Hallelujah! I got a good night's sleep. After going to bed at near midnight, I woke up at 2 a.m., but I was able to get right back to sleep and sleep until about 7:30. After a good breakfast, I was able to receive some therapy for my hip. This is the third therapy session I've received since I've been here. Each time I have felt marked improvement in my running following the therapy.
Following the therapy, we boarded the team van and headed to the race site in Steenbergen, a 15-minute drive away. This was our first view of the course. I ran four circuits of the course with Joe Fejes (340-plus miles in 72 hours at Across the Years 2012). The course is beautiful ... winding through quaint Dutch neighborhoods on a mix of asphalt, cobblestone, and brick surfaced streets. There is not a hill to be found ... Modesto-like.
At 2 p.m. we had our first team meeting. It was nice to see the entire team together, coaches and staff. The reason why we are here in Holland is visible on each of the runner's faces. We are not tourists but here to bring home medals and that was made perfectly clear.
Shortly after the meeting, four teammates and I walked down to catch a train to De Kuip Stadium in Rotterdam to catch the Dutch League soccer final. U.S. Men's National Team member Jozy Altidore was playing for AZ Alkmaar against perennial Dutch League power PSV. These tickets were made possible by my continually tested perseverance, but I would be remiss to say that my brother Rod helped get my foot in the door. Thanks Rod!
Never miss a local story.
To sum up our experience ... it was everything I expected from a European soccer match ... passionate fans, soccer skill, lit road flares thrown on the field, soccer skill, loud fireworks going off in the stands, and oh ya ... passionate fans. AZ won 2-1 and Jozy scored the game-winning goal. I really don't think it could have turned out any better.
A late night meal followed by my second right hip therapy session of the day at near midnight closed the book on a very busy but productive day. The mind is getting more and more race-focused and I'm starting to get excited about the opportunity in front if me.
Opening ceremonies tomorrow and a pasta dinner to follow, but before that a lot of rest and getting all race gear, strategy ... in place. Race day is almost here. Can't wait!