Monthly Archives: January 2015

HEAD GAMES

You’re all runners.  You’ve all been There.  That place inside.  Where you answer to no man but yourself.  But do you have the courage to hear the question, let alone offer reply?

I’ve encouraged our Nebraska Run Guru Elite athletes to question the program I am foisting on them.  And have had some good ones.  So far I’ve only had to use a single reply.  “I’m training your minds.”

If you are at the level where you read this column you’re already committed enough to have run thousands and thousands of miles on your journey of discovery.  You should have a pretty good general idea on things.

What I teach is as much about what paces not to run juxtaposed to paces you are supposed to run.  Make sense?

But you have to be willing to demonstrate current fitness and accept the result for fact.  That is where most are lost in the program.  “But my 5K pr is XX:SS so I should be able to do blah blah blah.”   Or, ‘My goal for the marathon is xx:mm:ss so I should be doing them at this speed.”

Its early.  Don’t get in a rush.  Fitness is developed through time and effort, not wishes.  Keep committed.  Do the work.  Enjoy the rewards!

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This rogue band of turkeys has been terrorizing my chickens and snarfing their feed.

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Out at daybreak this morning, repairing fence line, this Tom took exception and came at me hard.  Unholstered my .45, took aim as he charged me, and put a single shot through the head (Dead Eye Dick).  Self defense, a man has a right to protect his property and life.

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And it looks like its turkey for Super Bowl Sunday!  I get the drumsticks! 10270726_928347753851598_7064979633559146495_n

Our chickens remain quite pampered, nothing to good for those giving me daily sustenance.

LADY IN THE LAKE

I’ve attempted over the years to hone, hone, hone my craft as a wordsmithy.  One of the effective tools employed has been anthropomorphism.  Assigning human qualities to inhuman things.  I’ve received several inquiries about my musings on the former dojo.  Who?  When?  What!  Why?!?!

While Lake Zorinsky was named after former U.S. Senator Ed, there was definitely a distaff presence.  At once benevolent and maleficent, unpredictable (crazy?).  You’ve heard the tales of crazy.  But not always so.

She could lift your spirits by yielding undulating terrain to you, (but only if your beat was correct).  Pleasant surprises around each corner, woodland creatures great and small.  Birds and their songs filling the air and pines and cottonwood.  The frogs too in their own season, gleeful chirps of Spring signaling Morel season- The Good Mother’s bounty an easy harvest before the crushing, unknowing traipse of westward expansion, (ugh, white man! ) trod the delicacy out of its habitat.  Wild berries and plums too she provided.

And in the crook of her shoulder, my original meditation lodge.  Built shortly after moving here in 2001, its location and construction revealed to me during mid day nap high in a tree.  I awoke, studied the woods, reconciled and reconnoitered, located and placated.

Yes, there were comfortable, peaceful, even blissful times in her company.  She taught me the ways of East Central Nebraska.  Introduced me to seasons, each with gifts.

But a pall, a shadow, something dark and terrible resided beneath the glimmer and shimmer of seemingly peaceful waters.  Something not of this place.  The vibe seemingly taking a dreadful turn.  Unclean and from the East.  Prompting no less than a complete drainage of the 255 acre lake in 2011.

That is when the song turned to lament.  No longer easy and free, runs frequently bracketed by trepidation, nervousness, agitation, and dare I admit it, fear.  A single ugly whisper of “All Hell Is About To Break Loose” drowning out all that was previously beautiful.  The fell stench of the curse undeniable.

This then is how things turned.  My love for the dojo faded, eyes cast westward, out of the madding crowd, camelot telling my time there had passed.

But like all the best tales (B’rer Rabbit), this one has a happy ending.  The very demonic force that disrupted and drove me away, by either Twist of Fate or Grand Design,  placed me in the very best moment of my life.  Freely and easily enjoying a new mileau, sans hindrance, with birds and frogs and all living things once again in harmony.   And Linda.  So to the Lady In The Lake, Thank You, I would have none of this without you.

Can you dig it?

 

 

 

 

ISNMB*

Had my second tour of the old dojo in as many weeks this past Monday.  Craig Donnelly, he of the nothing but legs and lungs, joined me and I was a little apprehensive.   He took it easy on me, but by Buddha I didn’t show him any mercy.  Used the opportunity to describe all the measured points and some of the historically great athletes and workouts that had occurred there.

And how these days a softer, kinder, rudderless crew sets the tone.

Regaled him with tales that included a vast assortment of characters I’ve encountered at Zorinsky.  Of the 20,000 miles I ran around the 7.5 mile loop.  Of farting horses never tiring.  Stories of the joyful as well as the scornful.  Of a time when the  dangerous Smirkubus cast her spell, charming all that would gaze into that Medusa’s gaping maw.  Of  the dude clad all in black and hush puppies that would run loop after loop after loop after loop, battling his own demons.  Of sad little wood harpys, hiding behind trees, pointing and laughing.   Of self righteous, hypocritical, busybody echos that haunted the lake.  Of one that would pretend to cloak in God’s own Robes to carry out splintering agendas.  Real attacks on me and my loved one. I couldn’t make this stuff up and don’t miss it a bit.  And will never forget it.

But yeah, its softer, and kinder these days.  And we’re all better off for it.

I found a remote key to a Tesla Model S on my run last week.  Called the West Shores (Richerville!) HOA and correctly guessed that the garage it belonged to was in that luxury.  Zero to Sixty in 3.2 seconds in an electric car.  Cool toy.  The fella came by and collected that evening.  Happy ending.

*For Pete and Kyle.  No, never!

 

 

 

HIPPIE CHICKEN FARM

Provenance.  I detailed a little history of the Two Rivers Homestead last year, how it was set up in 1935, (communism?) and became the major egg producer for the city of Omaha.

Enjoyed a huge karmic chuckle this past weekend.  The front page of Sunday’s Midlands section had a story on the Nashville release of “HIPPIE CHICKEN FARM” by Bobby O’Dell and his partner Kerrie Jo Varley (BO’Dell & The Relics).  Inspiration for the song and video was 4 years ago when Bobby pulled into a Halloween party, hosted by his future lady friend, on a small 3 acre farm in Waterloo.  The rest, as they say, is history in the making.

“I woke up this morning, couldn’t tell you where I been
Took a look around; I was in the chicken pen.
Chickens to my left, chickens to my right
And half a dozen eggs laid right between my thighs”

That in a nutshell is all I know about the previous owners of the Bar None.  I think they would hardly recognize the place now.  Except for the familiar clucking.  And a couple of old hippies.

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Taking the show on the road, coming to a chickenstock near you!

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The “original” HCS came down as part of the Bar None renovation, but the spirit still lives.  You can take the old hippie out of the country but you can never take the country out of the old hippie.  Glad to have landed in just about the very best spot, with certainly the best woman,  I could ever have hoped for.  Peace.  Love.  Run.  Bar None.

 

 

PAINTING AMBER HUES

Amber Sargent isn’t flashy.  Instead, she’s darned serious.  Set the jaw, hear the gun, and Giddyup!  Her 5:55 first mile on Saturday left no doubt.

I was very proud of Kathryn Merrill for winning the inaugural 2015 No Frills a couple of weeks ago.  And as I anticipated, the other local running clubs weren’t going to sit idly by and let our little band of alternatives romp over them without at least a pip.  So it was no surprise that a Team Nebraska runner would show up to “set things right”.

Guess again.

Kira Vincent did manage to slip in between Amber and Kathryn this time.   Just the fire under Kathryn I was hoping for.  Full results available when Craig Christians gets back, thanks to Tom Whitaker for the timing and results.

Amber is training up for the Boston Marathon.  I’m coaching her, using my McLatchie/Killer Coach hybrid program.  The Reason she runs for Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  Two weeks into it and spot on progress.  Her 31:24 for the uncertified 5 mile course the fastest since Rachel Carrizales and Abby Knight held sway several years ago.

We also had Allison Moy Borgan in the field, she finished in 38 minutes for her racing debut.

Who’s next?  If you want some racing this weekend come on out to the 2nd of our Valley Forge Winter Series.  We’ve still got a couple of firebreathers up our sleeve so be sure and send your best!

My Original Race Director mentor is John Conley.  He allowed me to shadow him at the 1994 Sundown Classic 10K in Austin, TX.  We’ve been great friends every since.  He’s the head of
Conley Sports now and just finished production of the 3M Half Marathon, another of the first class races in the Lone Star State.

In 2003 I sent Ryan Salem (1:11:57) and Michelle Paxton (1:20:38) to 3M.  One of my former club’s first forays into the national pool.  No Nebraskans there yestereday.

Same as with last weekend’s Houston Half (and full), if you are talented and serious about your racing and would like to be funded to Austin next year, give me a shout.  I’ve got Old Buddies.

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John taught me the nucances of Elite Racing.  Helped launch my own career in race directing.  Also a world class race photographer, he’s covered the World Cross Country Championships a couple of times.  I shared my room with him at the 2004 USA Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon so he could shoot that event.   Native of Hawaii, proud veteran, distinguished Texan, and regular guy.

POTPOURRI FRIDAY

Thanks for checking back in today, I enjoyed a day away from the home office yesterday.

Big Tips and Muchas Gracias to Cabela’s, The World’s Foremost Outfitter.  The Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs are now enjoying our 9th year of sponsorship by the Sidney based company.  Omaha Steaks returns as post race feed sponsor, them’s good eats!  Regal Printing did a very slick and professional job on our 6X9 heavy stock postcard.  Changing things up a bit this year by encouraging BYOB.  We’ll still have some of the area’s finest hand crafted beers though, think Zip Line for starters.

Nebraska Run Guru Elite is proud to have Jeremy Morris entered into the USA 100 Mile Trail National Championships on January 31st.  Contested on the funky footing of Huntsville State Park (God Bless Texas!), this is the same course that made a man of El Jefe a year ago.  Jeremy had a nice 40 miler in 5:03:30 recently, bodes well don’t it?  Pete Kostelnick ran 40 miles in 5:17 on just about the same day.  Farm Long, Farm Strong!

The Two Rivers Valentine’s Day 10K (Saturday, February 14th, 10:00 a.m.) is pleased to announce the addition of the DC West Challenge.  We will be hosting any and all middle and high schoolers that want to race the 1.5 mile loop of Two Rivers State Recreation Area.  There will be no cost to the runners, amenitites are limited to fast running, official times, and bragging rights.  If you’ve got some kiddos you want entered, shoot me an email at runguru@cox.net

The Nebraska Wesleyan Invitational is today at 11:30 at the Devaney Center.  The Mark Colligan Memorial is tomorrow at noon, same venue.  Some chances for the fastest of you to get out and show us what you got, giddyup!

Lot’s of the itis and algias going around.  And the measles have kicked ebola to the curb.  If you’re illin, take it easy this weekend.  If you’re feeling strong then head down to La Platte for the next installment of No Frills.

Ron Olsen and Roxi Erickson will be in NRGE kit for the 2015 Lincoln Marathon.  Ron will continue his streak of having run every single edition.  Roxi can’t win anymore but doesn’t have to because 9 or 10 times is enough.

Gross mistake.  I erred earlier this week when I said Coach Steve Kunasek labored at Omaha South.  I was roundly scolded and reminded that he actually worked the sidelines at Gross Catholic High.

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IF

 

 

SHAMMY SHIMMY

You know Spring is not far off when the inbox chimes with information on the first of our USATF Club Road Championships.  This will be the 7th year that the Shamrock Shuffle 8K in Chicago has hosted for us.

Its also the first opportunity of the year for our Elite Development Clubs to show what they’ve been up to over the winter.  If I’m reading All Signs correctly, look for the Kansas City Smoke to finish high, very high.

It is also a chance for the clubs to offer up new and improved rosters.  Who has signed with whom.  Who has moved to where.  Who has adhered to all the Elite Development Club protocols.

That’s where the shimmy comes in.  Tough dance.  Those of us on the Elie Development Club Council are charged with making sure our Club National Champs program events are conducted fairly, squarely, and provide the best level of management and competition.   Whew, but those of us on the council take our program very seriously!

Very pleased to announce the addition of our newest Elite Development Club.  Furman Elite should make an immediate impact.  Led by Furman head coach Robert Gary.  Robert is a two-time Olympian (Atlanta, 1996 and Athens, 2004), two-time World Championships qualifier, 11-time World Cross Country USA Team member, and Track & Field News 2004 Cross Country Runner of the Year.   Their support budget of $50,000 includes all domestic travel including two trips per year to altitude.  The athletes all live and train together.  Check out their goals and athletes to get a good idea of what our Elite Development Club program was founded on.  The same vision, of national excellence, that long ago and far away, I founded Team Nebraska on, nothing less.

What will be the goals of your club for the 2013-2016 Olympic quadrennium?
2015
1 World XC Team Member
1 NACAC XC Team Member
8 athletes achieving the IAAF A-standard for World Track & Field Championships.
8 qualifying for USATF Outdoors
6 finalists
2 World Championship team members
2 finalists

2016
Win USATF Club XC (men)
2 World Indoor Finalists
8-10 athletes achieving the IAAF A-standard and all of them being in the finalist at 2016 US Olympic Track Trials.
2 qualifiers for the US Olympic Trials Marathon
4 Olympians
2 Finalists at the Olympics.

NATIONAL QUALIFIERS
Please list your club members who have qualified for the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships:

Jeff See
Cory Leslie
Craig Forys
Melissa Salerno
Isaac Presson
Jack Bolas
Rob Finnerty
Stephanie Garcia
Michael Hammond
Nicole Bush

2012Shamrock8K-6402012 was my last and Team Nebraska’s greatest year, no small coincidence.  I introduced and expected a different approach to racing, In It To Win It.  Here David Adams passes Olympian Abdi Abdirahman at the ’12 Shamrock Shuffle en route to a 2nd Overall finish.  Always fun to reflect and remind on how things were when my way held sway.  I liked it better then.

 

BUCKET HEAD

My son Miles got his musical chops from me.  Turned him on to my Dual CS604 Turntable and stack of wax many years ago, he’s made it a life’s passion.  He in turn introduced me to a Real Shredder, Buckethead, who now resides on my top 10 guitarists of all time list.

Prior to the start gun I’ve heard Linda use an old adage from her dad (Steve Kunasek coached for over 30 years at Omaha South, basketball, football, track).  “Keep your head in a bucket!”

The message:  Don’t let anyone else get inside your head.  Plain and simple.  Run your own race.  Have a plan and stick to it.  Your toughest competition is always inside your head.  Another way, my way, of saying it is “In It To Win It!”

Had a nice 10.5 mile tour around my old dojo yesterday.  No ghosts, no snakes, no crazies,  I hardly recognized the place.

Lots of interesting Pi runs popping up on various March schedules.  I received an email suggesting one that has me piqued.

1st Annual Pi Hole Run.  3.14 miles.  For some reason the correspondent thought it would be a good idea for me to challenge a member each from the Lincoln Running Co. and Team Nebraska.  I would receive a fair and honest head start, based on demonstrated fitness, sort of like the fox and hare.  Or, I would be able to designate a stand in with both other team’s runners receiving a fair and honest start, based on current demonstrated fitness.  Several appropriate names were recommended, those that seem to have a penchant for obstreperous usage of their own pie hole (you know who you are fellas!).  Intriguing, no?

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My mileage suffered last week.  My pileage however was fine.  Real, Hard work.

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Like shooting fish in a 119.240471 liter container.  Honey, get my .12 gauge!

 

 

 

 

 

SERVING YOUTH

A lot of great racing in the Lone Star State yesterday morning.  I’m most impressed with 23 year old Lindsey Flanagan of Maryland.  Her 2:33:12 (3rd American) made me smile all day.  Top American was Kellyn Taylor (age 28) in 2:28:40, 2nd American was Serena Burla in 2:31:46.

Heads up ladies!  This is the way women’s running in the United States has been headed for the last several years.  You better start dreaming BIG if you want to reach the STARS.

There were several Olympic Trials qualifiers on the men’s side too.  Headed by Linda’s old buddy, 27 year old Aaron Braun (she took him to the Chiba Ekiden in Japan in 2010), he turned in a nice 2:12:54.

Heads up fellas!  Same deal.

The inaugural Valley Forge Winter Series was a blustery debut.  Twenty eight runners participating with many, many first timers.  Kiddos too, bodes well for the DC West running programs moving forward.  I could not have been happier.  Our rag tag band of NRGE mates, looking like we are sponsored by New Life Thrift, showed the way.  We’re pretty and pampered, not!  Check out our facebook page for series information.  And thanks to Bucks Bar & Grill for becoming the program’s first contributor.

Pete followed up his 10K win on Saturday with a brisk 40 miler yesterday.

Congratulations to Cory Logsdon on his 15:17 at the Holiday Invite.  A seventeen second personal best on the boards.  Nice work young man.  I saw it in you when others poo pooed, glad you’re a best fit now.

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My old buddy Meb would finish third in the USA Champs Half.  Thanks to Doug “Oban Wan” Storey for the photo.

 

 

A MOMENT WITH BRANT KOTCH

Brant Kotch is one of my oldest buddies in Texas.  He’s also the Race Director for the Houston Marathon and Half Marathon.  The Half will serve as the Men and Women’s USA Half Marathon National Championships.  Not a single Nebraskan entered.  Sad.  I sent dozens of my former club runners to Houston, all were treated to experiences of a lifetime.  But hey, that was then.  Just a heads up for next year, if you have talent and ambition, get ahold of me this December and I’ll make sure you have a spot on the 2016 start line.  Regardless of kit.

Brant’s Fab Five Faves:

Will:  Who are your men and women’s favorite on Sunday?

Brant:  “Men’s Marathon: The clear fave, Bazu Worku, may not make it (news flash!), and in his absence, I’d go with Debebe Tolossa, who finished second here in 2012. He’s knows the course (well, most of it) and he’s due for a good result.  Women’s Marathon: Gotta got with Fatuma Sado, but this is a tough race to call. Lots of the women have similar bests and are all looking to break through.  Men’s Half: I have to go with my man Meb. He is an inspiration to all of us old farts!  This would be the third time he’s won here (2012 Trials and Halves in 2008 and 2014).  Women’s Half: Janet Cherobon-Bawcom. She’s been on a roll and I just saw her in the hotel lobby and she looks super-fit.”

Will:   What is your favorite Houston Marathon memory?

Brant:  “One, the 1984 finish, where Charlie Spedding outleaned Massimo Magnani at the tape. Spedding went on to get the bronze medal in the LA Olympics marathon that summer. Two, our hosting of the Oly Trials in 2012. Just sorry we weren’t allowed to follow up with an even better show in 2016.”

Will:   What is your favorite beer?

Brant:  “No single favorite beer, but I love sours and IPAs. Favorite sour that I’ve actually tasted: Russian River Supplication. IPA: The Alchemist Heady Topper (with Russian River Pliny the Elder right behind).”

Will:  Who is your favorite Nebraskan?

Brant:   “You!  But Virginia Brophy Achman* roots for Nebraska and if that puts her in the running, I’d have to name her.”

Will:  What is your second favorite beer?

Brant:   “I’ve already named three beers, but if I could only have one more, I’ll go with Bourbon County Brand Stout.  There!   And I’m outta here!   Take care and keep in touch!  Best, Brant.”

*Virginia graduated from Burke High School back in the day.  She is the Race Director for the Twin Cities Marathon.  Virginia served as the WLDR Chair for the last two years of my stint as Women’s National Champs Chair.  She and I have our own stories to be sure.

I’ve got a ton of favorite memories from Houston including my personal best in 1996.  Sharing a hot tub with Meb after the 2012 Trials,  being on the press truck when Ryan Hall set the American Record of 59:43 in 2007.

SAMSUNG

 

Matt Schneider used to run for me.  I sent him to Houston in 2010 and he made a memory of a lifetime by running early on nearly stride for stride with the Women’s overall winner, Shalane Flanagan (1:09:41).  Tons of tv face time and great exposure for the Red & White.  Matt would finish in 1:11:13.  He was one of the fiercest mates I ever had on the old club.  Broke my heart how things got corrupted between the two of us.  Matt, I still miss your fire.