Friday, May 30, 2008


I make distinctions between lots of things in life based on whether it is related to athletes or sports in general, or if it is more closely linked with the general population who are not part of the athletic world. I call the others civilians. For example, if I happen to go on a date with a guy who has a normal-ish job, something 9 to 5 like, I say, “I went out with a civilian.” The reason being, there is a very obvious difference to dating civilians and dating athletes so it’s necessary that I make note of that distinctive point, before say…their name. I group my friends this way as well.

This separation goes beyond people though. For example, I know plenty of people who diet, and they go on what I call civilian diets. I diet to an extent as well for part of the year, except my non-civilian diet is usually quite different. It has nothing to do with quantities. I will never in my life COUNT A CALORIE. You get the point. The list goes on and on from sleeping habits, to traveling, to beverage choice, and everything in between.

Anyway, all this to say that right now I have a civilian right leg. It’s the weirdest thing and it looks like it belongs on a different body because the left leg stayed pretty strong and muscular. The right one however, is not only noticeably smaller and less defined, it’s also SQUISHY. A male friend a while back pointed out to me how different track legs were compared to the legs of regular females and I had never really given it much thought until then, but after that I knew it was another difference to add to the list. Of course I don’t go around sticking my finger into people’s quads but I do know that my own legs stay pretty solid…until now. And even though the past week in the weight room has brought it back to life a bit, I still flex it and am able to push my finger in it. I don’t know that I am that fond of the Pillsbury dough-ness of it all. I’ve always maintained that I will gladly lose a bit of the “hard body” once I’m done running and it’s not a necessity, but I’m thinking it might be in my best interest to never give up the squats, lunges, etc.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

R.I.P. Sidekick

A few years back my boyfriend at the time figured out how to stay in constant contact with me without ever really communicating-- He bought me a Sidekick. We chatted constantly. While he was in meetings… playing Madden… on a DATE… umm yea, you get the point. It afforded us a way to be close while we lived on opposite sides of the country. It wasn’t until much later in the relationship that I started to realize that maybe it wasn’t such a good thing. Sure, I heard from him all the time but I didn’t talk to him as much as I used to. And the fact that he could live a double life and I was none the wiser—well that was a bit of a problem too. But even when that relationship finally met it’s demise, my dependence on my Sidekick stayed strong. Needless to say, my life has never been the same.

Because I don’t actually like to “talk” on the thing, I have kept two phones for the last few years—a talking phone and a texting/IM’ing/email phone. And you could pretty much guarantee that I would never answer the talking phone when you called because I didn’t pay any attention to that one and am a horrible phone person, but text me and you would get an instant reply. I will be the first to admit that I am far too unimportant to require two phones but I felt comfortable with the situation and I refused to change. Lately though, I had become quite frustrated. You see the Sidekick is mainly a gimmick phone. There are way better phones out there that do the things I’m interested in far better, but sidekicks found their niche and ran with it and I had gladly hopped on board and was refusing to jump ship. I was the epitome of loyalty. Until last week…

The darn thing broke AGAIN! Imagine. The dismay! Distress! Shock! Panic! Dread! Alarm! Oh how will I ever survive??!!! (btw…if you have texted me in the past week and received no response, I was NOT ignoring you.) I figured it was time for me to once and for all break the bond between my sidekick and I. I was determined to finally merge my life into one single phone that would do everything I could possibly want and get rid of an extra phone bill in the process. It took me a minute to figure out what I really wanted and also to figure out a way to obtain it without selling my left kidney to purchase it, but I am proud to announce that I am now an official member of the ‘CrackBerry’ club. I am going to have to let go of the phone number I’ve had since I was 19 and the excellent relationship I’ve built with Sprint, but it’s for a worthy cause. I can now travel the world and email to my hearts delight as well as PIN all my other fellow blackberry users at no charge! (This is only important to track folks.)

In closing, I’d just like to thank the Sidekick for being a great companion for all these years. Unfortunately it’s time for me to move on to bigger and more addictive things but you will always have a special place in my heart.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Change of Plan

The following is an excerpt from my bio on my website:

This past year I decided that I wanted to sprint again, not only because I am good at it, but because I have a passion for it. I knew that the only way I should step back on the track is if I believed I deserved to be there, because there is no substitute for believing in yourself. I was able to set personal bests this year in both the 100 meters and the long jump and I feel that I am in a great place both mentally and physically to prepare for the 2008 season and the Olympic Games in Beijing.

I began this season with a set of goals and expectations for myself. This year I was going to be the athlete that I truly wanted to be, and I was going to set out to accomplish what I thought I was capable of. These days, many people know me as a long jumper. That’s what they see me as and for a few years that’s all I really did. But in college I was a sprinter that jumped. I was good at the long jump but I was really only successful because I was fast and I trained primarily as a sprinter throughout my college career. What forced me into becoming “just a jumper” out of college was because I was told by many people that it would be better to choose and focus on becoming great at one thing instead of just being good at a few. At that time it seemed easier to be great at the long jump. I already had won a U.S. title in the long jump and as everyone knows, the sprints are very deep in the U.S. so the logical choice seemed to be that I should stick to jumping.

Last year I made a decision to go back to being the athlete that I felt like on the inside. I felt like I was a great sprinter and I didn’t want to give that up and watch people I competed against all throughout college be successful at the professional level and feel like I could be as well. Not to mention the fact that not sprinting had not turned me into a better jumper. Not at all. So last year I began to make the transition and even though I had decided that was the route I wanted to go, I still didn’t have the perfect situation. I had a “jump-oriented” coach and I was still training primarily as a jumper, which is a bit different than the training you would do if you were an elite sprinter. Nonetheless, I was able to run under my PR 4 different times last year, the fastest being in the prelims at Nationals where I ran 11.10. That puts me in the top 10 in the U.S and it’s not even my main event! The problem was I ran it in the prelims.

My sprinting last year was far from consistent, which was my biggest problem. I had no race model and my start was shaky and unpredictable. But running those times showed me that I was capable of doing so much more. If I could run that fast doing so many things wrong and training the way I did, I knew that putting more focus on my race, learning to start properly, and having the training to get through the rounds would put me right where I needed to be. So that’s how I began this year, with a focus on being a great sprinter again and the desire to run at the Olympic Trials and truly feel like I belonged and that I was just as capable as any of the runners out there. The long jump was still part of the equation, but not my focus. I know I possess the tools to jump far and improving my sprinting would just add to the arsenal so I was going back to being a sprinter that jumped.

The point of me sharing all of this history and internal dialogue is because what I had set out to accomplish and my plan for the Trials is not going to be what I thought it was. I will not be running the 100 meters at the Olympic Trials; I will only be Long Jumping. It may seem like a simple enough decision, but it most definitely was not. I shared the long version with you because people might have been under the assumption that I was running the 100 just because I could. Shoot, I have the A standard, why not? Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and make the final. Except that wasn’t my mentality at all. I trained this year to be able to step out on the track and believe that I could make the team in the 100 meters. I have participated in events before, I wasn’t interested in that. People may look at that event and see how deep we are and how many talented sprinters we have, and think that it would have been a ridiculous long shot. All I know is that when I won my NCAA title in the 200 meters back in 2001 I entered that meet with the 23rd fastest time. There were 24 competitors. Long shot or not, all I need is an opportunity.

But the reality is what it is. Four rounds of racing require a certain level of fitness. Today was my first practice on a track in a month. (warm-up and strides—yay for small victories!) I have a little over four weeks to get back as much as I can. I may have it and I may not but testing it there and finding out that I don’t will be too late. I also would have no races until Trials—so basically I open up in the 100 meters then. Is that impossible? No. It’s just not very smart. And the reason it wouldn’t be very smart is because I am blessed to be talented in 2 different events and if trying to run the 100 takes everything I have, I have nothing left for the long jump. Being fit enough to take 6 jumps is different. Still hard, but different. Making the team in the Long Jump is going to require the absolute best that I have. I’ll have to jump a PR and so I know that I must do whatever I can to give myself the best opportunity for that.

So this incredibly long-winded post is to say that my focus is on the long jump. I wish it could be different but my coach has a plan and I need to follow it and believe in it. There is no point in being greedy and ending up with a sub-par effort by stretching myself too thin. I am already calling in my fair share of favors and blessings to find a way of being prepared to give a max effort in one event after this setback so I will be grateful for that opportunity.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My own "beautiful" list.

Today I spent another wonderful afternoon at Border’s. I know what you’re thinking…”wow Brianna, you must be extremely bored to hang out bookstores. You poor thing, stuck out there in Tucson with nothing to do.” Well that’s not entirely true. I’ve been hanging out at bookstores for years now. It’s one of my favorite nerdy pastimes and I can spend hours reading magazines I don’t have to pay for and browsing through books I have no intention of buying, all with a lovely cup of overpriced coffee by my side and if I’m lucky, a nice warm brownie. Anyway…today as I was browsing I came across a few “hot” lists. You know the one’s I’m referring to, People’s 100 most beautiful and Maxim’s Hot 100, who make an attempt at telling us who we should all aspire to look like. There is only one problem though… the lists make no sense. It really has to do with who has a movie coming out and who is most popular at the moment because no way am I buying that Rumer Willis has that many votes cast to land her a spot. No offense. (Actually, that is totally offensive to both her and her parents…sorry.) So as I’m turning page after page, and exclaiming to myself, Are you kidding me?! Her?! What are they thinking?!…I decided to come up with a list of my own. I find that most of the people on the lists are the same people you see at the mall, just with a stylist, makeup artist, and a fabulous haircut. Even this year’s top spot in People, Kate Hudson—she’s cute, don’t get me wrong, but in a girl next door sort of way. Which is FINE, but the most beautiful person should not be my next door neighbor. And Marisa Miller, #1 on Maxim’s list—well she just looks like Barbie. Barbie’s cool, but there are way too many girl’s with long blonde hair and nice bodies and they all start to look the same after a while. For my list, I really have no criteria and my tastes are pretty broad. Yes, you have to be famous enough so that I can think of your name and google a picture of you, but that’s about it. All I tried to do was think of women who would make me stare if I was in the same room with them. And they can’t just be “celebrity gorgeous”, meaning they look so hot because they have a team of people dedicated to making them so, but the kind of people you could see first thing in the morning and still be slightly envious of. Of course we are all quite content with the looks the good Lord blessed us with and this is all in good fun and beauty is in the eye of the beholder, blah, blah, blah.

These people might not make me stare but they are attractive enough as celebrities that I thought they should at least get a shout out.

*Mila Kunis: Before last week, I’ve never even thought twice about this girl. I think she was on that 70’s show or something, but who ever watched that? But last week I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, (hilarious…check it out) and I kept thinking to myself, wow that girl is beautiful. I couldn’t even pinpoint who she was til after the movie. So due to the fact that she existed and I never noticed until now, she only gets a mention.

*Jessica Alba: I think Jess is a tad overrated. She’s pretty but she doesn’t WOW me.

*Jessica Biel: This is your typical girl next door if you happen to live in a city where your neighbors date Justin Timberlake. She’s a little on the plain side but she does have a certain freshness about her and I remember staring at the pictures from this photo shoot for quite some time.

*Sofia Vergara: I think it helps your ‘hotness’ factor when you have an accent. But I suppose even if she was mute she’d still be hot.

*Rihanna: Before she cut her hair I considered her to be just another cookie cutter R&B singer. Pretty, great skin, long hair, good body…they all look so much alike you have trouble remembering who’s who. But then she cut her hair and she separated herself and made you take notice. And now I think she’s edgy and unique.


10. Charlize Theron: Typically I’m not that hype about blondes. But maybe because Charlize is from South Africa and not your typical American blonde, she transcends the Barbie look just a little. She’s stunning…except in those couple of movies…all the time.

9. Beyonce: I’m not a hater. Everybody always wants to say Beyonce is not that pretty and she’s overrated and blah blah blah but that is only because you are always looking at her. The girl is beautiful. Only reason she isn’t ranked higher is because she is a little extra most of the time with all the hair, makeup, clothes, etc. She’s a glam girl and I think that helps her beauty.

8. Nicole Sherzinger: You only know who the Pussycat Dolls are because of her. And if they are performing I’d only stare at her, so I guess that makes her pretty attractive.

7. Megan Fox: The reason Angelina Jolie is not on the list is because Megan is a prettier version of her, I think.

6. Eva Mendez: Definitely the best Eva out there.

5. Stacey Dash: When Clueless came out, I wanted to be Stacey. And when I am 42 years old, I’d STILL like to look like Stacey. I just wouldn’t pose for King magazine…but hey, I’m not knocking her.

4. Adriana Lima: Supposedly Brazil doesn’t make ugly women. And if they do, what a shame if you happen to be one of the ones blessed with a great personality and had to walk around looking at girls like this all the time. I’m kidding…I’d totally take the personality. Anyway, Adriana is my favorite Angel.

3. K.D. Aubert: I’m guessing she’s a model. I know she’s been in a few movies like Friday after Next but when I looked (stared) at her pictures on myspace, I could not find one where she didn’t look stunning. Which means it’s impossible for her not to be gorgeous all the time. Ughh.

2. Aishwarya Rai: Perhaps if I knew how to spell her name she could move up to the top spot but all I know about her is that she is beautiful and she does those movies in India. I don’t know, she almost doesn’t seem real.

1. Halle Berry: the G.O.A.T. In terms of pure beauty, I don’t think anyone really surpasses Halle. She might not be the “hottest” but she is downright gorgeous All. The. Time.

So what do you think? Anyone you disagree with or think I am totally nuts for not mentioning? Again, this is just my silly little opinion because beauty is always in the eye of the beholder and it's only skin deep so don't get too deep with it. And can anybody say TOO MUCH TIME ON YOUR HANDS!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trusting His Way

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9

I had a moment yesterday. For the most part I have been doing well in terms of my spirits and staying positive, but somewhere between my jogging on the underwater treadmill at a speed of 4.0 and doing my rehab exercises simple enough for a senior citizen, I cracked a little. It is almost the end of May and THIS is what I’m doing?! Tears quickly welled up in my eyes and I took an unneeded bathroom break. I know I’m not supposed to think like that but I’d be lying to you if I said it was that easy. I’m human. It’s six weeks before Trials and I can’t jog on ground and I have not done so in almost a month. I’ve been surprised even at my own courage and strength because normally I am quite the head case and for the most part I haven’t been. But I do have my moments. Moments like yesterday.

And so last night when I read that verse above before bed, I just had to whisper thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I am so not in charge of things right now. Sometimes circumstances are hard to understand. For example, my circumstance right now can be extremely frustrating to me at times because not only do I feel as if the timing is the absolute worst, I also slip up sometimes and find myself worrying about everything you could possibly think I might worry about. I sit around and I feel like I’m just staring at this huge hourglass sand timer and I just want to turn it on it’s side for a bit. But focusing on your lack of understanding can really wear you out. So when I begin to let my mind go there, it’s helpful for me to be reminded to snap out of it. I just need to trust and remind myself that His ways are not my ways. I know I’ve mentioned something similar to this before, but sometimes I find myself in need of another cue. I most certainly don’t think it was by chance that I read that verse today.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Track Fan

On Saturday I left my couch. ”Big deal,” you say? Actually, yes. It’s a very big deal. My couch had a permanent indentation of my exact body mold because I have not moved from the same spot in weeks. I spend my days there, I sleep there, and I eat my meals there. My couch and I have become one. Thank God it is a comfortable couch. Well, God and Craigslist I suppose.

The Pac-10 championships were held at Arizona State University this past weekend. At first I thought it wouldn’t be such a hot idea. I like watching track most of the time, but maybe not so much when I can’t do anything myself. Like being on a diet and then just staring at a box of Sprinkles cupcakes. Torture, right? Not to mention the obvious questions that would be thrown my way. How are you? How’s training? Oh you’re injured…what happened? You’re going to be ok for Trials though, right? It just so happens that I heard that verbatim about 50 times. And of course I gave all the right answers even though what I really was thinking was, “Duh. You see me hobbling around with a wrap on my knee and about as small as an Ethiopian distance runner…OF COURSE I’M NOT OK!!!” I’m kidding. I probably would still have to lose about 10 more pounds.

But honestly, it was good to get out of the house and I enjoyed watching the meet. I think it’s a little easier being that it was a college meet and so I didn’t have to envision myself out there per say. My college days are waaaaay in the past and it’s been many, many years since I’ve had the honor of calling myself a Pac-10 champion and being named Pac-10 athlete of the year. Oh wait…did you hear that? That horn tooting in the background? Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. It’s hard to find things to cheer myself up these days so I just figured I would live in the past for a second. But I do miss those days when track was less pressure and less stress and you could be part of a team and it just seemed fun. That Brianna with Arizona across her chest is the athlete that I am still trying to get back to. So I definitely enjoyed being a fan and being part of that atmosphere again because sometimes you just need to be reminded what made you decide to live this life and have this career in the first place.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

In charge

I decided early on that this year was going to be about me as much as possible. In order for that to happen one thing that I had to be cognizant of was what my heart got involved in. I don’t necessarily think that it is always a bad thing to be involved in a relationship because healthy ones can be a great source of support and happiness, but for me that risk is great. I have found myself in my fair share of unhealthy relationships over the years, ones that have done their best to drain me of my energy and put my focus on things that are a far cry away from my most important goals and aspirations. Sure, that’s not always the case, but who wants to take that gamble this year? Not me. On the one hand I know that I am in my prime years for finding a good mate and settling down some time in the near future, but on the other hand I don’t see why that potential Prince Charming can’t cross my path some time after August. That’s not too much to ask, right?!

I can pinpoint years where bad relationships and/or relationships gone bad have had a direct affect on my track career. Negative energy can find a way to spill over into all facets in your life. And yes, sometimes you can channel it and turn in into something positive, because I can distinctly recall PR performances the day after huge fights and breakups, but sometimes all it does is deplete you. In fact, even good relationships can do their part to drain you. In my younger years I found myself so in loooove that it was almost as if track took a backseat because I was struggling and frustrated with my performances and it was much easier to direct my energy to what was making me happy. But then that happiness came to an abrupt end and I was left with a huge void. I had shifted my priorities and now I had to scramble to fix what was really important to me and find a way to put me back on top.

And yes, all of this happens because I’m not perfect and I did not graduate top of my class from Relationship 101. I’m sure there is a right way to balance it all, I just know that I have not perfected it and I’m not inclined to try this year. All of this is made much easier by the fact that I am stuck out in the middle of no man’s land, at least in terms of me finding suitable dating partners. But in this day and age, location is such a minor component. When there’s a will, there’s a way so I’m just doing my best to keep my will under control.

I guess my whole reason for writing this is because I almost find myself slipping and I’m doing my best to catch it. I’ve had way too much man on the brain lately and they’ve even found a way to creep into my dreams at night. Ughhh!!! Part of the problem is my inactivity. I haven’t been able to train and compete in weeks and I guess it’s caused my mind to wander. So when I woke up this morning after another night of lovey-dovey mush taking place while I slumber, I decided that it’s time to tell my heart to lay low for a while. I am putting my head back in charge.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

moving forward

Of course I haven’t been doing any moving as of yet, but I feel as if I am ready mentally for the challenge. The knee procedure seemed to go very well and the doctor was able to remove two pieces of floating cartilage and scrape and smooth out the problem area of cartilage and leave me with a small gap that hopefully should not cause a problem in the next couple of months. The last couple of weeks have been extremely trying but on the whole I’m feeling motivated and excited for what lies ahead. I really just can’t wait to start doing something. Being forced to lie down all day and not do anything might seem like a grand idea, but in reality it’s not. Even my blogging has suffered…my life tends to have enough monotony as it is, but these last few days I couldn’t even bring myself to update you on my exciting life of T.V. watching and sleeping because I knew living it was boring enough so typing it out would have not enriched either of our lives. I would have felt utterly responsible for putting people to sleep while at the computer.

The bright spot of the last couple of weeks, however, has been the quality time I have been fortunate enough to spend with some of my closest friends. I am blessed…SO BLESSED…to have the amazing friends that I do. Friends that will pause their busy lives to come out to Arizona and be with me without me having to even ask. And go out to eat and consume 10,000 calories in a single sitting. Not to mention the friends and those of you I might not even know personally who continue to send uplifting words and support (and chocolate!!!). Y’all know how to make a girl feel special!

So even though today will be filled with more rotting of the brain (perhaps season 2 of Prison Break since we finished season 1 in a days time), I am in good spirits overall and I have many of you to thank. I hope to be back in action soon and blogging about all of it. In the meantime, if you missed your favorite T.V. show and need to know what happened, send all inquiries my way

Monday, May 12, 2008

My knee fund

When I called the surgical center to make my appointment for my knee procedure, the scheduling lady asked me when I would prefer to come in. Yesterday, I quickly responded. Of course yesterday was no longer available and the quickest they could get me in was Tuesday afternoon. So Tuesday it is. I will be fixing the bare minimum and hoping that I can get by on that. Thank you once again for all the prayers and encouraging words and please keep them coming.

If you pay close attention to the changes and additions to this page, you might notice that the section that used to be called “Brianna’s Bound for Beijing Fund” has been slightly altered. I wanted to take a quick second to explain why. There have been a few people that have donated to my fund in the past and I am truly grateful and appreciative. I always make sure the donations go strictly to track-related things and are a direct assistance to helping me achieve my goal. I don’t want anyone thinking they are helping me buy a plane ticket to the Trials and it ends up they are increasing my already ridiculous shoe collection. But at this present moment I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place and because there have been a few people that have mentioned wanting to contribute some time in the near future and maybe some that have thought it silently to themselves, I figured I might as well put it out there that if that future was possibly now, it would be more help than you know.

I haven’t had health insurance in over 6 years. And it just so happens that last month I signed up for it and breathed a huge sigh of relief on my way home from Jamaica when I realized I would be able to see a Doctor and get my knee taken care of properly. Well there was a glitch and suffice to say health insurance companies are not in the business of being extremely helpful and accommodating. After paying for an MRI I was hoping it would straighten itself out in time for this procedure but it has not. So it all has to come out of pocket. And since I am not able to compete it means I am not able to bring money in. Of course I need my knee fixed as soon as possible, there is no question about that. Whatever debt I have to go in to make that happen is a sacrifice I’m willing to make, but of course with debt comes stress. So that’s my rock and hard place.

In reality, it is still my Bound for Beijing fund because I need to be healthy as soon as possible to give myself a fighting chance. And I’m really not seeking out large donations. Think of it as me being one of those kids that comes to your door trying to sell you a magazine contribution or oversized and overpriced candy to help pay for their summer camp. My summer camp will just be on Chinese soil. Of course I don’t have magazines or candy to give you in return, except maybe if you want one of the few SI issues I have left.

And perhaps this goes without saying, but this is such a hard thing for me to even put out there. Maybe that only holds true if you actually know me, but it’s a known fact for those that do. I try my best to be independent and figure things out on my own, but I guess everyone gets overwhelmed at times. Regardless, I know that things will turn out ok. God always has a way of providing no matter what and my own life has always been a testament to that.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

On Friday I had flowers delivered to my house and the delivery lady quickly exclaimed “Happy Mother’s Day!” as she handed over the bouquet. Well, either she had the wrong apartment or she just made an assumption because of the date and the fact that the other 5,385,976 deliveries she had that day were for mothers. Turns out it was the later. The flowers were for me, but definitely not because I was a mother. But it was at that exact moment that I realized I had let the holiday escape my consciousness over the last few days because of everything my mind has been consumed with, and I had not sent a single thing my Mom’s way. A terrible daughter…I know.

I figured the least I could do for now is offer up a public statement of my love and appreciation for the wonderful mother she is and has always been. It has been only recently when I began to understand the true sacrifices she made for us, the struggles of a single mother trying to raise two healthy and happy children on her own. I just hope to be a true testament to the job she did.

Mom, I am blessed and grateful to have a mother like you. And who knows, perhaps I’ll send some flowers next week when the prices go down…we really should celebrate Mom’s on more than one day anyway. :) LOVE YOU MOM!

Friday, May 9, 2008

It could be worse...maybe

"What I would recommend is for me to get in there, remove the floating piece of cartilage, and then try and repair the defect cartilage by poking holes in the bone and letting scar tissue form. This will probably put you out for about 6 to 8 weeks. ...What do you have coming up?"

I shook my head in the negative, unable to actually utter words. I know this doctor knows who I am and what I do, so 'what I have coming up' is probably about the most ridiculous question someone could ask me. I motioned for my friend and my coach to speak for me, because the enormous lump in my throat was not budging. Nikkie quickly pointed out that the Olympic Trials were at the end of June, a mere 7 WEEKS away. Perhaps now you can see why 6 to 8 weeks does not work in any shape or form. My coach quickly asked for another option. And I knew in my heart that there had to be another option. Because I know I’m not done. This can’t be it for me, and without the opportunity to go to the Trials, that’s essentially what I’m being told. So I waited to hear something more. And what he had to offer was doing the scope of my knee to remove the floating piece and merely smoothing the edges out of the defect part. This will only be possible if he gets in there and sees that the damaged area is not much larger than 5mm, as it seems in the picture. Any bigger would pose a problem. This, he said, would only put me out for 2 to 4 weeks. Not great, but not the end of the world.

So now I’m just going to seek out another opinion or two and hope for my insurance to kick in so I can take care of this as soon as possible. I know it could have been worse, and so I’m thankful that I’m at least left with some hope. I have so little time left that I feel as if every second counts and I don’t want to waste any of them if I don’t have to. I’ve been sitting out two weeks already so I know that getting prepared for the end of June will be a challenge. But I’m not scared of challenges, I only want the opportunity.

EDIT: I just want to thank whoever sent me flowers and chocolates this morning...not only for thinking of me and doing something so unbelievably sweet, but for being thoughtful enough to include CHOCOLATE! You must know me so well! And even though you didn't include your name so I could thank you personally, I hope that you read my blog so you realize how much I appreciated the kind gesture.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One day at a time

I had my MRI today but I won’t know my results until tomorrow afternoon (Thursday). I must admit I’ve been kind of a wreck. In my whole career I’ve never really had any real injury that I’ve had to deal with so this is all unchartered territory for me. Not to mention the extremely bad timing. I’ve broken down on more than one occasion…I know the people at Walgreen’s were a little weirded out by the crazy woman limping around totally blubbering. I inspect the swelling of me knee about every hour to see if I can notice any change. I’ve researched every knee ailment known to man and figured out the severity of them all as well as what the projected healing time is. Basically, I’ve done a lot of worrying and a lot of what if’ing.

But yesterday I came across something in my devotions that I’m really trying to hold on to. It talked about living one day at a time and not wasting time worrying or being anxious about tomorrow. It is comforting to know that whatever tomorrow may hold, He holds tomorrow. That really spoke to my heart.

So today there were no tears. I’ll admit, there were some choked up moments but I allowed them to pass and I tried not to get caught up in worsening my situation for no reason. Today I merely tried to deal with the present and when tomorrow comes, I will have the grace to deal with whatever it brings my way.

**A sincere thank you for all of you who have commented, texted, emailed, and called to send your best and remind me that I am in your prayers. I truly appreciate it.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Polo Ralph Lauren

As I mentioned earlier, I had put off writing about this experience until I could include pictures. Well it turns out I could have just googled myself and found plenty of pictures already on the web! A quick search produced stories on and the Daily Herald, among a plethora of other news sites and blogs. But because I’m sure you’d rather hear the rundown from my perspective, complete with a few of my “behind the scenes” photos, I will give it to you now.

Polo Ralph Lauren was chosen as the designer responsible for outfitting all of the Olympians this summer in Beijing. This includes both the opening and closing ceremonies as well as 22 days of lounge wear to relax in around the village. In order to reveal these designs to the public and the media, Ralph Lauren chose a few Olympic hopefuls as their models. Well I just happened to be one of those athletes. In all, there were four of us. U.S. Olympic team boxer Deontay Wilder, Giuseppe Lanzone, a member of the U.S. Rowing Team, archery athlete Joy Farhenkrog, and myself. Word on the street was that we were hand chosen by Ralph himself, but of course that could just be a big, fat rumor. The only reason I even get slightly excited about the thought of Mr. Lauren giving my picture a big thumbs up is because the photographer told us that Ralphie called him personally the night before to ask him to be the man behind the lens. He almost thought it was a prank and was a bit surprised himself. So I figured if the man handpicks his photographer, perhaps he picked us as well. I’m honored either way.

The shoot took place in New York at the Ralph Lauren studio. It was an all day affair as these things usually are. They wanted to get a bunch of different combinations of athletes as well as all the different looks they have created. The clothes are great…definitely preppy, as you would guess anything Ralph Lauren to be. I saw myself heading out to play cricket or having afternoon tea. Lots of white…lots of crispness, just a very refined look. Even my hair and make-up was very subdued. I came to the shoot with just mascara on and the makeup artist informed me I was wearing too much of it. Definitely my most understated look that I've ever done. I guess "fabulousness" is not the look they were going for. I figured I would include this picture of Giuseppe just to show you that sometimes what you see in magazines is not always the perfection you think it is. I guess our "athlete" bodies might have been a little larger than the sample sizes they brought? I'm not sure...either way I thought this picture of the back of his shirt was hilarious.

The pictures will be used in press kits and press releases as well as the cover of Hamptons Magazine. It will be the August issue I believe. Of course I will tell all my friends and family members who have subscriptions to the mag to definitely save me a copy. I probably won’t make it out to the Hamptons this summer, since I plan on being busy in China and all. In all seriousness though, it really was a great opportunity and a tremendous honor. I've done my fair share of being an athlete posing as a model this year and these are experiences that don't arise that often for most people. Imagine the difficulty I'd have trying to book a print ad for Ralph Lauren on my own? They'd be like, come back when you grow 5 inches and lose 20 pounds. And it's not like I'm a superstar in my sport, I'm just a girl with a goal trying to make it a reality. And to be honest, taking pictures has made it that much easier to obtain my goal from a monetary standpoint and I am extremely grateful for that as well.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I usually really like blogging. I get a little excited when I experience something and then immediately think to myself, I’ll blog that later. But right now…not so much. You see, I was really looking forward to having some interesting and exciting news during this time, what with all my travels and competitions that I had on the schedule, but now I find myself back in Tucson an entire week earlier than was planned and I’m quite frustrated. And to be honest, I really don’t want to blog about any of it because I know that I’m a little too emotional right now and a tad bit angry. And scared. And upset. And discouraged. And depressed. And nervous. And shoot, I really could go on and on about all the different emotions I’m feeling but the point is, I really don’t have a handle on any of them. I kind of feel like just screaming into a pillow and eating a whole pint of ice cream. But I’m lactose intolerant so that’s really not a good idea.

Anyway, my knee is freaking me out. And maybe it would help once I actually figure out what exactly is wrong with it, but it seems to just be falling apart at the seams and when I think it’s one thing, it will just morph into something else. But I really can’t even comment on the specifics of it all because I should probably wait for a doctor to determine all of that. I tried to give it 8 whole days of absolutely no work. If I could properly express to you just how hard of a task that is for me, maybe you could understand the will power it took. Even the one day I tried to jog lightly on a treadmill, because I felt something I immediately stopped. And in a weeks time it actually calmed down and felt like a normal knee again. I was relieved. I warmed up for the meet and I could run normally without favoring it I thought, and when I went to jump it felt sturdy. Hallelujah. But about half way through the competition I could feel something. And because I was in no way pleased how the previous jumps had turned out, I was hoping that it would stay strong and let me try and pull it together. But it did not. It freaked out and all of the sudden it just completely gave out and was the most excruciating pain ever. I wasn’t even in the middle of a jump; I was just trying to loosen it up.

And so for the last 24 hours I have been hobbling my way back to Arizona. And that is a big deal. I don’t ever forego competitions, especially when that means a non-refundable $2500 plane ticket and a last minute $900 ticket home. Yes, there are more important things at stake than plane tickets, but understand how the mere thought of that made me cringe. But when it came down to it, I did not have a choice. I knew I needed to be home and figuring out how to get a handle on this. Being half way around the world with a bum knee does not do me any good. I know some people will wonder why I tried to jump in the first place. That’s just me. If I think I am ok, I go for it. And I really thought I was ok. There are times when decisions like these don't even need to be put in my hands, because everyone knows what I will say. I am a competitor to the very bone and so it's hard for me to not try.

So please pray that I figure this knee problem out and that it’s not too serious. I can’t afford to continue to not train. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t prepare the way I want and need to. I feel so utterly helpless because all I want to do is to be able to be out there getting faster and stronger and I’m stuck. It’s the most frustrating feeling. But I realize I could be getting a tad bit ahead of myself and the whole pessimistic attitude that I am choosing to embrace might not even be necessary, but you really can’t convince my brain of that right about now. So I’m just sharing what I feel because that is the whole point of this blog anyway. And if I come back two days from now and realize that I totally overreacted and things aren’t as bad as they seem or maybe I’ve realized I really need to get a grip on my perspective on things, so be it. On second thought, that would actually make me happy. Because if I am forced to accept some other type of news, I really am not sure how to go about dealing with that.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Single in the City

I don't do blind dates. I just don't envision high rates of success for such things. I'm way too picky and I have a hard enough time finding people I might be interested in so it’s hard for me to put much faith into someone else being able to get the job done. Besides, I am most definitely a person who reacts to chemistry and this has proven to not bode well for 'good on paper' guys. Don't get me wrong...I'm not exactly filled with pride over some of my dating history but it is what it is. You've gotta be able to feel 'it', and there are not too many people out there that give me that feeling. But never say never, right?!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in New York for a couple days in an attempt to become the next Giselle. It was supposed to be a quick turnaround trip with little to no free time but I ended up staying an extra day in order to not make unnecessary cross country flights. That gave me an extra day in the city with absolutely no obligations. I spend enough time in Tucson hanging out by myself so I really wanted to be able to socialize but none of my acquaintences came to my rescue. Not like the list was terribly long, I really only know 1 1/2 people, but you'd think it wouldn't be so difficult to find some company. Not the case.

I ended up texting a friend in the area to see what he was up to and asked him if he'd be able to find me a hot date for the evening. I was actually 99% kidding. Sure, the idea of eating alone or odering room service was not that appealing, but atleast I know my own company is enjoyable. And if I was really that hard up I'd probably have more luck accepting the advances of one of the strangers I'd met on the street that day while I was out walking around. By the in New York are far more complimentary than men in most other places. Has anyone else found that to be true? And not just your annoying catcalls but genuine comments. Even my hotdog vendor said he had a thing for me. New york is great for the confidence!

But after some joking around back and forth I finally became convinced that it might not be that bad. He assured me that he was a good guy and not bad on the eyes. He rattled off a bunch of positive attributes, so much so that it reminded me of an ad you’d place in the paper. The only thing he forgot to mention was that he loved long walks on the beach and romantic candlelit dinners. And he actually had decent stats. He was black, white, and native american—which in my mind can never produce an ugly outcome. He was tall…a good build. If nothing else, eye candy right?! In fact, he actually said he resembled Jason Taylor a little bit. Hold up…not the only reason I have even watched an episode of Dancing with the Stars Jason Taylor? Do not play with my emotions! But in my head I’m thinking it is highly doubtful that there is another human being roaming the earth that is as beautiful as Jason Taylor who happens to be single and a friend of someone I know. But even if he’s a bad version of J.T., that still might not be half bad. Besides, it was just a meal, not an arranged marriage. So I gave him the thumbs up and told him to go ahead and make the match but only if the guy didn’t think it was weird and/or desperate and he wasn’t busy.

But he WAS busy. And all the sudden I found myself being slightly disappointed in something I initially thought would be a huge waste of time. Not to mention his busyness stemmed from a prior commitment at church. I happen to find that to be a bit of a turn-on.

So this whole blog is about a meeting that never happened. Exciting, right?! It actually sums up my current dating life quite well. I had to make do with room service and an episode of America’s Next Top Model…how’s that for a fabulous night in New York City. But I was willing to give it a shot and that’s pretty huge for me. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. And no, this does not mean I am taking applications for my next blind date. I still hold the same beliefs for the most part, unless you can show absolute proof that you do in fact resemble J.T.