2016 Brooks Blogger Trip: Olympic Track & Field Trials!
You guys, it has finally happened. Last week, my kids both headed back to school, which is also Graham’s first time doing drop-off preschool. Do you know what this means? It means that for the first time in almost five years, I have a few hours each week all to myself! It is so bizarre and liberating! But it also means that I am finally CATCHING UP! Catching up on laundry, on life, and most importantly – on work!
And so here I am this fine Monday morning, ready to give you the final recap of our whirlwind few weeks of summer travel. I already shared our visits to Bend, Oregon and Lake Chelan, Washington. And about ten hours after we pulled into the driveway from Chelan, I was off to the airport to head down to Eugene, Oregon to meet my Brooks Blogger friends!
I took the world’s tiniest prop plane down to Portland, and the flight was a whopping 40 minutes long. It felt ridiculous to fly there! When I got to Portland, I was greeted by the other Brooks Bloggers – such a fun reunion! We all piled into a shuttle and headed down to Eugene, Oregon to spend the weekend laughing, eating, and running together.
The purpose of our trip (in addition to all getting to hang out together!) was to spend the weekend with the Brooks crew at the Olympic Track & Field Trials. I seriously cried when I got the email invite for the trip – I LOVE the Olympics!! And since we were staying in teeny tiny Eugene and wanted to be as close to the track as possible, it only made sense to stay at the frat house across the street, right?
No really, the staff at Brooks rented out the Delta Sigma Pi house and had it cleaned and painted from top to bottom. It was seriously awesome. When we got there we were told to go upstairs and find our rooms – it felt like the first day of college all over again! Do you think I should be offended that my sign was a running donut? :)
I shared a room with Dorothy, who has been my online buddy since way back when I lived in DC. So fun to finally officially meet in person, after feeling like we were already friends for so long!
Inside our dorm rooms, we found Brooks pillowcases, shower caddies with our bath essentials, and more. It was amazing!
We were also outfitted with Run Happy Spirit Squad gear, so we could all match while we cheered for the Olympic hopefuls. SO cute!
I had been at the Brooks Trailhead store in Seattle the day before we left, and I was gushing over the new Victory Launch 3’s that were just released. I was beyond pumped to find a pair in my size waiting for me in my room!
We settled into the house quickly and freshened up, before walking around the block to Historic Hayward Field for the Olympic Trials!
The energy at the track was contagious. You could feel how hard the athletes had all worked just to be there!
We got to watch a whole variety of events – discus, shot put, long jump, and plenty of running. The Brooks professional runners were all decked out in bright blue and yellow, so they were super easy to spot on the track. We went crazy any time they were racing!
Talk abut motivation – the runners were all just incredible. Some took hard falls and still got up and finished, while others finished by a landslide. You could tell each and every one of them gave it their all, and it really inspired me to try to carry that energy into my own workouts.
We stayed at the track for a long while, before eventually walking over to the Excelsior Inn for dinner. The food was incredible, and tasted especially good after a long day of traveling and being at the race. This burrata and tomato salad rocked my world.
As did this mammoth piece of coconut cream pie. Yes please.
The next morning I was up at the crack of dawn. The room Dorothy and I were sharing had no blinds, and the sun rises here in the PNW around 430am this time of year! I laid in bed for a while before eventually tip toeing outside to see if anyone else was up.
I found Meghann and Tina, and Dorothy and I decided to join them and seek coffee out in Eugene. We had a nice early morning walk around the University of Oregon campus – what a cool place to go to school! We headed back in time to meet up for the group run. Brooks organized a big community run every morning of the trials, and runners showed up from all over!
They had music blasting and people all over the lawn. Definitely felt like a frat house!
I was only planning a short run, so Meghann and I stuck together and knocked out a few miles around town. I am used to running much earlier in the morning (like 6am!) so it felt really sunny and HOT to me. Meghann is from Florida, so she thought I was insane.
Just like regular dorm life, the house had four showers for everyone to share (which also included all the Brooks staff!). So I knew it was key to get back and hit the showers before the crowds returned. I don’t think I’ve showered in shoes in 13 years!
Once I was showered and ready to go, I headed outside to the Brooks Run Signature mobile unit. They take this pod all around the country – very cool!
The Brooks employees used special sensors and straps to monitor my stride, and after applying those they had me run barefoot on a treadmill. A camera captured images of my run, and compared them to different running styles and differences in stride. From there, they were able to recommend my signature shoe! Cool, right?
We hurried back over to the track because there were some finals coming up first on the schedule for the day. We got to see Allyson Felix dominate in the women’s field!
And after a few more hours at the track, we rolled out to lunch in style. No seriously – we cruised around town in a stretch hummer. AMAZING and so totally absurd! It was hilarious.
I also got this delicious kale Caesar salad (note to self – make this at home!).
And a yummy falafel plate! It was my first real meal of the day and I was staaaaaaarving. Pretty sure I licked my plate clean.
But the real highlight of lunch was the company. We got to eat with two of the Brooks Beasts – Garrett Heath (remember when I interviewed him!?) and Riley Masters. They were both racing in the 5,000 meter events the following weekend, so they were in Eugene just resting and cheering on their teammates. It was really interesting to learn about what their daily lives are like as professional runners, and I had fun asking them all about running and training in Seattle (where they both also live).
The whole gang!
After lunch, we headed back to our ride and back to the frat house to relax and hang out before dinner.
We also stopped by a local running store to check out some of the official Olympic Trials merchandise, and see the new Brooks fall gear. Why is matching so fun??
We hung out and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon, and eventually rode out into the countryside to King Estate Winery for dinner. Talk about beautiful!
The lavender was so spectacular, and the views were just amazing.
I feel so lucky to be part of this amazing crew of inspiring women. It was such an uplifting and energizing weekend, and they were all a big part of that.
Inside the winery, we had a fancy dinner spread ready for our group!
Check out this awesome salad wrapped in thin piece of cucumber. So creative! I asked for extra blue cheese on mine – my addiction.
And this flourless chocolate cake was the thing of dreams. Such a delicious way to end the weekend!
Our dinner wasn’t over until midnight (!!), and we had to drive almost an hour back to Eugene from the winery. Because of our early flights scheduled out of Portland, Tina and I had to catch a 3am shuttle to the airport. That meant we got a whopping ONE hour of sleep on Saturday night! It is a miracle I found my gate and sleepwalked my way onto the plane.
And by 8am on Sunday, before many people in Eugene had even woken up, I was back in the arms of my Seattle people. And while it was so fun to be gone, it felt so good to be home.
So many thanks to the Brooks team for such a special weekend. There were so many little details and things that all added up to something I will remember for a long, long time.
And now we are back in Seattle for a few weeks before our next summer adventure. This is the first full week of school for the kids, so I have high hopes for everything I can get done. Back soon!