Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Couple Thoughts on the LA Trials

I will leave the expert analysis to Coach Jerry, but I want to just quickly offer a couple thoughts I had, as well, while I was baking out there on Figueroa Avenue.

Also, definitely read Charlie's story about Kieran.

First, Saturday was an absolutely amazing day -- a peak moment -- for our club. The fact that there was literally a watch party to root on three of our teammates competing in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials ... and the fact that all three of them, as coach might indeed note, competed with such distinction ...

... I was blown away. (I loved interrupting conversations to be like, oh, sorry, that's my teammate coming down the road -- you know, running in the Olympic Trials. #GRCPride. I posted a few tweets with videos, and you might detect that during Teal's I suddenly lost my shouting ability.)

I thought it was such a cruel hand to be dealt: our athletes train through the holidays and Snowzilla then have to compete in the hottest damn trials in the race's history. And man, it really was hot out there. (The day before the race, when I was running in the Claremont Wilderness Trail, I saw a kid ask her dad if it was still winter ... and the dad was like, "Wait, what month is it??")

Other than the one underpass that Emily D, my sister, my bro-in-law, and I spent some time recovering under, exhausted from yelling, I saw zero shade on that course. What I saw was that the temps rose quickly, the sun was beating down, and the conditions exacted a very quick, painful toll on the entire field.

Yet Kieran, Teal, and Emily ran fearlessly.

Kieran, I could tell from the get go, was not suffering like others around him and was going to execute his race plan. Teal, I could see, was going to put herself out there and not let up -- and she didn't. Same for Emily.

They all had fire -- and it was such a tough day to have it. The side-of-the-road perspective for this trials, frankly, was painful at times -- just hard to watch. It wasn't fun to see so many amazing runners reduced to a shuffle by such brutal conditions. Lot of carnage, as the saying goes.

And I think -- times and results not withstanding -- that was what really impressed me about our teammates: the way they all ran on a combo of smarts + heart.  Every time I saw one of our own, they were focusing on the back ahead of them and really racing. Which is significant. To be even within a shadow of their personal bests in those conditions was amazing.

Kieran was seeded 145th out of 169 and finished 24th. The guy a spot behind him is a 61-minute half marathoner.

Teal was seeded 117th and finished 73rd.

Emily was seeded 139th and finished 103rd.

We all should be really proud of them - and I know we really are. Soak up the inspiration -- and as Teal says, Dream Big.

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