Monthly Archives: May 2012

BETTER LATE

Than never.   Busy with meetings downtown this morning and then lunch with the Faster Pastor, falafel from Amsterdam down in Dundee.  Exquisitely good, no wonder it was rated as Omaha’s best by the World Herald.  And Pastor Josh Sawyer is one of the truly good guys I have met in my 11 years in Omaha.  Good luck to him and wife Lexi, she is due tomorrow- or maybe even tonight.

Breezed by the State Track Meet also, the 30-40 mph hour winds will make records almost impossible.   The 90 degree temperature seems to be requisite as well for the 3rd weekend in May in Omaha.

I’m wondering what future Team Nebraska star will have a breakthrough this weekend.   I’ll report on any superlatives from the distance corps over the weekend.

I’m digging Laurie Halpenny’s newly coined term.  Our Friday morning Geezer Run consists of a few of us old farts (me, Denny Gray, John Tully) and a bunch of moms pushing strollers.  She has christened the little ones “Geezettes”, only seems apropos.

If you get a chance to see Shakes Rockwell, go for it.  Some real musical talent in the band led by our old buddy Mark Weber.  They featured an acoustic set and then an electric set on the patio last night at the Upstream Brewing Company, nice evening with some great music.

Meandering musings for a Friday, hope you all enjoy your weekend!

KNOW WHAT?

The more I know, the less I know I know.  Know what I mean?  I’ve been a student, historian, athlete, and administrator in running over the last 30 years and am completely comfortable now admitting that I’ll never know everything there is about the sport.  That is part of what makes running magical and mystical.

I’ve learned so much in the last 15 weeks under Killer Coach, more new and subtle nuances to training, greater understanding of the synapses that occur in the major muscle groups.  Building mass and speed in my legs that belie my years.  But more importantly increasing the neurological pathways between my ears.  The mantra I borrowed from the late, great Andy Palmer “The Mind Is The Athlete” is still the base of my own personal training philosophy.  That foundation has now expanded to an even more solid paradigm.  I’m more certain and relaxed in my training and racing than ever before.

What I once would have thought ridiculous, if not impossible, now comes with an easy confidence.  To wit: The 25K Champs on Saturday, 10 miles easy on Sunday, 4K repeats @ 6:50 pace on Monday, 20 miles of fartlek on Tuesday, and 16 X 1/4 @ :90 with :50 recovery on Wednesday.  I mentioned in this column back in January that this training program was like opening a textbook, that if you went to the middle or end of the book, you’d be very skeptical that the work described could actually be done with your current experience/education.

And now with just over 4 weeks left of the 19 week program, I easily tackle the most difficult of assignments.  Confident that I’ll be able to achieve the prescribed efforts and results.  Yesterday’s set of quarters were the final confirmation, maybe the best all around set of .25’s I’ve ever run.  Not the fastest, or the most, but given the workload of the previous 5 days, giving me the greatest sense of encouragement and accomplishment.  A reward for all of the adversities endured through this, the most difficult of training cycles I’ve ever experienced.  In 30 years of running.

And make no mistake.  This has been by far most strenuous and taxing and exhilarating.  More miles in a given period of time, less days off, harder challenges, and more successes.  At age 54.  I can only hope that someday you too have the opportunity to delve this deep into your core, whether it be running or writing or mountain climbing or tilting at whatever windmill is your particular passion.  The chance to look into the very depths of yourself and know that you’ve given something your Very Best Effort.  That you weren’t afraid to tackle the seemingly impossible.  To conquer, and maybe even to fail, but to try.  To really live.

This training cycle has been nothing less than that for me, I Know this for sure.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TEAM NEBRASKA

Team Nebraska was founded in 2001 as a way to advocate for serious and talented long distance runners in the state.  From 1997-2002 I served as the Women’s Long Distance Running Association Athlete Development Program Coordinator, a national level position that provided funding opportunities for promising athletes to our USATF National Championship events.  I had worked with Nancy Stanley and Mary Amen of Lincoln in that capacity prior to my moving to Nebraska.  When I moved here I knew that I wanted to help cultivate, encourage, and promote the very best runners in the state.  With that intention I founded the USATF Nebraska Association LDR Program to serve as a platform for my initiatives.

In the fall of 2001 I began attending local races and would approach the top finishers and inform them of my plans, often asking them on the spot to join the effort.  This yielded some good results, our freshman class, if you will, was comprised of the top local talent to be sure.  Of that first group, Ryan Salem is the lone remaining athlete.  In 2003 I was introduced to James McGown.  I coached James, using the vaunted McLatchie Marathon Training Program, to the first of his 2 consecutive USA Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers in 2004.  I’ve often said that Team Nebraska was built on James’ back.

From 2002-2009 I served as the USATF Women’s LDR National Championships Chair.  This position, coupled with a thorough knowledge of the USATF Governance Manual, helped me to implement a Club Championships component into all of our National Championship road races.  It was also during this time that USATF created the Elite Development Club program and Team Nebraska was included in the original list of 10 clubs.  I would send teams to these road champioinship events and we would win, sometimes uncontested, but as the program grew, often against some of the top clubs within the region of the event.  Our first Club National Championship was at the USA Women’s Half Marathon in Duluth, 2003.  Members of that squad were Machelle Cochran, Rene Kruse, and Christy Nielsen-Crotts.   Our men would duplicate the Half Marathon title in Kansas City in 2004, scoring members of that team were Mike Morgan, Nick Rector, and myself.

Mike Morgan would become the heir apparent for excellence for Team Nebraska.  His 1:04:04 at the USA Half Marathon Championships in Houston in 2005 caught the attention of Keith & Kevin Hanson, and he has trained with them since then, has represented the USA in two World Championships Marathons, and is currently training for the opportunity to make that squad a 3rd time.
From 2004-2006 Suzanne Weeder Einspahr was our top female athlete.  She had top 10 finishes at both our USA 5K and 10K National Championships and secured spots on two USA International Ekiden Teams, one in China, the other in South Korea.

In 2005 we began a Major Sponsorship relationship with the Lincoln Marathon.  Race Directors Nancy Sutton-Moss and Gary Bredehoft have supported our athletes dreams every since and we could not do what we do without them!

In 2007 it became apparent that Team Nebraska should and would become more than strictly a distance running club.  There were many talented Track & Field athletes graduating with no where to continue their competitive aspirations.  In 2008 We sent a team to Olathe, KS for the USA Club T&F National Championships, our first ever.  Since then we have had multiple National Champions and many highlights including our men setting a DMR Championships Record (10:17:58 by Shannon Stenger, Matt Schneider, Nick Suing, Michael Saalfeld) in New York, 2009;  Angee Henry winning the “Outstanding Performance by a Female” award in 2010 in San Francisco; and Aubrey Baxter winning the “Most Valuable Female Athlete” award in NYC, 2011.  Team Nebraska is proudly hosting the 2012 USA Club Track & Field National Championships right here in Omaha at Burke Stadium on July 6 & 7.  I hope everyone will come out to support the Good Mates!

We have had Team Nebraska representation at the last 4 USA Club Cross Country National Championships.  2011 was a high water mark when we sent a full masters men and masters womens team, a full men’s team, and 2 open women.  The highlight of that meet was our David Adams placing 10th overall and putting his name on the lips of every serious competitor in the U.S.  David went on this spring to qualify for the USA Indoor 3000 Meter National Championships.  He also won the Stanford Invitational Steeplechase in an Olympic Trials A Standard time of 8:29 (#1 time in the U.S. and #4 in the World!)  Last week David joined the sub 4:00 mile club by running 3:58.44 at the Glenn Cunningham Mile in Lawrence, KS.  David has given us some of the very best memories in the club’s history and we know he is just getting started.

I just have to mention another of my personal favorite moments of Team Nebraska.  UNL graduate Peter van der Westhuizen joined the club after finishing up in Lincoln.  He was wearing our Red & White singlet at the 2010 Wannamaker Mile at the Millrose Games.  To see him competing against the very best milers in the world, wearing our little old jersey, will forever be a moment of wonder.

In the midst of advocating for all of this Nebraska talent Team Nebraska has also found time to make a positive impact on the lifestyles of everyone.  Our Road Race Management efforts date back to 2006 with 20+ races hosted.  We have a wonderful committee that is dedicated to putting on great events for everyone’s enjoyment, regardless of ability.  These events are geared toward Family, Fitness, and Fun.  (Although we did have the very first sub 4 minute mile on a USATF Certified road course at the 2007 Omaha Mile with Ryan Kleimenhagen of Minnesota running 3:59.)  We have had the pleasure of working with numerous local charities including Youth 4-H, Ovarian Cancer Research, Midwest Prostate Cancer Coalition, Camp Carol Joy Holling, Food Bank of the Heartland, Open Door Mission, and the Nebraska Autism Society to name a few. Our road and trail race management efforts continue to grow and flourish.

Another important aspect of Team Nebraska is our Community Outreach Programs.  The Omaha Endurance Group has been meeting 28 weeks a year for the last 5 years at Millard West track on Wednesday nights at 6:00 pm.  I write individualized training for the members that guides them to their goals for the year, and this has been free to everyone.  The OEG has grown so large that we have added John Tully and Kelly Crawford as assistant coaches.  Coach Linda Barnhart has kicked off her Kids Fit Program as an adjunct to Wednesday nights and it grows by leaps and bounds every week.

That then has been the goal of Team Nebraska.  To show that Elite Level running, racing, and competing can co-exist with the social and developmental nature of our sport.  That running especially should have a global effect, bringing joy, support, and fitness to everyone, regardless of ability.  Giddyup!  www.teamnebraska.com

TEAM NEBRASKA YEAR END AWARD WINNERS
2003 Male Athlete of the Year- James McGown, Female AOY- Christy Nielsen-Crotts, Masters Male AOY- Craig Christians, Masters Female AOY- Ann Ringlein, Contirbutor of the year- Pat Lawlor
2004 Male AOY- Mike Morgan, Female AOY- Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, Masters Male AOY- Craig Christians, Masters Female AOY- Ann Ringlein, Contributor of the year-Pat Lawlor
2005 Male AOY- Mike Morgan, Female AOY- Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, Masters Male AOY- Kurt Feine, Masters Female AOY- Ann Ringlein, Contributor of the year-Nancy Sutton-Moss/Lincon Half Marathon
2006 Male AOY- James McGown, Female AOY- Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, Masters Male AOY- Brian Bergt, Masters Female AOY- Ann Ringlein, Contributor of the year- Omaha Sports Physical Therapy
2007 Male AOY- Shannon Stenger, Female AOY- Gina Morgan, Masters Male AOY- Jonathan Beverly, Masters Female AOY- Linda Barnhart, Contributor of the year- Lincoln Marathon/Barnhart Law
2008 Male AOY- Levi Ashley, Female AOY- Laura Ferguson, Male Masters AOY- Bob Garcia, Female Masters AOY- Linda Barnhart, Contributor-Matt Gunderson/Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben
2009 Male AOY-Peter van der Westhuizen, Female AOY- Angee Henry, Male Masters AOY- Jeff Marshall, Female Masters AOY- Linda Barnhart, Contributor of the year- Lincoln Marathon
2010 Male AOY- Matt Schneider, Nick Suing, Shannon Stenger, Michael Saalfeld *Men’s DMR Record Setting Team, Female AOY- Kaci Lickteig, Male Masters AOY- Craig Christians, Female Masters AOY- Linda Barnhart, Contributor of the year- Life Time Fitness
2011 Male AOY- David Adams, Female AOY- Bridget Easley, Male Masters AOY- Kelly Crawford, Female Masters AOY- Linda Barnhart, Contributor of the year- Tom Whitaker/Omaha Running Club

GIVE A MATE A HAND

Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, June 6th at 6:00 pm, at Burke Stadium for our fundraiser to help David Adams achieve his dream of making the 2012 USA Olympic Steeplechase Team.  David has one of the fastest times in the U.S. this year and is certainly a contender for a top 3 finish and the coveted trip to London to represent the United States.   There will be a variety of activities including getting to watch him run a Monster set of 1/4 mile repeats, a kids run, autographed 8 X 10 photos, raffle for door prizes, and more.

You can also follow David on his new website, www.davidadamsrunning.com He will be keeping a blog detailing his hard work and thoughts, videos of his races and workouts, including this past Sunday’s 13 X 300 at Millard West.

Please do help out this great guy, how often do we get a hometown boy with Olympic aspirations?  You can make a difference!

Ran a tough 20 miler this morning.  The first 8 we were kept company by our newest mate, Peter Falcon, and his brother Simon.  This is always one of my favorite times of the year, graduation, and getting contacted by athletes that want to remain serious about their sport.  Peter wrapped up his career at Lincoln this year running prs of 14:50 for the 5K,  and 31:03 for the 10K at the Drake Relays earlier this year.  He is young and fast and will make a great addition to the depth of our 5-10K corps.  Welcome Peter!

We’ve named our Market to Market teams, at least the team names if not the complete roster for our open men.  Our mixed open will be known as the “Team Nebraska Killer Spouses” and will be comprised of Peter and Michaela van der Westhuizen, Matt and Meghan Schneider, Megan Zavorka and York Thomas (to be wed on Oct. 27th), and David and Bethany Adams.  We’ll have a tough time throwing together an open men’s team to compete with that line up but with the team name “Team Nebraska Run Guru Elite”, you can be sure there will be a lot of heart and pride on the start line.

Giddyup!

GRAND RECAP

Some final musings on Grand Rapids:  I post on the 50+ Masters Training thread on Letsrun.com.  Racerdb, aka Dave Bussard,  is also a frequent poster, we had never met but arranged to meet for a beer Friday night.  He came up to Linda & me in the bar and asked “Are one of you Will?”  Funny guy and fast, his plan was to run 5:40 pace which he did for the first 8 miles before he “crashed and burned” and slowed to just under sixes.

Dave’s roommate was Clint Verran.  He is now 37, we go all the way back to the 2000 World Championships Half Marathon in Vera Cruz, Mexico.  That was my first trip as a USA Team Leader and he was a young stud with the newly formed Hansons group.  It was good catching up with him and reminiscing about various other races over the years, particularly the infamous “Who You Calling Holmes!!” episode at the 2002 Friehofer’s Run For Women, ask me about it sometime.

Luka Thor roomed with Ryan Bak, a 2:14 marathoner out of Oregon, a big part of the experience at these National Championships is getting to know other elites, very inspiring.  Luka grew into a Man on Saturday.  He pr’d through 10K and also had a nearly 5:00 pr through the half marathon point (1:04 high vs. his 1:09:30 from the Omaha Half).  Real Competition, Real Racing, makes Real Men.

The Amway Grand Plaza is the most beautiful old hotel on the champs circuit and I always enjoy my time there.  Thanks to Greg Meyer (last American to win Boston, 1986) for hooking Linda and me up with the digs and race entries etc.  I’ve known Greg since the late 90s, he is one of the most genuinely nice guys you could hope to meet.  And does more for American distance runners than almost anyone.

The City of Grand Rapids does the remarkable with the event, this year was the 35th edition.  Two heats of the 5K, one at 7:00 another at 7:30.  A 10K at 8:00, and then 7000 runners in the 25K at 8:20.  The city shuts down the streets to accommodate, much like every other progressive city that hosts major road races.  Omaha, well, we’ve got a ways to go….

I last ran the 25K in 2008, my time was 1:53:24 and I finished 21st in my age group (I was the 1st USATF finisher and that was good fodder for some).  This year I ran 1:52:05, a 1:19 improvement over my younger self, and finished 11th in my age group.  Linda ran the race in 2009 in 1:52:15.  This year her time was a :02 improvement.  We’re not getting older, we’re getting faster.  And Killer Coach shows little mercy, today it was 4K repeats, and so it goes.

We met David Adams and Matt Pohren at Millard West yesterday to watch their set of 13 X 300 meters.  David started the first one at 45 low, worked down through the 44s and finished with a 43 point.  Matty P. right behind him, a couple of gazelles that are beautiful to behold in flight.

Congratulations to Natalie Como on her 10K USA Club National Championships qualifier at the Concordia Twilight meet this weekend.  Mates Amanda Lee (11:10.58) and Megan Zavorka went 1-2 in the Women’s Steeple, and Virgil Mitchell took the win in the 110 Hurdles (14:22).  Andrew Jacob and Cheto Cerda contested the 800 meters.  Thanks to Coach Kregg Einspahr for letting the mates get some work in.

Luka looks like one bad ass sporting his Oakleys.  It took a dozen tries before he could lose the boyish grin that reveals his true character.

Rob Duncan was up for the race too.  Rob was 2nd to Peter van der Westhuizen at the 2008 Omaha Mile, running a fast 4:00.00.

Bill Rodgers and I got to catch up over some licorice sticks.  He’s another of the really good guys in road racing, a legend, an icon, and an old buddy.  Bill is now 64 but still remains the most gracious of ambassadors for the sport.  He recalled running the Festival of Races in Omaha back when Real Racing ruled the day, something I’ve labored hard to resurrect.  He asked me to pass along greetings to Chuck Cooper and Ronn Baker.

The Good Mates at Concordia Twilight Meet.  Natalie Como, Megan Zavorka, Cheto Cerda, and Andrew Jacob.

 

RIVER BANK RUN 25K UPDATE

Just in from the finish area and man what a race!  Absolutely the highlight of the morning was Good Mate Luka Thor making his USATF National Championships debut a Great One. 
1. Joseph Chirlee, Colorado,        1:15:10
2. Christopher Landry, MI,          1:15:47
3. Brett Gotcher, AZ                        1:16:14
4. Zarchary Hine, CO                      1:16:39
5. Ryan Bak, OR                                1:16:57
6. Craig Leon, OR                             1:17:23
7. Jesse Cherry, NC                        1:18:06
8. Josh Eberlly, CO                         1:18:09
9. Daniel Tapia, CA                         1:18:36
10. Jesse Armijo, NM                   1:19:17
11. Luka Thor, NE                     1:19:47
12. Josh Moen, MN                      1:19:55
13. Tyler McCandless, CO         1:20:17 
14. Malcom Campbell, GA       1:21:32 (1st master)

WOW!  Proud as we can be of Luka this morning, what a great performance against a truly stud field! 

Pretty pleased with my own race, coming in at 1:52:03 and Linda just a couple of ticks behind me.  A great morning all around for Team Nebraska.  I’ll have some other highlights and notes from the weekend either tonight or tomorrow morning, lots of good stuff!

WHOLE LOT OF LOVE

First off apologies to our mate Dylan Wilson for being omitted from my results and musings columns earlier in the week.  I’m shocked I only missed one person.  42 Team Nebraska + 30 Omaha Endurance Group = 72 runners I am fortunate to work with that ran last Sunday.

And last night we had 47 adults and 23 children at our Wednesday night track workout.  70 people out celebrating Fun and Fitness, I’m truly blessed to have found my sweet spot in the Omaha Running Community.

The Concordia Twilight meet is this weekend in Seward.  We’ve got Cheto Cerda and Andrew Jacob running the 800 meters, Megan Zavorka running the Steeplechase, Michaela van der Westhuizen racing the 1500, and Natalie Como contesting the 10000.  Giddyup Good Mates!

Speaking of Michaela, hope you’ve seen this year’s Boystown 5 Mile brochure, she is the featured athlete on the cover.  Always a competitive race, we’re loading up talent on both sides and I’ll be out front as lead bike again this year.

Final notes from Lincoln:

From Kathy Palmer (to Linda & I on Monday, this is why we do what we do)- “I just need to say thank you – again – for all you do for all of us.  And all the encouragement and advice – it is so incredibly helpful to even us slow people.  You know we all look up to you – but to think that you spend as much time as you do – talking with us, helping us out, and just being around us – it’s really quite amazing.  You have OLYMPIC hopefuls that you coach!  And train with.  And so many of us are just trying to break a 10:00/mile.  Or a 9:00/mile.  Or whatever.  You give advice on nutrition, hydration, recovery, training, what to do if you fall off a dance stage and badly bruise your coccyx….and you’re always right.  Your knowledge is so incredibly helpful to those of us that honestly have no idea what we’re doing.”

From Corey Erdkamp- “Hello, I wanted to reach out to one of your members and personally thank them for pacing me at the 35th Annual Lincoln Marathon.  I had lofty goals of qualifying for Boston on my very first attempt at 26.2.  I was able to gain 30 to 40 seconds faster than my pace until my right hamstring tightened on mile 23.  The injury cost me the valuable seconds I had gained earlier on my pace.  As I jumped back on the course to my surprise at that very instant I was passed by a Team Nebraska jersey who was wearing a smile and holding a flag.  It turns out the 3:15 flag that magically fell out of the sky for me was held by Tim L and he had the golden ticket to Boston.  Since I had time to catch my breath after loosening my hamstring, I was able to tell Tim that it was my  first marathon and that I wanted to get to Boston.  He did his part in motivating me and pushing me to succeed at my goal pace over the next few miles.  I remember telling Tim, “I am going to ride your coat tails all the way to Boston”.  Besides asking him about every 2 minutes how we were doing on pace, I maintained focus and Tim coached me while looking over his shoulder making sure I was right behind him until the last 1/2 mile remained.  I remember Tim saying if I had any gas left to give it all I had and get to the finish line.  I took his advice, sped up and passed him saying thanks and I didn’t slow down until I crossed the 50 yard line.  After crossing the finish line I quickly realized that I had a mere 25 seconds to spare and that I had just qualified for Boston.  I was in a state of utter amazement and I wanted to find Tim to thank him.  Tim  was a part of my story that special day of my first marathon and I thought he would want to know the impact he had on me for that moment.  If you can pass on this email to him that would be fantastic.  I would greatly appreciate Tim knowing how greatful I am for his support and motivation in helping me cross the finish line and exceed my expectations for such a memorable 26.2.  I attached my Garmin times as it shows some of the true story with my mile splits including the 30 second stop before mile 24. Thank you, Corey Erdkamp”

Tim Langdon was the 3:15:00 pacer and hit the mark on the money.  Sometimes the race is about others and not ourselves.

Matt Schneider, Lee Anderson, and Matt Pohren stayed out on the course long after their own races were done encouraging other runners, high fives all around, and generally being great ambassadors for the club.

Wednesday nights at Millard West.  I’ve cast my shadow on the track for the last 5 years and am blessed to have found a whole lot of love in the Omaha Running Community.

Luka, Linda, and I blow this popsicle stand tomorrow morning for Grand Rapids and a certain 25K National Championships.  I’ll do a couple of remote updates, thanks for checking in.

OMAHA ENDURANCE GROUP ROCKS LINCOLN!

Whew!  30 of our OEG mates taking it to the streets.  Thanks Coach John for compiling the list, I would have surely missed someone. Extremely proud of each and every one of you.  You worked your butts off and achieved the finish line, an outstanding accomplishment for all!  This is why Coach Linda, Coach Kelly, Coach John, and I love what we do on Wednesday nights!

In the Lincoln Half Marathon: Janet Shulenberger (2:17:20), Jason Shulenberger (1:55:08),  Paul Baltes (2:10:36),  Polly Faltin (2:38:06),  Judy Flores (2:28:18),  Julie Sutfin (2:06:51),  Jim Sutfin (1:52:45), Katie Cords (2:22:45),  Keely Nyman (2:17:02), John Tully (1:59:44), Cindy Tully (3:17:56), Stephanie Bartling (2:18:57),  Lisa Martone (2:05:39), Danielle Galvin (1:55:55),   David Frost (1:39:15),  Kristen Ramm (1:35:45),  Amee Rief (2:08:09),  Mike Manna (2:54:41),  Anne Andersen (2:38:05), Nikki Oborny (2:11:34) , Erin Huffman (2:46:41),  Rachel Balkovec (2:13:14), and Sara Garcia (1:36:54).

And in the Lincoln Marathon:  Molly Pearsen (5:31:33),  Angie Ross (4:21:26), Kathy Palmer (4:29:29), Diane Campbell (4:51:03), Krista Palm (4:18:05),  Angie Hodge (4:14:52),  and Jody Green (4:11:08).

A few of the group, all smiles in anticipation of the big day.

Amee Rief and Katie Cords share a relaxing moment just prior to the start.  Amee would go on to an 18:00 personal best in the half!

Kathy Palmer and Angie Ross both overcame major obstacles for their chance to conquer the mean streets of Lincoln.

Coach John Tully couldn’t be happier to have daughter Stephanie, wife Cindy, and sister Molly share a family achievement.  The Tully’s that run together, have fun together!

Our Good Mate Matt Schneider has both arms in casts and is bruised and bloodied after being hit by a truck while running last night.  He is lucky to be alive, thanks for keeping his speedy recovery in your prayers and meditations.  Wife Meghan is certainly going to have her hands full for the next few weeks, better say some for her too.

Tomorrow:  Some final thoughts on the Lincoln experience.

 

 

YOUNG GUNS

The Lincoln Half Marathon was a good mix of experience and youth for Team Nebraska.  Matt Pohren (27), Eric Rasmussen (29), Matt Schneider (27), Lee Anderson (23), Shain Kephart (26), Ryan Salem (36), Matt Seiler (24),  Cheto Cerda (26), and David Bohlken (26) led the way for the mates.  Ryan Salem never gives anything less than his best and it is never a surprise when he is in the middle of our youth parade.  Add in Anthony Oberle at 23 (a 30:00 10K runner when at UNL) who was serving pacing duties, and Rachel Carrizales (25) and I like the future of the club with these young guns all in their twenties.

That would be another hallmark of Team Nebraska.  The median age of the club has continued a downward trend since the year it was formed, inching ever closer to a predominantly post collegiate strata.  While continuing to load up the top of the age groups too.  Athletes like Ryan and James and Aaron and Brian Bergt modeling competitive excellence well into their thirties, forties, and beyond.

The sea of Red & White at the start of Sunday’s races.  The Youth Movement of competitive distance running in Nebraska.  Nice to see some Blue of the Lincoln Running Co. up front as well, I like their distinct kit.

Matty P. seems like a veteran with his vast competitive experience but still sets personal bests nearly every time he races.

When Ras is on, he is really on.  Just :34 back of Matty Sunday, he’ll be a force at this summer’s Club T&F National Championships.

How tough is Matt Schneider?  He ran a very hot Steeplechase just the day before Sunday’s Half.

Lee Anderson punched his ticket to the Hospital Hill Team Challenge with his 1:15:34.

Shain Kephart did very well despite an interrupted training cycle.  I’m excited to see what he can roll with a full segment behind him.

Former Nebraska Wesleyan standout Ryan Salem is the ageless one at 36.  He somehow manages to balance a job, family, and training to equal parts success.

Cheto Cerda and I have a connection that goes all the way back to the 1980s in Baytown, Texas.  Another of our Wayne State alumni.

David Bohlken has been the surprise of this year for me.  He continues to improve despite those shoes that have 7000 miles on them.

Jimmie Dougherty (aka “Lucky”) works his butt off with Shain and David, his work ethic promises a breakthrough this fall.

Yes, 50 year old Brian Bergt really did run a 1:23:10.  Showing the depth and breadth of the Good Mates!

45 year old Steve Stender ran the half completely barefoot in 1:26:49 to capture the 45-49 age group.  He’s shown here passing former mate and all around good guy Chris Stiffler as they approach the stadium.

Linda & I were bringing up the Rear on Sunday but our thoughts were always with the Good Mates of all ages, doing their best and making us all proud.  Giddyup!

Tomorrow I’ll recap the Omaha Endurance Group mates, some very inspiring stories to be sure!

 

 

LINCOLN MUSINGS

Train High, Race Low.  With winners coming down to the flatlands from Alamosa, that seems to be a pretty good formula.  Or just be fast as the wind like Joe Moore of Minneapolis.  Rumors were spreading quicker than Joe’s 1:06:52 win in the half.  Who is this guy?  Have you heard he is also a master?  But he only looks 29!  I caught up with Joe at the awards ceremony and he reminded me that he used to run for the Kansas City Smoke, our USATF Elite Development Club to the South, and yes, he’s only 28.

The weather wasn’t as bad as it could have been but wasn’t too good either.  The real heat and the rain held off, but it was windy and humid.  Made everyone’s accomplishment all the more impressive.

The increase in prize money drew some serious talent from outside of the area this year.  Marathon winner Mario Macias of Alamosa, CO clocked 2:21:56 despite being reduced to a shuffle in the final stages.  The fastest time in many years, I hope this trend continues, raises the bar considerably for the Good Mates.

Women’s Half Marathon winner Angie Sandy, also from Alamosa, is the wife of former Team Nebraska mate Ben Sandy.  Ben and Angie are living in the rarefied air and training full time, living every runners dream.  I’ll see Ben again at next month’s Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth.

I’ll do some digging in the results for a final count but we had a whole host of our Omaha Endurance Group compete yesterday.  Thanks to Enita Larsen for hosting the annual post race bash, lots of good stories about a difficult day.

We had 41 Team Nebraska runners in the combined races yesterday.  The Lincoln Marathon is our Major Sponsor and we are privileged and proud to be associated with Nancy, Gary, the staff and the city.

In the marathon we had 6 men in the top 15 and 5 women in the top 15.  In the half we had 9 men in the top 20, our lone entrant in the women’s half was 3rd.  Great representation to be sure.

Myth buster.  I’ve been told that you can run a marathon, or half marathon,  “for fun” or “have fun” while you are doing it, something I’ve never accepted.  Linda & I did just that yesterday, using the half as our final long run going into this coming Saturday’s 25K National Championships.  Of the 10,000 entrants in the race, we were the only 2 actually having “fun”.  We started out at 10:00 pace and worked our way slowly through the 9s and ended up averaging 8:30.  Every single person we saw was just as serious and was working just as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen in any race.

It was a blast to see so many of our friends during the race.  And it was cool too to notice the volunteers and cheer squads and hoopla, something you do largely miss when in the zone of utter concentration.

How about Ron Olsen and Anne Medeiros?  Ron turned in a 4:13 at age 65 and Anne ran 4:36 at age 68.  Catch them if you can!

Aaron Carrizales was our first finisher in the marathon.

Cameron Cummings, last year’s champion, would follow next.

James McGown, our 2 time USA Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier, still running well at age 37.

And young Kyle Custer making his debut at 26.2 a good one.

Dustin Llewellyn (center) and Jeff Nielsen (left) would be the next two across the line.  Brian Wandzilak (right) had a tougher 2nd half of the race.  This example of teamwork is a hallmark of Team Nebraska!

Ricky Trevino is also part of our younger corps of distance men.

Meghan Schneider led the women for Team Nebraska.  At 23 years young, her 3:10 is just the tip of her potential at the marathon.

Haleigh Riggle is just 22 and her time of 3:17 also shows a lot of promise.  Jen Viehrig is also pictured.

At 42, Natalie Jetensky is one of the toughest and most consistent runners on the club.  Her 3:18 was good enough for 12th overall.

46 year old Stacy Shaw is also one heck of a masters runner, she ran 3:20 for 15th overall.

Rounding out our top masters, CeCe Carson, age 43,  made her Team Nebraska debut a successful one running 3:26 fpr 23rd overall.

Worth noting that Roxi Erickson would have been right up at the top had she been in the race.  Roxi was hit by a truck while riding her bike earlier in the week and had internal bleeding.  We wish her a speedy recovery and return to the roads.

Tomorrow, some photos of our half marathon studs.  All pictures courtesy of Amy and Justin Mollak.