Monthly Archives: August 2015


A bit of a lull until the fall racing campaign begins in earnest.

Good news is the Heartland Marathon has their course dialed in.  I’ll be the lead bike so run fast if you want my tour guide’s perspective.

Three of the fastest women’s marathoners (as a group!) in Nebraska will be toeing the line at Twin  Cities on Oct. 4th.  All are doing my program.  All are damned serious.  Brianna Adams (debut), Amber Sargent (2:56 pr), and Jessica Pape (3:07 pr) will be taking their fitness to test against the best.  Big Thanks to John Tully for his kind donation towards the effort!  And if you received a letter asking for  financial support for them I hope you will find  generosity in your heart.

We are moving towards getting our 501 (c) 3 status.  If you or anyone you know would like to help us out, please contact me.  We’ll be working on shoestrings and solicitations  until we get that piece of  our  Lincoln Marathon sponsorship dialed in.  Speaks a lot to  the dedication and determination of our athletes to be sure.

Bring back the mile.  I’ve been inundated with requests to bring back  the  Omaha Mile.  USATF Certification now has a following.  So does prize money.  I’m giving it serious consideration for the benefit of our  association.

I have only the second  biggest ego in Nebraska running.


It is with the Greatest Anticipation that I wait for the start of our fall marathon season.  And Greater Interest in the fall half marathon season.

Most races proudly trumpet their elite fields, hoping to attract the masses with the carrot of lining up alongside some of our  sports stars.

My elite athlete coordinator career spans back to the late 80s and early 90s.   And yes, there is good value to having an elite field in your race.

What is your definition of an “elite” or Pro runner?  It is with interest that I watch the State Fair Marathon.  Jeff is trumpeting 12 elite athletes coming in.  I’ve asked and otherwise tried to find out who is racing, hoping maybe an old buddy or two will be there.  To no avail.    As a fan of the sport, I sure am interested but guess I’ll have to wait for the Big Reveal.

If you are a fan of local, regional, and national level elite running, here is a partial list of the invited runners for The Freedom Run Half Marathon.  Athletes were offered waived entry, host families, meals and genuine hospitality.  Sadly, not many are coming to Valley.  I’ll be posting up those that are on August 21st.  Tough to score our local elites  with the Buffalo Run and Corporate Cup and Wabash Trace Marathon (?) all the same weekend.  A quick search of the database of USATF Certified Courses shows the Freedom Run has been measured and approved for that designation.  I was almost certain the Buffalo Run was certified as well and am a little shocked that it isn’t.  Doesn’t really matter.  Except to me.

How big of  juevos do I need to  predict a new men’s record (1:04:48) for the 2015 Freedom Run Half?  About this big.
Gerardo Hernandez
Quinn Vermie
Shannon Suing
Luka Thor
Trevor Vidlak
Tanner Fruit
Tom Nichols
Eric Rasmussen
Brdget Easely
Kayte Partch
Al Sanabria
Cory Logsdon
Colin Morrissey
Ashley Miller
Riley Cook






Another glimpse of the work going on at the Bar None.  I added another 2,125 square feet of garden yesterday, a 30% increase.  Well the start of it anyway, won’t be into production until 2016.  Long Range.  Gradual Expansion.  Master Plan.

I’ve also been conducting interviews.  With a vision, this time well grounded in patience and experience.  Long Range.  Gradual Expansion.  Master Plan.


That is what running ultimately boils down to, if  you really love it.  On this Far Side of 50, that more than a handful of you readers inhabit, clarity comes in the form of aged wisdom.  We understand that while fleet may exit the picture, our running will never be fleeting.  And that we can still flirt and flit with speed.  Whew!

You get a pass then when you get old.  No one expects you to be fast anymore, with very few exceptions.  If you are still running, spiting if not defying gravity, most folks are going to say, “good for that old man.”  Still out there, running for who knows how many miles in a lifetime.

The flirt and flit comes like this.  At some point in almost every single run I gift myself, if even for a few strides, some Real Running.  Developed over 30 years as a long meditative process, I now enjoy it in only brief moments.  The near religious state washing over as blood courses to familiar callings.  And then, just as quickly, with some afterglow to be sure, back to the here and now, old bones and bag of flesh, exhilarated.




20150811_085848Bar None Produce update.  Last Friday night at Gifford Park market and early Saturday morning in Fremont.  Always good to see my buddy Jeff Jacob.  Free Range, Farm Fresh eggs are $5/dozen and we’re on our way to twice that number a day from the happy and generous hens.  I’ve harvested and sold out of five successive plantings of beets, the sixth in the ground for my cellar.  Same with carrots.  Pulled 350 onions, selling only half, the rest destined for braids and rafters.  Same for all 150 garlics.  Harvested nearly 500 blackberries, now finished for the season.  Strawberries in three varieties (early, mid, late) trying hard to match those numbers.  Red, Yellow, and White Raspberries all just now  producing.  Grapes heavy on the two vines we started in ’13.  Pumpkins and butternut squash seemingly suspended in mid air along the fence line.

Did my first real picking of tomatoes on Friday.  Close to 200 of the meatiest San Marzanos and another 100 beautiful slicers and heirlooms.  I had to stop picking in order to make Gifford Park in time.  Picked another 100 San Marzanos and canned 6 quarts of Arrabiata Sauce on Sunday.  And 7 quarts of spicy tomatoe juice.

Shelled 3 pounds of dried Tongue of Fire shell beans.  Made a large batch of  kale chips.  Harvested my small patch of Painted Mountain corn, that’s headed for the grindstone and winter larders.  Also taking the time to grow the tallest sunflower you’ve ever seen.


I ran out of time  before I  ran out of tomatoes on Friday.  We sold out.


Six quarts sauce and seven quarts juice the result of my Saturday afternoon pick.   Always have to keep the winter months in mind.


The anchovies didn’t germinate this year but everything else slept at the Bar None the night before.


The corn is colorful and contains no genetically modified agents.  I planted 150 sweet corn on June 29 that is now up to my eyes, ready for a Labor Day harvest.


Tongue of Fire (Lengua de Fuego) beans also colorful with cranberry to dark red mottling.  Perfect in the dutch oven atop a cold evening’s wood burning stove.



Giving it up for those that gave it their all this past weekend!  I have to start with my young charges Sam and Jackson Runde.  AAU Jr Olympic Games in Virginia Beach.  The lads ran the races of their lives, setting personal bests across the board.  Jackson for the 9 year olds (1:14.62, 2:49.44, 5:43.87) and Sam for the 13s (2:21.41, 4:53.69, 10:13.76).

Trevor Vidlak (15:27) took the Thunder Run 5K in Lincoln.  Colin Morrissey  (15:49), Cole Marolf (15:57), and Johnny Rutford (15:58) all dipped below 16:00.  Ivan Marsh (16:14) was next claiming both the masters title and my lifetime 5K pr (16:19).  Hayley Sutter (17:45), Michelle Paxton (18:53), Jeralyn  Poe (19:14), Kira Vincent (19:25), and Emily Peterson (19:52) were the top 5 women.  Not sure when Paxton turns 40 (soon) but we better start shining up that big, bad, sheriffs badge.  Who wants to wear it?  She does!

The new Prefontaine.  Nick Symmonds has been dropped from the USA World Champs team because of sponsorship conflicts.  In a nutshell, USATF and NIKE demand apparel exclusivity, for the entirety of the sporting spectacle, not just on the track.  Brooks and Symmonds have a long and loyal relationship.  Linda and I saw this much with our own two eyes:  Nick at the dais, during the Athletes Advisory Committee meeting, Jacksonville, FL, hundreds of athletes and coaches and admins and press and upper echelon shoe company executives in attendance.  Nick started calling out NIKE and, to  everyone’s shock, Stephanie Hightower adjourned the meeting and would only reconvene after everyone except the AAC vacated the meeting.  Hightower’s diatribe was caught on a cell phone and all hell broke loose.

And yet, at the end of every single  day, it is the athletes that matter.  And especially courageous ones like Nick.  Those that remain committed to their programs and athletes must sadly endure the black eyes our own federation continually gives us.

What could possibly make it worth it all?  In this case, it isn’t USATF at all, but the sport and the athletes, from wherever and whenever.  Those seeking excellence defined as potential realized.  Those that dare to dream.  Those willing to listen and do the work.


Sam Runde makes it worth it.  Far right, sporting the  Peace, Love, Run, NRGE kit.  We worked his personal best down from 10:36 to a 10:13 over the last 8 weeks.  We talked before Saturday morning’s race, asked him if he was ready to go.  “Between 10:10 and 10:15” was his reply.  Completely dialed in on how to pace himself and explode to a podium finish over the last 200 meters.  Yep, that makes it all worth it to me.


Do some pondering.  Sit on the porch and whittle over it a while.  Consider it.  But only if you care about it.

Running, the simplest of all human activities.  There are a million reasons to run.  But only you have yours.

What does it mean to you?  Why do you run?  What does it do for you?  What do you give back?

Why would you run for me?

Why should you run for me?

Why don’t you run for me?




Embracing a subject with seriousness, authority, and sobriety.  Your family?  Your job?  Your passions?  Your religion?   Hope is that we all find something in life that rises above the mundane, that so fully captures our spirit and soul, energizes us, in it for the Long Haul.

Why did running happen to be so deep with me?  I trace it back to a single moment.  Central Illinois, 45 years ago.  I spent all my time outside.  Mostly in the woods, friendly and cool, exploring new trails, entire days on foot.  The moment I happened upon a previously undiscovered fence line.  Stretching along a lane, reaching towards forever.  It came upon me out of nowhere, the desire to run this undulating line around the fields and through the  woods.  I sped off and was changed.

That was and is my moment.  Maybe yours will be fishing or cooking or working or any other thing in the world.  I hope you feel it deeply.  Enough to Stand with Principle.

Yes, Running is different for me than it is for you.  I’ve made a life out of it.  It Is My Life.  I’ve got All The Time In The World  for it.  Over 30 years behind me and another 30 ahead of me.  I’ve seen entire casts of characters, yes even generations,  come and go in this sport.  And somehow, some way, I still Run My Qwn Race, believing more and more that this is and always has been My Purpose.  No matter where I live, no matter the challenges or victories or defeats, no matter.





Another good day on the North side of the grass.   Every sunrise appreciated, embraced, celebrated.  No complaints here.  However…  As a primer for you whippersnappers I offer a few observations.

I’ve run close to 90,000 miles in my career.  Forestalled most if not all of society’s major ills through good genetics, good fortune, and hard work.   Life long pursuit of good health.  And now I’m happy too!

Here’s where I’m taking you.  You’ll eventually see your first gray hair.  It may or may not stagger you.  You’ll either dig it or start putting crap in your hair to hide Reality from yourself, those  around you will notice your feeble efforts, don’t bother with it.

You’ll see a picture of yourself and say “hey, wait a minute!”  The stranger you see will be you.  A little less toned, maybe a couple extra pounds, just a tad softer.  You’ll convince yourself it was a bad camera angle.  Oh no it wasn’t!

And finally, in your 50s and 60s, unless you are the amazing Bob Garcia, your taut, muscled structure, will succumb to the Good Mother’s Blessing.

You should grow old gracefully, accepting the changes of the Master’s Plan.  If you are blessed and fortunate to live a long life, you come to appreciate every single day.  Understanding that the only you there will ever be is part of a natural process that is both wonderful and insignificant.  You, just the way you are, the way you were meant to be.

Soft is hard that way.


Reprised my role as lead bike for the Lake Wehrspann 10K.  Sixth time in seven years.  Always the best seat in the house.  Nathan Swenson (unattached) and Michael Morrison (Team Nebraska) set out a a steady 5:25 pace through the first mile.  Still together at 2 (11:00), the pair soon parted company with Nate gently pulling away to a 12 second lead by mile 3, and  stretched it to a minute and three by the  tape.  Kaci Lickteig hopped in for some tempo  work and finished 3rd overall.


Michael Morrison and  Nathan Swenson  coming into the mile at 5:25.

Run Rabbit Run!  Or, critter control.  I get between 2-3 rabbits every single day.  And if a coon in the trap quick with mercy to those.  Open sight on the rifle, scopes are for  pussies.  My dad’s dead eye dialed in, I rarely need leave the porch for dispatchments.  Deep breath and slow exhale.  Breath and trigger finger and eyes and heart rate, the Zen of it all.  This morning’s initial shot a long one, knocked the clematis leaf out if its mouth, nothing more.  Little Zippy now hauling it across the back yard, me calmly reloading the single shot.  Processing speed, distance, timing, a grin acknowledging paternal advantage, the breath and squeeze, the thud and spastic jump indicating no miss.  With my coffee and morning  paper.

Deja vu all over again?  There are chapters in Nebraska running lore that were difficult and or painful for parties involved.  My recent call for history on our USATF LDR facebook page brought a lot of names out of the books with their own tales.  Most, thank  goodness sending me emails- some with strong if not caustic emotions and memories of their generation’s venerated and stars.  Some shocking even.  All before I got to Nebraska.  Some things never change (people).  There are those even today willing to drag up the old and hurtful for their entertainment (“lol”!)  Who would summon old demons best left under “lock and key.”

My advice, from personal experience, is to keep our USATF LDR facebook clean if lively.   Keep to business.  Understand that what you say there is being cut and pasted.  An explosion of requests to join us over there in the last 10 days and now our words showing up on other groups.  Just be careful and realize that there are those documenting, even saving,  your every  word.  The world we live in.