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The Great Wall + Day Four

Beijing, China:  You must realize I have no idea what day it is until I look at my blog. Not a clue.

Healthy breakfast - fruits and vegetables

There was no morning session scheduled at the track today, so we hired a car and driver to take us about 45 minutes outside of Beijing to walk on The Great Wall of China. We were joined by friends Calvin (works for TrackTownUSA) and Gabe (ran for Stanford, and is now teaching/living in China).

I'm here to tell you, The Great Wall of China now has an underground parking structure and a Burger King. We also saw a Subway sandwich shop.

We had to take a ski-lift-type thing up to the wall.
Look closely and you can see the wall on the mountain ridge top.

The views were spectacular.

This portion of the Great Wall was built over Zhengguantai Pass in 1404. The wall protected
the Emperor and Beijing from the Mongols and the building on this section of the wall housed soldiers.

Not going to lie - the stairs are STEEP and the stairs are deep. My short legs could
barely climb the 18"-high steps... but I kept going and was rewarded with beautiful
views of the wall. Dave, Calvin and Gabe climbed even higher than me. (Show-offs!)

Hey! I'm on The Great Wall of China!

The Great Wall of China at Zhengguantai Pass

The Great Wall of China at Zhengguantai Pass

We only spent a few hours exploring the wall and then took the ski lift back down to the parking area where I was attacked by Mongol Warriors:

Dave paid a few bucks ransom and they released me.

We asked our driver to take us somewhere for lunch. It was 3p and we were starving. I cannot tell you where we went. It was somewhere on the way back to Beijing, probably to a place where he takes all his clients and the restaurant gives him a little kick-back, but it was clean and it was huge and we were able to eat under a cool covered patio.

Calvin, Gabe and DT chow down outside Beijing

Kung Pao Chicken: we all agreed this was the best dish and it was authentically prepared. (My recipe is here- try it this week and you will feel you are in China with me.)

Fried vegetables with noodles and egg

I kid you not - this is stir-fried donkey. I cannot tell you what it tasted like because I did not try it. (I used the excuse that a donkey is not a Kosher animal, but honestly, eating donkey just wasn't that appealing to me. Apparently I was in the minority.) When in Rome... 

After our late lunch, we quickly returned to the hotel and freshened up for another great evening of The One True Sport. Unless you are an American. It was an absolutely horrible evening for America in Beijing tonight.

On the positive side, Oregon Duck alum Phyllis Francis qualified for the final of the women's 400m final by running a seasonal best of 50.50 in the second heat of the semi-finals.

Francis (in red USA uniform) was third in her heat

No Americans were in the women's discus final round. No American's were in the men's long jump final round, but the long jump was very interesting and dramatic as three Chinese athletes were competing. Jinan Wang finished in third place behind Olympic champion Rutherford of Great Britain and Fabrio LaPierre of France (who made a sneaky last-minute leap into second place).

Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin both moved on the 200m semi-finals. They will, no doubt have another showdown. I predict the same outcome as their 100m showdown.

The 400m hurdle men's final was fast. Neither American (Kerron Clement or Michael Tinsley) placed, but the Russian (2nd place) and the Bahraini (3rd) set national records. Nicholas Bett of Kenya won the one-lapper in 47.79.

It was painful to watch the women's 1500m final. The first two laps were so slow - I could have been in the race. We all decided Genzeba Dibaba (Kenya) was going to win and the other girls should have just raced for second place. But, of course, they did not. The last two laps were ridiculously fast. Dibaba just took off, winning in 4 minutes and 8 seconds. Everyone else was left in her wake. Faith Kipyego of Kenya was second, followed by the stunning Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. American Jenny Simpson went all-Cinderella and lost a shoe somewhere on the last lap, finishing 11th. American Shannon Rowbury was 7th.  Seriously, I have no idea why they even make Dibaba run. Why don't they just give her the gold medal already?

Certainly the men's 800m final would make-up for the dismal lack of red, white and blue? Nope. No Americans in this final either. Mighty David Rudisha of Kenya won in a pedestrian 1:45.84. Even at this slow pace, Amel Tuka (3rd) won the first-ever medal for Bosnia-Herzegovina. I wonder if Nick Symmonds heard these results while he was climbing Mt. Hood in Oregon today?

DT and I will be at the track first thing in the morning for the men's 5000m heats. Until my next update, I remain, your GREAT correspondent.

Ducks v The World: Another day without a Duck in a final event. The Peking Ducks remain with 12 points. We are coming for you, Hungary!
Official Placing Table

Something I found interesting today:
 Quite suggestive t-shirts for sale at The Great Wall of China!

Pedometer: Just a normal amount of steps, but I deserve extra-credit for scaling ancient monstrously-tall stone steps on The Great Wall. Obviously ancient Chinese Warriors were ten feet tall, right? 12,191 steps; 5.39 miles.

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