Monthly Archives: June 2015

CHICKEN DINNER

The Big News for most local yokels was Kaci Lickteig taking 2nd overall woman at Western States.  I got several emails regarding last Wednesday’s call for Kaci to win the thing.   All said I was nuts.  Received several more yesterday wondering how in the world I was the closest prediction to her actual finish.  How did I do it?  Because I know her.  Better.  Than most.  Her sea of well deserved congratulations demonstrates what a delightful young lady she is in addition to be a natural born trail running talent (think of a V-8 engine in a smart car).   Linda fondly recalled that once upon a time she ran for me and I coached her to a 17 minute marathon personal best.  But my she has grown tremendously in the sport since those  days.

But Hey Now!  Let’s not forget to toast and celebrate the women’s winner!  Magdalena Lewy Boulet.  Her story, in a nut shell.  Polish immigrant that married U.S. certified middle distance stud Richie Boulet.  Gained her citizenship on September 11, 2001.  Represented the  USA in the 2008 Olympic Marathon.  She’s 41 years old.  Western States was her very first 100 Miler.  She’s World  Class.  And Kaci is now right behind her at the century distance.

More Chicken Dinners!  Heavily slathered in personal best gravy!

Sam and Jackson Runde took their aspirations to Minneapolis this past weekend’s AAU Regional Championships.  I’ve sung praises to the hard work they’ve put in.  A little Monday Pudding for you:
Boys 13 year old 800 meters
1. Sam Runde   2:22.80*  personal best
2. Cade Mash    2:27.58  (Altoona, IA)

Boys 9 year old 800 meters
1. Ryan Becker   2:51.76
2. Jackson Runde  2:52.56* personal best

Boys 13 year old 1500 meters
1. Sam Runde  4:56.26* personal best
2. Cade Mash   5:06.58
3. Ethan Vargas 5:06.65 (Hudson, WI)

Boys 9 year old 1500 meters
1. Ryan Becker  5:48.85 (Shakopee, MN)
2. Jackson Runde 5:50.36*  personal best

Boys 13 year old 3000 meters
1. Sam Runde     10:33.62*  personal best

Boys 9 year old 400 meters
1. Darren Burch Walker  1:10.55 (Saint Paul, MN)
2. Jackson Runde  1:18.22* personal best

 

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Magdalena (middle) posing with Deena Kastor and Blake Russell immediately after crossing the finish line in Boston at the 2008 USA Women’s Olympic Trials.

FARM STRONG FRIDAY

20150619_150211Been a while since I’ve done a Bar None report.  All work and no play makes Willie a dull boy.  Found this hammock I’ve had since the early 80s.  At the end of some days, with feet up and beer in hand, I can almost feel the breezes coming in off  the Gulf of Mexico.

The good news is that Linda and I are loving each other more and more every day, no kidding.  Life these last two years has gotten better with every sunrise, our lives merging into what surely must be our Grand Design.  So we’ve got that going for us, smiley face, winky icon.
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Fridays are the toughest due to the picking and washing necessary to bring  our customers the finest produce anywhere, Bar None.

Best picking is in the morns, while the dew still adorns.
Our new red potatoes divine, turnips sublime.
Our tender carrots and beets can’t be beat.
Kale and collards, easy to grow, spinaches and chard, super foods you know.
Vining cukes and bushing beans, the Bar None a gardener’s dream.
Mizuna and Yukina the Japanese green, first time most Midwesterners have seen.
Variety lettuces, fresh and gourmet, onions called Patterson and Cabernet.
Arugula named Dragon’s Tongue, growing your food is healthy and fun!
Peppers, tomatoes, mid summer fare, little fruits already there.
Winter squash, Butternut, Waltham, and pumpkins too, all manner of gourds waiting for you.  And the bees they’re a buzzing making golden money, yes that’s right we do sell honey!
At the markets and roadside stand, Bar None Produce, the best in the land!

Come see us at the Fremont Farmer’s Market tomorrow morning.  Get there early for best selection, we sell out every week.  We’ll be set up by 7.
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From garden to table.  Swiss Chard sautéed with bacon and onion.  New red potatoes, kicked up with turnips, and arugula, headed for smashed heaven, and a couple of the  best pork chops Brian Bergt has ever raised!

 

 

 

 

 

HARD AND WELL EARNED

Perhaps one of the most satisfying columns I’ve ever penned.

Congratulations to Kyle Clouston, board members Pete Kostelnick, Jerrod Anzalone, and Stacy  Mangers Shaw, and the rest of the membership on Nebraska Run Guru Elite.  Your hard work and success over the last two years, your willingness to Race, to be In It To Win It, to be coached and directed as necessary, to share the vision of your namesake, have all resulted in today’s announcement.

Nebraska Run Guru Elite is proud to announce our title sponsorship arrangement with The Lincoln Marathon.  With a long and demonstrated commitment to developing Nebraska athletes, this is a great fit for both our club and  the marathon.  This is testament to our  athletes.

And now, with critical financial  support, the bar for distance running in Nebraska just got a little higher for us all.

I’d like to personally thank Nancy Sutton Moss, always my strongest ally and advocate.  Also to Gary Bredehoft and the entire Lincoln Marathon Board.  We will proudly represent as we continue our efforts towards developing the next generation of Great Nebraska runners.

Giddyup!

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Pete, Jessica, Kyle and Stacy.  Proudly accepting their hard and well earned trophies at this year’s Lincoln Marathon.

GREAT LENGTHS

I’ve been known to go far in order to make a point.  But I’ve got nothing on the three cats that follow.

This weekend Kaci Lickteig is running the most prestigious ultra race in the United States, Western States 100.  She is ranked as a top 10 favorite but my local long distance sources tell me she could surprise with a top 5 finish.  Hell, I hope she wins the thing.

Derek Fey is on day 3 of his TransNebraska run.  Averaging roughly 50 miles/day.  Going  the extra mile to raise money for his College of Saint Mary XC team.  Trip to the Mountain Dew Classic in Gainesville, Florida this coming September the end result.  You can follow Derek’s progress at www.nebraskarun.weebly.com  You can also make a donation to help the fundraiser.  You’ll feel good about yourself if you do!  Jay Birmingham must be proud.

Pete Kostelnick is kind of trumping everyone in my opinion.  I can’t spill the Full Beans on his training,  and I’m merely speculating here, which is what a Good Blogger does, I’m guessing he’s been averaging at least 120-140 for quite a spell recently.  Don’t quote me on that.  I did hear whispers of a recent 160 mile week.  And of a “simulation” run this past weekend that included numbers like 70 miles and 10 hours and Full  Sweats.  Death Valley anyone?  One thing I will say for certain is that  I’ve rarely met a runner so fully committed to a goal.  And back  to personal conjecture, the possibility of a magical finish at maybe the Toughest Race in the World.

Pretty amazing to me that we have Nebraskans eyeing potential podium  finishes at Western States and Badwater.

 

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS

But first, a few amplifications to yesterday.  Kray Zeller made his debut masters marathon in Duluth.  Trained up hard with the goal of  breaking 3 hours.  Ended up finishing 14th in the 40-44 age group in 2:56:33.  Outstanding effort mate!

Cameron Cummings (33:52) took to the rain soaked streets of Boston in the B.A.A. 10K.  Driving storms didn’t dampen his spirits as he finished 33rd overall out of 2800 runners.

Jeremy Morris did indeed win the Dizzy Goat 12 hour covering 61.75 miles.  Mike Wasson probably won his race there.  We had Alli Borgan in the 3 hour, I’ll guess she won until I find  out otherwise, if you know of a link to the results thanks for sending  along.  I’m sure its just me not being able to locate them, no other explanation in this day and age of instant timing and results.  I made it out to DG12 for the second straight year, and come away reminded how 99.99999% of the participants are in it for experiences that have nothing at all to do with competition.    Strange Brew to me.

The 2000 Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon almost didn’t happen.  I’d been on the WLDR Executive committee for just over a year and this was the biggest thing that had yet come  down the pike.  Charleston, SC had hosted the ’96 Trials with little political fanfare.  *Editor’s note: The 1992 Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon was in Houston.  I was standing along Allen Parkway watching when Cathy O’Brien and Craig Christian’s old buddy Janis Klecker were battling for the lead.  Racing on wet pavement, Klecker went down hard.  Cathy immediately turned around and helped Janis back up and into the race.  Klecker would go on to win over O’Brien by :24.  And left an impression of true sportsmanship that I’ll never forget.

Back to 2000.  The Confederate flag has flown over the courthouse in Charleston for as long as necks have been red.  A group of athletes bravely took a stand and the symbol of that part of The South came under fire.  And the Trials almost wound up being contested by those infernal attorneys instead of the athletes.  Tough times.

And proving the hand can always be on the other foot.  When the BIX 7 first hosted our USA National Championships a group of African athletes filed suit against the race claiming discrimination because they were excluded from the “American Only” prize purse.  It was the first time in the history of the race that money was restricted and it almost cost our champs program the opportunity to partner with one of the Great American Road Races.

I’ve had people wonder how (and why) I put up with the local politics of running.   Its all relative man.

 

 

REGIONAL SUPERLATIVES

My old buddy Scott Keenan directed Grandma’s Marathon for 30+ years.  One of the Very  Best guys, supported our American athletes like very few others, I’d put him in a group of three that includes Greg Meyer up in Grand Rapids.  He was the very first race director to agree to host our then fledgling USA Club Half Marathon Championships, Team Nebraska’s women taking that title.  That was in 2003.  Scott retired a couple of years ago but his staff continues to provide opportunities to race the best.

So who ran well from around our region?

Best First.  Tanner Fruit.  The 26 year old from Ogallala and his group from Colorado Springs dominated the Half Marathon.  Tanner’s 1:05:01 missed the Olympic Trials standard by a mere one second.  Tanner  finished 11th overall.  Fastest half marathon by a native Nebraskan since Mike Morgan’s 1:04:andchange from Houston over 10 years ago.  Nice.

On the women’s side Team Nebraska’s Shannon Suing continued her march toward the Trials with a fine 2:46:17 to finish 30th overall.  Less than 200 seconds separate her from her dreams, she has a great shot this fall.

The Kansas City Smoke, man it has sure been a Great Turnaround for that longtime Elite Development Club.  Joe Moore led the Smoke (22nd, 2:18:21) but wasn’t even the fastest from our Midwest region.  That distinction went to 38 year old Eric Loeffler of Fargo ND, a damned fine 2:16:48 for 14th overall.  Cory Logsdon ran a 2 plus minute personal best, tantalizingly close to the “Twenties” finishing 47th in 2:30:37.

The Smoke showed well in the Garry Bjorklund Half too.  Justin Garrard finished 40th in 1:08:25.  His mate Aaron Davidson was 45th in 1:08:49.  He’s already committed to return to this year’s Freedom Run.  Lincoln Running Company stud Michael Rathje was the first Nebraskan finishing 48th in 1:09:26.  His mate Ryan Dostal was 52nd in 1:10:25.  York Thomas was Team Nebraska’s top finisher finishing 74th in 1:13:42.  On the women’s side, 25 year old Neely Spence Grace smoked a 1:11:25 for the win.  Of particular interest to me was an athlete I worked with a decade and a half ago, 44 year old Molly Watke finished 11th overall in 1:18:34.  Megan Zavorka Thomas was Team Nebraska’s top finisher crossing 34th in 1:24:34.

Locally Colin Morrissey took the Road To Omaha title in 15:50.  Our Stacy Shaw finished :09 from the win, fighting hard for 3rd in 19:34.  The mark for the  49 year old studette age grades to a 16:20, catch her if you can!

I’ll bet you a dollar Jeremy Morris won the Dizzy Goat 12 hour.  He had an insurmountable lead when we left.  Tried hard to find the results, they’ll pop up eventually.  So  did our Ashley Schurman.  She covered almost 40 miles, leading by half a day over the second place woman and closing fast on the 2nd place male, when intestinal issues forced me to pull her from the race.  You have no  idea how tough this lady is.  In It To Win It, it’s All and Only  About That.

FOR THE RECORD

Hmmmm?  I’m reading an interesting proposition on the front of  today’s OWH Sports page. “Two area teams seeking greater success combine their talents.”  The Nebraska Development Academy is the result of combining the Omaha Futbol Club and the Nebraska Futbol Club.  According to Omaha FC ex. dir Tim Bennett, “If we continue to fight for the same players and dilute the age group, we’re doing a disservice to our players.”  Interesting indeed!

I won’t speak to soccer, but I know  running, especially competitive and elite level running.  Especially when it comes to founding, directing, and fighting for.

So let’s imagine the same thing with our top Nebraska runners.  Trying to bring them together under one kit.  Let’s imagine that this club has unprecedented success in the history of our state.  Let’s say this club, after years of hard work, gains  the respect of the entire U.S.  Let’s say this club has the Necessary Fire at the Very Top.  Let’s say this club, for illustrative purposes, and only because I  must speak from personal experience, is called “Team Nebraska.”

What happens next?

The Necessary Fire must commit to the club Full Time.  Expect anywhere from 40-60 hours a week, depending on the size of the club.  The bigger the club gets, the more time.  At the Very Top you will need very thick skin.  We are not, as some have tried to press, one big happy family of runners.   Find someone that endures whispers, sneers, lies, insults, ridicule and still presses on With Gusto, this is Your Leader.

Get the Best Coach.  One that is committed to every athlete that is serious.  Keep the club small.

Egos.  Goes with too much club growth.  That is the number one pitfall.  You need someone strong enough to dismiss any athlete, despite their star power, that is not a Best Fit.  Hard to do and doesn’t help your popularity rating, be forewarned.  So, don’t be in the position for popularity or prestige, wrong on so many levels.

There was more to the article that interested me.  Bennett cited club politics as one of the biggest challenges.  And, Elite Girls Academy has had no such issues with diluted talent, having won their Regional Champs in 2008 and 2011.

As one that has Been There, Done That this is my opinion.  Keep the clubs separate.  Its not the talent pool.  Its the leadership.  USATF Nebraska LDR was founded on competition between individuals and clubs.  No one can argue that point with the founder of the program.  Let the individual talent from each club rise and then battle it out for bragging rights.  That is the motivation.  Nothing gets more boring than racing your own mates only, believe me.  The heck with trying to put together all star teams.  Its been done, part of the fabric and lore in Nebraska athletics, absolutely required at the time, no reason to repeat that history.

And anyway, what would you call such a combined team of Nebraska runners.  What name would satisfy the egos on both sides of the Platte?  Team Nebraska?  No, that’s been done.  Lincoln Running Co. Racing?  No, that wouldn’t speak to the statewide membership,  there are those that would just not cross that line.  But I could be wrong on that, I’ve been wrong before.

How about Nebraska  Run Guru Elite?  All inclusive.  Necessary Fire.  Coaching.

For The Record.

IN THE GAME

Perfectly manicured grass.  Roars from the crowd.  Inspiring performances.

No I wasn’t at the CWS last night.  Chose instead to head over to Lincoln North Star.  Had the pleasure of meeting Matt Musil for the first time.  And big tips to Brian Wandzilak on setting up the all comers meet.  Well timed for my young charges Sam and Jackson.

I asked Brian if it was ok for me to holler.  Asked permission to be on the infield.  To give my boys their splits, starting at 100 meters, just the way we train.  Their numbers scribbled on the dog eared sheets of their training cycle.  Numbers from the last 6 sessions bolstering enough confidence to go for lifetime personal bests.  Two weeks prior to AAU Regionals in Minnesota, I reminded them that we were “all business.”

There were some raised eyebrows among those gathered.  Hearing whispers of personal bests and such seriousness exhibited by lads only 9 and 12.  These young boys that I am bringing along.  Coach Musil asked what their goals were.  I told him Jackson was to run his 800 in 2:56, a one second personal best.  I told him that Sam was to run 10:45, 9 seconds from his personal best set at AAU  Nationals last year.

Jackson’s gun went first.  Showed him some Hard Evidence of his  fitness, encouraged him to run in control, just like we do in practice.  Forty fours.  Every 200 meters.  Just what we have been training for.  He passed the bell at :86, Spot On.  His second quarter in :88, 2:54.8 a new personal best by 3 seconds!

Coach arranged some early pace makers for Sam but he was to be on his own for the final, and supposedly most difficult 600 meters of the race.  Ah, but we Love those last 600!  And the final 200?  That’s what I’m talking about!  The crack of the pistol and I was running towards midfield to set up my position to call splits.  I looked around and was a little shocked to see no one!  I looked back at the start line thinking maybe there was a call back.  What is going on?!?!

Looked again and saw Sam and his escort dawdling.  Five seconds behind schedule at the first 200 meters, Cripes!  Told him he was going to have to pick those back up over the next 3 or 4 laps, don’t try and get them all at once.  By the mile he had regained it and hit the prescribed mark of 5:45.  Two more laps with hired gun simulating an opponent.  And then he was on his own.  As it should be for my purposes.  Only then could I see what his Stuff is Really made of.  -This was my first time to see either of the boys race-  Again, the fastest 600 of the evening closing with the fastest 200 of the race.

I took a deep breath.  Smelling the grass clippings.  Looking at the evening sky  from inside the oval.  Kids laughing.  Noise of other summer games in the background.  All my senses heightened by the essence of what had just happened.  Tucked my stopwatch, grabbed my clipboard, and felt honored and privileged to still be In The Game.

 

STILL THE SAME

I’m lucky.  I’m still able to run.  Not very far and not very often, goal is to keep the weekly mileage even at least with Jedediah.  But man, the running I get to do!  And maybe this is my Just Reward for being a Real Running purist.  You see, my message has always been straight from the heart.  That for Ultimate Living, I must give my all.  No matter that the old bones and less taut flesh will never deliver the fast times from the past.

And so yes, my gift is that I will always be able to run.  Not fast and the marathon may as well be a world away.  But when I do run, the Gauntlet is mine to throw down.  The Challenge?  To feel Mastery.  Strong Will.  And when I do reach that state?  I feel unbeatable.  I’m sidling  up to the only Real measuring stick left in my running.  Honesty.  Can I do better?  Yes!  Can I use what I have left to achieve that Peak Experience?  And Now!

That is how my five miler was yesterday.  The last 3 of it a Test of  Will.  Passing with Flying Colors.  Still My Own Boss.  Still The Same.

Good luck to our mate Kray Zeller at this weekend’s Grandma’s Marathon.  He and brother Tory have been training up hard, good speed to them both.  Luka Thor will also run the full in Duluth.  He reports his hip flexor is  about 90%.  Which is about 99% better than 90% of us.  This will be Luka’s last marathon in my record keeping that appears with an asterisk.  Asterisk standing for the fact that in my opinion, it was poor leadership that leads him to race when he ought not.  Luka called me last week and what I heard left me once again shaking my head at the mismanagement of the brightest potential Nebraska has seen in over a decade (Mike Morgan).

Luka’s grueling lifestyle includes nursing school, working midnights, ministering, mentoring, and trying to train.  At the end of August Luka will graduate and his overnight shift will finally end, after long years.  This then was MY plan for Luka.  Asterisk free.  Get through school.  Get through graveyards.  Get your Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier.  In that order.

My opinions, like my running, Still The Same.

MILLION DOLLAR SMILE

The big news locally is the $1Million lottery ticket sold at the Casey’s in Valley.  While the winner has yet to come forward it is impossible to hide such big news in such a small town.  The elderly widow will step forward soon and reveal, glad it will go to someone that needs and can use it.  I’m hoping she ran as a child and is looking to donate to the Freedom Run prize purse.

Had triple business in Valley yesterday.  Took the Rocket to Dave’s Repair first thing in the morning.  Looking forward to getting it back on the road after a 5 year hiatus.  Early suggestions are that the car is in fine shape and will be ready for the fall Homecoming parades.

At mid day I was back in Valley working with my two youngest charges, Sam & Jackson.  Both are prepping for the AAU Regional meet in Minnesota at the end of this month.  You may see them perform their specialties tomorrow night at Brian Wandzilak’s All Comers Meet at Lincoln North Star.  While most recognize me as a hard ass coach, I’m using age appropriate methods with the boys, ages 9 & 12.  While still demanding Honesty and Excellence.  One thing different between coaching kids and adults is the Fun Quotient.  Sam hopped in the annual  Springfield 5K last weekend and finished 2nd overall, in a respectable 20:0x, while wearing a full spiderman costume.  That was fun.  Tomorrow night is All Work.

And then back to Valley in the afternoon for the Freedom Run committee meeting.  Race Director Blaine Schmidt, YMCA Executive Director Judy Argintean, the volunteers and staff, and Linda and I (Elite Athlete Coordinator) are all working hard to bring the best possible racing experience to you.  For the fleetest, our prize purse has increased to $1000 and I’m still working hard to add to that.  American only prize money.  I insist.

Reverberations still being felt over the recent “Big Red Challenge” 10K.  That event was also offering prize money, and a lot of it.  Apparently the novelty obstacle event didn’t prescribe “RULES” for grabbing the prize money.  I would suggest for next year that they describe that participants MUST challenge the obstacles in order to be eligible for the prize money.  Apparently it was  optional this year.  And $1000 for first place is an enticement that can potentially sway a person’s better sense  of fair play.  From the event’s website:  “Several 10K runners did not complete the entire course.  The race organizers decided to time the runners ‘as finished’ ,thus the ‘fast times’.”

Had my buddy’s drone flying high over the Cornfield 10K this past Saturday.    Streaming a live feed to my Bar None Produce stand.  Did I really see the lead bike go off course?  Yes I did.

Minimum standards.  Remember how I used to beat you over the head with that?  Some of you got it and some would rather choke on it.

I’ve come to realize if not completely understand or embrace something.  You, the paying customers will decide what you will pony up your entry fee dollars for.  And that, is that.