Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bix 7 MI in Davenport, IA on July 29, 1989

 (I started writing about Nancy Mieszczak’s 32-year-old races back in 2010. I thought they’d been too much fun to be enjoyed just once; and, maybe just a little bit, I wanted to show The Kids how the Old Folks used to roll back in the days of yore. Anyways, I initially crammed a bunch of her races into one continuing post. Lately I’ve been writing them up one by one. If you’re interested, you can start from the beginning here.)

Distance: 7.000 miles

Time: 41:54

Place: 3

Prize: $250

∑ Career Earnings: $19,479


The Skinny: Laurie Binder won the Masters’ division.



Coming next time: New Haven 20 KM

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Casey’s 4 MI in Buffalo, NY on July 15, 1989

 (I started writing about Nancy Mieszczak’s 32-year-old races back in 2010. I thought they’d been too much fun to be enjoyed just once; and, maybe just a little bit, I wanted to show The Kids how the Old Folks used to roll back in the days of yore. Anyways, I initially crammed a bunch of her races into one continuing post. Lately I’ve been writing them up one by one. If you’re interested, you can start from the beginning here.)

Distance: 4.00 miles

Time: 23:05

Place: 2

Prize: $400

∑ Career Earnings: $19,229


The Skinny: Nancy Oshier won.


Jim Nowicki got Subaru to bankroll this race annually, and it began to draw premier athletes over the years. But July 15 in the afternoon usually meant a too-hot day for Nancy to thrive.


Coming up next time: The Bix 7

Friday, July 09, 2021

Utica Boilermaker 15 KM in Utica, NY on July 9, 1989

 (I started writing about Nancy Mieszczak’s 32-year-old races back in 2010. I thought they’d been too much fun to be enjoyed just once; and, maybe just a little bit, I wanted to show The Kids how the Old Folks used to roll back in the days of yore. Anyways, I initially crammed a bunch of her races into one continuing post. Lately I’ve been writing them up one by one. If you’re interested, you can start from the beginning here.)

Distance: 9.321 miles

Time: 56:05

Place: 2

Prize: $500

∑ Career Earnings: $18,829


The Skinny: Ngaire Drake won in 55:05.


This was Nancy’s 5th and last Boilermaker. We remember all the Boilermakers fondly for their challenging course, their great post-race parties, and for Earl Reed’s thoughtful consideration.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Checkers 8 KM in Buffalo, NY on June 30, 1989

 (I started writing about Nancy Mieszczak’s 32-year-old races back in 2010. I thought they’d been too much fun to be enjoyed just once; and, maybe just a little bit, I wanted to show The Kids how the Old Folks used to roll back in the days of yore. Anyways, I initially crammed a bunch of her races into one continuing post. Lately I’ve been writing them up one by one. If you’re interested, you can start from the beginning HERE.)

Distance: 4.971 miles

Time: 28:40

Place: 2

Prize: $200

∑ Career Earnings: $18,329


The Skinny: Nancy pocketed $200 for finishing second to a woman named Benzoni. Somehow I forgot to record her first name back then.


There’s a good reason I might have been a bit distracted. The old Duck hisownself actually WON the Master’s Division of this race (26:13) in our hometown, winning his first-ever, and last, cash prize of $250.


Not a bad day at all!



Monday, June 21, 2021

Mediterranean Baked Pheasant Cutlets

I discovered a veal recipe online that I thought might work with pheasant breasts. It did in fact work wonderfully well. It would probably work just as well with boneless chicken breasts. The veal will only happen after we win Powerball.


The olives are an important and tasty part of the flavor signature. The tomatoes and mozzarella make it look great. The recipe is very suitable for company, delivering both great taste and eye appeal. And it’s lean!


Pounding the breasts to uniform size is a good idea. I did that after the brining. I dissolved ¼ cup kosher salt in a quart of water. I laid the breasts in a Pyrex bowl, covered with brine, covered the bowl, and chilled 12 hours overnight in the fridge. Otherwise, there’s nothing to it.


You can find all the details here.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Lilac Festival 10 KM in Rochester, NY on May 21, 1989

(I started writing about Nancy’s 32-year-old races back in 2010. I thought they’d been too much fun to be enjoyed just once; and, maybe just a little bit, I wanted to show The Kids how the Old Folks used to roll back in the days of yore. Anyways, I initially crammed a bunch of her races into one continuing post. Lately I’ve been writing them up one by one. If you’re interested, you can start from the beginning HERE.)

Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 35:56 
Place: 1 
Prize: $500, plus $300 appearance money 
∑ Career Earnings: $18,129 

The Skinny: Nancy was always treated royally by the organizers in Rochester, and she returned the favor with strong performances. This race pushed her career earnings above $18K.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

On The Joys Of Hunting Solo With Your Dog

 I don’t have many photos of my dog and me hunting alone. Actually, I don’t have any. Right? Think about it.


Photos or not, I simply wanted to toss out here that whenever my dog and I hunt without a human companion — and that’s most of the time — I never ever feel alone, let alone “lonely.” I imagine that more than one “dog man” feels exactly the same way.


Here’s a few post solo hunt snaps of my buddy Gordie with the day’s bag. You’ll have to take my word on the solo part.



I went two-for-two that day, a feat I tried to celebrate in the photo. Over time, I have discovered that doggie-hunts-man-shoots is a better division of labor than the converse.




Friday, April 09, 2021

Milk Run 10 KM in Boston, MA on April 9, 1989

(I started writing about Nancy’s 32-year-old races back in 2010. I thought they’d been too much fun to be enjoyed just once; and, maybe just a little bit, I wanted to show The Kids how the Old Folks used to roll back in the days of yore. Anyways, I initially crammed a bunch of her races into one continuing post. Lately I’ve been writing them up one by one. If you’re interested, you can start from the beginning HERE.)

Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 35:54
Place: 2
Prize: $250
∑ Career Prizes: $17,329

The Skinny: Gabby Anderson won in 35:00.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Shamrock 8 KM in Virginia Beach VA on March 18, 1989

 Distance: 4.971 miles

Time: 28:55

Place: 8/ 1

Prize: $400

∑ Career Prizes: $17,079


The Skinny: This was Nancy’s first race as a Master. So while she was the 8thwoman to cross the line, she was the first Master.


The organizers down in Virginia Beach always treated Nancy very well. Shamrock was an annual highlight of the new year’s race calendar.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Let’s hear it for American Workers who keep the Wheels turning around

C&W group Alabama released “40 Hour Week for a Living” in 1985. This amazingly prescient tune could very well be the anthem thanking millions of Americans for their essential services 35 years later. Here’s how it starts:

“There are people in this country

Who work hard every day

Not for fame or for fortune do they strive

But the fruits of their labor

Are worth more than their pay…”


Yes, indeedy.


Enjoy this tribute to the wage-earning American man and woman.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Whither Went The Woodcock?

I’m having a terribly difficult time putting my 18 month old English Cocker Spaniel “Jake” into wild birds this fall. By wild birds I specifically mean woodcock. But my local coverts weren’t always a woodcock no-fly zone.

In 1994, we switched from beagles to flushing spaniels when we brought home “Bean,” an American Water Spaniel. When Bean was also about 18 months old, we shot 40 woodcock over him between October 5 and 26. Bean retrieved at least one bird each and every day during that 22-day streak.

In contrast, Jake and I started hunting woodcock this year on October 9, eight days after the season opened. We’d had an abnormally dry summer, leaving any bare soil parched and cracked. But a bit of slightly colder and wetter weather on the 7th and 8th finally moved us into our brushy coverts. I write “hunting” rather than “shooting” advisedly. Between October 9 and 26, hunting every day and logging 24 hours afield, we flushed just 13 birds and shot at just one that I thankfully managed to center. Needless to say, Jake will need lots more wild birds than that to help him figure it out for himself. As George Hickox tersely hands down sentence, “No birds, no bird dog.”

Jake and I are hunting the same coverts that I hunted with young Bean. What, then, has changed? Some short time before I was born, or so it sometimes feels in my old bones, Heraclitus declared that no man ever steps into the same river twice. I think he’s got it right in our case. Although I’ve parked the car in the same spots for these last 25 years, my current “I” is not exactly hunting “the same coverts.” Lots of things have changed in that interval, all of them imperceptibly but badly.

First of all, my coverts’ productive acreage has been reduced by more than half. New housing has blossomed on some of our old hotspots. Other properties are now posted against hunting by their recently relocated city slicker owners. The remaining coverts have not been “disturbed” for 25 years. Where the dogwood — “redbush” — was waist high in Bean’s day, now much of it towers 20 feet in the air, giving a gunner scant time to identify and swing on a ‘cock before it’s out of sight.

And since my hearing has suffered 25 more years of wear and tear, I’m usually unable to weaponize the early warning alarm of whistling wings.

Other than hoping for a more historically normal weather pattern next year, there’s nothing I can do to improve my local haunts for Jake’s benefit. It saddens me to realize that I might have to change my preferred quarry, or zip code, or both, to give Jake the same chance to develop into a cherished field companion reminiscent of his predecessors.

On a happier note, while thinking back about Bean’s streak, I also recalled that he was quite a handsome dog in his youth. What do you think?

Friday, October 23, 2020

Freihofer’s 10 KM in Syracuse NY on October 23, 1988

 Back in 2010 I began blogging about my wife Nancy’s long and decorated career as a runner. At the time, I decided to keep all the races I’d eventually append in one huge blogpost. You can peek at it if you’d like to here.

But I’ve decided after adding many entries that it’s time to post each race on its own. I hope you enjoy the slightly more concentrated presentation.

Distance: 6.214 miles

Time: 36:12

Place: 11

Prize: $150

∑ Career Prizes: $16,679


The Skinny: Liz Miller won $1,000 in 33:35.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

My Pint-Sized English Cocker’s Ten-Gallon Life

Gordie and I were in a woodcock honey hole that I hunted a bunch with my American Water Spaniel “Bean” 15 years earlier. The dogwood had more than doubled in size over the passing seasons, growing up to 20’ tall and branching out to choke the tiny gaps I formerly wedged myself through. Gordie presently flushed a woodcock, and I snapped off a shot as it crested the dense green canopy. I’m nearly 6 feet tall, and I immediately lost sight of that bird. Gordie, knee high at best, couldn’t have seen that little woodcock at all after it flushed.

While I was slowly clawing my way out of this emerging jungle, Gordie appeared with the woodcock in his mouth, his tail wagging happily. I still have trouble believing he completed that mission impossible. But that was Gordie’s gift: he made it all look so easy.

A year before 10-year-old Bean died in his sleep in 2005, we had the chance to acquire an English Cocker pup from our friend Harold Bixby’s WindWhistle Kennel. We jumped at it, taking in Gordie just before Thanksgiving. He delighted us by mastering overnight the ins and outs of the pet door to his fenced-in backyard comfort station. Not just smart, he was a highly cooperative puppy as well, and soon was sitting on command alongside Bean earning attaboys and treats.

Young Gordie with old Bean

Gordie was much too young to hunt that fall — Bean still managed a short hunt in easy cover on nice days — but the three of us enjoyed a long walk daily in the winter woods and fields behind our house. After sundown Gordie and I would do retrieving drills in the basement.

The weeks flew pleasantly by until a star-crossed day in March. We’d gone out the back door for our afternoon walk and were on our way to the back gate. Halfway there, old Bean just stopped and stared at me. “C’mon, Beanie,” I encouraged him. At this he turned on his doggie heels and filed his retirement papers by retreating into the comforts of a warm house. Bean and I had had a great run. If he wanted to start relaxing in his rocking chair, then I wasn’t going to second guess his decision.

Gordie was the beneficiary of this unexpected wrinkle. Now I got to concentrate totally on him during our daily outdoor adventures. He was a bold and happy pup. He’d chase a tweetie bird, or jump into an early spring puddle for a swim, and then return unbidden to his self-assigned station several paces in front of me. Here’s a photo taken after we returned home from one of our spring walks.

Gordie was a handsome boy

As spring gave way to summer, Gordie’s training heated up through sessions with more experienced handlers in our local spaniel club. Gordie swiftly revealed an exceptional talent for locating and retrieving downed game. On a training day at Harold’s, Gordie’s gunner dropped a pigeon well out and beyond dense brush scattered with pines. “Bix” howled with appreciation when Gordie appeared way out there with the bird in his mouth, and again when Gordie delivered it to me. I’ll never forget Harold’s words: “That was a world class retrieve!” I don’t know about that, but it foreshadowed many “how’d he do that?!” recoveries to come.

Successes like that one made me consider entering Gordie in spaniel competitions. Contests like that just aren’t my thing. But adding some entry level alphabet soup to Gordie’s pedigree didn’t seem too titanic an undertaking. And so Gordie and I started working toward the title Junior Hunter.

We got off to a bumpy start. He bombed out of his first test because of owner-operator error. I’d let him run far too far, fast, and loose. On the testing’s second day I did a better job handling him and by day’s end he had his first ribbon. Shortly thereafter he earned ribbon #2 at a test in Pennsylvania. Two down, two to go.

Having trained hard together all summer, we looked forward with confidence to our club’s September tests. On Saturday his gunner wing-tipped Gordie’s bird which then glided into thick brush 100 yards away. The judge suggested I recall my dog so that a second bird might be killed at a distance more appropriate for a junior. Knowing Gordie’s retrieving abilities, I said no, we’re good, he’ll make the pickup. The judge may have had his doubts, but I didn’t. I sure was proud when I handed that judge the bird that Gordie delivered to my hand.

Following his water retrieve Saturday, we had ribbon #3. Sunday went by well if not remarkably, and at closing time Gordie was now Flash Gordon of WindWhistle JH.

We were delighted to walk away from spaniel games and to concentrate on bird hunting, our real love. Old Bean died soon after Gordie’s last test, so the youngster, ready or not, was pressed into service for the October 1 opening day of grouse and woodcock seasons. Gordie needed a little time to adjust to hunting scarce, randomly occurring game birds instead of the pigeons reliably planted at regular intervals for him in testing. But his “cocker-y” nature soon burst into full bloom as he followed his nose to wherever bird scent took him. We had a sweet deal going: I let him do the hunting; he let me do the shooting; and we shared my sandwich on the drive home.

Gordie retrieved lots of woodcock,

and a goose,

many pheasants,


a few snipe, a beautiful wood duck, and just once, when we were targeting woodcock, a turkey.

Gordie ran to the fallen bird and puzzled over just how to grab it. He was clearly thinking “Hey, Boss, that’s one bad-ass woodcock!” He didn’t protest when I shouldered the bird and carried it from the field.

Gordie’s constant mindfulness of my whereabouts made him a boon companion in the field. He habitually worked about 10 yards in front of me and about as far from side to side as scent dictated. If I angled off a bit right or left, so did he. This made him silly simple to walk behind. Our hunts were always relaxed and joyous. Every day was Christmas, with Gordie playing Rudolf to my Santa.

Gordie’s habit of working close to and with the gun made him a sure fire hit with newbies. Kids in particular loved to work behind Gordie. I always instructed them to watch his tail, and when it started wagging at double time, to get ready for a bird in the air. Here’s a few of his satisfied customers.

On and on we went, our bond growing stronger every year. I never felt out-classed or under-dogged when I evaluated my beautiful, friendly, and productive hunting partner. For a long and glorious time, we two felt invincible together.

* ° * ° * ° * ° * ° * ° * ° * °

By the 2015 bird seasons, Gordie began to show his age. He’d have trouble with an easy retrieve of a woodcock downed close, or get slightly disoriented returning with a rooster. Unfortunately, this was only the start of a long, slow and inexorable decline in his health. After supper on one cool day late in August, 2018, I took Gordie to an old honey hole to scout for woodcock. Everything went fine until he disappeared into a likely thicket 30 minutes before sunset. I whistled him in so we could head back to the car before dark. But Gordie, partially deaf and occasionally disoriented, couldn’t find his way back to me. With nightfall approaching fast, I reluctantly returned to the car alone.

My anxieties disappeared an hour later when a phone caller told me Gordie was safe and ready to be picked up. But after this experience, even though we returned to our old familiar spots that fall, Gordie was never the same hunter. He’d literally not let me out of his sight.

By the following spring, Gordie was suffering badly from four geriatric issues. He slept 22 hours a day. Gone was the merry tail wagging of his glory days. After discussing Gordie’s swiftly eroding health, my wife and I agreed not to unduly delay his inevitable last ride with me. Gordie peacefully passed from a life well lived into a life enshrined in memory late in May, 2019.

I trust Gordie is already somewhere over the rainbow, patiently watching for me.

First thing I’ll do after I arrive is promise him there’ll be no more separations this time around. We’re a match made in heaven.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Lincoln Half Marathon in Lincoln NE on May 1, 1988

Back in 2010 I began blogging about my wife Nancy’s long and decorated career as a runner. At the time, I decided to keep all the races I’d eventually append in one huge blogpost. You can peek at it if you’d like to here.
But I’ve decided after making many entries that it’s time to post each race on its own. For a time, I’ll continue to include these opening paragraphs — note for future readers: this opener debuted October 25, 2019. If it’s no longer needed someday down the road, then we’ll eliminate it for the sake of streamlining.
I hope you enjoy the slightly more concentrated presentation.
Distance: 13.11 miles
Time: 1:21:22
Place: 2
Prize: $150
Career Prizes: $15,929

The Skinny: We were blown away by the sea of red that greeted the eye everywhere in Lincoln. They love their ‘Huskers!

Donna Chin won in 1:19:50.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Heading Out Fly Fishing With My Horrocks Ibbotson Rod And Rainbow Reel After A 40 Year Pause

I first bought my H-I gear as a high school kid — a Model 1107 Rainbow Reel

and a Model 1348 fiberglass rod —

circa 1964. I caught lots of trout in w. NY then drifting salted minnows weighted with split shot downstream into deep holes as I’d been taught by my mentor Alois “Louie” R.

Upon graduating from college and starting the work force, I put fishing on a back burner for a long time. But after marrying in 1978, I got interested again after seeing the beautiful streams near my wife’s family home a bit north of the Adirondack Park. But this time around, I used the outfit to learn how to fish with dry flies.

I enjoyed enough success that I soon shelled out for an 8.5 ft. 5-weight boron fly rod custom made by a local TU member. That was my go-to rod until about seven years ago when I picked up a nifty 7.5 ft. 3-weight Scott. Both of these rods remain technically strong on the waters I fish them on.

But after I noticed that fiberglass rods were making a comeback of sorts with young hipsters who’ve grown up on the latest tech, I decided to get the H-I rig ready to go this spring simply so that I can show the whippersnappers how we were already rolling 55 years ago.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Freihofer’s 10 KM in Syracuse NY on October 25, 1987

Back in 2010 I began blogging about my wife Nancy’s long and decorated career as a runner. At the time, I decided to keep all the races I’d eventually append in one huge blogpost. You can peek at it if you’d like to here.
But I’ve decided after making many entries that it’s time to post each race on its own. For a time, I’ll continue to include these opening paragraphs — note for future readers: this opener debuted October 25, 2019. If it’s no longer needed someday down the road, then we’ll eliminate it for the sake of streamlining.
I hope you enjoy the slightly more concentrated presentation.
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 37:11
Place: 17
Prize: $100
Career Prizes: $15,779

The Skinny: 

Freihofer’s hosted the National Championship this year, thus drawing a field too strong for 38-year-old Nancy. This also explains why it paid at least 17 deep. Lynn Jennings won in a brisk 32:19 on the flat park road course.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Big Jake’s first water retrieves

I haven’t been happy with the bank-side environments that Jake has pussyfooted to in recent days. Specifically, they featured either too steep banks, or tangly vegetation, or mucky footing. One bad experience might have set his swimming days back unnecessarily, and I accordingly called him away.

But I finally found the right spot today. After running him for 30 minutes in 78°F and light cover appropriate for a pup, I started walking near my release club’s pond. He apparently got tired of waiting for me to send him in, and just jumped in on his own. That worked out very well. Five minutes and several tosses later, he was a veteran, and I got a chance to shoot this clip of one last retrieve. You can see it here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

NYSDEC Hunting Back Tags since 1966

That’s a span of 53 years. I must have inadvertently tossed two out along the way because 51 tags are all that I have left. You can read more about them and see their photo here.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Introducing Redbush Meadow Big Jake, our new English Cocker Puppy

We are quite delighted here that “Jake” has taken up residence with us. His bloodlines show great promise, and so far he’s been calm and cool in the house.

Like our two spaniels before him, Jake will spend his life walking up woodcock, grouse, and released pheasants for friends, newbie kids at assorted “Youth Days,” and me. And when he’s not doing that, we expect he’ll charm everyone he meets with his typical merry ECS disposition.

I introduced Jake to a bunch of hunting buddies on the Web. If you’d like, you can join the fun there.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Rest in Peace, Flash Gordon of Windmillwood JH 2004 - 2019

On May 31, our veterinarian euthanized Gordie after he (and we) had suffered through two years of his deafness, failing hips, and canine dementia. At that time, I posted this sad news and more at Upland Journal

With hopeful developments imminently on our horizon, I thought I’d better chronicle Gordie’s passing at Cold Duck. At some point I'll write him up here with all the energy and joy that he deserves. But I’ll need some healing time to pass before I can begin that project.

Check back here, though, real soon! I promise abundant smiles in a week or three.

On The Road Again 32 Years Later

When I met Nancy at the Skylon Marathon in 1977, she was already an accomplished, record-setting road racer. She continued to work hard after we married in 1978, and in spite of my help, she got even better. Lots better.

We've got a shoe box full of clippings and notes from most all her races. I'm going to use Cold Duck as a vehicle for revisiting some of them with family and friends. Entries will be added in reverse chronological order. I've invited Willie to set the proper mood.

Jun 5, 1987

Event: Linde 10 KM
Location: Buffalo NY
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 36:40
Place: 2
Prize: $250
Career Prizes: $15,604

The Skinny: 

The Linde Run attracted a strong local field back in the ’80s, and was one of the first local races to offer prize money. Nancy enjoyed everything about the race except the starting time, which was about our usual suppertime.

On this day, Nancy ran second to up-and-comer Jennifer Colgrove who became a good friend and occasional training partner to us both.

May 18, 1986

Event: Lilac Festival 10 KM
Location: Rochester NY
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 37:30
Place: 4
Prize: $300 + $200 appearance money
Career Prizes: $15,065 OK

The Skinny: Julie Isphording, Nancy's pal from the Avon Series, won.

May 4, 1986

Event: NJ Waterfront Marathon
Location: Jersey City NJ
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:52:30
Place: 15
Prize: $500 + $500 appearance money
Career Prizes: $14,565

The Skinny: Rita Borralho of Portugal’s 2:35:37 finish won her $25,000! These were heady times for us runners!

March 23, 1986

Event: Chopperthon 30 km
Location: Schenectady NY
Distance: 18.641 miles
Time: 1:59:16
Place: 2
Prize: $500
Career Prizes: $13,565

The Skinny: Jane Buch won in 1:54:45.

January 3, 1986

Event: Charlotte Observer Marathon
Location: Charlotte NC
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:50:13
Place: 1
Prize: $2,000
Career Prizes: $13,065

The Skinny: Nancy had run the Charlotte course twice before, and knew it was difficult because of its rolling terrain. So she paced herself early, and hoped she’d have a chance to chase down the hopefully-fading leaders on the back end. I love it when a plan comes together!

Nancy had come to know Kathrine Switzer through Kathrine’s work with the Avon series of races. Kathy, you might recall, was in 1967 the first woman ever to officially enter the Boston Marathon. That was quite a story at the time. You could look it up.

Anyway, Kathy sat down with Nancy post-race for an interview on the sponsoring local TV station. We still have a VCR copy of that interview (Millennials may also look up “VCR.”) It was fun for me to hear Kathy - neutral as a sportscaster should be - nevertheless mention during the interview that the wily veteran Nancy looked very strong at the half-way mark, and that she was not at all surprised when Nancy was able to run the early leaders down.

October 6, 1985

Event: Twin Cities Marathon
Location: Minneapolis MN
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:46:47
Place: 13
Prize: $383
Career Prizes: $11,065

The Skinny: Nancy ran a solid race as a member of Team Moving Comfort, finishing about 10 minutes behind race winner Jan Ettle.

November 25, 1984

Event: Philadelphia Marathon
Location: Philadelphia PA
Distance: 26.214 miles
Time: 2:47:27
Place: 2
Prize: $500
Career Prizes: $9,482

The Skinny: Barbara Filutze won the women’s race. Other than Nancy winning $500 for second place, I recorded no further notes at the time. I must have been underwhelmed at the time. You may recall W. C. Fields’ epitaph….

October 28, 1984

Event: New York City Marathon
Location: New York NY
Distance: 26.214 miles
Time: DNF
Place: DNF
Career Prizes: $8,982

The Skinny: Nancy never ran well in high heat and humidity. At NY this year, the high temp was 79°F, and it was very sticky. Since she started with the elite women and I started in a different area with the also-ran men, we began the race on different courses. When I ran into Nancy at about mile 10, I suggested she drop out and we’d try a cooler marathon later in the Fall. As you’ll read next time, this was probably a good call.

June 2, 1984

Event: L’eggs Mini Marathon 10 km
Location: New York NY
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 35:57
Place: 22
Prize: $100
Career Prizes: $8,792

The Skinny: Nancy and I were surprised to learn how hilly a course could be routed through Central Park. There was a strong field present for this at-the-time A-lister event; but Nancy’s time also reflected a building fatigue factor in the aftermath of training for and competing in Olympia.

That said, we got to stay in a spiffy room at the St. Regis, got $50 a day for cheeseburgers (almost enough ;-) and were invited to a VIP sitting area one night at a huge NYC hotspot that year: Studio 54.

May 20, 1984

Event: The Lilac Festival 10 km
Location: Rochester NY
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 35:26
Place: 4
Prize: $400
Career Prizes: $8,692

The Skinny: This was Nancy’s second of seven consecutive Lilac 10 km races. The race staff was always extremely thoughtful to her (and me), the drive over from Buffalo was not a bother, and there was always a great after-party at a saloon whose name I can’t remember (I told you they were great parties.) Nancy’s 4th place finish this year must be leavened with her Olympia marathon performance just 8 days before.

May 12, 1984

Event: US Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials
Location: Olympia WA
Distance: 26.214 miles
Time: 2:40:57
Place: 37
Career Prizes: $8,292

The Skinny: Nancy trained very hard for these first-ever women’s marathon Olympic Trials. I know she left quite a bit of herself “out there” in some very rugged runs in February, 1984. The invitation to and good performance in the Trials remains one of the high points of her career.

I am surprised to find how few mementos we’ve kept of the Trials. I have just one photo, and it’s simply of Julie Isphording and others with Nancy outside their dorms in Olympia. I’ve done a bit of ‘net searching, and found a nice account of the Trails. You can enjoy it here.

March 18, 1984

Event: RRCA National Championships
Location: Albany NY
Distance: 18.642 miles
Time: 1:50:24
Place: 6
Prize: $350
Career Prizes: $8,292

The Skinny: The Chopperthon 30 km was Nancy’s final tune-up for the Olympic marathon trials coming up in May. Anne Hird outclassed the field in 1:45:15 over a tough enough course on a grey day.

October 9, 1983

Event: Miller Lite Marathon
Location: Milwaukee WI
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:39:15
Place: 1
Prize: $3000
Career Prizes: $7,942

The Skinny: What a great race for Nancy! Her time was a new PR; it won her $3,000; it earned her an invitation to the first women’s Olympic marathon trials; and, we have recently learned, it remains the course record after 32 years.

Milwaukee was very kind to us. Post race, we enjoyed a dinner with friend Dick Kendall and his daughter at a German restaurant. By evening’s end, and much beer, the owner, by now celebrating with us, invited us to his cellar for secret schnapps. Whee! and ouch….

September 25, 1983

Event: WBEN AROCC 20 km
Location: Buffalo, NY
Distance: 12.418 miles
Time: 1:11:54
Place: 1
Prize: $0
Career Prizes: $4,942

The Skinny: On weekdays Nancy trained almost exclusively on the loop in Delaware Park. She was quite prepared for this 20k held on a glorious Sunday morning in September. Her time was the 9th best 20k performance of all American women in 1983.

Nancy was introduced to the local media after this race. She was quite a hit, and was often the “color commentator” for occasional local broadcasts of racing events.

The autumn of 1983 was a high point in Nancy’s racing career. It was Good to be Queen.

June 5, 1983

Event: Linde Run
Location: Buffalo, NY
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 35:20
Place: 1
Prize: $300
Career Prizes: $4,942

The Skinny: The Linde Run — Linde is now Praxair — was held in the afternoon, somewhere near 5 or 6 o’clock. That was not Nancy’s favored time of day for racing. Further, she had been traveling and racing quite a bit over the preceding month and a half. Her time, if not her prize, is reflective of her fatigue.

May 28, 1983

Event: L’eggs Mini Marathon
Location: New York City
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 34:46
Place: 15
Prize: $100
Career Prizes: $4,642

The Skinny: L’eggs Mini Marathon was a biggie back in the ’80s, attracting the world’s best women racers, including Greta Waitz who won it 5 times.

Nancy is pictured here with her Moving Comfort teammates including Ellen Wessel, Eleanor Simonsick, Elizabeth Goeke, and Gail Kingma.

May 22, 1983

Event: CTFA Senior Championship
Location: Southern Ontario
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 34:00
Place: 3
Prize: $392US
Career Prizes: $4,542

The Skinny: I’m surprised that I have no photos, newspaper clippings or notes about this race, as it is Nancy’s career PR at 10 km. There must have been a very good field, as 34:00 and $500C is pretty rich for a 3rd place finish in 1983.

May 15, 1983

Event: The Lilac Run
Location: Rochester, NY
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 34:02
Place: 1
Prize: $600
Career Prizes: $4,150

The Skinny: On Nancy’s first ever visit to the Lilac Run, she set a new PR and the course record. In this initial and in subsequent years, the Lilac Run proved to be generous sponsors and great friends. Those were very happy times!

Here’s Nancy and men’s winner Sosthenes Bitok mugging with their awards.

May 7, 1983

Event: The Elizabeth River Run
Location: Norfolk, VA
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 34:41
Place: 1
Prize: $1,000
Career Prizes: $3,550

The Skinny: The Elizabeth River Run turned out to be a wonderfully enjoyable affair. Nancy was treated like family by personable race director Roberta “Bert” Cake of The Virginian Pilot. Nancy smashed the old course record in 34:41. And we both got to enjoy watching his girl friend haul star runner Adrian Leek around by the ear.

January 27, 1983

Event: The Birth of Paul Donnelly
Location: Buffalo, NY

The Skinny: Nancy’s sister Martha raised 4 wonderful children who are now outstanding young adults.

In addition to being whip smart, Martha’s kids have become very good athletes as well. I often send them additions to this blog not just to acquaint them with their favorite aunt’s accomplishments, but also, because they’re so fiercely competitive, to maybe fire them up to pursue even greater accomplishments.

“The kids” have grown up in a microchip age and, like their hip peers, are firmly dialed in to the digital age. They might be wondering why Harold Tinsley, in the prior entry, sent us a hand-written letter instead of just texting us. I guess the kids could be forgiven not “remembering” that there were no text messages 32 years ago. Remember? They hadn’t yet been born!

But that has changed overnight. Today’s entry therefore does not reference Nancy’s racing, but rather celebrates the birth of our godson Paul Donnelly 32 years ago. As Nancy was at the beginning of her racing successes, just so Paul was at the beginning of his life. I’m proud and happy that they both have succeeded so well in their missions.

In the photo below, Paul is seen with his young and lovely mother Martha lo those many years ago. I hope your birthday, and every day, is perfect, Paul!

Editor’s note: Nancy tells me that some of the preceding language may be construed as insensitive. She reminds, and I append with apologies, that Martha remains lovely to this day.

Thanks to AP, AN and ACDA for their effusive support and encouragement with this entry.

December 11, 1982

Event: The Rocket City Marathon
Location: Huntsville, AL
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:39:41
Place: 2
Prize: $0
Career Prizes: $2,550

The Skinny: Jane Buch beat Nancy over this hilly course. But Nancy’s 2:39:41 set a new PR and got her plenty of notice in women’s racing circles.

Harold Tinsley communicated with me in hand-written notes like this one. This was less a thoughtful and classy gesture (although Harold was certainly all that) than simply the way things were still commonly done in 1982.

July 17, 2014

Location: Buffalo, NY
Career Prizes: $2,550

The Skinny: Events in this blog happened 32 years ago today. This one, however, seems like it happened only yesterday. That’s probably because it happened just yesterday.

Our local newspaper published an article that referenced Nancy’s absence from a certain local race some years ago. The reference provides half the answer to the question of why there are so few local races mentioned in this blog.

July 11, 1982

Event: The Utica Boilermaker
Location: Utica, NY
Distance: 9.321 miles
Time: 0:55:45
Place: 2
Prize: $50
Career Prizes: $2,550

The Skinny: Earle Reed once again invited Nancy, this time a past champion, to have an enjoyable gambol over severe hills on a hot, sunny morning. What’s not to like?

Nancy had a good day, but couldn’t keep pace with Laura deWald (54:41) over the last 3 miles. The ice-cold post-race beer was, as always, superb.

June 6, 1982

Event: The Avon International Marathon
Location: San Francisco, CA
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:45:50
Place: 10
Prize: $2,250
Career Prizes: $2,500

The Skinny: The first-ever women’s marathon was scheduled to debut in the 1984 L.A. Olympics. Avon used their race and its relatively lavish prizes to focus attention on the considerable abilities of female distance runners.

The invited athletes got a pre-race bus tour of the course, and not surprisingly discovered that it was quite hilly. On a warm day, Lorraine Moller’s winning time was a modest 2:36:12. Of the 13 racers headlined in Avon’s pre-race press literature, Nancy beat all but 5 of them.

Nancy’s prize was her first large paycheck. It was huge for its time, but specially so for a 10th place finish in a women-only event. The incentive of such prizes fundamentally altered the way that Nancy would select and train for events in her racing calendar.

April 19, 1982

Event: The Boston Marathon
Location: Boston, MA
Distance: 26.219 miles
Time: 2:44:17
Place: 10
Career Prizes: $250

The Skinny: Charlotte Teske won the race on a blue sky 65°F day that was a bit warm for many marathoners’ preferences. Nancy’s 10th place finish established her as a serious runner on the national stage. The BAA medal she earned, while among the smallest she ever won at an important event, remains a talisman of one of her proudest achievements.

December 12, 1981

Event: The Avon Series
Location: Deer Creek, FL
Distance: 6.214 miles
Time: 34:30
Place: 2
Career Prizes: $250

The Skinny: The Avon Series was not just a lot of fun for a great many female athletes, but it also was a launch pad for a number of successful racing careers. In this race, Nancy broke her own PR at 10 km, and nearly ran down Nancy Conz for the win. We were both a bit surprised and delighted.

There was an after party that we traveled to by boat at night. It was a long time ago, but I recall that we all enjoyed a great night.

October 17, 1981

Event: The Skylon Marathon
Location: Buffalo, NY
Distance: 26.2 miles
Time: 2:40:48
Place: 1
Prize: $200 appearance fee
Career Prizes: $250

The Skinny: The day dawned cool, blue and windless, and it had Nancy all pumped up for a good race.

As usual, Nancy started at a conservative pace and gathered steam as she went. Onlookers were letting her know that she was the first woman, and this caught the ears of several of our male running club friends. They fell in step as sort of an honor guard, and that happy crew chugged along until near the very end.

Here’s a photo of Nancy setting a personal and course record just above the Horseshoe Falls. On her feet are a pair of the orange and white Etonic “Eclipse,” by far her favorite shoe over her career.

March 15, 1981

Event: The Cherry Hill 10-Miler
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 0:57:10
Place: 1
Prize: none
Prizes: $50

The Skinny: Nancy and I flew into Philadelphia with tickets provided by the race director. He also found lodging for us with a well-intentioned couple eager to host an invited “star.” The couple was ever so sweet. They fussed around Nancy in anticipation of her every need, insisted that we take their bedroom, and were completely and impossibly nice. We phoned the race director and begged him to please get us a quiet room at the race hotel.

We breakfasted on race day with Bob B., a fellow we’d met some years before at the Maple Leaf Half Marathon in Manchester, VT. He was a middlin runner who was well enough connected to appear “at all the right races.” Over oatmeal, he casually mentioned that Ellison Goodall was going to win the race going away “because no one else is here.”  Nancy appeared to let the remark slide while we were at table, but she actually took it like a hard punch to her gut. Channeling Knute, I reminded Nancy of Bob’s withering assessment on several occasions prior to race time. Nancy made a point of finding Bob at the post-race ceremonies so she could ask him how he’d done. Like the commercials say, “priceless.”

Miss Goodall was a gracious good sport after the race. She not only congratulated Nancy, but promised to talk to her sponsor (Adidas) about adding Nancy to its team. Both Goodall and Adidas came through, although those particular shoes never proved to be a good fit for Nancy’s foot.

Her first place finish at the Cherry Hill 10-Miler was a significant victory for Nancy, bringing with it her first sponsorship and several invitations to coming races. She had arrived on the regional scene.

January 3, 1981

Event: The Charlotte Observer Marathon Race
Location: Charlotte, NC
Distance: 26.2 miles
Time: 2:47:08
Place: 1
Prize: none
Prizes: $50

The Skinny: The Charlotte course is quite hilly, and is not a place where a racer is likely to set a PR. Nancy did, however, smash the former course record by 11 minutes and 18 seconds (!!) with her time today. This win set the tone for 1981, and even better things were soon to come.

The men’s winner was Steve Podgajny. He and his wife Marjorie became new friends after we met at the post-race ceremonies. The morning-after headline: Editor’s Nightmare as Podgajny, Mieszczak win Charlotte Marathon.

We’d driven to Charlotte, lugging a case of one Canadian beer or other to share with friends we were making “on the circuit.” While recovering from the race with these potassium-enriched fluids, we heard of deteriorating weather in Pennsylvania and western New York - we used to have “old fashioned” winters then - and so, after we’d all polished off the case, we decided to head home around 3 a.m. Everything went smoothly if darkly through North Carolina. But we ran into some snow in the hills of West Virginia, and it continued to worsen through the swing east at Erie. The stretch from Pittsburg to Erie was a real bear after having driven red-eye all night and with the west winds now making the driving treacherous. I recall two campers who were very happy to arrive home two or so hours later.

July 13, 1980
Event: The Utica Boilermaker
Location: Utica, NY
Distance: 9.321 MI
Time: 55:02
Place: 1
Prize: $50 appearance money
Prizes: $50
The Skinny: The Boilermaker is a tough, competitive race. 15 KM is a long way; in the severe hills surrounding Utica on a hot and steamy morning, this race ain’t no day at the beach. Winning this race did a lot to establish Nancy’s regional and national bona fides as a competitor tough as, if you’ll forgive, a boilermaker.
This great photo popped up in newspapers all across the country:

For those keeping careful score at home, notice that this race was the first in which Nancy either received appearance money or won prize money. Stick with her here: she’ll do even better soon enough. 

June 22, 1980

Event: Mentholatum 10K
Location: Buffalo, NY
Distance: 6.214 MI
Time: 35:48
Place: 2

The Skinny: Almost exactly one year later, Nancy still almost catches Jackie Gareau.

Moving off the “32 years ago today theme,” it was on this very day 35 years ago that Nancy D. moved in with Michael M. And exactly one month later, they were married. Aw shucks.

November 4, 1979

Event: Avon Series 
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 
Distance: 12.42 MI 
Time: 1:15:52 

The Skinny: From the Buffalo Evening News: “Nancy Mieszczak of Buffalo’s Checkers Athletic Club finished fourth in a 20-kilometer race here Sunday and won a trip to the Avon National Championships in Pasadena, Calif. next spring.”

In a pre-race article the Ottawa Sunday Post wrote: “Among the Americans traveling to Ottawa is Nancy Mieszczak of Buffalo…. She is the Road Runners Club of America 1978 20K Champion.”

The winner of the race was Karen Doppes of Cincinnati. Karen, Julie Isphording and Nancy would become friends over the years of the Avon circuit. It’s a small world. Two years ago, I met Bill Cosgrove whose Springer was competing at a local field event. Bill is quite a star - deservedly so - in the spaniel world. We got to jawing about this and that. While making small talk, I may have mentioned Julie as another name I recalled from Cincinnati. He knew her well: she used to run around with his wife Karen… Small world, indeed.

June 24, 1979

Event: Bonne Bell
Location: Buffalo, New York
Distance: 6.21 MI
Time: 37:56
Place: 2

The Skinny: This was one of the slowest 10Ks of Nancy’s career. My notes are sketchy, but I suspect race day must have been hot, or the course perhaps a bit long. In any event, she was the first local finisher, and second only to that pesky Jacqueline Gareau woman. Nancy recalls that Tom Donnelly paced her on his bicycle.

In the pre prize money era, the Bonne Bell bell was a tasteful and sought after prize, and it still remains in the trophy case. We’ve always liked this photo taken at the awards ceremony.

May 13, 1979

Event: The Ottawa Marathon
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Distance: 26.2 MI
Time: 2:55:58
Place: 3

The Skinny: Nancy and I enjoyed racing in Ottawa. We’d drive north several days ahead of the race and visit with Doc and Mom Dragoo. Then we’d overnight in Ottawa the night before the race and scoot back home when it was over.

Nancy set a PR at this race even though she developed a bad set of blisters en route. She was third to Jacqueline Gareau who ran 2:47:58.

This was the first of several races having a Husband - Wife Division where I gravy trained my talented wife’s performance with a modest one of my own. We still have the beer mugs proclaiming us Labatt’s Husband - Wife Champions of Canada.

September 24, 1978

Event: Maple Leaf Half Marathon
Location: Manchester, VT
Distance: 13.1 MI
Time: 1:20:00
Place: 2

The Skinny: Nancy had not been racing quite a year when I met her in October, 1977. She had done very well in that time, including victories - as a rookie! - in two marathons. In one of these races, she absolutely destroyed a particular fellow who was desperately trying to keep pace with her.

We know this because Guy Thomas told her so, on the phone, when he invited her to run his inaugural Mapleleaf Half Marathon in Manchester, VT. He was a great sport, and in no time we became friends with Guy and his wife Vivien.

For some reason, I neglected to keep a journal record for this race. Nancy didn’t take a lot of seconds in those days, so I suspect whoever beat her was quite good. It may well have been Patti Lyons, a superstar in road racing in 1978. In any case, Guy’s promotional efforts and the fast 1978 times helped the race to grow in stature over the years.

Nancy and I were there again a year later when Patti set a world record with a 1:14:03 time. You can see Patti hoisting the cutting board that was a cool prize in those just-before-prize-money days. Nancy has one, too; we’ll use it to chop some cheese the next time you’re visiting.

May 14, 1978

Event: Revco Classic
Location: Cleveland, OH
Distance: 10 KM
Time: 36:40
Place: 1

The Skinny: Revco was a fore runner of stores like Walgreen. Its chain was wide spread and healthy back in 1978, so its signature race attracted strong men’s and women’s fields for both the 10 KM and marathon events. Revco disappeared after its stores were bought and renamed by CVS in 1997.

Nancy beat second-placer Kitty Consolo by 43 seconds, finished 68th overall, and continued to garner regional and national attention.

I had a good race, too. I finished in 32:33, at the time a personal best that was good for 23rd place and bragging rights as first western NY finisher.

This race pre-dated the prize money era in road racing. One of the attractions of the event was the offer of Revco merchandise in addition to traditional “statue trophies.” I don’t remember what Nancy won; but my age-group award was included in Webster’s definition of irony: a hair-drying iron.

April 17, 1978

Event: The Boston Marathon
Location: Boston, MA
Distance: 26.2 MI
Time: 2:55:00
Place: 20

The Skinny: In the week before the race Nancy and I flew to San Diego for a National Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. Although working math teachers and genuinely interested in the Conference’s programs - specially hands-on events using those new personal computer thingees - we were also delighted to absorb some sun and get in some easy training before flying into Boston for the Marathon.

A woman for whom I’d worked earlier in the 70s was nice enough to host my fiance and me for dinner at her club in La Jolla. I recall gentle conversation and a great view of the ocean. The evening was a special engagement present to a couple of starry eyed kids. Thanks, Mrs. Kellogg.

In Boston, we crashed with my school days pal Peter O. We slept either on floor-laid mattresses, or futons, or something; I don’t exactly recall. Except that if we slept on them tonight, we’d be dead by morning.

Anyways, we got up, went out for breakfast, and - incredible for us - finally committed around 9 a.m to actually starting the race.

Nancy’s 20th place was therefore darn good. If Cold Duck lives long enough, I’ll be able to blog an even better finish.

March 19, 1978

Event: AAU National 30 KM Championship
Location: Albany, NY
Distance: 30 KM
Time: 1:58:23
Place: 1

The Skinny: Nancy and I were engaged at the time of the 30 KM Nationals in Albany. We bunked with Richard J. and his lovely wife Kathy. Cold Duck regulars will recognize him as Cousin Richard of Speculator fame.

A day after the race, I kissed Nancy goodbye and while she headed back to Waterford, I drove home to Buffalo. In addition to teaching math there during the day, I was also teaching applied trigonometry to machinist apprentices at night. I had a tradition - enabled by an administration that looked on with benignly blind eyes - of taking the class out for an adult beverage after I’d rated the last student’s terminal exam.

After buying the first round and reporting that everyone had earned a passing grade, I discovered that the men were still thirsty - and generous. An hour and too many beers later, all tongues were loose, if a bit thick, and conversation flowed freely. Proud of my bride-to-be's recent win, I blurted out that I was engaged to the national trucking champion, except that I did not say "trucking."

After the slightest of pauses, the guys all gave me a look - visualize the Last Supper - and asked in one voice, "You're marrying the national trucking champion?" And a spontaneous cheer broke out.

This story is now known word for word by the whole extended family, down to our nieces and nephews’ college friends. There’s usually a call for the story, somewhere after the second bottle of wine, at all the major family feasts.