A Day At The Races

I remember the first big-time track meet I went to – the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden back in 2000 with my mom, dad, and sister. I remember thinking it was SO cool to see people flying around a makeshift track, right there in the middle of MSG. I didn’t really know much about the race, or track in general, but my dad was an avid runner himself in his younger days, so we all went at his suggestion. This was just at the beginning of my really intense swimming career, so I sort of forgot about track and running after that.

Running track was something I always had in the back of my mind… I even went to a general information meeting my sophomore year of high school! After playing field hockey my freshman year, I realized that with just a little conditioning, I could actually be in decent running shape. Unfortunately, because swimming was my #1 sport priority, I couldn’t dedicate the time to track that the coaches were looking for, so I didn’t get to join the team. Aside from running on the treadmill here and there during the swimming off season in college, I never paid running much more attention. Fast forward 5 years, and I’m obsessed.

Leaping into the water after I raced for the very last time - 2008 Landmark Conference Swimming & Diving Champs!
Leaping into the water after I raced for the very last time – 2008 Landmark Conference Swimming & Diving Champs!

So naturally when I found out that one of the elite Oiselle runners, Kate Grace, was running at the Adidas Grand Prix on Randall’s Island this past Saturday, I immediately bought tickets. I haven’t had the opportunity to see Kate race in person yet (I couldn’t make it to this year’s Millrose Games), but have had the opportunity of hanging out with her a few times, and of course watching race replays online.

Despite the fact that it’s been sunny, in the 80’s and super humid the last week or two, it was cold and rainy on Saturday. So I got up, went for an easy run, grabbed some coffee, and then headed to Icahn Stadium with lots of layers on.

Like an Ogre, or onion. Lots of layers!
Like an Ogre, or onion. Lots of layers!

The track events started at 11:30a, and we got there just after 12p, with plenty of time to see some famous names take to the track (Tyson Gay in the 100m, Lidya Chepkurui in the 3000m steeplechase, Veronica Campbell-Brown in the 200m, and more!) It was fun to watch them squeegee the track every so often, but I would have much rather had a sunny day. Thankfully I bought general admission tickets, and the wind and rain blew at our backs for the majority of the meet. Before I knew it, though, it was time for the main event (at least for us) – Kate’s race… the sun broke through a few cloud layers, and while still covered, gave me the chance to warm up enough to sport my Oiselle feather trials hoodie (which up until that point I had been wearing underneath a rain coat).

Icahn Stadium - Randall's Island
Icahn Stadium – Randall’s Island

Unfortunately the other Oiselle birdies that were at the meet got into the stadium section, so we were spread out on opposite sides of the track. But I think it worked out – Kate had fans on either side to cheer for her! It was so fun to see them line up and each get introduced, and I had such a sense of pride when they announced her name. I wanted to turn and yell to everyone, “I know her! She’s awesome!!” Not to mention I always love seeing the Oiselle racing kit in action!

Look at her fly!
Look at her fly!

We stuck around long enough to watch a few more events, and then gave in to the cold and headed back… but not before getting an Oiselle Team picture!

Oiselle Team Birds! Abby, Robin, Jenna, and me.
Oiselle Team Birds! Abby, Robin, Jenna, and me.

The track meet was such a great experience despite the rain, and I definitely need to make attending them more of a habit… I can’t wait another 13 years! Who knows, maybe I’ll even find a local one to be a part of (but I should probably stick to road races for now). It was a great start to a Holiday weekend full of running and relaxing (weird how those two things go together so well, huh?).

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