Friday, March 26, 2010

Stanford Invitational (Day 1=Travel Day)

Stanford's signature building...

Our Travel Day to the Bay City...

The day got off to an early start with our 6:00AM flight departure from Richmond to Chicago to San Francisco. The only good thing about a flight that early is that we arrived into the Bay Area by 11:15AM. From there we headed to baggage claim and immediately on to the rental car place. A few weeks ago I signed up for the Avis Preferred service and it proved well worth it today. When we arrived at the Avis Center the waiting line was very long. Not good but the signs told us to proceed directly to our car. Nothing to sign…no lines…nothing. We just walked to our car and drove away. All I can say is Avis preferred is seriously the way to go. It’s the little things in life and 45 minutes of my life were saved by not standing in line waiting to get our car.

Off we went…We plugged in my Garmin…typed in the address for our hotel and we were on our way down the 101 to Stanford and Sunnyvale where our hotel is located. We stopped along the way and picked up a sandwich before checking in. The hotel was great. I’d called yesterday to request an early check in and sure enough they had the keys ready. Smooth and no hassles… By chance…just across the street there is a Safeway (grocery store). Again, it’s the little things in life…Convenient.

Matt Llano during prerace day...

We settled in and Matt got a short nap while I caught up on the 77 e-mail messages that I received during our flights. Hard to imagine that in the 12 hours since I last checked my e-mail that many messages came in. I sorted through the messages and it was time to head to the track & field facility for prerace.

The perfect palm tree?

Stanford is about 7 miles from our hotel and directly down the street…No turns…just several stop lights. Once we arrived we walked in. The wind was gusting but good temperatures for racing…at least distance events. We picked up our packet from one of the Heath Brothers who struck up a conversation with Matt about the 10K race, indicating he might be one of the rabbits tomorrow evening.

Llano stretching before his prerace workout...

As Matt began to stretch it was obvious the magnitude of the meet as several Olympians walked by or completed their prerace rituals on the track. After a stretch Matt headed out for his own prerace ritual. It really is a ritual…since it doesn’t change. After years of training and racing athletes know what to do and what they need. They’ve been through the routine countless times and actually they want to do everything the same. It’s a reminder to the body and the mind of what is to come…both as important as the other. Mind and body both have to be ready for what the athlete will face and the limits they will push themselves beyond.

After completing a run and strides we were off to the hotel to meet Matt’s parents for dinner. We noticed an Italian Restaurant called “Frankie Johnnie & Luigi Too‎” on the way to the track. It looked like a good place and was later recommended by the folks at the front desk. We knew when we pulled into the lot that it was going to be exactly what we wanted. The aroma in the parking lot was superb. They seated us right away and shortly after athletes from schools across the nation started to arrive. The food was great…the service was perfect…and we ate our fill.

After getting back to the hotel we watched a bit of the NCAA basketball tournament. Since it’s a NCAA violation for coaches and/or athletes to complete the brackets we are not into it like most people…especially since our beloved Spiders are no longer in the tournament. BUT let me add that they were in the tournament and had a great year. They were fun to watch this season and we congratulate the team and staff.

Until tomorrow….I need sleep.

The Stanford Track & Field Facility...

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