Last Days in Oregon

In 2008, I had the opportunity to go to Bejing for the Olympics with my high school band and I could brag about how I got to play flute on the Great Wall of China… just to perform for the Great Wall of China. I never got the chance to be in all the action like I had this past week.

It wasn’t until about 3 years ago when I started dating Jr that I found my interest (or Empire In The Air) in running. I accomplished my first half marathon last year, and plan to tackle two by the end of this year.

With Rio Olympics just around the corner, it’s always been on Jr’s bucket list to attend track and field trials at Hayward Field, so he made it happen.

We didn’t really have a set schedule for sightseeing, donuts, ice cream, or coffee since our time revolved around the Trials, but still managed to get a run in every chance we got. Every runner who goes to TrackTown knows about Hayward Field magic, so it’s good Juju to get some mileage in while you’re there

On Sunday at 7:04 am Nike hosted a Home Run with Eugene Running Company. I found there’s no better way to explore a new city than by foot. The rain kept us company too.

For a morning run in the rain, I thought that this turnout was hefty.

Went back to the hotel to shower, warm up and  change, but then it was time for us to head back to TrackTown for the final day of trials.

High school hopeful Michael Norman, one of two that just barely made it to the podium. Both high schoolers killed it during the semis placing first but fell short against returning Olympic athletes. I’m so excited to see what he’ll become in the next few years. Norman mentioned how he came into this competition with no expectations,(sounds like Cheech and I) but managed to get as far as he did.

We only sat in our seats the first day of visit, only to find ourselves in a standing area just by the 200m start.

Perfect location for high fives and selfies during victory laps. It was pretty incredible.

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…awkwardly holding Jeff Porter’s finger from when I dragged him in from a handshake. his smile was totally worth it.

Women’s 5k start. If you get a chance to watch 15min for an epic race, this is the one.

Did I mention I got a few autographs too?

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Erik Kynard, I believe was the only qualifier for the men’s high jump. I thought it was really dope that he was sponsored by Brand Jordan. 

Allyson Felix, the heart throb, who although didn’t make the cut for 200m, broke the American record for 400m at 49.68s. Ridiculous!

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As I mentioned before, it’s insane to see all these athletes competing at such a high level with everything on the finish line. For most it’s their Empire to compete at the Olympics, and for the many that were cut short, they remain humble and hungry to make a come back.

Congratulations to all the athletes that qualified! Good luck in Rio!!

Final Hours 

Most of this trip, we didn’t spend any of our time in Portland. With a half day left I made sure we took a trip to 10th & Alder, think Off the Grid, but permanent. Food carts are lined up on the outside of a parking lot facing the sidewalk for easy access.

My mission was to try Nong’s Khao Man Gai, but as an appetizer we grabbed the first thing that grabbed our attention, Pork Belly Bao from Jook Joint.

I was hoping I would get a chance to see Nong there in person, but unfortunately she wasn’t. I was more excited for an almost home style cooking.

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Success!! Unfortunately the Thai Tea disappeared before I could even finish my food.

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…and of course, we topped it off with a last visit to Nike Portland.

Can’t wait to come back to this state, eat more foods, and consume more coffee!

Sam@Empire

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