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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top Ten of the Decade #5

National championships don't come to the Rust Belt very often. When they do, I go. The 2006 and 2007 USATF Championships in Indianapolis come in as my #5 of the decade.

The meets were good, as nationals always are, and not quite memorable, as they never are in non-Olympic years. But that was only part of it. Three or four days of all-day track is great all by itself.

The weird thing about a major multi-day track meet is that the area is crawling with people who are celebrities to you and pretty much no one else. In 2007 I was sitting in Starbucks killing time on Saturday morning and Shalane Flanagan came walking by with her dog. Note: she's even better looking in normal clothes.

Done right, an event like this can really show off a city. In 2006 we didn't get rooms until the week before the meet, so we had to stay in a run-down area, but managed to find a wonderful little neighborhood restaurant. If you're ever visiting Indy, Datsa Pizza is the kind of all-walks-of-life place that I love. And in 2007 we stayed right on Monument Circle. I never knew downtown Indy was such a happening place--highly unusual for a mid-sized Rust Belt city.

The stadium was the same one that hosted the famous 1988 Olympic Trials, where FloJo put on a show and Carl Lewis and Larry Myricks staged one of the greatest long jump battles in history. Unfortunately, the stadium is being torn down.

My fellow travelers liked the experience so much that we may go all the way to Des Moines if they get the USATF meet.

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