Sunday, July 6, 2008

Living it up in Eugene!

Dang, what a final day!

The races were great, especially the men's 1500. I watched the race right along the homestretch fence about 20 meters from the finish line. I won't spend too much time talking about running, just that I am happy for Lagat, Manzano, and Lomong. They are all very deserving!

When I had the time, I tried to get a bunch of pictures today. Some faces you might recognize are Bernard Lagat, Abdi, and Andrew Wheating. See the pictures.

I really need to start packing. We are leaving for the airport at 4 a.m. I loved Eugene and had a blast at the trials, but I am ready to get back home - Athens!

It was an awesome experience and I met so many cool people; I'm gonna make a list of everyone - crazy and not so crazy - when I'm sitting at the airport tomorrow and should have one culminating post sometime soon.

Side note: I just went to the Days Inn across the street and got a sign that is going to look great in the apartment next year! Don't worry Mom and Dad, I actually asked for it this time :)

Is race-walking really an Olympic sport?

The Italian restaurant - Bepe and Giannia's Tratolina - we ate at last night was really good. Bob and Ali, it's on 19th street just south of the track...make sure you check it out. They had some really good, authentic Italian. The ice cream place across the street was excellent as well.

I wouldn't call the sleep I got last night a good night's rest; it was more like a nap. Kempe and I were hanging out at Villards. The place was packed last night. Kempe introduced me to this girl who runs for Georgia, Natalie Pittchella, who was really cool to hang out with. We didn't get back until about 2:30. I was up at 6:15 to tape, of all things, the women's 20k racewalk.

That is an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Race and walk. I'll give them some credit, but not too much. The few fans that were there were cheering: "Go walkers!" What kind of race has fans that yell for walkers? Exactly. Worst part about it, it was really cold this morning. Low 50s with a brisk North wind. Having not been prepared for that kind of cold, I was a popsicle by the end of the race.

After breakfast, some of us made the trip to the Skinner's Butte lookout, located just north of Eugene (see pictures). It was a nice, clear day and the view of the city was awesome.

The last day of the meet starts soon. I can't wait for the 1500. My prediction is 1) Lagat 2) Gabe Jennings 3) Lomong. Look out for Manzano and Ohioian Rob Myers. Although I would like to see Alan Webb make the team, I just don't think it's gonna happen.

Off to Hayward!

Is race-walking really an Olympic sport?

The Italian restaurant - Bepe and Giannia's Tratolina - we ate at last night was really good. Bob and Ali, it's on 19th street just south of the track...make sure you check it out. They had some really good, authentic Italian. The ice cream place across the street was excellent as well.

I wouldn't call the sleep I got last night a good night's rest; it was more like a nap. Kempe and I were hanging out at Villards. The place was packed last night. Kempe introduced me to this girl who runs for Georgia, Natalie Pittchella, who was really cool to hang out with. We didn't get back until about 2:30. I was up at 6:15 to tape, of all things, the women's 20k racewalk.

That is an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. Race and walk. I'll give them some credit, but not too much. The few fans that were there were cheering: "Go walkers!" What kind of race has fans that yell for walkers? Exactly. Worst part about it, it was really cold this morning. Low 50s with a brisk North wind. Having not been prepared for that kind of cold, I was a popsicle by the end of the race.

After breakfast, some of us made the trip to the Skinner's Butte lookout, located just north of Eugene (see pictures). It was a nice, clear day and the view of the city was awesome.

The last day of the meet starts soon. I can't wait for the 1500. My prediction is 1) Lagat 2) Gabe Jennings 3) Lomong. Look out for Manzano and Ohioian Rob Myers. Although I would like to see Alan Webb make the team, I just don't think it's gonna happen.

Off to Hayward!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Penultima Night

It was a pretty mellow day at the track, especially after what happened to Tyson Gay this morning.

The crowd livened up for the final of the men's steeple. It was so cool to watch a race with so many people that I have raced against/know. Corey Nowitzke, Brian Olinger, Dan Huling, Jordan Desilettes, and Josh McAdams all made the finals. Fam, the bearded wonder, won the race pretty convincingly and could be a possible contender for a medal in Beijing.

After a cloudy beginning to the day, it's nice and sunny right now. I got in a good 10-miler after the meet was over this afternoon. I went back up to Hendrick's park and ran on some trails up there before finishing up over on Pre's trail. There are so many cool places to run out here that 10 miles goes by pretty quick.

Tonight's title also serves as the word of the day. Penultima. If you don't know what it means, look it up. If you do know what it means, or once you have looked it up, make it your goal to use it before the end of the weekend! That's my challenge.

We are leaving to go eat a nice Italian dinner.

Tyson Gay pulls up

I just got back from taping the quarterfinals of the 200 and the unthinkable just happened. Tyson Gay is out.

He was about 50 meters into his race when he took the dive. It was really weird how he fell, almost like he got his spikes caught in the track. Speculation in the pressbox was that he tore/pull his hamstring. They had to cart him off. The Olympics are a big question mark.

Not a good start to the morning.
I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July!

I also hope you saw better fireworks than we did. As far as fireworks displays go, the ones we saw weren't very good. But I guess it's about the atmosphere and setting more than anything. How many times do you watch fireworks and celebrate the 4th in the stands of Hayward Field?

There were some pretty awesome races last night. The weather was perfect and the runner's took advantage of it!

Abdi impressed in the 10k. Leading most of the way, he gave the lead up to Oregon's Galen Rupp with 3 laps to go, before passing him back with 500 to go and holding off the crowd favorite down the stretch. Abdi then celebrated by running over to the steeple pit and jumping in the water! That was pretty funny. As for Galen, what a race. The 22-year old phenom is going to own the 10k in four years. Big props to Jorge Torres too, who ran the race of his life to get third.

In the women's 5k, Kara Goucher came from behind in the last 100 to win. Goucher, Jen Rhines and Shalane Flanigan pulled away from the rest of the field about mid-way through the race. The three pushed the paced and it looked like Goucher was hurting, but she kept it close enough to give herself the chance to win. She ran a 63-second last lap. Wow! Side note, I was underneath the grandstands watching the women warm-up before the race. Let's just say that it was a good view :)

High school junior Jordan Hasay, from California, ran a new high school record in the 1500 - 4:14. She also qualified for the finals on Sunday. As she was taking her picture with the scoreboard, the fans started chanting "Come to Oregon." Is that some sort of NCAA recruiting violation? Probably not, but what an advantage haha!

After the fireworks, we ended up going to the Villard Street Pub again. The place was packed last night. 3 of the 6 distance running qualifiers from last night showed up. Abdi and Galen on the men's side. And Jen Rhines, along with Sara Slattery, were the women. They were taking pictures with people left and right. I almost felt bad for them because they didn't get a chance to just relax. Then again, I don't feel too bad for them because there are going to the Olympics.

Good to see that Zambrano is back pitching again for the Cubs. Good win yesterday Big Z!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Butte to Butte 4th of July 10k

Happy 4th of July everyone!

It was an entirely too early start this morning, especially after another late night Mexican run last night. As far as I'm aware of Burrito Boy treated everyone much better than Muchos Gracios did. The Burrito Boy passed the standardized test for most Mexican restaurants: Mexican music and the local Mexican people! Muchos Gracios had neither, which should have been the red flag.

I got up at 5:30 a.m. this morning to get things around and catch the bus to the start of the Butte to Butte 10k race. 7,000 people showed up this morning to compete in the country's largest 4th of July 10k race. Things went pretty well considering my training has been suspect the past 3 weeks or so. I ended up finishing 3rd overall, a couple seconds behind 2nd and quite a ways behind 1st. The winner was Brett Schoolmeister, who was a national caliber runner at Colorado a few years ago. The spoils of 3rd place are alright though: $200, a nice Butte to Butte pullover, a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the last item mentioned, other than they are already improving the smell of our room!

This race was kind of crazy in a way. It started off with a long climb up this huge hill for the first mile. I went through the mile in 5:31. The second mile was back down the other side of the hill and I went through the two-mile in 9:56 - so that was a brisk 4:25 second mile haha. The rest of the race was pretty flat and I felt pretty comfortable.

Afterwards I cooled down with the winner from Colorado. I also finally talked to Bridget Franek for a bit. She runs for Penn State and is originally from Ohio. I see her all the times at meets, but have never talked to her. Nice girl.

Funny story from last night's walk home from Burrito Boy. We see about 25 cops surrounding this house, which is actually a classroom building on campus, so we decide to park it across the street and take it all in. The cops suspect that the man inside has broke into the building. The four of us - Brad, Adam, Andrew and I - can see this man just chilling in this room; it looked like he was just watching tv or something. Then a few minutes go by and this lady who is a custodian came up behind us and identified the man as Dave Grace, a fellow custodian. The great thing is the cops have no clue that this guy is supposed to be in the building. He finally comes out of the building and the cops yell at him to show them his hands. The cops realize they goofed up big time and we could hear them apologizing to everyone with their walkie talkies. Talk about hilarious! Guess you had to be there :)

So excited for the distances races tonight! Men's 10k, Women's 5k and semi heats of the men's and women's 1500.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Meet resumes

The meet will be starting back up in about 2 hours. I'm excited for some of tonight's races because I personally know - some better than others - about six guys who will be running. Two of the guys are in the 1500 - Jeff See and Rob Meyers - and four are in the steeple chase - Corey Nowitzke, Jordan Desillets, Brian Olinger and Dan Huling. Both of the races are qualifying events.

We drove to some outlet shops about an hour north of Eugene this morning. I used some of my per diem money at the Nike and Ralph Lauren Polo stores; thank you USATF!

I took Andrew on a little run up to Pre's rock. We timed it perfectly because Nike was taking some of their employees up there to listen to one of Pre's old teammates, an 800 runner whose name was Steve, talk in general about Pre and then also his death. So we stood in the back and listened. It's hard to imagine someone could die on this road because it is all completely residential.

I just got back from the rec center, where I finally found something I could beat Lindsey at - basketball. I was able to win a few games of horse against her, but she's got a pretty good shot.

The meet starts back up in a few hours. Time for a quick shower and then it's off to Hayward for the night!

White-Water rafting and another strange encounter

Today was rest day #2 - the meet starts back up tomorrow. For the third straight day, I made my way over to the Original Pancake House (see pictures) for some breakfast. I ordered myself the 2x4 - 2 eggs and 4 pancakes - and a waffle. The food was great, but the nap after breakfast was even better!

The group decided to go white-water rafting today. We missed the company's van shuttle, so we had to meet them out there by way of Eugene's public transportation bus. I've ridden on buses and subway cars in cities like Chicago and New York, and of course you see some odd turkeys, but I call say with absolutely certainty that the people who ride the buses in Eugene are in a whole different league!

Take for example our encounter with Terry. I've affectionately dubbed Terry the Pride of Oregon. He was undoubtedly strung out on something, but was still able to enlighten us about our upcoming rafting trip. Terry had trouble remembering anything we told him, possibly because he was drinking Vodka from a Aquafina bottle. He lives on the river, in a mansion according to him, and knows the river, as he put it, like "the back of my hand."

As for the rafting trip, it was my first time and it was fun! The water was crystal clear and the views of the green hills in Oregon were amazing. Nothing prepared me for the first time we got wet though; the water temperature was 49-degrees! Our group was split up onto two separate rafts, and naturally we had to have a water fight. Not a smart decision. I was pretty much a frozen ice cube by the end of the trip. No one from our boat fell in, unwillingly at least.

I met up with Kempe and his dad's friends at the house where they are staying. We had a little cookout and they let me mooch a couple of burgers off of them. So thanks Bob, Alvin, Delvin, and Jeff; I told you I could remember their names! One of the guys, Bob, ran at Bowling Green and had an original letter written to him from Steve Prefontaine. After Pre died, he and his friends made shirts to help raise money for his memorial fund and to show their appreciation, Pre's parents sent him 3 photos, all of which were taking of Steve the night of his final race and what would ultimately become his final night alive.

After dinner, we all headed back to the Villard Street Pub. Nick Symmonds, the 800 meter champion, came in and sat out on the patio right behind us with some friends, including Christian Smith, who finished 3rd in that race and will also be running in Beijing. I really wanted to get a picture with those two guys, but didn't feel like bothering them. A lot of coaches and athletes were in attendance tonight.

In closing, I want to tell everyone who has e-mailed me that I appreciate you keeping up with everything and that I will find time to respond back to each and every one of you!

Keep reading!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A day of networking

Andrew, Aaron, and I went to the USATF coach's clinic yesterday. We got in free because the guys in charge of HPC - Dr. Mike Young, Dr. Will Wu, and Dr. Jared Porter - were giving presentations. I went to the distance running sessions and listened to: Terrence Mahon, coach of marathon medal hopefuls Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor; Jerry Schummacher, legendary distance coach at Wisconsin; Julie Heiner, women's coach at Georgetown; and Pat Tyson, the winner of 20 consecutive Washington state high school championships.

They all offered great insight into coaching distance runners. I got a chance to talk to Pat Tyson a little more. Tyson, who was roommates with Prefontaine when they were in school at Oregon, was the one who showed me around Kentucky's campus when I was considering transferring after all of the cuts. He left UK for a job with Nike out here in Oregon. He remembered me and we talked about how things worked out for both of us. He's a great guy!

I got in a quick workout when we got back. Did some 800s and some 20 sec. pickups mixed into a 12-mile run. I am gonna run this 10k road race on Friday.

After I got cleaned up, I met up with my good friend, Justin Kempe. He was the GA at OU while during my freshman and sophomore years. We went to track town pizza for a while and then we met up with some other coaches at the Villard Street Pub. He introduced me to the Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt coaches, but the highlight was talking with John Hayes, the coach of Lopez Lomong. Coach Hayes spilled the beans on everything Lopez - it sounds like he is in amazing shape, I'd look out for him in the 1500 - and gave Kempe and I the lowdown on coaching at the collegiate level.

Everyone cleared out around midnight, but Kempe and I stayed around until 1:30. We had a great talk!

I'm going for a little morning run over at Pre's Trail.

Everyone cleared

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rest Day

The meet is on hold for the next two days. I'm leaving to go to a coach's clinic in 10 minutes. More details to come later.

Good to see the Cubs are back in the win column after getting swept by the White Sox this past weekend!

Lagat wins 5k and Oregon crew sweeps the 800

It was an electric atmosphere at Hayward tonight. The lure of some great distance races brought in a record crowd of 20,949 and packed the live tv area just across the street. The weather was perfect tonight, as it finally cooled off a bit and the wind was non-existent.

The 800 was probably the most exciting race of the night, with Oregon Track Club athlete Nick Symmonds taking the win in an impressive time of 1:44.10. Finishing second was Oregon sophomore Andrew Wheating, who this time one year ago was running in the low 1:5o's for the 800, and third was another Oregon Track Club runner. I know I have been saying how loud the crowd has been in some of my previous posts, but trust me, this was the loudest I have heard it since the start of the meet. Both Symmonds and Wheating looked to be completely out of the race after the first lap, but feeding off the crowd, they made their moves coming off the final turn and really hammered home the last 50 meters.

Mixed in between the 800 was a few prelim heats of the women's steeple and 5k. Those were good races. No huge surprises. The finals will be very competitive.

The night was capped off with a thrilling battle in the 5k. There was a pack of 5 runners, for 3 Olympic team spots, with three laps to go. Solinsky, a former Wisconsin runner, took the lead and dropped the pace to a blistering 58-second quarter. The pack was unfazed and continued the torrid pace, until finally Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegankamp, and Ian Dobson separated down the final homestretch. They ran the last mile in 4:03!

I am closing tonight's post with an announcement: There will be a guest contributor in the coming days. The person's name shall remain anonymous for now, but I promise it will be worth your read.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Great Monday Morning

The good times keep on rolling.

I got up this morning and knocked out a 15-mile long run. A lot happened on this run:

I ran to Hendrick's Park, which is up on this hill that overlooks campus and has a bunch of trails. The park is full of these huge 100-200 foot Pine trees and the entire run is completely shaded.

Once I finished up running in the park, I took the roads to Pre's rock - the place where Oregon distance legend Steve Prefontaine died. They have a little memorial set up there.

My run continued on towards South Eugene High School, where I picked up another wood-chipped trail - The Amazon Trail. On the trail I ran into one of America's youngest, brightest distance stars, Dathan Ritzenhien. He finished second in the US Olympic Marathon Trials this past November and will be running the marathon in Beijing. We ran together for 2 or 3 miles and talked about tonight's 5k, as well as his upcoming races. He even gave me some advice for my upcoming half-marathon debut in August.

Big night of races tonight - a distance running fan's dream night. Finals of the men's 5k and men's and women's 800, as well as prelims in the women's 5k and steeple.

Off to the Original Pancake House for some waffles and french toast!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

9.68!!!!!!! and Andrew takes his try at the triple jump!

What a day! Tyson Gay put on a show today. Removing most of the doubt as to who will be the favorite come six weeks in Beijing, Gay ran what would have been a HUGE world record time of 9.68 (current WR is 9.72) had it not been for a tailwind of 4.1 - the legal limit is 2.0. That being said, it was the fastest time ever run for the 100 meters under any conditions and I believe he is the first person to run under 9.70. I was taping the race at the top of the grandstands and when Gay crossed the finish line, I think the roar of the crowd could have been heard back in Ohio. It was one of those "goosebumps" moments. Aaron, Ashley and I got along the fence during his victory lap and got some pictures and an autograph (see pictures).

The day didn't end after the track meet though. I'm not sure how we got on the topic, but walking back from dinner Andrew decided he wanted to try out the triple jump. I took the liberty of outfitting our newest HPC athlete (see pictures) and then we made our way over to the volleyball court behind the dorm we're in.

After a few trial runs, Andrew got the hang of it and along the way he drew a crowd. We were even able to track down a meet marshall, whose speciality just so happened to be the jumps. Marshall Bob Knoll, from Kentucky, taught Andrew a few technical things and the jumps continued. The last jump was the best. There was about 100 kids walking by, so Andrew decided to engage the crowd a little. We got them to participate in the "track clap" and the rest is history.

I was able to squeeze in my first workout after the meet today. Did an 12-mile progressive run on the bike path along the river. Ate dinner downtown, across the street from the "Duck" bookstore, but I forget the sports bar's name.

We are down in the lobby watching Prefontaine right now, which is kind of touristy considering we are watching the movie right across the street from Hayward. But you know what, I love it! Have a good one.

New American Record in the 100 meter!!!

There was only time for one post yesterday because I was too busy getting my butt kicked in ping pong by Lindsey. I told her by the end of the week I would beat her, but I'm not sure if that is going to happen haha.

The meet finished up pretty early yesterday - before 6 p.m. We ate dinner at a pretty nice grill, The Boulevard Grill, down the road. Other patrons of the restaurant included Matt Tegankamp, Chris Solinsky, as well as the other Wisconsin crew, and NCAA 800 meter champion from Texas, Jacob Hernandez. On the walk back a ran into an Oregon student - John Andrews - who was shooting some hoops, so I stopped for a while to work on the shot.

Anyway, undoubtedly the highlight of the day yesterday was Tyson Gay's new American Record (9.77) in the 100 meters. However, Gay was very fortunate to even be in the quarterfinals because in the opening round he eased off the pace too early, which resulted in some very tense moments immediately after the race as everyone waited for results. He would end up finishing 4th in his heat and advancing - top 4 advance - but had he not moved on, that would have gone down as one of the most boneheading moves in track and field history! Someone must have said something to him after the first heat because there was no letting up in his quarterfinal race.

There was a huge wreck just after the 200 mark of the 2nd 800 semifinal heat. Four of the eight girls went down hard, including Western Michigan's Becky Horn. The separation caused by the fall pretty much assured that the girls who didn't fall would be advancing to finals. However, the USATF decided after the race to advance all 8 girls from that heat, which will set up a 12-women final in the 800. I'll be surprised if there isn't another fall tomorrow.

Adam didn't really move from the bed all day yesterday, but he is up and moving around this morning. Hopefully that means he'll be good to go today! Note to everyone reading this, if you come to Eugene DO NOT eat at Muchos Gracios.

The meet starts, and ends, early today. We have our morning meeting at 9, so I need to get ready. Check out NBC today for race coverage.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Mexican takes its toll on Adam!

Good morning! It's gonna be a hot one hear in Eugene today. They are calling for near record highs of around 90. Of course, when you are from the Midwest, 90 and dry heat doesn't seem so bad haha.

My post last night stated that Mexican food is always a big question mark. The answer to that question was not good for my roommate Adam. He puked in our room's garbage can this morning! Those enchiladas got him haha.

I got up and did an easy AM run on the paths this morning. Ran into the Ohio State guys - Brian Olinger, Rob Meyers, Jeff See, and Dan Huling - near the end of my run and chatted with them for a while. They all start racing on Thursday.

I'm heading off to our morning meeting. It'll be kind of a slow day at the track today. Things I'm looking forward to: 800 semifinals and finishing up the heptathalon.

Nightcap at Hayward

WOW! It's hard to put into words everything that went on tonight, so I think the best way to recap is to make a top 10 list - I ranked them from 10 (best) to 1 (bestest!). Here goes nothing...

10) Marshavet Hooker runs 4th fastest 100 meter time ever. 10.74 for Hooker was the fourth fastest 100 time ever recorded, under any conditions. The wind was too strong at her back for it to be any kind of record, but it was still an impressive display. On a side note, Alyson Felix is better looking in person than she is on tv - and she is pretty good looking on tv.

9) Fighter plane flyover and opening ceremonies. Eugene has proven to me they know how to do this Olympic Trial thing right. After the opening ceremonies, in which all the members of the 1980 US team were recognized, two fighter planes zoomed right over the West grandstands!

8) Adam Nelson comes up large in the shot put - figuratively and literally. It was one and done for Nelson, who put the shot 69-feet, which was an automatic qualifying throw to the finals. Nelson, along with the other men shot putters, is huge. I like the shot, but there is too much yelling, screaming and overall bigness for me to handle.

7) FREE FOOD. A great many Kit kats, Reeses, and one of my all-time favorites, Dream Pop Ice Cream bars were consumed today - and all of it was free of charge. I better make sure to brush my teeth more than once a day occasionally this weekend, because a lot of junk food will be eaten.

6) 20,964 and 6,672. It was a record setting day at Hayward as far as attendance goes. More than 20,000 fans witnessed the best track and field that the US has to offer and 6,000 more decided to just come down to the track area and hang out (see pictures of the festival).

5) High school sophomore runs 2:04 800. Laura Roesler impressed the crowd, and me, by recording an unbelievably fast time in the 800 prelims and showing the maturity of a veteran runner. She qualified for the semis, so we'll get to see her run tomorrow afternoon.

4) The crowd. I'm still in shock about not only the number of people that showed up today, but also the track intellect of the crowd. They always know when to cheer, and boy do they cheer when one of their own - either U of O runner or Oregon Track Club runner - speeds to the front of the pack. Hayward was full of electricity today.

3) Meeting Mikey, the pride of Eugene. Not a whole lot of good comes from eating Mexican in the first place. Eating cheap Mexican late at night is even worse. However, making the trip to Muchos Gracios was well worth it because I got to meet Eugene's finest: Mikey! (see picture).

2) 5,000 meter prelims. Galen got the win in the 2nd heat by outkicking the other qualifiers. Many question his homestretch celebration, but when 20,000 people explode into a roar for you when you go to pass, the celebration might just be warranted - it's the home crowd. Lagat, Tegankamp, Solinsky and others all looked good. What an unbelievable experience to get to watch the 5,000 from the infield of Hayward.

1) Flanagan wins women's 10,000 and Begley hits "A" standard. Shalane Flanagan used a blistering last lap (65 seconds) to pull away from the always attractive Kara Goucher. Equally as impressive as Flanagan's win was Amy Begley's 3rd place finishing time of 31:43, two seconds under the Olympic "A" qualifying standard, meaning she will be competing for the US in Beijing. The crowd was huge in helping her pull through in that final lap (67 seconds).

Check out the pictures and feel free to make a few comments! Day 2 is over. Off to bed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Mid-Day report - Day 2

The US Track and Field Oylmpic Trials have are underway! I'm currently on a short dinner break, but I have been filming the women's heptathalon events. 3 events are in the books - 100 hurdles, High Jump, and Shot Put. There are a couple of Ohio girls competing. 1 went to school at Cincinnati (Wilhelm) and the other goes to school at Indiana, but went to high school in the little farm town of Columbus Grove, Ohio.

Props go out to the women in these events! All I have done today is sit there and tape the events and I'm exhausted (and sunburnt), so I can't imagine what they are feeling like...and they still have the 200 meters to come in an hour.

Opening ceremonies are about to get started so I'm heading back over to the track.

Interesting fact of the day so far: We have set up our station underneath the West Grandstands at Hayward. The reason this is interesting is that they have a track facility - 8 surfaced 100 meter lanes - for warmups under the grandstands!

Olympic Trials Prep.

After finally getting some sleep, I'm rested and ready to go. I got up this morning and went for a nice easy 5 miler. I found a few bike paths along the Willamette River and those led me to Pre's trail, which is an awesome wood chip trail!

On the first floor of the building we are staying at they have an area with free food, drinks, big screen tv's and, the best of all, a Wii. I'm sure that will be a very popular hangout spot for our group during our down time.

After breakfast, I wondered out the back door to explore the setup at the track. Trying to get into the area is going to be hassle, because the security surrounding the event is unreal - I'm pretty sure we saw the snipers setting up shop on top of our building this morning! After going through the extensive security checkpoint - it's just like at the airport - Aaron and I got into the heavily guarded track area. We walked around the festival area. What a great setup they have. A ton of vendors, including a Nike retail store.

After going through yet another security checkpoint, I got my first look at famed Hayward Field. What a sight! Can't wait for all the action to get underway. I was telling my roommate for the week, Adam, that there is a certain vibe, energy surrounding Eugene right now. Everyone is excited to get this thing started!

I'm heading off to one final meeting and then it's to the track to tape some events for the women's heptathlon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Oregon Trail

Let me first start by saying this whole blogging idea is a result of a suggestion courtesy Ali Wayner - some of you might recognize her pre-marital name, Ali Green. I am going to try to submit a few posts each day and if you hang with me as I try to learn how the heck this whole hting works, I'll attempt to get some pictures up too.

Anyway, you would think that 200 years after the first settlers blazed the path that we now affectionately call "the Oregon Trail," the trip westward would be considerably easier. Having been up for 24 straight hours now and having to deal with the craziness that comes with today's airline travels, I'm starting to think maybe Lewis and Clark chose the right mode of transportation: the wagon!

My journey to Eugene began this morning, after a 3-hour nap last night, when I left Athens at 5:00 a.m. (ET). After a few short stops along the way - The Houch's house (thanks The Houch for letting me park my car at your house) and Phoenix (my layover destination) - I arrived in Portland, Oregon shortly before 4:00 p.m. (ET). I know that I'm still considered young and the long flights should not physically bother me, but my knees do not handle cross-country flights very well! Running does take its toll on the body, believe it or not. Once I met up with the rest of our group at the Portland Airport, we proceeded to wait 3 more hours for our rental cars.

The drive from Portland to Eugene was a little longer than I expected, but it's a beautiful drive. Portland looks to be a great city and the view of Mount Hood off in the distance is amazing! We finally made it in to Eugene around 7:00 p.m. (PT). Having only eaten a pop tart and two jr. cheeseburgers, courtesy Wendy's, all day I was hungry - to say the least. The HPC gang - that is our group - decided to make a dinner stop at Track Town Pizza. The place is pretty self-explanatory...they serve pizza in a hut adorned with Oregon Track memorabilia. Pretty cool, I must say.

Finally, around 9:00 p.m. (PT), we managed to check into the place we are staying, which by the way is a stones-throw out my bedroom window from Hayward Field. I had just enough time to toss my stuff in my room, switch into my running shorts and take a quick 9 mile tour of the campus and town before it got too late!

I've been up entirely too long. I'm going to get some sleep. Tomorrow is the first day of the 2008 Track and Field Olympic Trials. Looking forward to two races: men's 5,000 meter semi-finals and women's 10,000 meter finals!

I'll make sure to make a few more posts tomorrow. They'll be shorter - I promise! Pictures are on their way.