Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Olympic Trials - Day 4 (bobbleheads and mohawks...)

Feeling lazy this morning. Didn't wake up until 0536.

It's a sickness, I tell you.

My legs are shot, just tired. Lots of workouts have taken their toll...

Which is why I'm running the Butte to Butte 10k race this morning...but that's not all: I'm riding my bike to a friend's house a mile from the start, then jogging to the race (a mile uphill: not my idea of a proper warmup!). After the race, a mile and a half jog back to the dorm (hopefully) before breakfast closes down.

Has a nice cup of coffee with Dave and his daughter Summer June, possibly the cutest girl on the planet.



Did i mention the uphill jog to the start? Ugh. But a very welcome sight...probably the most PortaJohn's I have ever seen at a starting line!

The line of structures in the distance = Good race management

A closer view...




All 6,000 of us

The first two miles? Uphill...QUITE uphill.



The thing in the distance? This is what's known as a butte. Know what it means when you see a butte? It means you are in mortal pain, because buttes go in the opposite direction of little things like gravity. I needed crampons, an ax, and a sherpa for the last 200 yards of the climb; I was one of the few still running at this point.

The rest of the race went well...I was on the ragged edge of comfort, and it turns about my pace was chippier than I thought. Cruising thru the finish line, I saw that I had time to jog the 1.5 miles back to the dorm, get a quick shower, and hustle down to breakfast before the doors closed.


Before the start...all good.


After...not so much. 

 Down at breakfast: Tom had the right idea:


Happy 4th of July!

Rory, Chief Marshal (track cop)
Yesterday's 100m final? First time in history that three women went sub-10.80 with legal wind. Crazy!

Remember the Ashton bobblehead?



My man Sean the intellectual math professor said: "This looks terrifying! Ashton's so sweet...this makes him look like a yawning Willem Dafoe at the end of Platoon."  Ok, now that's a comparison for the ages!

A vaulter plants his pole, bends it on takeover, then hits it with his knee and breaks it into three pieces. Meanwhile, Jordan Scott is sporting quite the patriotic mohawk...


In the running events, the top few finishers in each preliminary heat will automatically advance to the next round, along with the fastest of the remaining runners. In the women's steeplechase, the top 3 in each of the heats will advance to the final, along with the next 5 fastest. Coming into the final turn, Rena Williams-Chesser is in 5th place and in danger of missing the cut. But i know she knows this, because she jumps into her highest gear for a smoking fast finish. Yes, she advanced...

Men's javelin: UO grad Cyrus Hostetler absolutely uncorks one, and the stick was flying for what seemed like hours. While it reached its apex well above the track, someone yelled out, "OH JESUS!!" It was that enormous a throw.

(that was me who yelled...sorry).

With one lap left in both semi-finals of the men's 5000, we had a condition known in the cycling world as 'gruppo compacto.' That's what race officials call a tightly bunched pack. I smiled, because a pack at the bell means hellacious racing in the last lap. And that's what we had: both races ended with a 53, very spicy finishing speed. One of the winners was Bernard Lagat, who is approximately 157 years old...somewhere, somehow, he looked like the Lagat of old, sprinting from 200m out with that silky smooth form of his. And yes, the entire crowd was on their feet, with one over-zealous fan screaming, "COME ON, LAGAT!!"

(yes, me again).

Maybe the most awesome thing out there: when the pack tore past the steeple pit with a lap to go, they were paced through the final turn by a flying Cyrus taking his victory lap while carrying the American flag up high, and yes, it was the Fourth of July! That was an incredible sight; a tall, bulky guy carrying the flag at full speed in lane 8 while the pack roared along on the inside. Cyrus rabbited the field for a good 100 yards before the marshals waved him off.

In the five minutes or so between the 5k heats and the 800 finals, I hustled over to the weight room to finish a big set of pullups, giving me 33 for the day. The volunteer outside the weight room bldg probably thought i was more interested in the bathroom next door.

Women's 800: ugh, on several fronts. No one likes to see races decided by collisions. And poor Molly Ludlow, who finished her second consecutive national championship race in 4th place by four hundreths of a second. She also missed a 2012 Olympic berth by a whisker.

Men's 800: maybe someday we'll see Clayton Murphy running hard, because i haven't seen it yet. He doesn't change form one bit, even when the race gets ugly. Silky smooth; he just pulled away from the field and right onto the plane bound for Rio.

Dinner date with my buddy Summer again (and her folks); excellent Chinese food. And more excellent to sit down and relax.

ooooh...I love track!

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

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