Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Picture of the Week: Christmas Celebrations

Well I am enjoying myself immensely so far during this holiday vacation and I have been running around like crazy so I haven't had much time to think or blog but I figured I would share some of my trip so far with a couple of pictures...since everybody knows Brianna doesn't go anywhere without her camera!

I went to a Christmas party on Saturday night in Los Angeles. I think the guest list was all black people that live in Southern California and own nice clothes. I gave my camera to someone and obviously they don't know how to count to 3.

Kash doesn't know how to keep his eyes open during pictures. This is picture 7...I just gave up and picked the one I looked best in! :)

For 13 years now, my friends and I have gathered on Christmas Eve to do our gift exchange. We usually draw names but this year we got lazy and just bought items that anybody would like and picked from a pile. I stole all the best gifts I'm pretty sure. Some of my friends just don't have that competitive beast inside them.

I actually made a sweet potato pie for everyone to try! Jasmine is pretending she is disgusted. She's actually a convert, thanks to me!

It's the Brady Bunch minority edition. These people have joined the clan as my sister married and added a few folks to the bunch.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What to pack...

Today I leave to go back to Southern California for 11 glorious days. I’m soooo excited. Originally I was only going to be in and out and stay just long enough to spend Christmas with my family and friends but I chucked that idea and decided that it would do me some good to be around the people I love for just a little longer. I plan on fitting in as much as I possibly can during this week and a half. There are Christmas parties to attend, holiday family get-togethers, lunches and happy hours with friends to play catch up, a date or two, new year’s eve festivities, and perhaps a bit of training if I find the time. :)

Of course, packing has been a beast. Part of it is my fault, I know. I’m just no good at it and even though I’ve definitely got better over the years, I still would not make Martha Stewart proud. I’m not sure that she directly relates to packing, I just imagine her being able to fit a weeklong trip into a carryon with all the right mix-and-match pieces for every possible occasion. A person like myself travels to Chicago for four days and has an overweight bag. That’s right…64 pounds of just in case outfits and a $50 charge to remind me of my excessiveness. Luckily for me, you are able to flirt your way out of those charges the same way you do parking tickets. In my defense however, cold weather is not something I am accustomed to so I kinda just pack every warm thing I have.

For this trip I had to allocate one huge suitcase to gifts which made me realize that I really just need to go the gift card route when I am coming from out of town. My other huge roller bag is stuffed to the brim and even so, I had to cut out items that I really wanted to bring and I just know I am going to face disappointment when I go out to dinner and don’t have the top I want to wear. I had to stick to a basic color scheme and only bring shoes that are very versatile which was a bummer since I have these fabulous boots I’ve worn once that I bought right before I left L.A. Seeing as how there is never a need to look cute in Tucson, they really need to travel with me but there simply wasn’t enough room to take them this time.

And of course, since I will be in L.A. I will probably just go shopping. I have this stupid habit of trying on most of the outfits I bring with me before I pack them…as if these aren’t my clothes and I don’t know how they look on me. And yet still I find a way to feel like the outfit is totally wrong when I go to wear it. I am not crazy about the outfit I packed for New Years and by the time the 31st rolls around I am sure there will be ample time to find something way more glamorous. And if the outfit doesn’t go with the black heels I brought, well… a girl can never have too many shoes!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Til Death do us Part

(No, I did not elope in the last couple of days.)

My friends mean the world to me. Actually, they mean more than the world to me because I would give my right arm…last dollar…shoot, my life…absolutely anything, for them. I don’t say that to exaggerate just how much I love my friends, I say that because I mean it with every fiber in my being. There is a huge part of me that is deeply rooted in them and I cherish the fact that God has blessed me to know such amazing people. When your life intertwines with people like this, you realize that these bonds are built to last a lifetime. In many ways, it is like the vow you take at the alter, when you pledge your life to someone for the rest of your days here on earth. But with friends those vows are never uttered, they are just understood.

For the past few days I have been in the company of my best friend Jasmine. I have known this girl for half of my entire existence on earth and I love her more than something as simple as words could ever convey. This past year was probably the least amount of time we spent together one on one over the entirety of our friendship. Factors such as a husband and a flourishing career have cut into the quality time I’m used to having with her, and for a selfish person like myself, it was a hard thing to become accustomed to. I will be the first to admit that I crave attention—be it from a boyfriend or a best friend.
But even though our lives have become more grown-up and we find ourselves morphing into real adults, the core of who we are and what we mean to each other will never change.

I’ve spent the last couple of days doing not much of anything but enjoying each moment as if it was the most pleasurable way a person could pass time. I think life’s most important moments are like that—made up of memories spent with people you love, doing the most ordinary things.

Monday, December 17, 2007

What goes down must come up

Sometimes you work out so hard that it makes you sick. Like a for real sick. I suppose not everyone gets like this, and luckily for me, in the last few years I haven't had any trouble keeping down what should stay down. Well today that all changed drastically. I would go in to detail about what my workout was and how bad it kicked my butt but the truth of the matter is you may not really get it by simply seeing it on paper and on the off chance you might just think I'm a wuss, I'll keep it to myself.

My stomach is known for being a bit on the unsettled side after brutal workouts. I often use my nausea as part of my arsenal of excuses when I lay on the ground, which I happen to do quite often. I'm convinced that being flat on my back or in the fetal position settles my stomach and so I stay there until I feel it has passed. But today, as I continued to lay there, it just got worse. I started taking deep breaths and something just didn't feel if I went too deep I'd be sorry, so I kept my breaths short and hurried to the bathroom. I am quite certain that I could never be bulimic as the whole process is simply horrific. Truth be told though, after your stomach is emptied you always feel as if you can get right back on the line and go at it again... which is good, because oftentimes that's exactly what you're asked to do.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Picture of the Week

Christmas celebrations have officially begun. Believe it or not, my sister and I did not just wander in to some strangers house over the weekend on the off chance we could get a good meal and a cool gift to take home. Our family is the ultimate melting pot...we just need for someone to marry an asian and then we'd be as diverse as the United Nations. This is the part of Christmas I appreciate--family. All the commercialization crap really gets on my nerves and ever since I transistioned from the kid group to the grownup group, I can no longer just arrive and collect gifts. But I have learned in my old age to look forward to the special time spent with family a whole lot more and this family right here is pretty darn special to me. In case you were wondering...there was pumpkin pie for dessert.

***A special thanks to my Aunt Sharon for making it possible. You rock.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

old traditions with new friends

For years now...well, actually only those years I have been a resident of Los friends and I have what we call ANTM night. (America's Next Top Model if you live under a rock.) It is the one show that we all watch and are addicted to. This is saying a lot... not for me because I am somewhat of a T.V. whore and can become addicted to anything, but moreso for Melanie who likes to be anti-T.V. just because, and Bianca, who I believe still doesn't even have cable! Hello Mrs. Flinstone, welcome to 2007! Anyway, we have made it our custom to have that one night to eat, gossip, and watch mind-numbing television.

Since I moved away right in the middle of season 9, I have had nobody to share this hour of my life with and I miss it...especially when Bianca finally got voted off last week . I just know there would have been some hi-fives and cheers for that one! Instead it was just me, all alone in my small, dark apartment, eating a chicken breast for one. (key violin). So imagine my elation when this week, for the season finale no less, my new friend in the Old Pueblo invited me to dinner and back to her house for some time spent in reality t.v. heaven. It may not seem like much to most of you, but these are the types of things that make me feel like it's ok that this is temporarily my home--friends and fun. It is Tucson at it's best.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Glad I'm back

It’s been a little over three weeks (dang, is that it???) since I’ve been back in Tucson and I’m happy to announce that I feel great. Actually, that’s my mental state of being, my physical state is one of great pain as a matter of fact because I had such a hard practice yesterday coupled with a weight room session that kicked my butt that I woke up today feeling like I got run over by a Mack truck. I had to bend over to pick something up earlier today and you would have swore I was 80 years old. But it’s all part of the process and I welcome it. But back to my mental state…it’s a great relief to feel like I really belong here. There has been no doubt or apprehension in the last couple of weeks and that’s something I am really grateful for because it makes the idea of buying in to what I’m doing 100%, so easy. If you recall, back when I was making this decision, I had a very tough time deciding what was going to be best for me. If there has been one thing I have learned over the course of my post-collegiate career, it is that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you must be on board whole heartedly to be successful. I missed that boat a couple of times and I suffered greatly for it.

Some people might wonder why I even decided to leave Arizona in the first place after I was done with college. Since I’m quite sure this is a burning question on everyone’s mind, I decided to answer it in more depth. I also believe that there are probably many athletes just out of college who will struggle and question things just like I did, and I’m all about sharing what I’ve learned to help anyone who might possibly gain something from it. If this is not a burning question of yours, you can go join the debate in the next post down to keep yourself entertained. ☺

My first year out of college was what I’d call disastrous. At the time, I had no idea why. I’d been part of this program for four years and I’d done well, then all of the sudden, once this sport became my career, things started shifting so fast and I felt so lost and confused. I actually remember panicking my very first race as a post-collegiate. It was a rinky-dink race that I ran early in the year but I ran horribly and I all of the sudden felt like I was no longer good and I freaked out. Right then and there I pretty much decided my fate for the rest of the year without knowing it. I might have said this before but it bears repeating; This sport is 99% physical and 1% mental, but it’s the 1% mental that determines the 99% physical. Once you lose your confidence and your belief in yourself, you’re done. Like stick a fork in you, done. It’s crazy because I had spent the last 4 years learning how to build up that confidence and honing it in a way that made me very, very successful. It was nothing I ever thought about, but it was always there and something that was just part of me.

Going through a year of that made me lose hope in a lot of things, mainly the program and the coach that had made me successful to begin with. At that time I was certain that the problem was not me, it was everything else. I had “outgrown” the whole college system, I needed to be around more professionals and have a coach that I could learn more from, I needed to train differently…the list goes on and on. Perhaps there may have been a little truth to some of those feelings, but the biggest factor in what had happened is that I had lost faith in myself, and I did not see this clearly enough. So I left...feeling as though there must be bigger and better things that were out there for me.

I’m not exactly sure at what point I started to understand where my change in performances were really coming from, but over the years I have gained such a better understanding of how all things work together to produce a great athlete and I began to realize that what I was lacking was not something I was going to find in another coach, program, or situation. I needed to work on myself and I needed to change the way I processed a lot of things because it was holding me back. I could go in depth with this, but perhaps I’ll save that for another blog. Needless to say, much of it is easier said than done. Confidence is such a fragile thing and once you lose it, it can be a long road back. It took me 3 years since I finished college to simply get back to being able to perform at a comparable level and it wasn’t until last year that I was able to PR for the first time since 2001.

So the decision to come back to Tucson this year and train with my old coach was based primarily on the fact that hindsight is 20/20 and I am able to realize now how nothing but myself was really wrong with this situation to begin with. And now that I have spent the last 5 years of my life trying to correct the damage that I caused, I feel that I will be able to perform and succeed to the level that I am capable of. I am not 100% where I want to be but I am oh so close. The fact that I am here and glad that I’m here says so much. The fact that I have decided to trust this situation completely…no second guessing, no thinking I might have a better way, no wondering if I should be doing this or that…none of that. I feel like it’s the biggest game of poker and I’ve pushed all my chips into the center. I’m all in.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

add or not: A Debate

So I have a few pictures from a photo shoot that I recently did and I am debating on whether or not I should add them to my website. Please note: I am not just asking whether or not you think it's a good picture. I will tell you upfront that I personally think I look pretty darn hot, but perhaps more in a Maxim/FHM sort of way (not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that per say). I realize that I have a lot of non-track related pictures up already and I am ok with that because I think it's important to show different facets of yourself and it also doubles as my modeling website, even though my opportunity to do any modeling in Tucson is probably slim to none. But this picture does push the envelope more than my other ones that I currently have up so I've been hesitant on adding them. My website is still very new so I'm not quite sure yet who the audience is or what exactly they are expecting when they visit. So please vote, but keep in mind the reason for my hesitations and not just on whether or not you dig it. If you'd like to go the extra mile, leave a comment to explain your vote.

Friday, December 7, 2007

When in Rome...

Last night I received a text message from my friend Jennie--my lone friend in Tucson who happens to be back in town for 2.5 days.

Hey B! Do you want to go to the fair on 4th st. tomorrow?

Me + Fair = not so much.

However, she is my friend and she's inviting me to do something on a Friday night when my only alternative is to do, hmmm....let's see....nothing! so I said I would go. To be quite honest, I am in no way a 'fair' person, especially one on 4th street which happens to be the hang out for all the earthy, hippie type people in Tucson if I remember correctly. But Jennie pointed out that this particular fair only happens twice a year in Tucson, which I guess is supposed to mean that it's something you must take full advantage of when it's here or else you've totally missed out on all the excitement and of course we can't have that now can we??!! Funny how I have no recollection of this popular local entertainment when I lived here for five years...makes me wonder what I used to do for fun! So I'm about to go hang with the locals and do my best to enjoy myself and not secretly wish I was home watching reruns of an ANTM marathon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Sounds good, but....

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Now that I am back in Tucson, I am back to lifting and working out in my old weight room. It’s a pretty top-notch weight room…one of the best in the country I’ve heard. So all over the walls they have pictures of previous Arizona super-star athletes as well as quotes that are supposed to motivate and inspire. One of said quotes is the one mentioned above. I’ve seen it every day for the past couple of weeks but just the other day I had a conversation with my coach about it and we happened to agree on something…it’s not entirely true.

This quote is a bit utopian in that it makes you believe that your success as an athlete is solely determined on how hard you work and that if you work harder than most everyone else, you will be better than him or her. I only need to look at my own experience to prove this quote false. Hard work only beats talent when two people are somewhat equally talented, otherwise, talent wins.

In college I was a great athlete and I was very successful. I always thought I worked hard but it would only take a glance to my left or right to find someone who was probably working harder than me. I also look at the way I train now and I notice a profound difference in my habits from when I was a college athlete. Nevertheless, back then I pretty much beat everybody. The walk-ons would flat out embarrass me doing stadium runs but line us up in a competition and I would have nothing to worry about.

Of course, I am in no way dissing hard work. The fact of the matter is that inevitably there will always be someone better than you and if you want to continually strive to be the best that you can be, you must push yourself and always work as hard as possible. It’s been said that athletes such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are some of the most committed people when it comes to practicing and training, and coupled with the fact that they possess some of the most amazing talent known to man, it makes for an unstoppable combination. That’s what I want…to know that I’ve worked harder than everybody else out there but also know that my talent trumps yours. But if I just had to choose only one…give me talent any day. You can always improve on how hard you work, but the talent is God-given and some people just ain’t got it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Picture of the Week

This past weekend I actually got to hang out with a friend. I know...surprising. Even though he had to be imported from California and then convinced to come down to Tucson from Phoenix, I was ecstatic at the idea of having real live company to be around. Since there is a shortage of delicious, innovative, top of the line, restaurants in Los Angeles, the one thing Kash needed to do while he was here was go out to the Waffle House. Yes, my lovely readers, you haven't tasted good cookin' until you've tasted the Waffle House. L.A. restaurants have nothin' on us out here. In the previous five years I lived in Tucson I don't think I ever ate there but I will wasn't half bad. It's no Roscoes, but it hit the spot!