This had to be the line of the morning at Sunday’s Gambler Half Marathon.  Tony, Linda, Kelly & I were hammering out sub seven minute miles when the young lady tailing us popped the question.  One of us said yeah, I guess so.  She then asked how “Old” we were.  Tony replied that our combined age was over 200.  Maybe that was the line of the morning.  And it is 209 years to be exact.  She was taken aback by this group of oldsters pushing the pace, jaws set, strong strides, steely eyes.

The fact that we still train to Race is something we are sure of.  And that more than anything sets Team Nebraska apart from every other club, with the exception now of the newly formed Lincoln Running Company team.  From the youngest to the oldest.   Never giving anything less than 100%, always entering races to Compete, not complete.  We’re darned proud of that.

I’m up on my high wire again, doing the delicate balancing act between personal expectations of excellence, for myself and for my team, while staying grounded enough to speak to and for everyone; well ok not everyone, but they have no business reading this column.  But the ones that do get me and my passion and aren’t offended or threatened by it.  A growing number of local runners are beginning to grasp and understand this seeming dichotomy.

Certainly the 45 individuals that showed up at the Millard West track last night get it.  They are shifting their own paradigms to expectations of personal excellence.  And they are busting their rumps in pursuit of lofty goals never before dreamed of.  And for some of them completing their goal race is competing.  Competing against all the doubt, from self and from others, competing against the odds that are against them crossing the finish line- or even making it there to begin with, competing against all the other worldly obligations that would otherwise render their ambitions moot.  None of them feel threatened or offended by my insistence that they dare to be more than they ever thought possible.  That is the love of Wednesday night track work.  I’ll mention John Tully and Kelly Crawford every week as keys to the Omaha Endurance Group’s success, I am so fortunate to have these guys as assistant coaches.

Linda’s Kids Fit Program continues to grow as well.  Over 25 bodies of boundless energy that only youth provides.  Giving props to her assistants too, my sweet Katie and her bff Keigon have come out and helped “herd the cats”.  If I think it is difficult to keep track of the adults all I need do is look at the joyful chaos on the infield to know I’ve got the better end.

How about you?  Do you run a lot?

Tony Sorentino (57), Linda Barnhart (49), your Run Guru (54), and Kelly Crawford (49) at the 5 mile mark (34:49) at the Gambler Half Marathon.  Marcy Rice, obscured, had us chuckling shortly after this picture.