My third day with the Nike Zoom Project began with a 6am wake-up call. I dressed in my running clothes, snacked on a banana and headed to the lobby to meet the rest of the crew. We were quickly boarded onto our Zoom Project charter bus and off to Hayward Field! When we arrived we were greeted at the gates by Andrew Wheating, a former University of Oregon Athlete and Olympian. We then received a quick tour on the track where we walked on the legendary Bowerman curve and heard about some of the history that had taken place here. We were then given the unique opportunity to live like an Olympian. We were each allowed to run through the finishers tape on the track! Talk about a dream come true.
Following my moment of track running bliss, we were ushered off to a breakfast outside with fruit, oatmeal and tasty carbs! We were just waiting to attend the press launch of the Nike Pegasus 31. Soon we were invited into the “Hall of Zoom” tent to hear directly from the designers about the updated Pegasus shoe. Little did we know that once the designers had introduced the shoe, they surprised us with inviting Olympic runner, Mo Farah, the inspiration behind the shoe, to tell us more about it and lead us in a workout.
Once the press talk was over we headed back out to Hayward Field where we were greeted by an amazing shoe display! On the track, laid out in perfect symmetry, were boxes of brand new Pegasus 31’s for all of us to try. We quickly laced up our new shoes and gathered to hear what Mo Farah had in store for us.
We did a quick warm-up with Mo, doing some of the exercises he does before his track sessions and then posed for a group photo before taking our shoes for a 4 mile trail run on Pre’s Trail. Everyone in the group was so excited to have this opportunity. Nike was constantly surprising us with moment after moment of incredible training, running and Olympic opportunities. I never expected to have this many athletic opportunities or meet so many incredible athletes in my lifetime, let alone in one weekend. Nike truly outdid themselves!
Photo and Link: Outside Magazine
We ran to Pre’s trail from Hayward Field. Our feet soon hit the soft dirt and bark on the trail and we were off! I could feel the history of the trail and the meaning with each and every footfall. Our group spread out and I found myself running alone for a little while. It is a calming trail and it was nice to be able to simply soak in the sights and sounds and relive the history of the trail. Runners from around the world come here to train and pay their respects to a runner who died too soon.
A few miles in we stopped to regroup and take some photos near the Nike Zoom sign. Our run continued for another mile or so and we arrived at a beautiful park with an amazing brunch laid out. I felt a bit like Hobbits, having second breakfast, brunch, etc throughout the day. One thing I know is that runner’s can eat! Nike brought in Emily, a nutritionist from Seattle who owns Momentum Nutrition and Fitness, to plan our meals for the week and answer all our nutrition questions. She was super sweet and came around during the meal as well as doing a general presentation and Q&A when we were finished eating.
Post brunch, we boarded the bus to return to the hotel to shower and get ready to head to our next secret activity! What would Nike spring on us next? Surprise! We arrived at the hotel where many of the athletes racing in the Pre Classic were staying and were given our own Q&A and meet and greet with the Athletes. My favorite sprinter is Olympian Allyson Felix and she was one of the panelists. I also love that she is such a Jordan shoe fan, a girl after my own heart. Running and basketball just go together and Allyson knows it! We also met Ashton Eaton and Shelly-Ann Fraser -Pryce, among others. They were such inspiring and down to earth athletes. I loved every second of the panel and of course the group photo after!
Post athlete meet and greet we headed off to another secret location. The bus turned under Matthew Knight Arena, the basketball stadium for the University of Oregon Ducks, and soon we were underground. After hopping off the bus we were ushered up the tunnel and onto the court. What could have possibly been in store for us here? We were about to embark on our first NTC workout with Nike Master Trainer, Marie Purvis and special guest, sprinter, Carmelita Jeter! Walking into the stadium was a magical experience and took me back to my college basketball days. Each of our names flashed across the big screen. I felt like a WNBA star. Thanks Nike for making this dream come true too! New shoes were laid out pristinely on the benches and we headed to the locker rooms to change before our next sweat session!
Once we reassembled in the gym, Marie Purvis walked out exuding training energy and soon we were sweating to the beat. We did some standard NTC (Nike Training Club) drills from the app and then got into the high intensity workout. In NTC classes you are always moving, stop moving and you have to do push-ups, so don’t stop! Carmelita’s high energy kept us pumped through the workout. Our final drills were partner drills and they kicked my booty! Partner planks are hard, especially when one arm is raised and playing tug of war with your partner. Try it, you’ll know what I’m talking about soon enough!
The workout itself was hard, but the amazing trainers and the incredible basketball court we got to workout on made me feel so blessed and alive. Oregon and Nike, I love you!
Post NTC session we were far from done. Pretty much all my dreams, and some I didn’t even know I had, came true on this trip. We showered, cleaned up and headed over to take in a dinner of burgers and fries at Steve Prefontaine’s old stomping grounds, the Old Pad, the pub he used to work at before the accident. We relaxed for a few hours, played pool and took in the history before boarding the bus and heading back to Hayward Field to see the beginning of the Pre Classic!
Armed with a program, a noisemaker and my trusty camera phone. I was set to see records broken and Friday night did not disappoint! After some amazing races, the final event of the night took place, the 10,000 meters. American favorite, Galen Rupp was set to race and a record was in the works. We all watched in anticipation as the race started and the minutes clicked by. Galen held back in the lead pack for most of the race, but in the final two laps he took his running to a whole new level. He smashed his own American Record with a time of 26:44.26. I have never seen someone run that fast, it was simply awe inspiring.
Day one of the Pre Classic was over but record setting was far from done on this historic field. We all met at the gigantic, and well lit, Nike Zoom sign to board the bus back to our hotel. Before bed, some of us went out for appetizers and beverages at a local restaurant to take some time to get to know each other better and share our excitement for the trip. I probably should have opted for more sleep, but hey, you only live once, right? Food and new running friends won out!
We walked back to our hotel around midnight. The sun had set on day 3 of my grand adventure but Saturday had even more in store for this group of eager runners. In the morning our group was about to use those Nike Terra Kiger trail shoes we found waiting for us on day 1 in Portland. It was time to eat hills for breakfast.
Stay tuned for my Epic Saturday Recap!