There's something with me getting caught up in sports history when I'm at the gym. Not making it - but watching it. A few weeks ago it was the incredible men's Wimbledon final where Rafael Nadal historically unseated world reigning champ Roger Federer. The match lasted 4 hours and 48 minutes, during which I was on the treadmill until my legs literally fell off.* THEN recently I was gymming again when I started absent-mindedly watching the high school track and field California state championships. I know, how could you not! But in an effort to distract myself from the physical exertion I actually started getting into the story that was playing out. And I ended up watching one of the most inspiring races of my life!
German Fernandez, a senior from Riverbank High, had just won the state title for the mile run - in less than 4:01 - when he lined up to run the 3200 (a 2 mile run). He had just run a grueling mile, and the conditions that day were less than ideal: hot, with a strong cross-wind. But immediately he pulled ahead of the pack and by the 4th lap, he was literally 100 meters ahead of the other runners. For him to set the record, he would have to pace himself, completely alone, for more than a mile. Which he did! He ran perfectly, and all the announcers kept saying was that this was one of the most impressive performances by an athlete at this level in any sport, in history! I was completely spellbound. The last two laps, he was lapping people (get out of his f-ing way!) and still ran negative splits - meaning he was running faster by the end than he had at the beginning.
I'm a sucker for all hero/sports stories. But this was a good one. He broke the record with a time of 8:34:23, beating the 1979 record of 8:36. This is fast, people. And by the end, the crowd of 10,000 were all on their feet. I was trying not to fall off the treadmill. He finished the race in perfect form, and honestly didn't look that tired afterward.
German later went on to break the record for the 2-mile at the Nike Nationals with a time of 8:34:40. He may be slow, but at least he's consistent! I look forward to seeing this kid at the Olympics in 4 years. I'm already looking forward to it.
*Another misuse of the word "literally."