Tuesday, February 14, 2012

TAG team down under

Happy Valentine's Day to all the ladies.  I hope the special man in your life has shown his appreciation, as I did to my honey today.
I am sitting down here in Perth, Australia, taking the talents of TAG international.  John Steffensen (400m) has his trials coming up on March 3rd, and as a part of his London 2012 campaign I agreed to come down here and prep him for 6 weeks.  It has been like a boxing training camp.  He and I down here in an apt, he on a futon and me on an air mattress.  We eat, train and sleep.  And all has gone well.  He ran his first race this past weekend here in Perth and won in grand fashion. John Steffensen wins Perth Track Classic.  We are off to Sydney tomorrow to run race number 2 and chase this A standard for the Games.  The journey is merely beginning but it is good to see him healthy and competing again.
TAG team member and resident rookie, Nia Ali competed in the 100H.  You talk about nervous!  Winning was never a thought, health was my main concern, and she came through better than before she ran.  THIS!  Coach is well chuffed LOL.  Such an early run, I will take the result, and it gave me a chance to see her under fire.  She can compete and that is a great starting point.  Her future is bright.
I think the last time I blogged I reminisced about the good old days.  Hanging here with John has me remembering tons of stories, and like I said, they are still fun and happy times.  Someone said I should write a book about it all, LOL, problem is I am not sure my memory is as good as some think LOL.  That book would be about 50 pages long, thats more like a pamphlet HAHAHAHA! I do have one bittersweet memory...2000 was my first Olympic Games.  I came to Sydney with my Saudi team. Hamdan al Bishi was a young rising quarter miler who would win World Juniors a month later, and Hadi Souan al Somayli was our secret weapon.  He had been steadily improving over the summer, and no one took notice.
His last workout before the Games was 3x the first 3 hurdles.  He was flying, and as we walked back to our bus, I said to him "That was great, how are you feeling?" With his nose in the air, and standing at his full height, he replied, "Now I am ready."  And he was ready!  He rolled into the finals as the fastest qualifier, the top American was Angelo Taylor but he had faltered in the semi and drew lane 1.  He was my main concern, while the rest of the field was formidable, but Angelo was the threat and I will not lie, I was happy he was in 1.  Long tale short, coming off of hurdle 10 Hadi and Angelo are running step for step to the line, Hadi had a slight lead but Angelo, the young 21 year old was selling out and refused to let it go.
I am screaming at Hadi to LEAN!  Instead he dipped, while Angelo LEANED! New Saudi record, first SAudi Olympic medal in history secured, smiles all around, cheers throughout the team.  I looked at Hadi from our front row seats, he looked at me, and all I could do was shrug, half ass smile and hold in my tears.  47.50 - 47.53.  We had lost and I could feel the disappointment rising as all around me erupted in celebration.  Training partners called down to me to say good job, and one saw the pain on my face.  I went to the bathroom and slapped myself and grunted, and came out with a smile.  Damn I wanted that gold, but we had won silver and run fast.  It was a fantastic moment.  Albeit bittersweet.
The tales of track are littered with such stories...