#EpicHouston2012 – Spectating the Marathon Olympic Trials

I don’t know if you heard or not, but SweatyEmily & I went to the Marathon Olympic Trials this weekend.


A lot of really awesome things happened.

America found out who’d be representing them at London this summer :


(I wish.)

We’re still working on ironing out the details to make our Official Team USA Cheerleader sponsorship happen, but these six are FOR SURE going to be kicking some ass across the pond in August :

source – which btw, dear “source”, please call me so we can finalize your SweatyOUaL Olympic Cheer Team

Let’s back up and tell the story properly.  The SweatyOUaL story, that is, not the actual race story.  Since obviously you don’t come here for timely reporting on big news events.

(in case you didn’t hear for some unfathomable reason, the women finished 1) Shalane 2) Desi 3) Kara, and the men finished 1) Meb 2) Hall 3) Abdi)

After my idiotic flight drama, I managed to solidify my spot as Worst Traveler On The Planet by getting paged for final boarding while still shoeless at security.

The good news is, the speedwork I’ve been doing really helped out in my 1/4 mile sprint through John Wayne Airport.  Maybe I’ll start pulling a rolly bag with me during tempos – sure was a great way to break a quick sweat.

Obviously the best way to cool down from an impromptu workout, while simultaneously kicking off #EPICHOUSTON…

Dear United Flight Attendant,

I saw that stink-eye you gave me when I asked for a bottle of vodka and an empty glass.  And then the concern when I dropped a suspicious looking tablet into the water bottle I brought with me and poured it into the glass with your warm vodka.  I really wasn’t roofie-ing myself.  Just off-setting the dehydration.  Responsible alcoholism.


Seat 22C

Arrival in Houston consisted of luggage depositing, a quick reunion hug (hello 6 weeks is a long time to spend apart when your IRL-ness is only 3 months old)  and immediate consumption of (more) delicious cocktails.  Carb-loading is to race-running as tequila-loading is to race-spectating.

It’s science.

I’m not going to call fault to our plan, but the dismissing of alarms the following morning and in turn frantically getting cheer-ready in less than 15 minutes was a minor tactical error on our part.

But it’d be criminal to blame the alcohol when it’s such a key component of all SweatyOUaL approaches to life, so let’s pretend that was planned.

Masters of the quick change, artful temporary tattoo’ing, and sparkle adornment that we are, we were out the door (almost) on time and even managed to get some airtime on the local news.

Operation Cheer-Famous : UNDERWAY.

After our small-screen debut we made our way to the start where we dazzled our fellow patrons with our spirit and athletic-ness.

Back story : On the way to my massive 5″ vertical I managed to throw my patriotic shutter shades about 20 feet and hit some innocent bystander in the back of the head with them. My bad, dude.  The apologetic look on my face and SweatyEmily’s clear non-amusement in the situation proves how bad I felt.

Finally the National Anthem played, and we pushed our way to the gates.  FYI wearing a red/white/blue boa and a glitter “USA” tattoo on your cheek makes for a super touching anthem.

Go America.

No really, GO!

The next 2 hours were spent frantically running around the streets of downtown Houston, catching every glimpse of the runners possible.

Turns out?  GREAT way to battle the frigid-for-TX temps.  (if you saw any of the coverage, mostly everyone was dressed for a day on the slopes, not a bare-skinned summer party. woops.) 

Also acceptable?  Oiselle Race Day Rundies over your tights :

As the race went on, every passing of the country’s greatest built the excitement more.  Every lead change, sight of a DNF wrapped prematurely in mylar, and surge from a runner who looked to be out of gas sent an overwhelming giddiness over me.

“We’re at the mother f*cking Olympic Trials.  This is far and away the coolest thing I’ve ever done.  Can you believe we’re reaOMG KARA I LOVE YOU!!”

Thus, #RUNBONER was born.

Standing at the finish watching Shalane and Desi battle the final miles on the jumbotron, Kara punching her London ticket, and Amy Hastings (my new run girl crush) fall heart-breakingly shy with 4th place was incredible.


image source – I Spy credit to @wickedrunnah

And then, something happened.  I didn’t mean for it to, and I really didn’t see it coming, but it did.

I fell in love with running.

Watching the coverage afterwards from a downtown bar did nothing but push me further down my lovesick path.  Meb taking the flag and saluting the troops on his victory lap through the homestretch?  Watching Dathan come back from a huge deficit to fall 6 seconds shy of an Olympic bid, and then collapse at the finish?  Shalane telling Kara “I’m SO proud of you”???

Yeah, I teared up.

And when the bartender tried to change the tv to playoff football with 20 minutes of coverage left, and the entire bar erupted in angry yells?

I never thought I’d see the day that running trumped playoff football, much less be part of the angry mob, but it happened Saturday.

I <3 you, running.  Lots.  Let’s be friends forever.

(and Amy, we can be IRL friends if you want. Just call me.)

More on the after-Oly shenanigans later.  All I’ll say is we totally owned up to our #EpicHouston claims.

Desi and Joan will vouch for us.

Sarah OUaL

no but really, if you, someone you know, or someone you work for wants to send us to London email me at onceuponalime@gmail.com. We’ve blocked off all of July and August, have updated our passports, and I’m willing to switch from black coffee to Earl Grey to fit in with the UK’ers.

Don’t Worry, America – I’m Still Going to the Trials

I’m such an idiot.

Despite my best efforts to turn our OLYMPIC TRIALS WEEKEND from Epic* to Tragic* with one fatal click, I’ll still be in Houston this weekend.

Not April 13th like I apparently booked last week.  January 13th.  Tomorrow.

I went to check in for my flight because HELLO T-MINUS 24 HOURS AND COUNTING, and was about to call and yell at somebody that their website was broken and wouldn’t let me check in for my Olympic-destined flight.

It IS less than 24 hours before and more than 45 minutes before my flight, jerk, GIMME A BOARDING PASS!!!

Continental, you won this time, with your stupid change fee.  I learned my lesson and pinky promise to commit more than 27 seconds of brain juice to my next flight booking.

As the optimist I’m NOT but am trying to be (a kinda sorta ’12 resolution) I’m considering it a small miracle that not only do they have flights at almost the exact depart/arrive times, but that there were seats available.

Because as much as it sucks paying 30 times more for a ticket than I could should have, it would have sucked a MILLION TIMES MORE to miss the ridiculousness that will be #Houston2012 altogether.

Sarah OUaL

* I never use these words. They are reserved for leather-bound classics you’re forced to read in 11th grade lit class and not my silly little life I write about with poor grammar and made-up words on the internet. BUT spectating the marathon olympic trials is as close as I’m going to get to “epic”, and missing them for a dumbshit careless mistake is as close to “tragic” as I’ll get. Hopefully.