Monday, March 30, 2009


Not really, but kind of felt like it.

I received a call tonight from one of the road runners I used to "train" with. To be clear, I did my speed work as he would do his recovery work. He is fast.

He is one of those guys who looks at every result on Raceberry Jam... Every race. He called me tonight surprised by my results from the 10 miler a few weeks ago. He gave me the old "Hey, looks like you have been training!"

How nice it is to gain a shred of respect from a speedy. Of course, he tried to get me to commit to a bunch of road races this year. I tried to explain I don't do those anymore.


Saturday was the last "big run" before Zumbro. I saw that my buddy (hero) Jim Wilson was going to be out at Afton for a 7am start, and I needed to get a long one in so....

4:30am start time it was. I was hoping to get back to the parking lot with a full loop under my belt (2:30) and then do a second at a 3 hr pace (hoping for a 5:30 50k).

As Jim says... with me, you need to clarify "am or pm?"

I found myself in the parking lot at 4:20 am, listening to the coyotes howling and probably devouring someone's family pet. I spooked me until I remembered "I have never come closer than 30 yards to one". They don't like people.

So, I got to do "dark acclimation" for a couple of hours. I could tell it was going to be a good day. I ended up with a 2:18 loop, and not even going full throttle. This was close to my pr for the loop.

I met up with Bill, Zach, and Jim, back for a second loop. Bill is doing his first ultra at Trail Mix, and so far we have not scared him away. Good luck at TMix Bill.

Zach found a pacer for Zumbro 100 (another Bill), and Jim found out I don't always have short term memory loss.

I nailed out the second loop with them, finishing strong by pounding the hills in the snowshoe loop.

4 years ago, I ran my first 50k. I thought it was the longest distance in the world. I did this Saturday, about 20 minutes faster, and it felt easy. I am blessed that I am able to do this. Very thankful.

I really never thought I would be running 50 milers, none the less 100k or 100m. I guess once you cross that bridge, the brain makes room.

I guess I am tapering now. I should be nervous as this will be the second longest distance I have ever run. But, I am not nervous. The weather will be cool, I get to start at night (I like night running), and I am ready (with actual data to support it).

Now it is time to dial it back and chill.

Too bad Zumbro results won't be on Raceberry Jam.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Afton Opener 2009

One of my favorite orchestral pieces is "The Rite of Spring" by Igor Stravinsky. Ironically, when he debuted that piece, people rioted in the streets because they thought is was "not music" and blasphemy.

If I recall the intent of the piece, is was about how the rite of Spring is the less than pretty transition of Winter to Spring, with melting ice crushing things and the earth literally breaking open. Or.... as an Afton runner might say, running across ice in the morning, mush mid day, and then swamps in the late day. (okay, Stravinsky just rolled over in his grave for that comparison).

Although, some of the experiences yesterday might be more like some of Stravinksy's other works like the Firebird Suite. Steve Quick eloquently acted out the "Dance Infernal" movement with his "I don't need no spikes on my shoes" attitude. Watching him navigate ice is much like watching a ballet dancer performing the "Dance Infernal".

But, I digress.

The cast and crew yesterday was great company, as usual. Steve, Karen, Zach, Carl, and Bill. This was Bill's first venture out at Afton. He got sucked into this trail/ultra thing after watching and helping at the Superior Races last year. Kel took a picture of him laughing at me as I roll into mile 78 aid station on fumes. Hopefully we didn't scare him away.

The new year brings new attitudes and goals for everybody. Major Kudos to Karen for losing 18 pounds over the winter! And, she sped up over the winter. It took us a long time to catch up to her out there. I see a red jacket in her future.

Zach is faster, Carl got his first 100 (sweet belt buckle), and I think we were all just happy that the winter is pretty much done.

Zach and I ended up with 40 miles, which I am happy with. We did it without killing ourselves (although, I was beat at the end).

What was amazing was the ice in the morning, turning to mud and swamps in the afternoon. That was a lot of melt. I think we aided the melt by breaking it up. Check out the pics from Zach.

Here is a closeup of those shoes in the ice water.

And a few of me a little bit earlier.

So, Afton is open for business. Just beware of the extreme mud for the next couple of weeks.

Sounds like I am 1 of 2 entrants at Zumbro 100k, so I have I pretty good chance of finishing in the top 5 at this point.

3 weeks and counting.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Irish for a day

After finding out that the indoor track was closed for Spring Break, I was granted the opportunity to do the Irish for a Day 10 mile race.

I knew the 6min mile pace was unrealistic, so I did the old "listened to my body" and to my breathing. I have not run a race shorter than a marathon in 2 years, as well as road vs. trails.

I really needed a benchmark as I know my deathmill is messed up. So, this will be my benchmark for this year to move forward from.

Had the chance to meet Cindi (the lawyer) and warm up with her. I saw Kurt, Joe, and their gang run by like they were already racing.

As to the poll, you were all wrong. I probably could have done 2-3 miles at that pace, but no more.

The race went well. Finished 1:06:33 by my watch. Was only passed once, and ended up finishing ahead of him by a few seconds. I did not crash and burn, did not hit the wall, but did have one bad mile. Not sure what happened, but it was very slick during that mile, and every time I tried to push, I slipped.

1 - 6:36
2 - 6:40
3 - 6:39
4 - 6:19
5 - 6:42
6 & 7 - 13:31 (6:45, 6:46)
8 - 6:59
9 - 7:29 :( (very slick)
10 - 5:36 ;)

Okay, I was all over the place. Cut me some slack, its been a while since I have measured splits on the road.

I guess I need to work on the mental aspect a little more. If I was able to bang out a 5:36 at the end, I wasn't working hard enough on the previous 9. I can't even tell you when was the last time I ran a 5:36.

The legs had the power, but I was lacking the cardio. In fact, I could probably do another 10 right now at an easy pace.

All in all, it felt great to hammer out a road race and work for it.

I guess I can say my tempo pace is around 6:35. I think I will try the 6:00 test soon to see what I can do.

Not next week.

Big mileage week next week.

Friday, March 13, 2009

My own race

I should have checked the family schedule before I said "I might do the Irish for a Day 10 mile".

My wife is going crapbooking that day, and I have to be home by 9am. The race starts at 9.... Why so late? Is that part of being Irish for a day? Get hungover on Guinness or Smithwitcks? What's up with that Helen?

So instead, I am going to track down Mr. fast as lightning from my neighborhood, and join him on his Saturday morning indoor track workout.

Here is the plan
1-2 mile warm up at 9-10 min. pace.

Then... see how long I can maintain a 6min mile pace. (This was Adam's suggestion). If I crash after 2, Adam, I am going to go to your kids playground and do the Green Beret test.

This will be as much of a mental test as a physical test, as it is a 200 meter track. I can already feel myself "leaning to the left.... correct that... leaning to the right"

I will have good company, as Mr. fast as lightning is training to break the world record at 60 and over for the mile.

And thanks for all of the comments. At times I figure only 2-3 people read this, so it helps motivate me when I know your are watching.

Todd, your calibration comment cracked me up. You know me, am I at all that detail oriented? (I am when brewing beer). The treadmill has its problems while I am on it, at higher speeds. I can see someone trying to count the stripes, then get kicked in the face.

And Andrew, sorry to disappoint you that I run on that damn thing. You know dangerous it is to run on the roads in this area, and they are rarely clear of ice. Looks like the really cold stuff is on its way out. So roads & trails, here I come.

Hopefully I make it through Saturdays race..... I will do a poll on it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

March Hadd Test

I would post the results, but I know they are flawed.

I don't think the treadmill is doing the speed it says it is doing. I am pretty sure on it. So a service call is being placed. Knowing this company, it could be a few weeks.

So, instead, I am going to campaign to run a race this weekend. There is a 10 mile in Msps, so if the Mrs. approves, I am there.

Ideally, I like to test on a 1/2 marathon, but 10 mile might work better.

All my progress might fiction due to a lame treadmill.

Oh well

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I was correct on the metaphor

I saw an interview with Bono yesterday, and he talked about the title of their recent album.

He said it had to do with hope, and no limits (I don't recall exactly what he said, but I think I got it right).

After an awesome fist half of the week, I decided to "dial it back" a bit for fear of over training and burn out.

I ended up following my last Sundays' 31 miler with a 20 miler on Wednesday. Sounded like a good idea, but was paying for it on Thursday.

Friday was a hill workout on the deathmill, with only 5 intervals.

Took today off. 58 miles for the week. I am happy with that as I know it is important to dial it back every 3-4 weeks.

Tomorrow is the March HADD test. Are you ready John?

Can't wait for the results.


No Human Race 8k for me. After sitting down with the wife to figure out when I could get in a "really long run", it turns out March 21st works best. So that's the date at Afton if anybody wants to join. And it's semi taper after that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

No Line On the Horizon?

Bono and the boys of U2 have been a consistent thread throughout my childhood and adulthood. I think I wore through the groves on my vinyl copy of "War"

So, it was easy to get up for my tempo run this morning at 4am and download their new album "No Line On the Horizon".

And then I thought "Could this be a metaphor for my current improvement and condition?"

I also came to the realization that too many people use metaphors incorrectly, but with good intentions. So, let me think this through..... A horizon is some type of separation between earth and sky.. right? But, you can never get close to it..... Not sure if this metaphor will work.

Let's go to the dictionary (I used

definition 1
the line or circle that forms the apparent boundary between earth and sky.
...doesn't work as a metaphor

definition 2
a. the small circle of the celestial sphere whose plane is tangent to the earth at the position of a given observer, or the plane of such a circle (sensible horizon).
b. Also called rational horizon. the great circle of the celestial sphere whose plane passes through the center of the earth and is parallel to the sensible horizon of a given position, or the plane of such a circle (celestial horizon).

.......uhhhhh Bueller?

definition 3
the limit or range of perception, knowledge, or the like.

I know I have said I hate the term "Running is 90% mental", but I am guilty of letting my preconceived limits haunt me. I have been wondering where my range or limit was with my upper range.

Today, I increased the tempo segment from 9.5mph to 9.7 mph (6:11) pace.

I knew I could probably do it, but I was still very anxious. I then remembered that 2.5 miles into the tempo segment I always seem to calm down. So I went for it.

Right off the bat, the pace felt comfortable. No the treadmill motor burning out?

2.5 miles into the tempo segment, my hear rate begins to drop (hmm, it was only in the mid 150s). It dropped to..... 142?

It stayed there for almost the whole 8 mile segment


2 mile warm up @ 7mph
8 miles at 9.7 - avg hr 144 - max 155
2 mile cool down @ 7mph

I wasn't even winded, or the least bit sore.

So, I go upstairs to share the good news with my wife. She gives "the look" in "do you really think I give a crap?"

No respect. I guess it is better that way.

So now I am dying to test this in real life. I don't think for a second that treadmill = real world running, but the improvement is relative and linear.

I might have to sign up for the Human Race 8k and show the old gang I am not always going to be a "mid packer".

The title of this post is a question, so I will end with a statement.

I see No Line On the Horizon

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Really Long Run of The Year

Or, depending on how nuts your are, just a long run.

In my book, 15+ miles counts as a "long run". I use it more as a technical term than an adjective.

30+ miles I call "really long runs".

This morning I nailed down 31 (50K) in under 5 hours. Not only was I able to do it comfortably, but I did it without any food, sports drink, or electrolyte caps.

I did it solely on water, fat stores, glycogen stores, and my breakfast omelette.

Fueling has been my downfall the past few years, and I wanted to see how far I could go today without taking anything. Towards the end, I was starting to fell it, but I guess that is normal.

I ended up joining some of the guys from the ALARC group. I was expection SOMEONE to meet me there, but the not to be mentioned person was "recovering" from vacation.

The ALARC runners are a nice bunch. Tom and Ali were good company for the 1st 20 miles. I saw Karen out there, but was on pace to finish strong with them, I said the old "high and goodbye"

Aside from the temp still being "ice dams on the face" cold, it was a beautiful day.

I am grateful that all of the pieces of the training puzzle are quickly coming together.

I finished up with 81 miles this week, 80 last week, and 72 the week before. This week will have much of the same. Can't wait for the tempo run on Tuesday. It should be an interesting one.

1 week from tomorrow (or the next day) will be the next HADD test. Can't wait for that one as well. I expect John to be doing one the same day, so I will look like a loser if I don't do mine :)

I think my longest run before Zumbro will be a 40 or so. Zumbro will be a "really long" training run. Then, I hope to go big at Ice Age and Kettle. Not sure what "go big" means, but I plan on crushing my previous performances.

Guess I am back to volunteering at Chippewa.