I dusted off my mountain bike a week ago and I rode for 1:20. That was when it was 60 degrees. It’s now 20 degrees and the snowmakers at Hyland were going full-force this morning.

I’m trying to get back into the routine of reading a little each night. I finished reading Iron Will. I especially like the early parts of the book that focused on how the Ironman came about and the early years. After that it basically turned into a recap of each year’s race. Still, it was a fun read with lots of quotable material that I’m sure I’ll be posting here.

I also read Breaking Stride. Written by a Minnesota, I’d love to give it rave reviews, but like the amazon.com reviews, I’m mixed. I love the topic and it’s short length, but I thought there were tons of metaphors – nearly all of which had to do with how incredibly hard racing is. Maybe I was just never good enough or pushed myself hard enough, so I can’t relate to was a state champion goes through during a race. But if it’s anything like this author describes, then I wonder why any of us run at all.

Quote of the day;

“If there’s a spot on the planet where a model for Victoria’s Secret would feel self-conscious in a bikini, this is it.” – Mike Plant talking about Kailua-Kona, HI, home of the Ironman world championships

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Not much is going on, plus I’m busy at work, so I’ll keep this short.

I managed 40 miles last week on 5 runs. I’ll probably stay in the 40-45 mile range this week too.

I was reading an article on Kara Goucher’s race at NYC and I came across this paragraph;

Goucher, 30, received some hometown treatment from the throngs of spectators lining the course, a result of her roots in Queens and the fact that her father was killed by a drunk driver in Manhattan in 1982.

She received some “hometown treatment” because of the fact her father was killed by a drunk driver in Manhattan?

Well, that's mighty nice of those spectators.

Speaking of stupid statements, Scott sent me an article yesterday regarding the hill on the NYC Marathon course that included this statement;

When [Jack] Daniels studied the effects of hill running as an exercise physiology researcher for Nike in the early ’80s, he found that: “If you’re going uphill, you’ll go a little slower with the same effort. If you’re going down, you’ll go a little faster with the same effort.”

I never would have figured that out by myself.

Quote of the day;

“If I see a hill, it brings joy to my soul,” he said. “The more hills on course, the better.” – Rod Dixon