Monday, August 31, 2009


After a week long vacation, I'm back. Anyone want to guess where we went?

Here's a hint.

We had a great time; no emails, no blogs, no facebook, etc. Totally unplugged. More photos to follow.

I don't have much to mention, running-wise. Let's just say it was my lowest mileage ever for a non-injured, non-marathon recovery week. But I think I needed it. Running was getting to be a drag. I finally had a decent run the Friday before leaving. Then I struggled through three 5-mile runs in the heat and humidity of Florida. Yesterday I was back in Minnesota and enjoyed a 2-hour run in October-like weather.

It's too early to tell what all this means for Whistlestop, but I'm pretty sure that anything fast is out the window.

Quote of the day;

"I didn't want to put limitations and expectations (coming into the race). I felt like 12:58 was maybe not far-fetched, but it was definitely a little bit of a pipe dream." - Dathan Ritzenhein after dropping his 5K PR from 13:16.06 to 12:56.27 and in the process bettering Bob Kennedy's 13-year-old American Record.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can’t fake the motivation needed to run well. And right now it feels like I’m trying to fake it. I thought turning 40 would magically get me all fired up, but it hasn’t happened. I’m still putting in 50-70 mpw, so I’m pretty fit. However, any semblance of following a plan went out the window two weeks ago.

MattyG has written about being “overcooked” leading up to a couple of races. That’s how I was feeling in early August, so I’ve basically backed off my mileage a little and added in more easy days. I did manage a 20-miler on Sunday. I had 22 planned, but prior to the run I realized I didn’t have any gels in the house. I tried to make it by carrying 20 oz. of Gatorade with me, but it just didn’t cut it – just before mile 19, I was done. I’m sure the 65 degree dew point didn’t help either.

Right now I’m hoping to survive this week before going on vacation next week. After that I’ll try to make one final 6-week push towards Whistlestop.

Anyone watch the men’s 10K last night at the World Champs? How does Bekele (and all the other runners) kick his foot up so high behind him? Seriously, his heel hits him in the ass with each stride.

Finally, be sure to check out my latest interview.

Quote of the Day;

“You’re unique… just like everyone else.” – greeting card I got for my birthday

Friday, August 14, 2009


How’s that saying go – a goal unwritten is just a wish - something like that? Well whether it was a goal or just a wish, I accomplished something last night that I thought was achievable this year. Yes, I met Olympian Carrie Tollefson. Okay, maybe it’s silly to have a goal, er, wish, that you can’t really control. However, I have a few connections throughout the running community and she’s visible enough that it seemed like a likely goal, er, wish. Whatever! Anyway, she was at last night’s Midsummer Night’s 3-mile, along with her husband. Although I’ve interviewed him, I had never met him in person. And the Lehm-kuhles were there too. Unfortunately, Katie wasn’t there. Apparently, running the World Championship 10,000m is more important.

I hyped this race pretty good after last year’s 1st annual event – more so because of the post-race gathering, than the race itself. If it’s possible, this year even topped last year with its hot dogs, Vitamin Water, popsicles, Great Harvest bread nuggets, and 2 beer tickets. Combine that with a microfiber shirt and I had no problem paying the $30 entry fee. More races should take note!

My only gripe – and it’s a big one – is that this year they replaced Surly and Flat Earth with Michelob Ultra. Not to be a beer snob, but give me 1 Surly over 2 (or 6) Michelob Ultras.

Anyway, this was my second race as a Master and it’s the second time my chip has screwed up. Both times my results were corrected, but last night it kept me from winning the men’s Master title and some great swag. I spoke with the race staff afterwards and they assured me they’ll get everything straightened out, so I’m not worried.

Going into the race I figured I’d break 19-minutes and thought 18:30 might be possible. I ended up running 18:19 (6:01, 6:07, 6:11) and finished 9th overall. For comparison, last year I was 3rd overall in 17:50. Complete results can be found HERE.

Quote of the Day;

“Every marathon I ran, I knew I had a faster one in me. Even though I’d be spent, even though I’d be cramped up, I knew with a little more training, a little more preparation, a little more experience, I could run faster.” – Dick Beardsley

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Leave it to my friend Eric to figure out what ails me. You’ve heard of ADD, well I have ASD;

The questions I asked the other day are meant to be rhetorical. I’m not so much looking for answers, as I’m just trying to share the wide variety of things that pop into my head during a run. I’m guessing I’m not the only one that has similar thoughts floating around in their grey matter.

I do need to sit down with my training plan and adapt it a little. I’m thinking 2 easy days after every hard workout ought to do the trick.

So yesterday was an easy 5 miles. This morning was more of the same. I may try to get in another run tonight to help keep my weekly mileage up. Tomorrow night is the Mid-Summer Night’s 3 mile. I blogged about it last month. Come out for a fun run and some beer.

Quote of the Day;

“I viewed every marathon as a test of my manhood. It wasn’t enough for me to win the race. I wanted to bury the other guys.” – Alberto Salazar

Monday, August 10, 2009


Turning 40, running a “bad” 10K, having a 20 miler start out very sluggish, and just a general overall malaise lately have me asking – okay, re-asking - a lot of questions about my running lately.

Seriously, one minute I’m thinking I need to train harder, the next minute I’m thinking I need to cut back. One minute I’m thinking 85 mpw of easy running is what I need and the next I’m thinking 55 mpw with a couple of hard workouts would be better.

Maybe I should consider taking one day off per week, like I did with Pfitz for Gma’s. Maybe that’d be enough for a physical and mental break.

Or how about cross training on that day off? Maybe add in some biking – or better yet – some roller skiing. Is it time to set my sites on The Birkie? At least I’m still seeing improvement in that sport. Maybe if I started my training earlier, I could take a crack at sub-3 there.

Of course, spending the weekend in Madison had me thinking about Ironman Wisconsin.

It’s like just when I thought I was figuring this running thing out, the rules have changed. As much as I’d like to deny it, all those things you hear older runners talk about as they age appear to be true. I can’t just transition from one program to another without feeling some adverse affects. Running weeks on end – doing 2-3 hard days per week - without a day off are most likely in the past. I’d need to adjust and find what works for me – now!

Earlier I was thinking that with a little hard work, I’d have a shot at a PR (2:57)in the fall. Now I’m not so sure. To be honest, I’d be happy with one more sub-3 – and I’m not even sure that’s a possibility based on the times I’ve been running lately. Yes, I know all about recovering from Grandma’s, being in the middle of marathon training, the dog days of summer, etc., etc. So there’s no need to comment on that. Even with all that mixed in, my training paces leave me wondering if 6:52 for 26.2 miles is a pipe dream.

In any case, I have 9 weeks till race day.

I finished last week with 58 miles on 5 days. I couldn’t bring myself to get up before the family and run in the rain while in Madison. Hence the 2 days off. Yesterday I ran 8 miles with 8 x 8 second hill sprints. This morning I ran 10 miles, including 2 x 1.5 miles at 6:40 pace – or what I’m calling half marathon pace – with 2:00 easy in between.

Quote of the Day;

“Some people dream of success while others wake up and achieve it.” - unknown

Friday, August 07, 2009



That's how I felt at the end of this morning's 20 miler. No, not because of some endorphin rush after running for 2:45. But because of how shitty I felt for the first 3 miles of this run. If you had stopped me one mile into the run and asked if I thought I'd be able to repeat that 19 more times, my answer would have been a big N-O!

There I was with the day off of work, running the best trails (Lebanon Hills) in the metro area and all I could think about was how crappy I felt. I wasn't able to just let my mind wander and enjoy my time on the trails. Then about 3 miles into my run I stopped to squat in the woods and when I started running again, I felt fine. The flats no longer felt like hills and the hills no longer felt like mountains.

I was finally able to relax and enjoy the run while thinking about things like; "Hmm, this trails seems pretty isolated. If something happened to me, it could be weeks before I'm found. It might be time to find that RoadID I bought a few years ago."

Today's long run called for the last 30 minutes to be at a moderate pace. Of course, early in the run I had no idea if I'd make it the full distance let alone add in a little workout at the end. By the time I got 2 hours into the run I was sopping wet from a steady rain. I decided to venture home and run the last 5 miles on the treadmill. After a quick change into dry clothes and a mile on the treadmill, I picked up the pace and ran the last 4 miles at 6:58 pace.

All in all this long run was quite the adventure. I was glad to get it in because we're heading to Madison today, so there's no other opportunity for a long run this weekend.

Quote of the day;

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out." - Robert Collier

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


It looks like "aging up" helped at Sunday's race. I ended up 3rd in the 40-44 age group, whereas I would have been like 7th in the 35-39 age group.

I haven't even thought about "training" the last 2 days. Yesterday I slogged through a very easy 5 miles and this morning I made it another easy 8. My legs are still tried - running a 6 mile cooldown after Sunday's race probably has something to do with that.

You've seen his blog, now check out Matt Gabrielson's interview with Runner's World.

Quote of the day;

"What I've learned is it's not about having a great workout, it's about continuing to be consistent and getting yourself set to be ready to go on that one day. I need to trust my training that I've done and not overdo it toward the end because there's a line you can cross. There's no magic workout that's going to happen in the last two or three weeks." - Matt Gabrielson

Monday, August 03, 2009


I believe the U of M’s coach, Steve Plascencia, was 39-years-old when he placed 4th at the 1996 Olympic marathon trials. The following year he continued to tear up the roads as a Masters. There was an interview in one of the running magazines with him during which he said something like there’s not some magical switch that goes off when you turn 40 – slowing down is inevitable, but it happens at different rates and at different times for everyone.

That gave me hope. However, after Sunday’s race, I’d swear that there is a magical switch in my body and it’s been turned off. Paces that I could easily run for a half marathon in the middle of winter off of base training just a couple of years ago are now a struggle to maintain for 10K.

Sunday I ran the Hennepin Lake Classic 10K and had to sprint* to break 40 minutes. My splits ended up being 6:20, 6:24, 6:27, 6:27, 6:36, 6:26, 1:17 and my 5K splits were 19:52/20:05 for a 39:57.

*I thought I was sprinting until I watched the leaders of the 5K race.

After running 39:15 at Get in Gear in April, this is more than a little frustrating. And it leads to a whole bunch of questions;

Is my new training program working or not?
Is this program too much for me? Am I overtraining? Do I need to do fewer workouts?
Do I just not respond well to VO2 workouts? Did Friday’s hill workout leave me tired?
Am I on the right path for a marathon?
If I truly run well just off of a lot of base miles, should I just go back to that type of training?
Is all of this just a matter of getting older?

I know Hudson has a section for Masters in his book. At 39-years-old and 11 months, I didn’t think I needed to read it. Now I do.

And I think I’ll have to start paying attention to Joe Rubio’s Masters Plan;

1) Take your recovery days easier - take them seriously.

2) Do less hard sessions each week than when you were younger. Do less within each hard session.

3) You can be "on" occasionally, so best pick the times you want to hammer wisely.

4) It takes longer to get in shape as a masters athlete. And it takes much less time to fall out of fitness than 20 years ago [or 30 ... or 40].

5) Injuries take an eternity to get over, and there seem to be many more of them along the way. If you can stay healthy, you are way ahead of the game.

6)Family first, career second, running third, beer a close fourth.

7)Masters racing is all about fun and friendships.

The good news is that I feel fine and I’m not hurt or sore – just slow(er).

Quote of the Day;

“You have to hate to lose, more than you love to win.” - unknown


Ahhhhh! 40-years-old! A co-worker described it as a “monumental” birthday. I would have to agree. There’s something about it that makes you want to stop and think about your life a little more and reevaluate where you’re at. I’m sure for some, that reevaluation leads to the purchase of a sports car or a Harley. Runners would be content with a kick-ass summer of road racing

Leading up to the “event” I had thoughts of really getting serious about all the ancillary things that I think will help my running. You know, a better diet, more time working on strength training and flexibility and less time playing video games, less alcohol, etc.

Then my birthday arrived, so of course we had to celebrate. That meant cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast. Somehow we’ve gotten into the habit of cinnamon or caramel rolls on the weekend. However, bacon is a treat. It’s one of those things that makes you think, dang this stuff is good – I could eat it every day! There goes my diet. Then I opened gifts, including the new Wii Sports Resort. There goes my “free” time for strength training and stretching. 2 thumbs up on Resort, by the way. Then just after I cleaned my house of alcohol, we had a little party and I was left with a fridge full of wine and beer.

So my 5th decade is off to a rousing start.

Quote of the Day;

“I will say, I was really bummed to turn 40. It’s one of those monumental birthdates in life that you just downright feel old. Just ask your kids…..40 is ancient.” – a co-worker of mine