Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Rondezvous with The Nerds

Beautiful week in Kansas City.

It hit 80 today, so I got some heat acclimation. Cough Cough.

Met up with Bad Ben last night. Hung out at a local pub and talked brewing and ultra. What could be better than that?

Ben is the cornerstone of the Kansas City Trail Nerds. The Nerds are a pretty active group of runners. And Ben is a cool dude. Knows A LOT about brewing and running.

I was blessed to receive a Nerds shirt and hat from him. Pretty cool.

Tonight I ran at the Shawnee Mission Park with a few of the other Nerds. Lots of mud. I backed off towards the ended saying "okay, that is all I am giving my legs this week". The constant mud could have twisted an ankle.... or worse. Made it through with no problems.

Good week at work. And next week I get to be home all week.


I also found out this week that the Big Grabowski can't handle a real flight of stairs.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Date With Fran

One of the benchmark workouts in Crossfit, if not THE benchmark, is "Fran"

This is the workout that "Crossfitters" use to compare times. Very much like distance runners saying "What's your marathon PR". They both have a lot in common.

Fran is a killer. It is the ultimate "metcon". It is heavy weight, high intensity, endurance, yet speed.

Fran is

For time
95 lb Thrusters
Pull ups

21 reps each
15 reps each
9 reps each

I pulled off an 11:20 time this morning. I was happy considering the times I started it before, I did not finish. This is one of those workouts you have to be fully comitted to before you start. I kept thinking about Zumbro during the workout.

It is a painful one, but somewhere in the middle I got into the zone. Yes, I had to break each set up, but not as much as I thought I would have to.

There are guys out there that can do this in under 4 minutes. That is a level of fitness which is hard to comprehend.

That may be my last "metcon" before Zumbro. I think from here out it will be mostly ab stuff, lower back, and jump rope. Good excercise, but not the "I'm am going to die" workouts.

Headed down to Kansas City, so I might dig up a trail nerd or 2.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Big Day at Afton

With 2 weeks to go, it was time to get a test run in.

I have used the 25k loop at Afton for a few years now as a benchmark to my fitness level.

About 3 years ago when I first ran it, it wasn't pretty. I didn't know the course, I was alone, and it took more than 3 hours (a lot of walking).

I quickly got it down to 2:30 within that year, and that felt hard.

When I got the time down to 2:22, I thought I was going full speed.

Later that year, I did a 2:18. 2:15 later on hurt even more.

Last fall, I ran it with the Race Director for the event, and he made me work for it. 2:12 something. I was pretty pumped, but figured I would not be able to do that again for a while. I was in good shape then, and it was late in the year.

I knew I had a good one in me for today, and I needed the confidence booster. This Crossfit Endurance training has changed the way I run from an intensity standpoint. I was looking forward to hitting the big hills at Afton, and push through them.

I knew 20 minutes into the run this morning that it was going to be a good one. My body WANTED to run hard. That is something I am not used to.

While the hills were still hard, I recovered quickly on the flats, and was able to maintain a fast pace on them.

By the time I made it to the "Snowshoe Loop", I knew it would be close. I then had a thought in my head. If I don't beat my PR, some would say "see, your training is crap". That got me going. I ran that last hill. If you were anywhere near there, you would have hear me.

I came in at 2:10 something. A new record for me, and I did it alone.

A big day for me. Now I know that I have a certain level of fitness I was hoping for. Will it pan out for 100 miles? We will see. At least I know it works for 15.5 miles.


Was able to loop back around to see the "gang". Seems like everybody was out running.

Found Helen, Kami, and Karen S. Ran about 1/8 mile before I said "I'm done at this pace"

Found Zach and the usual suspects (Steve Q, Bill P, John G, Nolan, Todd R, and a few others)

Good times.


The strength training definitely helps running those hills. This loop was not as hard as when I ran it 8 minutes slower.

I also don't have the "brute force" pain in my legs. Just muscle soreness.


The Zumbro runner field keeps changing, and getting better. I am psyched that "The Fireman" is back. I thought he was gone for good.

I bet Zach Pierce ends up running instead of working an aid station. He is feeling left out.

I would say it is time to taper, but one has to build up their mileage in order to taper. Time to dial back.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Zumbro Course Map

This is for those of you running, crewing, or volunteering at Zumbro. Sorry for the condition of the photo. Hope this helps

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lapham Steps

On my escape from Sconnie land, I was driving by Lapham Peak, and I figured I had time to do a set of 15 Lapham stair repeats. It was perfect weather, lunchtime, and no snow.

It was nice NOT to have Kevin and Todd pounding me into misery.

15 was enough.

I am feeling cautiously optimitstic.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Do you have an Earl?


This is a strectch, maybe a major stretch for some of you, but think this one through and you might agree.

My favorite sign of Spring is..... The Masters. Yes, I would call it a "Rite of Spring", but that would make the beloved Igor Stravinsky mad that I made the comparison to such a trivial thing as sports.

This year, the Masters will be one of the most watched ever because of the return of Tiger Woods.

As we all know, Tiger has been burned at the stake for his "indiscretions". Oh how I love euphamisms. Cough, Cough. Funny, I just call it "Adultry", but I am a cold hearted mean spirited person.

Ironically, we hold him to a different standard than NBA Super stars, and rock stars. Was it Wilt Chamberlain who bragged about sleeping with 2000 women? I am not even sure if that comparison works, as I don't know if he was married during those 2k women.

So what happened to Tiger? I can't say I am a biographer on him, but I followed him from the day he won his first PGA tournament (I think it was the 96 Masters, but am not positive).

Tiger is more a product of his father, Earl. Earl gave up his life/career to devote everything to the development of his sons golf game. Earl was the constant needle in Tiger's side, always raising the bar and holding him accountable. He would make noise while Tiger was putting, throw things at him while putting, and much of the like. Earl was preparing him for the real world of golf.

As most of you probably know, Earl passed away a few years back.

Now enter my speculation.

Many superstars of our time have spiraled out of control into all sort of excess. Too many to name here, but let's look at a couple.

Elvis Presley
Micheal Jackson.

Aside from both being musicians, they both lacked people who set boundaries for them. They both did not have people who could say "Your behaviour right now is unacceptable" without fearing the consequences of losing their access to the famous person.

I am guessing that Earl was also one of the only people who could truly say to him "This behaviour is unacceptable". Tiger respected, and I believe feared his dad. Fear, in this case, is a form of respect.

Elvis and Michael did not have these people. They surrounded themselves with people who cared about being a part of "the fame" and not really caring about "the person"

I recall my days in college living in a fraternity. The fraternity preached "brotherhood". When a brother would drink too much and pass out, they would celebrate. If they did it often, they would celelbrate more. I never liked that. I remember thinking "a true brother would try to stop this, not encourage it".

I flash back to Superior Sawtooth last year at mile 50. I had made my mind already to drop. I had been sitting for around half an hour, and my crew, Bill, was trying everything to get my ass back on the course. I was a total mess. Out of nowhere, Wouter "the guy from Belgium" gets in my face and says "You're coming with me". His eyes cut to my soul. He said it with conviction, and I followed. I didn't know the guy, but at that point he was a fellow brother on the trail. He eyes were saying "Your behaviour right now is unacceptable".

I still dropped 12 miles later, but he got me those 12 miles.

I remember a few years back during that real hot Twin Cities Marathon. My good friend John was walking at mile 24, but was still under a 3 hour pace. No other runner was around. All of the spectators were saying "you can do it!!!". I yelled "John, if you don't get running right now, I am personally going to come out there and kick your ass!". He started running. Hard. There were mumbles around me, and I heard some say how mean I was. John called me that night to thank me.

Sometimes it is a special person, sometimes it is anyone with the right timing, sometimes it is someone who has a ton of credibilty, but when things get tough, I believe we all need our Earl Woods. We need that person who can say "Your behaviour is completely unacceptable".

Hopefully I WON'T need that April 9-10.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scuppernong and the Infamous "Kettle Prairies"

Still in Sconnie land. But unlike the Sconnie basketball teams, I am still alive.

Joined up with Todd Egnarski and his future son-in-law Marcel Uttech out at the Scuppernong ski area/campground. This is the spot at the Kettle Moraine 100M/K where the runners hit the 50K turnaround. It is also the spot where I hit one of my low points in running 2 years ago and dropped.

The parking lot still holds bad memories, even with last year's redemtion.

We ran down some of the Ice Age Trail toward the "praries". I had to take my camera, as I know at least 6 runners who will be taking their first 100 shot at this race in June. So here you go Bill, Guy, John, Karen, Jenny, Kel. Enjoy the pictures of the prairies.

These pictures look harmless, but add 85-90 degree temps, no wind, and dewpoints in the 70s. This may not sound hot, but the humidity beats down on you in this section and destroyed me 2 years ago. I still fear this area.

On the way down, Todd asked how far we were going. I replied "How about Emma Carlin?". Todd, "I don't think we should be going that far". Me (insert the sounds of rusty gears going in my hear) "oh, yeah, that would be 50K round trip. Let's not.

We turned around after 5 miles.

Todd and Me

Todd and Marcel

Todd hugging a tree

We ended up doing around 15 miles. It felt good. No problems.

Ended up racing Todd up some hills.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Zumbro Recon Report

Okay kids, in today's class we are going to learn a new word.


1.Chiefly Western U.S. and Western Canada. a deep ravine or gulch, usually dry, that has been formed by running water.
2.a small valley.
3.a low-lying area.
4.a small intermittent stream.
5.Geology. a stream of lava.

Pleae use it in a sentence.

"Hey Matt, what the heck is a coulee anyway?"

"You fail. You are slow"

Another reason I am the "Slower Matt".


So I met "The Fast One" out at Zumbro Bottoms yesterday for tune up run, and a chance to "size up the competition".

You can follow along by looking at this map.

The morning started with me giving him bad directions, and a delayed start. That was the first of my directional errors.

As you can see, the starting area is HUGE.

This starting area "The West Assembly Area" is designed for people camping with horses, hence the large camping areas and hitching posts.

Met up with the competition, and we got ready to start. I took the pictures, so you won't see any photos of me. You're not missing much anyway.

The course a a little diffent than last year, but really is only a difference without distinction. Last year we were directed out on a war torn river bottom followed by running half way up and down a moderate hill. The hill was single track, as well as most of the river bottom (easy and technical) It was a 5 mile section.

This year it is being replaced by a fire road ascention up a bigger hill, but not by much. But, on the return trip, you run around the hill on a fire road. This might pan out to be a faster course after all is said and done.

The race starts in the West Assembly area, takes a few turns to get up to the "Rock Hill Trail", then the "West Scenic Trail" to the "West Scenic Short Cut" to "Upper Pine"

The ascent and decent to the first aid station is rather quick. We crossed the river (very swollen) to a nice dirt road. In my old age, my eye sight started to go, and for some reason I thought the road we were on was incorrect. I had the bright idea to try to cut through to where I thought the correct road was to be (or not to be). We were supposed to go down the Zumbro River trail, but for some reason, I thought we were incorrectly on the trail next to it.

This was the first of our great quotes "It's just right over there" or "Watch this"

After foraging through water and mud, we (I) finally went back to the road and decided to go a different wrong way, thiking it would be dry and clear.


We waded knee deep through mud and a run off river to get to the "highwater trail", all the while there was a nice dry road leading to it.

At one point, ankle deep in water, Matt says "I sure hope they don't trap muskrats back here, that would not be fun to step in a trap". Not sure how I would explain that one to the wife.

I missed the picture of us knee deep, but these were good.

This is at least 3 inches of "death mud"

"New Balance claims these are 9 ounces. No way that is accurate. I am writing them a letter"

We finally made it to the dry road/trail and made our way from Highwater trail, to the Texas trail. The trail was actually in pretty good condition. The ground has not fully thawed, so there are some patchy mud spots, but they should be dry in a few weeks. The sandy areas are still sandy like last year.

We made it around Texas up to the Pump trail. Last year this was very technical. This year a bulldozer come through and it is now a road/fire trail. Much easier.

At the top is one of "Larry's Specials". The map shows a dotted line between two trails. I call these "Storkamp Trails". Only deer and guys like John Storkamp can actually find the trails. I did my best, but we ended up off course. At this point, we were having fun, but it could have stopped quickly as one of us could have lost an eye.

We ended up on a trail after the second Aid Startion, but since we were close, we just figued it was a good skip. I knew this section pretty well, as I ran it 4 times last year instead of the required 3 for the 100k. I am not missing the turn this time!

We ran through the "Lower Sand Coulee", which is more sand than coulee. Then the "new" trail, up to the "Picnic Rock" trail. Good single track up there, and a bunch of ridge running. The gulley washouts were in good condition, but a lot of leaves covering rocks. This was a problem for some last year. I figure "just commit, and go down".

We hit the bottom to the sand coulee again, needing to find the "motorcycle trail". I missed it, and we started a venture through the woods to find it. "I think it is right over there", I said. Matt's response "Gee.... heard that one before". With some luck we found it. The motorcycle trail was in fine condition, and it leads to what was the final big climb from last year. It still is a big climb to the "Scenic Overlook". And yes, it is scenic.

I kept telling Matt to back up. He didn't take the bait.

The Scenic Overlook and Ant Hill trails were the only ones we found snow. We staged this picture just to freak out the other runners

We were going to post to the list that this is what the entire course looked like... but that would be mean.

Then it was to the famous Ant Hill trail down hill. I buried "the fast one" as he was afraid to turn an ankle. I really wanted to catch an action shot at the bottom, but he wouldn't go airborne for one.

This trail leads back to the Zumbro River Trail Road which is... a road. Dirt. We had a stiff head wind, and it was getting colder. This part is like stretch at Afton along the rive, but with a cold head wind.

We crossed back over the bridge, one small climb to the "Pine Trail", and a run through the "Sand Slide" to the "Rail Road Bed" trail. This whole section is pretty flat, and will be fast once the mud is gone. It will be a long stretch in the middle of the night.

It took us 4 hours, with A LOT of detours. At one point, we thought we might have to pack a life jacket for the race.


It was a great tune up for me. I did not take any sports drink or S Caps. I planned on no food. I wanted to see how my body would react with the bare minimum (water - 2 bottles). I ended up taking 2 Hammer Gels towards the end (I was started to glycogen crash).

Back at the car, I was cramping up, so the S Caps should have come in to play. 1 per hour and I should be fine.

I was sore, but able to function. It is a hard 20 mile loop, but doable if I back off 2-3 minute pace per mile.

We ran most of the hills, and ran the flat stuff at a decent clip.

My hands were frozen at the end, but the hot pockets will solve that during the race. This run was a good reminder on the comforts I need to pay close attention to.

How will the battle of the Matt's pan out?

We shall see

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Final 3 Weeks Before Race Day

What does one do 3 weeks before a 100 mile race?

If you are smart, you take it easy. The cliche is "The hay is in the barn". Truth is, there is not much, or anything, you can do in the final 3 weeks. That is where "maintenance" miles comes into place.

I am not a big "taper" guy or "sharpening" guy, so I call it "backing off". I can't say I will be tapering, because I never got my mileage over 25 miles per week since mid January. And, most of those were 13 mile - 15 mile weeks. But.... those were HARD miles.

So the plan:
Run with "FM" at Zumbro on Friday. I am only planning to do 1 loop. Larry, the RD, has been kind enough to divulge a course map. Knowing Larry, this could change a couple of times before race day. None the less, we have "a 20 mile loop". Quotes indicating that this could be subjective.

Hopefully I get the chance to get FM off his game, and convince him to go out "guns a blazing" at the race. If he crashes and burns, I might have a chance. As well as Brad, and the other runners.

I am doing the Home Show in Milwaukee this weekend, so maybe a stair workout at Lapham is in the plans. Once the Zumbro and stairs are done, it is 4 more speed workouts with a tempo in between. I will keep the tempo 2 weeks out to under 10, 1 week out under 6.

On the strength and conditioning workouts, I am backing off on the loads. Not that I can power clean 135 lbs 7 times in 6 sets (with 9 pull ups in between), but now I have a good reason not to. I am backing off to weights where I am focusing on forum and still getting a brutal workout.

Now it is all about getting all of the pieces figured out. Being a loop course makes planning a lot easier. I will have multiple food options I am going with, and will have access to a change in strategy every 20 miles.

I am going to start this race with only water, and no sports drink. This will make it easier to monitor caloric intake as well as electrolyte intake. If I want to switch, they will have Heed, and I will have a stash of Succeed! (Clip 2 and Ultra).

I might make some sandwiches, chili, and some other stuff. Protein and fat are the things I think I have lacked in the past. Sugar and carbs are easy to get, so not worried about those.

I have a few gear changes. Will probably have a rain jacket. I bought heat pockets for my gloves as well as smart wool liners. Having comfortable hands could be the difference in success.

Might get some new compression shorts with a longer inseam. Chaffing shouldn't be a problem, but I don't want to chance it.

I may even invest in a pair of smart wool socks, but I don't want to test them on race day.


I will recap my thoughts on this new training program soon.

Good luck to those doing the Human Race 8K on Sunday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1 Hour Time Trial

Instead of spending $$$ to run a 10 miler (which filled up), I decided to stick by home yesterday and get out for a 10 Mile Time Trial. I knew it would be a slower pace than "race", but I would be able to gauge the effort vs. race.

Problem is... it has been so long since I have run around the neighborhood, I didn't do my 10 mile route.

When I hit what I thought was the 5 mile turnaround, I realized what I did. 29:45 for 5 miles..... Damn I am fast. Ooops... I forgot to add that one leg.

I quickly decided to just make it an hour out and back.

Good news. Maintained 7 min miles on the button the whole way. And... It wasn't that hard. Great news.

I was probably at 85% RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) Maybe even 80%. I am guessing I was about 20-30 seconds off my LT pace.

There is no doubt in my mind I could have nailed my 10 mile race time from last year, so I am very stoked.

AND.... My calves were still sore (from the jump roping and Lapham workout).

The reason I was really stoked was even with my mind wandering, my motivation at below average, and lack of concentration, my body wanted to maintain 7 min pace.

So I have the power and speed I was hoping for at this point in the season. The million dollar question now is.... "Do I have the endurance?"

I think I do, but I won't truly know until April 9th. I am feeling cautiously optimistic.


Brewed a Bavarian Heffeweizen today. A bit lower gravity than I was planning, but it fits in the guidelines. Should be perfect in a keg by Zumbro. Those of you coming down to watch, crew, pace, or help out can have some.

Friday, March 12, 2010

4 Weeks - The plans are in

Yes.. Four weeks from this moment I will by navigating the Zumbro Bottoms scenic area, getting ready for a long night of running.

I have a strange sense of calm. I am not worried anymore. This is one of those types of races where one has to have a plan and strategy to deal with the mental and physical things that creep up.

For me, the biggest obstacle is a high dew point (above 60) which there is zero chance of happening at this race (okay...maybe 5%).

The next obstacles down the list are ones which can be overcome by during the race (outside of a significant injury). For me, preparing for all of these obstacles and how I will deal with them is 1/2 the race. The other 1/2 is split by how I manage my pace, and how I manage my fuel. Hydration is not a problem for me in the cold.. Just keep x amount flowing.

Steve G mentioned my head is not into it. Partially true. Part of my mentality at this point is talking my self down to a calm level. Unlike a marathon, where people get pumped up the weeks before, I find I almost have to do the opposite for these. You have to cruise into the start like it is just another day. Calm, cool, collective. Get through the first 30 miles in a calm manner, then the worries about training go away.

My fears lie in 3am to 5am. The goal is to be far enough in the race that the excitement of getting it done is offset by the death spiral of 4-5 am.

The training run at Zumbro is confirmed, and I am looking forward to a hardcore tune up run/race.

My calves are seriously sore from KG and Double putting the hurt on me, but I will be thanking them in 4 weeks.

Time for planning to commence.


Good luck to Helen at Way Too Cool 50k tomorrow in California. Don't let them confuse an Irish accent for Minnesotan'.

Try not to get too bloody and/or dirty, Helen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Lapham Opener

I was in the area, so I figured I would swing by Lapham peak to join the LPTR gang for a quick jaunt in the woods.

Turns out, the weather has been warm enough to kill the XC ski trails and open most of the place for trail running.

So Grabowski announced "Lapham is open! Let's run a black loop". Gee... I get 2 operners in 1 week.

I did not realize running a black loop means going to the peak, and doing stair repeats until the other runners show up. If you have run a whole loop at Afton, the stairs are like the ones on "The Back 40", but all strung together with no breaks and more of them.

Apparently there are also rules to doing these when there are more than 1 runners.
* Run up skipping every other step
* No passing on the up hill
* Each runner takes turns leading
* Do 15 straight and then take a break

This is just like one of those Crossfit Metcons. After #4 I was feeling like toast. Then Tater Todd Egnarski shows up and picks up the tempo.

Somewhere in there the Big Grabowski takes off his shirt to show off his guns and ammo. He took every chance he could to point out this over there.... and that over there... flexing his muscles. "The beach is over there".

I was getting close to pukie... not sure if it were the stair repeats or looking at KG.

15 was enough for me. KG's record is something like 75. That is why there is an "era" attached to that name.

We met up with Lammers, Mallach, and Dehart to do the first Black Loop of the season.

I guess open means only that skiiers can't go there anymore (yet we saw 2 kids refusing to accept that the season was over... skiing on ice sheets), but there is still a bunch of mashed potato snow. It was a lot like Sunday's Afton run. I hung with the paint king while the others decided to take off, and do a few more stair repeats.

These guys are fun to hang out with, because they all have an elite resume of running either sometime in their life, or now. They are what makes the trail scene fun. Still competative, hardcore, but unassuming. I think it was Dehart's quote "Runners who dress like super heroes always have more to say than I am willing to listen to".

Great interview here if you haven't read it.

And more importatntly, we decided that I have to make a malt liquor for Ice Age. "Mallach's Malt Likka". Or put it in a 40 ouncer and call it the "Emma Carlin 40" (At Ice Age 50, Emma Carlin is 40 Mile point).

Thanks guys. Great time.

It was a thin crowd due to some of the usuals heading out to Syllamo.


Was thinking of doing Irish for a Day 10 Miler this weekend, wasn't very pumped about the prosepect of going pedal to the medal for 10. Was very happy to see the race filled up. Wahoo! Will do something hard by my house instead. Not 10.

Looks like I might do a Zumbro recon run with "The Fast One" next Friday. That will be my final long run. Correction - My only long run. (I only made it 25k at Afton)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Zumbro updates

A little over 4 weeks until the race, and now the details are in.

Updates here.

We need more runners! There are only 15 signed up.

If you think you can run 50 miles, just sign up. The second 50 are always tough, and no amount of training will prepare you for that.

Hey Red Beard, sign up, or I will come to Lapham tonight and pound your shoulder.

It looks like most of field is pretty experienced. It should be interesting.

Lots of aid stations on a 20 mile loop. Makes planning a lot easier.

My only major worries at this point

I think the snow will be gone by next week.

Too late to worry about the training. Trying to schedule a tune up run with the "FM" soon.

Chalk this post up as a useless, rambling one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Top 3 in the world

My buddy Jim Sheehan scored a 3rd place finish at the World Matsters Indoor Track Championship in the 1500 Meter age group 60-65.

He actaully has a bronze medal to show for it. .4 seconds off of second place.

Here is a 60 year old man calling me yesterday sounding like a teenager running his first event. Pretty funny. He couldn't stop talking about it.

He also ran the 800, but got jobbed by some idiot who thought he would take the lead and couldn't hold it, boxing Jim in moving him from first to last. Jim was able to rally to 4th, but the 800 does not leave a lot of room for catch up.

His wife and my wife could care less about our running/race stories, so he needs me and I need him to talk away about all of the stuff nobody cares about.

He did tell me that international competition brings a whole different level of strategy and frustration. In those meets, it is hard to run the race you want to, because others can screw it up.

I think I said "See... when you get passed early in a 100 miler, you have the chance to pass that person again. Sometimes it doesn't happen until the following day". Or "I remember chasing a guy for 40 miles at Ice Age, I think he was only 1-2 minutes ahead of me the whole time, but he just wouldn't give up." He got what I was saying, but it's a lot different than 800 Meters.

Next up for Jim, a shot at being the first man 60 years of age to ever break the 5 minute mile. Not sure when this will happen, it keeps getting put off.

Great job Jim - Way to represent the neighborhood!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Getting Schooled at Afton

Zach and I hit the trails at Afton this morning, later to be joined by Bill P.

Zach and I took the liberty of declaring the trail season to now be officially opened.

Problem is, there is still a ton of snow at Afton. It is all groomed and packed down for XC ski, but not really ski-able anymore.

Want to know what running in peanut butter is like? Go out there for "a loop".

I was hoping for a fast loop. Hoping for solid pack ice or some cleared trail, but no dice. I got schooled.

Not only did I get schooled by Afton, but also by Zach.

In the past 2 years, I have been the guy egging Zach on, telling him to run faster. I recall many times saying "come on man, step up to the plate... it's in you".

Well... he did last year at Voyageur and Superior.

Today he dragged my ass all over that place, leaving me in the dust going up the meat grinder. I tried making excuses with my recent workouts, and Zach bought it (maybe), but truth is.. I got schooled.

Look out for this guy. He's looking lean and mean.

We did everything but the "Snowshoe Loop" in 2:30. I was hoping to do the whole thing in 2:20-2:30, but oh well.

Did the snowshoe loop with Bill, and he put the final nail in my coffin today. I glycogen crashed and burned coming out of the loop.

Opted for the visitor center fire, and coffee. No beer today.. too early.

Snow sucks the life out of me. So it was a rough run. Gotta get those over with.

Afton has a few more weeks of melt before it is normal. I sure hope Zumbro is melted in 5 weeks.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Yet another exercise I can't do


Holy buckets. They look easy. Try them.

I did them "assisted" today, which meant I sat down on a chair and then stood back up. How people go all of the way down, touch their butt on the floor, and stand back up baffles me. And, they do it with a kettle bell.

File this one under "things I suck at". This file is starting to gain weight (Double Unders, Hand Stand Push Ups, Muscle Ups, etc.

Did this today.
10 pistols R leg, 10 pistols L leg, 10 chest to bar pull ups, 9 pistols R leg, 9 pistols L leg, 9 chest to bar *chin ups, 8 pistols R leg, 8 pistols L leg, 8 chest to bar pull ups .... 1 pistol R leg, 1 pistol L leg, 1 chest to bar chin up. * take note, even numbers are PULL ups, odd numbers are CHIN ups. Chin ups are when your palm faces you. "Thumb around bar, no open palm grip"!

Funny, the pull ups and chin ups were the easy part.


So..... the Zumbro landscape changes almost daily. I received 2 messages today about participants. One is opting out. I am bummed about it, but the reasoning has a great upside. I will give you a hint with a few choice letters (WS, IA, FM). If you can figure it out, you are very clever. Bill, I think you already know, so don't spill the beans.

The other was one was a fellow runner about to commit. I will give you a hint on that one (LPTR, BB). Bring on the border battle Sconnies! (oh yeah.... he's doing 3 days of Syllamo, AND.... he had major shoulder surgery like... yesterday? Mercy.

I hate to say it, but after these two messages...... the pressure is back on!

I guess Sunday's run at Afton will be a throw down practice run. I might have to go all out on the second loop.

Why do I do this to myself?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The benefits of being sick

I got back into today. Did not run for 4 days, no strength and conditioning for 5 days.

My whole body was sore.

As I stepped up to do the running workout this morning, I was kind of wondering "Well, I guess Zumbro is going down the tubes". I know it is stupid thinking, but when one removes the intensity of training, everything slides with it (especially the emotional confidence).

But... I have been there 100 times. I know it won't hurt me, and the rest may even help me.

What being sick really did for me is take the pressure off. I am not trying to cop out, I just don't want the pressure of any benchmarks and/or expectations at Zumbro. I just want to "do it" (notice how I did not say "just finish").

For those who are looking to say "ha, see... I told you so" if I do crappy at Zumbro, save your breath. I think it is too early to fully gauge this program with that race. I am also not mentally dialed into to it as a race.

There is a reason I am going solo, with no crew and no pacer

* No expectations from anybody, and nobody to let down (believe it or not, having crew is a little stressful) No offense Bill, it has more to do with how I handle having a crew. You have people out there ONLY FOR YOU. That is a burden.
* I know how to run these now. I know when it is okay to go faster, and when you need to go slower. I know how it should feel. I can't explain it any better than that.

Ice Age 50 will be the test. And I will be "chasing paint" with high intensity.
The RD and a few of us are working on some fun things for IA50. If you go, you will get some laughs. (unless you are tightly wound and/or a prude)

Okay... I am rambling.

Today's pain


5 min on, 2 min rest

Held 11MPH for both segments

1min on, 30 sec rest
11.5 first 2
11.3 final 3

Strength and Conditioning

Back Squats, 60% 2 reps on the minute every min for 10min. Drive out of the bottom as quickly as possible. (Ended up with squat rack)

Rest 5min

4 Rounds for Time

10 Glute Ham Raises, Body weight only!

15 D-Ball slams, 20-25lbs

20 Unbroken Double Unders

Actual time, 9:55. Subbed double unders with 50 regular jump rope skips.


And the big news.


I will do at least 1 loop, maybe 2. As I see it, I am not supposed to do "Long Slow Distance", so I have to run these hard.

Meet at the parking lot at 8am if you want to join me for the second loop. (If I am not there...I bonked.... wait for me) And because of the certainty of ice, spikes and chains required (whips optional)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Minneapolis Home & Garden Show Report

If any of you have worked one of these as an exhibitor, you know that it is an ultramarthon of its own kind.

Yes, Wednesday through Sunday it was all selling, all of the time. Just call me Ron Popiel of the coffee world.

I decided to make it fun, and act like a street sales vendor. Me, the tile guy, the "Grill it" guy, and the Kitchen Window staff were all competing for best sales pitch winner.

I saw a few trail dudes out there. Andrew stopped by to chat, saw Jason the flower boy, and Tom Rowe. Not to be confused with Todd Rowe, or Time Roe. Maybe we should have a bottle of the Rowe's.

If you did not know, I work for this company, selling "K Cups" (and other coffee) to distributors. I was supporting Premium Waters at the show. So here is an official plug for my distributor partners - If you want or have a water and/or coffee service, and you and/or your business in in the MN/WI Fargo, Grand Forks area, do business with these guys. Tell them you were referred by me.... Then they will say "Who?"

But... I digress.

A Big shout out to the Costco sales team (Tom & Annette), the 2nd Wind Exercise team (Garret), Dion the Grill it Guy (I think I drove him nuts), and the Kictchen Window Gang, the guy who sells $35,000 marble tigers, the wine slushy guy, and the Peppermint something women (dang.... can't remember their website)

When you give away coffee, everybody becomes your friend. That was pretty much my weekend.

Long hours, constant talking and schmoozing. Lost my voice. Got sick. Still sick. Not working out.

I'm hosed.

I did get a a 2x two times on thursday. 2 intervals of 12 minutes.

first interval
2 miles

not bad

Saturday did 1 hour time trial. 8.8 miles. Not bad... left some on the table.

Nothing since then.

Oh well. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow a happy camper.

MAYBE a run at Afton this weekend. Any takers?