Monday, July 14, 2008

Katie Follett's post-Olympic Trials thoughts...

In a post on July 3rd, we turned the reins of over to University of Washington sophomore Katie Follett (left/photo by Randy Miyazaki of to give readers a true insight of what competitors go through before such a big event as the US Olympic Trials.

A week removed from the final event of the Olympic Trials in Eugene, we caught up with Katie, who is enjoying her summer break from the UW in her hometown of Fort Collins, Colorado, and slowly starting her preparation for this fall’s cross country season, where the Huskies are potentially one of the country’s top teams, and return all but one runner from the squad that finished eighth in last year’s NCAA meet.

We are grateful that Katie’s sharing with you her thoughts on her season, the Olympic Trials experience, and what lies ahead for her and her University of Washington teammates.

Here’s Katie’s diary entry:

The excitement and anticipation in the air was tangible as Abdi Abdirahman and Galen Rupp were running their final laps of the 10,000 meters at Hayward Field on the Fourth of July. Fireworks were exploding in the background, and the energetic crowd was standing and clapping as runners passed. It was an atmosphere unlike any I had ever experienced…it was an atmosphere that had only existed previously in my imagination.

Knowing that I had raced on that track with my teammates just an hour or so earlier, and that we would be racing on that very same track again next year at the Oregon Invitational caused me to reflect. The goal of making it to the Olympic trials was one that had endured since the beginning of my fall season, back when all my ‘if’s’ needed to become ‘have’s’. If I stay healthy and train hard…if I can get into a meet where I run a fast time.

The way in which all of that would happen I could not have predicted, and true to track and field form not everything was perfect but it was all an adventure. Winning PAC 10’s, going 1-2 at NCAA Regionals with Michelle, barely missing finals at nationals and now the trials were all valuable experiences to take with me into my final two years at Washington.

I reflect not only on the season that now lies behind me, but also desire for what lays ahead. There is a quote that comes to mind, “To get what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.” Although we are all in many ways the same, this was a perfect opportunity to watch women who have done things I have never done.

Warming up and going through the pre-race routine with so many other talented ladies, 1500m runners the caliber of Shannon Rowbury and Erin Donahue, gave me a chance to watch first hand the precision and strength with which they completed their drills.

Racing with them in the semi-finals, after one race had already been run, allowed me to see the ease of their strides and their competitive and confident demeanor. Honored to end my season at this meet and grateful for the glimpse of what could be, I feel somewhat like a student as I observe and take mental notes. Hopefully I will get a chance to return in four years, and everything I learn between now and then is another stepping stone towards future personal bests.

Now that I have had a week to spend time resting, reflecting and talking with teammates and coaches, the cross country season couldn’t come soon enough. Michelle Turner, Amanda Miller and I will all return and be joined by Christine Babcock, who we all agree will fit right in because she was already giving coach Greg Metcalf a hard time on the way over to the track while at the trials.

Amanda, the toughest runner I know, will have time to recover from her slipped disc and come back strong for her final season. Michelle, who we like to fondly refer to as the ‘greyhound’, will also be using her final season of eligibility. Joined by everyone who competed at cross nationals last year except Trisha Rasmussen, you can bet that Huskies will be on the prowl this fall! :-)

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