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.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Eugene Race Details

This is really slow in being posted, as usual. I’ve had limited access to the internet and I’ve now found my way to the Bay Area. Last Saturday (May 27) I woke up and went for my usual pre-race shake out run and definitely felt like I had traveled all day on Friday. The highlight of the morning came when Erin Gray read me my horoscope. Up until that point, horoscopes held no value to me. She told me that it was a 5 star day for me and although I have no idea if that’s good or not, it sounded promising. I spent the rest of the day lounging around the Gray’s house until we headed to the track around 2:00. By that point it was raining and the temperature was hovering around 50 degrees. I warmed up with the Farm Team guys and tried to stay dry. Our race was in the middle of the Oregon state high school meet so Hayward Field was full of spectators despite the conditions. During the women’s 1500 I milled around on the back stretch trying to block out the fans’ rhythmic clapping each time the runners passed and I thought to myself, “This is going to be good.” At the start I was on the outside and new it would be perfect for me to pick my spot in the pack as we filed in. I found my way towards the back because I was expecting a 56 second first lap but when we completed the circuit I heard 58 for the pacesetter and I was likely around 60. I didn’t worry about it because I hadn’t planned on making any moves until after the second lap and when we came by with the rabbit’s 800 split of 1:59 I knew that it was time to start moving up since I was probably around 2:01. I slid to the outside along with about four other guys so I waited, stayed relaxed and continued to follow. I’m not sure of the 1200 split but things picked up shortly thereafter and the race was on. I closed well, but not fast enough to pull back in the top few guys. When I saw the leader’s time flash on the scoreboard I knew I had likely just gotten a new personal best. I waited for what seemed like an eternity before my name made its appearance in the fifth position with some sweet numbers behind it: 3:42.42. Although only a slight personal best, it was especially sweet since my old personal best of 3:42.73 came in early April of 2003. After a quick cool down, we went back to the Gray’s house so Erin could rest up for a road mile in which she was racing later. The race was called the Eugene Challenge Mile and was put on by the Eugene Running Company. I had already contacted the race director, Michael Black, about waiving my entry in case the Prefontaine 1500 fell through and he was more than helpful. Before the race I introduced myself to him and made sure to make him aware that since I had already race once that day, I might be pacing Erin in the women’s race instead of competing. He was fine with that and welcomed me to Eugene so Erin and I were off on our warm up. I felt pretty good so at the start line I took Bob aside and he pointed out the guys that would likely be contending for the win. Right before the gun I decided that I’d race hard for the first quarter and see where I was at in the race. The top couple guys were right about 60 seconds at the quarter mile and I was hanging back at about 61 or 62 and it felt pretty easy. We hit the half mile mark at 2:05 and I decided to take the lead and pick things up. The three-quarter split was 3:07 and I took it up another level from there. There has been some disparity between the official results and unofficial results but I’d guess that the 4:08 official time is pretty close, except some confusion at the start. Sometime after the cool down but before the awards ceremony, Erin, Bob and I made it back to where the runners were congregating. As part of the race Craig Mottram (a top ranked runner in the world) and Kenny Moore (a distinguished runner and author) were both signing autographs. I was hanging around in that general area when I was approached by the parents of a young runner who politely asked me for a photo with their son, Noah. I was flattered but also a bit embarrassed because within ear shot were two running celebrities and next to them I’m just an average Joe. I guess as far as Noah knew I was as good as Mottram and it’s been a good source of chuckles for me since. The trip has been great so far but in large part to the people that are helping me along the way. Bob, Kathleen & Erin Gray made me feel like part of the family. Erin even did me the favor of towing me down here to my friend Jim Sorenson’s place in San Leandro, CA. I drove him to the airport for a meet in LA tomorrow, so I’m throwing a big party at his place tonight. Sorry for the long, disjoint post that spans over a week. Bottom line is this - the Grays were FANTASTIC hosts, Jim is helping out big time, and I'm racing the 1500 a week from tomorrow (Sunday, June 11) at Stanford. In the meantime, I'm planning on heading up to Sacramento to watch my training mate, David Rotich, run in the NCAA Championships.


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