As the track trials are winding down I'm finally sifting through my pictures from our visit on Day 2 to give you the highlights from our trip.
Gabe and I drove down to Portland last Friday night. NIGHTMARE of a drive. No seriously - worst drive EVER. To get from Bellingham to just outside of Olympia where we were dropping off the hound for the weekend it took us almost 2.5 hours longer than normal. The weather was crappy, the traffic terrible, and our moods even worse. But we had tickets and we were going to see this weekend play itself out.
Friday night we landed much later than expected at my Aunts house. Thankfully they were all still awake and willing to take us to dinner. Thank you Sheri and Scott for your hospitality! Post inhalation of food we watched a recap on Prefontaine and saw a few interviews of Olympic hopefuls. It totally set the stage for the following day.
Saturday we woke up bright and early and hit the road. The sky was filled with clouds and the rain was coming down but as we headed south there were a few blue patches and we held out hope that it would be clear in Eugene. I'd say the weather wasn't terrible and thankfully it wasn't a repeat of Friday's downpour but sitting in exposed bleachers in the rain isn't ideal.
We arrived at Autzen stadium around 10:30 and trekked over to Hayward field. The clouds were holding their water and the day was actually quite pleasant. We arrived in time for the field events to start. We found our seats easily and took in the view of the track and the electric atmosphere. We watched for a little and then went off to explore the area around the field. There were food stands, semi-bars, kettle corn, shave ice... you name it, they probably had it. There was also Nike... I don't even know how to describe it... arena? They had a store with all the Olympic trial paraphernalia that anyone would need and also a few exhibits. We tootled around those for a bit then headed back inside the stadium - just in time for a short cloud burst.
Over the next few hours we watched the javelin semis and the decathlon pole vault. I've never paid that much attention to field events (other than the long jump... HUGE FAN) so it was pretty entertaining to get behind it. We brought binoculars and zoomed in on all the athletes. It was pretty interesting to see the range of physicality among the group. Some athletes were down right body-builder-esque and others looked like they just finished high school (and in some cases maybe they had!).
After the field events there was a little break in the action. Just enough time to hop over to a bar and grill near the field and meet up with Laura and Jason for lunch. It was fun to catch up with them and hear the stories from the day before - how people had done, who they were stalking, and just the general 'goings-on' in the town. We downed our lunch in record time so we could head back to the track and catch running events - starting with the 100m hurdles. We stepped one foot outside and lo and behold it began to pour. And I'm not talking the typical Northwest rain where it slowly drenches you over time. I'm talking full on drenching downpour in seconds.
By the time we made it back to the field we were soaked. My jeans were sticking to my legs. No one was in quite the hurry we had been to find our cover-free spots just so we could sit in puddles. Not to mention Jason couldn't see because his glass were just collecting rain drops. We all opted to head to the Nike store just to get out of the rain for a second and maybe buy a hat or two.
PONCHOS!!! They were selling ponchos. Perfect. We snagged those and literally not two seconds later there was a break in the clouds. Whatever, the ponchos were totally worth it. They kept us warm and 'dryer' for the rest of the day. The drizzle that came later... no big deal. The wet bleachers from the downpour... it's cool, I'm sitting on my poncho. Most amazing product ever. Not to mention, in our chance encounter with the ponchos we also heard the rumor that Dathan Ritzenhein was signing autographs right around the corner. SAWEET!
Autographed acquired, congratulations given, awkward photograph taken... now time to watch the races.
I won't go into all the details about the races but they were mighty impressive. I was rooting for the underdogs - the one's that didn't get much recognition or better yet the high schoolers. They are all amazing to me and I respect every last one of them!
Men's 800 semi-finals
Women's 800 semi-finals
But the kicker for the day had to be the Men's 1500 meter decathlon race. Ashton Eaton set the world record for the number of points and it all came down to that final race. He had to beat his best time by 2 seconds to get it. The crowd was pulling for him. His fellow decathletes were pulling for him. It was an incredible moment!! Words can't describe the emotion that was in that stadium that afternoon.
And that was it - that's all we got to see. It was an incredible experience and an exhausting weekend. I wish I would have had the forethought to take Monday off and stayed for the whole weekend - absorbing a fraction more of the excitement. Sadly, we packed it up the next morning, ate breakfast among Olympians (Lisa Uhl was sitting right next to us at breakfast) and hit the road for home. Luckily my fellow Oiselle teammates were scattered throughout the remaining days so I got to live vicariously through their Tweets and the Oiselle blog. I've tried hard to watch the rest of the events online but all that seems to be broadcast are the finals and/or the events highlighting the big names like Lolo Jones - HUGE FAIL on NBC's part.