Friday, December 11, 2009

USATF convention

I’m not sure of the exact count of conventions I’ve attended, but this was one of the more interesting and certainly among the most fun.

I started off the trip with an early morning (3:30 AM) run around Ward Hill in Bradford. It would not be the last early morning of this trip. At 51 degrees it would be the warmest. Paul Kirsch (USATF NE M.U.T. Chair) and I headed out to Manchester for a 6 AM flight. We got to Indianapolis before noon and headed out to Eagle Creek Park. I had done some research prior to the trip and found us some nice trails to run on. It was a bit of a shock to be running in upper 20’s instead of 50’s, so much for being tough New England runners. After the run we headed to the highest point in Marion County (and also the highest point in Indianapolis) then headed to the airport to pick up Richard.

We had a little time to take in the variety of shopping and eating establishments in the airport and even caught some of the live band that was playing. What a strange place to have a gig. The next morning we were up around 3 AM. One of my goals was to get a couple of state high points, they were “reasonably” close and we’d have enough time to get there and be back in time for our first meeting at Noon. The ugly HHR (I asked the lady at the car rental if that was some sort of boat) got us safely to our first destination just as sunrise arrived. We did a three mile run around the former military base, and now Trade School, at the high point in Ohio. Campbell hill is located on the campus of the aptly named “High Point School”. It was cold and windy and we did our run and got back on the road.

Our next stop was a rest area just before the Indiana border. This was one of the easy county high points. We jumped a fence and walked around the desolate field until we figured we hit the highest spot. There was not a lot of prominence but we hit the two likely “bumps”. Back on the road, we headed to the highest point in Indiana. Hoosier Hill had a nice little trail, which got you into the woods and out of the wind. I’m sure it would be a nice place to hang out, it had a picnic table, but it was too cold for us to do more than take a few pictures and hit the road. We got back to the hotel nearly 8 hours after we left and just in time for the first Mountain Ultra Trail (MUT) meeting.

I volunteered to record the minutes which meant I had to sit up front and behave. Good thing I’d gotten a lot of juvenile behavior out of the way while driving around with Richard and Paul. There was no huge contentious topic this year (like the use of headphones which dominated the discussion at last year’s convention), so a lot of the time was spent on more important things. The US mountain team (along with the US 100km team) getting funding was one of the happy outcomes of the convention. Things looked bleak a few months ago, but the future looks a lot better now. The longest meeting was the one where the US championships would be selected. I was very excited to see the response to the Mt Washington bid. The group unanimously selected Mt Washington as the U.S. championship and as the only selection race for the World team. All ten spots (6 men & 4 women) will be decided at Mt W. This will be the first time the entire squad is picked at one race. The 50th running of Mt W will be special indeed!

Some of the other interesting stuff from the convention included getting to meet Meb. The fact that he knew what MUT was and he knew that Paul and I had gotten an award just added to how cool that was. Jason Bryant’s idea to have a trail Grand Prix series was also excellent. We are going to work out the scoring and such and have something posted by next month. Paul will be taking over as the Team Manager for the juniors, but I threw my hat into the ring to possibly manage the NACAC team. I’ve had a lot of fun going to the World Mountain championships over the years but felt it was time to move on to other things while the team was doing well, rather than ditch when times were rough. Paul will do a great job!

For the most part it was a very busy time in Indianapolis. We were either at meetings, running, eating, or sleeping, there was very little “idle time”. I’m already looking forward to next year in Virginia Beach.

Conventions I know I’ve attended:
2009 Indianapolis, IN
2008 Reno, NV
2007 Honolulu, HI
2005 Jacksonville, FL
2002 Kansas City, MO
2000 Albuquerque, NM
1999 Los Angeles, CA
1993 Las Vegas, NV


DoubleJ said...

who do I have to .... to get to go to one of these things? ;)... jk.

Looking at the locations, I'd say most would be fun...not sure about KC or Indy, but the rest seem fun.

J.Fyffe said...

Another great read.