On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, October 17, 2011

An open letter to the Nike Oregon Project

To: Alberto Salazar and Nike, Inc.
From: Tracy
Date: 17 October
Re: Recent departure of Kara Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley

Dear Mr. Salazar:

I read, with interest, about Kara Goucher and Amy Yoder Begley both deciding to leave the Nike Oregon Project. The internet is ablaze with rumors about their departures, about how you might be pushing your athletes too hard and encouraging them to run through their injuries. Gossipmongers are calling this a loss for the Nike Oregon Project.

I call this an opportunity.

You might see a disturbing trend (your athletes leaving you, and just before the Olympic Trials, no less!), but I see two open slots in your training roster.

I have a proposal for how you can fill at least one of these open slots: me.

"But, Tracy," you might say. "You're not a professional athlete! I coach world-class athletes!" Well, yes. This is true. I do have a few things going in my favor:

1. Lots of room for improvement. It's hard to take an elite athlete and make her better. But it would be easy to make me better. Lest you think your job is easy, it would be a challenge to make me elite-caliber. Think how satisfying it will be to help me drop an hour - or two? - off my marathon PR.

2. I'm cheap. A high profile athlete like Kara Goucher costs you, what, maybe $500k/year in sponsorship monies? I'd be ecstatic with $100k. Hell, I'll do it for $75k, health insurance, and free shoes. I'll even buy my own running clothes!

3. I bleed red, white, and blue: Obviously that's metaphorical and my blood is red. But I can give you more of an American presence amongst your athletes - that is, of course, why the Nike Oregon Project was founded, right?

3. I already wear a lot of Nike:

Note the jacket.

And the shirt.

Another jacket.

And who could forget the skapri!

(I have more photos. These are just a few.)

And a final note: not that I believe internet rumors or anything, but if there's any truth to the idea that your athletes' successes come from performance enhancing drugs? I'm okay with that. I mean, I'll just do what my coach tells me, wink wink - your tactics are my secrets.

Let me know what you think! I have enough Delta miles banked for a free domestic ticket and I'm happy to relocate as soon as you say the word.

Sincerely, Tracy


  1. BAhahahahahahahahaha! You, girl, are hilarious! :)

    Plus, Nike would be nuts not to add you to their 'team'! Seriously...

  2. Start a facebook group - I'll help ya get 500K members in the first day :-)

  3. I'll take the other spot. I'll need to be doing at least 100 mpw to bounce back from the pregnancy.

  4. Ahem, are you forgetting about me? Alberto has 2 spots open for women. THIS COULD BE OUR CHANCE TO TRAIN TOGETHER AGAIN!

    A good friend of mine ran a 3:49 marathon yesterday. She and I used to run together. In fact, there was a time when I was a touch faster.

    Since her race, I've had salad for 2 meals, done 2 yoga classes, and powered through my long run. I have a track workout tonight, followed by a gentle taper into this weekend's half.

    It's safe to say that I'm rather fired up about making a grand return to marathons. Are you with me?

  5. That is such a great idea! I want to join too!! I already live near Oregon, so it would be really easy and cheap to get me there!

  6. Ha!!!!
    I laughed out loud at this. (Now my cat is angry that I woke her from a nap. But whatever. She has a short memory.)

    I TOTALLY support your petition! :)

  7. ROFL, I enjoyed this post. But on a more serious note -- good luck getting Al to turn his attention away from Rupp. (Maybe date Galen! Would he let you kiss him through his allergy mask?)

  8. Haha, well, good luck!! (Can I fill the #2 spot?!)

  9. This is the most amazing thing I've read on the internet in FOREVER and I consider myself an interwebby aficionado.

    I've got my fingers crossed for you! (My toes kinda hurt from Sat's 20 still...)