THE EMBERS

Kicking off your week with biggest tips of the sombrero to Sam Runde.  To recap:  Sam made the 2016 AAU National Championships 3000 podium (3rd, 9:44).  I challenged him to step up to USATF in 2017.  He accepted and his developmental arc flourished.  Sam finished 10th overall at the USATF Jr. Olympics 3000 (9:31) in Lawrence.  Won his heat and missed a medal by the slimmest of margins, all the medalists came from the second heat, drats.  Competition is good m’kay.

Jay Welp and Mark Abrams.  Acquitted themselves nicely against America’s Best at BIX 7.  Jay’s 5:16 pace (36:54, 36th) and Mark’s 5:28 pace (38:15, 63rd) showing that it was more than just a trip to the Jazz Festival in Davenport.  Big thanks  to Ellen and the BIX staff for getting our lads entered into the USATF National Championships component of the race!  I’ve looked high and low for official results outside the top 10 and come up with nada.

I ended up with over 20 miles for last week.  Please don’t consider it paltry as it is my best week in over 42 months.  Gradual consistency sprinkled with some turnover work, focused on turning 60 in late November.  Even now, the ember glows.

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Thirty three years ago the fire burned bright.  Winning races and founding my first running club, The Gulf Coast Wind Breakers.

 

DANNY’S LIGHTNING

One of my favorite races anywhere is in Davenport and its this weekend.  The BIX 7 Mile will once again host our USA National Championships.  So many memories from this event, a couple best shared over Maker’s Mark.  One I can share is my dear sweet Linda finishing 2nd Overall Masters female to Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Jay Welp and Mark Abrams will tackle this hilly, usually sweltering classic tomorrow.  Brady Street Hill, one of the Real Tests of Racing.  From the start to the top with the boisterous Palmer Chiropractic College crowing achievements.  And then more rollers through the park, its a tough course for flatlanders.  Screaming back down Brady towards the finish, time to use that kick Mr.  Welp.  Mark and Jay accepted into the “Sub Elite” field, as always, support and opportunity much appreciated.  USATF’s National  Championships, they still get my Giddy Up.

Sam Runde finished with a flurry at the USA National Championships.  Personal bests in the 1500 (4:24) and 10th overall in the 3000 (9:31).  Sam is 15 and was competing in the 15-16 age category.   I could not be more proud!

Happy to report a return to running of sorts.  8.5 miles Wednesday, 4 yesterday, and 3 today.

I’ve always loved puzzles.  An unopened box, 2000 pieces!, a table, and its go time.  Or crosswords, they become more important as you age, easy as they are to keep the dura mater stimulated.  Keeping the mind engaged, out of the mental rocking chair.  Studying people too, the most fascinating subjects of all.

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Danny  Aldaba joined Tristan and I  for this morning’s run.  He’s got lightning in his legs.  Giddyup!

 

 

BAR NONE FUN

I spent most of my first 30 years as a wanderer and a rebel.  The next 20 raising 3 kids, under what most would consider dire circumstances.

Used  to insist that there was nothing about my life that I  would change.  I finally grew up.  There  is plenty.  In my ideal world Linda and I would have met 40 years ago, why is happiness so darned elusive?  The next big change would have been to live this lifestyle, raise a family with hard work as a staple.  These country kids, a lot different than city folk, don’t doubt it.

The intrinsic rewards of difficult, satisfying labor.

Our relationship with Roots to Wings continues to blossom.  Their mission now ours, “To champion educational experiences within innovative environments, generating purposeful and proficient growth in a community based setting.”  We consider it an honor and privilege to partner.  I get to pick the best of our best for them every Tuesday.

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We’ve kept just one of our restaurant contracts, our first, out of loyalty.  Dixie Quicks in Council Bluffs.  Collards and green tomatoes and eggplant and peppers and onions.  Chef Venus knows southern fried produce.  A call last night indicating last Friday’s delivery already sold out.  Back out to the garden from 7:30 until 9 p.m. hand selecting each item for another trip today.
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Up at 5:30 this morning prepping for our Wednesday “Boutique” customers and beginning the pick for Saturday’s Village Pointe Farmer’s Market.

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And in the midst of it all, Linda and I  find time for our other  passion.  You athletes.  Run Guru Elite, Inc. and Nebraska Run Guru Events, LLC.   I’ll be 60 in 4 months, try and keep up ya hear?

 

NEVER SOLD OUT

Rest in peace Sam Amato.

Sam was a holdout.  A rebel.  His  own man.  Just the kind of fella I can respect.  Amato’s Restaurant has been a favorite for the Omaha cognoscenti for generations.    Italian-American diner that once was featured on Diners Drive Inns and Dives.  Over 110 years in the family, the last 50+ under his care.  Ricotta pancakes,  what’s not to love?

Sam held  fast as Ak-Sar-Ben Village sprung up around him.  Turned down millions as the Baxter Arena jumped out of his back lot.  THINK Total Healthcare right next door.  Sam wouldn’t sell out.  Realized that there are more important things than money.  Friends.  Loyalty.  Community.  Good food.  Good memories.

Sam will be remembered for all of those.

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Sam (right) seemed to know every customer’s name and favorite dish.  Omaha lost an institution Saturday.   My dear sweet Linda’s dad (Coach Kunasek) grew up with Sam, it was always  a treat to take him to breakfast and listen to their tales of a harder, simpler time in Omaha.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

It all depends what you are in it for.  And only you can answer that.   Competition?  Development?  Friends?  What do you expect out of your running?  Why do you train?  Why do you race?

These athletes, my athletes, your athletes, if they are in it for development and competition deserve someone that will, as referenced here before, light their beards for  them.  It starts and ends with coaching.  I’m writing individualized programs for 8 athletes.  They  run for me.  But I don’t claim to be the only coach in the Midwest.  More than a few of  our  runners are being coached by others.   The Run Guru Elite interview  process includes a chapter on this.  A sound approach to training need not only come from me but you can bet your bottom that I’ll have some say in the approval  process.

It depends on those whats and whys.  What are your expectations for your own  running, your own racing, your mates, your coach, your club?  Are you being served?

The number one hard lesson I’ve learned over the last 30 years in the sport is to not want more for  someone than they want for themselves.  To not want more for a club than what the members settle for.  If you are satisfied and comfy and cozy good on you.  If you feel like there is more to you, more to the sport, then I suggest some deep soul searching.

This newest iteration, Run Guru Elite, is a refinement.  A recalibration.  A hearkening to my Original Vision of what Excellence in Athletics really means.  Its a Philosophy, consistent and unwavering, unflinching for over 20 years.

Our athletes have High Expectations.  And so do I.

 

 

 

NEW NAME SAME GAME

Run Guru Elite Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit set up to advocate for post collegiate athletes.   The club addresses what I perceive as the flagging competitive nature of top flight athletics in Nebraska and parts of the Midwest.    Our athletes ascribe to the “In It To Win It” philosophy.

Run Guru Elite, Inc. is the only unsponsored USATF Elite club in the Midwest and is currently seeking funding.  This is a great opportunity  to associate with excellence.  Our athletes are highly competitive and have dominated the Nebraska/Iowa road racing scene in 2017.  Grant Wintheiser has put up the top Nebraska times in nearly 20 years from 5K- half marathon and Jay Welp is undefeated at less than the 13.1 mile distance.  Our team has had a very successful 2017 recruiting campaign while maintaining a small total size to best advocate for the serious athlete.

If you are serious about our sport, and are looking for an experienced and successful advocate, please contact me at originalrunguru@gmail.com

We also welcome all interested potential sponsors to contact me at the same.

GIDDYUP!

THIRD CHEEK

Responding to injury without revenge.  A good example is the situation at 1909 Campanille Road.  His dog knocked me off my bike last year sending me to the hospital and causing great pain for the next several months,  costing me over $5K out of pocket.  When investigated the response was, “We don’t have a dog.”  I still have to drive by that address and it causes me pause and reflection on what turning the other cheek really means.

Sometimes  being repeatedly ignored is just as painful.   I offer a third cheek.

The heat is on.  Stay out of it if you can.  Linda and I have no such luxury (or desire for that matter).  Feeling trapped inside the house even though still plenty to get done while feeling confined.  Eyes constantly pulled out the window, just like grade school.  Its our nature.

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No plea too small or large.  Jesus tried to teach common courtesy and respect towards your fellow man.

 

 

SWEAT EQUITY

If you are willing to do the work, if you’re out there busting your ass, if you Revel in the Sheen, this column is for you.  If not, time to leave.

I’ve railed for years about the direction “fitness” has taken.  Taken a stand because I truly believe in my message.  But its not for everyone.  Last chance to leave.

Sitting down with friends over a Sam Adams Summer Ale last night.  We enjoy these visitors as they give us updates and glimpses into “city life”.  Things have only gotten weirder in the “fitness” community.  Between sips the young lady dropped my  jaw.  One (or more?) of the local (gym?  spa?  catwalk?) facilities has upped my bewilderment into the stratosphere.

Coiffed?  Check.  Tanned?  Check.  Manny/Peddy?  Check, check.  Stay with me now….

What made my head spin like a wind up toy?  The young lady told me that it is now “fashionable” to have your armpits botoxed to prevent sweating.  At a gym.  Or spa.  Or catwalk.  As athletes, I ask you to consider this.  To me that would be akin to having my taste buds removed because I didn’t like the taste of  something.  Yet all the popular kids are at the table.  The old adage and oft spoken warning comes  to mind- “Just because they all jump off a cliff would you follow?”  Some it seems, do just that.

I might have to move to Montana.

TIME FLIES

I had a bug fly.  In my eye.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  They may have been just a little  moist at the end of this morning’s track workout.  Toughest of the year.  The final one before sending Sam off to USATF National Championships in Lawrence next week.

Sam won’t be the only Nebraska athlete competing and you bet I’m darned proud of every single kid in this association that qualified.  But after working with Sam for the last 4 years, I’ve got a special  appreciation for him.

A lot of conversation on the final cool down.  How proud I am that both he and brother Jack rose to my call.  To up their game and level of competition from AAU to USATF.  Big difference.  Huge difference.  For Sam advancing out of the Region 8 Champs in both the 1500 and 3000.  The latter his favorite and mine.

Thanking his parents for entrusting Linda and I with the measured, non-specialized, methodical, developmental  arc I described back in 2013.   Denise insisting this was the best way for Sam.  I insisted right back that it may not  be the best way but absolutely A BETTER WAY.

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My Retirement Gift to Coach Mingo at Burke.  May his final year be his best!

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Time flies and over the last four years, these fine young men have learned to do the same!

Giddyup!

ROUGH ROWS

“Willie, you’re giving yourself a rough row to hoe!” an admonition I received regularly as a child.  And my dad knew a thing or two about rough rows.  Having grown up in the throes of the depression, there were no easy rows.

Those same rows helped prepare me for this summer.

With the Bar None garden now over 16,000 square feet, there are plenty of  same.  An easier row would allow “cides”, pesticides, fungicides, etc.  Best Organic Practices, they’re a tough  row.  Hoeing,  weeding,  pulling, dripping brows, backs bent and nose to the grindstone.  Triple digit heat indexes.  10-12 hours most days

Our list of Boutique Customers continues to grow and are my favorite aspect of the business.  Most bring small children that pull their very  first carrot, experience the Christmas morning of digging into a potato hill, teach them to retrieve eggs without disturbing the hen on the nest.  Delighted faces learning where Real Food comes from.

Bar None Produce.  Double entendre.  Everyone welcome, none better.  Its that second part that mirrors my commitment to the running community.

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Fruits of Linda and my labors.