Saturday, June 2, 2012

Prefontaine Classic 2012

Some thoughts about the meet:

Here's my reaction to the first televised event, the men's 400m.

Current World Champion Kirani James jumped the gun and was red-carded. TV had just gone international, and the first thing the world sees is a red card and a race under protest.

Does anyone out there hate the false start rule as much as I do? One mistake and months/years of work gone. If Usain Bolt DQ's in London, there will be a riot among the fans.

Two options:
  • Change the rule back to a DQ on the second jump
  • Assess a time penalty of 0.10-0.15 seconds for the 100, and more for the 200
The brass talk at length about improving the stature of T&F among spectators. Sending the marquee stars to an early shower is not the way to do it.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program....

Clearly, my 9-year-old needs to work on framing her shots.

As I was saying....

Alan Webb is done, finished. I really hope I'm wrong about this, but I don't think I am. Most of the field went past him in the last turn of Friday’s mile. He hasn’t run well in years, possibly due to lack of continuity in training, coaches, etc… Sad to see, especially remembering him light up Hayward Field as a HS senior with a ridiculous 3:53 mile. And he set the American record in 2007 with a 3:46, a time he hasn't been anywhere close to in recent years.

Alysia Montano looked great in the 800, but splits of 55/62? Somewhere in Tennessee, Dave Wottle is shaking his head…

(Translation: Dave Wottle won the 1972 Olympic 800 with dead-even splits of 53/53, even though he was a mile and a half behind the field after a half lap. Dave is the guy who always ran with a golf cap, the same one that he ceremoniously forgot to remove while the National Anthem played in his honor. He was forever after known by the best nickname ever: The Cat in the Hat).

Justin Gatlin looks good, he’s dropped some weight. Very chiseled. Good time considering the conditions. Walter Dix still looks heavy to me.

Liu Xiang destroyed the high hurdles field (again), and tied the WR with a wisp of wind barely above the limit. No more achilles problems! David Oliver needs answers, and quick. Meanwhile, Dayron Robles needs to fire his manager: a last minute no-show due to lack of traveling papers? You're kidding me, right?

Or was he ducking?

Mo Farah rolled again in the 5000m, with Galen sneaking under 13 in 3rd. Bekele was 4th or 5th, wasn’t in contention in the final 800: I thought he was supposed to be back on form.

In the Bowerman Mile, Lagat and Wheating trotted home at the back of the field. Not too worried about AW; in 2010, he was sick for the early season, then did his NCAA double and tore up the European tracks. I think he’ll be able to contend by late July. Today he ran the slowest-looking 3:56 I’ve ever seen! And a total of 28 runners in 2 races under 4:00.

Almost forgot the highlight of the meet; an appearance by Mr. Steve Ovett, 'his blue eyes like chips of ice.' After saying a few words, he trotted off the track with the same stride I remember from his glory years. My hope for the summer is that Lord Coe enlists Mr. Ovett to run the torch into the stadium before handing off to Sir Roger for the lighting.

(translation: in my formative years, Steve Ovett was one of the monsters of track, just a scary good competitor. He went 3 years without losing a 1500m or mile race. And he's the answer to a trivia question; namely, who was the first athlete to win an Olympic Gold Medal while wearing Nike shoes? Steve Ovett, 1980 Olympic 800m....Lord Coe = Sebastian Coe, Ovett's chief rival on the track, and Coe is the Boss Organizer of the London Olympic Games...Sir Roger = Dr. Roger Bannister, first man to break 4 minutes for the mile back in 1954; he did that while running about 45 minutes per day on his lunch break from medical school!!!).

Good meet! Even with the rain.

Non-track related events from the weekend:
Big Kudos to West Coast Bank! They held a month-long drawing for a free entry for the Hood to Coast Relay (actual cost $1320, plus you need to be selected via lottery). With none of their branches in my hometown, I had to wait until my next trip to Eugene, which happened to fall on the last day of the drawing. After driving 125 miles, I arrived at the bank 1 minute after they closed the lobby, but the manager graciously let me in. When I told him what I needed, he had a blank look on his face. Then he laughed and said, "No one has asked for an entry here in at least 3 years!"

He couldn't find the forms, so he called another branch and had them scan a copy. That's some good customer service! It'll be even better if I win the contest; regardless, I sent a note to the bank's CEO with effusive praise for his branch manager.

Workouts in Eugene:
Friday morning: swam with the Emerald Aquatics masters team at the Amazon Pool. Not used to a balmy 60 degrees for the morning swim; in Bend, it's usually 35-40F at the outdoor pool, with lots of steam rising. Anyhow, masters swimmers are so friendly, especially when they are ripping your lungs asunder. 3 swim workouts this week, have to keep that up.

Saturday morning: drove to South Eugene High, parked the car, and headed south on the Amazon Trail. Nice, comfy, soft bark surface. And rain. But warm rain. Met up with fellow umpire Jeanne near the turnaround, and we reminisced about that ridiculous race called the Eugene Marathon where we both cramped and rigor mortis'd our way to the finish line. Next time, more long/slow runs before tackling another 26.2.

And I got my Olympic Trials mandatory orientation out of the way. Next stop: 22 June and the Big Show in Track Town USA!

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