Albuquerque Journal begins trumpeting masters indoor nationalsThe local paper threw a spotlight on M60 middle-distancer Nolan Shaheed as it began its coverage of masters nationals, coming up this weekend. But the online Albuquerque Journal makes you jump more hurdles than a Jeff Davison shuttle relay, so I cleared them for you. See below. Something I didn’t know: Nolan has an aunt and uncle who live in Albuquerque. Me wonders about something, though: How will distance runners, including Nolan, be affected by the altitude? Apt for Nolan â€” it’s about a mile high.
Headline is funky, but here’s the story:
61-year-old runner ready to ‘kick butt’ in ITF Championships
Nolan Shaheed, 61, runs, mile after mile, to the rhythms in his head, to the sweet sounds of a jazz trumpet, to the small beats of his feet on pavement.
He runs because it gives him a peace that nothing else does.
But it was the music that came first. At 5 years old, he played the violin, but when he was 12, he heard Louis Armstrong’s pleasing horn on the radio and his whole world was born anew.
“I had never heard it before,” Shaheed says, “but whatever that was, whatever he was playing, that’s what I wanted to do.”
The Pasadena, Calif., native also started to run a little track, just as something to do. But it wasn’t a passion, not like the trumpet, so he quit.
His music teacher, however, noticed a difference. Your endurance isn’t as strong as when you were running track, he told young Nolan. So Shaheed went back to running, and his music was more forceful than ever.
Shaheed, who has an aunt and uncle who live in Albuquerque, will compete this week in the USA Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Convention Center. He has set world indoor age-group records in the mile, and outdoor age-group records in the 800 meters, mile and 1,500 meters.
But, as a runner, he was a late bloomer. As a musician, he was not.
Word had gotten around Los Angeles about this hot young trumpeter, and the music director for Aretha Franklin gave him a shot to record with the “Queen of Soul.” It was his first major gig and it was with some of the best West Coast musicians. By 1974, at age 25, he was musical director for Marvin Gaye.
Shaheed has since played lead trumpet with the Count Basie Orchestra, for Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil Collins and Anita Baker. He has his own recording studio and just released a CD, “Lamentation From the Middle Passage.”
He says there are a couple of different ways a musician winds down.
“A lot of guys to relax by eating,” Shaheed says. “They get fat and lazy and happy. Some guys will smoke a joint and get happy. Me? I go out and do a nice 10-mile run.
“I’m singing, I’m thinking about music, composing music in my head.”
The only time he blocks the music is when he is in competition.
“When I’m competing,” Shaheed says, “the only thing on my mind is kicking butt. That’s the only thing. I’m not thinking about music, I’m not even thinking about my wife. I think about her 23 hours a day, but not when I’m competing.”
Shaheed, who occasionally sand-bagged his fellow musicians by challenging them to races, then taking their money, got serious about competing when he was in his 30s. He learned about the Masters track program and his interest skyrocketed.
The faster he ran, the happier he got.
Shaheed also has an unusual diet, although he hardly thinks of it that way.
He eats six meals a week – three a week in the summer. That’s one meal, or less, a day.
On a typical day, the 5-foot-9, 125-pound Shaheed will go on a 10- or 12-mile run. Afterward, at around 3 p.m., he will eat some fruit, then shower. He will wait a half-hour, then eat his meal – grains, vegetables, chicken or fish. The rest of the day, he drinks only water. On the seventh day, he fasts.
“If I eat too much,” he says, “I get hungry.”
He’s been on this diet for about 30 years. He first read about it in a magazine article.
“I started looking around, and our country is fat,” Shaheed says. “Everybody is consumed with weight. We don’t need three meals a day.”
In May, Shaheed will be the featured soloist at a tribute to Duke Ellington (someone else he has worked with) at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
But first he will perform in Albuquerque on the track. He is scheduled to run the 3,000 meters on Friday night, the mile (in which he regularly runs in sub-5 minutes) at 12:50 p.m. on Saturday and the 800 meters on Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
The last time Shaheed was in Albuquerque was 1978 when he came with the Count Basie Orchestra.
“Of all the people I worked with,” Shaheed says, “I loved Count Basie the most.”
As a studio musician, Shaheed never knows what the gig will be.
“They’ll call and say, ‘Be at CBS at 7:30 on Friday.’ You don’t know if it’s a cartoon or a movie, rock and roll, rhythm and blues or soul. All you know is you’re there. You run through it one time, then record. If you can’t cut it, they don’t call you back.”
Shaheed keeps getting the call. The music runs through his mind. His feet dance. He’s a happy warrior running.
MASTERS TO WATCH
Sullivan Award Finalist
â€¢ Philippa Raschker was a Sullivan Award finalist as America’s top athlete twice over the past six years — along with Apolo Ohno, LeBron James and Michael Phelps — and is the most decorated masters athlete in history. The W60 (minimum age of 60) competitor made news and raised eyebrows in late 2010 by posing nude in ESPN the Magazine’s second annual Body Issue. She’s entered here as F60 in seven events (60, 200, 60 hurdles, high jump, pole vault, long jump, triple jump).
â€¢ Albuquerque’s Patricia Porter, who was eighth in the high jump at the 1988 Seoul Olympics as Trish King. She’s scheduled in the W45 high jump (Saturday, 2:30 p.m.) and 60-meter hurdles.
â€¢ Chris Faulknor, a Jamaican Olympian in 1988 as the lead leg of the 400-meter relay team that finished fourth. He’s a youth and high school track coach in Gardena, Calif.
N.M. connections of note
â€¢ John Ashcraft (43), a former track and cross-country coach at Capitan High.
â€¢ Francoise Barnes (W60), women’s mile.
â€¢ Colleen Burns (W60) entered in the sprints (60, 200, 400) and the mile, is from near Albuquerque. She was at the National Senior Games in Palo Alto, Calif., two years ago in the 5- and 10K races.
â€¢ Dennis Diaz (54), a Las Cruces pastor and former New Mexico State weight thrower, will be a championship contender in the M50 shot put.
â€¢ Matthew Duncan (M60, Albuquerque), men’s mile.
â€¢ Paul Economides (M65) has lived in Albuquerque since 1978. He holds the American M65 weight pentathlon and discus records.
â€¢ Dan Holton (42) of Chicago won a state high school pole vault title at Eldorado in 1986 (“I think I might still hold the school record,” he says) and was All-Western Athletic Conference in the event at UNM.
â€¢ Jamie Koch (75), UNM regent and former legislator, is a shot putter and, in other venues, a competition weightlifter. He won world and European age-group titles in 2005.
â€¢ Linda Laktasic (W50) 800 meters, mile. All-American runner (at Macalester) and later a nationally competitive marathoner, qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials twice. Laktasic received an MBA from UNM in 1991.
â€¢ Teddy Mitchell (M35, 800 meters, mile, 3,000), Albuquerque resident, formerly ran for the University of Arkansas.
â€¢ David Salazar (M60, Cedar Crest) is entered in the 400, the 800 and the mile.
â€¢ Lisa Valle (W40) of Albuquerque is a masters record holder and champion in the 1,500 meters and steeplechase.
â€¢ Brad Winters (M55) is a M50 indoor pole vault national champion, an Albuquerque city councilman and a driving force in bringing the indoor track to Albuquerque.
Reigning outdoor world masters champions: 34
Reigning indoor world masters champions: 77
Oldest athletes: San Diego’s Leland McPhie, 96, competes in the jumps. Betty Jarvis of Aberdeen, N.C, , 95. holds 13 U.S. age-group records in the throws.