God Bless Mr. Romine.  My 8th grade basketball coach gave this advice based on my diminutive stature.  I finished my junior high school career with a grand total of 1 free throw to my credit.  It happened like this:  Dribbling down the court and a bigger fella tried to steal the ball with a blatant foul.  I  made the free throw.  With the inbounds pass I went directly after my aggressor and knocked him on his ass.  My coach pulled me and that was my career.

One of the perks of this blog is the frequent emails received.  I hear a lot of inspiring stories.  Get compliments and complaints.    Inbox pinged last week with the admonition that I should “Stick To Gardening.”

I do go on about all things running.  And not everyone will send glowing reviews.   I’ve spent the last 17 years upsetting the local apple cart if you will.  Trying to advance programs and a vision.

I count the past decade and a half a success.  USATF members and clubs.  Course certification.  Competition.  Community programs.  Personal coaching.  Working with those that share my passion.   Educating the running community to a better way.

Bar None Produce is an extension of my running philosophy.   We proudly proclaim our methods and product to be superior, Bar None.  We back it up with hard work supporting a vision.  No other completely chemical free market gardeners in the Metro or maybe even Nebraska.  Educating the public to a better way.  I get emails about gardening too.  Telling us how much we are appreciated.  Telling me to “Stick to Running.”

My personal best of 2:07 for 800 meters, set in 1990 at age 32.   28 years ago, in flats.   All Comers Meet at Rice University.   I’m still running and playing checkers and gardening.

22 + 23 = 22

Kicking off with big tips of the sombrero to our mates Ashley Schurman, Jackie Freeman, and my dear sweet Linda Kunasek!    And the other 25 in attendance at the USATF Level 1 Coaching Education certification in Lincoln.

For the benefit of running in all of Nebraska.  At all levelsAsk your coach if they are credentialed by our sport’s National Governing Body.  You don’t have to be a USATF Certified Coach to tell people how to run.  But if you are your athletes will understand and appreciate your dedication and commitment to the sport and to their training.

Linda came home impressed by those in attendance.  The New Generation of USATF coaches.  The Next Generation.  Those that will carry the message long after I’m retired.

I’ve been looking for a 5K.  Just itching now that Linda has joined her own new age group.  I really want to test this 60 year old body’s limits but I need a legit course.  I’ve got to be able to measure apples against apples and course certification provides that.

Certification is my first criteria for any race.  If I’m looking for a Real Test competition is a factor.   My old song and dance about a closed road course is in the top 5 as well.  Swag that matches the distance I run.  An event that supports Real Running and Racing, for all entrants, whether front, middle, or back, from here or there, my kit or yours.  How do you know Real Racing?  I’ll quote Supreme Court Associate Justice Potter Stewart “I know  it when I see it.”

No way to keep up with the multitude of runs this past weekend.  Leprechauns and Shamrocks and Shillelaghs.  And Shenanigans!

I noticed this recently, a RACE that is NOT A RACE unless you pay extra to be timed.   Same start line.  Same finish.  Same staff.  Same course.  $22 or $45 you still got the same thing.   How and why do you penalize someone because they are serious about their sport and effort?

My proposal is for charity events to charge the non-racing, participant only, the higher entry fee.  They are there to support your cause and won’t mind at all.  You enjoy so many advantages from our sport, please  share some of it back to our community!  An official  time without doubling the entry fee would  be a great starting point.

I call on all charitable running events to support, subsidize and advance the opportunities for all athletes (regardless of talent) because they use OUR SPORT!  You won’t lose your charitable base and you will be giving back to what helps your bottom lines.

Would you go bowling without your ball?  Would you shoot hoops with no rim?  Swim in an empty pool?  Hunt with no ammo?  Order an empty beer?   Read a wordless book?  Play poker with only threes?  Show up at a Black tie affair in your LuLus?

This is the ultimate example of our sport being used,  taking without giving back.  That is my opinion.  And gentle readers, a main impetus blowing my coals.  Racing has been co-opted and corrupted by fundraising entities that have nothing at all to do with running or athletics.  For many 22 + 23 = 22 is just peachy.  But not for all of us, not the Real Runners.





From 2002-2012 Team Nebraska was one of the most respected USATF Clubs in the U.S.   My mantra for over 10 years was “My way or the highway.”   Because there was No Other Way.

Our USATF highway is now well paved.  With a veritable plethora of “ways”.  All these ways, steered, pointed, and  guided by sundry interests.  Comprising athletics in Nebraska as we see it today.

The original bedrock however remains the same.  The vision for our USATF Nebraska Association’s LDR Program will not change.   Advocating for USATF members.

An analogy.  At Monday’s Valley/Waterloo Business Owner’s Association meeting the President indicated that those sitting  at the table would enjoy the rewards of the group’s efforts.  Member organization, member benefits.   If your not at the table, well…..

Our USATF Highway has broad shoulders, welcomes all USATF member clubs, all USATF members, regardless of ability, regardless of kit,    For the last 17 years, USATF Nebraska has strived to educate the running community.   To elevate expectations in road race management.  The USATF perspective.

Think of this for just a moment.  With USATF Nebraska LDR we enjoy Team Nebraska, LRC Racing, Club 402,  Run Guru Elite.  The USATF clubs that serve our deserving athletes.

There have been a lot of contributors to our USATF Nebraska Highway.  None more important than our athletes.   The vision and mission will not change.

We’re still trying to iron out our 2018 USATF Nebraska Association LDR Championships schedule.  We’ve conducted our road 5K champs and have the State Farm 10 Mile on March 24, and Havelock 3K on June 2nd.  We are still looking for events to host our 2018 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon championships, at a very minimum.   If your race, no matter the distance,  is interested please reach out to our LDR Chair or USATF Association President, Rubin Carter







This has been a year for the record books.  Migratory birds numbering more than even the hoariest can remember.  We count it fortunate that our work is under the skies.

This season won’t last but it has been a sight to behold to be sure.  Too easy and a far shortfall to say there are millions.  A couple of times I’ve been completely awe struck, dumbfounded with eyes cast towards the heavens.  Reminding to keep our mouths closed.

Our little slice blessed by the Good Mother.  And this route is celebrated throughout  the  Good Life and throughout America.

Well, not quite all of America.  I’ve indicated that the Twin Rivers Homestead is chock full of interesting characters.  A mom and daughter walked up to the fence last night.  We talked of the winged wonders.  Mom used a term I’ve heard three times in the last week.  Sky Pigs.

See, one person’s beauty can be another’s burden.  A lot of it is what you are used to.  What you’ve seen, what you expect.   Here along the Platte and Elkhorn these birds are a spiritual awakening, certain and final harbinger of spring.

What mom told me next shook me a little.  Her son used to live in Nebraska.  He’s a pilot.  Got his wings spraying the corn and bean fields of Madison County.  He’s plying his craft differently these days and my imagination has a hard time grasping.  Son still flies, still lays down passes, spraying lethal gasses.  In Alaska.  The Tundra.

What pray tell could he possibly be ridding?  Snow geese.  So numerous as to be doing real damage to our environment.  One person’s beauty, another’s  curse.

Sky Pigs.


Sieze the carp!
Carp.  A freshwater fish native to Midwest rivers.
Carp.  To complain in a demanding way.

At sixty years old I made my very first Friday Night Fish Fry last week.  St. Johns in Valley.  My family grew up poor.   We ate what my dad hunted primarily.  And fished.  Every free day during the summers I’d be at the Lake Fork River with my fishing pole and a box of Wheaties.  Not for breakfast, if you crush them  just right and add a little river water, and Viola!  Wheatie Balls.  The dependable go to when no nightcrawlers available.  Pop that Wheatie in the water and the carp frenzy ensues.  Used to slay those carp with Wheaties.  Dozens loaded onto multiple stringers.

Even the poor have standards.  Carp is a bottom feeder with a bad reputation.  We would take our stringers to the Kearns family, a dozen kids in foster care, recipient of much largesse from our small community.  If there were extras or leftovers or spare, we all knew it would be in good hands with the Kearns.

Carp was on the menu last Friday night and naturally I had to take that trip down memory lane.  Well prepared and presented, tastes exactly as it did 50 years ago.   I might can go another 50.

Our Valley/Waterloo community is becoming more and more our home.   Bar None Produce now a member of the  Valley Waterloo Business Owners Association.  In an unlikely twist your scribe has dove into the civic pool with  gusto.  Unlikely because most of these meetings we’ve been attending start at 6 or 7, later than this guru prefers.

Tristan slayed the Valley City Council at last night’s Valley 7 Lakes Marathon presentation.  The local support for the race grows more with each.  The VWBOA  in attendance lending support to our efforts.  Tristan, only 20 years old, standing toe to toe with the civic giants, accepting each challenge and describing our response.  Ducks in a row, ducks in a row.

The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon now lays claim to the Flattest Marathon In The World with only 21 feet total elevation gain.  Better profile than London, better than Berlin, better than Rotterdam.  Better profile than any run in the United States.  Superlative.  Completely closed road course.  It will be the Only closed road marathon in Nebraska.   It will be the Flattest Marathon In The World.  It will be April 27, 2019.  It will be for you!    Valley and Waterloo beckons.  All proceeds to benefit the DC West Cross Country team and Nebraska Run Guru Elite, Inc.



I was standing completely rigid, gripped in fear.  As the menacing  figure neared I began to panic.  He was pissed and coming straight for me.  I could see his approach but something was wrong.  Part of his face began to shimmer.  And then melt into a glimmer.

I was 19, in boot camp, and had just made up my bunk for inspection.  The Drill Instructor, doing his job with this raw class of recruits, scare the hell out of them.  But my hell had no explanation.

For the last 40 years I’ve experienced what I  call “spells”.  No real trigger, no set frequency, spells just spells.  Usually accompanied by a small headache.  Inconvenient only  when in the company of others really.  Usually passing within a couple to a few minutes.

I have to admit I’ve always  worried  just a little.  Mainly thinking it was some precursor to ocular disease.  Sight, such a gift as to not be taken for granted.

I’ve tried to explain these spells to close associates for years.  Seemingly a singular condition.

As the fates would have it I experienced one of my more significant episodes in the presence of Dr. Bill Weeks.  Getting ready for our Saturday morning run through the hills South of Yutan, things started to blur.  I knew I needed to sit down.  And then began explaining what was manifesting.  Bill knew the answer immediately to the question I’ve been asking my entire adult life.

Migrane with Aura.  A migrane headache without the associated intense pain, light and sound sensititivity, the Real Hell.  Just a glimmer and a shimmer.  Just a certain aura.


Thanks to the course measurer for sending in the correction about the LC10K being USATF Certified.  Hope no one was offended by the fact I could not find it in the USATF data base.  I was entering the correct spelling of Leprechaun when conducting my search.


Pluck- To snatch quickly
Pluck- Spirited Determination and Courage.

We’re going with the latter this morning.  Perfect descriptor for Liz Starbuck.  Rhymes with Pluck.  Liz has that spirited determination and courage.  And more.  Sweet, polite, congenial, earth aware, family oriented, respectful young lady.  Its what smolders just below the surface that has me admiring the cut of  her jib.  She gives off a vibe on the starting line that I wish I could bottle.

Liz took the Overall for the Lasses at the Des Moines Leprechaun Chase yesterday.  We’re darned proud of her.  But not surprised.  Liz kicked off the year with a 17:54 Certified & Sanctioned Full Wolf Moon 5K on January 20.   Safe bet that she takes another minute off that before year’s end.

Liz came to us from the Colorado School of Mines.  Works in the environmental department for a Fortune 500 contractor based in Omaha.  Lofty goals in running and in life.

I’ve lamented for 6 years the loss of an advocate for Nebraska’s Track & Field athletes.  I see a time when that need will once again be addressed.   Point is as much as I believe in the talent across all disciplines of Athletics in Nebraska, inside this old man beats an LDR heart.

Which is why I’m pretty jacked to see Liz moving up.  She made her 10K (39:32) road debut at last September’s Freedom  Run 10K in Valley.  Her 38:44 on a cold and windy morning a new personal best and Run Guru Elite club record.   And a half debut on the horizon…

The Des Moines LC10K.   USATF Certified (IA15015MF) first couple of miles on the roads of SW 11th and MLK, the rest on the trail surrounding Gray’s Lake and back.  Interesting that the Omaha LC10K was not USATF Certified or Sanctioned.**update- I’ve been informed the LC10K Omaha is indeed certified through 2023 though it is not currently listed on the USATF website,



Best news out at the Bar None?  In a trick that would have ‘Ol Lazarus green with envy our dear sweet Natalie has returned!  I was mentioning to Linda that I can’t pass the windows without looking for her to come, low to the ground-opposite of her big, bold  brother- comport always easily recognized.  Had hardly finished the sentence when she slowly came across Howard and Rose’s preserve for a back yard.  Thin and weak, she’s bounced back to 100%.  Howard and Rose, our eclectic neighbors.  Rose a dental pharmaceutical professor at Creighton, Howard just retired as a biochemistry professor from UNO.  They go to his home in Liverpool every summer.  He has tales of the Cavern and attended university with Prince Charles.  Two  of the brightest minds I’ve ever had the pleasure of, way ahead of the curve if you will.

A small paradigm adjustment (progress!)  in the garden this year.  One section dedicated entirely to 20’X8’  raised bed construction, numbered 1-20.  Six planted yesterday, Gladiator, Javelin, Hollow Crown and Harris Model Parnsips , and 3 rows of  Hablange Parsley Root in 11.  Golden Ball, Shogoin,  and Purple Top White Globe Turnips in 12.  Nelson, YaYa, and Napoli Carrots in 13.  Here’s a trick- plant your radishes in the same furrow as your carrots, sounds counterintuitive but works like magic.  This year I’ve mixed in D’Avignon French Breakfast and Roxanne Hybrid radishes along with.  Red Ace beets in bed 14.  Strike and Maxigolt Peas in 15.  Flamingo Spinach in 3.

I’ve also started 25 flats (72 plants/flat) of leeks, bunching onions, broccoli, collards, swiss chards, lettuces, basil, parsley, kale, kohlrabi, celery, cutting celery, cabbage, and fennel.  All sprouted and growing and looking forward to the move into the new digs, the potting shed, then into their own tidy beds.  I’ll start peppers and tomatoes and eggplant and squashes and melons and peanuts and potatoes and cukes and more as the season rapidly approaches.

Every single thing chemical free.  I like my food like I like my athletes.

Ordered 25 Cornish roasters that Linda and I will butcher in 10-12 weeks, freezer birds.  And another 18 layers, keeping true to my multi-variety, high egg production, colorful feathers and eggs.

And all the while, all around, the cacophony of migration.  Dense racket darkening the skies and setting wonder and awe to all that see.  Learning to love and appreciate this little slice more and more each year.

The Good Mother’s annual show never ceases to amaze.



Prompt.  Triple entendre and I like it.  Prompt means punctual.  Prompt means quick.  Prompt means spur to action.  2018, so far a year of promptly prompted.  Quickly motivated.  What prompts my promptness?   What drives me now?

What pushes me back up on the stump?

Ruffles.  Triple entendre and I love it.  Ruffle means to muss someone’s hair.  Ruffle means a bird raising its feathers in display.  Ruffle means disturb the smoothness or tranquility of.

What prompts my ruffles?

Seizing today’s opportunities and trying to fit them into my Grand Design.   I’ve been writing some iteration of this blog for 15 years.  Have explicitly defined that design.  Expectations born of a life’s experience in our sport.  The drive to keep my values and principles, defining my work and final coda.  My Life.  My Passion.  My Vision.