Monthly Archives: December 2013


With apologies to Phillips, Craig, and Dean.  From the Disney Classic “The Jungle Book”, sung to the tune of “I Want To Be Like You”.  Enjoy, Happy New Year, hope to see you all at tomorrow’s Hair of the Dog Run/Walk.  Warm your hearts by helping our fundraiser for the Food Bank of the Heartland.



Now I’m the king of the joggers
Oh, the penguin VIP
I’ve reached the top but had to stop
And that’s what botherin me
I wanna be a guru too
And start races round town
And be just like other runners
I’m tired of penguining around

Oh, oobee doo
I wanna be a guru too
I wanna run like you
Write like you, too
You’ll see it’s true
A Penguin like me
Can learn to be a guru too

Now here’s your part of the deal, cuz
Lay the Guru Real on me

Now don’t try to race me, guru
I made a deal with you
What I desire is your guru fire
To make me run like you
Give me the secret, guru
Clue me what to do
Give me the stride
That will give me pride
So I can be a guru too

I wanna be a guru too
Have fast friends like you
Have a club like you, too
You’ll see it’s true
A penguin like me
Can learn to be
A penguin like me
Can learn to be
A guru like you
Can learn to be
A penguin like me!


Starting off this chilly Monday with a warmer heart.  Big thanks to Lucky and Mandy Sue for inviting Linda and me to services yesterday morning.  I’ve been to a lot of churches in my life.  Including the Southeast Church of Christ in Houston where they baptized this little devil back in 1981.  A negotiated term with parents of the young lady I was dating at the time.  Wrong reason but I’m hoping it still counts.

When we walked in there was no lightning bolt to strike me down as many of you might expect and couple of you might hope.  Instead, I turned to hold the door for the next person and was greeted by smile and salutation of one of the truly nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of advocating for.   And one of the greatest stories in the annals of Team Nebraska, I share it briefly here so that this significant piece of history is not forgotten.

Mike Beattie won the community division of the 2008 Omaha Mile (4:30).  Approached me and was approved as a mate.

Between October ’08 and July of 2009 Mike worked harder than all but a few athletes I’ve ever worked with.  Trained with Shannon Stenger, Dustin Llewellyn, Peter van der WesthuizenMatt Pohren, and Paul Wilson.  Raced often.  With the goal of achieving the 1:59:00 necessary to qualify for USA Club Champs in NYC.  His initial effort was ~2:08, that’s huge improvement in a half mile.  At age 30 he would need to achieve  his lifetime collegiate personal best to hit that 1:59.

The ticks and tocks kept falling.  Slowly, incrementally, edging first toward 2:00, finally achieving that.  And then the 1:59 came, I believe at the Team Nebraska Last Chance Qualifier Twilight Meet hosted by Paul at Northwest H.S.  Yep, we used to put on meets for the mates as part of the rigorous demands of excellence.

Mike punched his ticket to NYC!  There he won his heat of the 800 in a lifetime best of 1:56.68, good enough for 9th overall.  How strong was the club back then?  Very.  Nick Suing finished 4th in 1:52.75 and Evan Knight (Abbie’s brother) 6th in 1:54.29.  The Good Mates would finish 4th Overall in the Men’s Team Competition.  That strong.

All of this came rushing back yesterday morning.  He and wife Joy also have a new addition, little Joshua is but 8 months old and as cute as a bug in a rug.  Joy too has a piece of fabric in the Team Nebraska quilt.  She traveled to NYC with the mates and produced a documentary of the weekend.  I’ve shown it a few times over the years, am holding it now and remembering, remembering a period of greatness in Nebraska athletics.  And hoping for its return in 2014.


Mike’s last chance.  Runners to your marks!  Evan Knight yawning, Matty P, and Mike.




Success!  Hard fought and hard earned!


Shannon Stenger also hit his 1500 meter qualifier that evening.


We even let an old hippy hop in.


I’m going to thank each and every one of you for all the Good Clean Living you did this past year.  What else can explain mid 50s at the end of December?  My 10K tempo run yesterday was faster than last Saturday’s race.  But only by a couple of ticks.  Spot on.  Gentle, measured improvement over time.  Short term and long term goals in place with a program to achieve them as the body develops the fitness and tolerance to increasingly difficult training and racing.

One of the Very Best books any coach worth his salt possesses is BETTER TRAINING FOR DISTANCE RUNNERS, 1991, by David E. Martin, PhD and Peter Coe.  My old buddy “Dr. Dave” is widely recognized as the pre-eminent authority in the world.  Another is RUNNING FREE, 1981, by Sebastian Coe and David Miller.  Both books detail the Gentle Progression that brought Coe four Olympic Medals including two Golds in the 1500 meters (1980, 1984).  Great analysis of the Coe/Ovett rivalry are quite the bonus.  You whippersnappers break out your google and be amazed.

This is salient this morning because the topic of development was high on the list of talks at the Jingle Bell Run.  Three Very Good runners were in the discussion and I give them credit for understanding the above training premise.  Matt Pohren was there, nice of him to make a stop in to catch up.  He is still recovering from his September knee surgery and hasn’t run a step since.  He is doing it the Right Way and will be back stronger than ever.  Colin Morrissey was there.  Young man with so much potential if handled correctly.  Reno Law was there.  Still a student at Millard South.  Still so much to learn, he’s in good hands with Dustin Llewellyn.

Our conversation addressed the scourge and bane of development.  Exploitation of talent at a young age, almost always leading to injury or burnout or both.  Encouraging pre and early teens to amass incredible mileage.  If you try and convince me, or anyone else with a lick of sense, that telling a grade schooler or even a freshman to run 90 miles a week is a good idea I’ll declare you a terrible influence and worse coach.  I”m not pulling that out of my hat (or anywhere else!), its a Real problem.  Again, I’ll refer you to Better Training for Distance Runners on how to handle wunderkinds with their best interest at heart.  Ask the Real Experts.

Not just the youngsters though.  Stacy Mangers has resumed training this week.  Stacy is one of the best masters runners in Nebraska.  My charge is to bring her back to that talent level after nearly 3 months of no running.  Slowly.  Gently.  Intelligently.  And Clean, no shortcuts allowed.

Celebrity beers.  Laura Dern and Mel Gibson joined Linda and I at the Upstream last night.


Seb would get 2 Golds in the 1500.   Steve Ovett would defeat Seb over 800 meters for the Gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics.  Ovett would also set 4 World Records for 1500 and the Mile.  Point of all this is that Peter Coe had a well scripted, years long progression, with Olympic Gold as the ultimate goal.




I’ve never been real big on giving, or receiving gifts, the product of a lower middle class upbringing and austerity as an adult.  Those of you that reached out personally yesterday gave me the best gift I could have hoped for.  Your few words made my Christmas.  Thank you.  I especially want to thank Gary Dougherty for the nice words, the best presents are often the most unexpected.

Hope you all are continuing to enjoy the holiday break.  And able to take a moment from the festivities and get your runs on.  Yesterday I reconnected with the Good Mother.  Spent a couple of hours running trails, She so forgiving and calming.  Lost track of miles and time but counted plenty of empty bird nests and rabbit tracks and deer stands.  Bumped shoulders with the Platte River, hurdled felled trees, dodged scat, admired the juxtaposition of sunlight and pregnant, dark clouds, celebrated the starkness of Winter and Silence.

Lost a hen but gained a dog.  Blackie succumbed to internal injuries (brief bout with Jed) leaving us with just Fuzzy in the  chicken coop.  And he being a cock most likely isn’t long outside the stock pot.  I haven’t butchered a chicken in over 40 years but I’ve got my razor strap and blade singing this morning.  Savannah Jane Weeks (Savvy J) has joined Jedediah as a Bar None Protectorate.  Jed’s little (he’s 110 pounds, she 45) sister, both were claimed the same day from the Pawliday Inn Kennel in Hastings last April.  They are rejoined and jubilant.

Kyle Clouston is darned serious about the USA 100 Mile Trail Champs in February.  How about a little 50 mile training run on Christmas Eve?  Kyle’s NRGE mate Jerrod Anzalone will be traveling to Rocky Raccoon and pacing him the last 50 miles.  Both have been amassing copious mileage.

My Dear Aunt Sally.  Or, “I’ll never have to use it so why bother.”  Linda was quizzing me during our drive back from South Omaha last night.  Giving me 8th grade algebra problems as I concentrated on traffic and the Dodge Expressway.  I aced it.  Mental gymnastics, just as important as Cardio when you get into your fifties.



This Vermont Bun Baker Wood Stove is on my list for next year.  I promise to be a good boy in 2014.





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Thanks to the brave souls that made it out in the frigid temps yesterday to support our Open Door Mission Jingle Bell Run/Walk.    Whether you ran or walked or simply dropped off your donation we hope you received a little something extra in your stockings this morning.


With apologies to John Fredrick Coots and his classic “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”
Justin Bieber full video song Santa Claus Is Coming To Town


You’d better run hard, you’d better really try
You’d better not stop, I’m telling you why
Run Guru is coming to town

He’s making a club, more than twice
He’s coming for you whether naughty or nice
Run Guru is coming to town
Run Guru is coming to town

He sees you when you’re training
He knows if you are Real
He knows if you are true or fake
So you better be Real for Racing Sake
You better be Real for Racing Sake

You’d better run hard, you better not cry
You’d better not quit, you better really try
Run Guru is coming to town
Run Guru is coming to town
Run Guru is coming to town

Merry Christmas to one and all!





First things first.  Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow at noon at the Zorinsky boat ramps for the 4th annual Jingle Bell Run.   Our fundraiser for the Open Door Mission is especially close to my heart.    $5 and a new or gently used donation of gloves, hats, blankets, jackets, etc.  And please do go ahead and mark your calendar for January 1st at 10:00 a.m., same Zorinsky boat ramps,  for the Hair of the Dog Run.  Also the 4th annual and our fundraiser for the Food Bank of the Heartland.  $5 and non perishable food item donation.

Watershed week.  The last seven days has seen my return to  Real training.  Two long runs, a workout, and a race on Saturday.  I can put as much lipstick on that pig as I want but my 49:00 10K was ugly.   And painful.  Dry retching at the finish painful.  And filled with elation that I was able to get myself to that point.  Realizing at 3 miles that I needed to push much closer to redline effort in order to achieve the benefit I sought.  Getting there and then holding.  Onset of queasiness letting me know that I’d hit that sweet spot of suffering I would hold for the next 25 minutes.  Fabricating phantom footsteps to keep my focus razor sharp.  Not a single runner either, rather a fast duo on my heels.  Me pulling, them pushing, then a quick glance at the final turn, hoping for mortal instead of etheral, just my imagination.  Running away with me.

The race turned out to be a debut of sorts for the NRGE men’s team.  Jerrod Anzalone (aka moxie) had set his sights on 35 flat, 36:00 took the win for him, good effort considering the 15 degree temps.  Kyle Clouston had to make up ground on Mike Wasson and Walter Key after the turnaround.  And he did, Walter would catch Mike giving NRGE a 1-2-3 sweep in the low key, non certified event.

Make that 4.  I was introduced to Mike post race and as it turns out we share some Very Good Friends (Roger Soler, Raindy Reina) down in Texas.  After discussing competitive philosophies and shared backgrounds it was an instant match.  And with that we welcome Mike as our newest mate.  Mike is 48 years old and his resume guarantees some exciting masters races this coming year.  I’m very impressed by his 2:39 marathon at age 46.  And his range is remarkable.

– High school cross country champion
– Still hold my high school records for 1600m/3200m
– 3 time Sunshine State Conference champion while running at Univ of Tampa
– Member of Air Force XC team since 1999
– Member of Air Force Marathon team several times from 2001-2012
– A few PRs
— 5K: 14:56
— 10K: 31:25
— 21K: 69:09
— 42K: 2:39:09 (at age 46)
— 50m: 7:06
“I still race any distance from 5K to 50M, but especially love cross country and trail running.  For 2014, I’m currently training for USATF Winter XC Nationals in Boulder on Feb 15 and will run the Ice Age 50m in Wisconsin in May”

Described as ” by far the most fit senior officer in the United States Air Force”, Mike is a Colonel with expertise in space operations.  A Real High Flyer, “Deputy Director of the Joint Space Operations Center which provides Space Situational Awareness and command and control for 60 joint space units to deliver global and theater space effects to users worldwide.”  Crazy stuff man!

Excellence. Excellent!  Welcome to Nebraska Run Guru Elite Mike!!

That’s Mike in the blue at the USA Cross Country Open National Championships.  More information on Mike in this interview:


Here’s what I’m hoping all you little rascals get in your stockings:

Kyle Clouston– A sub 24 hour 100 Mile and the belt buckle that goes with it at the Rocky Raccoon in February, the USA 100 Mile Trail Championships.

Kaci Lickteig– The win at Rocky Raccoon and the National Champion title she is capable of.

Stacy Mangers, Roxi Erickson, and Linda Kunasek– An injury free year and some head to head competition with the rest of the best and best of the rest.

Ivan Marsh– The Ivan Marsh Trek up the Tower Award.  Overall winner’s trophy named in honor of his years long undefeated streak.

Agustin Delgado– The marathon personal best I know he is capable of.

Dordio–  2014 Merriam Webster Compendius Dictionary of the English Language.

Cameron Cummings– The win at 2014 Lincoln Marathon.

Luka Thor– A bed.  A day job.  His Nursing Degree.  A Real Marathon.

Lindsey Brezenski– The 2036 Olympic Marathon Champion.

Matt Schneider– Dinner with Ryan Hall and Phil Robertson.

Pete Kostelnick– Endurance, say what?

Ashley Miller– All of Suzanne Weeder Einspahr’s Team Nebraska records.

James McGown– New Nebraska State Masters records for every distance he races.

Michael Rathje– The support of all of us.  A Spring and Fall Series replete with competitive opportunities across all disciplines and distances.  And prize money, lots and lots of prize money.  An LDR Awards night next fall recognizing the top individuals and clubs in our association.

Omaha Running Community– A flat, fast, closed course, prize money laden, USATF Certified Marathon with Real Competition.  Security cameras finally installed at Lake Zorinsky.

Nebraska Running Community– Fewer Mud Runs, Rad Runs, Color Runs,  Foam Runs, Glow Runs, Warrior Dashes, Obstacle Clashes, Mary Thons, and every other bastardization of our sport.

Lincoln Half and Full Marathon– New Event records for open and masters men and women!

Nebraska Run Guru Elite–   Difficult, challenging, and arduous training and racing resulting in an equally rewarding year of accomplishments.  You want easy?  It ain’t here dear.




















Some highlights from the past 343 days.  Some personal, most running related.

Emancipation.  Finished a 21 year chapter in my life.
Linda’s Broken Foot.  We learned so much about each other.
Final Nail.  Thanks, I’ll never, ever work for anyone else again in my life.  Or change.
Free Speech.  Unifying and/or divisive.  First Amendment.
Revolution.  Tricky Tim.  Sign here.  And  here.

Too cold.

Lake Zorinsky Security Camera Challenge.  A process still in the works.
Year Six.  Of our Wednesday Night Track Work.   I enjoy this year the most.

Jedediah Strong Kunasek.  My first dog in 30 years becomes faithful companion and protector.
Boston Marathon.  Number one news story of the year for runners.
Jason Collins coming out as the first openly gay professional athlete.  Zealots cringe everywhere.
Ouch.  Lincoln Running Co. Racing Team bests Team Nebraska at Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago, our USA Club National Championships.

Against all odds.  Linda and I buy a farm and start the rest of our lives together.
Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  NRGE makes its debut,  we are coming to get you.
Camille Herron.  I bring in my buddy to win the Lincoln Marathon.  Barely.

Whirlwind.  Linda and I drive through a tornado in Lawton, OK.
Second Verse.  LRC Racing takes the measure of Team Nebraska at Hospital Hill Team Challenge.

Lonesome Dove.  Matty P. moves to New York.  I miss his well thought out and peaceful ways.
Longest Yard.  Pete Kostelnick runs RAGBRAI.
Hat Trick.  LRC Racing defeats Team Nebraska at Midnight Madness Team Challenge.
Entitled.  I don the Team Nebraska singlet for the final RUN FOR JUSTIN.   Dan and Marti always insisted that Justin would have loved to run for me.  This final time, I ran for him.
Solo Dos.  Only two athletes from the Great State of Nebraska compete in NYC at the USA Club T&F National Championships.  I’m saddened.

Sharing.  I begin cataloging and describing my vast running memorabilia collection.
Baking.  My dear sweet Allison graduates from the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute 10 days before her 19th birthday.  Takes job as Denver Bronco’s Pastry & Baking Chef.  None of it fits on a bumper sticker.

That’s me.  Self described on Sept. 17 as “A Herald, a Promoter, a Coach, a Critic, a Poet, a Seer, an Athlete, an Administrator, an Author, an Educator, an Historian.”
Michael Rathje.  The new USATF Nebraska LDR Chair.  I’m excited that a young and positive and energetic athlete has stepped up.  I have always been and remain an open book and offer myself to Michael as he deems necessary.

Oopsie!    The marathon that should never have been run.
Embrace.  I host the Bar None Beer Mile and learn to appreciate novelty events.

Clean Sweep.  LRC Racing takes Nebraska bragging rights at Living History Farms team competition.  2013  Scoreboard: LRC 4, Team Nebraska 0.   If the mantle hasn’t passed its getting damn close.

Home Alone.  I don’t attend the USATF annual meeting for only the 2nd time in 12 years.
Home Alone 2.  I don’t attend the USA Club Cross Country Championships.

2013 has been the most remarkable year of my life.   The saddest and happiest.  The most disappointing and most thrilling.   The greatest defeats and victories.

The greatest love most of all.   Love born from all that preceeded it, built simply on that which came before.   The absolute opposite of love at first sight.  Growing towards a common path over years and years, like vines pursuing light and life.   Arriving without knowing we’d been going, our intersection now blossoming sweet and succulent and full of Real Love.  Solidly rooted in mutual respect, shared vision, joyous labor, spontaneous humor, intelligent conversation, empathetic listening, and unbridled passion.

2014 will only be better.