Monthly Archives: March 2015

PERFECT ENEMY

I had an epiphany this weekend.  Two ways, as always and of course.    Dealing with myself and with others.  I puzzled if not agonized for two weeks on just how to “build” the first real structure I’ve ever attempted.  A far reaching limb dropped me from my dad’s skill set, he built both the house I grew up in and the one he lives in now, the latter at age 65.   My anxiety stemmed from the fact that I could never match up to his craftsmanship, don’t know why I ever worried about it now.  Wishing I would have paid attention when father tried to pass along a lifetime of wisdom to son.  Me too proud and young and disrespectful and know it all to listen.  Thinking my way was the better way only because it was my way.  Ah whippersnappers, whether it be in construction or matters in running, the way of the world to rail against experience and institutions.   The hell with the rules, right?   And then I started this project and immediately realized what I was missing via my childhood dissing.   Maturity now giving reflection that is only gained through years.   This then was my liberating revelation:  Perfect is the enemy of the good.  Eight hours on Friday, another 8 on Saturday and as a result a good coop for my Cornish.  I made plenty of mistakes, learned the hard way, by my own two hands, now full of blisters and splinters.  Had I listened and learned from dad, the importance of being true and plumb and square, (damned rules!), it would have saved me half of the time.  Better late than never eh?
I’ve expected perfection and adherence to the rules in my recent dealings with the running community.  Have been met fully head on, and disrespected, life’s full circle once again, but have now come to realize that good is good enough, for now at least.  Something is better than nothing.20150314_183540

Big thanks to Steve Stender, all the 2 X 6s came from his dismantled deck.  And to John Tully, his 2 X 4s providing strength and stability.  And to Bill Weeks, his 2 X 12s of ponderosa pine completing the rustic appearance of this fully repurposed, insulated and functional coop.   Critter and varmint proof. 20150316_082644

One of my favorite running posters, now 24 years old.  The Art Deco influence, the dynamism, the vivid colors.  Congratulations to Mike Morgan on his 3rd overall at yesterdays edition, potentially earning him yet another spot on a USA World Championships Marathon team.

Locally the Blarney Stone 5K and Shamrock Sprint 5Ks were held this weekend.  No significant times to report, 60 plus year old Bob Garcia taking the former and Tim Meyer of South Dakota the latter.  Average time at the Blarney Stone was 32:21.  And at the Sprint, 31:05.  In Lincoln the Wilderness Trail Runs hosted a full , a half, and a 10K.  El Jefe won the 10K in 36:28 as part of a 30 mile run.  Jeremy Morris was third in the marathon in 3:17.  Tim Langdon was credited with the win in 2:36, I’m calling bullocks on that.  Tim is a good marathoner with a mid 2:40 personal best, no way in the world you run a 9 minute pr on those muddy trails, or beat Jeremy by over a half hour, but hey, what do I know?  You tell me kids.

FAIR WEATHER FRIDAY

Hope you all are full into your spring training, eyes on your prize.  Up to a couple hundred of you will be testing your mettle at the 9th annual Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Runs.  This breaks my personal longevity record for putting on a race, having retired the Swamp Stomp and Run For The Arts both after their eighth.

Thanks again to all of our sponsors and contributors.  Omaha Steaks, Cabela’s, Regal Printing, Upstream Brewing Co., Zip Line Brewing, and Subway.

And the man, the legend, Ivan Marsh.  His training route, his name for the race.

Ran 3 miles on Wednesday with my lover.  Knee so swollen yesterday I was hobbled until noon. Ibuprofen, ice, knee brace today.  And no more running until a more sure resolution, drats.

Moving the Cornish into their new digs today.  Growing like thier ancient relative, the T-Rex, I’m not the only dinosaur at the Bar None.

Feliz Viernes and I hope you get everything you want and deserve this weekend.

Hug your kids today, tell them you love them.  They’ll be grown and gone in a blink of an eye.

Peace Love Chickens.

 

SIMPLE NOT EASY

Sometimes the simplest of paths are the most difficult it seems.  The National Governing Body for the sport of long distance running (and all other facets of our sport), USATF, publishes a Competition Rules book every year.  Its purpose is to describe exactly how events and member clubs and athletes must conduct the business of Association Championships, among other things.  Number one on the importance list- Having a current USATF membership.  I’ve been preaching this for 15 years now and yet it is still a grey zone for our current crop of athletes and administrators, leaving me to tear at my beard, gnash my teeth and howl at the moon.  That’s all I have to say about that.

The Simple Life.  That’s the sub-title for this chapter of my life, main title is Loving Linda, Loving Life.  What makes it simple?  Working as I did yesterday, sunup to sundown?  Hewing with both hands every advantage offered by the Good Mother?  Garnering the wisdom of those that have come before me?  Learning too by so much trial and error, incorporating the successes, ditching the fails?  Having the confidence and courage to start each season anew?   A firm commitment to self sufficiency?  Yes, all that is part of the Simple Life.

What is not part of the Simple Life is just as telling.  Words like “cushy”, “easy”, “simple-in the lower case”, “exclusive”, “soft”, or “entitled.”  In the Simple Life, you get exactly and only what you put in.

No place I’d rather be in the whole world right now, being satisfied with good work, as judged by my harshest critic (me) at the end of every single day.  Time melding days, evenings and nights in storybook fashion, with most certainly the person I was meant to be with, who loves me like no other has, who I love like none other.  Plain and simple.

It ain’t easy, don’t kid yourself.  But it is worth it, every moment.

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Bones up.

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And done.  Not as impressive as yesterday’s example but all by my hand and will allow us to quadruple production this year.  It had climbed to nearly 90 degrees inside by 5 yesterday afternoon.  Correction from yesterday, the UNL Research Facilities are peppered throughout Saunders County, not Douglas.

 

LONGING TO RUN LONG

Our Jeremy Morris.  He’s one cool cat and tough as rawhide.  He ran and won the Stampede Trail Run 50K on Saturday.  One of Jim Craig’s events, about as low key as you can possibly imagine.  Instead of a finish line you go to the bar across the street and tell them your time and what distance you ran.  At least there is free beer I hear.  Jeremy’s recap:

“Ran 3:39:10 2nd was 4:27 3rd was 4:41. Course was 3 approximately 10 mile loops. Trail was hard for first lap 2nd and third lap it was pretty sloppy. Was able to run pretty consistent pace for first 27-28 miles then slowed a bit. Started off easier than normal as my hip and knee had been bothering me the past two weeks. They didn’t hurt at all during the race. Think i need to make myself start off slow every race.”

He’s running the Wilderness Trail Marathon this coming weekend.  Nebraska’s version of Michael Wardian?  Wardian just missed the WR for 50K by running 3:06:24, on a treadmill, criminently!  Paul Navesy of Great Britain had turned in 3:05:37, Michael is already mounting another attack.

Tested the knee out at this past weekend’s Valley Forge 10K.  First run in almost 3 weeks and I was able to eke out a 51:10, 8:30 pace on nothing but “The Mind is the Athlete!”  As my 84 year old neighbor Carl insists, “Its better than a kick in the ass!”  Day to day these days but as my buddy Colin assures me, the warmer temps will help.  He’s one of my favorites you know.  And has one of the brightest potentials around.

Twelve flats already started and 8 more going  today, all manner of cold hardy produce,  started under the lights downstairs.  Construction underway on the hoop house.  Those flats will soon move outside to make room for the more tender and temperamentals such as tomatoes, peppers, etc.  In only our second year Bar None Produce is right on track.

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Hoop house envy.  UNL owns a vast swath of Western Douglas Co., their research facilities dotting the landscape from Wahoo (Wahoo Wieners!) to Mead to Ashland.

 

 

LEPRECHAUN CHASE RECAP

Getting right to it this morning:

startchase15And they’re off!  Proud of our Nebraska Run Guru Elite ladies, Amber and Jessica and Stacy and Linda, for having No Fear!  Our lads Pete & Kyle would be off shortly.

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Bridget Easley almost snuck by me in her Lincoln Running Co. race kit, back home where she belongs.  Half a step behind is that ageless wonder Michelle Paxton (38 years old and popped a fast 37:14!) representing Oiselle.

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Same story for the last 15 years.  Christy Nielsen (she turns 40 in May, look out!) fronting our Jessica Pape.  I implored Jessica to work up and pass Christy, poor girl, lord knows she has tired of hearing me urge my runners to catch her.  Heavy is the burden.  She’d hold off Jess this time.
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Cory Logsdon finished 4th overall in 32:39 and won the Nebraska 10K Road Championships.  Right behind is Women Run Nebraska President Adeline Hohman.

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A hell of a fight between Scott Haug and Matt Seiler of Team Nebraska.  There were some ugly elbows being thrown at the bottom of this hill.   Don, good job on raising a level headed boy, not sure I could have maintained such decorum during the heat of battle.

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A highlight of my morning was Logan Watley’s sense of humor.  Here we share an inside joke about “tagging off.”

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Amber Sargent.  Getting ready for next month’s Boston Marathon.

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Jessica wouldn’t catch Christy but did hold off a cadre of Women Run Nebraska athletes.

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Badwater Badass Pete Kostelnick ran a personal best 34:14 to finish 10th overall.

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El Jefe also ran a personal best, 35:28, his by nearly 40 seconds.  On an extremely pr unfriendly course.  He and I not surprised at all given his success understanding my marathon training program.  He will be this year’s men’s litmus test for the program.

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Stacy Mangers Shaw.  Didn’t run a personal best today, but at 49 years old ran 42:06 to just miss the overall masters title (Amy McCracken, age 41 in 41:56).  Most likely the top age graded performance of any male or female of the day.

lindachase15My dear sweet Linda.  Racing on 36 hours notice that the LC had been named our Association 10K Chammps, handily winning the women’s 50-54 age group.  Thanks Ben Cohoon for granting her a last minute entry to defend her spot as the top 50+ female around.

How proud am I?  Very!

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Women’s winner Katie White (35:56).  Former UNL studette and arguably the fastest female in Nebraska right now.

menswinnerchase15Men’s winner 22 year old Tyler Jermann (31:27)  of Ames Iowa.

All photos courtesy of Gary Dougherty Photography.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S UP DOCK

I love immersing myself in a difficult task.  Heart, back, arms, legs.   A physician friend of mine lives on a small lake (or big pond).  On one shore, entangled in a stand of mulberries,  was a relic from at least a couple of decades ago, a weathered, exhausted old dock.  Finely crafted of cedar, it was the 2 X 12s, fatigued but soundly supporting faded memories, that I was keen on.  Perfect base boards and instant character for the coop that will house my cornish roasters.  Those twenty five, in only two weeks time shooting up 6″ and 3/4 of a pound.  Butcher the females at 8 weeks for fryers, the males at 12 weeks for roasting.

Back to Doc’s dock.   I pulled up yesterday to survey the situation and found that with some medium effort I could pry some of the structure apart with just my hands.  The extended creak of extra long nails, yielding not much resistance, finally parting company with former host.  “That was kind of fun.”  So another, then another.  Then more difficult extractions tempting me to fetch the pry bar.  By this time I knew I wanted to take it apart with no tools.  Less damage to the wood and providing me with one heck of an upper body workout.

I let lunchtime come and go.  Fascination with the (de)construction coupled with dogged determination wiled the afternoon away.  At some points the mulberry trees had actually grown up around it, a study and challenge in untying wooden knots.  Fully immersed.  Attention deficit quelled by labor.

And then it was done.  I stepped back, looked at the piles neatly stacked according to size and desirablility.  And felt good business done.

This then is how I work best.  For my own satisfaction, at my own direction, accomplishment and fruits mine alone.  The rewards of labor.  Good honest, hard work, by two hands.  Yesterday’s sweat manifested into today’s achig muscles.  Feeling Really Alive.

I hope that everyone running either our Valley Forge Series or Leprechaun Chase tomorrow feels the same satisfaction come Sunday morning.

 

 

BREAKING FAST

The fast has broken.  Ten days in the wilderness, searching for personal truths.

As soon as I figure out how to change it, my new banner will read “Promoting the Virtues of Service, Frugality, Self Sufficiency, and Endurance.”  I’ll still cover running but will include more observations on the simple life.  The Better Life.

A lot of meditation and introspection has set me free.  Rid of so much that bedeviled me.

In the interim I finally settled, after 5 years.   I gave my ex everything she asked for just to be finished.  Her sad descent from international business executive to minimum wage bagel tosser bringing her the satisfaction of promise fulfilled (You’ll not get a dime!) and me utter emancipaiton.  Alcohol, it can be a terrible, devastating drug, ruining families and careers.

My own personal demons too.  Reconciling id, ego and super ego.  Appreciating what I have instead of what is lost, by hook, crook, and the fates.  Valuing ablove all else what is left after all is said and done.

What I have left, Friends.  So many of you reached out to me and made me realize how blessed I am.  Thank you for the inspirations, your kind words balm during my turbulent waters.

What I have left, the love and companionship of Linda Kunasek.

My own running future now in serious doubt.  A single two mile run in the last two weeks.  Hints of osteo arthritis in my right knee forcing me to face a future without what I’ve loved most.  What I’ve built a life and career on.  And what, in the end, matters least as I approach my 6th decade.  I could push my luck and limits but pedestrianism ain’t that bad.  Always knew it would be my final frontier, not being a golfer.  The trade off is being better able to daily locomote and labor with relative ease.   Not without hope though that a return may be possible sometime, seems like this particular despair has visited previously and always been overcome.

I’ve taken the Good Mother’s cue, as Spring approaches life begins anew.  And with it, new life into this column.  With malice towards none.