Amy Hastings, 28, finished a heartbroken fourth at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January, only to come back and win the 10,000 meters at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials last month to make her first Olympic team. A native of Leavenworth, KS, Hastings arrived in London on July 17 and stayed overnight in the Athletes Village before leaving for a week at Team USA’s training camp. NYRR News Service will check in with Hastings at least twice more during the Games; today she reports in from the training camp in Birmingham.
When I landed in London there was some confusion because they got me mixed up with Natasha Hastings, so the bus that was supposed to take me to the Olympic Village left without me. That turned out to be a huge bonus, though, because they figured it out about 10 seconds later and put me in one of the brand spankin’ new Olympic BMWs for the trip to the Village!
My Mammoth teammates are in Lucca, Italy, because they use it as a base camp for traveling to meets in Europe. I decided that I needed to get some solid training in instead of more races, so I went back to San Diego after the Olympic Trials and then came straight to the UK to get used to the time change. Morgan Uceny will be arriving in London shortly, though.
The bus to Birmingham took around three hours, I think; it went by quickly because I was busy meeting some of the other athletes and it turned out to be a fun trip. The training camp gives us a chance to adjust to London time in a place that’s low-key and where we can focus 100 percent on training.
Our hotel is right in the heart of the city, close to anything and everything you could possibly need. The US athletes take up five or six floors, with guards working around the clock. Everything is taken care of: we have three delicious meals served every day, a great training facility, a media liaison, and we’re about 400 meters away from beautiful canals that you can run along, and they seem to go on forever!
They plan fun, low-key events to keep us entertained so we don’t go crazy by thinking about running 24/7. There are free movies at the theater down the street, with a private showing of the new Batman movie on the first day it was out. One day we walked the Orange Carpet with Danny DeVito at the UK premiere of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, had a special presentation from school kids, another presentation by the mayor, a tour of the Cadbury chocolate factory, and a jazz concert featuring the famous Wynton Marsalis.
I normally wake up around 8 and stumble down to breakfast and coffee. Depending on what my workout for the day is I either take the bus to the track at 10:30 for a workout or head out to the canals for my run. I then get therapy and/or relax for a while before lunch. I have done a few of the team activities which take place at random times but are usually sometime between workouts. I then go for my second run and come back for a delicious dinner, which I usually spend laughing because there are some very funny people on this team. It’s a great vibe. Before bed I have my chamomile tea and then hit the sack.
We’ve started a book club since being here.We had our first meeting yesterday but hope to keep it going at other meets and through Skype. Lauryn Williams and the famous flying flower, sprinter extraordinaire Alysia Montaño, my roommate here, are the ones who really made it happen. We’re reading The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I’m loving it so far. We have had quite a few media things but they make sure that it only takes a few minutes and that we’re in and out very quickly. Training camp is awesome!
I am heading back to the Village the morning of the 26th, which is awesome because that is the day Des [Davila, who will be her roommate in London] is arriving, too! I have absolutely loved my stay in Birmingham.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg