Scott Anderson's Olympic
Trials On-Line Journal:
A Dream Deferred or A Dream
This is the third installment of miler Scott Anderson's Olympic
Trials Journal. If you missed his eye-opening installments #1 or #2, we strongly urge you to read them
before reading this installment as they provide background information
which makes things a lot easier to understand (especially #1)
. Click here
to be taken to Installment #1.
#3 - Wednesday, June 28, 2000 - finally completed on July 1,
Some zucchini bread and fresh squeezed orange juice for breakfast
while I read a bit on Tobin's Q in my latest source of intellectual
stimulation, the constantly challenging and highbrow periodical,
Maxim. For some reason, I always need to read while eating,
even if it's a two-minute meal, as this is. This stems in part
from my misguided determination to be efficient and in part from
my romanticizing the idea of eating and reading leisurely.
The goal of multitasking by eating and
reading at the same time is preposterous, as I usually spend
more time looking for my desired reading material than I do actually
eating. But the romantic appeal of the combination has some justification.
I aspire to realize this image I have in my mind of my parents
sitting at the table on our backyard patio.
It's a sunny summer Saturday morning.
A bowl of sugared blueberries rests on the table amid various
sections of the Chicago Tribune. My mom has just returned from
her Saturday morning tennis group. She sips coffee and peruses
a section of the Chicago Tribune. My dad, sporting sunglasses
and khaki shorts, reads Elmore
Leonard's most recent novel. A gentle breeze and cheerful shriek
from a neighbor's kid occasionally interrupt the morning peace
but reinforce the sense of relaxation and contentment that my
Okay, I may have gone overboard just
now in my attempt to use description tips from the creative non-fiction
class I took last fall, but that is my best attempt to describe
the source of my positive association between reading and eating.
But for some reason, even now, when I have no job to worry about,
I never feel as relaxed or as appreciative of the moment as I
imagine my parents do.
Now, if I run 3:35...No time to read
in peace today. Yesterday, John Honerkamp (another teammate who
is going after the 1500 qualifying time) and I decided we needed
some organized activity or field trip today before we go to Maine
and spend three days in front of the TV and 3 minutes and less
than 40.5 seconds running.
We decide to go to the Smithsonian National
Gallery of Art to see the Impressionists at Argenteuil exhibit.
Lack of parking foiled a half-hearted attempt last week, but
John and I are determined in today's quest. I confess to John
that my main motivation for the excursion is to buy some artsy
notecards that I hope will motivate me to start correspondences
the old fashioned way, so we first to head to the museum store.
On our way to the impressionist exhibit,
we pass through some portrait rooms and share our lack of enthusiasm
for 17th century renderings of unsmiling aristocrats. I find
the impressionist paintings much more appealing, although I remember
a friend once expressing her contempt for impressionism: "Art
for the masses." Maybe, but I proudly admit to being one
of the 90% of people who claim Monet or Van Gogh as their favorite
artist. John questions the symbolism that critics read in artist's
work. Do the scattered clouds really represent Renoir's dead
John says that he'll include a written
summary of all the inspiration and influence of the elements
of each of his works so that there will be no arguments amongst
critics. We proceed to wonder if the clouds of smoke in all Monet's
pieces that depict industry reflect his distaste for the modernization.
We decide that it is fair after all to read into an artist's
life by analyzing their work. Somehow we start talking about
various friends' methods of telling stories. Imagine 100 years
from now, people listened to ten stories recorded by John, Siv
(Mark Sivieri), (Chris) Graff, and me (all Reebok Enclave teammates).
Most people would conclude accurately that Graff was cocky and
lazy (as he is proud to admit), that Siv was a sick sick man
(as he is proud to admit), that John was a flirt yearning to
be held, and (if they could get through his stories without falling
asleep) that Scott was tragically boring.
We see a girl with an easel set up,
copying one of Degas' paintings. Our eyes light up as we simultaneously
hatch the same idea: we could do the same thing to initiate conversations
with other art enthusiasts. Yeah, that's what we were thinking.
John points out that we wouldn't even have to do any real painting.
We could just put an already-complete work on the easel and pretend
to touch it up. Ah, this is how I envisioned my afternoons of
leisure: a happy mix of cultural and intellectual stimulation
and buddy bonding (i.e. scheming to pick up women).
Sample Honerkamp poem/haiku/riddle:
Left, right, left, right Always making lefts Yet neglecting the
What is this describing? Free autographed
copy of John's soon to be
released book Dance Moves for Dummies: Ten Moves Guaranteed
to Land The Ladies to Respondents with The Correct Answer.
On the way back we have a excellent
discussion on the difficulty of explaining to our non-runner
friends how we could have qualified for the Trials in '96 but
4 years later be having trouble doing it. Even harder is justifying
to them the sacrifices we've made.
We decide that a lot of the difficulty
lies in our own insecurities about our lack of improvement. More
on this heavy issue in a later entry.
I think yesterday's ice bath was a good idea: today's 40 minute
through rock creek park feels good and I don't even notice the
huge Porter Street hill. When I return from my run, there's a
message from my college coach, Mike Brady. He's read my first
journal entry and senses a lot of self doubt. He knows I'm fitter
than anything and ready to roll; I just need to put it together
in a race. I decide to call him tomorrow from Maine.
As I'm packing for the trip, Brady calls again. Implying that
I need to feel like I have a Heps championship at stake (Heps
is the Ivy League plus Navy), he tells me to imagine a bunch
of guys with Yale uniforms on ahead of me. I tell him let's be
realistic -- how about Dartmouth? We proceed to get serious in
the discussion. He asks me how my previous races have developed.
I tell him I've run 3:42 three times in a row. In the first two
(Boston and JMU), I went out right behind the rabbit and wound
up leading between 1000 and 1300 before getting passed in the
last 200m. As I speak to him, I see a pattern in the races. In
these first two races, my first 200m was in 27 and then I ran
60 second pace. In my last race (Chapel Hill), I had a cold and
low confidence so I went out conservatively in the back of the
pack, but I still managed to finish third in 3:42.4 (behind teammates
Sam Gabremariam and Mike Ryan) with a relatively strong close.
Brady points out, as I have just realized,
that I am a momentum runner. Brady reminds me of a breakthrough
race my junior year. I was going into IC4As with a 1500m pr of
3:46, from my freshman year. I had not qualified for NCAAs, but
both my coach and I figured I was in 3:43 shape, which would
probably get me into the meet. The finals of the IC4As, as with
most championship 1500s, are usually tactical, so Brady and I
decide my best shot of hitting a time would be to take out the
race in the trials when I'm fresh.
We recruit my Heps compatriot, Navy's
Jesse Kemp, to participate in the plan. He agrees to lead through
the 500 at 58 second quarter pace and then I will take over.
The gun goes off and we immediately put a gap on the field. Although
I don't hear a split at the 200, I feel all out and the 55 400
split confirms the suspicion. But I keep up my end of the bargain
and lead us through in 1:58. The next 400 is a painful solo mission,
as Kemp pays for his over-exuberance and I slow down to go through
in 3:00. Holthaus blows by me with 250 to go but I manage to
hold on for a 3:46 and qualify for the finals. A demoralizing
experience but Brady is more upbeat. He point outs out that I
should be proud of myself for giving it a shot and he reminds
me that I'm a racer not a time-trialer. He tells me to just relax
compete in the finals.
Wise advice: in the finals, Holthaus,
who is looking to improve his time of 3:44, takes out the pace
in a more sensible 59 seconds. At the back of the pack, I run
three 60-second quarters in a row to go through 1200m in the
same time I went through yesterday. But today I feel fantastic
and am speeding up instead of slowing down. I cross the line
right behind Ibrahim Aden and Holthaus and look over to see my
dad and Brady give me the thumbs up. After hearing the official
time of 3:42.54, I cool down with Steve Myers of Providence (and
current teammate). We marvel at my change in fortune from yesterday's
disappointment to being on my way to NCAA's.
To this day I still consider this to
be my best race ever: the combination of my dad being there,
the huge PR, finally running a time that met my potential, and
the contrast in emotions from one day to the next. Perhaps these
factors overshadow the lesson from the race: I run faster when
I go out smart and when I chase people, not a time. I hang up
with Brady and feel the excitement you feel when you know you're
ready to roll. It could be a good one.
Installment #4 Now Up!
Click here to read it.
(Editor's Note: Unfortunately
for Scott, the race in Maine didn't turn out to be a good one.
Scott failed to run the qualifying time of 3:40.50. He finished
fourth in 3:44.39 and thus now is down to his last qualifying
attempt - Friday, July 7th in Montreal, Canada. Only one person
qualified in Maine and thus there should be a slew of people
to run with in Montreal. Click
here to see complete results from the Maine Distance Classic)