Mr. and Mrs. Track Nerd
Beaches. Fine dining. Tours of ancient cities. Stays in exotic hotels. Luxury. Relaxation.
These are things that most newlyweds encounter on their honeymoon.
Sweaty runners. Bleacher seats. College dorm rooms. Throngs of people. Cafeteria food. The deafening roar of a crowd.
These are the things that await John and I on our pre-wedding honeymoon: the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials.
And we couldn’t be more excited.
When I first suggested to John that we go watch the Trials in lieu of a more traditional honeymoon, he smiled, immediately opened up his laptop, went to Kayak.com, and starting looking up flights. This, perhaps more than any other thing he has said or done since we got engaged in March, reassured me that I am, without a doubt, marrying my soulmate on November 12th of this year.
The fact is, John and I are both huge track nerds. Each of us was fairly nerdy before we started dating, but since our union, the nerdiness has compounded. We read articles on Letsrun. We watch videos on FloTrack. We know who the big names are in the US and in the world, and not just in our own events either. When the Heps or NCAAs or USAs or some other big invitational is being broadcast live, we watch.
I remember this past Outdoor NCAAs we were invited to go out somewhere with some friends on that Friday, but we politely declined. When asked why we wouldn’t be able to make it, I hesitated for a minute, wondering if I should tell the truth or make up something that sounded more legit, before the following conversation took place:
“There’s this big track meet that’s on tonight that we really want to watch.”
“Nationals. College nationals.”
“One of our old teammates is competing, and we promised we’d watch…”
*smiles faintly* “Oh. That sounds…fun.”
Well you know what? It WAS fun.
We hooked up the laptop to our big TV. We made popcorn. We made predictions on how the races would turn out. We yelled things at the TV. We cheered when the girl who had been leading held off the sit-and-kickers, and when the guy who had fallen off made an epic come back in the last 200m. We groaned when the bar fell or the implement hit the net. We laughed at the stupid and woefully inaccurate things the commentators said. John drank some beer. I drank some wine. And we had a grand ole time.
So what do two giant track nerds do when the country’s greatest track meet is being held on the other side of the country and lasts 10 days? They make a vacation out of it! And, seeing as how neither money nor employee vacation days grow on trees, we decided that this trip was going to serve as our ‘honeymoon’ and the celebration of our marriage.
Our flight leaves tomorrow at 6:30pm – 6 hours nonstop on JetBlue to Portland. We still haven’t quite figured out how we are getting from Portland to Eugene once we land. We could take the train or rent a car, but we are secretly hoping to run into other runners on the plane or in the airport who we can casually bum a ride off of 🙂 We similarly haven’t figured out our trip back to Portland, but we are pretty sure it’s going to have to involved breaking the speed limit. The last event on the final day of the Trials – Sunday July 10th – takes place at 5:20pm, and our flight leaving Portland departs at 10:30pm. Needless to say, we will probably be running a race of our own as we sprint from the stadium to beat the crowds. Assuming we make it to Portland alive and on time, a couple glasses of wine will most certainly be in order to help put ourselves to sleep during the flight – the flight which lands at 6:30am EST in Boston. Monday, July 11th is going to be a real fun day.
For lodging, we decided to utilize Oregon University’s spectator housing option: staying in the dorms! While we know from our own freshman year experiences that this is not the most glamorous option, it made the most sense financially and logistically. The cost per night is a fraction of what any nearby hotel would cost, and it also includes three meals a day in the UO dining hall! This was probably the most attractive part of this housing option as the cost of feeding ourselves (mostly John) by eating out for 10 straight days would have been exorbitant. With this buffet style dining option, I am absolutely confident that John will eat his money’s worth (and probably some of mine too). And to cap it off, the dorms are located approximately 1/4 of a mile from Hayward field and 1 mile from Pre’s Trails. #winning
In terms of tickets, we went with what was cheapest, though that still meant a few hundred dollars apiece. We’ll be in section K, which is diagonal from the finish line, but we’re not too concerned. Sections like section K are precisely why giant stadium screens were invented. Besides, people always seem to make their last move with 200m to go, so we’ll be front and center for that drama. AND, we will also have a perfect view of, what is in my personal and completely biased opinion, the greatest event in track and field: the steeplechase 🙂
When we’re not at Hayward cheering our heads off, watching people we admire and respect try to achieve the pinnacle of success in our sport, we’ll be out and about Eugene soaking in all the glorious track nerdiness. I’m planning on racing the Aquafina Butte to Butte 10k, a road race put on by the Oregon Track Club that runs throughout the city, on the 4th of July. I’m sure there will be many thrilling and inspiring races recounted over some West Coast-Style IPAs. And hopefully there will be lots of meeting new people and sharing in the unparalleled camaraderie that is the sport of track and field.