Sunday, December 27, 2009


Before I get to next year - let me just say that if you thought my 2009 review post was a little lame - you're probably right. I kind of rushed through it because I had other things to do. To make up for this I have put my daily mileage into a google spreadsheet with everything you'd want to know (really, more than you'd want to know) about my 2009 year of running. It even has a graph - I know pretty awesome. I have to credit where it's due - it's based on a spreadsheet I saw on Jake Klim's blog. Obviously the last week is only what I have planned rather than completed - I'm going to have to bump it up a bit to hit 3,400 miles for the year.

As for 2010 - my main goal is running sub 2:30 at Chicago next October. My spring goal is to run a "fast" (~sub 32:45) 10k on the track. It might be on the short side of the races I've been running lately - but, there it's a whole other kind of mental trick to run 25 laps on the track - paying attention enough to the splits to make sure you're on pace but, not enough that you get overwhelmed with how far you have to go.

Other than that I don't have any specific goals for 2010. But, I'm looking forward to an intense summer including my first ever 120 mile week and some training that will make my Boston training blush with embarrasment. It sounds like every decent runner in a 100 mile radius is running Chicago next year (except Arjun of course) - as Ryan would say - "Hoo Hoooooo!!!"

Last Week
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday: 10 miles 4X1 mi @ T pace (5:38;5:34;5:35;5:39) 1 min rest - first sub-six min miles since 10/10 over 10 weeks ago - felt heavy; need to lose some lbs!
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday: 0 miles
Friday: 6 miles 3X100m striders
Saturday: 10 miles
Sunday: 10 miles
Total: 51 miles

This Week
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday: 12 miles 12X400m with 400m rest
Wednesday: 8.5 miles
Thursday: 10 miles 3X2 mi @T pace
Friday: 0 miles
Saturday: 12 miles
Sunday: 4
Total: 54 miles

Sunday, December 20, 2009


As I was running this morning through the snow filled wonderland of Baltimore - I noticed one thing that was missing. People, especially kids, actually having fun in the snow. Growing up in Michigan I have tons of memories of sledding, building igloos, getting in snow ball fights etc. In Baltimore, heavy snows happen so infrequently that people don't even seem to know how to have fun in the snow - much less have the equipment to do it.
My favorite snowbound story is when I returned to Ann Arbor after going to Times Square for new years eve. First of all - don't ever do NYE in Times Square unless you have electrically warmed socks and a bladder the size of a party balloon. You're basically stuck in a fenced in paddock for over 5 hours. The only thing that saved me is that we were right next to the MTV studios, it was 1998 (turning to 1999), and Jennifer Love Hewitt was hosting in a dress made by someone who took very good measurements.
On the day we drove back it snowed over 20 inches throughout most of the midwest. It didn't get too bad until we hit Cleveland. Toledo to Ann Arbor was the worst - as it took over 2 hours to drive 45 miles. As we got to my friend Steffan's neighborhood - we realized that my parent's Dodge Caravan didn't wasn't going to make it to his parents' place. So, he got out and walked the final few blocks. I drove to my parents' neighborhood and found the same problem. It was after midnight and I don't think I even had a cell phone. So, I drove to where I hoped there would be some activity - the Michigan track house on State street.
Two friends from high school, Don McLaughlin (member of at least two Penn Relay distance medley relay champion teams) and Todd Snyder (he had been 10th at NCAA XC championships that year) lived there. I found Don and a few other guys from the team there having a "good time." Even though I had just driven 14 hours I was kind of energized. One of the guys had a great idea - we should go to another house where several UM track guys lived and cover all the doors with snow so they couldn't get out in the morning.
We then went on to do a few other things that I won't mention in order to protect the innocent and not so innocent. Let's just say that a certain female NCAA national champion threatened us with bodily harm based on some of our activities.
I'm not sure there was a point to that other than I'm an old man (in my running group at least) and old men like to tell stories.

Here is my first "this week and last week" since September.

Last Week:
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday: 0 miles
Wednesday: 8 miles Striders
Thursday: 9 miles
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday: 0 miles
Sunday: 13 miles
Total: 43 miles

This week:
Monday: 7 miles
Tuesday morning: 4 miles
Tuesday evening: 9 miles 5X1 mi @ T pace (somewhere around 5:30 pace) 1 min rest
Wednesday: 8 miles
Thursday morning: 0 miles
Friday: 6 miles 8X100m striders
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: 10 miles 4Xhills
Total: 50 miles

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Year in Review

2009 was my best running year since college. Everything seemed to come together - a lot of that is due to having some great people to train with and this blog probably helped as well - nothing is as motivating as the white hot spotlight of the blog ; )

The place to start are the goals I wrote last January.

1) Run 3,650 miles for the year. I'll end up with ~3,400 miles for the year - so, I missed this by over 250 miles. Of course that's less than a mile a day, so I can't be too upset.

2) Run sub 2:30 at Boston. Again - came up a little short on this one with my 2:32:35. But, given the head wind and tackling the Boston course for the first time - I was again pretty happy.

3) Run 52:30 for 10 miles. I was probably most disappointed with falling so far from this goal. I ran 54:05 at the Army 10 miler. I got a pretty nasty cramp - which probably cost me about 30-40 seconds.

Funnest race: You can't beat Miami in January. A bunch of us went down for the Miami half-marathon last January. The results were somewhat secondary - although my goal was to run marathon pace - and oddly enough I ended up running 1:16:19.

Most disappointing race: Although the Army 10 miler wasn't what I wanted - I was probably most disappointed about the Club Challenge 10 miler. I was sick and just couldn't get moving.

Best new adventure: This would obviously be the JFK 50 miler. I ended up running right around my predicted pace (6:21) - but, I was slower on the Appalachian trail section and faster on the C&O canal path. 50 milers are not going to become a regular part of my running (I don't think I'll do one in 2010) - but, it was a good experience.

Second place Best new adventure: I ran the Great Lakes Relay for the first time - a 10 person three-day relay in northern Michigan. Our team had a great time and ran hard. I'll be doing this race again in 2010.

Wins - Celiacs 10k & Navy 5 miler.

Thanks everybody for your support!

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Rhythm of Running

Kendra and I were watching one of our geeky science/history shows the other day. This particular show was about a new theory regarding Stonehenge. The theory was that the stones were fashioned to enhance acoustics of the space rather than for the widely accepted theory that it was related to astrology or the seasons. The show explained that many traditional religions, which they believe to be similar to those found in England 4,500 years ago, use drumming as a way to break into a trancelike state. From this trance it is believed that one can communicate with the dead – or even with the gods.
The program continued by showing an experiment on brain waves under two conditions. In the first condition the participant listened to random traffic noise – in the second condition they listened to the beats of tribal drums. The brain waves were all over the place while listening to the traffic but, they seemed to calm and sync-up when listening to the simple rhythms.
Although on the surface we all give various reasons for running – I think that for most of us it’s something that we can’t necessarily explain – we just know the good feeling we get from it. Like meditation, running can cause us to be more aware of the most essential parts of being alive – our heartbeat, our breathing, our feet hitting the ground. Our brains seem to be designed to react in powerful ways to these simple rhythms.
Having just completed my first 50 miler – I would say that the most unique part of that experience was the ups and downs. As with life – it’s impossible to have a continuous experience over 50 miles. What bothered you at 6 miles is a far off memory at 20 miles. Redemption is possible – you just have to have the patience and faith that you can get back into a rhythm (having people cheer you one doesn’t hurt either).
It’s almost impossible to talk about running and not talk about rhythm. For our hard workouts and races we talk about being on “pace”. When we’re running well our legs feel like metronomes – clicking away almost automatically. The connection between running and rhythm can be extended to the rhythm of training cycles. The Tuesday night track workout – the Sunday long run – it becomes a rhythm that we don’t just feel in our bodies but rather a rhythm that shapes our lives.
The most interesting thing to me about this new theory about Stonehenge is that we need to have others around us drumming along to really feel the beat. Over the last year, which has been my best running year since college, I’ve had a lot of help and some great acoustics. I may not have spoken with any gods, but I did get to connect with life in a deeper way. Thanks to all of you who were a part of helping me find my rhythm!