Monday, March 31, 2008

Erasing the fear

Anyone who knows me knows how shut off I have been in the past when it comes to my career. I have never liked to talk openly about it nor have I ever gone out of my way to share my experiences with others. If you asked me about track you would get one-word answers and that’s about it. This year is obviously a bit different. I have come out of my shell, so to speak, and I feel like I’m sharing up a storm. Obviously this blog has allowed me to put into words some of the things that have always been hard for me to verbally express and I also have spent more time talking with individuals about their own journey and the ups and downs they face. I’ve realized that not only do I have the ability to share in a way that actually helps people and gives a little insight once in a while, but in the process I also help myself. For some reason I never really thought people could relate to me and I also was never comfortable being vulnerable in any kind of way. Over the past few years I had developed way too many insecurities and issues that were hindering me and my ability to succeed and I think that now that I am aware and am doing my best to work through them, it’s going to help me be that much better. I also have learned that many people, especially other athletes, have found or will find themselves in similar places throughout their journey as well. Because I have seen so many peaks and valleys over the years, I feel familiar with just about any road a person could possibly find themselves on. Of course I am still on my way to the highest peaks but I feel like I understand the ups and downs so much better. I have a better perspective now and if I am able to share even a pinch of that with someone else that finds it helpful, then that’s a blessing.

One of the biggest challenges I am still working on overcoming is fear. More importantly, fear of failure. I mentioned this to another young athlete the other day (shout out if you read this blog!) and it totally gave me a déjà vu moment because I knew exactly what she was feeling and I knew exactly why. I have been in that exact place with those same emotions and it took someone pointing it out to me for me to realize that I had become a prisoner of fear. I was so critical of myself and totally focused on results that I completely lost sight of the process. I needed to remember that when you just focus on the process the results should take care of themselves. But I was scared and I couldn’t see that. I know a lot of it stemmed from my confidence not being what it used to and me struggling to gain control somehow but I was definitely going about it the wrong way. Of course I’m not completely cured but I am a lot better than I used to be and it helps being able to explain to others that it’s how you approach the challenges and the struggles that makes a difference in the big picture. I am reminding myself to always try and learn from my disappointments and find a way to turn it into motivation and hopefully I’m teaching others to do the same. A lot of times it’s about stepping out into the unknown and feeling confident that we are prepared and ready for something we’ve never done before. You can’t be afraid to fail or else you will never allow yourself to be great.

I wanted to share the following quote that someone so graciously shared with me a few weeks back. It touched me and hopefully it speaks to you as well…

"Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, its in ALL of us. As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same, and as we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Caucasion Persuasion

Yes, I could have compiled a list of ALL men that I find attractive. But that didn't seem as fun. Plus, I was inspired. I just got back from the movies and I saw stop-loss. I did enjoy the movie but I enjoyed the eye candy it provided even more. (see #1) Ladies and Gentlemen, the following is my caucasion persuasion list. I'm an equal opportunist. Sure, in real life it may not seem that way but I promise you that if any of these gentleman found their way into my life, I would not complain.

10. Matthew Mconaughey: I think it's the smirk of a smile that gets me. And why do people keep complaining that he always has his shirt off? This is a good thing, people! Sure, he can get a little scruffy at times but he cleans up nice and that's what matters.

9. Jude Law: Who doesn't love a man with an accent? I think I was won over after I saw the Holiday. He proved a man could be sensitive without being a sissy.

8. My crush on Andy Roddick began a while ago. He got double points for being a stud athlete and triple points when I read in an article that his celebrity crush was Gabrielle Union. It gave me hope! But then I saw him a few months ago in New York and he was intoxicated and all over the "other" models so his stock dropped just a bit.

7. Adrian Grenier: This past summer I got hooked on Entourage and subsequently hooked on Adrian. He has a coolness about him that just works. And those eyes...

6. Brad Pitt: I almost left Brad off the list because he's gotten so much attention over the years that he's almost a bit played out. But then I thought...what's a sexy white guy list without Brad??? So here he is, and you must admit he does hold his own.

5. Prison Break guy(wenstell or something): I have never watched a single episode of Prison Break which makes it even more significant that this man came to my mind still. He's hot. And covered in tattoos he's even hotter.
EDIT: It turns out mr. prison break is just as much white as I am...and just as much black. However I am leaving him up because he looks white and regardless, he's cute whether he's white or black or whatever. I will however, put up a replacement that is the following...

#5. Jason Lewis: . In light of the startling information that the above yumminess doesn't actually belong on this particular list, I am editing my post to include this new bit of eye candy that previously escaped my memory but who I wholeheartedly agree should be here. Samantha sure hit the jackpot with this one.

4. Justin Timberlake: You might have been a little weary being a J.T. fan back in the days of N'sync, but now it is totally acceptable. What is sexier than a sexy guy that sings? He said it first--I'm bringing sexy back. Yes, Justin. Yes you are.

3. Gabriel Aubrey: Halle new exactly what she was doing. If that kid doesn't surpass all categories of beauty that exist it will shock the world. Many thanks to Halle for putting him on the radar, but I also must say that I believe he's even cuter because she's on his arm. P.S. Doesn't it look like him and Jason Lewis could be brothers?

2. David Beckham: I can still remember the day I was introduced to the Becks. I watched the movie Bend it like Beckham and I was instantly hooked. Not only is he an amazing athlete, he is amazingly good looking and that makes for one AMAZING combination. Once he came to the Galaxy I made sure to attend my first soccer game ever.

1. Channing Tatum a.k.a. my future husband: I am convinced that I will see every sequel there could possibly be to the movie Step Up because of this man. Even if he only has a cameo for 2.5 seconds, it would be worth it. It's not only his good looks, he just seems to have this swagger and I LOVE it. This man could be purple and I'd still go crazy over him. Do you see that body? Do you see those lips? He rocks my world.

So that's my list. I totally just made it up off the top of my head as I was writing this so let me know if you think I missed someone that definitely should have been included or if you absolutely think I've lost my mind for including someone who doesn't even make you look twice.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Stella might be on to something

I’ve never been a “younger man” type of person. The way I see it, men are immature enough as it is. Why in the world would you want to pick one off the tree before it’s all the way ripe? Of course, this is all based on my own age at the time being the basis for what is the appropriate ripeness. If I’m 21 then 40 is a little too ripe and 18 is not quite ripe enough. But the age I am now, which by the way will be changing in just a couple weeks, is at a crossroads. I’m grown-up enough that the more mature adults don’t seem “old” to me anymore and because of my profession, I’m still very much connected to the younger generation. Men included.

So if I wanted to have a crush on someone and they happened to be born in 1983, that shouldn’t be a problem, right? At the end of the day, if they are old enough to order a beer (Budweiser, of course), and aren’t collecting social security any time soon, then I suppose it’s still possible to be able to relate. At least I’m hoping so because I’ll tell you what, there are some cute 24 year olds out there. And they look grown. And they are out of school long enough to act grown enough. And correct me if I’m wrong, but 24 is the age where your body is pretty much at it’s finest. So I think that perhaps I’ll keep that age as my bottom limit. I guess my ceiling will change accordingly, slowly accepting more mature applicants as I move forward in life. But right now…I’m thinking that Stella had the right idea.

What do y'all think? Is age "nuthin' but a number" or is there something more to it? I kind of think that men are a lot more open when it comes to what they consider age appropriate but that might be a whole other can of worms. :)

Thanks Everyone!

Ok, so I must admit that I received more participation then I thought I would and some of you are some pretty inquisitive(read: nosey) people. :) Overall, I hope that those of you who took the time to ask questions and get to know me a little better found that you like me better and not any less. I'm sure that I will take the time to expand on some of the topics in the future and give them there own little blog post because some things are way more in depth than I can get into in just a few sentences. Although I will say that I did give pretty thorough answers if I do say so myself. Thank God I decided to do that blog on my day off! If anybody ever has a topic that they think would be absolutely fantastic for me to write about don't ever hesitate to suggest it. I write for me but every once in a while I can write for you too.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


So, here's the deal...

It seems like nobody is really interested in me baring my soul and sharing all my deepest feelings and emotions. (see below). Of course I will still continue to write about all things that I feel compelled to share and deem worthy, but I thought I would take this post a slightly different route. Many of the readers of this blog know me personally but there are others that do not. I know this because I have way more visitors per day then I have friends and family and even though I know my sister is bored at home and checks my blog 20-30 times daily, there are still some of you out there who know me simply from what you’ve read on here. And I worry that as you lay in bed at night before going to sleep, your mind is brimming with questions you are dying to ask me. So here is your chance. Ask me anything. What my most memorable moment in track and field is…How I like my steak cooked…What brand of toothpaste I’m currently using…What music I listen to before I compete…Who I consider a role model…The best date I’ve ever had…

Ladies and Gentlemen, the possibilities are endless. Of course there will be a very immediate end if nobody asks anything. Try not to give me something too complex, otherwise I might just hold off and make it it’s own blog post. This is all in good fun and is open to anybody and everybody. You don’t have to be a member to leave a comment on my blog…you don’t even have to have a name. Anonymous works just fine if you’re not comfortable with your God given one.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Secret to Success

I’ve had a fair amount of success over the years but I think it’s pretty obvious that this year I’m looking for more. Way more. And since that’s the case, it would make sense that something different needs to be done. Or at least something extra. There’s a saying: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.” This year I’m not looking for any repeat performances. With that mindset, I’ve approached this season with a slightly different game plan than before. It’s all about growth. I have done a lot of work trying to learn from the past and trying to give myself the best opportunity to be successful. I have matured so much as a person and as an athlete over the years and all of it has added up to put me where I stand today and how I am dealing with this season. I’ve been knocked down but I haven’t been knocked out so I know the athlete I am today is much stronger than ever before. That strength comes not so much in a physical sense, but in the mental aspect of this sport that plays such a huge role and which I believe makes all the difference in the world.

This year will be my third trip to the Olympic Trials. Each time has been such a different and unique experience. Back in 2000 I had just finished my sophomore year in college and I went to the Olympic Trials for the experience. In my mind I had no legitimate shot at actually making the team but I knew that four years later I would and I wanted the opportunity to see what it was like and to do have a sort of dress rehearsal. The biggest thing for me that year was that I had jumped the A standard for the Olympics in the Long Jump so I was able to get my own room at the official meet hotel and that made me feel like a big deal. I was stoked. The whole experience was a bit surreal and I remember being in the finals and thinking to myself how neat it was that I was being introduced next to Marion Jones and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. It was the point in my career that solidified the idea of my own desire to become a professional in this sport. Fast-forward four years and I’m back in Sacramento with a real goal in mind. I want to make the team and I believe that I can. During the past four years I had won an NCAA title and a U.S. title in the Long Jump so I now felt like I belonged. Even if that particular season had been less than stellar I knew that the only meet that truly mattered was the Trials and if I could make it all come together on that particular day, I would be elated. Well on that particular day I fouled all 3 jumps in the final.

You could say that that was an unfortunate situation and I had extremely bad luck on that day, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I didn’t perform and I basically chocked. If I didn’t admit that then, I definitely do now. I had a lot of mental issues I was dealing with that year and they definitely affected the way I was able to approach that competition and how I rose to the occasion. (Or failed to.) You cannot be a champion until you see yourself as one and that was not what I was able to do. I was still in the mode of “hoping” to be a champion. And once I fouled my first jump I “hoped” that I wouldn’t foul the second one…and then the third. So basically I gave my brain the instruction to foul. I’ve spent the last four years trying to regroup and get myself to the proper place so that this time around, in 2008, I am not there for the experience and I am not there to hope. In a lot of ways I thought I had made the breakthrough last year but evidently there was still a few pieces of the puzzle missing.

What I truly believe is that at this level of competition, the difference in talent at the highest level is almost negligible. I’m not saying that there aren’t some who may be more naturally gifted than others, but I don’t believe that is what determines who earns a spot to the Games. I trust in my talent and I trust the training that I’m doing to make sure that physically I am ready to do what needs to be done come the end of June. But what comes with that is the mental edge that allows you to rise to the occasion and become the champion you know you are. I am working on perfecting that because that is what I know will make the difference. For me it has become something I need to practice and actually work at. I read books, I do exercises…I do all the little things off the track that will make a difference when I get on it. I know that the mental aspect of this sport isn’t a new phenomenon, but I am finally realizing the true impact it can have and how much it has hindered me in the past. I’m not going to let that happen this time around.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Black Enough: A debate

I’m sure everybody has heard all about the Obama ordeal and his crazy former pastor. First of all, I’d like to say that if you happen to have missed the speech in its entirety, please go see it for yourself. Do not simply listen to the pundits and see it from the point of view of Bill O’reilly or Rush Limbaugh. Do not catch a phrase here or there as it flashes up on the screen as this person or that person weighs in. Do not read an overview in the paper or a few key quotes that are highlighted on MSN when you open your browser. Do not get the “gist” of it from your friend over the phone. It’s not the same and you will simply miss it. Not only will you probably completely miss the point and his real response to all that has happened, you will miss the message. And the message my dear friends, is an important one. This is not a political blog and I am not a fiercely political person but I believe that this speech is important to hear far beyond the relation it has to the specific incident that spurred it.

But like I said, this is not a political blog so lets move on to what caught my attention while watching this speech and somehow make this post about ME! During the speech Obama reiterated something that has, and will continue to be, an issue that he as a black man will continue to face as a presidential hopeful. ”To some I’m not black enough, and to others I’m too black.” I am always stupefied by this. The notion of “too black” or “not black enough.” If Goldilocks could stop by and point out to me the juuuust right black person, it would be extremely helpful. Because then I would at least have a measuring stick and I could go around myself holding it up to folks and making a judgment call. I’m pretty sure my sister would need to come up with about 40% more blackness to be acceptable. (I kid, I kid.)

I’m mixed. I know it seems like they might have gotten carried away with the chocolate syrup when they were pouring it in the milk, but you can thank my Dad for that. Well, that and the Arizona sun. I have never in my life claimed to have it hard because I’m bi-racial. I am not extra confused or totally unable to identify with this or that group. I’ve simply identified with whatever was around and if that meant I was a fan of New Kids of the Block instead of New Edition, so be it. I say “like” a lot. And “totally”. And sometimes I put one in front of the other and I like totally sound…. Like Brianna I guess. I’m not really worried about it. But other people are and that is just so weird to me.

I will admit I don’t know how to dance that well. But I do run really fast because of that extra muscle I have. And I like sweet potato pie. I’ve even tried to convert all of my non-black friends and family members. I finally read Roots a couple summers ago so I never again will foolishly ask who Chicken George is. I do sometimes wash my hair every day and I don’t mind jumping in a pool, BUT if I straighten it, I try and make it through 4 whole days. It could be longer if I ever learned how to wrap it properly but you know...moms could never teach me herself. And yes I know I don’t have the traditional “apple bottom” but I continue to squat really heavy so that I can get the most out of it. I go to a predominantly Black church now, but I never used to. There would just be a guy with a guitar and a few people singing into mikes and everybody else would kind of whisper sing and sometimes clap if it was appropriate. You would be out in an hour and a half--tops. It was cool but I prefer gospel choirs.

So what do you say, am I "black enough"? And before people start really answering and telling me that yes, I do in fact pass their blackness test, that is not the real question of the debate. I am moreso interested in people's thoughts on the whole idea that society is concerned about how certain people measure up to this obscure measuring tape. What exactly is considered 'enough', who is judging, and when will we not care...or something insightful like that.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Financing a Dream

Track and Field leaves a lot of people with questions about the money side of it all. Some people expect that we all make millions like some “professional” athletes do, while others may assume that it is an amateur sport that we are a part of simply so we can compete every four years. The answer for each person is different and while it might seem taboo to talk about personal finances, I really don’t have too much of a problem talking about my own funds. I am willing to share my wealth of experience to a bunch of strangers on the Internet, because I know some of you have asked and are curious. I am only here to please.

I will start off by saying that my experience has been difficult. There has certainly been times when I have questioned my lot in life, wondering why I was struggling in a profession that barely, if at all, allowed me to make ends meet when I had a college degree and a desire to be successful and self-sufficient. But of course we all know the answer. This is my passion and I most certainly DO NOT do it for the money. Sure, one day I hope to shout to my agent show me the Money! but that day hasn’t come yet.

When I was in college, I thought that if you decided to compete after school and you were good, you’d make money—pretty decent money at that. Well my first year, I had an Adidas contract and ran a few meets, and I barely made it. The next two years I proceeded to pretty much forget how to run and jump and Adidas finally said thanks, but no thanks. By this time I was living in L.A., where you can really only live comfortably if you’re a millionaire or if you’re daddy was a billionaire. Well I was neither and so began the wonderful life of trying to have my “career” while working a J.O.B. I guess if you are really lucky you can find work that you enjoy and are inspired by, but when you are looking for something where you can’t start til after 3, you’ll need to take some days off with very little notice, and you probably won’t be around in the summer…well I ended up serving people steaks and cocktails. Decent money and flexible schedule, but I worked late into the night and had to be on my feet for six hours.

After a year and a half of that I decided to take a different approach of trying to make ends meet. Of course this required being able to run and jump half decently, but once I did that, I started working my behind off and becoming what Paris Hilton is to Hollywood nightclubs on the track circuit – a constant. For the last two summers you couldn’t be at a track meet in Europe without seeing my lovely face. I’d fly straight from Nationals and stay until the last meet of the season running at the big meets, the small ones, and everything in between. From Paris to Slovakia. Athens to Belgrade. Monaco to Warsaw. It was all about quantity because at this time my performances were not of the quality that would allow me to compete only a handful of times and make enough money to support me for a year in a span of 3 months.

People often wonder how last year I could run a PR at the beginning of the summer and by the end of the summer I was running times I ran in high school. Well the drawback to this method is that it’s easy to run out of steam. At some point the wheels just fall off and I was definitely scraping the asphalt by the end. Luckily I had a couple photos posing with a beer bottle to help make up for the two dollars they pay you for running backwards.

Each and every person in this sport will have a different story. The crazy thing is that if I had graduated a couple years later, I could have been making good money straight out of school. Probably six figures as a base salary based on my accomplishments in college. The tides turned around 2004 and they started paying the young kids the bigger bucks before they had ‘proven’ themselves in the big leagues. The good thing is that you have guaranteed money and you aren’t forced to run in meets to make sure your light bill will be paid. But, alas, that was not my course. At times it seems a bit unfair but I suppose there is no promise of fairness when it comes to life.

So I continue to make my own way and do what I have to do to make it work. I’m sure I’ve made the whole thing seem totally unglamorous but the truth of the matter is if I had done anything else with the last six years of my life, I am sure I would have regrets. God has always provided and I have been allowed to travel the world because of the talents He gave me. Sure, I hope that this year will allow me a little more cushion and if things go as planned, it will. But I don’t do this sport for the money. If that were the case I’d pick up a tennis racket.

***If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments section and I’ll try and answer.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

An Attitude of Faith

I love it when my devotionals speak to me. Of course, every word of God is supposed to speak to you in some way, but when it feels like God sat at his desk and wrote a special little memo just for me on that particular day, it adds a little pep to my step. Today’s devotional spoke about making sure you have an attitude of faith and are operating in it constantly. By adopting that attitude you are able to not worry about tomorrow because you know that there is someone who is directing your steps.

I happen to be a worrier. I worry about the little things and the big things... the important and the unimportant. I even make up things in my mind that will probably never happen and then spend time worrying about them just in case. Sometimes it can be hard for me to simply live my life in a constant assurance that everything will indeed work out how it is supposed to. A “go with the flow” person I am not. But the fact of the matter is, faith is a gift and I don’t embrace that gift as much as I should. So I’m going to work on that. No worrying about my career because I know that he has a plan for my talents. I have been reminded on more than one occasion that it is in his hands and his timing alone. I should not worry about the fact that my nephew might walk down the aisle before me. Not only is he preparing someone for me, I have a feeling I still need to be fixed a little. Finances should not stress me out because I have always been provided for…even when it made NO sense. You get the point, right? It’s important to place your trust where it belongs and give up the reins on all the things that will weigh your spirit down.

I just wanted to share that with you. Perhaps if you missed Church today you could use a little inspiration.

P.S. I stretched out my profile because I was hearing that it was hard to read. Does this help? Or do I need to change the colors or something?

Friday, March 14, 2008


You know when you have a run-in with somebody that is totally unexpected? And then all the sudden your blood begins to boil. You instantly are reminded of what that person did/said that caused you to put them in that category of ‘not my favorite people’ and even though it might not have ever been discussed they should totally be aware that they are in fact NOT one of your favorite people. Obviously it’s usually someone of the opposite sex. So now you are confronted with an uncomfortable situation and you feel unprepared. What do you do? Do you acknowledge them like everything is cool? Do you ignore them? Maybe you go for something in the middle. Like a half-wave that says yes, I acknowledge your existence and I am not petty enough to just straight up ignore you but I obviously don’t think very highly of you and I hope that you can sense that—without getting the idea that I care too much. And what if they take it one step further and come up and talk to you? I guess it’s time to start practicing what I will say now. I should probably run about 4 different scenarios through my head. Wait…no. I can’t say that. I sound bitter. I most definitely do not want to sound bitter. Because really I don’t even care. I mean, if it wasn’t for the fact that this particular person is in my direct eyesight I wouldn’t be giving them a second thought but now I’m reminded of …whatever. But now I’m confused about how to go about my business as if they aren’t there. If I make it a purpose to not look their direction is it obvious that I’m intentionally not looking that way? Because I definitely don’t want it to seem like it matters either way. I’m trying to be nonchalant, as if they don’t matter—because THEY DON’T. But I am still irritated. I don’t know why, I just am.

Does anybody else have these experiences, or am I just a head-case?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Big Fish

The last couple of days I’ve had the opportunity to reach out and share my story to people in the community. For starters, let me just say how cool it is that people actually care. This is another bonus about living in Tucson (in case you are actually keeping count)…here you can be a big fish. In Los Angeles the pond is so big all you can hope for is guppy status.

Last night, myself, as well as a few other athletes that train in the Tucson area, were guests at an event hosted by Johnson & Johnson, a sponsor of the United States Olympic Committee. These people work incredibly hard in their profession and they are passionate about what they do. I have to admit that I was a bit unsure at first. Here is this group of people that live in a world I know absolutely nothing about – the workforce. And they probably know nothing about my world either, but they seemed to appreciate it and were honored that we were there. We were able to share a bit of our journey and I believe they found it to be uplifting and inspiring. Then this afternoon I went and spoke to a group of high school kids. Kids that age make me nervous. I remember how I was in my teenage years…truly uninterested in just about everything anybody had to say. Luckily for me, I had no rotten tomatoes thrown my way.

I find it a lot easier to share on my blog than to share in person. For starters, this blog is simply a peek into my life and entirely a personal choice on whether or not you deem it interesting and appealing enough to read each day. When I go to events representing myself I am sometimes struck by this feeling of inadequacy. What is so important about me? Especially when it’s people not exactly familiar in an area I can claim moderate success in. I suppose if I’m talking to a girl who has jumped 18 feet in the long jump they might find it kind of cool that I’ve jumped over 4 feet further. But someone who’s area of interest and knowledge in no way overlaps mine... well that’s when I begin to feel my ‘coolness’ factor is lacking. Right now, all I can claim to be is a person aspiring to do big things. And if that’s not enough, if their interests do happen to be in line with my own, well then I just feel like my accomplishments thus far are insufficient.

Please know that I don’t say all this in an attempt to sound self-deprecating. Anyone who knows me, knows how hard the last 6 years have been for me and how much more I expect out of myself. I truly believe the best is yet to come and I hold on to that belief wholeheartedly. I am no good at “bragging” about myself, as my friends will also attest to, and I also get extremely embarrassed if they try to. (Of course this only relates to all things track related) I do realize that success is relative. It is humbling to know that my successes are considered great to some people but in my own mind, my expectations are so high that I have a hard time seeing my past accomplishments as such. Besides, there has got to be an expiration date on some things and I am starting to feel as if anything related to college is almost prehistoric.

So no, I’m not a big deal yet. But I hope to be and I hope that when that day comes I am able to embrace it and rule the ponds both big and small.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The benefits of having FABULOUS friends

In any relationship there will be certain instances in which one person benefits more than the other.

I take pictures from time to time, and sometimes they are even professional, published ones. Unless you have been living under a rock I’m sure you are aware of that fact. This past weekend I posed in front of the camera and the person on the other side of the lens was none other than my best friend. She is a professional wedding photographer but from time to time she takes a break from capturing people’s undying love for each other and snaps away out of the goodness of her heart. Actually, the goodness of her heart is only available if you are lucky to be one of the most important people in her life for the past 14 years, otherwise it will probably cost you a pretty penny. :) That’s why I am most definitely the beneficiary this time around. I pose for pictures. She takes them. But I’m sure it’s obvious to everyone who holds the upper hand here. What she does with a camera is nothing short of amazing and I don’t say this simply because I love her more than Godiva’s chocolate covered strawberries. One look at her work will show you that my opinion is not biased but the God’s honest truth. If I didn’t need her standing next to me, I wouldn't want anybody else to shoot my own wedding. Yeah, I know. Worry about finding a husband first. Those pesky little details always get in the way of important matters.

**There are a few more on her blog posting and I will be adding my favorites ones from the shoot to my website shortly.

Working hard

This morning I started off my day in the weight room for an hour and a half. This afternoon I went to the track at 1:30 and I left at 5:30. I’ve been sitting on my couch for most of the evening without any real motivation to move because my body is exhausted. As it should be. At this part of the season it’s time to go back to the base stuff a bit and wear your body down. Today consisted of long jump drills…approaches…jumps off a box…sled pulls…stair hops …more plyos…even more plyos!...and core work. Then I did my cool down. A mile run that probably took me a good 15 minutes to complete. It was one of those days that makes your legs shake long after you’ve stopped working out.

As I was sitting here completely fatigued I remembered a comment I overheard at the track a few weeks back. It was a Saturday and the track was particularly busy. All the sprinters were doing their respective workouts and the distance group was also out there doing a track workout. Saturdays are usually are longer sprint days and on this day the long sprinters were running 450’s and the short sprinters were doing 250’s. I had 300’s. Really fast. Full recovery. As the college sprinters were starting their runs I overheard one of the distance runners say…

Wow, the sprinters are actually working hard today.

Excuse me? I looked at him and hoped like mad that he would see me staring and realize that I had heard him just so I could hear how he’d try to explain that one…to my face. I think it’s pretty common knowledge that distance runners secretly think that they train harder than sprinters. Perhaps they won’t say it to our face but when they go on their little 45 min warm-up runs, they gossip about it like no other. Obviously if you run MORE that equates to HARDER. Well, I don’t necessarily agree.

Here’s the thing. I will never be a distance runner. No thank you. Even if I were gifted at it I’d still decline. I respect what they do and I will be the first to admit that it is challenging and extremely difficult when you are training to be really good at it. But I believe that they train hard differently, not exclusively. If their speed day calls for 300’s and they run 16 of them and jog for 100 meters as their rest period (which, by the way, I simply will never be able to wrap my head around jogging as a form of rest), while my workout is 4 of them with 10 minutes rest at which point I sit on the ground and rest, that does not mean you’ve worked out 4 times as hard as me. The math is not that simple.

I think booty lock is exclusive to sprinters and it doesn’t occur simply because we are not in as good of shape as those who run for longer distances, but because we are pushing our bodies to a certain intensity that isn’t called for when your event calls for you to go more than one time around the track. Almost anybody can run for 100 meters but very few can compete at that distance. Just like the tons of people who run marathons. You can’t compare that to actual marathoners.

So, if you’re a distance runner and you think that you are in a position to claim superiority when it comes to hard workouts, think again. I wouldn’t want to hang with you as you go round and round and you probably wouldn’t want to be out at the track with me today for 4 hours. Your skinny little legs would turn to jello. :) And let’s not even talk about the weight room.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The time I wish I had roommates

Last evening I arrived back in Tucson after 10 fantastic days in California. I happened to leave one thing behind though. My keys. I didn’t realize it until I had the shuttle drop me off in front of my car and I spent a few minutes digging around without finding gold. This was a huge problem for a myriad of reasons. I did have a spare key to my car but it of course was inside the apartment…the apartment that is part of a complex that for some ridiculous reason has this insane policy of not being able to assist you with lockouts after hours. So I had to call a locksmith. And then I had to catch a taxi. A very expensive taxi mind you and all the while I’m thinking that I will also need to take a very expensive taxi back to the airport as well. Boo to not living somewhere where you have tons of friends you can call at a moments notice to help you out in a bind. So…I arrive at my apartment expecting the locksmith to arrive any minute because that’s what the dude told me. But 40 minutes later, after sitting on the ground and freezing my butt off, I get a call saying that he had done another job first and was now on his way. If I cussed, this is where I would insert those expletives. So after an hour the guy finally arrives and he’s a little creepy and not very trustworthy looking…I mean I would have felt a little better if he at least had a nametag or something. So I’m not too hyped about the fact that he is breaking into my apartment and aware of the fact that I live alone and don’t have keys to my place but what’s a girl to do? Of course he overcharges me. Of course. I’m sure he made up the amount on the spot and me being too tired and irritated to even argue at this point, I pay it—with a scowl on my face. At least I’m inside my apartment. Although then I realize that this apartment is totally void of all edible food so the hunger pains I’m feeling have to be subsided with a boiled egg. Yup. That was my dinner.

Anyway, now that I’ve vented I feel a whole lot better. I will try to post something a tad more uplifting and positive a little later. :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Happy Birthday Tristin

(Just pretend I wrote this yesterday)

I used to think I wasn’t a baby person. I don’t ooh and ahhh when I see one nor do I long to be around them for any extended amount of time. But once my sister popped her first one out, I began to think they weren’t so bad. I found myself connected in a way that I didn’t really think was possible. Sure, I hoped it was possible because I do plan on having one or two of my own one day, but I wasn’t so sure I could ever be converted. Granted, I still have a long way to go. I still am not that keen on other kids (except my friend Nikkie’s because they are adorable mixed kids and they remind me of little Brianna’s) but as far as my nephew and new niece go, I’m a sucker. Please shoot me if I start sending out mass emails with all of her pictures.

I am so incredibly excited that I now have a niece. Don’t get me wrong…Ty is the MAN and I absolutely love him to pieces. But a little girl makes me excited to buy her all the pink things I can get my hands on. She’s going to grow up being a girly girl that still knows how to beat all the boys in a race, just like her Aunt. So, Happy Birthday Tristen. I love you and I plan on spoiling you rotten.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Odd Jobs

Earlier this week I shot a Nike print ad up in Los Angeles. They needed a few sprinters and I could always use some extra cash. But before I said yes, I almost said no. For starters, it’s Nike. I’m not a huge fan of Nike because they aren’t a huge fan of mine. And while I suppose it’s not entirely personal because Nike is this huge global company that sponsors some of the biggest athletes in the entire universe and does not need to bat a stray eyelash over little ol’ me, I still am slightly bitter that the biggest sponsor of Track and Field athletes has decided on more than one occasion that I’m not worthy of the swoosh. And that’s fine and all if I sucked more than any of the other athletes that they currently have—but I don’t. So yea, if you could all personally write letters to the Nike people telling them what a great addition I would be to their brand, I would totally appreciate it.

My other hang-up occurred when I found out that the series of ads they were doing were for certain featured athletes that they are currently sponsoring. I had known they were just looking for some sprinters in the background but I didn’t realize that there would be A certain sprinter in the foreground. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. I just wasn’t keen on the idea of being a lane-filler for a competitor of mine. What does that look like if I’m an extra for someone in their own ad that I’m trying to beat when it’s time for the Trials?! I likened it to being the batboy for the team that just released you. Or not making the band but being asked if you’d like to be a backup singer. Something like that.

So I called the casting director and told her I needed to know who the featured athlete was in the print ad because it could be a conflict of interest. I don’t believe she really understood where I was coming from but it turned out the particular athlete specializes in a slightly longer sprint than what my specialty is. So…no harm, no foul. Besides, this particular ad is only being shown in Asia, so aside from the fact that I just told all of you, nobody will even know about it. At the end of the day it’s money in my pocket and the most amazing homemade carrot cake I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to always revert back to something food related, but I’m telling you this cake was that good. And guess what? In some unconnected, irrelevant way, Nike is still paying me whether they want to or not. Ha!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


157 days. 13 hours. 27 minutes. 44 seconds…43…42…41.

When you check in it’s blinking back at you from behind the reception desk.

It’s flashing back at you on every screen saver.

In case you didn't know how long it was until the beginning of the Olympic Games, you do now. You cannot be at the Olympic Training Center and overlook the importance of this countdown. People here are on a mission. Each and every person shares the same focus and is working day in and day out to make the dream a reality and they realize that every day counts. The countdown is everywhere, but it’s merely a reflection of what’s imprinted on everyone’s brain.

I stayed onsite at the Olympic Training Center in 2006 for a little over three months and then spent the remainder of the year training here but living offsite about 5 minutes away. For a sport that seems about as amateur as a professional sport can be, the center does a fantastic job of providing an environment that truly fosters the development of elite athletes. As a “professional” in this sport, many of us find our own coaches, look to secure places that we can train and lift on a consistent basis, locate our own chiropractor and massage person, and hopefully we are lucky enough to earn income from participating in this sport, because we pay for it all out of our own pocket. That’s why a place like this is so amazing, because your focus is able to be on becoming the best athlete you can be and all the other stuff is taken care of.

Not only that, but the energy here is so much different than anywhere else. As soon as I arrived, my own internal countdown became that much more noticeable. Everywhere you look there is a call to greatness and people who are answering the same call surround you. You aren’t sharing the track with the soccer mom who’s trying to lose an extra five pounds, or lifting on a platform next to the freshman who doesn’t know how to do a power clean properly, or waiting to get adjusted after Grams is through. I love being here because everywhere I turn is someone just like me and it is inspiring.

I’m only here for the week but I think it’s going to be a great rejuvenator for me. Usually when you are away from your normal training environment you do your best to fit your workouts in, but when you come here everything revolves around your training and you still get the camaraderie of your friends…not to mention all the free food you can eat! It’s a win-win situation. If Rosa makes her famous tortilla soup while I’m here, my trip will be absolute perfection!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Picture of the Week

You might be wondering why I chose to post such an interesting picture of my friends and I. Well the answer is quite simple. Nobody trusts me to pick the pictures in which they look decent. Supposedly, I am only concerned with my own appearance and will throw everyone else under the bus if I happen to look good. (Obviously, this is untrue as one look at this will confirm.) After multiple attempts at trying to take a picture in which four very opinionated, picky women were satisfied with how they turned out, we gave up. It was much easier to look ridiculous…we nailed this one on the first attempt.

To date, I probably have about 348,937,298,000 pictures of the four of us. But there will always be room for more. More special occasions, more important memories, more just because we are hanging out together and I love you more than a fat kid loves cake…more, more, more. There is always a reason to smile for the camera as far as I’m concerned because I love being able to look at a photograph and instantly be reminded of all the great times we share together. My photograph from today will remind me of my fantastic afternoon spent laughing and eating, (my two favorite hobbies), and how my best friend searched to find me a fabulous new brunch spot in L.A. because she knows how much I adore brunch. Because of her I was able to try the Friggin’ Amazin’ French Toast. from Grub. That was the name straight off the menu and I will tell you that it lived up to it’s reputation. Just ask Jasmine…she was kind enough to steal my last bite.

And just in case you are really worried that my friends and I escaped from the looney's the normal version.