Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Olympic Trials - Day 8

Last Day.

It's funny; on Friday, I was exhausted and just ready for this event to be over, so I could return to the real world.

Today? Not so much. I could go another week. Maybe.

Photo: Nick ready to roll
Yesterday at the track, it became painfully obvious that Nike has an absolute lockdown on all marketing efforts here at the Trials. And why not? They wrote the biggest check, so they can make the rules.

Which makes it even more hilarious to see a plane pulling a banner high over the stadium; the banner reads, "Run Happy - Brooks." 

I had heard that Nike 'owns' the airspace directly above the track. Which is why this airplane was carving a path ever so slightly wider than Hayward Field's dimensions. Now there's another small plane up there, flying directly over the field and running interference. Must be Nike.

Thinking back to both steeplechase events: a huge amount of carnage at the finish line every time. Bodies everywhere. Steeple is allegedly the most difficult event in track, and I believe it. At least no one was throwing up.

Run this morning; 16.5 miles at 8:30 pace, starting and ending near Hayward Field. Ran with Dave, a sub-3 hr marathoner: I had all the water bottles, so he had to go slow. My feet were hamburger the rest of the day.

And predicted no rain today, which is why it dumped on us during the run.

Only one celebrity sighting, but a good one; Robby Andrews, 1500m finalist, on the River Trail near the Valley River Inn. He and his coach were in a heated, psych-up discussion for today's race. I gave him some words of encouragment, so if he gets in, it's because of me. And if he doesn't get in, it's his own damned fault.

Seen on the back of the homestretch stands:

Mr. Bowerman, Nike co-founder, and inventor of the Waffle Sole

Carl Lewis was recognized for his contributions to track and field. It was also his birthday, so all 20,000+ fans sang Happy Birthday to him. Nice!

Here's your all-star finish line crew. Great job keeping the meet flowing, everyone.

Can you name the guy below on the left? He's kinda important.

None other than Mr. Frank Shorter, 1972 Marathon Gold Medalist, winner of approximately four bazillion races, and the last man to see Steve Prefontaine alive. Frank looks like he can still run a 26.2, and I know he's been doing triathlons, too. No grass growing under his feet.

The women's 100m debate is not finished. They're having a run-off tomorrow at 5pm. NBC (the station, not me) is frustrated because they have to change travel plans for many of their folks. To me, it's just stupid. Allyson won the 200, so she should defer the 100 slot to Jeneba. If Allyson thinks that she can double, she should look at her own history; lots of experience in coming up 2nd when she tries to do too much.

You know, I wouldn't be surprised if they change their minds tomorrow. Not that a pro athlete would ever be prone to posturing and diva-like behavoir.

Best memories of the Trials (in no particular order):
  • Eaton's Decathlon: his coach told me that Ashton's throws were all shorter than his normal distances. And his high jump and 400m were sub-par. Holy cow; he's got more in him.
  • Kim Conley's surprise 3rd in the 5000m; 8th to 3rd in the final lap, and no designs on London, she just wanted third place. She got more.
  • Amy Hastings's 10,000m win: sweet redemption!
  • Max King: Central Oregon's stud trail runner blew out four years of rust in two heats and showed us all how to finish a race
  • Me nailing a race prediction and outguessing my childhood hero, a Gold Medalist, in the process
  • The three guys who sang today's National Anthem; a bluesy, harmonized version with lots of heat
  • Hanging out with friends. And keeping old friends updated on the happenings
 Great time. I have four years to recover.

Post-script: London 2012...

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