Monthly Archives: May 2017

SUMMER CAMP

Whispers drifting eastward.  Who is running with whom, where, which “camp” they are throwing allegiance to.  Whispers don’t tell the full story though.

The camp in Waterloo tacks loud and proud.  No guesses about whos, what’s, or whys.  In it to win it.

Angee Henry is making her Nebraska Run Guru Elite, Inc. debut at the Atlanta International Relays this weekend.  One of, if not the fastest master sprinters in the United States.

Grant Wintheiser just three weeks away from the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in Duluth.  I’m feeling confident in Grant eclipsing Mike Morgan’s state record 1:04:48 (2005 USA Half Marathon National Champs, still a Nebraska resident running for my good old red and white).

Jay Welp is champing at the bit.  And we both are tipping sombreros to Derek Fey for undertaking the Augean Stable effort of hosting a Real Track & Field Meet in the heart of WECRAWL.  The first post collegiate meet in Omaha since 2012, the Jim McMahon Memorial on June 10 will be Jay’s opportunity to showcase some mile speed.  His  4:21 time trial last week serving notice, cock-a-doodle-doo.

Summer camp, what fun!

 

STATE AND MIEN

Look in their eyes and there’s your answer.

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Madi Muma knows about the 800 meters.

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Taylor Somers knows about the 1600 (5:02.2) and 3200 (10:52.16).  Muma was right behind in 5:02.48 and Danielle Rinn 5:03.15 to make it fast across the line.

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Cam Jurgens is a man among men.

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New state record in the mile for Milo Greder (4:09.6)!  Seth in the background, he had his own meet record in the 3200 (8:57.2).

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Josslyn Linse of Plattview nails his long jump landing.

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Aurora took the girl’s Class B team title.

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Creighton Prep took the Class A title for the fellas.

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My second favorite story of the meet was Max Lindgren of Ogallala leading his mates to the Class B Boys title.  Max (1:56.82) and his brother Jack (1:58.70) both under the deuce for 800, Max shown here breaking the tape in the 1600 relay.

And favorite story of the meet is Freshman Rylee Rice of Class C Ainsworth.  Took the “W” in the 800 (2:15.16), 1600 (5:05), 100m hurdles (15.57), and 300 hurdles (44.5).

Giddyup!

CHEERS!

I was the very first customer at the Upstream Legacy location and will be the very last.  A group of the “regulars” met for a final time last night, sharing stories of 10 years.  Friends made and lost, favorite bartenders and beers.

I built a big part of the Omaha running community at the Upstream.  Taking the crew, sometimes numbering in the 30s-40s, after our Wednesday Night Track Work (its called Omaha Endurance Group these days).  Having dozens of Team Nebraska then NRGE, LLC road race management committee meetings.

But it was the friends I made that helped me through the most difficult period of my life.  Sri and Dave and me,  the Three Wise Men, our seats at the bar considered hallowed ground.  So much wisdom dispensed, so many problems solved.  So much beer drank.

Our gathering last night showed surprising.  Sri has lost over 25 pounds, Dave too slimmer, almost certainly result of empty seats at the bar.  We’ve all moved on and to seeming greener pastures and that was the best part of the evening.  We all needed the Upstream at turbulent times in our lives, were cast together by none other than Falstaff.  And came through with  smiles and toasts to each other.  Hopefully not for the last time.

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$2 beers until the doors close for good this Sunday, $5 refill of growlers.  This corner of the Upstream filled with laughter and memories one last time.

CROSSING THE LINE

Betting is open!  Step up to the window and place your wagers folks!  Who ya got?

The rankings are in, they mean diddly squat.  Real Racing trumps all the  hype and reputations and laurels and records.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Billy Mills.

Anticipation, you’ve got me waiting on you.  The collective we, with baited breath, paging Mssrs. Hirsch and Greder.  Madamoiselles Muma, McGinn, and Somers.  Oui?

Permit to peddle.  “What you need is permits!”  The mantra of road racing in Omaha slides right over to market garden sales.  In order to offer ovum or oregano you need  Douglas Co. Health Dept. blessings plus $141 in fees.

Linda and I toured the AkSarBen Farmer’s Market Sunday.  What I found out I share:  Our eggs have been declared the best eggs in Nebraska.  Thirty year market veteran, Prairie Gator Produce owner and my mentor has granted me quotes, saying “These are the ‘A’ eggs in Nebraska, pasture raised with best sustainable practices, there might be a couple operations  as good but there are none better.”  How bout that!

A tad bit of clean up at Giddyup!  The NRGE, Inc web page crack staff of volunteers will pour over local results and news and photos, reporting and athlete features.  To all those that have made contributions over the last 4 years, we thank you.  For those on board for the next 4 years, Giddyup!  My philosophy has always been about striving to be the very best individually and as a club.  From day one I’ve worn it on my sleeve.  You’ve read about it, you’ve listened to it.  You’ve  embraced it.  Or not.  Or did but didn’t.  Or did but don’t.  Philosophically I haven’t changed.  “Stimulating the running community to a more competitive culture.”

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REST IN PEACE COACH

Al Lawrence.  10000 Olympic Bronze Medal, Melbourne 1956.  Houston Icon.  Coach, author and friend.  Now calling splits for St. Peter.  You will be missed and remembered by so many.

CLEARLY STATED

Sombrero is tilting towards our youth this morning.  But first!

My dear sweet Linda knows a thing or two about the Nebraska State T&F Meet.  If I celebrate these kids every year, their dedication and work and commitment, their memories, Linda relives it.  She was a 4 time qualifier in the 200 and nearly as many in the 400 as well as relays.  At Burke, Class A.  Four times.  Pure speed.  She was also a two time state qualifier in gymnastics in the floor and all around.

The Kunasek tree still fruiting with nephew Noah qualifying for state, as a sophomore at Burke, Class A, in the 110 meter high hurdles, I think you’ll be able to pick him out.  The Flying Bohunk.

I had to let the old cowboy hat out a couple sizes last Friday.   This is my 4th summer to work with Sam and Jackson Runde, nurturing their  development while encouraging them to explore baseball and basketball and golf and wrestling and every other sport to ensure well rounded individuals and athletes.

Sam has left me beaming bright.  He took the 8th grade All City titles in the 1600 and the 800 en route to setting new Beveridge Middle School records in both, 4:46 and a neat 2:12.  Sam was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for us.

Will: Were you more satisfied or surprised with your races?

Sam:  Coming in to the day I definitely thought it was gonna be a challenge.  I  thought I could get the school  record in the mile with some pain but I wasn’t too sure about the 800.  Once I had the mile under my belt I wasn’t too interested in going off in the  800 but I did anyways.  I thought well, the record is 2:14, if I run 33 second 200s that’ll put me at 2:12 so I’ll try  that.  And after I did it I was shocked and very satisfied with my two records.

Will: These are some pretty salty times as you complete your middle school career.  Are you headed to Burke this fall?

Sam:  Yeah, I’m for sure planning on going to Burke to run cross in the fall and track in the spring.

Will: Will you have a favorite distance?

Sam: I think my main focus in track is going to be the longest event which is the 2 mile.  I believe I’ll be most successful in that race.  I’ll plan on running the mile and maybe a relay.

Will: Giddyup!

 

 

PANCHO AND LEFTY

You better have a back up.  And it is always a good idea to keep your mind engaged with new challenges.

I’ve likely a hairline fracture in my right ulna, resultant of my recent fall.  And a severely sprained wrist.  Being right handed (Pancho) this has compromised my labours slightly, prompting more and more reliance on Lefty.

Training my mind as well as my body to accommodate, necessity the mother of invention. Practicing menial tasks at first, gaining confidence, now to the point where I am printing legible simple block letters.  Sound easy?  Give it a try.

I’ve had 3 athletes out this week and given them all the same message.  “There are plenty of coaches out there.”  Most will do a passable job if they are worth a grain of salt.

Why would Robert drive from Lincoln to meet with me?  Results.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.  I’m more concerned with preparing an athlete to overcome the mental side.  What does that consist of?  First of all, doing what is asked.  Robert Borer had entered What The Hill, some tortuous, repeated attack of a hill at Schramm I think, for hours on end.  I insisted he bail on that if he wanted a Real  Race at the Lincoln Half.  He did and his result speaks for itself.

Where am going with this?  My athletes trust me to make the best decision for them.  How many times have I pulled an athlete from a race because of some “minor” injury?  Every  time.

Andre called yesterday, comfortable in his apartment overlooking Central Park.  Entered into the upcoming Brooklyn Half but experiencing some knee pain.  I think he knew my answer before he called.

It’s called Discipline.  It’s called Mental Toughness.  To walk away from a goal race instead of risking further injury.  Or in Andre’s case, dropping out of the race.  My college teammate (Lamar University), he carries a life long 100% completion rate as a badge and testament to his toughness and courage.

Discretion, the better part of valor.  And the sign of a better coach.

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Andre nearly died at last year’s Brooklyn Half, marching on with heat exhaustion and dehydration.  I’ve pulled him from this year’s race.

 

MELLO OUT

Just couldn’t resist.  Heath Mello, better luck in your next mayoral effort.

Rushed out to the rain gauge this morning, full half inch indicated.  Thank you Good Mother.  But I did lose a little sleep last night, pondering the heaviest drops impact on our newly set tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.  You plant them deep for extra stability and hope for the best.

All before noon.  Monday morning we planted 112 peppers, multiple varieties.  90 tomatoes, 45 eggplant, 24 hills of cucumbers.  Yesterday I potted 80 parsley plants, same number of “Toothache” plant, and twice that of Genovese basil.  Moldavian Dragonhead Balm, say what?

Linda and I have built the reputation of Bar None Produce on our Best Organic Practices, that’s the Good Work. The fun part is offering unique items that shoppers won’t find at any other stand or store.  I get to educate and sell to a more sophisticated clientele at Village Pointe Farmer’s Market, Saturday morning’s from 8:30-12:30.  I refuse to grow kohlrabi, green beans, or sweet corn.  Offering instead Beira Tronchuda, Nero de Toscano, Dwarf Siberian, Red Ruffled and Dazzling Blue–all varieties of kale.  Glory of Enkhuizen cabbage.  Yaya carrots and Vermont Cranberry beans.  Our pasture raised hens, $6/dozen for their eggs, fairly flying off the table.  We are creating our own niche, you get the idea.

The same approach I bring to Excellence In Athletics applies to our garden.  I’m striving to become the best market gardener, Bar None.

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Red,  White, & Blue.

 

 

 

SO MUCH MORE

As promised.

This past weekend’s Lincoln Marathon was so much more to me than a foot race.  I moved about race morning  with an ease that had been missing for the last 5 years.  Editions where I felt uncomfortable being around the very people I consider my own.  Sunday was different altogether.

Maybe it was the gathering of all previous champions.  An air of excellence fairly permeated this first weekend in May.  A cushion, nay, magic carpet, allowing me to move freely among those athletes.  No longer tentative about approaching every mate, regardless of kit or position.  Shaking hands, sharing smiles and stories.  Creek bed devoid of turbulence.

Picture perfect.  I spent more time mugging for lenses and much less time as vocal lightning rod, clearly my hardest work is done.

Rushed from the Bar None to meet my old buddy Dave, the one I worked with on the ’04 &’08 Women’s Olympic Trials Marathon. Introduced him to the Good Mates.  I hope that is a lifetime memory for them.

Hopped in the annual NDORFNZ pre race photo, thanks Gary for being a friend.  Answered the start line photo call with the team and accepted Nancy’s invitation to assume a familiar position.  As the lenses whirled I whispered to her it was “just like old times”.

Levi Ashley and Tom Nichols, both ran for me in their heyday.  Such a pleasure to catch up with these fine young men.  The last time I had seen Levi was at his wedding.

Eric Rasmussen, one of  the fiercest competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure of.

Christy Nielsen, I got to tell her  “I’m different now” and she knew what I was offering.

Kaci Lickteig, has another Olympic Trials qualifying (<2:43) performance in those legs, I just know it.

Michelle Paxton, the chance to thank her for the shared journey that began 14 years ago.

Cameron Cummings, professing a lack of fitness (but an appreciation for the weekend), still running a 2:51.  He’s coming out to supper tonight before heading back to Wisconsin.

Ron Olsen, finally after 40 editions of the race, winning his  age group.  Likely with a broken rib.

Kelly Crawford, able admin and second in the 50-54 to that stud  Joe Metcalf.  I made a special point to offer an olive branch with the handshake.

Brian Bergt, The Amherst Flash.

Robert Borer.  I had sketched out a 4 week training program on a napkin, he carried it to a phenomenal race.

Manny Falcon, he knows from whence I come.

Logan Watley, his own vision now part of mine.

Mike Reilly and Agustin Delgado.  Lifetime mates no matter the kit.

But most of  all, Nancy Sutton Moss.  Her unflagging support of USATF, our clubs, our members, the vision.  Of me.

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Discussing the intricacies of our sport with my my old buddy Dave during his cool down back to the Cornhusker.

 

 

LINCOLN

A lot of stories from yesterday.  It is yours that matters most today.

Starting near the top with Grant Wintheiser, 4th overall in 1:07:09.  Perfectly executed race plan, 5:10s for the first 8 miles, dropping below 5s for the final 5, last 5K in………….15:01.  First Nebraskan.   Garry Bjorklund Half in Duluth next month, sub 1:05.  Al Sanabria in 1:07:57, the matchup and result I was hoping for.  Johnny Rutford (LRC Racing) gets a legitimate personal  best in 1:08:14.  Peter Falcon (Team Nebraska) with a 2:00 pr in 1:09:00.  And Grant’s NRGE mate Jay Welp rounding out the top 10 in 1:10:51.  NRGE the only Nebraska club to place two fellas in the top 10.

Great racing all around.  Our Nicole Norris didn’t crack the top 10 with her 1:29:24 but I’d suggest her 4:00 personal best might have been the biggest leap of the day.  And how about those fast ladies!  19 women under 1:30.

Kaci Lickteig did the unthinkable in the full winning and running faster this year than her win last.  A Nebraska Winner, Chicken Dinner!  Michael  Rathje (6th, 2:37:03) getting the Nebraska bragging rights, ex-pats Eric Noel (4th, 2:29:34) and Tanner Fruit (5th, 2:33:43) showing just how hot and windy it was.  2011 champ Cameron Cummings back for the Champions Dinner our first mate across in 2:5, Jeremy Morris also under 3 hours in 2:58.

NRGE was also racing this side of the Platte.  Brandon Wissing (16:03) took the Invest In Yourself 5K title, hopefully shaking hands with Warren came with a tip.  Tristan Nelson joining Brandon repping NRGE on the front page of this morning’s World Herald.

You, the athletes.  This was your weekend and Linda and I were proud to be just a tiny part of your accomplishments!  So much more tomorrow!