Monday, June 30, 2008

Quick Update...

Hey Everyone!

I lived to fight another day. Woohoo!!! Prelims were tonight and the top 12 move on to Thursday for the finals. I was 5th overall with a jump of 21'5 (6.53) but those marks don't carry over to Thursday. Overall it wasn't bad. Lots of nerves on the first jump but once I got it out of the way I felt much better. I can't thank you all enough for the support and prayers and well wishes. I will probably write a legit post tomorrow but right now I am EXHAUSTED!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Surrounded by Love

So far everything in Eugene has been great. I was greeted at the airport by three of my very best friends who made sure my arrival was one of importance (as evidenced by the picture above). Normally things such as this would embarrass me but on this occasion I was thrilled and only just slightly embarrassed. Once I arrived at my hotel there was a huge bouquet of white and pink roses waiting for me with a wonderfully sweet message from my friend Debbie out in Chicago who played detective and found out where I was staying so she could have the flowers waiting for me when I got here. It’s absolutely great to be surrounded by all this love. I had talked to my friends before I left and they said they were out here to be supportive but totally understood that if I had to have my space and focus they would keep their distance. But what I wanted more than anything was to have them near. So near that we actually had a slumber party Friday night! I know everybody is different in regards to their preparation before competitions, but I have found that I don’t function better when I completely cut myself off for long periods of time. I have spent tons of time in solitude while out in Tucson and what I needed more than anything was to have friends around and let my brain take a bit of time off. For so long each and every thought that has ran through my brain has been about track and the Trials and so it was good to have them here and enjoy friend time. We even had an arts and crafts session where they went to work writing out everyone’s inspiring messages on construction paper that I have taped up all over my walls. My job was project manager so I sat around playing DJ on the computer and passing out quotes and taping up the finished projects. My room is now a cocoon of encouragement and inspiration and many of you contributed so thank you so much for that!

I did spend some time at the track on Saturday and so far the Trials have been amazing and very inspiring. I thought it might be a little tough watching the women’s 100 meters knowing that I was supposed to be a part of it, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I appreciated the event as a spectator. The ladies ran phenomenally and it was so remarkable to see Lauryn Williams make the team once again, running a great race when it counts and getting the job done as she always does. Earlier in the day they showed a interview with her on the jumbotron and she said she wanted to finish in one of the top 3 spots and it didn’t matter which one, then once she got to Beijing she was going to go out there and win. And sure enough…she found a way. 3rd place by the smallest of margins but I have never seen someone so consistently get the job done when it counts and it truly is a testament to her character. Today will be low-key for me. I might make it out there to watch the men’s 100 because I have a feeling it will be something remarkable. The track is unbelievably fast. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

Friday, June 27, 2008

I'm off to Eugene!

Have you ever felt like something couldn’t come fast enough and at the same time seemed to creep up on you incredibly too fast?! I have been waiting for the Olympic Trials for years. Lots of them. And yet…I can’t believe it’s here already!!! It’s a crazy feeling knowing that the buildup is about to be over and all that’s left now is to get it done. No more preparation, what you have now is all that you’re working with. For the last couple of days my coach keeps telling me ”It is what it is.” This is in response to my constant anxious observations about each and every little thing. How these times compare to the times I was running earlier this year… Should I be worried that last year I was able to do such and such in training… Look at how different my landing looks compared to JJK’s…How much fitness did I actually lose…Am I strong enough in the weight room…. And the simple answer to it all is WHO CARES. I have no time to add tools to the toolbox, I simply have to get it done with what’s available. So I simply take a few deep breaths and say OK.

I am actually really excited that the Trials are in Eugene this year. As some of you may know, the University of Oregon is where I won my 2 NCAA titles back in 2001. In many of the sports psychology books I’ve been devouring this year, they say that it’s helpful to recreate vivid pictures of past successes. This helps to reestablish old connections and embrace feelings of accomplishment. Naturally my experience in Eugene is part of those visualizations. The crazy thing is, I have an absolutely horrible memory. For the most part, the events that I try and focus on will bring up a very vague picture in my mind. I can remember their importance and the marks I achieved, but I usually have a hard time recreating the experience. Except Eugene. There are certain parts of that week that have stayed engrained on my brain for whatever reason. Winning the long jump isn’t really the part that I do remember clearly unfortunately. It was the first day and I won on my first jump, so of course at the time I wasn’t thinking that was the winning jump. And then at the end I was still so focused on the other two events I had I really didn’t let it sink all the way in. But I do remember the moment after I won the 200. I remember the feeling. I remember the look on my face. I remember the conversation I had with myself in my head. Of course it helps that it was captured on film and displayed on the front page of the sports section…

I look at that picture (I still have the original newspaper article but this one was conveniently already online just in black and white) and I can experience that moment all over again. I remember I wanted to outwardly show more emotion but I was so darn tired! Hence the half-hearted fist pump—that’s all I could muster. But that look on my face speaks to me…because I know the thoughts that accompany it. And that’s why I’m glad I am going back to Eugene. Because I have never been more confidant and I have never believed in myself more. I realize that occurred 7 years ago, but it is what it is. I have to use what I’ve got and right now I have that memory.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Think out Loud

In the past few weeks, I have done a couple interviews for various magazines, websites and such. I always enjoy the opportunity to give my thoughts because it not only allows me to share my story with a broader audience; it helps me to reaffirm my beliefs in myself and in my talents. Saying something out loud provides a stronger anchor and it makes you focus on all the positive feelings that go along with this experience. Any time someone thanks me for doing an interview, I know I was blessed far more in the process.

The following link is an interview I did the other day for a website/blog that covers our sport and you will also find interviews from other athletes competing at the Trials in the next upcoming weeks. Take a look…


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I don't give out my number

***I know I had said ALL TRACK from here on out but I'm giving you guys a break! ;)

I had an interesting conversation with a few friends a couple of weeks ago about the difficulty we always experience when asked for our digits from gentlemen we’d rather never hear from. She’s a super nice gal and incredibly friendly and outgoing so I think oftentimes people get the wrong signal and assume she’s interested when really she’s just that way with everybody. So inevitably they ask and then she feels stuck. I, on the other hand am not that nice or that outgoing, but I still have always had a hard time telling people no thanks. Not interested. Never in a million years…in a nice way of course. I don’t like rejecting and I also don’t like to hurt someone’s feelings, however slight it might be. And before you start in on how men are grown and they can take it, blah, blah, blah…no they can’t. Many times bruised egos make for rude men. Or men that just don’t know how to let it be and now feel it’s ok to try and bully the number out of you. So more often than not, I lie. I have a boyfriend…and just in case that still doesn’t seem to deter you and you want to convince me we could still be “friends”…we live together. And we share a cell phone. So you see, there is really no way I could give you my number.

But that’s a bit childish, right? I’m 28 years old, why am I lying about my relationship status in order to not have to give out my number? Which brings me back to the conversation I had with my friend the other week where I finally decided I was going to stop being a punk about it. She said we needed to start saying I’m sorry, I never give out my number. This definitely states that the number is not to be had but does not make it personal and also does not have to involve lying about a fabricated relationship. If you so choose, you may offer up an email, but of course this is on a case-by-case basis.

So…yesterday I was at Borders. Yes, my home away from home away from my other home, Starbucks. I was in the book section looking for something specific when I saw a man pass and give me the once over. I tried not to make eye contact because I wasn’t in the mood. This of course is another one of my problems. I am single. I complain that I never meet anybody. But, in any circumstance that is might be possible to meet somebody, I don’t want to be bothered. Unless of course one look at them blew my socks off…and this particular man did not.

By the time I made my way over to the magazine section to find my reading material for the next couple hours, he had also found his way over to the magazine section and into my personal space. He struck up a dialogue that was not in the least bit witty or clever in any way and after a moment, without any sign from me that I might be the least bit interested, he asked for my number. Armed with my new response intended to not bruise any egos, I quickly told him that I did not give out my number…and then I hastily added that we could exchange email. I’m not sure why I included the last bit because he had not come off as someone I could possibly find interesting in any form or fashion, but I suppose I was still wearing my training wheels.

What transpired afterwards was a test of my patience to say the least. He continued to try and sell himself and slip in information that I was not buying for a second. Does any lawyer you know still have the free phone you get when you sign up for a plan and not know how to input an email address?! I’m the one with the blackberry and I don’t even work! But I digress…the point is he was now getting on my nerves, so much so that I was forced to give out a fake email address. Pathetic, huh? Here I am trying to be all mature and not lie about my relationship status or give out a fake number and I forge my email because at this point I am SO sure that even words on a page from him would irritate me and I just want to take the easy way out. So I tried, but I suppose next time I will have to try harder.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Totally Committed

I’ve had success throughout my life in many different areas. If someone came to me and asked me for some insight on things I consider myself to be an expert on, I’d gladly share with them my wealth of knowledge. Shopping when you don’t have a lot of money. Eating whatever you want and not really gaining any weight. Watching an insane amount of reality t.v. and not having your brain rot. Posing in a bikini when you have way too many muscles. Working out and not messing up your makeup whatsoever. Taking pictures of yourself and not cutting off the top of your head. These are my fields of expertise. As far as track and field is concerned, one of the reasons I like talking to younger kids in high school and college is I feel as if I am able to speak with authority on that part of a career and share what I believe will help them be most successful because I had a lot of success during those years and its always helpful to hear from someone who’s “been there” and can tell you all the ins and outs you may not know.

Well the other day I was having a conversation with a friend who also doubles as a sports psychologist and works with many Olympic level athletes. I asked him what he thinks the difference is between those that make it versus those that don’t. And the way he phrased it really struck a chord with me. He said that they are fully committed to doing whatever they have to do to succeed. It isn’t a matter of hoping to do well or trying to succeed, you just commit yourself completely to whatever it is you set your mind to do. For me, this highlights a very important way of approaching things. In your mind if you are motivated by an unwavering determination to accomplish something, it seems as if that is much stronger than merely trying or hoping for things to work out the way you want them to. The former gives no other possible outcome than the one you have determined while the latter is not so resolute.

So I think it’s time to be totally committed. I understand that as a mere mortal there are certain things I simply cannot guarantee, but what I can say with absolute certainty is that I am committed to competing to the best of my ability. I am not simply going to try and do my best, I am going to eliminate the “trying” and simply JUST DO IT. There is no reason to hope for something that I have full control over. Don’t get me wrong, you will never hear me say that everything that happens is totally under my control because I am still a firm believer that the outcome is my own will being lined up and in tune with the Big Man’s, but you have got to believe that your talents are there for a purpose and make sure you aren’t shortchanging yourself. (Philippians 1:6 … being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.)

At the end of the day, I know that if I perform in this manner, I will be content. Perhaps I’ve had commitment issues in the past, but next week I will be as devoted to this cause as is humanly possible.

P.S. Even though this is the 2nd post within 24 hours, please still continue to leave quotes and verses if you aren't reading as fast as I'm writing and missed the last post!


I absolutely love quotes. I try and write down and remember any prolific quote that I come across, even if they only seem prolific to me. At the Olympic Trials in 2004 I covered my room in quotes that I had stumbled on throughout the year that I thought would be inspiring. The maid probably thought I belonged in some sort of psych ward with all the randomness taped on the walls but I felt as if surrounding myself with positive thoughts and reminders would be helpful. Well it didn’t really help in 2004 but I figure there is no reason I shouldn’t surround myself with positive thoughts this time around as well. But then I was thinking…while little nuggets of wisdom and encouragement from random people are great, there is so much inspiration that many of you have given me this year with the bible verses and words of encouragement that you have shared with me. So I figured that this year I’ll cover my room with that as well.

So if any of you have shared a verse with me this year or have a great one you’d like to share now, please leave them in the comments. And if you don’t really do the whole bible verse thing, you can still leave the most motivating quote you can think of or just the moving words that come from your own heart. I just hope this can be a group effort so I can print them all out before I leave and make sure I’m all ready and fired up. All of you have been so incredibly supportive through all of my ups and downs this year and I really value the extra boost I get from the blog world. Thank you in advance!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Clearing my Head

This is just a forewarning to all who read this little blog here…I suspect that for the next couple weeks I will be all over the place. I can also tell you that all posts will more than likely be labeled “track”. So if you are a new visitor or only stop by in the hopes that a bird pooped on my head or I have an interesting story about all the dates I’m NOT going on, you’ll probably be slightly disappointed. For all the rest of you who want to see just how self-absorbed and narcissistic I can be, please tune in. (I also hope that by admitting this little tidbit, you’ll be less inclined to point it out to me in a very condescending way.)

Anyway, I am finding myself to be a bit of a basket case lately. The one thing I’ve learned about myself in the past year is that I am much better off getting things off my chest and out in the open. So I will be using this blog a bit like a diary…just one that you all can read too and give feedback if you’d like. Positive preferred.

One of the things that I am grateful for in my “old age” is that I have a much better grasp on what the wrong type of thought processes are. I can be somewhat of a negative person when it comes to performance and expectations and I am extremely hard on myself. But I have learned how inhibiting that can be and have worked hard at becoming more positive and focusing more on the process of things instead of the result. If you think that seems like something so easy to grasp, live a day in my head and you will have a better understanding. Shoot, if I had written a blog during any other year besides this one, it would probably be a best-seller on teaching athletes how not to think. But I have learned, through much trial and error, that my mind has been my biggest enemy. So more than anything I have worked on the space between my ears this year in a very major way.

But, whatever. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? This year is stressful and these couple of weeks is beyond describable. I have come to understand how I need not to always focus on results but I find that very hard to do when all I have before me is Olympic Trials. It just doesn’t seem to hold true in this instance. Especially when I have such little time left. The “process” needs to be dang near perfect or else I’m going to freak out just a little bit. Which is exactly what I did on Thursday. I had a practice that was just really not that great—in fact I think my exact words to my coach at the end were “I SUCK!!!” as I flung sand into the air. I wasn’t jumping far and I was irritated because whatever good I could have extracted from that practice seemed to pale in comparison to the frustration I was feeling.

So that’s basically what’s going on with me – emotions on steroids. Everything is heightened and I am just trying to keep a handle on it all. I have worked too hard this year to be ready in all aspects that matter. I know that the setback I experienced screws with me sometimes but I need to be stronger than that. And I think I will be…as long as I’m able to vent and get it all out before it settles.

So there you go…what I’m thinking about at 1 am. Did I mention my sleep patterns are all wacky too? Don’t be surprised if you check my blog and I have written 4 entries that day. Or none. Although I doubt that.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Picture of the Week: friends for life

Anyone who knows me knows just how much I value friendship. I have some of the most AWESOME friends in the world and these ladies are my lifelines. Within this special group I have three very best friends I have known for more of my life than not. We most definitely come as a set—we are best friends as a group and not so much as individual pairs. In high school we called ourselves the BOMB SQUAD and, well, I am not really sure why I shared that cheesy little tidbit but there you go! Because of that, we like to spend time all together as much as possible. We call it best friend time and it’s just never the same if one of us is missing. Of course this has been hampered by my move out of the state as I have been the odd man out plenty of times but this past weekend because I was in the sunny state of California, I made sure I had time to see my friends while I was there. The problem was Melanie was out of town on Saturday night when we got together for dinner and she was bummed she was missing out on the quality friend time we were having. She implored us to not have fun without her. Fat chance!

Jasmine, being the thoughtful friend that she is, made this sign and brought it to the restaurant. After 548 attempts at trying to take the picture ourselves on the camera phone, a nice gentleman came to help out and put us out of our misery. We sent it off to Mel, thousands of miles away at a show in Philadelphia, to let her know we were thinking of her.

And then Mel sent us this picture back! You’ve got to love technology these days. Even when you are separated by the furthest of distances, you can still feel close to one another.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


A while back I received an email from a nice gentlemen out in Atlanta. He found his way to my blog and website after viewing my SI picture and proceeded to send some encouraging words my way. I love to hear from the different people around the country and even the world who have stumbled across my little space here on the web and find interest in my life and my journey.

He informed me that he was a teacher and had told his class all about me. These young kids (ages 5 – 8) were now my biggest fan club…how awesome is that! They’ve seen video of me run and are excited to see me make the Olympic Team and go to Beijing. They even remembered my birthday! Like any sports “superstar” they expected to see me on SportsCenter. Hopefully they weren’t holding their breath! Unfortunately they were unable to see me perform on any of the televised meets this year either but it warmed my heart to know they looked for me.

Anyway, today I received a package in the mail from the class that included a personalized card from each and every one of them, a picture of the class, and a check from a bake sale they had to help support me. For three weeks the class sold cheesecake, bagels, cinnamon rolls, and chicken biscuits. They did this for me. Even typing it now brings tears to my eyes. (It also makes my stomach growl because I’m sure it was all delicious!) Their homemade cards with the “WE BELIEVE!” themes and pictures of me running, jumping, and winning a gold medal are the most precious cards I’ve ever received.

I am so incredibly filled with gratitude and appreciation towards these kids and their teacher for thinking that I am worthy of their time and effort. I am honored. THANK YOU for helping me on this journey and for believing in me. I hope to come to Atlanta in the near future and thank you in person!

Monday, June 16, 2008

TESTING. 1...2...3...

I don’t like surprises. Well…that’s not entirely true. If the surprise involves a new car with a big red bow around it or a shiny diamond meant for my left hand, I’d gladly delight in the shock and astonishment that I’d be sure to experience. But the types of surprises that involve unfamiliar territory and are accompanied by feelings of uncertainty are definitely ones I’d prefer to do without. My life is always filled with plans and preparation because that is how I operate the best. My friends know this about me. We don’t eat at a new restaurant until I have researched it to death on Citysearch, Zagat, and any other place I can find reviews. I try on all my outfits before I pack them for trips even if I’ve owned the clothes for years. And in any other season I would have competed as many times as necessary until I felt confident in my abilities and satisfied with my technique going into that year’s championship. My year of training and competitions has been planned since before I even stepped foot on the track this fall. Of course there is always going to be tweaks and modifications, but I never imagined an adjustment of this magnitude.

I have done my best to be at ease with the circumstances as they stand. In practice there is only so much you can duplicate, and as close as you might come to being able to replicate the effort and intensity that comes with the heat of competition, it is never really the same. Especially when it’s just you. You...and the unbelievably HOT sun. Even the ants go into hiding. I would imagine it’s something akin to being a stand-up comic and only ever doing your material in front of your goldfish before you headline a show in front of 50,000 people. That’s kind of how I feel…Dear God; I sure hope I’m funny!

Well in order to help relieve a bit of that trepidation I spent a couple days down at the Olympic Training Center with a few of my fellow jumpers this past weekend. And I jumped. 6 full jumps and a measuring tape on hand to fully assess my effort. There was nothing else going on except us on the runway so it was a lot more low key than an actual meet, but I had competitors…good ones at that! We even had some of the staff and a few friends down there to cheer us on. I was a bit anxious beforehand because I knew that the two jump practices I had the week prior were definitely a blessing and a positive step in the right direction, but not the kind of showing that proves you are really ready to do something. I had to remind myself that going out there in a competition setting so soon was a way for me to assess where I was at, shake off some of the nerves, and assure me that my knee was good and ready to withstand a competition and be just fine. I knew that it was imperative I focus on the positive and not dwell on the parts that still need some time for some fine-tuning, because there is obviously going to be some of that needed. I relay all this information to you as if it was a nice, peaceful conversation that took place in my head as I calmly reasoned with myself, and not a total freak out I had about two days prior that it was quite possible I could get on that runway and land about two feet from where I took off and then believe myself to be completely screwed!

Well I didn’t freak out and I jumped a wee bit further than two feet. I started off a bit shaky and had a couple conservative jumps. It was nothing to bury my head in the sand over but not impressive either. Then I turned the burners on and did a few nosedives into the sand because I was not handling the speed that well. But I had the speed…so still a positive! What I was happiest with however (besides ending the day healthy), was the fact that on my last jump I was able to pull it together a bit enough to actually produce a jump that was half way decent. I’m sure the jump was ugly, but it had that competitive flair that allowed me to soar a bit further than the other jumps. It wasn’t so much that I fixed what I was doing wrong, I just capitalized on what I was able to do well at this point and time. It was a 6.59 effort (which is roughly around 21’7 I think for you metrically challenged folks). I realize that the distance is not one that will cause anyone’s mouth to drop open in amazement and it will take a far better effort in two weeks time, but when you look at the whole picture it sure as heck ain’t too shabby for a girl who had a squishy leg and a bum knee a few weeks back.

So I am now able to do my final two weeks of preparation with less ambiguity in terms of where I’m at and if I am capable of putting a jump together. There are things I still need to fix and work on that will allow my body to fire and respond the way it needs to so that I can produce a big jump, but I was able to eliminate a lot of the unknown and shake off a bit of the anxiety. I am grateful for the opportunity and I am happy I was able to not let what I can’t do yet interfere with what I can do.

Fellow Long Jumpers Grace Upshaw, Akiba McKinney, April Holliness, and ME!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Laugh Out Loud

The other day something happened to me-- One of those things that bring immediate embarrassment and a mortifying glance in all directions to see if there were any witnesses to the incident. Well in my case, thank goodness there were not. After I got over the initial shock however, I figured I must tell someone. Is this just a quirk of mine or do most people act in this way? It’s not so much that I take some sort of pleasure in my awkwardness or my (very few) humiliating moments, but I have this desire for funny things to be laughed at, even if it’s at my expense. So I immediately picked up the phone to call someone so that they could laugh at me and give the experience it’s fair reaction. Well it’s been a few days and my sister and two best friends have already given me the response I was looking for, but I figured why stop there?!! I have all of you who I’m sure know how to chuckle when appropriate so here ya go…

I was at Starbucks (shocker!) enjoying a nice iced latte and reading my new sports psychology book that is sure to kick my confidence and concentration up a notch in these upcoming weeks. I decided to sit outside under a nice shade tree because the temperature had dropped enough as to not scorch my eyebrows off. So there I am, cute outfit and all, having a relaxing afternoon.

side note: I should probably mention something about my outfit because if I’m being honest, it does have a small part in the story. I’ve had this new shirt that I bought a while ago but have never worn. About once a week I try it on and try and decide if it’s worth keeping or if I should take it back because I’m just not absolutely convinced but have yet to make up my mind. Well today I had the bright idea to wear the shirt to Starbucks with the tags still attached so I could actually wear it for a while out in public and then decide if it’s worth keeping or not. I know…shameless.

Anyway, I’m sure you can guess where this is going. I’m sitting there, minding my own business, UNDER A TREE, when suddenly I am attacked by a series of splats. A couple on the top of my head and then a few right across the front of my shirt. Ok, ok. One grazed my nose as well. And in case you were unaware, bird crap starts off wet and then dries crusty. So those few on top of my head proceeded to do a bit of drizzle action. I immediately froze and looked at the people sitting at the table next to me to see if they were aware of the crap fest that had just taken place. Thankfully they were none the wiser. So I jumped up and hurriedly walked inside to grab some napkins and clean my scalp as best I could. The shirt was also cleaned off as best as possible. Of course now I can start referring to it as MY shirt as you really can’t return things with bird stains on the front. Well that ended my very brief trip to Starbucks, as I had to go home and wash my hair. Oh…did I mention that I had my hair straight and it had a good few more days before it needed washing? Talk about adding insult to injury!

If you’d like, feel free to add your own funny story and give me something to laugh at you for now.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Knee and its Progress

It has been a while since I have updated you all about my knee and how things are coming along. Actually I am only speaking to those of you who I don’t speak or write to, because everyone else seems to ask about 47 times a day. In fact, if I had a dollar for every time I heard the question “How’s your knee”, I wouldn’t need any help paying for my surgery! That must mean a lot of people care…or just have nothing else to talk to me about. Regardless it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to feel as if I have so many people in my corner rooting for me and wishing me the best. I appreciate all the thoughts and prayers—both the ones that I know about and the ones out there in cyberspace.

Well, on to my update…

This past week I have been back to regular training and at the end of the week I even did full approach pop ups. (Technical talk for doing take-offs in the long jump without landing). I am ecstatic because I’m still fast. Granted, I am not as fast as I believe I would have been without the setback, but I am definitely fast and this is one of my advantages to already being one of the fastest jumpers in the world (in my humble opinion). It was a bit nerve racking putting back on my spikes without knowing what to expect from my body. I did not step on a track surface for a month’s time and then I did a somewhat abbreviated and accelerated rehab program so that I could get back to doing what I need to do. Needless to say, this caused some achy joints and bones. I am not the spring chicken I once was!

As important as balancing on one leg and stepping down from a 1 ft. box is, I could not wait to start to be able to feel as if I was really preparing for my task in 3 weeks. Here is the thing about this whole process – it can be truly overwhelming if you let it. I have taken things one step at a time because that is the only way to feel as if it’s manageable. If I could only lie on my couch and squeeze my quad 25 times every hour, I made sure I stayed on top of it. Once I was able to jog in the water, I tried to be the best water jogger I could. (No easy feat as I am no fan of things done in the water.) When I was able to get on land and do things that were not too much impact, I put all my energy towards that. I could not focus on what I could not do, only on what I could. It was hard. I’m not going to lie. But for the most part I was proud of myself for staying in the moment and staying positive and continuing to believe that I would be ok.

Last Friday, when I finally got on the runway and ran my approach, timed my last 10 meters, and took off from that speed, I was able to let out a huge sigh of relief. It will probably still take a little time for my timing to get back on and for the distance to be worth anything, but that is not cause for worry right now. In fact, I prevented myself from even measuring them because I just wanted to feel happy with my incredible progress. The speed that I am running at is enough for me to jump far and that is a huge piece of my puzzle. I make no qualms about the fact that I am a ‘speed’ jumper, meaning that my ability to jump far is in direct correlation to the speed I’m able to generate on the runway. A technique jumper I am not. So it is a cause for celebration that I am feeling so close to my old self at this stage of the game.

My knee feels a little stiff and weird but the main thing is that it feels strong and it’s not swelling up by anything that I have done thus far. It is a precocious balance at this stage of the game because right now is not the time to really work hard and do tons of things to help me get stronger and faster. I know I am behind in terms of where I would want to be in a perfect world, especially in terms of having competitions under my belt, but on the bright side I certainly haven’t over-competed! Right now all athletes are in their tapering stages and are allowing their bodies to be rested in order to feel their best and peak for the Trials. There is so much work that I want to be able to do but obviously there is not time for that. I basically have to trust what I have and use these next few weeks to fine-tune it. I feel incredibly blessed to be healthy in mind, body, and spirit and I really don’t think I could ask for anything more.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Picture of the Week: MY FEET



Saturday, June 7, 2008

Welcome to MY BLOG!

It’s been about 8 months since I first started this blog and I know that many of you who are readers now have not been with me from the beginning. I am so honored and blessed that you find it worth your time to pay my little spot a visit and sometimes even leave a little feedback. Whether you are a track and field enthusiast who appreciates an athlete’s perspective, a person who just likes to read different blogs, a stalker, or a friend or family member who realizes the only way to find out about what’s happening in my life is by reading my blogs…I’m glad you’re here. Lately though, I’ve realized that some of the “feedback” I’m receiving is not always of a positive nature. And I’m not speaking of those who voice a difference of opinion or offer up another viewpoint when they feel compelled to. I welcome that. I’m talking about the mean-spirited comments that serve no purpose other than to be unkind and cruel, and that judge me unfairly. Because let’s face it…you probably don’t know ME.

Sure, you might know a little bit about me if you take a little time and peruse through some of the entries. I think it gives a nice little snapshot. But obviously there is so much more to me then I could possibly include in a few weekly entries. But one thing that should be quite clear regardless is that I write this blog mainly for me. I stated that in the Introduction and it’s also clearly mentioned at the top of this page. The blog is about MY LIFE. So perhaps you can understand why I find it odd that people take the time to complain when I write about, say, myself! Or that I post pictures of myself… Imagine that?! It’s silly to me that people want to point out how self-absorbed and full of myself I am to continue to mention “me” as if they didn’t realize what they were getting into. There are plenty of blogs dedicated to politics, world events, the environment, etc. This one ain’t it! Sorry to disappoint. (I am fully aware that Hillary is giving her concession speech today and I'll probably watch--but I'd rather blog about something else. Cute guys? My six 8 pack? The ridiculous sports bra tan this summer heat is giving me?) Along with this is the notion of me being extremely one-dimensional because you know “athletes”—they don’t have the ability to think or care about anything besides themselves. Preposterous. Just because my blog might seem one-dimensional does not mean my mind is. I am also a sarcastic individual. I mention this only because lately it seems to be missing its mark with some of you. I make fun of myself but I never am trying to make fun of someone else or act as if I’m better than him or her. Yes, even when I call their legs squishy. It is not my fault that I don’t normally have squishy legs but it also doesn’t make me better than someone who does. On numerous occasions I have pointed out the fact that my lady lumps are on the invisible small side, yet nobody took the time to bash me for thinking I’m better than people with larger breasts now did they? Let’s not be biased now.

All this ranting is mainly just to say that I enjoy writing this blog and I am flattered that more than 3 people even bother to read it. For me, it is a positive outlet that allows me to share my experience as well as deal with things in a more productive manner due to the fact that I have received so much encouragement and support from most of you. For the small minority who hide behind your computer screen anonymously and throw out random, spiteful comments, I really just wish you wouldn’t bother. It boggles me how someone would even take time to read and invest in something they weren’t fond of. If you secretly hope that I fail, just keep it to yourself. If you find me to be narcissistic and it bothers you, stay away and don’t be bothered. If you absolutely cannot stand when people would post a picture of themselves in a bikini for others to look at, my blog is definitely not for you. This is not required reading for anybody. I want people here who actually enjoy it. I’d never visit a blog written by Paris Hilton because I can’t stand her. And I definitely wouldn’t then take my precious time commenting about how annoying she is and how ugly her feet are! Do you catch my drift? Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy a spirited debate just as much as anybody, just make sure you have a point.

So once again, thank you for all of you who have made this an enjoyable experience for me. I like blogging more than I ever thought I would. And for the “e-thuggers” (credit goes to D.O. for that one), take the advice you learned in kindergarten. If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Money Well Spent

Yesterday afternoon I had some time to kill before my Chiropractor appointment. Luckily for me his office is located on University Ave, home to many eating establishments, coffee shops, and shopping. Come to think of it, I think half the time I arrive early on purpose. I stopped by Urban Outfitters because I am in desperate need of some lightweight sundresses. The key word here obviously is need. It seems every time the seasons change I go to my closet and realize I have absolutely no clothes that are suitable for the current weather. Perhaps most of the time that could be a bit of an exaggeration but this time I assure you it is not. Tucson is HOT right now. Like step into a sauna and then add an additional heat lamp right on your face, hot. To deal with the misery you really need to be careful what you wear. Most of the time, I wear jeans for just about any occasion or season. I think I own 1 pair of shorts and not that many dresses, especially not that many casual ones. But I am quickly realizing that wearing jeans in the heat of the day is just not that smart and I could really benefit from a sundress made of the lightest material possible. So I try on a couple and like them one enough but I decide not to buy anything right away. One, because Urban Outfitters overprices their clothes in my opinion, and two because I probably don’t need it as much as I think I do so I don’t want to make any impulse purchases when times are as rough as they are. So I tell myself that if it’s still a ‘must-have’ after my appointment, maybe I’ll come back.

As I’m making my way over to my chiropractor’s office a black man and his wife speak to me. It’s the whole ”how you doin’ sistah…have a wonderful day, conversation that black folks have with one another. The man has this huge cast-like thing on his leg. After we pass each other he says, “excuse me sistah” and I turn around. He proceeds to tell me they are having a rough time and he just got released from the hospital and need to catch the shuttle bus back to Phoenix and for a lot of reasons that I can’t really recall, were having trouble doing so. He tried to show me all these papers and different things to show that what he was saying was legit but if I am already stopped, I’m going to help. The wife was apologetic and said it was embarrassing to have to ask for help, and for that I felt bad. Sometimes you are just down on your luck and when you have to go up to complete strangers on the street it must be a tough thing to do. So I gave them the money they still needed to get on the shuttle and went on my way, knowing that my dress money was well spent.

Later that evening I was over by the track and a guy stopped me and asked if I could help him get on the bus. He just needed a couple of dollars and proceeded to tell me that it was most definitely not for alcohol or cigarettes. I am thinking to myself that I must really have the aura of “giver” today. Not only am I running into people I feel genuinely need help but I actually have cash on me, which I never do. I didn’t have any singles so I gave him the larger bill that I had and this is what he said to me:

Thank you so much for helping me out. I hope that the next time you are in a rough spot and need someone to help you out that you come across people that are willing to help. God Bless.

And I just had to smile. Because what he had just said was already true. Most people who donated on my blog to help me with the cost of my knee surgery were people I don’t know personally. They just helped because they saw I was in a rough spot and offered assistance out of the kindness of their heart. Of course I didn’t give him that little bit of money with that on my mind, but after he said that I just felt a huge wave of gratefulness and gratitude. I am so appreciative to have so many people in my corner who believe in me and want to see me succeed. Sometimes when you help others just a little bit, they end up helping you a whole lot more in the end.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Almost Famous

I was in Vegas this past weekend. No reason really, except for notbeing in Tucson. So I skipped town and headed over to the next state for too much amazing food and a little R & R. Vegas might not be the first spot you think of for relaxation, but it can work—you just have to put your mind to it and go to bed before the sun comes up. Speaking of amazing food, if you’ve never had Sunday brunch at the Bellagio, you absolutely must go before you die. It will actually make you pray for a stomach 3 sizes larger than the one you actually have. It’s cruel actually, because they know you will fill up before you have a chance to try even a fraction of it all and then you just end up disappointed. Or sick from trying anyway.

But the highlight of my weekend, besides the opportunity to get out of the house and interact with other humans, was being recognized in public…for blogging. Every once in a while someone recognizes me for track, like that one time the cable guy came over and remembered me from my days at Arizona, or just regular track participants or fans of the sport, or even being mistaken for another athlete I’m not. It’s all very flattering. And this conversation started out as most of those do…

Excuse me, what’s your name?


Brianna Glenn?

Quick deducing in my head…ok, he’s not hitting on me, he knows my name. Maybe I know him from somewhere. I don’t think so…

YEAH. ARE YOU A TRACK COACH OR SOMETHING? (not really giving off the fellow athlete vibe, so the next obvious guess.)

No, I read your blog.

And to be honest, he kind of whispered it as if you aren’t supposed to admit such things in public, but I was actually quite delighted. I think he found his way there after a google search following my picture in SI, and he’s stuck around ever since. And that’s quite fine with me. In fact, I find it quite flattering that I have found people interested in my journey and my ramblings that are NOT track fans, just somewhat interested in me, when at times there really isn’t all that much that seems interesting.

So I’d just like to say thank you for saying hello and acknowledging me. I’m guessing this is something like what Z list celebrities go through, although on a much smaller scale. Attention is one thing, but attention for something you actually do or have done is much more gratifying. I still have plans to grace the cover of a Wheaties box and have my face recognized world-wide for being a stud athlete, but in the meantime, a stranger in Vegas who likes my blog will have to do.