Monthly Archives: July 2013

DEAD BEETS AND GARNISHMENTS

Just got back from what turned out to be a family vacation.  Father, Daughter, Nephew, Daughter, Father. Great time up at Okoboji.  Thanks to Great Friend Dr. Bill Weeks for the digs, chow, water sports, hospitality., etc.  Battery is recharged and ready to do some harvesting.  And good to see my boy Jedediah, I’ve missed him the last 4 days.

There is some great running up at Boji.  Miles of trails, we missed the Okoboji Half Marathon by only a week, ran parts of the course, beautiful and sounds like a fun travel race.  Might end up on a list somewhere.

This summer I’ve been all about the green.  An unpredictable if diminutive harvest keeps me fed and healthy.  But the crops did suffer since Saturday, my Beets in particular took a bit of a beating, the carefully tended Celery Root and Italian Parsley also quite wilted from lack of attention.  But we’ll get by best as we can. There’s always hope for next month’s crop.

But the Blackberries and Strawberries are really popping.  I’m only a little surprised that I’m yielding such bounty, the soil here nothing short of rhizome ambrosia.  Raspberries are setting, I’ll get some jellies put up before Labor Day.  Might be a good idea to get on our Christmas list.

Thanks for checking back in, here’s hoping you too had/have a chance to take a few days off before summer’s end.

lindawillboji
S
unset at Lake Okoboji.  Just happy to be there.

 

A MOMENT WITH MATT POHREN

Today’s is one of my hardest columns ever.  Because I’m bidding adios to a good friend.  But we are also excited to be wishing him great success and happiness as he embarks on his new path in life.  Matty P., we love you son.

lukamatt

Matt and Luka Thor after a recent run at the Bar None.

Will:  First of off congratulations on the wonderful opportunity and exciting new chapter of your life!  Can you please tell us just a bit about where you are headed and what you’ll be doing?

Matt: Thanks Will!!! I am now in New York. In upstate NY in a town called Oneonta about 1 hr west of Albany. 45 mins away from Cooperstown where the Baseball HOF is. MY new job is the Assistant Athletic Director and Head Men’s and Women’s Cross-Country Coach at Hartwick College. It’s a DIII school with two DI sports in Men’s Soccer and Womens Water Polo. My administrative responsibility is to oversea the DI sports in addition to my Coaching. It’s a good opportunity and job for me and my aspirations in my career goals.

Will:  We first met over 6 years ago and I’ve watched you grow as an athlete and a person.  Can you tell us who a couple of your early influences were in athletics?  I’ll add that your parents are a couple of wonderful people, they have to be very proud of you!

Matt: It has been a while huh? Well my favorite athlete is and will always be Michael Jordan. I wanted to “be like Mike”. Call it cliché or not, but I tried to embody in every way as a kid. Gatorade, clothes, a couple pairs of shoes, you name it. I wanna be wanna be like Mike! Ha Basketball was my first love of sport and always will be, I have been playing ever since I was 5 and just love that sport but anyway…

What I would like to make a point in saying and would like to stress is I feel I have evolved a lot in the past few years as a person and as a runner. My perspective has changed drastically and I have come to appreciate running more and appreciate how it has helped mold me as a person. Teaching me discipline, hard work, sacrifice etc. What I have most importantly truly realized and tried to embody more is that running for me is a privilege, anything I have gained and have earned is not by my own design or benefit it is God’s. Anything I have is because of him and I try to run more knowing my gifts are his. As I have grown older I have changed greatly and my approach to running has changed to. I still have the same runner mentality when racing and competing but how I have almost grown into a better mold and it has helped my growth overall as a person. But when I started out running, it certainly wasn’t that way at all.

I started to run in Jr high. Back then I wasn’t a fan of running at all but did Jr High track just as something to do. Running for me then was certainly more of a social opportunity but I liked to compete and me and my friends always enjoyed a little competition. Track was something to do outside of basketball and soccer. It would be common that I would not work very hard in practice. On occasion I would skip practice and my coach at the time would hunt me down and make me go. I was terrible for doing that to her and being that way and its great she cared so much because she knew I had talent. Funny thing is is that I was pretty good in Jr high and still hold some school records ha. But no matter what, track was just something to do.

My goal was to try out for basketball and soccer when I got to high school. I ran XC in the fall my freshman year just to stay in shape for those sports. But I also had a decent freshman yr to my surprise but at the time it wasn’t my focus. I tried out for basketball, and got cut!….. tried out for soccer…. Got cut! What most people don’t probably know about me is that when I went into HS as a freahman I was about 5’6” and a 110 pounds wet. Kind of hard to make the basketball teams and soccer teams like that. Once I got cut for those sports, ….. that is when I truly had an epiphany in my mind and my competitive career… I went back out for XC my soph year and at that moment running became a VENDETTA against all those people who told me I couldn’t play basketball and soccer. I ran JR year and got better and stronger ( had a growth spirt (I was a late bloomer) in height but certainly not weight lol) and by SR year I was fortunate enough to be our best distance runner, medal at state and have a pretty good track season as well. But that turning point was where running became my outlet, my motivation. It wasn’t even about running it was about proving all those people wrong who said I couldn’t do the sports I loved. I basically ran angry…and with a chip on my shoulder through most of high school and into college. I pretty much kept that same mentality all through college and for the majority of my early running career, anger and the desire to prove people wrong is what fueled my motivation as a runner. Oddly enough it has only been until the last 3-4 years and the last 2 years in particular where I have evolved greatly as a runner and my passion for the sport and my motivation for how I run/race have truly changed. It has been a great transition and journey and I really want to stress that. Personally, I have come a long way and my appreciation for running and all it encompasses for me has been a great transition.

With that being said, I have always been a competitor. I love to compete and to progress. I had a lot of early influences in my career. To name everyone would take forever but those people know who they are and I would not be here without them, coaches, teachers, relatives, neighbors etc, my heart goes out to all of them and they will not be forgotten. My oldest sister Jessica influenced me a lot. I probably never said that to her much, but I looked up to her a lot. She set the bar for all of us kids being the oldest and all I wanted to do was be as successful or more successful than she was. She was a pretty decorated soccer player in HS and college and all I wanted to do was best her, but she influenced me greatly. She deserves a lot of credit. She and her husband are expecting their first child and I am really happy and excited for them.

You mentioned my parents and surely I cannot forget them. Being my parents they have been here along the entire journey through good times and bad, emotionally, physically, gear/equipment etc. Driving and being at games and practices and everything in between, that is something that I will always remember as well. My father in particular has been a key influence too. He was a coach for me a lot when I was younger in basketball and soccer and I learned a lot from him. It wasn’t uncommon for him to be a little harder on me and use me as examples when coaching the rest of my friends and teammates. Ed Pohren was a coach that knew his stuff, expected hard work but did a great job, everyone knew it, especially the parents. In that role I learned a lot about sacrifice, discipline and shouldering the load for others at times. To this day I carry some of those principles, that is why I am so hard on myself but I know it was for good reason. He dealt with a lot as a child and had to assume a lot of responsibility at a young age and that was certainly his way of defining that in me too. He gave me a lot of good direction then and continues to, to this day.

These last two influences are really important and come when I was in high school and running was becoming something I was good at. Besides my own motivation and agenda as stated before, these two people really influenced me and supported me as a runner and friend. My HS coach Fr. Bob Tillman aka “Tilly” was a great supporter of me and my running. Always encouraging and he knew what he was doing to. Without his training, who knows where I would be. He has become a close friend to me and someone I look up to as a person also. The last shout out goes to one of my good friends and someone I looked up to a lot in HS, Mead Goedert. Mead was a year ahead of me in school. By my soph year, Mead and I became good friends. We talked a lot about goals, running and what we looked to accomplish. Mead was our best distance runner. When he was a Senior, Mead medaled at state, got All State and had a great track season. All I wanted to do was be as successful as Mead! He was the first person to really inspire me and brought to my attention my; JR year, the reality that I could run in college. Up to that point the thought really never occurred to me. Mead went on to run at Detroit Mercy. I give him a lot of credit in inspiring me, motivating me and believing in me as well. He was one of my best early influences by far and deserves a lot of credit in helping mold me as a runner and competitor.
Will:  You really have embodied the very essence of what I’ve tried to sell as Real Racing over the last 6 years.  Can you give us a favorite memory (or two) while representing Team Nebraska?

Matt: There are so many I guess. Two stick out to me in particular. Back in 2007, when I joined the club, I was asked to run Club Track Championships by Shannon Stenger. I remember being somewhat taken and surprised that I would be asked to run at such an event just joining the team a month ago. I just love to race and compete so I jumped at the opportunity. At the meet in Olathe, KS I ran the steeple (my 2nd ever) and the 800 of the DMR consisting of me, Shannon, Paul Wilson and Dustin Llewellyn. I got 3rd in steeple and our DMR got third too. The best part was establishing a good rapport with those guys and their respect for me in jumping in right away and contributing to the team. That led to a lot of great races, meets, Club Track and other races with those guys and that crew that help carry the club at that time.

The other great memory was Shamrock Shuffle in 2012. It was an 8k in Chicago of about 40,000 people, probably the largest race I have ever been in. We ran as a team that year of Me, David Adams, Luka Thor, Matt Schneider and Jon Kern. That races was set up so well. We were part of the elite field that year so we had comped rooms, special starting sport, elite corral, special bathrooms and all the perks. I felt like a celebrity. That race had some of the best runners in the Midwest there that year and some of the best runners from across the nation too. The most famous runner there that day was Abdi Abdirahman (the Black Cactus). Abdi is one of the fastest runners in the world and if you all recall was one of the 3 runners that represented the US in the Olympic Marathon in 2012. He didn’t have a good race in the Olympics but needless to say he is a good runner! Well David ran a crazy fast time, got 3rd and beat Abdi!! He was super excited and in addition, myself, Luka and Matt S all ran great races that day and finished pretty close to one another. Jon didn’t have a great race. But I remember all of us being excited about the race, the experience and the competition etc. We had a great race that day and that was a memory that I definitely remember.

Will:  If I could bottle one attribute of yours and sprinkle it on my athletes it would be your absolute “In It To Win It” attitude.  Having said that, I’ve seen your truest character revealed after a couple of heartbreaking losses.  A tough one here, but how would you describe the lessons and motivations you gain through defeat?  (note to readers- I saw Matt take full responsibility for a 5 second loss to the Boulder Running Co. at the 2012 Hospital Hill Team Challenge, and that “tie” at the 2012 Market to Market Relay).

Matt: Well thank you Will that is a nice comment. As I mentioned before, I feel I have come a long way as a runner. I have evolved a lot but when it comes to racing, I certainly have an “in it to win it” attitude! From when that gun goes off to when I cross that line, I am all about business and I like to leave it all on the line. But in anyone who knows me, rarely am I satisfied with how I race and finish. I am very hard on myself and always feel I could have done more and done something better. Its at those moments usually when I finish a race or shortly thereafter where I can reflect and make note as to what I did wrong and how I could have raced better. That is when many sometimes catch me and feel that I am overly critical of my races but it is my best time to make notes, recall how I felt and try and make inferences as to what I can do better next time.

I guess the real question is what is deemed as a loss or defeat? Is defeat simply not winning or getting first or is it not meeting an expectation or goal such as a time or standard? That is where I have learned a lot of lessons. Honestly, I feel I have lost far more times than I have won. Probably 99% loss to 1% win in my experiences. Its far more common to lose. In my opinion, its nearly impossible to have a perfect race or to have everything go as you plan it and actually “leave it all on the line”. We are human and all it takes is one thing to go wrong, physically or mentally before we can mess up a race. I personally feel that I have rarely had a perfect race and actually done what I can “to leave it all on the line” and been satisfied with my race. I have learned far more lessons from racing because of that as well. That in turn is why I am so critical of my racing and something I have also worked on to not be so hard on myself but to approach racing and running with a more evolved attitude or to combine the two.

Not matter what I am a competitor and I will leave it on the line as best as I can. But having said everything else, my motivation comes from many areas. I am motivated to keep improving because there is always a new bar to be set. I am motivated to not feel the same feelings I have had of loss, defeat or mistakes I have made in racing and that in turn motivates me to improve and which is why I am so critical of myself at times. But most importantly my motivation now stems from how I have evolved I am motivated to keep improving but I am motivated by other things in life. I am motivated by goals I have, people and friends that influence me, those that have passed on that I look to for guidance and grace and most importantly God. I am reminded, or try to remind myself that my gifts and what I have are all to His credit not mine. I can have it all gone at an instant. My glory and what I love through running is because of his gifts to me, I only hope that I can do what I can to stay humble and cognizant of Him and knowing that I need to race and compete for God and God alone.

Will:  2012 was something of a pinnacle in your career with Team Nebraska.  A lifetime personal best at 5K Indoors in the spring and then a USA Club National Championships in the Steeple in July (Matt was also on my Club Champs Committee that brought the first ever T&F National Championships to Omaha).  You’ve modeled hard work, achievement, and humility while inspiring many Team Nebraska (and other) athletes.  Who locally has inspired you to push harder and aim higher? Any favorite training partners you’d like to give a shout out to?

Matt: Well I have gained inspiration and much from many people locally. Teammates of all kinds and levels I have been inspired by and I have gained from and I am very appreciative of that. The numbers are endless and it would be hard to be where I am at without their support and being able to train with them all especially those as of late and some of the old guards in Shannon, Paul and Peter.

Locally, I gained a lot from David Adams recently. He had an awesome year last year as a runner. He accomplished a lot and I hope he continues to. Being able to train with him last year and see his progress really opened my eyes and made me expand my goals as a runner. I thank him for that and continue to wish him the best, Im just trying to get on his level ha. Another goes out to Matt Schneider, he is someone that has a similar attitude to me and mindset as well as ability level. He is a good man and someone that I have enjoyed training and racing with, missing him these days. The other shout out goes to Luka “The Hammer” Thor! Luka is just a beast, he is better than me too. He is probably the nicest guy as well. Always positive and never has anything negative to say at all. If he wasn’t my friend I would probably “hate” the guy for being so nice. Haha jk. But Luka is a heck of a runner and does it all while doing many other things too. Sometimes I wonder how he does it but Luka is a Godly man and he always treats others with respect and I am sure that is how he continues to excel and be who he is. He is someone I look up to as far as character goes and that is a credit to him. I only hope I could do what I can to inspire others as those guys have for me.

And you too Will you have inspired me too. You have always supported me and had my back and that too is an inspiration. Without your support I certainly wouldn’t be here. And no one is perfect and I certainly am not but I know where your heart is and you care about running and the sport, and I have benefited from that passion you have and I appreciate that, very much!

Will:  Your contribution to our sport goes far beyond your competitive prowess.  You were the first person I selected to the Team Nebraska Board of Directors.  You were also elected as the USATF Nebraska Association LDR Chair last September and attended the USATF Annual Meeting in December.   Under your watch the Association Championships program started to blossom this year with the addition of the Lincoln Mile and this coming weekend’s Columbus Downtown Run Around 5 Mile.  You genuinely care about athletics in Nebraska.  Do you plan on remaining active in our association or will you become involved in New York?

Matt: Well I was very fortunate to be able to serve in the capacities that I have. The board of directors for TN was a very great opportunity as well as LDR chair. I was very happy to be able to attend the Annual meeting and was gracious to have that opportunity, I learned a lot. I think a lot of this credit goes to others though as far as TN goes, Will you have had a remarkable impact and role in structuring that team, everyone recognizes that. Credit also goes out to Kelly Crawford, Tim Langdon, Tony Sorrentino and Megan Thomas. Those individuals do a lot for TN and running.

But I think all Nebraska USATF members and Association individuals do a lot for distance running in Nebraska. I just tried to oversee without getting in the way for LDR. I tried to do my best representing as an athlete and tying that into my role. Credit goes to all Nebraska officers, and other individuals that help form those races, I had no part in that, that is to their credit and deservingly so.

I do care about athletics in Nebraska and look to remain active in Nebraksa. I will plan to become more involved with NY if running and training makes it so and being active in their association works out in that capacity.

Will:  You have a prodigious capacity for work.  I’ve known you to work nights at the College World Series, take shifts at Peak Performance, and even work weekends at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  All while pursuing your teaching and administrative career.  And still making time to train at an Elite level.  Will you “take it easy” now that you’ve set foot on your chosen career path?

Matt: I do all that work to stay on top of things. If I am not doing something, I feel like I should be. And yes all those things are in pursuit of my passion of sport, athletics and running. Its all part of keeping me well rounded as a person and professional. I will certainly NOT “take it easy” now that I am more in tune with a career path. If anything I plan to be more active and train at a higher level, I have goals for sure still.

Will:  Do you have any specific competitive goals for 2013?  2014?  Will you ever consider running a marathon?

Matt: I do have specific competitive goals for the future. I hope to stay healthy and injury free, fingers crossed. I want to still train for that steeple chase and try to reach a time of 8:50 or faster. I also have hopes to run a 14:30 or faster 5k. I have those goals for sure. I will run a marathon one day for sure, but only when I am ready to “walk away” from the track! Not for about 6 more years hopefully ha!

Will:  I know you can dance as well as you run.  And that you are a huge fan of basketball.  Any other hobbies or interests that you’d like to share with our readers?

Matt: I am a sub par dancer but I love to dance. I don’t care what anyone thinks, but give me a good atmosphere, people or even just the beat and I am game for sure. I could go all night! I am a huge bball fan and will be till I die, its my first love and you never forget your first love or kiss for that matter ha! Other interests are spending time with my family and friends and those of a similar mindset. Reading and sometimes a good nap! I also enjoy tinkering with electronics every now and then.

Will:  You are one of the most pious young men I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.  How has your faith contributed to where you are today and where your bright future awaits?

Matt: Will that is a very nice comment and flattering, thank you. My faith now is stronger than ever or at least I appreciate it and utilize it and apply it to my life now more than ever! I am not perfect and don’t ever claim to be but I am always looking to improve. God and my faith is important to me. I constantly try and remind myself that I am here by His graces and my gifts are meant to glorify Him and not me, in any way. I try and realize how much he factors in and how much I can in turn influence others as a person and leader.

It keeps me very humble and sometimes guilty when I know I make mistakes. I always try and look forward and press on to new goals as well always looking to improve as a person in his eyes. I had a really hard time and went through some personal hardship about a year ago and I evolved a lot with some personal loss and a realization that my attitude and outlook as a person needed to change, and that has stuck with me ever since. The foundation of that change and desire to improve come from people very close to me but is instilled in realizing I had to improve as a person for others for me and most importantly for God. I am hoping that has become evident to those that are close to me and more so to people I come across in my journey. I am very blessed and I am fortunate for that. Not a day goes by where I don’t try and recognize that. I draw a lot of inspiration from friends, family, those that are close to me that have passed on and realizing that God always has more in store, I just hope I can make the grade and can do for others and be conscientious of what he has and continues to do for me.

NOT AT HOME

These are Professionals, do not attempt at home!

Pete Kostelnick of Lincoln is doing the amazing, the crazy, the impossible.  He is setting the bar for every single “endurance” runner in the midwest.  Every other run you read about this year will pale in comparison.  So what’s he doing that has garnered my respect and admiration?

He’s running RAGBRAI.  He has covered 313 miles in the last 5 days, another 52 on tap for today.  And he’ll finish up tomorrow.  Ultra, schmultra indeed!

My dear, sweet Allison finishes up classroom work at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute on August 15th.  A little over two weeks BEFORE her 19th birthday!  She is academically at the top of her class and thus gets to have first choice for her externship.  There have been offers from all over the U.S. including New York, Las Vegas, resorts, cruise ships, etc.  She is leaning strongly towards being the pastry and baking chef for the Denver Broncos, I’m hoping that is her final decision as it would keep her close.

Rolling Stones!  I spent yesterday moving 2 tons of field stones.  But not just any field stones.  I  first found these and landscaped with them in 1991 in Joliet, IL.  Moved them to Clute, Texas.  Then to Lake Jackson, TX.  And then to Cypress, TX.  And then to Omaha.  And now, finally to the Bar None.  I would have to guess these are the most well traveled stones in the U.S.  I used to be able to move them by myself, but no longer.  A pair of 400 lb. pieces of granite had me stymied yesterday and so big thanks to the strongest guy in Omaha.  He made it look like child’s play.  This cat trains up for Strongman competitions, I’ve seen him pull cars, throw kegs, run with a tree on his  back, etc.  And if I can’t whup you, he certainly can.  Dan Kunasek.  Yeah, he’s Linda’s brother and is a man’s man.  Glad he’s got my back.  And my stones.

Big propers to our Wednesday Night Track  Work stalwarts.  Gina finished 5th overall at the Omaha Triathlon.  At 49 a real studette that has made Great Progress over the last 90 days.  And let’s talk personal bests for a moment.  Tammy ran the Gretna Days 5 Mile in 37:41, a 3 minute pr!  Jeff also ran Gretna finishing in 35:07 a 2 minute pr.  This is how we do it!

Finally thanks to my buddy Andre for sharing this John Wooden quote: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation.  Your character is what you really are while your reputation is what others think you are.”

BIX TALES

The year was 2002, the BIX 7 mile had been awarded our USATF National Championships for the distance.  I was serving my first year as the National Championships Chair for Women’s LDR.  Several stories that I’ll never forget.  First time I had the pleasure of meeting a young lad that would later become the 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver Medalist.  At the awards ceremony no one knew how to  pronounce his name except me.  Its ” Mebratohm Keflezighi, you can call him Meb.”  We’ve been buddies every since.

And of course hanging  out  with BIX Legends Bill  Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson.  Both are now immortalized with bronze statues along the race route.  And Race Director Ed Froelich is cast with his own statue now.  Here is the “other” part of the 2002 race I’ll never forget.

The principles:  Libby Johnson (multiple time national champ and Olympian), Colleen De Reuk (4 time Olympian), Darren De Reuck (her husband), Karl Ungerean (Iowa, Head Referee), Ed Froelich (RD), and little old me in my capacity overseeing the conduct of the  event.

Prelude:  Libby had been defeated by Colleen a couple of  weeks prior at the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta (at the time it was not a USATF Champs).  Libby had questions as to whether Darren had provided some assistance to Colleen as she passed Libby in the final meters of that race.  A hard pill for Libby to swallow, being  worth around $10K.

Libby was once again nipped at the line by Colleen at BIX.  She hustled over to me immediately after crossing the finish line and indicated she was considering filing a protest due to the proximity of Darren to Colleen during the course of the race, for the second major in a row.

It was my charge to gather those involved and let them know that the results would not be official until the matter was resolved.  The first and most memorable thing that happened was Ed pushing me in the chest with both hands and telling me “You aren’t going to f*** up my race!”  My reply was simple, “don’t ever put your hands on me again or I will kick your ass.”  Cooler heads intervened (thanks Karl). and the protest protocol began.  Karl and I then collected the videos from the cameras that were strategically placed on the course.  Drove around Davenport until  we found a video shop where we could analyze the images to reach our official conclusion.

The finding:  While Darren did appear in every video, and in very close proximity to Colleen, we couldn’t conclude beyond a doubt that illegal assistance had been provided.  After presenting my findings to Ed things went well the rest of the morning.

I remain friends with Ed, Karl, Darren, and Colleen to this day.  Colleen and I served together on the WLDR Executive Committee.  Darren would end up taking my place as the  WLDR National Champs Chair.  Karl still inspects and approves my USATF Course Certification paperwork.  And Ed has graciously hosted me several more times at one of America’s Great Road Races.

And another favorite memory:  Taking Linda to BIX in 2011, she ran 50:46 to win the 45-49 age group, no small feat with 430 competitors in that division.  But the sweetest of all was her finishing 2nd Overall Master to none other than Joan Benoit Samuelson.

My rising star Lindsey Greenwood will be running BIX this Saturday.  I wish her a great race and a pocketful of memories.  Be sure and say howdy to my old buddies Lindsey!

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

So Lance Armstrong is riding RAGBRAI.  BFD!   I was a huge supporter of my fellow Texan through the trials and tribulations leading up to his ultimate confession.  Wanted to believe with all my heart that his amazing accomplishments were product of Real Hard Work.   Once he came “clean” I did a 180 and now consider him a scoundrel of the first order.  All the fan boys that are aquiver about riding with Lance this week?  Tools.

Same with Major League Baseball.  There is hardly a hue and cry from the majority of Americans though and that has me scratching my bald head.

In a day where “better performance through chemistry” holds sway it is hardly  surprising that these egregious offenses are little more than passing news.

Eddy Hellebuyck was friend of mine.  An extremely talented masters runner that succumbed to the temptation of performance enhancing drugs.  Started putting up some eye popping times, winning national titles, and lying through his teeth.  Again, a real scoundrel.  His bad decision got his name wiped off the record books and branded him forever as a cheat.

Tyson Gay.  Marion Jones.  Ben Johnson.  Flo Jo.  Justin Gatlin.  Maybe even your very own neighbor.   The list of disgraced “greats” is a mile long.  But does anyone other than their competitors really care?

All it takes is a phone call to your doctor with a complaint of low energy and, Rx!  Have a little testosterone injected, implanted, or ingested and watch those times start dropping.  Get that mileage back up to where it was when you were in your 20s?  Why not!   Recover more quickly and feel energized for every workout?  Heck yes!  Maybe recapture some of your  former glory? Sounds too good to pass up!

I understand the  temptation but also abhor those that sink so low.  Especially those that either lie or try and defend or justify their choice.

But most people don’t give a hoot, preferring instead, like I did with Lance, to ignore or simply refuse to believe their heroes are anything but that.

Maybe the winds of change will blow back to honest competition.  Let’s hope so.

UP BY SEVEN

First up my recommendation for naming the little royal bugger:  Nelson. In honor of Nelson Mandela.  Now I don’t want to hear another word about it.

Farm life requires the proverbial early to bed, early to rise.  Chores do not wait and to stay even (I’m not sure you ever get ahead) you better be up and at ’em.  Squeeze in a run, and the morning is gone.  Hearty lunch, nap, and back at it until supper.  Maybe Nebraska really is the Good Life after all.

Our Little Slice is taking some getting used to though.  Not just the work load, but getting a feel for the general pulse of the neighborhood.  Each home owner has their own reason for being here but the common bond is Privacy and the capacity for Real Labor.  We are all on cordial, even friendly terms on the street but respect the “home is the castle” mantra.  You don’t just go up and knock on a door and expect a warm welcome.  All have dogs, all have guns.

We were told to feel free to control varmints as we see fit on our own property, no questions.  The frequent gunshots we hear lends a better understanding as to why there are so few fences necessary around the gardens.  And if the occasional turkey or rabbit ends up in the stew pot, well all’s the better.  I’ve sighted the Western Field 12 gauge, dead eye just like my old man.   Linda is adept with the Ithaca .22 caliber long rifle dad gave her, a little more practice with the Mauser Luger and she’ll be up to community 2nd Amendment standards on all counts.Annie-Oakley-shooting-over-shoulder-631

She’s no Phoebe Ann Moses yet, but Linda is fitting right in with the Pioneer Spirit.

Thanks to Logan Watley for the correction to yesterday’s description of prize money at the DTRA 5 Mile.  The 100-75-50 breakdown was for “Columbus Bucks”, the USATF prize money was $75-$50.

DOWN BY FIFTEEN

A couple of good runs this weekend and a lot of hard work on the landscaping finds me at a svelte 142.  I was a chunky 157 just a few weeks ago.

A good turnout for Saturday’s Bar None Run.  Nice to see everyone rounding into shape for the upcoming fall campaign.  Our neighbors must find this Fitness Spectacle extraordinary.

Is anyone else a little peeved at the Hyvee Triathlon commercial?  “Even if you are ‘just’ a runner.” Now, I like the idea of being able to be matched with other athletes, we offered something similar at this last February’s Tow Rivers Twosome.  But I don’t care for this commercial.   It smacks of the runner being the weakest link of the trio.  Bullcorn I say.  Take a look at the front of any Real Race and then at the start line of a similar size triathlon.  You be the  judge who the Real athletes are.  And the Real runners always gobble up the better swimmers and bikers anyway.

The USATF Nebraska Association 5 Mile Championships were Saturday at the Columbus Downtown Run Around.  One single USATF female entered, a masters runner from Ndorfnz racing.  Not a representative from either Team Nebraska or the Lincoln Running Company Racing Team.  Sad indeed.  What can be done to get our member LDR clubs to participate?  The prize money of $100-$75-$50 for the top three didn’t incentivize any of the women.  Eric Rasmussen took  the win on the men’s side.  He reports falling asleep between miles 3-4 cruising a pedestrian 5:40 mile (he took the first mile out in 4:55).

You don’t have to be a member of a club in order to have your USATF membership or compete for the prize money set aside for championships races.  And you are supporting the programs and athletes that are committed to  developing their potential.

Linda is busy making selections for the USA Marathon National Championships at the Twin Cities Marathon this  October.  Some Real talent applying for her Athlete Development Program.  There are many young ladies that have met the standard of 2:51 and  are deserving of consideration.  But it will take a sub 2:40 to be selected,the talent is running that deep these days.   A tough choice for Linda but that’s her job.  It is great to see this problem.  The ladies keep getting faster and the bar continues to be met as the standards are tightened.  The Men’s ADP standard is 2:24:00 and Brian Jones is having an equally difficult time vetting qualified athletes.

Wouldn’t it be great to have some qualified athletes from our home state?  We’re not there yet, but I know there are serious and talented young runners that just need the right opportunity, coaching, and advocacy.  runguru@cox.net if you think this sounds like you.

Giddyup!

ZORINSKY SECURITY CAMERA UPDATE

Thanks to those that have been asking for an update.  We have collected $1060 so far and it resides with the donation point, FrontRunIt.  Looking ultimately to get it transferred to the Omaha Running Club in their capacity as a 501 (c)(3) not for profit.  Captain Russ Horine is the Precinct Captain for Zorinksy.  He is on board.  The piece we are waiting for is a representative to be named by the Omaha Parks & Recreation Department.  We can’t move forward until that person is named.  I continue to communicate with and petition Parks representative Tim Carmicheal for a designee.  Red tape, you bet.  End result worth it, you bet.

Congrats to a friend of a friend.  Glen Redpath is a NY Central Park Track Club mate of my mentee Andre.  Glen did the amazing recently finishing 12th overall at the Badwater 135 Ultra in 29 hours, 58 minutes.  Badwater is The Toughest Run in the United States.  Period.

And good luck to my old buddy Jim Garcia who will be running the Vermont 100 miler this weekend.  This is the cat that has run a sub 3 hour marathon for the last 38 years straight, one of the top 60+ runners anywhere.

Final chapter of Pancho Villa:
“What, in the long run, had Pancho Villa contributed to this achievement?  And were the gains, for the poor of Mexico, enough to justify the thousands of deaths that resulted from the strife between Villa and the other Revolutionary leaders?

Who can judge?  There is no scales that can weigh the good and bad of that giant of a man.  His unbridled acts of love and hate, of generosity and vengefulness, were all out-sized–a part, perhaps, of the time and place in which he lived.  His tragedy was that having helped make a revolution, he could not help solve it.  He had shared in the destruction of an old way of life; he did not know how to build a new one.

But no one whose life he had ever touched, however briefly, would ever forget him: the excitement in those extraordinary amber colored eyes; the bowed legs and the powerful body; the wide, sudden grin, crinkling the windburned face.  ‘But when you met him,’ young men would ask the old ones, in years to come, ‘what was it like?  How did you feel?’

‘How did I feel?’  Old men would pause, remembering.  ‘I liked him.  That was how I felt.  I liked him.'”

villa-reward

BRAVER NEWER WORLD

I love symmetry as much as I love chaos.  So today’s column title is nicely juxtaposed to yesterday’s. And somewhat prompted by Dan “The Music Man” Fucinaro who posts on another site.  He and I could have an excellent conversation.  Anyone whose favorite artist is Nils Lofgren is A-OK in my book.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s Braver Newer World is haunting and beautiful.  He is also a member of the Flatlanders (along with one of my absolute favorites, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock.)  Is there any better music scene in the country than Austin, TX?  Nope.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wo2D4JVN5A  if you have 5:00 for a listen.

Thing of beauty.  And I’ve been fooling myself.  I’ve taken Jedediah on a couple of my speed workouts and thought I could maybe, possibly, outrun him.  No way.  I hopped on the bike this morning and took him out for a full sprint.  I could barely keep up when he was at full tilt.  And to see the muscular definition and ease and fluidity was spectacular.  I’ll try and get a video soon, you’ll be amazed.

Everyone that is even vaguely familiar with me knows that cooking is one of my life’s passions.  My dear sweet Allison following well and indeed eclipsing my footsteps.  I once had a wife that told me she would buy me a gas stove when I learned to cook.  True story.  Well, I passed my own muster.  I bought a sweet unit that will be installed later today.
Some of Alli’s most recent creations, yum!
alli honeydew
Carved Honeydew Melon.
allidessert
Dessert plate!
allisugar
Can you say Creme Brule?
alliAIWcake
 Alice in Wonderland cake with a sugar Chesire Cat.

Who is the baddest of the bad asses?  My dad.  He harvested 37 feral hogs earlier this year in a single week.  At 81 years old, still Fearless and a dead eye (fruit not far from tree), he cleaned and donated to the needy local Native American population.
dadhogs
These aren’t your typical baby back ribs baby.  These feral hogs are a great nuisance, wreaking havoc on crops and small animals.  Mean son of a guns, but no match for the old man.

Tonight’s Wednesday Night Track Work is canceled due to the heat.

Braver Newer World lyrics:

Tell me now that you know how
To greet the dawn each day.
Fearless and unfettered, stand
Before the sun and pray.

There’s no controversy
Let silence judge your plea
For justice or for mercy.
They both will set you free.

It’s a braver, newer world you’ve found,
Rolling ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round
It’s a braver, newer world you’ve found.
Show me know that you know how
To play the winning game.
Laughing ’til the sky stands still
With neither praise nor blame.
There’s still time for heaven,
Though we’re already there.
The daily bread will leaven
All hope, all pain, all care.

It’s a braver, newer world you’ve found,
Rolling ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round.
It’s a braver, newer world you’ve found.

Teach me now that you know how
To learn the learner’s art.
Open with the master’s myth
And play with all your heart.
Listen to your singing,
Love will be your voice.
The gift that you are bringing
Is all for all, your choice.

It’s a braver, newer world you’ve found,
Rolling ’round and ’round and ’round and ’round.
It’s a braver, newer world you’ve found.

 

BRAVE NEW WORLD

One of the first philosophical reads of my early life.  Aldous Huxley’s 1931 glimpse of a “perfect” society.  He and Orwell were influential in forming my views on government and society in general.  Both have been heralded as prophets of sorts due to their prediction of today’s social climate and conditions.

brave-new-world1
I
‘ll never be one to lock step with the rest of society.   I’ve got a good woman now that feels the same, life is much easier and better on our secluded little slice.

bnw2

Ditto heads.  Anonymous, willingly absorbed into a fabric that does nothing for them other than provide an occasional, artificial feel good moment.  Where everyone is “awesome” just for being a stitch in the standard pattern.

I see a lot of this today.  And run from it.  And when I run, I don’t see anyone.  Don’t need to be seen or congratulated, after all, running is a Solitary sport after all.  Those that are in it for social acceptance and constant praise, well, you know where to go for that.  It ain’t here.

Thanks to Andrew Jacob for sending me the link to the Midnight Madness results.
http://fitnesssports.com/july_races/Madness/13/10K%20overall.html
Team Iowa Run Ablaze getting it handed to them by a bunch of “C” level Kenyans out of Coon Rapids, MN.  Lincoln Running Co. Racing Team right behind them and Team Nebraska next.

1. Duma Runners
    2    1 M25  David Rutoh, 27, Coon Rapids, MN           30:33    4:55
    5    2 M25  Richard Kandie, 28, Coon Rapids, MN        31:16    5:02
    6    1 M20  Edwin Some, 21, Coon Rapids, MN            31:42    5:06
    7    3 M25  Festus Kigen, 27, Coon Rapids, MN          32:35    5:15
   24    1 JrW  Cynthia Jerop, 14*, Coon Rapids, MN        36:30    5:52
Total Time = 1:33:31     Total Places = 13

2. Runablaze Iowa
    8    2 M20  Mason Frank, 24, Ames, IA                  32:39    5:15
   11    4 M20  Luke Demmel, 23, Ames, IA                  33:24    5:22
   12    5 M20  Chris Robertson, 21, Iowa City, IA         33:26    5:23
Total Time = 1:39:29     Total Places = 31

3. Lincoln Running Co
    9    4 M25  Neil Wolford, 25, Hastings, NE             32:55    5:18
   10    3 M20  Michael Rathje, 23, Lincoln, NE            32:57    5:18
   14    5 M25  Andrew Jacob, 26, Lincoln, NE              33:40    5:25
   16    7 M25  Eric Noel, 25, Linolcn, NE                 33:54    5:27
   20    9 M20  Cole Marolf, 23, Holland, NE               34:52    5:37
   28    2 W20  Hanna Kiberg, 22*, Walton, NE              38:07    6:08
   29    2 W25  Nora Youngs, 25*, Lincoln, NE              41:03    6:36
Total Time = 1:39:32     Total Places = 33

4. Team Nebraska
   13    6 M20  Colin Morrissey, 23, Omaha, NE             33:34    5:24
   15    6 M25  Matt Heesch, 25, Omaha, NE                 33:46    5:26
   18    8 M25  David Bohlken, 27, Omaha, NE               34:02    5:28
   23    9 M25  Cory Logsden, 25, Omaha, NE                35:23    5:42
Total Time = 1:41:22     Total Places = 46

5. Isu Run Club
   17    7 M20  Danny Ducharme, 22, Pella, IA              33:57    5:28
   19    8 M20  Daniel Sevcik, 23, Cedar Falls, IA         34:42    5:35
   21    1 M15  John Paul Sevcik, 19, Cedar Falls, IA      34:56    5:37
   22   10 M20  Kevin DiVerde, 21, Batavia, IL             35:09    5:39
   36    3 W20  Meredith Anderson, 20*, Ames, IA           44:32    7:10
Total Time = 1:43:35     Total Places = 57