Monthly Archives: June 2015

LESS IS MORE

No, no, this isn’t some Runners World article on how to run your fastest 10K on just 10 miles per week.

It is about simplification.  For simplicity’s sake.  Paring down.  Slowing down.   Cut the leash to cable.  Almost 300 channels and there was only the rare moment worth the time it takes to turn on the set.  Now down to the freebies.  ABC, CBS, NBC, KPTM (gotta love Becka’s Beat”).  Local news and weather, that’s about it.  Just like in the old days.  We’ve found that you get a whole lot more work done without that distraction.

Picking and washing farm fresh vegetables all day Friday.  While Colin Morrissey was winning the Cornfield 10K we were setting up our produce stand Saturday morning.  Ideally located at the gateway to West Shores, Curtis Acres, Mallard Landing, etc.  And thanks too to our friends that came out from West Omaha!

Set up our “traveling road show” at the Valley Farmer’s Market on Sunday.  Sold all morning and back to the Bar None to get some much needed weeding done before the showers set in.

The simple life.  The less we have the more we have.

 

 

 

 

BISON BENEFITS

I hope you have been able to catch the NCAA Track & Field National Champs on ESPN.  Pretty slick how they have parsed the meet into four days.  The men get two and the women get two.  The finals are this weekend and I expect more great racing.

Watching the heats of the women’s steeplechase last night.  In heat 1 there were two runners from North Dakota State University.  I told Linda that it has to be the coaching.  Whipped out my google stick and sure enough, NDSU hired a “Distance Coach” in August of 2014.  Impact has been immediate.

Andrew Carlson was a two time Cross Country All American at the University of Minnesota and set the school’s 5000 meter record.  He was also an original member of Team USA Minnesota.  If our Elite Development Clubs are the farm teams, clubs like Team USA Minnesota and  Hanson’s and ZAP and Mammoth Track Club are the big leagues.  Andrew ran under Coach Dennis Barker, one of the top coaches in the U.S.  Lucky Bison!

Thanks to Hayley Sutter.   She has been working hard with the National Office in Indianapolis trying to make our Nebraska Association Grand Prix both palatable and professional.  We should all give her big tips for taking on a tough row to hoe.

 

COMING RIGHT UP

Just a couple things on the radar this weekend.  Far afield Nebraska Run Guru Elite will be represented by Cameron Cummings in the B.A.A. 10K in Boston.  Our best marathoner hasn’t run a competitive road 10K in my memory so  should be interesting.

A little closer to home Jimmie Doherty will be running the Marathon to Marathon in Iowa.  This will be his second shot at the distance, I’ve prescribed it as a glorified training run to boost his confidence for this fall’s primary effort.

Some speedsters likely at the Cornfield 10K.  I hear Zach has taken some of the hills out of  Sarpy County for the 2nd edition of his foray into the Omaha Metro.

Tommy Roe will be making a guest appearance at this weekend’s Dizzy Goat runs.  Probably some famous ultra and trail runners.  Farm Strong types.

BOAR’S NOSE

Please forgive me if this is oft told but one of my favorite stories involves the Lucky Boar’s nose.  On The Plaza down in Kansas City.  I took Annie Bersagel there for the tradition the night before she won our USA Half Marathon National Championships an age ago.

Terry Drake and his wife Lisa were the Race Directors.  Had been for years and American distance running were the better for it.  They are no longer part of the race but I was proud that Hospital Hill hosted our Half Champs several times.-  Before that they were in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and the Garry Bjorklund Half and Houston Half also served as champs during my tenure.   All deserving of their own tales.  It was my work with these leaders that allowed early opportunities to develop Nebraska distance runners.-

As recently as 3-4 years ago Hospital Hill featured an Elite Club Competition.  Clubs from Colorado, Nebraska, good ones too, came and vied for some pretty serious prize money.

I know the weather has been tough but looking at the race results I’m a little saddened.  Times across the board indicate that the direction of the race doesn’t jive with the competitive athlete any more.  Que Lastima!

 

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The Boar’s Nose.   Bestower of good fortune.

 

 

WITH A RUBBER HOSE

Up your nose!  You tell ’em Vinny!  Welcome Back Kotter was huge back in my day.  A show that took risks and the male viewers of my age group remember a couple of points specifically.

Market gardening is  tough enough.  While everyone else was getting in a nice long run on Saturday and Sunday, Bar None Produce was selling at the Fremont Farmers Market and hosting our 2nd Open House.  Friday through Sunday, 12 hour days, full of like minded fellas and ladies, all gardeners first and marketers second.  Some really good people.

Met a fine young man named Britt Jensen.  He was wearing a “cross country” t-shirt and was long and lithe, I knew we had things to talk about.  Moseyed across to their set up, and introduced myself while ogling their Czech Kolaches, product of a grandmother’s treasured recipe.  Fifth year red shirt runner at Kearney.  We spoke for nearly two hours and race times were only mentioned once.

Britt and his girlfriend were delightful company.  Both Linda and I remarked how respectful, how polite and well mannered.  Good parenting obviously and sure that proved to be true.  We ended up trading stories and swapping spinach for a plate of kolaches so well met indeed.

We also met Sue Fase.  She has carved an oasis between Fremont and Hooper, TLC Country Floral.  She teaches a class on fermentation that I’m trying to pencil in.  Fermenting instead of canning, with natural probiotic benefits.

And the last couple of the day, and perhaps the furthest out there, were Darla and Glen Ellickson of Decorah, Iowa.  He with 150 Shitake Mushroom logs and another 150 going into some other variety coveted by true and wealthy gourmands.  She with a home brew operation, taking probiotics to a whole other level.  Brewing up “Kombucha”, a hot mess of mold and fermentation, and alcohol and with this “flavor”, aroina berries and ginger.  Full vegans both, full of an unquestioned energy if also host to only Buddha knows what type of organisms in their guts and colons.

Cutting edge stuff.  And here at the Bar None, just Best Organic Practices.  Below is a picture of our natural solution to pest control.  Here little bunny bunny!  I’m not real sure what type of snake this is but hidden in the beets, it lies waiting for an easy little cottontail!  I decided not to weed around it.

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SWEET THUMPER

Some fine racing on the men’s side at Havelock Saturday morning.  Austin Post (32:42) showed he is the head above the shoulders with the win.  Boystown and Havelock titles successively.  I don’t recall that particular double before, nice work young man!

The accompanying 3K turned on a little light bulb over my head.  In a kind of Happy Anniversary/What A Long Strange Trip Its Been/Lucky Me, Lucky You/Bar None/Livin & Lovin way:  2005 HAVELOCK  3K BARNHART, LINDA  11:37   6:14

The very first race I put Linda in after starting to coach her.  She easily won overall female and was 16th overall.   The next female was 40 places and 2:00 back.   A Star, as they say, was born.  In her road race debut she had to borrow a pair of my Brooks racing flats, 3 sizes too big, triple knotted so she wouldn’t run right out of them.

Ten years ago.  Through thousands of miles, trials and smiles, we ended up growing together.  Now enjoying the best times of our lives.  Living and loving coming easy.

But what about that sweet little thumper?

Two things!

1) Of course the sound of my heart, now a regular, peaceful beat.

2) I’ve always had dad’s dead eye.  And now its polished.  Enough rabbits out here to rule the world.  They cross the line of no return and that’s it for them. 100% kill rate now.  Look down the barrel, deep breath, gently pull the trigger, hear the impact of the Premier super point hunting pellet softly “THUMP”, putting the little conejo to sleep, forever dreaming of fields of clover and swiss chard.

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Linda, at 42, taking her first steps as a competitive distance runner.  Priceless photo!

TIMBERS NOT SHIVERED

I’ve received numerous contacts asking me for my opinion on what’s going down with Al Sal and the Nike OP.

Here’s a link to the most current bombshell.  http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-32883946  It is worth the time to read.

Me?  I’m not at all surprised.  I’ve had a long enough career in the sport.

Drug use in athletics is rampant.  It was in the 80s and 90s and 00s and it will remain a bane and scourge of Real Running everywhere and forever.

Why?  Depends on who you ask.  If you ask me it is because the nature of human beings.  Not all, but so very many.  

I’ll say this.  Any serious runner that gives you a “good” reason for having a testosterone patch, pill, implant or any other method of introducing is only giving you an excuse.  Their justification for cheating.  CHEATING!

I’ve heard it all.  “I’m on the ‘low’ end and need a boost because I’m unusually tired in training.”  “My doctor prescribed it because I need it.”

I think of the number of athletes that I have worked with over the last 25 years.  The ones that showed up at every race with their inhalers.  Every race.  Because they “need” it.

Smell test.  I’ve caught a whiff of the fraud and cheats right here in Nebraska and don’t you dare disbelieve.    I’ll use the phrase “over the last 15 years” so that my fingers aren’t directly pointed at anyone.

I’ve heard it discussed by the users.  Heard first hand from those injecting themselves.  Seen the implants.  Right here in the Good Life.

But haven’t your eyebrows too been raised?  Haven’t you seen with your own twin orbs dramatic improvements?  Those that were never runners that suddenly appear at the top of their respective divisions.  Haven’t you noticed that there are those whose bodies have changed dramatically?  I have.  And those 40+ that refuse to let their naturally occurring aging processes hold sway, trying to either recapture or ignite for the first time a sense of accomplishment.  Again either with dramatic improvements or matching lifetime personal bests from a previous generation.

No, this current drug scandal hasn’t diminished my love or respect for running at all.  Hasn’t shivered me timbers in the least in fact.   I’ll never let the Cheats do that.  No matter what their “reason” or “excuse” is.  Running will always remain a pure sport for me.  It is them that abuse and justify that will never be accepted into my circle of clean and mean.

Why do you think I am so damned proud of those I choose to most closely associate with?

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My dear, sweet Linda.  Clean and mean.  With USA National Championship medals from 800 meters to 25K she is arguably one of the most talented 50+ runners in the United States.  Eschewing all performance enhancements.  The only training aid she needs is Jedediah.

 

GIDDYUP!

It was my honor and privilege to speak to the Millard West running camp this morning.  Almost a hundred kids in attendance, Wildcats and some serious middle schoolers too.  Thanks to Colin Johnston for the invitation.  I asked how he decided on me because it came as a complete surprise.  “I read your blog” was his justification.  He likes my message and I was thrilled for the opportunity to inspire even one young person today.  To be an Olympian.  To represent the United States in international competition.  To set the right developmental path.

I wrote on the chalkboard my three coaching philosophies:
The Mind Is The Athlete.
In It To Win It.
Giddyup!

I also brought in a lot of stories and memorabilia.  I started with a mountain over the weekend.  Winnowed it down a dozen times before settling on some of the best.  Introduced them to Prefontaine.  Shorter.  Lindgren.  Webb.  Rupp.  Lydiard.  Wilt.  Fixx.  Legends from the last generations.   Most of these names were brand new to almost all in attendance.

When I pulled out my Bruce Jenner collection however the room filled with chatter.  Everyone knows Bruce/Caitlyn.
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I was big on my message that they must have confidence in and do as they are told by their head coach.  Colin.   Hinted strongly at my position that misguidance by ambitious and uneducated middle school coaches would fall by the by when they get to high school.  That is when their Real Running begins.

Mementos from my world travels in the sport raising eyes and spirits.  I told them that it was my hope that even 1 of them would be speaking to the class of 2055 someday, sharing their own experiences and inspiring another generation.

 

I talked about what Real Running is.   About being Honest.  And dared them to Dream.

Thanks Colin.  Again, an honor and privilege.

 

 

 

 

WHERE’S THE BEEF?

It’s in Blue Island!  Some of the best cow that ever passed my lips filled our freezer this time last year.  Octogenerian and neighbor Carl has agreed to make the trip west with me this morning.  I’m looking forward to new tales from long ago.

Skyrocketing egg prices got you down?  Those lily white, caged, and watery ovum don’t even resemble the Real Free Range Thing.  The 25 chicks we received on February 16th are just a few weeks away from dropping their own little golden orbs.  We’ll be selling, competitively priced.

Where’s the Beef and Beefettes?  Studs & Studettes?  Likely a few at this weekend’s Havelock Charity Run.  And at next weekends corNfieldcorNfield.

As it was when I moved here, so it has returned.

Ninety nine percent of  the Real Competitive events have moved back west across the Platte.

With Craig Christian’s Barn Burner Mile being the token exception every other USATF Nebraska Association Championships is  being held by our friends in Lincoln.  I’ll grant that cornfield is being held at Werner Park but that too is administered by Zach Harsin of Lincoln.  And don’t doubt for a moment that there is less than one degree of separation between Lincoln Running Co. and Zach.

What about Ni-Bthaska-Ke Will?  Didn’t you host it this year?  Wasn’t this the 9th annual and you hosted the champs every time?

Nope.  Wasn’t given the opportunity to bid despite several tries.  Ce la vi.

And so it goes.

 

FESTUS HAGGEN

“You want to talk about a fast gun hand? If you was to take a snake’s tongue’s grease it and tie it to a bolt of lightning you couldn’t get nothing as fast as his gun hand!”  One of my favorite characters of the last century was Festus Haggen.  Matt Dillon’s deputy on GUNSMOKE.  His malapropped quotes often the hilarity needed to close out a dire day back at the Longbranch.  And always with the limp.  What’s this got to do with RGS?

Barefoot Market Gardening.  That’s my way, the best way to connect with the Good Mother.  My story and I’m sticking to it despite a minor set back last week.  Ran a piece of wire between my big toe and the metatarsal head, soft tissue damage, painful and temporary.  Quick trip to Gretna Family Health for a tetanus shot, back in the field.  Foot starts swelling and I’m reduced to a miserable hobbling limp.  And then Carl, our 86 year old neighbor, shouts across the fence, “Hey Festus!”  As always, laughter the best medicine.

We had our official first day as Market Gardeners.  Nearly sold out of our produce.  Whilst explaining to the masses what Yukina and Mizuna are and why they are such a healthful alternative to regular greens it occurred to me.  If I believe in it, I can sell it.  Doesn’t matter if its dreams of running potential realized or produce.

Two happy boys, and one with a limp.  Small towns.  Valley.  King Lake.  Worlds away from West Omaha.  Dustin, not graced with his own, has an artificial leg.  He was also born with his intestines outside his body.  Linda has worked with him for the last 2 years.  He’s got the biggest, brightest smile in Nebraska.  And the attitude and personality to make you marvel.  My first time to meet him he was fairly sprinting down Spruce St.  I’d love to be able to help him get a real running blade.  Logan, another of Linda’s students, pitching in with set up, hawking, and tear down of our stand.

And our neighbor Char.  She out walking last night, the first time we’ve sighted her in over a month.  Here’s why.  Her husband accidentally backed into her and the license plate opened a 4″ wide gap into her thigh.  She limping down our street, smile beaming so happy to finally be outside.

This then is one of the definitions of Our Little Slice.  Real people with real problems.  That don’t get them down.  Out here we don’t feel like we are “owed” anything.  You want to be happy?  Then Be Happy.  No matter what hand is dealt you.  You are responsible for making your own.

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How much of a Bad Ass is Pete Kostelnick?  How about another W and another course record, this one at the Flint Hills 40 Mile.  4 hours, 34 minutes.  About the average 26.2 time for most marathoners these days.  Notice the smile.

Stacy Mangers Shaw(1:32:57)  continued her winning ways at this past weekend’s Hastings Half Marathon.  Not only winning the Overall Open and Masters title but good enough for 13th overall.  Clean.  You probably have noticed that every time I mention Stacy I throw the Clean word in.  That is so you know her performances come from hard work, talent, and coaching.  #FarmStrong instead of #PharmStrong.

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Deputy Haggen.