Monthly Archives: December 2012

HUMAN MOVEMENT

Jeff Suffolk of Louisville, Colorado loves Omaha, as well he should.  The 32 year old founder of Human Movement Management returned over the weekend and conducted another wildly successful event.  Over 5000 participants (I almost used the word runners) showed up yesterday morning to “drink beer and have fun”.  The Ugly Sweater Run, the same theme Suffolk used to get locals to turn out in large numbers for the Color Run and Dirty Girl Mud Run.

And so in a moment of darkness, that will be shed tomorrow I promise, I dub 2012 the Year of the Novelty Run (Warrior Dash, Mud Run, Color Me Rad, ad infinitum).  And I use the word Run very loosely.  Let’s call these events what they are.  Parties.  No race times, no certified courses (go ahead and chuckle), no competition or awards for the top finishers (our own Tim Langdon was the overall “winner”), stop and stand in line if you want a snow or rainbow dousing.

Consider for a moment- and as a very seasoned race administrator I’m in the position to posit a pretty good guess to this- Mr. Suffolk pocketed roughly $300,000 from the above 3 events.  Yes, yes, there were nominal donations made to local charities, but this cat knows how to make money party hand over novelty fist.

Just imagine if we could get these types of numbers to support the Omaha Running Club events.  What could Team Nebraska do with that type of community support?   LTC has had it figured out for a very long time, blending grass roots, good social exchange, and competitive races, a great program and a great marathon as a result.

What is this magic?  I hope to catch and bottle some for our upcoming Jingle Bell Run on December 24th, benefiting the Open Door Mission.  And again on January 1st for the Hair of the Dog Run, benefiting the Food Bank of the Heartland.  Both have noon starts at the Zorinsky Boat Ramps.  Both a great chance to come out and support local efforts to assist our less fortunate neighbors.

 

 

 

COLD SHOWER

Hopped out of the warm covers and into the cold night for some Geminid meteor shower viewing.  Pretty amazing show last night, hope you were able to catch some of it.

Ran for the first time since last Saturday this morning.  Easy tour around the dojo with the Friday Geezers.

Looks like I’ll end up with right around 2500 miles for 2012.  Not the 3K I was shooting for but a decent year nonetheless.  Still puts me well on pace to reach the moon (90,000 miles) before I leave this age group.

Just finished catching up with James McGown.  An Original Mate and 2-time USA Men’s Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier (2004, 2008), USA Trail Marathon National Champion (2008) and all around great guy.  He’s turning 40 in 18 months and is already looking into one more good marathon at that time.

Luka Thor just leading Matt Levassiur of the Boulder Running Company racing team.  Matt & Luka know each other well having faced off at the Hospital Hill Team Challenge this past June.  As you’ll recall, the Boulder open men’s team beat out our Good Mates by a mere :07 over 5 runners.

Stacy Shaw will likely earn a spot on the 2013 Hospital Hill Elite Masters Challenge team.  Looking forward to sending down our top 40+ runners to contest for bragging rights, and some cash.

Feliz Viernes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAVORITE GIFT

As a child I eagerly anticipated Christmas morning, fairly normal in that regard.  Somewhere under the tree there was one gift that was always hoped for and never disappointed.

The WORLD ALMANAC and BOOK OF FACTS.  This annual gem provided me more hours of entertainment/enlightenment than all the fire trucks and Hot Wheels and stuffed animals gathered beneath the tree.

My life long love of language and information, both monumental and trivial stems from this one simple gift.  I hope you too have some simple gift or memory that ties you to Christmas past.  And I hope you can pass that message on to one of your own loved ones.

Thanks to Mike Scott for the pictures below.  He is the USATF Cross Country Chair, Meet Director, and photographer.

Linda and Stacy early on in the Women’s Masters race.  Linda borrowed my spikes, Stacy borrowed hers.

Natalie Como and Haleigh Riggle finished in the same time, a great show of working together.

Alysha Davis promised to go “balls to the wall” from the gun and gave everything all the way to the tape.

Haleigh and Natalie chased Shannon early on.  It was great to see the ladies running as a team.

Gary Wasserman towered over most of the competitors in the Mens Masters division.

Matt Pohren being chased early on by former mate Mike Morgan.

Megan Thomas’ strength as a Steeplechaser translates well to Cross Country.

Cory Logsdon is our fastest marathoner of 2012 having run 2:34 at Twin Cities in October.

Meghan Schneider in a pack of runners from across the entire U.S.

Eric Rasmussen always shows up ready to race.

The pain written on my face, I was actually very happy to see the finish line just ahead.

 

MAS CRUISINGS

In the books last weekend is, so forward ho!  What many might have described as an epic trip was just another day at the office for the club.  Always looking to what is next and doing it better.  2013 is right around the corner and Team Nebraska is already focusing on Boston Marathon and Lincoln Marathon/Half Marathon training.  Houston Marathon one month away.  We’ll also have a bunch of the Good Mates contesting indoor track & field.  Never any rest for the motivated.

With 2012 nearly in the books the next couple of weeks will offer a chance to reflect on what was best over the past 12 months.  As promised I’ll be presenting our 10th annual Team Nebraska Excellence awards, going to be a labour of love with all the highlight reels I’ve got to review.

My much anticipated Annual Christmas Parody is rolling around my egg noggin.  Check in after you’ve set out cookies and milk on Christmas Eve.

And of course the 3rd annual Jingle Bell/Winter Warm Up will be held Christmas Eve at the Zorinsky boat ramps (156th & F).  Noon start, Benefiting the Open Door Mission, go as you please.  Entry fee is donation of new and gently used jackets, blankets, gloves, hats, other clothing items, or $10.

I’ll be offering community runners on-line coaching for the Lincoln events.  Shoot me an email at runguru@cox.net.  Program will begin on January 1st,why not resolve to run your best ever 13.1/26.2!

And of course the 3rd annual Hair of the Dog Run will be New Years Day.  Noon start at Zorinsky boat ramps, benefiting the Food Bank of the Heartland.  Go as you please, entry is a non perishable food items or $10.

Making my list, checking it twice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CROSS MUSINGS

I mentioned yesterday that 25 hours in a van can’t help but be revealing.  Both about yourself and your mates.

We took 2 vans, ten people in the 12 passenger and half a dozen in the mini.  To say that the mini was a party is an understatement.  We stopped every couple of hours to switch drivers, void the bladders, and even stopped for a 30 minute shakeout run in Bevier, MO.  That sleepy little town was a bit gape jawed at the sight of 16 skinny harriers pulling in, paring down to shorts and tanks, heading over yonder and back, and just as quickly as arrived, gone.

Everyone found out that I don’t like to drive fast and have little patience for those that do.  And absolutely no texting while driving.  I’m scared of big hills and long curves especially during downpours and doubly so at night.  But I’d rather be driving those than have another.  I prefer fast runners to fast food.  I’m very sympathetic to interstate bathroom breaks as necessary.

I’ll choose Cory Logsdon’s unrivaled and endless mania as a traveling companion ten times out of ten.  As long as I’ve got Luka Thor to balance him out.

Shannon Mauser Suing might be the biggest Ryan Hall fan in Nebraska.  Or second only to her 9 year old son.

Stacy Shaw is as nice off the field of play as she is fierce on it.  Is able to sleep in the most contorted of positions, and is not to be trifled with playing Texas Hold ’em.

I’ve traveled with Linda three weekends in a row now (Oklahoma, Florida, Kentucky) and am finding out we are most agreeable, oh my.

I introduced our Team Nebraska women to my old buddies Keith and Kevin Hanson.  The brothers took time out of their evening to regale our ladies with encouragement and anecdotes, the inspiration was palatable.  I go back 13 years with them and can say there are no two better ambassadors for distance running in the U.S.

The sauteed scallops served over cheese grits with tasso cream sauce & asparagus I had for supper Saturday night was one of the best meals I’ve had this year.

Tom Derderian (Pres. Greater Boston Track Club) and Tom Cotner (Head Coach, Club Northwest) and myself all contesting the masters 10K.  Older and slowing but still leading by example.  I’ve long held Tom is one of the best coaches in the country, he placed two athletes on the BUPA/Edinburgh World XC team.

Spikes put a twinkle in Gary Wasserman’s eyes.

Alysha Davis has fire and confidence enough for two.

Haleigh Riggle’s heart and desire likewise.

Natalie Como’s smile can warm a room.

Megan Thomas (Zavorka) is tough as nails.  Meghan Schneider gives everything she’s got too.

Nate Stack has a very bright future in the sport of running.  This Nebraska Wesleyan soccer player is going to find a niche and nail it down.

Matt Pohren is made for mud and hills.

Eric Rasmussen is the most mentally strong runner on the club.  Knows how to race to his very best by using his natural talent along with his wits.

Tragedy struck too.  Lauren Roady of the Georgetown Running Club was struck and killed by a firetruck Saturday night after the awards ceremony.  Only 27 and recently married.  So very sad.

On the return trip Sunday morning we got to hear Luka singing spiritual hymns in his native Sudanese, he is a beautiful person inside and out.  Two and a half hours of unexpected and appreciated sermon soothing our soles and our souls.  Proud this fine young man calls me “dad”.

And proud of Team Nebraska.  Team.  That one word more than all the above symbolizing what has held this club together for 11+ years now.

Thanks again to the Lincoln Marathon for their kind and generous support that made this trip possible for us.  We couldn’t do it without you Nancy and Gary!

Malcolm Campbell with Linda and Stacy.  Malcolm ran 32:47 to repeat as the USA Club Cross Masters National Champion.  We got to share stories for the ladies going all the way back to the mid 90s, the longer you stay in this sport, the better it gets.

Luka was a calming presence all through the weekend.  His genuinely respectful persona is  a bright spot among  today’s predominant affectation of insolent youth.

 

 

 

CLUB CROSS NATS RECAP

The Good Mates have returned from the USA Club Cross Country National Championships in Lexington, KY.  A solid weekend of racing experience and team bonding.  Nothing like 25 hours in a van over 3 days to help you get to know your mates better.  I’ll post some observations and musings over the next couple of days but will stick to Saturday’s main events for today.

The morning was kicked off at 10:30 with our Masters Women.  We had a late scratch in Natalie Jetensky so it was Stacy Shaw and Linda answering the gun against the best 40+ females in the country.  Stacy would finish 20th overall in 24:47 over the 6K tour and 4th in her 45-49 age group.  Outstanding finish Stacy!  Linda came across in 26:32 for 14th in the same age group.  She’s quite anxious to move up to the 50-54 early next year, it gets harder each year against those whippersnappers.

Men’s Masters were next to answer the gun.  Gary Wasserman was like a kid in a candy store, in his element with the mud and hills.  We had the 10K distance to contend and the multiple hilly loops kicked your scribe’s posterior (27th 55-59, 49:16).  Gary had no such problems and ran 39:31 for 37th in the 50-54 age group.  Bellevue West coach and former mate Craig Christians finished just ahead of Gary (36th, 39:25).  Nice running by both.

The Open Womens race followed and the course was well trod by then.  The light rains continued to wash through between races, pausing seemingly on cue once the gun fired.  I was very pleased at the cohesiveness the ladies showed.  We finished 20th of 24 teams entered.  Alysha Davis was our first scorer across the line (91st, 23:00), Megan Zavorka/Thomas (98th, 23:13), Haleigh Riggle (102nd, 23:20), Natalie Como (103rd, 23:20), Shannon Mauser Suing (123rd, 24:06), and Meghan Schneider (141st, 24:57) followed.

The Open Mens competition always caps the day’s races and as always it was fierce.  They toured the same 3 loop course as we oldsters and it was thrilling to watch the race develop.  At the 2 mile mark Matt Pohren and Luka Thor were strong in the top 25 with Eric Rasmussen not far behind still in the top 30.  Cory Logsdon and cross neophyte Nate Stack were running smart and moving up gradually through the mass of runners.  The course design was excellent in lending itself to spectators with no less than 6-7 viewing opportunities if you picked the right spot.  As the pace quickened and things started stringing out Matt held his position with a few runners interjecting between him and Luka.  Eric patiently picked off runners, one by one and moved up.

Club Cross hosts many of the Very Best runners from around the U.S. (Alan Webb would manage a 7th place finish).  This was a strength course and as the race developed the strongest continued to make their moves when opportunity presented.

At the finish Matty P would lead the Good Mates finishing 51st in 31:44, Eric (103rd, 32:35), Luka (121st, 32:50), Cory (213th, 34:05) and Nate (247th, 34:55) would round out the scoring placing Team Nebraska 22nd out of 42 teams entered.

Always a Mate Mike Morgan was 3rd scorer for Hansons-Brooks, they would win the Men’s team title in the process.  Mike’s mate Jacob Riley led all runners to the finish in 29:58.

Mas manana!

Stacy Shaw mixing it up with a Central Park Track Club athlete.  Stacy has shown all through 2012 that she is the toughest masters female in Nebraska, whether on road, trail, or cross country.

Linda too has shown No Fear, from the USA 25K National Champs in May, the Market to Market 50K in October, and over hill and dale this past weekend.

My third time up the 2nd long hill had me suffering but still giving everything I had in the old bones.  Still looking for a shot of Gary Wasserman, will include it tomorrow.

Shannon, Haleigh, Natalie, Meghan, Megan, and Alysha.  This was the first time Team Nebraska has sent a full women’s team to Club Cross.  They all come away with a great experience and I couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.

Matt, Luka, Eric, Cory, and Nate.  We needed all 5 men to step up and they delivered.

The Team.  Getting ready to head over to the awards ceremony and then to one of the best meals I’ve had all year!  Big thanks to Kelly Crawford for his behind the scenes work on Friday while the rest of the mates were in transit from Omaha.

LIKE THIS

This weekend is what is what Real Racing is all about for USATF in the winter.  USA Club Cross Country Championships baby.   Team Nebraska will be there in full force.  We want to thank the Lincoln Marathon for their generous support, making  it possible for us to send 16 of the top runners in our state to compete against the best clubs from around the United States.

There are only two events for the whole year that showcase  USATF Club Championship competitons.  We were proud to host the Track & Field champs back in July, and now Club Cross in Lexington.  A quick perusal of the entry lists gives you an idea of how deep the competition really is, http://usatf.org/Events—Calendar/2012/USATF-National-Club-Cross-Country-Championships/Status.aspx

We almost always have to travel to get this level of racing which is cool.  It  is our privilege and pride to wear the Lincoln Marathon logo on our jerseys.  Showing the entire nation just how fortunate we are to have a sponsor that understands and appreciates racing at its very highest level.

At this past weekend’s annual meeting Team Nebraska was mentioned as prime example of how sponsorships allow developing athletes the opportunity that might not otherwise be available.  Wish I had been in that meeting.

The Good Mates will gather tonight and early tomorrow, departing from Omaha at 5:00 am.  We’ve rented a couple of  passenger vans, a twelve and a half hour drive in front of us.   Forecast is for rain and more rain.  A mudfest, we wouldn’t want it any other way, true cross country.

We won’t have David Adams this year, his 10th overall finish likely to remain our highest ever in this event.  But we do have a solid group that I think top to bottom is the very best we’ve ever sent.

Open Men are Eric Rasmussen, Nate Stack, Cory Logsdon, Matt Pohren, and Luka Thor.  Open Women are Natalie Como, Alysha Davis, Megan Zavorka/Thomas, Shannon Mauser Suing, Haleigh Riggle, and Meghan Schneider.  The first time we’ve sent a full Open Women’s team and they are a fine group indeed.

1992 DIII Cross Country National Champion Gary Wasserman will be a force in the men’s 50+ race.  We are proud to have him wearing the Red & White.

I especially like our masters women team, Natalie Jetensky, Stacy Shaw, and Linda.  Arguably the finest 40+ women in the entire state (excepting our marathon legend Roxi Erickson of course, but cross is not her cup of tea).  Here’s the 6K course they’ll be dealing with in less than 48 hours, going to be very hilly as evidenced by the elevation graph.  There will be plenty of stiff competition, No Fear is their order of the day, they Like This!

 

 

 

LET’S GET REAL

I often use the term Real Runners.  Yesterday’s column elicited an email from a faithful reader indicating such terminology was disparaging.  I include here the actual quote:

“I read your column on the Trials Standards, and would like to know what a real athlete is. According to your column it is someone who is capable of running fast enough to qualify for the Olympic Trials. This would seem to indicate that everyone else isn’t a real athlete. Does that mean they aren’t real, perhaps made of plastic or wood. I think faster runners may be more talented athletes, but not the only Real Athletes. Sorry to be so harsh, but I see too many obese people in my practice and any activity should be praised. They may not be fast, but they are real athletes. Thank you for listening to my rant. ”

So, today I try and further explain the difference between Real Runners and real runners, a very fine distinction indeed.

‘Social runners’ are real runners.  Getting out to enjoy the camaraderie of like minded individuals is one of the sweet spots of our sport.

‘General fitness’ runners are real runners.  Those that get out and run to maintain weight, reduce stress, or deal with any myriad of health related problems that can be benefited by getting a casual run on.

“Aesthetic runners’ are real runners.  Those that find it drudgery but still get out and push on to maintain a more attractive physique that is derived from endurance activities.

‘Nut job runners’ are real runners.  Those that are so possessed by whatever harboured demons, only kept at bay during the absorptive or purging qualities that quell their mania.

Real Runners however are a different breed (although I do know many Real Runners that fall into the ‘Nut Job’ category, have occasionally been lumped into that subset myself).

Professional or aspiring professional athletes are Real Runners.

Athletes that bend themselves to tasks no mere real runner would dare tackle are Real Runners.  Important to note here that neither talent nor ticks on a clock matter for this criteria.

Competitive athletes are Real Runners.

Champions are Real Runners.

We hear every day the human interest stories, the feel good moments, the inspirational overcoming of obstacles that real runners herald.  I will always recognize those amazing stories.

But I will also always declare that Real Runners deserve their own special recognition and accolades.  Those that have delved the deepest into themselves and into our sport.  To say we are all the same is just so much political correctness being foisted on us by those that can’t or won’t understand or admit that some are by nature better than others.  We all have our stories, let’s give credit and just a bit more praise to those that pursue excellence and human potential to its highest degree.

Let’s get Real.

 

 

 

FIRST AND LAST

And Always.  Family that is.  Just wanted you to know what is most important to me, my children.  Taking care of my dear sweet Katie and so very excited about my dearest sweetest Allison returning home for Christmas break this weekend.  I’ve missed her terribly.  Hopefully get to see son Miles as well.

And now on to business.

Forgive an old man for rehashing old tales but these are worth mentioning again and not everyone has heard them.

In 1996 Carmen Ayala Troncoso won my 2nd annual Run For The Arts 10 Mile in Lake Jackson, TX.  She would repeat in 1997.  In 2000 she hand threw 144 pieces of pottery that would be the age group awards for the race.  In 2002 she set the American Record for 40+ females at 5000 meters running 16:01 on the track in Chiba, Japan.  In Daytona Beach she was elected to the track & field and long distance running Masters Hall of Fame, class of 2012.  One of my very favorite athletes and Texans, proud to call her a friend and of her accomplishments throughout the years, she is so deserving of this award.

In 2003 I received the Women’s Long Distance Running Contributor of the Year Award.  Aw shucks.  This year the award went to the Houston Marathon Committee for their fine work hosting our USA Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon.  I got to catch up with my old buddy Brant Kotch, President and Race Director of the event.  You can take the boy out of Texas…..

In 2004 I received the Men’s Long Distance Running Scott Hamilton Award for service at the association level.  Double shucks.  This year Tracey Russell, Executive Director of the Atlanta Track Club was honored.  I’m proud and privileged to be included in the distinguished list of these honorees.

I’m working on our 10th annual Team Nebraska year end Excellence Awards.  As always I am happy to accept nominations for those you feel are deserving of recognition.  Best event, best t-shirt, best race director, best running/race website, best award,  best moment, best performance male, and best performance female.  Please send in your nominations to me at runguru@cox.net

I have decided to expand our Team Nebraska Athlete of the Year awards this year to include Senior Male and Female and also Track & Field Male and Female.  The club has far too many deserving athletes to only recognize our long distance runners, and by adding the senior category our younger masters won’t always dominate the award.

Giddyup!

 

 

 

STAND MY ME

Some news from last weekend’s meetings:

Wee Oh Wee, 2:43!  The Women’s USA Olympic Trials qualifying standard has been lowered again, the A standard is now 2:37 and the B standard is 2:43.  I lobbied long and hard when I was on the WLDR Executive Committee for these numbers, it just took a couple of years for them to be implemented.  The Real Athletes in women’s long distance running always insisted that tougher standards would only compel them to train even harder to achieve them.  Now we get to see them do it.  Women will also be able to gain a B standard by running a 1:15 half marathon.

The Men’s standards have also been lowered.  The new A standard is 2:15 and the B tightened to 2:18.  Or a 1:05 half marathon for the B standard. 

The qualifying window has also been extended.  It will open August of 2013 and close 30 days prior to the Olympic Trials Marathon which has yet to be awarded.

The Club Council welcomes two new Elite Development Club competitions.  The Shamrock Shuffle 8K Elite Team Challenge has been officially accepted.  Most of you may remember that Team Nebraska contested the event this past April and finished 4th.  Don’t look for the competition to get any easier now that it is on the entire nation’s radar.  The Tufts 10K will also host a women’s team Challenge, 5 can enter and top 3 score.  Both events will provide hotels and travel assistance to qualifying clubs.  And it won’t be soft.  The 8k will pay out a combined $20,000 in prize purse, nice.

We also agreed to recognize 3 new Elite Development Clubs, New Balance Boston, NJ/NY Track Club, and New Balance Silicon Valley.  This brings the total number of EDCs around the country to 26.  Have I ever mentioned how proud I am that Team Nebraska was in the freshman class and remains a leader of the program?

6 athletes will be selected for the BUPA/Edinburgh XC World Championships from this weekend’s USA Club Cross Championships in Lexington, KY.  

And finally, thanks once again to all of my peers and friends and colleagues gathered last week in Daytona Beach.  This has been a particularly difficult year dealing with nuisances and their encouragement and support has been nothing but uplifiting and reinvoigorating.