Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review

I have to say right from the start. I was happy with 2009 and what it gave me. From a running standpoint, which is the purpose of this blog, I had one of the better years I have had since my late 20's. (yes close to 10 years ago)

I had a decent fall 2008 training season and after the holidays I was working on a good base in Jan. 2009. All systems go, as they say. Until THIS happened. Not good. I haven't ran in snowshoes since. I may not. We will see how the winter goes. It took me a good 4-6 weeks of recovery, and lots of bandages and second skin, to get over that Achilles mess, but really I was able to get back on track and whipped myself into good shape going into Grandma's marathon. As a workup to that marathon I ran a half-marathon in Fargo in May and ran one of the quicker races I have in years. I ran 1:12:55. Pretty happy given the stomach problems I was having. After that race I recovered well and was ready to nail a good race at Grandma's Marathon. One major problem and one other problem sprung up on me. The major problem was the 70 F temps we had a race start. The day got worse from there. What was worse was the cool, NE winds we had on Sunday! Two years in a row with that weather pattern. The second problem, the one that gave me some trouble in Fargo gave me a harder time that day in June. Later, by process of elimination, I self-diagnosed a stomach ulcer that responded very well to cutting coffee, red-wine and red sauces out my diet along with starting some Prilosec daily. By the end of the fall I knew that combination would get me through my next marathon. That marathon was chosen to be in Sacramento in early December. Building up to this race went very well and I had some of the best training days I have ever put together. Once race day approached I was ready to hit my splits and call it a PR. We woke up to temps under 30F and by the time I finished was just shy of 40F! Yes, in California! I didn't mind though, as I was used to those temps and it produced a PR in the marathon. A PR at age 39! I will take it. 2:38:25. What a great feeling. I want to carry that momentum into 2010 and hit yet another PR in the marathon at the young age of 40! I know I can do it and am ready to tackle the challenge. I hope your 2010 is filled with stupendous running adventures and may all of your running dreams and goals be fulfilled. Here's to a year of great training and racing.

2009 Totals:

2740 Miles

Finish Out the Year

Since the marathon (on 6th) I have taken a nice break from running and now I am making my return to regular running and will start more "formal" training the first of the year. I enjoyed the time off from training but continued to get up early in the morning because that is one element of my training cycle that is very difficult to form to habit.

Here is the last few days of 2009 and how it rounded out my year.

Dec. 20th:
first day back since the marathon. ran the Hartley trails with Rod and had a decent, easy loop on the snow covered trails.
48:00 6.5 miles

Dec. 22nd:
loop out on the roads just to get some time in. my hip adductors are killing me and I need to get some core exercises started ASAP

Dec. 26th:
nice snowshoe loop in White Pine with Kari. we did two loops where I was breaking trail for the first loop. not a high HR workout, but a good workout for the hip flexors.

Dec. 29th:
i made the mistake of trying to run on the streets after the ice/snow storm we got during Christmas. terrible streets and the trails are no better.

Dec. 30th:
out on the local snowmobile trails just off of Vermilion road. the footing was superior to anything in the immediate vacinity of city streets. i will be running these types of trails until the city streets improve.

Dec. 31st:
on the treadmill. i had to give my legs a break from all the slipping.
the turnover felt great. I did 3 X 1 minute at 5:42 pace just to get the legs turning over a bit.
38:30 5 miles

That's it for 2009! I will total up and report soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

California International Marathon

27th California International Marathon
Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Time: 2:38:25, 6:02 minutes/mile pace
Place: Overall: 46th, 45th male, 9th in age group 35-39
12th marathon/ 10th finish

I figured I would give you the bulk of my story before making you read through a long story of yet another challenging marathon. Aren't they all!

For the few of you out there that have followed my path to this race you would have noticed that I managed to accomplish one of the most important and yet challenging parts of training for a marathon. I showed up in Cali healthy, and uninjured. Check, advantage me. This is where I should give a shout out to the person responsible for drawing up my marathon schedule, Greg McMillan. Thanks Greg. Anyone can recruit this wonderful coach. Just follow my link on the right column of my front page and click on McMillan running and follow the links to his coaching page. He did a wonderful job.
As I was monitoring the weather forecast for Sunday morning it was looking great. Clear skies, no precipitation, and temperatures that should be great for marathon running. Check, my advantage yet again. Things were looking great. Could this really happen? Did I play my cards right? I passed on training for Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and that gamble was wrong. (they had perfect weather, no wind, clear, temps in the 40's-50's) I guess all I had to do was show up and hit my splits and the rest would be history. Not quite. After all this was a marathon I was preparing for. I somehow forgot to think of the wind. Some courses aren't bothered by wind factors so much. When you have a point to point course, like CIM is, there is potential for trouble. Trouble is what I found. Advantage, NOT me. Damn!

I woke up, hit a hot shower, and made my way to the lobby for a bite to eat. When I asked the front desk person what the local temperature was he didn't know, so I made my way to a computer and quickly looked up Sacramento and Folsom California temperatures on weather channel. 29F! NO WAY! Wow, this was about ten degrees cooler than I planned, and I planned hitting the 40's by mid race. (that never happened) Oh well, no rain or snow, so I didn't worry. I am from northern Minnesota after all.

The bus was to be at our motel at 5:00 am to get us to the start. That went off without a hitch except while waiting in line, I dropped my bottle of water/gatorade mix I was going to carry for the first mile or so and cracking the top off in process. "Don't Panic!", I told myself. I knew there would be water at the start and with temps at 29F I guess I didn't have to worry about getting dehydrated. After a pretty quiet ride to Folsom I exited the bus and made my way to one of several, (ratio 1:26) porta potties to relieve all the drink I had consumed in the previous two hours. Making my way to the starting line was easy as I was on one of the first buses to make the drive. Things were looking great. I had tons of energy and the legs were feeling limber. Once they pumped up the 90's dance club music I was ready to cut some rug. Exhilarating, crazy energy was pumping through me. Almost to the point of screaming. I was ready. After a quick jog and stripping the clothes I was ready to line up. Crazy, the guy just announced, "two minutes to go". It was time to toe the line.

Once the gun went off I had an immediate sigh of relief. Whew! Finally, on my way to Sacramento. I got out of a small pack and managed to stay clear of any heels in front of me and got comfortable. As we hit the one mile I hit my watch. 6:02 mile. Perfect. I wanted to take two easy miles before getting too excited about splits. Mile two was a near match at 5:59. It was after the second mile when I knew I had to get out of that pace and make it just a bit quicker to get closer to goal pace. Perfect. Even with the slight ups and downs the first half of this course offers my splits were coming to me like going for a job on the local boardwalk. I managed to keep this effort until I heard the voice of one, middle-aged man just after the ten mile mark. He said in such an easy, gentle voice, " you're going hit a little wind around the corner." I was thinking, "we have had gust on and off for ten miles, what's the big deal." Wind direction was the big deal. With the turn it faced us right into a blustery 15 mph wind. Wow! That sucks. I need to find a group to run the next stretch with. I finally made my was up to a group that was running the same pace as I wanted and was ready to do some pace sharing and then the urge to urinate became too strong to ignore. Zoom, into a porta pot just prior to the half-way split. Thirty seconds later I was out and making my way to the half-way mat to see 1:1806 on my watch. Hmmm. The wind was stronger than I anticipated. I was still optimistic that I would be able to make up some time in the closing miles if I was smart. Trouble was, the wind didn't really improve much until a turn took us out of some point after twenty miles. Too late. My legs were calling my name. I wasn't going to negative split. I was going to be lucky just to get to the finish without any full-on hamstring spasms. Both hamstrings, and my left, lower calf was calling my name outloud with each step. It's kind of funny. I was telling my wife afterwards that if people watching the runners could hear what the runners were thinking it sure would be entertaining. I was telling myself not to slow. Just maintain. You can salvage a decent race. Just don't stop. It hurts. Hell ya it hurts, it's a fu***** marathon, it's supposed to hurt. Relax your hips. Focus on the runners in front of you. Keep lifting your legs and drive to the next block. Kari said, "getting tired is no excuse to stop, just keep pushing on." She is so wise. I know she has uttered many of those similar thoughts along to her 2:47 PR years ago. We see eye to eye. I love her so.

Once I got down to the last two miles I put myself in Duluth, Minnesota. I know the last two miles of the Grandma's marathon course better than the homeless people that walk it every day. I knew comfort. Just picturing myself one block at a time allowed me to get up the course. Passing 25 miles was great! I knew I was going to make it now. All I had to do was press just a bit more. Then I started looking for Kari. We agreed before the race that she would stand at 10th street. I started looking for her at 14th, 12th, 11th, and then I saw her on the side of the street. What a sight. It's amazing the lift you get from loved ones along the way. Such a wonderful lift! After rounding the first corner, I ran a block and rounded the last corner and a push for the finish line. I over the speakers my name and someone else with the name Lucas (my son's name is Lucas) and that someone was right on my heels. The announcer said, "they are neck and neck and heading to the finish" This part of "they" isn't going to let that happen. I pushed just enough to hold of the next guy by a mere one second. There is was. Complete. In the books. It's all over but the crying. I was happy and sad at the same time. I had a new PR and yet it took so much out of me to get it. My legs were screaming. After a bottle of water and a warming blanket I made my way to my wife for a much needed hug. Such a relief. Thank you honey. You don't know how much I needed you and will need you for races to come.

So there it is. I will rest and take at least two weeks off completely. Nothing. Eating and resting will be my goal. This will feel great. I have a plan for 2010, but too soon to set in stone. It should be yet another big year. New age group coming up.

For the stat people out there, here are my splits.
6:02,5:59,5:49,5:43,5:51,5:53,6:00,6:02,5:57,5:53,5:52,5:58,12:19* (piss break),6:07,5:54,5:55,6:05,6:02,6:03,6:02,6:10,6:16,6:15,6:18,6:24,1:27

Totals: 26.2 miles

Weeks Totals: 54.4 miles
Years Totals:2709.5 miles

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Final Countdown

Now that mid week has come and gone I can now officially start to antsy about Sunday's race. I try not to think too much about the finish of the race. It's only natural, as I and many others have put hours and hours of time into preparation for such a physical challenge. I think I have said, " I hope...." a hundred times this week. I hope for good weather. I hope my legs respond the way I have trained. I hope I can run a decent last 10K and not have my race fall apart at the end. Well, I hope for the best. And really, that is what we all can do, right? Our best?

As for this week, not much excitement about my runs, as if there ever is right? Monday I took it easy and cut the distance down a couple miles and Tuesday I did a short fartlek session, and today I did my last track work and had to cut it a bit short just to save my right hip flexor. (it remains stiff and a little sore when running hard.)

36:19 4.7 miles easy (7:43 pace)

48:42 6.6 miles (8 times 25 second fartleks)

53:40 7.4 miles
3 X 1000 meters at 5:15/mile pace
(felt great except my right flexor)

Well, there it is. Near twenty + weeks (i didn't add them up) of training for this upcoming Sunday's marathon in Sacramento, CA. I may not blog until after the race. One more time. I hope the next entry is one filled with great news! Until then. Peace!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Week To Go

One week from today will conclude another marathon journey. All the work is done. The hay is in the barn, as they say. The numerous 5 am runs consisting of easy runs, medium-long runs, fartleks, and tempos have come to an end. For now. The last week will be much lower in volume and I will have two more "leg turnover" workouts and the off to California on Friday morning. I am looking forward to the challenge. The marathon offers plenty of those in one form or another.

Today's medium long run went fair. Meaning about a 6 or 7 out of a 10. Not what I was looking for from a last longer workout. For some reason my legs felt heavy, there was wind, and I overdressed. All attributes to an "off" workout. I can take the good out of it and try not to think of any negative energy. Positive vibes all week. That will be my vision.

Here is the workout:
44:15 6.1 mile warm up
*6 mile at MP
3:40 .5 mile warm down
1:223:08 12.6 miles

Weeks Totals: 56 miles
Years Totals: 2655.1 miles

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ease Off

This weeks volume has been reduced a bit but the overall intensity has not changed much. I like that. In the past, the tapers have gone so horrible and I would welcome a different feeling this time around. My right groin, aka hip flexor, has given me as much trouble as I would like to tackle during this sharpening phase. I did manage to see the Chiropractor on Wednesday and that seemed to help a ton! As soon as my sacrum was adjusted the spasm in my right groin settled down. I took it very easy on Thursday and moved the workout to Friday morning. Thursday morning was the Gobble Gallop 5K in Duluth and it was another record attending year. I didn't want to risk damaging my hip flexor any more than what it was, so I chose to be one of the "Turkeys" for the event. I hope to get a photo up soon from the event, but what a different twist to a race. I managed to run with the kids during their run, do most of the one mile race, and about two miles of the 5K. Great times by all!

Wednesday: Easy running in Kenwood area, Chester Bowl, and UMD. Groin was tight.
50:34 6.5 miles

Thursday: Turkey Mascot day at 5K
~3 miles total

Friday: Tempo Interval workout
21:04 warm up
3 X 8 minutes at tempo pace (3 recov)
5:32, 5:36, 5:41 paces respectively
23:18 warm down
1:14:30 10.7 miles

Easy running on light trails. (ie: no rocks, or mud)
Sunny and cool.
52:10 6.5+ miles

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stubborn Groins

Since my spill a week ago I have had some residual tightness in the lower abdominal muscles and my right groin continues to be tight. This morning during the warm up my groin was so tight that it was altering my stride a bit. Once things warmed up I was ready to give my fartlek intervals a try. The first repeat felt absolutely horrid. I stopped and stretched a bit and that helped some, but for the most part I wasn't able to run as loose as I wanted and thus had to back off on the effort some. After the run I gave myself some time to do some focus stretching and that seemed to help tons. That will be my main focus for the next week and a half as almost all the work has been done up to this point and now I must keep and even keel and not get sick or injured.

Yesterday's recovery run went very slow and easy. I was quite stiff and low on energy. The morning was balmy and full of fog. Perfect for a Monday....

49:25 6.5 miles

1:12:52 10.2 miles
8 X 1 min. on/off farleks
*supposed to be at 5k pace, not quite there today with the groin.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great End To A Tough Week

Yesterday I posted about having tight adductors and having a "less than desirable" run on Friday. Well, I made up for it this morning. I had a kick ass longer run with the last eight miles at marathon pace-ish.

The temperature was near perfect for race simulation. Grey skies and temps hovering near 40F, with no wind. I was dressed a bit too warm during the warm up miles but once I hit my turn around I stripped the pants and jacket and ran in shorts and a long coolmax shirt. Hitting my first split was interesting as I had to actually stop and run back in the woods to retrieve my clothes since some weirdo was watching me and he heading in the woods to see what I had left behind. I ran most of the first mile with a bundle of clothes under my arm until I could find safe stashing, and still managed to hit a 5:52. I felt very comfortable this morning on my MP segment and that left me feeling very optimistic of the potential at CIM in two weeks. Wow! What a feeling.

Here are the splits:
58:29 8.3 mile warm up (7:03 pace)
*8 miles MP
5:05 .7 mile warm down

Total: 1:49:35 17 miles

Weeks Total: 73 miles
Years Total: 2599.1 miles

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November Heat... Not For Me

This has been one of the best Novembers in terms of temperatures that I have witnessed in quite some time. I must note that I am referring to the afternoon temps. I run at 5 am and the temps are cold. Maybe a bit warmer than usual, but I am not wearing shorts like some of the "daytime" running pals I know.

This week has gone pretty decent except some nagging sore hip adductors and lower abdominal muscles. I believe that is due to last weeks fall on the trails and hopefully the next week I can concentrate a bit more on stretching and some easy ball work. I did manage to get a massage Wednesday and that helped out a ton! (i should do that weekly)

Easy morning miles that consisted of Kenwood area and down to Skyline then home. Running easy felt good. I would continue to be a bit concerned for Friday's workout. Not too sure what to expect from my legs.
1:00:04 8 miles (7:30 pace)

The plan called for one of three workouts. I got to choose whatever workout I felt I needed to focus on to get "the best bang for my buck". I picked the workout labeled strength workout. In the past I have really liked doing this type of workout, (long steady state miles 7-10 miles) and getting out there and banging consistent miles at "steady-state" pace usually felt good. I knew during the warm up that things would go differently than in the past. I just couldn't get my legs to loosen up and if I had more time I would have warmed up for another ten or fifteen minutes but I just didn't have the time. Instead I ran the first two miles a bit slow then I really tried to get on pace and hammer out the rest of the workout. Other than the first two miles I kept the chrono on my watch going and didn't lap count for individual splits. The funny thing was once I picked up the pace and really concentrated on staying relaxed the pace felt better than the slower pace I was running. Here are my splits for the workout:
Overall I was a bit disappointed in how things went, but I just chalked it up to running tired with very fatigued hip flexors/adductors. I need to get them relaxed soon!
21:18 2.7 mile warm up
16:21 2.8 miles (5:51 pace)
29:28 5.2 miles (5:41 pace)
(8 miles total at steady state)
17:54 2 mile warm down
1:25:02 12.7 miles total

Another beautiful day in Duluth. I made a vow last week to stay off the trails until the marathon is over but I couldn't resist. I run roads all week and the thought of hitting the trails on Saturday's in the daylight is so appealing. I did it and ran easy and managed to have a wonderful, easy run. No frills, just easy trail running.

1:17:47 9.3 miles (8:20 pace)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I guess I can't complain. There has been no rain, snow or any form of precipitation since Saturday. That's pretty good for this time of year. There has been an extreme amount of frost in the early morning hours until the sun decided to show itself. For the most part the grip has been decent until you run on car tracks. Then you better be prepared to slip as the frost turns to ice very quickly. Enough talk about frost. Boring.

Monday I took the opportunity to run really slow and keep the pace near 8:00/mile for about an hour. My legs were very sore, especially the hip adductors that I strained on Saturday. I made my way and I was hoping it was a good move on my part instead of taking a zero and resting. On Tuesday I found out that I did indeed make a good move and run on Monday. I think it helped loosen up some stiffness and the run was another easy day and I made the decision, much like two weeks ago, to take an extra day of rest after a really long run. By the end of the hour my legs were feeling pretty fluid and I was chalking up another run in the progressive column.

This morning I was to do some fartlek intervals at 5K pace along with a good warm up and warm down. All was feeling well until repeat 9 and 1o. That's where my adductors started to scream a bit and I decided to call it a morning after the tenth repeat. The warm down to the house was slow and I was feeling a little stiffness with my stride. Once I got home and stretched a little I felt great and will welcome tomorrow recovery style run with open arms.

I am at the point in training where any conversation about the marathon gets me butterflies in the stomach and the urge to head out and hammer out a run. I like and dislike this part of a marathon build up because one has to keep things under close monitor and not over do it, but I also must not get stale in my training. Just enough stimulation to keep you busy.

Here are the last three days of running:

50:00 6.5 miles (easy)

1:00:31 8 miles (feeling much better)

10 X 1 minute fartlek repeats at 5K pace
1:19:49 11 miles

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Test of Will

I didn't want my last real "long" run to be that. But I had no choice and it truly was a test of will. The run consisted of two loops from our house. The first was thirteen miles and the second near ten. For the first loop I used my IPOD with the purpose of distraction from all the discomfort I was feeling. It didn't work. Once I got to the house for the second loop I ripped those earphones out of my ears. No more of that! The second loop felt just like the first. I did as much concentration on a long run as I ever have. The good news, which I was able to pick out of the run after, was that my energy and legs actually felt very good, and if it wasn't for the other trouble I would have had an absolute wonderful run.

The problem I write about is one that I developed yesterday. On Saturday's I usually use the local trails to get off the pavement and allow my legs a little more recovery by running slow for near ninety minutes. Leaving the house under a constant drizzle should have been a major red flag. My goal was to run one complete loop in Hartley and one in Rock Hill. First was Hartley. Upon entering the single track just off the main trail I said to myself outloud, "what the hell am I doing running on wet, muddy, rutty, single track three weeks before a marathon?" I answered myself with a , " I'll just take it slow." So the run was going just fine and I was running slow. My legs were feeling great and I was over half way through the trail. I knew a small creek crossing was coming up and I wanted to ready myself for a quick splash and take a couple steps in the water to help wash off my shoes. As I was getting ready to pick my line to avoid any large boulders hiding in the creek I hit a beveled bank of mud and quicker than I realized I was fighting to stay on my feet. My left foot slid out from me sideways and the right soon followed and down I went on my right hip. ****! was my first word! It often is when things like this happen. I felt my left groin pull the most, and the right didn't feel much better. I started a very slow jog and knew something wasn't right. My low back started to cease up and soon I had all I could just to get out of the woods and home to a warm shower and dry clothes. I didn't want to do any stretching on freshly injured tissue so I just took the warm shower and loaded up the family to hit the movies! We saw MJ's, This Is It! Great show!!

The run this morning was all about keeping the groin muscles at ease and not to hurt them any further. I find it interesting that I could run long today, it just didn't feel all that great. I felt like I had done too many strength training exercises rather than a full blow injury. Let's hope it heal quick, as I have written off Hartly until after the marathon.

Here is how my weekend went.

easy running. felt tired at home. almost took a zero.
6 miles

Wet, muddy, rutty Hartley trails. Complete loop. Fell*
1:03:34 6.7 miles

Last real long effort. Same run as two weeks ago.
2:41:07 23 miles

Weeks Totals: 77 miles
Years Totals: 2526.6

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Insignificant Amount?

Running easy on Wednesday worked out to be a wise decision. My "altered" Wednesday loop is now a bit shorter than the original but I managed to add a small loop once I got to the house to make up the difference. My legs felt like they made the turn and were feeling ready to go for the next day.

This morning was a scheduled true "tempo" run. After an adequate warm up of near twenty five minutes I started to work into the pace with an end point of unknown distance. (the plan called for 5-7 miles and my last tempo was 4.4 miles two weeks ago) The early pace felt great, as my warm up indicated I was ready to make a good go at this workout. Something happened after the second and third mile though. I couldn't put my finger on it then and now just chalk it up to one of those days. The effort got more intense and my pace fell off. I tried to use some internal mechanism to relax my body, easy off on the shoulders, loosen the hip swing and it would last for a minute or two and then I would feel tight again. Repeat cycle over and over to the end. I didn't cut the workout short, which I almost did, and instead turned the workout into a "steady-state/ slow tempo" workout. (splits off by an insignificant amount) What's the difference right? By the way I felt the side stitch I knew was definitely working the right system. In the end I chalked it up to running with tired legs and a subtle virus that has left me a bit fatigued this week. Now I have two easy days of running and one last LONG run for Sunday.

Here is the last two days and the tempo breakdown.

Kenwood/Skyline loop with added time past home.
59:49 8 miles

22:50 2.9 mile warm up
6.3 miles of "tempo" running
5:28 first mile
5:32 for 2.3 miles
5:32 mile
5:30 mile
5:38 mile *up grade w/ stitch
25:12 3 mile warm down

1:22:55 12.2 miles

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November Mornings

The last two mornings have been spectacular for northern MN standards. The temps have remained cool, approx. 40F, but that is much better than snow and ice. What's has been great is the clear skies and sunrises I am able to witness once again. Lately I need all the "scenery" I can get because the darkness is moving in and I have been very tired the last couple day's.
Monday I made it through my recovery loop and felt beat up the entire way. That sucks. Tuesday I felt better but by the end of the run I felt tired again. Two weeks ago I felt the same and remained to have a wonderful week of training and I hope to repeat that pattern. Tomorrow will be an easy morning and I may mix a little trail into the morn.

1:03:40 8.2 miles

Out and back on West Skyline. Saw four State troopers surround a deer on Piedmont and shoot it (it had been hit by a car) right in front of me. Shit, that surprised me!
1:37:00 13.3 miles

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mild Fall Temps and Mild Viruses

I'm not too sure what the percentage would be at this point in time but I am sure that all fifty states have the H1N1 virus tearing through on a mission infesting as many individuals as possible. That virus and many other "flu-like" viruses have made their way in and out of our office and my home. Friday I felt like another was trying to break me down. I had a sudden flush in my face and had the burn in the nose, like when you get dunked in water and not expecting it, and I was beginning to feel the fatigue. Damn, the bug had got me once again.

I gave it my all and immediately started my "remedy". A mix of extra strength acetaminophen, mucinex, and wash it down with air-borne water. I repeat this as much as needed, giving at least four hours in between, and in 48 hours I felt much better. I had a little nausea this morning to deal with, but that could have been due to the knowledge of knowing what was to come during my long run. One week closer to Cal International and now all I have to do is maintain and avoid the virus!

Saturday left me feeling down right shitty. I ran an easy loop through Rock Hill trails and did a complete loop on the Chester Creek trails. The pace was as pedestrian as I do when running trails and that didn't seem slow enough. Too many layers was one problem and having done the Yasso workout just twenty four hours earlier had to have something to do with it. I got the mileage done and refueled for the rest of the day.

Sunday was another finish-fast long run. (FFLR) These workouts are almost as nerve racking as the marathon itself. I have done a number of these now and realize that the effort isn't all that hard, it's just fatiguing at very similar efforts as the last 8K of a marathon. By then end of the run my legs feel very similar to the end of a marathon with the exception of recovery. Today, for example, I had run the final eight miles at or near predicted marathon pace and was looking for the finish tape. Within two hours after the run my legs felt great and no soreness to report. (unlike a marathon!) This leaves me very excited for the final four weeks of preparation as I have many important workouts left and will taper only with volume not intensity. Let's keep it rolling!

Here is a breakdown of the weekend.

trails, SLOW 1:12:29 8.2 miles

FFLR 1:51:52 17.1 miles
first 8.7 miles 7:11 pace
8 mile MP:
.4 mile ease down

Weeks Totals: 71 miles
Years Totals: 2449.2

Friday, November 6, 2009

One Last Yasso

Yesterday I did a modified loop from my old Rice Lake Road loop. Remember I posted a while back that a truck zinged me and almost put me in the hospital? Since that morning I have chosen to stop running that stretch of road because one never wins a battle with a high speed truck when one's running. The sad news about this was that an eighteen year old got struck by a CRV on Halloween night on the exact stretch where I was having my run-ins with the cars. Instead of a close call, he got hit and remains in one of the ICU's in critical condition and the driver is in jail held on possible vehicular manslaughter charges. I doubt anything will come of this in regards to repainting the road but damn, I knew it was going to be just a matter of time until something like that was going to happen.

My new loop is pretty nice and much more protected from the traffic. My legs felt super and I was just cruising in the crisp, moon lit, morning air. No surprises or issues and that set me up for a morning of YASSO.

The YASSO workout was my last until the next marathon build-up and that is OK with me. Someone once stated that this workout isn't that hard it just fatigues you with the length of the workout. This workout is very hard and yes it is one hell of a mental workout. Today I was thinking there would be no way I would finish the workout once the fifth interval was run. Wrong! I did finish, and I was very happy with my splits. I had a bit of a time figuring out lane three at the track, as lanes one and two had sheets of ice on them and made it impossible to run near those lanes. I finally found the proper hash marks to read and hit my 800 meter splits.

Here is the last two days and the Yasso:

Thursday: easy running Kenwood.
57:33 7.5 miles

Friday: warm up 32:20 4.2 miles
10 X 800 meters YASSO
*first split was unsure of finish line in lane 3
warm down 14:47 1.8 miles
13.2 miles total

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excellent Choice

By taking an extra day of easy running post long run I am convinced that it was a good decision. My legs felt much better and the fartlek intervals went quite smooth.

Overall, this week is designed to be a lower volume week to aide in recovery and prepare me for this upcoming weekends marathon pace work. I did my usual warm up during the early climbs of Woodland Avenue and then started the intervals once I hit Arnold road. I managed to hit most of the intervals near 5:15 pace and the last few closer to 5:05 pace. The big difference with today's run was the "rest" interval of one minute was NOT a jog, as I kept the pace rather brisk at 6:30-6:50. Overall, I was pleased with today's effort.

Totals: 1:05:06 9.1 miles
10 X 1 min. on/off fartlek work

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recovery and More Recovery

I managed to lay pretty low after my run on Sunday and spend some quality time with the family on the couch. Good stuff! Monday I felt surprisingly well and had a great easy run through Woodland and Morley Park neighborhoods. For those of you who had the opportunity, the ski was glowing with a perfect full moon. What a sight! Tuesday I woke up and I had planned on running easy again and it proved to be the right decision. Once I got moving I realized that running fartlek repeats would have been counterproductive.
The run finished and I was very happy with my decision and will look forward to some faster stuff tomorrow.

I managed to see an eight point and possibly a ten point buck right in the city limits. They know where to hide...

54:00 7.5 miles easy

58:00 8 miles easy

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekend Miles

This week I have been feeling like I have made a jump in fitness and the consistent weeks of running must be paying off. The next week will be a down week for mileage and then back to work for a few more then the slight taper will begin. I say slight because my overall volume will more than likely drop but the intensity will remain and that should give me a better chance to reach the starting line more fresh. Let's hope!

Saturday's run was with a group of six men from Rod's house, all of which I forgot their names but nonetheless it was a nice group to run with. (I haven't done that in years, as our winter running group is usually smaller than that) A combination of roads and trails forming the loop to Hawks Ridge gave me a nice opportunity to get some miles in and remain totally aerobic. Perfect for a Saturday.

Today's run was my longest yet on this build-up and it was great. I ran the first ten miles with Erik going out to Enger Tower and back. After a swap of clothing, a gel, and some gatorade I was off to complete the run with a loop up Howard Gnesen and home via Jean Duluth Road. My legs were getting a bit fatigued near two hours and that was when I opted for the second gel. Looking back, it was a good move as the last forty three minutes were just clicking as my overall pace quickened just a bit. I didn't want to run too fast as that was not the assignment for today's miles. What a feeling! Then, to come home and find out an American won the ING New York City Marathon was the icing on the cake. Six Americans in the top ten. What a great day for running.

group run from Rod's on trails and roads
1:31:54 11 miles (8:22 pace)

two loops, one with Erik, one solo
2:43:29 23 miles (last thirty at 6:30 pace)

Weeks Totals: 83 miles
Years Totals: 2378.6 miles

Friday, October 30, 2009


Light drizzle and near 50F called for shorts this morning as I realize these days are definitely limited to a few. I had some heavy legs and I really took it easy on the foggy loop. Tomorrow will be another easy run but a little more volume.

Totals: 54:30 7.2 miles (easy)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stamina Workout

This morning I had the option of a couple types of workouts to choose from and I chose the "stamina" workout. I figure that for this week, since my long run will be basic mileage I would benefit from this workout more than the other options. I had a decent morning to run, no rain, rather warm and light breeze present.
Once I warmed up for three miles I worked into the first repeat and noticed the wind was just a bit more than I thought and the second mile of the interval had some rolling hills. Very slight, but when you are doing pace workouts they seem to be greater than when just doing aerobic pace. I was pleasantly surprised to see the split and at the end of the workout I finished feeling quite happy yet pistol-whipped. Kind of a happy medium.

Here is how the workout looked:
3 mile warm up
3 X 2 miles at Tempo pace. (5:15-5:25)
splits: 11:00, 10:51, 10:57
*not quite the splits from the chart but that is all I could muster this morning and I feel like that is OK. My legs were a bit tired going into the workout and I am surprised I could hold the pace I did.
3 mile warm down.

Total: 12 miles

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Down For The Count/ Mid-Week Wrap

Monday morning was my usual easy hour or so and I was feeling great. The way I felt was reassuring that I didn't press too hard on Sunday's long run. It was during the 31st minute and bam! Down I went. I had hit a broken piece of asphalt on Martin road and my ankle took one hell of a twist and because of the drop in the shoulder I went down for the count. My immediate reaction was, "oh shit! I broke my ankle." I didn't and really I have sprained my ankles much worse back in the high school basketball day's. After a minute or so of walking things calmed down and I was able to run and complete the loop. On Tuesday it was a bit stiff but it didn't hinder my running at all. Super!

Tuesday's medium distance took me out west on Skyline and back. My legs, hip flexors to be exact, and mid back were sore from yesterday's tumble. Man, it's starting to really hurt when I fall. Not like when you're twenty.

This morning I had a return of a bad case of heartburn and it caused me to cut the loop short. That's OK as it will provide a bit more recovery for tomorrow's workout.

Here is the skinny on the runs.

Monday: Martin road loop; 1:04:00 8.2 miles

Tuesday: Out and back Skyline 1:41:00 14 miles

Wednesday: Kenwood and Skyline; 57:11 7.5 miles
* reflux/heartburn am

Sunday, October 25, 2009

End The Week Quick

The virus I had been battling most of the week was only brutal for a couple of days then it tapered off rather quickly which was nice. I remain to have extra "snot rockets" but that seems to be par for the virus.

I managed to keep running during the week but had to take the intensity down until today. I did my first "finish fast" long run. With these types of runs it is goal to finish the last 6-8 miles at goal marathon pace and to "practice" all the other extra race day items such as fluid intake, gels, shoes, etc... Today's run went as well as I had wished and actually I finished feeling like the effort was very easy. (kinda nice at this point)

Here is how the week finished out and the details of Sunday's long run:

Friday: Easy out and back on west Skyline and then added a loop in Rock hill.
1:14:10 10 miles

Saturday: Trails at the Porkies in Michigan with my wife Kari.
~54:00 6.5 miles

Sunday: Finish Fast Long Run
first 10 miles 1:11:46 (7:11 pace)
last 6 miles at MP
total: 1:46:48 16 miles
* had to stop and get aide

Weeks Totals:68.2 miles
Years Totals: 2295.7 miles

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Back At It!

The sickness got me and it forced me a day home on the couch. Ouch! I managed to kick it pretty quick and the last two days have gone well.
This morning I managed to nail a pretty decent Tempo workout and I was a bit concerned that I ran too hard too soon but so far today I have felt quite good. Tomorrow will be another easy hour or so and I am looking forward to the two weekend runs in Michigan.
51:31:1, 01T

Easy loop in the rain: 54:32 7.3 miles

Tempo workout
~3 mile warm up
4.4 miles (23:28) Tempo
first 3.4 miles 5:22 pace, last mile 5:28
~3 mile warm down
10.4 miles 1:10:30

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bare Legs

I realized that the warmth is visiting for a short time, but it was nice to run in shorts once again. The morning temps were hovering around 48F and that was plenty for me. I still had to wear glove on the raynaud hands but that is OK.

My legs felt really good following yesterday's long run and I made the best of it. I ran the Pig's loop in reverse of what I usually do and then added a short loop in Rock Hill.

It looks like my running will be day by day until this cold has run its course. When I got home from work all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep until eternity but after a supper and chill time I am feeling very good again. Let's hope tomorrow morning I catch myself while I am feeling up and the run can go as planned.

Totals: 1:05:41 8 + miles

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Long Trails and Sore Throat

I'm heading in for one hell of a "cold" if I get anything like my son and wife has had. I woke up this morning with one of those sore throats that just kills to swallow. I was thinking I had dodged a bullet and was not going to get sick. Wrong! Next will see how much this thing will effect my workouts. I know I can run with this but doing a true "workout" might be too much. I guess this is better to get sick now then sometime in the middle of November when I am getting in those last few important workouts.

After waking up a bit and drinking a cup of tea and downing a glass of water and Airborne I decided to give it a shot and hit the trails for whatever my body would let me. I was about three and a half miles into the run when I bumped into Jay Lee. He was heading in the direction I just came from but I didn't hesitate one bit to turn and join him for some much needed company. We continued to run with each other for another eight miles or so and then it was time for me to make a turn for the house. Most aspects were on today except my legs were a little fatigued from yesterday's track work. I had to reach for the emergency gel again at ninety minutes and I am very thankful I continue to carry such a thing. I timed the gels effectiveness and I was right at 16:00 and things were starting to feel pretty good once again. By the time I had got home I was definitely ready to be done. After a quick shower and a light meal the family made its way to Oulu, WI and walked for a hour in the corn maze looking for fifteen check points so we could return to the barn and claim Lucas' prize. (candy, of course) A great day in the northland. Now I just have to get rid of this cold.

Totals: 2:33:39 18.2 miles (slow and easy, one gel)

Weeks Totals: 70.3 miles (6 runs)
Years Totals: 2227.5 miles

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Return of YASSO

First I will catch up the rest of the week. It has a been a challenging week as far as fighting the virus's and bugs at work and home. Many of my work partners have been sick and in/out of work. My son has had a "head cold" since last weekend, and now my wife has joined him. I too had some form of virus that hit me like a locomotive on Wednesday mid day at work. I was overcome by extreme fatigue, headache, chills and that was enough for me to take an early exit out of work and home a couple of hours early and right to bed. I slept for two or three extra hours and by late evening the fever broke and I was already feeling better. Thursday I was feeling surprisingly better but out of caution I didn't run and in hind sight that was a good decision on my part. From a running standpoint I have been feeling very good. My legs recovered well from the long run last Sunday and I would have been ready for my workout on Thursday but put it off until this morning. Another good decision.

After some easy running yesterday on the roads and a small loop in Rock Hill I was ready to bust out the YASSO workout this morning. Truthfully told, I was not fired up this morning to do this workout since it was still 34F and a slight wind out on the track. After a nice warm up I made my way on to the track and did a few striders and stretches and worked into the first 800. This workout is such a mental challenge that you really have to keep pressing on and pay attention to how your body is actually responding, and not to listen to all the negative thoughts running through your mind. After the third repeat my initial thought was, "there is no way I can keep this up for seven more!" I quickly snuffed out those negative thoughts and told myself to focus on one repeat at a time and when my times start falling off by more than three seconds I will then consider ending the workout. Well, that never happened and I finished the workout very happy! I was fricken cold out there and my hands froze once again, and my low calves were getting pretty tight during the last three repeats so I finished out the day with a total of 8 repeats.

Here is the weeks summary and the YASSO summary as well.

I did the Rice Lake Road loop and this time I didn't get zinged by any cars or trucks. Believe me, I was looking for one truck in particular and was ready to jump the curb if needed. Good thing, I didn't to worry about that. I may delete this run from my routine since they made the "bike" lane so narrow. Half of what is once was. Duluth doesn't know it's head from it's ass when it comes to bike traffic. Terrible design on that stretch of road.
1:00:23 8.2 miles

O miles after last nights virus hit me

I wanted to play it safe and run another low-intensity workout and keep the HR down. I managed to do that and ran the Martin road loop and then added a short Rock Hill loop just to get some extra mileage. A very good morning of running.
1:17:38 10 miles

YASSO workout on umd track. cold, windy, ice in the first lane. yah, lots of fun!
4.2 mile warm up, 8X800 repeats
2.9 mile warm down
1:35:17 12.5 miles

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Frosty Morn

Made my way out to Woodland and Hunters Park to run an easy hour. No frills and when I say easy I mean it. I was feeling the effects of the long run yesterday.

1:00:15 7.8 miles

Out west on Skyline to new "eyesore" house on the hill and back home. Very cool this morning. I had 25F at the tundra house. I really never broke a sweat, as I missed a layer somehow. Hands froze. I am still not used to dressing for this temp. My legs felt much better this morning and I hit sub 7:00's on the return trip.

1:35:20 13.6 miles

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Emergency Gel... Check!

The week of training went well and I am happy with the progress thus far. The fartlek and track workout went well and this mornings long run was decent. During this build up I have been using very little fluids or gels on my easy long runs. My body has made good adjustments and now I don't require as much nutrition on the run. I will be using plenty of gels and fluids on my marathon pace efforts in the upcoming weeks but those are workouts where I am pushing the pace quite a bit and it will also allow me to experiment with proper timing and placement of fluid intake. I will not have elite bottles at Cal so I am thinking of using S caps and the water from the tables, along with gels and the occasional glass of Ultima IF it goes well in my longer pace runs.

Since I wasn't sure of my long-run fitness I have been taking an "emergency" gel along just incase I start to bonk and need to make it home. That was the case this morning. I used the trails for the first 9+ miles and after that I was on the roads until the finish tape. At ninety minutes I was starting to feel really bad in the quads. The kind of bad where you think, "I better get some help soon or stop". That's when I reached in my pocket and opened the gel. It took some ten minutes to work but like magic once working my pace improved and I was able to finish the run in good fashion. It's really amazing sometimes how those things work. For those that don't believe in them, too bad for you, because they sure made the difference today.

Here is a wrap of the last two days and weeks totals.

Saturday: 1:12:30 ~9 miles (snowy trails with Erik)
felt really good, pizza at Thirsty Pagan later

Sunday: 2:17:31 19.3 miles
first 9.2 miles, trails 7:37 pace
last 10.2 miles, roads 6:40 pace

Weeks Totals: 75 miles
Years Totals: 2157.2

Friday, October 9, 2009

It's A Race!

For those Jim Carey fans out there like me, anyone remember the scene in Pet Detective when Ace is trying to figure out if all the football players have the stones in their ring to determine who stole Snowflake? The scene when he is chasing one of the guys on the track? Yes, some dude did that to me on the track at 6 am while I was doing intervals. I almost had to stop because I was getting ready to laugh so hard. Only thing is, I think he was half serious. It was either one of the ROTC or basketball players out during their morning workouts. I attempted to include a small clip from the movie HERE.

Thursday was a nice, cool morning at the UMD track where I proceeded to do 4 X 2000 meters with 2:30 rest. Medium-hard was the desired speed, and with the gales picking up once again that made it a bit difficult to gauge but I settled in pretty close to 5:30 per mile pace. My legs are really starting to adapt to this faster training and I can tell I am getting stronger.
Friday was an easy hour in Hunter's Park neighborhood.

Thursday: 1:18:52 10.8 miles
3 mile warm up
repeats: 6:54,6:51,6:45,6:47
2.3 mile warm down

Friday: 58:18 7.7 miles (easy)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I wished I had my heart rate monitor on this morning. As I described a couple of weeks ago, my Wednesday route is freshly paved and back then I got zinged by a couple of cars and I put the blame on the lack of paint lines on the road. Now the paint is laid down and I nearly got flattened this morning by some ass driving a truck. Within seconds of that truck passing me I had this overall feeling of rage and I could feel my pulse rising along with my blood pressure. ( i guess this is called an adrenaline rush) Mind you I am wearing a super bright headlamp and reflective clothing, so I know he saw me, so I gave this guy the best middle finger, "eff" you I could but then realized that I had camouflage gloves on. Damn, he probably didn't see it! For some reason, the paced picked up after this episode and I felt awesome the rest of the way home. I kept asking myself, "why would someone do that? what satisfaction do they get from such a stupid move. I could have died and he would have "manslaughter" pasted next to his name in the paper the next day. What a shit head." I am still pissed!

So I digress and will fill you in on the first part of my week.
Monday was a nice morning of easy running up to Martin road and a short UMD loop. Good for eight miles.
Tuesday was short fartlek interval day. I like to run these workouts on west skyline as an out and back. Considering that I ran near 18 on Sunday, that workout went pretty well. Most of the one minute intervals were at 5K pace along with a thirty minute warmup and warmdown.
As an added bonus I got a full body massage Tuesday night and a chiropractor adjustment this morning. Hopefully that will aid in eliminating most of the nagging back and hamstring aches.

Monday: 1:00:24 8 miles

Tuesday: 1:24:32 12.1 miles
30 minute warm up
11 X 1 min. @ 5K pace, (1min recov)
30 minute warm down

Wednesday: 59:09 8.1 miles

Sunday, October 4, 2009

It's Fall! Apples Everywhere

The last three day's of running have been nothing too special. Basic aerobic running of varied lengths. Friday mornings run was in a slight drizzle and winds again. I ran easy and my legs were thanking me later in the day. Saturday was a trail run down Amity creek trails and home via Hawks Ridge and SHT. A good run with Rod. After the run Kari made her way out for a jaunt and then we packed up the Sienna and made our way to Bayfield, Wisconsin. Home of the great Applefest! We spent Saturday visiting with family and didn't make down to the festivities but instead gambled with the weather and made our attempt for Sunday and boy was it worth it. No rain, a little sun shine through the clouds, and temps near 50F. Not too bad given the weather we have had all week. I managed to replenish the calories I burned during my morning long run along county highway C. Here is the last three days:

Friday: 8 miles 1:00:19

Saturday: 8.6 miles 1:06:45 (trails)

Sunday: 17.5 miles 2:03:21

Weeks Totals: 68.5 miles
Years Totals: 2082.2 miles

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coons, Skunks and 1000's in Tights

Yesterday I woke up after spending the evening doing some good stretches and ball exercises in attempt to get my right hip flexors and glutes loose. They have been getting progressively tight in the past weeks since the 25K. As I left for my run I didn't know if it would be one mile or eight miles. In the end I split the difference and called it safe at just over five. I actually felt very good post run and finished feeling good that I made the decision to take an extremely easy day. Within the first two miles of the run I spooked a raccoon and he blasted right in front of me and scurried up a tree. Less than two hundred meters later I saw some movement in the distance of my headlamp glow and sure enough it was a skunk making it's way across the road in attempts to make it to some cover. No spray. Wow.

This morning was another cool morning and that makes it four days in a row of running in tights. It's too soon...
The plan called for an easy warm up and then head to the track for 1000's at "cruise interval" pace, which for me is roughly 5:20/mile pace. I managed to run them feeling pretty comfortable despite the winds. I ended the session with a couple of 200's. Overall, I felt very good about this workout and now look forward to some longer stuff this weekend.

Wednesday: 5.13 miles 38:15 easy running

Thursday: 10.3 miles 1:15:19
6X1000 meters: 3:26,3:20,3:18,3:20,3:17,3:16
2X200 meters: 34, 32
warm up and warm down in rock hill.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Party Is Over

I guess I have to admit it now. Summer is over. The temps this morning were in the low 40's F with a little wind do contend with. That called for long pants, shirt and gloves. I was very comfortable with that wardrobe but hard to believe I was wearing shorts and a tee just last week. Darn.

Yesterday was an easy recovery day.
Today was warm up and then 2.5 miles on the track with the 100 meter straights at a fast clip. (near 3K pace) I finished the morning feeling pretty good with my legs and back finally starting to loosen up and become more limber.

Monday: 1:00:19 8 miles

Tuesday: 1:19:26 11 miles (2.5 miles on track with 100 meter sprints)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Windy Progression

The plan called for a ninety minute run with each thirty minutes increasing the pace with the last thirty near marathon pace. If I recall correctly the last time I attempted this run I had the same windy conditions to contend with. With gusty winds I knew that hitting my paces would be difficult and that keeping a controlled effort would benefit me in the end. I started my last segment a little early because of the route I was running I figured with the increased pace I would run out of real estate and have "city" streets to contend with and that just doesn't work when you are trying to run up tempo. My assumptions were correct and the last segment was a bit shy of thirty but still a decent effort. My legs felt decent but I can still feel a little hamstring stiffness lingering from the 25K two weeks ago, at least that is what I am chalking it up to.

The workout rounded out as follows:
first 30:00 8:08 pace (on trails)
second 28:37 7:10 pace (roads)
last 25:50 5:58 pace (roads)

Total: 1:26:37 12.3 miles

Weeks Total: 69 miles
Years Total: 2013.7 miles

Saturday, September 26, 2009

General Aerobic

Yesterday was a recovery run after a pretty decent week and morning of harder running. In the last week I have bumped up the volume and performed two decent fartlek workouts. I am happy with the progress and as long as tomorrow's progression run goes as planned this will be a good step in the right direction.

Friday: easy run up woodland and small umd loop
54:00 7 miles

Saturday: down to the new lakewalk extension and home via Chester Bowl and Rock Hill.
Totals: 1:20:00 10 miles

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Take Out The Gloves

The weather in the northland has been amazing the month of September. So nice that I have worn shorts and a tee for the entire month to date, until this morning. I woke up to temps in the mid to upper 40's and that's long sleeve and light glove weather for me.

Yesterday I ran the Rice Lake Road loop easy and had my trouble with cars not giving way to me. I am running on new pavement and the DOT has not painted the white lines, so the cars are not smart enough to watch the yellow line. To make this topic even more frustrating is the fact that I am wearing a bright, one of brightest on the market, headlamp and still some of the early commuters just don't pay attention. I hope some morning I am not writing this blog from a hospital bed. Damn! Pay attention!!

The workout this morning went way better than I thought it might go and that tells me I am ready to tackle the next ten weeks full steam ahead. I did a nice warm up to Lakeside and then proceeded to run 4 X 5 minutes at 10k pace with 3 minute recovery between. I had a tough time getting a good groove but in the end the intervals looked pretty decent. Nice...

Wednesday: 1:00:00 + 8.1 miles (easy, avoiding cars)

Thursday: 1:19:30 11.2 miles
(intervals: 5:26, 5:26, 5:21, 5:21 paces)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Back On Track

I used Monday for recovery and general mileage and this morning I got back into the routine of Tuesday/Thursday workouts. I was a bit skeptical after yesterday's run that I would indeed be ready for the fartlek workout this morning but it went really well and I should be ready to tackle the rest of the week.

The next three to four weeks will be a bit of a grind but I must stay focused on the goal some eleven weeks away. Each day/workout has a goal and hitting those workouts will be a primary focus and if they go as planned good things will come on December 6th.

Woodland to Martin loop plus a short UMD loop.

8.5 miles easy

First fartlek run since the 25K and it went well.
30:00 minute warm up
12 X 1 minute fartlek at 5K pace with 1 min. rest
28:00 warm down

1:25:00 12 miles

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mid-Day Run = Trouble

For three plus years I have been running my weekly runs at 5:00 AM and my weekend runs usually are complete by 9:00. So, when I do an occasional mid-day run I usually don't feel worth a crap. Today was one of those days. The positive side was at least I got the run completed and didn't have to take another zero for the day.

I ran with Erik and we hit the trails right out from his house and managed to find our way to Lester Park and complete one long loop before making our way back to his house. The day was yet another beautiful, sunny, warm LATE summer day. (soon I will have to refer to the fall season, but with the recent temps it hard) The trails here in Duluth are amazing and durning our run of near two hours on complete trail, it was hard to find anything that qualified as moist soil. Notta. My legs, mostly hamstrings, felt a bit tight and I wonder if it was just the result of taking the day off yesterday while camping in Hayward and taking in the Fat Tire 40 festivities. Could be, or it could just be the timing of the day.

The week after racing a hard 25K has left my legs in decent shape. Other than today, I was had a decent week of running. I didn't do much for volume but this was a recovery week and it will be time to pump up the volume over the next few weeks.

Here is how the rest of the week unfolded.

Thursday: 59:22 8.1 miles (RLR loop)

Friday: 1:00:02 8.5 miles total
6X 2 minutes at 5K pace with 1 min. recovery
*the fartlek intervals felt very good this morn

Saturday: 0 mile

Sunday: 1:46:30 12.6 miles (all trails)

Weeks Totals: 37 miles (4 runs)
Years Totals: 1944.6 miles

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Back

Just 72 quick hours after what I called, "a brutal race", I am fired up and ready to tackle the next twelve weeks of marathon training. I was able to take the little good out of the 25K race and let the bad go to the wayside. Now it's time to push forward and look forward to chasing some serious time goals for the fall racing season. Time to get to work!

I had taken Monday and Tuesday off just to let my legs have a good recovery and this morning I ran a good road loop along with half mile on the track with striding out the straights just to get things loose, and I found myself feeling pretty good today. I will continue to take it easy this week and maybe add a short fartlek-type workout on Friday or Saturday.

Monday and Tuesday:
0 miles - recovery

Pig's loop and added a short strider session at the track.

Totals: 7.5 miles

Monday, September 14, 2009

Brutal Conditions

That's how I summarized Sunday's City of the Lakes 25K in Minneapolis. After two loops of both Calhoun and Harriet I was nearing the last mini-loop of Harriet and I was toast. I managed to hang with a group that was consistently running 5:40 pace and after the second mile I was very content with this pace. (my pace heading into the race was to be desired at 5:35 pace) Once we hit the final water station heading out to Harriet and pushing up the small hill one more time, the foursome was down to three as I was falling off the back like a caboose off it's tracks. This made for a very long and grueling three miles. As I went through the half-marathon in 1:14:46, I knew that running 1:28 was going to be more than I had for the day. I did manage to finish with a little up tempo for the final mile but barely. All I can say is I managed to change my perspective greatly in the last 36 hours. With a little rest this week I am hoping to hop back on the marathon training plan and get fit as a fiddle for CIM on December 8th.
Here I go again...

Easy running on the Rock Hill trails and small loop in Hartley.

Totals: 32:00 4+ miles

City of The Lakes 25K: 1:29:06 (1:14:46 half mar. split)
17th place overall
3rd place in age division

total for day: 16.5 miles

Weeks Total: 53 miles
Years Total: 1907.6 miles

Thursday, September 10, 2009

1K's At Sunrise

Tuesday: 1:06:35 8.9 miles
this as the first early morning run I had done in close to ten days since I was on vacation all of last week. I woke up pretty well and had good energy so towards the end of my loop I made my way to the UMD track and did 6X100 meters at 3k-5k pace.

Wednesday: 52:38 7.1 miles
I took an easy recovery day this morning on west Skyline. The headlamp has been broken out of storage and will be a permanent fixture on my head until I run the marathon in December. Legs are feeling pretty decent.

Thursday: 9.3 miles total
my first trip to the track for 1k's in a few years. I was to do 1k's at "cruise interval" pace, which for me worked out to be 5:10-5:13/ mile pace. I ended the workout as I had remembered from years past and was "pleasantly fatigued" and ready for my warm down. It probably looked funny but I was wearing my headlamp while on the track just so I could monitor my pace during the repeats as there are no lights on at that hour near the track.
Here is how the workout ended:
30 minute warm up
4X1k repeats: 3:25 (slow), 3:19, 3:18, 3:16
20 minute warm down in rock hill trails.

Monday, September 7, 2009

North Shore Mile

I had an invite from my buddy EK to join him for a "time trial" mile. We initially set out to run at the UMD track, but upon arrival the woman's soccer team was setting up for practice and that just wasn't going to work for us. On to plan B, which was to run on the marathon course between miles 18 and 17. After a decent warm up and a few strides we set off in the mid 70'sF afternoon temps for what would be an attempted 5:00 minute mile or slightly under. We were getting quarter mile updates via GPS and the spilts unfolded as follows: out in 76, 74, 72, and closed in 70 seconds for a mile of 4:53. Very good for the both of us and once we completed our warm down we hit Lake Superior for a cool bath. Overall a very positive way to start a new week, and a very positive way for EK to be heading into his race.

Totals: 7+ miles with 4:53 mile at TT.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Unmotivation Transitions To Motivation

Weeks Review

Mon and Tuesday: 0 miles

Wednesday: 50:00 7 miles (paths in Lino Lakes)

Thursday: 54:33 7.4 miles (trails)

Friday: 1:08:33 7.5 miles (Hartley trails)

Saturday: Great Northern Classic Rodeo 5K
1st place: 16:03
9.8 miles total

Sunday: 1:29:23 13.3 miles (closed last 20 minutes at 5:45 pace)

Total: 45 miles (5 runs)
Weeks Totals: 1854.7 miles

With the week starting on vacation and attending the State Fair I was in no mood to get up at 5:00 to get in a hour run. The last week I have been feeling way off and not sure what to attribute it to. I was starting to feel burned out mentally and wondering if I was physically ready for a break as well.

By Wednesday I was getting antsy and needed to get out for a short run just to see expend some extra energy. The run went OK but nothing close to stellar. Upon returning home and hitting the trails for a few day's I was feeling similar fatigue in my legs and I was ready to fire off an email to the man who has written my training plan and ask if I should bag the next two weeks or so just to allow some rest before heading into the marathon phase of training that waits me just one short week away.

Saturday morning I woke up early and knew I had postponed my 'Tempo Run' from Thursday and needed to get it done. Here's where my motivation was near zero. I didn't want to do this workout solo and couldn't come up with any names that may want to join me. So, instead I wobbled to the computer and checked out Northland Runner and found a local 5K. I had no expectations heading into the race and was thinking if I broke 16:30 I would be satisfied. While driving over to the race I was thinking of a way to run the "workout" and still get a decent result. My initial thought was to run 5:30, 5:20, and 5:10 as a progression-type run. Those plans were shot when I pleasantly found myself running 4:55 pace for the first quarter and had to really struggle to slow to the opening 5:13. In my mind I was now starting to think that there may be a decent race ready to unfold and I shouldn't hold back and give it a good effort. My second mile was 5:10 and I was surprised to have a little push left. I started to push the last mile then the rigging started about 2.5 miles in. I wanted to have a strong finish so hitting the last mile in 5:16 was still satisfactory and seeing the clock just click past 16:00 was very encouraging.

I haven't ran close to 16:00 for a 5k in many years and having this happen on a day where I was just out for a hard effort was more than inspiring considering the way my training has gone the last two weeks. I made it through the rest of this week with a Hot summer run today, 83F at the finish, and I am now rejuvenated for the 25K this next weekend and now to start my marathon build. Here is to a better week of training!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I finished the week with an easy hour after yesterday's trails. We are heading out of town to camp for four days. Depending on the mood and local running routes I may just take a a few day's off to recoup.

Totals: 59:51 8 miles

Weeks Totals: 58 miles (6 runs)
Years Totals: 1809.7 miles

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Love Hate

That's how I relate to the trails in Hartley Park. When they are in good shape, as with me, there is no better place in Duluth to trail run. When they are in poor shape it separates the true trail runners from the wannabees. That's where I fall. Literally. I love trail running but my recent years of road running/racing have left my trails skills a little, shall I say, sketchy. I don't even own a pair of "real trail shoes" and this morning that might have been nice.

My buddy Chris Gardner, who may be participating in a certain race in the near future, and I chatted last night and he was planning on one more key long trail run. I didn't have any solid long run planned other than "easy aerobic 14-18 miles" which pretty much left the door wide open for me to join him. We met at the park at 0530, yes that's a.m., and had a near hour of headlamp running before getting back to the car aid-station. (i must mention that it was a whopping 3-4 minutes into the run and I made my first kiss with the mud. my toe caught a rock and down I went) The second loop was going well, but my hip flexors were getting tight and I just concentrated on short solid strides on the uphills to help alleviate some of the stress on the muscles. It was 1:14:00 into the run and bam! Down I went faster than I could imagine. My foot slid out from under me on a muddy corner and I fell to my right hip and just lay there stunned. I haven't fallen on a run in close to two years and now I fall twice in one hour. WTF??? No harm done, except I may be visiting the chiropractor after we return from out camping excursion which starts tomorrow. I finished that lap with Chris and headed out for a third before turning around to make my finish an even 2:30:00. Good for 15 miles on pretty technical trails. I'll take it. Great run. Thanks Chris for the laughs, it was a nice "change" to be hitting the trails for my long run.

Totals: 2:30:00 15.1 miles

I woke up to heavy rain, thunder and lightening. Not ideal conditions for a ninety minute run with steady-state miles mixed in. I took the morning off in hopes to get the workout in after work. Not to be. At first I was a little pissed but sometimes life isn't fair. I will survive.

Totals: 0 miles

Thursday, August 27, 2009

POM Wonderful

It's been about a month since I was contacted by Janny from POM Wonderful juices and she was inquiring if I would taste test their juice. I'm pretty certain I had tried it before but I was willing to give it another try. I had an 8 oz. bottle tonight after my supper. I like that their product doesn't add any sugars or artificial additives.
HERE is their website so you can read all the details. Give it a try. I love this stuff!

Judgement Call

This is usually the morning for steady state running, but I made a judgement call and opted for another recovery day and hit the Martin Road loop for an easy hour. By the end of the loop I was feeling pretty good, and extremely happy I made the call to put off the workout for another day. That may have been just what I needed, besides I am concentrating on some decent calories over the last forty eight hours and that may have helped as well.

Totals: 59:00 8 miles

Easy running on the Rice Lake Road loop. My legs felt like total shit. Not sure what to do? I am not running anything major, just trying to step up the volume and not able to.
I have been sleeping over seven hours a night and feel like I am major tired in the morning. Hopefully this will pass soon.

Totals: 1:00:02 8.1 miles

My legs were not feeling the best but I figured I would give the speed work session a try. After the first couple of repeats I was feeling a bit better.
I did 10 repeats of 1 min. at 5:00 pace followed by 1 min. of jogging.

Totals: 1:24:00 12.2 miles

Monday, August 24, 2009

Lead in My Legs

I think I was dehydrated and under nourished this morning on my run, not to mention sleep deprived. My legs remained to feel like shit blocks and I really didn't want to be running. The good of the morning was I finished an easy run and had an opportunity to stretch and take in some huge fluids at work today, along with some decent calories.
I hope it worked because tomorrow I am to going to do some faster stuff.

Totals: 49:02 6.6 miles

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weeks Review

Long runs in the 'Pines usually mean one of two runs. Down a long highway to the Porkies, which I did last weekend, or super long an boring highway that reminds me of certain coverage I have seen from Badwater Ultramarathon. The one bonus is both courses are a net drop and that can be good and bad. I really didn't want to run as fast as I was on Sunday but mid-run I changed the workout to have subtle negative splits with the last fifteen minutes or so at marathon pace. Accomplished, but my legs still feel the damage from squatting all day building the garage roof. I got it done though.

Totals: 1:32:38 14 miles (ave: 6:38 with last fifteen Min. at 5:55)

Weeks Totals: 68 miles (six runs)
Years Totals: 1751.7 miles

Back to the parents again to assist in the building project. In order to get my workout in I got up early and hit the roads. I drove to the park and ran trails and ski hill access roads before making my way back to the car. In the end my legs were thrashed from all the hill climbing.
Totals: 1:00:00 7.5 miles

For some reason the virus lasted just about twenty four hours and I was back on track. This morning I was to do the usual Thursday workout of six miles at steady state. I managed to get up early and hit the road while still dark and had the first couple of splits run on effort as I couldn't see the GPS to gauge pace.
The workout rounded out as follows:
2.5 mile warm up
6 miles steady state with splits of:
5:35, 5:36, 5:28, 5:37, 5:29, 5:32
2.5 mile warm down

This workout unfolded much better than past weeks an maybe I am making a jump in fitness or it was just the weather making the difference. I guess I will see in weeks to come.

Totals: 1:13:42 11 miles

Damn virus got the best of me and forced me a day off. I had subtle sore throat last night associated with the chills and headache. This morning left me feeling slightly better and I think I managed to sleep close to 11 hours last night.

Totals: 0

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mid-Week 100's

As I made my way out the door the dark skies reminded that headlamp season is just around the corner. I usually wear a LCD headlamp during fall, winter and spring seasons on my morning runs just so cars can see me. I am not worried about seeing where I am going, it's just an attempt to wake up the morning commuters.

After an easy warm up I made my way to the UMD track to complete twelve laps with the straights at/or faster than 5K pace. I must be gaining some speed in my legs as I notice the paces have gotten much quicker, even if it's only 100 meters, I am cruising at a much faster pace for the short distance than when I first started these workouts. I hope it equates into a decent race later this fall.

Totals: warm up, track, warm down: 10.5 miles

I made sure the pace was easy this morning and I cut the loop by a mile. Yesterday's long run felt good and I wanted to make sure my legs would recover adequately. By the end of the loop I was beginning to feel pretty loose. Mission accomplished.

Total: 51:00 6.6 miles

Monday, August 17, 2009

"I Would Have Won..."

I missed my long run yesterday. I was going to take my losses and just start a new week, but instead, my wife suggested doing my long run today and just adjust the rest of the week. Thank you honey. The way I felt running today, I would have won the race. I don't know which race, but I would have won, that's how good I felt. (we've all had those rare days)

I grew up ten miles from Michigans largest state park, The Porcupine Mountains, and I have always wanted to say that I have run from my parents house to the top of Lake of the Clouds, which is the parks second highest point. After doing some quick math in my head and realizing that this could be a great day for the attempt I readied myself and down the highway I went until the trailhead appeared some thirteen miles and three miles into the park system. It's at this point where the trail takes a serious climb to the first peak, just a quick .7 miles up the trail. In years past I have guaged my fitness level with this climb, but never being thirteen miles into a run. The crest of the peak soon appeared with me breathing at a three to one ratio, and with me wondering if my lack of breakfast would soon be causing me to slow to a walk for the distance remaining. Not the case, as I quickly gained my breath back and the rest of the trail would greet me with sunshine peaks and shaded, hardwood valley's.

At the end I found my dad waiting at the end trailhead and I finally accomplished one small goal that has been collecting dust. Thirty nine years, and that just shows to never let the those childhood thoughts go too far in the memory bank.

Totals: 2:19:40 17.9 miles
(last 4 miles at 10:30 pace on escarpment trail)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Old Routes

Supposed to be a two hour run but turned into a Zero. Two back to back ten hour days in the sun lifting and torquing my body like I am not used to made this an easy decision.
Totals: 0 miles

Weeks Totals: 55 miles (six runs)
Years Totals: 1684.1 miles

I packed up the car and took the family back to the old stompin' grounds of White Pine. My father is putting up a storage building, aka. "pole barn", and I needed to lend a hand.
I wanted to get up early and get the run in before we had to start work so up at my usual time and I made my way through the outer streets of town, and completed one mile on the old high school track, that is near death, and made my way back to the homestead. The temperatures were high and humid so the effort took a toll on me. (I had plenty of 6:30's during the loop)

Totals: 1:02:49 9+ miles

The usual loop out on Woodland and home via Vermilion road. Nothing too important to discuss, just easy mileage. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it sure is getting dark in the morning, and the headlamp will be shining soon.

Total: 56:55 7.6 miles