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