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

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I’ve been so focused on the Trials that I haven’t written much about my own running lately.

My official Meet of Miles results came in and they had me at 5:53 instead of the 5:51 I had. With this year’s goals being all about improving as the year goes on, I thought I’d also track my age graded %. The one mile results calculate to right around 68%. I can’t remember ever being below 70%, so I have some work to do.

Before leaving for Houston I squeezed in a 4 mile tempo run at 6:54 pace. That was the first time I dipped under 7:00-pace this training cycle, so that was encouraging. Last Friday I followed that up with 5 miles at 6:53 pace. So things seem to be going in the right direction.

This new “Endless Season” approach emphasizes alternating short and long intervals every week. That’s one thing I haven’t been very good about incorporating. I did an okay job in December when the weather was still nice, but I went from December 26th to January 24th between interval workouts. In my defense, the meet of miles was on January 9th.

In any case, this morning I did 4 x 1 mile at my 10K pace with ½ mile jog in between. The workout actually called for five mile repeats, but I stopped after four because 1) it was my first such workout and I was more concerned with easing into it and 2) I’m running a half marathon on Saturday and don’t want to be trashed. Those seemed like good enough reasons at the time.

Mileage-wise I’ve been hovering between 50-60 MPW, but dropped to 40 during my trip to Houston. I have thoughts of going higher, but I keep reminding myself that the “Endless Season” is about consistency and mixing in speed and tempos. I’m just afraid if I creep up much higher, the workouts will fall from my program.

I will say that while I love to ski, I really needed a winter like this where I can focus on getting back into running shape – especially after my foot injury. If we would have had enough snow to ski on, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be running as much, which would delay me regaining my running fitness even further.

Quote of the Day;

"Then I heard I finished in 10th place and that was pretty exciting, and someone told me I won $4,000, too. But I don’t care about the money. That will go away, but the time never will.” - Jimmy Grabow, 10th at the Olympic Trials Marathon

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


That sound you hear is me recovering from Houston. For a running geek like me, it was an awesome weekend. Of course, the Olympic Trials races were the highlights, but here are a few other cool things I got to do;

Actually have fun at an Expo, rather than just pick up my bib and leave.
Drink beer about five feet from Brian Sell on Friday night.
Attend the post-race press conferences.
Drink beer with the most knowledgeable person in the sport that I know, Sean Hartnett.
Watch more friends run on Sunday.
Hang out with a ton of cool Minnesotans.
I won't mention anything about watching the Packer game.

It turns out Hall’s prediction of needing to run 2:09 to make the team were spot-on. I have to admit, I did not see four Americans running sub-2:10.

Overall, I think my predictions were okay. I entered the letruns.com prediction contest and here are my pick, along with their actual place.


1) Hall – 2nd
2) Gotcher – 5th
3) Lehmkuhle – 18th
4) Hartmann – 32nd
5) Meb – 1st
6) Arciniaga – 8th
7) Smyth – 22nd
8) Vaugh – DNF
9) Carlson – 6th
10) Gabrielson – DNF


1) Davila – 2nd
2) Flanagan – 1st
3) Hastings – 4th
4) Kastor – 6th
5) Cherobon-Bawcom - 5th
6) McGregor – 11th
7) Lewy-Boulet – 10th
8) Rothstein - DNF
9) Pritz - DNF
10) Peyton – DNF

Given the high stakes involved with finishing in the top-3, I think it’s fair to say that someone’s finish place in the trials doesn’t always represent their level of fitness. For example, Minnesotans Katie McGregor and Jason Lehmkuhle have finished 4th and 5th at the last trials. So there’s really no incentive for them to be conservative and worry about placing as high as possible – if that means not making the top-3. They are left with a go-for-broke game plan, which more often than not results in a late race meltdown. With that said, I was extremely happy to see both of them “Get after it!” as Carrie Tollefson would say. Even if it ultimately meant that they faded to 11th and 18th, respectively. With a conservative approach Lehm probably would have finished 5th, while McGregor would have been around 7th or 8th.

A couple of other things worth mentioning. Congrats to Michelle Frey who finished 22nd in 2:37:03. That wasn’t a PR, but she hasn’t run that fast since probably 2006 when her 2:35:51 landed her on the cover of Runner’s World. Congrats to Nichole Porath for her shiny new PR, 2:44:12. On the men’s side, one of the best performances of the weekend goes to Andrew Carlson who debuted with a 2:11:24 (7th fastest debut ever by an American). That was good enough for 6th place. And congrats to Mike Reneau who placed 20th in 2:14:37, a PR by 2:08. Other Minnesotans, Donovan Fellows, Chris Erichsen, Joe Moore, and Justin Grunewald also PR’d. Finally, after the race, Luke Watson announced his retirement. Congrats to him on a great career.

Enough of my babbling, here’s the latest Run Junkie

Quote of the Day;

"We figured I'd run 5:30s for the first 20 miles, then cut it down to 5:20s or 5:15s. Get into that uncomfortable range. One thing I've learned is the race really starts at the last 10-K. I want to get to that point as comfortably as possible. Then you've got to do something to force the race to go your way." – Desi Davila after this year’s Boston Marathon

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Still lots of great stuff on the Trials being posted. Letsrun.com has posted a men’s preview along with another article for their ten long shots. It’s nice to see some Minnesotans (and a former Team Minnesota runner) on those lists. They also put out their women’s preview.
Unfortunately, I’m not going to have time to write up my picks for the top 10 women. So I’ll just give my top 3 along with others to watch. Like everyone else, I can’t see how Desi Davila and Shalane Flanagan don’t make the team. I’m not sure who takes first place, but I’m going to have to go with Desi. That puts Flanagan second and I’ll round out the podium with Amy Hastings. For some reason I think Kara Goucher will have an off day and perhaps decide to save herself for the track. Like Mo Trafeh on the men’s side, Janet Cherobon-Bawcom scares the hell out of me. And I’m definitely not counting out Deena Kastor.

Of course, I’d love to see Team Minnesota’s Katie McGregor make the team, but she’s going to need to have her A game, and then some. Here’s a video of her as she talks about finishing 4th at the last two Trials at 10,000m.

Quote of the Day;

"If it’s a slow-paced race, like 2:28 to 2:30 pace, then the door opens for more people, and you could see 10 to 12 women in the hunt at halfway. If it goes out at 2:24 to 2:26 pace, then that number gets reduced by 50 percent.” – Terrence Mahon

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I’m trying to get around to posting my women’s predictions, but every time I sit down at the computer I end up watching a bunch of videos and reading a bunch of blogs regarding the Trials.

For example, here’s a “must see” video of the Team MN guys.

Marathon Road from Paul Sanft on Vimeo.

And Run Junkie is back with their first episode of the year. Of course, much of it is about the Trials.

Watch more video of Run Junkie on flotrack.org

And here’s a nice write-up by Toni Reavis regarding the women’s field.

I’m so looking forward to this race. With all the pre-race coverage it’s really hard to decipher who’s really fit and who’s trying to convince themselves that their really fit. Not that I have to worry about it, but if I were in this race, I don’t think I’d look online or read emails for the month leading up to the event.

A few quick comments on my own running; Official results put me at 5:53 for the mile. Surprisingly, nothing is sore from that race, although my legs were pretty tired this morning. Right now I’m sticking around the 50-55 MPW range – the last 3 weeks have been 54, 50 and 55.

Quote of the Day;

"Running is just you, the work you put in, and the clock. You can't cheat yourself. If you don't put in the miles, you can't go to the starting line thinking you're going to pull a miracle out of nowhere. You get out exactly as much as you put in." – Desi Davila

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Along with my new "Endless Season" approach to 2012, I've also decided to mix up other aspects of my training and racing.  For example, in the past I've avoided lots of racing either because I wasn't in shape or the race didn't "fit" into the marathon buildup I was doing at the time.  And if I did race it was usually 8K races or longer with maybe one or two 5Ks per year.  It's easy to say (and think) you're going to mix things up, but until you actually do, it's just talk. 

Well, last night I actually followed through by jumping in the Meet of Miles - an indoor track race at the U of M Fieldhouse.  Basically, it's a night of 1 mile heats and you just sign up for the appropriate heat based on the time you think you'll run.  Signing up for this was way outside of the norm for me.  I haven't raced indoors since 1996 and I don't think I've run a mile since 1987. 

When I got there, I really had no idea what heat to sign up for.  I've been basing all my Endless Season workouts off a Jack Daniels' VDOT of 48, which equates to a 6:03 mile, 20:39 5K, 42:50 10K, 1:34:53 half and 3:17 marathon.  So I initially signed up for the 6:00 - 6:30 heat - even though I was eyeballing the 5:45 - 6:00 heat sheet.  I told a buddy what heat I was in and he rolled his eyes.  I eventually went back and signed up for the faster heat instead.

I had 3 goals for this race; 1) don't get injured, 2) run controlled and 3) earn some points in the first MDRA Grand Prix race of the year.  And, of course, work towards one of my overall goals for the year, regain a love of racing.

I'm happy to report that I achieved all those goals as I ended up running around 5:51 or 5:52.  I didn't take any splits so I don't have any details.  I just know it was a lot more fun than I thought it would be - kind of makes me want to plan for an indoor track season with some 3 and 5K races.  But I'd better not get ahead of myself.

As I've mentioned before, one of the keys to the Endless Season is to run at the correct speed for each type of workout you're doing. With last night's race, now I have a better idea of what those paces should be. My time corresponds with a VDOT of 50 which equates to 19:57 for 5K, 41:21 for 10K, 1:31:35 half, and 3:10 marathon. Now that I have a benchmark, I can look to improve upon those times throughout the year.

Quote of the day;

"While there is nothing glorious about the way I’ve ended up committed to running – not yet anyhow - there is the possibility that come January 14 I’ll be able to perform at a level that pays homage to and says something powerfully rich about the people I’ve been fortunate enough to call training partners, coaches, and friends." - Patrick Smyth

Friday, January 06, 2012


First off, if you read nothing else today, be sure to check out Runner’s World’s interview with Terrence Mahon. He offers some great insight into next weekend’s races.

Ever since I posted my Trials Preview a few weeks ago, I’ve been meaning to write a prediction segment as well. I thought I could just sit down and hammer out my predictions for the top three in each race. It seems easy enough to pick Hall, Ritz and Meb for the men and Davila, Goucher, and Flanagan for the women. However, things rarely go as planned with marathon training or the race itself, so picking the top-3 is not as easy as it sounds.

I began by narrowing each field to 17-18 runners that I think will be in the mix. Obviously, that’s still too many. Today I’ll try to narrow down the men’s side even further and eventually pick my top 3. In order to do this, I applied a few broad-sweeping exclusions. First, the guys had to run 2:12 or better. While it’s not impossible to go from 2:18 to 2:12, it’s not likely either. Second, I’ve excluded guys that have never run a marathon. That includes names like Galen Rupp, Mo Trafeh, Andrew Carlson, and Patrick Smyth. Obviously, all four of those guys have the talent to make the team, but I think making your debut at the trials puts you at a disadvantage. That leaves me with 8 guys to review below.

Here are the guys that should be in the top-10;

Ed Moran, ran a solid debut (2:11:46) at the 2011 NYC Marathon. But that means the first-timer has to recover, train and taper in just 10 weeks. I think that’s too much to ask.

Nick Archiniaga, has run 2:11:30, 2:11:48 and 2:13:46. I thought about picking him for my top-3, but his recent blog raised a couple of red flags. He talks about just now getting excited and gaining confidence. For me, I’ve run my best when I’m able to build my confidence over a long stretch. Two weeks doesn’t seem long enough to me, but maybe that’s normal for him.

Jason Hartmann, has run 2:11:06 and 2:12:09. I definitely think he has a shot at top-3, but I going to say top-5 is more likely.

Dathan Ritzenhein, at 29 years old, he’s already looking to make his third Olympic team. I’m a big fan of Ritz, but he basically missed all of 2011 due to Achilles surgery and complications. I think that may be too much to overcome. He’s one of the few guys in the field that could also make the team in the 5,000m or 10,000m. If he’s having a bad race he may save himself for the track.

Meb Keflezighi, his qualifying performances are amazing, especially considering he’s 36 years old; 2:09:13, 2:09:15, 2:09:21, 2:09:26 and 2:11:38. Like Moran, he ran at NYC too. I just don’t think that’s enough time to recover. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Meb proved me wrong.

And here’s my podium;

Brett Gotcher, although he’s only run one marathon, his 2:10:36 at the 2010 Houston Marathon was the 4th fastest debut by an American. He ran really well at the TC-10 mile and Archiniaga mentioned sticking with him for 1K repeats until the last one when Gotcher beat him by 13 seconds.

Jason Lehmkuhle, he’s this year’s Brian Sell – someone who gets close at the previous trials, sticks with it for 4 more years and then makes the team. He finished 5th in 2007 and has run 2:12:34, 2:13:40, and 2:14:39 since then. He’s smart, patient, and experienced. Plus, all the reports coming from the river roads are very encouraging.

Ryan Hall, the top three qualifying times and 5 of the top 10. Other than injury, I can’t think of a single scenario where this guy doesn’t make the team.

If you’re interested in reading some other articles, check out a list of underdogs ,11 guys to watch, and 12 runners to watch.

I’d love to hear what everyone else out there thinks. Who are your favorites and your dark horses?

I’ll share my women’s picks soon.

Quote of the Day;

“There are only one or two guys capable of going sub-2:10 [at the Trials]. Ryan and Meb. You have to remember that this isn’t a paced race, and I don’t see anyone running their lights out in the first half. It’s likely to just build slowly, with a 65 or 66 for the first half. From there, you’ve got to come back with at 63 or 64 to run sub-2:10. Not a lot of people can do that… In the Trials, it’s the smart, experienced runner who often nabs the open spot.” – Terrence Mahon

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


First off, be sure to check out this video of the Team Minnesota guys training for the trials.

Watch more video of USA Olympic Marathon Trials 2012 Houston on flotrack.org

Then read Matt’s latest thoughts.

This new program has me alternating between short and long intervals each week. I mentioned that my ½ mile repeats felt a lot easier than my ¼ mile repeats. I attributed that to 1) being more used to slower stuff and 2) getting a little more fit. The real reason they felt easier is because they were supposed to be 1 mile repeats at the pace I was running. So, it’s no wonder they felt easier.

Yesterday I relearned a couple of valuable lessons. First, running speed workouts outside in January in Minnesota is not easy. I thought I’d be able to do my mile repeats when it was 11 degrees at 6 AM, on a somewhat slippery trail. I talked myself out of them telling myself I’d run them the next day. Second, don’t rely on using the treadmills at work to do your key workouts – especially not right after the New Year. The Resolutionists will always show up this time of year and there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get in the workout you want. With that in mind, I’m trying to remind myself that it’s only January. If I skip or postpone an interval session, it’s not the end of the world. At this point it’s more important to maintain consistency and build on my December by putting in some solid mileage.

Speaking of December, I ended up running 28 of 31 days for 206 miles. I think that’s pretty solid given that my previous months were 17, 4, 92, 46 and 68. The last 2 month’s included a lot of roller skiing, but not much running. As you can guess, my mileage for the year really low. I closed with 1,544 miles. That’s my lowest total since 2003 when I was training for an Ironman.

Quote of the Day;

“I, for one, think that I am in the best fitness of my life including the few times I thought that I couldn’t get much fitter and went on to run 13:30 for 5000m. Even last June when I put together a 2:13 marathon, I wondered how I could gain the next 1% needed for a huge jump to that 2:11 give or take range; I’m not wondering how, but when. And that’s all good and exciting and everything.” – Matt Gabrielson

Monday, January 02, 2012


I wasn't planning on putting this type of post together, but got the idea from my sister-in-law.  I think it's a good idea to look back on the year to what you accomplished and what you wish you would have done.  Here's a look back at 2011 for me.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Travelled to Arizona and Brainerd, MN, took a Disney cruise.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Not sure if I made any specific resolutions in 2011. So, if I did, I’m guessing I didn’t keep them. I’m not making any resolutions in 2012, but I am going to come up with some specific running goals for the year. Things I can work towards and be held accountable for.

3. What is the most interesting new place you visited?

The Grand Canyon.

4. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

I’d like to rediscover a love of racing, especially shorter stuff. I only did 2 races in 2011, Birkie and Grandma’s Marathon.

5. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March - it was the first time the girls’ and Amy’s spring break lined up, so we went on a Disney cruise to Florida and Mexico.

May – double crossing of the Grand Canyon (R2R2R).

August – first trip to Brainerd area.

December – overnight trip to Duluth, including skiing at Spirit Mountain, which was Katie’s first time skiing.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Running the Grand Canyon.

7. What was your biggest failure?

Not sure I’d call it a failure, but not getting all the way to the north rim still bugs me a little.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?

After R2R2R my right knee bothered me more than ever. Then in October my right foot swelled up. Between the two injuries there was a 5 month stretch where I only ran about 180 miles, total.

9. What was the best thing you bought?

We remodeled our lower level by ripping down a wall and opening up the house, along with new cabinets, countertops, lighting and flooring.

10. Where did most of your money go?

Remodeling project.

11. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

R2R2R and installing the new floor by myself.

12. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I listened to Disturbed’s Indestructable and Fa├žade a lot while training for the Grand Canyon.

13. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

a) the same, b) fatter – need to lose 8-10 pounds to get to my ‘fighting weight’, c) poorer on paper due to the remodeling.

14. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Taking pictures, reading, listening to new music, interviewing more local runners, learning something new.

15. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procratinating. Playing meaningless video games.

16. What was your favorite TV program?

I don’t want much TV any more. When I do, it’s usually something on either the Discovery or History channels, like Pawn Stars, American Restoration, American Pickers, Storage Wars.

17. What was the best book you read?

I didn’t read nearly enough in 2011, but two of my favorites were both written by Laura Hillenbrand, Seabiscuit and Unbroken.

18. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Not sure I discovered anything musically in 2011. Although it is neat to see Katie start piano lessons and Kinsey take up the clarinet.

19. What was your favorite film of this year?

I don’t even remember if Amy and I went to a non-kids’ movie or not during the year.

20. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 42, but I don’t remember what we did. Probably ordered pizza.

23. What kept you sane?

This year, roller skiing kept me sane while I couldn’t run.

24. What’s the best thing you learned in 2011?

I’m a runner. Even though I spent much of the year doing P90X, taking spin classes or roller skiing, it all comes back to running for me.