Monthly Archives: November 2015

FARM REPORT FRIDAY

Or, what I did during your commute to the cubicle.

 

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First things first, I have to cover the vittles every afternoon just as the sun begins its westward most tangent.  This allows me to capture the last 10-15 minutes of sunshine, keeping the ground just a wee bit warmer at night.  Right after coffee every morning its back out to uncover them.

 

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Uncovering each row, clamshells facing east to maximize the warming Eastern Orb.  Cash crops.  As well as an array of winter root vegetables that will store in the ground, ready for harvest from December-March.    Notice the shadow casts, they will linger until around 10, I’ll get only 4 hours of direct sun before it once again dips behind the massive cottonwoods, now nude and offering dappled sunlight for only another 30 minutes.  The biggest lesson I’ve learned this year is exactly where the sun is every day on the calendar.

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The chickens dig their new back door exit and Linda digs the new gate.   Installed both this week, streamlines what had been a more difficult process.  Simple farm tasks that bring enormous satisfaction from working with the hands.

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Nat and King, black as coal.  We’ve had these two future champion mousers for about 6 weeks now.  Shots, spayed and neutered.  Barn cats, protectors of the flock.  King (R) has already gotten 4 mice, 3 voles, and an errant barn swallow.

 

SWEET OR SAVORY

Life is too short.  Go, go, go.  When there are a million things you want to do in life you have to keep busy, busy, busy.  The dichotomy of Will, the most energetic lazy guy or the laziest energetic guy.  Always pressing to get things done right away, sometimes to my own detriment I’ll admit.  Hurry, hurry, hurry.  Think of it, get it done, move on.  Attention deficit, that wonderful open ended world of possibilities.

But hasty pudding will never replace grits.  And grit is what is motivating my patience.  Not rushing things, preferring to step back and take a bigger view.  Seeing where things will be instead of where I want them right now.  Thinking in terms of months and years instead of days and weeks.  Steady simmers bringing out the Best Flavors.  Grits.  That Southern comfort food.  Best cooked long and slow.  Served sweet or savory.  You just have to know when to plate them.

I was hoping to serve up our NRGE grits at this weekend’s de facto xc feast.  Steaming, aromatic, and for all appearances Ready.  But hold, not so fast Willie.  Don’t rush the dish just because you’re hungry.  Let these flavors meld just a little longer, transforming from mere corn to something sublime and to be remembered.  We’ll hold off the debut of our hosses for just another week.  Living History Farms, are you listening?  Do you hear us?  We’re coming to claim the crown.  Iowa Ablaze?  KC Smoke?  Run-n-Fun?  Team Nebraska?  LRC Racing?  Hope all the best competition is there.  It’ll taste all the sweeter, or more savory.

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Eggs on grits.  Heaven on a plate.

 

 

 

WALKING WEDNESDAY

All quotes below from “The Exhilarations Of The  Road” by John Burroughs

“Afoot and in the open road, one has a fair start in life at last.  There is no hindrance now.  Let him put his best foot forward.  He is on the broadest human plane.  This is on the level of all the  great laws and heroic deeds.  From this platform he is eligible to any good fortune.”

“Of those gleesome saunters over the hills in spring, or those sallies of the body in winter, those  excursions into space when  the foot  strikes fire at every step., when the air tastes like a new and finer mixture, when we accumulate force and gladness as we go along, when the sight of objects by the roadside and of the fields and  woods pleases more than pictures or than all the art in the  world, –those ten or twelve mile  dashes that are but the wit of effluence of the corporeal powers,–of such diversion and open road entertainment, I say, most of us know very little.”

“He is not isolated, but is at one with things, with the farms and  the industries on either hand.  The vital, universal currents play through him.  He knows the ground is alive; he feels  the  pulses of the wind, and reads the mute language of things.  His sympathies are all aroused; his senses are continually reporting messages to his mind.  Wind, frost, rain, heat, cold, are something  to him.  He is not merely a spectator of the panorama of nature, but a participator in it….”

KENYA A++

Long my favorite fresh roasted coffee bean.  Certified organic and free trade.  Wake up and smell it!

Blockbuster news of course that the Russians may be kept from competing at the 2016 Olympic  Games.  Unless you live under a rock you’ve had to have your suspicions.  It began with me several years ago when the masters women from Russia began winning international races outright.  How the hell do women into their masters career all of a sudden start running, if not lifetime bests, then certainly close enough for the alarms to be sounded?

Drugs.  That’s how.  Don’t doubt it.   A Red Flag for me has always been when those that have Best Access to drugs suddenly jump up the charts to eye raising times/places.

International.  National.  Regional.  Local.

Its everywhere, wake up and smell the coffee!

I AMUSE YOU?

“You mean, let me understand this…cuz I…..maybe its me…maybe I’m a little ****** up maybe.  I’m funny how?  I mean funny like I’m a clown?  I amuse you?  I make you laugh?  I’m here to ******* amuse you?  Whattya mean funny?  Funny how?  How am I funny?”

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Now to the Real Business of our Monday morning.   They did in Indy what I had hoped for in Valley.  Some sharp minds in the Hoosier state decided they would, get this, put together a half marathon as an opportunity for American athletes to get their USA Olympic Trials Half Marathon Standard.  Flat, fast, with a highly competitive field.  Eight men under the 1:05 necessary, all under age 30, three of them under age 25.   Two women under the required 1:15.  Giddyup!

Big tips of the sombrero to the Nebraska Wesleyan Men’s team on their GPAC XC Champs.  Jordan Wheeler of Wesleyan took the win over my pre race favorite Danny Aldaba.

And at the NCAA DII it was my men’s Lopers taking 3rd overall team!  On the women’s side Loper Morgan Benesch took 8th overall.  Great job to Brady and the gang!

Every fun runner under the Good Life sun tackled the venerable Beer & Bagel this past weekend.   An after party like few others.  Women outnumbered men by a whopping 700!

I managed to walk 15 miles last week.  Seven days, 2 miles each for 5, 2.5 for the other two.  A fella’s got to start with a single step.

“Grant us, O Zeus!  the tingling tremor  of thigh and shank that comes from a dozen sturdy miles laid underheel,”  Stewart Edward White, The Forest, 1903

 

 

REAL RACE

Arghh!  I’ve seen more and more virtual races popping up.  Good for the genius that came up with another exploitation of man’s simplest expression.  Taking it far beyond standard fundraising, what 99% of all events are solely about anyway.  Maybe 99.995% of all events.

So here’s my .005% Friday proposition.  Let’s have Real Races.  A Real Race.  No mass participation.  No entry fee.  It could start easy  and get simpler.  I’m calling November 14th’s USATF Club XC Champs  at Pioneer Park the easy part.  Only runners with a USATF membership may participate, and there are no awards.  Or entry fee.  Now  we are getting  somewhere.

Now to the simpler part, and the gist of today’s column.   A Race.  The Race.  Real Race.  Entry fee?  Only your juevos.  Distance?  Call it.  Venue?  Challenge me!  Award?  Winner keeps his juevos.  Mano-a-mano.  Me and You.  That’s it.  Or she and her.  Or him and him.  Even him and her with proper handicap if at all necessary.  I’d  be happy to fill the role of odds maker.  Maybe make it a little interesting, say, something  on the side?

Real  Race.  Make it matter.  In front of everyone or in front of no one.  Be In It to Win It.  I will be and you’d better be.  I plan on keeping my juevos.

FISH TALE

Throwback Thursday, the weekly game of catch and release and catch again.   No permit required.  Lake Clagus wraps around Our Little Slice.  Two Rivers, Lake Aero, Riverside Lakes, Curtis Acres, Mallard Landing, Valley Shores, West Shores, water water everywhere!  But  it is Clagus that is the jewel in the crown.  Privately owned, pristine, a couple hundred acres of park setting right across the street.  A couple of the older neighbors have fishing rights, Roxi’s Blessing as we call it.  I’m being a good boy and citizen hoping my name eventually ends up on her plus  side.

The Lake Fork River was a moment from my boyhood home.  Hours over days, months, and years spent fishing, swimming, canoeing, cavorting,  and gallivanting on and around the water.  Joined the US Navy, crossing oceans and threshold to manhood.  Moved to the Gulf Coast, a quarter century following ebbs and flows.  Omaha, Lake Zorinsky my dojo.

Clagus now lapping gently, calling me, promises of bass, black, striped and white; old catfish the size of Jedediah; crappie perfectly pan size;  tantalizing trout; and my favorite Willie’s Walleye.

Good job by Logan Watley getting things really rolling for our USATF Cross Country  Championships.  Saturday, November 14th, 9:00 a.m. Pioneer’s Park in Lincoln.  Open and Masters, LDR specific, shows maturity and strength of the program.  And Logan.  Thanks fella.

 

 

 

CORRE LIBRE

Run Free.  Movie of that title, the documentary of Caballo Blanco, mystic and hero of BORN TO RUN fame.  At Aksarben Theater last night.  I’d read BTR as I guess most of the 150 in attendance had.  A couple of faces in the crowd surprised me as they had insisted the book was a work of fiction.  I’ll bet they believe now.

The live interviews with Micah True were, for me, spiritual.  Representing an expression of our sport that I identify with on a visceral level.    A man choosing his path, service to others.

Todos ganadores.  All winners.  A position I’ve railed against as counter to the very survival of our sport and species.  But in this case, absolutely true.  Every person that completes the 80K race named after Caballo Blanco receives 500 pounds of corn.  And this feeds families.  Altruism.  Micah had it.

But his message I believe is universal to all runners.  With each person taking away what it means to them personally.

I was as surprised by who was not at the screening as by who was.  Linda and I arrived about 20  minutes early and got maybe the best seats in the house.  A steady trickle until the room went dark, bolstering the crowd to maybe a buck fifty.   Hopefully it will be available in wider distribution for those that missed it.  Thanks to promoter Gary Harrington, Scott Giddings and the Greater Omaha Trail Runners for arranging the screening.

 

 

 

AIN’T IT FUNNY

Our Nebraska Association is learning.   Last moment efforts to put together a cross country champs indicating understanding of the Real  Rules.  Nothing has changed.  Still the same message I’ve been hammering over knuckleheads for the last umpteen years.  How it is to be done.  Correctly.  Up till now, it has been kill the messenger.  But I’m staying out of this discussion.   Lip zipped, with a close and critical eye.

A movement towards caring about our local association is afoot.  Its programs and athletes.  Talks between those that have the Best Interest of our sport before all else.  Willing to listen and learn.  Putting heads together instead of pitting them against one another.   We can have differences and still do the good work we are charged with.

You can tell who these people are.  They are the ones with the Positive Attitude and Message.  Instead of name calling, daggers, sneers, and insults, they speak of what needs be done  to make sure we Serve Best.

The Less I Say, The More My Work Gets Done.  Ain’t it funny.

 

SLOW TIMES

Got a call from my protégé of the last 30 years, Andre Lejeune.  He of the fabulous wealth and grinding talent, at 49 years old, attempting to dip under 3 hours for the first time ever.  Spot on for up to 30K, they always say the Race Starts at 20 Miles.  New York City, Andre, If you can break  it there, you can break it anywhere.  Alas, not in the cards for this year’s edition of one of the best marathons in the  world.  And I have to say that the winning 2:10 and 2:24 were not the stuff legends are made of.  Yawner in fact.

And just because I have to:  Many years ago I was dinner guest with NYRR Executive Director and NYC Marathon  Race Director Mary Wittenberg.  Sat right next to her in the midst of what was then called the “New York  Mafia”.  David Monti, NYC Professional Athlete Coordinator; Sam Grotewald, heir apparent, all the usual USATF wigs.  The next morning I would be standing on the finish line at Ichan Stadium, holding the finish tape, cat bird seat, as Deena Kastor set a new 8K AR.   A few years later Wittenberg and her predecessor Alan Steinfeld would intersect with me again in Rio de Janeiro, ah the circles I’ve seen.

Stacy got the job done down in Tulsa, bringing home the 45-49 age group 15K National Championship.  Better make room on that shelf next January Stacy!  Linda didn’t run so great, and Bob Garcia seems to have suffered a similar fate.  Hills, hills, hills.

The Good Life Halfsy was an erstwhile, ersatz LRC Racing exercise.  The top three finishers all sporting Lincoln airs.  Winner Eric Noel of San Luis Obispo, CA followed by Tom Nichols  of  Parker, CO and Tanner Fruit of Colorado  Springs, CO.   For the distaff side it was Boulder, Des Moines, and Westminster, CO taking the podium spots.  Six podium places.  Not a single bona fide Nebraska resident on the steps.  My promise to Ben and Jason:  NRGE’s Kevin Joerger will occupy  one of those 3 respected tiers in 2016, sporting a local kit and zip code.

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