That phrase has been hanging on my wall and repeated in my head since May 6th, over half a year ago. November finally got here; Saturday was Nationals! And wow, was it a great day! Not only was Saturday a great day, the entire 5 day trip to the Vancouver/Portland area was awesome.
Wednesday morning we flew out of Cincinnati at 12:15 and headed to Salt Lake City, Utah for our connecting flight to Portland. This was the farthest I had been west and I was excited to see some mountains. They were cool to see from the sky, it was different seeing snow on the ground. We boarded the plane to Portland and had a short trip there. As we were flying in, we could see a big mountain poking way above the clouds. I am guessing that was Mt. Rainier, it is the highest point in Washington. We landed safely and ahead of schedule and we were now breathing fresh Oregon air (the air really didn't feel any different but it was fun giving Wysocki a hard time about not being with us). This night we did not do much. We drove to our hotel in Vancouver, Comfort Inn, ran 8 miles, and ate at a local place called Burgerville USA. I had a Cranberry Turkey sandwich with Jalapeno salsa on it (amazing place!). The rest of the night we just chilled and got some sleep.
(Thats not a cloud, it is Mt. Rainier)
Thursday was our free day, we all decided we should go to Eugene to check out Hayward field. It was a 2 hour ride down to Eugene but it was worth it. We were able to walk around the track and step in the same prints as some hollowed names in running history. We also ran the course on Thursday. The course is set up as 4 loops, 2k for each one. The footing was a little wet and I knew the course would be sloppy by the time the race came, which is good for us Bears!
(Hayward field and the legendary stands)
On Friday, we just chilled in Vancouver for the morning. After running a little, we all went to an Italian restaurant. It was very good. Later that night we drove to Nike Headquarters to hear Alberto Salazar speak. There was also a pasta dinner. Nike Headquarters is an amazing place, there were so many pieces of memorabilia, plaques, displays, and so forth of famous athletes. Each building was named after an athlete, such as the Lance Armstrong Center, or Steve Prefontaine Hall, and the list goes on. We also had a chance to see some non released shoes that will be coming out next fall and a look into the insides of shoes. Pretty neat stuff. Salazar was not as bad as I thought he was going to be. Ever since learning about him and Dick Beardsley, I have always been a Beardsley man before a Salazar fan. I think Beardsley resembles a Shawnee State Bear better than any other runner. He was not famous, cocky, or glamorous, but worked hard and beat people that were more famous than him.
Friday night we went to bed awaiting the day to come. Nationals was less than 12 hours away and it was time to be a Bear.
Note: I will write the race recap on another day......