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The Olympics are over, but for many runners who competed, the track season is not. They have a few major meets on the European circuit to run before they shut it down and take a hard-earned break.

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching 2 of the best US distance runners train: Leo Manzano, a recent silver medalist in the 1500, and Shannon Rowbury, whose 6th place finish in the 1500 was the highest ever by an American female. Leo ran 1K repeats while Shannon did 400s and they both made some salty splits look comfortable and smooth. They also treated the warm-up as seriously as the workout itself, spending at least half of their time at the track jogging, stretching, drilling, and striding.

Shannon and Leo teaming up for part of a rep


St. Mary’s track, where they and other Teddington runners train

During their cool down yesterday, dinner last night, and a run this morning, I got to know them beyond our brief interactions and their post-race interviews. And believe it or not, they’re even nicer than they are fast! (And I’m not just saying that because Leo is a Texan and my former running camp counselor, and Shannon is dating a friend and former Rice runner). They helped pace each other when their reps matched up, happily answered all of my questions, and genuinely appreciated every compliment they got from younger runners at the track. The sport of track & field sure lucked out with these champion runners and individuals!

In other news… I could get sentimental about this pair of shoes that I’m retiring today: they carried me to the NCAA Championship and Olympic Trials, logged a few fun miles in Dallas, and started my Watson journey with me. But, since I had to bring all the trainers I’ll need for the first few months, the luggage space and weight they’ll free up definitely trump my attachment to them.

RIP, guys- you’ve been good to me!
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