Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mid-Week Thoughts

Parent Meeting tonight.  Please convince your parents to come, as there will be lots of new important information.

Spike night is tomorrow night at Boulder Running Company. Hope to see lots of kids there.  I encourage a great pair of trainers for ALL athletes.  I encourage elite level competition shoes. which BRC has.  I am also encouraging lighter shoes for distance kids intervals.  Something in-between spikes and trainers.  I do not get a kick-back from BRC, they give us great deals though, so take advantage of our relationship with BRC!

Saturday's bus to the DougCo HS scrimmage leaves Chaparral at 7:20 am sharp.  Be at the athletic hallway door early.  The actual meet will start at 9:00.

The schedule is a running schedule, 3200, 400, 100, 800, 100/110 Hurdles, 200, 1600, 300 Hurdles.  The field events are pretty wide open, head over to that event, compete, and get your mark recorded.  In general, athletes will be expected to compete in two running events, and at least one field event.  You can compete in as many events as you want, so long as they follow those guidelines.  For example, the distance kids must do either the 3200 or the 1600, the 800 or the 400, and long jump or triple jump.  (Although I am letting a lot of distance kids fulfill their "field requirement" by doing hurdles.  That's jumping, right?)

This meet determines varsity League Relay placings, so make sure to bring your "A" game.  We need full relays in all events, so this is the time to try something out of your comfort zone!

I must say, it has been  very excellent first couple of days.  The winter training certainly helped, and the infusion of new athletes is energizing us greatly!  Let's keep up the hard work for the remainder of the season.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Conference Championship Alum News

Just a quick post to keep everyone updated on the Wolverine alums.

Nate Purdue dropped a 1:58 in the open 800 for Hays St. Univ. over in Kansas, which is his fastest 800of the winter.  This tight turns and Nate's long legs make running that 800 tough, psyched to see such a fast time going onto the outdoor season!

Katelyn Wojan ran a 2:23 800 for Drury Univ, getting her an 8th place in the Great Lakes Valley Confernece Championship.  Two low 2:20's in consecutive weeks, keep that ball rolling into the spring Woj!  The outdoor season is ready for some fast Wojan times!

Alex Balsiger ran a heroic last leg in the DMR, bringing CSU to 2nd place, and also got a top ten in the mile at the Mountain West Conference Championships.  Not the finish in the mile he wanted, but Alex had a superb indoor season.

And old Steve-O Busch ran a 4:16 mile in the DMR for Drury Univ., diving across the line and slamming his knee to bring his team up to 4th in that race.  He also ran a sub 8:45 3k for 8th place, capping off a very successful indoor season (and collegiate indoor career) for him.

UNH also had a great weekend, rallying up to third place over all at the Eastern Collegiate Ski Championships.  Liz Guiney came in 5th, and girl Kelsey Hoar came in 19th to pace the Wildcats to a really great finish at Middlebury.  Go 'Cats!!

Hopefully all the present Wolverines can live up to the alums high standards.  We might not have a lot of them, but the athletes we do have are going to be pretty good!


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Fun Day First Day

The first day of Spring Track & Field practice is tomorrow, Monday the 27th.

Have all of your gold card stuff sorted out with Mrs. Whipple.

Get to the Team Room by 3:10 sharp, dressed out and ready to run outside.

Eat a good lunch, drink lots of fluids during the day.

Be ready to start on a journey to greatness!


Thursday, February 23, 2012


On Wednesday the 29th, the Track & Field Team will be having a Very Important Parent Meeting.  It will be at 6:30, in Coach Bowman's room (504 Upper).  If we have more parents than we expect, (and we hope we do!), then we will move it to the Commons.

Why is this meeting important? We are instituting a lot of significant changes to the program this year.  New coaches, new bussing protocol, new meets, new booster club procedures, new fundraising, new communication methods, and more new stuff that escapes me right now.

I know parents are very busy, but if they are reading this and could carve out an hour next week to attend this meeting, it would be great.  If athletes are reading this, please direct your parents to this posting.  There will be no food, no chit-chat; we'll start right at 6:30, and try to blast through everything.  Any and all questions are welcome, either during the meeting or right afterwards.

 If you are a new parent to the track team, we hope to see you there.  If this is your 3rd child that has come through the program, we hope to see you there.  As a parent of a toddler, I know baby-sitters can be tough to find, so bring the little ones.  Get them inducted into track early!   Mark off Wednesday the 29th on your calendars, and come by and meet all the new coaches. I hope to see lots of people in attendance.

Thanks in advance,

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spike Night

Spike night, spike night, spike night!

Hope to see lots of kids and families there.  Don't buy shoes now, wait until spike night and the unbelievable deals!


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chaparral T&F Guidelines

Below are the 2012 Track and Field Rules & Regulations, along with a copy of the contract goals sheet we expect every athlete to turn in.  Please review them here online so everyone is on the same page right from the start.  We want to work with you as coaches, but we must have some boundaries and discipline in order to have a high functioning team.  You will get a paper copy of these guidelines on the first day of practice, but, you must have your gold card in order to come to practice.  No gold card (and I hear there are only FOUR of you who have taken care of that), no practice, no coaching, no nothing! Avoid that long line and get your gold card as soon as possible!


TRACK & FIELD - 2012

Please read through these guidelines and make sure you understand them. 
A signed contract must be returned to the coaches by March 2nd, 2012.
Without a contract, the athlete will not be allowed to participate in spring track & field.


In order to participate in the Chaparral High School track team, you must meet the academic eligibility requirements established by our school.  The weekly eligibility rule will be in effect during the entire season. 

Two academic Fs and/or an F in Citizenship will render the athlete ineligible for the following week. 
Consecutive weeks of ineligibility may cause the athlete to lose their ranking/position on the team. 
In addition, if the athlete receives two Fs in Citizenship during the season, the athlete will be dismissed from the team.

The coaches ask that the athlete does not do anything that would embarrass the team, the school or the community.  If the athlete is having trouble in any classes, communicate this with the coaches. The athlete, the teacher, and the coach can work together to find solutions to academic problems.


Practices begin at 3:10 with a brief team meeting and end approximately at 5:00.  If the athlete is regularly late to the start of practice, then participation in meets could be negatively affected.

If the athlete is kept after school by a teacher, administrator or another school related activity, then a note signed by that teacher or administrator must be brought to practice. 

The athlete may not leave practice until dismissed by your coach.  While the coaches try to end practice at 5:00. practice is officially over when the coach says it is over.

If the athlete has one unexcused absence during the week, the athlete will not be able to participate in varsity or non-varsity competition that week. Suspensions from school which result in missed practices are unexcused absences.

The only excused absences are absences from school the day of the missed practice, when there is a signed doctor's note explaining the absence; or if the absence has been pre-arranged with the coach.

If the athlete is asked to leave practice by a coach because of behavior detrimental to the team, the athlete will not be allowed to participate in the varsity or non-varsity meet that week. 

Injuries and illness do not exempt the athlete from coming to practice. Once the athlete is at practice, the coach will determine the appropriate level of activity.

As always, communication with the coach is important.  Exceptions can and will be made, but only at the discretion of the coach.

If you have an unexcused absence from a meet, you will not be permitted to compete in the next TWO meets.  Two unexcused absences from meets will result in dismissal from the team.


The athlete will be issued a team uniform and warm-up gear.  Team t-shirts, sweatshirts duffle bags and other gear will be available for purchase at the start of the season.  Shoes and spikes are the responsibility of the athlete.

No torn clothing or clothing with inappropriate pictures, sayings or advertisements will be allowed.  If a coach determines that the athlete's clothing to be inappropriate, at practice or at competitions, the athlete will be given one chance to remedy the situation.  If the athlete does not have appropriate clothing, the athlete will be sent home.

In accordance with CHSAA Track & Field guidelines, while wearing jewelry is acceptable at practice, any jewelry will result in disqualification at competitions, with the exception of jewelry worn for medical reasons.

In accordance with CHSAA Track & Field Guidelines, only the Chaparral HS issued team uniform may be worn during competition.  Athletes will be asked to purchase undergarments in white (females) or black (males) for comfort and warmth during competition.

Athletes will also be sent home by coaches if their clothing is not appropriate for the weather at practice or at a competition.

You will be fined for all damaged or lost uniforms/warm-up gear.


An athlete will compete at the varsity level if they rank 1st or 2nd in any event.
In the case of competitions that allow three athletes per open event, the third athlete will be selected at the discretion of the coaching staff.

There are no age restrictions for varsity and non-varsity.  Any athlete not participating at the varsity level will compete in non-varsity meets.  Rankings within the team will be determined by past performance in meets. Time trials will play a role in determining rankings when needed. 

The coaching staff will select athletes to compete in the relay events based on ability, chemistry and workload.


Athletic letters can only be earned by competing at the varsity level.

Lettering will be determined by a point system.  Nine points are needed to earn a varsity letter.

You earn points as follows:

       ONE point for each varsity meet the athlete competes in
       TWO points if the athlete competes in the League Championship meet

All varsity athletes must work both JV meets and sign up to work one middle school meet hosted at Chaparral in order to attend that week’s varsity meet and earn that weeks lettering point. More details on middle school meet volunteering will be given out during the season.

Hardship- A letter will be awarded to an athlete if it is determined by the coaching staff that the athlete would have earned the letter had it not been for special circumstances like an injury, or a serious illness, etc.


All athletes will be expected to participate in the team fundraiser.  The athlete will receive their uniform and warm-ups upon completion of the fundraiser requirements.  The fundraiser is a letter writing donation drive that doesn't require any more effort than addressing ten envelopes.  More information on the fundraiser will be available to the athlete the first week of practice.


1.     THEFT:  Theft will not be tolerated.  Any athlete caught stealing from a teammate, a coach or a member of an opposing team will be referred to the Principal and/or Athletic Director, and appropriate action will be taken.

2.     ILLEGAL SUBSTANCES: The use or possession of tobacco, alcohol, steroids or illegal drugs on or off campus will not be tolerated.  The guidelines outlined in the “Douglas County Schools Training Rule Contract” will be strictly followed.

3.     NON-SCHOOL COMPETITION: The athlete may not compete in any track & field meet or road race that is not the school schedule without the Principal’s or Athletic Director’s approval during the competitive season.

4.   OFF CAMPUS BEHAVIOR: At all times the athlete must follow the district rules regarding off-campus behavior. The rules found on page 33 of the “Student Rights & Responsibilities” handbook will be strictly followed.

5.    PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION: At all times athletes must follow the rules outlined in the “Douglas County                         Transportation Awareness” release form.  This form must be signed before any practices or competitions can be attended.

For specific questions, comments or concerns regarding your son or daughter, please contact his/her event coach first.  If the matter is not resolved to your satisfaction, then please contact Coach Bowman or Coach Seppala.

Craig Bowman  Head Girls’ Coach/High Jump                 303-517-7872              
Brian Seppala  Head Boys’ Coach/ Distance                    303-638-9810              
Ryan Harris   Sprints/Relays                                          720-933-8692               
Blake Wright  Hurdles/Horizontal Jumps                        817-366-7257              
Jared Liberatore  Throws                                               303-854-8534               
Caitlin Able  Mid-distance/Relays                                   303-641-4021              
Jim Maroney  Pole Vault                                                303-437-4832               

The CHS T&F program also has two webpages, the official district homepage (Chaparral homepage, Athletics, Track & Field), and Coach Sep's training blog (

(cut here)- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -                                    

Wolverine Track & Field Contract
(the undersigned understands all the above rules of the track & field team)

    print                                                                        signature


Cell Number:

Prior Track



       No one outworks us.
       Do your job to the fullest extent every day.
       You race not for yourself, but for your team.
       Hills are an opportunity, not an obstacle.
       Mental toughness needs to be practiced often.
       You cannot do any better than your best.
       Everything we do is with a specific purpose.
       Relaxation, hydration & nutrition are very important.
       You cannot control the competition, but you can control your preparation.
       You have been handed a legacy, carry it on with pride and dignity.

First Day of Track & Field Info

Just the facts:

Our first day is Monday the 27th.  We will meet in the Team Room in the Athletic Hallway to start practice. We will begin the meeting promptly at 3:10.

Come dressed to work-out outside, regardless of weather.  "There is no bad weather, only bad clothing."

You must have checked in in Ms. Whipple and received a gold card clearing you to practice prior to next Monday. A sports physical and a fee of $150 is needed to get your gold card.

If you have specific questions, see Coach Bowman in room 504U.  He can help you with all your track & field questions.

Be ready to work hard!


Monday, February 20, 2012

Cold Kenyans

Today the Gulu gulu track team ran some Kenyan progression runs.

The sprint distance kids ran 3 x 300, the distance kids ran a slightly slower, but just as taxing, 4 x 400.

It was cold, it was windy, but everyone got the work done, and made the day a big success.

As I try to say, making deposits into your training bank pays off down the road.  It might hurt now, but it will be beneficial at just the right time!


Julia, Laura, Janey & Hanna rounding the first turn

Dominic, Ryan, Zach & Johnny coming down the homestretch.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Alumni News

Katelyn Wojan, Drury Univ., 2:21 800 for the win.

Last night in a big meet in Missouri, Katelyn Wojan had a breakthrough race in the open 800m.  She was the fastest overall girl, running a 2:21 low. Katelyn has not run that quickly in an open race since her junior year of high school, which goes to show you, never, never, never give up in your running career. Runners hit plateaus, but with some patience and perseverance, breakthroughs can be had. (even by old horses like Katelyn).

Winning the race was the cherry on top, but going out and running a race she was capable of, and not being held back by anything, that is Katelyn's big accomplishment. I am super proud of her, check out the official write up and result.

Great job Wojan! We are all super psyched for you back her in Colorado! You are one of our favorite alums, exhibiting all the qualities that make CHAP runners the best runner in the world.  Keep running fast!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Thomas Alsgaard Gymnastics Video

Over on, they have a message board where someone posted this video.  It is a video of a 40 year old skiing Olympic Champion named Thomas Alsgaard doing gymnastics.  This video is amazing, just amazing. Take 3 1/2 minutes and watch it.  Even though he does a lot of advanced strength stuff, the basics is what the kids learned in gymnastics all year.  (And just reading that Norwegian newspaper makes me want to move to Scandinavia so badly...)

The article is in Norwegian, but a google translate gives you this quote from Alsgaard.

"I've learned incredibly much new stuff about strength. [...] you become thoroughly fit in a different way. You get an inner strength and a foundation you won't get through other strength training. It's an awesome addition".

That is so true.  Even in just six weeks of training, the kids that attended gymnastics made huge gains in strength, flexibility, and most importantly, confidence.  Gymnastics is so well-suited to track and field, and I have a feeling that we are going to see some pretty impressive results from those six kids this spring on Saturdays.


P.S.  Alpha Gymnastics has open gym on Sundays, from 11:30-1:00.  I encourage all athletes to check it out.  Gymnastics on Sunday after a big day of racing on Saturday ia a perfect recovery workout!

President's Day Weekend Plan

Friday: Easy Recovery Run, 20 minutes or so.

Saturday or Sunday: Long OverDistance Run, at least 60 minutes. It's the last real long run of the seaosn, so make it count! The other weekend day, relax. Take the day off, hydrate and fuel up.

Monday: Kenyans at the track at 9:30 am. No spikes, trainers. If you have light weight flats with no spikes, bring those.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Chaparral Track & Field Competition Schedule

The post title says it all.....
Of course, meets and days are subject to change, especially sub-varsity meets, due to weather, stadium availability, etc.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Otis the Wonder Dog

To some people, writing is cathartic.  It is a way to get some emotions out of you that you can't quite put a finger on.  When people are happy, sad, angry, crazy; they sit down and write about it, expressing their feelings in ways that spoken words cannot.  This is one of those times for me, one of those times where I feel I need to get some stuff out, but every time I open my mouth to talk about it, I get super emotional and I have to bottle it back in.

Otis, as most of you reading this know, was our family dog for eleven years.  He was a black Border Collie/Lab pound dog mutt from Boulder.  Yesterday, after a couple weeks of up and down, things plummeted pretty severely.  Beth brought him to the vet, the doctors told us he had a bleeding abdomen caused by cancer, and we had to bring him back to the vet this morning for him to be euthanized.  Yup, that quick.  He was literally running around the neighborhood during the big snowstorm last week, and today he is gone from our physical lives.

It is brutal, as I am sure many of you with pets know and understand, but I never knew it would be like this.  I never had pets as a kid, never had pets until I met Beth.  Until I knocked on her apartment door on that first date and Otis almost knocked me over, I never knew what pure joy and happiness a dog could bring to your life.  Otis didn't like me for a long time; he was very protective of Beth, and it took a while for him to warm up to me.  When Beth would leave town for work, whether it was to Oklahoma, Hawaii or just Colorado Springs; Otis would stay with me, and I think that is where the bond grew.  Eventually, he started to look at me as one of his "parents" as well, which was a real foreign concept to me, but a concept that I grew to treasure.

Otis was a runner, he loved to run.  He ran all the time, he sprinted, he jogged, he pulled, but he never walked.  We would go out on long hikes, he would run as far as he felt comfortable with up the trail, then wait for us to catch up, then run ahead again.  He was at so many practices through the years, he ran with so many kids.  He ran with Trevar, he ran with Mackenzie, he ran with everyone who came in-between.  Otis loved to start out spring track intervals.  He would sprint with the group, right in the middle of all the pounding feet, to about 30 meters around the curve.  Then he would weave his way out of the pack, take a short break, and then get those kids hammering again on the next one.  If he got in the way of an athlete, no worries, the athlete had to avoid Otis.  He never moved out of the way, he just ran.

Beth and I brought Otis to the ocean one summer, but he hated it.  He just despised the water.  I carried him out into the ocean up to my waist, dropped him in, and he swam for shore as fast as he could.  Then he sprinted up onto the deck, laid down, and just glared at me.  How dare you drop me in the water, he seemed to be saying.  But, he did love being able to run around with no fences.  Otis had never experienced the East Coast thinking of no fences.  Being able to cruise around from yard to yard was a dream for him.  It almost made up for the time he had to be cooped up in the back seat on the drive home.

We would run tempo repeats in the fall at Holly Park, Otis pacing the kids around the tennis courts, then interacting with the group on recovery time.  Those were some tiring days for him, as we would all run down to the park, do the intervals, then drag our butts back.  Otis never dragged.  He would get home and sleep for the rest of the day, but he never dragged during the run.  He loved to be outside and running with me.  In the winter, Otis would help me shovel on snowstorm days, bounding his way through deep drifts until he was tired, then coming back on the newly shoveled sidewalks to lie down in the garage.  Otis was a snow dog.  He didn't like the heat of the summer too much, but 10F, 0F, sub-zero; he loved the cold and the snow.  Just like his dad.

When Chloe was born, it became 30 minute to 120 minute walks through the neighborhoods, every day.  Me, Otis, Chloe and a cup of coffee.  I always wish I had an odometer on that stroller, I bet the three of us covered hundreds of miles on those walks.  And before Chloe was born, Otis was the mountain biking companion of Beth, sometimes covering up to ten miles with her, before sleeping the whole car ride home. I know for a fact Otis loved going along with his mom, no matter how far she rode, he just loved running alongside her.

I could go one for pages and pages about how much Otis loved to be active, but I will spare all of you.  I just know that Otis impacted many of your lives, just like he impacted ours.  If you trained under my tutelage, in any season, you knew Otis and you loved him, just like we did.  But, he is in a better place now, with less stomach pain, with miles and miles and miles stretching before him to run on.  If you have a moment, throw a good thought up to him.  He loved running with all of you, he loved being around vibrant healthy young athletes, and he loved it when you took the time to simply scratch him behind the ears.

If you have a pet, go home today, take him for a run. Even if it is just ten minutes, go home, get a run in, and tell him that you love him.  Trust me, they know what you are saying.

I love you Otis.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

Killing some time while Chloe naps before her big Birthday party with all her school friends...

Alex Balsiger ran again yesterday, went 4:04, for a new PR.  The race is pretty cool to watch, there were a lot of kids running really fast, including a freshman by the name of Tyler Cardillo. I have trained with Tyler *tiny* bit, as he summers on Shelter Island and we go there every year to see family and take in the beach and East Coast scene.  He is a great kid, super fast, and only a freshman at Florida.  Expect some big times form him in the future.


Last night, I talked to Alex on the phone about his race, we talked about some things he could do better, and about some things he did really well.  The things that he could improve upon, that is what practice is for.  Practice with a purpose.  Every time you run, you should work on some aspect of your running to get faster.  Junk miles are only when you do not practice with a purpose!

What I was most impressed with, however, was that Alex takes the lead with about 500m to go in the race.  He sensed the field was faltering, so he went for the jugular In order to win and get the CSU record.  He knew, no matter how much it hurt, he had to go then.  But, it didn't work out, he got passed, and ended up getting third by a step.  What I was proud of was how he kept fighting, even after he got passed.  Most people, when they make a move and it fails, they give up.  Not Alex, his passion and tenacity kept him going, and that is an uncoachable trait.  Great job Alex, conferences are in two weeks, let's go out and get some more medals!

I got a ton of skiing in yesterday. A couple miles with Chloe and Beth to see Lucy the donkey up at the DTR barn, then 6 miles in a ski orienteering race.  Ski orienteering is a blast.  You get a map with points marked on it.  You have to be able to read the map, then ski to the flag, check in with this cool thumb drive contraption, then ski off to the next flag.  Most flags in shortest time wins!

We used to do running orienteering races in the summer, maybe we will start that up again this summer.  Because I had a blast, I was out there for about 50 minutes, just hammering it as much as I could. You get frequent rest breaks, (to read the map and orient yourself), then you hammer to the next flag as hard as you can.  It's the perfect interval workout.  Later the afternoon, I got an overdistance ski in on my own, about 7 miles up and over Lactic Grande, one of the hardest trails I have ever skied.  Super long steep uphill, then it is a straight drop back into the field.  I skied up to about 9400 feet, but I was sucking wind!  Not skiing today is probably a good idea. :)

Tomorrow for practice, we are going to be working on some blending intervals, tempo intervals mixed in with anaerobic intervals.  But first, we gotta get that track shoveled.  So, bring a shovel, being some warm gloves, as tomorrow is strength first (shoveling) then speed (intervals).  This needs to be a quality workout, as I have P/T conferences on Wednesday, so you will be on you own doing a Dartmouth Run

Hope everyone has a great relaxing Sunday, see everyone tomorrow after school.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sickness (Updated)

It seems like we have some low-level sickness running through the team right now. Things like coughs, sore throats, colds, etc. While I am not a doctor by any means, I have been training in the cold weather for over 20 years now. (Wow, I am old.) And I have picked up a few tips and tricks on how to not get sick, and how to keep the sickness short and mild if you do start to feel cruddy.

1) Fluids, fluids, fluids. Drink a ton of water, of gatorade, of hot tea. I am drinking some nice green tea as I type this. Keeping your cells nice and moist and squishy with water makes them more able to fight off germs. Hard crusty dried out cells cannot fight off germs as well. Staying super hydrated is the best way to stay healthy and the easiest.

2) Emergen-C, echinechea, Vitmin C, Orange Juice. All of these guys contain valuable cold fighting properties. I don't know the exacts of it all, but if you start to get sick, drink a gallon of cheap OJ. Slam those Emergen-C packets three times a day. Give your body the extra ammunition it needs to ward off the germs.
EDIT: And by "cheap OJ" I don't mean sugar filled Sunny-D! I'm talking the cheap stuff that is pure OJ at the 7-11. Avoid extra sugar! (Thanks Coach Maroney, for pointing this out.)

3) Wash your hands. Germs are everywhere, you touch everything with your hands. Wash your hands frequently with hot water and soap to get rid of those germy hitchhikers.

4) Excercise. Obviously, if you are super sick and cannot get out of bed, don't go for a 45 min run. But, if you are just starting to get sick, or have a minor sniffle, locking yourself up in your room under the covers is the worst thing you can do. Re-breathing all that germy sick air, yuk! Instead, go out for a 20 min easy run in the fresh air. Don't do intervals, intensity when you are sick is very bad, but light aerobic excercise is very good. At ski training camps in college, one kid always got a little sniffle, and he would immediately shut it down, locking himself in his room and refusing to see the light of day. And every year, he just got sicker. Meanwhile, if I felt a little sniffly, I would always get fresh air at least twice a day. Even if it was just a walk down the long drieway and back. Fresh air and excercise does wonders for illness, trust me!

5) Go to bed early. Don't go to bed at six-thirty, but go to bed at a reasonable hour, like 9:00. Staying up late stresses your body, taking away energy to stay healthy, even if you are just lying around watching TV. Get a good solid seven - eight hours in consitently, and you stand a much better chance of not getting run down and getting sick.

Like I said, these are not medical tips from a doctor, but they work, trust me. You certainly won't get sicker from doing any of this, that's for sure!


Monday, February 6, 2012


Even though to me it seems like I constantly harp on eating and drinking correctly, I am sure there are a few people that might not have heard the message.  There might be others that need a reminder.  So, even though this post might be long, I want all of you to read it, then go print it out, then hang it on your refrigerator for all to see.  I think some of our battles with the cold were due to not having the right fuel in our furnaces this afternoon.  We need to remedy that.

On Friday night, I went to see Drew Morano speak at the CHSCA T&F Clinic.  It was a fantastic hour, I wish he would've spoken for two; and I left with a ton of ideas and new plans percolating in my mind.  One thing he mentioned, somewhat briefly, but forcefully, was how he always talks to his athletes about proper nutrition.  He is coaching college athletes, so this must be a tough task for him, as I remember subsiding almost solely on PowerBars and gatorade (and beer) for an entire winter when I was in college.

But, I get to coach HS athletes, who live with a family, and who have parents that do the shopping for them.  That is an important difference.  I believe, if the family does not eat healthy, the athlete will not either.  If the family discusses the healthy foods they want to eat, if the family encourages good eating habits, if the family supports the athlete in their diet, then you (the athlete) will have the fuel to compete the demanding workouts throughout the spring.  So, CHAP athletes, talk to your parents about what you eat now, what you want to eat, and what you probably shouldn't eat.  (Don't make it a one-way street though, in return for giving in to your "demands", your parents deserve at least one night a week of you cooking, serving and cleaning, I think that is only fair.)

Now, what to eat.  I have one rule of thumb that encompasses all.  If what you are eating is healthy, you cannot eat too much of it.  If you like turkey sandwiches, eat four of them.  If you like beans and rice, eat three helpings.  If you like apples, eat five of them.  The intensity of training CHAP track athletes are undertaking results in a caloric deficit at the end of the day.  One cannot grow stronger unless one has enough calories to fill up that deficit, plus more to grow stronger with.  Calories are energy.  You need energy to complete the workouts I prescribe, and you need energy to grow your muscles stronger after the workouts are completed.  I am not saying devour a box of Twinkies, or have three Big Macs.  I am saying, eat more healthy stuff than you think.  No one training with us should be on a restricted diet due to weight.  We run, jump, lift enough every day to burn more calories than 95% of your peers.  Re-fuel your body, every day, so it will not break down.  The old running/skiing saying goes, "A real man (or woman) is one who can eat a full meal on a full stomach."  Every tried eating plate of spaghetti when you are already stuffed to the gills?  It's pretty tough, but it can be really good for you.

Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty.  What exactly should an athlete eat?  Well, Mike Pollan, author of Omnivore's Dilemma, has a few guidelines.  Check out Coach Whitenack's review on it.  I really like the tips, especially with "Eat Real Food" A & B, and "Buy Real Food" A & B.  Eat food that you can pronounce, and shop the perimeter of the supermarket.  I have read this book as well, and I really enjoyed it, it was a real eye opener on how Americans have gotten pretty complacent with their diets.  Beth and I try to follow these food rules more and more, buying food that we recognize, that has few ingredients in it, that does not have a ton if chemicals sprayed on it.  For example, tonight, we had fish, broccoli and rice.  Simple, healthy, and I ate a ton of it.  (I ran three miles today, I was exhausted!)

What else to eat?  Well, google Nancy Clark, renowned athlete nutritionist.  I have blogged about her in the past, (check "eating for elite performances" in the left sidebar) but she has articles all over the web giving great advice on specific foods to buy that are healthy and nutrient packed.  Foods like bananas, peanut butter, yogurt, and guacamole are all super good for elite athletes.

Want some other ideas for healthy foods to eat? Check out these links, which I found on the Chaparral T&F home page.  Coach Monfre came up with this one, and while I don't expect you to fulfill the requirements daily, the closer you can get (without obsessing over it) the healthier you will be.  And here is another one, that details what a typical day of eating might look like.  I eat all those foods on there (except yogurt, I can't stand yogurt) and they are all delicious!  Trust me, salmon is a super food, and it is so freakin' delicious!  I could eat it every day.  I once had it on a plane to Norway, even airline salmon was fantastic!

Finally, I want to go back to Coach Whitenack again.  A couple years ago, he detailed exactly what HS athletes should be consuming for optimum training.  Two major points he made were:
  • You must eat within 30 minutes of finishing your workout!
  • You should eat again 1.5 hours after that!
I like that.  I agree with that.  I follow that.  After practice, you should go to your backpack, and pull out a granola bar.  Then, when you get home, eat a good dinner.  After practice, your muscles are wide open to absorb all that food energy.  While they are wide open just waiting for it, give those muscles that energy.  After long runs, I make a point to eat a big bowl of Cheerios and milk before I have even sat down.  Eat quick, your muscles will thank you for it!

In his blog, Coach Whitenack does a great job of breaking food down into three sections, Proteins, Carbohydrates, and Fats.  I will link to each of them, and give a three-four sentence critique of what he says.  So, take the time and read what he has to say.  Take notes if you need to.  Email him at  Ryan.Whitenack(at)dcsdk12(dot)org  if you have more questions.  Even though he coaches at Castle View, he is a great resource for CHAP athletes and he will return your emails in 15 seconds, I would wager.

Protein.  I agree with every word Coach Whitenack says.  I would only modify the "drink milk" to "drink whole milk".  Other than that, perfect.  My pregnant wife's midwifery delivers the same message Coach Whitey does.

Carbohydrates.  The whiter the food, the worse it generally is for you.  Food that is white is bleached.  White bread, white pasta, white rice.  Eat foods that are not white.  And cut out the refined sugar.  I have drastically cut down on refined sugar, now when I have a cupcake, I feel horrible for 24 hours.  Eliminate refined sugar!

Fats.  I admit, I have been known to have a McDouble or two every now and then.  And that is not an example of good fats.  But, all of Coach Whitenack's examples are example of healthy fats.  My only complaint is that he skims over avocados/guacamole.  I could eat that stuff every day, with some tomatoes in it, a lot of lemon, oh god, I am drooling right now.  And I think dairy fats are fine.  I know some studies say they are not, but whole milk, especially if you are trying to gain weight, is totally OK for you.

As for hydration.  You all know the rules.  You pass a water fountain, you drink from it.  You must have clear pee.  You should always carry a water bottle around with you (but never share).

Wow, that's about all for now.   Thanks for getting this far, but now you must implement these guidelines. Again, sit down and discuss this with your parents.  I am not a doctor, nor a dietician, but I do have some experience with training and racing.  See how you can incorporate these "rules" into your present family eating routine.  In reality, a lot of this food is cheaper than the processed stuff, it just might require a little more preparation to make it.  You might have to put together a turkey and cheese sandwich, instead of throwing a Lunchable into your bag last minute.  I think you can all do that, don't you?   

Remember, becoming a champion is all about the little things.  One of those little things is diet (although diet is actually a BIG thing), but all things equal, the athlete who fuels himself the best will win the most races.  We have talked a lot about commitment, and this is one area that you can commit to in order to become the best runner you can be!  Make sure the athlete you look at in the mirror every day is the one who makes the commitment every day!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fast Miles

He won't mind being overshadowed this weekend, but Steven Busch running a 4:24 indoor mile was only the 2nd fastest CHAP alum mile this weekend.  Alex Balsiger, of CSU, ran a 4:08 in Nebraska, on the tiny indoor track, to dominate the field.

The video of the race is pretty cool, Alex ran 32 second splits the first half of the race; didn't freak out when kids were jostling and he got pushed to the back of the pack; then in the last couple of laps, started dropping 30's, 29's and 28's to secure the win.

You can check out the video here:

Watch as Alex (in white tops and green shorts) keeps his form, never panics, then accelerates when he senses that the rest of the field is faltering.  He ran his race, he did not react to others, and the win & sub 4:10 time were his rewards.  Confidence, experience, and a feel for your abilities is what allows Alex to run so well, along with tons of training, and expert collegiate coaching.

Excellent job Alex, I think we can safely say you are the best middle distance runner to graduate from Chaparral, if not the best overall runner. We are all very proud of you back here!!


Friday, February 3, 2012


Hopefully all the winter track athletes have been doing some shoveling of driveways in your neighborhood to get your easy recovery day in.  You don't need to run for twenty, shoveling a couple driveways will accomplish the same effect on your body.  Enjoy the snow day, just not by sitting on the couch all day long.

However, you do need to run an over distance day on one of these upcoming weekend days.  Saturday or Sunday, it doesn't matter, just make sure you get it in. Most kids should be well over 60 minutes of continuous running by now.  Be super careful on the roads, or stick to the plowed bike paths

As for Monday, what we do will still be the same, tempo work.  Where will do it will depend on the conditions.  Maybe a big loop in Grandview Estates, maybe the church loop, maybe a stretch in Stonegate.  I can say for sure we will be shoveling a lane of the track to aid in melting.  This will be our strength work though, so be ready for that!

B.Y.O.S.  (bring your own shovel!)