Monthly Archives: May 2011

FUN NO FUN

As your Run Guru I like to think that I’ve experienced just about every facet of our sport.  The transient highs of youthful speed, the acceptance of aging and human frailty, life long mentoring by Historical Giants, every joy and suffering of putting one foot in front of the other as quickly as possible.  I rarely lack for words when it comes to running.  One that very infrequently enters my descriptive lexicon: FUN.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve experienced deep satisfaction, elation, rapt, nirvana, etc. 

But very few of my runs would I  describe with the sole purpose of having fun.  I know how to put races on that are FUN for everyone that chooses that as their modus operandi, and I sometimes wistfully and vicariously experience that FUNdamental experience through their efforts.  I just can’t get myself to allow fun to be my baseline.  If I’m not suffering, whether in training or racing, then I’m not really running.  This only goes for me, and in no way derides any personal experiences of you readers.  Au contraire!  I respect and admire anyone and everyone that chooses our sport for whatever ends they seek.

But it is only the white hot edge of the grindstone that sparks my ignition.   I run on a lean mixture of pain, sacrifice, and challenge.  Plenty of time for FUN later, and I do pursue my  pleasures with as much veracity as I do running. 

Looking for a great summer coach’s camp? 
The Nike Smoky Mountain Coaches Workshop is scheduled for July 17-22.  It is put on by one of the Historical Giants I mention above.  Camp Director, Dr. Jerry Crockett, was one of my earliest mentors into USATF and all things National Class in running.  He and old buddy Roy Benson have conducted this camp for years, this is the 39th annual.  From the website:

“The Smoky Mountain Running Camp puts great emphasis on teaching runners the wisdom of the hard/easy training philosophy developed by the late, great U of Oregon coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman. To implement the Bowerman philosophy, we use Coach Benson’s Effort Based Training Program to allow the whole camp to run the same appropriate effort while allowing each group to train at their individualized paces based on their current fitness, over-all ability and general goals. The instruction is serious and the training is right for this time of the summer.”

Race results from yesterday’s Boystown 5 Mile are up at www.mtecresults.com  Race photos are up on our Flickr button, no secret passwords or fees, you Earned them!

Wednesday Night Track Workout, 6:00 pm at Millard West:
1.5-2.0 mile warm up and warm down
Ladders! 1 X 200, 1 X 400, 1 X 800, 1 X 400, 1 X 200.  All efforts @ Goal 5K race pace, 1:00 recovery after the 200, :90 recovery after the 400s, 2:00 recovery after the 800.

Finally a grammar lesson for the funny pages:  “Lest we forget” insists that we must never and was the phrase you were seeking.  “Lest we not forget” insists that you must forget, double negative and all.  N/C and BBO!

Pushing baby strollers is FUN!  Emily, Olivia, & Tim Langdon, Rodney, Jody, & Taia Green at yesterday’s Boystown 5 Mile.  Both Olivia and Taia scored big prs and are destined to become Good Mates!

WIND AIDED

Yesterday afternoon I took mates Justin Mollak & Linda Barnhart for a run on the new Boystown 5 Mile course.  I nipped Justin at the line for a Course Record that lasted all of 16 hours.
It was cool to be the lead bike this morning, best seat in the house to watch the race develop.  Jordan Tucker and Justin ran 1-2  early but the hills and wind took their toll, first on Justin then jumping on Jordo who still managed a 3rd place overall.  Kaci Lickteig took the overall women’s title.  Kraig Vanderbeek contined his domination of the masters ranks as did Roxi Erickson. 

As the lead women were coming in we had a runner go down on the course, a young lad of 16 that required immediate assistance.  A couple other heat related emergencies, thanks to and good work by the Boystown Fire Department.  It was brutally hot with temps in the mid 80s by the time the majority of the runners were coming in.  The 35-40 mph winds didn’t make it any easier, I’m sure there will be plenty of asterisks in training logs.  I’ll try and get full results linked up by manana.

Hope you all have friends and family close today.  Be sure and take a moment and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Those crazy Lindgrens!  Gerry, perhaps the greatest American distance runner in history, and your scribe.  Gerry was kind enough to spend an entire weekend with me, Mike Morgan, and Nick Rector when he was in Portland, OR for his induction into the USATF Hall of Fame.  I know those fellas made some life long memories and sure I’ll never forget the man, the legend, that is Gerry Lindgren.

RUNNING 101

I’ve been asked twice in the last 10 years “How can you call yourself a run guru?”  Both times my reply is that a guru is a teacher and that a love of the sport coupled with voluminous historical resources puts me in that position.  I think I’ll use slow Fridays to introduce you to some of the most influential coaches/athletes/administrators of our sport over the last century.

Today, Mihaly Igloi.

Igloi was a Hungarian immigrant that came to the United States in the late 1950s.  He was a successful coach in his home country but fled his home during the Hungarian Revolution.

Igloi successively coached the Santa Monica Track Association and  Los Angeles Track Club in California, and became an American citizen in 1963. In the 1970’s, he coached in Greece. According to the I.A.A.F., his runners broke 49 world, 45 American and 157 Greek records.

He coached American Bob Schul to the 1964 Olympic gold medal at 5,000 meters. He also coached Jim Beatty to the first indoor sub 4 minute mile (3:58.9, 1962)  and world 2 Mile record.  Dyrol Burleson set the American Mile record under Igloi’s tutelage.

”He was a tough guy,”according to Beatty , ”a coach from the European school that says: ‘I am the coach. You are the athlete. You will do what I say or you will leave the classroom.’ For him to coach you, you had to approach him. He would never ask anyone if he could coach him because he didn’t think there would be a psychological commitment. As a result, you respected his coaching ability and training theories. He would bring you not only to your goals, but greater goals that he saw in you.”  -Beatty’s quotes excerpted from Igloi’s NY Time Obituary dated January 4, 1998.

My wife took this photo while in Budapest last week.  I’m not sure what she does, international bounty hunter or double nought spy perhaps?

RUNNERS & DUCKS

If I can borrow some ridiculously unfounded braggadocio from my old buddy Pompadourz I think I’ll train up for a top 10 finish at this fall’s USA Masters 5K National Championships.  This is what was on my mind yesterday as I was cranking out quarter mile repeats out in the dojo, the rain just pouring down.  It was the first time in a Very Long time that I have allowed the wheels to spin freely and it was liberating to say the least.  Shedding the shackles of lethargy clamped on by the too many miles of marathon training.  Feeling spry and young and fast if only for 85 seconds at a pop.  Remembering the freedom of unencumbered full length striding, the rush of strength and confidence still able to incite dreams of an age ago.

The dozen plus community runners that showed up at Millard West last night dream too.  Though the weather had continued to worsen throughout the day these hearty folks with goals to fill lined up and set off on their own 400 meter opportunities of self awareness.  While it isn’t always easy to get out and run in the rain it really is one of the primal pleasures associated with running.  The rain washing away not only the troubles of the day but also the accumulating fatigue of your Greater Good.  As I always say, “A Great Day For Runners & Ducks!”

We toured the new Boystown 5 Mile course with Race Director Brooke Wittrock yesterday.  Linda  provided pointers on where key volunteer assignments were necessary, I made a couple of observations/recommendations about the course that will hopefully prove useful.  Over 1700 entered for the 5 Mile and total entries on pace to break last year’s record 3000+. 

Thanks to Michelle Reitz for the Heads Up!  A car window was smashed and a purse grabbed from a vehicle parked in the Life Time Fitness parking lot.  It is a huge lot and there is no security on premises.  Don’t leave your valuables visible, it is just an invitation for a crook!

Steve Prefonatine is probably the most famous Duck to ever run.  He is captured here on two Sportscaster Trading Cards, circa 1978.  I bought these babies on ebay 15 years ago and have watched their value absolutely skyrocket.  I’ve got the full collection of running cards and will periodically feature others for your viewing and education.

STATE OF MIND

From the inside cover of “World Class Formula for Running Improvement”, Training and Racing systems for middle and long distance running, 1976, Billy Squires.
“STATE OF MIND”
If You think You are Beaten, You are.
If You think You Dare not, You don’t.
If You’d like to Win, but You think
You Can’t
It’s almost a cinch
You Won’t
If You think You’ll Lose, You’ve Lost.
For out in the World You Find Success
Begins with
A Fellow’s Will
It’s all in the State of Mind.

Squires was Boston Billy Rodgers coach back in the day and was one of the most influential coaches in the world for a time.  I shared a room with Billy Squires at the Twin Cities Marathon one year and got to hear many great tales, one that particularly stands out involved Squires serving as a “translator” for Finnish Olympic Legend Lasse Viren.  I came away with a tale or two of my own from the man, would love to share in a not so public forum.

Our mate Aubrey Baxter is currently ranked 12th in the U.S. in the Hammer Throw with a toss of 212′ 2″ at last weekends competition in Tuscon, AZ.  Aubrey will be competing at the USA National Outodoor Championships and  the USA Club Championships this summer. 

Interesting article in this morning’s OWH Sports Page.  Kevin White does his analysis of the top performances in the recently closed Nebraska and Iowa State T&F Championships.  The Dream matchup for me would be to pit Shelby Houlihan against Aubree Worden in the 1500 or 1 mile.  I guess we’ll have to wait until they meet collegiately (Houlihan is going to Arizona State, Worden to Floriday State).

Wednesday Night Track Work, 6:00 pm at Millard West, weather permitting!  With summer nearly here, we should be finished up with our marathon and half marathon training and will combine with the others but we’ll break it down into 3 levels.
1.5-2.0 mile warm up
Beginning- 6 X 400 at goal 5K race pace, 2 sets of 3 with 1:00 recovery between efforts, 2:00 recovery between sets
Intermediate- 8 X 400 at goal 5K race pace, 2 sets of 4 with 1:00 recovery between efforts, 2:00 between sets
Advanced- 10 X 400 at goal 5K race pace, 2 sets of 5 with the above described recoveries

Part of last year’s USA Club T&F Championships team  in San Francisco, L to R:
Kneeling: Jeni Steiner, El Gallo, Aubrey Baxter, Matt Pohren
Standing: LeRon Williams, Aaron Bozarth, Angee Henry, Michaela vd Westhuizen, Paul Wilson, Matt Schneider, Shannon Stenger, Nick Suing, Michael Saalfeld, Luka Thor.

HEAD CHEESE

Struggling to get out of bed to write this morning’s column.  Being an adventurous gastronome some times has its ptifalls.  A Vietnamese buddy of mine brought sandwiches over yesterday.  As usual I greedily consumed mine trying to identify each and every flavorful nuance, hoping to impress the chef.   When he told me I was missing one ingredient I was stumped.  Head Cheese.  I haven’t had that since I was an apprentice meatcutter back in the early 70s.  It certainly did not agree with me.

OK, going to cut today a little short and get back to bed.  Check back tomorrow for more enlightenment on running, racing and wretching.

SMOKE THE SMOKE

Great day for a run, I hope you have either gotten yours in or planning to.  Things are going to start heating up a week from today at the Boystown 5 Mile.  I was speaking with the course designer/measurer Gary Meyer and he agrees that the course may be just a bit faster than in previous years.  All depends on whom you ask I suppose but we’ll find out on the 30th.  I’m riding my Felt road bike just in case the speedsters are “on”.

The following week we’ll really test the mettle at the Hospital Hill Team Challenge.  It won’t be easy and we’d stay home if it was.  Team Challenge Coordinator Julie Schaefer has been great to work with and we promise to bring it.  Our women’s team keeps taking hits and now we’re at 3, the minimum to score, and that’s a shame but is what it is.  Jen Viehrig, Laura Neel, and Linda will give it their very best.  I’m darned proud that these ladies are willing to line up in what is turning out to be one of the most important annual summer Team Nebraska Brooks team races of the year.  Thanks for putting the club goals ahead of your own summer break girls!.   Our men got stronger with Ben Schultz and Andrew Jacob joining Los Tres Matts (Pohren, Schneider, Heesch).

Our competition will be fierce with teams from Big River Running Company (St. Louis), Team Tulsa, and the Kansas City Smoke.   We’re not sending our fastest on either side but I do like our Men’s depth.

My old buddy “La Lengua” ran the Fargo Marathon this past weekend and it sounds like there were plenty and more reasons for the slow times.

We had some good representation at the Gambler Half & 5K yesterday morning.  Have not been able to find any results yet but mates Jose Badillo and Steve Stender were seen carting off some large pieces of hardware, more info on that as it becomes available.

Ann and James Hunter, Linda, Jose Badillo, Shy Vithanage, el gallo de cielo.  James is one of the top 40+ milers in Nebraska.

THREE HALVES MAKE A WHOLE

After moving here in 2001 I set up a meeting with Susie Smisek.  In her capacity as the Race Director for the Omaha Marathon, I was anxious to pick her brain about the Omaha running scene.  I had already reached a few prelminary conclusions based on observations in my 1st 6 months of being an Omahan.

I had a list of carefully prepared questions.  Susie’s first two answers were the most telling in my search for what makes Omaha tick.  My first question was how many people were in the Omaha Run Club.  I’m ball parking it here but it was close to 650 at the time.  That is  great for a community this size by the way.  Tom Whitaker’s leadership is deserving of much praise.

My second question revealed everything I needed to know.  When I asked Susie what percentage of the Omaha Metro Running Community she thought the Omaha Run Club comprised, her reply was an estimate of somewhere between 75-90%.  Bingo!

I suggested that it was less than 5%.  I went on to tell her that I saw a VAST unserved/underserved running community here.  A sparse race calendar with a complacent populace, things needed shaking up in a big way.

Fast forward 10 years.

Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon on May 1st.  The Half had 8500 of the total 10000 participants.  I’ll let you decide what percentage were likely from the Omaha Metro Area, I’d say a whole bunch.

Papillion Half Marathon and 10K last weekend.  Over 1000 entries.

Gambler Half Marathon and 5K this morning.  Over 1000 entries.

Three successful half marathons in 3 weeks (taking the liberty of course to count the Lincoln Half).  We’re not there yet but Omaha is making some great strides towards being recognized in the same breath as other mid-markets like Des Moines, KC, Denver, etc.  A great time to be a runner in Nebraska!

I graduated May 1992 from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Community Health Promotion and a minor in Education.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with it back then but on reflection it seems to have been the perfect fit for my passions.  Also could have never guessed those passions would wind up in Omaha but now realize I ended up just where I was supposed to.

SERPENT RIDGE

A steep 1/4 mile hill on the Southeast side of Zorinsky.  Located ~midway between the 4.5 and 5.0 mile markers it is asphalt, winding, and a real butt kicker.  Thanks to John Seiler this morning for putting his wrist magic on it and coming up with exactly a quarter mile.  Linda & I did 6 X Serpent Ridge on Wednesday (jogging back down), her in 1:55’s, me in 2:0x’s.  As part of today’s 11 miler John & Linda included 3 X Serpent Ridge (I could only muster 2) with a twist.  After each ascent, no jogging back down, but relaxing into a controlled and quick descent, turning right onto the main path and running to the 4.5 and back @ 10K race pace, that segment is ~.75 mile, then back up the hill.   If it sounds difficult it is.  But what better way to get ready for Hospital Hill Half Marathon?

Congratulations to Aubree Worden for her Class B 3200 State Record yesterday, she split 5:18-5:09 on her way to 10:27.33!

Migas Con Juevos y Chorizo.  It’s been fun having guests this weekend, really ignited my Culinary Muse.  Fixed an Italian family style meal on Friday, Carnitas y Chile Verde last night, and my Mexican breakfast specialty, Migas,  this morning.  Great Friends, Great Running, and Great Food.

Michaela van der Westhuizen, Jonel Rodina, and Dylan Wilson cheesing before the start of last year’s Big Blue Run 5K.  This year’s race is set for June 11 @ 8:00 am starting/finishing at Millers Landing just east of downtown Omaha.  Proceeds benefit the Midwest Prostate Cancer Coalition.  www.midwestprostatecancer.org/big-blue-run.html

NOT BUCKSHOT

Just finished a good 9.5 miles with most in the hills of Scenic Sarpy/Douglas Counties.  All systems have checked out A+ and I’ve decided to hop into Hospital Hill Half Marathon on June 4th.  Had some of our mates from Scottsbluff come in last night for this weekend’s State Track Meet.  Introduced John Seiler and Ricky Trevino to some Omaha Hills and a brief tour of the west loop at Zorinsky.  Ricky’s sister will run the Class C 3200 manana.  Aubrey Worden of Scottsbluff will undoubtedly emerge as the distance star of the meet and will have some of the Good Mates cheering the loudest.

It was fun breaking out some of my running memorabalia for John & Ricky.  We looked at USA Olympic Trials Programs from 1952, ’56, ’60, ’64, & my personal favorite, 1972 in Eugene, OR. 

 We also marveled at results listed in “Best of Track Newsletter” vol. 8, 1961-1962.  From that gem an article titled ‘A Steeplechaser’s Opinion’ by John Disley of Great Britain: 
RUNNERS RUN TO SAVE THE WORLD.  “They are the modern counterparts of the medieval monk.  By their daily penance and self-sacrifice they are counter-balancing the materialistic trend of the civilized world.  Instead of turning prayer wheels, they gyrate round quarter mile ovals.  Om mani padne hum.  Or as they say at White City Stadium–58, 59, 60, 61– three laps to go.”

The Gambler Half is set for this Sunday in Council Bluffs.  We’ll have a couple of mates in the race and a few more distributing brochures for the Big Blue Run.  www.midwestprostatecancer.org/big-blue-run.html

No I wasn’t really sprayed by buckshot, only some pre-cancerous spots removed.  I sure got a lot of mileage out of my version of the Farmer’s Daughter though.

Hope you go out and have some great running this weekend whether you are saving the world or not.

Aubrey Worden of Scottsbluff may need a U-Haul to get all her hardware back home from this weekend’s state meet.