Though I can play an extrovert for a little while, the truth is I'm a pretty introverted person. Parties tire me out after about a half-hour. I can come off as unfriendly or cold with new people, even if I like them a lot from the very beginning, because I'm not touchy-feely and I over-worry about my demeanor, which of course makes it even worse. And crowds? Not a fan.
So even though I'm shocked at my good luck scoring that media pass to the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston a week from Saturday, I'm a little nervous about my ability to take full advantage of it. I spent the first decade of my post-college life as a reporter and editor--and this reserve of mine, this constant fear that I might be bothering someone, really got in the way of any kind of success at it. I love to write, but I'm a terrible talker. In contrast, many of the best reporters just have a knack for chatting people up and getting them to feel so comfortable that they'll spill (if there's dirt to be gotten) and gush (if they're nice and honest, like most of the runners you read about). I'm surprised my employers paid me as long as they did.
No one's paying me to interview people at the Trials, but I'd love to talk to some of the runners. But what should I ask them? If anyone from Boulder makes the team, I'll have some obvious questions to ask--real news (and a happy interviewee) always make interviewing easier. But that's not terribly likely.
I'm turning to you guys for help. There are probably a lot of personable friendly folks among you--maybe even some genuine extroverts! If you had this media credential, what would you ask the Trials runners? How would you approach them when they are probably going to be tired and sore and really wanting to put their feet up in private and drink some chocolate milk rather than talk to a humble blogger who just happened to sneak past the velvet rope?