Sunday, May 23, 2010


Well, that didn't go as planned. The goal was to make 6:50 pace feel as easy as possible. After running 6:35 pace for 13.1 miles on a very windy day two weeks ago, I didn't think that'd be very difficult. Maybe that was my mistake. I ended up running 6:58 pace and the last 10K was anything but easy.

I thought things were going well through about mile 12, but looking back, I was working too hard. Luckily, the guy in front of me was hurting worse than me and I was able to spend miles 12-15 trying to catch him. The original plan was to pick it up at mile 15, but that went out the window and I was just trying to hang on.

I guess the good news is that I finished 6th overall (out of 112 people) and won my age-group (out of 21). Results can be found HERE.

Afterwards Jared ask the simple yet compelling question; "So what do you take away from this?" Ideally, I'd like to have cruised through 30K and gained more momentum before Grandma's. I have to keep in mind that I just completed two 2-week blocks of big mileage with only a 2-day mini-break in between. I think struggling for 30K will also make me a little more converative at Grandma's, at least for the first half of the race. And I learned that the Brooks Green Silence aren't enough of a shoe for me for 26.2. I think I'll switch to the Launch and play it safe.

One of my strengths when it comes to running is my sense of pacing and my ability to run a consistent pace. With that said, it's very frustrating when I start seeing splits that are all over the place. I don't ask much from a race, but accurate mile markers are near the top of the list. Especially for a race the bills itself as a final tune-up for Grandma's. This was the one time where I wish I had a Garmin. For comic relief, here are my splits;

4:52 (last .65)

I passed 10 miles at exactly 3-hour marathon pace, but all I could think was "who knows if that's even accurate." And even though the miles seemed more consistent for the last 8 miles or so, I kept expecting to see a 6:20 thrown in.

Normally I don't provide a quote of the day with my race reports, but I heard these lyrics during yesterday's dance recital and they seemed very appropriate;

"That's life, that's what all the people say.
You're riding high in April,
Shot down in May
But I know I'm gonna change that tune,
When I'm back on top, back on top in June."
- Frank Sinatra

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I guess this falls under the category of 'No news, is good news.' Or is it 'No news, is no news."

This is one of my busy times at work and it's worse this year because one co-worker was just on vacation for a week, one is getting married and will be gone for 2 weeks, and I leave a week from today for an 8-day Alaskan cruise. All this means is that there's not much time left to blog.

Just a quick update, while I "only" ran 66 miles last week, you may remember that Sunday and Monday were recovery days from the half marathon I ran. I'm back up to 80 miles over the last 7 days. Saturday I'm running a 30K race, which I'm planning on running at MP. Since everything is pointing towards the low-3s, it's only logical to make sub-3 my goal. Seriously, does anyone go into a marathon with a goal of like 3:01 or 3:02? Might as well go after sub-3. So Saturday's goal will be roughly 6:50 pace.

I also pulled the trigger and signed up for TCM. I figured I might as well do it, since I'm running fairly well right now. Of course, that could all change by August, but I'll roll with it right now.

I'm so busy, I'll have to pull a QOD off the top of my head.

Quote of the day;

"Make friends with pain, and you'll never be alone." - Ken Chlouber, Colorado miner and creator of the Leadville Trail 100

Monday, May 10, 2010


So, we’re just under 6 weeks out from Grandma’s. Goal #1 for Saturday’s race was to keep the momentum going. Check. Goal #2 is to make sure I’m recovered before ramping up again. Normally, I’d worry about getting in my mileage during the week that ends on Saturday. However, I like to think that I’ve finally learned that my body doesn’t know the difference between the 7 days ending Saturday or the 7 days ending Monday. With that said, yesterday was a complete day off and this morning I just ran an easy 5 miles with some strides.

I’ve mentioned that some of these training plans don’t have very many MP workouts in them. Then again, it doesn’t help when you replace 15 miles at MP with a half marathon race. Overall, I’m not sure which one is better when it comes to marathon training. I do know that my next race is a 30K and that will be run a lot closer to goal marathon pace.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can check out my latest interview. As I mentioned in the intro, these are the kinds of stories I love to hear about. Brian saw modest marathon progression as he dropped from 3:48 to 3:21 during the course of his first 4 marathons. Then he got serious, ramped up his mileage and proceed to drop over 20 minutes from each of his next 2 marathons. His marathon PR now sits at 2:36.

His interview happened to coincide with a comment I saw on Facebook from a guy I used to run with in high school;
Many of us get caught up thinking that the best runners are the ones who put in lots of weekly miles, the weekend long run, and well timed speed work. The best runners can run fast whether or not they are running long or very short. Pure speed that can be displayed in a 40 meter dash is a better determinant of endurance running potential than how long or often an athlete runs. With this being said, improving your running mechanics, flexibility, and power through drills, explosive strides, and running specific strength exercises in order to enhance your speed, should be your up most priority.
My problem with comments like these is that they’re usually written by people that have never given “lots of weekly miles” a fair try. Granted, I have never made improving my running mechanics, flexibility, and power a top priority either. But I’m pretty sure if you ask all the top runners and coaches in the world, they’ll all vote for mileage first and other ancillary training second.

Brian’s interview and the comment above got me thinking about a new article. Rather than just say, “I’m pretty sure mileage trumps other ancillary training” I thought it’d be worthwhile to write a piece that features runners who’ve increased their volume and seen vast improvements in their running. I already have a list of 6 people, but I want to hear about others. So I need your help. Leave a comment or send me an email if you, or anyone you know, have improved through higher mileage.

And to be fair, if you, or someone you know, have improved through focusing on ancillary training, cutting down to 3 days per week of running, etc., I’d love to hear from you too.

Keep in mind these should be rather significant breakthroughs. If you bumped your mileage by 10 miles per week or added a day of cross-training per week to your plan, that probably won’t cut it. I’m looking for the guy who couldn’t break 12-minutes for 2 miles in high school, but was running 2:28 a few years after college.

Quote of the Day;

“It turns out that the six or seven months of 80 to 100+ mile weeks and running every day really pays off.” - Brian Peterson

Sunday, May 09, 2010


For those of you not familiar with the New Prague Half Marathon, it basically starts in a small town before heading out into the country for a rolling square-shaped course that is often the windiest spring race around. The main question each year is usually, will you have a first half headwind or a second half headwind. On Saturday, Mother Nature had second half headwind penciled in. Personally, I’d prefer to have it the other way around because there are more people around at the start to help block the wind. Plus, a second half headwind makes it more difficult to gauge how hard you should be pushing the pace early on.

My one main goal for this race was to keep the momentum that I’ve been building this spring going. Typically, I like to use the McMillan Calculator after each race in hopes of seeing better performances. And so far this year, each of my 3 races has been better than the last. I also like to use the calculator to give me a ball park idea of what kind of time to expect for upcoming races. My recent 8K and 10K performances predicted a 1:28:23 and 1:26:49 half marathon, respectively. Pace-wise, that’s anywhere between 6:38 and 6:45. Given the conditions and my goal, I thought it’d be wise to go out easy and try to reel people in. When I saw 6:27 for the first mile I was a little concerned. However, I felt in control and decided to take the rest of my splits, but not look at them.

This was really a pretty uneventful race. Just before the 3 mile mark, the only person to pass me all day came by. There happened to be a race clock at mile three where I saw 19:54. That’s 6:38 pace, so I felt better about that quick first mile.

I must have passed 4 guys between miles 4 and 6. One guy was breathing like it was a 5K and another one looked to be a teenager and he was going backwards quickly. Keep in mind we still had a tailwind at this point. I felt sorry for these guys once they turned into the wind. Mile 6 had another race clock and I passed in 39:20 or 6:33 pace. That means the last 3 miles were sub-6:30. I know I’m having a pretty good race, but I also know we’re about to turn into the wind. I have no idea how hard it will be, but I know there’s not going to be any relief for a long time.

Just after mile 6 we turn west and are immediately greeted with head/cross wind. This lasts just passed mile 8, when we turn north into the teeth of the wind for 3 more miles. I look forward to each clump of trees because they provide a little shelter. If there’s one thing about the Jack Daniels threshold workouts I’ve been doing, it’s that they definitely have a grind-it-out aspect to them. After you’ve done something like 4 x 10 minutes with a 2 minute jog in between, it’s easier to put your head down and just run.

It also helped having Omar in front of me. Omar is one of those people I come across from time to time that I only know from looking at the results. He’s one of those guys that seems to run a lot of the same races that I do and we’re usually near one another. He went out hard in this race, but I finally caught up at mile 9. Since we were going into the wind and I didn’t want him to draft off of me, I went by pretty hard. Given his fast early pace, I thought I dropped him. So I was a little surprised when he caught me around mile 11. We ran together until mile 12. When he went for water, I took off. Again, I thought I dropped him. Instead, I think I just made him mad. He caught me and put 20 seconds on me during the last mile.

By this point I had no idea what my time was going to be. I thought perhaps I’d give back 10 seconds per mile over the second half and finish in the 1:27s. So I was a little surprised to see 1:26:08 as I crossed the line.

The momentum continues…

As for splits, sometimes I find it easier to look at 2-mile segments. It takes some of the terrain out of play, for example, if one mile has a large up or downhill section. It also helps if mile markers are in the wrong place. My 2-mile splits were;

6:44 (missed mile 12)
:32 for last .1

According to the results, I placed 18th out of 610 runners. If you take a closer look, you’ll see that 12 of the top 25 runners were 40+ years old. Nice job by the old farts.

If you believe the calculators out there, my last 4 races convert to the following marathon times; 3:10, 3:06, 3:03, and 3:01. It looks like Grandma's could be another marathon where I'm very close to 3 hours.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Normally, I “like” to beat myself up over not doing the little things that’d help make me a better runner. You know, stuff like strength training, stretching, foam rolling, diet, etc. When it comes to diet, I try to eat healthy, but I also have a sweet tooth. And a salty tooth. So it’s easy to get carried away in the snack department. It seems I worry about that more when I’m running 40-60 mpw. However, at 80 mpw, I’m a lot less concerned. In fact, I’ve basically been shoveling anything and everything into my mouth without thinking about it. My friends that think I have an eating disorder would be surprised.

This week at work I have gotten a sick satisfaction out of eating 2 pieces of cake on Wednesday for Cinco de Mayo and 2 more pieces of cake yesterday, along with a couple of cookies and a chocolate rice crispy bar, for a wedding shower. I like to think that it’s my way of showing my co-workers that they could eat whatever they want too – they just need to run 10 miles a day.

The thing about running 23 miles last Saturday is that, if I want to keep my weekly mileage the same without running 23 this Saturday, I actually have to run more during the week. That means that at one point during this week, I was at 91 miles for a 7 day period. That has to be one of my top 10 (maybe top 5) “weeks” ever. I guess it’s no wonder that I’ve been a little tired lately.

I can still remember Double leaving a comment a year or two ago where he used the mountain climbing analogy of being “above the tree line” to describe my fitness level. You know, you put in the hard work and you get to a level that you rarely see. I’m not sure I’m there yet, but I’m trying to get there.

Anyway, right now my “master plan” is to run a half marathon tomorrow, followed by my first day off in 2 weeks. Then I’ll focus on another 2 week block of training that will culminate with a 30K. Then I’m going on vacation for a week, so I should have plenty of time to recover from that training block. The trip is 4 weeks before Grandma’s, which is a little too early to start tapering, so I’ll ramp back up for a week and then do a 2 week taper.

Quote of the Day;

"If the furnace is hot enough, anything will burn." – John L. Parker, Jr.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


This morning, I decided to lace up my new shoes for my first hard effort in them. I ran on the treadmill with them once, just to try them out. Today’s run would be a more accurate representation of how I plan on using them. After a 2 mile warm-up in my trainers, I switched to the Brooks Green Silence for 2 x 20 minutes at threshold with a 10 minute jog in between and a 2 mile cool-down.

Lately I’ve been running similar type workouts on the crushed limestone of the LRT in Hopkins and Minnetonka. However, since I need to prepare my legs for 26.2 miles of pounding on blacktop, cement and bricks, I decided to head east and stick to the paved bike path. Overall, it was a good run and the shoes felt great. I’m not ready to run a marathon in them yet, but hopefully after this weekend’s half marathon and then a 30K two weeks later, I will be.

Finally, I happy to share with you a new blog. The chances are pretty good that you’ll recognize Chris Lundstrom’s byline. In addition to writing for a couple of local publications, Chris’s words can often be found in Running Times. He’s one of my favorite writers on the sport, so I highly recommend that you add his blog to your favorites.

Quote of the Day;

"The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” – Albert Camus

Monday, May 03, 2010


As much as I’d like to start off by talking about myself, it just wouldn’t seem right after Chris Solinsky ran 26:59.60 for 10,000m – oh yeah, in his debut at that distance. You can watch the race below. What amazed me is how smooth and relaxed Solinsky looked. Not to ruin the ending for you, but with 900m to go he effortlessly – if you can call 1:56 for the last 800m “effortless” – pulls away from a couple of Kenyans and Galen Rupp.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Having grown up in Wisconsin, but now residing in Minnesota, it can often be tough to decide who to cheer for when the 2 teams square off. I guess when it comes to running, I’m happy to cheer for both the Gophers and Badgers. I say this because in this race, former Badgers ran 26:59.60 (Solinsky), 27:23.63 (Bairu), and 27:31.56 (Nelson). And that doesn’t even include Matt Tegenkamp who’s the second fastest American ever for 5,000m in 12:58.56.

Okay, enough about those studs. I did manage to get in another run Friday night, giving me 293 for the month. The next morning I woke up with the intent of running 2:30 to 2:40. Instead, I ended up just over 3 hours. What surprised/impressed me the most is that I only had 2 pancakes (no syrup) and some water before the run. Then, during the run, I didn’t consume any calories. Maybe that’ll help teach my body to burn fat.

Those 23 miles on Saturday gave me 80 miles for the week. I had one 80-mile week last fall, but really this is my biggest sustained effort, at least mileage-wise, in nearly 2 years.

Finally, is it just me or are the red winged black birds poised to strike? And let’s not forget the geese. They should be attacking pretty soon too.

Quote of the Day;

"I haven’t seen you this fired up in a long time.” – training partner, Kim, after Saturday’s long run