Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympics

I happened to catch the 1,500m run prelims last night, and that got me excited about watching some running here. The 800 was my race in both high school and college, so I definitely hope to catch that. But I think when it comes to drama and excitement, the 4x400 is the greatest event. That's the one that gets me pumped up, wanting to race myself. In college I did run that event, but always on the B team. Our A team won nationals one year, so I think cheering for them helped build that kind of anticipation for me. That plus the fact that I put way too much pressure on myself in the 800, while there was none in the 4x400--for an 800 runner, a single lap is just a sprint with no worries about strategy or pacing, both things that ended up twisting me up before my 800 races. My favorite experience from the 4x400, though, was one time that we had a 4xDan relay.

So I know nothing about anyone competing in it for any country, but I'm hoping to catch it regardless. I've been conditioned to see it as the final event of a meet, so after watching it, I'm sure a part of me will feel the Olympics must be over, whenever it ends up taking place.

6 comments:

Joe Sherry said...

The 4x4 doesn't really do much for me, but then I ran the 1600 and 3200 in high school and cross country in college. For me, the 1500 is really the most exciting race with special love for the last 300 meters of the race.

I tolerate the 800 (before Athens at the US Trials one of my college teammates made the finals, and that was quite cool). :)

Daniel Ausema said...

Yeah, that is very cool. I had a roommate who was training for the trials in steeple...must have been for the Sydney games. Brian Diemer was our distance coach (1984 bronze medalist), so they got good coaching in the event.

Our 800 squad was always on that edge between sprints and distance, so we never fully fit with either. Most of the time we trained with the sprinters, though--our coach was a former Olympian as well, for South Korea, but in the long jump and 100m.

I see (with a bit of cyber sleuthing) that you went to Northwestern? My wife grew up in NW Iowa, from about age 6 on, and her father after about 20 years at Dordt as professor and dean switched over to Northwestern a few years ago as vice-president and now provost there. Dutch bingo--it extends even beyond the Dutch circles...

Joe Sherry said...

And the connections never cease! Yeah, I went to NW. I think one of my English professors was a Dordt student...which is interesting given the Dordt / NW rivalry.

Generally our 800 squads trained with distance, but at least for the first two years while I was at NW, distance was the red-headed stepchild of our track team. That began to change and I think we've had stronger 800 runners lately...though that probably means they're part of the sprinters.

Northwestern was a good place to go to school.

Daniel Ausema said...

It was the opposite at Calvin--they had a long tradition of excellent distance teams, in part I'm sure because of Diemer being the coach for both track and cross and drawing in good talent. Plus success draws more talent, and they've had several national titles. Until a few years before I came, though, the sprints and field events were a definite after-thought. There'd been some standouts, but you had the impression no one expected us to do especially well in those. We were NCAA division III, though, so no scholarships--NW is NAIA, right? So you had scholarship athletes?

The benefit to training with the sprinters as an 800 runner was that I got running form pounded into me--my shoulders would still tend to tighten up too much at the end of a race, but otherwise we would get every bit of speed we could out of our bodies by being efficient. They'd trained with the distance squad until my first year, and they got far more miles that way...so endurance for a paltry two laps was never a problem for them. In my best year I trained with distance guys in the fall and put in hundreds of miles and then with the sprinters come January. I'm sure that's why it was my best year.

Chad Aaron Sayban said...

I'm glad that the Olympics are over in a week...because I'm not getting any sleep at all! I'm addicted to just about everything they are showing. For someone who doesn't watch very much TV, I'm sure hooked to the games.

Daniel Ausema said...

Our TV has definitely been on a lot more than usual as well...