Monthly Archives: May 2019

LET’S GET HIGH

Altius!  Today I celebrate the Omaha Sports Commission brining the Capitol District Pole Vault Competition to town July 31-August 1.   Set up by Lindsay Toussant and Jeff Hartwig at the Drake Relays.  America’s best jumpers including national champs and Olympians, reaching for greater heights in Omaha’s popular Capitol District.  A two day affair that will also provide instruction for developing  jumpers, including high school.  Bring a food donation for the Open Door Mission and get a free entry!
https://omahasports.org/capitol-district-vault

I’m especially happy with this effort.  Bringing national level talent to Omaha, to Nebraska.  Worth repeating here that Lindsay is a member of our Valley 7 Lakes Marathon Committee and former LDR staff member in Indianapolis with USATF.  A great addition to our athletics community.  We look forward to bringing national attention to our efforts on behalf of American athletes!

The Capitol District.  Part of what I’m proud of in Omaha.   Nice to see athletics joining the College World Series, Olympic Swim Trials and Olympic Curling  Trials as a marquee event.

STANDING WATER

I went out looking for a friend yesterday.  I’ve mentioned the ancient Native American before, a hermit living in a sparsely appointed bunker just off the banks of the Platte River.   We’ve met once before.   I wasn’t expecting success, the utter devastation along Campanile Road making the quest seem a lark at best.  Crestfallen as I found the unique cottonwood that marked his dugout abode.  The giant tree still standing but the cave and man were no where to be seen.  I wasn’t worried for him, certain that he if anyone, was in tune enough with the Good Mother and her River to survive.

As I made south along the river I  heard a faint Ya-Ta-Hey from the western bank.  After scrambling along a sand bank and traipsing through knee deep debris I found him.  The old man was in newer if less rustic digs.  His few belongings stacked along one wall, bedroll neatly folded and stowed.  He said he had been expecting Running Feather.

He raised, pointed a single finger and we were off.  Wiry and fit as the first time we’d met I followed him through the dense brush.  Silent in our movements and speech.  We proceeded until arriving at an exact moment that only he understood, precisely mid day.   Stooping and pointing to a pristine fountain, bringing forth clear as light sustenance from the Ogallala aquifer some hundreds of feet below.   He bade me sip which I did.  He then pointed east, west, north, south,  and  towards the heavens, passed the pipe, and said we would meet again.  His  final words or maybe they were thoughts, bestowed my new name, Standing Water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEBRASKA PUNK

If Linda and I haven’t slowed down we have at least redirected some of our boundless energies to more leisurely pursuits.  Music is now getting its due.  Bucks Bar & Grill is one of the top spots in the United States for country singer/songwriters, both up and coming and established acts.   My usual hyperbole may have you skeptical but the bands that show up insist same.  A classically trained chef (NAPA Valley Culinary Institute) bringing top notch food to this one of a kind Nebraska Honky Tonk.

Steve Kunasek  is the lead cat for South Omaha’s Prairie Gators.  Cajun/Creole music at its best.  If you ran the Swamp Stomp back in the day you heard his version of the Star Spangled Banner on the accordian.  Frequently accompanying on the drums is Steve Monson.  He also hits the hats for his own band, The Linoma Mashers.  Both bands played at Cellar 426 in Ashland as part of  a flood relief concert.  My first time to see the Mashers, entertaining.

But it was the feature act that kept us out into a Sunday evening.  Steve promised me Charlie Burton would be a hell of  a show.  And man Charlie was right in my wheelhouse.  A mix of rock and roll, rockabilly, and punk.  If you’ve ever seen him you know, if you haven’t you ought.  Charlie is also a member of the Nebraska Hall of Fame, he’s that iconic.  I can’t imagine seeing a better show this year, but we’ll try.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore will be coming to the Zoo Bar on June 3rd.  Incredible songwriter, haunting voice, country hippie.  Was integral to my playlist back in Texas where he performed with the Flatlanders (with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock).

Jason Isbell is playing the Waiting Room in Benson in August.  I haven’t seen him before but local expert Mandy Sue has guaranteed us an excellent evening of country music.

Get out and hear some live music this  summer.  And if at all possible be sure and  catch some Nebraska Punk.

 

 

FLYING FUR FRIDAY

A little bit of this, a little bit of that.

10 apples, 3 peach, 2 cherry, 3 pear, 2 plum, 1 paw paw, 2 apricot, 2 figs, 1 serviceberry.  4 grapes, a fence of blackberries, black raspberries,  red raspberries, white raspberries, 2 honeyberry bushes, 2 currant bushes, strawberry patch, rhubarb patch, asparagus patch.   Hops.  Smokebush, magnolia, pine, weeping willow, contorted hazelnut.  3 flowering dogwoods.  1 Pussy Wilow.  Wildflower garden.  Herb garden.   Inventory of trees, bushes, and fruits that Linda and I have planted, so far.  300 pounds of potting soil made, two dozen pots filled with bounty for next year’s cupboards.   All our own comestibles grown above ground  this year, something that can be done anywhere.  Gives us much confidence that we will be able to feed ourselves for the rest of our days.

Coming up on our 6 year anniversary here at the Bar None.   Bar None Beer Miles.  Winter Fitness Series.   Twin Rivers YMCA Half Marathon.  Valley 7 Lakes Marathon.  Seeds of another sort sewn.  #ValleyStrong

Repairs continue on our studio.  Lingering effects from the Great Flood of 2019.  Electric panel, hot water heater, well pressure tank, water softener, furnace, a/c all replaced.  Another huge thank you to everyone that contributed to our go fund  me page.

Lost a couple of T&F V cards already this year.  First time to the Drake Relays.  First time to the Nebraska HS State Champs at Burke.  Some very impressive performances.  Something sticking in my craw from last weekend.  The boys 100M time of 10.53 was disallowed due to the gusting southerly winds.  The boys 110 hurdles run within the same small window, flags a flying, Darius Luff’s 13.69 record was allowed.  I mean I know what I saw, somebody splain this to me please.

Love him or hate him, Parker Stinson (1:13:47) got the  American Record for 25K in Grand Rapids a couple weekends ago.

I’ve stepped almost completely away from the USATF Nebraska Association.  Here’s something though:  The LDR program is to receive a portion of every LDR membership in the state, rough estimate is anywhere from 1500-2500/ year.  The LDR program is to also receive a flat fee for every sanctioned LDR event in the state.  Rough estimate around 1500/year.  As far as I know from the previous chairs the LDR program has not received a penny from the association leadership over the last 3 years.  Prompting your scribe and program founder to wonder where the hell this money has gone and why there is no flying fur.

 

 

 

 

BIG OLD GOOFY WORLD

In some sense writing feeds my soul.  A lifelong exercise in wordsmithing leads to a deep appreciation of Excellence in Prose.  Today’s space is from John Prine, one of the Great American songwriters.  Snippet of  lyrics from the song in today’s title, a good way to start your day!

“Kiss a little baby
Give the world a smile
If you take an inch
Give ’em back a mile
Cause if you lie like a rug
And you don’t give a damn
You’re never gonna be
As happy as a clam”

 

FATHERS OF THE GRIND

An overdue nod of the fedora to the young lads and lasses over at LRC Racing.  Lead dog Nolan Zimmer has dubbed their A team “Brothers of the Grind.”   I can dig it.  Nebraska’s current generation of excellence in long distance running.

All children should aspire to be better than their forebearers.  All parents should want their kids to do better than they themselves.

Fathers of the Grind.  Shannon Stenger, Evan Knight, Michael Beatie, Nick Suing, Matt Schneider, Matt Pohren.  Dustin Llewellyn, Paul Wilson too.

The 10 year anniversary of my generation’s Excellence in Athletics is fast approaching.  Team Nebraska Brooks really was one of the top USATF Elite Development Clubs in the U.S. from 2004-2012.    My version, my vision.   I’d like to offer the following TNB performances up to Nolan and his mates, you’ve got all summer to take these times down:

2009 USATF Club T&F National Championships, Ichan Stadium, NYC
Men’s 800 meters:  Nick Suing @ 1:52.75, Evan Knight @ 1:54.29, Michael Beatie 1:56.68
Men’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase:  Matt Schneider 1st O/A @ 9:16.00, 1500M @ 3:57.96
Men’s 4 x 800 Relay: 7:44.11 (2nd O/A) Stenger, Knight, Beatie, Suing
Men’s DMR: 10:17.58 (1st O/A) Stenger, Knight, Suing, Schneider

The USA Club T&F National Champs were held in Olathe, KS in 2008.  Nebraska’s first venture into competing against the best clubs in the United States.  Their contributions to excellence in athletics should never be forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

Linda and I were headed to a graduation party yesterday, I posed the following:

“If you could at this point,  give advice to your high school self, what would you say?”

Easy to ask, harder to answer.  Based on my own experiences here is some sage counsel to Will, Class of ’75.

  1. Be nice.  Treat everyone with kindness.  I know people that live this way and they seem to be the happiest.
  2. Be respectful.  Everyone deserves their due, opinions aside, dovetails with number one.
  3. Patience is a Virtue.
  4. Find your passion and life will be wonderful.
  5. Redefine your sense of moderation.  A recalibration of over indulgent lifestyle from 1975-1983.
  6. Know when to walk away.
  7. Know when to Run.
  8. Cherish every day.
  9. Find Humility.  A daily pursuit.
  10. Be Thankful.  For what you have.

 

 

L-O-L-A LOLA

“Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand
Why she walks like a woman and talks like a man
Oh my Lola”

The Nebraska State Track & Field Championships are not awash in gender identity issues.  Tick, tock, do.

“I’m not the world’s most physical guy
But when she squeezed me tight she almost broke my spine
Oh my Lola”

We are a little insulated here in the Good Life, takes things a while  to move center from the coasts.  If you pay any attention at all to our sport, most especially the high school and collegiate level, you know that gender identity  is taking center stage in state meets and college rankings.

What say you?

PILLOW TALK

Runners and dreamers we’re one and the same.  I’ve got all my bases covered now that my quilt is finished, -Nov. 7, 2018 I’m In Stitches

Big Tips to neighbor Becky, seamstress extraordinaire.  Thirty five squares part history book, part heirloom, all treasure.

You can see here about half of the huge piece.  My marathons, clubs, races, travels, memories all captured.  The single non running square is just to the right of the 1983 Illinois Track Club Freedom Marathon- the Chicago Fire football logo from the 1970s, like most of these, never worn.  It earned a place due to a fond association with my dear departed, talked like a sailor, smoked like a stack, drank like  a fish, mom.

My debut 3:11:11 now a stitch in time.

Some are races I’ve put on like the Vala’s Pumpkin Patch Trail of Terrors and the Ivan Marsh designed 2011 Ni-Bthaska-Ke Trail Run, and Henry Rono’s signature from the Omaha Mile.  I ran occasionally for the Terlingua Track Club out of Houston while living on the Gulf Coast.  The 1988 Galveston  Marathon Relay recalling old mates and good times.  Maine Running Camp where I met Andy Palmer and John L. Parker Jr.

This treasured t-shirt ended up incorporated into a throw pillow for the quilt.  One of a kind, just like Pre.

 

New Haven 20K always our National Champs, t-shirt artwork by Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau.  Team Nebraska its chapter along with sponsor Lincoln Marathon.  Houston Tenneco, the Swamp Stomp.  The first running club I founded, Gulf Coast Wind Breakers, 1983, in response to what I thought inadequate athlete advocacy by the Bay Area Runing Club (BARC), imagine that.

1986 Galveston Marathon (2nd Overall) and 1987 Lamar University Intramural Cross Country Champ (and record holder).

Grateful for a career that has  spanned almost 4 decades now.  Taking the USA World Championships Half Marathon team to Rio one of  the highlights.

The Brazosport Road Runners Association were my 2nd club, circa 1992-2001.   Nebraska Run Guru Elite, Inc. the current effort.  Thirty six years of club management experience.

 

 

 

 

 

HELL GETTING OLD

I’ve become a cliché.  Old folks sitting around the table discussing various aches and pains, some new, others companions for years.

It started with me nearly 20 years ago when showing my daughter Katie the proper way to toss the discus.  A single afternoon of instruction had me right stove for the next week.  It needn’t be as exotic as a weight implement to start a discussion.  Sometimes you just wake up and are sore somewhere.

I strained a rhomboid throwing a 100′ roll of 4″ drain pipe up into the barn loft.  Nearly 10 days ago, I’ve hardly slept a wink, wrenched locomotion more akin to a zombie’s gait.  Linda saw a grown man cry.  Getting better every day.

You readers of a certain vintage are in the same pain parade, the way of the world after all.  And just as certain as its hell getting old is the fact that its all worth it to wake up another day.   Another shot at lacing them up and going for a run.  To pursue that moment when you feel free and flying and young again.