Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Foot Locker Weekend

Many thanks go out for a memorable weekend in San Diego as I spectated the Foot Locker High School Cross Country Championships. What a weekend!
My alarm went off at 4:30am on Friday morning. I walked the dog, finalized my packing and went off to the airport. My flight left at 7am and, after a change in O'Hare, I was in San Diego by lunchtime. It was a little overcast and there were sprinkles, but I'll take 55 and rainy over sub-zero windchills anyday.


I went over to Balboa Park to check out the course for myself. After putting in a little 4-mile jog and shooting some pictures, I went over to the Mission Valley YMCA (you could have fit THREE of our YMCA's in this place!!!) for a little swim and to clean up before meeting our runner at the Friday night welcome event. I took in a quick dinner at Rubio's at an outdoor mall and got a lot of looks for wearing shorts and sandals in that weather!!

On to the Friday night event at the Hotel del Coronado. Wow! What a place and what an event they put on. They had a Q&A panel consisting of Foot Locker alumni Jorge Torres, Eduardo Torres, Molly Huddle, Suzy Favor-Hamilton, and Meb Keflezighi.

After the fun evening, off to Marit's house where she, Nathaniel, and the cats were nice enough to let me crash all weekend. After living out of my rental car all day, it felt like it took me half an hour to collect all of my stuff out of the trunk and in to their place. Off to bed around 11pm (2am eastern), or 21.5 hours after I got up....but very worth it.

Saturday morning was race morning. We met down at the race and I was taking photos and video during the warmups. Then, the girls' race took off and it was FAST!!! There was a light sprinkle during the girls' race. And, you HAVE to check out the finish. The winner, Megan Goethals (in red), came from way back to outkick 2nd place with only a step to go!

Between the girls' and boys' race, the heavens decided to open up and it POURED! I said to my runner before the race, "Is this Pittsburgh weather or what!!!" In spite of the sloppy course, their first mile was, oh, around 4:50!! Yikes!!! He ran a great race and ended up 24th in 15:48. The crazy part was how close everybody was. Ten seconds separated 15th and 30th place.

Here's an interview with our runner.Here's an exclusive interview with his rambling assistant coach.

After the race, I met up with a friend from high school (and actually college, too....and her mom's the secretary at the church I grew up in). She's in the Marines and assigned to go to Afghanistan this spring after spending last year in Iraq. It was a nice conversation over lunch and I gained even more appreciation and admiration for what people in the militaries and their families go through outside of just being overseas. There is so much to plan as far as house, car, and pet arrangements while you're away.

Saturday night was the awards dinner and ceremony and the Foot Locker Crew again did a great job with it. They brought up all forty boys and girls to recognize their accomplishments.

After getting back to Marit's and witnessing their garb from the ugly sweater party, I went to bed to wake up for my return early Sunday morning to the airport. Love the matching snowmen and proud to take the credit for being the one responsible for capturing this moment on Marit's camera.
As I'm going to the airport, I called Beth and she told me how it was crazy icy back in Pittsburgh at that time. In fact, our church service was cancelled. I have never been so happy for that to happen and here's why. They were scheduled to perform the Christmas music program and I was originally going to be singing with them before this potentially once in a lifetime opportunity came up to go to San Diego. So, the concert is now this coming Sunday and I now get to sing!

At the airport, there's this guy behind me in the security line that notices my high school team's shirt and asks if I'm from Pittsburgh. Turns out he is too, and he's currently a trainer for the University of Arizona basketball team.....only my favorite college hoops team!

They were flying back after a humbling 63-46 loss to San Diego State (Seriously?!?! San Diego State?!?! Ouch!). Their new coach this year, Blackhawk HS and Pitt grad Sean Miller, was seated at their gate waiting for the flight. So, I went up to him, extended my hand, and said, "Coach Miller. I'm from the Pittburgh area and my aunt lived in Arizona and we're big UofA fans. Good luck this year." He gave me a "thanks" and head nod and I could tell that he was not really in a mood to chat. Perhaps it was A) They lost by 20 pts and only scored in the 40's to the Aztecs (San Diego State?!?!?! Really?!?!?) or B) It was 6am or C) Some combination of those.

Big thanks again go out to Marit & Nathaniel for hosting me this weekend, the very generous alumni who donated airline miles for me to fly out, and Beth for putting up with me being gone for another weekend due to coaching...and this time right before Christmas.


Alison said...

I didn't realize that I "know" (even though we've never met) two coaches who coached Foot Locker finalists this year! Congratulations! I doubt you met Mary (Fagan) Churchill while you were there, but like Beth, she kept a blog at for a while. She coached a female qualifier from CA. It was great to watch the videos and see the photos. Even though I don't know you or Beth, I've been following both of your blogs for a long time, and I feel like I know you!
-Alison Wade (owner of

Beth said...

I like Alison's comment! :)

What a great experience. Well worth all the effort to get there. And I'm sure Rad very much appreciated it.

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

It was great seeing you again Oscar! So so so happy that we could help out, and I'm really glad that Rad had a great race and you were there to support him! :) Sorry again for Tabbitha's lunge/scratch towards you - it could have been worse ;) Definitely a whirlwind weekend for you - looking forward to seeing you and Beth again for Oceanside! YEA!!!