June 24, 2012

Day 1: KATE in the 8!

Day 1: KATE in the 8!

Wow, Day 1…800m qualifying heats…and all the fixins for big track drama…

-       Totally stacked women’s fields…the deepest they’ve been in years

-       An epic downpour, one of the Northwest’s finest

-       Super physical races, with at least two girls hitting the track

-       And Oiselle’s Kate Grace toeing the line in Heat 1

When Kate walked onto to the track, I got a fierce chill. Not sure if it was the rain or just realizing all the factors that had brought us to this moment…

There was Kate’s story itself…a 22-year old California girl, multi-sport standout, owner of raw speed talent and Yale graduate. A runner who, like all serious athletes, had taken her lumps in the form of injuries and setbacks. But also a runner who, in just six short months, and with the help of legendary coach Frank Gagliano (“Gags”), had achieved her first Olympic Trials berth. Only last month she got her 800m PR of 2:01.63, and then a few weeks later her 1500m PR of 4:10, both A Standard times. Incredible.

Back to Hayward. Rain…a few stride outs…Lane 8…she was ready. The first lap was even and smooth, with the girls bunching into their pack. With 600m to go, she was in great position, about 5th on the outside, moving into 4th in the last 150m. Down the homestretch it was a bunched race but with wicked acceleration. Kate finished strong, striding out, so obviously fit, but in a time and place we knew would disappoint her: 2:04/6th.

Maybe it was my maternal instincts, but I wanted to run down on the track right there and then to tell her it was okay…that we believed in the long-term, and in the enormity of her being here, and how amazingly quick she had ascended. After all, I feel like that about Oiselle most days. That the best is yet to come. Or as Mr. Gretzky put it… “It’s not about where the puck has been, but where it’s going.”

Lucky for us, the ability to cheer Kate comes real soon. This Thursday, she’ll compete in the 1500m and we’ll have our K8 shirts on, rain or shine. Go get ‘em gal! We’re cheering you every step!