Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Martin Road

Just easy mileage after yesterday's long run. Kept the HR nice and low and actually felt pretty good. Wore new shoes (speedstar 3's) and what a difference that makes. Did extra Kenillworth loop.

Totals: 52:59  6.9 miles (HR 121)  7:42 pace 

More easy mileage, out to Martin Rd., as the legs really feeling Sunday's longer run. I've noticed over the last few years that it has been taking me two days of recovery after long runs to get the legs to freshen up. Maybe it's because I haven't been doing many long runs but I took the extra day just to be safe. Finished the run with 4 X 100 meter striders and legs felt much better after that. Should be able to "work" tomorrow.
*cool morning 38F

Totals: 55:54  7.6 miles (HR 130) 7:23 pace

Sunday, September 28, 2008

To The Point

The goal for this mornings longer run was to log two hours. I didn't want this run to have a lot of hills so I drove and parked at the Ordean Middle School and ran the new section of Lakewalk extension in route to Canal Park and eventually make my way out to Park Point. 

The morning was perfect for running. Cool, overcast, with little to no wind. My goal for the run was to keep my HR near 135-140. I decided to run the "middle" hour at 140 bpm to see how my body would respond. I started to have quad fatigue at about eighty minutes into the run and near the end of the 140 hour zone. After ninety minutes I just ran to keep the HR under 140 and monitor the paces associated with my body fatiguing. What I did like about this run was amount of 'energy' I had the entire time even at times when the quads were fatiguing. In the past I think I would have picked up the pace and effort and the legs would have been much better, but I am trusting that by forcing the HR to remain stable regardless of pace that this will benefit me in the future. Time will tell. *very happy with this run.

Totals: 1st hr. turn around: 59:44 (HR 136) 6:56 pace
               1 hour to 87 minutes: (HR 140) 6:59 pace
               last 34 minute minutes: (HR 138)  7:20 pace 

               2:00:41  17.1 miles (HR 137)  7:04 pace 

Weeks Totals: 61 miles (6 runs)
Years Totals: 1585 miles

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Lightening Show

Last night there was quite the lightening presentation as a few different storms passed through the northland. There was a point in the early evening that no more than two or three seconds would pass and another lightening strike would occur. There was little thunder associated which I thought was a bit odd. After all the rain we received I figured the trail systems would be flooded, but I opted for off road running anyway.

I left the house and made my two plus minute jog to the Rock Hill trail head and proceeded to make four revolutions prior to jumping on the SHT and heading over to Hartley to run an outer loop of the ski trails. I was feeling quite well and controlled my HR the best I could on the uphills. My legs are coming around and having much less fatigue. I am excited for next week and would like to think that I have made an adjustment for the better which will make my next phase of running even more productive in the weeks to come.

Totals: 1:20:46  9.8 miles (HR 132) 8:16 pace
*hilly off road trails

Friday, September 26, 2008

Easy As It Should Be

Approximately two weeks after starting the 'Hadd' system my easy, low HR runs are starting to feel better. I was talking last night that I had some frustrations with these runs as they usually start good and end with my legs feeling heavy and fatigued. Not so much this morning. 
I started the morning like most others with the exception of taking a Power Gel and a glass of water just prior to setting out to the darkness. It is only 110 calories but I was hoping it would be better than nothing at all. It either helped or I had one of those good running days. My legs felt real loose and fluid and I had no problem keeping the HR down AND feeling good doing it. I finished with doing a couple of laps on the UMD track just to gauge the HR/pace effort and once I got home I did 4 X 100 meter striders.

Totals:  53:18  7 miles  (HR 125) 7:41 pace
*felt super!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Skyline Sunrise

Wednesday: No running this morning as I felt the mental need to take a day off and just hang in the morning and drink coffee. I must admit it felt good until I was on the bus to work and saw runners on the sidewalks. I had wished I ran. Not really but the desire was there. 
0 miles

This morning I decided to go a bit longer than usual and keep the HR near 135. I felt really great for the first thirty minutes or so and then I started to get fatigued and heavy legged. Still not sure, but I have to believe it falls under the reasoning of "the Hadd way". The good was I had an amazing sunrise to stare at as I headed home eastward on Skyline. Good times! I messed up the watch at the beginning of the run so I put my run into splits on the way home. 

Out in 32:02 4.5 miles (HR 131) 7:10 pace
Back in 31:19 4.5 miles (HR 138) 7:02 pace
Last/First segments 6:12 (HR 140 at end) 7:11 pace 
*not able to hold pace at HR

Totals: 1:15:44  10.6 miles 

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Much of the Same

I was planning on an easy run this morning and once I made my way to the kitchen I noticed the schedule called for an hour in the "middle" zones. Off I went and I couldn't help but think of the overall soreness I have been experiencing. This may be what Hadd mentioned in his article about not having the slow muscle fibers "in shape" because of running over and above that specific zone. Or it's a bunch of shit and I am just adjusting to consistent training. Regardless, I felt just 'ok' this morning.

58:45  7.5 miles (HR 126) 7:46 pace

This morning (tues.) I was to run seventy minutes at the upper limits. These are the runs I look forward to all week because I usually feel good doing them. Today was no different. Down to superior street and out to Lester and returning via London Rd. After a fresh rain last night the roads were still full of puddles making for some added fun. I broke the run into two segments as the last mile and a half or so would be up hill climbing from the bottom of lemon drop hill up to UMD area where we live. I often found myself holding back due to jamming up the HR at sub 6:30 pace. Overall, a good run!
Here are the splits:

flat split: 52:11  7.5 miles (HR 132) 6:58 pace
uphill : 15:41  1.9 miles (HR 142) 8:20 pace

Totals:  1:07:53  9.4 miles (HR 134)  7:15 pace

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Another solo longer run as most people are doing their own thing on the weekends. A lot of people do long runs on Saturday and that keeps me running solo. I wanted to stick to the roads as much as I could so I headed west on Skyline to the "twin ponds" near Enger Tower where I decided to take the short section of SHT down the hill to Superior Street before heading east on the lake walk. When I hit the roads at the bottom of the trail to head east I encountered a decent northeast wind that made the HR jump up quite a bit at the pace I was running. I never got comfortable on this run and I just chalked it up to increase in overall volume this week. I should feel better after this upcoming week.

Totals: 1:37:39   12.4 miles (HR 131) 7:53 pace

Weeks Totals: 60 miles
Years Totals: 1524 miles

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Rock Loops

With family in town for the weekend I made it my personal mission to get up early and run so I wouldn't interfere with any plans for the day. Today I had the pleasure of running with Chris, whom I worked with during the Superior 100 a couple of weeks ago, as he had to get his run in rather early too. My plan was to run easy mileage for up to an hour and I wanted to get off the pavement and run some of Duluth's more gentle trails. Off to Rock Hill trails where we did a series of loops and headed back home. Nothing special when you are doing easy HR mileage. Good conversation and the hour was up very quickly.

Totals: 1:03:54  7.3 miles (HR 122) 8:48 pace

Friday, September 19, 2008

Upper End

This morning was another "work" day where I get to explore the upper "limits" of my current training zones. I usually look forward to these days and today was no different. The one problem I had was I never got comfortable. It wasn't that the effort was hard. More of just having difficulty with the legs becoming fluid. I then remembered that this week was an overall increase in volume for me and I have been doing a bit more leg exercises, thus the heavy leg feeling. I am still happy with the run and the splits looked like this:

Totals: 1:12:30  10.5 miles (HR 136) 6:55 pace

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Easy (hard) Hour

The schedule called for one hour at my current "middle" HR, which turned out to be near 130 bpm. It was quite comfortable in the early miles and I had a difficult time staying at the prescribed HR but after some time it became a bit easier. The hills always make it a bit difficult to maintain HR but I just concentrate on overall effort. Finished with a couple of sets of leg exercises.

Totals: 57:23  7.6 miles (HR 128) 7:36 pace

It Can't Be Right!

But it is. My HR Max that is. This morning was the chosen day since I woke up without the help of my alarm and I knew to see that as a sign. The morning was absolute perfect. A little moon light, no wind, cool and the track was clear. 

After warming up for a bit over two miles I was instructed to treat this test just I would a race. So I did. Complete set of stretches, striders, shoes tied tight, more striders, (I was really attempting to put the start off since I knew of the pain ahead) and finally a quick shed of the shirt and made sure my cap was on tight. After my last strider I knew I was ready.

The plan was as follows. Run a 800 meter all out and record the HR. Give myself a two minute rest (active) and then run an all out 400 meter. The HR at the end of the 400 would prove to be my Max. The numbers I would see shocked me as I figured them to be much higher. I don't know why I let myself believe this because I did an attempt at my HR max approximately ten years ago and I remember the HR being near ten beats higher than this morning. (it is said you loose your top end HR every year, thus the 220-age formula as an ESTIMATE) I gave it my all. My quads were burning, breaths at two or three per step. Yep, a real ball-buster. Here's the results:

800 meter HR 168 (2:19)
2 minutes of rest. boy did that time fly
400 meter HR 169 (no time recorded, forgot to hit the split)

I thought I would be in the upper 170's but I then remembered the HR test ten years ago showing my max near 180-181. So, I guess it makes sense. So does the "mini-test" I did last week and having me struggle with running the 160 and 170 HR zones. DUH! That actually made me feel much better about the test last week and will really open my eyes to upper HR limits of weekly training. I am a bit excited because if this HR training does work, and if I make the progress that a lot of runners make then the end result will really satisfy me. (those details of what the 'end result' mean will come later)
Man have I been over-training in years past. Amazing. The test wasn't fun. It hurt a bunch, but will be well worth it. 

Totals: 6 miles+ with warm up/ warm down and all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Work" Day

Monday: easy running to get the kinks out from yesterday's longer effort. Felt good but the temps were a bit cool. Had 32F at 0530 at our house. This was the second time for me to wear pants in the morning. Let's hope for warmer temps. Finished with 4X100 meter striders
Totals: 46:07  6+ miles

Today was was termed a "work" day on the schedule. Not really a true tempo effort but an effort that was a bit harder than the usual aerobic effort. I am still guessing on the HR's since I don't have my true HR Max yet. I want to have fresh legs and a good nights sleep prior to attempting the test. For now it looks like it may be tomorrow or Thursday. So in the meantime I would use 140-145 as my work zone for today. I was surprised how hard the effort felt, as far as my leg muscles, but it may have been some left over fatigue from Sunday's longer run. Once I got home and had a good stretch and a set of leg exercises I felt much better. As far as my breathing the effort felt really good and I wasn't challenged too bad. The morning temps were much better and having a full moon as my morning light was absolutely wonderful. A good run. Training is starting to make sense and I can start to see a little progress.

Totals: 1:04:16  9.7 miles (HR 140) 6:38 pace 

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The title holds two purposes. One, today marks my wife Kari and my sixth anniversary. I love you babe! It also says the way I felt after today's run, which is the purpose of this blog.

I've been following my heart rate closely since I started training again on July 1st. I didn't have specific "zones" but I knew how and at what HR to stay at when doing easy days. What I didn't know would be the fact I was running my hard efforts too hard for this point in my training. Now, for the past two weeks I have been a bit more aware and starting to focus in on specific HR "zones" and will have a better focus after my HR Max test this up coming week. As I mentioned earlier this week, this theory would  come from the "Hadd-training" link I was exposed to. It's either a complete coincidence or it really works. I would love to think the later.

Today I was to get at least ninety minutes and start inching my Sunday long runs closer to two hours. I was excited to get this run under way and couldn't catch anybody to join me so off I went. Like I mentioned, I don't know my true HR max yet so today's intensity was a close "guess" and I would make the decision to focus my HR at 145 bpm and no more. The course I chose would offer some of the best runnable trails Duluth has to offer as well as some road sections to keep the distance honest. I had a decent amount of time running 'down' as I live higher than the lake and that was where I was headed. Once I hit Superior street at the bottom of Lester ski trails I would be running in complete down pour smiling like my three year old son as he splashes in the puddles. One of those runs where you know things are improving and you become excited about the future. One day, week at a time.

Totals: 1:40:06  13.3 miles  (HR 135)  7:33 pace.

Weeks Totals: 52 miles (6 runs)
Years Totals: 1464 miles

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Spandex Zone

This morning the Inline Skating Marathon was occurring. In years past Kari and I have gone to watch the finish as it has great opportunities for crashes! The announcer at the finish line likes to call the packs of skaters, in biking it would be called the pelleton, "the spandex zone". Weird... Anyway, I was running towards London Road and then realized that the race was this morning. As I made my way down the course there were several "zones" that went bye me with the crowd using cow bells to cheer them along the course.

As for my run I was using HR and made a decision not to run above 145 for an hour or so. Once I was down on London Rd. there would be only one option to get home. Up hill. I used the Chester Bowl trails and ran easy until I crested the trail at Skyline Blvd. There were a few times when I had to back off pace to  keep the rate below 145, but I managed to accomplish this pretty easy. I felt good after as well and that is what I have been liking about my current phase of training. I never feel beat up and recover well. It's going to take some time, but I have faith in this HR training.

Totals: 1:02:42   8 miles HR: 135 (7:48 pace)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mini-Test Gone Wrong?

Thursday: 0 miles. I consider this my "float" day. IF I am going to take a day off it is for days like this. I woke no problem but found myself mentally shot. No will to run. So I didn't force it. One good pot of coffee and taking in some morning news prior to work. I will feel better tomorrow.

Hadd Mini-Test:

This morning I really wanted to get this test out of the way. My legs felt fresh from yesterday's absence of activity and I was willing to give a good effort and head to the track. After warming up for fifteen minutes or so I got busy. The track was covered with small sections of portable bleachers from last nights UMD Bulldog football game but I didn't let that deter me in any way. I had my Garmin on which provided me proper distance and HR. The test is  as follows: all interval distances are 2400 meters. The first at 140HR, then 150, 160, 170, 180. I started out and had a difficult time keeping my HR under 140 and may have overshot a bit. This is what Hadd said not to do. Here was my layout of the test, my actual HR in parenthesis: 

HR 140 (143) 9:19 (6:13 pace)
HR 150 (153) 8:33 (5:43 pace)
HR 160 (162) 8:00 (5:20 pace)
HR 170 (159) 3:25 (5:14 pace)
* I couldn't run this last interval. I couldn't get the HR up and I was side-stitching like no other. My breaths were three to one step and I felt miserable. I'm a bit confused by this. Maybe an off day? I know I can get my HR over 170 as I have seen it in training before. I will be doing my Max HR test early next week and hopefully this will make sense. The most likely I can think of would be I am like Hadd mentioned. My LT and aerobic base is way low and that is what I will be working on over the next 15 weeks or so. 

I have to do a bit more reading yet and will be working more closely with HR training and hopefully seeing an improvement in efforts soon. I am looking forward to it.

Totals: 1:07:56  9.2 miles

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Martin Road

Took it easy running Woodland to Martin road and cruising it home via Vermilion Rd. Nothing special but just easy mileage as I do a bit more research into the "Hadd" training system. It's basis is Lydiard in the way it has you do easy mileage building on the "aerobic" system. I have been running easy for many weeks and so far it has worked for me as I feel I am getting more fit week by week. Just have to build on the speed later in the fall.

Totals: 56:00  7.7 miles HR: 128 (7:15 pace)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Intro to Hadd

With temps in the mid 30's this morning I chose to use a light pair of pants for the run. The plan wasn't calling for me to run "hard" so I figured the extra layer would keep my legs warm. I've started reading some training theory from an individual that refers to him/her self as Hadd. Erik mentioned this to me over the weekend and I found a document with the basis of his theories which is entirely based on heart rates. So far it seems interesting and I would like to get his "fitness" test in this week. Maybe Thursday?

This mornings run was an out and back on west Skyline Blvd. I wanted to "experiment" from what I read last night, so I attempted to keep my HR at 140, regardless of pace. I have to go back in my journal a month or more and see what this HR/pace was for me. I am assuming the pace was much slower than today. Here is what today looked like.

Out in 28:06  4 miles (HR 138, pace 6:55)
Return 26:53 4 miles (HR 144, pace 6:45)

Total: 54:59  8 miles (HR 140 ave., pace 6:50)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dark and Easy

Just getting out of bed was the major goal of the morning. Any extra running was a bonus. I must have been caught up on sleep because I felt great this morning. I did an easy Cemetery/UMD loop that is often a staple in the winter months. Just easy mileage with a few striders to stretch out the legs. A good run.

Totals: 37:30  5.6 miles

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Espresso and Running

I usually use are espresso machine at times of desperate need. Today was one of those days. We woke up this morning and drove downtown to watch the Duluth Minnesota Mile. The weather conditions were terrible with rain, cool winds and slippery brick streets. It still looked like fun and my mile race will be put on hold for yet another year.

I slept near twelve hours last night and remained tired. After the mile I just slept on the couch watching TV and my son ripping around the living room. My wife went for a run and I was to be next. That's when the espresso machine made its way out of storage and into operation. Ironically the sun decided to show itself and Lucas and I walked around the yard while waiting the arrival of mom. Suddenly I was beginning to feel better. The espresso worked!

Once Kari was home I put on my clothes and head to the trails. I couldn't handle the thought of running open roads. One half loop into Rock Hill and I ran into Jarrow, fresh off of the Burrito Union 10 hour endurance event, looking to get some easy miles in. We hooked up and ended getting a decent run in the trails of Rock Hill and Hartley. As the run progressed I started to feel better. I am most satisfied with my legs becoming a lot more fresh most days. (I haven't felt that for years) In the end I ran for ninety minutes. A good series of stretches and leg exercises would complete my day.

Totals: 1:29:39  ~ 11 miles

Saturday: 7 miles with Chris

Weeks Totals: 43 miles (5 runs)
Years Totals: 1412 miles

Superior 100 Part II, A Crew's Perspective

*sorry Chris only shot I could get

A little over a month ago I received a phone call from fellow "early morning" runner Chris Gardner. He was calling to see if I would be "interested" in with what he called, "not your average favor" which was crewing for the Superior Trail 100 miler. He didn't have the complete sentence out of his mouth and I already knew my answer. I just didn't let him know that, (sorry Chris), but I let him sit on the offer for a few days while I figured out if I was the right person for the job. Many thoughts went through my head. Could I stay up? What if I was too soft and couldn't be "mean" enough in the dark hours when he needed me most? After all, I didn't have any personal experience in ultra's. I've watched many, talked to many who have done them, read hundreds of articles, blogs and stories from others, but haven't been directly connected to anybody doing one. I said yes and he was thankful for the "favor". Below is my story of the night. It was fun Chris and I'm so happy I witnessed one of the most determined, goal-oriented, talented, "ballsy" running I've ever seen.

Chris had his wonderful wife and precious fourteen month old daughter doing major crewing efforts in the morning hours as I had to put in a partial day of work. I called Erik, Chris's pacer for the night, earlier than planned and we left Duluth around 1300. We were off to an early start and were thinking it would be a huge load off of both Chris and Christy's shoulders to see us early and relieve her of her duties. We made it early and caught Chris at county road 6 (mile 42.8). As we approached the aid station Christy and Ella greeted us with smiles and we found out Chris was out to an early lead and looking good. "He looked a bit dazed", we heard. Someone else mentioned, "he was slurring his words a bit, check him out and see what you think when he gets here." Chris showed up and was smiling and looking quite well. Not much chit chat, just a quick exchange of water bottles, Gu's, and one glass of coke. A quick wave goodbye and into the woods he went high stepping over the roots and rocks. "He looks pretty good" Erik said under a soft voice. Everyone who had seen him previously mentioned he "looked much better now". What the hell, a guy has to have a few bad patches when running 100 miles. This was also the low point for one unfortunate runner limping across the road to observe a bit himself. It was fellow blogger Adam Harmer. Hampered by a bum Achilles tendon it would not be his day. Sorry Adam. A neat guy as he and his crew member stayed up all night going point to point following runners. Off to Finland.

Finland 50.5 miles
Super aid station! These gals had it all. Camper, lights, canopies, and all to food to make a tired, growly ultra runner a bit less edgy. Chris made his appearance the same he did at the previous one. Smiling and bouncy. A quick change of shirt was in order as well as the same water, Gu, coke combination. Less than three minutes later a quick kiss to the wife and child, since this would be the last he would see of them until the finish line, and he was off bounding into the woods. This was the point Erik and myself would be assisting Chris to the finish. We spent some time visiting others as we waited for the next runners to arrive. First into the aid station was a not-so-happy Wynn Davis. He took one hell of a spill, jamming his big toe in the process. It would not be his day either. This was his finish line for the day. Sorry Wynn. Next to arrive would be Joe Ziegenfuss and Duke Rembleski (sp?) looking pretty good. Joe can eat like no other at aid stations!! Off they went back to the woods and Erik and I made our way to Crosby-Manitou.

Crosby-Manitou (62.2 miles)
Super Aid station. More lights, music and a disco ball!! Sweet jesus! Good job guys.
From the gun this was where Chris wanted to be prior to nightfall. He made his goal. This was also the starting point for pacer Erik Kaitala. I can't think of anybody else I would want to have by my side running in the middle of the night. He's a great person and has a long resume of running experiences to know how to get the job done. You did great Erik, good job! After the same check-in routine and donning headlamps, and taking in some ibuprofen for a twisted ankle, Chris and Erik were off to the next aid station.

Sugarloaf (71.6 miles)
After sitting at Crosby to see where Joe and Duke were I hit the gravel and made my way to Sugarloaf. I was getting a bit nervous and thought I didn't give myself adequate time to make the drive and many times thought I missed a turn while listening to satellite radio techno-dance music, slamming red bulls and pounding mini peanut butter cups. I didn't put Erik's Honda Element in the bush and soon found my way to the lights. Wynn's parents host this aid station and this was another not to let anybody down. Great Job! I will have to ask Chris but I think this was his "low" point of the race. He was a bit off pace and I was getting worried. Amazingly when they showed up Chris had that same grin on his face and was looking as good as any other. Erik mentioned it was a "good" section but I was thinking otherwise. A quick swap of bottles, a denied request for more ibuprofen ( I gave him more at the next station), and off they went. I visited for quite some time with Wynn, Adam, Eve and many others whose names I forgot and decided to make my way to Cramer Road. (We were told that nobody was there and the aid wasn't out yet, so I figured I better make sure I have some lights ready)

Cramer Road (77.2 miles)
As I pulled into the aid station there wasn't much for light but they were there in the early stages of setting up. A huge truck unloading gear took off as soon as I showed up and all the food and extras were soon ready. I had time to chat with probably the two youngest Ham Radio personnel in the state. The guy setting up the aid station said, "you are the only Ham radio people I know under the age of 60." They mentioned they had done "coms" (communication) in the service and continue to do it as civilians. It wasn't long and Chris and Erik showed up as fresh as any other stop. Chris looked at me with a bit of smile and wanted to know how he was doing. I said, "great Chris, you look good." As if he didn't know, but he was inquiring how the guys were doing behind him. Up to this point, Chris didn't know, or want to know, any time gap he had on the next racers. He was asking. I left the previous aid station early and didn't know how long the time gap was but I heard over the radio that Joe had left Sugarloaf about fifty minutes ago. "Are you sure." No I wasn't. "Can you stay and find out before heading to the next aid station?" Sure, not a problem. That's my job. Joe's light came through the woods 43:00 later. He spent near five minutes eating soup and anything else he could jam down the esophagus. "Shit, the leads down to fifty minutes" I thought. What do I tell Chris at the next stop. The truth I guess.

Temperance (84.3 miles)
Another great aid station. The bar was set pretty high for quality aid stations. I set up my gear boxes right away, grabbed some food from the truck along with another Red Bull and set up my bag chair by the hosts fire. Wow did that feel good. It wasn't too long and the boys made there way to the stop. As I looked at my watch it still seemed like the splits were off from predictions. Chris wanted to know the time gap right away. "Joe had a good section" I said. "What is it?" I didn't want to tell him. "You are running a solid pace, keep it up". That wasn't good enough. I had to tell him. "Around 48 minutes" I said. All they had to do was run a decent section and I would see them in under ninety minutes. "Let's go! Kaitala Chris said." Chris took off and I ran up to Erik and said, "push him on this section, even if you guys are power walking, push him a bit." Well, Erik didn't have to. Hearing after the fact, Chris hit the trial, said to Erik, "I want my ten minutes back" and that is all what was said for 5.7 miles.

Sawbill (90 miles)
I waited at the last aid station for 55:00 and no Joe. He must have had a bit of a "low". As I drove into the aid station I thought I might have my directions wrong. No lights, no people. Just one tent and one pop-up camper. I was so tired as I thought, "damn campers... this isn't a camp site. They will be sorry they camped here when all the runners decide to come running through." Little did I know, that was all the aid crew sleeping. One guy knocked on my window and I went out to say hi. He said, "hey, are you crewing for  somebody?" "Yup, the guy that is going to be here in twenty-five minutes." He was a bit surprised as he was told they had more than an hour before the first runner would come through. Not the case. I was planning for a ninety minute section and I soon saw two headlamps at eighty minutes! I had just sat in my bag chair with my sleeping bag munching on graham crackers. Wow! They had a super section. "How are you feeling?" Chris looked at me stated, "Good, what's the gap?" I told them I had waited fifty five minutes and no Joe yet. "Really, you didn't see him?" "Nope, you guys are jamming." It was at this time when I realized Erik was stretching like no other trying to get a tight psoas to loosen up. "Gregg, you better get ready to run at Oberg, I don't think I can make it." We're at ninety miles and Chris has the mind to ask if I was sure I wanted to run the last section. (he knows I've been on a build up since my achilles snafu this spring) Without a doubt, I stated to Chris, "you're not running the last section by yourself, I'll see you guys at Oberg." I jogged with the guys to the trail head and told Chris to empy the water bottles and take in the Gu's. Joe was going to run out of real estate on the chase and they just needed to have a good section to hold position. Got to go get ready to run.

Oberg (95.5 miles)
I blasted to the Oberg station slamming yet another Red Bull and got Chris's gear boxes ready. A quick change into running gear, filled up my bottle, made sure my headlamp had fresh batteries and I was ready to tackle the last 7.1 miles. Chris and Erik showed up in yet another quick section just about 80 minutes. I had to relay all messages to Erik about waking up Christy, making sure he had the keys and off we went. I was talking to Erik and Chris was half way down the parking lot. "I better catch up now, because I will never catch him on the trails." We chatted a bit and I wanted to find out what he and Erik were doing as far as conversation, pacing, etc... Chris mentioned he was front running and not doing a lot of talking. That's OK with me I thought. I really just wanted to be present for Chris and not screw up his race in the last 7.1 miles. Wow, would that suck! What I would witness in the next one hour and forty eight minutes will stick with me for the rest of my life. For those that know the terrain, Chris ran up Oberg! Yup, 95 miles into a race and he ran up it. To have the spring and agility he had to the finish was amazing. We chatted a bit but mostly I gave him quiet times and added some words of encouragement from time to time. Stuff that a beat up runner needs to hear at that point. It was true and he had an amazing pace going even when he was power walking the hills. "Chris you are keeping a really good pace up the hills. You are not slowing at all." He muttered, "good, it sure doesn't feel like it." We rounded a point in the trail where you can see the Lutsen Resorts lights and it seemed like that was a huge lift. The pace picked up and there was little walking after that. He nailed the downhills and soon we were off the trail. What a wonderful feeling it must have been for him. "How does that feel I asked?" "Pretty amazing, I can't believe I did it." We hit the gravel road, a little less than a mile away and I looked at my watch. I was attempting to do some easy math and realized that a sub twenty-two hour was definitely within reach. "Do you think you can make there under ten minutes?" I asked. Nothing was said, but the footfalls quickened and soon we were running 7:00 pace. I run this pace often and I know we were running 7:00's, no B.S. A quick dash around the pool at Caribou and it was all over. "Wow, he did it", I thought. The finish time was 21:57:53. Amazing.

So, that is my report from a crew, mini-pace personnel. One of those experiences that is cemented in my mind and will share stories for years to come. Thank you for all the memories, to all crew members, aid station members, and mostly to Chris, Christy, Ella and Erik.

Superior Trial 100 Mile 2008.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


In his debut at 100 miles, Chris Gardner of Duluth MN. won the 2008 Superior Sawtooth Trail 100 Miler this morning in an unofficial winning time of 21:57:00. (course record was 21:42:11) More report later... it's time for bed. The official web page is HERE.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Frills

Out for an easy mileage run this morning in the cool, dark morning hours. It was 42F at our house, cool enough for light gloves and long sleeves. Quite comfortable for running.
I did the extended Pig's loop out to Martin and home via Vermilion. Legs felt good.

Totals: 53:38  7.7 miles

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Return to Lakeside

I decided to get another LT workout this morning and Lakeside offers a pretty good course for such a workout. On a whim I decided to do a four mile LT run. Warming up I felt good as the temps were in the low 40's and it was DARK.
Here's a breakdown:
2.2 mile warm up  16:55
4 mile LT: 1st mile: 5:49 (146)
                     2nd mile: 5:40 (151)
                     3rd mile: 5:45 (156 into wind)
                     4th mile: 5:49 (156)
2.6 mile warm down 21:10

Looking at the HR I am hoping that it was the slight headwind and up grade that was causing my HR to pop up. I was still feeling quite comfortable but off on the pace a bit. My next LT work should be near 5:43's. Overall I am satisfied with the workout. For some reason the lower calf muscles got tight again. I gave them a good stretch after the run.

Totals: 1:01:14  8.8 miles 

Tuesday: 1st day back to work. Slept like hell last night due to the heat. No running.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Trial of Trails

Since I had an "off" day yesterday  I figured I would take it easy and run some trails for a recovery. I was only three minutes into the run when I ran into a group of four runners including Kooks, Jess, Jarrow and Darrin. I latched on and ran three loops in Rock Hill followed by an outside ski loop in Hartley. As the run progressed I felt better and was quite thankful that yesterday's run was one of those fluky off-days. It was nice to be in the woods on trails because at 9:00 the heat was up! A good day and looking forward to the rest of the week except for the darkness.

Totals: 1:15:22  8.7 miles ( in woods ? gps accuracy, but close)