Saturday, July 2, 2016

2016 Olympic Trials - Day 2

Where was Ishmael?

No, this isn't a revised version of Moby Dick.

Ishmael was supposed to meet me for an early morning run on Pre's Trail...except he doesn't like working out in the morning...and he told me that last night...and he concealed his room number, just in case. But still...

Nice run on the bark trails.

What do Wayne's World and my morning run have in common?

Answer: Dana Carvey!

He was a pretty good high school runner who idolized Steve Prefontaine. Even met him once...During the filming of Pre's documentary "Fire on the Track," Carvey was a guest interviewee like non other. You have to watch the out-takes!

Dana: "I love Pre so much that I sent my son to Pre school!" The film crew couldn't stop laughing.

On the way back, I think I passed Luke Puskedra. Sure looked like him, and his ultra slow recovery pace was still lots faster than what i was doing. 4th in the Olympic Marathon Trials this year, he had even more challenges when his infant daughter developed a brain tumor. All better now, and he's hoping to run another fast race this year.

Another buttery smooth National Anthem, this time vocal. The Olympic Trials are leading the league in anthem performances.

Decathlon 100m; an athlete at the starting line asks, "Can I take a look at your heat sheet?"

I ask, "Do you have ten dollars?"

Not five minutes later, another kid asks the same question. The first kid overhears and starts laughing. Regardless, I'm going to be rich.

Each race has one primary starter and 3-4 recall starters. The latter check each runner's set position on the starting line before giving the 'all clear' sign to the main starter, who then fires the gun. Any of the starters have the authority to call a false start by firing their gun a second time (each recall starter packs a pistol). While setting up for the 10,000 meters, I was standing outside lane 8 and to the right of a recall starter who kept asking me to move farther. I assumed it was because I was blocking her field of vision.

She laughed. "No, it's because I'm right-handed. If I have to fire my gun for a restart, I might shoot you in the leg!"

That's good enough for me.

Say it with me, everyone: I LOVE TRACK!

From the "Life is Not Fair" category, the escort crew behind me is celebrating a birthday by chowing down on designer cupcakes. And no extras for me!

High School exhibition mile finishing tape is held by Alan Webb, American Mile record holder at 3:46.91 (yes, from memory). Webb holding the finish line tape is like Neil Armstrong driving a Big Wheel.

However, I did notice that Mr. Webb needed some personal instruction in the fine art of tape holding, probably because he has always been on the other side of that evolution.

Last year at the World Championships, Emily Infeld stole the bronze medal when Molly Huddle eased off the gas a little too soon. This time, Molly put Emily away in the last lap and evened the score.

Prediction: a different Molly (Ludlow) will make the team in the 800m. She was an agonizingly close 4th place at both the 2012 Trials and the 2015 National Championships. Evidently, she is sick of 4th place, and I wouldn't bet against her; she's running with lots of confidence and strength.

Anyone guess what this is?

Answer: the back side of 120 individual monitors that make up the secondary video screen, and yes i counted them. I was hiding back here between events (I'll go anywhere for some shade).

Back side
Front side

Sprinters will sometimes have a tape measure to help them place their starting blocks properly. Sprinter Jasmine Todd has hers attached to a rubber ducky.

Not sure people can identify World Indoor Champion sprinter Trayvon Bromell, but the shirt that says "GO TRAYVON" might be a little hint.

Tyson Gay still sports his Amish beard, and also a very un-Amish-like gaggle of gold chains, at least 8 by my count. Wouldn't all that metal be distracting during a sprint? Maybe not at my speed, but definitely at his...

Add Trey Hardee to the list of long successful athletes who have seemingly met their career end. He pulled up in the decathlon 400m and limped home, much to the chagrin of his buddy Ashton Eaton.

 This is one of three similar receptacles near the finish line...kind of necessary in these elevated temperatures where nausea can run rampant. Nice phrasing, eh?

After the events, I headed downtown for the evening. Mass transit is free with a track meet credential, so i jump on the bus. As I walk toward the bar, i go right past the Hilton. Hmmmmm....I'm running a 10k on Monday...fellow umpire Jeanne also works for the race director and said she'd pick up my gear, but it's right in front of me. So I pop in and get my stuff.

Another race shirt for the collection

Then I run into Raydeen, another umpire whose husband took a teaching fellowship in New Zealand 3 years ago. When i found out they'd be in town, I suggested we meet for a drink. Unfortunately, her husband begged off. Fortunately, i got carded by a bartender half my age. Raydeen and I caught up on old news and had a nice we were getting ready to leave, an unfamiliar man dropped a $20 bill on our table and left! Uh, thanks?

Raydeen, the world traveler...
 From there, I walked next door to the Electric Station for dinner. As I entered, i saw the bar TV and started laughing...

Yes, it's the US Olympic Trials from Eugene, Oregon. The heats of the men's 100m, and it took about 10 seconds for my smiling face to show up on the screen. The hostess must have thought I was crazy or famous or something. 

Had a nice dinner with Skip: met him 8 years ago in Sunriver when I overheard him talking serious track. He's in town with son Will and friend Mike, who just happens to be a fellow US Naval Academy grad, fellow nuclear engineer, and fellow track nut. Dinner was great: I had the ravioli with beef and we were leaving, i realized the woman at the next table was none other than 800m runner (and probably newly retired) Maggie Vessey. No over the top outfits tonite, though. 

Typical Vessey...

Today was 10 degrees hotter than predicted, so I have quite the pinkish hue...ok, maybe not pink. But definitely tending toward well done. 

Uh....sunscreen much?

With that 10k race coming up on Monday, I might take it easy and only do one workout tomorrow instead of two. Some time in the pool, and possibly even less than that. 

I'm a tired boy. Looking forward to a solid night's sleep. 

I love track!

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