Monthly Archives: September 2011


Just another way to say “In It To Win It!”  Going to borrow some lines from the Samsung Galaxy II advertisement:

“Nobody ever set their sights on second place.
Who aspires to be almost remembered?
There’s a reason there are no giant foam fingers that say “We’re number 3″.
No one wants to tell an average joke, make an underwhelming entrance, go out with a whimper.
No one ever stood in front of a mirror with a hairbrush pretending to be the tambourine player.
And there are definitely more kids dressed as Batman, than Robin.
We all aspire.”

You have to dream baby.  And I had another one last night, this one ended the same with our Co-Ed team finishing 1st Overall at tomorrow’s Mkt2Mkt Relay.  And again, our Open Men taking 2nd Overall.  But this time the order was as described by Team Captain Peter vd Westhuizen, like this:
Stage 1- David Adams, The Demoralizer
Stage 2- Matt Schneider, The Billy Goat
Stage 3- Linda Barnhart, You Can’t Catch Her
Stage 4- Peter vd Westhuizen, Bye Bye
Stage 5- Emily Langdon, You Think You Can, You Think You Can
Stage 6- Will Lindgren, Give Me Your Hills, I Make Them Mine
Stage 7- Carole Swanson, Nanny Nanny Boo Boo
Stage 8- Eric Rasmussen, Just So You Know

So it is written, so it shall be done!

After long discussions yesterday Peter, Linda, & I decided that as El Presidente I should have the privilege of running the most difficult stages.  We don’t want anyone thinking that I threw myself on this team to simply ride the Gravy Train to Victory.  I want to Earn my piece of this legacy and would have none of the “easier” stages.  And it just might give those other TNB rascals some glimmer of false hope, their disappointment will be so much gravy on the biscuit of our morning!

This event was first contested in 2008.  I was in Rio de Janeiro as the Team Leader for our USA World Championships Half Marathon squad that weekend.  I hadn’t paid much attention to Mkt2Mkt and several of our mates were poached to be on another team (a recurring theme through the years).   Upon my return from Brazil and looking at the results I accepted full responsibility for the oversight and vowed to never let that happen again!   Mkt2Mkt has thus become not only a litmus test of team fealty but an opportunity for those with the greatest sense of Team Pride to raise the banner and continue the tradition of Excellence in Nebraska.  Giddyup!

“I promise on my faith that I will in the future be faithful to the team, never cause it harm and will observe my homage to it completely against all persons in good faith and without deceit.”

Not asking much eh?  There’s a reason there are no giant foam fingers that say “We’re number 3”.

Today is the last day to get the early registration rate for the Vala’s Pumpkin Patch Monster Dash 5K!  Be sure to go to and get registered!!

Aspirations are what brought me from these humble beginnings.  This is the first house I lived in, a family of 5 crammed into tight quarters, with dreams being my only avenue out.


I had dream last night.  Rolled out like this:  Me sprinting madly down the final straight, Ben Shultz closing Very Fast, both of our bald pates casting brilliant, blinding rays, two sun gods racing fiercely, with me just holding the point, the finish tape caressing my chest just a moment before being overtaken.  Yeah, that’s how I see it playing out Saturday morning.  We’ve cobbled together a decent Co-Ed team that I think will kick some Open Men’s team tail.  First, our worthy adversaries:

Leading off will be Andrew Jacob.  Andrew is a versatile young stud having demonstrated great range this summer by running the Hospital Hill Half Marathon and then racing the 800 meters at Club Champs in NYC.
Next up will be Justin Mollak.  He’s kind of the X Factor because he has yet to really unload the raw power in his rock solid constitution.
He’ll be handing off to Dylan Wilson.  Dylan is also a bit of an unknown quantity as he races infrequently but is always ready to rumble.
Cheto Cerda will get the baton next.  Cheto was the First person to put his hand up for this competition, he wants to take us down bad!
Team Captain Paul Wilson will be next and he better bring his A game because he’s talked more smack than even me.
Tim Langdon will likely just be catching glimpses of wife Emily as she tries to hold on to the sizeable lead our co-ed boys have given her.  The pursuit will be in vain.
Ben Shultz will run the anchor for the men, and you already know how I will dispose of him on the last leg.

And your TNB Co-Ed team, while the order is not official yet, will likely be:
Peter vd Westhuizen setting the pace early to begin the necessary cushion.  First overall at 2011 Corporate Cup.
David Adams to extend.  Third overall at 2011 Corporate Cup.
Eric Rasmussen to put us out of sight.  First overall 2010 Corporate Cup.
Matt Schneider to catch and pass the first wave teams.  Two time USA Club T&F National Champ in Steeplechase.
Emily Langdon to tantalize husband Tim.  Hungry to make hubby eat his words.
Carole Swanson to keep the men hopeful.  Part of our amazing Masters Women that will rock Seattle this December.
Linda Barnhart to give me just the lead I will need.  Catch her if you can.
Your Run Guru to make this Real Racing.   Thrives under Pressure.

I’m predicting both teams to be in well under 7 hours 30 minutes.  We’ll be showered and fed and back out on the finish line to cheer in the next finishers.  The biggest Husker game of the year is Saturday evening, so accept my apologies in advance for not hanging around for the awards ceremony.

Who needs Carlsbad?  The Syracuse Festival of Races is this weekend in Syracuse, NY.  From their website: “Our 5K races are run on the USATF-certified and validated out-and-back course (NY97047AM) that has hosted 35 US 5K age group records and hundreds of 5K PRs. This is the same course that hosted the four of the ten fastest 5K road times run anywhere in the world in 2002. Water is available at two points on the 5K course, and split times will be called at the mile mark and at each kilometer.”  Race Director Dave Oja is one of my oldest and dearest, it was him that approved TNB’s first Elite Development Club application back in 2002.

We had 30 harriers out for last night’s preview run of the Swamp Stomp 8K.  It was the first time many of them had ever run cross country and they Loved It!  Fall weather and cross country, nothing finer or funner!


Public Service Announcement.  I just got out of the Midwest Dermatology Clinic, had another 8 spots frozen off the arms, hands, and head.  For goodness sakes, use Sunscreen, preferably SPF 50+ while you are still young and cancer free!  It is insidious and will not rear its manifestations until you are well past your youthful vigour.  And whatever you do, stay the heck out of tanning salons, the Devil’s Microwave!  And you older fellas be sure and have your PSA (prostate specific antigen) checked as part of your total wellness approach to a long healthy life.  Ok, enough of the soapbox.

Aaron Carrizales will tackle the San Jose Half Marathon this weekend, wishing our mate Great Running, Good Luck, and a sub 1:05:00!

Our Market to Market Co-Ed team is being decimated by injury.  Two of our females have withdrawn, I think I can throw in my Dear Sweet Allison & Katie and we’ll still be fine in that division although it will be tougher to crush the Open Men’s team.  Yawn.

Still time to get the early registration rate for the Vala’s Pumpkin Patch Monster Dash 5K!  Go to to register and be sure to check for more details.

Looking forward to tonight’s preview of the Swamp Stomp, all are welcome to join us out at Chalco at 6 pm!  I received the age group awards last night from New Orleans.  You are going to Love them!




I’ve just concluded a little research on Sunday’s race performances.  All due respect to our young studs and studettes but check these WAVA table age-graded performances:
Stacy Shaw’s 3:03 :18, at age 46 is worth 2:45:13.  Natalie Jetensky’s 3:07:56 at age 41 is worth 2:57:09.  Linda Barnhart’s 1:32:07 at age 48 is worth 1:20:01.  Brian Bergt’s 1:22:27 at age 50 equates to 1:12:55.  Kraig Vanderbeek’s 1:20:59 at age 46 is rated at 1:15:08, and my seemingly paltry 42:40 at age 53 is worth a better sounding 36:25.

Stacy rated as an Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier (sub 2:46), I wish TNB would have been around for her back in the 90s.  Linda’s age graded performance would have given her the win!  And she’s not happy with her time.

I hope you too are giving it your ALL when you get to be our ages.  Running, the sport for a lifetime!

Jen Viehrig is toeing the line at the Twin Cities Marathon this weekend.  I can’t wait to see how she does at the “Big Show” as she has a lot of talent, determination, and motivation.  I think she will knock 391 seconds off of her 3:01 pr.   Megan Zavorka will also be in Minneapolis running the USA Women’s 10 Mile National Championships.

Then there’s the little matter of the Market to Market Relay, the premiere Novelty Event of the year in Nebraska.  We’ll have a dozen and a half of our studs once again crushing all competition.  I did my part by running 3 times this past Sunday.  Got up and ran at 4:00 am, ran the 10K at 7 am, and then another 5 miler at 3:30 pm (this one barefoot).  We’ll see how well Peter & Paul have orchestrated this, if all goes according to plan it will be the Mates v. the Mates sprinting down the final stretch for the win.  I’m picking my Co-Ed team to take the overall, sorry Paul.

The Race for the Cure 5K is Sunday and we’ll have a few mates in there too.

Whew!  We’ve got so many talented people on TNB, it seems like we are able to load up every single weekend.  Standard bearers for excellence in running in Nebraska!

Don’t forget that tomorrow evening we will be meeting at Chalco Hills to preview the Swamp Stomp 8K XC course.  6:00 pm sharp, we’ll have some Great Fun and Fellowship!

The Swamp Stomp is one of the most unique events of the year with its Cajun themed presentation and an opportunity to run through our “Swamp”.  Number 88 finally realizes that is his shoe stuck in the mud behind him and does retrieve it.



Thing One:  While there were a lot of amazing performances at yesterday’s Omaha races, there was also some Big Lessons to be learned.  The most profound observation I had was how important Teamwork is.  Everyone knew the half was Luka’s to win or lose.  It was what was happening right behind him that laid a solid foundation of future success for three of our young guns.  Justin Mollak, Cory Logsdon, and Shane Kephart exhibited the ultimate in Teammates Working Together to achieve greater goals than would have been otherwise possible.  I’m giving Cory some especially big props because he had committed prior to the race to help Shane get his goal of hitting the 1:15’s.  Cory has been racing very well but put his own aspirations to the side to help his old High School mate achieve his personal best.  The fact that both of them knew Justin was willing to work with them only made it much easier.  Teamwork up front, these young lads get it.  Same with Stacy & Natalie.  And with Steve & Linda, all whom devised race plans going in to work together.  Proud papa indeed!

Thing Two:  Have a plan and stick to it!  I’ve lamented my recent lack of racing success over the last few weeks.  But have also remained confident that I’d get over that hurdle and eventually have a good run.  Yesterday was the first glimmer that I’m on the right track.  Did not have a “breakthrough” performance but was able to execute my pre-race plan perfectly.  The goal was to run Even Splits and I darned near nailed it turning in 6:52, 6:52, 6:56, 6:54, 6:54, 6:46 through 6 miles.  Resisted the temptations to push any harder, despite some very desirable opportunities.  I needed to nail this one down before dreaming of deeper ponds and bigger fish.

We all battle doubt and uncertainty and sometimes look for answers elsewhere when we just need to stick with a well thought out plan.  From the Texas Swing Band, and my old buddies, Asleep At The Wheel:
“You gotta dance with who brung ya, swing with who swung ya,
life ain’t no forty yard dash, be in it for the long run,
’cause in the long run you’ll have more fun,
if you dance with who brung you to the bash”

Or for a more humorous angle google the Proverbial Mexican and learn about why not to change horses in mid stream.

Either way, if you start changing things up out of fear or doubt or outside pressures, you will likely end up not achieving the desired end results.  Believe in yourself, do your work and the outcome will take care of itself.   This is why it is often good to have a Coach.  Someone to help you deal with those uncertainties and keep you on track to your best races.  I saw it play out time and time again as the smiles crossed yesterday’s finish line.


Some Great Stories from today but for now I’m going to post some photos and save my narrative for manana.  These pics are mostly of the mates but if you go to our flickr account there are a bunch posted and you just might be in one.  And as always, free and free.   Thanks to Jody Green, Rodney Green, and Bruce Barnhart (Gracias Amy Mollak) for capturing the morning.

This shot is my favorite of the day because it reflects the cross section of athletes that I am privileged to work with.  Left to Right: Steve Stender, Linda Barnhart Dylan Wilson, Laurie Halpenny, Luka Thor, Linda Pedraza Hendrickson, moi, Tom  Corell, Cassandra Herfindahl, and Shane Kephart.

Shane Kephart and Cory Logsdon lead Justin Mollak. Justin would run a sweet 1:14:mid and these two cats were in less than a minute later.

Steve Stender ran 1:26:low completely barefoot.  He ran and won the full barefoot division last year.

Luka Thor repeated as Overall Half Marathon Champion.  A man among men!

Tom Whitaker presented the RRCA State Championship plaques (and some $$) to Luka, Justin, and Cory.   Who’s the proud papa?

Stacy Shaw and Natalie Jetensky share pacing duties early on.  Dig this, Stacy is in her mid 40s, so is Natalie.  Stacy was running only her second marathon (she finished 2nd at 2010 Omaha in 3:14), and BAM!  She pops a 3:03 this morning for 2nd Overall!  Natalie improved her pr to 3:07 and was next across the line.  I’m so Happy I could cry.  Running Really Is Fun After All!

Dustin Llewellyn ran 2:44:55 (I’m pretty sure that was it, official results at the link at bottom when they get it up) for 2nd overall male.  His cross country team will hoist him Monday.

50 year old Brian Bergt always gives the younger guns someone to chase.  It was Brian’s day today as he turned in a sparkling 1:22:xx.  Brian is the physically strongest guy on TNB and that dude behind him is a behemoth as well.

Kraig Vanderbeek was our top masters runner coming in at 1:19:xx.  Thanks again for not holding me to the seconds until results are official.

Linda Barnhart was masterful as always running 1:32:xx for the Overall Masters Female.  It was her 4th or 5th RRCA State Championship this year, catch her if you can!

Thanks to everyone for coming out and cheering on the Good Mates this morning.  I always expect excellence from them and was not disappointed.  But the performances and prs by our Wednesday night group were truly the highlight of my morning.  Thank all of you for allowing me to be some small part of your Personal Achievements!


To the Omaha Mile.  Four years ago this weekend, this race kick started Real Racing from its decades long doldrums in Omaha.  The event promised to bring the first sub 4 on a USATF Certified course in Nebraska history and it delivered the very first year.  Peter the Great would win in a new state record in the race’s final year.  Contested only two years but deserving of its own chapter in Nebraska running.

Some iconic pics from the race, thanks to our Professional photographer Bruce Barnhart for capturing these moments that will live forever in the annals of Nebraska Real Racing:

Shannon Stenger leading the field onto 10th Street.  He set the pace, electrified the crowd, and inspired a generation with his ballsy front running that morning.  I wonder what became of the two lads that are jacked to see their coach out front of this National Class field?  Shannon is fronting David Juliano, Rob Duncan and Ryan Kleminenhagen.  Josh Moen is just off the back and not pictured.

Ryan Keimenhagen of Madison, WI became the first legitimate sub 4 Road Miler on Nebraska soil.

In 2008 the Little Wrangler Runs were popular, we set the kiddos off in age group waves and had smiles all around.  All of our TNB races now feature kids runs and younger age groups.

In ’08 it was Paul Wilson’s turn to set the pace.  Here he leads John Richardson (#2), Peter,  Tommy Schmitz (#6), and Michael Saalfeld (#7), with Shannon just behind Paul.

Bob Garcia and Craig Christians had some epic battles for the Masters title.  Though the event was billed as a downhill mile you can see that there was actually quite a climb on Capitol just past the halfway point.  We had clocks set out every 1/4 mile to help the racers.  The original Nebraska State Capitol building in the background made for a great pic.

The greatest gathering of Women road racers ever in Nebraska.  Alice Schmidt, Ann Gaffigan, Casey Owens, Stacy Girard, and Angee Henry pictured.  Anne Shadle is just behind Casey in this shot.  Alice set a State Record 4:39 with her win.

Multiple World Record holder Henry Rono was in the 2008 race.  He was attempting a come back in an effort to set the WR for 50+ in the mile, but not to be on this day.

Pete would hold off a determined John Richardson this morning, both going under the magic 4:00 barrier.  Notice a young Justin Mollak, far left, he would join TNB later and is becoming a Stud himself.

Pete, the original Barefoot Strider, having a smile with your Run Guru celebrating a new State Record!  This was the last year for the race and the last time ever to use scaffolding for our finish line build outs.

USATF Certified means bona fide.  I had a blast with this race and there is always a buzz about bringing it back eventually.

2007 Results:
1 Ryan Kleimenhagen Madison WI 25 M 1/8 3:59

    2 Rob Duncan            Ironwood MI        25 M     2/8       4:01
    3 David Juliano         Boulder CO         26 M     3/8       4:04
    4 Shannon Stenger       Omaha NE           28 M     4/8       4:07
    5 Josh Moen             Readlyn IA            M     5/8       4:10
    6 Paul Wilson           Omaha NE           26 M     6/8       4:16
    7 Dustin Llewellyn      Omaha NE           29 M     7/8       4:16

2008 Results:
1 Peter Van Der Westhuizen M 1/8 3:58

    2 John Richardson               M     2/8       3:59
    3 Tommy Schmitz                 M     3/8       4:09
    4 Shannon Stenger               M     4/8       4:12
    5 Michael Saalfeild             M     5/8       4:16
    6 Paul Wilson                   M     6/8       4:27
    7 Michael Beatie             30 M     1/8       4:30
    8 Jeff Gray                  27 M     1/9       4:34
    9 Colin Morrissey            19 M     1/4       4:35
   10 Dustin Llewellyn              M     7/8       4:37
   11 Alice Schmidt                 F     1/7       4:39
   12 Kevin Vanderlinden         46 M     1/9       4:41
   13 Casey Owens                   F     2/7       4:41
   14 Stacy Girard                  F     3/7       4:42
   15 Jorge Zuniga               29 M     2/9       4:43
   16 Keegan Bloomfield          20 M     3/9       4:43
   17 Craig Christians           47 M     2/9       4:44
   18 Ron Bay                    25 M     4/9       4:45
   19 Matthew Skradski           28 M     5/9       4:48
   20 Michael Pecha              27 M     6/9       4:49
   21 Steve Schultz              19 M     2/4       4:49
   22 Kray Zeller                35 M     2/8       4:51
   23 Bob Garcia                 53 M     1/6       4:51
   24 Paul Braunschweiler        56 M     2/6       5:00
   25 Anne Gaffigan                 F     4/7       5:01
   26 Jeff Marshall              47 M     3/9       5:02
   27 Anne Shadle                   F     5/7       5:05
   28 Clayton Camic              31 M     3/8       5:06
   29 Christopher Tegtmeier      21 M     7/9       5:06
   30 Sean Elliott                  M               5:07
   31 Matt Rinkenberger          33 M     4/8       5:07
   32 Ron Lampe                  46 M     4/9       5:11
   33 Angee Henry                   F     6/7       5:15
   34 Connie Prince Houlihan     50 F     1/4       5:17
   35 Rebekah Topham             12  F     7/7      5:18


My dad was born in 1932 and was raised during the Great Depression.  I’ve detailed previously how we cinched our belts tight while growing up, wore hand me downs, and generally didn’t realize how poor we were because I was having too much fun being a kid.  Fast forward 70 years and dad had a windfall selling a piece of property.  The value of which was more than he made in his entire working life combined.  When he called me a few weeks ago and indicated he had moved all but a survival pittance into a box (safety deposit, not shoe), I understood completely.  He’s as much a skeptic as I am and percentage points, rates of return and pie-eyed speculation do not keep him awake at night.  This roller coaster ride the stock market has been on hasn’t bothered him a bit.  He’s a simple man.  Me too.

I’m sure this has something to do with running.  We are insulated here in West Omaha, land of the privileged and entitled.  But the Real World does exist outside of 68130.  And it is tough for some of our younger mates to afford today’s entry fees, especially when going longer than the reasonably priced 10Ks.  Entries for half marathons and marathons have skyrocketed in recent years.  I just paid $81 for one of our mates to run the Omaha Half on Sunday, ouch that hurt, but he would not have been able to run if left to his own financials.  The fact that he is the Defending Champion eased the sting a little bit, he’ll represent with distinction.

Just so you understand, when you enter one of our TNB events, you are helping support these athletes.  We too have raised our TNB race entry fees to be more in line with other local races.  But we also pride ourselves on offering more and better amenities than any other race in the area.  I’m always in hot water with our road race committee for insisting that such a large portion of our entry $$ go back to You the participants.  But I’d rather you have a Great Experience and spread the love about what we do, and that’s just how I’ll continue to roll these puppies.  We are committed to providing healthy lifestyle opportunities through Fun Family Fitness, we hope you will come out and take advantage.

Thanks to our Road Race VP Jody Green for producing and posting this map of the Swamp Stomp course.  We will do a preview run next Wednesday and invite everyone out for some fun!




For years my kids and I had a routine at suppertime called Quizzes.  They could select any broad category and I would ask them questions, pretty simple premise and one that helped build education, memories, and bonds to last a lifetime.

Today’s Quiz:  What do the Chicago Marathon, Houston Marathon, Boston Marathon, NYC Marathon, Twin Cities Marathon, California International Marathon, Austin Marathon, St. Louis Marathon, Kansas City Marathon, St. George Marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, and Des Moines Marathon have in common?  Answer:  They each provide TNB, as a USATF Elite Development Club- and 501 (c) 3 not for profit- assistance to our athletes that are financially struggling .  We’ve always appreciated this and could not fulfill our mission without that support!

Speaking of marathons we hope to see you out Sunday morning for the Omaha Marathon.  A couple of the mates that should do well are Dustin Llewellyn and Lauren Klima.  Lauren is a previous champion and Dustin is as fit as he has been in many years so you’ll have some hometown heroes to cheer for!  The Quad Cities Marathon is also on Sunday and our 2010 Masters Male Athlete of the Year Jeff Marshall will be churning and burning the streets of Moline, IL.

Don’t forget that the early registration deadline is tomorrow for the 6th Annual Swamp Stomp 8K XC Festival.  You can register at and please feel free to check our digital web brochure at

Local Channel 7 celebrity and stud Ironman Michelle Bandur will be emceeing the awards ceremony at both the Swamp Stomp and Monster Dash.  For the Stomp we’ve got some cool awards ordered from New Orleans, have gone back to the much requested Long Sleeve T’s, have the Prairie Gators all tuned up and the Seafood Gumbo on our minds.

Master Gator Steve Kunasek will once again perform the National Anthem on his squeezebox at this year’s Swamp Stomp.



Thrills:  Going to be some Real Racing this weekend at the Omaha Marathon, Half & 10K.  Defending Half Champ Luka Thor will be back to defend his title.  Jen Viehrig will not be defending hers as she will be rocking Twin Cities Marathon on Oct. 2nd.  Linda Barnhart will make her Omaha Half debut and she is in it to win it.  While she’s a lock for the masters title she won’t give away the overall victory without a fight.  It would be cool to have a 48 year old champion.   Stacy Shaw will try and improve on her 2nd place finish in the full from last year, it would be sweet to have a 45 year old champion!  Steve Stender is out to win the masters title in the Half, while running barefoot!  Last year Steve was given 2nd overall barefooter in the full marathon even though the “winner” was wearing Vibram Five Fingers.

Chills:  The weather looks to be ideal with the cooler, if not chilly fall temps arriving right on schedule.  Must be all that Good Clean Living by RD Susie Smisek.  We get a very small window of Great Weather for racing in the fall, right now is Prime Time!

Drills:  A fella told Linda & me that we looked “Silly” doing our drills out at the dojo last week.  We do these daily and you should too!  Core and upper body strength are key to being a life long runner!  They can also help to improve your form, flexibility, and fun!

Wednesday Night Track work:
1-1.5 mile warm up and down
If running the Omaha 10K-  6 X 1/4 @ goal race pace, 2:00 easy jog between
If running the Omaha Half- 40 minutes easy jogging with 4-6 strides at the conclusion.  Strides of ~ 100 meters, either on the track or infield, barefoot if on grass.
If running the Omaha Full- 30 minutes easy jogging with 4-6 strides, same as above
If running Race for the Cure 5K on Oct. 2- 1 X 1K @ race pace, 3:00 recovery, 1 X 800 @ race pace, 2:00 recovery, 1 X 400 @ race pace

Bill Weeks will be bringing a box of Team Nebraska T-s, Hoodies, Technical Tops, etc.  If you would like to purchase some gear to show your love for your favorite USATF Elite Development Club please feel free to see him.  He will also be taking orders for some of our newer items including knit hats which are Very Hip.

Nothing silly at all about a serious regimen of drills to keep you strong!