Friday, January 13, 2012

Road to Houston: First impressions of Houston and Predictions

The Trials Start and Finish
We're finally here. It's the night before the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon in Houston and most of the elites are starting to tuck in; probably watching some terrible television or anything that will help them relax before what will be, for many, a make or break day in their running careers. Few will prosper, but all will move on in and recall this day for the rest of their lives. And after all the 100+ mile weeks, what a ride it has been. I was lucky enough to interview many of them for the  "Road to Houston" series, and enjoyed meeting Drew Polley, Molly Pritz, and Meagan Nedlo in person today at race headquarters. I look forward to meeting the rest tomorrow after the race.

Spirits were high today for everyone, as the weather was near perfect. A little wind, but nothing crazy. I was lucky enough to catch up and hang out with Jordan Kinley from Karhu and Jeff Caron from Saucony, who were nice enough to show me around and introduce me to a few more folks in the running world. I saw Will Leer going for a jog on the course, Sara Hall asking the help desk for information and met recent Club Cross Champ, Jon Grey, and then proceeded to see him all over the place (he's running the half on Sunday).

Kind of harsh?
The setup in Discovery Green Park is awesome and will cater to everyone. The course is very fan-friendly, with the runners taking off on a 2.2 mile inner loop, before circuiting an 8 mile outer loop 3 times. The Men go off at 8am Central and the Women take off shortly thereafter at 8:14 to 8:17 (likely 8:15).

Without further adieu, here are my picks, without comment. If you want more info, look back at the "Road to Houston" series! And if you disagree, feel free to comment or send me an email. I'm all ears and love to be proven wrong!

Men's Picks
1. Meb Keflezighi
2. Ryan Hall
3. Dathan Ritzenhein
Darkhorse: Fernando Cabada
Hail Mary: Brett Gotcher

The Nike machine is in full force!
Women's Picks
1. Shalane Flanagan
2. Desi Davila
3. Deena Kastor
Darkhorse: Kara Goucher
Hail Mary: Amy Hastings

Enjoy the broadcast tomorrow folks! I'll be live tweeting short videos and updates (until my iPhone battery dies) and watch the recap on NBC from 3-5pm Eastern. I'll be wearing a Kelly Green pullover and Carolina Blue Hat, with black compression pants on the course. Hope to see you all out there.

Finally, good looking out to Kevin Liao at Spiked Up, Psyched Up. The community of running bloggers/unofficial press is quite the collection of people that I'm happy to be a part of (and good luck to all of your fantasy teams. I'll have scores posted after lunch).

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  1. Right on with your men's picks! Top 2 right in women's so good job with your predictions. Amy Hastings impressed me. Getting dropped then surging to take the lead before getting dropped again.

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