Monthly Archives: May 2011


We had a great turn out of 36 at last night’s track workout.   Over half joined us afterward at the Upstream Brewery for beer and burgers.  Always a treat to walk in and see our mate Ivan Marsh.  We caught up, he is headed to the Black Hills this weekend for camping and a 5 Mile Trail Race.  He had driven past Millard West and saw the large crowd, all different shapes and sizes and speeds, diligently going through their paces.  He asked me “How do you keep track of all those people?”  I keep a headcount, introduce myself to the new folks, get their background, their current status, and their goals.  All duly noted on my trusty clipboard.  Each person gets personal attention from Linda and me.  While the workouts are set, they are tailored according to the athlete’s particular situation any given Wednesday.   I’m pleased that we had several youth runners join us last night including a top 5 finisher from the recently completed Girls On The Run program. 

Thrills and Drills.  I opened up for a couple of 200m strides at the end of today’s easy 5 miler.  Felt the rush of speed that had laid dormant over winter.  I’m going to commit to some 5K-10K training over this summer.  Have also been devout in doing my drills and have started an upper body/core weight lifting program.  If I can get back just a smidge of my competitive tenacity I’ll assault my 50-54 age group bests.

Rubbings Racing. Nice quote from our newest TNB mate Ben Schultz.  Ran with Ben yesterday for the first time, a real interesting fella.  He recalled the phrase from his collegiate track days, describing the elbows and spikes in personal spaces.  A native Minnesotan, recently retired Principal at Jefferson Elementary, Ben has wheels (overall winner at this month’s Cinco de Mayo 5K, ~16:30) and a new title as our Social Media Coordinator.  Look for some new and good promotional stuff up the road. 

The State Meet is this weekend at Burke Stadium.  If you’re in town and in need of someplace to run during free time shoot me an email and I’ll direct you to my dojo.

Mole sauce is one of the most ingenious creations in human culinary history.  My favorite recipe comes from “Frida’s Fiestas Recipes” by Guadalupe Rivera.  Frida Kahlo was married to Mexico’s greatest artist Diego Rivera, she was also a famed artist in her own right as well as being a magnificent cook.


In the OWH Living Section they have a quote every day and I’m hijacking yesterday’s because it deserves repeating:

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do.  Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors.  Try to be better than yourself.”  William Faulkner.

Imagine what a great world this would be if we all aspired to do better than we think we can.  I long ago cleared the hurdle of other’s expectations and am driven by an internal desire to be better than the Very Best I can.  I also give myself a broad swath of forgiveness when I fail, with regularity given the human condition, preferring self absolution to the opines of others.  When I brought this attitude to Nebraska I was deemed by those possessing less self awareness as having Narcissitic Personality Disorder, and boy oh boy did they have a ball with that.  They didn’t understand that I didn’t want to be better than them, only to be better than myself, and I still do.

I want You to be Better Than You! 

Megan Zavorka took the win in the Women’s 5000 at last weekend’s Concordia Twilight Meet, running 18:09,  and it is worth repeating how windy it was Saturday night. 

Online registration is up and running for the Big Blue Run 5K at  The race is set for June 11 at 8:00 am at Millers Landing.  Later that same day our fleetest mates will contest the Blair Elite Downtown Mile.  The BEDM has equalized the prize money for men and women this year and we Sure Appreciate this.  This is the 3rd year in a row that Race Director Lowell Peterson has hosted our Nebraska Association 1 Mile Championships, we thank him and Derek Fey for their continued support.  I should have included in yesterday’s column the link to get your USATF membership  Remember our Nebraska LDR program gets a wee percentage of every adult membership so thanks for supporting our efforts!

Wednesday Night Track Work, Millard West @ 6:00 pm.
Everyone:  1.5-2.0 mile warm up & down
Marathoners: 4 X 1200 @ Goal Half Marathon Pace
Half Marathoners: 3 X 1000 @ Goal 10K Pace
Speed Demons: 4 X 800 @ Goal 5K Pace

The start of last year’s inaugural Big Blue Run.  Former Mayor Hal Daub fired the starter’s pistol, quite the dramatic photo of the instant the blank exploded.  Better lucky than good.


Requisite hand chops downward along the length of the opposite arm.  Blessings for David Byrne.

I was running with Maureen Larsen yesterday.  She is the very first athlete I coached after moving to Omaha and was responsible for a lot of the club’s early women’s marathoning notoriety.  We discussed TNB, how it is such a dynamic club these days.  Always a lot of new faces, and in the way of the world, some others no longer with us.  Marriages, babies, relocations, retirements, etc.  The one thing that never changes though is the committment by the Nebraska USATF LDR leadership to Each & Every Runner in the state, it doesn’t even matter if you have a USATF membership.  Same as it ever was.

The Nebraska USATF LDR (Long Distance Running) program was established in 2001.  Since that time LDR memberships have grown from a mere 12 to over 300 today.  We also host a full slate of Nebraska Association Championships including the Ni-Bthaska-Ke 12K Trail Run, Lincoln Marathon & Half Marathon, NE5 Mile, Big Blue Run 5K, Blair Elite Downtown Mile, Corporate Cup 10K, Swamp Stomp 8K XC, and the Monster Dash 5K XC.  And we are always soliciting and entertaining bids from other races that would like the added prestige and panache of a Championships designation.  While I may have founded the program it was under Linda & Jordan’s leadership that our efforts really began to flourish.  In a circle of sorts, I have assumed the LDR Chair to serve out the remainder of Jordan’s term.  Sure would love to get some new blood in the ranks….

I would also love to get some more USATF clubs set up in Nebraska.  There is a lot of talent in Nebraska and not all of it is suited to TNB for a variety of reasons.  I’ve encouraged some key figures in the past to look at setting up clubs, nothing is more fun than friendly competition.  And nothing helps the cream rise quicker.

David Byrne of The Talking Heads.   “Once In A Lifetime” is one of their finest tunes and the inspiration for today’s title.


Congratulations to our Kaci Lickteig on her Doctorate in Physical Therapy.  The addition of a couple of consonants in front of her name is testimony to her hard work over the last 5 years. 

Los Tres Matts: Pohren, Schneider, and Heesch.  These three cats are busting their butts getting ready to tackle Hospital Hill in 20 days.  Lots of hills, lots of miles, and lots of Team Pride are marinating their muscles with a very special dish planned for June 4. 

Andrew Jacob got his USA Club qualifier in the 800 at this past weekend’s Concordia Twilight Meet.  He dipped under the deuce clocking 1:59.05 on a very windy evening.  Ivan Marsh was 2nd overall at the innaugural Lucky Bucket 4 Mile.  Sufian Kalil took the win.  We passed out ~500 Big Blue Run brochures at yesterday morning’s Papillion 10K & Half Marathon.  TNB Masters Ace Kraig Vanderbeek was 3rd overall in 1:23:04 and Jen Viehrig was 4th in 1:30:41.

I’ve agreed to be the lead biker for the Memorial Day 5 Mile at Boystown.  I’m studying the new course and it looks to be maybe just a tad quicker than the old one.

Ron Paul has announced his candidacy for President.  Regular readers will know he is an OB/GYN in Surfside, Texas and was the delivering physician for both of my daughters.  Who knew he would brush with such greatness?

2008 Olympic Marathon Champion Sammy Wanjuri has died under suspicious circumstances at his home.  He apparently lept from his balcony following a domestic disupte and died at the scene, authorities are investigating.

  My old buddy Ron Paul has thrown his hat into the ring for 2012.  The perennial presidential candidate welcomed Allison and Katie into the world and has shared some of his favorite recipes with me.


Potpourri Friday. 

A great big ADIOS to one of our favorite couples in Omaha.  Jim & Gina Morkel (Dew Drop Inn owners) will be moving to Tempe, AZ at the end of this month.  Gina has accepted the World Wide Marketing Director position with Insight (think Insight Bowl).  She and Jim have been TNB Best Buddies for the last few years and we will miss them dearly. 

Dealing with a little tendonitis in my right ankle, keeping me on the shelf until healed up, hopefully resume training next week but it puts the kabosh on racing any time soon.

The Vala’s Monster Dash course has been revamped and will be a full 5K this year.  Not certified as it is a cross country-off road hybrid course, but more fun than you can shake a skeleton at.

My old buddy Joe Sutter has got to be pleased that he has 1800+ signed up for the Lucky Bucket Run.  Our mate Ivan Marsh designed the course and is no doubt the odds on favorite for the win.  Joe’s daughter and mine are fast friends as well as aspiring chefs.

The Papillion Half Marathon and 10K are also slated for this weekend.  We’ll be out putting Big Blue Run brochures in your windshields, say hi if you get the chance.

Our old buddy Barefoot Benny is also a promoter.  He is putting on the “Lovefest in the Midwest”  Located at the Bellevue Berry Farm there will be 50+ bands playing non-stop for the next two days.  More information at

Is there a better ambassador for Team Nebraska Brooks than Shy Vithanage?

I’m having an absolute ball reading the funny pages this week.  The Pessimistic Liberal Realist and his lovely bride clearly articulating what I could not.

    Former TNB mate Brian Erb and his lovely wife Rachel will be moving to Ft. Collins in the next few weeks.   We’ll miss the Erbs, their wit, their eloquence, their spot on assessment of the social milieu called Nebraska.


Here are 5 common mistakes made by self-coached athletes, these from “The Self Coached Runner” by Al Lawrence.  I’ll list his mistake and make it relevant to you:

1. Mixed Philosophies of Training– Lydiard?  McMillan?  Hadd?  McLatchie?  Lindgren?  There are a lot of different programs out there, if you tend to pick one from column A, one from column B you will likely end up with mixed or less than desired results from your workouts.

2. Doing Other Runners’ Workouts– Reading what others do and trying to inject that into your schedule.  Or worse, having a workout set and then being persuaded to hop into someone elses.  If I’m at the track for 6 X 1 Mile and Shannon Stenger asks me to hop in with him for 20 X 200, I’d be much better off sticking to my plan.

3. Failure To Set A Schedule– from the book: “The reason you were so easily persuaded to run someone else’s workout was that you didn’t really believe you needed to run repeat miles anyway.”  You’ve got to have a schedule you can trust and you must stick to it.  If you don’t want, or have a coach guiding you, then you better be very self disciplined.

4. Doing the Workouts You Do Well– You need to work on the areas where you need improvement more than you need to feed your ego with easy (relative) workouts.

5. Doing Workouts That Impress Others– You were feeling good today so you added an extra 6 miles knowing that your friends will applaud your “toughness” and how amazing you are. 

The USA Mile Championships are tonight in Minneapolis.  We won’t have an entrant this year but look for some great racing and fast times.

  We had a national class field at the 2008 Omaha Mile.  Left to Right: Alice Schmidt, Ann Gaffigan, Casey Owens, Stacy Girard, Angee Henry.  Also in the race but not visible: Anne Shadle and Rebecca Topham.   Alice won in a Nebraska State all time best for a road mile in 4:38.52.


Now here’s a column title I never thought I’d use.  The words still leave a Very Bad taste in my mouth.  One of the biggest precipitators to my falling out with a local group was constant accusations of “gravy training”, my supposed recruitment of athletes for TNB through that social/running media outlet.   There were those that seriously thought Team Nebraska couldn’t exist/wouldn’t last without them or their suggestions on how to run it.

What’s this got to do with today’s column? 

Most of you will recall my references to the Baytown “Bud” Heatwave 5 Miler.  Held for 20+ years on the 4th of July in Baytown, Texas, it was one of the most competitive and well attended races of the Houston summers.  A very small group of us calling ourselves the “Baytown Easy Striders” administered the event.  Joel & Annie Moyer, Pete Cote, Ralph & Mary Fanello, and I hosted 1000+ runners to hot racing and cold beer at the Summer Classic in Houston.  We last contested the event in 1999. 

Received a call from Joel last night that the event had been revived.  I was pretty excited and ready to reprise my role as Elite Athlete Coordinator.  I started a mental list of athletes I would invite and then got the news that the race had been recussitated by a different group.  Which isn’t such a bad thing until you consider that they supplanted our course, logos, artwork, and 21 year history of the event as their own.  That sucks.

                             This is the exact logo that we used in 1999 for the final edition of Houston’s most popular summer race.  The logo was actually produced by Allison Leeper of Omaha.  It has been “reprised” without permission for this year’s race.  Do I sound a little grumbly about this?


One of our all time favorite ex TNB mates Mike Morgan has been named to the 2011 USA World Championships Marathon Team.  Mike was kind enough to answer a few questions:

Will:  So how does it feel to be named to the USA World Championships Marathon Team?  The meet is in Daegu, Korea this summer, do you know what day you’ll be competing?
Mike: Will, to sport the USA Jersey in international competition is an unbelievable feeling, it is the pinnacle of our sport.  I remember standing on that start line in Osaka, Japan, thinking that there are over 300 million people in the US, and I was one of five guys that got this opportunity to represent our country.  Don’t screw it up!  It is a very humbling and emotional event, one that I will never forget.  This time around, I will be competing on the final day of the Championships, it is scheduled for September 4th.

Will:  This isn’t your first time to run the WC Marathon.  Didn’t you run in Osaka a few years ago?
Mike: Yes, I have been fortunate enough to run on both the World Championships Marathon in Osaka 2007, as well as the World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton, in 2005.

Will:  What did you learn from your first trip that will help you this August?
Mike: I learned so much.  Things such as dealing with jet lag, being away from your family in a foreign land for a couple of weeks, the pressure of performing on a major stage, and of course, running a marathon in the brutal heat and humidity.  I am very confident that we will be able to take my training from the last Championships, tweak it, and come up with a great game plan for Daegu.

Will:  The qualifying mark for the World Championships Marathon is 2:17:00. Remind us of which race you ran that qualified you.
Mike: My qualification mark came from the 2010 Chicago Marathon where I ran a personal best of 2:14:55.

Will:  This obviously alters the focus on the USA Olympic Trials next January.  Will there be plenty of time to recover and get trained up for Houston?
Mike: Let’s be honest.  I am 31 with a kid on the way, my opportunities to wear that USA Jersey are becoming limited.  I had such a positive experience in Osaka, I would never forgive myself if I passed on a chance to do it again.  After Osaka, I had 6 weeks to recover and compete at the US Olympic Trials, it worked out well.  I do recognize that I am 4 years older, and the US Marathon game has changed significantly, however, this time around, the trials are in January, and that gives me 4 months to get ready.  In my mind, this does not alter the focus for the Olympic Trials, rather, it is just another stepping stone towards that race.

Will:  Can you tell us who your teammates will be?  Men?  Women?  Any other of your Hanson’s mates?
Mike: I haven’t heard the official roster, but I believe that I will be the only Hanson member, however, I will be joined by my former Hanson teammates Nick Arciniaga, and Jeff Eggleston, as well as Sergio Reyes, and Mike Sayenko.  Also, I am hopeful that Desi Davila can qualify for the Championships in the 10,000m on the track. 
Will:  I see this as the third biggest race of your life- behind only the upcoming Olympic Trials and hopefully the Olympic Games themselves.  This next year is what all your years of running and racing have pointed to.  Can you give us a little insight about how it feels to be on the verge of realizing every runner’s dream of the biggest stage?
Mike: It can definitely be overwhelming to think about what has to be done to make the team.  Like you mentioned, I have been preparing for this moment my entire life.  Starting from the lessons my parents taught me, to all of the things that I have learned from all of my coaches throughout the years, I need to pull it all together for this race.

Will:  We missed seeing you and Kelly in Lincoln for the marathon, will you be visiting Nebraska at all before you leave later this summer?  I’d like to give you a lock of my hair for good luck!
Mike: Yes, because the trials are in January, my Christmas trip to Nebraska may not happen, or it will be very short lived, so we will try to get back a couple of times this summer.  Plus, I need a little Nebraska summer to get ready for Daegu!


Wednesday Night Track Workout at Millard West, 6:00 pm
Marathoners- easy 3-5 miles
Half Marathoners- easy 3-5 miles
Speed Demons- 1.5-2.0 mile warm up and down.  2 X 800 w/ 2:00 recovery, 2 X 400 w/ 1:00 recovery, 2 X 200 w/ :30 recovery


  Mike Morgan running the 2008 USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Central Park.


June 4 down in Kansas City.  If you’ve never run this half marathon you can’t imagine what you’re missing.  Seven (7!) Named hills on the course, the toughest 13.1 road half in the midwest.  The Good Mates have been invited down as part of the Elite Team Challenge.  Our women took 2nd last year and we didn’t field a men’s team.  This year we will be sending Los Tres Matts;  Pohren, Schneider, & Heesch.  Working on the final two men.  Our women will be represented by Brittany Hubbard, Jen Viehrig, Laura Neel, & Linda Barnhart.

In 2004 our TNB men won the USA Half Marathon Team Championships at Hospital Hill.  The roster was Mike Morgan, Nick Rector, and moi.  No apologies here.

We’re also getting ready to start gearing up for the USA Club T&F National Championships at Ichan Stadium in NYC on July 8-9.  Matt Pohren has been named Team Captain for the squad.  The site visit at Burke Stadium for the 2012 Champs will take place in the next couple of weeks.

I designed and measured the 5K course for the Big Blue Run yesterday.  Starts and finishes by the large shelter at Millers Landing.  The paperwork should be back in a week or so and you’ll have another USATF Certified course on which to test your fitness. 

The USA Marathon Road Relay Championships to wind up in Lincoln?  This event has not been contested since 2007 and it is a pet project of mine to revive it and land it in Lincoln.  My good buddy Ken Dobbs with the Lincoln CVB agrees and we are exploring a multiple year bid.

    Matt Pohren has been named Team Captain for the 2011 USA Club Track & Field National Championships in July.


It is with a heavy heart and high hopes that we bid adieu to our TNB mate and my good buddy Jordan Tucker.  He embarks on the next chapter of his young life with today’s move to Fort Collins, Colorado.  Outside of his parents I’ll probably miss him more than anyone.  He has been rock solid as our Business Manager for the last two and a half years, he has saved my butt with sound advice on many occasions.   Jordan has also served the Nebraska running community with distinction.  He founded, the most comprehensive source for running news in the state.  He founded the Race Against MS, and has served as the Nebraska USATF LDR Chair for the last two years.  Jordo, we love you and we’ll miss you but are happy that your future is so bright!

Ryan Hall will be running the TCM 1 Mile, the USA Road Mile National Championships in Minneapolis on May 12th.  This is cool coming so close on the heels of his American Best marathon performance at Boston just a few weeks ago.  None other than Rod Dixon advised Ryan to tackle the double.  Rod knows range, he was a 3:53.62 miler and the 1983 NYC Marathon Champ running 2:08:59.

Our buddy Cal Murdock sent out an interesting tidbit about the Lincoln Half Marathon and the On-The-Roads Half Marathon held in Des Moines the day prior to Lincoln.  He notes that at Lincoln, over 20% of the participants ran over 2:30.  At Des Moines, only 2% ran over 2:30.  I dug around and came up with some demographical analysis of why this must be so and forwarded them to Cal.  He replied back, nah, they simply have a 2:30 time limit for registration.  On-The-Roads had 1061 finishers (56% male, 44% female), Lincoln had 7229 finishers (33% male, 67% female).

Looking through some old boxes that include my Report Cards from 1st (1963-1964) through 8th (1970-1971) grades.  Missed only a handful of days during those 8 years, something my teachers must have rued.  Arithmetic was consistent with C- and Ds, a couple of Fs peppered in.  Conduct was C- and Ds.  Surprisingly, Writing and Physical Education were both C- and Ds. 

Spelling was straight As.

                         Bridget Easley had a big pr running 1:21:29 for 2nd in the women’s Half Marathon.

         Kayte Tranel ran 1:21:58 to finish a step ahead of teammate Brian Bergt.  Brian was chip timed in 1:21:48 and  2nd overall master, Kayte was 3rd overall female.

          Emily Kraus had a big pr in 1:24:15.  A good day for the top 3 TNB women!