Monthly Archives: November 2012

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

One of the things necessary for Team Nebraska to retain its designation as a USATF Elite Development Club is its participation in all Club National Championships events.  The fact that we hosted the Club T&F National Champs in July was just so much gravy on our mashed potatoes.  Next up is the USA Club Cross Country National Championships in Lexington, KY on December 8th.  Right around the corner.  To satisfy our charge as an EDC and because we Love to Race, Team Nebraska will be sending its deepest squad ever to a club cross champs.  Full teams in both open and masters for the first time.   More than 100 teams and over 1200 athletes are expected to compete.  A million thanks to our major sponsor, The Lincoln Marathon for making this trip possible!  Our Good Mates, for your inspection and approval:

OPEN MEN’S TEAM
Luka Thor
Eric Rasmussen
Matt Pohren
Cory Logsdon
Nathan Stack
Matt Seiler

OPEN WOMEN’S TEAM
Megan Zavorka
Meghan Schneider
Haleigh Riggle
Natalie Como
Alysha Davis
Shannon Mauser-Suing

MASTER’S WOMEN’S TEAM
Natalie Jetensky
Stacy Shaw
Linda

MEN’S 50+ MASTERS TEAM
Tony Sorrention
Gary Wasserman
Will Lindgren

 

WANT TO RACE?

“Confidence in one’s abilities and a willingness to fight against tough odds are very important qualities in athletes.  The athlete’s thoughts prior to training and competition are of prime importance for his success.  He should think of covering the distance faster, hanging with the record holder all the way, etc.  If he thinks of the difficulty or impossibility, he has already lost.  Lack of self confidence and doubt in one’s ability to perform the task lower the tone of the nervous system, interfere with the stimulation and inhibit relationships in the cortex, distort the dynamic stereotype, and lead to the rise of other directions of thinking and to uncoordination.

A coach can help the athlete overcome such vital negative influences as indecision and fear of competition and of a sporting battle.  He can speak of the athlete’s great potential and compare his height, weight, speed, etc. to that of the top runners, showing him that many record holders have the same general physical data as other people and that they achieved success only thru persistent and tenacious work.

From physiology it is known that everyone possesses a tremendous potential physical energy.  This energy, however, does not appear in ordinary circumstances.  A simple desire is not enough to bring it out.  Rather, a powerful emotional jolt is needed. ….

Actual competition has great significance in teaching the athlete to evoke large physical efforts as well as in developing all the desirable mental qualities mentioned above.  The coach should first of all encourage those who did not do well and should explain to each individual that defeat in sport is the road to victory.”

The above excerpt is from Fred Wilt’s classic Run  Run Run (1964, Track & Field News).  The chapter titled Developing Stamina in Athletes, sub paragraph Developing Qualities of Will Power, authored by Russian coach N.G. Ozolin.

I bring this to the fore this morning as an opportunity for you to challenge yourself.   To encourage you to  dig a little deeper, to not fear defeat in competition.  To enlighten that you too can be different from the mass participation, “we’re all winners” attitude.  We’re all runners, but until you are willing to plumb the very depths of your heart and soul, both in training, and competition, you’ll never be a real winner.

The Fremont Family YMCA Turkey Trot will be held on Thanksgiving morning.  Happy to report that for the first time ever the event will be contested on a USATF Certified course and will be chip timed for professional results.    I’m In it to Win It!

I’ve referenced this book many times over the years.  Considered a bible on training both the mind and body.  A compendium of articles by the greatest coaches and athletes from the golden age of athletics, the 1950s and 1960s, long before the first and second “running booms” diluted and convoluted the beauty and essence of pure and absolute competition.

 

PRISON FOOD

No I’ve never actually been behind bars (or have I?).  Today’s column refers to my ability to take scraps or leftovers and transform them into something pleasing and palatable.    Growing up decidedly lower middle class and then raising 3 kids on a limited budget has taught me how to do wonders in the kitchen with little as a starting point.  That is the sign of a Great Chef in my book.  And it was this same approach that I imparted to my dear, sweet Allison who is now excelling at the Oregon Coast Culinary Academy.  How proud I was to receive a text Wednesday night that she was the only student in her class to get a 100% on the mid term exam!

And the rough translation into running is this:  I was never a pedigreed runner, didn’t have the accoutrements or trappings or privileges that would have suggested any degree of success at running.  Started with a base that included only desire, a willingness to work hard, and the courage to dream and dare.

It’s been told before but is worth repeating that I once harboured aspirations of making the USA Olympic Trials Marathon, this when the standard was a mere 2:20:00 for men.  And never got closer than 2:46, a minute per mile that may as well have been a 5 Star Michelin rating on the Avenue des Champs Elysees.

But without that key ingredient, that Ambition, that Hope, that Dream, I could have never achieved the modicum of success that was my reward for years of hard work.  Looking back on that pr from 1995 it seems a lifetime ago, and an impossibility now that my old legs can’t maintain the same 6:20 pace for a 5K.  But the Heart remains.

And that is the component that I look for in our Good Mates.  I’ve seen very talented runners that didn’t possess that heart.  I’ve seen less talented runners that have challenged themselves and risen to glory.  Taking something ordinary and by deft, even intuitive manipulation, creating a palate of remarkable performances that are to be admired if not awed.  Accomplishments built on dedication and persistence, all the more respected in my book because of humble beginnings.  The Comfort Food of Performance, the feel good stories in our sport.  Tasty stuff.

A fine November morning for the weekly Geezer Run.  Carolyn, Linda, Angie and I had a nice, easy tour of the West loop after paying homage to Coach John Tully’s boot.  We’re hoping it won’t be long before he is able to join us again for our gathering around Denny’s Pole.

 

 

BEST MEDICINE

I get caught up in the grumbles occasionally, more frequently recently it seems, but for good reason for those that know my personal issues.

Trying to lighten up though.  Towards that end we utilized a couple of free tickets to the Funny Bone comedy club this past weekend.  Todd Glass, a nationally known comic entertained us, smiles, guffaws, hearty laughter filled my heart and the room.  Thanks Todd, I needed that.

Laughter after all really is the best medicine.  A regular dose does the body good, the mind better.  Reminds us that not all is serious and another word that I won’t use but rhymes with momma, comma, llama, Obama.

I’m going to be alternating between a sheepish and devilish grin from now on.  It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile.  And it keeps everyone wondering what you’re up to, and I do like guessing games.

Linda & I were honored to be invited to last night’s Team Nebraska Board of Directors meeting.  Megan Zavorka, Tony Sorrentino, Kelly Crawford, Tim Langdon, and Matt Pohren have full reigns of the club now and the future’s so bright, we all need shades.  There is a lot of positive energy and great ideas that will move the club into its next chapter in the history of Nebraska athletics.

I’ll be focusing my time and efforts at the national level, maintaining my position as a board member for the Elite Development Club Council.  Working on behalf of all the EDCs around the country.  Linda will remain on the Women’s Long Distance Running Executive committee and head up the Athlete Development Program for the entire U.S.  We are proud to serve and promote our sport both locally, regionally, and nationally.  That makes us happy and keeps us smiling.

 

 

 

 

 

MILESTONE

Today’s column is the 500th under the new website that was initiated on March 4, 2011.  I hit the 1000th column mark last November, so roughly 1,240 days of writing/reading over the last 4 years.

Four years since the www.teamnebraska.com domain name was liberated from an unfriendly webbie that kept it hostage for two full years in an attempt to keep me silent.  Right.

I’ve called things as I’ve seen them every since.  Ticked off a whole bunch of people to be sure, but only those that deserved it.  Educated some.   Hopefully inspired even more.

Written some grand poetry; told some tall tales; embellished a few truths; changed names to protect the innocent; named names when I felt like it; refused to be edited or censored; freedom of speech at its very best.

I still have a lot to say.

 

REAL WOLVES

That’s what we  throw ourselves to.   After every prescribed break in training we jump right into the snarling fangs of Killer Coach’s workouts.  And there better be no questions asked, right Coach?

I resumed the program last week, after nearly 5 months of nursing the plantars issue.  Was close to sick running the advanced fartlek workout on Tuesday, it hurt that much..  Hopped into the quarter mile repeats on Wednesday, legs feeling not sluggish, but petrified.  Something weird was happening though.  After I reviewed my splits, they were honest-to-buddha a full :15 seconds faster than I had imagined as I was grinding them out.  How was it possible that I was generating any semblance of speed when feeling like hammered dog doo-doo?

It’s because Glen van der Westhuizen knows what he is doing.  I’ve accrued a fitness level this year that didn’t evaporate like a penny stock.  I’ve invested my faith and effort into the larger picture and now the yield is trickling in, a year end bonus if you will.  Can’t pay the rent with it but the dividends have certainly bolstered my recently sagging spirits.

A key component, and one many of the mates will attest to is racing while in the midst of the training.  Almost every Saturday if you can.  Throwing yourself into competitive situations even though it is the last thing you might think will do any good.  It does, again, no questions asked!

That is another hallmark of our Good Mates.  We feel the need, the need for speed.  The fire of competition, the test, the brutal honesty that can only be answered at the starters pistol.  I know a lot of athletes that train for one or two races a year, wouldn’t dare show on a start line unless there were some chance of a peak performance (and most of these are out of the Omaha Metro coincidentally).  Why?  Beause nobody likes to get beat,especially in front of the home crowd.  Well, almost nobody.  There’s a difference in accepting defeat with the dignity and grace of knowing that you gave it your absolute best, that ameliorates the sting considerably.  Knowing that only by the annealing fire of Real Racing can you measure yourself against not only your competitors, but that little voice inside your head, the harshest of critics and judges.  Just not palatable to most runners.  I’m glad Team Nebraska was built differently and our mates get my philosophy.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Stacy Shaw, Carolyn Meyer, Linda, and Alex Cassar are cut from a rare fabric, one that can be loomed into a beautiful quilt of fierce competitive spirit.  Now that warms my heart!
Photo courtesy of Lou Anderson.

BEER & BAGEL RECAP

Mike Ewoldt’s 20th annual Beer & Bagel off road race was a blast yesterday.  Nearly 3000 runners cavorting  around and through Quarry Oaks Golf Course, as much fun as the law allows.  A surprise winner, and a wee lad at that.  Seventeen year old Colton Donahue (23:32) of Stilwell, KS bested the field that included UNL runner Connor Gibson (2nd, 24:20) and a few of our Team Nebraska studs.  Nate Stack hadn’t run cross or trails in several years but showed he is tough enough, finishing third (24:32) with Tim Langdon 4th (24:38).  Matt Seiler was our next mate in 6th (25:56).  The Amherst Flash, Brian Bergt at 52 years old, was 15th overall in 27:52 followed by Ben Shultz (27:53).  Matt Heesch (27:57) and Dylan Wilson (28:35) rounded out the mates efforts on the men’s side.

The amazing Alysha Davis continues her impressive roll.  She not only won the women’s title in 27:16 but also finished 12th out of all finishers.  Studette!  46 year old Stacy Shaw (3rd, 29:29) showed what makes her the toughest masters female in Nebraska, finishing just ahead of her teammate, speedster Carolyn Meyer (4th 29:31).  Alex Cassar was the next Red & White finsiher in 30:28, Linda won the masters (thanks to Stacy for finishing in the top 3) in 31:50, Emily Langdon completed the mates galavanting in 33:24.

Not only a lot of good competition but the after party of the entire year for any local race.  Free chili, free beer, free bagels, a live DJ spinning some very danceable music.  At one point there were over 50 people getting their groove on.  Our own Matt Pohren was busting some mad moves getting the crowd into the spirit.  I grabbed Jenny Logsdon, joined Matt and showed the younger set that there is still some disco in these old legs.  Finishing the year like I started it in Houston, burning down the house, the only thing missing was the fellow stalking me with the video camera.

Nate, Linda & Alysha, hoisting their winning steins in celebration of a great race!

Stacy is willing to race anywhere, any time, any body.  That is what makes her a Good Mate!

Shaking what the good lord gave me!

 

THE MAD RAVE

Was surprised and very pleased to hear from a lifelong friend last night.  My old buddy Dave The Mad Rave, my Original H-Town Homey.  We go back to 1978, pre guru days.  I’ll jump on the November bandwagon and say that today I am truly thankful for Real Friends.  Dave and I had more exotic life experiences than all the rest of you combined, all while we were still relatively wet behind the ears.  Houston in the 70s & 80s, you had to be there.

I’ve revealed a few nuggets to those closest to me and eyebrows resembling the St. Louis Arch are always the response.  For me life has always been there for the taking and the making.   Explains perhaps why this  enclave of West Mayo-ville has been such a hard pill for me to swallow.   Provides great comfort but lacks adventure, intrigue, and the diversity I need to feel really alive.  Yawn.

You don’t have to go far though.  Mid-Town, Dundee, Benson, South Omaha, Florence, Ralston, the Old Market.  Friendly, bohemian folks all around.   I’m looking east, north, and south for my next set of digs.  Or maybe far, far west.  A couple of acres, you know how I love to get my hands deep into the Good Mother,  her yielding bounty proportionate to effort invested.

Lily Kaftan is in NYC for this weekend’s marathon.  This young lady has trained her butt off, earned her Good Mate kit, and will raise a few eyebrows herself when she crosses the finish line.  I won’t be surprised at all.  I’ll have a full recap from Lulu Lily Monday morning.

The Beer & Bagel Run is also this Saturday.  An institution in the Omaha Metro, we’ll have some speedsters racing, great practice for both Living History Farms and the USA Club Cross Country National Championships in Lexington, KY on Dec. 8th. 

I first me Dave when his 1976 Pacer was broken down on the side of a road.  I had just gotten to Houston, knew no one.  Pulled over and offered him a spare radiator hose (incredibly my 1974 Camaro was a match).  We’ve been friends every since.  Great to hear from you Rave and can’t tell you how happy I am that you occasionally read RGS.

 

 

FREE BIRD

“If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on, now,
‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.”

I’ve been packing up La Casa Lindgren for the last couple of days.  Getting ready for a move and still not even sure where I’ll be going.  Will certainly remain in Omaha until my dear sweet Katie finishes up at Millard West in 2014.  It will fly by I’m sure.

“‘Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.
Oh… oh… oh… oh… oh…
And the bird you cannot change.
And this bird you cannot change.
Lord knows I can’t change.”

It has been cathartic and liberating to throw away files and notes and pictures and assorted detritus that has accumulated over the last 12 years, the longest I’ve lived at any one address since childhood.

“Bye, bye, baby it’s been a sweet love.
Yea, yea
Though this feeling I can’t change.
But please don’t take it so badly,
‘Cause the lord knows I’m to blame.”

It has been a love affair with 18312 Ontario St.  But I’m too restless to consider staying here very much longer at all.  Part of my final decree,  I insisted, out by Dec. 1st.  Too many memories, many good, but the bad ones still reverberate in the bones of the house, reminding what brought me to this point in the first place.

“But, if I stayed here with you girl,
Things just couldn’t be the same.
Cause I’m as free as a bird now,
And this bird you can not change.”

And ain’t that the truth.  I’ve tried to please others by attempting to change my nature, only to return to my one true self.  The one I can accept and live with.  WYSIWYG, I’m done pretending to be something I’m not and can never be.

Those that know me, those that love me, those that get me, they understand.  The rest can go their own way and please stay out of mine.  I just want to spend the next couple of years doing what I love to do, what I am meant to do.  Finish raising my Katie, run most every day, do some coaching and road race management, guide Team Nebraska, enjoy good food, an occasional beer, and feel free and alive.  Stuff the drama, the cliques, the whispers, the malcontents.  I’m done with that and petition for reciprocity.  Life is too short as it is and at my age each moment becomes cherished, not to be wasted in a cage.

Working in a running store has its bennies.  A couple pair of Mizunos, the Wave Rider 16 and the Wave Precision both seeded by our shoe rep.  Free Birds indeed, I’m digging the feel, function and form.  Non restricting, non binding, freedom on the open road.  ‘Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.