Thursday, October 04, 2012


Someone actually left a comment recently asking if I were alive and running. The answers are ‘yes’ and ‘technically, yes’.

Yes, I’m still alive – as you can tell by me actually updating my blog.

Technically, I am still running. I had 14 miles in September. It took 4 runs to get in the kind of mileage, but I managed.

Since my last post was 2 months ago, I suppose I should back up a little. After that post I ran 15K race, where my time was close to my marathon pace – not because I was doing a MP workout, but because I’d lost so much fitness with my achy knee. The following weekend I ran the Ragnar Relay. I had a blast and our team came in 4th. The following week I ran a 20 miler because I still had TCM on the brain. Even though I was running, I couldn’t get consistent and my mileage bounced around between 25 and 45 miles. And motivation was seriously lacking.

At the start of September I realized that I didn’t want to run TCM just to finish and that I’d lost too much fitness to do anything other than try to finish. Plus, my knee still wasn’t 100% and I didn’t want to run TCM which would delay my recovery even further.

In the process I’ve discovered a new term for cross-training. It’s called exercising. I’ve just been exercising; biking, elliptical, spin class, walking the dog, roller skiing, etc. I’ve only recently added in runs of 2-3 miles and that’s been mainly to test my knee. It actually feels better when I run, but it still aches afterwards. Biking seems to be the best exercise for my knee. Of course, that makes sense given the lack of pounding.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy coaching the 3rd – 6th grade youth cross country program. We had 50 kids out for the team, including my youngest daughter. It was another great season and we’re already looking at ways to improve it for next year.

There you have it, that’s what I’ve been up to in the last 2 months.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Wow, my last blog was like 3 weeks ago. At the time I gave the following update regarding my training, “Overall, it’s been going really well.” Unfortunately, that all changed overnight. Two days after that post I went for an easy 5 mile run and felt a stabbing pain in my right knee – the same knee that’s had a dull ache for over a year. I was only stabbed a handful of times in the first couple of minutes, then it went away. I took the next day off and then the following day had a tempo run planned. The run started out with same way and after the stabbing pain subsided, I managed 10 miles with 6 at 6:50 pace.

Well, obviously, something wasn’t right, so I made an appointment with the one and only Dr. Voight. It took a week to get in to see her and I didn’t run that whole time. The good news is that she thinks I just have tendonitis in my distal quad tendon and recommended PT and said I could resume running.

Soon after that appointment, we went on vacation to Michigan where I ran roughly every other day – nothing long or fast. I had my first PT appointment yesterday and it sounds like my left glute is weak, which is causing the problems in my right knee. I have a bunch of exercises to work on this and I’ve started wearing kinesio tape. So hopefully I’m on the path to recovery.

I should report that I ran my first 20 miler on Sunday, so things aren’t all bad.

One other thing that’s new with me (and I never thought I’d say), I’m on Twitter. You can follow me @MinnesotaRunner. I haven’t figured everything out yet, so I mainly retweet, rather than come up with my own tweets. With the Olympics going on, I really like the interaction or behind the scenes look you get from the athletes.

Regarding the Olympics, I’m about to give up on NBC’s primetime coverage. I’ve been trying to avoid social media during the day and then watch during primetime. However, I’m tired a sitting through gymnastics and beach volleyball, in order to get to see the heats of the 100m dash. I’m finding I’d rather follow Facebook and Twitter and if I can catch events live on NBC’s live app, I’ll do that. Otherwise, I’ll watch the highlights on their Olympics app.

Quote of the Day;

“Desire is the most important factor in the success of any athlete.” – Willie Shoemaker

Friday, July 13, 2012


If you’re interested, I posted my final thoughts and photos regarding the Track & Field Trials on the MDRA blog. Since they flew me out there, it seemed to make the most sense to post that article there.

Wow, I haven’t shared anything regarding my training for about 3 weeks. Overall, it’s been going really well. The biggest “glitch” came with travelling to and from Oregon, when I ended up taking an extra day off each of those weeks. As a result, my overall mileage was at 56 and 58 miles, instead of the 62 and 63 I was supposed to be at. Not a big deal, but it comes into play when I’m supposed to be making the next bump into the mid-to-upper 60s.

One other small change I made last week was splitting my medium-long run into two runs, since the weather was so nasty. I guess my focus is on staying motivated and not getting run-down.

My best workouts lately were an 18 miler in Eugene on Pre’s trails, 9 miles with 5 at half marathon pace on July 3rd, and 18 miles with 10 at marathon pace last Saturday. This has been a cutback week, then I’ll try to crank into those mid-to-upper 60s next week.

Finally, I’m trying to apply my direct marketing background to the electronic world and help promote my favorite store. So if you’re on facebook, please “like” TC Running Company. It doesn’t matter if you’re not local, I’ll try to include info that’s relevant to all runners and include some fun, interactive posts. Also, if you prefer Twitter, follow them at @tcrunningco.

Quote of the Day;

“I would rather have won this race than be President of the United States.” – Thomas Hicks on his 3:28:53 marathon win in St. Louis in 1904

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Well, the trials have come and gone. I can honestly say it was the best sporting event I've ever gone to – way better than I ever imagined. As a distance runner I was really looking forward to the 1500m, Steeplechase and 5,000m races. However, I really enjoyed the women’s high jump, long jump, and javelin too - as well as the sprints.

When I have more time I’ll post some thoughts around the meet, but right now I just want to share some of my favorite photos from the weekend.

Mt. Hood from the airplane.
Historic Hayward Field

Jordan Hasay

Galen Rupp
Lauren Fleshman

Allyson Felix

Men's 1500m team; Manzano, Wheating, Centrowitz

This is where I stood for most of the meet!
Panoramic view of King Estate Winery
Finally, here's a video after the women's 200m that proves I was really there.  32 seconds into the video I appear behind Allyson Felix's right shoulder.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Last week I was concerned with getting in my 15 miler with family in town. I ended up getting up at 5:30, ran 16 miles, and was back just as everyone was beginning their day. Motivation is a good thing!

That gave me 59 miles for the week.

On Friday, I picked up these sweet shoes at TCRC. I pulled them right out of the box and used them for my 16 miler.  Love 'em! 

Nike Lunar Glide 4
I leave for Track Town tomorrow. I was originally thinking that it’d be difficult to get my training in while I’m there. But then it occurred to me, there probably isn’t a better time/place for me to get my training in. Each day’s meet doesn’t start until the mid-afternoon and I don’t have any real responsibilities while I’m there. So there shouldn’t be any excuses.

With Pfitz, Wednesdays mean mid-week, medium-long runs. Today that meant 14 miles. When the alarm went off at 4:45, I really wanted to go back to sleep. I didn’t sleep well and Scott was out of town, so no one was holding me responsible. But I knew my week would be shot if I didn’t “git ‘er done.” I headed back to Hopkins and ran on the Ron Daws 25K course again. The inner loop (along Dominick Road), combined with the outer loop (along Baker, Rowland, Bren, and Shady Oak) is exactly 7 miles. I ran that twice which allowed me to re-fill my water bottle halfway through my run. I counted at least 8 hills on each lap, so it’s a lot of “fun”. While it’s tough getting motivated for these runs in the middle of the week, it’s always a great feeling when I enter them into my log book.

Finally, I’ll close with a couple of Trials-related links. First, Lauren Fleshman continues to provide great quotes. Check out this article after she made the finals in the 5,000m despite only being able to sprint due to IT Band issues.

Locally, Bruce Brothers wrote a nice piece on 1500m hopeful, Gabe Anderson. If that’s not enough, Carrie Tollefson interviewed Gabe in this video;

Quote of the Day;

“Being a good athlete is about being delusional and forgetting the gravity of situations you are about to enter. I had been exceptional at tuning that out for so long. I had to decide with this being as good as it gets, do I still want to do this.” – Lauren Fleshman

Friday, June 22, 2012


As if I don’t have enough running-related “work” on my plate, I’ve been updating the MDRA blog lately too. I started to provide a single source for all the race results from the previous week – instead of having runners scour 12 different sites looking for their results. I’ve also been previewing some of the Olympic Trials events that have Minnesotans in them.

I never fully recapped last week’s training. I ended up running everything as prescribed by Pfitz’s plan; Sunday – recovery day, Monday – 5 easy miles, Tuesday – 8 miles with strides, Wednesday - 12 miles, Thursday – 5 miles, Friday – 9 miles, Saturday – 16 miles with 8 at marathon pace. 55 miles for the week.

This week isn’t over, but I might as well recap that too. Sunday – recovery day, Monday – 5 easy miles, Tuesday – 11 miles, Wednesday - 13 miles, Thursday – 5 miles, Friday – 9 miles with 4 at 6:39 pace. Tomorrow I’m supposed to run 15, I have family coming into town tonight, so we’ll see what I can get accomplished.

Wednesday’s run was a confidence booster. No, it wasn’t a hard workout or anything. However, it was 80 degrees with a dew point of 67 at 5:45 AM. I sucked it up, strapped on my water bottle belt, and hit the Ron Daws 25K course.

Even though it was perfect out this morning, 62 degrees and calm with a dew point of 57, I ventured inside for my run. The last time I tried a tempo run outside, it didn’t go as planned. I cut it a mile short and had no idea what pace I was running. Today I wanted to make sure I had a good workout, so I hopped on the treadmill. It worked because I felt great and ran a solid tempo.

Let me close the week with a couple of random things I’ve seen lately. Did anyone notice that Rob Finnerty earned the Olympic Trials A-standard in the 1500 last week, running 3:38.60. You may remember that Finnerty broke Garry Bjorklund’s 39-year-old record for the mile, running 4:01.09. Oh yeah, that was just over 4 years ago. Nice to see he’s coming around again. You can see his recent race below;

Watch more video of Rob Finnerty on

Last week I mentioned that Alex Ratelle passed away. Jack at paid Alex a tribute and laid out many of his unbelievable stats.

Quote of the Day;

"BELIEVE. Belief overrides confidence %100 of the time. Every champion waivers in confidence, it can be lowest right before the biggest wins. Mine was. No champion however waivers in their belief of who they are and what they can accomplish. Solidify your belief and use it! Doubt your doubts. Embrace your fears and insecurities believing in yourself and your greatness. Lean into every emotion, feeling, nerve ending as it transpires appreciating the opportunity. Above all...Trust yourself! Your instincts are organic, you know what to do and how to do it. Believe THAT!" – Arielle Verhaaren, 2012 BMX Olympian

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I probably say this every year, but I love Duluth and I love Grandma’s Marathon weekend! Even though I wasn’t racing at all, I still went up to work the expo, watch, cheer, party, etc. A normally awesome weekend was even better this year with the inclusion of the USA Half Marathon Championships.

One concern I have with my own marathon training, is trying to get it in while on the road this summer. I decided to do Friday’s run in Duluth, opting to run along Skyline Drive as well as the Superior Hiking Trail.
View from Superior Hiking Trail near Enger Park
Getting in 9 miles was relatively easy. Saturday’s 16 miles with 8 at MP would be more difficult. I knew if I waited until after the races were done, I’d never get it in. Instead, I got up with my marathon buddies and headed down near the finish line to start my run at 6:15. I ended up running the course in reverse, staying on the sidewalks – even though it often meant running around people. I did an easy 7 miles before dropping down to MP. I was able to watch the Championship race go by. I saw Abdi in the lead around the 9 mile mark and Kara in the lead at mile 7. After a couple of more miles in reverse, I turned around and started to run with the runners from the regular half marathon – again staying on the sidewalk. This worked out great because I was able to use the racers to help with my workout without being in their way. I ended up running the 8 miles at MP between 7:13 and 7:34 pace.

After watching the half marathon finishers for awhile, I biked out to Lemon Drop Hill. While I was there, Abdi and Kara were out for a cool down and I snapped this bad picture.
Abdi and Kara cooling down.
I spent the next couple of hours cheering and taking more photos. In typical marathon fashion, some of my friends ran great and some not so great.

Later that evening I was able to weasel my way into the dinner/award ceremony for the Championship event. Don’t ask me how I manage to do these things. The only thing I can think of is that “I know people.” Anyway, it turns out that I sat right next to where the awards were going to be handed out and I got a couple of better photos of Abdi and Kara.

After the awards we headed downstairs for desserts where the hob-nobbing continued. I shook hands with Abdi and I think I have him convinced to move to Minnesota – given that, I believe, he’s 3-0 in Championship races in the state. I should have asked for a photo together, but I thought that would be awkward.
Top men finishers in the Half Marathon Championships.

Top women finishers in the Half Marathon Championships.
Just a few final thoughts on the weekend. Thanks to Heidi from MDRA for the room, Bob from Grandma’s Marathon for the hospitality, Adam and Kelly from TCRC for the great RV party, and Kim for inviting me to hob-nob. Race of the weekend vote: Michelle Frey’s 1:11:45ish, which was good for 3rd place. Finally, that view coming over the hill into Duluth never gets old.

Quote of the Day;
"I love Minnesota.” – Abdi

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Thought I’d start off with a recap of my first week of training for TCM.

Sunday - Plan: 5 miles – Actual: 5 miles

Monday - Plan: Day off or Cross Train – Actual: 2 x 21 mile bike rides

Tuesday - Plan: 9 miles w/ 4 @ tempo – Actual: 9 miles w/ 3 @ tempo

Wednesday - Plan: 11 miles – Actual: 9 miles

Thursday – Plan: 5 miles – Actual: 11 miles

Friday – Plan: 9 miles – Actual: 5 miles

Saturday – Plan: 15 miles – Actual: 16 miles

Total – Plan 54 miles – Actual: 55 miles

Pretty solid week overall. You can see that I switched things around a little on Wednesday – Friday. This was so I could run with Scott on Thursday instead of our typical Wednesday run. The week also included 3 core workouts for McMillan’s DVDs.

Other than that, I have a bunch of links I want to share today. First, off all the people I wish I’d interviewed, Alex Ratelle would be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, he died on Sunday at age 87. If you’re not familiar with Alex, he was an age-group ace for many years in Minnesota. One example, running 2:30:40 (5:45 pace) at the age of 56. Since I didn’t get to interview him, how about an interview with Olympic hopeful, Heather Kampf?

And speaking of Olympic hopefuls, here are a couple of other articles worth checking out on Katie McGregor and Gabriele Anderson.

Finally, here’s a great article on Chris Lundstrom.

Quote of the Day;

"Marathons had become pretty predictable.” – Chris Lundstrom on his decision to branch out to ultras

Tuesday, June 05, 2012


With a goal on the distant horizon, I will try to post more frequently. If nothing else, it seems to help keep me motivated.

I forgot to mention a goal for TCM. Right now my recent race results point to about a 3:15, which I believe corresponds with my BQ. Not that I have plans to run Boston again, but a BQ isn’t a bad carrot to have in front of me. Of course, I hope to improve throughout the training cycle and getting down to 3-oh-something would sound better than anything above that. Thoughts of another sub-3 aren’t even on my mind.

I’m not sure if Pfitz had two 90 minute bike rides in mind when he wrote “day off or cross train” in his schedule. But that’s what he got. I’m sure that won’t be the norm, but the situation fit yesterday. Today’s workout called for 9 miles with 4 miles at 15K to half marathon pace. My Garmin wouldn’t turn on this morning, so I ended up doing this workout by feel along the Greenway. One thing I learned is that I have to start carrying water on every run now. It was only 62 degrees, but I was sweating pretty good. I have to admit that I kind of wimped out as I ended up shutting the tempo portion down after only 3 miles. I’m so used to doing these on the treadmill now, that I think I was pushing a little too hard.

I brief update on my weight, I’ve been bouncing between 148 and 150 pounds lately. That means I’m down a good 8 pounds from where I was in the winter. I probably won’t be able to drop much more without tightening the reins on my diet even more and I’m not sure I’m willing to do that.

One final observation when it comes to bikers. I don’t care whether you wear a helmet or not. However, I think you look like a dork when you are riding your bike and have your helmet dangling from your handle bars. I saw that during Saturday’s run. Also saw a kid wearing his helmet unbuckled – like that’s going to help at all. I’m not sure which is worse – probably equally ineffective.

Quote of the Day;

"It was a big ego trip. All the kids I hung around with were impressed. But then I took about a five year layoff.” – Don Kardong on a 4-mile run when he was 10 years old

Monday, June 04, 2012


Technically speaking today is the first day of my TCM training plan, not yesterday. Pfitz calls for 1 day off or cross training day per week. Today happens to be that day – what a great way to start a new plan!? I decided it was another great day to commute to work. This time I parked at Fort Snelling, so the total ride was just under 21 miles. I nearly rode my tri bike, but decided to stick with my mountain bike. I’m considering selling my tri bike - again – so if anyone is interested in hearing more about it, let me know.

As I’m biking this morning, I was thinking, who doesn’t love the Twin Cities? All but the last 2-3 miles of my commute were on bike paths. And the scenery included Fort Snelling, Minnehaha Falls, Lake Nokomis, the Parkway, Lake Harriett, and Lake Calhoun.

My running friends will be happy to hear that I bitched out every runner on the bike paths – like any other biker would do. I’m just kidding, but it is interesting to get a view from “the other side”. When you’re cruising along at 15+ m.p.h., you pass a lot more people than when you’re just running 8 m.p.h. I can see how it’d be easy for them to get frustrated with having to weave in and out of runners and walkers.

Speaking of new training plans, I took my (nearly) 9-year-old out running yesterday. She wants to go out for the cross country team I coach. We start in early August, so I’d like to be able to get her close to running 1 mile non-stop before then. Yesterday we started by running for 2 minutes and then walking for 1 minute. After two repetitions, she wanted to increase it to 3 minutes of running. We did that two more times before running one last minute. In total we run 11 of 16 minutes. Seems like a good start. Of course, the challenge will be to keep doing that (and adding more) a few times each week.

Oh yeah, yesterday I alluded to an exciting vacation that I have planned this summer. I’m pumped to announce that I’m heading to Eugene to watch the second section of the Track & Field trials. I was able to get a press pass through MDRA and they picked up my airplane ticket. So a huge thanks goes out to Heidi and MDRA. The one bummer is that I’ll miss some events that I'd really like to see, including the 10,000m, 800m and the triple jump. However, I’ll get to see the 1500m, Steeplechase, and 5000m. It’s hard to believe, but the trials start two weeks from this Friday. I’ll be heading out on June 28th.

Quote of the Day;

"Great job…And now, get your head ready to run under 13:00.” – Coach Sam Bell to Bob Kennedy after he ran 13:02

Sunday, June 03, 2012


Last week ended up being extremely “rough”. Of course, Monday was Memorial Day so I had the day off from work. Wednesday morning was Track & Field Day for Katie, so I took the morning off to attend that. And Friday I got to chaperone Kinsey to the Minnesota Zoo. Since the school is only like 2 miles from the zoo, all the fifth graders got to ride their bikes there and back.

I guess summer has officially begun. Looking at my calendar, out the 15 weeks or so of summer, I think I have 8 weeks where I’ll have to work 5 whole days. Otherwise, I’ll be out of the office at least part of the week – including an exciting vacation that I’ll announce tomorrow!

Today also marks the 18-week point from TCM. I’ve decided on following Pfitz’s 18-week plan that tops out at 70 MPW. I’ve had success with this in the past and look forward to having some structure to my training. Overall, there are some spots where it’s going to be tough to get in the training – especially with all the vacations I have planned this summer. For example, in just two weeks, I have a 16 miler with 8 at marathon pace planned. Well that’s the same day as Grandma’s Marathon, which I plan on watching. It’s not impossible to get it in, but it’s definitely more difficult than a typical Saturday run from home. Then there are a couple of 16 to 18 milers on the schedule when I’ll be with the family. Finally, I’ve been recruited for a Ragnar team, which will consists of 3 hard runs in the span of a day or so. Apparently, Pfitz never considered this when he put his schedules together. So, although I have my marathon scheduled laid out, I’m sure I’ll be making adjustments all throughout the summer.

One of the nice things about Pfitz’s program is that it’s not really much different from what I’ve been doing lately. He starts out at about 55-60 MPW with Wednesday runs of 11-13 and long runs of 15-16. And his workouts consist of 4-5 mile tempo runs. It looks like that 16 miler with 8 at MP will be the only run that’s really “new” to me during the first three weeks.

The good news is that I feel pretty good heading into the program. I finished May with 205 miles, which is a little low, mainly due to my calf “injury”. But I’d rather start my marathon training feeling good than have squeezed in 30 more miles the last week or two while still battling some aches and pains – which I’m sure more of are right around the corner.

Quote of the Day;
“Not since Bob Kennedy have we seen an American-born male distance runner run in a pack believing they could compete and run with anyone.” – recap of Galen Rupp’s 12:58 5K performance at the Prefontaine Classic

Monday, May 28, 2012


I’m guessing that, when it comes to injuries, I’m no different than any other runner. Whenever the topic of an injury comes up, I’m willing to bet that the words “it’s weird” are included 99% of the time. Actually, what we’re experiencing probably isn’t weird at all – it’s normal. It just feels weird to us. For example, a couple of weeks ago I had a flare up in my lower back. After sitting for long periods of time, I could barely stand up straight. The weird thing with that pain is that it didn’t bother me when I ran. And it went away almost as quickly as it arrived. It probably helped that I jumped on it and went to see Jenna, the healer of all things soft tissue – and more.

As awesome as Jenna is, there are some instances where I try to be self-supportive and treat my injuries myself. Like with my recent calf issues, where I spent 3 days of cross training and foam rolled the crap out of it. Friday I decided to test it out with an easy 5 mile run. Things seemed to be going okay, but then I felt a little tweak going up a hill. I backed off the pace and managed to make it back to the office. In hindsight I wish I would have worn my compression socks, but I didn’t want to look like a dork running from my office.

Saturday morning I had mentally prepared myself that my run may turn into a walk if I had indeed tweak my calf. The weird thing is that I felt fine and was able to run 9 hilly miles on the trails of Hyland. Perhaps wearing compression socks made all the difference. As the day went on, I kept waiting to feel pain in my calf, but it never appeared.

So it feels like I may be recovered – at least temporarily. Talking with Kevin on Saturday’s run, we basically determined that there’s always going to be something “wrong”. The days of long pain-free stretches are probably over. Honestly, I think it’s good to acknowledge that and to be aware of that. It was just last summer the I got so frustrated with an achy knee, that I shut things down in the summer. Hopefully, accepting that this is the way it’s going to be from now on will help keep me from shutting things down again. It’s hard to run a fall marathon when you don’t train during the summer.

Unfortunately, tweaking my calf on Friday was enough to make me bail on the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. I ended up giving up my slot to another runner. And I decided to skip today’s 5K today too, even though it’s an MDRA Grand Prix event.

Quote of the day;
"The 'spikes' it is finished for me.  I am 39.  I have failed to qualify for the Olympics.  And there is a very strong younger generation in Ethiopia now.  I tried to qualify for my fifth Olympics. And I don’t regret trying to do so.  I simply came up against stronger rivals on Sunday.” - Haile Gebrselassie

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It seemed like there was a stretch of about 6 years where I blogged every day or at least every week day. That’s hard to believe, given how little I’ve been blogging lately. What the heck did I used to write about so much?

My calf that cramped during my last race recovered quickly, only to cramp again during my run on Monday. That made me curious. If a muscle cramps, is it more susceptible to future cramping? I’m not overly concerned – yet. However, I’ve been laying out a training plan for TCM and that’s supposed to start in early June. Plus, I’m supposed to run a 5K on Memorial Day. I’ve also managed to weasel my way into the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon and it’d be nice to be able to run that. I’ve been foam rolling like crazy, along with wearing my compression socks as much as possible – including at work.

I jumped on the elliptical machine yesterday and today I commuted to work on my bike – at least part of the way. I drove to Lake Nokomis and then biked 17 miles from there. Of course, that means another 17 miles tonight. I really like commuting by bike, however, it means I won’t get home until after 6:30 PM.

Quote of the Day;

"I would never use Rod Dixon as a pace man. Off the track, we are good friends, but on the track we are very competitive. It’s me for me and Rod for Rod.” – John Walker

Sunday, May 13, 2012


It’s been 5 years since the last time I ran the New Prague Half Marathon. In 2005, I was in arguably my best-ever post-collegiate shape. I ended up running 1:21:49 at New Prague, a post-30 years old PR by 1:15. Of course, I wasn’t hoping to run that fast this year, but I was hoping to dip under 1:30 after running 1:32:30 at the Winter Carnival half.

Typically, it’s windy whenever I’ve run this race. The fact that it’s run amongst the farm fields usually makes the wind worse. Plus, the course is a big square, which means that you have to run in each direction for nearly 3 miles before getting any sort of break from the wind. Well, we didn’t have to worry about that this year as we got a break from the wind for the entire race. Conditions were right around 60 degrees, sunny and only a slight breeze.

From all my days of trying to break 3-hours, I know that I need to run 6:52 pace if I want to break 1:30. This is a pretty low-key race, so it was nice to recognize a few familiar faces before the start, plus it helps with pacing during that first mile when you’re trying to settle in. As the gun goes off, I’m trying to gauge myself against those around me. I’m just behind Michael and Willie, both who’ve kicked my ass all year long. I wonder if I’m going out too hard. But I’m also with Jim, who I figure will run in the mid to upper 1:30s. And the gal I finished just ahead of at Get in Gear is right in this pack. I feel comfortable, so I figure I’m right where I need to be. Finally, we get to the mile and I see 6:53 – nearly perfect!

We actually have a rather large pack of about 10 people as we make our way to mile 2 in 6:55. There’s a hill during the next mile and I lose the pack a little. I’m okay with that as I enjoy running by myself. At this point there are 2 high school kids about 15 feet in front of me, with the bigger pack just in front of them. The kids are chatting away as if they’re just out for a jog – must be nice!

Between miles 2 and 6, I remain in the same position, having rattled off splits between 6:49 and 6:58. The course is constantly rolling. There seems to be more up hill than down, which makes gauging my actual pace a little difficult. Afterwards Jim joked, “Where were the downhills.”

By now we’ve been traveling east and south of town. I’m looking forward to getting to “mile” 6.5 because we turn west and start heading home, which is a nice mental boost. It’s also at this time where the pack starts to string out and I am able to start catching some people. The first person I catch is Michael. This is another mental boost because I think he’s been in every race I’ve run this year – and beaten me every time. The mental boosts transfer to quicker splits of 6:43 and 6:48 for miles 7 and 8. During this stretch I pass 5 more runners. I also pass a little girl cheering. She tells me that I’m “almost done” even though I have over 4 miles left. “Cute!”

I get to mile 9 feeling pretty good. I can see the gal that I ran next to at Get in Gear up ahead of me about 30 seconds. Typically, I like to run a smart race and save something in the tank for the last 5K. If that was the case today, I think I can catch her. However, within a mile I’m not feeling so hot. We go up a fairly large hill and I lose significant ground to the runners in front of me, along with any mojo I had when I was passing other runners.

At mile 10 I take a look at my overall time and see 1:08:50. Quick math tells me that that’s 70 seconds less than 7:00 pace, which is 6:53. I am right on track for 1:30. Given the way I’m feeling, I figure I’ll be closer to 1:30:30. During the next mile I keep repeating, “Get me to mile 11, get me to mile 11…”. The remaining 5K is too much to comprehend, but I can deal with the last 2 miles.

Somewhere around this point my left calf begins to cramp. In 30+ years of running I can’t think of ever getting a cramp, other than a side-stitch. Every time people tell me they start to cramp in a race, I just kind of nod my head because I had no idea what they were talking about. I guess now I can relate. I finally get to mile 11 in 6:59. Now I tell myself to hang on for another half mile or so because that’s were the next turn is. I make it and take a quick glance over my shoulder. I know, I know, the race is in front of me, looking back only encourages the runner behind me, blah, blah, blah. I guess I just had to know how many runners I should expect to pass me during the last mile. It looks like only one guy is close enough to catch me. At least that seems like the best case scenario at this point.

Mile 12 passes in 7:05. I figure if I can run another 7:05, the guy behind me will have to run 6:50 to catch me. I remember that this is an MDRA Grand Prix event. Plus, given the rather small field, there could be age-group awards on the line, so I try to hold him off. We make a couple more turns and he doesn’t seem to be gaining. Then with about a quarter-mile to go I hear footsteps – at first they’re behind me, but very shortly they are in front of me. If nothing else, this guy help push me harder than I would have if he weren’t in the race.

While he pushed me during that last mile, there’s no way he pushed me to the 6:17 split that I saw on my watch. I figured the mile markers were probably just off a little throughout the course. Not a huge deal, but what it did mean is that I was no longer on pace to run 1:30:30. As I approached the finish line I saw 1:29:40, which meant I had to pick it up even more to sneak under 1:30. I managed to do so by 2 seconds. Good for 28th overall and 2nd in the 40-44 age group.

The 1:29:58 is 2:29 faster than my Winter Carnival Half Marathon, so things seem to be going in the right direction.

If you’d like to read about people setting PR’s, be sure to check out Nichole’s and Steve’s reports.

Monday, May 07, 2012


Surprise! I’ve actually been feeling pretty good lately. Saturday was my longest run since Grandma’s Marathon last year, as I made it 18 miles. Without a spring marathon on the horizon, I’ve been keeping my long runs around 16 miles. In addition to bumping my mileage, it was one of my faster training runs that I can remember recently. After running the first 4 miles solo as a warm-up, I joined my normal Saturday group and proceeded to click of 7:30 miles. Best of all was that things felt really comfortable until that last 2 miles. I ended up taking Sunday off and closed out the week with 55 miles.

This morning I woke up with a stiff lower back and was wondering if I’d be able to run at all. After a sluggish first mile in 8:36 I started to feel really good again. I ran an out-and-back course and without even thinking about it, each of the first 6 miles was faster than the previous; 8:10, 8:03, 7:59, 7:54, 7:53. Again, this felt really comfortable, so I tried to pick it up a little bit more during each mile and finished with 7:48, 7:31, 7:28, 7:21.

It seems like a lot of other people with similar race times as me train a lot faster than I do, so these splits probably seem really slow. However, for me, they’re a lot quicker than “normal” so maybe things are turning around. Either that or I just ran too hard and now I’m screwed for this weekend’s half marathon.

Quote of the Day;

"The long run is the single most important ingredient to marathon success.” – Bob Glover

Monday, April 30, 2012


Against my better judgment, I did sign up for Get in Gear, even though I basically felt terrible all of last week. In addition to feeling terrible, the weather looked terrible too with the forecast calling for 40-45 degrees and rain. Throw a $38 entry fee on top of that and I had all intentions of not racing. But like I said in my last post, I was curious to see where I stood compared to my Human Race performance. In the years I’ve run both events, I typically try to shoot for holding my 8K pace from Human Race for the 10K of Get in Gear. That means I needed to run around 41:30 or roughly 6:40 pace. Remember, since Human Race I pretty much replaced all speed workouts with hill workouts and lots of trail running.

At the line, I tried to move behind all the people I recognized. I thought I was in a pretty good position, although the gal right in front of me was wearing yoga pants, headphone and a hooded sweatshirt. Anyway, I didn’t think I was too far back. Then when the gun went off I was amazed at the number of people that were in front of me. No worries, I just went with the flow. After about 2 minutes I finally started to recognize some friends just up ahead of me, so I figured I was in a good spot. Mile 1 came and went in 6:32 and I was pleased with that. I felt comfortable so I stayed where I was at and hit mile 2 in 6:34. Mile 3 goes over the Mississippi River, so there’s a little climb. I knew it’d be slow, so I didn’t even look at my watch. Later I learned I ran 6:45 for that mile.

I passed halfway in 20:35. Of course, that’s 41:10 pace, so I’m ahead of my goal. With the St. Thomas hill coming up and what I thought would be a second half headwind, I figured I was still on pace for 41:30. Once I recovered from the St. Thomas hill I started to race more, instead of just going through the motions. I started working with the people around me and trying to catch the people ahead of us. This lead to a 6:39 mile 4th mile, followed by a 6:33 5th mile. Some quick math revealed that my 8K time was about 35 seconds faster than my Human Race time.

I was still feeling good and trying to reel in some familiar faces ahead during the last mile which was my fastest of the day in 6:27. I closed in 1:19 for a final time of 40:52. That means I ran 8 seconds faster than Human Race for 2K more. Of course, I have to keep in mind that it was 75 and windy at Human Race, so it’s a little difficult to compare.

I was thinking back and it’s probably been 20 years since I ran slower than 40 minutes for 10K. However, given where I was a month ago, and how I felt last week, I’ll take it.

Today I closed the books on April with 225 miles. Not great, not terrible. The problem I’ve had the last 2 months is that I can’t close out the month. After 3 solid weeks of training, I plan on a cutback week. However, instead of cutting back to 45 – 50 miles, I’ve been cutting back to 30 - 35 miles. Maybe that’s what my body is craving at that point of the training cycle.

Up next in May: New Prague Half Marathon and the Brian Kraft 5K.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


It’s been over a week, so that must mean it’s time for another blog entry. I don’t have much to report, so this may end up being pretty boring.

Last week was another decent week of training. I managed a 5 mile tempo run at 6:47 pace on Monday, 12 miles on Wednesday with 8 of them being on hilly trails, and then Friday I ran 17 miles at Jay Cooke State Park near Duluth on Friday. The 17 miler was great. It was 55 degrees and sunny. I paid $5 to park my car, grabbed a map and hit the trails. It was probably 90 minutes before I saw anyone else on the trails. That’s my kind of run.

Given that I ran 16 miles the previous Saturday, that means I was up to 73 miles for the 7-day time period. I ended up taking Saturday off, which “officially” gave me 57 miles for the week.

Sunday I started doing yard work and before I knew it I never got a run in. Not a huge deal given my last 3 weeks of training. With two days off in a row, I was ready to throw in another tempo run on Monday. However, it was a struggle just to run a super slow 5 miles. That was the worst run I can remember in a long time. As I said on Facebook, it was the kind of run that makes me realize why others may hate running.

Tuesday was a little better, but not much. Part of the problem was that my hamstrings were just incredibly sore. Not sure if it was from raking or bending over to pull weeds. Lately, Wednesdays have evolved into 10-12 mile trail runs, typically with a couple of my college teammates. Usually, I’m falling off the back every time we go up any sort of incline. I had been getting stronger recently and keeping up a little better, but today was another huge struggle.

So with 3 sub-par runs this week, I find myself considering not even signing up for this Saturday’s 10K, even though it’s in the MDRA Grand Prix, the USATF Team Series, and the fact that I’d like to be able to compare myself to my last 8K. Online registration closes tomorrow evening. Perhaps tomorrow’s recovery run will be the determining factor as to whether I sign up or not.

Quote of the Day;

"When I’m done, I’ll know I’m done. I’ll walk off the track – you won’t have to push me off.” – Abdi Abdirahman

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Typically, my blogging goes hand-in-hand with my running.  If I'm motivated and running a lot, then I will post a lot on my blog.  Well I'm happy to report that even though I'm not blogging much, I've actually been running a fair amount.  After a lackluster March, I've put together back-to-back weeks with mileage in the low 60s.  I've also basically stopped doing any sort of speed workout or tempo run.  Instead, I've been hitting the trails in Hyland Park twice a week, as well as running hill repeats on Fridays.  All the hilly runs seem to be paying off as I feel myself getting stronger.

One of the reasons I haven't been blogging much is because I've added some core work, which I try to do during lunch on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  In addition, I've been jumping on the elliptical on those days to get an extra 20 minutes of calories burned.

The extra calories burned, along with actually tracking my caloric intake (and calories burned) using My Fitness Pal has helped me get my weight down to 150 pounds.  That's down about 8 pounds from last fall.  The thing I like about the website more than anything is that it just makes you aware of all the foods you put in your body.  Just seeing the number of calories in all those cookies you grab everytime you walk by the pantry is enough to keep you honest.  My one complaint about the site is that it doesn't allow you to track your exercise based on your intensity.  It only allows you to track the number of minutes you ran, but doesn't distinguish between a 6 minute mile or a 10 minute mile.  I think their calculations are based on about a 10 minute mile, so if I run faster I'm actually being conservative with the number of calories burned.

Finally, I have posted two interviews recently.

Quote of the day;
"I think an additional factor for my lack of racing is that I just like to run. A lot of people who race, sign up for races to motivate them to run; in other words, they need a reason to get up and run each day. I don’t; I truly enjoy my daily runs, regardless of whether or not there’s an upcoming event." - Kelly Brinkman

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


It’s probably no surprise that I’m putting the “Endless Season” approach on hold for awhile. I think it’s an interesting approach and I look forward to trying it again sometime. However, it’s probably designed for someone who’s coming into the racing season in relatively decent shape. At this point, that’s not me. I feel like I’ve been putting the cart before the horse lately and that I’d be better served by building strength through mileage and hill workouts.

So I’m back to building up my weekly mileage, along with including hilly trail runs and 1 hill repeat workout per week. I’ll still jump in a race or two each month, but will probably cut a few out of my schedule.

You’ve heard of cutback weeks on this blog, but how about a cutback month? After running 206, 231 and 244 miles in December – February, I ended up only running 202 in March. Heck, I was still over 200 miles, so I guess I won’t be too critical.

I was able to incorporate some core workouts in during the month, as well as mix in a couple of salads. Hopefully, these activities, combined with the higher mileage in April, will finally push me below 153 lbs. It seems like I’ve been stuck there for three weeks

Quote of the Day;

"All men and nations eat too much, and for this reason are not fit.” – Paavo Nurmi

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Well, it’s been awhile. I’ll blame it on springing forward for Daylight Savings.  I'm just now adjusting.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated with my running. I’ve talked about losing a lot of fitness last year. With that in mind, I just assume I’ll be improving by leaps and bounds this spring. But so far that isn’t happening.

A week and a half ago I ran my second indoor 5,000m race this year. After running 19:57 at the first one, I looked at Daniels’ VDOT charts and noticed that the next step in the chart corresponded with a 19:36. Again, I’m thinking I’ve got 3 solid months under my belt, I should be able to drop my times like a rock, especially now that I know what to expect with an indoor 5K. Well things were going okay for 4K. I wasn’t on 19:36 pace, but I was about 10 seconds ahead of my first race. Then I started to freak out and worry more about my finish time than focusing on just running. I blew up and my last K ended up being my slowest of the day by 10 seconds. “Sprinting” the lap was enough to keep my sub-20 string intact. I believe my final time was like 19:19.56. Hell, I still had four-tenths of a second to play with.

The weird thing with these indoor meets is that there are not a lot of people to run with. There were only 8 people at that meet. So that was my alibi for that race.

Last Sunday was the Human Race 8K. It’s my official kickoff to the spring racing season. Weather for this race can be all over the board. This year, with a start time of 1:20, it was in the mid-70s with a pretty stiff breeze. Given all the VDOT charts and WAVA calculators, I was thinking somewhere around 32:30 would be a reasonable goal. Unfortunately, none of the charts or calculators factor in the difference between an indoor 5K and a road 8K in un-acclimated conditions.

Since I was really frustrated with my last race and how much attention I placed on the finish time, I decided to run this race without my watch. Instead, I wanted to focus on just running, competing, and listening to my body. In the end, I was much more happy with the process, but not so much the results. I ran 33:27, which isn’t much faster than what I’ve been running for my tempo pace.

Because I’m following a new training plan and because of last year’s injury, I’m really not sure what to blame. Part of me says to keep the faith and continue doing what I’m doing, while another part says to scrap everything and go back to what I know works for me.

The Endless Season approach is designed to race a little slower, but for a longer period of time. That sounds great on paper, but I’m not sure I can handle a whole year of mediocre results.

I guess I have some things to think about.

Quote of the Day;

"My daughters do not care about gold medals, they want me to bring an ice cream." - Chaunte Howard after being asked what the gold medal means to her daughters

Thursday, March 08, 2012


First off, be sure to check out my latest interview.

I heard about this solar storm affecting GPS units and other electronics. I thought that’s what was happening on my run this morning. My first mile was 8:06, which is pretty quick for me for an opening mile. Then I saw 7:48 and started to wonder what was going on. I eased back, but still ran 7:39. Not sure if it was the solar storm or the day off yesterday, but I seemed to be moving pretty well. I guess I’ll take it without complaints.

My only other notable run of the week was Tuesday’s 8 x 400 workout that I ended up running on the treadmill. Of course, I’d rather run these on a track, but I made the best of what I had.

I came across what I considered to be an odd statement in this article;

However, the ugly truth remains: aside from the few genetically blessed individuals, most people who run in access (sic) of 50 miles per week, must spend as much or more time focusing on injury prevention than they do running or they will end up sidelined!
Seriously, I’m supposed to spend 7-8 hours a week focusing on injury prevention? I guess I’ll just wait until I end up sidelined and get it all out of the way at once. Where do people come up with this stuff?

Quote of the Day;

“I always try to put myself in a position to do something special if I can.” - Jon Grey.

Monday, March 05, 2012


It occurred to me the other day that maybe my training as been all wrong lately. I’ve been trying to follow the Endless Season approach, which is fine. However, in one blog post I mention not being able to squeeze in all the workouts during the week and in another post I mention running 70-mile weeks with thoughts of going higher.

A closer look at the Endless Season schedule shows that the weekly mileage is typically between 55 and 60 miles. Now I’m wondering if I could squeeze in all those workouts during the week if I cut my mileage back a little – keeping in mind that all of the workouts are at a controlled pace, rather than all-out all the time. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

With the unofficial kick-off to the 2012 racing season (Human Race 8K) less than 2 weeks away, I have to remind myself that short, fast racing is the goal through July, mileage is secondary.

So that’s my “new” plan – focus on getting in an interval and tempo run each week. Mid-week runs will stay in the 10 mile range and “long” runs will be around 11-13 miles.

Finally, here's a recap of February. I ended the month with 244 miles, including a couple of tempo runs and intervals, as well as a 5K and a hill workout. I think between December, January, and February, I should have a decent base heading into the new racing season.

Quote of the Day;

“We’re all an experiment of one.” - unknown

Monday, February 27, 2012


I spent the last 5 minutes staring out the window, trying to decide whether I should go for a run or not. Typically, if it takes that much effort to get out the door, then the answer is no. So here I am eating my lunch and blogging instead.

Last week I managed my second week in a row at 70 miles. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it, given the way Saturday’s run started. Heading into the run I needed 16 miles to reach my goal. The first mile went by and I was barely under 9 minutes. But it wasn’t an easy 9:00 pace, it was a heavy-legged mile and I wondered how I’d ever make it 15 more miles. Luckily things started to come around and I managed to finish the run averaging 8:05 pace.

It’s really no surprise that I was tired. When I stopped to think about it, I remember that I did a 5K on Sunday (with a 6 mile cooldown), 13 miles on Wednesday, and a 5 mile tempo run on Thursday (8 miles total).

Ideally, I’d like to have one more big week before cutting back, but realistically, I don’t see that happening. Physically, I’m feeling fine. Mentally, I’m looking forward to a little break. So I’ll take one.

One thing I’ve been thinking about lately is how high should I go with my mileage this training cycle. I know I run well off of a large base – something like 3 months of 300+ miles (i.e. 70 MPW). So do I stick where I’m at and try to put together three weeks of 70 miles or do I bump my mileage a little and try to keep building?

I will say that it felt like my metabolism really kicked in around last Wednesday. I was so hungry that afternoon that I spent most of it walking around the office in search of food. That’s not a good thing when it’s Girl Scout Cookie season. I probably could have lost another 2 pounds if it weren’t for that.

Finally, congrats to Amanda Smock on winning the US Indoor triple jump championship over the weekend. I just happened to be looking at the running results at the time the triple jump was taking place. Amanda was in third after the 4th round. Her 5th round jump gave her the lead and she hung on through the 6th round.

Quote of the Day;

“Thanks to all for the support, feeling pretty loved. Looking forward to putting in some work this week and then headed to the World Indoor Competition in Turkey!!” – Amanda Smock, commenting to all her supporters on facebook

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Quick – I need your help in naming my new dog. Here’s a photo of him.

I’m thinking “Mr. Big”. Any other ideas?

He definitely gives new meaning to the term “wiener dog”.

I haven’t written since my 5K on Sunday, but it’s been a good week. I focused on recovery on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I bumped my mid-week medium-long run from 12 to 13. I’ve run the last three of these on a very flat trail. I was hoping to hit the rolling hills of Hyland this week, but we got some snow Monday night and I wasn’t sure what kind of shape the trails would be in.

It figures that we’d finally receive some snow the week of the Birkie. That’s some kind of cruel joke by Mother Nature. Good luck to all the skiers heading to the race this weekend.

Today I had a great tempo run on the treadmill. My last attempt at a tempo run was two weeks ago and I only managed 3 miles at 6:48 pace. Afterwards I wrote about how I wasn’t in control of the workout. I was fighting the whole time. Well, today was the opposite. I let the workout come to me as I started out at 7:03 pace and gradually kept speeding up. The last half mile was at 6:35 pace and even that felt controlled. I ended up with 8 miles total, including 5 miles at 6:49 pace.

Looking back on my last tempo, it may have been too close to the half marathon I ran. It was 11 days later, which is right on the bubble for recovery time recommended by Pete Magill who I mentioned recently. Had I waited another day or two, I probably would have felt “normal”. In any case, it was nice to have bounced back today.

Finally, I forgot to mention my WAVA % after last weekend’s 5k. It calculated to 68.8%, which is up from 68.2% for the meet of miles. So that’s another indicator that I’m going in the right direction.

Quote of the Day;

“Instead of stuffing workouts into our training logs like Takeru Kobayashi inhales hot dogs, we should focus on two factors; 1) The correct training volume and intensity required to trigger a desired adaptation and 2) the recovery period needed to allow the adaptation to occur.” – Pete Magill

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Yesterday I was planning on 12-14 miles for my "long" run.  I ended up getting in 16, which gave me 70 for the week.  Even though I had a 5K schedule for this morning, I wasn't too worried because it the pace for my long run was nice and relaxed.

Even though I'm trying to shed some weight, I really only get on the scale once a week - typically after my Saturday run.  I was up as high as 158 and then I got "stuck" at 155-156 for the longest time.  I'm happy to report that I was down to 153 yesterday.  I still have a good 5-6 pounds to go, but it's nice to finally get below 155.

Leading up to today's 5K, I figured I'd be right around 20-flat, based on Daniels' VDOT charts.  The nice thing about 20-flat is that it makes for easy math; 20/5 = 4:00/km or 48 seconds per lap.  I was hoping to run that pace for as long as possible and then hopefully pick it up a little at the end.  As you can imagine with an indoor track meet, there weren't a lot of people in the race - maybe 20.  It's not like a local 5K where there are always people around you.  So when Michael was just ahead of me after 2 laps, I decided to try and stick with him, even though we were running a little faster than expected.  After about a mile, Mike pulled away I was left to run solo the rest of the way.  Looking at my kilometer splits below, you can see a pretty sharp drop off after 2K.  By 4K I was right at 16:00 or 16:01 and I knew breaking 20 was going to be close.  I did manage to pick it up and finish in 19:57.


I'm not sure I'd call breaking 20 a "milestone".  Not breaking 20 would probably have been a milestone, but one indicating that I was going in the wrong direction, since I probably have run over 20 minutes for 5K in 20 years.

Based on my Meet of Miles time, my VDOT was squarly between 49 and 50.  19:57 puts me at 50, so it appears I'm making baby steps.

Finally, thanks to Gary Westlund and his crew at Charities Challenge for putting on a great event.  These guys run a number of meets throughout the winter, so if you're interested in working on your speed over the winter, be sure and check them out.

Quote of the day;
"This is the longest November I can ever remember." - John Naslund, commenting on our mild winter

Friday, February 17, 2012


Last night I pulled the trigger and signed up for TCM. I love this event, but haven’t run it since 2008. (Where does the time go?) As much as I love it, it still pains me to have to register nearly 8 months ahead of time. Sure I could wait, but then the price keeps increasing. Figuring that my thoughts about doing this race in 2012 wouldn’t change, I decided to register. I’ve probably bitched about this before, but man, that service charge really drives me crazy. At work, we are constantly trying to drive customers to the web because the order entry costs are cheaper. Yet when I sign up for a race online I have to pay $8.60 in service charges. Dang! I guess the $105 entry fee isn’t enough. I almost wish they’d charge me $115 without the service charge.

Okay, I got that off my chest.

One thing that’s been on my mind lately is making sure I’m getting enough recovery time in each week with this Endless Season program. I’m partially concerned because TCM is 8 months away and I know that I have a tendency to dig myself into a hole during the summer if I’m not careful.

Anyway, Pete Magill is another writer for Running Times and he usually writes about training for Masters runners. Last October he wrote an article about recovery time needed after races and between hard workouts. One of his charts recommends 4.5 days between hard workouts for someone in their 40s who’s in medium shape. Well, if I workout hard on Monday, that means my next hard workout would be Friday or Saturday. So am I supposed to run a hard tempo on Friday? But I like to do my long runs on Saturday. Do I push those to Sunday? What about the mid-week progression run? If I throw that in the mix, does it delay my recovery time? These are the types of questions I have rolling around in my head.

If I followed the Endless Season program exactly, I’d be doing an interval session, tempo and long run every week – along with the mid-week progression. I can already see the hole being dug. So right now I’m going to focus on getting in 3 workouts (i.e. intervals or tempos) every 2 weeks. With that in mind, I postponed my tempo run this week – moving it to next week.

I was thinking about Jessie Diggins some more and I really think some company should sign her to a long-term sponsorship deal ASAP. Think about it, she’s have a tremendous rookie season on the world cup, she’s attractive, speaks very well on camera and writes an entertaining blog. Oh yeah, and she’s only 19. That means she’ll be 21 at the next winter Olympics, then 25, and then 29. She will be around for awhile and could easily replace Lindsey Vonn as the face of the Olympic Games. I’m just saying – you heard it here first.

Quote of the Day;

“I’m psyched out of my mind on getting a photo finish with an Olympic Gold Medalist! I think I must have been in a lot of pain because I couldn’t stay standing at the finish but I was so excited I couldn’t feel a thing, which was just fine with me! I found out later than I had the fastest anchor leg over Kalla and Bjoergen, which I’m going to solidly blame on the fast skis. Thank you Salomon for Hooking. Me. Up. This. Year!” - Jessie Diggins

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Of course, it makes sense when following a program named the Endless Season that you would race a lot. The whole idea is that you want to be race-ready all the time. The tradeoff being that you don’t race all-out and you never really peak for any specific event during the season – or at least not until the end. The author, Joe Rubio, argues that most runners don’t get the peaking phase right anyway. So why not take it out of the equation?

Longtime readers may not believe this, but here’s the race schedule I put together for 2012. NOTE: (gp) = MDRA grand prix event;

1/9 – Meet of Miles (gp)
1/23 – Winter Carnival Half (gp)

2/19 – Indoor track 5,000m

3/11 – Indoor track 5,000m
3/18 – Human Race 8K (gp)
3/24 – MDRA 4-mile

4/7 or 4/14 - ?
4/21 – Fitger’s 5K
4/28 – Get in Gear 10K (gp)

5/12 – New Prague Half (gp)
5/17 – TC-1 mile
5/28 – Brian Kraft 5K (gp)

6/10 – Outdoor track 5,000m
6/15 or 6/23 - ?

7/4 – Firecracker 10K
7/15 – Raspberry 5M
7/26 – Rice Street Mile (gp)
7/28 – Run for Blood 5K (gp)

8/12 – MDRA 15K
8/25 – Rochester Half (gp) – might be on vacation

9/3 – Victory 10K (gp)
9/9 – City of Lakes 25K (gp)

10/7 – TCM (gp)

11/4 – Rocky’s Run (gp)

As of now my plan is to follow this plan through the end of July and then transition to a 8-week marathon build-up with a two week taper.

As usual, everything sounds good on paper. Let’s see if I can make it work.

Quote of the Day;

“Many elites have prospered on this "endless season" approach. In the 1970s and early '80s, many runners would get themselves into pretty good shape, race fairly often and remain in this mode for months on end… Do you need to race every week? Probably not, but a race every two to three weeks helps immensely. Additionally, racing is a skill, and to become proficient at any skill, you need to practice it repeatedly to show improvement.” – Joe Rubio

Monday, February 13, 2012


I thought I’d start out by sharing some of my recent “favorites”. This weekend I watched Ride the Divide, a documentary on the 2700 mile bike race from Canada to Mexico. I highly recommend this movie, even if you’re not a biker. If nothing else, the stunning images will be worth it.

My favorite part of this movie is when one of the guys that dropped out is talking to Matthew Lee who’s in the lead. The guy that dropped out is talking about the grind of being out there by himself and the mental toll it had taken on him. Matt’s eyes light up and he says something like, “That’s what it’s all about!” Clearly he has a unique perspective on the whole event.

Here’s the trailer for the movie;

Ride The Divide Movie Trailer from Ride The Divide on Vimeo.

I don’t have a physical list of my favorite athletes, but if I did, Amy Hastings and Jessie Diggins would now be on it. If you remember, Amy was 4th at the Olympic Trials Marathon and prior to that, she ran 2:27 at Los Angeles . Jessie is from Minnesota and at 19 or 20 years old is already one of the top cross country skiers in the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt they these two are super cute. Seriously, if Jessie doesn’t get you to like cross country skiing, nothing will.

Here’s a video of Jessie from earlier this year.

And speaking of favorites, Lauren Fleshman has been on my list for a while. Here’s a speech she gave recently about being a dreamer.

As for me, I backed my mileage off to 44 miles last week. Today I took advantage of a vacation day and the fact that we don’t have any snow and I hit the local track for a workout. I ended up running 8 x 400 at 2 mile pace with a 200m jog in between. The last time I tried this workout was the day after Christmas. It was 50 degree, which was nice, but I was running on a dirt track and the warm conditions made it soft and slow. Today I jumped the fence at the local high school and race on the mondo surface. Overall, I averaged around 1:32, which is at the slower end of what McMillan’s Calculator says I should be able to run. That’s fine with me. I’m sure I could have run them in 1:30 or less, but I kept repeating, “stay in control” the whole time.

An interesting thing I noticed when looking at this calculator – although my WAVA % is higher for my mile race than my half marathon race, McMillan ranks my half marathon as a better performance.

Quote of the day;

"I was really happy to get the record. It's been a big goal of mine for quite awhile. I wasn't in the best position for the first half of the race and was boxed in against the rail, but I just had to be patient and make passes when things opened up. I probably wasted a lot of energy fighting for position, so I would have liked to have gone a bit faster, but I was happy with the race." – BYU’s Miles Batty after setting an indoor collegiate record for the mile in 3:54.54

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


I’ve always said that my body doesn’t necessarily follow the man-made 7 day week. Often it’s convenient to break our training into 7-day cycles or multiples thereof – for example, the approach to building a base that I mentioned in my last post. I have had success with building for 3 weeks before backing off for a week. However, lately my body, actually probably more so, my mind, is telling me I need to back off. Now!

Could I make it through till Sunday before backing off? Yeah, probably. But I’m also reminded of a few things; 1) it’s still early February, 2) I just ran a half marathon 1.5 weeks ago, 3) I’ve been building rather steadily since the end of November, and 4) as one of my old/wise training partners said on Saturday, you gotta have patience.

So what are the signs that I need a break? Like I mentioned yesterday, that I was first day where I felt like I needed a break. Then today I scheduled a tempo run. Throughout the workout I gradually talked myself into doing a shorter and shorter tempo. I started by thinking that I wouldn’t go as fast as last time, but I’d do 6 miles instead of 5. Then I thought, what if I just do the same pace as last time but only do 4 miles? Finally, I settle on running slightly faster (6:48 pace), but for only 3 miles.

One of the axioms of the Endless Season approach to training is staying in control of your workouts. I feel like I broke that rule today because as I kept shortening the distance of my tempo, I kept telling myself I had to go faster. By the end, it felt like I was just throwing myself along the treadmill as I tried to make up for cutting the workout short.

With all that going on, I’m going to begin my cutback “week” now and enjoy a few easy days before ratcheting things back up.

Quote of the Day;

"I did something risky today. I didn't have a rust-buster. I went straight from heavy aerobic work in Monument (Colorado) at 7000 feet, and I tried to just come down and race fast. Whether you're in middle school or high school, that's what it looks like when somebody dies in a race." – Jenny Simpson, after going out with the leaders last weekend at the New Balance 3000m

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Typically, while building my mileage in the past, I’d increase my mileage by about 5 MPW for three weeks in a row and then cut back for a week. And then I’d repeat that pattern over and over. I remember reading somewhere that Jack Daniels recommended picking a level and maintaining it for three straight weeks before doing a cutback week. Then increase your mileage and hold that for three weeks again. I thought I would try that approach this time around. Right now I’m on my third week of hovering around 60-64 MPW.

Other things I’m working on include building my mid-week medium-long run (right now I’m at 12), bumping my long run (right now that’s at 14) and adding 1 to 2 double days per week.

Today was the first day in awhile where I did not want to get out the door. Even with 8 hours of sleep last night, I felt pretty tired. I convinced myself to just go out for a very easy 5 miles. Of course, once I got started I was fine. I’m planning on a tempo run tomorrow, so hopefully today’s run will pay off tomorrow.

Finally, be sure to check out my latest interview with Michelle Frey.

Quote of the Day;

“For me the end all be all is not the Olympics. It’s running PRs, having a blast meeting the girls to run and do workouts, and winning races like the City Of Lakes 25k or Get in Gear. I’m excited to run many more good marathons, and if that qualifies me for 2016 and I finish in the top 10 or 20, that’s fantastic. But I’m pretty realistic, I’m not going to spend the next 4 years thinking about what I need to do to make an Olympic team.”Michelle Frey

Friday, February 03, 2012


I mentioned using a journal (which is different from my training log) and setting new goals each month. I’m not sure if the journal is the reason, but I will say that I seem to have more motivation than I’ve had in a long time. I’ve always said that you can’t fake motivation. It just doesn’t work that way. I don’t know how you get/stay motivated, but I know you can’t fake it.

After a race like a half marathon, I tend to wait a week to a week and a half before doing a hard workout. With that in mind, my goal this week has been to get in another 60 mile week. I’m one 12 miler away from achieving that.

One thing that has worked for me in the past is including a mid-week medium-long run. I’ve always said, when I can pump out a two hour run in the middle of the week without even thinking about it, then I’m getting fit. And if that two hour run happens to be a hilly trail run, that’s even better. In December, I had a bunch of 10 mile trail runs in the middle of each week. Now that we have a little snow, I decided to focus on distance this Wednesday rather than worrying about running a hilly route. I was able to make it 12 miles on the pancake flat Greenway trail.

While I don’t like to do hard workouts too soon after a half marathon, I didn’t have any problems running some hill repeats this morning. I like to run my hill repeats in more of a bounding manner where I focus on pumping my arms and driving my knees. This method means I’m going up the hill rather slowly, so I never get my heart rate up too high. That’s why I don’t consider this morning’s workout “hard”. Typically, I don’t do strides much in the winter due to the cold and the snowy paths. This morning I took advantage of the dry pavement and included strides after each hill repeat.

I’ve been kicking around the idea of jumping in an indoor 3K this Sunday, but I haven’t decided yet. I may just wait 2 more weeks and jump in an indoor 5K.

Quote of the Day;

“It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster.” – Greg Lemond

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Prior to the new year, I purchased one of Lauren Fleshman’s training journals. Sure, it’s designed with women in mind, but what the hell. I thought it’d be a good tool to help me set some goals as I rededicate myself to racing this year.

At the beginning of the journal there’s a spot to write your goals for the year. In addition, there’s a spot to write down your goals for each month. Prior to January I wrote the following;

Build on December’s training by maintaining 45-60 MPW. 230 miles total.

Continue running weekly intervals, tempos, and build my long run to 2 hours.

Get my weight under 155 lbs, but the end of the month.

Run at least 1 of the 2 MDRA Grand Prix events during the month.

Well, now that January is in the books, how did I do?

My weekly totals for the month were 55, 44, 50 and 60. I ended up with 231 miles.

I ran one interval session, hill repeats once and 2 tempo runs. My long run only topped out at 1:45.

I usually only weigh myself on Saturdays. Last Saturday I was at 156 lbs.

I actually ran both Grand Prix races during the month. That means I’ve already run more races in 2012 than I did in 2011.

Overall I’m pretty happy with my progress. My biggest focus in February is going to be my weight. I’m happy that I’m down from 158 lbs, but typically, I race best around 148 lbs. I bet my friend Eric has some formula for how much 1 pound slows you down per mile. I think he’s told me it’s like 1 second per mile per pound. So if I’m carrying around 8 extra pounds for 13 miles, that’s nearly 2 minutes.

Another thing I have to work on is getting in my intervals. Looking at my past history, I’ve run my best races off of my highest mileage months. The last time I can remember being really fit is the spring of 2007. That spring I ran 17:52 (5K), 29:33 (8K), 37:47 (10K), 1:21:49 (half), and 2:57:29 (marathon). Looking at my training leading up to those races, I averaged 276 miles per month for the previous 11 months. I’m a little worried that if I don’t include my intervals, I’m not going to be doing anything different than in the past, except running lower mileage. That’s a double whammy.

Anyway, I do like where I’m at right now. In the past I’ve trained hard all winter and then run great in March and April – only to be sick of running by June. I’m trying to take a different approach and see if I can run better later in the year.

Quote of the Day;

“Running tells us the good news about ourselves!” – Dr. George Sheehan

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The short version of my Winter Carnival half marathon is that I basically ran 7:10s to the turn around point just passed mile 7 and then ran 6:50s the final 6 miles to finish in 1:32:27.

When I was thinking about this race last week, I had it in my head that I'd run conservative (7:10 - 7:15 pace) for the first 3 miles and then run 7:00 pace for the last 10.  That would put me at 1:32:20.  While the end result was pretty close, the course and the conditions did not lend themselves to that kind of pacing today. 

For the most part, the course is out and back on Shepard Road in St. Paul.  There are a lot of rolling hills, which are mostly uphill on the way out.  And this year we had a steady headwind on the way out too.  So even though I went through 3 miles at 7:11 pace, I knew there was no way I'd be able to drop down to 7:00 pace until we hit the turn around.  Basically, I just bidded my time and kept clicking off 7:10ish miles through mile 7.

Once I hit the turn around I was ready to pick up the pace and pass everyone in front of me.  Of course, everyone else was thinking the same thing too.  So while I was able to pass a handful of people during the second half, let it be known that I did not pass everyone.  And I don't think anyone passed me until the final mile when I was just ready to be done.

Once we did turnaround, I couldn't wait to get to mile 8 to get some feedback and see whether or not the change of direction was helping.  Of course, I knew it was, but I wanted to know how much.  Was I only running 7:00 pace, which would make 1:32 out of the question, or was I running the 6:50s I needed to get back on 1:32 pace?  So when I hit mile 8 in 6:49, it as a relief.  I passed mile 9 in 7:21 and immediately knew it was long, so I figured 10 would be short.  Sure enough, I went through 10 in 6:22.  That means those averaged out to 6:51s. 

I'm not sure if 11 was short (6:37) and 12 was long (6:57) or if I just pushed too hard during mile 11 and paid for it during mile 12.  I do know that that's a possibility because during mile 11 I was running with a guy that had his headphones just blaring.  Based on his breathing, I knew he was working pretty hard.  At one point he started to cough/hack/spit and I took the opportunity to pick it up a little and get some separation.

At mile 12 I knew I had about 7:30 to get under 1:32.  I thought I could make it but I forgot about the steep climb up Jackson street heading back into downtown St. Paul and the subsequent half mile that still remains after that. 

In the end, I'm pretty happy with this race.  Of course, when I look at the results it's easy to say I should beat him and him and her.  But I have to keep my ego in check.  I have to remember where I was 4 months ago, remember that I basically didn't race all of last year, remember that it's only January, and remember to keep striving to improve.

In my last post I gave Steve and Mike a hard time for sand bagging their goals. I bet they'd both run sub-1:25.  I admit I was wrong, but they both were within 1-2 seconds per mile of running sub-1:25. 

I based my predictions for them, and me, off of Daniels's VDOT chart. Using this chart and my Meet of Miles time, my VDOT falls squarely between 49 and 50.  If I look at the half marathon column, Daniels predicts 1:33:12 for a VDOT of 49 and 1:31:35 for a VDOT of 50.  If you split the two in half you get 1:32:23, which is pretty dang close to my final time.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I'm #1, I'm #1...

Er, I mean, I'm #56, I'm #56, I'm #56!  At least that's what Rick Kimbal says in his list of the top 100 running blogs.  I didn't even realize there were still 100 running blogs out there.  Things were a lot different when I started this thing back in 2005.  It seemed like a really small community and every blogger seemed to follow every other blogger out there.  Seven years later I have no idea whatever happened to most of those bloggers.  Out of Rick's top 100, Andrew is the only other blog that I recognized.

I'm about 13 hours from the Winter Carnival Half Marathon.  I know a couple of sand baggers that posted their goals for the race, so I thought I'd put my goals down on "paper" too.  Based on my Meet of Miles time, my age graded % says I should be able to run 1:31:13.  Keep in mind the Meet of Miles is run indoors, which equals no wind, a flat surface, and minimal apparel.  Considering that and the fact that I haven't run more than 12 miles for months, I'm going to throw in a little sand and shoot for sub-1:32.  On a great day a sub-1:30 may be possible.

I'm giving Steve and Mike a hard time about their predictions because they were both at the Meet of Miles too and they were like 60 and 40 seconds ahead of me, respectively.  And both of them are talking about running like 1:28 tomorrow and maybe 1:25 on a great day.  I'm betting they'll both break 1:25.

Quote of the day;
"You only ever grow as a human being if you're outside your comfort zone." - Percy Cerutty