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Posts Tagged ‘tracktown usa’

One day I will make a pilgrimage to Tracktown, USA. I will run Pre’s Trail (and no doubt get dusted)… I will go to Hayward Field; I will attend the Olympic Trials (or maybe the Prefontaine Classic)… I will buy a Ducks tee-shirt (this, from a woman who has a 10-minute schpiel on why non-uniform, team-branded clothing is just plain wrong)… and of course, I will stalk Kara, Adam, Alberto, Amy, Andrew, Christian, Galan, Nick, Dan and Dathan…  Dathan has been having an incredible season, setting a new American Record in the 5,000 in Berlin (12:56.27), and nabbed the bronze at the Half-Marathon World Championships in Birmingham, England (in one hour flat, just 17 seconds off Ryan’s AR)… Check out DR’s blog post in which he shares his thoughts about what sets him apart as a competitor (Matty: your comment is adorable)…..who’s heard of the band Stars of Track and Field? Since they hail from Portland, OR, I thought their name was just a clever way to get the locals to turn up to their shows, but actually it is a hat-tip to the Belle and Sebastian song “Stars of Track and Field” (oops B&S are Scottish not Oregonian)…Once, a dreamer of a man told me he wanted to take me to the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Hayward Field because he knew how happy it would make me…

I’d like you all to meet regular-reader and occassional-commenter leftcoaster (aka BT). She lives in Portland, and ran the Portland Marathon a few weeks ago–it was her first, and she BQ’ed! BT shared with me, via email, “I was just so psyched about how the race turned out and wanted to mark the event in a unique way. The Garmin map idea popped into my head while running… oxygen-deprivation-to-the-brain probably had something to do with it.” Qualifying for Boston was BT’s secondary goal, after her “primary goal of just finishing the race without totally ponking, walking, passing out or puking.” (A worthy A-Goal, no?) Finishing in 4:01:10 at the age of 54, she qualified with four minutes to spare and coming in 19 out of 347 in her age group. I get tingles thinking about all of these age-group aces I have met through this blog, Twitter and actual, real-life. I am inspired by you all, because while I’ll never win an entire race, I can dream of placing in my age group. leftcoaster, congratulations on a tremendous first effort–I’ll be there in Boston this April to cheer you on. Here is the Garmin report of her celebration run.

leftcoaster BQ

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I’ve been waiting for these track and field trials since November, when I watched Hall, Ritz and Sell win their tickets to Beijing as they steamed around Central Park. Even though not every event provided for surprises, there were enough dramatics at the finish lines to make me happy. As you could guess, I’m  not so interested in the sprint events (all that work and training for less than a minute’s worth of running? I just don’t get it), and the filed events fascinate me the same way the giraffes do at the zoo. But the middle- and long-distance events are what get me cheering and on the edge of my seat. Herewith, snippets with links to my favorite moments of the trials.

6/27 Galen Rupp owning his home track in his heat of the men’s 5000m semifinal… Shalane and Kara living up to expectations in the women’s 10,000m final (kudos to the organizers for kicking off the meet with an exciting final on day 1)… and Amy Begley leaving it all on the track as she pushed herself to not only come in third, right behind her training partner Kara, but also to make the A-Standard time for the event in the same go. I admit it, I got a little choked up on her behalf. And I loved how she and Kara jumped up and down together like excited high schoolers who were going to the prom with the football star.

6/30 The decatahlon is insane. I never truly realized the endurance and versatility that is needed for this two-day event. All I know is if those athletes ever decided to pull a Scarlet O’Hara, I’m leaving the scene…. Both Kara and Shalane won their semifinal heats for the 5000m… and Bernard Lagat, Matt Tegenkamp, and Ian Dobson comprise the men’s 5000m team (I root for Tegenkamp, who Runner Matt calls the “Brian Sell of the 5000m”); Mr. Kara Goucher dropped out as he was off the “A Standard” time…. but really, what beats this dramatic finish, that sends three Oregon Ducks to the Olympics in the 800m? How can you not love these guys? Nick Symmonds, with his dramatic move to get out of how he was boxed in, moving like greased lightening to the finish, and Andrew “It’s All You Guys” Wheating too kicking like mad, propelled by the crowds, plus Christian Smith literally diving across the finish to take third and simultaneously make the “A Standard.”  Fabulous craziness! Sportsmanship and showmanship, it’s what the Olympics are all about. I’ve watched the clip on NBC’s Olympic website like five times, and each time I have to cheer. 

7/4 Feeling patriotic? Yeah, me neither… In the 1500, despite my doubts, Alan Webb pulled it out to advance to the finals (what, no food poisoning??); Gabe Jennings runs like a determined hippe; Leo Manzano shines; Shannon Rowbury gets a lot of attention; Sara Hall moves to the finals, too; and my dad was rooting for the high schooler who broke the HS AR (Jordan Hasay)… My crush on Kara turns into full-blown unrequited love as she powers through like a warrior woman to beat Shalane in the 5000m. The Olympic team for the event is Kara, Jen Rhines, and Shalane. Notables: the face of victory Kara makes as she wins, and the pigtails Jen styles as she flies through the race. Adorable and fast — see, they are compatible!…. The evening warpped up close to 1 AM (if you were watching the TV coverage on the East Coast) with the men’s 10,000m final. I didn’t know who exactly to root for; I so wanted Mr. Kara Goucher to make it, but I couldn’t help but root for Mr. Personality (Abdi Abdirahman), Senor He’s Not Heavy He’s My Brother (Jorge Torres) and Kid Rupp (Galen, duh).  It’s always fun to cheer for Ritz, and I was still pining for Andrew Carlson, wishing he’d made it to the finals. I wonder how cold the steeplechase water pit was…

7/5 Three afternoon Sierra Nevadas had me snoozing through this afternoon’s OT’s, but I did go back and watch the men’s steeplechase finals on NBCOlympics.com. Love how Fam told Ed Eyestone that he was hoping to emulate Ryan Shay, and give the spirit of Shay’s performance to the crowd…

7/6 The final day of the trials left the men’s and women’s 1500 to be determined.  In the women’s, I was rooting for Sara Hall, but it ended up Rowbury, Erin Donohue and Christin Worth-Thomas.  Rowbury and Donohue train with Shalane (sounds like a workout video: “Train with Shalane”), so it’s cool they’re all going to Beijing together. I saw Erin Donohue at the Women’s Invitational 8k earlier this year…. and, in the event everyone’s been talking about for the past two weeks, the men’s 1500 held little surprises as Lagat won it, Leo Manzano (they kept calling him “the little guy“) and Lopez Lomong coming in 2-3 to also make the team. No Alan Webb, no Gabe Jennings.

I’m sad it’s over, but at least the Olympics are right around the corner.

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