Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Talking Trials: A barefoot 4:30 mile in rolled up jeans

Nike ain't got nothing on Levi's
This is the sixth installment of "Talking Trials." There will be more to come every day during the 2012 USA Olympic Track and Field Trials from Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, OR. Full results for the trials are here.

Tuesday was the first off day out here in Eugene, but Track Town was still alive. As people filed out of the dorms, my roommate Jeff Caron and I hit up the morning Flotrack run per usual. Felt great, better than I have in a while. 7:00 miles felt easy again. I've been injured for the past two years and am on the running every other day plan right now. So why not double back and run the All Comers meet "Jogger's Mile" later in the afternoon after a good one? What could go wrong?

That's right. I outkicked a 13 year old.
After yet another meal at Big Mouth Burrito on campus, we discussed and prepared for what could be a disaster. The goal for me was 5:30. I ran 5:02 on the road and 5:03 indoors a couple years ago before getting injured (at 31), and still hope to get back under five before I go under. But that's neither here nor there. The story of the day was Jeff's race.

The first heat was for those 4:40 and under. Jeff mentioned he thought he could run "maybe high 4:30's at best." He didn't realize what he'd be up against. Your typical bunch of skinny dudes hit the starting lines with two outliers. One was a guy in a full grey sweatsuit and the other was a guy wearing a green cotton shirt, rolled up jeans and no shoes. Is this for real? No, it's Oregon. Weird stuff goes down. As my friend Steve Edwards (aka Mr. Flanagan) said, "Portland is not like Raleigh. I saw a woman taking her paper mache pig for a walk last week, then a guy riding a unicycle, covered in mud."

The truth would soon come out. Contenders or pretenders? Sweatsuit guy, joker. Got lapped. In the mile. Barefoot and in jeans guy? Legit. He had a few strides on Jeff going into the final 400. Luckily, Mr. Caron went to the well and beat the hipster by a stride in a very nice 4:30. Video proof, you ask? Yes, right here.

My heat was the 5:15-5:30 heat and of course some clown won it in 4:40 something. How did I do? Straight 81's baby. 5:24, 6 seconds under prediction. Not bad after a steady diet of beer and burritos all week and a good run earlier that morning. One day, my body will function correctly and I'll run fast again, in a hobby jogging sense of course.

By now, you know where we would venture off to later in the evening. The good ole Wild Duck. Awesome beer selection, awesome crowd full of track dorks and athletes. As Maggie Infeld mentioned in an articled today, this is "an alternate reality." Holding court would be the funniest guy on the oval, Khadevis Robinson and the one and only Amy "Hasty" Hastings. She's as cool as you've imagined.

One more off day and then it's back to the track.

Follow writing about running on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

Support the site and start here when you shop on


  1. Wow, a barefoot in jeans 4:30 mile! That is crazy normal for Oregon I guess. Congratulations on the 5:24 mile! Good to see you getting fast and feeling good again

  2. Thanks Tyler. Fast may be a stretch, but I feel pretty good the 3 days a week I can run. Onward and upward!

  3. Anyone know who this barefoot guy is?
    I featured him on ( but would like to know more!