Monthly Archives: February 2013

EVEN TOED UNGULATES

Happy Birthday!  From an outsiders view it looks like it was a wild party last night.  Got to give it up to Scott Giddings.  His group the “Goatz”  celebrated 1 year in the Omaha running community and I’m seeing something positive and good afoot, cloven though it may be.

Scott has pulled together a bunch of runners/walkers/fans and turned it into something special for themselves.  They motivate each other to run 100 miles.  Or 50 miles.  Or 50K.  Or maybe even encouraging that first step to becoming an athlete.  And they specialize in trail running.

And  while I’m not part of the group and will not likely be receiving any invitations to join soon, I do raise a pint to what Scott has created.  And I extend an invitation for all Goatz to come out and experience the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run.  The Metro’s oldest trail run is looking forward to showing you a first class experience!

Part of the overall “running boom” in Nebraska, good to see what has sprouted over the last 5 years.

Bernard Lagat is the American Record Holder in the 1500m, Mile, 2 mile, and 5000m indoors, as well as the 1500m, 3000m, and 5000m outdoors,  On March 17 Bernie will make his half marathon debut at the NYC Half.  I’ve sent in my request for press credentials to ride on the lead vehicle.

Best news of the day?  Linda getting the blessings of Dr. Grier to cast away the crutches and begin utilizing the walking boot.  A month in that then transition to shoes.  Won’t be long and she’ll be kicking your butt in the 5K.

Today’s quiz:

Name the three athletes pictured with me.  Hint- The brunette’s marathon pr is 2:31:48.  The blonde on the right has a personal best of 2:32:55.  The blonde in the middle is a past USA 20K National Champion and 2010 RRCA Roads Scholar.

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Another hint- This picture was taken at the 2008 World Half Marathon Championships in Rio de Janeiro.  I was privileged to be the USA Team Leader for the event.  Trip of a lifetime.

 

NI-BTHASKA-KE 12K TRAIL RUN

We are proud to announce that the Ni-Bthaska-Ke 12K Trail Run has been named the 2013 USATF Nebraska Association Championships.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 6th at Platte River State Park, 10:00 am start time!  

Clubs will vie for bragging rights in the team competition and individuals will compete for top spots and prize money that will be awarded.  Overall male and female finishers will receive $100, 2nd place $75, and 3rd $50.

There will also be our usual 4 Mile trail run and Tough Little Mudders Kids Runs.  Plenty of fun and fitness for the whole family.

Registration and more information is available at our digital brochure, www.trailrun.digbro.com

Ni-Bthaska-Ke is presented by Upstream Brewing Company, Cabela’s, Subway, and NRGE, LLC.

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BEST EVER TRAINING RUN

I was getting ready to go see my old buddy Joe Cole last night.  He is the house magician for the Upstream Brewing Co. and entertains every Monday night.

My dear sweet Katie asked me if I would go to the gym and work out with her instead.  Sorry Joe, maybe next week.  We got on adjoining treadmills and I had my first ever training run with one of my children.  It is a run that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

It was not the first time I had run with my kids though.  Son Miles and I ran the Boystown 1 Mile for three years in a row back in the early oughts.  He now runs daily (follows that with some work on the heavy bag and then meditates).

And my dear sweet Allison has been a regular runner for the last few years.

To quote the Dali Lama:
“These days, in our materialistic culture, many people are led to believe that money is the ultimate source of happiness. Consequently, when they don’t have enough of it they feel let down. Therefore, it is important to let people know that they have the source of contentment and happiness within themselves, and that it is related to nurturing our natural inner values.”

What a blessing to see that all of my kids have chosen to adopt healthy lifestyles.  I didn’t push them towards the decision.  What I did do was model for them.  A daily work ethic that had not a whit to do with a dime.  Valuing the best care of my physical and spiritual essences.

And now me at 55 years old, my kids 16, almost 21 and nearly 19, I’m seeing the dividends.  I’m incredibly happy that they have assimilated my ethos and that they will realize benefits for the rest of their lives.  What better gift could they possibly give me?  How could I ever have a better run than the one with Katie?

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JOHN VOLLMER

Kicking off this week with a sad nod to the passing of one of the most reliable and jovial volunteers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

John Vollmer was a fixture in the Omaha Running Club and the running community at large.  His stature mirrored his real gusto for living, his sense of humor infectious.  John was a van driver for the 2012 USATF Club T&F National Championships last July.  Shuttled athletes from around the United States back and forth between Burke Stadium and our host hotel, made a ton of friends.  Non stop for 2 full days, utterly dependable, always with that big grin.  Linda & I got to spend a lot of time with John recently at the Chiller Challenge.  He recalled the very first time he met us, years ago while working at Brewsky’s, he had a mind like a steel trap.  John, we’ll miss you dearly.

On to the news:  Ivan Marsh 7-peated the Trek to the Top.  Race organizers had added a Superhero theme to this year’s event, how funny it must have looked to see them chasing this mountain man among men.  More remarkable is that at 38 years old Ivan eclipsed his own event record, verticalizing in 4:15.  No one even remotely close, yawn.  Team Nebraska’s Gerald Kubiak was 3rd overall in 5:05.  One of the better novelty events of the year though I’ve never had the desire to do it.

The Nebraska Wesleyan Open was this past weekend and only a single Team Nebraska entrant.  Cory Logsdon racing himself into shape and that’s it?  He’s training up for the Lincoln Full and understands the importance of maintaining foot speed.  Cory contested the 3000, finishing in 9:27.  Millard West stud Joe Harter took the win in a nice 8:57.40.

Team Nebraska has a long history of success during indoors.  Indoor Season is an important step towards success on the roads, let’s hope  more of the mates take advantage over the next few weeks.  Merely from a run guru perspective of course.

Congratulations to my neighbor Noah Batenhorst on taking 3rd at the Nebraska State Diving Championships.  I watched him grow up, usually flipping around on his trampoline.  Not for naught.

tanaka san

 

My old buddy John Conley with Mr.Tanaka-San at this past weekend’s Tokyo Marathon.  John is the CEO and RD Conley Sports Productions, LLC (Austin Marathon).  He was my original professional race directing mentor taking me under his wing back in 1995.  Mr. Tanaka-San is the head of the Japanese Amateur Athletic Federation (JAAF), the most powerful sporting man in his country.  I spent an entire evening with Mr. Tanaka-San while in Yokohama in 2006.  One of the best meals of my entire life and one of the those tales that I love to share.

ANGEE HENRY

I’ve had a hell of a time here in Nebraska.  Had the pleasure of meeting, advocating for, and working with some of the finest individuals I’ve ever known.  That ride isn’t over yet, those wheels still have some good use.

Going to thank an individual today.  A remarkable athlete that epitomized the very essence of what I was cooking up while wearing my Team Nebraska apron.

My heartstrings were more than a little tugged when we received the following email from Angee Henry:

“Thanks for the information and the support in the past. I have always said that if it were not for Will and Team Nebraska, I would not have continued to run the past 5 years on a competitive level. Thank you Will and those of you who represented the team so well that I wanted a red jersey, too.
I have enjoyed and am grateful for the support of the team but will no longer need it. My life has taken a couple turns and I will no longer pursue running on a high level. Therefore would like to be taken off the mailing list. Thanks to everyone and happy running !”

Angee’s legacy in Nebraska athletics will rank right up there with the likes of Alice Schmidt.  She took a long and circuitous route to becoming one of the top middle distance runners in the United States.  A prep sprint phenom at Bellevue West she went on to UNL where she was a 2 time NCAA Champion in the Long Jump.   She competed internationally from 1999-2001, living and training in Paris.  After an injury Angee returned to Omaha.  I would occasionally see her running at the dojo and in fact she trained up for a 1:45 Lincoln Half Marathon.  I can actually claim to have been Angee’s coach.  For one Wednesday night at any rate.  I learned a lot about sprinters.  After each prescribed effort Angee would fall to the track, completely spent.  I hollered and cajoled and implored her to rise up and get ready for the next effort, (:20!  :10!  :05!, Get Up Angee!!!).  You just don’t treat a sprinter like a distance runner.  She would begin working with Sara Domeier and that would lead to some sterling personal bests of 400m 51.73 and  800m 2:01.

While a Good Mate Angee had the Performance of the Meet at the USA Club T&F Championships in 2009.  A damp and chilly San Francisco afternoon didn’t slow her down as she toured the oval in 53.18.  She also won the 800 in 2:08.12 and finished 3rd in the 200 in 25.07.

And maybe my favorite memory was the 2010 Drake Relays 400 meters where Angee nearly beat Jamaican Shareefa Lloyd (2 time World Championships), losing by the slimmest of margins 51.84 to 51.89.

So Angee, here’s to you today.  Thanks for the memories, thanks for inspiring a new generation, thanks for all your contributions both on and off the track.  Proud to call you a Good Mate and a Friend.

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Angee made her Team Nebraska debut at the 2008 USATF Club T&F Champs in Olathe, KS.  She won the 400 in 53.30 and the 800 in 2:07:05.  A star was reborn!

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Angee’s drive was her stock in trade.

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I took this photo.  It was with 20 meters to go in the 800 meters.  She was completely boxed in by three other runners and I gave her zero chance of getting top 3.  Right at this moment she found a way to slip through and onto victory.

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My personal favorite.  Angee up front with Alice Schmidt (#10), Casey Owens (#11), just ahead of Ann Gaffigan (green), Anne Shadle (Team Nebraska) and Stacy Girard.  Transitioning from the track to the roads at the 2008 Omaha Mile and giving these ladies the quick start to Alice’s state record 4:38.52  Angee’s performance as part of the fastest women’s road mile in Nebraska state history.

1 Alice Schmidt                      4:38.52 
    2 Casey Owens                    4:40.52 
    3 Stacy Girard                   4:41.02 
    4 Anne Gaffigan                  5:00.52 Team Nebraska
    5 Anne Shadle                    5:04.72 Team Nebraska
    6 Angee Henry                    5:15.35 Team Nebraska

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…”

I’ve covered a heck of a lot of Dodge, Washington, Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, and Cass counties in Nebraska.  And Mills, Pottawattamie, and Harrison counties in Iowa.  

“It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…”

While the rails are greased I’m still going to be hanging out in the “Good Life” for another couple or three years, just long enough to get my dear sweet Katie through Millard West.

“I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.”

Looking at small acreages, somewhere we can fully immerse ourselves in the Good Mother.  Dirty nails, full belly, smiling face.  You’d be surprised at what is available right here in your back yard.

So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we’re together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please?
Please won’t you be my neighbor?

Gretna?  Honey Creek?  Fort Calhoun?  Arlington?  Ashland?  Louisville?  Springfield?  Blair?  Kennard?  LaPlatte?  Bellevue?  Fremont? Missouri Valley?  Crescent?  Weeping Water?  Papillion?  Treynor?  Loess Hills?  Glenwood?  Mineola?  Silver City?  I’ve been everywhere man.

Feeding the chickens, milking the goat, tending the bees.  What fun to wake up and see our smiling faces waving good morning!  

eagle

 

I was able to belly crawl through open field to within 30′ of this eagle that was feasting on a carcass.  Inching forward each time his beak was down, wish I’d had a Real camera but not a bad picture for a cell phone.

WECRAWL

West End Closet Runners and Walkers League.  We had our first meeting this morning.  No names will be released as surreptitiousness is a keystone for membership.

“Hi, my name is Will, and I’m a runner”.

We all accept one another regardless of race, creed, color, personal history, social strata, cultural trespasses, talent, or any other baggage that has absolutely nothing to do with the love of running and walking for fitness sake.

“WECRAWL, we offer ourselves to Thee- to build with us and to do with us as Thou wilt.  Relieve us of the poundage of  indulgence, that we may better do thy 5K.  Take away our inflexibilities, that victory over them may bear witness to our fellow WECRAWLers of Thy Endurance, Thy Intervals, Thy Running Way of Life.  May  we do thy mileage always!”

“We are now willing that you should have all of us, good and bad.  We’ll train that you remove from us every single excuse and pretext which stands in the way of our usefulness to our fellow WECRAWLers.  Grant us endurance, as we go out from here to do your paces.”

“Make us a vessel of thy training–that where there is sweat, we may bring effort–that where there is sluggardness, we may bring energy, that where there is GPS, we may bring certification–that where there is poor coaching, we may bring experience–that where there is competition, we may bring bravery, that where there is defeat, we shall bring dignity.  Grant that we may  train rather than not. ”

“Grant us the humility to accept our basal metabolic index that we cannot change.  Courage to run the times we can, and the wisdom to know who’s faster.  Running ONE DAY AT A TIME; Enjoying one stride at a time;  Accepting mileage as the pathway to fitness.  Taking, as Meb did, his pr as it is, not what he covets.  Trusting that training will make all things right if we surrender to quarters.  That we may be reasonably fast this week and even faster next.”

“Where’s Willie?”  Start my new gig next Monday morning.  Life Time Fitness?  Whole Foods Market?   Scheels?  Fareway?  Lulu Lemon?  Bag N Save?   Nebraska Orthopaedic Hospital?  Super Saver?   Standard Heating and Air?   Bakers?  Millard Public Schools?  No Frills? Sarpy County Tourism?  YoZone Frozen Yogurt?  HyVee?        Sssshhhhhhh!

 

 

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A picture from another time and chapter in Team Nebraska lore.  Several years ago at the Twin Cities Marathon, Levi Ashley in 2:22:50, Tom Nichols in 2:25:13, and Brian Wandzilak in 2:43:38. A pr for all three athletes, ah the good old days.

 

 

CHASING GRACE

One of my favorite singer/songwriters is Slaid Cleves.  From his ballad ‘ONE GOOD YEAR’
Just give me one good year
To get my feet back on the ground
I’ve been chasing grace
But grace ain’t so easily found
One bad hand can devil a man
Chase him and carry him down
I gotta get out of here
Just give me one good year”

Optimism.  This isn’t a sad song at all, in fact quite the opposite in my opinion.

” It’s a bitter wind
In your face every day
It’s the little sins
That wear your soul away
When you start giving in
Where do the promises all go
Will your darkest hour
Write a blank cheque on your soul”

Hope.  While the lyrics indicate daily despair, you need only look a little deeper to find and appreciate the resiliency of a man.

“Just give me one good year
To get my feet back on the ground
I’ve been chasing grace
But grace ain’t so easily found
One bad hand can devil a man
Chase him and carry him down
I gotta get out of here
Just give me one good year”

Optimism and hope.  I’ve got a butt load of that.  Just give me one good year.

icefeet

 

A friend of mine from Illinois sent me his copy of ‘Barefoot Running Step by Step’ by Barefoot Ken Bob Saxton, and asked me to autograph the above page.  Aw shucks…

MINE AND YOURS

Where to start on this cloudy, lazy Monday morning?

I’ll kick it off by reporting that one of my favorite studettes, Stacy Shaw, was the winner at Jim Craig’s Raging Bull Half Marathon Trail Run.  The race was at rugged Platte River State Park and Stacy turned in a fine 1:49 for the title (I know she won the overall female, can’t find results, wouldn’t be surprised if she was the overall overall).
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Aww, so nice and so sweet and so humble and so cute, she’ll kick your butt when the gun goes off and then charm your socks right off after she breaks the tape.  Stacy fits the exact mold that I created when founding Team Nebraska.  Glad she is one of mine.

Cranked out a 12 miler yesterday afternoon.  38 miles for the week and an inkling that I’ll be just fine on Cinco de Mayo.

Thanks to John Tully for pointing me towards three of his other favorite running blogs, nice to see that I’m not the only irreverent scribe to cover our sport:
http://www.theboringrunner.com/
http://www.saltyrunning.com/
http://pavementrunner.com/

My favorite thought so far from the Boring Runner, “Would you run 100 miles even if nobody in the world ever knew u did it?”

Interesting postulation.  If you’d run 100 miles for yourself, for your own sense of accomplishment and reward.   Or would you need the social petting and accolades to get you through it?  To even attempt it?

I know my answer.  What’s yours?