I love to travel. All week long I have been getting ready for this trip. I’ve spent countless hours day dreaming of how I would navigate from Yonkers, NY to Eugene, OR and countless dollars on new hiking gear for the trip to San Francisco that follows.
I’m flying to Portland, Oregon after a taxi-train-taxi ride from my apartment next to Van Cortlandt Park to LaGuardia Airport, with Eugene, Oregon the final destination - The US Olympic Track and Field Team Trials the motivation. I like the fact I work at the mecca for Indoor track, I started my trip at the mecca for cross country running, and I'm heading to the mecca of outdoor track and field.
I’ve spent time in Oregon before. First as a 23 year old kid driving across the country alone for two months. Then again two years ago for some work I was doing. I have loved every minute in this state.
Eric Johnson, a former high school teammate, is picking me up from the airport in Portland. I called him last night. I hadn’t spoken with him since I left Portland two years earlier.
“Eric Johnson,” I said as he picked up the phone. “Timmy Fulton here.”
“Timmy! What’s up man,” he replied.
“I’ll be in your neck of the woods tomorrow man.”
“Dinner tomorrow night?” he asked.
He then called back the next day to ask my flight info so he could pick me up. You have to love friends like that, where you just pick right up where you left off.
Eric was my first introduction to that crazy cross country teammate every runner has come to know. When I started running with the varsity team at Somers HS in NY (where I have coached for the last 8 years), Eric was the sophomore with the most experience. He was also the guy most likely to jump off that bridge into the resevoir or strip naked and run into a river. He’s a free spirit and truly a great man, but he’s also just a little bit of a weirdo. I like that.
It’s appropriate that Eric has settled in Portland, where the local bumper stickers read “Keep Portland Weird”. I am sure he’s doing his best.
The trip has been pretty uneventful so far. We were delayed about an hour leaving New York but we made some time up on a stop in Minnesota (I didn’t change planes, which was nice).
As I walked down the aisle to my seat I started checking, as everyone does, who I was sitting next to. The fear is that you get someone really big who might take up some of your seat as well. What I wasn’t counting on was the fact that the guy sitting behind me would affect my flight. I couldn’t recline my seat for two reasons. The first was that he stood about 6-06 and his knees were digging into my back. The 2nd is that I stand 5-05 and the guilt of becoming more comfortable while he became less comfortable was just too much too bare. I survived regardless.
As I try and survive these final two hours of transportation that started some 11 hours ago, I can’t help but think about the Olympic Trials. I’ve already missed Tyson Gay’s American record in the 100m (this after skipping the Reebok Grand Prix last month where the world 100m record was shattered – 0 for 2). What else will I miss before I arrive?
But there is plenty left to see. I am looking forward to the 400m finals and the men’s 1500m. I hope Lagat and Webb can both make it. I’m still an Alan Webb fan while so many people try and knock him down. I still believe he can achieve greatness. I hope he gets through these trials.
At 32 years old I’m sort of caught between generations. I’m too young to have experienced the running boom in the 70’s first hand (though I do remember my father running with socks on his hands and Vaseline on his face in the winter). And I’m a little too old to treat Pre like so many of the kids today - like a God to be worshipped.
Still I look forward to running on “Pre’s Trail” and experiencing “Track Town USA”. I look forward to being in a place where my love of the sport is the norm. I look forward to experiencing something new in a sport, that I have somehow made a full time job. Sure I’ll be working while I’m here, but hey, who can complain about this job?
Food Journal – 6-30-08
It’s a travel day so it’s pretty tricky to eat exactly the way I’d like to. Still, not a bad day and I ate no food made on the plane, which is always so processed. Drank a few bottle of water but not enough, though when you travel and you have the middle seat, you don’t want to be heading to the restroom repeatedly.
7am – bowl of Cherrios, fat free organic milk (200 cal)
10am – yogurt parfai with fruit (400 cal)
1pm – blueberry muffin (400 cal)
3pm – turkey sandwich
8pm - chicken/bean burrito at local spot. One of the best burritos I have ever had, and I have had a lot.
Running Log - Forest Park, Portland, Ore.
Ran 60 minutes through pristine forests with huge trees. Me and my buddy eric hadn't been running together since the fall of 1991 - 17 years. I can't believe I can say I haven't done anything in that long. It was one my most memorbale runs in a long time. Too bad I sprained my ankle badly near the end but I was able to hobble home well enough.
Quick Notes: I wore one of my favorite t-shirts for the long day. It’s a green shirt that says, “Fight me I’m Irish.” I told the middle aged man who asked me that I bought it at a thrift store in Cold Spring a few months back. He said that he’d gone to Notre Dame and had never seen one like it. Now that’s a good shirt.
I also told him that as a small man, I can wear this shirt. If I was a big guy I wouldn’t because people actually want to fight the big guys. Fighting a small guy is a lose-lose situation. If you beat him up, you’re supposed to. If he beats you, you just lost to a small guy. Either way I’m not a fighter. Probably nature’s way of making sure.