Saturday, September 2, 2017

USATF Masters Outdoor Championships 2017

       Baton Rouge Championships between lightning strikes


Thursday, July13

After five weeks of graston on my Achilles, I was off to Baton Rouge for Outdoor Masters Championships. I still had issues but I was functional. My big worry ahead of time had to do with both the allowed carry-on and the discus. Would Delta allow both the large track bag and a back pack or would I have to check one of them? Angela, my experienced hotel mate said not to worry, I could carry both on. I had never taken a discus on a plane and feared that its shape alone would cause havoc. Angela said to take it out and put it in the Security bin and it would be okay. She was correct on both counts.

When we flew over Baton Rouge, I noticed the Mississippi snaking along the landscape with many barges, big and small. I wondered how the tugs pushing them (tugs with special pushing bars on front) were able to see over the barge load to navigate. Apparently the cabin is high enough and most of them also have electronic river maps.

Angela had already run the 800m before I arrived. When I got on the Belle of Baton Rouge hotel shuttle bus, I immediately saw Mary Smith, the 400m Champ. She told me she had missed her original flight for reasons beyond her control and then had to take three or four other flights to get to Baton Rouge. I know she must have been a wreck about that!

My first impression of Baton Rouge was that their highways were in need of repair. Either that or the shuttle needed new shocks. It was clunk clunk clunk all the way into Baton Rouge. Many of the residential homes we passed seemed to be in need of upkeep. I later realized that much of the area had suffered prior storm damage from which that they had not yet recovered.

I met up with Angela and we went out to the track so I could pick up my bib number etc. When we arrived, the LSU Bernie Moore Stadium track was wet and no events were being run on it. 

Upon entry to the Field House, we had to stop at a Security table where our bags were checked. They had what to me was an odd way of doing this: poking a wooden dowel inside the bag. I suppose if a hard object (water bottle?) had been encountered one might be asked to remove it for inspection.

When one entered the main area of the Field House, to the left were the check-in tables with a staging area for athletes right behind it; in front was the indoor track; and to the right outside the perimeter of the track were vendor tables and way down at the end, the Implement check-in table. We saw folks we knew sitting in the staging area. Ann Carter was sitting on a bench

and Barbara Warren was sitting on the floor.

Turns out these pentathlon athletes were waiting to run their 800m which had been delayed due to weather conditions. They were tired and hungry. I took photos of Barbara Warren's famous ankles (usually wrapped and looking quite odd when she stood).

She was all smiles as she usually is. These folks eventually ran the 800m on the inside track (after sitting around forever!).

Before we left the track we had our spikes checked for adherence to the 1/4” pyramid compliance. Turns out Angela's Adidas shoes had Christmas tree spikes. They had to be removed and replaced with Pyramids. Much to the delight of the LSU folk, Angela had the wrench that came with the shoes. These folks were overjoyed because they did not have a Christmas tree spike removal tool and had struggled in the past with H.S. athletes showing up with these spikes. Angela told them they could keep the tool, making their day. They put the pyramids in for her; then put on the day-specific tie indicating that the spikes had been checked. LSU requires that each day one have their spikes rechecked and a different color certification tie is used. This Meet was so well organized that when one went into the Field House towards the track, a lady checked to make sure your spikes (whether on or off) had been checked. Mary Robinson later said that anyone who wanted to switch to something else (like the Christmas Tree spikes which supposedly yield more traction) could do so after receiving the color coded tie for that day. Once she said that, I thought, why yes, I could see some H.S.-- and other folk doing that.

Angela and I got on the shuttle bus to return to the Belle. We did not go far. The driver had not eaten and so, prior to the scheduled LSU pickup time, we took a very short trip to Wienerschnitzel on Highland Dr for a hot dog. Some of the shuttle passengers also decided to get a dog to go.

We met up with Mary Smith at the hotel and decided on a place to eat: Newt's. 

It was not what I had expected. One looked at a wall menu then ordered and the food would be delivered to your table. I ordered Newt's favorite salad (I think): Sliced flame-grilled chicken breast, Arcadian mixed greens, crumbled gorgonzola cheese, sliced grapes, artichoke hearts, pecans, dried cranberries, house-made croutons and made-from-scratch sherry vinaigrette. Angela ordered soup and salad and Mary had a sandwich. I finished what I ordered, Mary did not and Angela was not expecting her salad to be what arrived.

Earlier, when I first got to the room, Angela showed me the small, dead, roach she had found on the curtain. This was an added benefit she was not pleased with.

The view from the hotel window, however, was a plus.

USS Kidd docked

Friday, July 14

I had already decided that I was not going to partake of the Belle morning buffet (at 12 bucks) as all I wanted was coffee and toast. My first event was not until the afternoon but I did not want to eat much beforehand. Angela had a morning field event so she was going to have a breakfast and then go to the field. I texted Mary that I was going to try to find McDonald's. I asked in the lobby the way to MCD's and they pointed out the door to the right. I had not gone more than a few steps outside when Mary called me. She had decided to go to McD's with me. This turned out to be a half mile walk according to the map but it seemed much longer. We walked along Europe St. passing both commercial and residential. Part of it was uphill and in areas the sidewalk narrowed or consisted of lots of tree root upheavals. After we had walked awhile and no MickeyD's I asked some Telco repair folks on a corner if they knew where it might be. They did and we had to go over one block and up about two more. There, I had coffee and also decided on a biscuit. The biscuit was huge. Mary just had water. We were there about a half hour. As we were leaving a fellow came over and asked if we were there for some other event and we responded no. When we told him why we were in Baton Rouge he wanted to know about USATF Masters and said he used to do field events. We encouraged him to check the USATF website.

On our return trip, we passed the Stun Graphics building on Government St . The whole side of the building was taken up with a Budweiser Clydesdale painting. Nice! We also passed the Democratic Party HQ housed in what looked like a store front. I would have expected something much larger for the Dems.

Mary Smith & USS Kidd

When we got back to the Belle we still had time so we walked over to the river front where the USS Kidd was docked as well as the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat casino. On the levee walkway were metal humanoid statues: some sitting on a bench, others standing here and there. They got my attention! 

Across the river were port of Baton Rouge docks, and farther along the levee in the distance we saw other riverboats. Mary noticed what seemed to be an uprooted tree dumped on the levee during a prior storm. Other tree debris was lodged against the bow of the casino riverboat.

My first event was the javelin. Scheduled for 12:30, followed by the 400m which was to be an hour later. I was already concerned that I would have no time to warm up for the 400m. Mary and I headed over to the javelin area at the far end of the track. I tripped over the rail and fell, rolled, and got back up. Clumsy but not hurt. At the jav area, I found Barbara Warren and Mary Hartzler

They told me jav was running late, but not to worry. But I was worried. For sure now the two events were collapsing into a very small time differential. I decided to try a little warm up outside in the infield area since track events were being run, quickly discovering that my right knee had a glitch. I went over to Medical to see if there was something I could do. The PT lady there (an NCSU grad) told me it was a tight quad and showed me what to do. She was right – her stretch got rid of the knee issue.

I watched two of the Piedmont Pacer men (Kevin Gobble and Matthew Holtry) run the 3000m steeplechase. The water pit was quite deep.

We still had plenty of time so Mary and I did some vendor shopping. I bought far more than I intended and certainly did not need. But there is something about USA on a jacket that just sucks one in! We practiced some short sprints for fun before we both got serious and did our individual warm ups. Jav for my age group had still not been called when all of the women 400m runners had to go out to the track. Our heat consisted of three age groups (AG), mine being the youngest. I was in lane six, Rose Green in five, Mary Smith in four, and Mary Robinson was to be in seven. But she wasn't there! I was worried, thinking she might be over in the jav area throwing and would miss the 400m. Nope. As I got to my lane six offset, out strolls Mary Robinson from the jav area. Phew!

When the race started it was not long before Mary Smith made up the stagger from my left and passed me, followed by Rose Green. I was trying to chase down Mary Robinson, just wanting to diminish the distance between us by the Finish.

Jeanne Daprano (80) then passed me on the left in lane two! The call for my AG to come to the javelin came over the loud speakers. Great!
Final curve to last 100m

The announcer began saying Your leader in lane 3 that Jeanne Daprano  ... when clearly Mary Smith was way ahead. I was not getting any closer to Mary Robinson when we rounded the last curve. I was beginning to fade.

me walking! The rest racing.

It was not long before I had to drop to a walk. Energy and oxygen depleted. I watched the others pull away (Mary Smith just about to the Finish line). By this time, the announcer finally told the crowd that Mary Smith was the winner in lane 4. Mary S., Rose, Jeanne and Mary R. had all finished before I got there, being the last in my AG.

Mary Norckauer (92) came in after me – and she did not walk! Norckauer, a Baton Rouge resident, had told me that she had a shooting record. Subsequent research indicated that she had been on a US shooting team in International competition in the 1970s and prior to that had also been a professional baseball player (during WWII?) Quite a lady! And she was doing eleven events. I was doing only four!

Mary Norckauer

My jav outing was not so hot. There were nine of us, in four age groups. I watched Kathy Bergen and Mary Robinson throw. Perfect form. There were different approaches used, some long with the cross foot pattern, others shorter. Most of mine stuck but fell quite short.

Angela was supposed to do the weight throw at five p.m. We were also to be at a team dinner around 6 or 6:30. Lightning delays arrived again. I found Angela and the two Marys (Robinson and Hartzler) sitting out on the small wall outside of the Field House. Stories about TSA experiences and other Meets entertained us as the clock ticked.
Angela Staab  & Mary Robinson

A famous Warren hoof

About 6:10 the officials decided the weather would not cooperate and so they would reschedule the weight throwing event for the next morning at 8:00. (The officials did herculean duty rescheduling events during this Meet and making use of the track and areas within the Field House.)

So Angela and I and others were at the shuttle stop waiting for the 6:30 shuttle. While there, one of the weight throwers, Suzi Wojcik, from Oregon, disappointed, was trying to decide if she could do the rescheduled event and still make an 11 a.m. Flight. (She had taken about four to get to BR from Oregon) Most told her not to risk it. Even if she got first shot at the throw, after checking in folks the throws might not start exactly at 8 a.m. She could not change her flight plans, it seems. Some said that since BR has a small airport, going through Security and check-in might not take that long. The shuttle never arrived. We were fortunate that a fellow competitor seeing us waiting asked if anyone was going to the Belle. He gave us a lift.

When we got to Capital City Grill, the others had not yet been served food so we were able to order and share dinner talk with them. Other than the two of us, it was just Kevin Gobbles and Jay Smith and their spouses, as well as a non Pacer couple. I had Catfish Orleans: fried catfish topped with crawfish etoufee over rice. Delicious! And, not driving ,red wine.

Saturday, July 15

Discus was my first event at 8 a.m. with a 1 p.m. 100M to follow. There were nine of us again in the four AGs. The only difference was that Jane Simpson was there and Ann Carter was not. Prior to any field event in which folks bring their own implements, they have to be checked at the Implements area by officials who determine that the implement meets the USATF standard for the specific age group. The implements are then wheeled out to the event prior to event start. Well, the discus cart arrives, missing one. It seems that Josiah, the implements official, had determined that Joanne Marriott's discus was “too plump.” (Surely, there must be a discus diet to be found.) Along with the personal discuses, the USATF Meet provides the proper weighted ones. It seems in this case that almost everyone had brought their own. So we start. Gloria Krug is the first to throw one that apparently broke the record. The officials then confiscate that discus, making it unavailable for further use. (An implement used when a record is broken has to be again validated before the record is certified.) Gloria meanwhile is grumbling that she had thrown farther than that in the past – how could it be a record? (and it would be her prior record, of course.) Next, Joan Berman throws what could be a record breaking throw for her AG. Zing, another discus removed. The rest of us are hoping that no one throws another record breaking toss using our discus!

The officials confer and are looking online. Gloria was correct. The documentation the officials had was incorrect. So both Joan and Gloria get their discus back. Joan later does throw a record breaking toss (19.29m, 63 ft 3 inches.) In my AG, Kathy Bergen was in the lead until Joanne Marriott's last toss (using, of course, a non-plump discus) landed .35m farther than Kathy's. (Joanne 19.67m, 64 ft, 6 inches.) So it was Joanne, Kathy, and Mary Robinson in my AG. Joan Berman, Gloria Krug, and Mary Norckauer were alone in their AGs.

Facing toward entrance of Field house

Facing far end

During the prior evening I had thought about my cruddy starts. I decided that I had nothing to lose since my competitors were faster than me and I was likely to come in last, so why not try something different. I tried to find Angela's weight throwing event but it was not where I expected and when I did see it, she was already finished. There was plenty of time before my 100m race, so I headed to the Field House to get some patches put on the shirt I'd gotten the day before. I found Mary Smith in there, browsing again before her 11 something flight back to CO. Angela joined the browsing crew and we all got a little something more (as well as picked up our USATF Masters 50th anniversary acrylic block.)

Eventually, I got over to the Field House track practice area and grabbed some starting blocks. I had decided to try to use just one block (using both would require an acute bend in one knee. My right was not comfortable bending and using my left knee would cause me to flex the right, recovering, Achilles too much.) I practiced using my right foot to push off a block while partially crouched and then tried it with the left. After many starting attempts, I decided the left was far better. Then I trotted around the track and also did the quad stretches.

I still had time, so decided to try to watch Ann Carter and Barbara Warren in the 200m 27” hurdles. To get to the spectator area, one had to walk on the perimeter towards the 400m start area. Again there was the bag check with the dowel. Meanwhile, I hear the race start. Ugh! I got up to the viewing area just after they crossed the Finish. Barbara and Ann are in different age groups and finished within a second of each other, both getting the Gold. Sometime after that, I went over to Medical to see if they had a roller. They didn't, but I found Barbara there. She had hurt one of her famed ankles when landing after the first hurdle. She began to describe her prior ankle injuries to the Medical guy. The expression on his face was a memorable moment! Turned out nothing was broken but she did have a sprain.

This did not keep her from competing in other event. Of course not!

A weather delay was called as we were about to go over to the athlete staging area. It would be at least a twenty minute delay since that is how long the officials wait after the last strike. I sat with the two Marys on a bench towards one end of the track. Since outdoor activity was stopped, the male pole vaulters were moved indoors to use the pole vault equipment inside. Since we were sitting at the start of the lead up runway, we relocated to the far end of the field house, closer to the entrance, to sit on top of retracted stands. 
Robinson & Hartzler - waiting!

The delay went beyond twenty minutes since, as one of us said “bowling balls were still landing on the roof.”

At some point, the officials announced that all the women athletes competing in the 100m were to move to the staging area asap because they were going to run quickly through the AG heats. By this time none of were warmed up, but out we went. This time there were seven in my AG so we competed as a single group. I had Kathy Bergen, the Champ on my right, and Mary Robinson, my racing nemesis, on the other side. Beside Kathy was Rose Green, another speed demon, the oldest of us, who I knew would be streaking out there with Kathy.
Watching Julia Hawkins (101), Christel Donley (82) & Mary Norckauer (92) 100m start

The three of them all used both starting blocks. I prepared to use my one and the others did a standing start. 

The Set command and then the gun. Kathy, Rose and Mary shoot out. I don't know about the other three other than they were not in my field of vision. I managed to start without mishap but still not speedy. Kathy and Rose were beyond reach. I had to try to catch Mary so we could race each other to the Finish. I gave it my all as did Mary. We were side by side though she was a little ahead of me then I would catch up and she would edge ahead again. It was a great fun race between us. I always enjoy it because, if I can get near her (unlike in the 400m), we push each other. It is a truly joyful feeling to feel as if you have gone as fast as one can with no physical excuses. Love it.

Kathy Bergen set another American AG record with a time of 15.84 with Rose Green coming in at 18.06. Mary and I almost simultaneously crossed the Finish in 19.2x seconds. For perspective, the 2016 Rio Olympic 100m winner, 24 year old Jamaican Elaine Thompson, did it in 10.71 seconds. Fifty year difference but only five seconds between the Olympian and Kathy Bergen. Lana Kane, Joanne Marriott (she of the “plump discus”), and Jane Simpson all finished well.

We were walking back to the Field House area on the infield while the younger AGs contested the 100m. NC's Jane Barnes (65) won her race in 14.95. The next younger group ran down the track. About 20m from the Finish, the runner on the inside (Lane 2, I think) went down. It looked as if she had tripped over her foot or a leg gave out. Nonetheless, it turned out she stiff armed it on the landing and broke her arm. She was in agony. The other runners in the heat came to help (one of whom is an EMT) but were chased away by the Meet authorized medical folk. Unfortunately, this did not turn out too well for Paula Dickson Taylor who, I have heard, was given a med that she was allergic to. She went from bad to worse. Eventually she was transported to a hospital where, I've heard, she had surgery. She is with the Atlanta Track Club – a long way from home.

Angela had left much earlier, suffering hip discomfort after her weight throwing outing. I decided to get ice for my Achilles after the 100m and visited Medical for the wrapping. I then hobbled down the infield area so I could return to the 100m start area and pick up my stuff then walk back to the stand entrance to watch the men compete. (And have the backpack checked again.)

The women's hurdle events, having been delayed by weather, occurred after the 100m so I was able to watch the 400M 30 inch hurdles. Ugh. Hard to imagine the energy reserve to both run a 400m and hurdle as well. The oldest group of women running these this day was the 45-49 AG and the winner, LaDonna Gooden who did it in 1:13.90., actually came in faster than the next younger AG (35-39) winner Lisa Edwards (1:14.57), but the 40-44 winner, Latrica Dendy (flower in hair) beat them all in 1:06.00. She is one of the ladies I like to watch ever since I saw her run in years ago during South East Masters Championship in Raleigh when she was still in her early 30s.

W35 100m

They got in the men's 100m Finals before another weather delay forced them back into the Field House for the men's 200m prelims. In the 100m Bill Collins, 66, set a new American record running 12.34 and in the always competitive younger group Damien Leake and Oscar Peyton battled it out, with Damien coming in first this time (12.23 to 12.32)

possibly M50

The last men's 100m was the 30-34 group, featuring former Olympian Walter Dix. He was chased by Lawrence Trice Jr who gave a good go at it. Dix finished in 10.28 and Trice in 10.68. (4/10th of a second difference.) Once again, for perspective, Usain Bolt's 2016 Rio Olympic 100m time was 9.81.

Dix and Trice

When the events were moved back inside, I went inside to give my Achilles a little more time with the ice before returning to the hotel. The women pole vaulters had also been moved inside. I noticed Barbara Warren limping to the vault approach and thought, Oh no! She's not going to vault is she? She did a few approaches slowly then went over to an official. I figured she was withdrawing. But, no! She competed. Just incredible. During the men's 200m prelims, I sat on the floor near the final turn so I had a great view of the competitors approaching and running that turn. It sure gives one an appreciation of their speed when viewing from the floor. My camera shutter was not fast enough to capture it without blur.

I got to the shuttle area at about 4:10. Plenty of time.  So, the shuttle did not show up again. However, earlier, while standing between the Field House and the track, I completed the Uber credit card signup, with trepidation, after turning off WiFi so it would use the carrier's 3G network. I took off the ice pack and tried to use Uber. But it kept saying that my location was the Voodoo Lounge. No, it isn't I kept telling it. 

So, I walked down Nicholson to see if there was a Voodoo place. Nope. So frustrating. While struggling, a fellow competitor came along who was going to the Belle. He gave me a lift. (Turns out Voodoo BBQ was ½ mile from the Bernie Moore stadium, at another end of Nicholson.) Being at car passenger level, I noticed that many of the homes on the return from LSU had vegetation growth on the roofs. Most were single story, with brush growing up to and over the home. Some were quite run down.. Perhaps a result of the economy and desertion after storm damage.

Angela and I went back to Capital City Grill for dinner because we liked it. I think I had the Southwest pasta this time with grilled chicken, red and yellow peppers, and garlic in a spicy sauce. (If I didn't – I should have, but whatever I had, I had no complaints!)  When we got back to the Belle, we took a side escalator to the walkway that led to the levee and Riverboat Casino. We did not go in but walked a little way down the levee.

Belle of Baton Rouge casino; bridge to Port Allen

Sunday, July 16

Another early field event. Along the walkway to the morning shuttle, I saw a large roundish roach like bug, deceased. I really should have taken a photo of it for Angela. My field event was the shot put which I tried for the first time in ABQ at the Indoors Championships. I competed in shot twice since then (local county senior games and then the NC Powerade Games in June.) I had practiced all three field events in the two weeks prior to this Meet, trying to find what worked best (and would not torque the Achilles.) It was a little overcast in the morning. It had evidently rained. The shot was to be contested on the infield of the track (so I was able to watch Coreen Steinbach run away with it in her 1500m (despite an ankle problem) and then Lesley Hinz, also recuperating from injury come in third in her 1500m. ) I suspect that there are few competing in these meets who are 100% healthy!

There were the nine of us again, in four AGs . Gloria Krug and Christel Donley, sure to do well. Mary Norckauer, and Joan Berman in the other AGs, with five in mine. Joanne Marriott who had won the shot in ABQ as I recall, Mary Robinson (who did not do ABQ), Jane Simpson and Lana Kane completed my group. It was a little damp so the shots had to be wiped before each throw. Some may have brought their own shot, I used the shot supplied by the Meet.  Again, the throwing styles tend to differ between competitors. Some use the classic modified spin, some what Mary Robinson calls the slide (or is that for the discus?). I did not spin, just sort of revolved back and forth then tried to shoot out the shot, being careful to keep it against my neck until ready to throw and then I just sort of pushed it out. Right from the get-go Joanne was the leader. I was not really paying attention to the measured distances, just noticed how far the shots would go when heaved. I watched the others, trying to glean a technique that I could adopt or adapt to. I don't recall it now (6 weeks after the event) but I know I got a tip from either Joanne or Christel. I don't even remember what it was now (which sucks because I will be back to square one!). Nonetheless, whatever was said led me to change my approach such that instead of revolving, I sort of trotted forward and heaved in my fifth throw. It turned out to be my best. The sixth did not do as well but still better than one through four. Joanne Marriott won with a throw of 7.57m (24 ft 10 inches), Mary Robinson came in second with 6.66m (um, I just noticed that number! Hey, it, for me is actually a lucky number – since I used it in a short story for which I got paid!) In US units, Mary's throw was 21 feet 10 and ¼ inches. I got third with 5.27m (20 ft 7 inches.)

After the shot event, I went into the Field House to think about warming up for the 200m which would be in about an hour. I was achy, as I had been the day before. Having skipped Camp Gladiator during the five weeks between Birmingham and Baton Rouge while Achilles recovering, I was not used to a lot of muscular exertion. Not that I had really done much the past few days, but it was obviously enough. I practiced my modified start again. I did not feel an excess of energy. I had not run a good 200m during my two week training leading up to Baton Rouge. I knew I had difficulty getting it done (as was obvious in the prior 400m!) I was beginning to think that perhaps I needed to drop down to the 100m exclusively. Ah, well, I trotted around the track with other folks.

The 200m was contested just about on time. Angela was also going to do it, despite feeling cruddy with that hip of hers. (surgery in two weeks hence.) There were six of us competing in my AG this time. The three speedsters, Kathy Bergen, Rose Green, and Mary Robinson, then Lana Kane and Ann Carter (done with her field events.) Again, Mary Robinson was immediately to my right and Kathy to my left in lane four. Rose Green lane five, Ann Carter lane six, and Lana Kane lane 7. With the lane stagger, I could see everyone except Mary. That did not last long. Once the gun went off Kathy and Rose began their streak to the Finish and before I could blink, Mary passed me on my left. After rounding the curve, I knew I was running low and closing in on empty, which I barely contained to the Finish, well after Mary had crossed the line. Yep, 200m is straining the budget.

Kathy Bergen set another AG American record (probably breaking her own record) with her finish of 34.26secs; Rose Green crossed in 37.29, and Mary Robinson in 40.93. I straggled in in 42.46.

Jane Barnes won her AG in 33.98 secs. For perspective, Jamaican Elaine Thompson won Rio Olympics 200m in 21.78 (doing a double – 100m and 200m.)

While I was taking off my shoes, I was talking to Jeanne Daprano.  She asked me to take off her back bib. She then threw it away.  The front with her name was already trashed.  Whoa, says I.  May I have it?  She graciously gave it to me. (This is like having a Bolt bib)

My next and last event was the 4x100m relay. It was to be Ann Carter, Lana Kane, myself, and Mary Robinson, in that order Angela was on a team with the kiddies: Sarada "Ingrid" Sarnaik, Barbara Warren, and the coup of all time: Rose Green!(not a kiddie) However, three of the four were running at less than 100% i.e. injured (though for Barbara Warren that's a normal condition.) Sometime after the 200m when I was inside the Field house, I was talking to Lana Kane. She told me she had to drop out of our relay because her younger teammates (Philadelphia Masters) needed her on the, get this, 45-49 AG Club relay! What?! 45-49? Yeow! I freaked and went out and found Ann Carter, who was in the infield doing high jumps! (wind her up and she goes!) Not to worry says Ann, we have Joanne Marriott as an alternate. Well, okay. Eventually, Joanne and I practiced handoffs. I was to hand to Mary and I kept missing her hand. My pass would be too high or too low. Joanne's to me was always perfect. Ann finally came in and we did a few – wow – she is fast! I never see that because she is not always in my field of vision. (Though she has beaten me in the 100m in the past.)

As non-club, we ran with six other non club teams, one each in AG ranging in age from from 30-34 up to our group. Natch, the swifty younger folks were all gone when Angela's team and I got into contention. When Joanne passed me the baton, I tried to run as fast as I could because I knew Barbara Warren (just like in Birmingham) was coming up real fast. I managed to pass inelegantly to Mary as Barbara passed to Rose Green. Yikes! This was going to be tight. Rose ran up on Mary and in the end passed. So the younger team beat the older team by 1:26.46 to 1:27.15. We will be hearing about that for a bit, I suspect. Jane Barnes SC Striders Club team running in the 60-64 AG set a new American record, finishing in 1:03.32. Not the first time the SC Striders have set a relay record. (I recall one in Jacksonville FL 2015.)

Barbara Warren won her AG pentathlon (2806) as did Ann Carter (1690 pts)

Sonja Friend-Uhl (46) -ATC - set a new American record in the 1500 with a time of 4:38.14 . She keeps on making them.

Before leaving the Field House for the last time, I chatted for a short while with Venus Jewett and her unattached cronies who had run the 4x100 as non-club (45-49).  Always ebullient, Venus and pals were thinking of their next outing.  Perhaps they will form their own "club" as did Joy Upton.

Angela and I waited for the non arriving shuttle. She used her Uber, I think also getting the Voodoo place but somehow the Uber arrived to pick us up. Angela asked for a recommendation of a place to eat. The young lady suggested a Lone Star Steakhouse. We met up with Ingrid Sarnaik and Mary Trotto in the hotel lobby. After chatting for awhile, we agreed we would go together. We called Ann Carter to tell her where we would be going. She said if it was not raining heavily, she would meet us there later. Angela was still hurting from the weight throw the prior day and the events today so she went to rest. I went out walking.

I wanted to see the Old State Capital which had intrigued me when we passed it on our way to Capital City Grill. I walked along River Rd until I came to it (passing River Center Performing Arts building which still had a Bobby Bones poster up from his appearance earlier in the month. ) I also passed more of the metal figures pondering the world. I took my photos and headed back, stopping by the LA Art and Science Museum, flying flags of several time periods and areas (LA state flag fleur de le, UK Union Jack, U.S. ,flag, Bonnie Blue Flag -- (not to be mistaken as associated with CSA) for in LA it appeared first in the West Florida (LA) Republic fight for independence from Spanish rule, -- and the Spanish flag of Castille and Leon. It was beginning to rain by the time I returned.

Angela and I soon discovered that the Lone Star Steakhouse chain had gone bankrupt and was closed. One of us tried to call Ann while the other contacted the others. Ann's hotel tried her room several times but she did not answer. We tried her cell. Again no answer. We were worried that we would not catch her. We never caught her though we left messages on her cell. (and I later found out she had driven to the closed Lone Star!) In the meantime, we found another place to go to – Parrain's on Perkins Rd. When we left there were five of us: Ingrid Sarnaik, Mary Trotto, Daphne Scott. Angela Staab. And we all fit into one vehicle!

When the Uber driver pulled into what looked like a side street, rundown it seemed, I thought, huh? But then he pulled in front of the restaurant, which looked weather beaten, reminding me of a self built island home amongst the palm fronds. 

Inside, it was a comforting place – a side bar area on one end and a multi-sectioned dining area on the other. Having finished with all of my events with no need to worry what kind of residual hormones I might find in my food, I ordered an 8-ounce filet. It came with mashed potatoes and green beans. I also had wine. Best of all was the company. We had a good time chatting. I had not spent time with the other three outside of brief chats at the track, so this was a new side. Oh, yeah, I had for the first time in maybe 20-40 years (or longer) a pre-dinner whiskey sour. For some reason, it had been on my mind for days. It was good, but I may wait another 20 years before the next one.

Ingrid, Mary T, Daphne, Angela

On return to the Belle, we encountered an exotically dressed and made up young woman having coffee at one of the small tables in the lobby. There was a black fashion show – competition going on towards the back - which she was part of. We walked to the Atrium to observe. Fascinating. These young women were costumed up the gazoo. Beautiful, in costumes one is not likely to see elsewhere. There were some young boys as well. The contestants were young teens to late teens, mostly. Angela was still hurting so the rest of us went for a walk on the levee. We saw a crowd of people riding their bikes along the levee, music blaring. We ran into Christel and Jerry Donley (all dressed up – i.e. not in track clothes!) also walking on the levee. Some of these folks would be going to the subsequent NCCWMA Championships in Toronto.

Wouldn't we like to know what he said to Mary Trotto!

Ingrid Sarnaik

Ingrid, Mary T., Jerry Donley, Daphne  Scott, Christel Donley,

The next day, everything went well at TSA (I had removed all tissues from pockets) except that I was pulled to the side for a back pack check (no Meet medals or discus in there.) It turned out my plastic bag of coins was the culprit.

This is the SECOND time I wrote it. During the first effort, online, when I was in Sunday's events, I hit something that erased all text. I spent hours trying to recoup to no avail (blogger apparently saves every minute so what I had pulled up to edit was gone from the prior saved draft almost immediately.) CTRL+Z might have helped, but maybe not. I was not going to re-do it. Some of you, exhausted after reading this, probably wish I had not.

Some of the stars from the Meet

Ann Carter

Joanne Marriott, Mary Robinson, Ann Carter

If Warren wore all her medals, she'd be bent over like an old lady!

Sandy Triolo, Athlete & Social Media Rep 

Sandy, "Speedy" Triolo National Champ

Angela Staab, trying to arrange her many medals


Anonymous said...

Louise, this is a wonderful, wonderful posting; how could I have missed it? I periodically go to Google to look for you, but I missed this until today. You did a magnificent job in rendering the agonies and ecstasies, the feel of Baton Rouge, the dinners, the field house, and everything else.

I will e-mail Ken Stone to ask him to put this on his site (


Peter Taylor

Anonymous said...

...which he did. Wonderful stories. Congratulations on your winnings!

I noticed from your times that these lightning-quick Olympians do not run twice as fast as you. (That's a goal I use)