This web log was created to keep you up to date with the athletic pursuits of Blake Boldon. It will be updated regularly with competition schedules, results, and photos.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Eugene, Oregon - Part 1

My trip to the Pacific Northwest has been one long improbable chain of events and things couldn’t be going better. It all started off about three weeks ago when the world-renowned track & field guru Carl Jackson (a.k.a. Jacko) introduced me to a friend of his named Kris who works as an athlete representative. Kris volunteered his services to help me find a few races in the hope of getting a qualifier for the US Championships this June. He used his expertise to set me up with the Prefontaine Classic 1500 and then gave me a few leads for other races on the west coast in early June. Like I said in my last post, I flew from Des Moines to Seattle on Friday but due to some late changing plans and a sold out Amtrak train I was left without a way from Seattle to Eugene. Bob Gray (my good friend Ian's dad and the father of my surrogate family here in Eugene) provided me with a great last minute suggestion. He recommended that I check (make sure to include the ‘s’) for a rideshare out of Seattle. I fortunately found a posting from someone requesting a traveling companion all the way from Seattle to Eugene. I immediately responded to the post and within several hours plans had been formalized. As it turned out, I had made anonymous arrangements with a great girl that goes to school at the University of Washington. Shanna went out of her way to make my trip great. She literally picked me up at the curb of the airport only minutes after I landed and drove me all the way to the doorstep of my hosts here in Eugene. It was an interesting ride as she also had a guy from Finland that was riding with us as far as Portland. We made jokes about a college age girl driving two strange men across the Northwest and I was able to strut my vast knowledge of Finnish current events gleaned from my hours spent with Conan O’Brien. After delivering our Finn to a corner where he planned to find a pub and wait for friends, Shanna wanted to visit her brother and sister-in-law who reside in Portland. While entering the house she gave me the heads up that I was a friend from Seattle to keep her family from worrying that Ted Bundy had just entered their living room. I chatted it up with the 6-year old neighbor girl with the dynamite disposition while eating a bagel and taking advantage of their Mormon hospitality. I’m not sure of how long the stop was but it was great to hear about the weekend plans, the recently built birdhouse and the variety of crops planted in the garden. I even got an invitation to the Memorial Day barbeque. After refueling we hit the road to Eugene, except this time I was behind the wheel. Aside from the rain, the two hour drive was no problem and we rolled into the Gray’s Endurance Training Center around 11:00 pm. As I put it to Shanna as we approached the house, I had never before looked forward to imposing at a stranger’s house more than I did at that moment. My arrival concluded my nearly 16 hour journey. I'll post more about the races on Saturday sometime tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to find official results by then too.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Prefontaine 1500 Preview

On Saturday I'm racing in Eugene, Oregon in the 1500 of the Prefontaine Classic. It's the only race on Saturday and it's in the middle of the Oregon state high school meet. It should be a good opportunity to run fast as the rabbit is set to be 1:56 through 800. The trip should be a wild adventure as plans for tomorrow's travel are still unfolding. I fly to Seattle and had planned on buying an Amtrak ticket but the train is sold out thanks to the holiday weekend. After the race in Oregon I'm not sure where I'm headed, but I'm hoping to get a couple quality races in before I make my way back to Ames. I'll update when my internet access allows. In the meantime, here is a preliminary start list for the race on Saturday: MEN: Ryan Hall, Sean O'Brien, Jason Jabaut, Chris Estwanik, Charlie Gruber, Jim Sorenson, Sean Duffy, Gabe Jennings, Ryan Hayden, Blake Boldon, Hzi Dou (China), James Hatch, Raymond Weeden, Richard Smith, Brandon Shaw--Pace

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Headed West

Not much to update here. On Friday I fly to Seattle to find some races. My first race is on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon. The Olympic development 1500 in conjuction with the Prefontaine meet was a late development but I've got a lane. If not, I've got a road mile in Eugene lined up later that night. After that I'm not sure exactly what I have planned but my return flight isn't until June 12, so hopefully I'll find some quality races. Since there's not much else to update right now, I'll comment on yesterday's workout. I did 1000 meters with David Rotich here in Ames on a breezy afternoon, ten minutes rest and then 2 x 300 on five minutes recovery. The times were 2:26.2, 37.8, and 38.0. I did the 300's on my own and was surprised to run under 38 seconds without a big effort. It was the first workout in a while where I felt like things were on track and I finally feel like I'm getting close to being ready to do some racing.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Len Paddock Invitational

Well, it wasn't the most ideal scenario, but Nick did exactly what he said he would. He has been battling a bit of a head cold for the last two days, but since he's such a great host he didn't shy away from setting the pace tonight. I'm not sure exactly what the wind was tonight but I definitely felt like it was a factor in the race. Nick took me out and led through 1200 meters. Our splits were 28 at 200, 58 at 400, 1:58 at 800, 2:29 at 1000, and 2:59 or 3 minutes at 1200. The headwind was on the back stretch so after Nick stepped off I battled the wind on my own for over 100 meters and then felt exhausted as I came into the homestretch all by myself. Afterwards I felt like I had given an incredible effort and it's just a good indicator to me that I have a lot of training to do to get where I want to head this season. After the training that I've missed so far in 2006, I'm not surprised and not discouraged because I haven't done many specific preparation workouts and things have been very inconsistent since USATF cross country in February. I definitely owe a big thanks to Mark Misch for helping to facillitate the trip, and to Nick Willis, Todd Iacovelli, and Jason Stewart for letting me crash at their place for a few days. Their hospitality has been fantastic. In all honesty, the highlight of the trip so far was seeing my high school math teacher and 7th grade basketball coach, John Huenemann. He and his wife drove down from Midland, Michigan to watch me run and took me out for a burrito at a nearby restaraunt. It was great to see them, even though our time together was very brief and it only seemed like a few minutes even though they took the time to hang out here in Ann Arbor with me for dinner and a walk. Here's a link to results:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Drake Relays Results and the Story From LA to Ann Arbor...

After a long, strange two weeks I feel like I've got my running back on track for the spring. The condensed version is this: I went to Los Angeles on Easter weekend for a couple meets. I ran the 800 at Pomona Pitzer and got a new personal best in rainy and unideal conditions. With that effort and my recent 5k personal best I figured that I would be set for a solid performance in the mile the next night despite little specific preparation. The invitational mile at Mt. SAC was a disaster. I was never in the race and ran 4:07 by myself off the back of the pack. Afterwards there was a burning lump in my hamstring that made it hard to walk back to my shoes. I couldn't cool down and that obviously changed training for the next week. It was a tough weekend considering the result, my new found injury, and the fact that I missed Easter with my family. After feeling sorry for myself for about a week I was finally able to get a little quality in and decided to go ahead with the mile at Drake. It was windy and rainy and the stands were far more empty than the typical Drake sellout. A collegiate athlete took it out and we were roughly 61 for the first quarter mile. At the half mile we were 2:03 and the pace was slowing. Within the next 200 meters the pace slowed more and since I was near the front I spilled into the lead with a lap and a half to go. I lead threw the wind on the home stretch and even though the pack spread out I didn't shake everybody. I ended up third in 4:03.41, which is an outdoor personal best for the mile, despite the terrible conditions. After Drake my good friend, Mark Misch, presented me with an opportunity for a solid 1500 this Friday in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His friend, Nick Willis, will be setting the pace and he's giving me a place to stay and showing me some serious Kiwi hospitality. So here I am in Ann Arbor, preparing for a race tomorrow night here at the University of Michigan. Here's a link to the full results at Drake: Here's a link to some information about Friday's race, Len Paddock Invitational: (Check out the nickname...)