Category Archives: Uncategorized

DEPTH CHARGES

To every hard working,  serious, dedicated, in the trenches, giving it their all athlete,  here is  something told me by Phd. Sports Psychologist and 2:16 marathoner Andy Palmer:  “There is always someone faster.”

From the ol’ rule book:  Athletes may transfer between clubs within an association as long as they have not represented another bona fide club within 90 days at an association, regional, or national championships.   Good explanation as to why there was zero red and white on the start line at Sunday’s association xc champs.  The very fastest of soon-to-be former Team Nebraska athletes are hopefully intent on cracking the traveling squad for LRC Racing.  That was the point after all.  To combine the clubs’ top athletes into a “super” club that will represent the Good Life.   I couldn’t be happier and can’t resist drawing parallels to the Original Team Nebraska (’02-’12).  My old mates set a high bar and I wish LRC Racing all the best in their pursuits.

I raise this point for the sake of our USA Club National Cross Country Championships.   Spokane on December 8th.  I’m going to be the most vocal of cheerleaders for our Nebraska contingent, whomever that may end up being.  No entries yet but I’m keen on keeping up for you gentle readers.  I’m guessing only Peter Falcon will crack LRC’s top 5. Luka Thor and Colin Morrissey in the top 10.  Precipitous after that.
http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/2018/USATF-National-Club-Cross-Country/Status-of-Entries.aspx

Here’s a little preview of what the course will look like:
http://www.usatf.org/events/2008/USATFClubXCChampionships/Video/index.asp

I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the air quality improves in California.  Early scuttlebutt has it that the  California International Marathon (Dec. 2) will mirror the Big Sur Marathon’s decision of last week to cancel.  Our USATF Marathon National Championships in jeopardy, 26.2 the cruelest mistress of all.  Status of entries currently showing nada.
http://www.usatf.org/Products—Services/Event-Registration-Status.aspx?e=114652

 

RACE REPORT MONDAY

A big sombrero tip to the 13 LRC Racing, 3 Club 402, and Run Guru’s Christina Elder.  Our USATF Nebraska Association XC Champs were held yesterday at storied Walnut Grove park in Omaha.  (Storied thanks to the 14:52 course record by high schooler Seth Hersch.)    The event held in conjunction with our association’s Youth Championships.  Modeling excellence for these youngster’s future.

Runners to your marks!

LRC Racing women’s team.  L-R: Sarah Fowler , age 23;  Kara Schlueter, age 18;  Laura Tarantino, age 23; Ashlyn Glann, age 22;  Katie Fitzsimmons, age 24;  Mary Hillis, age 24.  Young and fast.

 

The LRC women’s team tackling the muddy course as a pack.

Katie Fitzsimmons (L-2nd in 19:04.48) and Sarah Fowler (R-1st in 19:04.25) cruising in together with all smiles.    Nebraska athletics legend Coach Bill “Scar” Scarborough (far left) handling the finish line for the day.  Thanks Coach!

Christina Elder (21:33) our only entrant.  Her first ever xc race!

Nolan Zimmer (15:56) led his mates to an uncontested team title.  LRC sporting blue singlets and yellow singlets and white singlets, all supporting a single vision.

Club 402 exec Tim Fry never one to shy away from a race!

The afternoon was also chock full of youth races.  Stimulating the running community to a more competitive culture!

 

 

 

 

 

DRINKS ON ME!

The Omaha World Herald features upcoming events in their weekly  “Beer Runs and Rides” section, thanks for that.  With that impetus we have decided to offer adult beverages at our 2019 Two Rivers Winter Fitness Series.  Taking a little nip to hold off the cold, not a bad idea after all.

The Rust Buster 5K kicks off our 2019 Two Rivers Winter Fitness Series on January 5th.  10:00 am start.   In addition to the USATF Certified and Sanctioned run we will offer our famous home made participation awards, baked goodies, official times, door prizes, closed road course, hot chocolate, and now kahlua, schnapps, and more.  Perfect for first timers, those with New year’s Resolutions, or serious runners looking to test their fitness.  Low $20 entry fee.  Probst!  https://www.active.com/waterloo-ne/running/distance-running-races/rust-buster-5k-2019?int=

The Full Wolf Moon 5K is set for January 19th.  A Howling  Good Time!  Second in our series.  All of our Two Rivers events are conducted on a Closed Road, 1.5 mile loop course.  Our buddy Mike out at the park keeps the roads plowed for your best opportunity to stay upright.  Same long list of amenities for the low $20 entry fee.
https://www.active.com/waterloo-ne/running/distance-running-races/full-wolf-moon-5k-2019?int=

7th Annual Two Rivers Valentine’s Day 5K.  February 9.  10:00 am start.  Come get that loving feeling!  Nebraska’s favorite Valentine’s Day run provides chocolates, wine, home made goodies and participation awards, door prizes, official times, and more.  USATF Certified and  Sanctioned.  Warming your hearts and soles!
https://www.active.com/waterloo-ne/running/distance-running-races/valentine-s-day-5k-2019?int=

Halley’s Comet 10K.  The final of our 2019 Two Rivers Winter Fitness Series.  February 23.  10:00 am start.  Same great amenities!  All the fluff and twice the fun!  A great way to wrap up your winter and a perfect kick off to your Valley 7 Lakes Marathon training cycle!
https://www.active.com/waterloo-ne/running/distance-running-races/halley-s-comet-10k-2019?int=

Nebraska Trail Run.  April 6.  10:00 am start.  The scenic Chalco Hills trails surrounding Lake Wehrspann.  Our 13th annual, the oldest consecutively run trail event in Nebraska!  https://www.active.com/omaha-ne/running/races/nebraska-trail-run-2019?int=

Valley 7 Lakes Marathon, Half Marathon, 5 Person Marathon Road Relay.  Big news!  The marathon race committee, City of  Valley and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Dept. announce our official cut off time of  5 hours.  We will provide a sweep vehicle to pick up athletes remaining on the course after the cut off.  If you are unsure if you are able to complete the distance in the prescribed time, please consider our half marathon or put a team together for the relay!
https://www.active.com/valley-ne/running/distance-running/valley-7-lakes-marathon-2019?int=

You can also sign up for email alerts and follow our progress at http://www.valley7lakesmarathon.com/

Drinks on me!

MEASURING UP RESPECTABILITY

The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon is pulling out all the stops.   Our youthful race committee (6 members under 23!) fully buying into the vision of a World Class Race with Small Town Charm.

We recently sent Rocky Pryor (Communications Director) to Denver to shadow an old buddy, Creigh Kelley, perhaps the premiere race announcer in the business.   Thank you Creigh for your support!

Course measurement.   The most basic, most important aspect of road race management.  When only the Best Will Do, you call old buddy Jim Gerweck from Norwalk, Connecticut.  Jim is on a small list (includes Kevin Lucas, my instructor in 1987, San Marcos, TX) called Final Signatory Measurers.  From the USATF website:  ” can measure your course and they have the authority to issue certifications for courses that they measure themselves. They aren’t “Regional Certifiers,” so do not have authority to review and certify courses measured by others. However, many of them have served previously as a Regional Certifier or have provided other important services to the course certification community. These people can also give guidance on how to measure a course.”

We are making it well known that this course has been painstakingly designed to achieve Flattest in the World, 21′ folks.    We fully expect the course and  certification paperwork to weigh heavy among our USA athletes when considering where and when they will race.  Scrutinized.  Dissected.  And with Jim Gerweck, above reproach and destined to be lauded.

Jim shown here at Sunday night’s farewell party for NYC Marathon Race Director Peter Ciaccia.  His contributions also include being a hell of a writer.  One of the really good guys in our sport.

Race Director Tristan Nelson, you have to love this kid.  He will insist that the first sub 2 hour marathon is going to happen right up the road in Valley.  Such Hubris, imagine that!

Word is spreading, we’ve got entrants from 6 states and a runner from the Republic of Niger.

World Class Race, Small Town Charm.

I’M IN STITCHES

They say you can’t know a man until you walk a mile in his shoes.  I’ll add to that.  You can’t really know a man until you’ve been similarly clothed.

I’ve finally decided to pull the trigger.  A story now ready to be told.

Thirty five plus years in our sport.   This Running Life depicted, square by square, a patchwork effort consolidating and displaying my personal history.

I’ve done multiple go throughs.  Carefully selecting those dearest, each recalling a chapter or a race.  Have culled it down to 50.  The only important ones missing, 1992 Chicago Marathon, 1995 Run For The Arts 10 Mile and the ’07 & ’08 Omaha Mile.  Lost to antiquity.

I’d honestly forgotten how many marathons I  ran.  Finished 2nd overall at the 1986 Galveston, one of my 7 attempts there.  Six Houston Marathons.  Boston.  The 1983 Houston and Freedom Marathon (Monticello, IL) reminding I’ve been running marathons longer than most of my readers have trod the Good Mother.    Olympic Torch  Run, Lamar Intramural Champions (2.5  Miles in 12:39).  These and the rest being submitted to our neighbor Becky, seamstress par exemplar, who will craft a quilt that details my travels across the U.S. and the world.  My Life, In Stitches.

YOURS IN SPORT

Cordial, lightly formal, heartfelt.    I lifted this closing salutation from Carol McLatchie over 20 years ago.  I lifted this press release yesterday from the LRC facebook  page:

“Omaha, NE— 11/5/18 — Lincoln Running Company Racing along with Team Nebraska
have announced a proposed merger, effective January 1, 2019, that will establish multiple
programs open to the entire running community of Nebraska.

“There are operational and financial synergies that can be created through having
essentially just one team in the state, which is the main driver behind the change,” said Logan
Watley, President of Lincoln Running Company Racing.   President of Team Nebraska, Tim
McGargill added, “Being unified as one organization will help us focus on athlete development
and compete among the best in the nation”.

The newly established program system will incorporate all runners, regardless of
location, age and/or ability. Additional details will be posted to the organization’s website in the
coming months. We would like to thank our sponsors, Lincoln Track Club and Lincoln Running
Company, for their continued support”

I want to wish all the best to this new venture, the team, the athletes, and especially  the administrators.

Lincoln flexing its muscles across almost the entirety of the state.

In response to “essentially just one team in the state.”  A gentle  reminder that Run  Guru Elite is still here.  Nearly undefeated in 2017 with some of the fastest times in 30 years.   And “No Ways Tired”, we continue to recruit and develop talent.

Congratulations to Pete Kostelnick, one of Run Guru Elite’s most famous ex-mates.  Completed his legendary trek across the North American Continent yesterday.   Pete and my old buddy Kyle shown here at Western States 100 a couple years ago.

On behalf of the original Team Nebraska, my Team Nebraska, the athletes that ran for me from 2002-2012, those athletes whose names color the state record books in a sea of Red and White,
Yours in sport

 

 

 

RACE REPORT MONDAY

Team Iowa Ablaze runner Brogan Austin won the Indianapolis Monument Half in a blazing 1:02:38.  Punching his ticket to the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Marathon.

Craig Christians’ former training partner, Emily Sisson, took the USA 5K National title in NYC on Saturday.  Emily ran 15:38 for the win.

The GPAC cross country meet was held at the North Bend Golf Course.  Pancake  flat!

Anne Knevelbaard (Dordt) leads Alli Higgins of Morningside.  They  would battle the entire 5K and finish in this order 18:25 to 18:30.  Third went to Heidi Hennings of Hastings (18:49).

The men get ready to roll.

Eventual 2nd place finisher Tony Patton of Morningside took it out early.

I awarded my “Biggest Balls” award to Concordia freshman Wyatt Lehr.  Took his turn at the front and set his reputation with me.

Dordt Freshman Eric Steiger used a furious kick to pull away down the homestretch.

 

 

WANT TO BET?

I once offered a vision to Linda that convinced her I am  crazy.  It was tongue  in cheek but made my point.   “Someday Council Bluffs will be bigger than Omaha.”  Our neighbors to the East far more progressive than we.   Casino money now funding extensive infrastructure improvements, visionary civic projects, redeveloped downtown, and more.

I choose to live in Nebraska.  Grudgingly accept our Deep Red position.

Nebraska.  Remaining conservative as both Iowa and  Colorado enjoy enormous income streams from vices we are fully vested in ourselves.  Y’all like to gamble and smoke a little weed.  Go ahead, admit it!

Why roll the dice with today’s column?  The Ponca Tribe opening the Prairie Flower Casino.   In Carter Lake, Iowa.  Population 3785 encapsulated in 2.02 square miles.  By the force of nature, located If not in the heart, then certainly near the lungs of Omaha proper.   It will be very interesting to see what the future holds for this little burg.

Went to the  DC West track in Valley a couple days ago.  Aiming to break 7 minutes for the mile.   Approached it correctly, opening with a 1:43 first quarter, faltered on the second in 1:49, slowed to 1:52 for the third, rebounded with a 1:48 to close.  7:13.  I’m damn proud of  my effort.  I gave it 100%.  Got to that place physiologically and physcologically that only I can push myself to.  Only me, no applause, no woots, no suits.  Doubt did  creep in, doesn’t it always?  Its how you push through that doubt that makes it Real.  I’ll keep training up and get that sub 7 before my 61st birthday at the end of this month.

Want to bet?

O MARATHONER WHERE ART THOU

A discussion for our sport, for our time.  East and West of the Platte.  East and West of the  Mississippi.  https://www.runnersworld.com/news/a24416805/where-are-the-fast-us-marathoners/

An interesting discussion on why American men, excepting Galen Rupp, are lagging.  Please give it a quick read and see if you agree with elite runner Parker Stinson, ““There is a huge hole in U.S. distance running right now,” said Parker Stinson before the Chicago Marathon, where he ran 2:14:29 in his second attempt at the distance. “There’s Galen, who is running incredible and doing great things in the Olympics and timewise. But then a lot of Americans are just running 2:12. Who am I to say ‘just 2:12,’ because I haven’t done that. But from a world perspective, that’s not good enough.”

How do you think?  Locally?  Regionally?  Nationally?  Globally?

The article  surmises the following:
1)  Location, location, location!  Conditions have been less than ideal.  For example the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon in L.A.  It was a death march.   Weather, topography, and support all play an integral part and you better choose your opportunities wisely if you are serious  about reaching your potential.  Athletes from across America will gather at California International Marathon to take advantage of the  340′ of net elevation drop.  Why?  To run fast.  But you don’t have to travel to California.  There is always Flat.  And Fast.  And Closed Course.  And Local.  Your best shot, Valley 7 Lakes Marathon next April 27th.
2)  Appearance fees to the majors, Boston, NYC, relatively slow courses that reward mid level US runners with appearance fees to bolster interest from American viewers.
3)  Runners waiting too long to debut.  The 24 year old Stinson posits, ” “Very few people want to be like, ‘Hey, I’m 24 and I want to be a marathoner.’ It seems like they go there when they’re already 30 or 31. It’s not that we lack talent, we lack commitment from athletes to go to the marathon early enough.”

He’s right in the sweet spot.   I’ve offered him free lodging and meals at the Bar None until Tokyo.

World class coach Kevin Hanson offers this: “Few people are good at the marathon in their first attempt. It can take four or five training cycles and race days to learn the event. “You can’t really get in more than two marathons a year.”   The same message I reinforce to my athletes.  But Oh Boy, look out Kevin!  You’ve got a whole  lot of people that profess to know more about  marathoning than you!  Look, he’s right.  You may be admired for many marathon efforts per year but you will never run to your true  potential.

From Ben Rosario, head coach of Northern Arizona Elite, ” “If you have a guy and he’s run a 27:50 10K, and he waits until he’s in his 30s to run the marathon because he’s not as good at the 10K as he used to be, you can’t sit there and say, ‘Well, I’m going to run 2:10 because I’m a 27:50 10K guy.’ No, you’re not. You used to be. You’re not in the prime of your career anymore. That’s what happens when people wait too long.”

So to the youth of Nebraska and the United States.  Gather at 6:20 a.m., under the start banner at the DC West track on April 27th.  The whole purpose of this marathon is to give you the best opportunity to Run To Your Potential.  No matter your pace.  Put up an honest time.  You deserve it.   You’ll never forget it.

The flattest closed road marathon in the world.  Laying at your feet in Valley, Nebraska.  Your best shot.

 

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THE CURIOUS CASE OF JOEY LeBLANC

Back in the 80’s, East Texas, about half way between Castor Plunge and Otis. Deep in the Piney Woods National Forest. A few of us used to run the annual Spiral of Death 13K Trail Challenge.

Single track, long forgotten Tonkawa Tribe trails. Waist deep swamp crossings. Cypress trees, burdened by Spanish Moss, menacing, dappled darkness, tenuous to treacherous footing.

No awards, no timing, no t-shirt, nada. Start and finish at Joey LeBlanc’s decrepit cabin. His piece of the swamp built on lost generations. One of the Original Thirteen Families to escape Northern Persecution, trekking from Prince Edward Island south until only marsh and swamp lay before, and beyond the Gulf of Mexico.

The only race amenity a huge cast iron pot, suspended over open flame, drowning ladles full of rattle snake gumbo. Tastes like chicken. A keg of Abita Purple Haze, bacon pocked cornbread, and little sympathy for the few of us that dared tackle the Spiral of Death. Sounds like a fun race and it wasn’t. Damned creepy too.

Joey gave the command “Geaux!” and would in a moment be lost in the fog that often descended on our start. We could hear him rustling and splashing up ahead, the only way to keep from losing oneself completely was to keep him within ear shot. Not many could and that explained the low annual turnout, always the same 8-10 runners. Tormented cadre.

The swamp is haunting, living, moving with ebb and flow. The course would by nature change every year. You could tell Joey delighted in the futility of our chase, us laboring, he cavorting. We needed our keenest senses simply to follow him. Once we were all huddled waist deep in the shadows wondering where to go next when he popped out of the murky waters right at our feet, laughing and off again in an instant. No one ever beat him.

Here’s the rub. Joey only ran this own race. Even though he was able to best by far a handful of the most talented runners in Texas. We knew it fruitless to encourage him otherwise and just accepted this denizen of the Piney Woods for the Free Spirit he was.
More curious was the fact that Joey was always Joey in the very strangest of senses. We would comment that he remained seemingly unchanged from year to year. Was it the gumbo? The chicory coffee? While the rest of us raced from our mid to late twenties and into our thirties Joey just didn’t slow down. Or age. At all.
I visited Texas in 2016. Retraced memory into the depths of the darkened conifers trying to find Joey’s cabin. Local inquiries revealed no memory of the man. I found a long unused logging road that was vaguely familiar and finally to his shack.
The front porch was caved in, moss covering nearly the entire structure. I made my way to the door half expecting to smell the wonderful viperous gumbo. No aroma and no answer. I hung around a while reliving memories of the race and of Joey. Winds rustled ancient pines as I walked back to the truck. Then the unmistakable laugh. Joey fast approaching from the East. Just returning with a medium sized gator slung over his shirtless shoulders, bound for the Dutch oven no doubt. He seemed not at all surprised to see me, almost as though he had been expecting it.
Me almost 60 at the time . Joey, the same boisterous and boundless energy and I would be a liar if I told you my blood didn’t run cold to see that he had not aged a single day in the decades that had passed.

swamp