#EpicHouston2012 – Spectating the Marathon Olympic Trials

I don’t know if you heard or not, but SweatyEmily & I went to the Marathon Olympic Trials this weekend.


A lot of really awesome things happened.

America found out who’d be representing them at London this summer :


(I wish.)

We’re still working on ironing out the details to make our Official Team USA Cheerleader sponsorship happen, but these six are FOR SURE going to be kicking some ass across the pond in August :

source – which btw, dear “source”, please call me so we can finalize your SweatyOUaL Olympic Cheer Team

Let’s back up and tell the story properly.  The SweatyOUaL story, that is, not the actual race story.  Since obviously you don’t come here for timely reporting on big news events.

(in case you didn’t hear for some unfathomable reason, the women finished 1) Shalane 2) Desi 3) Kara, and the men finished 1) Meb 2) Hall 3) Abdi)

After my idiotic flight drama, I managed to solidify my spot as Worst Traveler On The Planet by getting paged for final boarding while still shoeless at security.

The good news is, the speedwork I’ve been doing really helped out in my 1/4 mile sprint through John Wayne Airport.  Maybe I’ll start pulling a rolly bag with me during tempos – sure was a great way to break a quick sweat.

Obviously the best way to cool down from an impromptu workout, while simultaneously kicking off #EPICHOUSTON…

Dear United Flight Attendant,

I saw that stink-eye you gave me when I asked for a bottle of vodka and an empty glass.  And then the concern when I dropped a suspicious looking tablet into the water bottle I brought with me and poured it into the glass with your warm vodka.  I really wasn’t roofie-ing myself.  Just off-setting the dehydration.  Responsible alcoholism.


Seat 22C

Arrival in Houston consisted of luggage depositing, a quick reunion hug (hello 6 weeks is a long time to spend apart when your IRL-ness is only 3 months old)  and immediate consumption of (more) delicious cocktails.  Carb-loading is to race-running as tequila-loading is to race-spectating.

It’s science.

I’m not going to call fault to our plan, but the dismissing of alarms the following morning and in turn frantically getting cheer-ready in less than 15 minutes was a minor tactical error on our part.

But it’d be criminal to blame the alcohol when it’s such a key component of all SweatyOUaL approaches to life, so let’s pretend that was planned.

Masters of the quick change, artful temporary tattoo’ing, and sparkle adornment that we are, we were out the door (almost) on time and even managed to get some airtime on the local news.

Operation Cheer-Famous : UNDERWAY.

After our small-screen debut we made our way to the start where we dazzled our fellow patrons with our spirit and athletic-ness.

Back story : On the way to my massive 5″ vertical I managed to throw my patriotic shutter shades about 20 feet and hit some innocent bystander in the back of the head with them. My bad, dude.  The apologetic look on my face and SweatyEmily’s clear non-amusement in the situation proves how bad I felt.

Finally the National Anthem played, and we pushed our way to the gates.  FYI wearing a red/white/blue boa and a glitter “USA” tattoo on your cheek makes for a super touching anthem.

Go America.

No really, GO!

The next 2 hours were spent frantically running around the streets of downtown Houston, catching every glimpse of the runners possible.

Turns out?  GREAT way to battle the frigid-for-TX temps.  (if you saw any of the coverage, mostly everyone was dressed for a day on the slopes, not a bare-skinned summer party. woops.) 

Also acceptable?  Oiselle Race Day Rundies over your tights :

As the race went on, every passing of the country’s greatest built the excitement more.  Every lead change, sight of a DNF wrapped prematurely in mylar, and surge from a runner who looked to be out of gas sent an overwhelming giddiness over me.

“We’re at the mother f*cking Olympic Trials.  This is far and away the coolest thing I’ve ever done.  Can you believe we’re reaOMG KARA I LOVE YOU!!”

Thus, #RUNBONER was born.

Standing at the finish watching Shalane and Desi battle the final miles on the jumbotron, Kara punching her London ticket, and Amy Hastings (my new run girl crush) fall heart-breakingly shy with 4th place was incredible.


image source – I Spy credit to @wickedrunnah

And then, something happened.  I didn’t mean for it to, and I really didn’t see it coming, but it did.

I fell in love with running.

Watching the coverage afterwards from a downtown bar did nothing but push me further down my lovesick path.  Meb taking the flag and saluting the troops on his victory lap through the homestretch?  Watching Dathan come back from a huge deficit to fall 6 seconds shy of an Olympic bid, and then collapse at the finish?  Shalane telling Kara “I’m SO proud of you”???

Yeah, I teared up.

And when the bartender tried to change the tv to playoff football with 20 minutes of coverage left, and the entire bar erupted in angry yells?

I never thought I’d see the day that running trumped playoff football, much less be part of the angry mob, but it happened Saturday.

I <3 you, running.  Lots.  Let’s be friends forever.

(and Amy, we can be IRL friends if you want. Just call me.)

More on the after-Oly shenanigans later.  All I’ll say is we totally owned up to our #EpicHouston claims.

Desi and Joan will vouch for us.

Sarah OUaL

no but really, if you, someone you know, or someone you work for wants to send us to London email me at onceuponalime@gmail.com. We’ve blocked off all of July and August, have updated our passports, and I’m willing to switch from black coffee to Earl Grey to fit in with the UK’ers.

54 thoughts on “#EpicHouston2012 – Spectating the Marathon Olympic Trials

  1. Ahhh this looked like so much fun! I went to the track and field trials a few years ago and they BLEW ME AWAY. Hayward Field had the atmosphere of a rock concert and there were some truly amazing races. Also saw Shalane Flanagan at dinner after the 10K- I was in awe! Glad you had a great time.


  2. Are you for hire? As in can I pay you to come cheer for me!! Well not pay you in cash, I can only pay you in beer. My fiance makes his own beer so any special request and it’s yours!


  3. No worries about giving up coffee to come here to London. My coworkers all live on coffee…but it’s hideous (looking; I’ve never tasted it) mix in granules that you need to get used to!


  4. My husband was only a little concerned during the coverage when I jumped up, pointed at the TV and shouted “OMG I read their blogs!!!!” He thinks I need more IRL friends. Whatevs. Hopefully you’re recovering from your insanely fun weekend!!


  5. Looks like an amazingly fantastic time. I sat at home watching twitter feed off Runners World site freaking out and cheering. I probably would have passed out from the excitement of being there. And if you find someone to fund a trip to London I am totally available to go with to carry bags, assure proper packing of cowbells, setting of alarms etc.


  6. hahaha I love the pic where you got so excited you may have tinkled ;) BAMAZING.

    All of these people are inspirational… and umm I’m totally stealing that vodka + NUUN thing next flight I take.. I’m always dehydrated!


  7. Seriously AMAZING. Talk about major major jealousy of you being there. I felt similar emotions (aka I love running SO much) just watching the Trials on TV, I can’t imagine what it would be like to ACTUALLY BE THERE. I am already working on the possibility of London this summer!


  8. Haha! I laughed out loud when I read your “letter” to the flight attendant! I am glad I ran into you and Emily at the expo. The cheer outfits were even better in person! Classic.


  9. Hey, I saw you guys there! I am run-nerding out and reading blogs about the Trials days later… I was the girl in the green visor who took your pic of the USA tattoos – and it took me like 4 tries! Great outfits.


  10. That looks like so much fun! Super jealous! I love that running has become a sport that people are actually interested in the stats and come to cheer runners on. Its certainly the only sport I’ve ever participated where someone might actually clap for me. Wish I could have gone! I didn’t even know it was something you could do!


  11. Y’all looked like you had so much fun! I was sad that you were in Houston and I didn’t even get to see you IRL… we would have become friends, I am sure of this. I mean a girl that is always down to drink, and adds it in with her Nuun… well then you (as my husbands grandfather would say) need to be on my ass kicking team (I only got on the team because I have long legs, and you sure as heck beat me on that too!). My husband though, not as excited as I was, he thought going out and trying to find a “blogger” the night before his first marathon was not a great idea. really dude? boo.


  12. !@#&%^@^^!!!!!! I SO WISH I WOULD HAVE HOPPED A FLIGHT! Watching it from home was emotional so I cannot imagine hoe freaking cool it was to be there! SO AWESOME!!!! Ahhhhhh, I bet you had a BLAST!!! SO FUN! (capslock!!! exclamation point!!!!)

    P/S After I saw you run-bonering all over Twitter I checked your page to see if you went on an emotional “I love running so much I just registered for 100 more races” rampage. LOL!


  13. “Responsible alcoholism.” This is why I love you. Seriously, crying.

    I’m from Strongsville OH, but was much less fortunate in where love took me. Wisconsin, ugh.

    Are you running the Rite Aide Cleveland this year? I’m thinking about it…maybe the prospect of meeting someone as cool as you would be the motivation I need.


  14. I totally lived vicariously through your twitter #runboner this weekend. Seriously jealous of all the fun that it looks like you guys had. And you had to have been the best dressed cheer-ers/cowbellers out there. xx


  15. You guys were (and still are, of course) SO pretty!!!!!! Your weekend looks like it was a blast, though I still would have loved seeing your smiling face in Newport this weekend…


  16. I’ve been waitin since Sunday to read this post! And then I saw the picture of you two on the Run Like A Mother fb page and I was even more excited. I’m so glad it lived up to your expectations and started a huge love affair with running, just watching it on tv did it for me! Great job cheering!!


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