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Focus & Go – Lincoln Marathon Profiles: Steve



Steve has been a pastor in Lincoln for the past nine years. In addition to having ministered at UNL, he is currently a pastor at Grace Chapel. Steve has been married for 14 years to Jen, and they have three children. Jen is also a runner and will be running the half-marathon. They enjoy running together when they can.

1. How long have you been running?
I’ve been running since high school, however most of my running was through sports that only required short distances. I vowed to never run again until a friend was looking for a running partner in grad school. I’m not sure how my friend coaxed me into it, but somehow he convinced me to come out and run in the park with him. That first run was 5.5 miles, and it was horrible. But my friend was such a great influence that I tried again and started to get hooked. I blame a great friendship. We could talk, think and enjoy the park and the miles started increasing. I signed up for the Chicago Marathon and then focused on training.

2. Is this your first marathon?
This is not my first. I’ve done the Chicago Marathon twice and I trained for the MarineCorps Marathon but got a fracture at the very last minute.

3. What has your training been like?
This time around, it’s been pretty good. With my wife training for the half, it’s been very nice to be able to support each other. Running is such a time commitment to train, so having a partner that supports you is incredibly important. I feel strong, but I definitely notice the difference in how my body feels this time around. My short runs are good to work on time but my body definitely feels older.


4. What do you run for? What motivates you?
On the surface, I need a goal to be able to become healthy. If I don’t have monetary investment or a goal it’s hard to just exercise.

A deeper motivation is my nine-year old daughter Amelia. She was diagnosed with cancer when she was a baby and had many complications with the chemotherapy. She developed meningitis and experienced brain trauma. She now suffers limited mobility and is in a wheelchair. She can’t walk or run or dance. There are lots of things she can do, but there are limitations. I watch her struggle through the day with her physical limitations and I keep that in mind when I run. She tests her limits every day. I think about that when I’m hitting the 17th or 18th mile about how I’m just scratching the surface of what she has to experience on a daily basis. It encourages me to push myself even further.

5. Do you have a running mantra?
My running mantra is “Mind over Matter.” It’s what I see every day in Amelia, how she hangs in there. It’s amazing to see what can happen. “Mind over Matter” originally came to me as part of our wrestling practices in high school. Our coach would push us during practice and then have us run at the end. Encouraging us to use our minds to convince our bodies to do more.

6. What gear is important to you when running a marathon?
Moisture wicking clothes are very important. The sun can be very bright and changes throughout the marathon, so having a good pair of SMITH sunglasses is very important so you can keep your mind on your race. Great socks and of course, a great pair of shoes are super important too.

7. Favorite running songs on your playlist?
I do not run to any recorded music, but when I get to around Mile 20, I sing songs in my head to alleviate the loneliness. “Eye of the Tiger” is one that I hear in my head. Also my friend, Hannah Huston is on the Voice, so “House of the Rising Sun” has been running through my head a lot lately.

8. Why do you love the Lincoln Marathon?
What I love about the Lincoln Marathon is the same thing that I love about Nebraska. Nebraska is a loyal place which can sometimes be hard to understand to outsiders. People come out. They cheer you on. We have a great crowd that wants to be about something bigger than themselves, and the marathon is glimpse of that. Nebraskans like to rally around something that is outside of ourselves. Here, you have communal support.

Focus & Go – Lincoln Marathon Profiles: Garrett


Garrett Laughing Web

Garrett has been a clinic tech at EyeCare Specialties for the past three years. As a clinic tech, he assists the patient through all of the preoperative procedures and performs all diagnostic testing before the doctor sees the patient. He loves working with patients and helping them achieve a higher quality of life through enhanced vision.

1. How long have you been running?I was an active athlete back in high school, but never a runner. I started running in college to keep some pounds off and found a passion in stretching distance and time. I have now started running for pace and find pace to be a huge motivator.

2. Is this your first marathon?
Yes. I am running the half-marathon for the very first time. I found my motivation has encouraged me to register for my second later in the year.

3. What has your training been like?
I try to run 3-4 days a week, depending on the weather, getting my longer runs in during the nicer weather. On my short runs I’ve been running with a strong emphasis on time and intensity.  I’ve been training on my own, trusting and feeling where I’m at and where I need to be and knowing that race day will bring extra adrenaline.

Garrett Running

4. What do you run for? What motivates you?
Self-assurance; knowing I can set a goal and strive to reach it. This has been a true test to stay the course and complete what I have set out to reach.

5. Do you have a running mantra?
It’s my mantra for life, really:  “Focus and Go” No matter what you do in life, just put your mind to something and go for it. (*We we so inspired by Garrett’s mantra, we decided to use it as the title of this series.)

6. What gear is important to you when running a half-marathon?
Shoes. Shoes have been my greatest asset. My SMITH sunwear is important for keeping my eyes protected, and my smart watch has been so crucial for keeping pace.

7. Favorite running songs on your playlist?
1. Light it Up by Major Lazer
2. The Fire by The Roots
3. Any upbeat country

8. What are you excited about running this particular half-marathon?
Looking forward to the support crowd. I’ve heard Lincoln brings a great atmosphere, and knowing my parents and friends will be in the crowd motivates me that much more.

Focus & Go – Lincoln Marathon Profiles: Nikki



Nikki is a Lincoln radio personality and mother of a toddler with another on the way. She found out she was pregnant after registering for the Lincoln Half- Marathon but is determined not to let that stop her. She made some adjustments to her training and is looking forward to completing the challenge.

1. How long have you been running?
I started running when I was 16 and hated it. I started because I had a good friend in a small town who was in cross country so I offered to help her train because no one else was available. I finally discovered I loved it in college, because I found it a release instead of something I was forced to do. A mental and physical release. I could get out from studying, get out of work and be free for a while.

2. Is this your first half-marathon?
I am running the half-marathon this time. This is not my first half or full. My first half-marathon was the weekend I moved to Lincoln in 2010. I’ve tried to run in every Lincoln Marathon in some capacity, except for when I was pregnant the first time. I have also taken a turn as a pacer, helping other people maintain their paces which is something I really enjoy. One of my favorite things to do is help other people run.

3. What has training been like?
This time around training has been hard. Training had been going really well until Christmas and then a month after that I found out I was pregnant again. I decided that I was still going to run this half-marathon, but do it differently. I still plan on finishing but I won’t be working for a PR this time around, maybe a PG PR.

I am currently training with a group of mom runners, usually early mornings and weekends. I am also training in the gym since I’m not logging as many miles.












4. What motivates you?
The challenge motivates me. I like listening to my body and knowing what it can handle. And music, music always motivates me.

5. What are your favorite running songs on your playlist?
The Atari’s “Boys of Summer”
Breaking Benjamin “Diary of Jane”
Gossip’s “Heavy Cross”

6. What is your running mantra?
I actually have two. The first one: someone else wrote it, but it’s really “Run your own race.” I think it’s a great mantra for running and also for life. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Focus on what you’re doing and what you do well, and you’ll get along fine.

I also like Oiselle’s slogan, “Head up, wings out.” It makes me think about being light and flying.

7. What do you consider essential gear?
A good set of wireless headphones, a good armband, a hat or my SMITH sunglasses, and a good sports bra. And you know, decent shoes.

8. Why do you love the Lincoln Marathon?
I love the Lincoln atmosphere. There’s no shortage of spectators and encouragement. I love the people who get up early and endlessly cheer runners on, even when they don’t know you. Support from strangers is incredibly motivating especially when you’re at the point when you think you can’t reach your goal. Lincoln is amazing for the support. I can’t say enough.

LipiFlow®: Relief from Dry Eyes

Dr. Brightman
by Dr. Brightman


dry eyes eye only-2If you find yourself suffering from eye dryness, sensitivity to light, or discomfort in windy or dry conditions, you may be suffering from a condition called Evaporative Dry Eye Disease. It can cause discomfort and really make it difficult to enjoy everyday tasks.

There are several different types of Dry Eye Disease. With Evaporative Dry Eye Disease, the eyes do not produce the right kind of tears. In healthy eyes, tears are made up of three layers: an aqueous (water) layer, a mucin (mucus) layer and a lipid (oil) layer. With Evaporative Dry Eye Disease, the mixture of tears is deficient in the lipid layer.

LipiFlow is a thermal pulsation system that helps treat the Meibomian glands, the part of the eye that makes the lipid layer of your tears. LipiFlow massages the Meibomian glands and encourages them to produce the right amount of oil. The treatment only takes about 12 minutes and can be done in our office. Many people compare LipiFlow to going to the spa.

To find out more about LipiFlow, check out our Videos page or the LipiFlow page.

If you are suffering from dry, red, irritated eyes, talk to your optometrist about what treatment options would work best for you.

Meet the Frame Expert: Jenefer

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

Jenefer_Instagram-2An EyeCare Specialties team member for over six years, Jenefer’s background in the retail environment helped her discover a love of helping people find exactly what they need.

One of the most things she enjoys most about her job is interacting with people and helping them find that perfect pair of glasses. Suggesting the right pair includes considering the patient’s lifestyle and budget along with their prescription needs.

In her spare time, Jenefer likes to be on the go with her two kids – Kasyn, 4 and Kandace, 13. They like to hang out and spend time outdoors with family and friends. She looks forward to the next big season of NU football and NFL games.

Meet Vision Therapy Grad: Emma

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

CVD grads_Emma-TW

Emma found herself struggling in both school and play. She would have difficulty maintaining her balance and riding her bike. She also would become very frustrated with reading and math in school. She says, “I did not write my spaces correctly and I got headaches when I would read, write or do school. I couldn’t see things right.”

Emma’s mom talks about how her daughter would become frustrated in school, “She often told me that her eyes were ‘playing tricks on her’.” Emma’s optometrist recommended Vision Therapy, and Emma quickly saw success.

A recent graduate of the program, Emma is excited to be hitting the trails this spring, “Now I love to read and ride my bike. I put in spaces, and I don’t get headaches anymore. Thank you Erin. Thank you Dr. Smith.”

Find out more about our Center for Vision Development and the Vision Therapy program.

Meet Vision Therapy Grad: Bryce

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Bryce’s mother Mindi is an EyeCare Specialties team member, so she already knew how beneficial Vision Therapy could be for people with vision disorders. When her 11 year old daughter Bryce started to experience problems in school, she decided to have her daughter’s vision tested to see if there was an underlying vision problem.

After just six months of working with her vision therapist Tess, Mindi is so proud of Bryce’s graduation from the program, “I have seen great improvement in her grades at school. Her memory and comprehension are so much better. She doesn’t get frustrated and she’s not so clumsy. I can’t thank Tess enough for everything she’s done for Bryce and leading her in the right direction.”

Find out more information on our Vision Therapy program.

Bryce and I

Infants and Eye Exams

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Monitoring your child’s eye health is important because there are several conditions that, when discovered early, can be treated to make sure your child enjoys their best vision for the rest of their life. It is even important for expectant moms to receive proper prenatal care and nutrition in order for the child’s eyes to develop optimally.

Morrissey Video

Babies begin to see shortly after birth, with the first images usually mom’s face while nursing. Babies tend to be interested in high contrast stimuli and motion so it’s important to include items with bright colors and complex shapes in the nursery. Having a nightlight will also help provide visual stimulation when the baby is awake in bed.

Younger infants up to two months of age may not have eyes that track together and this is completely normal. The eyes are still learning how to work together. Helping stimulate both sides of your child’s body and allowing him some supervised tummy time will help stimulate visual development. Also make sure to talk to your baby while you move about the room. He will want to follow the sound and tracking you with his eyes is great exercise.

At six months of age, we recommend your child’s first visit to his optometrist. Babies do not have to know letters or shapes in order for your eye doctor to test visual acuity. Your doctor is able to test your baby for extreme near/far sightedness and will be able to see how well your baby’s eye are able to track together. Overall eye health can be checked as well.

If all is well at your child’s first exam, your eye doctor will recommend a next exam at three years of age. There are several conditions such as amblyopia that can be treated more successfully the earlier they are discovered.

The optometrists at EyeCare Specialties are providers of InfantSEE, a public health program that ensures no-cost visual screenings for babies six months of age. If a problem is discovered at the screening, our doctors would recommend a complete exam.
For more information on this program:

Meet the Vision Therapy Grad: Jordyn

Dr. Rachel Smith
by Dr. Rachel Smith

Jordyn started Vision Therapy treatment after struggling in school. Once she began coming to therapy and working with her Vision Therapist Erin, Jordyn’s grades began improving and she began to actually enjoy reading.

Jordyn and her mother really noticed a difference at an Easter Egg Hunt this past spring. At first, Jordyn didn’t want to participate because she was used to having a difficult time finding eggs. But because of all of the hard work she had been doing on her visual skills during Vision Therapy, she decided to give it a try. She was amazed at being able to find so many eggs and really felt a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Her mother Tara appreciates Jordyn’s new self esteem and confidence, “Now she likes to read and is doing so much better at school. Thank you Dr. Smith and Erin.”

Find out more about our Vision Therapy Program.

CVD grad_Jordyn-2

Meet the Frame Expert: Shannon

Justin Hoatson
by Justin Hoatson

shannon_yeackleyShannon is an ABO certified optician and loves working with people. She believes considering the whole picture and that blending eyewear fit, prescription, lifestyle and personal style are important to making the patient happy.

She enjoys getting as much knowledge as she can about the large selection of frame brands, fits, color options and styles that EyeCare Specialties can provide for their patients.

After eight years with ECS, she’s also made some great connections with her fellow team members and the ECS optometrists, “They are the best!”

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