Thursday, September 20, 2018

USATF Masters Outdoor Championships - Spokane, WA

       An outing with surprises.

This is long and very late. Best read in chunks! Other things have taken priority. And, I procrastinate. Now, Hurricane Florence has passed and the WMA Malaga Spain Meet has ended with our US Masters doing wonderfully.

Early up on Tuesday July 24th, 03:15, DST. My flight was at 05:35 and I needed to get my boarding pass at the Southwest kiosk. Uber was late arriving by eight minutes but not a problem at that TOD. Becky Bowman, also on the same flights (of which we had two), was already at the gate when I arrived. During the flights, she kept her mind active by playing a wood block game. I read or slept. 

At change of flight, we both got coffee and ate something for energy. In Chicago I was taken by the patriotic design on a plane on the distant tarmac, Turns out, it was a SouthWest Air plane.

note the eagle emerging from behind the shield

I was very surprised at the Washington State topography as we approached Spokane. What trees there were were isolated and scattered. Big swathes of light-brown areas between a tree and the next closest one. Very odd. I was expecting heavily wooded areas, thinking forests and logging. Wrong.

I was staying downtown with Angela Staab at the event “host” hotel and Becky was staying closer to the track, where other SoCal Striders (her team), and others, were staying. It was around 1:30 or noon PDT, when I got to the hotel. Angela was not due until around 10 p.m. I did the usual things one does after arrival, then at about 2:30 decided I wanted to get something to eat. (Having had just yogurt, the energy bar, and Southwest cookies and being the last day they were giving them out - peanuts – boo hoo),

I ventured out to find that there was no sidewalk leading up to Division St, so I walked along the embankment. Seeing a Wendy's on N. Division St. I crossed only to find that the street then split and Wendy's was in the middle of the split. 
I had to get to a median that became a sidewalk. I for sure was in an industrial area. Ahead was what reminded me of a cement plant, though its logo was Coast Trading Company. Big (120ft) silo tower in midst of squat buildings. This was originally a granary, with eight concrete towers, purchased and sold several times, last used as a granary around 2002. It was purchased in 2004 for $750,000 by a real estate investor who bought it just because he liked it -- and the price. He had ideas of condos and offices, with retail on bottom level. However, it still sits undeveloped and empty.

 It was very hot. I had felt the heat on my bare skin while waiting for the traffic light to change. A burning type of hot versus the heavy Southern summer heat. I had forgotten what the heat of the Southwest was like. I had not thought the NorthWest would be similar.

I had a coke (to combat sleepiness) and a bowl of spicy chili. I then ventured out, determined to find a residential side street in the midst of the industrial Division St. Why? Because, being a native NYCer, I like walking and discovering niches of photographic wonders. Walking, one can learn much about an area that is missed when driving. I had no idea where I was going and took note of the streets I passed so I could find my way back (very important!). I turned right down Boone. To my right was the old granary and ahead after a few blocks were residential apartments. 

Suddenly, I was upon Gonzaga University. I had no idea it was even in Spokane. This, being summer, was a quiet area, with only a few people in sight.

 I had not realized Gonzaga was a Catholic University until I saw a grotto with religious figures and, of course, a church, St. Aloysius. Gonzaga was founded by a Jesuit, Father Joseph Cataldo and named after an Italian Jesuit Saint, Aloysius Gonzaga. Interesting stat: more than 99% of students receive financial aid, according to Gonzaga's website. Considering that the estimated yearly cost, including books and transportation, room and board is about 60K, it is not surprising.

paving stones

The obligatory grotto

The bit of the campus I saw was pleasant. Wide red tinted blocks paved the street leading into the main entrance from Boone. I strolled down this street but did not take any of the side streets, except for when leaving. As I mentioned upon first encountering Gonzaga, it was an oasis amidst the stark functional business area along N Division.

I found my way back to the hotel and eventually had the quandary of what to do about eating dinner. I ate the peach I'd brought from home. I was not about to cross N Division St again. Eventually, I ordered a Caesar salad to go that came with a thin, hard, flattened piece of cheese (an ugh. Not eaten.) I brought it up to the room but while ordering it, I discovered that the BACK part of the hotel was along the Spokane river with a path that led to the Spokane River and bridge across to Riverfront Park on Havermale Island.

 Had I found it earlier, I would have found, eventually other places to eat. I took a stroll, crossing the bridge adjacent to the dam, created during the 1920s. To my right after crossing the wooden bridge, I could see cranes as well as cars on a nearby major road. Ahead and to my right were paths along and through the park. There were grassy hillocks occupied by folks playing or laying around. Others walked along the various pathways. I came upon the clock tower, originally functioning as part of the Great Northern RR depot. It is wound, by hand, with 99 turns of a crank once a week.

 On one side was an attractive painted piano being played by a young man. Later I saw painted on it PLAY ME. 

 Beyond the clock tower was another bridge which I took to the other side of the river, after hearing Beatles music from there.

Here, I discovered one of the area's delights: living there since 1974, the brass Garbage Goat, sculpted by Sister Paula Turnbull, and eating small scraps of garbage if the internal vacuum is activated by a button. 

Sister Turnbull's Garbage Goat

Next to it is the Looff Carousel, which that evening was hosting a private party. 

Looff Carousel

Adults were riding the ornate creatures. Giraffe, tiger, and of course horses. This is where the music had been coming from. Farther on was a fountain in which kids were running back and forth getting doused. Then followed gondolas which went on a short, high, trip down to the river and back. Off to the side was the Washington Water Power hydroelectric power building from 1890, updated more recently with underground generators. Alongside, led steps to an overlook and path down to the river quite a ways below.

Not far from this, across W Spokane Falls Blvd, was River Park Square containing restaurants, including two where we later ate, Tomato Street and Twigs Bistro, as well as shops. One can walk through to exit on W Main St to find more restaurants and shops.

Angela finally arrived around 10p.m. PDT. I think we were up until close to midnight. But we had no events other than packet pickup the next day.

We learned that Spokane is pronounced as Spo Cahne as in Cannes rather than, as I had been calling, it Spo cane as in sugar cane.

Wednesday July 25, 2018

Packet pickup day. Angela and I had breakfast in the “Windows” room of the Centennial Hotel. We sat where we could overlook the walking path along Spokane Falls river as well as see the bridge leading to Havermale Island. No rush this morning so we had scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, and some toast. Then we were off on our adventure to Cheney, which was southeast of Spokane. We experienced the joys of WAZE, which told us too late to take a left onto Browne from the spinoff of Division St, so we eventually took another left (Howard?) which brought us to a right turn at the next light on 3rd with an immediate, and I mean immediate! right onto I-90E. We repeatedly made this mistake until almost the last day. (Turning on Browne eventually led to a more straight forward entry to I-90, eliminating that right turn before the entrance to I-90.) We both commented on the paucity of traffic for a weekday.

The drive to Cheney was pretty. Once outside Spokane proper we encountered apparent wheat fields. 

rolls of wheat (hay?)

heading towards Cheney

  A few sparse trees, a farm or two and one place alongside the highway that was intriguing. It was a home or shop with all sorts of figures, weird and otherwise, scattered around outside. I think it was Mike Ferguson's roadside auction house. Had we had more time, it would have been a great place to investigate. (way out west roadside auction) When we turned onto the road leading to Eastern Washington University, there was an electronic sign indicating no watering between July something and the 31st.

We parked in a lower lot and headed towards the building where they were giving out the event packets. This was the beginning of out meet and greet those folks with whom we have participated in track before. 

This is the fun part of a National or major Meet. Right off the bat we met Becky Bowman who was on her way to check out the track Next was Lesley Hinz (Georgia), then Jeanne Daprano, also from Georgia. All track notables. Inside, before we got to the packets we met those we have a good time with, also track notables: Barbara Warren (WV), Christal and Jerry Donley (CO), Mary Robinson, Mary Hartzler, and Barbara Hensley (OH).
Becky Bowman excited to be there

Jeanne Daprano

Angela Staab

Mary Hartzler & Barbara Warren

Angela Staab & Mary Robinson

Barbara Warren wants to occupy Mars. Not so sure Christel Donley does!

We did survey the track before we left. Temp was in the 90s, where it would remain for the rest of the week.
Note the stands blocking view of turn towards finish

 On the way back to the hotel we did some food and drink shopping. We had soup and salad at the hotel, then we went walking into River Front Park as I showed Angela what I had discovered the night before. She was as thrilled with it as I. I showed her the Garbage Goat (which we later fed after a helpful Ranger told me I had to press the button on the wall to activate the feeding.)
Stands, behind which is the far turn of the track

Angela playing the piano

Metal Runner race along W Spokane

That evening, we went out again (waking Angela's legs off – and she had an 800m the next morning) to eat at an Irish restaurant, O'Doherty's on W Spokane Falls Blvd. The interior was plastered – ceiling,wall, and support posts, with autographed dollar bills, all from those who had taken the challenge to sing karaoke at the bar.

honored dollars 

I had the Butte Pastie (a name we had had fun with in our earlier travels) which turned out to be a mammoth gravy rich upside down pastry concoction much like Shepard's Pie and Angela had Irish stew and salad. I was in dreadful abdominal discomfort after, from having eaten so much on a stomach not accustomed to that heavy and that much of a meal.

Thursday July 26, 2018.
On the road leading to an upper parking lot, we could look down upon the football stadium and red track. When we parked, we saw the two Marys: Mary Robinson and Mary Hartzler. They would both be competing in throwing while Angela was going to throw the weight and run the 800. I was going to watch various events, such as the 800m and the 400m prelims of the younger women.

Throw related events were held downhill and south of the track, behind the indoor track warm-up area. The throws events were behind schedule. Angela was concerned about a conflict between her 800 and the weight throw. She talked to the officials at the weight throwing area. They said they would have someone take her up to the track by golf cart should they run out of time. Throughout the competition, the officials were understanding and went out of their way for the competitors who had intersecting track and field events. Some of the women would take a few throws and then a cart up to the track to hurdle or long jump or whatever their event was. Irene Obera had to take advantage of this while in some of the throwing events. (for those unfamiliar with T&F, Obera is a renown phenom. Many world and American records. Now 84, she competed in seven events in Spokane, including high and long jumps.) Along with Angela, Mary Robinson, Christel Donley, Mary Hartzler, Barbara Warren, and Gloria Krug were there for the hammer and or weight throws being conducted this day. All of these ladies also did track or jumps (or both.) Some folks specialized in only throws.

Angela got fifth (6.95m) throwing a sixteen pound weight. That would put my back (or shoulder) out! She managed to get to her 800m in a combined age group race. 

W70-84 Daprano,Staab, Hill, Simpson,Frable, Worsley 

Jeanne Daprano W80 comes in first. Of course! 

Angela Staab - one bionic hip

Angela was second (5:23.22) in her AG on her bum knee, (oh – did I forget to say how she got that?) to Cora Hill 4:12.211, our eventual relay mate. Jane Simpson, also having done the 800m in the earlier pentathlon (in 6:25.23), was third with 5:53.96. I managed to get in a few photos of other 800m races and 400m prelims the younger folks had to run (because more competitors.) I watched Lesley Hinz (now in 60 AG) run the 800m to almost exhaustion, with a time of 2:34.95. She ran fast and it was hot. I thought she had terrific time but she was a bit disappointed that she had not met her goal time (she was shooting to beat the existing outdoor world record of 2:33.09.)

Lesley Hinz

Before Angela's 800m, I had watched Anne Sluder from Charlotte's Carolina Track & Field Club run the pentathlon  80m hurdles in 13.27.

800m W60-69 start Hinz, Steinbach and others 

For dinner that evening we returned to O'Doherty's, this time joined by Barbara Warren (looking for gluten free – which they had!) and Barbara Hensley and her daughter. Having learned my lesson, I thought, I ordered something lighter: corned beef and cabbage. Plus, Angry Orchard hard cider. I was bowled over when I saw the size of the glass the cider arrived in. Huge. I bet 18 ounces. I did finish it. Barbara Hensley ordered the Butte Pastie. I left the restaurant, once again feeling like an over stuffed sausage. The walk back to the hotel, uncomfortable.

Friday, July 27th 2018

Angela and I both had the 400m and discus today. The 400m first. We encountered very little traffic. Surprising for a weekday, but it was after peak commute time. I went to the indoor warm-up area as did Angela who turned in her discus to the inspection area (also in the warm-up building – which was quite large, containing an indoor track as well as the facilities for the football players, including industrial size washing machines and a rock climbing sculpture.) I warmed up for about an hour, not seeing my major competitor Mary Robinson, who was off somewhere by herself warming up. I slow trotted, did some lunges, a few half high knees (not a friend of mine), butt kicks, spurts of short sprints, and slow travels around the track. Every so often I had to take sips of Red Bull (the can was much too large!) and before I left, the small bottle of beet juice I had mixed earlier. My knees were taped. They would not be a problem. I was worried that my breathing would fail me (end up gasping, with tight chest, as often happened during Camp Gladiator “warm-up” run around a shopping center complex (estimated to be 400-440m by our trainer) A run I hated – but not as much as the big loop around the larger portion of the complex. This past year, I have been last and generally end up walking. (For a few months, I was having more severe problems with these runs.) So, here I am having to run a 400m.

Actually, I had arrived feeling a little more confident, at least to the extent that I did not think I would have leg or knee problems – no pain etc. Any way, Angela managed to get in some warm-up, though not much, having hung around at the other end of the track talking. She was probably the wiser of the two of us.

10:19. There were only four of us, Rose Green having opted out of this Meet in favor of going to WMA in Malaga, Spain in September. (Which turned out to be a smart move as she won five Gold medals there, winning the 100m, 200m, 400m, and ran as part of the 4x100m and 4x400m relay team. Besides, I kept forgetting she has aged up and is no longer in our AG) ) So, it was Mary Robinson on the inside in lane 3, me lane 4, Angela lane 5, and Jane Simpson, lane 6. At the start I went a little faster than a jog then backed off a bit. I passed Angela (though, I hardly recall this because I am concentrating on keeping a decent pace.) Half to 3/4 of the way down the back stretch I sensed Mary coming up on me. I sped up a bit. By the time we approached the back of the stands, Mary was close on my shoulder. Now I increased speed again and tried to maintain it because by the time we came out of there, she was next to me. I started running even faster, or tried to. We were next to each other then she was a bit ahead so I tried moving my legs even faster. NOPE, my right leg refused. Neither leg would turn over at a fast or even decent pace. I can't really describe it. I had never encountered this reaction before. Yes, in the past I have had burning legs, or weak rubbery, uncontrollable legs, but this sudden lock up in which the muscles just refused without even a forewarning burning was unexpected. I watched Mary gallop away. I walked. I was disheartened to say the least. Mentally, at this point the race was over and I had given up. I am expecting Angela and Jane to pass me momentarily. People yelled at me to run. Barely walking and they want me to run. A joke, but I began to jog. However as I closed on the Finish line my legs did hurt and then my breathing went. Why? I was hardly exerting myself. So, here is how the 400m ended: Mary Robinson 1:37.62, me 1:49.01, Angela (looking hardly winded) 2:13.65, and Jane 2:22.44.

another 400m disaster

In looking at the video, I see where my running is quite choppy and Mary's is a smoother lope. She looks as if it is no effort at all, whereas it is obvious I am straining. After I stopped running and started to walk, I see where I am a bit off balance. However, after she finished, Jane looked the worst of all four of us, in terms of how she felt. It took a lot out of her. But, then, she also does a lot of events.

I ended up in Medical having been led off (my breathing was a horror at this point) – trying to catch my breath. So, there I am sitting in Medical, missing the younger age groups running the 400m! They made me sit there for quite awhile. I did get ice for both quads which now ached. My BP was similar to what it was a week earlier in the doc's office 187/70. Surprised it wasn't higher considering my mental state.

Once I was allowed to exit Medical, I found Angela and we both decided to get something to eat since discus was not until 12:45. I was still in a dark mood. Not so much at having lost but in how I lost (and, once again, having to walk) If I had lost by a few seconds, I would have been disappointed (though I would have enjoyed racing Mary all the way to the Finish), but not disgusted and down in the dumps. But I was not down enough not to eat! We found a Subway and I got a veggie six inch sub.

At discus, we were in mixed age group, with the usual folks. Gloria Krug (87) there to compete with herself, Irene Obera, Mary Robinson, Ann Carter, Karen Huff-Pawlett, Joan Berman, Roslyn Katz, Kathy Bergen, Joann Marriott, and a lady I did not know, Janice Bradley. 
Glorria Krug

Carter Staab Warren

Listening to Official before start 

All of whom could throw a better discus than me. A few only did field events. Joan Berman always makes me smile with her comments and light hearted demeanor. But she can throw a mean discus! In fact, she threw farther than any of us! 18.42m (60' 5”) Irene had to leave after three of the six throws to make another track event. One gets three throws and then the officials reorder the list from top to bottom and one gets three more throws. I have found that there are always those who will try to help by pointing out possible tiny improvements to one's form. When it comes to my turn, I somehow only remember to do one or two and walk out of the circle realizing Oh! I forgot to…. And so it goes. Invariably, I rarely throw as I might when practicing at home. Nonetheless, it is still fun. Just having the challenge to try to improve makes it an adventure. And where else can I be with this caliber of competition?

It was eat time again. We almost had Barbara Warren join us, but she and the group she was with ended up eating at some rah rah place. Angela and I returned to W Spokane Falls RD and the River Park Square. We went upstairs to Twigs Bistro, recommended by Jane Barnes. We sat overlooking Main street. Two nuns, in full habit, passed by. An unusual sight these days. However, it seems Spokane is home to numerous convents and religious societies. I think the nuns we saw were from the order of Sisters of Mary Mother of the Church, based upon their attire. There are two religious groups who still adhere to pre Vatican II (1960) precepts: a Latin Mass and not accepting the validity of any Pope after John XXIII. One is a strictly cloistered group of nuns who maintain absolute silence and except for medical or dental requirements, are not seen by outsiders. The other is a small group (35 in 2015), much like traditional old school nuns except, they too, maintain pre-Vatican II concepts: Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen, whose habits are blue. There are at least two other more modern orders.

I ordered Twigs Roasted Brussel Sprouts: Pan-roasted sprouts with bacon, shallots, and roasted garlic then finished with a touch of brown sugar and chili flakes. Crowned with a sunny side up egg and chives. This was just the right amount of food and very tasty!

Saturday July 28th

Today, I had the 100m and Angela and I had the Javelin. Javelin was at 8:30 so I had yogurt for breakfast and Angela went for the eggs etc. I had practiced javelin after the South Carolina Meet, trying to use what I had been shown. Of course, once I was actually required to throw the jav in competition, I managed to remember only one (how to hold it) which I did not execute well. Though my throws were not far, they at least stuck most of the time. That is better than last year's outing. My run ups were so so. None of the fancy side stepping approach for me. Just straight down, throw, and hope not to foul. . Joanne Marriott threw the farthest, 15.30m (50'2”) followed by Mary Robinson 14.28m (46'10”). Karen Huff-Pawlik got third with 11.23m (36'10”). Angela and I got fourth and fifth.

Christel Donley won the next AG up with a throw of 12.7m (41'8”) with Janice Bradley second 12.01m (39'5”), Joan Berman third 11.27m (36'11”) and Irene Obera 10,89m (35'8”).

In the AG 85 Gloria Krug won with a throw of 12.42m (40'9”) and 85 year old Sierra Gold, Betty Stroh, from Montana, throwing in competition for the first time, did extremely well. I think she had her coach with her because she kept going over to the fence after each throw to consult. She was a little lady I was to see later in one of the track events. Like Irene, and Christel she had to leave for a track event after only a few throws

I had fun at the jav event, joshing with the lead Official who I suspect was a former Marine or AF officer, referring to her as Sergeant Major. She was probably a retired Colonel!

7/26 W45 pentathlon hurdle lineup - Anne Sluder in purple

7/26 Anne Sluder taking it to the pentathlon

7/27 - Ann Sluder 80m hurdles

The 100m was scheduled for 10:23. Angela said she would hang around for it But it was hot. There would be six of us. Those of us who have run it before in this age group knew that Kathy Bergen would more than likely win. And by a huge margin. This time, I only warmed up, so to speak, for about 15 minutes. I was thinking maybe I had depleted my energy yesterday before the 400m so I was just going to take my chances today. I still drank my beet juice and this time I had a smaller can of Red Bull. I saw Lesley Hinz and her coach Tom Hinz. Lesley was now with their new team: T.H.E. (Tom Hinz Elite) Track Team. A new member of T.H.E. Track Team, Sue McDonald winning, I believe, her first Nationals 400m race the day before was also there. On Thursday, she had set a new American record, AG 55, in the 800m. Also, perhaps the first time, running it in Nationals. So, Tom has the women's 55 and 60 AGs well covered!

I decided to try using just one block for the 100m. I had practiced a few times on grass and decided I would push off with my right foot. I doubt it really makes much of a difference except a few hundreths of a second gained from not rising from a 3 point stance. In lane 5, I was boxed in by the two speedsters: Kathy Bergen on my left and Mary Robinson on my right. Joanne Marriott in lane 2 (Joanne is a superstar in the throwing events, especially discus), Ann Carter in lane 3 and Jane Simpson in lane 7. Mary and Kathy were using both blocks and Ann and I were using one. The other ladies did not use any. I sort of crouched at the SET and hoped not to lose my balance. This being written after the fact, I have a vague recollection of an awkward start (which goes along with some other awkward things I did in the Meet). Kathy was off and gone and I was trying to catch up to Mary who was a bit ahead of me. There is no tactical thing for me in the 100. Just go as fast as I can. If I make any adjustments during a race, it might be to my arms (swing them faster as I get closer to the Finish line) but most of the time all that I am aware of is Mary. We are generally in close proximity (she may be ahead or we may be even) and I end up trying to move my legs faster. Kathy won in 16.41 and the rest of us were more than two seconds behind her. Big gap. Mary and I came across next, followed by Ann Carter, Jane, and Joanne. This time Mary was not waiting for me to straggle across the Finish as in the 400m. I had no problems breathing or with my legs. That is the one thing I like about the 100m – not far enough for bad things to happen (unless one pulls a muscle). But, on the other hand, it is not far enough to play catch up with someone way ahead with any real hope of doing so.

The 100m and prior day's discus were the only times I got to see Ann Carter, who had competed earlier in her favorite event, the Pentathlon (as did Barbara Warren, who was second in her AG with 1915 points). Ann won her AG with 1347 points followed by Jane Simpson, 1258 points.

I tried to watch my younger track pals run the 100m (I have an interest in all age groups, but particularly in the ones in which I know a runner or two.) We were walking back on the infield when the W65s ran. I saw that Jane Barnes was in the lead but did not see what happened at the end. She did win but immediately went to the ground. I knew she had arrived with an Achilles issue and was hoping to get through the prelims and races of the 100m and 200m. She said later that she felt the Achilles starting to scream about 20m from the Finish line. In watching the subsequent video, I could not see that she slowed down but it did catch her going down after the Finish and grabbing her foot. Medical eventually iced and taped it but there would be no more races for her at this Meet. Such a disappointment. And, she was scheduled to go to WMA in Malaga Spain in September. Sometimes the fates are not kind. So many of these Masters compete in less than 100% condition. Probably on average, I would suspect maybe 80 to 90%, some less than that. But they want the joy of competition and to see if they can. It is tough to concede to injury (or age).

I keep trying to find a better way to start the 100m and 200m. I have gone from a standing start (no good because I lose my balance in anticipation), the three point start wherein I rise from a partial kneeling position and swing one arm back and up on the SET (maybe lose time in rising but at least not off balance), using a block start but quite problematic because of knees, so though I may practice on grass, I am not now using a block start. Currently I use a one block start. I definitely have a start problem. Then, there is the fact that I can't run with high knees or a big kick back. Too much for my knees. So, I end up taking shorter steps, at a faster pace if I can. Also not the most efficient,

Angela and I had lunch with two of our Piedmont Pacer teammates: Kevin Gobble and Matthew Holtry. Holtry, AG 35, practically gained all of the Piedmont Pacer points by competing in the 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m steeplechase, 5000 and 10000 race walks! Are you kidding me? By the 10000m race walk, he was beginning to drag as all of this activity caught up. Kevin competed in the 10000m race. Because of his schedule, he usually only gets to do one event unless it is in our home base, NC. We went to Twigs for a very nice lunch and a chance to catch up with each other. The only time I see these folks is during a Meet.

Afterwards, Kevin had to leave and Matthew had to rest up. Angela and I almost went to the new Mama Mia movie, but the showing times did not fit in. We walked back to the hotel and lazed around by the pool until dinner. Angela had had her eyes on the water slide and gave it a go several times. She loved it! I, on the other hand, tried once and panicked after hitting the water, because I was gasping for air. So much for my swimming days!  While at the pool I enjoyed the live music from Soul Proprietor (Angela was not as keen on the style of music.)

Angela letting the kid out.

We had decided that this year we would go to the USATF Masters Award banquet. It turned out to be a good idea. It was held at the Spokane Convention Center, in the open air beneath the white peaked tents on the upper floor. There was wine to be had (in my case cider based), in the buffet area salmon chunks, various vegetables, potatoes, ham (I think), fruit and cookies. 
Mary Trotto, looking quite different than when steeple chasing!

Hall of famers and honorees

Kathy Bergen, standing still!

 We happened to sit at a table with Mary Trotto, Sandy Triolo, and Latashia Key. Kathy Bergen and Joanne Marriott were both AG 70-79 Athletes of the Year, Jeanne Daprano and Gloria Krug were AG 80 Athletes of the Year. And not for the first time for these folk! Many other younger well deserving luminaries were recognized as well. Those I recognized were LaTrica Dendy, Antwon Dussett, Sonja Friend-Uhl AG 40-49. Charles Alley and Myrle Mensey AG 60-69. The always thrilling Bob Lida was Overall Male Athlete of the Year, Kathy Martin Overall Female Athlete of the Year, and wonderfully (though not present) Julia Hawkins as Centenarian! (100m World Record 39.62)

Sandy "Speedy" Triolo, USATF Masters Communications Subcomm Chair 

Gloria Krug and John Seto (keeper, creator, and master of the Masters worldwide rankings Masters Ranking )were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Sunday July 29th

Meeting our pals in the parking area, as usual. Staab, Hartzler, Robinson

We had to check in for the 200m by 8:14 so, allowing for warmup time, we left the hotel by 7:19. Again, very little traffic. In fact, during our entire time in Spokane, we never saw traffic at all similar to what we find in NC. Pleasant surprise. Our one problem was that the 200m and the shot put were at the exact same time. Ugh. Many of us doing the 200m had this issue. Angela and Mary talked to the officials and they were incredibly understanding. They arranged for a cart to be at the Finish area so that we could come off the track and get immediate transport down to the shot put area.

Again, I limited my warm up time. This time there were five of us including Angela (who runs 200m through 800m). Jane Simpson was in lane 2, Mary Robinson in lane 3, Kathy Bergen in lane 4, I was in 5 and Angela in 6. The outcome for first was again quite predictable (in a sense we are running two races in one: Kathy's race with herself and then the rest of us.) In the stagger setup, Angela and I were farther down the track. Kathy and Mary used blocks, I used the one, and the other ladies used none. So, the gun goes off. Kathy rapidly passes me on her way to the lead and Finish. I passed Angela and then it was Mary and I the rest of the way. About half way through, after coming out of the curve, a fleeting fear of leg lockup flew through my mind (probably as I neared where the 400m disaster occurred.) But I had Mary on my left to focus on. We were both going all out and once again making a race of it. I love that part of it. Mary makes me push as much as I can. Outcome not known until the end sometimes, because we are that close to each other. Kathy was, gasp, six seconds faster than the second place person. Six bloody seconds!

Like most of the others, I had to rush off the track, grab my stuff I'd left at the side of a tent and try to change shoes. The cart was there and I ended up getting in with my shoe not quite on. It was Mary Robinson, Angela, Irene Obera, and Jane Simpson in our cart. I sort of recall Jane's shoe falling out and it having to be retrieved (or we thought it had fallen out.)

Similar to many other field events, each person throws three times before the officials re-order the throwing order from leader down to last. On her third attempt, Joanne Marriott went into the lead, just a bit farther than Mary Robinson's distance. Joanne increased the lead with her fourth throw of 7.29m (23'11”). On her sixth throw, Joanne fouled. To this point, Mary's longest throw was 7.07m (23' 2- 1/2”). So Mary primes for her last throw. Not much crank up and heaves the shot 7.20m (23' 7-1/2”)! Arrgh! Short by 5 inches and a smidgeon from snatching victory from Joanne. Roslyn Katz got third (6.79m 22' 3-/2”). I got fifth (5.40m 18' 0-1/4”) and Angela seventh with 4.85m (15' 11”).In the next AG up, Irene Obera threw just twice because she had to leave for another event and got second to Christel Donley. Irene 6.08m (19' 11-1/2”) to Christel's 6.67m (21' 10-3/4”). Janice Bradley got third with a thr0w of 5.87m. (19' 3-1/4”)

Gloria Krug was the only one in her AG (85) and threw just four times with the longest being 6.50m (21' 4”)

Of the three or so things I was supposed to remember re form when throwing the shot, I may have remembered one or two, but not in the same throw!

Mary Robinson, Angela and I all had the 4x100 relay to do later in the day. Angela was hungry so she went off to the distant Subway and I stayed to watch Matt run the 1500m, talk to Lesley and Tom Hinz, Jane Barnes and Maureen and others. I watched Kay Glynn pole vault. I did not know it was Glynn, someone I had heard of before. She vaulted well and looked to be in her forties. She did not take too long between vaults (maybe that is one of the rules.) She was wearing a patriotic looking outfit and used gloves for the pole. Tom Hinz came along and we talked about the vaulter. I thought I saw five letters on her name bib so we concluded it was Kay. A legend. Two hip resurfacing after age 60, AG65, and she vaulted 2.70m (8' 10-1/4”). From where I stood at the railing, it looked like fourteen feet or higher!

Kay Glynn prepping for vault

Our relay, with Mary Robinson, Angela Staab, Cora Hill and I was set to go off at 1:25. It was a hot day, in the high 90s. When Angela returned, three of us practiced passing and receiving the baton. I usually have a problem whether it is passing or receiving. If passing, I don't slap it into the receiver's hand well (recalling Birmingham National Senior Games relay where I had to pass to our anchor Mary.) I also don't receive well – sometimes standing still rather than moving forward. This old dog has not learned this trick well. Cora and I practiced her pass to me (I was running anchor.) It seemed to be okay.
Behind the track, Cora and Angela , before practice baton passing  

We had a long wait. There were delays due to prior events still ongoing. Our team was running as non Club (surprisingly, there were few Club teams – where all members belong to the same club.) Barbara Warren was running with Mary Trotto, Jane Simpson, and someone's mom who they were giving the opportunity to run on the track, Ingles last name. We were in different age groups. Mary was our lead off. We were running with multiple age groups, thirty and up, so many whizzed by pretty quickly. Becky Bowman was to my right, anchoring for her non club team (having won Gold in the 100 and 200 – that sure makes sense!) Because of the placement of the stands, I could not see part of the backstretch. I did see Angela pass to Cora and then had to wait to see Cora emerge into view. As she was maybe ten to fifteen meters from me I started moving forward, looking back. When she got to me, I had trouble receiving the baton. I thought it was going to drop and desperately grabbed for it, then ran like hell to make up for lost time. I think I should have been running ahead faster because Cora was so fast and on me, such that we were too close when the baton was being passed. I really had no idea what happened until Mary sent me a photo one day the next month which, funny enough, partially loaded on my cell's email, showing only two arms. I think Mary said: What's wrong with this picture? I recognized my ring so realized it must be Cora's and mine and oh, boy! It was worse than I thought! Easy to see why I thought I would drop it since I got Cora's arm instead of the baton. Only the reach over with my other hand saved us.
Well, kiddies, this is NOT the way to do it

Looks like I have a long way to go in exchanges!

Oh, yeah, the existing non Club record was 1:24.88. Our time was 1:29.94. My fumble probably cost a least three seconds, possibly five. If I had run faster such that the exchange would have been good, we might have just beaten the record.
impending disaster caught (probably by Rob D'Avella!)

Relay team: Robinson, Staab, Hill, Guardino

And so it goes. Another National Meet done. Spokane put on an excellent Meet. Well run and organized. The Officials were superb and easy going but kept things running. The Check-In table ran smoothly with Mother Hen Sherry Hott in control.

That night Angela and I took our customary walk through Riverfront Park and ate at Tomato Street, which turned out to have great Italian food! Superb garlic bread. I am not quite sure what I had, but it had tomato sauce. This may have been it but if not – I bet this was still good AUNT ROSE’S PASTA Mushrooms, white onions, roasted chicken, fresh basil, tomatoes, feta cheese, alfredo sauce, mostaccioli pasta with garlic & olive oil and onion butter.

Monday, July 30th
Angela and I had decided to stay an extra day to see the area. Coeur d'Alene Idaho beckoned. It was a short pleasant drive, just short of an hour I think. There was little traffic in downtown Spokane as well as on the road to Idaho. Waze led Angela right into the heart of Coeur d'Alene, by the lake at Independence Point. 

After feeding the one hour meter (which we fed many times), we eventually walked the semi-circular, about a mile long, floating boardwalk. An experience in itself until one makes the adjustment. Coeur d'Alene floating boardwalk One ascends stairs about midway to an overpass that allows boats to pass beneath and then we descended back to the boardwalk. I liked the blue tarps covering docking areas. A cigar-like boat was docked near the far end, reminding me of the original TV Miami Vice series.

Couer d'Alane docks

Angela on floating boardwalk
Looking a bit off balance

We did some shopping and eating of ice cream 

Excellent ice cream!

before actually getting lunch (Angela) or something to drink (me). After the shopping tour, we decided to try stepping into the lake. There was one problem with this: you had to traverse the sand to get to the water's edge. OMG! I probably ran faster than I did in the 100m to get off that searing sand. Shades of being seven years old being forced to cross the hot sand to get to the water. Hated it! Still hate it. Angela was sure her feet suffered burns. The water was such a relief. 

Cooling our feet! Notice Angela's USATF toenail.

We got out by way of a rock ledge along the side. After meeting Mudgy the Moose and Millie the Mouse, we decided on taking the boat tour around the 25 mile Lake Coeur d'Alene. 
Millie telling Mudgy she loved hiding in his antlers

Mudgy has a great view of the lake!

Angela got into a conversation with a gentleman who was taking his elderly (ha ha – who am I to call someone elderly?) mom out for her birthday. They were native to the area so he told Angela much of the history and other interesting items while I surveyed the scenery. The large homes along the shoreline reminded me of NH's Lake Winnepesaukee homes and docks, except for the hills, Steep inclines led from some homes nestled way above to the water.

It was about 4 p.m. When we decided to return to Spokane. That night we again walked through Riverfront Park, but this time we passed through the mall out to W Main street and ate at P.F Chang's. I think I had pepper steak. Angela ordered edamame as a side. We did not finish it and did return with a box or two. Not touched after our return.

My haul

We both departed on Tuesday. I was not up for left over Asian food at 4 a.m. I suspect Angela did not eat any before she left later.

WMA (WORLDS) Malaga Spain update: As mentioned above, Rose Green W80 won the 100m, 200m, 400m and was on the winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. Lesley HInz won Gold in the 1500m, silver in the 800m,  and just missed on the 400m. Jeanne Daprano won silver in the 1500m, bronze in the 200m, 400m, and 800m, and was part of the 4x100m team that took Gold.  Sandy Triolo was part of 4x100m relay team won Gold and set new world record. Christel Donley got silver in the high jump, and 80m hurdles, Gold in the heptathlon,  Although I have not mentioned the men in the Spokane event, the reliables Charles Allie, 70,  and Bob Lida, 80, hauled in many Malaga medals (among them Gold in the 100m, 200m. Allie also getting gold in the 400m)

Jane Barnes after some recovery work on her Achilles (not done yet) won Bronze in the 100m and was fifth in the 200m. Their 4x100 relay team won 4th. 

Ah -- you have reached the END! Congrats  if you got here.


Anonymous said...

Louise, it sounds like you were a bit surprised by the climate in Spokane. Perhaps you were influenced by what you know of Seattle's climate; I do not know. Regardless, look at this comparison for July 2018 between Seattle and Spokane (per AccuWeather):

Days with a high of 90 or above:

Seattle --- 3

Spokane --- 20

Hottest day:

Seattle --- 91

Spokane --- 100

As always, you did a great job with your comprehensive account of your trip to Spokane and the surrounding areas. I will add something later.


Peter L. Taylor*

* Well-known masters T&F personality

Anonymous said...

A true masterpiece, Louise. Your narrative and photos were splendid; I believe there were 83 of the latter.

Peter L. Taylor
Member, USATF Masters Track&Field Hall of Fame