Reporting from Mammoth Lakes -- It's been more than two years since Morgan Uceny's first visit to the high altitude of Mammoth Lakes. But that impression still lingers.
"Just walking up the stairs was really tiring," remembers Uceny, who immediately began questioning her fitness and her sanity.
But she stuck it out and was rewarded last summer with one of the best seasons by a U.S. middle-distance runner in nearly three decades, setting lifetime bests of 4:00.06 at 1,500 meters — best in the world in 2011 and making her the sixth-fastest American of all-time — and 1:58.37 at 800 meters.
That stamps her as one of the favorites heading into June's Olympic track and field trials, and for that she credits Mammoth Lakes and training partner Anna Pierce, who urged her to move here.
"I basically came because she said it was great," Uceny says. "I didn't know what I was getting myself into."
Uceny, who chopped nearly 10 seconds off her 1,500-meter best time since moving to the mountains, says there's no doubt the camaraderie and the coaching she got from Mammoth Track Club founder Terrence Mahon has made a difference.