Monday, July 28, 2014

Junior World Track and Field Championships - Day 6 (and Eugene Half Marathon)

It's been a bad week for sleep, but I was hoping to run thru it.

Turns out, one night can be overcome. Three or four in a row; not so much.

I woke at 0300 after fitful sleep and two bathroom breaks; I'm tired but plenty hydrated. The sleep situation wasn't helped by the race expo and loud bands playing until at least 9:30pm. I will suggest to the race director that if he needs to start the race at the ungodly hour of 0600, he needs to shut things down EARLY the night before.

Halfway thru the warm up, I realized I left my water bottle back at the dorm. I begged a shot from a woman on a bike and thanked her profusely.

The goal was 1:35, about 7:15 mile pace. That puts me on track for a 3:19 marathon in 10 weeks.

My best runs to date have been 4 miles at that pace, or 8 miles at about 7:40. And at 3400' of altitude. Today, I'm at sea level, so it'll be interesting.

World's slowest national anthem singer!! OMG, you're killing me. And she muffed a bunch of the lyrics. Jeez, if you don't know the song, at least get thru it quickly.

Then Mary Wittenburg, chief of the NY Marathon and today's honorary starter, gives us a lengthy dissertation. I'm tired, anxious, and in no mood. Twice I say (and progressively louder), 'Fire the gun, please!"

We're off.

After a mile, I see the woman on the bike who gave me water, and I point at her. She responds in kind. Thumbs up!

A guy keeps passing me, falling back, passing me. I finally put him away on an incline...He's in a wheelchair.

I'm on pace until just past the hill at 8 miles, then the wheels come off. Cardio becomes an issue, and my hamstrings begin their usual complaints. I struggle to the 10 mile point, then decide it's not worth killing myself in a training race. Besides, I have three more hours of umpiring on the track today, followed by a 130 mile drive home. Time to throttle back.

I finish in 1:38 and change, and I'm ok with that. Better to save something now and get back into training with a shorter recovery. I figure the lack of sleep all week was worth at least two minutes, so I'm in the ballpark.

Crossing the line, I'm wiped out and grateful. As I'm bending over to catch my breath, I'm handed this:


No, it's not what you think (or what I thought). Yes, it's an unfortunately-shaped barf bag. I gotta keep that!

After breakfast, I'm in the lobby when Team Jamaican girls came past, so I asked about a swag trade. They said they had an extra backpack they'd like to sell.
(After the week began, I realized this was the perfect venue to swap track shirts for cool international ones. A friend was coming to town, so he brought some swag for me. Thanks much, Dan!)
I hoped to get some Jamaican gear for my daughter; after she saw Cool Runnings (the bobsled team movie), all she says now is "ya, mon."
The backpack was a nice one. I asked how much; I'd pay $30 max. The girl wanted $250. Uh, no thanks.
But I traded an ill-fitting Pre Classic shirt for a yellow t-shirt with the national logo; it'll fit Zoe just fine.

I didn't pursue the one athlete from Mozambique for a trade: his flag has an AK-47 on it.

Not interested.

Speaking of flags...

and medals...

The meet is anti-climactic: USA gets a 1-2 sweep in the 100m High Hurdles, and wins both 4 x 400 relays. Third place in the men's 4 x 4 goes to Jamaica, who lost out once more to Japan for second place.

Even more impressive: Japan took the baton in 3rd place and ran Jamaica down! Asia again...I would bet good money that these guys will do well in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
A Czech girl is battling for the high jump win. Her coaching entourage is standing right behind me, and these folks are committed. There is spittle all over my head.

American 1500m runner Alexa Efraimson has 'Fearless' written on her calf; I'm not sure if it's a tattoo or Sharpie. She was in good position with a lap to go; then she and an Ethiopian grappled in front of me right before the bell, and Alexa finished with a bloody shin. I noted the contact and told the referee that no advantage was gained; therefore, no foul. Sorry, Alexa.

Before the meet ends, I see the coach from the Bahamas; we spoke briefly a few days ago, and I told him I had some shirts he might like. Today, he brought back one of his own for me:

Very cool, mon.

I told him I'll mail him some others that I have. Looks like I have a new friend in the Caribbean.

Back to the room for a quick shower and gathering my things, then into the car headed for points east. Started drooping after an hour; it's been a long couple of weeks.

On the way, I was stopped along the Mackenzie River by a beaver dragging a huge limb across the highway. That's an omen...

Of what? I have no idea...

I love track.


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