Thursday, July 3, 2008

Olympic Trials are finally here!

This is just a quick introduction to University of Washington sophomore Katie Follett (left wearing hip 13/photo by Paul Merca) from Ft. Collins, Colorado, who is competing in the women’s 1500, and has graciously agreed to write a diary of her experiences at the Olympic Trials here in Eugene.

Follett was the 2008 Pac-10 champion at 1500 meters, and qualified for the NCAA championships at that distance. Follett enters the Trials with a personal best of 4:15.78, set at the NCAA West Regionals.

This season, she finished 19th in the NCAA cross country championships, and also qualified for the NCAA indoor championships, finishing sixth in the mile.

Along with fellow teammates Amanda Miller & Michelle Turner, she is one of three Huskies competing in the 1500 at the Trials, along with future teammate Christine Babcock, the national high school federation record holder in the 1600 from Irvine, California.

Here’s Katie’s diary:

The past two weeks since nationals have flown by and thanks to teammates Amanda Miller and Michelle Turner, practice has pretty much proceeded as normal. Workouts twice weekly, all three of us smoothly in tow, coach Greg Metcalf whistling across the field and coach Kelly Strong, ‘coachka’ as we love to call her, yelling encouragements from the inside of the track.

It is an amazing feeling to share this experience with two of my teammates and coach. Kelly, who runs for Asics, has competed at the Olympic trials several times already, and her advice is simple yet helpful. She prepares us for the differences between the races we have run all season and the one we are about to approach, although the differences she explains to us are mainly in the checking in and warming up part of the procedure.

As for the race itself, I hope to approach this race in much the same way as I have all season, not looking around at who is in the race but simply looking forward, running hard and with confidence remembering all the hard work I have put in this season, kicking as hard as I can and savoring the feeling of being able to do what I love for the one who made me and allows me to use the gift that He has given me each and every time I step onto the track, and that is my savior Jesus Christ.

There are things in this sport that are in your control, and there are things that are not. A person can go crazy obsessing over all the things that aren’t. I know that no matter how I finish, as long as I give 100% there will be no regrets.

As Michelle, Amanda and I step onto the track and look around the empty stadium on Wednesday I am filled with anticipation and excitement. Inspired by all the extraordinary performances that have already taken place and the greats that I look up to who have yet to perform in this very same stadium, I savor the thought that I am here entered in the same meet as them.

I close my eyes and imagine the stadium full of screaming spectators and feel the rush of adrenaline and I put on my spikes and do some strides down the backstretch.

Amanda, Michelle and I reflect on the year as we leave and it seems fitting we decide, that after all we have been through together between indoor and outdoor nationals that our seasons should come to a conclusion this way—three Huskies, standing on the line with that fierce purple ‘W’ on our chest and determination in our eyes.

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