Monthly Archives: April 2013

NONE BEFORE HIM

I had slated “A Moment With Camille Herron” for today’s column.  That will run tomorrow.  Today I give a big old tip of the sombrero to Jason Collins.  In an age where it seems impossible to be a pioneer, we have one.  By coming out and declaring that he is gay Collins becomes the first active major professional sports figure to do so.  A man among men in pro basketball, no big deal see.   I salute him.

From my good buddy Pat Goodwin, Pres. of Team USA Minnesota (Pat is originally from Omaha by the way).  I got to catch up with her last week in Des Moines where she had 3 women in the USA 1 Mile Road Championships (Gabriele Anderson, Meghan Peyton, Heather Kampf).

Minneapolis/St. Paul – April 29, 2013 – Team USA Minnesota’s Jamie Cheever ran a personal best of 9:29.13 (previous was 9:51.42) in the 3000-meter steeplechase at the Payton Jordan Invitational on April 28 and finished second in the race after 2012 Olympian Emma Coburn from Colorado, who ran 9:28.26. Both women achieved the World ‘A’ standard in the steeple of 9:43 or better and are currently ranked #1 and #2 in the World in the event for 2013.”

 

jason collins si cover 650

 

 

 

 

 

 

SNEAK A PEAK

Marathon week kicks off this morning.  So it must be time for me stir the pot a bit.  Not a single athlete that I coach is tapering over the next 6 days.

You’ll hear a hundred different runners asking a thousand different questions on how best to engage their final prep to next Sunday’s starting line.  I have a three word answer for them all.

PEAK NO TAPER!  This is the charge to my athletes.

Why in the world someone would want to begin a downward trend in training/performance after all the hard work they have put in is beyond me.

If you’ve done what you have been told, have prepared properly, you understand this.  You don’t have the nerves and worry that one final workout or rest day will make the difference in your race.  You simply continue to follow the plan knowing that your Peak Performance has been orchestrated to a T.

Sometimes those plans do go awry however and that is when it is more important than ever to listen to your Coach.  (Self coached?  I’ve got a lot to say about that but not today.)

I urged one athlete not to run the Boston Marathon, she did and is now on the shelf for an extended period of time.  I felt strongly about my boy Walter Key not running Oklahoma City yesterday.  He has had a tibial stress reaction, I knew it couldn’t end well.  But Walt is a tough young salt and gave it a go anyway.  He managed a hobbled 3:16, more than 30 minutes slower than goal race time.

See, this is the toughest part of being a Good Coach.  Making the hard decisions for fit (or near fit) athletes that are champing at the bit to run.   Most people are impressed by Luka Thor’s 31:20 10K at the Drake Relays last Thursday.  Not me.  Most people would applaud Matt Pohren’s courage for running the Steeplechase on Saturday at Drake.  Not me.  I would have held them both out for not being in race shape.  I’ve worked with athletes long enough to know where they should be in late April, and due to injury (Pohren) and lack of training and racing (Thor) neither should have been in Des Moines.  That takes some balls to say, but I got plenty.

Spent Friday getting the carrots and beets in the ground and fencing up to keep the critters out.  And then Saturday morning helping out with a Habitat for Humanity house.  Using my hands for good and charitable work.

Used my legs yesterday.  10 miles @ goal half marathon pace (modest as it is), gives me all the confidence I need that this coming Sunday I can Sneak a Peak.

trailstart

The pictures are up from the Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run.  How about this start line!  Thanks to Justin Mollak for shooting them and uploading to flickr.  I’m having “issues” with my hard drive being dangerously full and was unable to process so thanks for your patience.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/teamnebraska/sets/72157633365055224/with/8685715665/

 

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES

Not sure if I can whip myself into shape in the next 9 days but if yesterday was any indication I’ve got a prayer at least.  After a brisk 1 mile warm up with Jed, eight miles with the first 4 at 8:25 pace, the next 4 at 7:09, 7:00, 7:00, 7:00.  Six miles on this morning’s first Geezer Run of the year with 2 X 1 Mile in the second half.  I like running fast, its one of my very Favorite Things.

Drew’s Chocolates in Dexter, IA is another of my Favorite Things.  Founded in 1900 in New Hampshire and moved to the house it still occupies in 1927, the little operation fork dips each chocolate by hand.   Monday we got a lesson on Real Chocolate and why there are just a handful of these left in the U.S.

Maytag Blue Cheese is another of my Favorite Things.  The Maytag Dairy Farm is in Newton, IA,  a lovely drive on I-80, just a few miles East of Des Moines.  I love it on salads and steaks and sandwiches and crackers and just about anything else I can spread it on.  http://store.maytagdairyfarms.com/  I get at least one wheel a year.

Oban Scotch is also a Favorite Thing.  I get a bottle of this fine 14 year old Single Malt Whisky every Christmas, a gift to myself for being a Good Boy all year.  I sip it neat, it usually lasts 6 months at that rate.

Good fresh roasted coffee, slab bacon, the cool side of the pillow, the twinkle in Linda’s eyes, I guess I have a lot of Favorite Things after all.

And running fast.

 

 

WHY NOT OMAHA?

Des Moines is a nice Midwestern city.  Capitol of Iowa.  Population is 203, 433.  The five county region making up the Des Moines Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is just a little over 500,000.  Median household income is $44,997.00.

Omaha is a nice Midwestern city.  Largest city in Nebraska.  Population is 408,958.  The eight county MSA population is 877,110.  Median household income is $46,978.00.    So we’re roughly twice the size of Des Moines.  When I moved here in 2001 I was told there were more millionaires per capita in Omaha than in any other city in the United States (Muchas Gracias Senor Buffet).

Des Moines hosts the largest 20K in the country- Dam to Dam 20K, they now cap the race at 8,000.  It also hosts the largest cross country run in the U.S.- Living History Farms, now capping the race at 7,500.  The venerable Drake Relays have been contested since 1910.  They have Team Iowa RunAblaze.  They have a full and Competitive race calendar year round.  They had a combined 4500+ entered into their Grand Blue Mile on Tuesday night.

Omaha has two large races, The Corporate Cup and Race for the Cure in the fall, the vast majority of finishers are walkers in both.  And the Omaha Running Club.  A great club geared towards the social and non-competitive side of running.

I’ve tried my darndest to bring Real Competition (Team Nebraska, Omaha Mile,  2012 USATF Club T&F National Champs, multiple USATF Nebraska Association Championships) to Omaha.

From the three primary USATF Nebraska Assoc. long distance running clubs we had a total of 3 USATF men run the 2013 Association 12K Trail Run Champs a few weeks ago, not a single woman.  Brian Wandzilak was the sole athlete from the Lincoln Running Co. Racing Team.  Not a single representative from Ndorfnz Racing, and only Kyle Clouston and Jimmie Doherty from Team Nebraska.  Even with the USATF prize money offered.

I’m accepting responsibility for some if not most of this.  My hard edged insistence that Competition be the keystone of running didn’t/doesn’t/won’t fly well in the big O.  Maybe if someone with a gentler demeanor and an incredibly long life span would have headed the charge, then maybe.

But it comes down to all of us really.  Why is it that a smaller city like Des Moines with less resources can galvanize around the competitive side of our sport.  It is the People and the Leadership (Cal Murdock, Steve Bobenhouse, Chris Burch, Brian Brown in Des Moines, friendly guys all).  And that’s cool, I get it now.

That is why my joy these days is working with those athletes that do get what I’m still peddling, will always peddle.  And not just the Team Nebraska athletes that I coach.  But all those too that come to Wednesday Night Track.  They (I) have been busting their rumps for the last several weeks as they prep for the Lincoln Marathon and Half Marathon.  They are digging deeper than they ever have and the results have been amazing to see.

Maybe there is hope after all.

will tye dye

 

 

 

USA 1 MILE ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS RECAP

Quite the whirlwind in Des Moines but glad to be back at the home office.  A couple of big surprise winners, that’s why they run these races!  Garret Heath (4:02.79) and Kate Grace (4:43.02) shocked just about everyone.  For Real fans please read the official USATF press release here: http://www.usatf.org/News/Grace,-Heath-take-home-USA-1-Mile-Road-Championshi.aspx
And if you’d like to see the quick videos of the race, thanks to our friends at RunnerSpace for having a camera and shooting from the lead vehicle:  http://runnerspace.com/

It was great to see Alice Schmidt, what a class act.  At 31 years old, mentoring and still mixing it up.  And fellow Nebraskan Ashley Miller too.

Over 4500 participants in the “Iowa Kids Strong”, “Recreational” and “Competitive Race”.  Nebraskan Craig Christians took his 50-54 age group in the “Competitive Race” in 5:11.  Nice run Craig.

But it was the National Championships that was the Real luster amongst the bluster.  Cold temps and high winds didn’t dampen the efforts of the invited field as both event records fell.  Nice work by RD Chris Veriengia on crafting an outstanding group.  The Grand Blue Mile will host the USA Championships again in 2014.

Having lunch with the athletes yesterday the conversation turned to Leo Manzano ‘moving up’ in distance.  He was fairly certain that an increase was not in his foreseeable future.  I thought at first he was thinking 10K, half marathon, etc.  But it was 5K.  Too many miles he said.  When I told him I’ve run 80,000+ miles in my career his jaw dropped.  These middle distance cats are a quick breed with no desire to suffer for long periods of time.  His Silver Medal in the London Olympic 1500 entitles him to whatever opinions he may wish.

Please excuse the blurry photos.  Taken with my cell, maybe someday I’ll buy a Real camera.

alice start

Alice Schmidt during the chilly pre race introductions.  38 degrees and a 17 mph headwind for the first half of the race.

cold women's start

The ladies were cold but would soon heat up.  Eventual winner Kate Grace on the right facing rearward, would out kick last year’s winner Sara Hall for the upset.

happy kate

And the darling of the media just a short time later.

leo

Leo Manzano had the #1 bib and took it out hard but would finish 3rd in 4:04.  A.J. Acosta next to Leo, with “El Camino” on his kit, was one of the most interesting and entertaining characters in the race.

men's start

Garret Heath, #4,  would shock the field and those of us that were handicapping the race.

fast finish

Garret Heath and his teammate Jeff See went 1-2 so quickly it was a blur.  You’ve got to love road miles!

happy champ

He too was a happy champ.  Both Garret and Kate earned $5000 for their wins, and an additional $2500 for setting event records.

bomb squad

And a sad reminder of how road racing has changed forever.

DAY JOB

Des Moines is the track capitol of the United States this week.  The Drake Relays have brought in not only the top U.S. athletes but as usual a host of world class performers.  And this city knows how to do it Right.

Even though I’m just kind of hanging out with no official duties Meet Director Brian Brown was kind enough to invite me to dinner last night.    We’ve been buddies for a few years so I tagged along with Linda and my old colleague Bob Latham (USATF Men’s LDR National Champs Chair) to the Gramercy for a 4 course meal that sated us all.  Big thanks to the Des Moines CVB!

An intimate gathering, the restaurant was closed to everyone but our athletes, administrators, and your humble scribe.  I lost track of the number of Olympians but was happy to meet Leo Manzano and A.J. Acosta for the first time.  Sara Hall (Ryan’s wife) , Geena Gall and Shannon Rowbury too.  Also good to catch up with Nebraskans Alice Schmidt and Ashley Miller.  Tonight’s race should be Excellent.

Meghan Armstrong Payton asked me at breakfast this morning what my “day job” is.  I gave her a quizzical look and she indicated how impressed she was with my handshake yesterday.   These old guns aren’t what they used to be, and in fact the right bicep (Mr. Knockout) is very bruised from some target practice last weekend with my 12 gauge shotgun.  But a firm handshake and a look in the eyes goes a long way

The weather is set to be cool, windy, but dry.  The course is a horseshoe shape and should provide some honest efforts at Peter vd Westhuizen’s course record of 4:02.99.  The women’s mark of 4:45.66 set last year by Sara Hall may also be in jeapordy.

STRAIGHT SHOOTER

Yesterday’s London Marathon didn’t result in any world or course records.  The race went out fast with 46:56 at 10 miles and 1:01:34 through the half.  Wait, let that sink in a moment……  And then the expected happened.  Man just isn’t meant quite yet to run that fast for 26.2 miles.  Tsegaye Kebede would take the win in 2:06:04.  Yawn.

Good job to Kyle Clouston and Nate Stack on top 10 finishes at the Novartis 10K.  Nate got a butt chewing, good natured but very stern.  No running, let alone racing this soon after a marathon!  Period!  No one wants to hear that but The Coach knows Best!

Cory Logsdon was 2nd (1:16) at one of my favorite half marathons, The Gambler Half in Council Bluffs.  Good tempo for Lincoln.

I had a great run Saturday with Lily, and Carolyn and Alex and Joy.  And then a longer one Sunday with my lady friend riding herd on her trail bike.  Maybe I can do this Lincoln Half under 2 hours after all?

Looks like tonight’s fundraiser/awareness event at Lake Zorinsky will be met with less than desirable weather, drats for those cats.  Linda & I are headed to Des Moines this morning for tomorrow night’s Grand Blue Mile.  There might be snow, how bizarre that will be.

Yes, I’ve heard it too but haven’t tried to confirm that there will be drug testing at Lincoln this year.  The race continues to elevate and aspire, this would be a great next step.  I’m doing an upcoming column on doping, interesting and timely.

cherry

I showed Linda a little bar trick last night, hadn’t tried it for over 30 years maybe.  Pop a cherry in your mouth, simply tie the stem with your tongue.  Makes a pretty girl smile.  Impossible to perform if you talk out of both sides of your mouth.  I’m a Straight Shooter.

rincon

Attended the opening of one of my favorite artists Saturday night.  Fredy Rincon is an important part of the cultural fabric of Omaha.  The gallery is right next to Dixie Quicks (coincidentally one of my favorite restaurants) in Council Bluffs.

 

MY PLACE OR YOURS?

Tomorrow’s London Marathon will be a great opportunity to see how merely mortal we really are.  It will give us the chance to see where we fit, our place if you will, in the grand scheme of today’s world marathoning.

My place?   My last marathon (4:14, Lincoln 2011) is the only standard I can use.  Hard to swallow but Real for this comparative purpose.  When I finish the Lincoln Half on May 5 (under trained to be sure- I’ve been running only twice a week for the last month), my time will likely mirror what these studs will run for the full 26.2.

Your place?  We’ll find out in a couple of weeks at Lincoln.

Consider the personal bests of the top 10 men entered for London, being described as the Greatest Men’s field ever assembled for a marathon:

1. Wilson Kipsang,  2:03:42 (defending London Champ, 31 years old)
2. Patrick Makau,     2:03:38 (World Record holder, 28 years old)
3. Geoffrey Mutai,    2:04:15 (World Marathon Majors Champ, 31 years old)
4. Ayele Abshero,    2:04:23 (22 years old)
5. Tsegaye Kebede, 2:04:38 (2010 London Champ, 26 years old)
6. Emmanuel Mutai, 2:04:40 (2011 London Champ, 28 years old)
7. Feyisa Lilesa,       2:04:52 (23 years old)
8. Stanley Biwott,     2:05:12 (27 on race day)
9. Deressa Chimsa, 2:05:42 (26 years old)
10. Stephen Kiprotich, 2:07:20 (2012 Olympic Champ)

 

PRAYERS AND MEDITATIONS

The events of the last few days, particularly last night and this morning, have drawn in the highest response.  I, like so many others, am watching this sad piece of running history unfold, with awe.  The rapid identification of the despicable brothers and subsequent death of the eldest offers a glimpse of today in America.  I doubted not for a moment that they would be id’d.  Too many (just enough) cameras.   Individuals with cell phones snapping pictures, city cameras, commercial cameras, race cameras.  The good side of Big Brother.  I’ve been riveted to the coverage, new details every minute.  Waiting and hoping for a speedy resolution.  But the more we hear the less we know.

Boston.  A city under seige.  Prayers and meditations.

From Mike Ewoldt:
“Hi Everyone! We are working in combined effort with all the running clubs and stores in the Omaha Area to put on a RUNNERS FOR BOSTON 5K benefit run on Monday, 4/22/13 at 6:30 pm at Lake Zorinsky. This is a nationally coordinated event of the Independent Running Retailers Association of which both Peak Performance and Red Dirt Running Co. are members. So please help us spread the word about the up coming run. Lets show how supportive the Omaha Running Community can be. To register for the run and make a donation go to https://www.raceit.com/Register/?event=20597 ”

Runners for Boston 5K Benefit

Monday, April 22, 2013

Peak Performance and Red Dirt Running Stores are working in a combined effort with all the running clubs and stores in the Omaha Area to put on a RUNNERS FOR BOSTON 5K benefit run on Monday, 4/22/13 at 6:30 pm. This is a nationally coordinated event of the Independent Running Retailers Association of which both Peak Performance and Red Dirt Running Co. are members.

Location:

Lake Zorinsky
156th & “F” Street entrance
(Boat ramp parking lot area)
Omaha, NE

So please help us spread the word about the upcoming run. Lets show how supportive the Omaha Running Community can be.

To register for the run and make a donation go to: https://www.raceit.com/Register/?event=20597

Thanks,

Mike Ewoldt
Peak Performance

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIN PELOTAS

Enjoy the occasional column title in Spanish.  Nothing too difficult, if you don’t speak it you generally figure out what the message is.

Today is a tribute to my buddy Jedediah.  Off to the Humane Society before breakfast, when we pick him up this afternoon, he’ll have no balls (sin pelotas).  Pobre perrito (poor puppy)!  His insistence on “marking” my side of the bed to demonstrate his alpha delusions led to the decision.  And it is the right thing to do after all.

I knew our dear Stacy Shaw was right in the midst of Monday’s tragedy but had no idea she will forever hold the distinction as the “Last Finisher” of the 117th Boston Marathon.  Here is the link to this morning’s Boston Globe story:  http://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/2013/04/17/slowest-marathon-finisher-counts-her-blessings/caM0swnrsoukdTrAbgIdCL/story.html

From my buddy Randi Stevenson, Editor at livewellnebraska.com:

“Hi Will,
The World-Herald is doing a ‘Run to Boston Challenge’ — basically readers can dedicate their running miles to Boston, which is 1,436 miles from Omaha. Once we get that many miles dedicated, we’ll run something in the paper.  I know you’re pretty connected in the running community, so anyway you can help get the word out would be great.”

Here is more info: http://www.omaha.com/article/20130416/LIVEWELL02/130419766/1685#run-to-boston-challenge-dedicate-your-miles-to-the-victims 

The 2 Lazy 2 Ranch is starting to take shape.   Big Thanks to our buddy Bill Weeks.   Linda & I have hired ourselves on to bring some agrarian attitude to this piece of land in Yutan.   I dig the concept of this degree of self suffiency.  No boss (Never More!), no interminable hours (6 straight!?), no four walls (narrow and confining!), no cubicle (unimaginable!).  No one’s assistant to anything.  Same as I ever was.
beesBees make honey for me and my honey.  

chicksThese little chicks will soon be in their coop producing eggs.  At least one cock in the group.

farmLinda’s herb, pepper, onions and tomato bed.  Salsa!

I spent 11 years nurturing and growing Team Nebraska.  That was a joy.  Now I find my happiness in the fertile soil and all the Good Mother’s wonderful bounty.   That and my good woman, good dog, and a few good friends.  Life is what you make it after all.  And I like mine happy.  Don’t ever let another define your life or your happiness.