Monthly Archives: February 2014

FOOTNOTE FRIDAY

Feliz Viernes!

Starting off with a quote I lifted just now from Amy Yoder Begley’s facebook post: “EXCELLENCE is the result of caring more than others think is wise, working more than others think is practical, expecting more than others think is attainable & achieving more than others think is possible”.  Bingo.  As an Olympian Amy knows how to throw it down.

Yeah, yeah Will tell us again about when you and Amy made the Yokohama Ekiden trip together.  Nah.

I will however run with her EXCELLENCE theme today.  I quoted Percy Cerutty last week, what he described as necessary, especially for the young.  What was #5 on his list would have been #1 on mine.  “To conquer, to overcome, to be able to demonstrate these abilities.”

That’s your ticket to EXCELLENCE see?  It’s about waking up every day intent on meeting the challenges with confidence and an attitude of expected success.    And every day is a Challenge or you’re not Really living.  Not enjoying the Excellent life.  As it was meant and should be lived.

What windmills?  Where to tilt?  When you reach high and grab the day with both hands, steering the currents instead of merely riding them, you establish momentum that guarantees success.  Setting the course, bearing down when necessary, always a firm hand on the helm of your moments.

I can’t attest but I think this would be a good way to approach any Real job.

But I do know how it relates to running.  How every run on every day, for me, is about conquering and overcoming.  Overcoming my past because it is never vanquished.  Conquering my future.  Favoring hope over doubt, optimism a key to confidence.

So today I challenge you all to Reach Up.  Grab something that makes your senses tingle with EXCELLENCE.  Really Live.

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In 2004 I had a team of 7 of the best half marathoners in Nebraska signed up for the USA Half Marathon Club Championships.  It ended up with only 3 completing the race, Nick Rector, Mike Morgan, and myself.  We won.  It was the first USA Club Championship title for a male team from Nebraska.  And my first national championship at age 46.  Was it fate that had me pack my racing flats?  Nope, just me looking to catch on to a Very Talented tailwind.

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In 2008 I won the 50-54 title at the Fifth Third River Bank Run 25K.  Maybe my favorite race in the entire U.S. in Grand Rapids, MI every May.    Was it luck I was the first finisher with a USATF membership?  Nope, it was me dreaming and believing and achieving my second national championship, and I’m not done yet. Setting my own standards of EXCELLENCE!

 

ENLIGHTENMENT

I’ll admit to taking the twists and turns at USATF especially hard.  It might be difficult for some to understand the depth of my ponderings, but as a volunteer within the organization for the last 18 years I am invested.  And as dark as some of my words have been recently, I do still believe there is good to come.

Buoyed by words from one of the top running administrators in the United States.

No, not Peg.

Linda and I met with Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick last night.  It was great to catch up with one of my oldest colleagues, we came into USATF together back in ’96.  Me a raw and passionate man, she quite polished and calm, worked with and for each other for well over a decade, we have stories out the wazoo.  Kim was elected as  Women’s Long Distance Running Chair  in 2012 and is doing good things as always.  Linda as Athlete Development Chair is one of her direct reports.  When the invitation to join her last night came we couldn’t say no.  A chance to sit down and discuss the past, the present, and the future of Long Distance Running in the U.S., in Nebraska, even in Omaha.  Me now only a little less raw and just as passionate, she still as polished as can be.

I came away with a better appreciation of why the US Olympic Trials Marathon wound up in Los Angeles instead of my favored Houston.  Came away too with an ameliorated position on the ever passionate Al Salazar’s antics from this past weekend.

We also watched the Creighton Women beat the Seton Hall Pirates 70-50.  Kim is the Senior Associate Athletic Director at the Hall.  Oversees women’s volleyball, basketball, cross country, and soccer.  Joining us were two locals that are proud and supportive Seton Hall alumni.  Ed and Elaine Pohren (yes, Matty P’s folks) both graduated from Seton Hall.  So did Matt’s youngest sister.  One of the finest family’s in Omaha if you ask me.

Circles, I like Circles.  And old friends.

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SCOUNDREL

Today’s column is presented as a public service announcement to anyone that is considering running the Council Bluffs Half Marathon tentatively scheduled for October 5th.  I went to the original presentation introducing the event to the area and was not impressed.  Agreed to ride the lead bike the next year and saw first hand what a fiasco it was from a management perspective.  Extremely hot day, people passing out, no medical services (“we’re using 911”), no water at the finish line, etc.

If you are or were planning on running this event, or were burned by D.R. previously, you must read the following article that appears in OUTSIDE Magazine.  “The Shadiest Man in the Racing Biz”  It is a bit lengthy by necessity but illustrates what a bad product, on so many levels, this scoundrel is attempting to foist on our running community.

And my recap from insider info provided by my local and impeccable source:
First year timed by Steve Kurtenbach out of Sioux Falls.  Second year timed by Alan Higley.  Third year timed by John Snitko out of Mason City (PigManTri) and 4th timed by Red Dirt Running Co.  The fifth year (2013) the event was moved to Lake Manawa (home of Mick Freeman’s Series) and no one would even rent him a clock.

http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-adventure/running/The-Shadiest-Man-in-the-Racing-Biz-Dean-Reinke.html

BUYER BEWARE!  Last year’s banner to give you a heads up on what to look for.

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ALL OR NOTHING

This episode (or episodes, depends on how deep into the manure you want to jump) from the USA Indoor National Championships is sending turbulence from Albuquerque all the way to Indianapolis and beyond.  USATF reinstated Double G, bowing to unprecedented pressure.  And only look all the more foolish for not doing the Right Thing immediately.  My new favorite facebook page: “Im tired of USATF and IAAF crippling our sport” at https://www.facebook.com/groups/162889787132224/

I “complained” last week about a lack of transparency in our own association, the fall xc championships being awarded without notification or bid process to the membership or potential race directors.  I’m cool for now with how things transpired even if the shady nature leaves a foul tinge.  If it really is best for the athletes.  Only time will tell and I’m practicing patience this year.  Not one of my strongest suits.

I can’t stay in an insulated bubble of apathy, easy,  lazy way.  Buddha knows there are enough people to stand idly by, I hear Rome is burning, oh my.  Someone has to be that lightning to flash brilliance on the lethargic, reluctant and unconcerned.  Illumination with a few singes as tribute.  I’ve taken that position and ran with it for the last 30 years.

I had it all with Team Nebraska.

And then I really had enough.    The attorneys, the posers, the ungrateful, yeah, I had enough of those.  My heart always was and always will be with the Real athletes.  If you ran for me, Really ran for me, I was always there for you.  If you were there for yourself, for the esteem and respect bestowed by the kit, without feeling compelled to contribute everything and more in return, smiling sycophants, well it was my fault for putting you on the club.  Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

I have nothing with Nebraska Run Guru Elite.

I did bring the FIVE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS to the NRGE leadership though.  These have been turned over to Kyle and Pete and Jerrod, these young lads that choose to Really run for me. You can’t imagine what an honor it is for me to have these and the rest of the NRGE cats have my name on their kits.
Thing one:   Always and without exception or excuse  be proud to wear your uniform.
Thing two:  Be In It To Win It.  We are a competitive club first, last, and always.
Thing three:  Be courteous and social when necessary but be yourself first and foremost.
Thing four:  Be cognizant and respectful towards the history of our sport.
Thing five: Damn the apathy!  We’re not here to make you comfortable or in any other way for your convenience, rather to wake your inner competitiveness, if you have any.  If so, bring it on, if not, get the hell out of the way.

I went from having it all (West O is Best O) to having nothing O.  Linda’s  window was dressed better than mine but was still a facade.  She, like me, could no longer square her heart to her situation.  She too realized nothing is sometimes better than everything.  Funny thing along the way is that we’ve found nothing is far better than everything.  1250 square feet instead of 3500.   King sized bed replaced with a full.  Imaginative leftovers instead of king crab.  Friday night at the Waterloo VFD fundraiser instead of V Mertz the highlight of our social calendar.  Budgeting for groceries and utilities and daily necessities.   Scrimping and saving for the unexpected, at least for now.  Worrying about health care.  Planning for as high a degree of self sufficiency as we can.  As a bonus, finding out who our Real Friends were all along.  As well as those now absent, that pretended for their own agendas- that lesson alone priceless, something about good and bad and riddance and rubbish.

And caring not.  For there is love like we’ve never had.  Nothing far better than everything? See us smile, ask us how and why.

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CRUMBLING DOWN

Not too much of a stretch for me to say that I’ve had more experience with USATF than anyone in Nebraska, excepting of course the youth program administrators.

It is with that background that I declare the national governing body is at an all time low.

First the athletes votes and wishes from the annual meetings are over turned by the national office, awarding the Olympic Marathon Trials to Los Angeles instead of the athlete approved Houston.

And now an even more egregious debacle.  First off, how many of you even knew the USA Indoor National Championships were this past weekend?  Not many, not many.  For those of us that did follow the meet it represents perhaps the lowest point I’ve seen in 30 years.  NIKE demonstrated exactly how much control it has over USATF by circumventing all protocols and ultimately having the winner of the women’s 3000 disqualified so that a NIKE athlete received a spot on the World Indoor Champs team.  I’ve watched the video a dozen times and see no reason at all for the DQ.  Head over to Letsrun.com for a more thorough explanation.   Sickening.

I’m one step closer to hanging my USATF spikes up, but not just quite yet.  Still need to keep an eye on what’s shaking locally, how those that follow me interpret and implement the program I struggled mightily for over a decade to build.   Sadly, it gets harder to care all the time.  How may tolls (and trolls) of the ding dong bells must I hear?  How many smirks from how many jerks?  A few more at least it seems.

Congratulations to our NRGE mates that competed at No Frills this weekend.  Mike Wasson showed he is not just another pretty face by kicking everyone’s age graded behind to keep his series lead.   La Lengua crowing about nipping him at the line shows how much pride there is in taking down an NRGE mate, even one 48 years old.   Stacy Mangers doesn’t duck anyone, doesn’t mind getting her lumps, and really enjoys winning, which she handily did.  Walter Key and Jerrod Anzalone also laced and raced well.

They and the rest of the NRGE mates keep it worth it.

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COUPLE OF MINUTES

The Road Goes On Forever, And the Party Never Ends!   I’m paying closer attention to the sign posts this time around however.

I learned a lot my first dozen years in Omaha.  The most important lesson is documentation.  If you don’t have a hard copy its difficult to recall exactly what is said.  Minute taking is a thankless task but necessary, especially in the context of a formal arena such as our USATF Nebraska Association meetings.

So what to do when it is publicly insinuated that meeting minutes don’t reflect exactly the proceedings.  Shake your head and consider the source.  The Road Goes On Forever, The Party Never Ends.

Ivan Marsh’s road will be going straight up tomorrow as he looks (yawn) to defend his Trek Up The Tower crown.  He’s a Sure Thing if there ever was one.

More than a few people will also be at the 4th No Frills 5 Mile in Plattsmouth.  Racing, gotta love it.

Had the pleasure this week of hearing from Nebraska’s Original Alpha, Tim Dooling.  El Hombre con huevos mas grande de todos.

The Sochi Winter Olympics are dwindling down to the last competitions, its been great viewing.  Today’s featured memorabilia:

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This pin was issued for the 1940 Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.  Three months after the Olympics were awarded Hitler invaded Poland and the games were canceled.  Forever dubbed “The Games That Never Were.”  Rare pin with an unfortunate historical twist.

 

ATHLETICS

I admit and revel in being 56.  None of this crap of heading out for botox or lipo or whitening or darkening or highlighting or enhancing or augmenting or vanity surgeries or implants.

Quite pleased with my balding, smiling countenance replete with slightly askance dentins.  Comfortable in my skin.

And why?  Athletics.  According to Percy Cerutty, “The term ‘athleticism’ does not merely imply running and field games, not at all.  It means, to me, all activities that are based in sweat and effort–and are something added to our normal, ordinary way of life.”

It escapes me as to why you can go to Life Time Fitness for injections.  And your mani and pedi.  And your coiffing.  Every superficial accoutrement you can buy, available at a “gym”.   In all fairness Life Time does brand itself as a Health & Beauty purveyor, maybe my antiquated notions about sweat not jiving with superficiality are just plain outdated.  Oh well.

More from Percy; “The fit, the truly strong, active, positive men who are athletes do not feel the need, the many supports and ramifications, that the weakly feel they must bolster themselves up with.  The strong and fit do not fear the other man, the other country, their competitor, as do the weakly.”

It is choosing to scoop the drive instead of snow blow.  It is parking at the end of the lot to get those extra breaths of fresh air before entering the store.  It is any form of labor that prefers the manual over the mechanical.  It is accepting challenges instead of easy ways out.  It is confronting failure when easy is the other option.  It is Outside instead of Inside.  It is standing alone against a tide of media and fools that insist on the absolute necessity of artificiality for approval.

And more Percy:
“What is valuable to the young especially?  I shall list them:
1. Knowing they are adult:  feeling they are–men.
2. Enjoying the respect of those around them, especially those above them in age and/or position.
3. The ability to carve their own careers: make their own way: seize what they feel they are reasonably entitled to.
4. To feel strong, muscularly, and to be able to act as strong men.
5. To conquer, to overcome, to be able to demonstrate these abilities.
6. To rise up to positions of self-satisfaction, to be ‘champions’ in something, even if only just one thing.
7. To believe and know they can wrest a livelihood for themselves and those dependent upon them by their own two hands alone, if necessary.”

And further,

“One does not have to set world records to know and feel what I have listed.  But it is important that you have lived and strived, trained and disciplined yourself as if you had set world records.  The setting of the record, or any record, even a personal one–is of no real consequence, except as evidence of something.  That something is the knowledge of accomplishment: of power within us: of a job well done.  I believe: that in the future it will be recognized that we can have no true spiritual or mental values without the results accruing to the personality from well-balanced fitness and athleticism in some form.”

“That no true aesthetic values can be arrived at, or appreciated, without the fitness and attitudes of the intellectually developed athlete.”

Well said Percy Cerutty.  Today’s quotes are from “ATHLETICS”, How To Become a Champion, A discursive textbook.  By Percy Wells Cerutty, published by The Sportsmans Book Club, 1961, London.

So while y’all are getting your hair did or nails done or eyebrows tweezed or tanned or otherwise gussied up to get comfortable with yourselves,  I’ll go hit a few miles in this driving snowstorm.

Dig your original skin.  Keep it Real.

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I’m just as real now as I was back in 1986.  Pictured here on my way to a 2nd overall at the Galveston Marathon in 2:56:56.  I’ve still got the Nike American Eagles shown in the picture,  4.5 ounces off classic cool.

 

PACK RUNNING

Continuing with yesterday’s theme of Alpha.  The term has a somewhat negative connotation, given that it delineates the mere from the more.  But only for the meres.  The mores are just fine.  And there are more mores than ever before.

One of the key personality traits that is being implemented whilst crafting Nebraska Run Guru Elite is Alpha-ism.   I am eminently qualified to speak on the psychological make up of athletes.  Thirty plus years of delving into the weak and strong alike have given me the perspective necessary to speak with authority.

It might be hard to understand the subtleties of Alpha.  Even some Alphas don’t recognize it within themselves; a perfect blank slate for me.  We  have a young lady on the team that is in the top two nicest people I’ve ever met.  She would never guess she is an Alpha, only enters into that state between gun and tape, and right back to sincere sweetness post race.  But Tammy Consbruck‘s got it, don’t doubt it for a minute.

Pete Kostelnick?  Alpha.  Kyle Clouston?  Alpha.  Cameron Cummings?  Alpha.  Walter Key?  Alpha.  Stacy Mangers?  Alpha.  James McGown?  Alpha.  Mike Wasson?  Alpha.  Lindsey Brezenski?  Alpha.  Linda Kunasek?  Alpha.  Agustin Delgado?  Alpha.  Jerrod Anzalone?  Alpha.

Who else is strong and secure enough to run with this pack of Alphas?

NRGE is proud to announce today the addition of  Jeremy Morris, Alpha.  If we weren’t already the strongest Trail and Ultra club in Nebraska we are now.

And one Alpha to lead them all.

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ALPHA

You know what comes after Alpha.  Everything else.  Having this big old hound dog has given me a truer understanding of pack mentality.  When we moved in at the Bar None we were warned about several “free running” dogs, including Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Mastiffs, and Catahoulas.  The supposed Big Dogs with a history of roguish behavior.  Jedediah could care less about their breed or reputations.  He walks with held head high, amused or at least disinterested instead of afraid.  And the rest of the curs have picked up on his superiority, based solely on posture and demeanor, and grudgingly ceded their thrones.

If it only worked that easily in the humansphere.  The mongrels among us have opposable thumbs and mouths that speak.  One of the ways to identify an Alpha is by the amount of growling and barking dished in their direction.  And almost always when the Alpha is otherwise engaged on behalf of the pack.  Nip and retreat, nip and retreat.  Betas are universally cowards when dealing face to face with an Alpha.  Prefer to growl and snivel and whimper only when there is no threat of dominant reprisal.

Interesting stuff huh?

Wishing my dearest, sweetest Katie a happy 17th birthday today.  Over the last 6 months that  we’ve had full custody it has been wonderful to see her pick up and endear country nuances.  To appreciate a moment’s quiet, see seedlings sprout, hear the cock’s morning crow, count the vast and endless stars at night.  And a Loving Home full of mutual respect and visions shared.  All Good and Real things.  This then is my best gift to her.

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A couple of Alphas enjoying yesterday along the Platte River.

 

 

 

 

 

INO CANTU

No better way for me to kick off this week than by giving my old buddy Ino Cantu the top spot in RGS.  Ino set an American Record in the 800 meters at the Houston Masters/Seniors Invitational Track Meet this weekend.  How about this viejo running a 3:03.  At 80 years old.  Way to get it Ino!

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Ino is much older and much faster than you and me.  Get over it.

And also from the Great State, the Galveston Half Marathon was this weekend.  Overall winner Kaytlynn Welsh won in 1:30.  Unremarkable?  Not when you consider she is 13 years old.  And to jack it to another level of incredible the overall male ran 1:21.  Irishman Peter Mullin‘s win may seem a yawn until you realize he is 63 years old and that his result age grades to over 92%.  Keep that in mind whilst reading the remainder of today’s report.

Congratulations on some outstanding Masters performances in Boulder. Ivan Ivanov led the charge finishing an amazing 14th overall, I’ll let their fine performances speak for themselves. A preliminary look at the unofficial results looks like the Lincoln Running Co. Racing team fared even better than expected. Team results when I or someone else can find them. Both Ivan and Brian cracking the 80% for age grading, this is serious stuff.

14. Ivan Ivanov, LRC Racing, 43, 28:19, 81:04%
35. Thomas Woods IV, LRC, 42, 39:32, 77:11%
48. Mike Wasson, NRGE/US Air Force, 48, 30:38, 77:87%
60. Brain Kelley, 55, LRC, 31:12, 80.94%
64. Darin Schlake, 44, LRC, 31:30, 73.42%
73. Jason Schmaderer, 41, LRC, 32:17, 70.03%
81. Craig Christians, 52, 32:38, 75.50%
105. Jonathan Beverly, 49, Unattached, 34:45, 69.21%

And some final notes from our own Two Rivers Twosome 10K Couples Run.  I’m pleased that we doubled the number of runners from last year.  Pleased too that we have the fastest 10K course in Nebraska.  Disappointed that those of you that were directed to stay away (we need to talk) missed a hell of an opportunity to post up a fast spring 10K.

During the pre race instructions I pointed out that there would be no shenanigans behind the wood pile.  An of course we ended up with a seething pile of scantily clad, sweaty humanity entwined and entangled right there.  Rated “R” indeed!

Overall team winners were Ivan Marsh (1st Overall, 34:44) and his lady friend Carolyn Colliers (4th overall, 44:14), Team Long Distance Romance.   Lonely Hearts winners were Pete Kostelnick (2nd overall, in a personal best 35:46) and Tammy Consbruck (5th overall, 45:28).

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We hosted a post race party and NRGE board of directors meeting back at the Bar None.  A dozen of us feasted on maybe the best pot of stew I’ve ever created.  And enjoyed Capitol Pale Ale and a little moonshine to boot.  I love these guys, but not enough to get into a pile with them.