I’m having a tough time being depressed the weekend is over and questioning whether it ever really happened in the first place. So incredible. I have no words. I’m going to try to put some together, but let’s just disclaim now that nothing I can say will do justice to this weekend’s Olympic Track Trials experience.
But before ANYTHING else, I need to thank Oiselle & all of the people behind the brand that made this all possible. For the opportunity AND for being the most inspiring and welcoming group on the planet. I am filled to the brims with gratitude and honor, and will try my hardest to pay my debts in Roga love & threatening to move in to Lesko’s basement – because how else do you thank someone for the best weekend of your life?
Without further adieu, the #totallytrials recaps. If you’ve been following on Twitter or have checked out the album on Facebook, hopefully this fills in some of the detail cracks and explains these wretched withdrawal symptoms I’m having right now…
The Main Events
(business at the Hayward Oval Office)
Landing in Eugene Thursday afternoon was wild. After 3+ weeks of build up it was finally here! Track Town put together a pretty high profile welcoming committee for us…
As someone that’s still really new to the sport (participating and spectating) I was excited for the thrills and anxious to soak up every ounce of energy from the weekend. Reading about all of the athletes’ journeys – Lauren Fleshman’s rebound from injury, Amy & Dathan’s fourth place finishes at the marathon, Amy Acuff gunning for her FIFTH Olympics (can we call her the Dara Torres of T&F?) made it so easy to get helplessly wrapped up in the events. Like every time the gun went off I’d be watching my own kids running.
Em landed shortly after I did, we cabbed it to the house to ditch our bags, and sprinted – literally, sprinted – the .5 miles to Hayward. After some TSA-style security including a thorough bag search and metal detecting we finally made our way inside.
We got in our seats just as Heat 1 of the mens’ 1500m went off, and just like that, our Totally Trials experience was underway.
It took about .2 seconds before I was hoarse from yelling and enthusiastically clapping along with all 20,000 spectator neighbors. The roars of a lead change, eruption at the bell lap, and “OMG CAN YOU BELIEVE IT??!!” made it impossible not to get completely 100% invested.
The mens’ & womens’ 5000m finals capped off our Day 1 in the most dramatic of fashions – Rupp topping the podium after taking top spot in the 10k a few days earlier, and Kim Conley surging out of nowhere to overtake 3rd and grab A standard for her spot on the team.
insane finish photos from NBC (chills again)
Fan favorite Lauren Fleshman also ran, after gutsing her way into the finals on 11 mile training weeks while battling back from IT Band Syndrome. (great interview here on that) That qualifying round was the first time she’d run 3.1 miles all at once for MONTHS, and watching the pain and struggle of doing it again just a few days later was terrible. She came in dead last, but you could see the determination in her face the whole way. I had flashbacks to races where I’ve thought “I literally cannot give anymore, I’m done” and shamed myself while watching her push through every last step.
Lesson in mental toughness, completed.
Mac with the custom “Fleshman Flyer” trials shirts they made, and LF’s “C for Courage” (source)
Day 2 provided some extra-extra excitement by way of two Oiselle athletes competing! After a day full of sprinting, hurdling, throwing, and jumping, we settled onto the very edge of our seats to watch Kate Grace in the 1500m semi-finals!
slight ordering snafu left anyone with boobs & non-toothpick arms in need of some (oiselle-approved) scissor action on the K8 shirts
Kate missed qualifying for the finals but ran an impressive race, and it was fun bumping into other fans in K8 shirts and pretending like we weren’t total strangers.
The night finished with the women’s Steeplechase, which Oiselle’s Jamie Cheever ran. Again, so fun to have a teamer to cheer for, and I got goosebumps for Sally (Oiselle founder) when the PA rang out “from Oiselle” throughout Hayward. In a world full of big brands and the land of Nike, it was so cool to hear her “baby” recognized.
Day 3 (Saturday) was the final day of event spectating for me, since my flight home was scheduled to take off before the final events Sunday. This is how that made me feel :
Our seats were perfectly stationed right in front of the high jump pit and facing the finish line so we squeezed every last ounce of Trials excitement out of the day, capping everything off with an insane Allyson Felix 200m win.
Brigetta Barrett flying to 2nd place and a new collegiate record
Allyson Felix (lane 6) cruising to first by nearly half a second
Our Day3 Section U Oiselle cheer group, aka DON’T MAKE ME LEAVE YET
So much drama. Excitement. Heartbreak. Being there in the crowd at Hayward Stadium and seeing the emotion from the athletes truly caught me by surprise – I can’t think of another sport where each individual’s heart is put out there so exposed for everyone watching to see. I wanted to cry tears of joy or disappointment for every single athlete.
Being a distance “runner” (I no longer feel qualified to use the term after being in the presence of the country’s best athletes all weekend) I knew I’d be slightly biased towards the longer events, but I found myself so enthralled and unable to tear my eyes away from whatever business the cleated athletes had down on the oval. Jumping things, throwing things, running through water…
I’m officially declaring “the whole damn thing” my favorite T&F event. Too hard to choose.
Of course there was fun had outside the oval – fashion shows, ‘too legit’ superstars, and many #runlove-rekindling miles of the non-Olympian sort – but they’ll have to wait for next post.