Tuesday, December 30, 2008

1:07:20 :: 10 miles

Evaluation run. Lost a little bit of ground on this one. Ran it on the treadmill again, and got about the same pace numbers as last time, with the last mile a little bit slower than two weeks ago, and the recovery a few seconds slower as well. Didn't get a long run in either of the past two weeks, so I'm sure that had some effect. I'll post the numbers up in a nice table when I get a chance to pull the data off the watch.

3mi warmup 21:13
5:43(152) | 5:53(152) | 5:57(152) | 6:07(153)
recHR 130-:35 | 120-:49 | 110-:71

I have to pimp a project I have been invited to participate in. It's called Purple States - Economic Crisis Edition, and is located at if you would like to check it out. Today is my day(!), so check out my video (and the others), learn something you didn't know about our wonderful economic engine, and crack jokes about my radio face in the comments. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nutrition Information

Thomas was wondering what I used for nutrition. Here is the label and formula. I mix it in 125ml bottles, with one scoop of powder to approximately 100ml of water, or 100kcal per bottle. During a long run, I will take one bottle, during a hard long run, I might use three or four, and during a marathon, I use five or six bottles along with one or two gels.

Thanks for the question, Thomas.

Monday, December 15, 2008

2:29:00 :: 22 miles

Long run on the treadmill. I'm still having all kinds of pains and cramps on the right leg/ankle/foot. Today was the strangest yet, as I went 13 miles with quite a bit of tightness and some pain in my leg, foot, and toe, but then within a few minutes after passing 13 miles, everything went pretty much normal through to the end. I even did a few strides over the last four miles (4x.3mi @ 5:30 pace) and had no problems. Didice bath for the lower legs after just for the recovery aspect. Legs felt great all day, no cramping or anything. Pace was pretty solid, about 6:50s overall, so I was pretty excited about the run, and especially feeling so fresh during and after.

Since I have been on the treadmill, I've been taking 100kcal of nutrition during the last ten miles, and I have to say, I think it makes a huge difference in performance during the run and recovery afterwards. I still think there's some value in occasionally doing a long run without fuel and stressing the system that way, but in general, I'm thinking you get better workouts when you fuel the body adequately throughout.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

7 miles :: Evaluation

Eval on the treadmill. Wanted to get a baseline on the treadmill, so no time like the present. Heat definitely makes a difference. I could tell that as I sweat more and got warmer, the pace to hold the 152HR stacked up pretty quickly. It will be interesting to see how this changes as (if?) I get more adapted to running indoors.

3 mile warmup @ 7:05 pace avg.
5:52(151) | 6:01(152) | 6:04(152) | 6:08(152)

Not real excited about the numbers, but it will be something to compare with treadmill evals in the future.

Over the past week, things have not been going well. Last Sunday, I got a pain around the front of my ankle six miles into a ten mile run. By the end of the run it was pretty sore, and it has taken a day off and a solid week of reduced mileage to get it under control. I was not able to manage more than 11 miles for a long run this week, which was disappointing. Hopefully, I will keep making progress and put whatever that problem is behind me over the next few days.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2:25:00 :: 21+ miles

Long run. Really great run on the treadmill. Felt like I could have gone on forever (or at least another 3-4 miles). Weather outside was decent, but for some reason the treadmill was calling me. Probably for the better, too, as being on the mill really helped me control the pace, and I'm sure it kept me from finishing too hard toward the end. Did the first 10 around 6:50-7:00 pace, and the last 11+ at 6:35-6:40 with the last five minutes or so right at 6:00 pace. Took about 100 kcal drink at 12 miles. Didn't feel the leg at all. No soreness or anything to speak of. Really great run.

Lesson learned: do NOT watch Little House on the Prairie while running on the mill, especially if it is a particularly poignant episode, and especially if you are a particularly emotional person when you are running. It was, and I am, and that equals an accident waiting to happen!

Friday, November 21, 2008

1:09:20 :: 10 miles

Easy run. Coldest day of the 'winter' running season so far, and a bit (too) early for my liking. +3F. Usually doesn't get that cold until mid-December, and then it typically stays that way until March. Mornings should be back into the 20s tomorrow, which will be nice. I noticed my leg hurt a bit due to the cold, but it cleared up after about ten minutes of running. Foot felt fine.

Short 21 minute run yesterday, no real good excuse. I just frittered my morning away and ran out of time! Once in a while I need a day like that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1:10:00 :: 10 miles

Easy run. Between toes and ankle slightly sore for the last three days, which is a holdover from the injury. I will avoid the shoes that seem to aggravate it, and try using the metatarsal bar to clear it up. Otherwise, an uneventful run, just how I like them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Evaluation Runs

I didn't have time to put these in a table this morning, but here is the collected eval data since getting out of the pool and back on to the roads.

October 8
3 mi warmup 20:43
5:58(152) | 6:00(152) | 6:03(152) | 6:08(152)
RecHR: :29(130) - :42(120) - :53(110)

October 22
3 mile warmup 20:32
5:57(152) | 6:02(152) | 6:02(152) | 6:06(153)
RecHR :26(130) | :38(120) | :46(110)

November 5
3 mile warmup 20:53
5:57(153) | 5:59(152) | 6:06(152) | 6:06(153)
RecHR :24(130) | :33(120) | :43(110)

November 18 (today)
3 mile warmup 20:49
5:55(152) | 6:03(153) | 5:59(152) | 6:03(153)
:28(130) | :33(120) | :45(110)

Today's results might skew a little bit due to colder weather requiring a jacket and pants. I was able to get away with shirt and shorts for the other three.

And, for comparison (since Mystery Coach mentioned it), an eval from early this year on the same course, in the same dress, and similar weather conditions as today (20F, 10mph wind).

January 28, 2008
3 mile warmup
5:55(151) | 6:02(152) | 6:06(152) | 6:07(152)
:29(130) | :37(120) | NR(110)

I never would have believed it without seeing it with my own eyes, but I appear to be in similar fitness to Jan/Feb of this year already. Shocking, considering the reduction of volume and speedwork this summer and fall. Yet more proof that I have no idea what is going on! Thank God for great coaching!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hello, friend

Wow. It's been a while. And it's been a long, hard road. In just the past week, I've finally gotten to the point where I am running nearly pain-free, and nearly normal distances. Even though I spent a lot of time in the pool, and did a lot to maintain my fitness, I lost a lot of ground. It could have been much, much worse, so I try to keep that in mind as I build back up.

I've been getting a lot of positive pressure to start blogging again, which is good. Now that running is back to almost normal, the blog will be a lot more readable as well. No more entries like, "ran ten steps, laid down in the street and cried, walked home, hot bath, candles, and more crying. Can't wait for tomorrow!"

Saturday was my first 20 miler (2:20) since the marathon way back in May. It went really well in terms of not creating any soreness, and just starting to create some depletion. I definitely could have continued for another mile or two, but I was already 20 minutes further along than any other run in the past four months or so, so I didn't want to push too far, too soon. Other than that, a few 60-70 mile weeks, a few evaluation runs, and consistently less pain in the leg as the days go by. Things are improving. Thanks for standing by. Now, back to the program...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

(Not) Training Update

Well, not a lot has gone well since my last post at the end of July. The pool running didn't help. Within a day or two of getting back to running on dry land, the leg was the same. I found an odd lump on the inside of my tibia at the source of some of the pain, and went to a doctor to get it checked out. Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing serious, and is probably just inflammation related to the muscles and tendons that are giving me problems. I've been working with Mystery Coach on strategies to get back to running while continuing to heal the problem, but so far, there's a lot of pain and not much running.

I'm definitely losing some fitness at this point, and I'm definitely anxious about it, but I'm also seeing it as an opportunity to get freshened up after nearly three years of solid, consistent training. I've been thinking about Thomas lately, and how he came back from a long layoff in short order with great results. I'll hope to do the same once this problem fades into the background. For now, though, I wait.

Thanks for the continued support, and sorry for the lack of posts!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

1:00:00 :: 0 miles (haha)

First day in the pool. Getting used to the different feeling--it's similar to beginning cycling, with the slight burn in the quads and calf. Calves cramped up a bit toward the end, but otherwise it was uneventful. Hacked together a 'waterproof' iPod with a ziplock, a Boston Red Sox hat, and some athletic tape. Most impressive, and even better, it works! No boredom today whatsoever.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

5:00 :: .75 miles

I'm having some problems, very schizophrenic problems. I'm having some on again/off again pain from my big toe, through my ankle, and high up into my calf. It's been with me for some time since the 10K, and has really been bothering me since the 400s (last post). For example, the pain was the worst it has been on Saturday, then completely gone on Sunday, then moderate yesterday, and bad again today.

I've tried all kinds of different strategies--icing, taping, supportive shoes, bare feet, soft surfaces, strength exercises, running through it, time off...nothing seems to get me down the path consistently.

At this point, I've decided to try my old standby, pool running. A week or so of pool running has always cured my ailments, as well as given me a new appreciation of what boredom *really* is.

To the pool...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

30:00 :: 4.3 miles

Easy run. Another sore day for the toe and ankle, as well as the foot(!). Not as bad as yesterday, so it's improving. Outside of right foot (initially hurt back around April on a windy 20 miler) is flaring up again. Ran in cutout Ohanas, which eliminated the pain completely. Did 30 minutes of running, mostly on grass, and fifteen minutes of easy (still not so easy) cycling. Cold bath for the entire lower leg, and more ibuprofen today.

Found a cool article...
Beating the Heat (this one's for Mike)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

14:00 :: 1.8 miles

Easy run. Having some pain in the toe and ankle still, and it is increasing as the run goes on, so I stopped. Not worried about it at this point, as it barely hurts, but still want to get rid of the problem before it gets bigger.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

48:00 :: 6.5 miles

5-20x400 in 66-72 with 400 jog recovery. Was shooting for 12-16 reps, but had some pain in my toe and calf, so I stopped.

70.99 | 69.88 | 69.90 | 70.94
70.85 | 71.42 | 71.02 | 70.45

Felt smooth overall, but found a definite line in the sand around 71 seconds. Faster than that caused some burning in the legs (forgot what that feels like!) and some oxygen debt. Slower didn't cause much of a burn at all, and just some heavy vents.

Cold bath for the toe/calf and hourly ibuprofen today. It felt better after the cold bath, but did the ibuprofen as an extra measure.

Monday, July 07, 2008

1:07:35 :: 10 miles

Easy run. Averaged 127HR for the run, which is nice and low at that pace. Last mile 6:18 with 139 average HR. Interesting. I think I'm doing some speed tomorrow. Maybe?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

1:40:20 :: 15 miles

Long run. Pretty easy overall, with a couple of 6:20-ish miles toward the end (140-145HR). A bit warm and humid when I ran, but not too bad.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

MSUM 10K :: 32:34 - 6th Place

Rust buster for sure. Got out well the first two miles, then had a tough third mile into the breeze (5:20) before putting together a solid second half of 16:14.

5:11(160) | 5:08(172) | 5:20(170)
5:13(170) | 5:14(170) | 5:12(171)

The last bit of the race came out to .27 miles on the GPS, which, interestingly is .21 plus what seems to be the 'Garmin Factor' of .01 per mile. Based on my experience, the Garmin is extremely accurate, as long as you accept that every mile is recorded .01 short. Why this can't be corrected in software, I don't know. It's so consistent, it should be.

Had a good battle in the last two miles with the seventh place runner. That definitely kept me in the race mentally.

Have a good holiday! Cheers!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

55:00 :: 8.5 miles

Mini-taper workout. Missed out on doing it yesterday--wasn't putting it together that the race was on FRIDAY and not Saturday--so I cut it a little bit short.

Two mile warmup
3 miles at ~MP
5:50(146) | 5:45(152) | 5:39(156)
One mile steady
3x1000m on 5:00
3:09(164-:65) | 3:04(163-:65) | 3:08(165-:72)
Short cooldown

Felt comfortable, but overall not very energetic. 1000s were definitely better as far as stride and mechanically feeling faster, but energy level was low, so they didn't feel particularly easy. I described this feeling last year as 'running through toothpaste'. After reading some of last year's workouts, I am encouraged that things will come around quickly, so I'm not stressing at all. Still a good workout!

Man, what an 800 in the Olympic Trials! Even though he didn't get through to the Olympics, KD is still the man. I have a lot of respect for him based on the interviews I have seen. He is a class act.

Monday, June 30, 2008

1:02:40 :: 9 miles

Easy run. Stayed below 131HR for the whole run, and just tried to relax. Didn't sleep nearly enough, and was really, really tired this morning.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

1:51:23 :: 17 miles

Longest run since the marathon. Started out very relaxed and picked up toward the end. Felt great the whole way. Low 6:40s until about nine miles (took a gel and some water at 50 minutes), then low 6:30s to 13, and the last four in 6:25(146) | 6:26(149) | 6:11(154) | 5:27(169). Last couple of miles was just striding out, feeling really relaxed, controlled, and easy, (despite the fact that 5:27 is quite fast!). Legs felt really great, feeling really fresh mentally right now, and looking forward to assaulting my 10K PR this summer, both on the road and the track.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

49:00 :: 7 miles

Easy run on the treadmill (watching the women's 10k trials). Didn't get much of a run earlier today at the race, so I wanted to add a few.

5K Race :: 16:26 - 1st

Not a day or a course for a full race effort, so I just went out steady and finished strong once the course straightened out. It was 55F with 20mph winds and some rain, so not a great day. The course had a lot of tight turns, was 2/3 gravel road or trail, and rolled just a bit. It was actually a nice course for running, but certainly not for running fast. I was able to talk to a few people that I hadn't seen in a lot of years, so I was really happy I got out there to run.

5:22(153) | 5:25(165) | 5:03(170) | :38(173)

Cindy ran an excellent race, and got second place overall in 19:36! A very good time for her. It looks like she's starting off with a lot of the fitness she had last year at this time. Very cool!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

47:00 :: 7 miles

Easy run. Still feeling a bit tired, though I think it's sleepy tired and not running tired. The hours are low right now (6-7 per week), and I remember from last year, when the mileage is low, so goes the energy level. Seems like the less I run, the less I want to run, and the lower my overall energy level is. I'm still getting 7-7.5 hours of sleep a night, which is normal, so there may be something to the hypothesis.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

1:03:00 :: 9.3 miles

Easy run. Felt a bit tired at the start and got better as the run went on. Threw in four 200m strides throughout the run. Tuesday's workout was a bit harder than it should have been. I was supposed to have run the five miles like the start of a marathon, more of a progression from 5:55 to 5:35. I didn't ask for clarification prior to the workout, and just did the typical pre-race taper workout. No big deal. It was nice to see that the recovery is almost complete, as the heart rate was within a couple of bpm of pre-marathon levels for that pace. Moving right along.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

1:06:00 :: 10.7 miles

Taper workout. Getting ready for a low-key 5K on Saturday morning. Very nice weather, slight breeze, 61F and sunny.

10 minute warmup
5:35(152) | 5:33(157) | 5:31(158)
5:33(160) | 5:33(162)
2 miles steady
6:15(152) | 6:20(149)
3x1000m on 5:00
3:07(165-:61) | 3:05(163-:57) | 3:04(164-:63)

Felt like crap on the first 1000, and considered stopping. Otherwise the workout was good to very good. Last mile of the five miles was a bit difficult, but still under control.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

1:20:00 :: 12.7 miles

MP-10 run. Went really well. Weather was pretty good, about 55F, and not much wind. Felt good through four miles, then mile five was a bit harder, feeling the legs a bit, and mile six and seven felt better, but much like the last couple of miles of a fast finish longer run.

Ran with the Ninja Marshmallow Running Club, three miles to warm up in 21-ish, then seven ( takers at 7:30am. And you guys call yourselves ninjas!) at MP-10 pace (~5:35 right now according to the Mystery Coach), followed by a 2.7 mile cooldown at of about 14 minutes. Here's the breakdown...

5:32(159) | 5:32(162) | 5:29(164) | 5:34(164)
5:32(166) | 5:33(166) | 5:31(166)
Recovered to 130HR-:45 120HR-1:05 110HR-2:17!

Good run. Heading up to Winnipeg later this afternoon to watch a couple of friends in the Manitoba Marathon, either of whom have a good shot at the win. Very exciting!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

50:00 :: 7.4 miles

Workout. 1-10 x 1000 in 3:10-3:20 on 5:00. Checking the marathon recovery, looking for a solid comfortable stride. Slight north wind (6-8mph) and 52F with a bit of mist/rain--really perfect weather for running. Felt really good through five, then form started to loosen up and legs tired a bit on six, so I stopped. Recovery to 120HR was excellent, so I would say I'm very well recovered from the marathon at this point.

3mi warmup 20:00

Key: 1000m(avgHR-120HR)
3:10(160-:40) | 3:09(160-:48) | 3:08(163-:61*)
3:09(164-:54) | 3:07(165-:59**) | 3:07(164-:48)
* HR was 114 following Garmin lockup
** HR was 115 following Garmin lockup

Garmin HRM locked up following two of the repeats. This has become a fairly common problem lately. Not sure what the cause is, but it is annoying. Went a bit faster on these than Mystery Coach suggested, but the speed felt how he suggested it should, so I wasn't too worried about one or two seconds. I figured I would be good for a max of eight reps today, and more likely six, and it worked out just right. I was just looking to feel comfortable running near 10K pace, and, most importantly, demonstrate good recovery from the marathon.

With both of those goals accomplished, I am excited about moving forward! The last 10 days or so have been somewhat boring, and I'm even getting a little soreness and some weird pains in my hamstrings and ankle from running easy every day. Time to switch gears...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

1:12:30 :: 10.3 miles

Easy run. Ran in a group of seven, which is a nice change. It's been a long time. Wanted to get out to some trails, but it has been raining, so just hit the bike trails in town. Felt pretty good overall.

Friday, June 06, 2008

30:00 :: 3.5 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. Intended to do an easy run in the morning and a regular run in the afternoon, since I was supposed to have at least half a day off today, but it didn't work out that way. Very slow, avgHR 111 with a maxHR of 129. Ultra easy. Very rare that I do a run this slow. Not a bad run at all though. Definitely would have gone longer if I had known my day was going to go long.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

47:04 :: 7 miles

Easy run. Another solid low HR day. 128avgHR at 6:45 pace, very similar to yesterday. I've seen similar bounces like this to a lower HR in the past, after several weeks of good training and a rest period (or an injury), so I would say this change relates back to the marathon itself. The low HR suggests that I have recovered to some extent, although Mystery Coach reminded me that even though the *majority* of the muscle fibers may be recovered, it's important to be considerate of the recovery of the *minority* of fibers--the ones that are difficult to recruit in the first place. Too much, too soon for those fibers can undo a lot of hard work.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

1:30:00 :: 13.3 miles

Easy run. Interesting HR data today. 129HR average for the entire run, 144 maxHR, and 6:46 pace average overall. Far and away the lowest HR at that pace in a long time, if not ever. Really nice weather this morning. Not much wind, 50F, and misting. Probably the nicest day so far this spring. Good run.

Sticky :: Fargo Marathon '08 Race Report

I'll condense these down to links and leave them at the top for another week or so.

Part 1
Part 2

Interviews, pictures, and other media coming soon...

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

1:04:00 :: 10 miles

Evaluation run. Easy three miles, then four miles at 152HR. I added today's workout to the table of results from earlier this year for comparison. Keep in mind, there was quite a difference in weather and dress.

WU Time22:0020:0913:4320:3520:46
WU Dist3 mi3 mi2 mi3 mi3 mi
Mile 15:59(152)6:07(152)6:01(152)5:55(151)5:39(152)
Mile 26:08(152)6:11(152)6:11(152)6:02(152)5:47(152)
Mile 36:11(152)6:14(152)6:12(153)6:06(152)5:50(152)
Mile 46:14(152)6:11(152)6:10(153)6:07(152)5:56(153)
Rec 130:32:23:28:29:29
Rec 120:44:34:34:37:37

Decent splits, though the times stacked a bit, and very comparable recovery. Not bad for two weeks after a marathon. Felt okay. A little fatigued during the warmup, and mile three felt harder than it should have, but otherwise a comfortable run. Stride was flat due to running no faster than 6:20 pace for two weeks.

Monday, June 02, 2008


These kind of got buried under a huge race report, so I thought I would pull them into a separate entry and answer them.

It is hard for someone like me...a nonrunner for sure, to even imagine what the race and training was I have a question for you. You really ran 26 miles at the same pace? Just as fast at the end as in the beginning? How much farther could you go at that pace?

Yes, 26+ miles, but not at the same pace. Much faster at the end. =) Seriously, the pace varied anywhere from around 6:00 per mile at the slowest to 5:00 per mile at the fastest. Most miles were very close to the overall average of 5:44 per mile. I did run the last couple of miles significantly faster than average pace, though--no joke! How much further? Maybe another 15-20 minutes at my average pace. Maybe another 5 minutes at my finishing pace. I was still feeling good, so it's possible. I wouldn't want to keep going though! Race is over!

And then another question...I know from reading your story that you asked a couple of times how far back Rotich was, but did you look over your shoulder at all? Do you think you ran faster from not knowing how close behind you he was or did you just stay with your pace?

I don't look back. I ran as fast as I thought was sensible based on how I was feeling, my fueling, etc. With two miles to go in a marathon, things can change quickly, so you still have to manage risk. I wasn't going all out until half a mile to go, because I knew he wasn't right behind me, there was no risk of losing my position, and it could have been disastrous to go too early. But, if he had been right on my heels or even a bit ahead of me, I would have unleashed hell over the final two miles to win that race! You just have to do what makes sense based on the situation.

Thanks for the questions, Cheryl!

1:15:00 :: 11 miles

Easy run. Felt good this morning. Nice day, not much wind, 50F and overcast. Perfect running weather.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

45:00 :: 6.6 miles

Easy run. Scared up a few deer, and found some nice, soft, riverside trails. Even found a few small hills. Very enjoyable run.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

1:15:00 :: 10.3 miles

Easy run. Ran a couple of miles toward the end with Rick and Earl.

Friday, May 30, 2008

1:00:00 :: 9.2 miles

Easy run. Stopped my watch with a bit over a mile to go (black lab catch and release), and forgot to restart it. Mostly hitting mid-6:20s comfortably. Feeling good today.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

1:18:30 :: 12 miles

Easy run. Feeling very good the last few days. Heart rate moving a bit high toward the end of longer runs (151), but still feeling comfortable.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

1:04:00 :: 9.5 miles

Easy run. Feeling good, no problems, HR is starting to come back to normal levels, but still a few bpm high.

Monday, May 26, 2008

1:08:30 :: 10 miles

Easy run. Longest run since the marathon. Felt really good, legs feeling strong again at normal easy pace (6:40ish).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

45:00 :: 6.9 miles

Easy run. Quad was fine, back to normal. Legs feeling pretty good.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

30:00 :: 3.9 miles

Easy, easy run. Quads tightened up after about 15 minutes. Felt better later in the day.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Difference...

What a difference one place makes. I've spent the morning doing interviews for three radio shows, and I've got another one scheduled for this afternoon (1:10pm US Central time, live feed if you want to listen), local TV tonight, and five more radio shows on Wednesday...this is NUTS!

I'm as anxious to write the race report as you may be to read it, so I appreciate your patience. I hope to have a copy of the live radio broadcast of the race to post here soon. I heard a 20 second clip of the finish call, and it about brought me to tears.

More soon. Thanks for sharing this with me, everyone!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Recovery :: No Runs 5.18-5.22

Took five days off following the marathon. Soreness in the calves and quads for Sunday, Monday, and a bit on Tuesday, then completely fine for Wednesday and Thursday.

Victory !

What a day, what a race! I'll have a proper race report in the next day or so, but for now, i'm just relaxing, and trying to take it all in. Thanks so much for all the comments and your support throughout my preparation. I've had so many people tell me what a source of motivation this blog, and others like it, are for them, and I want to let my readers know that you are a huge source of motivation for me as well.

A very special thanks goes out to Mystery Coach, who, through his mysterious ways was actually able to coach the top TWO runners at yesterday's race! Brian Anderson told me at the awards ceremony that doing the back to backs mentioned in my blog finally made marathon training 'click' for him. Great job coach! Thanks again for everything you've done for me, and for sharing your advice and wisdom through the intertubes.

Time for breakfast and then heading home. Hope you all had a great weekend. I'll write again soon.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Persistence of Memory

Almost immediately, I resolved to come back to try for the win next year. The people of Fargo were amazing, and as a lifelong resident of North Dakota, I'm particularly excited about the prospect of winning its biggest and best marathon. Hopefully it's more competitive next year, and there will be a fight to the finish in course record time. I can't wait.

--from the 2007 Fargo Marathon race report, written one year ago yesterday.

Fargo Marathon 2008 :: Part 2 of 2

Brian relaxed the pace briefly as we continued past the Concordia campus, but it wouldn't be long before the gap built up again. We broke from the half marathon course for a few precious miles, and once again became lonely racers.

I fought hard to stay within striking distance, trying to convince myself that my tactical preparation would pay off in the last five kilometers. All the same, I was getting a bit irritated with the growing gap, waiting to feel better, and, to a great extent, the whole race to that point.

I had bought a pair of $.99 gloves the night before at the expo, and worn them throughout the race, even though it had been plenty warm. I can say this: I did not have cold hands the entire race. That counts for something. But now, I needed some inspiration. A physical representation of emotion. What better cliche to invoke than taking my gloves off and throwing them down on the ground! That'll work!

After throwing down the gauntlet, well, the gap got a little bigger, about 30 meters at it's longest. We were back with the half marathoners again by mile nineteen, fighting through the crowd at some points, and making the best of a bad, bad situation. This is not how anyone wants to run a competitive race. It was made more difficult by the fact that we didn't have a race official with us. Up ahead, Rotich and Thull had, I believe, four cyclists between them. The rest of the top ten had zero, and we were navigating the crowd on our own.

The half marathoners would be a steady stream for the next several miles, an almost straight shot north, into a strong, steady wind. As much as I wanted and hoped that the half marathoners would block some of the wind, it didn't happen. I watched Brian have a couple of close calls up ahead, and tried to avoid my own, especially on the few turns we had to take. One positive aspect of the situation for me was that it took my mind off the pain for a while, as my singular thought was stay out of trouble.

I didn't know it at the time, but as we made our way past the mile 20 water station, we were also making our way past the last elite station, with all of our drinks, and the most critical ones at that. The last elite station was supposed to be at mile 21, as it was last year. To make it even worse, I passed my wife just before mile 21, and, thinking that I wouldn't need it due to the upcoming aid station, refused one of the insurance bottles she was carrying!

Now, what would a thinking man do in this situation? If you answered, take the bottle just in case--that's why it's called an insurance bottle--then I'd like to have you stand at mile 21 next year and yell at me next year to take the damn bottle. Seriously. I'll pay your way out (okay, fine, I'm joking). After missing my bottles at 21 last year, this was poetic. Like a really bad poem. By a really bad poet.

In my defense, I was less than a minute away from passing Matt Thull and moving into third place. Again, like last year, I made a tactical error while making a late-race pass into a significant position. An epic, terrible poem.

I said a few encouraging words as I passed Matt, who seemed to be suffering from the heat and a lack of fuel as well as the early pace. I saw him drop off his fluids the night before at the expo, and noticed that he didn't bring much for calories. Also, knowing that this was his first marathon, I thought there was a good chance that an aggressive, front-running race could produce a bad result. Unfortunately for Matt, that's exactly what happened.

After moving in to third, I was worried. Last year I slowed to over six minute pace by 23 miles after missing my fluids. The last bit of racing in 2007 was incredibly tough. This year, I used a bit different strategy by taking my fluids almost continuously, with the last bit around mile 20. I could still feel some in my stomach, so I felt comfortable that I was in better position fuel-wise than last year, but I was also planning some hard moves late in the race, and didn't know how those would affect my reserves. By mile 22, I knew. I was running out of gas.

Brian was still ahead, less than 30 meters away, but still running strong with four miles to go. I was freaking out, because I could feel that familiar tickle in my legs--the tickle you get about ten minutes before you bonk (no, not that kind of bonk, Ewen). I started to think about the finish, and what it would take to get there in second or third place. Rotich was two minutes up the road, Brian was still looking strong, and I was running out of gas. I suddenly had the opportunity I prepared all these months for--I was racing for a top three spot, and to preserve my place in my current situation, the time trial had to be over. Sub-2:30, one of my top few goals, was out the window.

And then, an epiphany. I had put a gel in my shorts pocket before the race. Dummy, I forgot about it! Genius! I remembered!

I tore into it--Powerbar Vanilla with 1x caffeine. I had used several brands of gel in training, so I had no worries, and I knew that it worked. I downed the whole thing over the next half mile, and grabbed a cup of water to thin it out. In less than a minute, everything turned around. Not only was I excited for the race ahead, but I couldn't wait to tell Tim Noakes that I had just proved his central governor theory. There's no way that I digested that fuel in a useful way, but here I was, one moment in the throes of utter fatigue, and the next moment, jacked up, feeling good, and closing the gap.

I pulled even with Brian around 23. I don't remember there being much time between pulling even, and Brian telling me he was cramping up (maybe that's why you pulled even, genius? -ed.). I told Brian to hang tough, work through it, and finish strong, and suddenly, I was in second place. Again, I entertained thoughts of conserving to maintain my place. Those thoughts didn't last long, though.

Within one or two minutes of passing Brian, I heard someone along the road say, "He's just two blocks ahead." Who's this then? Second place? I just passed second place. I'm in second place. I asked one of the guys on the bikes, who joined up with us just after 21 miles, where Rotich was. I don't remember him answering my question. Instead he just looked at me and said, "He's fading. Pretty bad."

The previous two miles had gone by in 5:56 and 5:55. They were tough, as any miles late in the marathon will be, but I was well within myself. I was feeling better and better all through mile 23, after the gel pack, but I was still hesitant to crack it open with second or third place on the line and what I thought was a big gap to first.

And then the leader was in sight. We hadn't crossed over to the half marathon course yet, which would happen at just about mile 24.5, so there were just a few dozens of people on the side of the road, watching the race as I slowly but surely rolled up on the leader. He had the same effortless stride as he had earlier in the race, but it was moving him down the road a full minute per mile more slowly. I, on the other hand, was moving as quickly as any other time during the race.

When he was still several blocks away, I said out loud, to no one in particular, "Do you think I can get that guy?" No one answered. Again, another block up the road, I said, "I think I can get this guy!", and again, no one on the side of the road said a word. I admit I sounded a bit loopy, but come on! Let's get fired up people! Finally, when it was obvious I was within 100 meters and closing fast, I said, "I'm gonna get this guy!" and started blasting down the road.

As I pulled even with Rotich, I turned to look at him. I mentioned before that I had been practicing some simple Swahili words, like 'habari' (hello), 'asante' (thank you) and a phrase or two like 'Nimefurahi kukujua' (pleased to meet you). So, with my weeks of practice, I looked over and said...'Good morning'.

I couldn't remember a damn thing! I must have looked at him blankly for two full seconds before saying 'good morning'. At least it was actually morning. Fueled by complete and total embarrassment, I took off down the road, covering mile 24 in 5:38, and picking up steam.

At this point in the race, I was running scared. I had no reason to believe that Rotich wasn't coming back, although it didn't seem likely. Paraphrashing the great line from the Blues Brothers movie, it was two miles to the finish, I had a full tank of gas, one aid station to go, it's hot and sunny, and I left my sunglasses in the car. Hit it.

Mile 25 was a blur of spectators, music, half marathoners, cyclists, flashing lights, and pace cars. I was running hard, putting down a 5:32 mile, but still holding back a bit, still afraid to chance blowing up with over a mile to go. I don't know when the first time was that I threw up my hands and celebrated a bit, but I'm pretty sure it was somewhere around half a mile to go. I remember asking a few times how far back Rotich was, and I got one audible answer early in mile 25--75 meters. Not much, I thought.

I hammered for a couple of minutes after that, and then asked again. But, by the time I was close enough to ask and be heard, a person couldn't reply before the howl of the crowd drowned them out. I couldn't listen for the sound of cheers, because no one I passed over the last mile ever stopped screaming! The crowd was going nuts! Nobody could believe that some guy from North Dakota was going to win this race, and they were coming unglued!

With about half a mile to go, I saw Pat Mahoney, a friend from Grand Forks, and a member of the UND track team. He stood out in the road and gave me a big high-five, and that's when I knew I had it won. I let loose everything I had left, and tore down the road in full flight. One turn on to University a straight, and then another quick turn into the Fargodome lot. I knew that at race pace, it would take me just under two minutes from this point to the finish line, and a quick look at the watch confirmed that the sub-2:30 was gone. The realization that there would be another time for that came and went in an instant.

I was about to win this race against long odds, and I intended to charge into the Fargodome like a man possessed. After six months of brutal training conditions, and assorted ups and and downs, it was all gathering to the finish in flash of white hot effort. Mile 26 in 5:21. Three hundred fifty meters to go!

As I turned the corner and went down the ramp into the belly of the building, my knees lifted, my stride lengthened, and my eyes fixed on the finish line. Just as I had practiced in my 'mind movies' dozens of times in training, I calmed my expression, stretched out my arms, and crossed the finish line. First.

What a feeling. What a feeling. Yes, I typed that twice.

Immediately after the race, I felt great. Much much better than last year. That said, last year I didn't run a 2:29 final half mile into the finish! I was about ready to throw up, and it took a minute or two of concerted effort to keep my stomach in check. There had been a live broadcast of the race taking place, and Dan Hammer was at the finish waiting to talk to me. I think I started talking, and then the nausea came back, so I asked for 'three minutes' (not sure why I was so precise), walked around, and took a couple of drinks of water. Brian came in while I was waiting, and we talked briefly, and got him some water. He looked like he was feeling the heat, and seeing him take the water and dump it over his head confirmed it. After suffering through two other hot, humid marathons, Brian pulled together a great race in Fargo, setting a marathon PR by 15 minutes! An incredible day for him, and a tough, gutsy performance.

I was able to see John Rotich finish as well, and went to congratulate him, but he kind of walked right by. He appeared to have bonked pretty hard, and seemed a bit out of sorts. I'm not sure how much English he speaks, but he didn't say a word to me either time I engaged him. I was hoping to interact with John and the other Kenyans more, but unfortunately they left shortly after the race.

Feeling somewhat settled, I went to do the interview, and talked and fought through several bouts of acute laryngitis and waves of nausea. More than once, my voiced trailed off to a whisper as I continued to talk, which I'm sure was interesting to listen to.

I was brain dead to the possibility that people could be listening to this from anywhere, and I would find out later that Mystery Coach had been able to listen to the entire race from his secret lair! Crazy! One difficult thing about coaching from long distance is, not only do the coach and athlete not get to visualise training, they also miss out on experiencing the fruit of all their labors! Imagine if you had to wait for one of these race reports to find out what happened! haha. I was so excited to find out that Coach was able to listen in on the plan coming to life. The plan we had spent weeks discussing. It was all happening as he listened, he knew what was about to happen, and he got to hear the reporters confirm it!

Another great story that was taking place at the same time centered around my high school buddy Tim. This year, just like last year, he was out golfing with some friends. They had been listening to the radio feed and had gotten to mile 23 or so without having heard a word about me. They were about to turn of the radio and head for the links, thinking I had had an off day and wouldn't be in the mix. Tim called his wife to ask her to let him know if I was mentioned, hung up and started walking back to his clubs. Just before turning off the radio, he started to make a joke like, "wouldn't it be funny if all of a sudden, they said 'out of nowhere, here comes...'", and at that moment, out of nowhere, there I was. Picture four guys jumping around like little kids in a candy store. Tim was nice enough to put the description of that event in a card, and sent it off to me, which was incredibly thoughtful, and very much appreciated. He also does the best pre and post-race interviews! Thanks, Tim!

After the interview, I made my way around the Fargodome floor, got hugs from my family who had come to see the race, shared some moments with my wife and my dad, and spent some time accepting and offering congratulations to other friends and runners. I talked with Chad Wallin briefly, and he mentioned he will be running Grandma's Marathon in June, so I'll look forward to seeing him have a great race, and hopefully get under that 2:30 barrier.

All in all, an incredible race, and an incredible experience. Six months of training, planning, and dreaming, and 150 minutes of execution. Such an amazing thing.

Thank you all for your support, your inspiration, and your kind words over the last two and a half years. I hope you'll all continue to follow the story with me as I continue to write it. Cheers!

Fargo Marathon :: 2:30:34 - 1st :: Part 1 of 2

Ah, the race report. Here we go. So, I was up at 4am, as you saw from an earlier post, and got down my last tiny meal, just enough to get rid of the hunger pains. I spent the rest of the morning in the room, trying to stay calm and off my feet. Around 7:15, we headed out to the course, where I met up with my Beyond Running mates. I did my well-practiced six minute pre-race routine, and finished with about fifteen minutes to race time.

The wind was almost non-existent, and the temp was about 50F, but it was sunny, so there was no chill at all. Very nice conditions to start. Mystery Coach and I had talked about avoiding adrenaline rushes and really conserving mental energy leading up to, and during the race, so I had to laugh when 'Beautiful Day' by U2 came up on the sound system, and I got a huge chill up my spine! It didn't get any better, as they played clips of a couple of great Coldplay songs before the start, as well.

Looking around, I could see two of the taller Kenyans, but I didn't get a look at their race numbers to see if they were in the half or the full. I didn't see John Rotich until the race got underway. Nobody really knew who was running as far as the Kenyans, because they had changed their entries multiple times. As it turned out, only one had entered the full, and two were scratched (one of whom would end up running the Green Bay CellCom Marathon the next day). Chad Wallin, the defending back-to-back champion, was there, as were all of the contenders. I didn't see Matt Thull at the line, but he was right there when the gun went off.

The goal for the first few miles was to be as conservative as I could without giving away a gap that I would have to surge to cover early. The plan on paper was 5:50, 5:46, 5:42. Mile one went by perfectly in 5:51, with Rotich, Wallin, and Thull just a few strides ahead. By mile two, the gap was growing a little bit more than I liked, so I partially abandoned the conservative start and went right to race pace, turning in a 5:40, and a 5:42. Everything felt good at that point, and there was a nice pack formed.

I took my first fuel of the race around four miles. Coach and I had talked about taking a small amount of my drink at the start line, like last year, or waiting until around 35-40 minutes in to allow the fat burning mechanisms to establish before the insulin surge from the sugary sport drink kicked in. I decided on the fly to split the difference.

Our big pack wouldn't last long, as Rotich and Thull asserted themselves around mile six, and began to open a gap that would span over one minute by the halfway point. That left five of us in a group behind the leaders. Chad Wallin, Brian Anderson, Eric Loeffler, John McEvoy, and I followed, making some small talk about the leaders, and generally just trying to stay relaxed.

Coach had told me to dole out my mental energy in thirds over the race course: the first third by mile 15, the second third by mile 22.5, and the last third for the push to the finish. I wasn't doing so well with that directive. My first and second mental shocks of the race came at miles seven and nine. At mile seven, to put it clinically, I had an overwhelming urge to urinate. I couldn't get myself to go, and it hurt. There were people everywhere, and just couldn't make the magic happen. Mile nine is out on a bike path that is pretty well devoid of people, so I thought I would be able to go there, but I was wrong.

This had happened to me one other time, at the Beardsley Half last year, and it was awful. It was even worse there as it was raining. I had no idea what to do, other than suffer through it and hope it went away as I dehydrated. I briefly entertained thoughts of dropping out, which is not a great way to be thinking at any point in a long race, let alone a third of the way in.

The second mental shock: Chad Wallin pulls off the course at nine miles. This was devastating. He and I were in the back of the group just past mile nine, and suddenly he said, "I have to use the bathroom", and pulled off the course. He had been ill, and unfortunately it hung around for race day. He would return to the course, but having lost over two minutes to the stop, and still not feeling well, he decided to drop around the halfway point.

One of my top few goals for this year was to give Chad a race, and of course I wanted to win, but more importantly, he is the defending champion the last two years, and he has become a Fargo favorite, I suppose a bit like Grete Waitz was at the New York City Marathon, or Bill Rodgers at Boston. It was really an unfortunate turn of events to have him out of the race--for both the spectators and the competitors.

As our pack moved on through ten miles, I started to realize I was not feeling as well as I had in training. I was breathing a bit harder than I expected to be before the half, and working a bit harder than I wanted to keep pace with the group. At this point in the race, the wind was in our faces, and had kicked up to a steady 9mph. Also, unknown to me, it was warm--61F, and getting warmer. Physically and mentally, it was an off day, and I was getting concerned.

I had planned to hit halfway in 74:15 to 74:30. It was another mental hit to see 74:57 on the clock. It was windy, warm, I had to pee, and the pace felt too fast. Things were not going well. I was able to convince myself that I just needed to tuck in and focus, and let the next ten miles just take care of itself. "Wait to feel better" became my new mantra.

More drama would unfold in the next hour, as the temp rose to 68F and the wind started to howl, blowing 20mph steady, with gusts up to 27mph. Fargo's famous north winds were back, and this time we were being baked as well as buffeted. It took all my concentration to stick with Brian as he separated himself from our pack, and pulled me through some really tough miles. Over mile fourteen and fifteen, we were nearly alone on the course, and there were no signs and so few people, we were very worried we had gone off course. Mile sixteen in particular was memorable for a couple of reasons. We had crossed over to share the half marathon course, and unfortunately had to battle for our share of the road. At one point on this stretch a pair of little kids, maybe 6 or 7 years old, ran out in the road and got a little too close for comfort. This was the last straw for Brian. As the anger got the better of him, the pace escalated, and he tore off a 5:33 mile, gapping me by a few seconds.

I caught back up with him as we headed through the Concordia College campus, and practically begged him to relax and slow down--for his own sake as much as for mine! There was a lot of racing left, and I knew if he had that in him, and I had it in me, it was no use squandering it together over some minor frustrations with almost ten miles to go.

Tomorrow--missed bottles at mile 21 (AGAIN!), and the gloves come off...

4 hours

Found out this morning that the Kenyans are here, and there are three instead of two in the full marathon. Tuwei is fresh, Serem ran Little Rock on March 2 (2:25), and Rotich ran Lincoln just two weeks ago (2:28). The pack of sub-2:30 hopefuls is still about six strong, so if the Kenyans are up front it should be irrelevant to my race plan.

Eating a light breakfast of bread, crackers, and drink right now, studying a bit of Kiswahili (just in case), and trying to chill. Weather looks substantially better than last year. We should escape the worst of the wind and heat. 45F and 10mph at the start, 62F and 15mph at the finish.

Friday, May 16, 2008

16 hours

Here is a look at some race prep. Mixing up the drinks, light on the vodka. At least tonight...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Game on!

Hey all you lurkers! Thanks for the comments! Sorry I haven't been writing as much as I would like to. It's been a very very busy and stressful week, but I'm done working now and I can get down to relaxing and thinking about the race more than thinking about down servers and other nonsense like that.

I'll write a bit more when I get settled in at the hotel. Lots to talk about as far as the field, the preparations, the tactics, the fueling, the coaching, and lots more.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Monday, May 05, 2008

1:01:00 :: 9.1 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. Watched the Stanford 10000m races. Good times.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

1:00:00 :: 8.1 miles

Recovery run. Felt really good, held back a lot to get a good recovery in. Resisted multiple urges to take off at 5:00 pace!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Friday, May 02, 2008

50:00 :: 8.5 miles

MP-10 run. Cool and windy (40F, 15mph N). Two mile warmup, then six miles in about 33:00. Half mile cooldown. Very similar recovery to last week, a few seconds faster overall, with less variation in HR. Cold bath after. Good run. Ready for 10/10 tomorrow!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

55:15 :: 8 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. Ready for the first part of the last back-to-back workout.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

1:13:10 :: 11.1 miles

Easy run wearing extra warm clothes. Not as uncomfortable as last week, and heart rate and recovery were better.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

1:09:22 :: 10 miles (10x1k)

Interval workout. 10x1000 in ~3:15 on 5:00. Workout went pretty well. Stride didn't feel the greatest on 7 of 10--a bit clunky due to lack of work in this pace range--but felt quite good on the others. Excellent recoveries from each rep. Last year, was a way different story. Looks like I've made some progress.

3:12(157-:39) | 3:10(158-:40) | 3:12(156-:51)
3:15(156-:43) | 3:11(158-:48) | 3:15(156-:48)
3:13(157-:45) | 3:12(157-:43) | 3:16(157-:43)

Did a cold bath and recovery routine after because I have been having some problems with minor muscular injuries the past few weeks. Even though this speed wasn't excessive, I didn't want to take any chances.

The Last Several Weeks

I'm going to kick myself next year for not keeping the blog up to date...

Anyway, what started off the dry spell were some minor injuries to my calf first, and my foot about a week later. Each of those took a few tentative workouts to get through, and, of course, I thought I was losing my fitness every time I did a 4-6 mile run instead of a 12 miler or a workout. So far that is proving to be wrong, and it was probably exactly the break I needed to pull all my fitness together.

I've had a couple of really strong workouts to go along with the disappointing, too short ones, so it's all balanced out nicely. Mystery Coach has been invaluable in his role of Chief Head Straightener during this build.

It's 18 days to the Fargo Marathon. I've got my registration confirmed, and I've started to research the competition. There are at least two others I know of who I should compete well with, and hopefully Chad and Shawn (first and third last year) will be back. Unfortunately, the prize money has attracted some Kenyan talent, which will make it hard for me to get the win I wanted. I say unfortunately not because I dislike them, but because I know they wouldn't show up if the prize money were less, or non-existent. For their purposes, running this marathon is a business decision. Of the thirteen marathons being run on this weekend, Fargo has the largest $$ purse with the slowest average winning time. Instead of going to the Green Bay Cellcomm Marathon, where the purse is larger (and the competition fiercer), these guys are going to Fargo to clean up on the relatively weak field. Unfortunately, that's business.

I'll still be competitive within my group, and hopefully a few of us will get under 2:30. It would be nice to have the Kenyans work the front with us, but with PRs of 2:17ish, even if they run conservatively, on a flat course they would likely be in the 2:24-2:26 range, which won't be helpful.

I'm practicing some Swahili anyway. Cheers.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

1:00:00 :: 8.1 miles

Recovery run. Real easy on the treadmill. Gradually went from 9:00 pace to 7:00 pace. Legs felt fine, just want to recover well for the Friday-Sunday gauntlet.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

1:20:00 :: 13.5 miles

Volume speed. 3-4 x 2 miles at 11:05 to 10:50 with 1 mile recoveries at 6:20 pace, paying attention to changes in breathing pattern, depth of ventilations. Didn't really find a transition point in the breathing. Each rep, I would have deeper vents over the last .25 mile, but it seemed to be irrelevant of the pace. Otherwise, breathing was very controlled and rhythmic--felt like an easier tempo run at 5:28-5:30 pace, and a harder tempo run at 5:23-5:25 pace. Legs felt the same, very strong and capable, at full range of paces.

Two mile warmup in 13:27
5:31(153) | 5:25(159) - 10:56
5:31(157) | 5:27(160) - 10:58
5:28(160) | 5:25(161) - 10:53
5:23(159) | 5:24(162) - 10:47
Recovery :43(130) :57(120) 1:09(110)

Monday, March 31, 2008

45:00 :: 6.1 miles

Recovery run. Very relaxing, would have kept going if I had the time. Legs felt great, everything felt great.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

1:42:00 :: 16.3 miles

Medium long run. Part three. Felt good from the start, and had plenty left for a strong, progressive finish. Another windy and cooler day, which is great practice for Fargo, which is usually cold and windy.

6:33(133) | 6:22(138) | 6:25(141) | 6:29(142)
6:27(143) | 6:29(142) | 6:24(143) | 6:24(141)
6:24(144) | 6:27(145) | 6:15(143) | 6:16(143)
6:03(144) | 5:59(151) | 5:58(153) | 5:35(161)
Recovery :40(130) :50(120) 1:01(110)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

2:21:00 :: 22.5 miles

Long run. Another good one. Weather was fine, a bit on the cool side at 25F, with a gusting 15mph wind. Took a gel around 13 miles. Felt fatigue starting to creep in at 17-18 miles, but never overcooked, which is different than normal. Break it down...

6:13(136) | 6:14(144) | 6:10(144) | 6:15(143)
6:16(145) | 6:17(144) | 6:23(146) | 6:19(146)
6:14(145) | 6:19(146) | 6:14(146) | 6:11(148)
6:23(148) | 6:17(150) | 6:15(149) | 6:16(149)
6:16(149) | 6:20(148) | 6:20(147) | 6:16(149)
6:09(152) | 6:06(155) | 3:17(156)-.54mi
Recovery: :33(130) :50(120) 1:16(110)

Excellent run.

Friday, March 28, 2008

1:06:00 :: 11 miles

MP workout. A bit cool (26F), but very light winds made it nice workout weather. Two mile warmup in 13:12, then:

5:35(154) | 5:34(157) | 5:36(159)
5:35(159) | 5:39(160) | 5:38(159)
5:37(160) | 5:37(159)

:36(130) :48(120) 1:04(110)

Built up a very good rhythm and held it steady. Felt easy and strong all the way through. Good run.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

1:49:00 :: 16 miles

Easy run. Very windy and cold-ish. Temp dropped from 33F to 23F while I was out. Weird. Felt flat the first 8-9 miles. HR was low (130-133), and I just felt tired like my legs didn't want to go. After the first hour, the pace picked up and the tired feeling faded away, then felt very energetic for the last 50 minutes. Glad I stuck it out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

1:22:00 :: 12 miles

Easy run with speed. On the treadmill, added 600-400-400-200/200, one segment every 15 minutes, 5:00 pace with varying incline up to 6%, and easy running around 6:45 pace average. Felt really good today. Speed was smooth, stride was powerful--everything seemed to click.

Monday, March 24, 2008

31:00 :: 4 miles

Recovery run. Felt great, but didn't have much time to run this morning (my own fault), so I stopped at about half an hour. Caught up on some paperwork and took it easy instead.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

1:42:00 :: 16.1 miles

Medium long run. Feeling very good today, with decent temps (22F) and clear (enough) roads. Averaged 142HR for the first 12 miles, about 6:25 pace, then dropped the pace a bit as I was still feeling good after two days of MP runs. Last four miles:

6:16(148) | 6:04(154)
5:46(160) | 5:37(165)
:47(130) :57(120) 1:40(110)

Felt fine after the run, but did a cold bath anyway--it always helps. Everything feeling really good the last few days. Recovery day tomorrow, then the first volume speed work on Tuesday, maybe. The schedule got a bit messed up due to a missed week of workouts due to minor injury.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

1:45:40 :: 17 miles

Long Run with MP. Ran on the treadmill due to bad road conditions outside (more snow). First ten miles in 1:04:39 (avg 139HR), then seven miles at current MP:

5:53(154) | 5:51(152) | 5:52(153)
5:53(154) | 5:53(154) | 5:50(156)
5:48(156) :50(130) 1:11(120) 2:41(110)

First ten went off without a hitch. Took a gel and water at nine miles--did the same thing during last week's long run and it really seemed to help. The first two of the seven felt a bit heavy and tired, but that gradually lifted, and by 13.5 miles, I started feeling really strong. Resisted the urge to crank up the pace, but when I was still feeling good with 1.5 miles to go, I decided to pick it up just a bit.

Felt very good today. Dare I say, this back-to-back was easy. Tomorrow--the third half of the back-to-back.

Friday, March 21, 2008

1:07:00 :: 11 miles

MP-10 Run. Decent day--30F, very light winds--but fair to poor traction conditions. Only about a quarter-inch of snow, but it was more ice than snow, and melting as it hit the road, then freezing as it accumulated and driven over by cars. I could feel the difference each time I hit a 'sticky' spot that hadn't yet frozen over. So much for spring.

Anyway, the workout today was seven miles at MP-10, with a five point set of guidelines, in order of priority, as follows:

1. Relaxed rhythm
2. Relaxed rhythm
3. Relaxed rhythm
4. ~5:40 pace
5. ~158 HR

Two mile warmup in 13:25, then seven miles like so...

5:35(156) | 5:38(157) | 5:37(158)
5:42(159) | 5:39(159) | 5:40(160)
5:38(161) | :36(130) :51(120) 1:04(110)

Two mile cooldown in 13:12. Fell in to a really good rhythm within half a mile, and held it to the end. I did notice the HR ticking up, but since I had a solid breathing and turnover rhythm in place, and I was still in range of the pace, I didn't get too worried about it. Everything felt good today, looking forward to tomorrow for the second half of the back-to-back--17 with the last seven at MP. Should be fun!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

1:00:00 :: 9.5 miles

Evaluation run. Nice morning--35F with a breeze. I was able to shed the jacket and wear just a thin pair of tights.

Mystery Coach changed this one up a bit. The last six or so evals have been at 152HR, but this one was moved up to 158HR to check in on marathon pace effort and recovery. Today's run had a calming effect on me after the 'MP' run from a few days ago. My fitness is better than I had thought (not that Mystery Coach hasn't been trying to convince me of that for weeks).

3 mile warmup (20:05)
5:32(158) | 5:40(158)
5:39(159) | 5:41(158)
:36(130) :47(120) 1:08(110)
2.5 mile cooldown

Legs felt good, turned over really well, but felt a bit tired during the warmup.

Monday, March 17, 2008

1:00:00 :: 8.7 miles

Easy run. Legs felt a bit 'loose' today, so I went very easy on the preliminary speed and cut the distance by a couple of miles. Energy was good, but mechanically just felt a bit off--a kind of odd soreness and looseness in the hips. This happened last year in the build up to speedwork, so it's not unexpected. Just have to be cautious!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

1:45:00 :: 15 miles

Recovery/Easy run. Felt really good through about 1:20, then started to get a little fatigued and depleted. Had a recovery drink and plenty of carbs in the afternoon.

Sixty days to the marathon.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

2:26:00 :: 23.1 miles

Scratch all that crap about the bad run yesterday. Long run today was good beyond expectations. Weather could have been better (7F, 10mph wind--c'mon it's MARCH!), but at least it was sunny. Averaged 145 HR for the first 13, then HR gradually crept up to ~150 until mile 21. The last two miles I went a bit faster because I wasn't tired at all yet, and I pretty much knew I was stopping at 23 miles, not wanting to chance overdoing it mechanically and having to take extra recovery.

Recovered to 130HR in :35, 120 in :48, and 110 in 1:06. Max HR of 155. It's Miller Time. Actually chocolate milk time. Question for Thomas...what do they say in Ireland that would be comparable to "It's Miller Time"? A wild guess says it has something to do with Guinness. Cheers!

Friday, March 14, 2008

1:00:00 :: 9.6 miles

MP run. 25F and windy (15mph). Seven miles at current marathon pace, based on a heart rate of 152-154. Very disappointing result as far as pace. I expected to be a good 5 to 7 seconds ahead of last year at this time, not behind.

Two mile warmup in 13:36

5:49(153) | 5:50(153) | 5:52(154)
5:59(154) | 6:01(155) | 5:58(153)
6:02(154) | :27(130) :36(120) :51(110)

Not sure what to think about this. It's so bad, I'm wondering if I'm coming down with a cold or something.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

1:07:00 :: 10 miles

Easy run. Everything feeling good, ready for tomorrow's MP run.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

2:00:00 :: 18 miles

Easy run. Almost cracked the freezing point this morning (30F)!

Monday, February 25, 2008

1:00:00 :: 9.1 miles

Easy run with speed. WooT! First week of workouts. Today was just a mile or so of speed reps with long recoveries.

(15 minute warmup)
.40mi - 2:00
(15 minute run recovery)
.25mi - 1:08
.20mi - :55
(15 minute run recovery)
.13mi - :35
.12mi - :33

Everything was between 4:30-5:00 pace, and it all felt surprisingly smooth. Nothing like last year when I tried this same workout for the first time.

More of the same tomorrow, then my first MP workout of the build on Friday!

I cannot stress enough how good that 10 day cutback in mileage was for me. I felt bad about it at the time, feeling like I was caving in and whining about the weather, but it turned out to be a perfect time to back off and consolidate gains.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

1:12:00 :: 10.1 miles

Easy run. Very nice day. If you can believe it, +22F with a light breeze. It was still cold and windy enough to require pants and a jacket, but still, what a difference. Legs felt great.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

2:10:00 :: 20.4 miles

Long run with 5k 'race'. Finally, a nice day! Very little wind, sunny, and +8F. That doesn't sound like much, but when you're used to -10F or colder every f***ing day for two months, it makes a big difference. Did 14 miles around 6:25-6:30 pace, then jumped into a 5k, and finally, finished with another few miles. I figured I had preliminary speed coming up on Monday, so I could sneak in a couple of MP miles and a quick finish without getting too far off the plan. After deciding three-quarters of a mile into the race to close the five-second gap and commit, I hit the first mile with the lead pack in 5:41. Mile two slowed a bit to a 5:52, which set me up perfectly for the last mile. I opened up and cruised in for the win, finishing with a surprisingly comfortable 5:07. Having not run a mile faster than 5:56 since November, I was shocked. Pretty cool.

Anyway, I got a few more miles in before getting that feeling that the long run was long enough, so I went back to race HQ to chat, eat, and drink a bit. All in all, a very nice way to break out of the Winter from Hell. Legs felt great the rest of the day, never feeling tired or sore. Even did an hour of sledding with the kids after. Good day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

1:09:00 :: 11 miles

Moderate 10 miler in 1:01:35. Reaped some solid gains from the cutback week (10 days). Felt really smooth and easy compared to last week. Mystery Coach wanted me to keep the HR at a max of 150, and I was able to do that without a problem and still keep the pace similar to the past few weeks. Recovery improved as well. I don't have my watch with me now, but I'll get paces, HRs and recovery posted.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

1:14:00 :: 10 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. Minus 17F, 13mph wind. It just keeps going.

I got this in the e-mail yesterday, which was kind of awesome. Something to think about.

A few months ago, I applied for PowerBar Team Elite or Super Team or Team MegaZord or some such. As expected, I got turned down. But, I did score a six pack of PowerBar gels for the application. Very kind of them--and tasty.

This time around I may experiment with gels. Last year, I used a custom powder mix, by InfinIT. I used it for the Fargo Marathon and the Beardsley Half Marathon, and it worked really well both times. I especially like that it's not full of food coloring and wacky flavors (Mango Passionfruit? Really?). What's cool about this stuff, is you can mix it with very little water, and the powder is super fine, so it will actually dissolve and turn into a gel. Then you just take water like you would with any other gel, and off you go.

I could also go with the prepackaged gels. Not sure yet. I like the flexibility of the powder, and being able to tweak my own recipe, but the convenience of packaging and no mixing or mess is attractive, too. There's still plenty of time to experiment.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

1:42:00 :: 14 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. I guess it was a record-breaker today--minus 33F, about 4 degrees colder than the old record for today. Since January 1, there are four mornings that I know of that have been above 0F (that's 32 degrees colder than freezing). Even worse than that, there have been *zero* days since late December 2007 that have been above the freezing point (again, that is 32F)!

This is the worst winter I have experienced in my life.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

50:00 :: 7.2 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. Minus 21F this morning with 20mph winds, so running outside is not in the cards. Would like to have gone 10, but got started late.

Monday, February 18, 2008

1:25:00 :: 12 miles

Moderate run on the treadmill. Twenty-plus mile an hour wind and -5F outside, and it's still slick from snow and freezing rain a couple of days ago. Ugh. Anyway, I did 12 miles with 6x.25mi hills at 4% incline, one per mile during the middle miles. Hamstrings are no longer sore, and energy levels are much better after a weekend of better eating, vitamins, and hydration.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

1:12:00 :: 10 miles

Easy run on treadmill. Felt slightly better today. Not so tired.

Scope Creep

Saturday, February 16, 2008

1:45:00 :: 16 miles

Busted long run. Pretty tired from the start--just a weird day. Started feeling really weak and tired around 8 miles, and it just got worse from there. Starting to wonder if I have something going on.

Friday, February 15, 2008

1:01:14 :: 10 miles

Slippery and windy. Frustrating.

6:16(141) | 6:08(151) | 6:07(150)
6:07(152) | 6:04(154) | 6:05(153)
6:07(153) | 6:10(152) | 6:04(153)
6:05(154) | :33(130)-:44(120)-:58(110)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

No Run

Day off. Went outside and shoveled for about 45 minutes before (not) running. Fucking cold, windy, and six inches of new snow on the ground. Just didn't feel like it. It's been a down week.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

1:05:37 :: 10 miles

About what I expected, slightly slower pace, weaker recovery. Okay traction. Had to use the spikes. With colder, windier weather, and less traction, I would call this 'holding steady'

WU Time22:0020:0913:4320:3520:13
WU Dist3 mi3 mi2 mi3 mi3 mi
Mile 15:59(152)6:07(152)6:01(152)5:55(151)6:04(152)
Mile 26:08(152)6:11(152)6:11(152)6:02(152)6:08(152)
Mile 36:11(152)6:14(152)6:12(153)6:06(152)6:07(152)
Mile 46:14(152)6:11(152)6:10(153)6:07(152)6:08(152)
Rec 130:32:23:28:29:32
Rec 120:44:34:34:37:46

Monday, February 11, 2008

2/6 - 2/11 Summary

2/6 Wed 1:47 16 miles
2/7 Thu 50 min 7 miles - treadmill
2/8 Fri 1:09 11 miles - 1:01:02 10 miler
2/9 Sat 1:10 10 miles - treadmill, blizzard outside, busted long run
2/10 Sun 2:30 20 miles - treadmill, made the best of things
2/11 Mon 45 min 6 miles - treadmill

Good 10 miler, otherwise a bad week.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

1/30 - 2/5 Summary

1/30 Wed 1:30 13 miles easy - intended to go for 16-17, but very cold and windy, and too much will was required between 10-13, so I cut out.
1/31 Thu 53:00 8 miles easy (ran out of time due to slowpoking in the AM)
2/1 Fri 1:01:15 10 miles - very strong winds (25-30mph), pace was all over the place (also 6mi easy on the mill in the evening)
2/2 Sat 2:35 24 miles 6:27 pace, felt good, finished feeling like going for a couple more miles
2/3 Sun 1:31 12.1 miles recovery pace - 2 runs (one in, one out) - Tired, esp. compared to last week
2/4 Mon 1:24 12 miles easy - feeling 90%
2/5 Tue 1:14 10 miles treadmill - 4in of new snow outside

Monday, January 28, 2008

1:06:00 :: 10 miles

Evaluation run. A day earlier than planned due to some bad weather on the way. I figured I'd give up a day of recovery, but wouldn't need a facemask or a second layer of clothing, which I haven't had the luxury of skipping so far this year. Light winds and +20F this morning, versus a forecast of -2F and 25mph winds tomorrow. A no brainer.

WU Time22:0020:0913:4320:35
WU Dist3 mi3 mi2 mi3 mi
Mile 15:59(152)6:07(152)6:01(152)5:55(151)
Mile 26:08(152)6:11(152)6:11(152)6:02(152)
Mile 36:11(152)6:14(152)6:12(153)6:06(152)
Mile 46:14(152)6:11(152)6:10(153)6:07(152)
Rec 130:32:23:28:29
Rec 120:44:34:34:37

Sunday, January 27, 2008

1:32:00 :: 12 miles (2 runs)

Two easy recovery runs. Six miles and 46:00 each, one outside and one on the treadmill. Ran a bit outside with neighbor Rick, which kept the HR well under 130, and kept the pace on the mill slow enough to average 128HR. Legs felt great for both runs, no soreness or tiredness to speak of. Very excited about putting together two solid weeks of hitting the workout targets really well, getting in good mileage, and good recovery. We'll see if it's reflected in Tuesday's evaluation...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

2:31:00 :: 23.1 miles

Long run. Best long run in memory! Felt really good out of the gate, and seemed to get stronger through the end. Took a 1/2 bottle of accelerade at 13 miles. Shooting for 6:40 pace, and had to pull back to get there during the first part of the run.

6:36(139) | 6:31(143) | 6:24(143)
6:27(142) | 6:34(144) | 6:42(141)
6:33(141) | 6:24(141) | 6:36(142)
6:44(143) | 6:42(141) | 6:36(143)
6:38(140) | 6:40(142) | 6:39(142)
6:41(146) | 6:35(147) | 6:36(146)
6:30(146) | 6:24(148) | 6:24(151)
6:23(153) | 6:20(155)

:37(130) - :53(120) - 1:36(110)

Got to 18 miles feeling great, so I upped the pace a bit, planning on stopping at 2:20-2:25. Still feeling really good at 21 miles, so I kept going for the full 2:30, plus another minute to get the 23. At the end, still felt fantastic. Really felt like going for another 5K! Recovery drink, no ice bath. No soreness or tightness hours later. Everything seemed to click today.

Friday, January 25, 2008

1:03:26 :: 10 miles

Moderate run. Shooting for 1:03, but missed by a bit. Didn't feel the greatest and the pace was all over the place. Just a bit off, sleepy tired, and a little flat. Didn't try to push to get back the three seconds per mile, just let it go, and focused on having a solid long run tomorrow.

6:31(140) | 6:21(143) | 6:06(149)
6:16(147) | 6:22(148) | 6:21(149)
6:17(151) | 6:28(149) | 6:22(149)

:33(130) - :44(120) - :66(110)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1:40:00 :: 14.4 miles

Easy medium-long run. Back to the cold again--minus 15 this morning, but almost no wind, which made it strangely tolerable. I almost didn't believe the Weather Channel.

Average HR of 138, which is getting better, especially with all the layers. Everything feels good, so an easy day tomorrow should leave me set up well for the weekend, where the goal is a solid 63 minute 10 miler on Friday and a followup 2:20-2:25 6:40 pace, long run on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1:07:00 :: 10 miles

Easy run. I was looking for a Pina Colada halfway through the run--it was +8F! More than a 25 degree difference from Saturday. The cold is coming back, though, with more of that godforsaken Canadian air already on the way.

Home with sick kids today, so I considered a second run, but with 90+ miles in the last seven days and a medium-long run tomorrow, I don't want to push, even if it was just an easy 30-45 minutes. With all the coughing, puking, and everything going on in the house the last week, it's better to stay well within my limits and keep healthy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

1:40:00 :: 14.2 miles

Easy run with tread-hills. Added a mile long hill on every fourth mile for a total of 3x1 mile hills. Progressed from 1.0 to 4.0 grade for the first .5 mile, then steady at 4.0 through the end of each mile. HR on flats was 130-140, higher toward the end, and 143-151 on the hills, again higher toward the end. Very good run, legs feeling good, calves just a bit 'full' after the hills. Recovered to 120 in :33 and 110 in :45. Recovery from Saturday seems complete.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

1:30:00 :: 12.1 miles (2 runs)

Recovery runs. Two very easy runs on the treadmill today, 45 minutes each. Legs feel good, very little residual fatigue from the previous couple of days, so I should be set up for a solid week and building some of that elusive consistency I keep talking about.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

2:15:00 :: 20.4 miles

Long run. Nailed it. Did the first 12 miles outside, but the weather was overwhelming, so I had to bring it in to finish. Held 142-144 HR for the first 18 miles, then 148-150 HR through the finish. Very good run, legs felt strong, pace felt easy, and motivation was excellent.

Felt really strong at the 2:15 mark, but I've been lacking consistency, so I cut the run ten minutes earlier than last week. This should result in a shorter recovery from the Friday/Saturday double, and allow me to build up over consecutive weeks, instead of the good week/bad week rollercoaster I've been on since mid-December.

Since I described the weather as 'overwhelming', I suppose I'd better explain. Air temp was -20F with a 7mph wind, which calculates to a -36F windchill. Whoop-dee-doo. Running into that slight 7mph wind for three minutes froze my right eye shut. I've never had that happen in 21 years of running in North Dakota. I turned back out of the wind and headed for the home loop, for a measure of safety as well as a means of avoiding the breeze. By ten miles, my facemask was solid, I couldn't see through the breath-formed frost and snow that covered my eyes, and my arms and legs were getting cold despite the fact that I was generating a lot of heat. When I finally called it and went inside, I took off my gear and had another first--frost on the inside of my clothes. I've occasionally had snow form between layers and collect inside sleeves and pant legs before. That's fairly common in January. However, I've never seen a uniform layer of frost covering the inside of my jacket and pants after a run.

Someone asked me last year at this time, "how cold does it have to be for you to not run outside?". At the time, I guessed -20F, not having run outside in those temps.

I guessed right.

Friday, January 18, 2008

1:02:32 :: 10 miles

Moderate run. Very cold again, -10F and 17mph wind. Workout was 10 miles in 1:03, so pretty much nailed it. Felt great today, but made sure to hold back enough so that I wasn't taking away from tomorrow's long run. Recovered to 120 in :44, and to 110 in 1:01.

6:23(141) | 6:14(146) | 6:12(148)
6:14(149) | 6:15(147) | 6:16(151)
6:14(150) | 6:16(150) | 6:15(150)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

1:16:00 :: 11 miles

Easy run. Extremely cold (-17F) with some wind. Layered up and had a fairly comfortable run anyway. Felt really good, with good motivation to get out and get running this morning. A shot of Wild Turkey to each of the three(!) other runners I saw out this morning.

"Fucking cold, eh?!"

Cheers to that.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

1:30:00 :: 13 miles

Here I go changing the format again...

Easy run, felt very good except for a couple of bathroom breaks. Very windy (25mph steady), but decent temps at 15F. Bearable.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

40:06 :: 6.1 miles

Evaluation run, 6+ miles total, short on time this morning.

WU Time22:0020:0913:43
WU Dist3 mi3 mi2 mi
Mile 15:59(152)6:07(152)6:01(152)
Mile 26:08(152)6:11(152)6:11(152)
Mile 36:11(152)6:14(152)6:12(153)
Mile 46:14(152)6:11(152)6:10(153)
Rec 130:32:23:28
Rec 120:44:34:34

Monday, January 14, 2008

1/6 - 1/14

The week (or so) that was:

1/6 1:05 - 9 mi - Tired
1/7 1:23 - 12.1 mi - Less tired
1/8 1:10 - 10 mi - Much less tired
1/9 No Run - Vomiting, etc.
1/10 :30 - 4 mi - Sick, sore
1/11 :15 - 2 mi - Sick, tired
1/12 :59 - 9 mi - Felt a bit rough
1/13 1:17 - 12 mi - Better, good run
1/14 1:00 - 8 mi - Leg tweaked from ice

Pretty weak all around. My motivation has been poor lately, so I'm feeling bad about that, but at least only one missed run, and three *really* weak days. I could do worse than to call a 50 mile week 'really poor'. Onwards and upwards...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2:25:00 6:35 22/85

Long run. Went very well--felt strong through 21, then the HR kicked up to 155 and I could feel the transition. Finished just starting to feel tired over the last half-mile. Went a bit too fast over the last five miles or so, with most of the last thirty minutes under 6:30 pace. First fifteen was very consistent at 6:38-6:43.

No fluids or nutrition during the run, ice bath and recovery drink after. Legs feel really good this afternoon.

Friday, January 04, 2008

1:10:00 6:22 11/76

One mile warmup, 10 miles in 63:00. Feeling good, finally. Forgot HRM strap, so no numbers today.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

1:46:00 7:04 15/80

Two runs: evaluation run in the morning, 10 miles total, and another easy five on the treadmill in the afternoon.

WU Time22:0020:09
WU Dist3 mi3 mi
Mile 15:59(152)6:07(152)
Mile 26:08(152)6:11(152)
Mile 36:11(152)6:14(152)
Mile 46:14(152)6:11(152)
Rec 130:32:23
Rec 120:44:34