MY PILLOWS

White and Fluffy
Skittering and Puffy
Sky and Horizon Filled
Good Mother’s Beauty
Delivered as Billed

Rain Soaked Roads
Greet Heels to Toes
Lanes Between Field and Bush
Each Stride a Cushy Cush

Thankful For Our Health This Day
For Fitness and For Play
Linda and Desi Making Three
As Happy and Grateful As Can Be

SORRY ASS

An update for the curious.

Linda, Desi, and I have hit the three week mark with the rpod as our home.  It has been every bit the expected adventure.  We’ve explored new running routes, incorporated walking and biking sessions, strict adherence to consistency the primary denominator.  Hills and  more hills, some gargantuan.   Occasional two a days, easy sessions intended towards capillarization.

The question comes up “What are you doing these days?”  Our pat answer is “getting fit.”  I haven’t felt this good in over a decade.

We’ve explored Branched Oak Lake north of Lincoln.  We’ve trespassed for views of pristine Johnson Reservoir.  We’ve taken every minimum maintenance road encountered.  On foot, on wheels, moving at a vagabond’s pace.

We’re plugged in at the 2 Lazy 2 Ranch in Yutan.  15 amps trickling in enough juice for refrigerator and television.  We need 30 to run the air conditioning, a luxury we’ll appreciate when provided.  We awoke last night to a downburst, 65 mph winds rocking our little trailer, visions of Dorothy and Toto running through my mind as I threw my body over Linda’s.

I am still filled with excitement and wonder over our future.  Not completely sure what we’ll be doing once the Big Chill arrives.  Do we go south?  Do we winterize and hunker down?

We’ll map out some plans after this weekend’s Twin Rivers YMCA runs.  We have our biggest ever field signed up, build it and they will come.

These three greet our daily excursions.  Sorry the Ass on the right, his brays joining the cock’s crow to greet each day.  Country living at its best.

CAN YOU DIG IT?

Two of Nebraska’s oldest consecutively run events were this past weekend.  The Buffalo Run 5 Mile in Lincoln and the Omaha Corporate Cup 10K, long in the tooth and venerable.

Johnny Rutford led all finishers in Lincoln, the top 5 under my lifetime pr of 27:12!   The fast guys, living in Omaha but representing Lincoln.  Can you dig it?
1 Johnny Rutford Omaha NE 28 M   24:52     4:59
2 Nolan Zimmer Omaha NE 25 M    25:29      5:06
3 Eric Noel Lincoln NE 32 M              26:42      5:21
4 Matthew Cornell Lincoln NE 27     26:56     5:24
5 Tim Meyer Lincoln NE 38                26:57     5:24

Austin Post (34:01) was the first across the line at the Corporate Cup, just off my 33:55 personal best.  That event a mere shadow of its former glory, from the fastest 10K in the state to a fundraising afterthought.  So goes our sport in Omaha where there is zero advocacy for elite level running, and more is the shame.  Living in Omaha but running for Lincoln.  Can you dig it?

The Omaha Corporate Cup in 2010.  When elite level running had a foothold in Omaha.  My how times have changed!

VERY SPECIAL SEASON

We had a vested interest in yesterday’s Buffet Middle School Invitational XC Meet.  His name is Jack.  Jack Runde.  Sam’s younger brother.  Now the best runner in Beveridge Middle School history.  I’ve told everyone that would listen that Jack has the potential to be an even better runner than his sibling.  What I saw during the race yesterday brings that declaration more clarity.  It went something like this:

“Are you in this to win this?”  “Yes!”  Jack immediately to the lead at the gun’s crack.  One fella stride for stride, a small pack of three a few steps off.  The first challenge came up the huge hill heading to mile 1.  Jack and the other thinclad trading half step leads up the entirety of the climb.  Just prior to the crest runner #2 stopped, hands on knees, completely gassed.  Challenge one dispatched.

Watching the silhouettes run along the far ridge I commented on how much Jack’s stride has lengthened during the past year’s growth spurt.  Another good sign.  The chase pack not gaining, not losing ground.  They followed some 5 meters back for the next mile,  deciding the minor places among themselves.

Jack looked like a man among boys.  Strong, powerful, and confident.  With less than a mile to go the chase pack rallied together to track him down.  Caught him with 1200 meters to go, but the cost was too great.  Jack shook it out and then shook them off with a final move.  I shouted that he would still need his kick and it was there when called upon.  Finished looking like a champion.

This has been my 6th year to work with Jack (& Sam) and I’ve never been so proud of him.  His dedication to the workouts over the summer showed me he is ready to make his own mark.  To write the Bulldog record books.  To show up at Burke’s doorstep next year and join his brother for what can only be imagined as a very special season.

The last 300 meters on the track (had Jack wear trainers instead of spikes) and the race still up to who wanted it the most.  Jack ended up leading wire to wire thanks to a devastating kick.   Another thing that bolsters my hope for his future, a close race that he refused to lose.

Giddyup!

COMING TO GET YOU

We’re all runners.  We’re all completely different.

We get out of bed, pull our running britches on one leg at a time.  Exactly the same up to that point.  Its that first step that sets everyone apart from the other.   We all run for our own reasons.  And those reasons change through the course of a career.

There are runners very much better than you.  There are runners not nearly as good as you.  Those truisms never change.  This column’s stock and trade has been heralding excellence at the highest individual level.  Insisting on it.  Pace irrelevant as long as the effort is true.

Do the terms “better” and “winner” upset your running apple cart?  Are your emotions stirred by competition?  This is the delineator of our sport.   Non competitive runners experience our sport on a different level all together.  They miss out on the visceral rewards of challenging others, the thrill of conquest.  Acceptance of pain and suffering as conduit to self realization, measure of a Real Runner.   Matters not if first or worst, if you are willing to dip deep into the dark well of personal limitation, you are on my side of the ledger.  If you never “go there” you are missing out on the finest of what running has to offer.   And probably have no interest in this column.

Linda and I are back to training with consistency.  Daily workouts designed to incrementally increase our fitness levels with a goal of racing before year’s end.  Coming to get you.

Our latest training digs include plenty of hills and long stretches of dirt roads.  Perfect for this old body’s prep to return to competition.

BELL LAP

Scurrying around the Bar None like a chicken with its head cut off, busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, etc.  Two Men & A Truck will be here this time tomorrow.  Linda and I have moved the lock, stock, and barrel, they’ll do the heaviest of lifting.  Our previous lives will be in storage tomorrow afternoon.  Closest and dearest the last six and one  half years we’ve spent building the Bar None.

The adventure begins in earnest then tomorrow night, first of many in the RPod.  Sixteen foot cubicle of discovery, within and  without.  And  Desi makes three.

 

STONED AGAIN

I was running some fields out behind Joliet Jr. College in 1991 and noticed what seemed to be a wall, overgrown with weeds (worst case of poison ivy ever, but that’s another tale).  I ran up and inspected the nearly quarter mile “structure” and found it to be a massive amount of field stones.  Had my eye on some nice pieces of granite.   Another run about a month later some cat was tossing rocks into the back of  a pickup.  I queried and was told the stones were cleared from the surrounding fields by Confederate prisoners during the Civil War.  Dude owned the property and had just sold it to developers (now called Rock Run, how sweet).  Said the new owners were going to dig a big hole and bulldoze them in, invited me  to get as many as I could in the next week.  So I did.  Hundreds.  Hardscaped the house and it looked boss.

Headed to Texas in 1992, the moving company HQ out of Minnesota called and asked what the heck was with the  request to move a couple dozen of the biggest and best.  My reply, “They’re historical artifacts.”  So they did.  All the way to temporary digs in Clute, Tx.  Then on to Lake Jackson, Tx.  And then Cypress, TX.  And on up to my former swanky digs in West O is the Best O.  And you guessed it, out to the Bar None.  I swore it was their last move.

Until yesterday.  I’ve spent the last two days picking out the ones these feeble old arms can still manage and moving to interim storage out at the 2Lazy2 Ranch.  Where there’s a Will there’s a Way.

Meaning they have one more, and this time I mean it (!), move to our next landing spot.

These clock in around 200 pounds.

This one and its twin around 350.  I’m getting too old for such shenanigans!

 

ADIOS EL REY

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.   Of our two cats King was the burly brother, always protecting fragile little sister Natalie.  Slayer of voles, moles, rabbits, squirrels, every feathered creature excepting even the tiniest of our annual order of chicks.  Bold, pushing up to more than brushing up against, loud motor insisting on attention.  The real boss of the Bar None, even taming Desi to the point that they were best friends.

“El Rey”, the best gato ever.  We buried him this  morning, almost certainly the  victim of some type of poisoning.  Only 8 days before our move, poignant and sad.  Tender little Natalie will miss you terribly, Linda and I equally so,  Desi whining for you at this morning’s gate.

Life on the farm.  Sometimes it is just heartbreaking.

 

KILLER COACH

I’m re-running this column from November of 2011.  A heady time when Team Nebraska Brooks had two sub 4 minute milers and a  soon to be USA Olympic Trials Steeplechase qualifier.   This is what type of coaching and training is necessary to become a national class runner.

Glen van der Westhuizen, aka Killer Coach,  is a renowned coach and father of Omaha’s own world class miler, Peter. Glen was kind enough to answer 9 questions for me yesterday. Enjoy.

Will: Glen, all of us in Nebraska know your son as a World Class Miler. Most may not know that you have been his coach, am I right in saying his entire running career?

Glen: Yes. He started running at the age of 11 and didn’t really look as if he had any talent, but his perseverance has paid off!

Will: Does Peter enjoy something of a celebrity status in South Africa? Our 1500 guys and gals enjoy a nice share of the limelight stateside.

Glen: Other than the awe that other athletes look at him with, his status is rather low-key. When he steps on the track, however, the big names in South African athletics as well as the journalists, sit up and take notice.

Will: We met briefly when you were in the country for Peter & Michaela’s wedding. I was struck by your own rugged fitness and impressed by some of your credentials. Can you share one or two highlights from your competitive career?

Glen: If you thought you train hard at this stage, then I might boggle your mind when I tell you that when I was in the best shape of my Comrades Marathon career, I trained 150 miles per week (240 km) which included speed sessions. I managed to complete the 90Km race in 7 Hours 12 minutes which was my best in this race, earning me a silver medal. This placed me in 366th position out of approximately 16,000 athletes. To receive a silver medal, one has to complete the race in less than 7 hours and 30 minutes. The main highlight of my personal career is participating for South Africa in the ITC World Duathlon Championships in Hobart, Tasmania during 1994 where I finished in 34th position. At that stage I was running 130 km (81 miles) per week and cycling 530 km (329 miles) a week including speed sessions. This equates to 260 km per week running if the ratio of 4km cycle = 1 km run is applied. This was achieved while holding down a fulltime teaching position.

Will: You have been working with Team Nebraska for a few years now. Our mates Shannon Stenger, Paul Wilson, & Mike Beattie rode your training to Great Heights back in 2008-2009. You’re now working with David Adams and Luka Thor among several others. I’m guessing the reward for your volunteering is watching each and every athlete approach their own potential. We thank you for that. How many athletes, if any, do you coach in your native South Africa?

Glen: I have 75 athletes ranging from 60m sprinters (7 years old) to 100 km Ultra marathoners (63 years old) in my private training group. I also have a group of 35 school athletes that I coach directly after school that ends at 14H00. I have a group of 7 athletes that I coach by e-mail in South Africa as well.

Will: You are helping a lot of us prep for the USA Club XC National Championships in Seattle on Dec. 10th. Five of us are masters runners with me being the oldest at 54. I’ll have to say that this is the most speedwork I’ve ever attempted in my 35+ years of running. We look at the workouts, gasp in horror, get after them, and get faster each week. Every one of us. What if anything is your secret, or defining philosophy if you will?

Glen: The most important component of any training program is balance. If the balance is right then the injuries and sicknesses are minimal. The balance in my program has a large foundation of distance that gradually introduces strength, muscle endurance, speed endurance and eventually pure speed the closer one approches the desired target race. The human body can physiologically only peak for a maximum of 8 weeks and on a wing and a prayer have it extended to 10 weeks. To reach the optimum peaking period, I revert to the developmental phase of the human body of 6 weeks and have achieved great results with this.

Will: Do you have anyone that you would consider a coaching mentor? Any early influences that led you to find your own way?

Glen: My main mentor was my previous coach Don Peckitt who now resides in his native UK. When he left South Africa he taught me his coaching system. Even though having a healthy respect for his knowledge and ability, I still had questions regarding components of training that I didn’t do. This included core training, weight training, rhythm work, nutrition, plyometrics and psychological preparation. After developing my method of coaching, I was introduced to the Lydiard method and Harry Wilson philosophy and noticed some remarkable similarities.

Will: What are the plans for Peter as London 2012 approaches? Does South Africa utilize a selection system similar to the US, i.e. a single race championship? What kind of time frame is there and sure we’re all sending our best to Peter as he pursues his spot.

Glen: Peter has to follow a specific criteria set out for all athletes by our governing body Athletics South Africa. He needs to participate in some of our premier events, called the Yellow Pages series as well as the ASA National championships. He also has to qualify according to time and the IAAF standard. Sometimes the ASA qualifying standard is more stringent than the IAAF standard. The plans for Peter is to medal at the Olympics. That is the goal. If his goal is anything less, then he need not make the trip. A slogan of the group is ” If you aim at nothing…. You will hit it every time”

Will: David Adams is also looking to have a breakthrough 2012 with the prize being a berth on the US Olympic Steeplechase squad. I’ve seen some great improvement in just the last 10 weeks, do you consider him to be a diamond in the rough amidst the cornfields of Nebraska?

Glen: Yes, David and *Megan both are aiming at qualifying for the US Olympic team and I have no doubt that they have the potential to achieve their goals. I feel they are more than Diamonds in the rough and will stake a solid claim to those few illusive Olympic team berths. There are however other athletes that also have these aspirations in the back of their minds who I also believe could raise a few eyebrows come trial day namely Luka and Matt. In South Africa there are two of my athletes also vying for Olympic selection. Tlou Seloba in the 800m and Richard Breukel in the 400m and possibly 100m relay team.

Will: Thanks for taking time with us today Glen. Any final thoughts or parting wisdom you’d care to share?

Glen: Thank you for the opportunity you have afforded me to work with such a fine group of all your athletes. I know that the results that the team will achieve at the Cross Country Club Nationals will be phenomenal due to the effort you put in. Just remember that the person who quits last is the person who wins the race!!! Good luck to all who will race these champs. My final quote and I’m sure those who are on Killercoach’s training program will agree……
” IF YOU WANT TO RUN WITH THE BIG DOGS THEN YOU CAN’T PEE LIKE A PUPPY!”

VALLEY DAYS FUN RUN RESULTS

Huge thanks to the City of Valley, Valley Days Coordinator Cindy Grove, our sponsors Lifestyle Fitness and the Twin Rivers YMCA, and our host The Valley 7 Lakes Marathon-America’s Marathon!

Over 50 kids ran either the 200 meters or 400 meters.  All were treated to a free entry, T-shirts and medallions courtesy of our  sponsors.  There were also 39 finishers in Nebraska’s only Metric Mile.  All individual age performances are new Nebraska State Records!  Sam Runde of Nebraska Run Guru Elite led all finishers for the fellas, Angee Nott showed the way for the ladies.  Big tip of the sombrero to Club 402 for coming out in force!

1500 meter results:

  1. Sam Runde             4:43.75
  2. Tim Fry                    4:51.31
  3. Mike Bickley           4:53.05
  4. Matt Pohren           4:59.28
  5. Jack Runde              5:09.46
  6. Porter Bickley         5:12.96
  7. Jack Witte                5:17.51
  8. Angee Nott             5:19.87
  9. Eli Bickley               5:38.54
  10. Nolan Clausen       5:51.47
  11. Whitney Haase      5:52.65
  12. Isaac Ulrich            6:12.31
  13. Lucas Bartholomew  6:15.76
  14. Madison Scott       6:18.64
  15. Korban Fry             6:29:24
  16. Jack Steinbach       6:40:13
  17. Kyra Fry                  6:52.62
  18. Jason Bartholomew  6:54.65
  19. Kyp Ayer                 7:37.74
  20. Xavier Ulrich          7:44.47
  21. Jessica Ulrich         7:45.35
  22. Abigail Bartholomew  9:06.40
  23. Matt Scott              9:56.98
  24. Marc Kelly              9:57.98
  25. Rosey Krauel         10:52.97
  26. Molly Scott            10:59.87
  27. Amber Wiley         11:08.29
  28. Lilly Kelly                11:09.91
  29. Elliott McClintock  11:39.39
  30. Kelsey Wiedel        12:49.03
  31. Jessica Thompson  12:51.65
  32. Kelly Kostszewa      13:45.23
  33. Zach Scott                14:01.10
  34. Brittany Scott           14:01.84
  35. Sarah McClintock     14:16.79
  36. Spencer McClintock  14:18.38
  37. Kristy Scott                 15:36.82
  38. Lauren Apking            18:34.00
  39. Hayden Apking           18:34.01