Scott Anderson's Olympic
Trials On-Line Journal:
Part 6- Waiting for Saturday's
Race: Hanging with the Johnsons
This is the fifth installment of miler Scott Anderson's Olympic
Trials Journal. If you missed his eye-opening installments #1 or #2 or #3 or #4
or #5 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) . To make a
long story short, Scott has spent much of the last 4 years preparing
for the 2000 Olympic Trials at 1500 meters, for which he didn't
qualify. After the trials he ran an impressive 3:41.33 for the
victory at Stanford on July 26th and is looking to set a p.r.
at his season ending (an maybe career ending) race on July 29th
at Stanford (where Michale Stember will be looking to get his
Olympic qualifier). Click
here to be taken to Installment #1.
#6 - Posted Saturday, August 29, 2000:
Thursday, July 27
Just spent the day with the Johnson brothers (LetsRun.com co-founders).
So Weldon has been living in Big Bear, CA (about 8 hours south
of here) and drove up here last week to compete in the 10k and
5k at the trials. Robert flew to Sacramento from DC to watch
him. They hung out in San Fran and Tahoe earlier in the week
and came down to Palo Alto on Tuesday night to watch me run on
Robert modestly claims that
the reason for my disappointing season is his absence at any
of my races. As absurd as this claim may sound, empirically,
there is evidence to support it, as the pinnacle of his career
as a groupie coincided in 95 with my best series of racing and
Anyway, Robert had to get
back to DC today so he spent all day yesterday griping about
how hard it was to find a flight from the Bay Area - on one day's
notice. Robert finally found a flight that left at 7 am this
morning from San Jose, and he correctly realized that Weldon
likely didn't want to get up at 5 am to drive him to the airport.
So instead, Robert said he would drive Weldon's car to the long-term
parking lot and leave the car open and the key under the seat,
and then leave a message on my cell phone (yes, John and I both
took the plunge) as to where the car was parked.
So this morning, I walk into the living room to see Weldon hunched
over the computer his face right next to the screen. He curses
Robert, who by this time is half way across the continent --
"The moron took my contacts this morning. How am I supposed
to drive 8 hours without glasses?" Weldon is practically
blind without them. Just yesterday, he'd had some eye infection
that was aggravated by his contacts, which he was forced to wear
because he'd lost his glasses at a recent wedding. Typical.
So he spends this whole morning trying to find the name of the
optometrist he'd gone to in Austin, and then trying to get them
to call in his prescription and contact size to various local
optometrists to see if any had his contacts in stock.
Finally he gets through to
the For Eyes on El Camino and Embarcadero, just over a mile away.
On the way out of the store, a familiar looking Silver Astro
with Colorado plates rolls into the parking lot. It's the van
I rented at the airport less than two weeks ago and coach Gags
and Jimmy Hopkins are in it. Gags is in a great mood. How could
he not be? Holman ran beautifully, Rich Kenah and
Brian Woodward both made the team, and he's sleeping in a bed
the size of a cot in a Stanford coop/dorm infamous for the "love
bread" its residents concoct.
Gags seems to be enjoying himself in spite of the less than plush
accommodations at the dorm. The words "The GAGs is a playa"
jump out from a green chalkboard that hangs on the wall of the
foyer of the house. One of my teammates, probably Kalwinsky,
had obviously erased some wannabe's name and inserted the name
of the original "playa" GAGs, and the saying holds
true for this room, for this is where Gags holds court. Any
time he's there, enclave members migrate into the room just waiting
to hear what he'll say next. It's a rare opportunity for us to
bask in his charisma. The pressure's off, there are no meetings
to attend, and most importantly, there are no TVs in the rooms.
The first day we got here,
he bounced back and forth between victims, but spent most of
his energy grilling Honerkamp about his alleged exploits with
the ladies. Yesterday, as I walked outside for a run shirtless,
he said to me "No wonder you cant get a broad," pointing
to my exposed upper body, "you got nothing there. When
a woman puts her arms around you, she wants to feel something.
You've got no hair on your head, none on your chest."
So I don't know if he was
talking about my lack of body hair, which Tanya Baker reassured
me was a good thing, or my diminutive physique but either way,
I joked about how that wasn't good for my morale, and I needed
confidence-building. We had a good laugh at it.
So, back to Weldon and me
in the parking lot. Gags pulls up with a big grin and asks where
we've been and I introduce Weldon to him. He says of course
he knows Weldon, he's seen him and his twin all over DC and the
trials. I explain to Gags that I'm helping Weldon out and that
as much of a mess he thinks I am (GAGs is constantly ridiculing
me for doing something airheaded), these Johnson brothers are
worse. Gags responds that "no, that's impossible."
He says "you got no women and now you got no money-- I
just called Carol and told her not to send you a check for next
month because of that Nike stunt you pulled last night."
Damn, I was hoping he'd forgotten about that.
(Editor's note: Weldon and
Robert both officially agree with Gags. Scott is a much bigger
mess than either one of them. They claim their own reputation
for ineptitude stems from the fact that whenever one of them
does something stupid it is placed on them collectively as no
one bothers to tell them apart).
Last night, as I was jogging
over to the starting line, he pointed to my blatantly non-Reebok
footwear and asked what that was about. I laughed and pointed
to the Stanford jacket he was wearing (it was chilly and he'd
borrowed it from his new best buddy, Vinny Lanana) and asked
him what that was about. Both times he caught me, Gags was laughing,
so I don't know if he's kidding or not. We'll see next week
when I check my mailbox.
We get back to Kevin Kramer's
(former Princeton teammate) place, pack up Weldon's stuff in
Kramer's pickup (which as is his second car, he's lent me for
the week), and drive down to the San Jose airport. Half expecting
something to be wrong, we pull into the long-term parking, and
sure enough the Jeep is in section 27, the back right door is
unlocked and the key is under the seat. Robert even remembered
to leave the validation ticket in plain view.
Weldon and I continue our
conversation about dream jobs (We both decide we'd ideally like
to work for ourselves, maybe maintaining a web site, doing some
remote consulting for different companies on different projects,
and being mobile so we could bounce from Bay area to DC to Boulder).
I leave Weldon as he enters his car but I get a little lost trying
to leave the parking lot and somehow end up right in front of
him as we exit the parking lot. As I'm paying, he yells out
the window and tells me to wait for him. Oh good, I think, maybe
he's going to offer me a bigger tip for the ride down than the
dollar he'd given me for parking. No such luck. Again, he's
cursing Robert: "He took my house keys too!" Such
hostility can't be healthy for your already turbulent relationship,
I tell him, not for the first time.
And besides, I say, I think
I saw them back at Kramer's house. Were there about 4 keys on
a chain? He groans yes. San Jose was right on his way back down
to Big Bear so now he has to back track all the way north up
to Palo Alto. We find the keys on the carpet in the living room
and Weldon says he wishes Robert had taken them so he could blame
someone besides himself. As he's about to leave, Fred (one of
my hosts and a steeplechase competitor at the trials) and Jason
(old roommate whose bedroom I've commandeered) start talking
about how bad traffic is this time of day south of San Jose.
Somehow, I don't think Weldon's troubles are over.
(Editor's note: Scott's premonition
was correct. Weldon's troubles definitely weren't over. Weldon's
plan was to rush back to Big Bear, quickly load up his car with
the few belongings he'd taken with him to his remote training
camp, go to sleep, and then jump back in the car for the 8 hr.
drive back to Stanford so he could watch Saturday's meet. All
went according to plan until about 50 miles into his journey
back to Stanford when his car engine blew up after it overheated.
Maybe he should have paid attention to the warning that had been
flashing for the last 10 days - "Ceck oil level."
It's not really a very sad
story as Weldon's actually pleased that the same car that broke
down just 2 weeks ago as he was headed to the Olympic Trials
(and resulted in him pulling in at 1 a.m.) and the same car that
he spent about $5,000 in the last year to repair (when it's only
worth about $8,000) is now officially worthless. Weldon's just
upset he's going to miss the meet and claims he's going to sue
the repairman in Flagstaff, AZ who replaced his transmission
earlier this year as it took him a month to "get it right"
when it should take a week and every since then there have been
a ton of problems with the car.)
Editor's Note: Please feel
free to email you comments to Scott at Saa13074@aol.com. Lots of people have really enjoyed
his journal and have inquired about contacting Scott and he said
he'd be happy to receive any emails.