Monthly Archives: March 2011


In racing, the art of drafting (tuck) or using someone else to set the pace and then charging past (roll) in the final sprint.  A win is a win is a win but this is always a tough way to get beat.  Ask Shannon Stenger how many times he dealt with it indoors this season.  It is even more frustrating on the roads.

The Heartland Invitationl Indoor Elite Mile wraps up the indoor season for our mates and it has been a long one.  Shannon (4:24) finished 2nd to Peter vd Westhuizen’s 4:23, mates Matt Heesch (4:39),  Jordan Tucker (4:39), and Michaela vd Westhuizen (5:26) all attended the prize money race and came home with some pennies.

 Todd Nott and Jody Green (!!!) were the overall winners at the  21 Mile Wilderness Trail Race.  Jody is training up for Leadville, her victory there was the day after a 20 mile run, she is one tough lady!

Matt Schneider reports he’s up a few pounds thanks to Megan’s home cooking and is looking forward to turning it into strength.

Speaking of strength, Tom Nichols had a monster workout last week with his signature miles effort like this: 4 @ 21:42, 3 @ 16:10, 2 @ 10:47, 1 @ 5:15.  Tom is looking very strong leading into Lincoln.

Our USA Club T&F National High Jump Champion, Randal Carter, is reportedly returning to competition faster and stronger than ever.  Coach Don Patton has High Hopes for this talented lad and we are excited about his outdoor season.

This Wednesday’s Track Work: Everyone –1-1.5 mile warm up, 1-1.5 mile warm down
Half Marathoners: 1 @ Goal Half Pace plus :10, 2 @ Goal Half Pace, 1 @ Goal Half Pace minus :10
Marathoners: 2 @ Goal Marathon Pace plus :10, 2 @ Goal Marathon Pace
5-10Kers: 2 X 400 @ Current 5K Pace, 1 X 800 @ Current 10K Pace, 2 X 400 @ Current 5K Pace, 2:00 active rest between the 1/4s, 3:00 active rest before and after the 800


Rest in peace my friend.

During the 2006 Camp Ashland Warrior Challenge and Adventure Race our team of Bruce & Linda Barnhart, me, and Major Dave Butterfield were one of the first teams back to Camp Ashland after 5 hours of various forms of endurance torture.  Upon arriving at the checkpoint at the Platte River we were told our kayaks awaited—on the other side of the river.  Did I mention it had been snowing/sleeting most of the day and that the river was ‘up and running’?  As we were contemplating our challenge the RD informed me that Mike Morgan had just ran his debut marathon at Chicago in 2:14!  I couldn’t contain my excitement and jumped right in the Platte.  And into a strong current that began dragging me down stream.  Me exhausted, fully clothed and wearing a back pack.  I  lost foot contact with the bottom and started foundering immediately.  I was in serious trouble.

Major Dave Butterfield was a soft spoken, gentle man whose personality seemed oddly juxtaposed to my perception of a high ranking military man.  Yet he was who he was, and that was just a plain old good guy.

Dave jumped into the Platte and retrieved me, still sputtering and cursing.  He not only saved my life but bound me to his side and helped me cross that damned Platte.  Upon emerging on the far bank I started shivering in uncontrollable spasms and was pulled from the competition by the medical staff for hypothermia.  Our team was penalized 30 minutes for failure to complete this final challenge of the day but we still earned 3rd place for the 4 person coed division.

Major Dave was struck by a dump truck while riding his bike this past week and killed.  Those  that knew him a lot or a little, but especially this old fart whose life he saved, will never forget the kind soul that is no longer with us.

The Circle of Life goes on: Congratulations to Mike & Kelly Morgan who are expecting their first child this fall.  I received the news the same day I found out about Dave, life with all its highs and lows, continues. 



The Blarney Stone 5K went off without a hitch last night.  800 runners traversing the Pedestrian Bridge and by all accounts everyone loved the experience.  You’ll get to run the same course on June 11 at the Big Blue Run.  The River City Yacht Club is a near perfect venue, we’ll do our best to match last night’s after party.  Last night was FREE beer & Pizza, insert your own stellar superlatives.  I hope everyone enjoyed my bro mixing and scratching his turntable, it ignited my hips and I just barely avoided adding Nebraska to the list of states that I am banned from dance floors.

Race Director Mike Ewoldt granted me the privilege of having a bike on the course, this  allowed me a preview  and also gave me the best seat in the house to see the race develop.  And boy oh boy was I smiling as the winner came down the finish stretch.  Chas Davis had won this race I think 8 or 9  times since I’ve been in Omaha.   Always in his leprechaun outfit, puffing on his green pipe, sprinting away from our Good Mates that dared challenge him.  Chas is a good guy and has worn the giant bullseye for several years, The Man To Beat if our mates are on the right track.  Bryan Felker did just that. 

If you click on our Flickr tab to the right you can see the post race interview I conducted with “Chubs” as he is affectionately known.  Our camerman provides an interesting angle.  Bryan  returned Saturday from Spring Break in Hong Kong and was fortunate enough to catch a flight out of Narita Airport in Tokyo the day after the devastating calamity.  We continue our meditations for those suffering, especially friends made while in Chiba, Tokyo, and Yokohama.

Back to the race.   I could tell it was going to be a real battle as the pair descended the bridge onto the Iowa side stride for stride.  Just past the turnaround Bryan threw in a mini surge and gapped Chas by about ten seconds, a margin he would not increase nor yield for the remaining half of the race.  I kept glancing over my shoulder, imagining Chas just licking his chops waiting to turn on his famed finishing kick and gobble up Bryan.  I’ve seen Chas make up :10 in a hundred meters before.  But not this time!  Bryan held on to take the win 16:21 to Chas’s 16:34.  Chubs has been training hard prepping for the Lincoln Marathon, this race should give him quite the confidence boost.

The highly anticipated duel in the Women’s 45-49 age division turned out to be just that.  Not only did our TNB matriarch win that division and 1st overall master, Linda Barnhat’s 20:51 was good enough for 3rd Overall!   But it didn’t come easily as another of Nebraska’s toughest female masters and 45-49 age group phenom Sarah Fredrickson was just :09 back in 21:00.  Nothing like a little Friendly Competition to make a Fun Time all the more so.  I’m impressed that Linda has won both the LC10K and BS5K masters titles on roughly 20 miles/week as she transitions from track to roads.  Hmmm….

Complete results can be found at

Hope you got to see our Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run ad in last Sunday’s OWH.  Look also in this week’s LJS, you won’t find it in the funny pages.  We are over 250 entrants already, this will be the biggest edition yet.  We look forward to showing everyone another Great Time.  Still plenty of time to register,


Shortest possible route.  When run/race courses are USATF Certified, they are measured using this well defined and easily understood method.  If the course is laid out and submitted to the Regional Certifier without demonstrating they have used the SPR, the work is rejected and returned to the measruer with instructions on how to correct the errors before resubmitting for approval.

I’ve measured nearly 50 courses for certification over the last 24 years and this gives me a keen eye on how to best approach each course I’m running.  Those of you that saw me running on Saturday may have wondered why I didn’t “follow the leader” and seemed to pick my own line through the curves.  If the LC10K had been USATF Certified, that is how it would have been measured.  If you run anything other than the tangents you are running further than a qualified course measurer laid out the route. 

33:55, 33:33, 16:19.  Three races from the spring of 1990.  I ran the Rodeo Run 10K in Houston in 33:55.  A couple weeks later I ran the Sylvan Beach 10K in 33:33.  The following weekend was the St. Patricks Day 5K in Lake Charles Louisiana, I ran my 5K pr in 16:19.  The Rodeo Run and St. Pats 5K were contested on USATF Certified courses, alas the Sylvan Beach 10K was not.   I can only count my 10K pr as 33:55 because that is the time turned in on an officially recognized, certified course.  That little voice in my head just won’t let me count a 33:33 that occurred on a non record eligible course.  No way of knowing how far the actual distance really was at Sylvan Beach.  It might have even been long.

Lord knows I’ve been villified in Omaha for insisting that prs only occur on USATF Certified courses.  But that is a fight I’ll take up every time.  Everything else should be considered a “course best for a particular race”.  Good race times on non-certified courses can only be compared against times on that same course and nothing else.  Don’t even get me started on races with huge net elevation drops. 

It is Very Easy to find out which races in Nebraska are USATF Certified.  Just follow this link and it will let you get the skinny on those that are (including data detailing net elevation drop and degree of separation between start/finish, 2 criteria that impact the record eligibility of the performance for the course). Just type in Nebraska and you’ll be able to find our certified courses.

Be sure to check our Photos page.  Jordan has done a great job of indexing just about every event we’ve administered/contested over the last 4 years.  And as always, those are FREE for you to download for personal use, you earned them!

Our Aaron Carrizales is dialing in on the Lincoln Marathon.  6 X 1 Mile yesterday like this: 5:06, 5:06, 5:05, 4:59, 5:10, 5:08.  In the winds of Western Nebraska, that is tough.

Rebecca Topham of Iowa won the USA Junior Indoor National Championships at 3000M and 800M this past weekend.  She ran the 2009 Omaha Mile  in the Elite Field as a 12 year old.  Not for naught.


The quality or state of being changeable.  A difficulty or hardship attendant on a way of life, a career, or a course of action and usually beyond one’s control.

Word of the day.

Well over 200 people showed up for last night’s screening of “Ride The Divide”.  A very inspirational and breathtaking documentary I must say.  Those in attendance were all the more impressed to find out an Omaha local completed the event in 2010 and will repeat the feat this coming June.  Over 100 people have attempted this ride with only 40 completing it.  By showing the movie in one city at a time, the allure has grabbed many, there are over 90 signed up for this year’s race.  Every athlete featured in the movie demonstrated our word of the day.  Encountering and conquering (or not) the many challenges and difficulties that would present on a daily basis.  Nobody said this would be easy after all.

Free Spirits.  That was the common theme of the bikers.  Not feeling accountable to anyone other than their own inner voices, I felt an immediate kinship with them.  I’ve been called a free spirit by those that know me, worse by those that don’t. 

We are all accountable to those inner voices, I tried to stress this in Monday’s column about being mentally tough.  At the finish line, whether it be a tape with a clock, or our last glimpse of living, I will be able to accept and celebrate  that I was in control of my destiny.  The challenging and inextricable convergence of vicissitude and self governance keeping things always interesting if not exhilirating. 

I’ve been fortunate in life to express my energies and passions without dictum, and while not always with the desired results, certainly with conviction.  To quote my old buddy Willie again, “Give me land lots of land under starry skies at night, don’t fence me in!”  Free Spirit or Free Ranger, unencumbered, unburdened, and unrepentant.  The Cowboy Creed.


Ride The Divide will be in Omaha tonight only at the Aksarben Cinema, start time at 7:00.   An award-winning feature film about the world’s toughest mountain bike race, which traverses over 2700 miles along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. The film weaves the story of three characters’ experiences with immense mountain beauty and small-town culture as they attempt to pedal from Banff, Canada to a small, dusty crossing on the Mexican border.  The movie was named the best adventure film at the 2010 Vail Film Festival and will serve as a fundraiser for    More info at:

Yesterday’s story was about Kim Pawalek, our 1999 USA Marathon National Champion.  The 2008 USA Olympic Trials Marathon was the stage.  I stood on the finish line with her boyfriend, 1996 Olympic Marathoner Keith Brantly, waiting, waiting, waiting for the courageous completion. 

As part of our Wednesday night coaching offerings we have decided to bring back the Corporate Cup Qualifier Series later this summer.  These very low key, but official and USA Track & Field Certified races.  It will give those runners planning on running the fall classic a chance to get their qualifiers or just tune up for the big race.  We’ll post the schedule as soon as it is ironed out.

Ran with our TNB Meteorologist this morning, she was finishing her last 20 miler before the Salt Lake City Marathon on April 16.  She has hit every workout and is getting very well tuned.  Evidenced by her nice work in capturing the 30-34 age group at last Saturday’s LC10K.  Ice baths, foam rollers, et al.  We’ll have our LC10K pictures up on our account, key word Team Nebraska Brooks, later today.  As Always, those pictures are FREE for you to have and hold.

Good to hear from my old buddy Sean Wade this morning.  One of the top masters in the United States, he’s taking a year off due to recurring injuries.  Always good to hear from one of my Best Mates.


I had a couple of points during Saturday’s LC10K where the going got tough, especially the climb just past Mile 4.   We all experience self doubt at some stage of just about every race we run.  It is that very doubt that is your biggest challenge of any race, not your competitors.  It helps to have role models that you can look up to, here is one of my inspirations when The Struggles begin in a race:

Even the very best runners have those Difficult Days.  One particular athlete’s unfortunately came on the biggest stage for marathoning.  The athlete finally struggled in very last but considered this one of the biggest victories against Self Doubt and the marathon.  Suffering mightily from around 10 miles but  determined to tough it out.  Imagine how difficult it would be to pass up that temptation, not only the little voice in your head but  while watching others fall by the wayside. 

My buddy let the other runners drop out and kept plugging away for the next 13 miles, every stride more painful and less rewarding than the previous.  I’ll always Respect this runner and mention their name when I describe what sets National Class runners apart from the rest of us merely mortals.  The ability to Not Quit, despite every fiber in your being insisting you do so.  Such is the marathon for most of us, but just as likely to occur in any race if you are giving it your honest best.  So my question on Saturday was,   Mentally Tough or Mentally Weak?  I pressed on and ended up with a decent race, my overall time a little fast due to a just slightly short course, but the effort honest and rewarding.

I did however end up passing 513 of the 565 women that had the 5:30 head start.  At a quarter each I am donating $128.25 to our TNB Children’s Running Program.  Thank you so much to Danielle Galvin for matching the pledge, you too can help support our Kids Runs by making a tax free donation in any amount.  You can make checks out to Team Nebraska Brooks and mail to 18312 Ontario St., Omaha NE, 68130.  Our kids and our community thank you!  I’m going to make this an annual challenge and invite others to also participate.

Week 1 of track workouts is here.  For those running/racing the Blarney Stone 5K on Thursday, keep Wednesday easy.  Get out on the track and get reaquainted with the Good Oval.  1-1.5 mile warm up then 1 mile of running the straights @ goal 5K effort, jogging the curves for recovery, then a 1-1.5 mile warm down.  If you are focusing rather on the Lincoln Marathon you are surely in good shape already and ready for more advanced training.  Same 1-1.5 mile warm up then 1 X 2 Miles at Goal Marathon Pace, 800 meter recovery, 1 X 1 Mile at GMP, then 1-1.5 mile warm down.  If you are running the Lincoln Half Marathon, do a 2 mile warm up then 1 X 2 Miles at Goal Half Marathon Pace, then a 2 mile warm down.  We’ll be focusing and building on Goal Marathon Pace and Goal Half Marathon Pace for the next 6 weeks.

A change to this year’s Wednesday  workouts is that we will be focusing on more advanced training for those with specific racing goals for the spring/summer/fall.  For now we will still meet  at 6pm at Millard West.  I’m looking at possibly scheduling on another evening if the consensus supports.
If you are looking for beginning level  track workouts I would strongly encourage you to join Life Time Fitness, enroll in the Run Club, and meet Sandy Bikus and Joseph O’Meara at 6 pm, Elkhorn Ridge Middle School, also beginning this Wednesday.  There is no better motivator in Omaha than Sandy and the current group is as fun and social as can be.  Friends sharing the same goal of promoting running, family fitness, and camaraderie.


Ivan Marsh has designed the artwork for this year’s Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs.  I was wondering how he would top last year’s design as it was beautiful.  He’s managed to make the 2011 shirt even better.   Ivan describes it as “a man that was half fur trader/mountain man and half barefoot Benny running through the forest and hills.”  We know you are going to like it.  T shirt sizes are guaranteed with early registration, that closes on March 25.  As always we’ll order plenty of extras for race day registrants.

Take a look at local entry fees for races.  You’ll find that the $25 entry fee for Ni-Bthaska-Ke is about the cheapest for the year.  Add in the hog roast, beer, dutch oven apple pie, cool awards, T-s, etc. and you get a great value for your entry dollars.  The fact that proceeds go to help send our TNB athletes to USA Championship competitions is just so much gravy on the cake.

I’ve decided to donate a quarter to the Team Nebraska Brooks Childrens Running Program for every female I pass at this afternoon’s LC10K.  If you hear me coming, slow down!


I’ll wrap up this week’s retrospective this morning.  My biggest challenge upon arriving in Omaha was trying to convince just about everybody that you could have both elite level and community level running within the same program.  I got a lot of early resistance to the notion but the drip drop sea change is now complete.  While TNB started out and remains a USATF Elite Development Club, our road races and coaching have been geared to the entire running community.  I’m declaring mission accomplished on both fronts.

Our mate Kyle Smith has been working as an intern with International Events at the USOC Training Center in Colorado Springs.  He is currently working on the Pan Am Games and the London Marathon.  Nice gig with the benefit of being around America’s best athletes.  Kyle reports this morning that he and the top male triathlete in the country, Matt Chrabot, were working out together recently.  I’m coaching Kyle for his spring half marathon and Matt jumped in for a particularly tough workout and came away impressed with Kyle’s fitness and the training program.  To borrow old Margaret’s favorite phrase, hmmmm…

Matt Schneider is back to training, his calf problems resolved.  Luka Thor’s knee surgery was a success and he too is rehabbing well.

Jeff Nielsen became only the 2nd Nebraskan ever to complete the full McLatchie Ball Buster workout.  He put it all on the line this past Wednesday like this:
2 X 1 Mile (:30 recovery) 5:40, 5:45
400 meter jog
2 X 800 (:30 recovery) 2:47, 2:49
400 meter jog
2 X 400 (:30 recovery) :78, :80
400 meter jog
2 X 1 Mile (:30 rec) 5:49, 5:52
400 meter jog
2 X 800 (:30 rec) 2:50, 2:51
400 meter jog
2 X 400 (:30 rec) :83, :82

Toughest guy in Nebraska until further notice.

Linda Barnhart’s medals in the 800 & 1 Mile at the USA Masters Indoor Championships are all the more remarkable when you consider she has won the USA 25K National Championships and finsihed 3rd at the USA Half Marathon National Championships.  She’s no one trick pony.  Her masterful performances on the Roads AND Track elevate her to Nebraska’s most talented Masters Athlete, until further notice.

I like that Ben Cohoon is publishing a full list of entrants for tomorrow’s LC10K.  You can run but you can’t hide!  Looking forward to seeing everyone there.


I mentioned previously that Jody Green has set up a group on Facebook, called appropriately enough, Omaha Endurance Group.  It is a great place to connect and keep up on what’s shaking socially here in the Omaha Metro.  A bunch of them are already planning to run the Lincoln Half Marathon and then ride back to Omaha, approximately 55 miles.  Giddyup! 

Linda Barnhart & I will start our 4th year of providing coaching to anyone and everyone at the Millard West track beginning Wednesday March 16th, 6:00 pm sharp!  I will be posting each week’s workout Monday morning on the Omaha Endurance Group described above.  Have a peak if you are interested in what we are doing and feel free to join us.  As noted ,we encourage Anyone and Everyone that has an interest in trying to run just a little faster, regardless of ability or current fitness levels.  Some of my best memories are turning 15 minute milers into 11 minute milers.

The Leprechaun Chase 10K is set for this Saturday.  There will be plenty of the Good Mates out chasing each other and over a thousand others, should be a groovy time. 

Speaking of groovy times, my old buddy Willie Nelson is coming to Omaha Friday night for a show at the Orpheum.  I’m glad the LC10K has a 4:00 pm start as I’m the local guide for Willie’s tour bus.  “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys”