Caren Ware's Blog

February 4, 2011

Milling around New York for MILLROSE GAMES

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 8:51 pm

As if Texas wasn’t cold enough, I flew to New York. The Big City was not happy with their foot of snow fall and in the teens temperatures. When I arrived, taxis and taxis and taxis were stuck, stuck, stuck. Snow piled on the sides of the streets forced vehicles down to one lane. Vehicles, mainly taxis, were trying to go both ways. No one was going anywhere. Only recourse was to honk. Honk and honk and honk. Then do something very New Yorker-ish. Yell. Windows rolled down. Heads stuck out of car windows and were puffing indecipherable words. I was definitely in New York.
The sidewalks were also banked with snow and down to one lane. I jostled and bumped into everyone everywhere, stepping out of the way and plunging into puddles. During the day ,drips off the overhangs t tormentingly ran down my neck and destroyed any potential hair style. At night, the temperatures dropped. Ears hurt. My toes complained. My fancy boots set me to ice skating. It was a balancing act that I did not manage to master well. I went down at a street corner. Slipped; feet out from under me and down into one of those gooey, asphalt laden puddles. Uuuukkkk. Bum, my newly purchased ,fake rhinestoned, Texan jeans were drenched. But not for long. The gunky water froze the denim to my leg. Time to dive into a coffee house. Once defrosted, I walked for miles in those boots. It was the only transportation going anywhere at any rate of accomplishable speed!
I had taken advantage of the $109 fares and popped up to New York so I could be at 104th Millrose Games in Madison Square Gardens. It was a Friday night indoor track meet. We have so few greatly run, greatly attended track meets in the USA. I forced the opportunity to go. There was to be a show down of gifted multi-event men battling it out in the shot put, hurdles, and high jump, one of whom was our Decathlon Olympic Gold Medalist Bryan Clay. Clay was outpointed that night by a talented up and comer from the University of Oregon, Ashton Eaton. Women pole vaulters were attending to attempt an indoor world record against the Brazilian talent, Fabiana Murer. Our nations bulky and bully shot putters were putting it out there. 60 meter hurdles and dashes would be run in between all these 4 by 400 and 4 by 800 relays. And the mile battle between Bernard Lagat and a young Ethiopian, Deresse Mekonnen was the climax. They didn’t disappoint us by running a sub 4 minute mile, the Ethiopian holding Bernard Lamat off at the very end.
There is a 4 by 400 master’s exhibition race. I ran it 4 years ago with Team Athena, a national team of fabulously fast females over forty. In the adrenaline of a full stadium under the pressure to do well for a team, I went out too fast. I lead the lead 400 meters right out of the camera frame from the rest of the pack. Even a wide angle lens could not reel me in. My tall body bounced under the spring of a banked track and I dialed the lactic acid factory to overload. The monkey pounced on my back in the last 40 yards and that audience gasping lead I had shrank with alarming speed. The pack overtook me as I handed off the baton. I had not known that this specialty track was only 185 meters. I thought I only had to run two laps and was wild eyed to find no one standing at that point to take the baton. I had another half a lap to go. You know those bad dreams where someone is chasing you and your legs are going nowhere? That was me that night. There are some very talented girls on team Athena and we were able to win. I think at the time we set a meet record which they have since reset. I wish I didn’t have to admit that I have had a habit of running out front like that. This causes me even greater problems in an 800m race. No one remembers who lead the first lap. They only remember who finished it first! Something I am working on training out of me.
In this current Millrose game there was a high school boy that lead the 2 mile like this, so stunningly out front with leg turn over and stride. Lap after lap. The announcer must have seen this performance before because he jibbed that this kid always goes out like this. Well, unable to keep up the pace, he started cramping and was overtaken by the pack. He bobbled and knocked down two other competing boys. He finished the race almost dead last and collapsed in a heap that had to be helped up. Put a dial of degrees on that boy and he would be a great runner. I have heard the same coaching cry. Pace, Caren. It is all about turning the dial steady. Fast turn over, but with pacing. Easy to call judgement from the stands. Harder to implement on the track.
So I sat in the stands as a spectator for a specific purpose. I wasn’t in racing shape, but hope to be by Worlds in July, 2011. I attended the USA Track & Field certification program a few weekends back to introduce myself to the latest in coaching, meet local Californian coaches so I could find tracks to train on, and get a network of people who were devoted to track. From that, I am trying to lay out a training plan to compete in the Heptathlon at Worlds by July. And as a spectator, I sat back and watched technique, personal demeanor, and pondered the potentials of getting more involved and interested in masters track. It was a good track meet. Not great. Something in me is toying to develop great track meets like our nation has great marathons and triathlons.
They had a fun competition between professional athletes. They put a pro basketball, baseball, soccer, and football player in a 60 meter sprint race. They interviewed them as they warmed up and let them all talk smack about their sport. The wide receiver in Bolt style threw the audience a Hussen Bolt stance. We loved it. He took the race with a one arm victory in the air and a 10 yard lead in a 60 meter race! Well, of course. He was an all star track man in college. But he knew to take his talent to the money. Football for the man that can run 40 meters! There is so little money in track, even for our greatest. Wonder if there is something we can do to help the gifted in their USA track pursuits.

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