Monthly Archives: June 2014


A strange and wonderful dynamic is upon us.  Predicted in the early 2000s by a shaman casting his bones and reading his stones.  A forecast tinged with his own demise.  And return.   Once a Shaman, Always a Shaman.  Or, you can’t keep a Good Man down.

Or a Good Coach.  For all the Nebraska history that I’ve unraveled its what was always at the core that now remains dearest to me.  This thing that I hadn’t expected, that has grown into how I’m likely to be best and most remembered by.  This thing that comes so easy and naturally to me.  If I needed somewhere to hang a hat this isn’t a bad hook.

It is after all exactly how I built Team Nebraska, and exactly what it lacks right now.  I brought a Real Fire to the athletes, some talented as they were/are, only needing tempering from the Heat of Another Sun, mine.    Others making the leap from potential to reality.  Because I demanded it.  Insisted on it.  Would have nothing Less.  And boy did I piss of some people with my “know it all” attitude.  Same people that couldn’t stand the heat.  Mediocrity rails against Excellence, especially when I’m beating them over the head with it.

And now I look at Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  Every single member embraces and celebrates my coaching style.  And improves dramatically.  They don’t whine when I tell them what they can and can’t do.  They prefer instead to put their confidence in me.  Give me that from a small group of dedicated and determined athletes and I’ll coach them and convince them that they can take the measure of every single competitor they line up against.  I’ve also told them there are athletes that are at a completely different level, but only a couple.  Everyone else, we’re coming to kick your asses.

So who was this young lady that showed up for our Bar None long run yesterday?  My first question was “Who are you”, and second, as always, was “Why the hell would you want to run for me?”

Her answer in short was because she was lacking.  Lacking a key component, in a style that would be meaningful to her.  A style, that she had heard, only I possess.  A hard ass style.  A no excuses style.  An involved style.  A style that brings the athlete something no other coach offers.  Intangibles?  Call it what you will.  I call it busting away ceilings of preconceived, self imposed limitations.

I don’t call it poaching.

With that NRGE is proud to announce that Amber Sargent of Beatrice has joined our club.  A perfect example of a diamond in the rough.  A 2:56 at last year’s Des Moines Marathon, a 1:25 at this year’s Lincoln Half.  Damned impressive times when you consider she was Self Coached (?).  Something I’m now taking care of.  With specifics.  To wit:  Sub 2:46 in your next marathon, sub 2:43 after that.

Yeah, my Coaching Style isn’t for everyone.  That’s the point I’ve arrived at all these years later and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Race recaps:  Congratulations to Kaci Lickteig on her 6th place finish at the Western States 100.  Just a couple of ticks over 20 hours, boggles the mind.

Kyle Clouston showed incredible range finishing 2nd Overall to Logan Watley at the Cornfield 3K at Werner Park.  A not so fast course allowed a real battle between the two before Logan pulled away, the 3K right in his sweet spot.  Proud of Kyle to put this performance just a week after running the 6 Hour at Dizzy Goat.  Talk about range!  Our mate Stacy Shaw won the masters in the 10K, still with her mouth completely wired shut.  Lets her feet do her talking.  And good to see a new competitive women’s team, Women Run Nebraska.  I’m excited to see them bring it the rest of this summer and coming fall.


Garden Fresh produce including Beets, Onions, and Lettuces just one of the perks of Bar None training.  Farm Strong indeed!


Heirloom Beets.  Roasted to perfection.


Biblical proportions, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  This must be if not the wettest, then certainly one hovering right around the top, first 6 months on record.  Water, water, everywhere, recharging aquifers, those most important systems of the Good Mother.  My simple efforts at building a potting shed took a weird turn as whispers of “300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits” haunted me through the night.  So I’m off to Menards.

Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  Farm Strong.  I like the way those two go together.

I never thought I would see the day but it is finally here.  the USATF Level I Coaching School will be held August 15, 16, & 17th at Omaha Central.  Remarkably I’ve never taken the class but will be sitting in the front row come August.  Not distance running oriented, more an overview of all disciplines.   Twenty two hours over three days, not for the faint of heart.

The 2014 USA Masters 5 km Cross Country Championships will be held November 8 in Carmel, Indiana. The event will be held on the Hilltop Cross Country Course on the grounds of Northview Church. The course is a dedicated and groomed course that is used by the Indiana High School State Federation for its Semi-State finals each year. “We are excited to have this event in the Midwest as we expect it to draw athletes from all parts of the country,” offers Bill Quinlisk USATF Cross Country Council masters chair. Last year nearly 500 athletes competed in the event when it was held in Flemington, NJ. 

The USATF Nebraska Association has some very good masters, hope we’ll be represented.

My buddy Lou Andersen asked me to pass along the following for the Loess Hills Trail Race, set for September 13.  Four and Eight mile distances, all proceeds benefit the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America.  Something I can support as I once wore the uniform, made it all the way to WEBLOW.

DAMN YOU MO!  Busted with EPO.  Your performances raised eyebrows but I still wanted to believe it was nothing more than what you had told me; hard work, great talent, and your own specific and specialized training paradigm.  I took up for you, insisting that the fact you’d never tested positive was evidence enough.  But cheaters are cheaters and you took advantage of your access, caught now red handed.  Whether it was in your system or suitcase matters not.  You’ve disgraced your legacy and more’s the shame.
Mo Trafeh with my dear sweet Linda immediately after setting the USA 25K Record in Grand Rapids, MI in May of 2013.  I’ve seen this before, those presenting the most charming facade usually hiding something more sinister.  Despicable.


Quick trip this morning to the Saunders County Museum for their annual rummage sale.  Picked up some much needed hand tools, I’ll be putting up a potting shed soon to maximize my winter months.

Spent the next, and last few, hours giving the old sand point well in the barn some love and encouragement.  Carl, with his wisdom of 83 years, sitting alongside instructing and supervising my every move.  Motor decoupled, check valve disassembled, inspected and put back together.  Brought out mom’s old .22 rifle and did what I was told.  Three shots straight down the well to dislodge any potential obstructions, whatever was holding things back.  Everything put back together and then over 2 hours of tweaking pressures, flow rates, and fittings.

VIOLA!  We’ve now got clean, cold, clear water at our fingertips, right next to the garden and poultry.  We’ll still use the rain barrels as needed but Oh What A Relief It Is.  Good People make Good Neighbors.  I picked my 2 best heads of lettuce yesterday.  Delivered them to the two neighbors I had not yet shook hands with.  Our New Leaves well received, fitting right in.



As with all agrarian efforts I’ll be modeling the potting shed initiative after my Garden Guru Steve Kunasek.  He built this sweet shed last fall, South facing and all the right materials (plenty of windows, heavily insulated) allowed it to reach a balmy 72 degrees in February.  Jump starting the growing season by a full 30 days.

20140624_134951The boulevard of his South Omaha home a veritable paradise.  Not a blade of regular grass anywhere on the property.




Before I get to where I’m going a little detour to address results corrections from yesterday.  Thanks to Jeremy Morris and Shawn Palandri for the amplifications.

From Jeremy: ” I actually ran 22 laps for a total of 71.5 miles.  The only results i was able to find were on red dirt running page and showed 21 laps but the chip timing missed my 10 th lap as you view the laps you can see that i ran consistent through out the day and ran my 10th lap just under 31 min but it was recorded as a 1hr and 2min + lap.  Apparently other runners had this same problem.  I contacted Scott and am waiting on a response.  I don’t believe he has the official results posted yet.  I did walk a few hills as i was not able to run the whole time.  But i sure tried.”

From Shawn: “Shawn Palandri took 2nd place in the 12 hour jaunt.  Not too shabby for someone who spends more time on a bike and in a pool, rather than on foot.”

At the awards ceremony Shawna Young was announced as the 3rd place female, three of her laps were not included in the results**, the correction was pointed out and made good on.

Having worked all ends of race management I’m sensitive to the difficulty of timing and results.  Understand that sometimes errors occur, and always strive to make sure the necessary adjustments are addressed.

**important to note the difference between official and preliminary results.

Dropping the bucket into my wishing well and pulling out some of the best for the following:

Kaci Lickteig at this weekend’s Western States 100.  I’ve heard prognostications from those more learned than I, indicating everything from top ten to an overall win at the most prestigious ultra trail run in the United States.  I read a good if lengthy interview with her here:  Coy girl not to mention she has Olympic Trial Marathon credentials in her corner, she may have the best pure leg speed of the top 10, could be her surprise card.

And Best Wishes to our mate Cameron Cummings as he is driving across America to Boston to begin the next chapter in his medical career.   Nice of him to make it out Sunday for our group run.  Great guy, talented, brilliant, handsome, faster than you.  He’ll do well.  And we are thrilled that he will be our East Coast contingent for NRGE.  Once a mate, always a mate.

And also for Bob Miyake.  He is headed the other direction and moving to Las Vegas.  The guy that nobody knew was exactly like me.  Same build, same spirit, same principles, his own man.  Bob and wife Christine stopped by the Bar None yesterday to bid farewell.  And to say that I got an absolute steal on the custom fitted Trek Madone 5.1 and accessories would be an understatement.

I’ll miss both Bob and Cameron.  These are men that I have been proud to advocate for and to know as Real Friends.


Well first of all I’ve got to give it to Scott Giddings.  I’m sure he had an army of volunteers as well but Ameliorated Will kept well away from the hubub, bub.  Pitched our NRGE tent in lawn chair camp, got things set up, and then thoroughly enjoyed the next 7 hours.  Passed out encouragement, good cheer and frozen popsicles to all that would accept.  Got to catch up with some old friends too.  And learned quite a bit about the ultra trail culture.  I’ve attended a few Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) committee meetings at the USATF Annual gathering.  Saw fist fights nearly break out in the formative years, this was Nothing like that.  You could have called the Dizzy Goat LoveStock.

And I came away with a new appreciation of the merely mortal in our sport.  After watching their determination that has nothing to do with speed and finishing first.  Seeing the elation of completion, regardless of pace.  The mutual support the athletes shared.  Their goal?  One 3.25 mile lap each hour was the minimum necessary to earn a coveted medal.  Twelve hours, 6 hours, or 3 hours.  I saw pain, and the conquering thereof, that I’ve never seen in a road or cross country race.  Those are over too quickly to see the suffering I witnessed in Saturday’s stifling heat and humidity.  And the Hill.  I ran Kyle’s penultimate lap (completely barefoot and just a little drunk) and got to experience just a taste of what these cats were chasing.

The exhilaration of communion with nature and fellow man.

Now the Good Stuff.

Nebraska Run Guru Elite showed why they are the best trail and ultra running club in Nebraska and beyond.  Jeremy Morris, on paper at least, was the odds on favorite to quietly destroy the field in the 12 Hour, and he did.  Only Joe Barnard (2nd, Olathe, KS) and Shawn Palandri (3rd, Omaha) were able to complete 18 laps, Jeremy would complete 20 to win by  6.5 miles.  I never saw Jeremy take a walk break, how bout them apples.   Pure Talent and Guts, the Right Stuff.

The 6 Hour provided the most drama and there wasn’t a whole lot.  NRGE President Kyle Clouston, along with Tim Langdon, were the class of the field and while I had hoped for a duel to the wire it never materialized.  After a sub 8 minute pace on the first lap Tim continued to pull away, his last two years in Colorado paying off,  and was credited with 11 laps, our fearless leader 10.  Somewhere along the way, an old grudge with the former Team Nebraska attorney was buried with a handshake and a beer.  One of the highlights of my day.  Surpassed only by a reconnect with my Old Buddy Dave Sutej.  Dave, your shoes fell off your car while driving away, I’ve got them for you, let me know how to get them back.

We had all been through the wars together, a running family split by the past, now matured into an appreciation of the battles we fought, time tempering the vinegar and casting a different light on the motivations of all involved.  Especially the one that must not be named.  It was good too to see Peg Pearson smile at me again.  Its been way too long.  And to see Krista Palm as the athlete I always knew was hidden inside.  And Keeley Nyman, and many more former Wednesday Night Track Work runners and other denizens of my former dojo.  And Dave Tuma coming up to shake my hand and congratulate our mates.

All showing me that grace and competition can co-exist.

As Linda, Mike Wasson, Pete Kostelnick and I sat under our tent I marveled that not a single person knew who Pete was.  The Badwater Badass, the RAGBRAI Runner, The Cat whose previous week was 158 miles, including an 80 miler in 13 hours.  Sitting there anonymously, casting an aura of legend that only his mates could appreciate.  And getting along with everyone.


NRGE’s Jeremy Morris showing his Overall award.  Man among men.  Nice piece to commemorate his victory.


Tim & Kyle were far and away the class of the field in the 6 Hour.


Well earned hardwood hardware.  The only time of the morning that I got my bile up was when the rude dude serving a personal agenda grabbed the mike from the presenter as Kyle was being recognized.  I even let that slide.


We did what we could to help an old TN mate of mine, Shawna Young, push to the Overall Female in the 6 Hour.



Always some good action on the roads and trails in June.  While my eyes and ears were North towards Duluth my heart and butt were at Schramm Park with our mates, and others, doing their Dizzy Goat Busy.

Expected some great racing in the perfect weather at Grandma’s Marathon and the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon, and some fast times were delivered.  Some of my oldest buddies were tough as nails.   I’m getting a little long in the tooth and now there only remains a few elites that I had the pleasure of working with personally.

In the Half:   Fernando Cabada (Mr. Fabulous) was 3rd overall in 1:04:22.  Clint Verran, 39 (RG2) showed he will be a force shortly by turning in a stellar 1:05:55 for 13th ovreall.  On the women’s side 37 year old Dot McMahan has hardly slowed as demonstrated by her 3rd O/A in 1:11:48.  Even more impressive to me is 38 year old Blake Russell‘s 1:12:03 for 4th.  For the Masters Women, one of my oldest and dearest, Kim Pawalek Brantly turned in a quick 1:20:32 for the win.  We go waaay back to when she was our USA Marathon National Champ in the 90s.  And yep, her husband Keith Brantly is the same cat that ran the ’96 Olympic Marathon in Atlanta.  An amazing 36 females under 1:24:00.  Real Racing.   *Michael Rathje was the top Nebraska finisher in 1:09:51 (38th).

In the Full:   Tracy Lokken (Team Nebraska mate back in ’03 & 04) turned in a fine 2:27:21 at age 48 to win that age group.  Jason Zakaras was the first Nebraskan in a 5:00 personal best of 2:34:13.  Way to get it Jason.

At yesterday’s Road to Omaha 5K it was left up to the kids again to put on a show, only a single “elite” athlete participating.  Joe Harter (15:23) avenged his loss to Seth Hirsch (15:25) from last month’s Boystown 5 Mile.  Ashley Miller of Team Nebraska crushed the women’s field in 17:38, good enough for 8th overall, a remnant of excellence in an otherwise glaring dearth of open female talent these days.    Nebraska Run Guru Elite athlete Stacy Shaw ran 19:49 for 1st master and 3rd overall.  How tough is she?  Her mouth is still wired shut from her dreadful fall a couple of weeks ago.    Her NRGE mate Roxi Erickson (51) popped a 22:03, good enough for 9th overall and tops in her age group.  That placing duplicated by Old Man Craig Christians, 9th, 18:09 as he took the men’s masters title.

Hard ciphering  race results from the Hastings Half Marathon.   Nathan Jarosik of Edgar, NE supposedly ran 1:03:59 and 2nd place Zach Ridgway of Birmingham, AL was clocked in 1:04:31.  If they indeed ran the full and certified distance and hit those times I’ll shave my head at this week’s Wednesday Night Track Work.  The only legitimate studworthy time was 50+ Brian Bergt’s (Amherst Flash) 1:29:45.  Pedestrian times in the full.

I’ll do a complete recap of the Dizzy Goat races manana, I’m fast approaching my 500 word limit.  A lot of good things to say about my first foray into trail culture.








Was originally going to go with Fence Mending Friday so as to exploit the double entendre, as is my usual want to do.  Had devised clever phrases, prompted by Linda’s work on the chain link that surrounds the Bar None.  Was going to wax eloquent on how much better it is to try and get along and forgive and forget, move past petty transgressions and insults.  Then I thought, nah, better to be true to my own bedeviled spirit.  Maybe someday though.

Happy Birthday to my good buddy John Tully!  You stud you.

Turdus Migratorius.  No not a turd that leaves and comes back, though that is very appropriate, bordering on poetic in fact, as I contemplate the return of one of the biggest turds I’ve ever met.  In fact it is the Latin name for the American Robin.

My dear sweet Allison has moved on from Denver.  After one year of working in the male dominated field of culinary, being subjected as a very pretty young lady to the constant and bothersome attentions of pig headed males, she has decided to return to Oregon, get her business degree, and have them working for her instead of on her.  Still only 19 years of age, how proud I am!

Headed out for our run yesterday, after 4 hours in the garden.  The neighbors aren’t sure about us that’s for sure.  They too are a cast of characters.  Gene entertained me yesterday while showing us the bike he rides around on.

This is how things roll on Our Little Slice.  I’m respectful and appreciative of the individualism that exists out here.  Wonder if I could get something like that sewed into my running britches?



Freewheelin Franklin, in the middle, of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.  You had to be there.




I’m still trying to wrap my head around what is going on with the Omaha Marathon.  In a nutshell Susie Smisek sold the race out from under the Omaha Running Club.  Put the money in her pocket and rode off into the proverbial sunset.  Pissing off much of the running community in the process, including the many volunteers and administrators of ORC that had poured their heart and soles into the event for many years.  My sources indicated ORC would have nothing to do with the event moving forward, as currently managed.

So I was more than a little surprised yesterday when I received the email from Peak Performance announcing their partnership with HITS and the Omaha Marathon.  But I do have to give the nod to Mike and his brother, they are a couple of Very Smart Cookies, and I’m hopeful their association will help to drive the necessary changes to make the event Something Special.  Early indications from Mark Wilson show he was listening to the 2013 discontent/disconnect with the local runners.

And hats off to Alan Kohl.  You don’t know him and I barely do.  But he joins Mike and Ben Cohoon as movers and shakers in the competitive community.  He puts on local triathlons under the Mimran Event Management, LLC (USA Triathlon).  Read in this morning’s paper that he received an $11,500 grant from the Douglas Co. Toursim.  Good on you Alan, good on you.  And nice to know that you need not be a 501 (c) (3) to get a boost from the commissioners.  NRGE, LLC will be dipping its beak into that trough in 2015.

I’ll never utilize the not for profit paradigm, and the attorneys that go with that designation, again.   They absolutely corrupted the Excellence that used to be Team Nebraska.  Bowing to faux charms and ridiculous social pressures that fomented nothing but the fall of one of the top clubs in the U.S.  Now lucky to be the second or third best club in Nebraska.  I hardly know them.

And that’s the way of the world.  But it doesn’t stop me from doing what I do because that is just the type of challenge that keeps me wet.  We are coming for you all.








Thanks and apologies to Billy Preston.
“I’ve got a song, I ain’t got no melody
I’ma gonna sing it to my friends
Will it go round in circles
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky
Will it go round in circles
I’ve got a story, ain’t got no moral
Let the bad guy win every once in a while”

Our NRGE mates will be going round in circles at this weekend’s Dizzy Goat trail run at Schramm Park.  Three Hours, Six Hours, and 12 Hours of running the same loop.  I think it is so damned cool that these lads with the Peace, Love, Run on their chests will breach, storm, and conquer that bastion.  Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  Yeah, we’ll be in the house all right.   That indefatigable spirit the peace sign represents.  Our close knit group of bad boys In It To Win It.

Yes, yes, I know, this event is a celebration of anyone and everyone that can simply put one foot in front of the other, speed absolutely optional if not down right frowned upon.  More about defeating the drudgery of trudgery than being fast.  We’ll leave those warm fuzzies  to those of you that feel rewarded by simply finishing, good on you if that is what is good for you.

But what is good for me is for our mates to stick it to the entire field.  Jeremy and Kyle, go get some!

Overheard at the start line of the Garden of the Gods 10 Mile, the MC attempting humor: “What do you call an elite athlete that just broke up with his girlfriend?  Homeless.”  Funny because at the very upper echelons of talent it rings truest.

Was it really two years ago that Linda & I were finishing up the Killer Coach Marathon Training Program?  Averaging 60 miles a week from January through Grandma’s Marathon.  In perhaps the shape of my long life.  Both of us dropping due to hypothermia (providing so many laughs and critics on Lets Run, those brave anonymous bastards.)

To whomever is in charge of the Team Nebraska Record Keeping department.  You need to get in touch with Skyler Reising and find out about his contributions to the team and the records he deserves to have listed.  And don’t even get me started on the roster of current athletes, are you sure some of these cats aren’t either retired, have moved away, or maybe even running for NRGE now?  Not that its any of my business, but it is.

And from our buddy Bjorn Suneson-
Here is my running schedule for Iowa. Please come and run with me! I start my running at 9 am from my motel and finish at 6 pm.

• June 18 Shenadoah to Clarinda (from motel Celebrity Inn)
• June 19 Clarinda- Mount Ayr (start outside New Market)
• June 20 Mount Ayr to Leon
• June 21 Leon to Corydon ( start Little River Motel)
• June 22 Corydon to Centerville (start from Nodyroc Motel)
• June 23 Centerville to Bloomfield (start from Super8)
• June 24 Bloomfield to Memphis (staat from South Fork Motel)
• June 25 Memphis-Kahoka start from Sunrise Motel)
• June 26 Kahoka to Carthage (start from Cat Fish Place, camping)
• June 27 Carthage to ?? ((start from Prarie Wind Motel)



Glad to report that the Bar None has dodged another bullet.  Seems to be the most prolific foul weather spring in memory.  My fowl however are digging it and I’ve refilled and capped all the rain barrels.

20140616_113955A lot of rain in a short amount of time along with some nickel sized hail, looks worse than it actually turned out to be.  Left to right- The tall flowering plants are 5 rows of potatoes.  Enough to have them out the wazoo for a long time.  Next is the first round of carrots with a planting of sweet potatoes behind.  To their right, in the back a half row of parsnips, the remainder my second round of carrots, the transverse planting scheme likely saving the crop.  Half a row of “new beets” with their tiny, tender, yummy greens fronting half a row of mature beets.  Another full row of beets in the middle.  Two rows of tomatoes next, the first and larger row supported by cages, most wrought by hand, the smaller row to the right using a new technique I learned called the “Florida Weave”, twine and posts only.   Two rows of peppers, half a row of eggplant east of the peppers.  cantaloupe, squash, watermelon and pumpkin line most of the eastern border.  A stand of corn in the NE corner.

Groceries.  By my and Linda’s own hands.

Each season is my favorite when running.  This brink of summer we are experiencing reminding how much good a full on sweat does a body.  Running 5 pounds lighter than just 4 weeks ago, last of the winter’s fat dripped from my brow.  Feeling lithe and dare I say a wee bit anxious to do some racing.

NRGE masters phenom Mike Wasson had a brief setback to training tweaking an upper hammy during track work a couple of weeks ago.  His report from this weekend:
“Jumped into a small trail race, Psycowpath Trail Series Race #4 at Tranquility Park on Saturday.  The course was one lap around the park on rolling single track.  Pretty small race…mostly a mountain bike race series with a trail running side show…so a small field of probably only 20 folks.  Completed the 9.5 miles in 63 min and finished first.  The hamstring was still a little tight but no worse for the wear.  Back to putting in some decent mileage this week but I may stay away from the speedy stuff for another week or two.”

I’ll say again that I’m hoping to see a hell of a masters battle at the Twin Rivers YMCA Freedom Half Marathon on September 7th.



The hippest happening of the summer is this weekend and just beyond yonder ridge from the Bar None.  Pictured at the bottom is my Garden Guru and Master Gator of the Prairie Gators, Steve Kunasek, Linda’s bohemian brother.  Be there or be square, man.