Monthly Archives: December 2012


Ending the year in the most appropriate way.  Giving thanks to everyone that made the past year such a memorable and blessed one.  No particular order and please accept my apologies if I’ve forgotten you.

Glen van der Westhuizen.  Killer Coach now works with over a dozen of our mates.    Much of our success as a club can be laid directly at his weekly training schedules.  We all recognize and appreciate this Glen!

Nancy Sutton-Moss.  Has stood by Team Nebraska through thick and thin.  Nancy has always believed in our mission, our vision, our leadership.  And I’m her biggest fan.

Linda.  Amazing athlete, confidant, co-conspirator.  Excellent teacher, role model, and motivator.  Able to take your best shot.   Born to Really Live.

John Tully.  Selfless and tireless.  Became my right hand man both on and off the track.

Kelly Crawford.  Tiene juevos muchos grande!  Stepped in and stood out as the new President of Team Nebraska.  Committed to our athletes and our program.

Emily Langdon.   Team Nebraska’s own Undoer of Knots.

Tim Langdon.  Our Saint Blaise, able to tame the wildest animal (me).

Matt Pohren.  The future of Competitive Long Distance Running in Nebraska.

Megan Zavorka.  Point, counter-point.  New light for an old dog.

Tony Sorrentino.  Daddy!

Nancy Sempek.  Former USATF Nebraska President.  Thanks for 10+ years of support, wisdom, and clarity.

Omaha Running Club.  The Gold standard in the Metro when it comes to serving our running/walking community.

Ande Jorgenson.  A job!

Road Race Management Committee.  Bill Weeks, Danielle & Vince Galvin, Cindy Tully, Justin Mollak, Melissa Gwartney, Mike Reilly, Agustin Delgado, Dan Knobbe, Uriah & Kyla Shaver, Steve Stender, Javier & Sara Garcia, Bruce Newton, Mike Kunasek, Carole Swanson, Kelly Crawford, Jimmy Doherty, David Bohlken.

Our Sponsors.  Lincoln Marathon, Subway, Upstream Brewing Company, Cabela’s, Gretna Family Health, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, bland and associates, NRGE LLC.

Team Nebraska Athletes.  Yeah, we’re different and its my delight to remind everyone on a daily basis.

You Readers.  Those of you that are checking my musings to see how I define the Real World.

Hope you all have a safe and sound New Year’s tonight.  Don’t forget that our 3rd annual Hair of the Dog Run/Walk is tomorrow at 10:00 am at the Zorinsky Boat Ramps.  Fundraiser for the Food Bank of the Heartland, non perishable food item or $10 entry.  Coffee, Hot Chocolate, and Sunrize Donuts for all!

Good job to our mates that ran the “Show Us Your Cans” 5K at Quarry Oaks Saturday.  The Mates took the top two Men (Jordan Tucker, Peter Falcon) and Women’s (Stacy Shaw, Linda) spots, earning free entries into Mud Sweat & Beers in May.  Happy Trails!

Matt Pohren, David Adams, Linda, moi, and Stacy Shaw enjoyed a run on the Scenic Sarpy/Douglas route yesterday afternoon.  The hills were tough but we were tougher!  Good to catch up with David, he’s looking fit and training well.  Me?  I’m looking fat and happy eh?
photo courtesy of Bill Weeks.





I’m  giddy(up!) about closing out 2012 and tickled pink about 2013.  I get asked many times a day how I’m doing and my answer is always “Just happy to be here”.  The older I get the more truth that rings in such a pat reply.  Any day above the Good Mother’s green grass is just fine with me.  And while you can’t take a single day for granted it is fun and necessary to look towards the future, optimism abounding.  Life should always be that way, anticipating all the good and steeling yourself for the less than good that inevitably comes with the territory.

Important too to learn from history.  And so I’ll reflect for a moment today on some of the strictly personal highs and lows of the last 12 months.


I stepped down as President of my beloved Team Nebraska early this year.  Eleven years at the helm and an eye on making sure the club is viable long into the future combined to loosen the reigns.  My new position of Executive Director/Head Coach will allow me to continue some gentle guidance but my faith in our board of directors is solid.    Any great organization must have plan of succession, we’ve got that now.  Future’s so bright!

Also stepped down as the USATF Nebraska Assoc. LDR Chair.  Another baby of mine turned loose after more than a decade of nurturing.  My ram rod style will be considerably ameliorated by Matt Pohren.  His style of deep consideration and effective communication will only help the program blossom to new heights.  We’ve got to wear shades!

Fulfilled a dream by bringing a USATF National Championships to Nebraska, icing on the competitive cake that it was right here at Burke Stadium.

Accomplished the most difficult training cycle in my 30+ years of running and racing.  Thank you to Glen van der Westhuizen for helping me to realize age is not a limiting factor when aspiring for excellence.

Finishing another year averaging 50+ mile/week.  At 55 years of age this might be my last year to record such gaudy numbers.

Another full year of Run Guru Says.  My love for the written word has now officially eclipsed my love for running itself.  And still plenty to say….

My emancipation from previously accepted dogma and subsequent realization that I really am capable of Self Sustainability and worthy of Real Happiness.


Watching the fracture lines continue within our Omaha running community.  Life never makes it easy, I guess that keeps things interesting at least.

Dropping out of Grandma’s Marathon at mile 18.

Hearing that Linda dropped at mile 23.


And so on balance, 2012 will go into the books as a pretty great year.   Good enough to welcome another day with “Just happy to be here”.








Having to rush the prose this morning. But here goes:

As always, performances are ranked by participation in National Championships, Regional Championships, and Association Championships.  Next on the ranking list are other high tier events and finally head to head competitions.  We had an extremely close contest in both the Open Male Road Racing and Open Female Road Racing.  With that in mind,

OPEN MALE ROAD RACING: Luka Thor.  Luka was our workhorse/racehorse in 2012.  Started by running the Dash for Diamonds, ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8K Elite Challenge, the USA 25K National Championships (11th overall), the USA Half Marathon National Championships, Hospital Hill Half Marathon Elite Team Challenge, USA Club T&F National Championships, Omaha Corporate Cup, and USA Club XC National Championships.  This was a very difficult decision as Matt Pohren ran all the above excepting the 25K and Half Marathon National Championships.  Matty P. edged Luka in a couple of those races and thus gets honorable mention.

OPEN FEMALE ROAD RACING: Megan Zavorka/Thomas.  Megan also embodied the essence of Team Nebraska by her dedication to competition.  Megan won the Dash for Diamonds, raced Hospital Hill Elite Team Challenge, USA Club T&F National Champs, Omaha Corporate Cup, won her marathon debut at the Prairie Fire Marathon in 2:59:24, and USA Club XC National Champs.  This was also a close call as Natalie Como ran Club T&F Nats, Corporate Cup, ran 2:55:30 at the Chicago Marathon, and Club XC National Champs.

OPEN MALE TRACK & FIELD: David Adams.  Sub 4:00 Mile.  USA Olympic Trials Steeplechase final.  USA Indoor 3000 National Championships.  What more needs be said?

OPEN FEMALE TRACK & FIELD: Aubrey Baxter.  8th Overall at the USA Olympic Trials Hammer Throw.  Meet record at USA Club T&F National Champs in the Hammer (63.86 meters).

MASTERS MALE ROAD RACING: Todd Nott.  Todd ran 25 races this year including 8 Ultras.  Had 5 overall victories including the Stampede Trail 50K and Run for Bridges Trail Marathon.  A bunch of 1st Masters in the races he didn’t win outright.

MASTERS FEMALE ROAD RACING: Linda Barnhart.  Another very close decision.  Linda was the overall winner at the Gambler Half Marathon, raced the USA 25K National Championships, won the Market to Market 50K Masters title and raced the USA Club XC National Chamionships.  Linda barely edged Stacy Shaw who had Overall wins at the Lunar Trek 100K in Scandia, KS and the Happy Jack 12 Hour Run in Laramie, WY.  Stacy also finished 3rd overall at Beer & Bagel and raced Club XC Nats.

SENIOR MALE: Jose Badillo.  Jose was a multiple medalist at the USA Senior Games.  He also showed his stuff at the London Marathon in the spring.  Honorable Mention to Ron Olsen.

SENIOR FEMALE: Anne Medeiros.  Anne won her age group at the Lincoln Marathon just two weeks after finishing 16th in her age group at the Boston Marathon.  Amazing!

RACE OF THE YEAR: USA Club Track & Field National Championships.  Burke Stadium, July 6-7.  The first ever National Championships in Omaha.  Just wow.

RACE DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR:  2012 USA Club Track & Field National Championships Local Organizing Committee.  Will Lindgren, Linda, Matt Pohren.  Outstanding work over 30 months to pull off the “impossible”.

T-SHIRT OF THE YEAR: Bellevue Barnburner.  Nice work by Jim Kohout capturing the spirit and style of rural Nebraska.

CONTRIBUTOR OF THE YEAR:  Nebraska Run Guru Events, LLC.  NRGE is the newest event management company in the Omaha Metro.  To kick off charitable efforts, 100% of the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs proceeds were donated to Team Nebraska.

More highlights over the next couple of days…..



That’s me!  How cold was it yesterday?  So cold that I jumped on the treadmill for the first time in over three years.  Knocked out a decent 4 miles and then did some circuit training.

We had some cooler cats show up in the frigid conditions on Christmas Eve for the 3rd annual Jingle Bell Winter Warm Up.  Participation was way down from last year’s event when the temp was relatively balmy.  The hearty dozen or so that did show up braved perhaps the coldest day of the year, until this morning’s sub zero dawn at least.  The donations however were bolstered by the 500+ race t-shirts I decided to release from inventory.  As a race director ordering shirts is a formula and an inexact one at that.  Several years of “extras” will now adorn the denizens of downtown streets.

Hope everyone got what they needed for Christmas.   Love and happiness is my gift for being a good boy this year.

I should have our Team Nebraska Year End Excellence Awards ready by tomorrow.  Just under the wire.

I’ve heard from several runners that participated in the Doomsday “5K”.  The lead group of 5 runners ended up running closer to 5 miles, apparently it was too cold for the turnaround volunteers to man their positions. Tsk!  The rest of the runners reported running closer to 2.8 miles.  Tsk!  Tsk!   At $50 for their late entry fee I can’t blame them for being less than thrilled with the event.

The Open Door Mission braved the weather too, thanks Glen for coming out with the truck!  Cold hands, warm heart, the Jingle Bell Winter Warm Up in the books.

A sampling of the Hearty Few, none more so than Laurie Halpenny! photo courtesy of Todd Berthelsen

My dear sweet Allison showing us her eclair skills.  Creme filled and covered with chocolate ganache, as much fun to eat as they were to make, the perfect foil to ham and all the trimmings!





“Twas the night before Christmas
And all round the track
Rumors and whispers were flying
‘Ol Plaqueman* is back!
He’s got in his entry for Lincoln next year
And all other runners are trembling with fear
He beat the 10,000 to be the one
The marathon is his to be won
Fifty plus years he’s logging his miles
With sacks of groceries and caffeine smiles
Cut offs and Chuck Taylors, uniform of the day
Looking for course and world records to stay
His contortions in check, the schmoes put away
Run Hard with Recovery, that’s all he will say
Two twenty five or twenty, whatever it takes
Breaking Moly and Copper and Iron breaks
Up 16th, Sheridan,  Capitol and he will fly
The Zoo, the stadium,  easy as pie
He crosses the 50 and easily wins
The era of Plaqueman, 2.0 begins
2013 Lincoln, Plaqeman Wins!  Plaqueman Wins!

*(2:20:09, 1993 Lincoln Marathon)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all Good Night!


The third annual Jingle Bell Run/Winter Warm Up will take place as scheduled today.  Noon start at the Zorinsky boat ramps (156th & F).  The Open Door Mission will have a truck to collect your kind donations of new/gently use blankets, hats, coats, gloves, etc.  Last night’s single digit temperatures a timely reminder that there are those in our community in desperate need of basic warmth.

We’ll be bringing hot chocolate, coffee and Sunrize Donuts to help ease the chill.  It’s supposed to be very cold so be sure and bundle up.  For those that have asked, Yes, you can swing by with your donations, share some cheer, and head back to your more important family time.  And you’ll go back feeling a little warmer inside knowing you’ve done something to help those less fortunate.

Giving to and helping others, the true Spirit of the Season.

Heads up!  Next week’s (January 1st) 3rd annual Hair of the Dog Run/Walk has been moved up to 10:00 am to accommodate the Husker football game’s noon start.  This is the fundraiser for the Food Bank of the Heartland.

Thanks to Nebraska Run Guru Events, LLC for hosting both of these fundraising events.  Team Nebraska is proud to partner with NRGE and the good charitable work conducted throughout the year.

Be sure and check in tonight for the annual Christmas Classic!




All three have been flying by in a flurry the last couple of days.  Fun to have the white stuff back, first substantial amount since 2009.  The calendar too is racing by.  But it is the paperwork that is providing the most fun.

Team Nebraska must justify its status as a USATF Elite Development Club once every 4 years.  I’m hard at it putting together the details and narrative that will grant us that exclusive notoriety through 2016.  Just because I’m on the EDC Club Council doesn’t mean we are a lock to get it either ; )

Much like my photo recaps of this year, reviewing the accomplishments of our mates over the last Olympic quadrennium has been uplifting.  Four USA Olympic Trials qualifiers this year.  Indoor and Outdoor National Championships.  USA Club Cross and T&F National Championships.  USA Road Race National Championships.  I’m darned proud of what the Good Mates stand for and what they have and continue to accomplish!

Team Nebraska budget projections for 2013 also up for today.  Fun stuff for an ADD addled mind to be sure.

To keep the spirit of the season, a few stocking stuffers:
Matt Pohren- A USATF Nebraska Association LDR Championships bid form (almost done Matty).
Linda- A Thinking Cap.  She’s enrolling at UNO to complete her degree that was put on hold for the last 20 years.  Good girl!
David Adams- The training partners he needs to get to 8:05 in the Steeplechase
Kelly Crawford- Another ear, he’s already got a bluetooth in one and his cell in the other.  One of the busiest guys I know.
Luka Thor- A new car.  And a good night’s sleep.
Logan Watley- A sprint finish
Emily Langdon- The Lincoln Marathon
John Tully- An injury free year and a shiny new 5K PR.
Ivan Marsh- An 8th consecutive victory at the Trek to the Top.
Carolyn Meyer- A babysitter.
The Omaha Running Community- USATF Certified courses
My Old Buddies- Dictionaries!

Christmas in Omaha!




No electricity.  No heat.  No garage for the guru mobile.  Snow day all the way around.  Thankful for the warm heart and this smart phone.  Our mate Luka Thor reports being ok though his car was totaled last night.  Everyone be safe and be good.  Hopefully powered up by tomorrow and will resume regular RGS.


Still easing in to the Real World working gig.  I’m now not only able to work 6 hours straight but still have enough energy to get out and run afterwards.  Enjoying my solo evening tours around the dojo, nary a soul to trouble my easy mind.  I’d be lying if I said I miss the usual morning crazies, both the harmless and malicious.   I’ve admitted to being eccentric in the sense that I deviate from established norms, square peg, round hole as it were.  But not a mean bone in my body, and just happy to be here after all.

And now a few more of my favorite pictures form the past year.

Bridget Easley had a bus load of supporters come to Omaha for our fundraiser for her and Kaci Lickteig.  Both women qualified for the USA Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon and we were happy to help get them there.

The Dash For Diamonds restored my faith in Real Racing in Omaha.  David Adams and Megan Zavorka were the overall winners and took home nice stones for their efforts.

This might be the pic of the year.  David Adams passing Olympian Abdi Abdirahman at the Shamrock Shuffle 8K in early April.  David would finish 2nd overall and launch his professional career in the process.

Team Nebraska has a long history of supporting local charities.  This cause became dear to my heart by way of a wonderful young man named Jack.

Ivan Marsh won the 6th annual Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run.  He has won the toughest trail run in the midwest 4 times and inspired a whole new generation of goats.

Linda & I used the Lincoln Half Marathon as a tune up for the USA 25K National Championships the following weekend.

I ran my best race of the year at 25K Champs in Grand Rapids, MI.  And got to catch up with old buddy Bill Rodgers.  I still have the first letter he wrote me from way back in 1995.

David Adams at the KU Relays, on his way to becoming only the second ever native born Nebraskan to break the magical 4:00 barrier for the mile.  In 2nd place in this photo is former mate Peter vd Westhuizen.

Peter the Great.  Once a Mate, Always a Mate!

In June the Good Mates finished :07 behind the Boulder Running Club at the Hospital Hill Elite Team Challenge.  Matty P still hasn’t shaken the disappointment.

Megan Zavorka contesting the 10K at the USA Club T&F National Championships at Burke Stadium in July.  Temperatures over 100 degrees had me pulling out all the stops to protect the gathered athletes.

And always with the group runs.  The fittest, most competitive group of Real Runners in the history of Nebraska.

Linda continued to teach some basic rules of track to our Wednesday Night group.  Rule #1:  Run Fast!!!

And David Adams did his part to inspire a generation.  Taking a moment here from our fundraiser to get him to the USA Olympic Trials.  David would make the finals in the Steeplechase.

Aubrey Baxter would finish 8th overall in the Hammer Throw at the Olympic Trials.  Just this one time, good girls do wear black!

Tim Langdon becomes the Champion of the first ever USATF Certified 50K in Nebraska.  Part of the Market to Market spectacle, an interesting day to say the least.

Ashley Shurman was the Female Champion at the 50K.

Linda and Todd Nott took the Masters Titles, proving my contention that the best road racers make the best trail racers.  Linda here on the final stretch, she had trained 90 miles/week getting ready and finished 4th overall as well, not bad for her debut at the ultra distance.




Getting my happy on this morning with some of my favorite country music Christmas Carols, fresh brewed Java Estate, and oatmeal with blackberries and pecans.

Have to revisit yesterday’s column for a moment though.  Good to hear from my old buddy Jordan Tucker yesterday responding to the scorched earth policy of mega events.  Good kid with a sound head on his shoulders, we miss him here at Team Nebraska.  Also heard from local running icon Ron Olsen.  Seems it was one young lady’s idea of fun  to jump into the run near the finish,  ahead of eventual “winner” Roxi Erickson and second place finisher Emily Langdon.  She was enjoying the non-race so much she decided to run through the finish chute to celebrate the awesomeness of non-competitiveness.  What cheer!  Wish I knew her name and I’d out her right here.

As we tick tock towards the end of 2012 I’d like to suggest we bury a couple of overused and misused words/phrases of the last 12 months.  The first to be deep sixed should be “Woot Woot”.  I’m all for congratulations when in order but this little double dose of nonsense has put a kink in my tinsel all year.  The next isn’t a bad word at all, just misused or worse, misspelled, both of which curdle my egg nog.  Epic.  Seems like this word is dropped at any occasion, really now, just how many “epic” occurrences can you have in a day, or week, or year, or lifetime for that matter.  Further, if something truly remarkable happens it is an epoch event.  An epic is a lengthy narrative or poem.

My annual Christmas epic will be epoch this year.

Bring on the snow!  Seven inches tomorrow night and I’ll be the first one out putting tracks around my beloved dojo.  Perfect time to be in base building, long slow miles spent enjoying the winter beauty.

And now some of my favorite pics from the last 12 months:

We kicked off the year with our annual Hair of the Dog fun run.  A nice donation to the Food Bank of the Heartland warmed many of our hearts.

A trip to Houston and the USA Olympic Trials Marathon was next up.

I hosted numerous Saturday morning runs in an effort to boost camaraderie among the mates.  The breakfasts that followed always a highlight.

The mates out in force at State Farm 10 Mile.  Where’s Luka?  He was in the bathroom when the gun went off!

Our road race management team hard at work prepping for the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs.  The Upstream Brewing Company is a nice second office.

Linda & I did most of our 196 quarter mile repeats at Two Rivers State Park.  We trained 1700 miles between January 1st and June 15th, alas Grandma’s Marathon proved to be a cruel mistress.

Linda kicked off our Wednesday Night Kids Fit Program, attendance continued to grow throughout the year, getting fun and fitness all summer long.

Our Team Nebraska studs came together for some very Real Running.

I took my dear sweet Alli to Coos Bay, Oregon in July.  Visited a lot of Steve Prefontaine’s stomping grounds.

Our Wednesday Night Training group swelled to 50+ most weeks.

The 2012 USA Club Track & Field National Championships were held right here at Burke Stadium.  I was proud to be the meet director, ably assisted by Linda for over 2 and a half years.  A true labour of love.

Maybe some more pics tomorrow.  This is fun!