Russ and Isaiah’s Excellent Adventure to North Carolina

A wet and soggy start at 4:30 am.  Thanks to my son Kevin for pulling an all nighter and dropping us off at the airport. Breezed through security and were bored waiting to board.  I in airport2 Not sure if Captain Kirk was having trouble with his tribbles or the fact that Spock is gone, but the Priceline negotiator sent us to Detroit for our connection to North Carolina.Portland from air  Go figure, but the price was good and the flights went off without a hitch and we are sitting in our hotel room before 2:00.  Russ N I in planeIsaiah in roomHeading over to the track in a bit to register and meet up with the other standout Maine athlete, Kate Hall.

Really glad we are here early to get acclimated with the heat and humidity…..Gonna hit 90 today.

Thank you again for everyone in the community that pitched in and donated to our GoFundMe page so we could come.

Just got to the stadium and it is pretty impressive.

20150619_170548Immediately met up with fellow Maineah Kate Hall, warming up for her race tomorrow.

20150619_165617

Two elite runners with their elite coaches….ok, well, two elite runners and one elite coach….and a coach like, father like, and big time fan.
20150619_165658Saturday was a relaxing day for us, getting adjusted to the climate.  Sunny one minute, pouring rain the next.  The rain was a relief after the incredibly high humidity and the temperature in the mid 90’s.  Just as Kate Hall was about to run her 100m, the skies opened up.  It was a good showing for the dynamo from Casco, winning a broKate Hall, center, a Lake Region High School graduate, crosses the finish line in third place during a downpour, just behind the winnter, Jayla Kirkland, on her left, and second place Twanisha Terry, second from left, during Saturday's 100 m race at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, North Carolina.After an early dinner, we hit the hay and I got hit in the head with a pillow a few minutes later.  I warned Isaiah that I snored, bad, he knows from the walls shaking in his room that abuts me and Ann’s, but he falls asleep with his TV on, so it has never been a problem.  But I armed him with a couple extra pillows for ammo to toss at me if I was sawing wood a little loud.  Once again the Priceline negotiator misled me.  The photos of the hotel room had a partition between the bedroom and the living area with the sofa couch.  Was hoping that was enough of a buffer, but not.  I woke and tossed it back for future use, but fortunately he fell asleep and there were no more incidents.  Isaiah at Nationals
Up early-ish and prepped the uniform.  We shopped last night for some funk orange sox to match his spikes.  “Gotta make a statement and stand out.”  After watching every other runner Saturday wearing spandex, there was no way I was going to be the only one to be wearing his baggy running shorts from his LHS uniform.  After chasing the pink line through Greensboro, listening to monotone Mary sending us here and there via Hertz GPS. We finally found a Dick’s Sporting Goods and found something that would work.  However, there was no thought of trading in his Lewiston jersey for something fancy.  Lewiston PRIDE.  He will wear it forever.  Probably never wear a Lewiston jersey in another race again, but the grit and determination, work ethic and drive are something that will be with Isaiah forever.  From the Montello track, basketball at the Armory, and Fly football at the LAP football field, basketball everywhere and running here, there and everywhere laid the foundation.  He is proud of his roots and his community, one who came together to send him here. He will never forget that.

Sunday morning we got to the Stadium early.  No rain predicted today, but it would be a scorcher.  We found some shade in the shadow of a light stancion and watched some races.  It was an impressive sight.  I began to feel insecure.  Did we do everything we could to prepare I.  Most had coaches and personal trainers with them.  Ridged training routines, strict diets, top notch everything.  Thought about that for a few seconds and set it aside.  Heart, soul and determination  is far more important than all that fancy stuff.  I knew he would do well, and it will be just the beginning.  Isaiah at Nationals Isaiah at NationalsIt was time for him to go warm up and I gave him some sage advice.  Some top notch coaching if I say so myself.  “Good luck, kick ass.”  I was not sure who was more nervous, but I was his usual calm and cool, confident.  When the gun went off and I took off in the lead, I had a good feeling.  He led all the way until the back stretch.  I looked at the time and it was where we wanted to be, so I thought this was good as he would be pushed and might run a faster race.  Sure enough he dug deep and pulled ahead in the final yards to win his heat.  The time stood until the final heat where two runners beat his time.  We all wondered how he wold have done if he was in the final heat with those top runners.  But a bronze medal, personal best and new state of Maine record is mighty fine.  With the training he will be getting at Penn State, there is no doubt in my mind that he will be breaking records and wowing us all in the future.  Everyone who has had the good fortune of having Isaiah in their lives will be sad to see him leave our “village, ” but we will all be cheering him on and thanking him for touching our hearts.  Isaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at Nationals

Isaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at NationalsIsaiah at Nationals

Isaiah Harris wins bronze at the 2015 New Balance Nationals Outdoor at A&T Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina on Sunday Jun 21, 2015Isaiah Harris wins bronze at the 2015 New Balance Nationals Outdoor at A&T Stadium in Greensboro, North Carolina on Sunday Jun 21, 2015

No sooner than Isaiah stepped down from the podium, another Maine athlete, Kate Hall, made history.  Breaking a record that stood for nearly four decades, she broke the national record in the final jump in the long jump competition.  One of the first to congratulate her was, of course, Isaiah.  I was so proud to hear everyone talking about the athletes from Maine that stole the show.  Wicked proud of both of them and good luck in the future.

Casco's Kate Hall flies though the air during Sunday's long jump at the New Balance Nationals Track & Field competiton in Greensboro, N.C.  After a 3rd place finish in the 100 meter race on Saturday, she set a new national record that has stood for nearly 4 decades and is in the top 10 jumps in the world this year.

Casco’s Kate Hall flies though the air during Sunday’s long jump at the New Balance Nationals Track & Field competiton in Greensboro, N.C. After a 3rd place finish in the 100 meter race on Saturday, she set a new national record that has stood for nearly 4 decades and is in the top 10 jumps in the world this year.

Isaiah at Nationals

New Balance Outdoor NatioanlsKate I and I

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