In The Proximity of (mostly future) Olympians, Part 2

Randomly, Albuquerque landed the multi-year contract to host the USATF Indoor Championships for the last few years.  This is amazingly cool because many Olympic level runners use these indoor races as “tune-ups.”  For example, last year we spent the entire weekend watching the games live and got to see Sanya Richards Ross, Bernard Legat, Galen Rupp, and Justin Gatlin do their speedy thing as an Olympic warm-up (along with Sara Hall…so Ryan Hall was somewhere in my general vicinity!).  That post (Part 1) is HERE.

I’m definitely not a knowledgeable running celebrity nerd.  Aaron has to fill me in as to who most of these powerhouse runners are (but once I know, I stalk).  But whether these people are famous or not (or just not famous to me), watching the country’s best runners zoom by right in front of you is a pretty amazing experience.

Also, my drive to DO GREAT THINGS and WIN EVERYTHING really kicks-in.  Watching these people in person, walking out to the track, looking like a bundle of nerves (probably wondering if they trained hard enough…HA), and, expressing either extreme disappointment or elation at the end really reminds you that these are not gods prancing among mere mortals. These are real people. They are not completely unlike you or me.  It also reminds (proverbial) you that YOU could be there, running in a big nationally televised event with a little hard work.  I mean, maybe? Regardless, it does remind me that these amazing running accomplishments are not completely out of reach.

We had a few things going on this weekend, so we were only able to catch the Sunday afternoon races. This year’s line-up was considerably less star studded, but we still go to see teenage phenomenon Mary Cain (16 year old record crusher) completely dominate the women’s mile.  I first started noticing this girl about a month ago because she started getting a ton of press coverage.  I know she’ll be a standout at the 2016 Rio Olympics, so watching her live was a weekend highlight.

I totally fan-girled and took 10,000 pictures of her.

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And her coach? Alberto Salazar? (Yeah, I didn’t know him until Aaron told me).  He’s won the New York City Marathon 3 times and the Boston Marathon once.  And he now coaches the Oregon Track Club Elite (Lauren Fleshman is on this team, and Steve Prefontaine is a former member).  He was much harder to stalk, but he’s the one in the baseball hat talking to Mary.

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Other highlights:

Beastly looking shorter distance runners/hurdlers (and I mean beastly in the most awesome possible way).

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Running Jesus aka Will Leer (probably a Pre wannabe).  He ended up winning by a hair (a long flowing one?).  I expect to see him in Rio too.

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This guy (it annoys me when people wear sunglasses inside).  Apparently he was an Olympian like 10 years ago.

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Ms. Teen New Mexico who apparently has to look like a princess wherever she goes.

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Drug Enforcement Peeps (in the orange shirts): they grab the winners and other (I’m guessing randomly selected) athletes right off the track.  I would love this job.  Come here, Mr. Big Time Athlete.  Come pee in my cup.

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These little kids get to carry around the runner’s belongings in little baskets.  I want one!

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In all, it was a fun and inspiring way to spend Sunday afternoon.  I think Albuquerque’s contract is up, but I’m holding out hope that just maybe we can play host to next year’s event again.

Also, thanks for liking me on facebook!  If you haven’t yet, you can do that HERE.

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Weekly Race Shout-Outs and Migraine Induced Grumpiness

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

Whitney is running the Wild West Relay this weekend! Actually…I think she’s already started according to her live tweeting!

Natalie is running her very first 5-K this weekend! Her running journey started just over a month ago, and now here she is, running her first race! You’ll do awesome!

Good luck to you ladies, and everyone else racing! 

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First: I actually cried yesterday when Gabrielle Douglas was announced the all around gymnastics winner (even though I already knew that she won) and then cried again during her medal presentation.  I don’t cry.  I have no idea why this particular win and this particular girl got me all teary eyed, BUT I AM SO HAPPY FOR HER!

I also think it is adorable when Micheal Phelps walks out to the pool in his giant headphones.  I wonder what kind of music the most decorated Olympian ever listens to to pump himself up? Obviously it works because he won! I wanted to shout it from the rooftops when I found out that he got his individual gold, but people are getting pretty pissy about all of these “spoilers” so I celebrated in private.

Also, I wish I had pursued rowing in college.  I would have made a perfect coxswain (unbelievably awkward word to spell, by the way)!

The running events start today, and I’m excited to actually hear terminology that I understand!

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Yesterday, I was sitting at my desk, looking at my computer, and all of the sudden big chunks of my vision were blurry.  I couldn’t read anything.   I texted Aaron because I was concerned (and hoping that I wasn’t seeing “the light”), and he said it sounded like I was about ready to get a migraine.

Hooray!

I NEVER get migraines.  The last time a headache wiped me out was in 2006, and I certainly don’t remember any vision problems coming with it.

A few minutes later I started seeing a weird zig zag snake its way around my visual reality.   As if blurry vision spots weren’t trippy enough.  I WebMD’d and found out that “auras” are a tell-tale sign of migraines.  I google imaged “migraine auras” and found this Wikipedia picture, and this is exactly what it looked like except with my desk and office door in the background.

Is this what it feels like to be on acid?  Not that I have any interest in finding out.

I have never experienced anything like it, and I really didn’t want to spend 2-3 days locked in a dark room, withering in pain. I tried to relax, I rested my eyes and drank some more coffee, and while I did get a headache, it wasn’t a bad one, and it went away after a few hours.

Crisis adverted I guess?  It was bizarre.

In my WebMD searches, I also discovered that migraine symptoms start showing up a couple of days before the actual headache and include depression and irritability.

This may explain why I’ve been in a funk of a mood all week. Blame it on the migraine!

Tuesday’s workout was 800 repeats.  I went in with a BAD attitude worthy of Mel Gibson.  It was 97 degrees, the track we use (which is dirt) had been pretty destroyed thanks to our big rain storm a couple of weeks ago, and I just wanted to run fast, but I couldn’t thanks to crater/canyon city.  I hated Aaron for making me go at 6 pm, I hated the sun for being so hot, I hated dirt for being so easily shifted by rain, I hated my ankles for being so easily rolled, I hated the water for not tasting like fresh mountain springs, and I hated 800’s. I REALLY hated them.  The numbers 8,0,0, the words eight hundreds, and the distance.  Everything. I didn’t know I had so much hatred in my little heart.

I had my worst split times yet, and I blamed everything and everyone else for it.

Then that night, I watched an interview with the USA swimming coach, Bob Bowman, and he said that he trained Michael Phelps with a lot of “worst case scenario” situations.  For example, he had to train without goggles and he trained on an empty stomach.

Poor guy probably just wanted to get a super fast training swim in, but his coach put all sorts of obstacles in his way.

Then, in Beijing, at the very start of one of his races, Michael Phelps’ goggles filled with water and he was blind.  But, since he’d trained without goggles before, so he knew how many strokes he could go before the turn-around, and how many strokes he could go to dominate the finish.  He won GOLD at that race, even though he couldn’t see a thing.

So, obviously I am not Michael Phelps and my little battles are nothing compared to you know, training to win Olympic medals.  But I realized that dealing with some less than ideal conditions in my training might ultimately be preparing me to deal with anything come marathon day (at least let’s hope….otherwise this self-pep talk is pointless and sad).

I know I said I would try and not be negative and try and not spend my life complaining about MY DECISION to run a fast marathon.  But the past couple of weeks have been a running emotional roller coaster.  And I think Tuesday was the low point…at least I hope it doesn’t get much lower.  I was ready to give up and say hey, I tried, but I can’t run a marathon.  If it weren’t for the Olympics and all these happy shiny athletes reminding me that I have no excuse, I might have just said, eh, 6 hour marathons are cool as is taking a Chicago vacation and sleeping in on marathon day.  DNS/DNF for the win! (Just kidding.  But I did consider quitting).

I know this is supposed to be fun, and sometimes it is, but I don’t like bad mood Amy.  At all.  Pre-Migraine symptoms or not.

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Yesterday I was about a mile into my tempo run.  I came across a man carrying his flat-tired bike.  I have no idea how far he had to carry it, but I gave him a sympathetic smile.

He laughed and said “stick to running.”

He’ll probably never know how much I needed to hear that.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Chicago Start Time Shake-Up

Last week I got a participant email from the Chicago Marathon.  I LOVE getting participant emails from races.  It feels like I’m receiving a super secret message from the cool kids club, or my Hogwarts acceptance letter!

Turns out this email was completely irrelevant to me, but it really made a whole lot of other people pretty mad.

Last year (and I’m assuming many years before that) the Chicago Marathon was set up with the Elite division starting first, corrals A-D (that you have to qualify for) starting next at 7:30, and everyone else starting in a giant mass after that, presumably through the start line by about 8:00.   Aaron was placed in Corral B and I was placed in Corral C based on our recent half marathon results.

But, they are shaking things up this year.

The email said that corrals A-D would stay the same with a 7:30 start time.  Corral E will consist of all charity runners and would start right after A-D.  Then, at 8:00, the rest of the participants would start in corrals based on estimated finish time with everyone through probably around 8:15-8:20.

As mentioned before, this doesn’t affect me at all, but the most common arguments are that the slowest runners will be finishing even later into the afternoon.  Also, the fastest of the mass finishers will be starting BEHIND the charity runners who may be running/walking much slower.

I think having to start a 6 hour marathon at maybe as late as 8:30 would be pretty annoying.  I’m even slightly annoyed that the marathon starts for me at 7:30 (though Boston starts at like, 10:30).  We’ve been starting our long runs between 6:30 and 7:00, ending after 9.  By 9:00, it is miserably hot.  Chicago weather in October seems to be a toss up, but apparently the last 4 out of 5 years have been really warm.  (However, one of those 5 years it was 30 degrees).

I can understand the frustration.

We’ve been training in the mid-morning heat, mostly because of laziness, but also a little bit because regardless of start time, I will be running my hardest miles well past 10:00 am.  I’d rather be miserable now and be prepared for whatever weather conditions get thrown my way then run comfortably now and not be able to handle the heat come October.  And if it is one of those freezing years, I will have trained at much worse conditions.

Is the new start time a bummer for some people? Absolutely.  But it isn’t anything a little extra preparation now can’t fix.

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And because I haven’t done any Olympic updates yet…

Friday I came home to fish and chips and Boddington’s! I don’t think it helped our run at all on Saturday, but it sure was yummy.  (Sidenote…apparently the gluten free topic came up on a #fitfluential twitter chat yesterday…I don’t participate in #fitfluential, but it  looks like a lot of true Celiac people don’t appreciate non-Celiac people making their diet a trend since for them it isn’t a choice.  It was kind of weird).

Overall I did like the Opening Ceremony, but I think it should have been shorter with more smooth transitions.  It felt like 4 completely separate acts.  I LOVED the Bond skit, and of course Rowen Atkinson, but some parts, like the giant baby were kind of weird.  The Cauldron was incredible, even if no one in London could see it.

One thing I forgot to mention last week was that two Saint Mary’s basketball players are on the Australian Basketball team! So now I guess I’m cheering for them a bit too!

Happy Tuesday!

Olympics! Olympics!

London 2012!

Unless you live under a rock (which seems unlikely since you are reading this here blog), you are probably aware that the Opening Ceremony for the Olympics (followed by 17 days of athletic goodness) is tonight!

I love how the Olympics is kind of the world unifier.  At this moment, wherever you are, you are likely excited to see your team compete after four years of… I guess not competing?  While the World Cup ignites enthusiasm, it really only appeals to futbal lovers (aka everyone aside from the US).  And apparently you have to have some sort of special powers to see coverage of the Quidditch World Cup, because I certainly can never find the games on ESPN.

So, we turn to the Olympics to get our  fix of patriotism, athleticism, and competitive spirit. And, for reasons that I don’t really understand, the Summer Olympics seem to be a much bigger deal than the Winter ones.  Maybe because most of “the greats” are summer Olympians? More team sports? More interesting events? Micheal Phelps topless? Did I say that out loud?

I will admit that I’m not the most Olympic savvy person.  I don’t really know anything about half the athletes going in. I probably don’t even know about half the sports being played.  BUT, I am excited for the following nonetheless:

1) Phelps vs. Lochte:  I agreed to let Michael be my boyfriend 4 years ago despite his inability to articulate and you know, the whole frat boy gone wild thing.  Today, he is a more mature, well-spoken version of himself, and even though Ryan is giving him a run for his money as far as my loyalty is concerned (have you seen his shoe collection?), I’m cheering for Michael.  Plus, who doesn’t want to see someone become the most decorated Olympian?

2) Missy Franklin: You go, girl.  Seriously. I only wish I was that cool when I was 17. She interviews really well, too. I’m hoping she gets 7 out of 7.

3) My BFFs Sanya Richards Ross and Bernard Lagat: Ever since I got to be up close and personal with these crazy fast runners at the Indoor Track and Field Championships held here in Albuquerque last February, I pretty much feel like we’re family members (seriously, both of these people were so nice in person).  Sanya is considered one of the top contenders this year, and after watching her in a live performance, I can say there her power is ridiculous.

4) THE MARATHON! Excited to see Kara, Ryan, and Shalane do their 26.2 thang.

4) Soccer: I LOVE international soccer.  Gotta support the ladies since the men’s team couldn’t quite hold up.  And Dear Hope, I love you, but you should probably not do interviews if you are drunk this time around.

5) Basketball: I’m not really a pro basketball fan, but apparently the US has the dreamiest of the dreamy team.  I asked Aaron if Scotty Pippin was on the roster (his wife is a Real Housewife, so I know him!).  He gave me a weird look.  Does that mean no?

6) Gymnastics: As a little person, I feel like I relate most to these people.  Aside from the fact that the round-up is my most advanced tumbling move.

7) OPENING CEREMONY! Since I spent the first 19 years of my life as a “performer,” the whole spectacle is really one of my favorite parts. I fully intend to come home from work, maybe grab some fish and chips and Boddingtons (I know they have gluten, but London + Olympics Opening Ceremony = fish and chips and Boddington occasion), plant myself in front of the TV, and marvel.  (In all honesty, we’ll probably have a veggie burger and some water…we do after all have 17 miles to run in the morning).

What Olympic event are you most looking forward to?

Is it weird that I talk about world class athletes like I know them?

Have a fantastic Olympic style weekend!

*I have a huge work project coming up at the end of August that will require long office hours in addition to increased marathon training mileage.  Instead of making myself crazy trying to blog or even schedule posts, I’m doing a call for potential guest posters.  I can’t promise lots of exposure or anything, but if you’d like to do a guest post, I’d love to have you! Let me know!

In the Proximity of Olympians

Every once in a while, something REALLY cool happens in Albuquerque.

This weekend, that really cool thing was the 2012 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

In other words, this weekend, I watched Olympic athletes do their thang.

Awesome doesn’t even begin to explain it.

There was so much going on at once, but highlights include getting to see:

Sara Hall run

{Sara Hall #11}

(which means, I was in the same building as Ryan Hall!…I looked but couldn’t find him. Ryan is an Olympic marathon runner and Sara’s husband ).  She didn’t win (she placed 3rd in the women’s 3000m), but she is drop dead gorgeous.  And even though she didn’t win, she still runs really fast. 

Sanya Richards Ross DOMINATE. 

This lady is a running beast (check out her muscular legs).  She powerered through the women’s 400m like nobody’s business.

Turns out, her husband, Aaron Ross is a NY Giants starter (cornerback).  We sat right behind them. We were dying to fangirl over this guy, but that isn’t really our style. Stalk and photograph the heads of famous people, yes. Interrupt their lives, no. 

Both Sanya and Aaron were being bombarded by superfans, but they were so gracious.  They also sat and watched the entire competition, cheering for other runners, something most of the other athletes didn’t do.  It was a pleasure to sit behind them and their family! Yesterday was also Sanya’s 27th birthday (she’s my age), and her and Aaron’s 2nd Anniversary (seriously….we are twins!).

{Aaron Ross’ head…he was decked out in Louis Vuitton both days}

{Aaron presenting his wife with her medal}

Sanya has been to the last two Olympics, and was bronze medalist in Beijing.  She will be competing in London this summer. 

Bernard Lagat DOMINATE!

{Bernard is the guy in the center.  Galen Rupp is in front.  Bernard pulled ahead and won by a landslide}

Lagat appears to be another truly genuine person.  The three top men pictured above in the men’s 3000m are all previous Olympians, and they were of an entirely different caliber than the non-Olympians competing (by the end they were a full lap ahead of the others).  They didn’t even look like they were breaking a sweat. Lagat will compete at the Olympics in London.

Chaunte Lowe break the American high jump record. 

I don’t even know how she can launch her body up that high like she does. 

Plus this girl is HILARIOUS.  She was a boogie queen.  She’s been to the last two Olympics, and my guess is she will probably be competing in London after her performance this weekend (she was also the overall Visa Series winner).

Lots of pole vaulters fly through the air.

{Oops…didn’t quite make it}

Some interesting fashion choices. 

Why on earth would you need to run in sunglasses and a gold chain is beyond me. I guess it worked for him though because he won!

And some seriously thin (but strong) girls.

It looks like I will have to lose half my body weight to be a competitive runner.

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ESPN aired the competition a few hours after it happened, so we were actually at home watching the footage.  We even saw ourselves on TV!

Having the opportunity to attend the Indoor Championships was a wonderful experience.  I have never been more inspired to be a runner.   These athletes are so powerful and good at what they do, and most are so humble.

I will be excited to watch these people compete in London this summer.  I will be cheering for them, feeling like I know them a little bit after getting a glimpse of what they are like when the camera isn’t rolling. 

Meanwhile, I have about 100 more pictures to upload that I’ll put in another blog post on another day.