PRIMA FACIE

First blush.  Surface.  From the hip.  WYSIWYG.  Love at first sight?

Dependable.  Consistent.  Principled.  Unflinching.  Unfazed.

The calliope of life, ever changing seekers, giving it a whirl.  Only the ride remains the same.

Some people insist I have changed and it is true I have softened considerably.  But my core, the very center of the vision and message unchanged, unyielding.  This ride, with an always changing cast of characters, delivers the promised attraction and thrill.  Leathered butterfly wings enduring, gossamer fading into the fabric.

I  hope that  is one thing they’ll say about me when I’m gone.  “That Old Will, he stuck to his guns!”  “You knew exactly what you were dealing with from the old fart!”  “No pretenses made, never in it for the popularity!”  Prima Facie.  Run Guru.

We lost one of the Oldest School Runners.  Ed Whitlock of Canada, a week after his 86th birthday.  Superman to those that follow marathoning closely.  Sub 3 hours at 73 years old, sub 4 hours at 85.  Lost to prostate cancer, may his legacy live on.

Our new Nebraska Trail Run logo!  A little softer around the edges but still the rugged accomplishment to round out your trail resume.

NE Trail Run 2-OUTLINES

 

 

 

I’VE BEEN FRAMED

You’ve got to consider yourself fortunate when you get a Second Chance.  Second chances usually come around to those deserving.  I’m not talking about running clubs today although the parallels are similar of course.

My dad tried hard to teach me electrical and plumbing and pouring concrete and framing and finishing.  Middle of the 1970s, I was far more interested in letting my Freak Flag Fly.  I missed so much.

I’ve been buckling down hard though.  Getting my hands dirty better late than never.  You know the satisfaction I receive from building athletes.  I’m feeling much the same with the continued erection of the new structure.  Maybe I am talking about running clubs.

20170304_114425 (1)Footings and foundations dug and formed.
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Foundation poured and forms knocked down.

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Building the knee walls with our benefactor Bill Weeks of “W” Realty.
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Setting the corner posts with Bill and Carl.
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Treated 2 x 6s drilled and mounted to the foundation.  Knee wall mounted to the 2 x 6s.  Solid 7′ corner posts, F-1 worthy.  Not a bad end to a good day’s work.

A BUCK TWENTY

And in this corner, at 66″ and 115 pounds, Eliud Kipchoge.  His opponents tonight, towering at 69″ and 125 pounds, Lelisa Desisa and the diminutive one, at 63″ and 119 pounds, Zersenay Tadese!

About one pound per minute is my take.

These three African cats are NIKE’s hand picked runners to chase a buck twenty.   Completely staged, every variable scientifically controlled for.   I’ve been saying my whole life that a sub 2 hour marathon is possible, and will happen in my lifetime.  But I’m a purist and consider this attempt at history is shenanigans even if successful.  More Nike Circus fare, geared more to Runner’s World sensationalized headlines than Real Competition.

Back to the weighty issue a hand.  The average of these little fellas is <120 pounds.  I would, if I could, go back in time* and place, reincarnate as one of these waifs.  Line up at Berlin with the other two.  Make it a Real Race.  Mano a mano a mano.  It might take another generation but those arbitrary ticks and tocks patiently, legitimately await.

*I’d have to come right back to this big plate of Bar None Breakfast as soon as business was finished!

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I’d like to meet Zersenay Tadese’s tailor!

 

HARD ROW TO HOE

True story I share today.

Carl is 88, maintains 5 acres right across the way.  Been there since 1968, almost 50 years in the same farmhouse.  Built a chicken coop last year and enjoys 25 laying hens.  Neat as a pin.  Sharp as a whip.  Strong as an ox.  First one to volunteer for any neighborhood project he can find.  Eighth grade education.

Gave his daughter and son-in-law 5 of his original 10 acres, 15 years right next door.   Last 3 Hatfield/McCoy-esqe.  Carl in court this morning.  Fighting for his dignity, his good Lutheran values, his Truth.  He can still drive that’s for sure.  He wheels the old Ford 8N like nobody’s business.  One of his last road trips to Custer, SD to see Etta Mae just last summer.

The kids have other ideas, prompting today’s combination of letters.  Seems like they are intent on having him, if not committed, then utterly  grounded and under their complete “admini$trative” care.   Opening up the adjoining, original 5 acres.  Not yet some of the hottest property West of everything else, but won’t be long by my lucky stars.

Carl’s mom and grandma both died institutionalized.  Both received electroshock therapy for  Alzheimers, living into their nineties, decades in a vegetative state.  Carl’s Greatest Fear this morning.

Only 3 years older than my own dad, proxy now for almost 4 years.  Dear friend of the  neighborhood, Bar None mentor and advisor, daily confidant, never count you out, Linda and I are pulling for you fella.

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Just a few weeks ago we expanded the main garden to 16,000 square feet of Good Earth.  I couldn’t have done it without Carl’s lifetime of experience.  His 1956 Ford 8N as neatly maintained as the rest of his daily routine.

WINTHEISER TWIST

I’m stimulated again.  Fired up.  In It To Win It.  You all know the story.  With an unhittable curve ball this time.  The Wintheiser Twist.

I’ll preface with this:  Grant is one of the nicest, most humble fellas you’ll ever get to know outside of a start and finish line.  It’s  between those two arbitrary points that you really don’t want to mess with this cat.

In 20 years experience advocating for elite runners, I count Grant as the most talented that I’ve ever had the pleasure of wearing my kit.  Any kit.    Think about that for a moment.  There will never be another Mike Morgan, or David Adams, or Peter vd Westhuizen.  Those three I call the Gold Standard.  But Grant has something I’ve not seen before.  An ease and confidence.

Grant has been training with Michael Rathje and Nolan Zimmer and Johnny Rutford of LRC Racing.  Good for them.  Lucky they live in Omaha.  Omaha.  Omaha.   Say what?  Its like tennis folks, you only get better by training with someone more talented, and those fellas will attest to the difference.  I am so very grateful for Grant’s loyalty, it would be such an easy  jump to any other program.

I got jacked when Jay  Welp  told me he was Ready to Race State Farm 5K.  I smiled a mile yesterday when Grant indicated he was entering the 10 Mile.  NRGE, Inc. ready to start shaking up the local race calendar.  Run Guru style.

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Grant was out for 14 miles yesterday.  Ons at 4:50 pace, tempo at 5:20s, strong finish at 4:40s.  Middle 10K in 31:12.  Would have won Lucky Charms by a minute and a half.   Another favorite son Luka Thor also out at the Bar None yesterday.  I am thankful for both of these fine young men.

 

 

WHO KNEW?

Today my dear sweet Linda celebrates her 54th trip around the sun.  I would give her the world if I could.  I will give her what I  can instead.

WHO KNEW
I moved to Omaha feeling blue
Leaving all those I knew
Friends I had, more than a few
I moved to Omaha not knowing you

I changed that day that you ran past
I knew right then that you were fast
And happy, I could see your smile
Something I hadn’t had in a while

You shared your story and touched my heart
You saw my running, understood my art
Two blocks away, a world apart
I shared my story and touched your heart

I moved to Omaha not knowing you
And after all that we’ve been through
All I can say is “Who Knew”
That you and I, we are two
My Dear Sweet Linda
I Love You

 

 

HANDICAP IT

This is a blog.  That should be your red flag moving forward.

Its time for the Leprechaun Chase to revamp.

Lucky Charms was supposed to be the race combining Local Elites and the masses.   I’ve railed  against the paradigm, the silliness of trying to make a Real Race out of farcical circumstances.  And now counsel my A athletes to skip it.

2011- Men  Eric Rasmussen 31:15     Women  Kacki Lickteig  35:51
2012 Tom Nichols                  31:52                     Kaci   37:52
2013 Rasmussen                    32:09                     Frankie Peterson 38:46
2014 Hunter Paris (CO)         31:26                      Katie White  35:54
2015 Tyler Jerman (IA)           31:27                      Katie  35:56
2016 Michael Rathje              32:50                      Michelle Paxton  37:32
2017 Peter Falcon                  32:44                      Kira Belzer           39:50

Here’s the solution, I won’t take a lick of credit for it when it finally happens.

Handicap It.  Whatever lead is deemed appropriate should be deducted after A FAIR RACE.  Start both genders at the same time, put the Elites in the front corral.  Let an UNIMPEDED RACE unfold.  Don’t let the masses of costumed novelty runners (men and women!) dictate the outcome of the race.

Don’t just ask me though.  Ask the fellas that decided against running this year why they chose not to.

EASY TO BE HARD

“How can people be so heartless
How can people be so cruel
Easy to be hard
Easy to be cold”

Heartless?  Cruel?  Hard?  Cold?

“How can people have no feelings
How can they ignore their friends
Easy to be proud
Easy to say no”

Feelings?  Friends?  Pride?

Groundwork for this morning’s column thanks to the classic from back in my day, “HAIR”.

I’m not heartless, cruel, hard or cold.  I have feelings and friends.  I put my own pride aside, Clyde.

I’m coaching three women that have their world of potential in front of them.  Nicole, Jackie, Coralie.  Nicole and Jackie both in their mid 30s and their first time to experience such high level training.  Coralie, young and not far from her college program.  I’ll go out on a limb here and say I’ve never had 3 women athletes at the same time that are so committed to doing what they are told, perfect students.

They’ve come out and raced when I asked.  We are dialed in, together.  I can tell you their race pace from mile to marathon.  Coach and athlete, working together to achieve lifetime performances.  Nothing less.

The ever so popular lucky charms 10k is this weekend.  Magically delicious!  But I’ve pulled Jackie and Nicole.  Easy to be hard.  Easy to say no.  Both are fit as ever and champing at the bit.  Both wanted to race.  So this test, will they listen to their coach, only has one answer.  This separates them, elevates them in my book as athletes.  Willing to put funsies  on hold for the bigger picture.  They will still be out cheering their mates.

No denying this is one of the  two most popular races of the year, and both put on by the maestro.  Also one of the most frustrating for the front of the pack fellas.  I ran it once, pledged a nickel for every female I passed.  It was matched by Danielle Galvin and launched our Wednesday Night Kid’s Fitness program that ran for 7 years.  Thanks Danielle!

I’ve been out for every edition  of the race.  First hand observations and critiques.  It will always be  “muy popular”,  a huge draw to the masses of lads and lasses.  But the attempt to mix novelty with what I consider Real Competition has not met my litmus test.  Due to the wretched time the guys have trying to weave through thousands of ear budded, hand holding, green tutu wearing others.  You won’t see Grant or Drew or Jay or any other of my “A” level athletes trying to make it a Real Race.  Easy to be hard.  Easy to say no.

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DAILY BLISS

This Bar None Produce gig is just what I’m meant for.  #peasantlifestyle#impecunious

Starting at sun up, quitting at sundown.  Long days punctuated with flurries of heightened activity.  A marathon with surges.  Spring into summer, the calendar becomes an ultra.

It’s likely not how you would describe a “rich” life but for this fella its priceless.

Think about this for a moment.  Since 1987 I  have worked 6 months at the Will Co. Health Department (Joliet, IL), a few Wednesday mornings in 2008 at Hill of Beans Coffee (Omaha), and a handful of days at Red Dirt Running Co. in 2013.  Those endeavors I call Work.  Hours of confinement, claustrophobic.

For thirty adult years no traditional employment.  Twenty of those as a stay at home dad,  the last ten under extreme circumstances.  Trappings no guarantee of happiness.  Shaped the man I used to be, the man I no longer am.

The last four years filled with my calling.  Aching, laborious, chafing,  sweaty,  cutting, hauling, pruning, digging, building, breaking, blistering.  Outdoors isn’t Work.  Alongside my dear sweet Linda transcending to Bliss.

20170224_135025_HDRJed always the first one ready to roll!

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Thinning seedlings helps promote healthy growth for both plants and people!  This micro green salad mix is $20 in town.  Rustic and efficient use of resources here.

THANK YOU USATF

One of those days I knew would roll around.  No regular retirement.  I go now on my own terms.

Consulting my crystal ball I see the Future of USATF LDR in Nebraska.  Flourish and ebb and flourish and ebb.  It will survive.  And as of last Friday without author and architect, energy and angst.  Formal resignation to LDR Chair Colin Morrissey after an epiphany.   I gazed into the orb and realized the current iteration is simply growing into its time, becoming what it means to this generation.

I leave USATF LDR Nebraska with this:

Thank USATF for what you have.  Your programs, your clubs, your sponsorships, your opportunities.  Your trips.  Your competition.  Your memories.  Many of you have been around long enough to remember when there was no USATF.  No Team Nebraska, LRC Racing, NRGE, no Women Run Nebraska.  No opportunity at all for post collegiate athletes.  Please find a way to support the program that has given you so much.

Nebraska Run Guru Elite, Inc. now my only priority.  I’ll continue to advocate and coach and write.  And keep my eyes on the future.

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