Monthly Archives: July 2014


Linda was shocked when she realized I hadn’t entered into the RGS chronicles yesterday.  This column, like everything I do, becomes so larger-than-life that it would seem to occupy my entirety.  Not so.  These inklings I pen, whilst profound and true and absolutely representative of me, are but a synergystic tangent of an ever expanding whole.

Growth then is one of the keys to success of the human condition.  Considering of course you’ve already mastered the basics.

I grew a little yesterday.  Key to personal growth is having the willingness and courage to grasp what is new or unfamiliar.  Even scary.

Yesterday I grasped the chainsaw, this only for the second time ever, finished the neighbor’s fallen elm and then cut down my own dead pine tree.  Had the entire pie except a tiny slice where it could safely fall.  Of course 359 degrees remained unscathed and my little bush took a direct hit, amazingly spared by a fortuitous crotch I’m happy to report, proving happy endings.  All cut up into pieces that will stoke next year’s warming efforts.  Thanks to my buddy David Bohlken for coming over and being a strapping lad.

Baling wire and duct tape are the only real necessities.

Second good training run of the week.  The sharp calf pain I was experiencing now directly traced to the lightweight, 4 mm drop, racing flat that I’d recently befriended.  Vile harpy calling me with bright colors and slim design, I’m now safely turned away and ensconced in the more supportive and forgiving Ravenna.  Still a long way back to Real fitness.

Canning more beets this morning, pole beans put up.  Sweet corn too.  The Romas and San Marzanos promising a very busy week with the paste tomatoes.  Making hay as they say.

The firewood and the canned goods, like my training, all promising rewards this fall and winter.


Spartan?  Maybe.  Off the grid?  Trying.  Self sufficiency?  That’s the goal.

Being on the farm has brought me round, to roots.  The solitary.  Time in my head.  Time best spent.  Thinking about things both big and small.  Getting close to putting an old aerial antenna on top of the house.  Nightly news, America Ninja Warrior, football season, maybe Jeopardy.  All those come on the “big 3” networks, I won’t be the only one out here to pull cable’s life support.  Getting back to the basics.

Running is paralleling.  Stripping down to how I started, little more than loin cloth and blown carbon rubber.  No watch.  No garmin wrist magic.  No fit bit.  No training log.  No socks damn it.  Getting in touch with the primal runner.  Wanting for nothing, caring for less.  Wary, alert.  Keen senses wrapped around heart rate and respirations and strides and temperature and wind and Every Good Thing.

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

If you have facebook go visit Pete Kostelnick and read his Badwater recap.  Badwater Badass!   Stuff of Legend.

Congratulations to Australian Michael Shelley on his Commonwealth Games Gold Medal in the Marathon.  The Aussie’s first Games Marathon Gold in 20 years.

7/5- 24 hours
7/20- 6 hours
7/25- 12 hours
7/26- 8 hours
50 hours.  Two days, two hours.  The dates and times we have used air conditioning at the Bar None in 2014.  The Simple Life, the Good Life.



How’s that membership to the tanning salon?  That little nip and tuck your vanity was sure you needed?  Are you pretty now?  Teeth whitened?    Appropriate body art/modifications?  Getting close?  Maybe a little testosterone to help your running?  Got you feeling all better?

Interesting what goes for tomatoes these days.  Those better living through cosmetic chemistry imposters you see on the store shelves.  Uniformity the order of the day.  Every single “undesirable” trait bred right the heck out of existence.  Ever wonder who the hell is calling these shots?

Americans want fine rounded shoulders.  And as red as the rest of the fruit too.  Every tomato, every time.  Why?  Superficiality.  The same reason that artificial tan and smile hold sway.  The weak and gullible gobbling down the media’s definitions of what is not only pretty, but palatable and acceptable too.  Lemmings easily led to common thoughts, so many ditto heads.

So caught up in the fantasy of “perfection” that the Best and Tastiest are often overlooked, or worse, dismissed and ignored.

But Oh What You Miss being blinded by others prescriptions and perceptions.

Peace Vine.  Pink Berkley.  Chianti Rose.  Hillbilly.  Green.  Heirloom tomato varieties.  Allowed to blossom and thrive.  Diverse appearances and flavors, still valued and appreciated by those interested in the Truly Finer things in life.  Real Things.  Even ugly things, offering something special and rare, just below the skin, can change your mind in an instant if given the chance.

I don’t need or want to move among the “pretty”.  Prefer the real, the rare, the individual.  Imperfect shoulders and all.


The depth, flavor, and complexity of those that are less than “perfect” are the Best.  Just like people.


Grateful for the early morning showers, no need to water and that saves hours.  Time better spent with the Mayor, Chief of Police, and Douglas Co. Sheriff.

Had a couple of the neighbors over yesterday.  They were marveling at our garden, wanted to know all the particulars of how I was able to make such a bountiful effort.  Questions on tillage, planting schedules, sequencing, variety selections, and more.  A sly wink and a lie are all they got.  This is a money maker for me and I’m not in the business of mentoring competitors, sorry.


Steven bagged this brace of fine young coneys on his way to a 4 kill afternoon.  That leaves only 4000 more to go.


Lovely eggplants jumping right now.

20140725_091002As with all my produce several varieties, tested and true, add color and flavor to the palette.

20140725_091027Nine varieties of peppers including these Big Jims I started from seeds (harvested from a favorite pepper in 2007).  These will continue to build heat until fully red and ripe.

20140725_091627Last year’s blackberries are huge this year, bigger than my thumb.  I’ve added another grape plant, making three,  and six more raspberries, 3 yellow and 3 black to go with last years 3 reds.   The strawberry bed is finally popping and the rhubarb too.  Jams and jellies, oh my!  Linda has already put up quarts of applesauce from our tree, we want for nothing.


We picked up a couple more Cayugas this week.  Ducks outnumber the chickens now six to five.  But the fat Pekins (white) are soon to be dressed and in the freezer, Thanksgiving dinner their fate.  All but the adult hen, Red, our layer, bought as chicks in March and should begin their own egg production in the next few weeks.

20140725_091232Linda wanted those cute little decorative pumpkins so she got them.  We’ve got big ones too for fall pies and Halloween faces.  And decorative squashes that will end up as bird houses.

20140725_091300A couple varieties of watermelon.  They and the cantaloupes will be ready for market in early September.

20140724_170031Last night’s dinner was succotash.  Our sweet corn, potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, jalapenos, tomatoes, eggplant, and parsnips all straight from the garden and into a cast iron skillet.

photo (23)This is what the boys harvested yesterday.  A good Farm Strong lesson was their recognizing that Farm Fresh is not Perfect, only Real, and that is Better.

20140724_171242The first picking of our lemon basil.  Linda painstakingly separates and cleans the leaves that will be packaged for winter pestos and sauces.  Oregano, thyme, lemongrass, cilantro and rosemary will all get their own attentions.

Be Healthy!  Be Happy!  Be Farm Strong!










Today winds up what I hope is just the beginning chapter of a long happy story.  Sam and Jackson Runde have endured my methods and blossomed in the process.  When mom came to me several weeks ago I asked if she was aware of my reputation, a hard ass and that it would be my way or the highway.  That I’d only have the boys on the track twice a week for an hour each session.  A far cry from the 4 nights a week for 2 hours they were used to.  When I first met the boys I told them to “Blink Twice if you’re here against your will.”  They never blinked, nor have they looked back.

Looky here now!

At the Cornhusker State Games last weekend:

Eight year old Jackson ran a personal best of 5:56 in the 1500, just nipped at the line to take home the silver.  He also took a bronze in the 200 in 36.64 and finished just outside the medals in 4th in the 800.

Eleven year old Sam tied his personal best of 5:14 to win the 1500, 2:36 to win the 800 and 30.62 to win the 200.  I’m especially impressed with his 1500 race as he was 3rd overall among all athletes up to age 14.

They will be competing at the AAU National Championships in Des Moines next Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday.  Both will race the 1500 and 800.  Jackson will contest the 400 and Sam will go longer in the 3000.

I haven’t been this excited about someone else’s racing in a long time.  The boys have worked their butts off, handling everything I threw at them.  They’ve also heard my teachings on how The Mind is the Athlete.  We finished today with a gathering at the Bar None to discuss what Farm Strong means.  And to contest the First Annual Popsicle Mile.  Thank you boys and Denise and Mark for making this one of the best coaching experiences of my career.  Good Luck, Great Racing, and Giddyup!


Jackson and Sam Runde.  Their heroes?  Prefontaine and Seth Hirsch.  Their coach?  Me.

20140724_101503Sam gets his final popsicle and would run down Jackson in the final meters to take the win in 8:35.  Jackson came in at 8:49, both new state single age records for the rarely held, USATF Certified contest.

20140724_101453A couple of young studs tearing it up on Our Little Slice.  It has been a privilege and an honor to work with them and I can hardly wait to see their results.  Go Get Some Boys!!!




Go Pete Go!  Well, He Did, and He’s Done.

The toughest race on the planet is in the books for our Good Mate Pete.  Not only did he cover the most wretched 135 mile stretch in racing but he did it in Kostelnick Style.  Pete spent most of his 30 hours 38 minutes and 9 seconds hovering in the top 10.  A difficult last 10K that included an hour of puking while ascending the final 4000′ climb bumped him to 14th overall at the finish.

And in to the record books.  Pete now holds the distinction of having the 3rd fastest time ever by a competitor under the age of 30.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Pete’s brief post race comments, we’ll be sure to have more on this Great Feat this week.

“Wow, thank you for all the support! These last 31 hours were the most epic of my life, and definitely hit some incredible ups while literally finding a way to come back from the point of no return THREE times thanks to the best Badwater crew you could ask for. Brad Myers always knew how I was feeling even when I wouldn’t talk, NRGE teammate Kyle Clouston knew my strengths and weaknesses better than I do and was responsible for me coming back from the dead to “hunt down” other runners late (before my slight collapse at the end), M Marvin Mastin knew exactly what I needed when I needed it, andDavid Ponak got me thru the climbs with his mountain expertise. Proud to say I now own the third fastest time run in Badwater history for someone under 30 yrs old (I think). I don’t write race reports, but I think this one may need one.”

Damned proud of this young man.  And Kyle Clouston as well.  I wouldn’t trade either of them for everyone else.


Pete early on.


Peace, Love, Run, and Tougher than the toughest.  How can we not love these boys for what they’ve done!


Let’s hope this lands Pete a hell of a sponsorship!


What can possibly top this for Pete?  I know him well enough, he’ll find something.


As promised, a cold one from Zip Line Brewing Co. in Lincoln was his reward.



But first, be sure to keep updated on Pete at Badwater, he was in 11th place after 92 miles, just minutes out of 8th.  Full race recap manana.


*With thanks to Crosby Stills and Nash.

“You who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so become yourself
Because the past is just a good bye.”

Last week I got a call from the most talented runner in Wayne State history.  Two time Olympic Trials marathon qualifier James McGown is going to turn 40 in just a few days, that shudder you hear is the rest of the 40+ men in Nebraska.  Been averaging 100+ miles per week for the last 8 weeks.  I’m damned proud that he continues to run for me, the Right Stuff on which a club could build a national reputation.  James will be tackling the Grand Island Marathon, be afraid, be very afraid.  James is also the Principal at Sidney H.S.  I would have loved for my own kids to have had him.

“Teach your children well,
Their father’s hell did slowly go by,
And feed them on your dreams
The one they picked, the one you’ll know by.”

One of the best surprises of Saturday was reconnecting with Marsha Krienke Hanson.  Taught my son at Rohwer Elementary and also introduced me to James.    She asked me how Miles was, relating that he was surely “Brilliant.”  Yes , my son is a genius, that and a dollar twenty will get him a cup of coffee.  He, like me, with the future so bright he ought to wear shades.  And like me, choosing his own path in life.  Modeling is such a very big influence on your children after all.

Especially how you handle diversity, adversity, and acceptance of and respect for adults, whether or not you personally agree with them, something sorely missing in today’s self entitled, my little johnny is perfect, world.  I always insisted my kids address other adults as Mr. and Mrs. (or Miss) so and so.  Everyone.  Not letting my petty imperfections color their shaping, understanding that the impressions, for better and worse, would impact their entire lives.

“And you of tender years
Can’t know the fears that your elders grew by
And so please help them with your youth
They seek the truth before they can die”

The greatest disservice I could have done my kids would have been to allow them to think they are better than someone else based on my/or their own insecurities.  Mine aren’t better.  Yours aren’t either.  I’ve been accused of trying to find the beauty in everything and everyone, and that is true.  Each person has some individual trait that is worthy of the human condition.  That helps me celebrate life and allows for patience with those that might be different than or disagree with me.  To teach otherwise is to foment the madness of the caregiver, and that ultimately is a bane to all of society.

“Teach your parents well
Their children’s hell will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s, the one you’ll know by”

The good news is that all of our kids do grow up into their own person.  My dear sweet mother was a chronic alcoholic that regularly beat the hell out of me.  Most all of the lessons I learned were the hard way.  I vowed I would not visit my own hell on my children.   They did pick up on my dreams though.  The ones of self sufficiency, self respect, self determination.  Each a staunch individual that either stands out or leads, or both.

Well taught.



First off congratulations to Molly Huddle on her new American Record 14:42.64 for 5000 meters.  That mark likely leads some state’s top mark regardless of gender.

In Columbus siblings Seth and Sidney Hirsch took the overall wins and in impressive fashion against some top notch competition.  The more I see this young lad race the closer I am to being convinced he is a one in a generation.

David Bohlken, Marc Bierbaum, Cory Logsdon, and Colin Morrissey pitched in  with a group of Iowans to set a Guinness Book World Record for 100 X 5K.  I haven’t seen the splits but am anxious to investigate.

What Heat Index?  Our paltry 105-110 pales in comparison to what Pete Kostelnick is doing at this very moment, 112 today and 114 tomorrow, before you add in the extra real feel business.  Badwater Badass!

Back to the garden to quench the Good Mother.


Seth was sandwiched between Trevor Vidlak and Eric Noel, but only for a moment, and then he was gone.  Complete results at:

IMG_0706Likewise it was a solo run for Sidney who now competes for Wichita State.

IMG_0722Jimmie Doherty continues his comeback, you have to Race to get into Race shape.  Being Honest with Yourself in a real competition pays real dividends later.

IMG_0927Linda won her age group the hard way.  Her first two miles with me, letting her competition go, before I cut her loose, way negative splitting and looking strong doing it.


Stacy is hitting nearly a race a weekend.  She too took top spot in the AG.  Only more good things to come.

IMG_0069Jessica Pape talks about the competition and race strategy.  Jessica won her age group on the way to a nice 4th overall against some of Nebraska’s finest.  A minute faster than she ran at Boystown over Memorial Day.  Young and talented and full of potential and as fierce as they come.

IMG_0987Honest with myself, I hoped to break 42:00 and beat that by half a minute.  Felt like dog doo doo while doing it.  Strained a calf in the process.  That’s what I get at 15-20 miles a week with no speed work.  Painfully Honest.

IMG_1431The post race shindig at Glur’s is hard to match anywhere.  The small town support was amazing.  And that it serves as the Nebraska USATF Champs makes it even closer to my heart.  Made some new friends and caught up with some old ones, more on that later.  Always good to talk with Jeff Jacob, an original stud from back in the day, the guy gets me.

All photos courtesy of Gary Dougherty  and GD Photography.








Big, big best wishes to our mate Pete Kostelnick at Badwater this weekend.  Hope you caught the segment on the Lincoln news, nice treatment of a great guy.

The rest of us mortals will be racing in Columbus and the Downtown Runaround 5 Mile.  Our USATF Nebraska Association “Road” Championships, will actually be contested on a road course, nice!  NRGE may have a surprise up our sleeve, coming to get you as we are and all that.

Heavy into the first harvest.  Onions are ready.  Kennebec, Yukon Gold, and Red potatoes making their way to the table regularly now.  Been giving beets away to anyone that will enjoy them and hundreds more to go.  I put up 20 pints of the beauties yesterday to enjoy this winter.  Will do a second canning of the “sanguine orbs” before all is said and done.  My fall carrots are jumping, just as we pull the spring planting.  Parsnips out the wazoo too.  Hot Peppers popping everywhere, 80 plants with 6 varieties, the neighbors know not what.  Yellow, Red, and Green Bells too.   Haven’t shopped for “produce” for a couple months now and in fact rarely visit the store at all.

But its the tomatoes I most anticipate.  These monster plants that have our little slice all abuzz and atwitter.  “What are you feeding them?”  How about sweat and rainwater, and nothing more.

The Farm Life is a Hard Life, but a Good Life.  Funny tan and all.


These babies woke up in the garden this morning.  Pulled fresh for Linda’s dear sweet Anna, being delivered at this moment.  The best part of a big garden is being able to share.


This plant is near to seven feet tall, the biggest among the giants.  The limbs so full of green fruits now that stakes are required to hold the weight of the cages.


What you looking at Willis?  Hoping our buddy Jason enjoys his new adventure as much as we have.  There really is nothing better than good dirt and honest work.


Throwing it back to Saturday, January 8, 2000.  The Brazosport Run For The Arts was changed, just that once, from a 10 Mile to a 10K.  In fact was heralded as the “Official 10K of the New Millenium.”  What didn’t change were the stellar performances.  Or my passion for hosting Fast Fields.

What prompts this throwback Thursday?  The following question arose during post track banter at the Upstream, “Why are they coming to Valley?”  My reply started as “I’ve heard this question before, back in Lake Jackson, Texas and the Run For The Arts.”

Before I could finish, NRGE Mate and quite possibly Nebraska’s top master (OK, Ivan Ivanov gets a nod too) Mike Wasson jumped in the conversation and said “I ran that race and won one of the prized framed Prefontaine prints!”  My attention deficit riddled brain spun wildly until the image of the results sheet popped in my brain.  This is what I saw:

1. Charles Mulinga,   32      28:57 (Zambia)
2. Joseph Kariuki,   29         29:44 (Kenya, former world record holder 25K)
3. Eric Polonski, 29              30:04
4. Eddy Hellebuyck, 38        30:28 (Convicted scoundrel and drug cheat)
5. Rene Sepulvada, 33        30:32
6. T.J. Lentz, 32                   30:35
7. John Spence, 30             30:39
8. Phil Castillo, 27              30:52
9. Bryan Dameworth, 29   31:27 (Kinney High School Cross Country National Champion)
10. Dave Wittman, 30        31:36
11. Carlos Paradelo, 26     31:42
12. Jon Warren, 34            32:00
13. Mike Wasson, 34         32:11
14. Luis Armenteros, 26    32:24
15. Tom Boone, 40             32:27
16. Keith Dowland, 44       32:35
17. David Washburn, 43   32:39
18. Vladimir Mikhailov, 19 33:10 (Russia)
19. Jeff Lewis, 26                33:22
20. Randy Reina, 40           33:27
22. Annette Peters, 34       33:35 (Olympian)
26. Kelly Cordell, 29           34:22
27. Carmen Troncoso, 41  34:44 (American record 5K masters)
28. Chris McNamara, 33    34:52
29. Kelly Vanasse, 34          35:02
30. Valerie Vaughn, 33       35:39
31. Kris Laubenstein, 24    35:42
33. Cassie Henkiel, 29        35:49
34. Nicole Wilkerson, 28    35:53
35. Patty Valadka, 41          35:54

Amazing depth of competition in the Overall Male and Overall Female races.  Ten women under 36:00, let that sink in a moment.  Take a look at the winning masters male race, the top 3 separated by a mere 12 seconds.  REAL RACING!

How much of a coincidence is that?  Wait, wait, it gets better.  Mike then relayed that he went to high school with one of the most iconic runners in the history of Team Nebraska.  (You whippersnappers pay attention, the history of the club should NEVER be forgotten, or worse, reconfigured.)  Tracy Lokken (at age 48, 2014 Boston Marathon 2:24:39, 1st 44-49 age group!) was one of the first athletes I recruited.  Still holds the Lake Zorinsky 10K record of 32:07 on a cold and blustery November day in 2003.  He and Mike went to the same small high school in Michigan.  Now that is a circle come complete.

20140717_085521This is what a National/World Class 10K field looks like.

20140717_085447Mike Wasson, #20, fronts Jon Warren in yellow.  Jon qualified for the Olympic Trials in both the Steeplechase and Marathon, his coach was our favorite Jim McLatchie.

20140717_085459Reflections of excellence.  Here Mike battles overall masters winner Tom Boone.  Keith Dowland and David Washburn are the next two, and what a battle that race was!

20140717_085556Joseph Kariuiki was the world record holder for 25K and one of the most sought after marathon pacers of his time.


Bryan Dameworth was the national champion for high school cross country, back in the day.


American marathon record holder Jerry Lawson (2:09:35, Chicago, 1997) was in the race but was a dnf.  Happens to the best.

20140717_085707I was happy then, I’m happy now.  My craft, my joy, my passion.