Monthly Archives: November 2012

SUNNY SIDE UP!

The weather is here, wish you were beautiful.  Grinding out the interminable meetings as necessary, but oh the limited free time is pure bliss.  Runs Wednesday and Thursday on Daytona Beach, this morning’s hill workout on the causeways.  Thanks to my old buddy Joe Monks for the Florida hospitality.

Matty P and Kelly Crawford are being baptized under fire.  They’ve met some of the greatest athletes and coaches of ours and the last generation.  And sat through seemingly endless discussions on the underpinnings and machinations of our sport.  Both will be better able to serve our Nebraska constituency upon their return.

It is cool that everyone here speaks the same relative language, if occasionally on opposite sides of the beauracratic fence.  I’m back in my element to be sure.  Perhaps more than anyone, I needed to be in this company of like minded devotees.  And I find that I’m not the only  one dealing with “issues” back in my home association.  Part and parcel of being a leader in our sport is the critics that must be dealt with.  Towards that end I’m going to attend a Dispute Resolution workshop today.

A few of the cognesceti are setting on a powder keg, the fuse of unknown length blazing quickly.  It could go at any moment or it might sizzle throughout the meetings.  Such is the nature of due process.  If it blows before tomorrow night I’ll be the first to let you know….

I’ve decided to not throw my hat into the WLDR Chair election tomorrow.  I appreciate all the encouragement that was given me but with the emergence of another qualified candidate it becomes unnecessary for me to make that run.  This time around anyway.

It was super cool to see Ann Gaffigan, Annie Shadle, and Alice Schmidt all in attendance at this morning’s WLDR meeting.  It was a reunion of sorts of the 2008 Omaha Mile.  The only time all three of these Nebraska Legends ever participated in the same race.  We’ll all be enjoying tomorrow night’s Husker, Badger game, our group now 20+ strong cheering our favorite college football team!  Go Big Red!

AHA!

Happy to be here in Daytona Beach for the USATF annual meetings.  My 10th time to make the yearly gathering of those most committed to the betterment of our sport.  Track and Field, Long Distance Running, Associations, Youth, Officials, Masters, Rules, Ethics, Coaching, High Performance, Club Council, Sports Medicine and Science.  Plenty of action packed into the next four days.

My original intent for coming this year has been to mentor our Nebrasksa Association LDR Chair, Matt Pohren.  And to introduce our Team Nebraska President, Kelly Crawford.  And to sit in my capacity as the At Large Member on the Club Council Committee.

Strange how fate always seems to have something else in store for me, and that it usually involves a stick and a pot.

It is an election year.  I’m a man of service and have always answered when called.  I’ve thus heeded and am polishing up my resume, defining my vision.  I’ll be ready Saturday morning if truly needed.  The road goes on forever, the party never ends.

I’ll have regular updates throughout the course of these meetings, hope you are interested enough to check in occasionally.

HERE’S WHY

I am who I am.

Bill Lindgren was born Jan. 5, 1932 in Indiahoma, OK.  Square in the beginning of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  If you missed Ken Burns’ PBS special, please do yourself a favor and check it out.  He and 8 siblings were raised by my grandmother Katie.  She was widowed to the “dust pneumonia”, my grandfather leaving the family nothing but the roughly constructed tent they occupied along with other families too poor to afford real shelter.  I got to see pictures of this accommodation for the first time this weekend and it was heart wrenching and inspiring.  Dirt floors, deer hide flaps trying to keep the howling wind and dust from the children.  Only eating what they could hunt or scrape out of the red dirt.

Dad and his brothers would all go to military service and that is how the “ascent” from the depths of poverty began.  Hard scrabble, fist fighting, Oklahoma Ridge Runners (hillbillies) deeply loyal to family and friends.  Crack shots by necessity.  Willing to work any and all jobs including picking cotton.  Train hopping hobos for a time, always searching for any form of honest pay.  Endurance and sacrifice the order of the day.

Still the rugged land always calling them back to what they knew best and loved most.  Family mainly, but also purifying hard labor and its reward.  You’ll never know this here in Mayoville, land of silver spoons and privilege and entitlement.   Fascinating to me that my dad’s dad actually lived in Omaha in the 1920s.  I think I would have preferred the city then to now.  When men were judged by their work and not their pedigree or social strata.

And though it lacks the clarity certain that still runs through my dad, there are glimpses of him in me and mine.  I prefer being outdoors every day of the week.  And every night if I could.  I’m as good or better with a rifle or a shotgun or a pistol or a slingshot than even my dad.  I was delighted to see Katie also in possession of the dead eye, earning the name “Crack Shot” from the gathered Lindgrens.  High praise indeed!

Dad still boasting that he would just as soon “whoop his ass” when dealing with anyone that doesn’t set square with him.  Even at almost 81 I’d still put my money on him.

A collector’s collector too.  His property an American Pickers episode in the making.  “Treasures” from the last century, some fabulous, most sentimental.  His collection of Rifles and Shotguns unparalleled, where children are taught to shoot before they start school.  Going back to his own father’s rifle and even further.  I was amazed as I filmed his describing each gun, recorded now for posterity.

My blood is calling me stronger than ever now.  I know it won’t be long before I answer.  It is who I am.

Dad’s most prized gun, his own father’s.  When we pulled into town he was taking a buck he had just shot to the meat locker.  Proudly proclaiming it was the largest he’d ever killed in Oklahoma.

Dad was thrilled to see that Katie has inherited the Lindgren eye.

And equally adept with a slingshot.

Its in the blood.  I nailed a mailbox 4 out of 5 shots from 60 yards.  The only miss hitting the post on which it was mounted.

The Wichita Mountains.  We climbed and bouldered for two straight days, exploring caves and crannies and some of the most rugged territory in the Southwest.

Reconnecting with old roots and planting new seeds.  Apropos , this is my last post from 18312 Ontario St., riding off into a not too distant sunset that calls me home.

NOT TANNED

But I am rested and ready.  Recharged the Lindgren batteries this past holiday weekend, couldn’t shake a stick without poking some kin.  Southwest Oklahoma very much represents my heritage, seemingly not much happening on the surface but if you take some time to look deeply, some Very Real Living going on.  I’ll be doing a feature column on the trip hopefully tomorrow.

Back here in the Omaha Metro our Good Mates were getting a good tune up for Club Cross by running the Fremont Turkey Trot 5 Mile.  Have heard through the grapevine that though the course was advertised to be USATF Certified that it ran long.  I’ll say it again, responsibility falls on the Race Director to make sure that all measured points are correctly marked and adhered to.  More’s the shame when certification is done and then not integrated on race morning.

As it went, four of our mates that will be headed to Lexington took the top spots, like this:
1. Luka Thor,  25:42
2. Eric Rasmussen, 25:44
3. Nate Stack, 28:03
4. Cory Logsdon, 28:31

Our newest ultra specialist Kyle Clouston scored a top 10 finish in 30:11 and Gary Wasserman also tuned up for Club Cross, winning the 50+ in 31:30.  Jen Viehrig ran and finished 3rd overall female in 33:36.  Nice run by 18 year old Aryn Smidt of Fremont taking the title in 32:41.

Not finding results to the Feast & Feathers half marathon but am sure Tim & Emily Langdon and Todd Nott had great runs as usual.

Tonight will be my last at 18312 Ontario and it is fitting and appreciated that I get to see the first snowfall of 2012.  The view from the expansive windows of the prairie preserve being blanketed is by far my favorite of the year, one I’ll always recall with fond reminisce.  I could not have scripted it any better.

 

 

 


					

NEVER FORGET

Thanksgiving. Is one of my favorite holidays. Long time readers know I was born on the holiday in 1957. My annual trip to Indiahoma, OK makes it a particularly poignant celebration. Right in the heart of the government’ s forced relocation of the vast majority of the Native American population. Always gives me pause to to reflect on the misfortunes bestowed on the original stewards of this great land of ours. Please take a moment from your indulgences to be mindful of their plight and condition, it was their land first after all.
No internet or computer where I am, this magical droid of a phone making today’s musing possible.

SOMEBODY NEEDS A HUG

They really do.  So, go ahead, do it.  I’m sharing one right now and my day is off to a much brighter start for it.

Its amazing how something so simple, and free, can change your frame of mind.  So, go ahead, do it.

Feeling grumbly?  Grab a hug.  Feeling vile?  Embrace and hold.  Admit it, you need it.

Got the blues?  Hold your honey.  Just plain mean?  Squeeze out your insecurities.

Today is world wide Hug A Runner Day.  And some need it more than others.  So, go ahead, do it.

Looking forward to my trip to Indiahoma, Oklahoma tomorrow.  It has been too long since I’ve seen my dad, even longer since his mother’s namesake (my dear sweet Katie) has made the trip south.  Some beautiful running to be had in the foothills of the Wichita Mountains as a bonus.  A simple setting, poulation 349, a single gas station, no grocery, no computers, no Starbucks, no nothing.  But my dad’s hometown and where he chose to retire.  And at night you can see billions of stars.

We’ll have mates in the Fremont Turkey Trot, USATF Certified for the first time ever, look for Luka Thor to set the official course record and take home the winning Benjamin.  We’ll also have mates in the Feast and Feathers trail run at Lake Cunningham (Giddyup Todd Nott, Tim & Emily Langdon).  A few other local events that have sprung up in recent years, so no reason to miss out on the fun and fitness before enjoying your feast and family.  I know I’ll be enjoying mine.  With plenty of hugs to go around.

 

 

MEET MATT

I’m amazed at how few people know Matt Pohren.  Not as many strangers today as Friday you can bet.

In 2011 Matt became the only Nebraskan to ever win Living History Farms.  On Saturday Matt joins an exclusive list (haven’t had time to research, he may be the only person on this list) to win the largest XC race in the United States back-to-back.  His time of 38:09 is also one of the fastest ever posted in the 34 years of the event.

And while we held most of our Good Mates out of the race, choosing instead to prep for the USA Club XC National Championships in Lexington, KY in a couple of weeks, we did manage to cobble a 3rd place open men’s team as well (Cory Logsdon, 14th-43:23, Richard Eads, 48th-51:09).  Also representing the Red & White were Shannon Stenger (45:34), Brian Bergt (49:10), and Shawn Kellis (65:17).

Back to Matt.  He not only is the toughest Real cross country runner in the midwest but was the 2012 USA Club T&F National Champion in the Steeplechase.  Matt also ran a brilliant 14:51 5000 meters earlier this year.  And he serves on the Team Nebraska Board of Directors.  And he is, quite naturally, the USATF Nebraska Associaton LDR Chair.  Setting the example of what USATF is about after all.

At the upcoming USATF annual meeting in Daytona Beach, FL (Nov.27- Dec.2) our national Associations Committee will release its latest guidelines on the purpose of the Long Distance Running Committee within each association.  It will further detail the mandate that each LDR club be competitive in Association and Regional USATF Championships events.  The basis of membership for USATF member Clubs is summed up in one word: Competition.

And Matt sets that bar higher than any other.  You could never hope to meet a more polite, engaging, serious young man.  But between the starting gun and the tape he is out to crush you.  He possesses a competitive spirit that is very rare indeed.  Rivals my own and when you add in the fact that he hast talent, he becomes fierce.  To wit:  At this past summer’s Hospital Hill Team Challenge we were beaten by the Boulder Running Company by less than a handful of ticks on the clock, scored across the top 5 runners.  Matt was inconsolable as he shouldered complete responsibility for the few seconds.

Give me that attitude and I can make a team of Champions!

Natalie Como demonstrated the In It To Win It grit at this past weekend’s Goat & Gobbler 10 Mile (ish).  While a decidedly low key, non certified fundraiser for Lifegate Church, Nat used the race as a good tempo run for Club Cross, bested all competitors to the line in 1:03:08.  This marks the 4th or 5th local race of the fall that a Team Nebraska female has taken the measure of an entire field.  In It To Win It indeed!

Ten of us gathered this past Saturday for a rigorous, if not torturous set of 1/4 mile hill repeats on the unyielding Swamp Stomp course.  I’ve renamed that segment of particularly difficult hills “Wasserman’s Hill” in recognition of Gary encouraging and leading the charge.  Gary is a fine addition to Team Nebraska both in his own work ethic and his ability to motivate/inspire hard work.  And like Matt, one of the most genuine and nicest guys you could ever share the pleasure of company with.

But I don’t only brag on our Good Mates. (And as my writing is often melded with another personal passion, food.)  Thanks for indulging my reporting that my dear sweet Allison is fast becoming the rising star of the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute.  The program director selected Allison to bake a wedding cake for her, a recognition of just how talented she is.

Alli is as passionate about baking and pastries as Matty P is about running and racing.  A kiss back to Omaha via facebook warmed me this weekend, can’t wait to see her in a few weeks!

OCCI is one of the top rated schools in the country for her specialty.  I just couldn’t be prouder of her decision to uproot and strike out on her own path in life.  A chip off the old block!

 

 

GEEK OR GURU?

  • In 1992 my USATF course measurement sensei Tom McBrayer put an ad in the Houston Post “Free to a good home, 20 years of THE RUNNER, RUNNER’S WORLD” magazines.  I happily replied and spent the following weeks reading every edition.
  • In 2000 my Women’s LDR mentor asked if wanted her 20 year collection of TRACK STATS.  Yes I did, and again devoured each page with the greedy appetite of a true geek.
  • In 2002 I came into possession of a near complete collection (1960-1995) of TRACK AND FIELD NEWS.  With awe and amazement I poured over meet reports, road races, and athlete and coach interviews, absorbing facts and figures that soon set myself apart from the average fan of our sport.

Over the last 15 years I have amassed a library of rare and not so rare running and track related books, now numbering well over 100.

And now, at this point in my life I am seeking out another geek or guru to pass this knowledge to.  If you have an insatiable appetite for  our sport, would love to discover the origins of excellence in the 20th century, are interested in becoming a historian, or learning the secrets of the masters in coaching, both mental and physical aspects, I have a deal for you.   Be warned that you will become addicted and that the collection will give you an aura of authority that will be appreciated but not always well received.  You will be admired by some (true fans) and disparaged by others (you know who they are).  I’m not ready to part with the with the entirety, will likely retain my complete book collection and a few of my favorite T&F News covers, but it is time to pass the magazines along to the right person.  If you would like to be considered, please shoot me  an email at runguru@cox.net

 

DUDER’S LOOP

Had a great workout yesterday morning.  Some Real trail training on one of my favorite hilly, grassy routes here in WestMayoville.  Named after a Great Dane (Duder) who used to run with me and my original unshod mentor, Barefoot Benny.  Four repeats of the hill & dale, lung searing ascents, pitching the downhills like a man possessed.  If you’re going to Race cross country, you’ve got to train on it.  This one’s for you Benny!

Up this morning at 4:45 to meet my Thursday client.  I’ve busted her bottom over the last 6 weeks, and not for naught.  She’s lining up at the North Face Half Marathon in Kansas City on Saturday morning and will crush her goal of 2 hours.  Giddyup Mandy!

I’ll rise, if not shine, again tomorrow morning to meet Steve.  He has been learning and toiling for 6 weeks also, a crash course if you will for Sunday’s Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK.  At 57 years old, my oldest client ever and surely the most interesting.  He used to be a juggler in the circus.  Real life always better than fiction or analogies.  You’ve got this Steve!

Linda has rounded into form spot on, thanks Killer Coach.  Her 8 X 1/4 mile yesterday were :85-:87, making it the best set of the cycle, right on cue.  While my own much abbreviated stint in the fall program has yet to result in this type of peak, I am excited about where I’ll be once the gun goes off in Lexington on December 8th.

Living History Farms is this weekend, Team Nebraska is sending a men’s team.  I’ll detail your Good Mates in tomorrow’s column.  For now, I’m off to work at my Real Job.  Who would have ever thought it?

Finally, congratulations to my life long mentee Andre Lejeune.  He finally tied the knot this past weekend, ending his bachelorhood and breaking a bunch of hearts.  He and wife Sue will live in NYC, where she’s from and has made a very successful life that she will now share with him.

Andre at his reception with his old buddy and former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis.  Andre has learned from the best.

 

 

 

CIRCUS, BINDERS

Both have 3 Rings.

As Team Nebraska continues to progress above and beyond my scope of business acumen I realize that my administrative approach was more of the Circus variety.  Chaos carefully orchestrated, held together by wires and mirrors and brute force, a spectacle for all to see on the surface, a masterful juggling act behind the scenes.  And if not a one man show, then very nearly (with all due respect to my faithful protege Linda).

Enter our Board of Directors, slick, polished, organized, carefully tabbed in 3 ring binders, dispelling the illusion of bustle and confusion that is and will always remain my attention deficit addled style of architecture-unbridled passion might be a better descriptor.  You need both specialties to pull off this high wire act of a USATF Elite Development Club.

I’m comforted that for the first time in over a decade I’ll actually be working with a net.  The thrill remains to be sure.  But now too the recognition that these old bones can no longer do it all on my own.  For the better of the club, for the better of the community, for the better.  For the well earned leisure role I now enjoy with the club.  Secure in my function as the Barker Emeritus, calling one and all to be amazed at the incredible gathering of athletes touring our community and our country.  Knowing where each rope must lead, each stake driven, every hoop that need be jumped, each road taken, to ensure that the greatest athletic show in the history of Nebraska goes on.  And on.