BEAVERTON, Ore. -- It was quiet and cool on the Nike track Tuesday morning in Beaverton. The starting gun will fire to start the U.S Olympic Track & Field trials in four days. By now, peak training is in the rear view mirror and the summer games in London are in plain sight.
By now you are either ready, or you are not ready. Sara Vaughn knows that. “Now it’s time to rest, and trust the rest,” said the 1,500 meter runner, “and that can be the hardest part.”
Actually, far from it. Vaughn has already endured the hardest part. An injury forced her to miss the trials in 2008 and having two small children at home doesn’t exactly lend itself to maintaining an elite running level.
“The older they get,” Vaughn said of her two kids, “the easier it is for sure. I’ve been able to focus more on my running and make it more of a priority. Every three months I notice things get a little easier, we get a little more sleep.”
The added rest and focus allows her to concentrate on improving upon her personal best time of 4:08, which she set just last month. “I am definitely more fit than I have ever been, but,” she added, “the better you get, the harder it is to keep getting better.”
Vaughn is trying to shave two more seconds off her time, but can only do it one second at a time. And if she starts to wilt in Eugene during the trials, she knows where she’ll get the energy for one last kick; from the crowd at historic Hayward Field.
“They know what the bell lap means,” she said, continuing to heap praise on the fans. “They know what three minutes at the bell lap means, that you are close to getting that standard, and they get really excited.”
Not nearly as excited as Vaughn will be if she can clinch a trip to London. “I was there with a friend (on a backpacking trip) when they announced the 2012 games would be in London. I was like, ‘I want to be back, I’d like to be back here.’”
She set her sights on London years ago. Now Vaughn sounds as if she’s definitely ready for the return trip.