Monthly Archives: August 2017

TRYING TIMES

I’m appreciating my running now more than ever.  Limited in scope, ambitious nonetheless.  Linda and I  had an interesting conversation with Kaci Lickteig back in late March, one that encouraged me to try and run again.  I had thought my career completely over, not so.

A strict and patient approach has gotten me a bit giddy (up!) about the remainder of the year.  Consistently running only 2 days a week, averaging maybe 10 combined.  Longest run of 8.5 three weeks ago, the furthest in 3 1/2 years.

I set a realistic, reasonable, achievable goal.  Sub 8:00 for a mile.  My marathon pr of 2:46:56 is 6:22 pace.  Did one real workout two weeks ago, 4 x 800 in ~3:53 that indicated readiness.  Feeling fat from a huge plate of burnt ends on Tuesday night, I rolled my portly 135 pounds out of bed yesterday resolute.

The Bar None Calibration course is USATF certified.  My critical workouts meaningful and informative.

I’m off!  1:44 for a very comfortable opening quarter mile.  I realize immediately that I’m in a lot better than 8:00 shape.  Down 259th St and the half in 3:39 and still relaxed and in complete control.  Right onto Pacific and another straight shot to the mile mark, I’ll confess to a slight tailwind. Still feeling in control  but another, familiar feeling sweeps over me.  I’m Really Running now.  Having to focus hard to keep form.  Relying on instinct and muscle memory to complement the intense mental effort.  The last 100 meters,  biceps and forearms numb from lack of blood flow.  Legs and arms pumping through the line.  7:23.  I looked at the WAVA tables and it age grades to 6:00 flat.

A good first try.

 

JAM

Good soaking rain, perfect day for runners and ducks.  Also a good day to can jelly and jam.

The Jam I’m writing about today was at Sumtur Amphitheater.  What a long, strange trip its been.  Impossible for Linda and I to get out on a Friday night.  And almost any other night, excepting the odd Tuesday.  We spent a Tuesday in June planting 60 trees at Terrapin Acres in Wahoo.  Expected nothing in return, got two tickets to see Twiddle and Railroad Earth last night.  Some get down blue grass jam grass with mandolin and violin and old hippies and young hippies and hippies with baby hippies.  Family.

Every one seemed to know everyone  else.  Hugs everywhere.  Festival  atmosphere.  Girls wearing butterfly wings.  Flowers in their hair.  Haight-Ashbury in Papillion on a Tuesday night.  Sumtur the ideal  location to sit and dance and commune.

Our host the most popular of all.  Musician, roadie, hippie, tales of Muddy Waters (his step dad), Bob Marley, and other legends rolling easily from his cache of  memories.  Its been a long time since I’ve dug that vibe.  But it was palpable and I enjoyed being tossed back 40 years.  One beer with BBQ in Gretna before the show, nothing else the rest of the night, the only difference over 4 decades.

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These cats are a throwback to the Grateful Dead, mixed with Allison Kraus.  Loved the show even if it meant staying up late.

RAISIN CREAM PIE

Linda and I received an invite for pie and homemade ice cream last night.  Apple, Cherry, and Raisin Cream.  If the latter sounds old fashioned it is.  The guest of honor was Myrtle Cook.  She is 92 and has lived in the same house, just down the road, for the  last 70 years.

I’d never had raisin cream pie, doesn’t really sound like a pair to match.  It was quite tasty, in an old fashioned kind of way.  Myrtle’s son Jerry lives with and takes care of her.  Never married, the apple of his mother’s eye.  House and acreage neat as a pin.

So much history about our little slice.  Fascinating details from when the main house was a hunting lodge adjacent to our own property.  The owners, the characters, the difficult times, the good  times.

Her describing a “stretch of hardscrabble” running from the Bar None out to Pacific  Street (~1K).  Hardscrabble being exactly what I’d been dealing with for the last couple days as I dug twenty two 4′ holes for our new front fence.  Two feet below the surface and anywhere from 6″ to a foot deep.   Has every muscle in my body aching exquisitely.

I feel fortunate.  Myrtle at 92 and Carl at 88.  180 years of life experience between the two.  There’s a lot to learn.  First up, Raisin Cream Pie.

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Twin Rivers Homestead when Myrtle moved in.

 

RISING ABOVE

Ann Gaffigan ran for UNL and then she ran for me.  In 2003 I took her to the USA 8K National Championships in NYC.  Later that year she would win the  very  first Women’s  USA Steeplechase National Championships.  It was added to the Olympic roster of events the next year.  Ann wouldn’t make the team but her legacy is cemented.

Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs just elevated women’s steepling in the US to the stratosphere.  Gold and Silver at the World Champs.

Jay Welp and Mark Abrams of Run Guru Elite elevated at the Beat the Heat 5K in Bellevue.  Jay continues his unbeaten streak running 15:02, Mark 2nd overall in 15:41.  Who then will challenge Senor Welp for the $500 on September 3rd?  This is how Real Competition works.   You offer up a champion for others to dare.  Hopefully someone rises up.  And when the mano-a-mano matchups do occur, only then do you see excellence in its truest, purest form.  When its not just a time trial but head to head.  That is what allows a deeper dig into the soul, brings up the lifetime personal bests that memories are made of.

So thanks Ann Gaffigan.  For Rising Above.

PICKIN AND GRININ

Farm Fresh Friday!  We do the majority of our picking within 24 hours of taking it to market.  “So Fresh It Slept In The Ground  Last  Night!”

We’ve grown our  little operation into a full fledged  business now.  A couple solid restaurants, an ever increasing boutique clientele, Roots to Wings, and Village Pointe Farmer’s Market.   Linda and I making a happy, healthy life together.  Sharing it with others makes it all the better.  Just the two of  us.  Pickin and grinin!

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The Bar None from space.  The main garden a patchwork, over 16,000 square feet.  House, garage, studio, barn.  Potting shed to be completed this Sunday.  Quiet sitting areas, unique landscapes and hidden gardens tucked all around the property.

COMING CLEAN

I recorded close to 1000 hours of road racing and track and field back in the 80s and 90s.  Hundreds of VHS tapes worth.  At every level.  Going all the way back  to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics on Beta Max.  Our sport used to get weekly air time on “Running and Racing” hosted by my old buddy Toni Reavis.  A lot of  those thrilling battles informed my own development as a runner and racer.

The World Championships in London hardly drew me in.  What I did  see mostly disgusted me.  Watching Mo Farah toy with a field set out to destroy him.  One of the  fastest 10K races I’ve ever witnessed, the Africans each in turn throwing their very best surges.  Blistering pace that had me wondering how long they could  sustain.  And then Farah raises his hind leg and pisses all over everyone like he had been having tea the first 24 laps.  Not clean.  Justin Gatlin, sorry buddy, at 35 years old and already two strikes against it is hard to cheer.  Not clean.  The Women’s 10000, the winner’s last 5000 in 14:25.  Not Clean.

It is so hard to watch these performances knowing that PEDs most certainly play a part.  The dirtier the athletes, their history, their association with convicted dopers and doctors, the less interested the fan base comes.

I wish I still had VHS and Beta Max.

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In 1984 the “Bayshore Breeze” in La Porte, TX loaned me this beta max to record the nightly broadcasts of the LA Games.  I would watch the races and pen a quick column that ran for the duration.  I’ve seen a lot in the last 33 years.

 

RIGHT STOVE UP

Stove up.  Stiffness almost to the point of immobility.  I’ve been waiting a week now to attempt my “Zen Mile”.  Anxious to see where a simple modicum of training has led.  Much bigger goals on the not too far horizon.

Monkey wrench, best laid plans, etc.  Busting up the felled flowering pear, loading the biggest chunks last, headed for the splitter then neatly stacked.  Something somewhere and the last seven days have been most unpleasant.  First couple nights sleepless with acute pain.  Unable to move my head in any direction.  Day 6 now and the dull, deep pain reminds that I’ve lost another step to that s.o.b. Peter Pan.

No tears!  Up at 6 to water the entire garden, pick for Dixie Quicks and Brushi, delivered by 11.  To the Farmers Union Co-Op in Gretna and the load of 1400 pounds of oats and wheat ensconced mice free rightly inside the master suite of Natalie and King, our two barn cats.

Back out to the garden, weeding, Oy vey! Always with the weeding.  The neck and shoulder seemingly most comfortable when bent to the task in the field.  Right stove up.  Never slow down.

And just maybe, tomorrow, a Zen Mile!

TOE THE RIGHT LINE

Some interesting racing this past weekend.  Tale of Two Cities.  Omaha and Lincoln.  Both had talented athletes on the line.   Omaha featured *Team Up for  Teammates, Lincoln the *GSK Orange Run 5K.  Colin Morrissey (15:08) repeated as T4T champ.  He was pushed by Ryan Bauermeister (15:13), making his Run Guru Elite debut.  A scant :05 victory on the *short course  before heading to Lincoln where Colin (15:47)  dispatched Michael Rathje (16:14).  *Neither event was USATF certified.

The Lake Wehrspann 10K (USATF Certification #NE08003KU) was also contested (Nate Swenson fourpeats in 36:34).  The only certified event had the least amount of interest.   Omaha Running Club’s 30th (?) annual 6.2 mile tour at Chalco hills had 82 finishers.

I  was pretty jacked about the women’s race at Team Up.  Liz Starbuck making her Run Guru  Elite debut against her mate Nicole Norris.  Both eyeing the $100 for first.  Liz being trained up by Nebraska’s newest USATF Level I certified coach, Jay Welp.  Me training up Nicole.  Liz young and ambitious – breaking 17:00- when was the last time a female 5K runner from Nebraska aspired to that?  Nicole still a neophyte despite turning in one of the best half/full  doubles of the year (1:29:24/3:13:52).  Liz 18:16, Nicole 18:47.   At GSK Erica Doering (18:29), Bridget Easley (18:33) and Michelle Paxton (18:41).  I’m wishing up on a star that these 5 ladies will very soon toe a common, USATF Certified line.

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Nicole and Liz, bright stars with Run Guru Elite!

 

 

CHIP TIMING

Falls River Wisconsin 5K this weekend.  It will be a little different.  You won’t see any race numbers meticulously trimmed to fighting weight.  You won’t find personalized safety pins (.05g!), you won’t find bulky anywhere.  You won’t see racing flats.  You will see a start and finish line.  You might hear a sentimental beep as you cross a mat.  Moot entertainment.

Every runner will have a Purple Cow Chip implanted into their right foot, elites in both feet.  Here’s the twist.  For a sliding fee to PC’s favorite charity you can select “nega-chips”.  Choose from “Hobbyjogger”, “Weekend Warrior”, or “Real Runner” and your time automatically deducts to your prepaid selection.   Can’t beat Jay  Welp?  Well now you can!  Upgrade to the “Elite” nega-chip and receive up to 5:00 off your  “*official time”.
*All times will be recognized by WECRAWL for their year end uncertified awards.

You might think this tale is  far fetched.  If you would have told me 20 years ago that runners would use selfie sticks in the Boston Marathon I would have laughed right at you.  If you would have told me that “races’ would have customers paying to have any manner of glow or foam or flour or mud or feces thrown at them, well I’d just sit back and wonder if you had bats in your belfry.  If you would have predicted that you could sit behind a screen, enter a “Virtual Race”, I’d have thought you virtually crazy.

Purple Cow, some really innovative bullshit.

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Don’t have the Right Stuff?  Purple  Cow’s got you covered!

 

 

 

THE BUSINESS

I’m enjoying this summer tremendously.   Back from the periphery and into the heart of  the matter.  With all the respect that is  due, I’m energized to be calling the shots.  That’s what has me all in.

Championships.  Getting our athletes ready for that level of competition is what gets my giddy up.  And right behind is straight up racing.  Head to head racing, essence of our sport, don’t let anyone tell you feel good  otherwise.

Team Up for Teammates 5K is this weekend.  I’d like to invite racers everywhere to come to Omaha for some serious  business.  But only if you are looking to make it hot.  A modicum of prize money ($100) makes it interesting.  Run Guru Elite is front loaded into the event and are ready to test themselves for early fall fitness.  Four and one half weeks until the inaugural O What a Race in Lincoln.  A couple grand in prize money making that one all business.  A week after that the Freedom  Runs, flattest, fastest half marathon in Nebraska and maybe the entire Midwest.  Every other half in the state chasing Zach’s 1:04:48……

And oh lordy, it seems Market to Market is back on my radar.   An interesting September to be sure and just right around the  corner.  Hope y’all are getting trained up!