Monday, December 20, 2010


With a new year on the horizon, I’ve decided to reconsider pulling the plug on R-cubed. If there’s one thing I learned in 2010, it’s that life is too short to sit around and watch it go by. So my plan is to take the rest of 2010 off from running – that’ll be six weeks from when the pain was at its peak. Then I’ll spend 4 months focused on building up my training in order to complete R-cubed.

Part of my trepidation last week is that this trip will be with some very accomplished ultramarathoners. Running 44-miles is practically an every weekend occurrence for these guys. Plus, they’re fast. So heading into uncharted waters, undertrained, is not the best idea.

I was wondering the other day, if I make this thing, does that mean I’m an ultramarthoner? I mean, there won’t be any medal or t-shirt afterwards. That’s how you distinguish between events that matter and those that don’t, right?

Quote of the Day;

“I like hills because you can see the top. I know that sounds glib, but you know that the hill is not going to keep appearing; it’s there and once you get to the top it’s behind you, and you feel as though you have conquered something.” – Rob de Castella

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I made it 23 miles in my first week back and then my shin started to feel weird again, so I decided to shut running down for awhile. The good news is that after receiving 16” or more of snow last weekend, we now have a nice base for x-c skiing. When it comes to skiing, I started a new rule this year; if it’s below 10 degrees – don’t bother skiing. That’s mainly due to lack of glide rather than being a wuss, but I’m not positive. Anyway, now we just need to temps to warm up a little in order to get out and enjoy all that new snow.

Since I can’t run and haven’t been skiing, I’ve “made friends” with the local elliptical machine. I don’t know how fit the elliptical will keep me – I’m just trying to stop the weight gain at 8 pounds. I’ve actually been doing a decent job of including some strength training, drill, and stretching afterwards. The drills include stuff like lunges, butt kicks, high knees, straight leg march (I use the term “straight” very loosely), etc. One thing I’ve noticed about doing these drills is how far removed I’ve been from doing anything other than running or skiing. It’s been years since I’ve had a physical education class. I don’t play any other sports, like basketball, soccer, softball, etc. AND I CAN TELL!!! Holy cow, every non-running movement is new, awkward and incredible hard – at least at first. After doing them 3-4 different days, things feel a lot better. I’m not sure how much these types of things will help my running. Frankly, that’s not the reason I’ve included them. I’m doing them because I need to, if for no other reasons than increased coordination, better balance, increased range of motion, etc. It just makes me feel good. Increased power, improved running form, injury prevention, etc. will just be icing on the cake.

Not being able to run makes me think that R-cubed will have to until another time. Hopefully there will be other opportunities.

Quote of the Day;

“I don’t know how the creative process works, but it always seems, as I’m running, that thoughts start coming in; sentences start coming in.” – Robert A. Caro, biographer

Monday, December 06, 2010


With the shin problems, Thanksgiving, and busy time at work, I ended up taking a week-and-a-half off. The good news is that the shin feels fine. The bad news is that I feel fat and out of shape. I just seemed to be getting in some decent mileage, along with some good tempo runs. Then the next thing I know, all thoughts of 200-250 miles in November went out the window. Anyway, I’m slowly building back up – emphasis on “slowly” as my first run back was literally 3 miles.

Friday and Saturday we got about 8” on snow dumped on us. I hadn’t even really thought about skiing yet – and ski racing was the furthest thing from my mind. Then I got an email from the Birkie stating that my wave only had 50 open spots remaining. Needless to say, I couldn’t afford to wait and I broke out my credit card. So I at least have one race on the horizon.

I used my down time to go through all the magazines that tend to pile up over time. I came this article that asks the question, “Is it time to get over the marathon?” It has some great points and has me seriously considering skipping another marathon in 2011.

I also compiled all the drills and strength-training articles I could find. I want to give this type of training some serious consideration in the upcoming year. After years of telling myself that “just running” is enough, I’m pretty sure that there are gains to be made with these types of exercises. At least I intent to find out.

Finally, here’s another article I came across regarding R-cubed. I’m still not sure if I’ll do this in 2011 or not.

Quote of the Day;

“Conventional wisdom views the progression of distances, from 5K to 10K, on to the half marathon and the marathon, as a progression of ability and seriousness.” – Jonathan Beverly

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This time of year is always busy for me at work and this year has been no different. I've had lots on my mind, but not much time to write anything down.

I could have mentioned how winter arrived overnight, literally, a couple of weeks ago. We went from 68 degrees to 6" of snow in the span of about 36 hours. I don't think the temp has been much over 30 degrees since. Right now it's 9 degrees outside. It's November 23rd! If this keeps up it's going to be a long winter.

I wanted to mention that after writing that base building article I was fired up again and managed weeks of 50 and 60 miles. Now my shin has flared up. I've never had shin splits or a stress fracture, so I don't know if it's one or the other - or neither. In either case, I need to figure it out soon before I put on 50 pounds before the holidays even arrive.

I was going to ask what everyone does with all their medals. As I was laying around, not exercising, I decided to go through a bunch of stuff. I never realized how many medals I had just sitting in boxes and drawers. Maybe that's the best place for them, but I was wondering if anyone does anything special with theirs?

Finally, here are some photos from Halloween. We hosted a party for the kids and it turned out to be a very busy day for me;

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Almost 6 months to the day I wrote this post where I was seeking help regarding writing an article about mileage trumping ancillary training. I finally got around to writing this article. I didn’t include any specific examples yet, but I’m still considering it.

Building a Bigger Base
A friend of mine ran a fall marathon with the outside goal of qualifying for Boston. Entering the race, she needed to drop 14-minutes from her PR. That’s a rather large chuck of time to drop in one race, but it’s doable. She had a very good race and was able to shave seven minutes from her PR. Like most runners, she started to think about a spring marathon and the training that would finally get her a well-earned Boston Qualifier (BQ). With winter on the horizon she told me, “I want to focus on speed.” Her plan is to cut her mileage and include more speed work because that’s what she thinks is holding her back from her BQ.

At first, I just bit my lip and nodded. The whole time I was thinking she has it backwards. Looking at her race splits, she was on-pace for her BQ until mile 23. Then the wheels started to fall off and she lost roughly two minutes per mile the rest of the way. To me, that means she can handle the pace needed to reach her goal, she just lacks the strength to carry that speed for 26.2 miles. Finally, I spoke up and told her I thought this winter would be the perfect time to focus on more miles, not fewer miles. I think developing a bigger mileage base will more likely push her to her goal, than more speed.

Of course, this isn’t an original thought. The famous New Zealand coach, Arthur Lydiard deserves much of the credit. His training philosophy revolves around the concept of stamina and endurance being prerequisites to which speed is later added. As he put it, “Speed and the ability to run while in oxygen debt can be developed in four to five weeks, so why waste a lot of time running intervals and speed work when performance is governed by the aerobic capacity?” Instead, Lydiard preached running a lot of miles and building a huge base, saying, “You must do as much aerobic running as you can. The minimum is three months. Four months is better, five is better still but anything less than three months is not enough.”

When I think about setting aside 3-5 months for base building, I can’t help but think of our Minnesota winters. If there’s a better time for base building in this area, I haven’t found it. If you think about it, the local road-racing scene typically lasts from March to October. That leaves the other four months of the year for building your aerobic capacity. Sure, winters can be tough around here, but I like to live by the adage “there isn’t bad weather, just bad clothing.” When you combine things like high-tech clothing, treadmills, indoor tracks, running at the Metrodome, etc., you’ll find that you can indeed thrive during a Minnesota winter, instead of just survive.

If your interest is piqued and you’d like to build a bigger base, there’s no better source than Lydiard. While his training philosophy may be misconstrued among the masses, it is well regarded among other coaches. Many people think his entire program simply involves slogging through at least 100 miles per week. However, that’s not the case at all. As Olympian Ron Daws, who was a big proponent of Lydiard, puts it in his book, Running Your Best, “Mileage is important, but it isn’t everything. During your buildup ideally you should run the highest mileage you can without injury or exhaustion. As you become fitter and have reached a high but endurable weekly mileage, you shouldn’t try to run more miles, but more at or near the fastest pace you can without becoming anaerobic. Never make your target mileage a contest to see how much you can run. If you run so far you never run fast, you are doing it wrong.”

I used to hate reading any training article that included the phrase, “find what works for you.” I wondered why I couldn’t just read in black and white what to do to achieve my best results. Finding what works is often a trial and error approach that can be time consuming and frustrating. However, now I understand what a friend of mine means when he says, “We’re all an experiment of one.” Each runner is different in many ways (see sidebar) and we all have to experiment to find out what works best for us. This holds true whether we’re adding speed workouts, incorporating recovery days, or building our base mileage.

While there are many ways to go about increasing one’s mileage and building a bigger base, here are a few tactics that I’ve used with success. First, the 10% rule states that you should never increase your previous week’s mileage by more than 10%. I find this rule is most useful when you are building your mileage to levels you never reached before. If you ran 40 MPW all last year, but now you’re at 20 MPW, the 10% rule doesn’t really apply. You can ratchet back to 40 MPW quicker than the 10% rule would allow. However, if you want to take your mileage from, say 40 to 60 MPW, then increasing by no more than 10% each week is a wise move. Second, after building your weekly mileage for two or three weeks in a row, incorporate a cutback week where you reduce your mileage for the week. This will allow your body to recover and adapt to the increased stressed placed upon it before beginning another two to three week building phase. Third, as poet William Blake said, “You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.” As you continue to build your mileage, be sure to listen to your body and be on the look out for signs of injury and exhaustion. Re-evaluate often and be flexible with your plan as problems arise. Finally, as you experiment with what level of weekly mileage is right for you, be aware that it will change over time as your season and career develop. Just because you got injured once at a certain level of training doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to handle that level again.

I understand that this type of program is not for everyone. It does take commitment and as Daws puts it, “Making a commitment to run comes down to how badly you want to explore your limits. It means honestly confronting your excuses. It means making time to train. If you do that, it will be incredible – running and improving from mileage formerly thought beyond your ability.” So, if you are serious about improving your running and pushing your limits, I encourage you to take a good hard look at your base building this winter. Lay out a plan that is beyond anything you’ve done before. Then once the snow is gone you can worry about adding speed workouts on top of your biggest base ever.

From Ron Daws’s Running Your Best
Ten common factors affecting mileage are:
1 - Previous running experience.
2 - Mental tenacity.
3 – Durability.
4 - The events that you are training for.
5 - The speed at which you train.
6 - Outside activities.
7 - Amount of sleep.
8 - Emotional pressures.
9 - Phase of training (goals in training).
10 - One or two-a-day workouts.

Monday, November 08, 2010


Wow! The New York Road Runners took marathon coverage to a new level over the weekend. They had incredible coverage leading up to the New York City Marathon; live streaming, on-demand video of press conferences, documentaries, and a fun segment called the Daily Cool Down, which was hosted by Carrie Tollefson who did a terrific job! You can still find many of these videos HERE.

After the race they even had a video of Haile Gebrselassie’s press conference where the greatest runner ever shocked the press corp. by announcing his retirement. I find it hard to believe that we won’t see him in another race. If you watch his pre-race press conference with Paul Tergat, he talks about coming back to NYC until he wins the event. Hopefully, he was just caught up in the heat of the moment after DNF’ing.

I know there’s a lot of debate as to whether he is the greatest ever or not. To me, it’s no contest. This guy was setting world records when I was in college in the mid-90s. Then he set the marathon world record a couple of years ago. There’s like 18 year between his first and last world record. Unbelievable!

Here's a video of the last 2 laps of the 10,000m in Sydney. When Tergat makes his move at about 1:30 into the video, watch Gebrselassie's teammate. I think he says something to Geb about Tergat making his move because Geb starts picking it up before he ever sees Tergat.

Quote of the Day;

“Without me, there’s no Paul Tergat. Without Paul Tergat, there’s no Haile Gebrselassie.” - Haile Gebrselassie

Friday, November 05, 2010


Back on October 14th, I challenged myself to become more consistent with my running during the rest of the month. I think I did a pretty good job. During the first 12 days of the month I took 5 days off, but during the last 19 days of the month, I only took 4 days off – and none were back to back. My weekly mileage jumped from 36 MPW to 49 MPW. After a bunch of months where I averaged about 140 miles, I ended up with 192 in October. All of this means things are heading in the right direction and I’m feeling pretty good lately.

I’ve mentioned the importance of being consistent with my training in order to improve. For me, that means getting into a routine that involves running before work. As the seasons change, I’ve noticed that the number of people exercising in the mornings has decreased significantly since the summer when there was much more daylight. That has me wondering where all those people went. Do they go indoors, switch their exercise schedules, start hibernating, etc.?

I should mention that the thought of rim-2-rim-2-rim (which be referred to as rim-cubed from now on – at least on this blog) has me more fired up than anything else I’ve done lately. I like the idea that it’s a new and exciting challenge that would take place in a part of the country I’ve never been to. Plus, it’s not a race, so my retirement would still be intact.

Quote of the Day;

“The day I retire is the day they drop me into the fire or bury me.” – Ron Hill

Friday, October 29, 2010


After this post two weeks ago, I decided to break out a calendar to see when the 2011 Winter Carnival Half Marathon occurs. It falls on January 29th, which, at the time, was 15 weeks away. Then I cracked open my copy of Road Racing for Serious Runners to look at their half marathon training plan. It turns out that it’s a 15 week schedule.

Ding, ding, ding!

They have two programs; one is between 30-50 MPW while the other is between 50-72 MPW. I laid them both out and for the first two weeks, I’ve been right in the middle. I’m not sure what will happen once the snow flies and skis start calling my name, but at least having this running race on the horizon should help keep me motivated.

The other day, my neighbor posted some thoughts that I can easily relate to. Although he’s a biker, we’re the same age, have the same number of kids that are in the same age range, both work full-time, etc. So I often find that we ponder the same issues. Anyway, he wrote that he’s always envied those folks that can race and compete in those epic events that are out. And he knows that he can do it too. The real question is does he want to?

That’s where I find myself a lot of the time. I’m envious. I know I could do those things. But do I want to?

One such case came up during this morning’s group run. One of the things on my bucket list came up. It turns out some of the guys are heading to Arizona in May and running rim-2-rim-2-rim, which is roughly 42 miles. Perfect, since I’ll be 42-years-old next year.

Now I just have to decide if I really want to do it.

Quote of the Day;

“Roger Bannister studied the four-minute mile the way Jonas Salk studied polio – with a view to eradicating.” – Jim Murray

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I get the whole concept that we’re really only competing against ourselves in this sport. However, I can’t help but look through the results to see how well other people are running. Then, immediately after that, I remind myself that so and so isn’t married, that person doesn’t have any kids, his wife is also a runner, that guy is only 28-years-old, and so on.

Of course, if I try hard enough, I can pretty much pigeonhole everyone that’s faster than me into a finite group of categories – even if I have to use the all-encompassing “genetically gifted” category the majority of the time. It’s kind of like coming up with an alibi, there’s always one there, you just have to dig a little.

That’s where I’m going to lump my college teammate, Jim, who I eluded to here. He’s married with 3 kids, his wife doesn’t run, he works full-time, and he’s 39-years old. So I can’t really use any of the standard categories - although 39 IS different than 41. : -)

Why do I lump him in the “genetically gifted” category? Well, he hasn’t been competitive in the last 15 years, yet last weekend he proceeded to run a sub-37 minute trail 10K off of minimal training. That’s faster than anything I’ve run in peak condition during the last 15 years. Given that he ran roughly 30 seconds per mile faster than me while in college, it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, you’d think 15 years of little-to-no exercise would help close that gap.

I guess it would have if he’d been racing 40 pounds ago.

Quote of the Day;

“The first 75 guys are professionals, so you have to throw them out. The next 75 guys are 19-year-olds living in their parent’s basement, so you have to throw them out. That means you were in the top-100, which is pretty impressive.” – Scott’s friend after he was a little bummed with “only” finishing in the top-250 at TCM

Friday, October 15, 2010


I’m not sure it’s a conscious or subconscious decision, but during the last few years I’ve seemed to be searching for ways to give back to the sport that’s given me so much over the last 30+ years. I’ve been writing for the MDRA newsletter for probably 4-5 years now. Then I started my interview blog back in October of 2006. There was the year of writing press releases for TCM in 2008 before working on the Yearbook last year.

This year the opportunity arose to become the program director/coach of the Eastview Athletic Association cross country program which is geared towards 3rd – 6th graders. The previous program director emailed a very long list of duties, and to be honest, I was a little reluctant to take over the program. However, cross-country is one of those programs with a high likely-hood that no one will take over and the program just fades away.

I agreed to do it as long as I could find another person to help with the coaching duties. Luckily, Val was eager to jump in and give coaching a shot even though she’s never run cross-country. Given that we had no idea what we were getting into, it’s safe to say that we were pretty darn scared before the season started. Then we had our first practice and 30+ kids showed up. Now we were really scared!!! Somehow we were able to muddle through everything.

Before we knew it, the season was over. We had our final practice last night, a time trial, followed by an ice cream social while going over each kid’s improvement during the season. In the end, it was an absolute blast. And it’s actually sad that we’ll have to wait 10 months before we get to do it again.

I wish I could go through each kid’s season here and talk about the highs and lows, but I won’t. I will say that we had one girl in tears after the first couple of meets. She was super fast when it came to sprinting, but she had no concept of pacing. As a result, she spent a lot of time walking and ended up with mile times around 11-minutes. Once she figured out pacing (with the awesome help of her coaches, of course), she dropped her PR to 7:59. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone more excited.

That’s what it’s all about and that’s just one example that I think made the season a huge success. We sent out a survey recently, and luckily, the parents seem to think the same way as Val and I have received some high marks.

Quote of the Day;

“Positive, friendly atmosphere was wonderful--it seems good running stems from kids being willing to both succeed AND fail in front of their teammate and coaches, so they can take the risks to do their best. Starting out too fast is a lesson, leaving too much energy at the end is a lesson, and the kids seemed to trust in this learning environment.” – Survey response

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I’m starting to think that this “recreational” running is not for me. I just can’t find any motivation when there’s not a race on the horizon – even a distant horizon is better than nothing. After a solid start to October for the first 8 days, I “decided” to take the next 4 days off. I wish I had a good excuse, but the best I can come up with is that I travelled over the weekend and then I stayed up late Monday watching football.

In any case, I may have to consider putting a race on my calendar just to “force” me to train, er, I mean run. Heck with “training” I need to start by “running”.

However, I have been thinking about the whole “training” vs. “running” issue lately. Steve had a great post the other day where he compares being UN-coached to being SELF-coached. If you’re not familiar with Steve, he spent the end of the season focusing on breaking 60-minutes for the TC-10. He hired a coach, followed her workouts religiously, and proceeded to crack off a 59:05.

That’s great, but like me, he finds himself not willing to pay a coach on a long-term basis. Now he’s trying to apply what he learned from his coach in hopes of moving from un-coached to self-coached.

If nothing else, his post has me thinking about my own training. My extent of being coached is copying a marathon training program out of a book and following that. I can’t think of the last time I did a speed workout or the last time I really focused on anything other than a marathon. Maybe 2011 should be the year of speed for me. It’d be interesting to train for races between 5K and half marathon, instead of just throwing them into the mix during a marathon build up.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that I’ll hire a coach, but if I want to make those races worthwhile, I should probably put a little more focus on speed work – and possible locate the nearest track.

In either case, step one is to get consistent. Normally it takes me 3 weeks of training before I can feel myself getting into a groove. So I'm challenging myself to build up my consistency through the end of the month. After that I'll think about putting a race on the horizon - however distant it may be.

Quote of the Day;

“Don’t run hard till you can run easy.” – Ron Daws

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


As the years have gone by, it seems like fewer and fewer of my college teammates are still running. That’s understandable as work and family commitments take up more time over the years. I’ve always felt that once these guys turned 40 that’d experience some mid-life crisis that would either lead them to buy a motorcycle or start running again. If they did the latter, I “feared” they’d whip themselves into shape faster than I could say “once a runner” and they’d begin to tear up the local racing scene.

We’ll it appears that process has begun. Within the last two weeks I’ve talked with two former teammates who’ve both started training again. Each has lost 40 pounds recently and they both have races on the horizon. One looks a smooth as he did 15 years ago and is already kicking my ass during our Friday morning group runs. At least the other one is in Madison, so I won’t have to experience an ass kicking from him very often.

It’s great to hear these guys are back at it and I’m sure it’s not the last I’ll hear from old college teammates.

Here a team photo from my freshmen year of college.

I had a great weekend. Saturday morning the family ventured to Elm Creek Park for the Autumn Woods Classic. They had a 1K event that the girls signed up for, as well as some of my cross-country kids. It was super-fun to see the girls in their first running race. I doubt this will be their sport of choice, but it’s still nice to see them give it a try.

Afterwards I made a solo trip to Ashland to partake in the post-Whistlestop Marathon festivities. Since I grew up there, I still have some friends in town as well as friends that ran the race, so I didn’t have to party solo. While this is probably not a race that everyone wants to run every year, I think it’s one that everyone should try once. It’s just a great time of year to drive up north and check out the fall colors. The course is on crushed limestone, so it’s different than most races. I think the town does a great job supporting the event. The post race activities are fun. And there’s a great brew pub/restaurant and a great coffee shop in town. What more do you want?

Quote of the Day;

“I can't complain about third place when I'm beat by a three-time Olympian and an American record-holder." – Katie McGregor after placing third at yesterday’s U.S. 10K championship

Friday, October 08, 2010


If you’ve ever read my bio it basically reiterates what I wrote yesterday; "I'm a runner at heart. I followed my dad out the door when I was 10 and have been at it ever since."

As I was digging through all my old stuff, I found a bunch of photos of my dad running that I thought would be fun to share.

1981 - age 41

1986 - age 46

1991 - age 51

1997 - age 57

1968 - age 28

Just kidding, of course that last photo is Steve in a Speedo wearing his famous “bowl full of sunshine” shorts. Little did he know that my dad actually started the trend of wearing yellow short-shorts. And if you look close enough, you’ll see that my dad was wearing black socks before it was ever cool – long before any NBA player ever started wearing them.

While I don’t think my dad is wearing the same pair of yellow shorts in all of those photos, I wouldn’t doubt that it’s the same pair in 1991 and 1997. Those 2 photos crack me up because he has on the same shorts, same socks, same shoes and he even has a tissue on the right side of his shorts in both photos.

I don’t know if he’s raced since 1997, but at 70, he still gets out every other day whether he needs to or not.

I definitely have him to “blame” for getting me wrapped up in this crazy sport. I still have the card my parents gave me after my Ironman and his note is today’s QOD.

Quote of the Day;

“You have truly raised the bar with your recent Ironman efforts. It must be inspiring to you and help you better deal with all of life’s endeavors. I think of you starting out on your marathon after the swim and bike and find it difficult to imagine going that distance. I see that in a much different way now after seeing the efforts of you and your fellow participants. It is inspiring.” – Ed Austin

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


As I was watching TCM on Sunday it really hit me that I am a runner. Of course, I’ve known this all along, but for some reason it really occurred to me during this race. While I may jump in a mtn. bike race once in awhile, ski in the winter, think of doing another triathlon – deep down I’m a runner. When you’ve been doing this for as long as I have, there’s really no denying it. And while there may be days when I wish I could change it, I think doing so would be nearly impossible.

And it’s not just about the running itself. I just relate best to other runners. It didn’t matter who I was talking with or cheering for on Sunday; old friends, new friends, Olympic Trials qualifiers, quiet friends taking photos, loud friends shouting into a microphone, multi-time state record holders, people hoping to qualify for Boston, etc. They were all cool – and I can’t imagine my life without running or my running friends.

Of course, I didn’t know all this 30 years ago. At that time I was probably thinking more about being the next Johnny Bench than I was about being the next Bill Rodgers.

10-year-old Johnny Bench wanna-be.

Running a half marathon at 12 - finished in 1:53:20.

Quote of the Day;

“The marathon can humble you.” – Bill Rodgers


I love running during this time of year for a lot of reasons; the cooler weather, the changing colors, it’s cross country season, and there are a ton of great marathons in the fall. I also like the fall because it’s when I started running 31 years ago. I’ve lost track a little over the years, but I think the actual anniversary is like October 3rd or 4th.

What’s a 10 year old supposed to do a week-and-a-half after starting to run? Jump in a race, of course.

If you flip open the jogger’s diary that I posted yesterday, you’ll see that the first entry is from a 4 mile race I ran on October 13, 1979. I’d like to believe I ran 34:36 for 4 miles, as a 10-year-old. However, I realize they probably clocked this course by driving in their car.

I was actually able to find a photo that my mom took too. For some reason it’s a photo of our back. In case you can’t tell, I’m the short one. While it’s not a very good photo, believe it or not, she got everyone entered in the race in one shot. Yep, there were a total of 4 people in this race. If I remember correctly, I ended up losing a sprint and finishing 2nd. I sure hope I beat that guy that’s blatantly cutting the course.

Speaking of photos, be sure to check out Evan’s photos from TCM.

Quote of the Day;

“I was really ready and didn’t get the breaks. That’s life… you work hard for just a few chances.” – Steve Prefontaine

Monday, October 04, 2010


The good news is that the juices are flowing again. The bad news is that the 2010 season is over.

But that’s alright. I always love wiping the slate clean at the end of a season and starting fresh the following year. It doesn’t matter whether I have a great year or a crappy year – wiping that slate clean is always part of the process.

The spectacular conditions at TCM probably helped get those juices flowing. If I had to pencil in perfect marathon weather, it’d have been what the runners experienced yesterday; 40 degrees at the start, calm and sunny with temps rising to probably 50-55 degrees during the race. Maybe I’d choose “overcast” instead of “sunny” but that’s about my only change.

Congrats to everyone who ran – whether you met your goal or not. And congrats to Katie McGregor on winning her third U.S. title in 2010. Maybe she’s so successful because she posts videos like this on her facebook page.

After watching the marathon yesterday, I ended up going through a bunch of running stuff I’ve collected over the years; medals, news paper articles, log books, bib numbers, etc. I thought it’d be fun to start sharing some of that stuff on here. With that said, here’s a picture of my first-ever “jogging diary”. I guess back in 1979, “jogging” wasn’t a four-letter word.

If you look very closely above the “ing” you’ll see a little stick figure that’s running. Fortunately, my running and writing has gotten better over the years. However, my artistic abilities have not evolved in over 30 years.

Now that the juices are flowing, maybe I’ll even post here more than once a week.

Quote of the Day;

“Thank you everyone for all the support! It was so great to win at home and have so many spectators cheering for me. Congrats to all the weekend's finishers. A beautiful day for running in the Twin Cities!” – Katie McGregor

Thursday, September 30, 2010


What runner doesn’t like pasta? Recently I heard Mario Batali promoting a free downloadable Celebrity Cookbook. I just downloaded it, so I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, but they look great. There are 12 in all. If you try any, let me know what you think.

Quote of the Day;

“Once you’ve put your groceries in the car, the quality of your dinner has already been decided.” – Mario Batali

Monday, September 27, 2010


Not much is new, but I have some time over lunch so I thought I’d try to blog a little bit. After averaging just over 40 MPW for the last 3 weeks my left arch flared up. Not sure if it was plantar fasciitis or not. Since I’ve never had PF before, I doubt that it was – especially considering my low mileage. Unless PF can be caused by biking an hour longer than you’re used too – but that seems unlikely. Anyway, I wore the sock for 4 nights in a row and it feels better.

I ended up taking 3 days off from running, but dusted off my tri bike to help maintain some fitness. Sunday we had a great group ride that was nearly 50 miles. We were greeted by perfect conditions, sunny, calm and crisp. It has me thinking of some duathlons for next year.

On Saturday there was a meet for the kids I’m helping to coach. While they only run 1 mile these meets are bringing back a ton of memories for me. It’s fun to see the older kids jogging the course in a big pack before their race and seeing them throw a football around as they try to kill time. There’s also the sound of spikes on concrete and the smell of wet grass and mud that remind me of high school and college cross country. And the look of excitement on their face after running a PR or beating someone for the first time is awesome. Too bad the season is so short.

Quote of the Day;

“We told our guys to hold on for 30 minutes of agony for 12 months of glory.” – John McDonnell, Arkansas coach after winning the 1993 NCAA Cross-Country title

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

FAT & 40

Over the weekend, I did my first race since Grandma’s Marathon. The Fat Tire 40 was actually my first mountain bike race ever. The course follows much of the Birkie trail between Hayward and Cable, along with some gravel roads. While I had fun, it wasn’t nearly as fun as skiing – maybe not even as fun as running. In any case, I’m glad I tried it.

Running is picking up a little, as I’m averaging about 40 MPW in September. Recently, I’ve done a few things that are starting to get the juices flowing.

First, the weekend of Ironman Wisconsin I happened to be the Wisconsin Dells with the family. The morning of the race I decided to get up early, drive to Madison and watch the start of the race. I’ve done this a few times and it’s always cool. The energy radiating from the fans and the participants is amazing. The Monona Terrace is the perfect set up for the race and this year the weather couldn’t have been any better. Wish I could have stayed longer, but I had to leave after the swim.

Second, the youth cross country program that I’m helping out with is in full swing. We have 34 kids ranging from 3rd and 6th graders. So far we’ve had a time trial, a dual meet, and ran in a larger invitational. The invitational had 8 races in all and a total of 2000 runners. Again, the energy these kids put out is amazing. And seeing a kid go from 15 minutes for 1 mile, down to 10:40, or seeing someone run the entire mile for the first time without walking is inspirational.

So while I’m not blogging as often, things are still good.

Quote of the Day;

“There’s a lot of b.s. that goes down in that race. It’s unavoidable. But the race also offers a lot of people the chance for self-knowledge, and nobody’s immune to it, from the guy who finishes last to the guy who finishes first. That’s the big draw for people.” – Scott Tinley

Friday, September 03, 2010


9 of the last 10 weeks have been below 38 MPW. I ran a whopping 138 miles in August this year. The weather has turned the corner (at least temporarily) and hopefully my attitude has too (at least temporarily).

For awhile I felt like a kid again – at least in the sense that I wanted to achieve great things without working for them.

Now I have just enough time to train in order to get in shape for… winter!

But when you’re retired from racing, I guess that doesn’t matter.

Lately, I been watching a bunch of survival shows of the Discovery Channel like Man vs. Wild (Bear Grylls is the craziest man around), Man, Woman, Wild (the girls even like this one), and Dual Survival (I like Cody’s dry sense of humor). Perhaps the most interesting is Surviving the Cut. As the website says, “Surviving the Cut takes viewers into the intense world of military elite forces training. From divers and snipers to para-rescue men and bomb specialists, the elite and how they earn a place in the coveted units are the focus in this compelling all new series.” Basically, they take all these military personnel that want to join different elite forces and they try to break them physically and mentally.

Watching this show makes running a marathon look like an absolute joke. The show has definitely made me stop and think about things. Of course, I feel like a candy ass for not wanting to run TCM because I haven’t trained properly. There’s no way these guys/gals could train properly for their elite forces training, yet they’re out there doing it – pushing themselves to their limits and beyond. Check out an episode before your next big event and see if it changes your mindset.

Finally, I was writing an article about running in the ‘90s recently. I was in college during the ‘90s and I can really only remember 2 great U.S. runners, Bob Kennedy and Todd Williams. They were head and shoulders above the rest of the U.S. runners. Of course there were other greats, like Bob Kempainen, but he didn’t race a lot due to medical school. Anyway, as part of my research, I came across a great interview that Duncan did recently with Williams.

Quote of the Day;

“Jujitsu is a wrestling art. It’s more grappling-based. I didn’t take it, because I wanted to be an ass kicker; I took it, because I wanted something else in my life that could fill the void of the competitive side of me that was outside the job I had in sales and marketing with Adidas. As far as the drive, it’s been awesome. It’s been a great replacement, because I started in a lower level. I didn’t know anything, just like I didn’t know anything about running when I started out.” - Todd Williams.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I finally got around to uploading some photos from our South Dakota vacation.

Here's the family at the Badlands.

Do not try this at home!

One more shot of the Badlands.

Custer State Park.

Objects may be closer than they appear!


Big buffalo!

Sylan Lake.

Kinsey saving Katie's life.

Katie saving Kinsey's life - with just one finger!

Another photo of beautiful Sylan Lake.

Tunnel along Needles Highway.

Mount Rushmore - of course.

This was the best deal around. $10 for then entire carload.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Hmm, I got accused of “pulling a Favre” after my last post. I know we have a lot of similarities; we’re both 40-41 years old, incredibly athletic with rugged good looks, and we both make about $17 million a year. And we’re both divas. But other than that, we’re totally different.

As much as I’d like to retire from racing, I’m not sure it will happen. You know “old dog – new tricks” and “leopard changing his spots” etc.

What I really need is a good periodization plan that lays out what I should be focusing on the entire year. Scott and I talked about this on a couple of runs and here’s what we came up with;
July and August – do whatever makes me happy (run, bike, roller ski, lift, etc).
September and October – transition to running and enter a few late-season races
November – transition to roller skiing
December to February – peak x-c season
March – transition to running
April to June – peak running season
I figure most people around here lay low in the winter. I’d rather ski in the winter and lay low when it’s hot and sticky. Not focusing on running in July and August would open up options for other events; bike races, tris, etc. Plus, family vacations would probably be more enjoyable.

One issue with not running much in July and August is that it would make a fast fall marathon difficult, unless I travelled somewhere for a November race. But maybe one marathon per year is the way to go. Running Times had a nice interview with the Brooks-Hanson coaches and they basically limit their runners to 3 marathons every 2 years. They said anything more than that and their not developing, their just moving from one marathon to the next.

Quote of the Day;

“I can make a comeback if George Foreman can. He’s 11 years older than I am, and none of my rivals is trying to punch me.” – Said Aouita

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I “borrowed” this image from Steve in a Speedo because it’s true.

If you flip the image upside-down, it basically represents my weekly mileage – the huge dip representing what happens when I go on vacation.

We had a great time in South Dakota. We didn’t do all the tourist stuff, but we must have been close; Badlands, Wall Drug, Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Bear Country USA, Reptile Garden, Storybook Island, Cowboy dinner, Mammoth site in Hot Springs, Jewel Cave, and Laura Ingalls Wilder site in De Smet. Good times – I highly recommend it.

On the running front, I’ve been considering retiring from racing – again. This time I mean it. I’d still run 45 to 60 minutes a day, but I won’t have to worry about getting in long runs, running some arbitrary amount of weekly miles, or being fast. As long as I can keep my “killer body” I’ll be happy.

This is different in years passed, as I’m not worn down from training. I actually feel fine. I just don’t have any desire to race. It’s even more than that this time, as there’s not much desire to blog, write articles, or interview other runners.

Maybe this will pass, along with the hottest week of the year, but I’m not so sure.

Quote of the Day;

“I never retired… I just did other things.” – Edwin Moses

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


If I have any readers out there anymore, I thought I’d share some endorsements with them.

1) Road ID: watching the Tour de France, you can’t help by hear about Road ID. I’ve “joked” here before about running on some remote single-track trails where if anything happened to me no one would fine me for weeks. Well, they still won’t find me for weeks, but at least they’ll be able to identify my decaying body by my Road ID. Seriously, for the amount of solo running I do, especially away from my neighborhood, it only makes sense to own one of these.

2) ExtremeMac Sportsband: I probably only run with an iPod about once a week. Typically I just make sure to wear a pair of shorts with a pocket, then throw the iPod in there. So when someone offered me a free sample if I reviewed their product, I jumped at the chance. PROS: It’s a great alternative to just using the pocket in my shorts – especially in the summer when shorts can become soaked. It’s sturdy, yet comfortable and I don’t even realize I’m wearing it. Even though there’s a see-through window, I’m still able to operate the control panel without taking it out of the sportsband. There’s a handy clip that allows you to wrap up the excess cord from the headphones. They have models that fit your iPod or your iPhone. CONS: The first time I used this product, there was some condensation around the window. Keep in mind that the dew point was about 60 that day. My second con has more to do with receiving the product than the actual product itself. Whoever contacted me was from Europe and it literally took 3 months to receive the product. It was so long, that I completely forgot about agreeing to review it. The good news is that you won’t have to wait as long, as their products are available at, Best Buy, Office Max, Staples, etc. For all my European readers, be sure to check out MobileFun.

3) Garmin 205: I bought one of these probably 2 years ago. After about 15 months, the face pulled apart from the watch and it wouldn’t stay on. I didn’t want to pay $75 to fix a $125 product, so I decided to live without it. Training for Grandma’s I did lots of tempo workouts. Although I had a ballpark idea of the pace I was running, I really didn’t know for sure. Not really a big deal for me. What really pushed me over the edge to buy another one was the 30K I did in May. The mile markers were all screwed up, so I had no idea what kind of pace I was running. That’s extremely frustrating when you’re trying to gauge things for an upcoming race.

4) The Clymb: This is probably the third time I’ve mentioned this site. It’s a private sale network that will give you access to insider pricing from an amazing group of outdoor brands. If you climb, hike, run, ride, paddle or ski, you’re gonna love this. Here’s how it works: you accept this invite and The Clymb will hook you up with deep discounts, usually 50-70% off retail, on gear from a different leading brand each week. Each brand’s product is available for 3 days only or until it’s sold out. Membership is free and by invite only. That’s why I’m inviting you – just follow this this link. So far I’ve purchased some Craft apparel, a Camelbak, and some Keen shoes. Although I’ve mentioned this site before, I forgot one key feature. As you spread the word to your friends, every time they purchase, you receive $10 off towards your future purchases. Here’s an example; the Keen shoes I just bought were on sale for $48. Shipping and handling is a flat rate of $10. The total was $58, but I had four $10 credits to my account, so I only had to pay $18. Can’t beat that!

We're heading to South Dakota next week, so there won’t be any updates to the blog – but you should be used to that by now.

Quote of the Day;

“What I earn on the roads is someday going to be considered laughable by the top athletes.” – Bill Rodgers

Monday, July 12, 2010


Not much is going on with me. I finally started to feel good last Friday. Just in time to start a new 12-week cycle for TCM. I'm going with a plan from Pfitz's 2nd edition this time around. Since I tend to go through a phase during the summer where I start to despise running, I'm going to include 1 day off from running each week.

No quote of the day - how about a photo of the day instead. Here's Kinsey and Katie and their first Twins game outdoors on the 4th of July.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So TCM is trying to become more like the NYRR. Instead of just having one weekend of events during the year, they’re creating new events (or buying someone else’s), so they have multiple events throughout the year. This weekend they have the Red, White and Boom half marathon. Scott is running it and he sent me this fine print from their website;

Also of special note: the course crosses over several sets of railroad tracks. Due to Homeland Security rules, we do not know the train schedule and it is highly likely that trains will be crossing the course. For your safety, PLEASE do not attempt to outrun a train!
That would be a pisser.

Back to soccer and the World Cup, I actually watched the U.S. vs. Ghana and was mildly entertained. I was more entertained by the first half the Germany vs. England match – although not entertained enough to watch the second half.

After watching the U.S. match I facebooked that it’d be really hard to be a passionate fan about U.S. distance running AND U.S. soccer. I think both groups think there sport doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

I had the idea of adding referees to running races, then whenever someone passed me during a race, I’d hit the ground. When I got back up I’d throw my hands in the air in disgust and glare at the referee. And if a train came along during the race and cut me off, you can bet I’d give the referee the evil eye while muttering under my breath.

Somehow I didn’t mind Bill Laimbeer flopping when he was on “my” team, but since then, I can’t stand watching these NBA players flopping all the time. And soccer seems even worse.

Yesterday Rocco had a great idea for a YouTube video; Show a soccer player flopping and rolling around like his leg fell off. Then show a baseball player getting beaned in the leg and refusing to show any sign of pain as he walks to first. Then show another soccer flop. Then another baseball beaning. Repeat over and over for five minutes.

Now that would be entertaining.

Finally, congrats to Tony for his 26th place finish at the Western States 100-mile in 19:28. Today’s QOD is for him.

Quote of the Day;

“Try the meditation of the trail, just walk along looking at the trail at your feet and don’t look about and just fall into a trance as the ground zips by. Trails are like that: you’re floating along in a Shakespearean Arden paradise and expect to see nymphs and fluteboys, then suddenly you’re struggling in a hot broiling sun of hell in dust and nettles and poison oak… just like life.” Jack Keouac in The Dharma Bums

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


After 8 days off and 8 added pounds – that’s enough. It’s time to start lacing up my running shoes again. I have 2 weeks to get into the swing of things again before starting Pfitz’s 12-week program for TCM. After using Daniels for Gma’s, I decided to switch to Pfitz for a couple of reasons; 1) the program from his 2nd Edition has more MP work than the 1st Edition, 2) there seems to be a wider variety of workouts than Daniels, and 3) Scott is using the same program and since we train together a couple of times a week, it’d be nice to be on the same page.

Last night I laid out Pfitz’s 55-70 and 70-85 plans on the same sheet of paper. There’s a lot of overlap with the main difference in the mileage being a day off per week with the 55-70 mpw program. Right now I’m leaning towards incorporating 1 day off from running per week. Hopefully that’ll help keep me fresh and motivated. Plus, I’d like to use that day off to mountain bike in case I go through with the Fat Tire 40 in September.

I was a little surprised that Pfitz only has two 20+ milers in his program. I guess he makes up for it with lots of 17-19 milers. And of course there are lots of mid-week 15 milers that I’ll need to get used to doing again.

Note to self: after taking time off after a marathon, don’t include barefoot strides on your first run back. I did that Monday and after today’s run, my left foot is bothering me. Hopefully it’s just a mild strain.

I had one more observation from Gma’s that I forgot to include last time. There’s a local guy that always wears a heart rate monitor when he runs and I always seem to beat him – including last year when it was hot. I thought his HRM would keep him from crashing in the heat, but apparently not. Anyway, this year he didn’t have his HRM on during the race and he beat me by 3 or 4 minutes. What does all that mean?

Quote of the Day;

“Poetry, music, forests, oceans, solitude – they were what developed enormous spiritual strength. I came to realize that spirit, as much or more than physical conditioning had to be stored up before a race.” – Herb Elliott

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Okay, I have a few more random thoughts;

Anyone else think it’s kind of sad that to be in the Top 100 men at Grandma’s you only needed to run 2:59:12 or faster? To be in the Top 100 women, they needed to run 3:35 or faster.

My last 6 marathons, dating back to 2008, have been 3:12, 3:05, 3:12, 3:09, 3:10, 3:09. I really am just a 3:10 marathoner.

Not to go unnoticed, I did set a Masters PR by about one minute.

I didn’t qualify for Boston in my first 3 marathons. Since then, 12 of my 13 marathons have been under my BQ. The only one that wasn’t was Boston in 2004 when it was 90+ degrees at the start.

Yesterday I got a comment from Kevin suggesting that I scale back my racing and mileage a bit and give myself a longer taper. And I got an email from my friend Eric suggesting that I basically train through a marathon with no more than a 3 day taper.

I was actually thinking about racing more this summer – but I’d include more short races so that MP feels easy. Given my vacation 4 weeks out, I basically took a longer taper than normal this time around, so extending that even further doesn’t make sense to me.

Right now my plan is to take this entire week off and then spend the next 2 weeks running however I feel. That’ll leave 12 weeks for a yet to be determined plan that will lead up to my 3:10 at TCM.

Quote of the Day;

“Successful marathoners must lose their cool, and allow this irrational, animal consciousness to take over.” – Bill Rodgers

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Here are some more random thoughts about Grandma’s Marathon weekend;

It was nice to see that they finally switched from Ultima to Poweraid at the aid stations.

People like to complain about the cost of hotels, but you can still find cheap lodging. Our group of 4 stayed at the College of St. Scholastica in a 4 bedroom dorm room with a kitchenette. It cost $388 for the entire weekend – less than $100 each.

I was “surprised” to hear that Mary Akor ended up in the medical tent. Does she end up in the medical tent after every marathon or just after every Grandma’s?

Be sure to check out Wayne’s photo gallery from the half and full. It includes 205 photos of lots of people hugging, raising their arms in victory, dressing alike, etc. You can also find the customary photos of the race medal, the lift bridge, people in their space blanket, lying down or taking an ice bath in Lake Superior. You can also see yours truly (photo #138 and #141).

Now, it’s that time again – time to second-guess everything leading up to Grandma’s.

I was thinking that I wouldn’t have a problem with running all these 3:10s if that’s all I thought I was capable of. I mean, I’ve run marathons where everything feels great and I run a fast time. I know it’s possible. I just haven’t done it for awhile. So the questions become, how do I do it again? What changes do I need to make? What went wrong this time?

I think one easy answer has to do with going on vacation 4 weeks out and only running about 35 miles that week. I never felt good again after getting back home. I don’t think it was entirely from going on vacation, but probably had to do with trying to cram in two 2-week cycles with only two easy days in between before going on vacation. And each of those cycles ended with a rather long race; a half marathon and a 30K. That may be too close together for such long races. Maybe my weekly mileage was too high and I’d be better off with 70 MPW with one day off every week.

With 15 weeks until TCM, these are some things I’ll have to reflect upon as I recover from Grandma’s.

Quote of the Day;

“Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” – Mark Twain

Monday, June 21, 2010


I’ve come to the realization that the marathon is not my best event. That’s not to say that I still don’t enjoy the challenge. I’m just saying that if I had to pick the event that I’m best at, it’d probably have to be the 20K or half marathon. Anything over 13.1 miles and I start to freak out and get intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the distance. Heck, even my best 25K times don’t correspond with my best half marathon times.

This year’s Grandma’s Marathon provided another case in point on this topic. Having run a 1:26:08 half marathon last month, it seemed like something in the low 3-hour range wouldn’t be that difficult. What’s the rule of thumb, double your half marathon and add 10-minutes? That’d put me at 3:02. 7-minute pace is 3:03:15, so that seemed like a reasonable, conservative goal. Perhaps on a great day I could sneak under 3 hours.

As I drove into town on Friday evening, the temp was 87 and sunny with a strong south wind, which would be a headwind. Needless to say, that was a little concerning the night before the race. Luckily, race day conditions proved to be nicer than that. Temps started out in the low 60s and never got much higher than 65. The dew point was in the mid-50s and there was significant cloud coverage. While the winds did die down some from Friday, we still had a steady 8+ mph head/crosswind to deal with. For those of you not familiar with the course, it’s basically a straight line for 25 miles. So when you have a headwind, you have it the whole way.

Nothing too exciting happened before gun went off. I settled in quickly with my first 3 splits all between 6:54 and 6:56. However, by mile 3 I already felt like I was working too hard too early in the race and I made a conscious effort to slow down. The next four miles were between 7:02 and 7:11. By now, after bucking the wind for 7 miles, I pretty much realized that it wasn’t a day to run fast. I tried to tuck in behind other runners as much as possible, but there were some stretches where that wasn’t possible due to the wind direction or not having anyone around at the time.

By mile 12 I figured if I couldn’t run fast I might as well be comfortable and I stopped for about 45 seconds to take a leak. This never used to be a problem, but during the last 3 years or so, I’ve ended up stopping a couple of times during each marathon. I gotta figure that out sometime, otherwise I’ll have to subtract 90 seconds from each goal in the future.

The halfway point comes and goes in 1:34:12. Maybe if I don’t crash and burn I can break 3:10. Around the aid station at mile 16 I heard people cheering for the 3:10 pace group. Given my experience with the pace group last year, where I wrote “I was quickly losing patience with the inconsistent pacing, getting annoyed with all the rah-rah banter and tired of the congestion at each water stop” I decided to try and hold them off as long as possible – after I stop for one more pee break.

After a couple of 7:17s and a downhill 7:06, I run the 20th mile in 7:26 – my slowest of the day. I hold off the 3:10 pack until mile 22. They catch me at the base of Lemon Drop hill and I jump in with them. Luckily, by now, they’re all rah-rah’d out and are only focused on finishing. A few guys pick up the pace and even more fall off the back. We’re passing quite a few people and it’s kind of hard to get a sense for who’s in the group and who’s not. I guess it doesn’t matter as long as I stick with the guy with the balloons.

Speaking of that, I get a kick out of the spectators that don’t know what the balloons mean. You can see a lot of the spectators looking at the balloons, trying to read the writing on them. And then, of course, you hear the “Nice balloons!” comments along the way. It’s kind of funny.

Grandma’s is one of those courses that gets better the further you go, at least when it comes to spectators. Early in the race there are pockets of spectators here and there, with a few sections that are fairly crowded and loud. However, around mile 19 you start to make your way into town and the crowds get thicker and thicker and they keep building all the way to the finish. I love the beer drinkers around mile 21, the group at Lemon Drop just after 22, all the folks near Fitger’s, and, of course, everyone along Superior Street, especially at the corner of Lake – that has to be the loudest section of all. Just passed this section is the 25 mile marker. I glance at the clock and see 3:00:41. Given that there “should” be about 9 minutes of running left, it seems like sub-3:10 will be reached. No major catastrophes during the last 1.2 and I cross the line in 3:09:42.

I knew I ran 3:09 last year too, but didn’t realize it was 3:09:43. With that rate of improvement, I figure I’ll break 3 hours in 583 years. Here are my splits from the last 2 years;

Split – 2009 - 2010
6.2 miles – 45:34 – 43:33
13.1 miles – 49:45 – 50:39
20 miles – 49:32 – 50:22
26.2 miles – 45:02 – 45:07

I originally thought the consistency from 6.2 to13.1 and 13.1 to 20 was a little eerie. But I think it gets back to being intimidated by the sheer magnitude of the distance. There’s something about the races over 13.1 miles that make me scared to put my neck on the line. Maybe there’s some burning desire to avoid blowing up and walking it in. I don’t know for sure, but I should try to figure it out – or at least change my expectations and be content with being a 3:10 marathoner.

Looking at the results from 2009 and 2010, it appears people are less affected by the wind than the heat. Last year I placed 152nd out of 5998. This year I was 238th out of 5597. I guess I’ll pray for heat in the future.

Finally, I’m not sure I’ve seen this before, but this year, not only do the results show your time at each check point, but they also show your place (overall, age group and sex). It’s cool to see that I was in 309th place at the half, 288th at 20 miles and 238th at the finish. Pretty cool.

If you’re a stats geek, here are my mile splits;

7:55 – pee
7:44 – pee
7:16 – Lemon Drop

Thanks for reading. I should have more thoughts tomorrow – hopefully with a few photos.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Awhile ago I wrote an article about the marathon. In reference to the taper and all the pent-up energy surrounding it, I wrote “I may find myself doing energy-sapping projects that could easily wait until after the marathon, like cutting the grass, raking the leaves, or painting the entire house.” Well I didn’t paint the “entire” house yesterday, but I did tape and prime 2 rooms – before cutting the grass.

The problem is that there’s really no better time to do these types of home-improvement projects than the week or two leading up to the marathon. With training cutback, I have an abundance of time and energy on my hands.

Lately I’ve been wondering what it’d feel like if I went into a marathon feeling great with loads of confidence on my side. I can’t remember the last time that’s happened. Maybe I’d be worse off, since it’d be so out of the norm. It’s too late to change much now, so I’ll just lace them up on Saturday along with everyone else.

Of course, all the “I hope you guys get good weather” comments have already started. Nobody ever says “I hope it’s hot for you guys.” Although that’s usually what I’m thinking when I’m not signed up for a marathon. Heck if I want anyone else racing in ideal conditions when I’m not signed up.

One new development, I’m now the program director for the local youth (grades 3-6) x-c program. So if you’re local, be sure to get your kids signed up for the program.

Finally, count me in the group that just doesn’t get soccer. I heard at one point there were 9 goals in 7 games. That’s 9 goals in 10.5 hours of action. With my luck, I’d get up to take a leak and someone would score. Then I'd have to wait another game and a half to see the next goal.

There was a discussion on the radio the other day where one guy believed that some people are soccer “fans” just because it’s the cool thing to do. They really don’t like soccer, but they feel that they must like it because the rest of the world does. I bet that theory is right on the money.

Quote of the Day;

“I always start these events with lofty goals, like I’m going to do something special. And after a point of body deterioration, the goals get evaluated down to basically where I am now – where the best I can hope for is to avoid throwing up on my shoes.” – Ephraim Romesburg, ultra runner

Friday, June 11, 2010


You’d think with a marathon 8 days away that I’d have lots to blog about. I don’t.

None of my runs lately have been feeling particularly peppy. I’m not sure if that’s due to overtraining before going on vacation, vacation itself, just normal lethargy due to tapering, or something entirely different. It probably doesn’t help that I haven’t really been in a routine lately. I’ve been staying up later than normal due to kid’s soccer or watching the Twins and NBA finals.

I haven’t watched the NBA in years, but the Celtics/Lakers matchup intrigues me. It reminds me of the Bird/Magic matchup from my youth. One thing I’ll say is that this may be the worst officiated series I’ve ever seen. The refs are blowing their whistles left and right.

I wish I had more, but I don’t.

Quote of the Day;

“Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own; sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.” – William James

Friday, June 04, 2010


As "promised" here are some photos I took while in Alaska. The cruise left from Seattle, spent a day in the Tracy Arm Fjord before hitting the ports of Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. We were supposed to hit Victoria, BC, but it was too windy and they couldn't pull into port.

Here we are leaving Seatle. The brown deck below would eventually become my running track.

The next 4 photos were taking in the Tracy Arm Fjord. If you didn't know, Alaska is mountainous with lots of trees and waterfalls. At the end of the Fjord is an glacier, hence all the icebergs.

Here's a photo from my favorite part of the trip. In Skagway we took at train ride up the White Pass & Yukon Trail.

Now we're in Juneau where we took a bike excursion of the Mendenhall Glacier.

Me and my brother Deron.

Me in front of the Mendenhall Glacier. No, I'm not sponsored by Dr. Pepper. But it is a comfy shirt.
Here's the famous, or is it infamous, Creek Street in Ketchikan. During prohibition, they used to carry booze in boats and sneak it into the bars through the floor.

Here's the the Marina in Ketchikan. After running along a boring road for an hour, I finally found a trail that lead to the top of the mountain on the right side of photo. Unfortunately, it was too late in the run and I had to get back to the ship, so I only ran about 10 minutes on those trails.

Quote of the day;

"I'm Mayor of Bonkville today." - Tony Kocanda, who's training for Western States 100, after this morning's run