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.

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