Wednesday, January 11, 2012

2012 Olympic Trials: Wednesday 

I hope to post something every night about my detailed experiences on each day leading up to the Big Race. This is mainly for me to document every little detail so I can remember it forever, but I want to share with my Blog audience too since you all have been so supportive.
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Last night I suppose my dreams, not the ones you remember but the millions that vanish into oblivion like flies, are what kept me from fully falling asleep. I was in that semi-awake, semi-asleep mode where I was bordering just enough consciousness to feel like total crap on Wednesday morning at 6am when my alarm went off for my flight. Fortunately, I was able to push all negative thoughts aside once I realized that I was officially on my way to Houston!

Matt picked me up and dropped me off at the airport, and I made my way through the security line with a pat down and two searched bags - they didn't like the muscle trac massager that Melissa Bell gave me as a good luck gift nor the clementines. Fortunately they let me keep both.

After a oatmeal breakfast courtesy of Starbucks, I was boarding my US Airways flight to Houston. On the plane, I wish I had a smoothie because about half way through I got REALLY hungry and I knew that I wouldn't be able to satisfy my growling stomach for about another three hours. A think thin white chocolate protein bar just doesn't do enough.

Regardless, I arrived in Houston, approached a man holding an Olympic trials sign, informed him that Caitlin Chrisman is here,  and called the Elite Transportation "captain" named Bert. Once I set foot in Houston, the rush of excitement, nervousness, anxiety, exhilaration and disbelief all hit me at one time, and I was a little thrown aback at the strength of all these emotions rolled into one. So much buildup has been put into this race, and now that I was finally there, it was hard to believe it was finally a reality.

 While waiting for Bert, I decided to do the unthinkable. In my so-tight-I-almost-can't-breathe $10 skinny jeans and long boots, I propped my leg up on the baggage carousel and began rolling the muscle trac massager over my legs. To quote the Adidas ad campaign from 99...runners. Yeah, we're different.

This was me at the airport, but on the baggage claim

I was vaguely aware of the prim southerners who stopped their conversations to take a glance my way, but I kept massaging my legs. After all, what was a better way to make the time go by? Soon, I put the stick down because Bert had arrived, and I hopped into the front seat of a ten passenger van to drive to the Hilton Americas hotel. We were the only two people in the van, so I was able to learn some gossip about the weekend.  Apparently I was one of the first to arrive this week!  I found out from Bert that the super stars like Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher are getting picked up in BMWs. I liked the van just fine; it was free!

I checked into the Hilton at 10am, and walked into an amazing room that looks outs on the start line for the race on Saturday. I immediately unpacked all of my stuff and folded it nicely into drawers before heading out for a run on the first three miles on the course. Other than having to stop at nearly every intersection for the first two miles, the run was nice and I was clicking off 720s the whole way. The course is fairly flat, but not like Kiawah Island flat. It has some gently rolling hills once we get outside of the city.

My stomach was growling uncontrollably, so I ended the run at Jason's deli, where I enjoyed a salad at a table all by myself (family and friends don't get in until tomorrow). I couldn't pick up my Elite credentials until 2pm, so I even took the extra time to buy some jam at a grocery store. I arrived promptly at the elite athlete checkin only to realize that I was the first one there and that they hadn't received the list of athletes yet and so therefore I couldn't sign in yet.

Fortunately for me, all of the USATF representatives were there and one of them took me on a tour of all the Elite rooms - elite massage, elite hospitality suite, elite quiet room with laptops for our use, elite friends and family lounge, and the elite bathrooms. All of these amenities are located on the fourth floor of the Hilton, a floor that is comprised solely of ballrooms. Essentially, the US Olympic committee has taken over the whole floor.

By the time I got back from my tour, I was introduced to another USATF official, who introduced me to Mo Trafeh, one of the favorites to place in the top five. We chatted for some time as I pretended to not know that I had just read this article on him a couple days ago. In the end, all of these athletes are just normal people like you or me. They just might get paid to run while we do not.

Everyone in the Elite area was so very nice. I was so grateful to be surrounded by so many officials who share the same passion for running as I do. I couldn't help but wonder if some of the officials used to be Olympic trials qualifiers themselves, but I never found the right moment to ask.  They kept telling me to let them know if there was anything I needed that wasn't already available in the food selection.  So far, it seemed like they had everything covered (including soy milk).

Soon, I got my race credentials and race bag, which included a nice plastic cup with the trials logo on it, a Nike running hat with the logo, and sunscreen.  I grabbed my "to-go" box of elite water bottles and spent the next hour decorating them with CRC stickers and hello kitty. I also determined which ones to put gels, Gatorade, or water in. By this time, it was 4pm and I decided I needed to do nothing for a little while, so I finished a book by Johnathon Tropper before heading to a grocery store for dinner.

After dinner, there really isn't much more to report other than checking out Facebook, watching a snippet of a movie, and, after I finish writing this, turning out the lights at 8pm.


Hanna B said...

Good luck Caitlin, can't wait to hear about the race.

Anonymous said...

Hope you really enjoy the experience. Lots of folks in Charlotte are cheering you, Meagan and Megan on from a distance.

Luette said...

Praying for you and so excited!!! Go kick some booty!

Anonymous said...

Just teared-up a bit reading this. We are SO PROUD of you! GGGOOOOOOOOO CAITLIN!!! woo-hoo!
:) sloan and jamie

Anonymous said...

Thank you for letting us share this amazing experience with you through your daily posts. We wish you great success! Pat and Ron Grimmer

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