FECUNDITY

My fourth column in less than 24 hours!  I’ve been working on my annual Christmas Classic for the last week or so, going to be good.

Going to stick with this week’s theme of USATF.  I hope yesterday’s two  columns give you a sense of from whence I come.  Speaking as one of the founders, among  the  handful of architects, of our USATF Elite Development Club program.  And as founder of the  Nebraska Association LDR Program.  And founder of Team Nebraska.  And Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  And Nebraska Run Guru Events.  If you think those creds are of significance, entitle me to opine on the current state,  continue reading, if not, now might be a good  time for you to flip to the funny pages.

USATF.  What does it mean to you?  Like so many things, two  ways of  looking at it.  For many of you, it is what can you get out of it, without making any real commitment to the program or your club.  Do you take advantage of the free entry into Lincoln and nothing else the  rest of the  year?  Do you line  up for the Club Cross National Champs teat without supporting your  local championships?  Yes, some of you do.  Shame.

I  surveyed the selection processes of the Kansas City Smoke and Iowa Runablaze.  Unlike Nebraska, neither association hosted a Cross Champs this fall.

Our friends to the east employ the Nebraska model, simply raise your hand and you get to go.  Just that easy.  Did you race this fall?  No?  OK, its cool.  Have you done anything at all this year to earn a spot?   No?  Ok, its cool.  Fortunately for Iowa their depth pool allows them to pull it off and still finish in the upper echelons against the nation’s best.

I’m more in line with the Kansas City Smoke.
You meet the Elite Standard (14:15/30:00/1:08) and you are in.  If you are an A level athlete (15:30, 32:15, 1:10:59), AND race well leading up to November 1st, you are in the  pool of potential selectees.  Very competitive process with several talented athletes remaining in KC to cheer from afar.  Will it surprise you when the Smoke finishes head and shoulders above any other Midwest club.

Entitlement vs Earning.  Again, a good time for you to flip to the funny pages.

Team Nebraska
Josiah Belzer*
Cory Logsdon*
Michael Hoffman
Pierce Tallichet
Peter Moises

LRC Racing
Nolan Border*
Andrew Jacob*
Michael Rathje
Ryan Regnier
Trevor Vidlak

*participated in Nebraska Association Cross Champs.  WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE MANDATORY QUALIFYING RACE TO BE CONSIDERED FOR TRAVEL.  You may or may not agree and I respect your opinions.  But as original author and architect of LDR in Nebraska it WAS NOT MEANT TO BE THIS WAY.  I hope you can respect that.

Those of you that have created the current climate of entitlement have strayed so far from my vision that I feel compelled to pen today’s response.

This weekend’s race results will speak volumes about the current competitive state of Nebraska’s three Very Well sponsored USATF Clubs, mine included.  But will anyone hear or care or do anything about it?  Or will they simply wait until next year and raise their hand?

 

 

 

WELCOME MIKE & GREG

USATF Men’s LDR Committee Scott Hamilton Award is presented annually for work done at the Association level,  The Marjia Baker WLDR Contributor of the Year is awarded for service at the national level.

Congratulating Mike Blackmore and my old buddy Greg Meyer on their awards from this past weekend’s USATF Annual Awards Breakfast.  Honored and feel extremely privileged to share company with them.  For the real running geeks you can click the link to see the full historical lists.

Scott Hamilton Award
2004- Will Lindgren
2005- Bob Latham (Oregon Assoc. current Men’s LDR Champs Chair)
2006- Keith and Kevin Hanson (please tell me you know who they are)
2007- Tyler Abbott (Pacific Association)
2008- Richard Bolt (Mountain Ultra Trail Council)
2009- Jack Leydig (Pacific Association, scoring system development)
2010- Tom Knight (Road Running Technical Council- course measurement/certification)
2011- Jonathan Marcus (USATF High Performance Middle Distance Coordinator)
2012- Tracey Russell (Founder, Competitor Group- parent company of Rock-N-Roll Marathons)
2013- no data available
2014- Tom Derderian (Coach Greater Boston Track Club, Boston Marathon author)
2015- Don Kardong (1976 Olympic Marathoner, founder Lilac Bloomsday 12K)
2016- Mike Blackmore (Bowerman Track Club, sub 4, elite master)
http://www.usatf.org/statistics/Annual-Awards/Administrative/Men-LDR/ScottHamiltonAssociationLeaderAward.aspx

Marjia Baker Contributor of the Year
2002- Kathy Nary (International Competitions Chair)
2003- Will Lindgren
2004- Kim Keenan Kirkpatrick (current WLDR Chair)
2005- Joe Vigil (please tell me you know who this is)
2006- Irene Herman (Pacific Association, WLDR Law & Legislation)
2007- Pat Goodwin (President, Team USA Minnesota)
2008- Frank Porter (President, Boston Athletic Association)
2009- Elizabeth Phillips (Past WLDR Chair)
2010- Elva Dryer (2 time Olympian)
2011- Mickey Piscatelli (WLDR Executive Committee)
2012- Houston Marathon Committee (my old buddy Brant Kotch!)
2013- no data available
2014- Doug Alread (Race Director, Gate River Run, Jacksonville, FL)
2015- no data available
2016- Greg Meyer (1983 Boston Marathon winner, Elite Athlete Coordinator/Ambassador)
http://www.usatf.org/statistics/Annual-Awards/Administrative/WomensLDR/ContribOfTheYear.aspx

04

03

NEW ERA

For the first time since the founding of the Elite Development Club Council in 2002 neither I, nor Bill Roe, nor Devon Martin will serve on that August Body.  Our program, we can look back over the last decade and a half with satisfaction.  Wishing the new Council members smooth sailing.

Our Nebraska Run Guru Elite Christmas Party this past Saturday.  Twenty from across the state showing up for the run and short order breakfast.  Celebrating where we are and what we are doing.   Charting our 2017 waters.  Defining the roles of our members, leadership, and sponsor.

Finings.  Substances added near the end of a process to produce clarity, removal of unnecessary compounds.  NRGE, LLC no longer a sponsor of NRGE, Inc.  Clarity achieved.  The twain will continue to work together for the Nebraska running community however.

One of the highlights watching the NXN Championships with Nebraska’s Seth Hersch taking a turn up front around  two miles.  Moving up a place from last year, 4th overall against the Best, that Klinger cat repeating, Man among boys.

Johnny Rutford,  good on you.  Five thirty fours-thirty  fives all the way through twenty, still managing a big personal best after the battles of the last 10K.  Welcome to the world of Real Marathoning!  Hold your head up high, you’ll never regret your career as long as you give it EVERYTHING you’ve got.

Be sure and check out our 2017 Winter Fitness Series.  Offering safety with a closed road course, angry drivers the bane of us all.  Offering USATF Certified courses.  Offering swag and frills, home baked goodies and hot chocolate and awards and giveaways.  Our third year now, Two Rivers State Park, only 5 minutes west of Omaha.

January 7- Rust Buster 5K
January 21- Full Wolf Moon 5K
February 4th- Dalton Gang 5K
February 11- Two  Rivers  Valentines Day Runs (1.5 mile walk, 5K, 10K)
February 25- Halley’s Comet 8K

Offering proximal, winter fitness opportunities to the Omaha Metro.   Distals being Lake Manawa in Iowa and No Frills way down south, combined 60 years, Mick and Craig doing things their way.  I used to make those long drives, encouraged my athletes too.  Ultimately it was those long drives that prompted our efforts to provide something more local.

New Era.

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The 2016 Winter Fitness Series provided flat, fast, USATF Certified, closed course racing opportunities.  Grant’s 15:06 5K and 24:12 8K leading a resurgence in Real Racing in Nebraska.

 

 

 

 

VOODOO STEW

Christmas time in Omaha!  As a resident since 2001 I’ve grown to appreciate the Midwest flavor of the holiday (contrasted to the palm trees in Houston).  But, I’ve been coming to Omaha in December since the late 1980s, thirty some years now.

I was a stud back then, always wanted to find a race in Omaha in December.  Not to be found.  Same as it ever was.

What I did find still sticks to my ribs.  Butsy LeDoux’s.   Creole and Cajun cuisine, New Orleans in the  Old Market.    Favorite from the menu of the now shuttered Butsy’s,  Voodoo Stew.

I found it remarkably tasty, authentic.  But it was what hung on the walls that really stirred me, fed my soul.    The owner had been friends with none other than Salvador Dali.  The grouping of, twelve if memory serves, seafood themed prints, larger than life, gifts from the master.  Adorning the walls and inspiring wonder.  I would ponder, “how in the world did such a collection end up in this little hole in the wall in Omaha.”  The news scroll across the television this morning announcing theft of the $60,000 collection.  Here’s to hoping they catch the scoundrel(s).

Good luck to Johnny Rutford at this weekend’s CIM.  He’ll improve 2015’s time there by 10-15 minutes.

I’ve been busy behind the curtain this  week.  USATF Annual meetings in Orlando.  Congrats to Vin Lanana, our new USATF President after Jackie Joyner-Kersee withdrew from the election.  Great news for the LDR community, Vin is one of the most respected coaches and administrators in the US.  And it is an election year with several important positions up for grabs.

I sit here with Jedediah in front of the wood burning stove, sipping my coffee, smiling at my Linda.

USATF.  Our USATF.  Nebraska’s USATF.  Against difficult odds making it all the more savory, roadmap leading to today.  Our USATF Club Cross Champs are next weekend, we’ve got just a boatload of Nebraskans headed down to Tallahassee.

Good Fight fought.  Good Fight won.

 

 

TOOTSIE ROLL

Chewy, chewy, tootsie roll, lasts a long time, lasts a long time.

My old buddy Jonathan Beverly got ahold of me a few months ago about his newest book, asked  if I’d be available for an interview.  Why sure!  Premise of the book is longevity in our sport.  I’m on the lighter side, a whippersnapper in fact, with my mere 40 years running.  There are more 50 and 60 year runners than you might imagine.  Got the follow up call last week, eighty minutes spent reflecting on the hows and whys of this life long runner.

The surprise takeaway for me was the correlation, the commonality that nearly all the subjects reported.  We are all driven by the  notion that we are not/never were really that  good.

I related my high school racing career.  Always, ALWAYS, immediately to the lead, as fast and as far as possible.  Always, ALWAYS, finishing dead last.  Every race though, the gap to next to last diminished.

I’ve had something to prove every single race.  My entire life.  And even now, with medial and  lateral meniscus repair looming, I’m still salivating.  Still have that chip on my shoulder.

That will motivate me.  The opportunity to once again prove myself to myself, that I can dig a little deeper, push myself just a little harder, make  myself just a little bit better.

Maybe just enough to be good.

 

 

 

JOCK NOWINS

I have seen the future!   Engaging, effervescent, never broke a tape or stood on a podium.   Jock, I tip my sombrero to you.   You tapped into that 99% you understand and understand you.  The times they have ch-ch-changed.

It started with the mud run
And then the color run
Foam run, foam run
Walk or run
Run or walk
What’s the difference,
None at all Eh Jock?

Those frilly costumed frills
Cutesy names and walking the hills
No one cares about that 1%
Your message was clearly sent
USATF?
Bah!
Competition?
Nah!

You package it up
All tidy  and bowed
Herding your masses
Down the Purple Cow Road
Lace Up!  Show Up!
And you’re a winner
Winner Winner!
Chicken Dinner *not included with entry fee

You liked the foam, you loved the mud
And took it to the next level bud
Slinging shit like it is gold
The latest crock to be sold
With a woot woot there
And a woot woot here
And when you’re finished
One free beer!

Run or walk
Walk or run
Purple Cow
FUN, FUN FUN!

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WRITE AND WRONG

Breaking news from behind the curtain!  The Tin Man’s heart revealed!

I’ve penned near daily with the Lion’s Courage and the Scarecrow’s Brain but today I’m introducing a grander and more ameliorated heart.  Thanks to everyone that made yesterday such a special day.

Look, I’ve dug my heels in for over a decade.  Things like “My Way or the Highway!”  Or, “I’m not here to make friends, I’m here to build a competitive community!”  Or, “They can kiss my ***!”  Focused on the battles, taking on each and every obstacle  with the same gusto, sometimes glee.  Dispatching those that would stand in the way of progress.  Always wary, eyes to the woods as it were.  Defender of Real Running.

But an amazing thing happened on the way to the coliseum, allowing unfiltered view of the blessings all around.  Hearing from running friends, and even older friends, from the last 50+ years has yet again softened this old man.  And for true, don’t doubt it for a minute, Linda has done even more.  We celebrated 4 years of mutual admiration and respect yesterday.  Those that know me best have seen the amazing transformation of their friend to one heck of a happy fella.

California International Marathon is this weekend.  Which means Houston Marathon is only 6 weeks away!  And  Boston only 18 weeks!  And Lincoln 6 months!  Giddyup!

ITS MY BIRTHDAY!

59!  The more trips around  the sun I make the more grateful for each sunrise and each sunset.

In a twist I’m giving you Birthday Wishes.  In order of importance in life.  As I see it.

I wish you a Loving family.  May your parents live long and healthy.  May your partner be equal in love.  May your children bring you joy.

I wish you Friends.  Real friends, loyal friends, those that you have absolutely nothing to offer other than return of the same.

I wish you Health.  Longevity in our sport at the very top, pain free locomotion next, fluidity and grace if you are lucky.

I wish you Self Satisfaction.  May you love your work.  May you be self actualized.  May you be comfortable in your own skin

I wish you Respect.  May those around you recognize your contributions and offer support.

I wish you Spirituality.  Wherever you may find it.  In the earth and sky, in the winds and the rain, the trees and animals,  the sun and the stars.  Its Everywhere.

I wish you Patience.  And Empathy.  And Sympathy.  Three of the most important aspects of humanity.

I wish you Kindness.  It is better to give than to receive.

I wish you Joy.  Bliss.  It comes from within

I wish you Another trip around the sun.

Giddyup!

 

GRAVY

Love it!  Turkey gravy with giblets, nothing like a good reduction of entrails to liven up the holiday table!  Cream gravy over chicken fried steak, or mashed potatoes, or hashbrowns or sufferin succotash.  Au jus, the lighter side .  Rich brown demi glasse, deep and elegant.  Aspic, concentrated, free standing, savory beef stock jelly, gourmand’s gelatinous delight.

I’m dipping my ladle into the tureen of excellence this post Turkey Trot Day.

Joe Moore of the Kansas City Smoke set a state record 14:16 at the MHK Turkey Trot.  Jason Thomas won the Des Moines Turkey Trot in a stout 14:37.  I’ve got to throw in Grant’s 14:38 from last month’s Omaha Race for the Cure.

Cream of the Midwest crop.  I’d love to see a match race between a few obvious principles.  Each club puts $250 into the pot with lion’s share to winner, only 3 deep.  Limit  the field to 10 fellas.  Sell a few tickets to watch.  Maybe get it sponsored by Horseman’s Park.  Two Rivers State Park, that perfect 1.5 mile oval of ashphalt, I’ll go mark it every quarter for excellent pacing, have clocks every mile and another in the back of the lead vehicle.  Feature race before the main Open event, everyone in that field inspired by greatness witnessed, 99% set personal bests.  Modeling excellence  to inspire the masses.  Or, Stimulating the Running Community to  a More Competitive Culture.

Gravy.

 

SHORT SIGHTED

Big kudos to my buddy Camille Herron on being selected USATF’s 2016 Ultra Road Runner of the Year.  Tony Migliozzi was the men’s honoree.   Both were the 2015 World 50K Champions after all.

Do I have something to say about this?  Yep.  I know how our USATF organization works.  I’ve sat behind those doors.

Camille has been burning up the USATF MUT circuit for the last few years.  Serves on the WLDR Executive Committee, I sat at that table too.

USATF tends to reward its own.  Run the Championship races and you get a shiny star on your nomination.  Make a World Team and you’re almost a lock.  Its the USATF Annual Awards Banquet.

Ultra Running, like the rest of our sport, is undergoing a seminal period.  And we have two pioneers pushing limits right here in Nebraska.  Pushing?  Nay!  Re-Defining!  To lengths not seen in generations or ever.

I nominated both Kaci and Pete for *MUT’s Running’s highest honor.  *Mountain Ultra Trail
Had been waiting anxiously for the vote, the winners announced yesterday.  After congratulating our winners I immediately reached out to my athletes.

Look, Kaci had the best 2016 of any ultra female in the United States.  To quote our president elect, “Believe It!”  And if you think for a moment that Pete’s CR at Badwater and WR transcontinental run weren’t the performances of the year by any ultra runner, anywhere, then please just move along.

You read it here first folks.  2017 Ultra Road Runners of the Year, Kaci and Pete.