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  • 2010 In Review

    Posted on January 20th, 2011

    What a year 2010 was. Much of it didn’t go as planned for me, up to to the final days in December (more on that later), but it was still a great year. Being the blogger that I am, I like to chronicle and review most everything. These yearly review posts (see 2009’s review) are an easy starting point for me to find and remember events of my past. Hopefully you will find this interesting and informative, as well.

    2010 started off with an injured knee that I thought some rest and rehab would fix up. I used this as an opportunity to work on my swimming, swimming more than 20,000m in a week for the first time, and did a 200-800 swim test in 2:39 and 12:13 for meters. I soon realized that normal rehab wasn’t going to make my knee any better, and decided I would have to get surgery.

    While this was going on, I started the application process to graduate school. A few semesters earlier my adviser suggested that I pursue a masters degree instead of wasting my time taking five years to get an undergraduate degree. I took her advice, applied, and was accepted a couple months later.

    I finally had surgery to remove Plica in my left knee in the beginning of March. The doctor was able to successfully remove the Plica (which was the biggest he had ever seen) and I was on with recovery. Within a couple weeks I was starting to jog again and back to running, swimming and biking with some consistency a month after surgery. Six weeks after my surgery I was back at it, almost in full force, logging over 14 hours in a week.

    My Spring semester was incredibly busy. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have been able to finish my school work if I was traveling to competitions. So in that sense, I guess my injury was a good thing. Part of my requirements for graduation was a group project for my senior capstone. We worked with a cancer research lab on campus to develop an automated Petri dish filling machine — my contribution to curing cancer. The project was a success and my group actually won a prize at the UGRAD Symposium.

    Around this time I was beginning to bike more regularly, and even made it up to Snowbowl. I had just received a new video camera from my cousins as a graduation gift so I made a short video of the ride.

    My Farfar ("father's father" in Danish) and me after my graduation

    In May I became a graduate of Northern Arizona University! I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Mathematics. I had a lot of my family up there to show their support for me. What a great time I have had at NAU and I am happy that I will be returning for a masters degree.

    A bit later I was in Davis, California to see my sister-in-law become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine! While there, my family sat down to watch my teammate David McNeill compete at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 5000. I vividly remember watching his inspiring race, yelling at the TV, and just being in awe of what he has accomplished. How fortunate I am to have trained, raced, and befriended someone like him.

    Chris Baird, Jordan Bethke and I went 3-2-1 overall.

    The Summer of 2010 was all about triathlons for me. I hit the training hard and raced three different races. My first was a very short sprint at Pt. Mugu called the Admirals Cup. I finished 2nd behind friend and “training partner” Chris Baird. Next up was the Breath of Life Olympic distance triathlon in Ventura. This time I took home the W, finishing ahead of Chris and Jordan Bethke, who competes for Cal’s triathlon team.

    My final race, and I think my best of the summer, was at the Strawberry Fields Triathlon in Oxnard. I rode a great bike leg and ran very well. I actually thought I was leading the race, and even crossed the line thinking I had won. Unfortunately Andrew Haberkorn, who started in a wave behind me, ended up finishing 6 seconds faster! Such is the nature of amateur triathlons, a good lesson learned.

    As the triathlon training winded down, I did a little review on my triathlon training for the summer, looking specifically at my swim (I swam a 2:13/10:10 200-800y test), bike and run training. I am a stats guy who likes to reflect. These posts showed that.

    And speaking of reflecting, the Fall of 2010 provided lots of opportunities for that. I am happy that I realized that early on in the season, which inspired several of my blog posts. The first of these being my one piece of advice to runners: always keep a training log. In an attempt to make as many memories as I could from my final cross country season, I started a feature called “Getting to know The Lumberjacks” in which I interview my teammates, asking them 20 questions. I posted six total, including Tim Freriks, Andrew Belus, Sarah Raber, Matthew Coloe, Eric Lynch, and Lauren Hill.

    Stanford Invitational

    I finally ran my first race at the George Kyte Classic in September. A few weeks later we raced at the Stanford Invitational, setting a new 8k PR of 24:15 — it looked like my knee was going to make it through cross country season! Next up was Pre-Nationals. Before the race I talked a bit about my ambitious goal for the season: to be an All-American. Prenats would be my first opportunity to really see if it would be a possibility. In the end, I had a good race, and finished 38th, just 6 seconds behind where I wanted to be.

    Any division 1 collegiate cross country runner knows that once Prenats comes and goes, it seems like the season is almost over. Flagstaff was suddenly bombarded with Fall and all the beautiful things that come along with it. The day after Prenats a few of my teammates and I headed up towards the mountain and enjoyed an easy run among the yellow aspens and green pines. I brought my camera with me and made a video that became very popular amongst the team, especially the song. Fun fact: the song in the video, Radical Face’s “Welcome Home,” was such a hit it was chosen to be the final song we listened to before we arrived at the course at nationals.

    2010 Big Sky Champions

    At Big Sky Championships I had a sub par race, but was happy to see teammates Tim Freriks and Eric Lynch step up and make sure NAU won its 4th straight title.

    Shortly following the conference meet, Flotrack posted a “Workout Wednesday” starring the NAU Lumberjacks running repeat miles at Ft. Tuthill. The workout was 6xmile on 7:00 go’s, which is one of our hardest workouts we do. I actually remember being turned inside out for a couple days after that workout. I also have a nice little shout out from Coach Heins in the video.

    Watch more Videos on Flotrack

    Everything I had, one last time.

    Regionals came and went without a hitch, and NAU was headed to the NCAA Championships once again. My final cross country race (at least for a team) was finally here. I realized the significance of the moment and I actually almost shed some tears while talking to my dad just before the race. In the end my goal of being an All-American proved to be just too much. I still improved on my 2009 result, finishing 87th. NAU finished 9th, its fourth top-10 finish in a row.

    After the season was over, I had a lot of fun just being a dude. Two old friends from Simi Valley, Kelcie Wiemann and Michael Cybulski, visited me in Flagstaff and joined me in an adventure to Las Vegas. I spent the holidays with more friends and lots of family — just the way they should.

    Just before the new year came, my right knee (NOT the one I had surgery on) started to bug me a bit so I started swimming and biking to give it some rest. Guess what happens next? Yep, I fell on a bike ride and now have a broken wrist. What terrific way to bring in the new year. So as I write this right now, I am still in a brace, which I will have to wear for another three weeks.

    In the coming days I will bring all my loyal followers up to date with where I’m at right now, and where I want to be at the end of 2011.

  • Super Bowl, Knee Struggles & Swim PRs

    Posted on February 7th, 2010

    Happy Super Bowl Sunday! What a great, American spectacle. I was rooting for the Colts (Manning is the man), but I am just happy it was a great game. We had some teammates over — Darius Terry, Joe Withers, Simon Gilna and Eric Lynch — and we all made and ate lots of food. My contribution was my Mom’s chili recipe and Trader Joe’s cornbread. Both were delicious.

    Knee

    The knee troubles continue. As of now, I am able to run 10-20 minutes without pain. As I go longer or increase pace it begins hurting. I have been icing, ultrasounding, and strengthening for over a month now with little improvement. It is getting pretty frustrating. And to frustrate me further, I have been trying to get a CD with my MRI images mailed to NAU’s team doctor for over a week now. Patience is a virtue, I guess.

    Once the doctor receives the images, we will have some orthopedics take a look. Depending on their suggestions, I may end up undergoing arthroscopic surgery on my knee. I have read and been told that, as far as surgeries go, arthroscopic knee surgery is about as noninvasive as it gets, with reports of people back running in a couple of weeks. The quick recovery time makes the surgery very appealing. Frankly, I don’t see myself back running full strength in a couple weeks without the surgery anyway. Why not get it fixed?

    But I am getting ahead of myself. For now, I wait to see what the doctors say.

    Swimming

    Today I did a time trial as prescribed by USATriathlon. The protocol for the test is a 200 (yards or meters), 1 minute rest, 800. I did this test a month ago and, converting from yards to meters, 2:45 and 12:45 equivalents. In today’s test I swam a 2:39 and a 12:13, 6 and 32 second improvements, respectively. I plan to continue to do this test once a month to measure my improvement.

    Needless to say, swimming is going in the right direction. Still, I have a lot of work to do. For 2010, I want to be under 2:30 for 200m and 11:06 for 800m (at sea level). I swam over 20,000m for the first time this last week. I am hopeful that many more high volume, high intensity weeks will get me closer to that goal.

    Indoor and Outdoor

    Because of my recent setbacks, running the 2010 indoor season is out of the question. There are but a couple meets left before the conference meet and there is no way I will be ready. Outdoor runs into the middle of May and beyond, so I think if I continue down the road to recovery, I should be able to salvage a decent outdoor season. After the improvements I made in cross country, I think even a mediocre season for me should yield some solid PRs.

  • Dealing With Injuries

    Posted on January 16th, 2010

    Today was NAU’s first meet of the 2010 Indoor season. Instead of racing a mile or 3k, or both, I ran 20 minutes at about 8 minute miles an hour before the meet started. Good news is that my last three runs have been pain free and it is looking like I am finally nipping this knee problem in the butt.

    When the injury first came on, I figured it was nothing and I continued to push on. I wanted to come back to Flagstaff in really great shape and ready to start doing some hard workouts. It looks like the injury was more severe than I had thought, as this was three weeks ago. It can be really difficult to discern when there is a real problem and when there is just a little bit of soreness. Honestly, if I did it over again, I probably would go about the injury in a similar fashion. Running is hard and little aches are expected, but they should still be treated. The important thing for me to learn from this is that a day or two off, especially in DECEMBER, is not going to hurt me come outdoor season.

    I was perusing some of the recent videos of Flotrack and found this one by UNC’s coach Pete Watson. He suffered 11 stress fractures and 4 broken sacrums during his running career. Needless to say, he has some good insight on dealing with injuries that he shares in this video.

    Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

  • Making the Best of a Bum Knee

    Posted on December 29th, 2009

    About a week and a half ago, my left knee started bothering me. I thought it was nothing, so I continued running through it. The pain never got too bad, but it persisted, so I have decided to take some time off of running to let it heal. I have been seeing a physical therapist/chiropractor, Brett Darrington, that helped me recover from many an injury in high school. Here are some pictures my teammates and I sent to Brett for his help in high school: Thanks from Jason, 2005 Royal Cross Country team, 2004 State Champions.

    While I wait for Brett’s magic to kick in and let the knee heal, I have been swimming a lot. This month I have swam almost 23 miles. I am really working on improving my stroke as opposed to increasing my swim fitness. I want to be quick and efficient through the water and swimming hard intervals with poor form won’t get me there. With this in mind, I stopped by Big 5 Sporting Goods a couple days ago to pick up a Nike pull buoy and Speedo paddles. After three days of using these new toys I am already feeling a difference. Today, I set a PR in the 50y by two seconds — 30 seconds. Now I need to focus on hitting 50y splits in 30 seconds on my way to 200, 400, 800 yards and beyond.

  • Finals, Snow & Training

    Posted on December 8th, 2009

    flagstaff_snow_treeAt most universities across the nation it is finals week, including at Northern Arizona University. The only difference with NAU is that some finals have been canceled. That’s right, CANCELED, due to snowfall. From about 4am Monday morning till early this morning, the snow never let up over Flagstaff. There is now about 2 feet of accumulation. In fact, last night saw blizzard conditions with wind gusts up to 40 mph, leaving some wicked snow drifts this morning.

    Because conditions were/are so poor, NAU decided it would not be safe to require students to come to campus for finals after 12pm yesterday and all day today. Lucky me, I had a final yesterday at 10am (before the school shut down) and none today. My next and last final is tomorrow at 7:30am, and it looks like conditions will be better today so I will be studying like I will be taking the exam.

    My balcony. Hopefully we don't need those bikes anytime soon.

    My balcony. Hopefully we don't need those bikes anytime soon.

    For people that missed their final, they have been given two options: either accept the grade they had before the final or reschedule the final exam for the first week of next semester (in January). If you aren’t happy with your grade, it is a crappy situation. Moral of the story: don’t bank on the final boosting your grade in the future — especially at the end of Fall semester.

    Training

    Yesterday, Andrew Belus, Will Porter, Eric Lynch and I went running around downtown Flagstaff in the snow. We had a great time throwing snowballs at people and cars. Of course this was fresh powder, so the snowballs were plenty soft enough to not do any damage. That didn’t stop one guy from turning his car around and questioning Will with a wrench in his hand. Dude needed to chill out.

    Needless to say, it was a great way to officially start my 2010 track campaign.

    My van was completely covered in the morning.

    My van was completely covered in the morning.

    Today I decided not to be so brave and opted for the treadmill at my apartment’s clubhouse. I put 10 miles in at around 7:00 pace. Probably a little too fast for this time of year, but I quickly realized that the faster I ran the less time I had to spend on the treadmill staring at a wall. I did bring some tunes with me so that helped ease the monotony.

    I noticed that my heart rate seemed like it was higher than it should have been, 166 bpm, for that pace and incline (2%). I have done some reading recently about riding on bicycle trainers (basically using your normal bike as a stationary bike indoors) and there seems to be a consensus that your power output while riding a trainer is limited compared to riding outdoors by how well you can cool your self off, among other things. Obviously there is no wind, unless you have a fan in front of you, to increase the convection coefficient (had to throw in some heat transfer terms as that is what my final is on tomorrow) to help cool you off. I wonder if this was the main contributing factor to my unusually high heart rate. If I have to get on the treadmill more this winter, I will be sure to play closer attention to it and see if I can come up with some good conclusions.

  • 2009 Cross Country

    Posted on December 4th, 2009

    The 2009 NCAA cross country season finished a week and a half ago now. Going home for the Thanksgiving holiday allowed some time for me to think about the season, go over what went well and what needs some improving, and to start thinking about the next season.

    I officially started the 2009 cross country season on July 6th, a week after my triathlon. I jumped into a 70 mile week and followed with 80 and 90 mile weeks. It may seem a bit aggressive, but I wanted to get in as many 100 mile weeks as I could. The following week was 77 miles in 6 days (My only day off during the season. Just happened to be the only day all season that I couldn’t make any time to go for a run.) and then I started my first 100 mile week of seven.

    This season was a huge success for me. I accomplished both of the goals I set in the Summer: make the top-7 and place in the top 100 at NCAAs. As some of my teammates had some struggles this season, I was actually the only person on the team to score at all seven meets (George Kyte, Aztec, Cowboy Jamboree, Pre-Nationals, Conference, Regionals and NCAAs). When all was said and done, I logged 1,806 miles this season. I have never been as diligent about logging mileage as I was this season, so I do not have a reference to compare with, but I believe that this season far surpassed the mileage I have run in the past. Since high school, I have had a steady increase in mileage and I attribute a lot of the improvements I am making now to that.

    In Jack Daniel’s Running Formula, he says something along the lines that the benefits of high mileage are long lasting. My old teammate Marten Bostrom, who was known to run upwards of 120 mile weeks while running collegiality, talked about the benefits he gained from running such high mileage. Now, about seven months after joining the century club, I am convinced.

    With this in mind, I had a meeting with Coach Heins yesterday talking about goals for the upcoming indoor and outdoor track seasons. I told him that my ultimate goal in collegiate running was to leave NAU as an All-American — no easy task, but that is why it would mean so much. My best opportunity to reach this goal will be next year’s cross country season and everything I do until November 2010 will hopefully be preparing me. We agreed that a year of high mileage is the obvious route to take. Over the next 12 months, I will try to build my aerobic system more and more with a plethora of 100+ mile weeks.

    This is not to say that I am not looking forward to competing on the track this Winter and Spring. For indoors, I will focus on running a good conference meet and contributing to another Big Sky Conference title. If training is going well, and depending on how some of my teammates are running, I may get the opportunity to run a 5,000 at the University of Washington in Seattle. For outdoors, the main goal is to qualify for the first round of the NCAA Championships (aka “Super Regionals”). In the steeplechase, a sub-9 minute performance should get me in. If I am running well enough in the 5,000, a time in the low 14 minute range may be good enough.

    Then there is the 10,000. As of now, I do not have plans to make my 25 lap debut this Spring. If the high mileage is feeling good, and Coach thinks I am ready for a good effort, then I will suck it up and give it my best. 25 laps just seems so brutal.

    As for now, I am running easy a few days a week and doing some swimming. Since I want to give triathlons a serious try post college, I will try to get into the pool regularly all season. If I can swim once a week up until Summer, I should be way ahead of where I was when I started swimming a lot last May. Next week I will start running more, probably around 70 miles, and should be running 100 miles again shortly after the new year.

    Looking forward to may miles of trials, trials of miles ahead…