Monthly Archives: February 2012


Going to take a departure from my usual running musings today to briefly describe my philosophy of being a dad, especially as it relates to my dear sweet Allison & Katie.  Seventeen and fifteen, they both attend Millard West.  I like the school for all the right reasons.  I’m also very careful about it for a completely different set of reasons.  I’ve professed my Old School parenting approach previously, fair, firm, consistent, with emphasis on the firm.  I’ve never put being their friend above being their dad.  I’d rather they occasionally be upset but understand they are completely safe and loved, whether or not they realize immediately is another story.

The recent viral video of the dad responding to his daughter’s facebook post prompts me to today’s column.

I’ve had some parents question as to whether I’m too strict.  I insist on complete knowledge of my daughters’ friends, facebook, tumblr, texting, etc.  I feel I’ve done a good job of raising the girls and trust them to make good decisions, but also understand the influences of a generation that is largely unsupervised, spoiled, and otherwise unattended, especially here in West Omaha.   Of course that is not a blanket generalization but there are plenty of kids these days that would bristle at the thought of “sharing” their e-accounts with their parents.  The fact that they think they are entitled to that level of privacy says as much about today’s parenting mores as it does the kids sense of privelege.

No such thing at my house.  I even had a mother tell me recently that it was OK for her daughter to stay out all night as long as she knew where she was, her justification being that at least she wouldn’t be hunting for her in the middle of the night.  These are the ones I have to protect my own from.

Its tough to be ever vigilant, my credo of knowing Where they are, Whom they are with, and What they are doing, 24/7 might seem a bit extreme.  And honestly as they demonstrate good judgement that paradigm does soften as they mature.

But I’ll always be their daddy and they’ll always be my little girls.






I don’t know much of anything about computers but I do know a thing or two about the different systems we use for running.  A good understanding of the various types of running and the stresses it places on the body will help describe how I’m holding up under this training program.  Important to note that much like the original McLatchie Method, there are consecutive days of work loads applied, but each application serves a different system.

LSD- Long Slow Distance, that is for Sundays.  Easy running that builds capillaries, burns fat as the primary fuel source, teaches patience and the ability to stay on your feet.
Hills- On Mondays.  Repeats, focusing on form over speed although controlled Giddyup is applied.  Develops high knee lift and arm carriage  necessary for faster running.
Aerobic Threshold- Tuesdays are another long day but this time the pace is increased but not beyond conversational, you should still be able to talk, no gasping or panting allowed
Fartlek- Wednesdays we are developing raw speed by incorporating the fastest running of the week, in measured amounts and distances, ranging from 5K-10K race pace.

Trying to do any of these 4 basic ingredients on back to back days would likely lead to burn out or injury.  Having a keen intuitive sense of what you are working and why allows for the honest effort necessary for the development of each system.

Killer Coach, a mate of the most devious kind, his skull and crossbones and devilish grin says it all.


Foreword:  This column is dedicated to my 8th grade math teacher, John Frazier.  Mr. Frazier was a survivor of the Bataan Death March, something that he never spoke of but I’ll never forget.

Bataan Death March, 1942
During the Bataan Death March, American and Filipino prisoners were marched almost 80 miles to Camp O’Donnell. Starving soldiers were forced to march through the searing heat with little food, water or medical treatment. Those that were too weak, if they fell by the wayside and were either bayonetted, clubbed to death or even shot.   On the Bataan Death March, approximately 64,000 of the 75,000 prisoners reached their destination. The death toll of the march is difficult to assess as thousands of captives were able to escape from their guards. All told, approximately 5,000–10,000 Filipino and 600–650 American prisoners of war died before they could reach Camp O’Donnell. The Japanese viewed the prisoners as cowards for surrendering, instead of fighting to the death, and showed them no mercy. (source, Once Upon A Time In War)

Omahan’s Mike Hardiman and Dale Drake will participate in the 27th annual Bataan Memorial Death March this coming March 25th.  I had seen Mike and Dale training with full packs out at the dojo, was fascinated and curious, their stories follow in a short interview.  Both are retired Marines and I am now glad to call them friends.  Mike is still quite straight laced, as you’ll see Dale has a very good sense of humour.
The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of White Sands Missile Range, conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives.

Will:  Most of our readers are probably too young to remember the Bataan Death March.  Can you tell us what your connection to the event is? What drew you to become inspired to tackle it?

Mike:   Our connection to the event is the the opportunity to meet true heroes from history as Marines this is important to us. Since meeting the Marines we met from Iwo Jima you see how special they are and how there are not many chances to meet these men. We have ran 12 full marathons and were also looking for a new challenge.

Dale:  I would suggest that all of your readers spend a minute reading a bit of information on the Death March, Truly hard to believe, amazing, horriffic, unimaginable.   I have no real “connection” except that I  have benefited greatly from the selfless sacrifices of these men in a time of great national need. I am a Marine and I wanted to honor the men who  this race was started for as well as all those who have served, are serving and will serve. Mike talked me into wearing the pack. Now that  I think about it, I don’t know why I really hang out with him. I needed to do something different. Get a chance to see real historical  figures, pay homage to them. They went through unimaginable hardship, we think this is a way to honor them, and those who serve. Its gonna  be blast, a lot of fun and quite challanging.

Will:  When and where is the race?  Is it a standard 26.2 mile marathon?

Mike:  Information on the web site and we will be running the full marathon in the civilian heavy class.

Dale:  White Sand Missile Range, NM. It is in March, the windy season. Temps  can reach 80F with 70 mile/hr winds and sand storms. Or, it can be 25F with the same wind. Most is paved roads or hard packed trails but  several miles are in the desert sands. It is 26.2 miles, a fully certified marathon. We even get medals and tee shirts!

Will:    How many participants do you expect.  Is the run a fundraiser or is it used simply as a reminder of the hell those prisoners went through?

Mike: We are running race as a memorial to the survivors.

Dale: I am not sure how many folks participate in the race, but last year there were 3028 total for civilian and military including 689 for the heavy catagory. Not sure if any  funds are raised, but food used in the packs for weight is usually  donated to the local shelter after the race. Mostly it is for  remembering and honoring the local survivors from the Bataan Death  March.

Will:   I’ve been seeing you guys training out around Zorinski.  It is pretty amazing to see you carrying those packs.  What can you tell us about those?

Mike:  The packs are Camel Bak brand from their tactical gear line and we chose them since we read that other people had used the same model.

Dale: It is a pretty tough CamelBak device, Mike found them on the on  internet, got one, showed it to me and I knew I was screwed. So I had to buy one. Pretty nice packs, I have lots of stuff in there. There is  32 pounds of rice, three ten pound bags, one two pound bag, the packs weigh 4 pounds each, the race requires minimum of 35 to run the race  so I have the minimum to train. Then I put in about 50oz of water in the 100oz hydro pak in the back which adds a few more pounds. There are  also cilff bars, gu, extra clothes, cellphone, car keys, some other BS; you know, the usual stuff eveyone carries with them on a long run, right? I  reckon that the pack weighs near 40 pounds plus or minus. I hope to keep it a bit lighter for the actual race. I am sure I will not need all of the extra winter gear for the desert.

Will:  How many times have you attempted or completed this grueling run? Do you have a circle of comrades that reunite annually?  Are there any other Omahans doing the run?

Mike: This will be our first time attempting the run.

Dale: This our first time doing this race, I have run a dozen marathons  since I started about 7 years ago as has Mike. The Marine Corps Marathon was my first, naturally. Semper Fi. After I ran my first race, Mike’s wife started badgering him to run one. (I think it was just to get him out of the house for a little while, but don’t tell him I said that). Funny thing, she started training and ran as well. They also ran the Marine Corps as their first race. I have a few friends from my time in the  Corps, Mike, his wife Penny and another friend in Virginia. The only  other person I know of running the Bataan Memorial trains at the lake as well,  his name is Tom, I do not know his last name. He is running a  “regular” race with no pack. He is smarter than we are I think.

Will:   How many miles of training do you estimate you’ll have carrying those packs?  Are there any lessons you have learned about yourself while undergoing such strenuous training?

Mike:  I will have about 350 miles training with the pack. Lesson I’ve learned is wondering if I’m not too bright to be attempting this race.

Dale: Not Enough!  All of my runs except one, up to now have had the pack.  All of them until the race will have it. I try to get 6 miles at least  when I train on the daily runs, I just don’t have the time to run more  during the week. Just one of thousands of excuses I tell myself, and still believe! I have learned that I am good at sales. I can sell  myself on not training so I have to be good right? I have also learned that hanging out with the same people for 40 years might  just be a bit too long. I have to get out more and find some new friends, you know, guys who like to fish, drink excessively, maybe do both at  the same time! Please send new friend resumes in care of Will.  Plus, I am way slower than I normally am. And trust me, that is really slow. I think fast  walkers pass me while I am out there, I can’t be too sure because I  can’t see though the tears of self-pity nor hear them though my whining  and gnashing of teeth.  And Mike is way faster then I am. With or without the packs.

Will:  What specific preparations do you need to make to engage in such training?  Nutritionally?  Physically (i.e. strength training etc.)

Mike:  I gradually built up the weight in the pack and since the Tulsa marathon in November I have had the pack on for every run. I don’t do any additional strength training. Nutritionally I just keep track of my calories and to keep off the winter weight and to keep the pounds in the pack and not on me.

Dale: Its all mental, if we think about it too much we really question  our sanity, but we should probably do that, dont you think? We are carrying 40+ pound back packs, running in really big circles around an  empty lake, in the winter. In Omaha. With lycra tights on.  I am on the seefood diet. I see  food and I eat it. I have no self control over food. I love food, I  like to cook it, shop for it, read about it, watch TV shows about it, and well, you know, eat it. I’m the guy who makes Pralined Bacon. Which is  to die for, I am telling you! I have made an effort to decrease my intake, so far it is slow going. Besides doing fork lifts I also ride  my bike on its trainer and lift weights when I have talked myself out of running. And between running days of course.

Will:   Can our readers track your progress the morning of the race?  Is there a website that we can go to for results?

Mike: I do not see any place to track the race but we can email how we do to Will.

Dale: I do not know that for sure, I cannot find anything. I would guess no  as it is an active US Military base we are running on. Here is the web site: The results will be posted soon after the  completion of the race. Mike and I will take some photos and send them to you to post on your blog if you like.

Will:   Do you have any goals other than completing the run?

Mike:  I would guess it is hard to set a time goal for an event like this? My goals are to survive the run ,shake the hand of any Bataan survivor who attends and of course to beat Dale.

Dale: You know, I do not want to be last, I do not want to get injured  and/or DNF and I am hoping to get it done in under seven hours. The big sand pit is the big unknown. From what I can tell, some folks are  out there for almost 13 hours. If I’m doing that I want to be in an Ultra. Ooh, thats a good idea. Ultra. Dont you just love the sound of that?  Trail Ultra, say it with me – Trail Ultra. Sounds sweet.

Will:  Any final thoughts you’d like to share?

Mike: We have been friends for 40 years and after the Marine Corps.,12 marathons, 500 mile bike ride in the Rockies, and now this race I wonder what is next or maybe I should find someone else to hang out with or I’ll give it another 40.

Dale: Dont be afraid to push the envelope. Mike and I have known each other  for 40 years so we are closer to the end then the beginning and don’t plan on stopping. Heck, its all good in the ‘hood.  We have  all sorts of crazy ideas in the hopper, Mike has this cool one month long run in Spain on the distant, future run list. New York is coming up in the fall, I really want to  get a PR. No. I am not telling you my goal, all you people are really fast, light weight gazalles and my goal would make all of you  cringe and double over with laughter.     We also have BRAN to contend with this year and some other  epic ride next year. Maybe Ride the Rockies again but this time on Harleys! I am thinking Ultra and triathalon sometime. But most likely Ultra because I sink like a stone in the water, do  you think they would let me wear scuba gear?

Mike Hardiman and Dale Drake.

These 40 pound packs have been part of their training kit, will symbolize just a small part of the hardships, and the contents will go to feed the less fortunate in New Mexico.

Mike & Dale, We Salute You!



Or the hard way.  Or the hilly way, or snowy way, any way as long as we get it done.  I’m going to be speaking quite a bit from this crucible of Killer Coach’s.  The transformations, motivations, and challenges besetting me (us) from all sides.  77.5 miles last week, capped by 16 yesterday.  15K with hills this morning and another 16 miler tomorrow morning.  Are you kidding me?

Much as I did with the McLatchie Method in 2009 I am doing this program to 1) Model Hard Work to the mates, and 2) Prove that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.  I’ve peered into the crystal ball (actually Glen sent the program in its entirety) and there are some sick workouts coming up.  Things that would seem outrageous if not down right insane.

But it is like picking up a textbook and going directly to the middle or last chapters.  You can’t fathom doing the work without the proper preparation of the earlier lessons.  And because those early lessons are often difficult in and of themselves, few might be willing to attempt the curriculum.  And that is where leadership comes in, lighting the way so that others may follow.  I’m willing to take that mantle, and Linda has assumed it too.  Stay tuned.

David Adams ran 4:05.03 for 2nd place in the Mile last weekend.  Fastest indoor mile by a Good Mate since Peter vd Westhuizen’s run in the historic Wanamaker Mile in 2010 ( 4:00.35 ).  That video below for your viewing pleasure, one of the all time highlights in Team Nebraska lore.

Brian Wandzilak didn’t have the race he had hoped and trained for at the USA Cross Country National Championships in St. Louis on Saturday.  We are darned proud that Brian was there and willing to lay it on the line, another hallmark of being a Good Mate.

I’ve got a great feature article coming up tomorrow.  Hope you will check in and read about two remarkable men and the amazing test they are training up for.  Not all incredible feats are done by the swiftest of foot.


Let’s face it folks, it was cold this morning (minus 1 when we started not counting the wind chill).  My cheeks remain bright red and Linda’s nose got frostbitten.  Shain’s face is still numb.  And that is not what has me most red faced.

I’ve got to face a cold hard truth.  I’ve always considered myself a historian of our sport but today there is no way for me to save face.

I’m admitting that I’ve made a mistake, either I have been hoodwinked for the last 15 years or my memory completely took an about face.

The mystery runner I featured this week was Irishman Desmond O’Connor.  He did NOT make the 1980 Olympic Team.  Hard for me to face, but I’m owning up.  The team was Eamonn Coghlan, John Treacy, and Mick O’Shea.  Boy do I have egg on my face.

Desmond was a stud runner however.  He ran for Arkansas for a year, 1973.  Built a notorious reputation that apparently led me to believe my erred post.  Thanks to everyone that submitted guesses and apologies to all.  I can only promise to be more thorough with my facts in the future.  For now I’m facing the music for less than due diligence, ouch.  Thanks most of all to Cheto Cerda for digging very deep and calling me to task.



Maybe the coldest day of the winter if you factor in the wind chill.  Fourteen degrees and 20-25 + miles per hour out of the NNW was enough to shrink any violet.  But not me.

Parked at 204th and Harrison and did repeat 2.75 mile runs West and then back East.  Predominant cross wind the whole time, turning the other cheek every quarter.

I would never suggest that someone is less of an athlete if they choose to do their winter running on a treadmill.  Does it make me more of an athlete (relative to me personally)  if I choose to go outside though?  I tell myself it does and that is the motivation to get out and battle these elements.  “Its your thing, do what you want to do.”

Have been getting some happy reports that Gary Julin is out of the extended care facility and back living with his sister.  He’s making the occasional appearance at his favorite Panera and is said to be looking stronger every day.

Jeff Jacob has submitted a guess as to the mystery athlete featured in Wednesday’s column.  He figured out it is an international athlete and posed that it might be Ian Stewart of Great Britain.  Getting warm.

Today’s hint:  He ran in the 1980 Olympic 5000.  He worked at Boystown for at least one year.  He was second to Jeff Wells at the 1995 Brazosport Run For The Arts 10 Miler I put on back in Texas.  If no one gets it today I’ll reveal in tomorrow’s column.

Our mystery runner not only bears a striking resemblance to Rod Stewart but has a voice that has convinced many that they were in Mod Rod’s presence.   He crooned “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” to a packed bar in Lake Jackson, Texas in 1995.   He also earned the reputation as one  of the most prodigious beer drinkers on the circuit back in the 1980s and 1990s.



Late column today, thanks for checking in.  Just finished lunch with Tom Whitaker and Alan Higley.  These two know more about running in Omaha than the rest of us combined.  The whys, whats, hows, and who’s that have lead to the current state of affairs.  Also two of the most giving individuals of their time and efforts, we’re lucky to have them.

A lot of talk that you might expect; races, race scheduling, historical influences, societal influences, cultural influences, political influences.  My observation is that as much as the landscape has changed since my arrival in 2001, things are pretty much still the same.   As Alan pointed out, it was appropriate that we met at Oscars as all three of us have been accused of being a grouch.

Angie Ross is not crazy!  She is flying her pumpkin flag this week (instead of a valentine heart) in honor of the recently deceased Wally Thurow.  Wally was the founder of the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival over 50 years ago  (Sycamore, Illinois) and the accompanying 10K race.  I ran it back in the early 90s and Angie runs it every year, a nice connection for us.  If her neighbors thought her a bit touched for heading out for runs in sub freezing temperatures, I’m sure they are convinced with her pumpkin waiving in the breeze.

Rest in peace Wally, your influence in Northern Illinois will be felt for generations to come.


Just finished 10 out at the dojo.  Last run there until a full thaw and no chance of re-freeze.  Treacherous footing for a geat deal but was able to pick enough dry spots for the prescribed fartlek pick ups.

Yesterday was much better out at my usual winter haunt, El Parque Estado Dos Rios (Two Rivers State Park).  We headed East from the park office, across Q and out to the welcoming soft dirt/sand roads leading to the river bottom.   Ran a full 9 miles back and forth on a single stretch of 204th St., it was that inviting, as soft as a baby’s bottom.  The perfect antidote for sore legs asked to run 15 miles.

We’re going to do our group Saturday morning run out there, 8:00 a.m. start, everyone invited, varying paces and distances.  Breakfast afterwards at the 2Lazy2Ranch.

106 miles in the last 10 days with 2 speed sessions and 2 hill sessions.  Giddyup!

Another favorite venue for winter running is Lake Wehrspann.  Like Two Rivers, they keep the roads plowed and usually within a day of any major snow event.

Good luck and great racing to our mate Brian Wandzilak at this weekend’s USA Cross Country National Championships in St. Louis.  Wandzi has been training like a beast and is a natural on turf to boot.

Great time last night at the Brewer’s Table- Beer, Nosh, & Fables.  Hosted by my favorite local brew master Mike Hall at the Upstream Legacy.  My pick was the Snow Blind Imperial Stout, very nice.

Today’s quiz:  First person to identify this former Olympic 5000 meter runner gets a shout out in tomorrow’s column (answers to  A couple of hints- It is not Rod Stewart, and he lived for a time in Omaha.



This mileage I’m doing is paying another dividend, I’m sleeping much better at night.  Still waking up, but only for an hour or so.  And instead of the interminable lists, songs are decorating the nocturnal landscape.  This 1970 Three Dog Night classic wafted through the neurons last night.  Easy To Be Hard.  Much harder to be easy sometimes.

Yesterday was one of those days when it was both.

Easy to do a Very Hard workout.  10 X a monster hill out on F St., since dubbed “Reilly’s Hill” as it goes right past his back yard.  The grade increases the further up you go. I’ve run it a thousand times heading out to my favorite Scenic Sarpy/Douglas training route.  I’ve got a whole different perspective of it now.  After number 7 a Douglas Co. Sheriff pulled up into the middle lane by our starting point, watched us come down the hill and abruptly left as I approached his car, apparently more pressing issues at hand than a couple of skinny runners.  It is that center lane that runs the length between 192nd & 204th that makes for friendly passing motorists.

Hard to be easy too.  Life isn’t always the bowl of peaches we wish it would be and sometimes the fruit can all turn in a single day.  Yesterday was like that for me on several different fronts.  It would have been Easy to be Hard in my responses, but I’m choosing the Hard way by being Easy.  Life after all is still filled with wonderful, fresh fruit.  You just need to replenish the basket occasionally and enjoy it one day at a time.

Perhaps the embers of my youth no longer burn as bright, or maybe I just don’t care to be in constant battle.  I’m more willing to shrug my shoulders and blow off things that would have been perceived as “challenges need be met” even a year ago.

I just want to run and have some fresh squeezed orange juice.  And enjoy these quickly passing days that my dear children are still at home.  Miles, now a man, soon to move.   Alli soon to college.  Katie too in the blink of an eye.  Hard to be Easy but I think I’m getting there.  Like Reilly’s Hill, I’ve got a whole different perspective on things these days.

Its Beer Week in Omaha!   And certainly I can appreciate that.  My buddies and Team Nebraska contributors Chef Jonathan Draper and General Manager Peter Kolb of the Upstream Brewing Co. pictured below.




That’s the best way to start the day.  My daughter showed me the front page of today’s OWH Living Section and a nearly full paged photo of a Team Nebraska runner was featured.   I couldn’t place whom it was right away but then noticed the size 16 shoes and the Asics logo (circa 2001, our first issue of uniforms were under that brand) and realized it was none other than Dave Sutej.  Dave was a charter member of Team Nebraska, ran for the club for at least 7 or 8 years and represented well.  Fond reminisces along with this morning’s coffee.

We had several athletes at this past weekend’s Husker Invitational.  Matt Pohren ran the 5000 in a nice 15:00.86, good enough for 8th overall.  LeRon Williams made his return to the Long Jump leaping 22’07.5″ for 11th overall.  Virgil Mitchell took 12th in the 400 meters in 49.04.  Megan Zavorka ran 11th in the 3000 meters in 10:18.

It was David Adams that had the tough break of the night.  He was ready to pop a Very Fast Mile.  At the gun a pack of  runners sprinted madly to the front only to slow dramatically at 100 meters, a ploy perhaps to secure positioning, but one that caused some tangled feet and legs with David getting the worst of it.  By the time he picked himself up off the track his opportunity had been lost.  He’ll get after it again this weekend at Iowa State’s over sized track.

If you haven’t checked out David’s blog, please do.  You’ll find he is quite the remarkable young man.

And Peter van der Westhuizen’s, you can follow his training  and adventures while in South Africa.

I made a point of shoveling my driveway the old fashioned way this weekend.  My fancy boy neighbors and their mega-blowers looked at me askew, one even asked if I wanted help, was my own blower on the fritz?  The fact that I Like to Shovel Snow just doesn’t resonate with them and that is cool.  I would rather sculpt than blow, keep the snow in my yard instead of out in the street.  We need the moisture this winter.  Justin Mollak took it a step further and built this 9 1/2 foot tall snowman in his yard.  That is pretty amazing.