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.