The morning of the race the Ryuns awoke early, as usual, and went from their hotel to the apartment Susan shares with two roommates. Ryun wasn't too sure whom he would be running against. "Rick Riley, I know," he said, "and this guy from Stanford—uh, MacDonald, I think. I don't know who else. But it doesn't matter. I've prepared for the race as best as I can. Worrying about the competition now won't help."
The rest of the competition consisted of three brave fellows named Willie Eashman, Arvid Kretz and Peter Duffy, who had an outdoor best of 4:07.8 among them. They had never run indoors.
"They were the best we could get," said one of the meet officials. "We invited every top miler in the country. Jim said he didn't care who he ran against. At least three had told us they'd be here—until they heard Jim was coming. Then they became unavailable. Others were injured or out of shape, and I know Marty Liquori was committed to running in Philadelphia. Then we went down to the 4:03 and 4:04 milers and they all said, no, thank you."
Ryun laughed when he heard that. "Sort of silly of them. I should think that this would be a good time for them to catch me."
No matter. Eashman, Kretz, Duffy or a one-legged fat lady from Schenectady, this was still the first race after Miami, and Ryun was nervous. It was like climbing behind the wheel for the first time after a serious accident. You know you can get past the telephone poles, it's just that you didn't get past the last one. He and Anne went grocery shopping and breakfasted on steak and eggs. Ryun read a few chapters of The Robe before napping for 3� hours. Upon awakening, he decided to get a haircut. Then the trouble started. Ryun wears his hair a bit longer than a crew cut.
"What you want a haircut for?" the barber demanded. "A guy your age, you should let it grow long."
"Please," Ryun said, "just cut it."
Ryun went back to Susan's apartment and called a cab to go to the Cow Palace. He was told he'd have to wait at least half an hour. For insurance, he called a second cab company. The first cab showed up in 14 minutes. Anne was still dressing. "Be down in a minute," Ryun told the driver, who said O.K. and drove off. The insurance cab never showed. After a tense hour Susan's roommates got Ryun to take their car. As it turned out, the rush was for nothing.
At last year's meet the fans had been polled as to their favorite event. They voted for the shotput. And so this year the officials invited Randy Matson, the world-record holder, and, for frosting, stopped all other competition during the shotput. Then there would be the 440 and, at 10:20 p.m., the mile. Oh, yeah. Al Feuerbach threw the big marble 68'11", breaking the world indoor record, and all those shotput fans went nuts. By the time Ryun was told he could run, it was 10:45, and Anne, who had been honored earlier with a silver platter, was a bundle of nerves. Oddly, Ryun grew looser with the delay.
"What was Anne's award for?" someone asked him.