I have little to say about my own athletic endeavors this week. I went on a couple of bike rides, not super strenuous. My foot is recovering. Finally. It took me awhile to get to the point of not doing anything. To wait. To be patient. To do what I should have done months ago. Don’t mess around with broken bones people! Let them heal.
Since I have little to say about my own athletic endeavors this week, I’ll share with you my highs and lows of the Olympics.
U.S. Marathon Woes. I woke up at the crack of dawn to watch our greatest women’s Olympic marathon team ever assembled compete.
Before the race, I knew that Desiree Davila (check out this thrilling finish to the Boston Marathon 2011!), with Hansons-Brooks was struggling with a hip flexor injury and was doubtful to even start. She did start, but was never in the race and was forced to drop out. She is an excellent marathoner though and she will be back! [Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher finished 10th and 11th. Not too shabby for the former 5,000m AR holder Flanagan running in her third marathon and Goucher who in the last two years has had a baby and switched coaches.]
I was bummed a little by the women’s race, but picked myself back up for men’s race the following week. I had high hopes for Ryan Hall the AR holder in the marathon who despite never winning a major marathon has always been in the hunt. He has also created quite a stir in the running community for being very outspoken about his faith and looking to God as his coach. Watching, I was concerned from the beginning when I didn’t see him up in the front of the pack. He is typically a front-runner, especially in the early goings, and I knew that if he was being cautious there was a problem. I didn’t have to wait long because around mile 10 he dropped out. Hamstring. Olympics over. Lame. Abdi dropped out right after, too. We only had one guy left and he ran in Sketchers…
When Hall dropped out, I knew the jabs about God were going to start and I was right. One of the first things I read: “Where is Ryan Hall’s god now?” I’ve never had the chance to sit down and talk with Ryan or his wife, but they are very open about their beliefs. It doesn’t seem like an act and I’m relieved to say I don’t think he’s bought into the health and wealth crap gospel. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he seems like he’s seeking the truth. He’s out their representing the name of Jesus Christ in a not-so-kind environment and needs prayer. Hopefully, this disappointment will draw him closer to God and that God will be glorified. Not Ryan Hall. He’s hoping to run the NYC marathon in November so be on the lookout!
Down goes Uceny! Morgan Uceny is a U.S. women’s 1500m runner. She exploded onto the scene last year (she was no slouch beforehand finishing 4th at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2008). She captured the #1 ranking in the WORLD at the distance last year and was poised to win a title at the World Championships in Daegu. In the final of that race with 500m to go, she fell. Everyone gasped and then Jenny Simpson, also from the U.S. shocked the world with a victory. Uceny sprang up and finished the race, but there was no coming back after a fall like that. She was bummed. But, at least she had a #1 ranking and the Olympics in 2012. Fast forward. She is running comfortably on the outside. Staying out of trouble. Looks great. Perfect position. Ready to move when the bell rings. Everyone is still in it thanks to a slow pace. Bell. Final lap. The pack surges forward. Down goes Uceny. I barely remember the last lap because I was in shock that Morgan Uceny fell, again! This time she didn’t get up. She slammed the track with her hands. She screamed. She cried. A lot. It was very traumatic.
Drama. Drama. Drama. Get a bunch of competitive people together and there is sure to be drama, but it bugs me. I don’t even want to say names and events because that’ll just feed it.
U.S. men’s distance runners. They’re coming back! Galen Rupp takes silver in the 10,000m. Kenyans don’t even medal. I wouldn’t have thought it possible before this, but Rupp was looking good coming in and his training partner Mo Farah (GB) was also something special. Alberto Salazar, their coach, is a happy man.
Then, Leo Manzano kicks like a banshee in the last 100m to nab silver in the 1500m. Woot! He may have a strange pre-race ritual, but he is a silver medalist for the U.S. Also, of note, Matt Centrowitz of the U.S. finished 4th. He was the bronze medalist at Worlds last year. The young runner is consistent. Let’s hope he consistently gets better!
Remember the only guy we had left in the marathon running in Sketchers? He finished 4th! A surprise for the 37-year-old Meb Keflezighi? Not as much as you would think considering the year he has had (in Sketchers! I still can’t get over that). He ran his personal best at the 2011 NYC Marathon and celebrated on the streets of Houston with a win at the Olympic Trials in January. A former silver medalist and NYC marathon champion (2009) should never be counted out, but I’ll admit that I didn’t really think he’d do much since the medal came 8 years ago and well, he is getting older… But, he surprised me, and a few others, kept churning after being dropped by the leaders, and worked his way to fourth. Congrats, Meb! Let’s go to Rio!
Finally, meet Guor Marial.
He competed in the men’s marathon. It was his first Olympics and he did so running under the IOC flag because he doesn’t really have a country. He fled what is now South Sudan when he was young, growing up in the United States. His family was devastated by the war torn country. He lost 8 of his siblings and 15 other family members. When he qualified for the team, he was asked to compete under the Sudanese flag. But, he refused. He is also not a U.S. citizen, leaving him without a country to represent. I hear a lot of negative press about the IOC so it was nice to hear of something positive for once. They allowed Guor to run. Props to them, but I was most impressed with Guor, devoid of bitterness, smiling and humble during a pre-race interview. By running on the biggest stage, he has given children in Sudan something to run toward rather than away from.
I know a lot of other things happened at the Olympics, but I can’t cover it all!
For those interested: 7 of the 8 men in the Olympic 100m finals will be racing Aug. 23rd Rematch! See the announcement. Track and Field still exists even when the rest of the world doesn’t watch.