Monthly Archives: August 2017

LEADERSHIP PREFERENCE

Maintaining the preferential theme.  I sat among legends last night.  Derek Fey invitedCraig Christians, Roxi  Erickson and I to sit on a Q&A panel at Peak Performance.  It turned into more of a show and  tell of talent and leadership.  Craig recounting his experiences as a lifetime runner and 30 year coach.  I was pleased to learn that Craig has accepted the head coaching job for the  brand new Bellevue University cross country program.  Roxi shared tales of 10 Lincoln Marathon wins, along with 19 others.  Personal best of 2:37:19, something few fellas can boast.  What could I have possibly contributed?

I started with the letter I wrote to Roxi  in 1995 inviting her to Lake Jackson, TX for the Run For The Arts 10 Mile.  I wouldn’t meet her for another half a decade.  I  rolled right into how Derek, Roxi, and Craig have all run for me.  Described the formation of Nebraska’s USATF LDR Program, the founding of Team Nebraska.  Sprinkled in how NRGE, LLC caters to first to last in our road race management practices.   And everything in between.  What’s between?

Fifteen years of advocating for elites in Nebraska.  Well over $100,000 raised- the lion’s share from the Lincoln Marathon sponsorships for our USATF clubs, athletes, and programs.  Tirelessly advocating locally, regionally, and nationally.   I highlighted some of  the  most talented that have benefitted from that support, their achievements and contributions to the sport.

I raised some eyebrows too.  By lamenting the lack of elite level support by the Omaha Running Club leadership.   I am the most qualified person to make that statement having unsuccessfully  petitioned for waived entries, prize money, and other funding efforts for elites over the last 15 years.

I tried to describe a scenario where those in positions of power appreciate the contribution of elite level running to an event.  Understand that our top local runners are an inspiration to the upcoming generations.  An integral part of our sport.  To be celebrated and supported and acknowledged.  Our sport.  Running.  Racing.  But that is not the case with the regime of the last 15 years.

I encouraged Derek to run for President of  the Omaha Running Club.  He would be the most logical candidate to chart new courses that would elevate the respectability of our city, our club, and ultimately  our marathon.  The one that slipped away under the current watch, The Omaha  Marathon, on our city streets.  He has the experience.  He has the charisma.  He cited a lack of time.  I told him if he couldn’t then it would be up to me.

With that, I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the Omaha Running Club.  Win or lose, I’m standing up for what I believe most passionately.  That support for elite level running is a sure way to elevate the visibility and respectability of the Omaha Running Club.  Front, middle, and back, not just middle on back.

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Craig and I differed on almost every subject, both correct for our specific audience.

PERSONAL PREFERENCE

Choice.  A good adjective and noun.   Selections based on subjectivity.  Personal preference.

Take a look at the roads.  Cars.  Hundreds of makes and models, each just perfect for the driver.  No explaining for personal  preference.

My preference is for excellence and I’m fortunate to have lived long enough to define it my way.  Its a lifestyle, a mindset, a philosophy.  If I’m going to do something  I  want to do it to the very best of my (sometimes limited) abilities.  I hope it shows in my work.

The morning dew prompting this muse.  Linda and I in the garden early.  I told her how utterly satisfying life is.  How rewarding it is to hand select each tomato for Brushi Bistro.  How  I consider it an honor and privilege to partner with Chef Paul, a fella that knows excellence in farm fresh produce.

Each tomato described by noun and adjective.  Choice.

Excellence is my personal preference.  In food and in running.

Not so Grand but a hell of a race anyway.  Three Kansas City Smoke fellas ran within :23 of each other to claim the top 3 spots (2:49:26, 2:49:39, 2:49:49) at the State Fair Marathon in Grand Island last weekend.  First female was 3:01:36, 2nd 3:23:20.  Was it the weather?  Was  there a change in the course that used to lay claim as fastest in Nebraska?  Was it the lack of C level Kenyans from Coon Rapids?  I like this way better.  Support for our USATF Elite Development Clubs and athletes.  Personal  preference.

 

 

PROGRAM PREFERENCE

Founder (2002) and tireless champion (15 years now) of the USATF Nebraska Association LDR Program.  Founder Team Nebraska.  Founder Run Guru Elite.  I’ve literally bled for USATF.  Sorry for the reminder but necessary groundwork for this morning’s notions.

USATF.  Course certification.  Making sure the advertised distance is exact.  Legitimate times for qualifiers to other important events.  Course Sanctioning.  Making sure the event meets current USATF minimum standards.

Team Nebraska.  Lincoln Running Co. Racing.  Women Run Nebraska.  Club 402.  Run Guru Elite.  All USATF member clubs.  Part of my  grand design.  USATF member clubs.

USATF.  Its all about athlete development.  Its all about  providing bona fide competitive opportunities.  Its all about legitimizing our sport.  Making it meaningful on a larger scale.  Standardized criteria developed to make comparisons easily understood and transferable in discussions regarding performance.

The Freedom Runs- 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon are USATF Certified and Sanctioned.  I did the work.  For you.  So that your race can be meaningful and respected outside of the venue.  We’ve had a good response from many of  our USATF Elite athletes.  Many of them will be toeing the line.

Some however will be running another race the same day, the old Platte River Syndrome.  That event is not USATF Certified or Sanctioned.  They’ll be missing out on the better event.  I’m calling on all other races, east or west of the Platte, to get with the program.   My program.  USATF.   But ah, there’s always  November’s USATF Club Cross qualifier,  tickets to Lexington, Pioneer’s Park,  and all that.  We’ll be seeing you all soon enough!

 

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USATF_Certified_Course_Logo

 

 

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Hosted a club run/breakfast yesterday.  Pretty good turn out.
Jay Welp is undefeated at less  than half marathon this year.  Think about that.
Mark Abrams might be the only fella in Nebraska insisting he’s going to catch his mate  soon enough.  Think  about that.
Liz Starbuck is as nice a young lady as I’ve had the pleasure of.  She has some serious  racing goals including breaking 17 for  the 5K.  Think about that.
Sam Runde won the Burke 5K XC Time Trial at Walnut Grove in 18:20.  Freshman.  Think  about that.

Enjoy your breakfast!

CORN AND BEANS

Running through corn and bean
The prettiest flowers I’ve ever seen
Morning glory with deep set blues
Narrow path with nature’s hues
Calling me to stop and walk
To appreciate this lovely stalk
But I simply run on and smile
Cross Country flying mile by mile

Today is neighbor Carl’s 88th birthday.  Steaks and margaritas at Farmer Brown’s tonight.

Run Guru Elite welcomes Nick Knowles.  Nick ran at Florida Tech before enrolling in the criminal justice department at UNO.  An 800/1500 specialist (2:01/4:05), Nick bolsters our  men’s team on the shorter speedier end.
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Nick Knowles.  Mark Abrams.  Jay Welp.  Out for dinner and produce last night.  My fellas.

 

PONDER YONDER

Runners that choose to race.   Runners that seek out the very best competition.  It defined my generation.  You went where the very best runners were.  Depth of similar talent, relative goals and dreams.  Competing with the intent of self improvement.  Real Racing.   That was all there was.  No selfies, walking sticks, or fanny packs.  Newtons had figs.

If we missed a Real Race we were pissed.  The chance to pick up scalps just too irresistible.  Those competitors we faced and raced, week in and week out, contributing to mutual seasonal development of fitness and fierceness.

No Politics.  No Fear.  Fear is easier than politics.

Fear is in your face.  Politics are behind your back.

I know there are serious, talented distance runners in Nebraska.  I invite all of you to put the politics away for a moment.  Consider what it really is  that you want out of racing.   Are you training  up with a purpose?  Is it to dig into your deepest depths?  To see how far you can push yourself ?

Is it to run Personal  Bests?  I’ll throw back to my generation again by saying that is the only reason we raced.  The only reason I will still race, even if age grading be my balm.

I invite everyone to come out to the Twin Rivers YMCA 10K on September 10th.  This pancake flat course was designed specifically for personal  bests and Real Racing.   USATF Certified and Sanctioned.  Your times will be meaningful in a much bigger picture.  You will be able  to use them as qualifiers for other high level competitions.  Your personal bests will be cherished.  Your finish order will fire you up for the next week.  There is already plenty of quality NE14013KUcompetition signed up.  Top 3 open prize money.   If you want a fast, legitimate race, we hope you will join us.

Freedom Run 10K

 

 

 

EXCELSIOR

What a privilege I consider this column.  Monday morning landing spot for some of the news that matters.  Vis-à-vis excellence.

How do you define excellence?  Its subjective and this author encourages everyone’s own personal bliss.  Here’s mine.

Run Guru Elite’s Jay Welp taking the USATF Nebraska Association 1 Mile Champs in 4:17.  Colin Morrissey of Team Nebraska 2nd in 4:27, Peter Falcon also of  the Red & White 3rd in 4:32.  Erica Doering of LRC Racing took the women’s  title in an event record 5:07.5, Liz Starbuck of Run Guru Elite 2nd in 5:17 (#6 all time mark).  I see some marquis races between these two in the very  near future.  Competition begets excellence.

Run Guru Elite’s Jackie Freeman.  Trained wisely, trained hard, raced well.  Leading Ladies Marathon.  Thirteen minute personal best of 3:24:49, 3rd overall.  Let that soak in.  Personal  excellence.

Run Guru Elite’s Sam Runde.  Running in trainers.  Burke HS 2 Mile Time Trial for the upcoming XC season.  2nd overall by just a couple of  ticks.  Freshman.  Excelsior!

Sad to receive confirmation that the much anticipated “O”Race 10K in Lincoln has been canceled.  A deep prize purse attracting the very fastest and very few others.  There is a benchmark to be met with city services and registrations didn’t meet the minimum.  This  leaves me blue.  The robust Lincoln running community should have been able to fill O St., not sure what derailed the effort.  The Freedom Run 10K on 9/10 (USATF Certified and Sanctioned) has stepped up to the plate for a fast alternative.  Interested elites should email me at originalrunguru@gmail.com

 

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.