Checking in from Eugene
It’s Saturday June 27, Day Three of the 2009 USA Track & Field Championships. Thursday it was just me, Malinda, and Paul Zager at the meet. But by the time we settled in to watch the 5000’s Friday evening, John Spriggs and Asit Panwala had joined us and we had our Pamakid group of five.
It’s been a great time up here so far. Too many star athlete sightings on the Pre Trail to count. My favorite was a young woman named Stephanie, who I actually stopped and talked to. Stephanie is a big running fan and is relatively famous in running circles because of her posts on LetsRun.com under the nickname “Txrunnergrl.”
As usual, the Villard St. Pub is the happening place. At night after the meet it’s packed with fans, coaches (high school, college and professional), and athletes. On Thursday night I got to talk to John Godina. I know John from my UCLA manager days. He’s the nicest guy. Always says hi and talks to me at the meets when I see him. A 9-time medalist at World Championships and Olympics. Made TEAM USA in both shot put and discus. Nice story about his retirement and how he’s still supporting the sport that he loves can be found here: http://www.iaaf.org/news/kind=100/newsid=49498.html. My favorite story is he once won a fancy car for winning a major meet and he turned it in to get a pick-up truck that he could drive around the ranch when he was home in Wyoming. That’s John Godina for you. When we took this picture, he was joking with Malinda the whole time, “make me look pretty and slender” (we even switched sides to get his better side!
Last night Malinda and I caught Bob Larsen in a talkative mood (check here for a previous story I wrote about Bob: http://www.flotrack.org/blogs/blogger/chanman/22-the-bob-larsen-i-know-2007). One of the greatest coaches in the sport told us how Meb was doing, his opinion that athletes should take their turn leading long races like the 10,000 and not let everyone else do all the work, and some great insights about how the US should be developing steeplechasers better. It was amazing stuff! I also got to talk to Shannon’s college coach, Kevin Jermyn, and Shannon’s boyfriend when they were at Duke, Jon Amt. The three of us can proudly say we were the instrumental ones in developing the runner she’s become before John Cook took her to the next level.
This morning was the Hootie 5K, an informal race put on by the guys who organize the entertainment, vendors, and other activities at Villard St Pub. Before the race the adidas rep said they’d give us a free beer token if we tried on a pair of adidas racing flats and ran with them in the race. So why not? John and I took them up on the offer. The Pamakids were well represented with all five of us running and with me, John, and Malinda in our Pamakid uniforms. We were told we took home the team award but there was not actually a team category. Congrats to John who in the post-race raffle, won a pair of those very adidas racing flats.
I’ve commented to Malinda the last two nights that I am in track heaven right now. Eugene is the perfect venue. It’s small enough that everywhere we go we see someone we know. Although the energy isn’t the same as last year for the Trials, I love seeing so many of my track friends everyday. Some of these guys I only talk to once a year at this meet.
Oh yeah, there’s a meet going on, too.