Monthly Archives: August 2012

FRESH START

Few things are more exciting than the beginning of new challenges.   You get to my age and it is those new windmills to tilt that are the real spice of life.

Many but not all of you know that earlier this year I handed the presidential reigns of Team Nebraska over to Kelly Crawford.  Kelly is the right man at the right time, heart of gold, good people skills, huge fan of our sport.

We’ve been going through a mentoring period and while I’m still involved in the day to day operation of the club I have been trying to significantly reduce the time and effort required.  I was recently asked how much time I’ve devoted to Team Nebraska since founding the club in 2001.  Easily 2500 hours a year for a total of well over 25,000 hours.  “What!, That’s more than 40 hours a week!” was the reply.  Yep, it sure is.  Many of those working late at night when insomnia had me gripped.  Being available for phone calls and emails and visits on schedules accommodated if not preferred.  Every single weekend, both Saturday and Sunday.

My children first (and last and always) and Team Nebraska and not much else over the last ten plus years.   I’ve loved every minute of it and wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A legitimate board of directors was also set up.  Tim Langdon and Matt Pohren  joined Kelly and  Linda in that capacity.  Tim will be assuming Linda’s club VP role very shortly.  She too is stepping away from leadership responsibilities of the club and has her own goals in life to pursue.  Linda has given a tremendous amount to the Nebraska running community over the last 7 years.  She also has served at the national level on the WLDR Executive Committee and headed up the Women’s Athlete Development Program for the entire US since 2008.  Her record of service to our sport is impeccable.  She is a treasure.

But there comes a time in any good organization when new blood and new ideas are necessary to ensure continuation and growth and longevity and success.

I’m also stepping down from my long held post as USATF Nebraska Association LDR Chair in a couple of weeks.  I created this program in ’01 and have given it my best efforts, indeed my all,  to grow it into a recognized entity within the realm of 56 associations across the country.   With Team Nebraska carrying the banner, mission accomplished.

I’m going to count 2012 as my best year.   Bringing a USATF National Championships to Omaha being a decade long dream realized.    Two new LDR member clubs and a large jump in individual membership being another highlight.  Once again hosting 4 association championship events (Ni-Bthaska-Ke, Big Blue Run, Swamp Stomp, and Trail of Terrors-aka Monster Dash).

What is left for me to do?

In just a few weeks I’ll embark on a journey that is frightening and exhilarating at the same time.  Believe it or not I’ve got a Real Job.  For the first time in a quarter century I’ll be receiving a paycheck, and that necessary to provide for my children as well as myself.

Looking forward to a Fresh Start.   A Clean Slate and the opportunity to start a new chapter in my life.

I’ll still be posting here, for a while at least.  I’ll never be at a loss for words, or the need to be heard or read, dratted ego of mine.  My musings may end up elsewhere eventually but I’ll give you plenty of heads up on how and where to find me.

Feliz Viernes!

PARTISAN TEMPERAMENT

Partisan- A firm adherent to a party, faction, cause or person.  Devoted to or biased in support of a party, group, or cause.

With the Republican National Convention rolling around on the Gulf Coast, local politics prompts today’s title and column.  Plus I like the way it juxtaposes with yesterday’s.

We had an amazing turnout at last night’s Wednesday Night Track Work.  57 adults and 17 kiddos.  Our highest turnout in the 5 year history of the program, eclipsing the 54 we set just two weeks ago.  Included in the group were 6 first timers, word of mouth is the best friend of our Team Nebraska community outreach program.  Doing Good Work to promote fitness for the entire Omaha Metro.  Giving TN and Nebraska USATF some real and just exposure.  I’m a fervent supporter of this ever growing group of fitness minded people, partisan all the way.

Huge thanks to my Coaching Staff John Tully, Linda Barnhart, and Kelly Crawford.

The work and sweat (it was 95 degrees!) and camaraderie that transpires around my favorite oval each week is what keeps this program successful.  Last night we had most everyone doing deuces.  Differing paces (Luka & Matt @ :30 for 13 of them), Keely Nyman knocking out 10 and averaging :50 (6 weeks ago averaged over :60!), Melissa Gwartney toughing out 8 in :60, Chase Meyer showing flashes of former speed hitting 10 averaging :32, (how long before he joins wife Carolyn in the Red & White?).

The Party of no particular Party.  Athletes off all abilities and aspirations and motivations showing up for one common goal.  I’m partisan for every one of them.

The Team Nebraska women once again putting on a show, working as a group for 13 X 200, :60 recovery.  Hands on knees, gasping, inspiring one and all!

Carolyn Meyer, Joy Shulz, Carole Swanson, Ashley Shurman, and Linda will be joined by Stacy Shaw and Natalie Como at this coming Saturday’s Bill Seymour Half Marathon in Grand Island.  Can I get a Giddyup!?

Lily Kaftan and Ashley Shurman earned their official invitations to join the ranks of Good Mates last night.  Congratulations ladies, your hard work and team support is much appreciated and well rewarded!

Another Good Mate added last night.  Brandon Wissing is a 2012 graduate of UNK.  The former Loper is the school record holder at 1000 meters, is on the school record DMR relay team, and has top 5 all time marks in the mile and the 1500 meters.  Brandon will join Luka Thor, making his long distance road race debut at this weekend’s BS Half as well.  And a couple other mates for the men to be sure.  See you in GI!

This was Angela’s first time on a track.  I explain some of the basics to her and make her feel welcome.  This program is about the individuals that show up, regardless of ability.  Each and every one treated with respect for their own particular reasons for being there.  In the background is Linda, 17 kids, caramba!, it must be like herding cats!  photo courtesy of John Tully

 

ARTISAN TEMPERAMENT

Artisan- one trained to manual dexterity or skill in a trade.

An artisan is therefore a person engaged in or occupied by the practice of a craft, who may through experience and talent reach the expressive levels of an art  in their work and what they create (according to wikipedia).

My dear sweet Alli baked some artisan bread last night, her attentive labour beautiful to behold, final product near heaven to taste.

Team Nebraska is also an artisanal expression.  There is no degree program, no trade school curriculum that can prepare one for crafting and maintaining a USATF Elite Development Club.  More a school of hard knocks if you will, learning by trial and error.  Learning as you go, some lessons as instant as touching a hot stove, others taking years to absorb and understand.  What works, what doesn’t.  Practicing and adjusting for variables and changes unexpected, never taking climates or pressures or egos for granted.

That is the way it is when working with people.  There is no guidebook that can help you predict personalities and outcomes, only experience teaches you.  The myriad natures that are dealt with on a daily basis, each requiring individualized attention and care in order to be part of a well crafted final product.  The final product, A Team.  A Team that comes together, each ingredient playing an integral and indispensable part of a wholly aesthetically and athletically pleasing outcome.  Stepping back at the end of the day, looking at this Team, and saying, yes, this is Good Work.  An artisan’s love and passion for what he does.  This makes me a Very Lucky man indeed.

A lot of our Wednesday Night Track Work members headed to the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines this weekend.  They’ve been working so very hard this summer.  We’ll wish them all good luck, great racing and Giddyup at tonight’s meeting at Millard West.  And a reminder that we will have Omaha Physical Therapy Institute on hand to perform running evaluations tonight.  Going to be hot so be sure and bring water bottles for you and your kiddos too.  See you then and there!


 

 

OH HAPPY DAY

My second run around the full dojo this morning, more comfortable than yesterday’s to be sure.  Life couldn’t be any better!

I’ve been busy as a bee trying to finalize our Market to Market teams.  Not an easy task this year as I’ve got to try and assign the mates across 3 teams this year and all In It To Win It!  Co-Ed, Open Men, & Open Women.

We will have Peter vd Westhuizen returning as Captain of the co-ed team.  Nice start there.  Paul Wilson will be attempting to continue his string of undefeated Mkt2Mkt appearances captaining our Open Men.  Natalie Como will head up our Open Women’s team.  I’m liking the fact that it won’t be a yawner this year.  Or will it?

Peter has also signed up to run for Team Nebraska at the upcoming Omaha Corporate Cup.  2010 Champion Eric Rasmussen too.  And Luka Thor.  And Matt Pohren.  And you know I always like to debut a couple of new mates at the CC, nudge nudge wink wink.

We’re taking a busload to Grand Island for this weekend’s Bill Seymour Half Marathon.   More surprises in store in GI, Oh what Fun!  That race is always a battle with the $500 first prize purse, lots of competition, exactly why we are headed out.   Most of it from a bunch of former mates too, almost like a TN reunion, always great to catch up with them.

Photo shopping.  You can never tell what’s real and what’s not in today’s world of digitized photos.  Some people have it down as an art.  A perfect example above, can you tell who’s the mate and who isn’t? Its-like-a-magic and very flattering.

 

 

 

 

FAST IS THE NEW SLOW

I was actually going to title today’s column “Slow is the new Fast” after a blog with the same name by Gina Mooney.  In it she celebrates the joy of being able to slowly put one foot in front of the other, overcoming obstacles, etc. I’d been giving a lot of thought to her message, it being compounded by my own tentative slogging  as I return to the sport I Love.  Happy to report a pain free 9 mile run around the dojo this morning.  I need to lose these 10 pounds I’ve put on over the last 8 weeks but felt the inner runner sparking a bit.

And it was that spark that had me reverse the message to Fast is the new Slow.  Ten weeks ago I was Fast, now I’m Slow.

But will slowly be getting back to fast.  Every time I have had a break from running the resumption is always the same.  Thrill and gratitude and hope and love and happiness all rolling out with each stride.  Thrilled to be sweating a full body sweat.  Grateful for the body that wishes to endure.  Hopeful for tomorrow’s run.  Loving each and every sight and smell and sound, my palate of senses amplified and colored by glorious effort.  Happy that I can once again enjoy the Real World as I define it.

As a Runner.

Congratulations to Good Mate Natalie Como who made her Race Directing debut a successful one.  Over 400 people turned out for the Make A Wish 5K & 10K yesterday raising a nice bit of money for the worthy cause.

Long Distance Running.  Our ultra distance mate Jeremy Morris ran the Lean Horse 100 Mile over the weekend.  He led for much of the race, reaching the 50 Mile mark in under 7 hours (!!!).  Started cramping badly at 44 miles and still soldiered on to a 3rd place overall in 16:01:49, moving him onto the top 10 all time list.  A nod here to local runner Christy Nielsen who ran the accompanying 50 Mile, finished 2nd Overall and first female in a very nice 7 hours 19 minutes and change.

Some good efforts at this past Saturday’s Ted E. Bear Hollow 5K left a lot of people disappointed.  A bunch of prs that raised eyebrows, we went to the USATF website and found out the course is Certified.  So I proclaimed the performances Real and Countable.  This despite most people saying their wrist magic reported 2.96-2.98 miles.  I’ll go with the Certification over a garmin any day though and based my opinion thusly.  It was later reported that the turn around cone was not placed in the proper location and the course was indeed short.  Man, what a drag.  Lesson is this:  Course Certification does little good if you don’t make sure the described points on the map are adhered to.

Feels Really Cool to be running again.  I put my signature runner icon on the “ice bar” at the Rusty Rooster in Yutan yesterday afternoon.  I’ve been to a lot of bars in my life but this was the first time I’ve ever seen an ice bar.

MIXED BAG

Steve Spence won the Olympic Marathon Trials in 1992.  He was also a World Championships Marathon Bronze Medalist in 1991.  He recently ran 4:52.9 for the mile at age 51.  Not so remarkable you might say until you consider it continues a streak of 37 years having broken the 5:00 barrier.  Start now and chase his record.

5 years ago today (at age 49) I did a time trial on my USATF Certified 12K at the dojo.  My splits were 7:02, 6:51, 6:35, 6:42, 6:20, 6:16, 6:18, and 2:37 for .45 for a time of 48:45.  My personal record for a training run loop.

Nick Symmonds ran a 5:19 Beer Mile on Tuesday.  Don’t even try that.

 

Going to give some love to the The Hollywood Run 5K & 10K (Friday night, August 31) because I like their amenities, message and effort to promote a healthy lifestyle for Omahans.  Race Director Kurt Beisch and Omaha Race have a lot in common with the goals of Team Nebraska’s road and trail race management efforts.

Register: http://www.active.com/10k-race/omaha-ne/omaha-hollywood-run-5k-and-10k-2012
Highlights:
• Bring a costume and run through Aksarben Village for a Friday night run and enjoy the evening as the sun goes down.
• This is a Kids friendly event in Stinson Park with a Kids Fun Run (3 times around is approximately a mile).
• First 100 people singed up receive a great technical running shirt with the Hollywood Run sublimation logo.  This is not a cheap cotton t-shirt. $25 value.  We have around  20 left.  First come gets the better shirt size!
• Quality Brands of Omaha – sponsors the first beer free first beer.
• Jimmy John’s – sponsors the snacks after the run.
• Prizes for costumes …
• Red Carpet Finish … of course there is a Red Carpet Finish
Come join us for the second annual Hollywood Run.  This is the last event presented by Race Omaha.  This event has a lot to offer for everyone and is a Kid friendly event. This event takes place on Friday night so you can get the weekend started off right!  There is a kids run that takes place in the Stinson Park at Aksarben Village before the adult race.  This race is approximately 1 mile and is open to ages 7 to 14.
After the 5k and 10k race, hang out and enjoy the evening before the sun goes down.

Stinson Park at Aksarben Village – is located in the middle of Omaha at 2225 South 64th Avenue.   Race Omaha Hollywood Run – Offering a 5k and 10k race for the adults and a Kids fun run in Stinson Park.  The Kids will run 3 times around the park which is approximately 1 mile. Run Course   The 5K and 10K Run Courses are an out-and-back route.
All athletes will start from Stinson Park and run down Mercy Road and 67th Street in the heart of Aksarben Village.  Both courses with turn towards the Keystone Trail and follow the trail until the appropriate turnaround.
Refund Policy No refund or transfers are given for any reason.  Considerable effort goes into producing such an event and funds are expended early in the process to create this race.  Thank you for understanding this policy.   Who we are Race Omaha provides multi-sport events for Women, Adults and Kids in the state of Nebraska.  We promote a healthy and active lifestyle for youth and adults one event at a time.

** Preliminary Schedule of Events **   Stinson Park at Aksarben Village  is where packet pickup will be and the start and end of each race.  There should be plenty of parking around the Village and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Insurance parking garage will be available.  Stay around for giveaways after the race!   6:00  Packet Pickup.  Show up early to avoid the congestion. 6:50 – Race Briefing for all Athletes 7:00  Kids Race Starts 7:15ish  The 5K and 10K races will start together.

What better way to re-start my running than with my favorite group of Geezers.  An easy 3 miles this morning gives me 10 pain free miles in the last three days, I’m so happy I could cry.

 

 

 

LADIES NIGHT

Not very often that I am impressed like I was last night.  Been around awhile, seen a lot of things, etc.

As part of our Wednesday Night Community Outreach Program (if you’d like to submit a good acronym for this shoot me an email at runguru@cox.net), we had a fine group of Team Nebraska women tackling Killer Coach’s 10 X 300 (:90 recovery, not a moment more!).  Carolyn led the group averaging 55s, Carole was next in 59 lows, Kristin in 59 highs, Joy and Lily both in 60.  To see them working together really had me warmed with pride.  We’ll throw Ashley into the frying pan next

The rest of the gathered mates and community runners fed off the hard work they were witnessing, each and every one putting forth great results.   So much sweat, so much effort, so much improvement, small wonder this weekly gathering sends my spirits soaring.

And for the one hundredth time, thanks Coach John Tully, we couldn’t do this without you!  And Coach Linda, herding 14 kids (including a 3 year old!) like a seasoned wrangler, just amazing.

Everyone Welcome!

Going to do a short feature tomorrow on the Omaha Hollywood 5 & 10K, a Red Carpet event with amenities rivaling the Oscars.   http://www.raceomaha.com/omaha_hollywood_run.html

Giddyup!

FIDDLES

I’m a technical dinosaur.  Had to take the battery out of my cell phone yesterday and when I put it back in the picture of the mates from 10 days ago finally arrived in my inbox.  What?

I dig this pic because it says so much about Team Nebraska.   Left to Right, back row:  A teacher (Matt Pohren), UNMC Med student and Duke grad (Natalie Como), a banker ( Cory Logsdon), a radiologist ( Cheto Cerda), a post grad exercise phys (York Thomas), a personal trainer (Lee Anderson), assistant engineer (Shain Kephart), business exec (David Bohlken), independent business owner (Jimmy Doherty), nursing students (Luka Thor & Matt Schneider).
Kneeling: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology student at UNO (Megan Zavorka), Med Student UNMC (Suzanne Higgins), unemployed Run Guru (me), unemployed Guru Protege (Linda), Spanish Teacher (Meghan Schneider), and pharmacy student Creighton (Carolyn Meyer).

One and all- Fit as Fiddles.  Somehow managing to combine Very Busy real lives with a passion for Real Training and Real Racing.  No fences, no excuses.  Working or studying or taking care of the kiddos for as many hours as necessary and then still Making time to get out there and do the work necessary to be on Team Nebraska.  As my biological family continues to grow and go their own directions, I’ve got these fine young individuals to keep me grounded and motivated and inspired and busy and feeling like the luckiest guy in Omaha.

THE BIG BRAG

With apologies to Dr. Seuss.  Writing, the only thing that I love more than running.  Hope you enjoy today’s offering.

The Run Guru felt mighty important that day
Out at his dojo, where runners do play
He felt SO important out on his loop
That he started his bragging, his boastful poop
And he boasted out loud as he threw out his chest
Of all the runners, Run Guru’s the best
At 5K, at 10K, the Marathon, beyond
I’m the fastest around Zorinsky pond

“What’s that?” growled a voice that was bleating and gruff
“Is this more of Run Guru’s stuff?”
“I’m the best of the runners with hooves and tails
I’m the best runner out here on the trails
No Billy or Nanny has ever run faster
Of the cloven hooved I am the master”

“What’s that?” called a warrior with color and glow
“The only Real Runners are purple and slow
Through obstacles and fire pits and challenges we climb
No Real Runner is concerned with distance or time
Certified?  Sanctioned?  No mudder needs that
I’m much better than that Run Guru cat”

“What’s that?” asked the smiling friendly fun runner
“Social, non-competitive, Non-Real is much funner
Hanging with peeps, woot! woot! that’s the way
Running should only be grinning and gay
We should all get along, jogging and fun
What difference who’s last, who’s next, who won?”

So the Guru, the warrior, the goat and the funner
They all decided that each Was a Runner
And got together for a run and a beer
They were all the same with nothing to fear
They quaffed their brew, Upstream Oktoberfest
When Run Guru muttered, comes to beer I’m the Best…..

LUCKY’S ESCORT SERVICE

Going to give a nod today to  Jimmy Doherty, aka “Lucky”.  The contributions to Team Nebraska aren’t always found immediately in the race results.  Jimmy is part of our young and developing corps of runners but thus far injuries have stalled his progression.  It is what he has done while not running that makes him truly a Good Mate.  Jimmy comes to track every Wednesday evening to cheer and support those that are able to run and train hard.

Likewise he has shown up every weekend for our team long runs, astride a bike to encourage those putting in the miles he would love to be pounding afoot.  Totally selfless.  Mile wide grin and a genuine aw shucks personality, Jimmy is the type of kid that keeps me involved with Team Nebraska.  His rehabbing calf is finally pain free and he expects to return to training next week.  We wish him patience and fitness and racing success this fall!

Racing success.  Cory Logsdon (33:59) and Justin Mollak (34:28) went 1-2 at this past weekend’s MPS Strides for Education 10K (not USATF Certified).  Carolyn Meyer made her Team Nebraska debut a win taking the women’s title in 40:54. Agustin Delgado (40:43) was right in front of Carolyn. John Tully rounded out the mates scoring 3rd in the 55-59 age group with his 53:55 effort.

Carolyn is coming along very nicely.  As she said during this morning’s workout, “You’re a hard ass but you’re encouraging”.  Ain’t it the truth.  And oh by the way, for her two times 1 mile, she lifetime pr’d on the first one (5:33.74) and then again on the second (5:33.35), catch her if you can and thanks Killer Coach!

And as I like to recognize excellence, no Red & White singlet necessary:

Local triathlete stud Lincoln Murdoch won 1st place in his 55-59 age group for the National Champion Sprint Triathlon in Burlington, VT.  Lincoln will next go to London to represent at the World Championships.

Long swim: I swam 64 laps at Lakeside yesterday to make 2 miles.  Boring.

Long Bike:  The Omaha Corporate Cycling Challenge was yesterday, rides of 10, 25, & 42 miles hosted over 4000 bikers.

Long run:  Local runner Jason Zakaras completed the Leadville 100 Mile run over the weekend covering the distance in 28:30:53.

Long Swim, Bike, Run: Kathy Palmer conquered the Pigman Half Ironman Triathlon in Iowa yesterday.  She’s earned a coffee and a beer to be sure!

Kathy sporting her hardware and celebrating with friends.  Ironwoman!