Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I stole this from a blogger friend, RBW, because my brain is kind of empty right now and it seemed fun to just fill in answers. Enjoy...

Maybe I should…write a resume. Even though it would be mostly blank space and filled only with track related accomplishments that I have somehow morphed into looking like admirable and desirable work-related skills. Hopefully employers buy the b.s. ☺

I love the smell of…suntan oil. You know that kind that smells a bit coconut-y?! Even though I have no business wearing it I wish I could slather my body in it and then just lay there.

People would say that I…am high maintenance. Even though I’m not…really.

I don’t understand why…Heidi and Spencer make all this money for being simply annoying. Go away!

When I wake up in the morning…I check my crackberry first thing. It is pure habit to look straight to the phone, see the blinking red light and force my eyes into focus so I can read all the unimportant information that has come through while I slumbered.

I lost my willpower to…not order fries when I have the option. I appreciate everyone trying to offer the healthy option and I really know I should get the side salad or fruit, but I just can’t say no to fries. Ever.

Life is wonderful…when you have amazing friends.

My past has…taught me a lot. Although I would still tell God that on some of those things, a memo would have worked just fine. (Dear Bri…don’t waste your time dating him. Trust me. Love, God)

I get annoyed when…every time I call customer service I am forced to have a conversation with a machine who can’t understand anything I say and then once I finally yell “REPRESENTATIVE” 48 times, I am then forced to talk to someone in India who still can’t understand what I am trying to say, and vice versa.

Parties are not…really my thing. Once in blue moon they can be fun but it’s a rarity these days.

Dogs are…aiiight. I’m not an animal lover really but I can stand a cute dog as long as they don’t jump all over me and lick me to death.

Cats are…hideous. Eww. Eww. And ewww.

Tomorrow I’m going to…go to lunch with my bff, get a pedicure, and I don’t know what else. I’m living the hard life right now. Hate me.

I have a low tolerance for…people who wear low rise jeans and shouldn’t. Pick something that compliments your shape, not that highlights your muffin top.

I’m totally terrified of…babysitting for an extended amount of time. I know I should probably practice some, but I just feel as if I will be totally overwhelmed and everything will just go haywire.

I wonder why I thought my life would be…just like I planned it. Go to the Olympics when I’m 24…get married at 25…have first baby at 28…. yup, I’ve hit none of those goals.

Never in my life…will I smoke a cigarette. Like never ever.

High School was something that…was great fun while it lasted. I made great friends, I learned a lot, and I made sure I was “cool” enough—it was an overall enjoyable experience.

When I’m nervous…I shake like I have turrets. Usually it’s just one limb at a time.

Making my bed is…not a necessity. I will make it if I know someone is going to see it, but otherwise it’s a toss up. If the only time I’m going to notice it’s unmade is right before I get back in it…it’s not a big deal.

I’m almost always…hungry. I have the metabolism of a bear or something similar. I can always eat.

I’m addicted to…my blackberry. Coffee. Fries. The Internet. Push up bras. Chocolate. To name a few…

I want someone…who loves God, has a bible, and uses it. That makes me laugh so hard that my sides ache. That thinks I’m funny. That can teach me things. That listens. Who understands why I need so many pairs of jeans. And shoes. And purses. That thinks I’m a princess. That wants to be my prince. That can sit in silence. That can talk for hours about anything and everything. That loves to eat. That can cook. That understands that I am anal about planning and details. That can be spontaneous. That gives me butterflies. That gets butterflies. That likes to cuddle and hold hands and hug me from behind in Blockbuster. That is not as stubborn as I am. That is not a pushover. Ok…before I get carried away I’ll stop.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Goodbye Tucson

I came home from Europe and a day and a half later I had all my stuff in the back of a UHaul. I suppose when it comes to certain things I’m still fast, huh? There was also extra motivation found in the offer or someone else driving the truck that could only do so this weekend, saving me two trips in trying to bring my stuff and my car. Blessing number one. There are a lot of things about my future that are still unknown, but what I did know was that my time living in the desert was over. I am glad I came, but I am also really glad to be leaving. How do I know this? Because I didn’t shed a single tear. Every time I move (which is a lot) I get emotional about the life that I’m leaving or the people I’m moving away from. But right now I just feel incredibly happy to be going home. Who knows if I’ll actually stay, but for the next couple of months I will at least get the opportunity to be around my friends and family and take some time to try and find my path. I will also have the chance to eat PinkBerry every other day, go to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (which I actually prefer to Starbucks), and find a person or two to take me out on a date every once in a while. I hope.

I know that being in Tucson was definitely a positive experience in a lot of ways. I believe that I found a part of me that was missing; a part of my psyche that had somehow disappeared into a big black hole that I was able to bring back. I have had a lot of addresses in my short lifespan but they all have served a purpose and have brought with them a wealth of knowledge and insight. The following are the things about Tucson I will cherish the most…


*Making a new friend: It seems as if when you get to a certain age, your friend making opportunities are few and far between. But I was lucky enough to make one new friend in Tucson. A real friend, not just one of those sometime-y acquaintances you can’t really count on for anything but might see if you want to go out for drinks every once in a while. There was no real reason for her to go out of her way to befriend me, as she had plenty of her own friends already I’m sure. But she did. And because she did, the few times I even put on clothes and an ounce of makeup was because of her. Thank you for showing me the brighter side of Tucson and remember…It’s not goodbye, it’s see you later. (in California I hope!)

*Cheap Rent: I have lived with roommates for the last few years and paid twice of what I had to pay for my own place in Tucson. Based on how little I was able to work this year, this turned out to be a huge blessing.

*Reacquainting with an old friend: Even though she’s been traveling the country for the last however many months, when I first moved the only person I had was my dear friend Jen. I’ve known this girl for 16 years, longer than anyone else I consider a friend. Being able to spend quality time with her while she was out here just reminded me of what a special person she is and what makes her so amazing. Sometimes people drift apart but they can always find their way back when the core of who they are remains unchanged. I’m sad I won’t be in Beijing with her, but I am excited to cheer her on this summer.

*Spending quality time at Starbucks: Never in my life have I had so much free time on my hands. And most of you now know where I spent most of it…Sippin’ on lattes and reading lots of books and magazines. When my life becomes crazy busy and hectic and I’m running after kids, trying to keep a clean house, and rising to the top of my career, I am going to miss all those afternoons at Starbucks. So I will consider myself lucky.

*Being able to take pictures with cactus in the background: Who needs a beach when you have this beautiful background??? Sometimes people forget to appreciate the desert scenery.

*Having the time to blog: Hopefully you all appreciate this one the most. Sometimes I wonder depending on what I do next year, if it will even make sense to still have a blog. But I do know that while living in Tucson didn’t always make for the most exciting blogs, I tried to make the most of what I had and gave you all something to look forward to on a consistent basis because I DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO. But my blog did help me tremendously. I am grateful that I took the opportunity to share my story with everyone who cared to read.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Picture of the Week: A side of bacon please

Everyone knows that I am usually a picture-taking freak. However, I have taken no pictures in Europe this time around...except this one on my Blackberry. I am carnivore through and through. Proud of it too. A meal is not complete unless there is meat involved. However, after running across little Wilbur in the grocery store in Italy I was almost convinced that I might not ever eat meat again. At least not bacon or ham. At least not in Europe. At least for a good week or so.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It is not possible.

They don’t like us very much in Europe. I’m not sure exactly what it is—the fact that they hate our president so much and infer his stupidity to our own, or that they are sick and tired of hearing about Brangelina and the twins, or the jealousy stemming from the fact that it took them an extra year to get the Iphone over here—the truth is that there is a not so subtle dislike for Americans and an attempt to make their stay as uncomfortable as possible.

Can I get a side of bacon with that?
It is not possible.

Could you add my frequent flyer number to my ticket?
It is not possible.

Can you tell us where we can get some pizza?
It is not possible.

May I have some ice in my drink?
It is not possible.

Can you tell me if the bank is this way?
It is not possible.

Will you change my seat so that I can sit with my friend on the flight?
It is not possible.

Do you know the correct way to dial the phone number here if someone is calling from the states?
It is not possible.

is this the line to check in for Stockholm?
It is not possible.

Can I have nonfat milk in my latte?
It is not possible.

I kid you not, this whole list was compiled from my interactions just yesterday! Whatever the question is, the answer always seems to be IT IS NOT POSSIBLE, regardless if that particular response answers the question that was asked. They are not in the business of being helpful, especially if you open your mouth and spit out an American accent. I realize that in many ways Americans are partly to blame for some of this behavior. As a people, we can be exasperating at times. We expect everyone to speak English and then get annoyed when in fact they do not. We like things done our way and can’t understand why anyone would do it differently. But the majority of us still have manners. I still try to ask with a smile on my face and a pleasant tone to my voice. Somehow a memo has been passed around informing people on this continent to reply to any American with the same standard response, as if the requests we come up with our simply outrageous. And are all employees involved in the customer service industry chosen primarily for their unwillingness to want to help?! Sure seems that way. In this day and age, with the ability to set up house on the moon, pause live television, start your car with a push of a button, keep a collection of 80,000 songs on your hip, speak to your appliances and have them respond accordingly, use lasers to fix your eyesight, and the myriad of other things we are able to do without giving it a second thought, don’t insult my intelligence by claiming that it is not possible to have ice cubes in my coke!

***Of course I know plenty of nice and pleasant Europeans and I will vouch that most of you are the kindest people around. You just don’t happen to work at hotels, airports, and restaurants.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A complicated love affair

I have felt very blessed over the past six years to be able to do this sport for a living and to be so enthusiastic about my career. I know that not everyone feels that about his or her “job.” Luckily for me, my career and my passion have been one and the same and even though the road has not been smooth or trouble-free, it has most certainly been a blessing. It was something I wanted to do and devoted all of my time and energy into becoming better. Making money was never the goal, but obviously one needs to sustain their ability to put food in their mouth and a roof over their head. Moneymaking is also an indicator of the level of talent you have achieved and a benchmark of your success. I know that I haven’t come close to ever achieving the level of success I think I’m capable of, but I still have found contentment that I have had the ability to be out there doing what I want to do and having it provide for me, however meager it may be.

I have also traveled the world. This, in and of itself, is an added benefit far beyond the dollars that show up on my tax forms at years end. Most years I spend about 3 months in a different country every couple of days. Sure, most of the time is not spent in tourist fashion but how many stamps would my passport have without it? Mexico, perhaps. And maybe a Caribbean island or two. I needed additional pages added to my passport after just a few years in this sport. There is definitely an appreciation for the opportunities that I have been given and I know that being an athlete has opened doors I never would have thought to knock at.

All of this to say that right now I feel very conflicted about just where I am at with my love affair. It is no secret that I have come to a crossroads in regards to my career. And I have been trying to let my thoughts and feelings about everything come about in an honest way and not be rash in my decision-making or get too caught up in the emotions of the present without considering how I will really feel later on in life. But the harsh reality I am facing right now, is that however much I still on some level truly love being able to do this and might miss it after this hole in my heart has had time to heal a bit, is that sometimes love just aint enough.

When you do something because you love it and also because it’s your job, you have the best of both worlds. But if you just love it but you don’t make money doing it, then all you have is a glorified hobby. And hobbies don’t pay bills. And treating this sport as a hobby will never get you to where you want to be. I’ve been over in Europe for a little over a week now and I really am trying to enjoy it for what it’s worth. I’m not competing that well but I knew that it was a gamble to think I’d be truly able to run 100 meters efficiently anyway. So I’ve tried not to let it bother me and just enjoy the time for what it is. But I’ll be back in a couple of weeks and I’ll have to deal with the facts. Running slow doesn’t make you any money and not having money isn’t really an option. Imagine if you went to work for months and months and did your absolute best and got no paycheck at the end of it all. It would be difficult to justify staying at that particular establishment, even if you wanted to.

On some level this decision is about what I want to do, but in practical terms it is also simply about what I can do. You might get away with living off of top ramen when you’re 19, but when you’re 29 it’s not so glamorous anymore. So while I sit here and give thought to what it is I really want, I also am facing actual circumstances that weigh heavily on the decision making process. I don’t really know if I’m completely ready to fall out of love with this life or to feel in my heart that I am 100% ready to walk away with no regrets, but sometimes you are at the receiving end of a heartbreak and there just isn’t much you can do about it except to accept it. For right now I am just going to do my best to enjoy my time in Europe and if that means jogging a sub-par 100 meters every couple of days so that I can be afforded that luxury, then so be it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You get what you pay for

I am not a fan of “no frills” flying. Low cost airlines just don’t do it for me. Give me frills, please. In the states I try to fly Southwest only when absolutely necessary. I will gladly pay more for a seat assignment and added peace of mind that I don’t have to be involved in a cattle call. I know that they have upgraded their boarding process a bit and I am grateful. But I hate that uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach when I’ve realized that I have forgotten to print my boarding pass 24 hours ahead of time. Please don’t be group C; please don’t be group C…UGHH! I’m group C. Great, now I will have to take the middle seat in the very last row of the plane that doesn’t recline and is right in front of the bathroom! This is surely cause for an anxiety attack from the girl who checks for nearly every flight to pick the right seat according to the layout of the particular plane she is flying. Flying is a huge part of my life and I leave the least bit possible up to chance. And why, for the love of God, do people STILL insist on lining up 30 min before it’s time for them to board when it is unnecessary given that we are divided up into 5 number increments?! It is the curse of the Southwest mind warp I tell you. It gets me jittery just looking at them and then I'm annoyed that they can't just sit down and at least wait for the incoming plane to get off! I'm afraid people will never be the same.

But Southwest is a private 747 with your own personal butler, chef, and stewardess compared to what you experience in Europe when you decide to go the discounted route. I have one word for you…


I would rather take a bus with 7 different connections in 4 different countries than fly RyanAir, that’s how much I despise this airline. But unfortunately when I opened up my itinerary yesterday to check my flight from Ireland to Belgium, I was greeted with my worst nightmare. I guess there are no bus routes that go over water so I was screwed. I admit that I started out with a negative attitude but it was based on empirical data that I had personally gathered and I just knew this time would be no different. I am intuitive like that.

I had voiced my displeasure the night before to my agent upon seeing my itinerary. My first concern was baggage. It is a known fact that RyanAir offers deeply discounted flights but charges ridiculous amounts for anything and everything else you could possibly think of to make up the difference—namely baggage. First you pay to just check a bag. And you pay more if you don’t do so over the internet and wait until you get to the airport. Then comes overweight baggage. In most cases, airlines across Europe allow for 20 kg. This happens to be less than the 50 pounds you are allowed in the States, which causes most people some problems the first time they make their way over here. But RyanAir, being the lovely airline that it is, has a 15 kg limit. I have never in life had a bag that weighed that little in Europe so I already knew I was in for trouble. The plan was to see how much my bag weighed and then try to transfer whatever I could to my hand luggage. So I get up to the counter (paying extra to check in at the airport) and weigh my bag—21 kg. And then once I inform the lady that I will take some stuff out she says she will weigh my hand luggage as well. Because that has a weight limit too. And wouldn’t you know, my hand luggage is already 2 kg. over the allowable. So I’m stuck. 8 kg of extra weight that I must pay 15 EUROS PER KILO. For those of you who aren’t aware of just how much our dollar sucks right now compared to the Euro and also aren’t interested in doing the math that is involved I will tell you that 120 Euros is equal to roughly $200 buckaroos. I think. I haven’t had math in a while either.

I was HOT. And the thing is, they know they are pissing people off and they just don’t care. You can see it in their faces and the way they respond without even looking at you. They seem to have a sense of satisfaction about ruining people's day. Ha. Here you are thinking you are getting a great deal on an airline ticket and paying only 150 euros but we tricked you! By the time we're finished that is barely half the cost. They hire these rude employees who failed customer service class who could really care less and the line to pay all your extra fees is three times as long as the line to check in. They are soooo aware of what they are doing.

So then I board the plane…priority boarding that I also paid extra for to make sure I got an aisle seat, a seat with a yellow head rest which is really no different from the red head rest. But at least I can find room to store my carry-on without having a nervous breakdown. And then I remember another reason how they make life miserable for no apparent reason. The seats don’t recline. None of them. And I will go out on a limb and say that the sole purpose of that is to keep you unhappy. You are then able to spend your flight paying more money for a drink if you’d like (because there is no way you are getting that for free), a lotto ticket (which I assume does NOT help underpriviliged kids but probably goes straight into their pocket), or some perfume and other goodies (because obviously money is no object). Heck, I think they might even charge for using the restroom. One way or another they are going to get their money!

So next time you’re in Europe and are lured by the low price of an airline ticket that seems to good to be true, remember my advice and stay far away from any airline Ryan started…unless of course you don’t mind traveling with only the clothes on your back. Just have a magnifying glass ready to read all the small print.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Across the Atlantic

I’m in Europe right now. Crazy…I know. Someone forgot to tell me that moping around and being depressed doesn’t pay the bills. And as much as I am on bitter terms with my career right now, it happens to be the only job I have for the immediate future. This is what my agent quickly reminded me of when I tried to get out of the few meets I had lined up for after Trials. It was also his way of making sure I didn’t make any rash decisions about my future. He thought he was being sneaky but I saw right through it! It is probably for the best though because if I hadn’t gotten on the plane I would be somewhere in the Caribbean right now changing my name to Stella and surviving off of drinks that have little umbrellas as my sole source of nutrition.

I also find that it is easier to be around other athletes right now. The truth of the matter is there really are only 3 people per event that had the Trials turn out as they’d hoped for and are ecstatic about the outcome. That leaves a whole lot of other folks feeling a bit down in the dumps and misery loves company. Nobody is looking at me feeling sorry and not knowing what they should really say because they are too busy feeling sorry for themselves! Not that I don’t appreciate all the support and compassion that I have received during this last week…I truly do. But it took me a good four days to even listen to my voicemail messages and even then I didn’t really call anybody back. (sorry for that!)

So here I am back at work for the next couple of weeks. I could not commit to any longer but for right now it was the best decision. I’m not that caught up in the competitions themselves and I’d be lying if I said I felt extremely motivated about running right now but it is nice to go and compete without any pressure. I haven’t run a race all season so it definitely could be interesting. I will keep you updated….maybe.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Thank You!

This post is an important one. I know I have been down in spirit lately but it would be impossible for me to not to realize that in spite of my own feelings of disappointment, I am incredibly blessed and thankful. I have heard people make many a comment about how easy it is to thank God etc, in times of achievement and triumph, but it’s easy to forget to show gratitude and appreciation when we are not granted what we ask for exactly when we ask for it. I want to make sure it is obvious where my heart is and also just to say publicly that there are many people I owe so much to and am eternally grateful to.

First and foremost…

*GOD: I have tried to make a conscious effort in the last couple of years to thank the man above no matter what the actual outcome of a performance is. It is no secret how upsetting this week was for me, but I thank him anyway. First of all, I was there. I know people think I don’t realize that or take it for granted, but I really don’t. It was because he gave me such an inner strength this year that I have not really possessed in quite some time that I even believed it was possible. I am a tough cookie. There are always lessons in defeat and I know this is no different.

*COACH: I moved back to Arizona for one reason only, and it wasn’t for the lovely summer weather. I know that my coach hurt with me on this one and was probably only slightly less disappointed than I was. I appreciate the dedication you have given me to try and achieve this dream. It means so much and regardless of the outcome I am glad that I spent this year with you.

*FRIENDS AND FAMILY: I owe an extra special thank you to the Updegraff family for what they have done for me this year. Nikkie you are one of my dearest friends and I am so lucky that you have inherited a family that treats me as their own. Marcus…you’re the greatest! My family and friends that made it to Eugene…words can’t express how happy I was to have you there. And the other friends and family…I am absolutely positive of the fact that I was given the best the world has to offer. You know my journey better than anyone and you have continued to offer me the most support and love I could ever dream of.

*THE WONDERFUL RANDOM PEOPLE I DON’T EVEN KNOW: I believe you have come into my life for a reason. Sometimes I open an email or read a comment on here and I am simply dumbfounded by the genuine words that truly come from the heart and are sometimes the exact thing I need to hear. I know that sounds overly mushy and whatnot but it’s the truth and I am so very thankful to be a small part of your thoughts and included in your prayers.

I also like to thank most of you for bearing with me right now. I realize that most of my posting has been incredibly dismal but this is me in the truest sense and I don’t feel the need to sensor anything or be cheerful and bright when that is not authentic. I realize I might write something and have a different spin a few days later but this is my journal and I just write how I feel at that particular moment. It might not make sense to all of you how depressing this could be or how devastated I feel, but it is nothing if not real. I also would like to mention that what I am doing for the time being is just thinking. Thinking…and praying. 72 hours didn’t really produce any light bulb moments and I understand that it really didn’t need to.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

72 hours

First of all, I’d just like to say that reading all of the comments people left made my eyes fill with tears but fortunately these tears were far different than the ones that I’ve been experiencing for the last couple days. I know each and every person comes from a place of love, even those whose basic message was to ”suck it up and move forward” in so many words. I have expressed to you how my journey has transpired this year, but this week was in no means an end to a year long journey. So while it is never fully possible to see things through my eyes, please know that I speak from an honest place and that only I can know the true depth of my emotions.

I feel like this may be my end not because I failed, but because I feel as if I am not sure I have more to give. I have done all that I know how to do…not just this year, but for many years…and it’s not clear to me what is left to try. I do believe that there is a plan and a purpose but I also must come to grips with the fact that this specific plan and purpose that I have dedicated my life to may not be the right one. I don’t know that for sure but it is starting to feel like it. There is a chance that what I am supposed to do is find a way to persevere but there is also the possibility that it’s actually time for me to surrender and accept the fact that this was not meant for me. I do not want to look back and have regrets but I also don’t want to feel as if I refused to acknowledge that my calling is somewhere else and I continued to put in unneeded years of sacrifice.

I had told myself long before Thursday that if things didn’t turn out positive in 2008 that I would move on with my life. It was my own deadline that made sense to me in every logical way because it felt like that was the obvious fork in the road. I have truly given this my all for a substantial period of time and while I am proud of myself for that, I also need to feel proud that I am accomplishing something and that my life is moving in a direction that has forward progress. Five years ago I could start from square one and be ok with it, but right now I am finding it hard to see where the motivation will come from. I just wanted to make sure I mentioned that though because I don’t want it to seem like I finished my competition and immediately threw in the towel out of frustration. Few people knew that I had made that decision about continuing but it had been made quite some time before this.

My only caveat from this line of thinking is that this year has been far from perfect. It is hard to say that I gave it my all and did all that I could possibly do with the setback I had. It doesn’t excuse my performance in the final but there is a small part of me that wishes I could have had a better preparation and been able to say I was 100%. I still think I was good enough—I won’t go back on that—but it’s probably a stretch to claim to be at your best 6 weeks after knee surgery. But those were my cards and I accept that because everyone has obstacles they overcome.

To be fair to myself and to those who are a big part of my career, I promised to take 72 hours to think it over and make a decision then. For some reason making life changing decisions in between sobs doesn’t sound very rational. I don’t know that it will be exactly that time frame, but I will be sensible and make sure I know that I feel at peace with the direction I’m headed.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I feel like I need to write this immediately, because it’s only fair that I share and if I don’t do it now I’m not so sure I’ll ever write it. So even as I sit here and can’t completely see straight because of the endless stream of tears, I still think it’s important for me to try and process what I’m feeling. I’m trying to find the most appropriate word to sum up my feelings and all I can come up with is devastated. But that doesn’t seem to cover it. It’s not enough somehow. But I am that. And much more. Sometimes things affect you to your core and then you feel so incredibly lost, like ”how did that just happen?! And you search and search hoping that somehow it will make sense and ease the pain just a little once you can understand the “why” but I cannot. I really have no answers. Because I was ready…and I can only say that with certainty because I know what it feels like to not be and to fake it. But for some reason it was not to be and that HURTS deep in a place where I’ve rarely felt pain like it.

I gave my all to this and I now must walk away without accomplishing what I set out to do. There has been nothing in my life that I have committed myself to more and what I expected was to be able to leave that competition with the feeling that I did my best. But how can I truly feel like that when I ended up 10th? There is no way I am the 10th best jumper in this country. That is regardless of knee surgery or anything else. On any given day I am capable of more and what I wanted more than anything was to be able to feel as if I did my absolute best. I feel like I committed to that and yet somehow it never transpired. I don’t even know how it happened. I had one jump that was no good and I knew it and then I proceeded to foul the next two jumps and regardless of how far those jumps were, it really doesn’t matter if they don’t count. All of it feels like some incredibly bad dream that isn’t really real and I’ll just wake up and be so grateful that that really didn’t happen but unfortunately this ache in my heart is far too real.

In all honesty, I am so disappointed in myself. And I also feel as if I disappointed so many others. I know that might sound a little crazy because everyone who supported me did so out of love and because they wanted to see me reach my goals, but it’s hard to not feel like I let so many people down. I realize this was my dream but I know that so many people were pulling for me and wanting to see me succeed. As good as that feels to know that people care, it makes it hard when you don’t deliver.

I do know that all things happen for a reason. I still wholeheartedly believe every word that I have written down over the past year and know that in due time I will not feel such emptiness and heartache. Like I said before, each part of my journey is important and it all serves a bigger purpose, even today. I can’t pretend that the pain is not there right now though. I know that this is a turning point in my life and I am pretty sure that my future does not include track anymore so that is a hard thing to fathom. I didn't want to go out like this and I never wanted to see my career end knowing that I never reached my potential. But I am sure that life will bring me something else to be passionate about and I hope that the success I hoped to find in this career will be waiting for me elsewhere.

Even though it is obvious that this was not the ending I planned for, I am still grateful that so many of you took the time to experience the journey with me. It’s hard for me to admit that it’s come to an end far too prematurely, but it has.

prayers, prayers, and more prayers.

I am about ready to walk out the door soon and I just want to encourage everyone who checks this blog in the next couple of hours to continue to pray for me. It's probably something that doesn't need a reminder but I know how uplifting your prayers have been and I am beyond grateful that you continue to remember me. I'd like to promise you that you can catch me on T.V. tonight but with field events it's always a hit and miss. Regardless, I begin at 7:20 pm and I am ready to go.


(inside joke)

Enjoying my Journey

I have just spent the last few hours reading over my entire blog…well the track related parts at least. I will offer it up as suggested reading for those of you who have not been with me from the beginning and have absolutely nothing to do for the next four hours. Why pay for remarkable literature when you can get it for free!

I started this whole blog as a way to share and as a way to process this year in the best way possible. Last year at Nationals I kept a detailed journal about my experience and then posted it on my Myspace page as a peek into what the experience was like and then I figured…why not let everyone peek in for the whole Olympic year?! So here we are, 8 months later with the Finals of the Long Jump less than 24 hours away. I’m glad I have it here—the year in review if you will. Not only does it show what I’ve been through, it shows how I’ve grown. By sharing, I was able to appreciate and understand so much more about myself and gain a whole new perspective.

From the moment I decided that the Olympics was a goal of mine, I have been on an incredible journey. It has been only recently however, that I have even begun to see the journey for what it is and to appreciate it on it’s own. I remember thinking to myself for the very first time that I wanted to be an Olympian and believing I could actually do it. The path I had set out in my mind ended up playing out very differently however and has forced me to accept all that is out of my control. I remember 2004, when I sat in my room after my event was over and asked myself if I had 4 more years in me to give this another shot. And I remember my answer. That answer has determined the path of my life in so many ways over the past four years. I can recall the many times when I had to talk myself back into believing I could actually do it and if I still wanted to do it…when things got so rough for me that I thought perhaps this wasn’t something I was meant to do or that maybe my life would be easier if I gave up this particular dream. And then the moments that followed when I then convinced myself that I was not going to be defeated. I have been reminded numerous times why it is that I have grown to love this sport and have stayed motivated by the belief that my gifts were given to me for a purpose. I remember vividly all the sacrifices I have made along the way and can boldly say without question that as I stand today, they were all worth it.

This is my journey. I am thankful that I have had the opportunities I’ve been blessed with that has brought me to this moment and this specific point in time that would not have been possible without all the ups and downs. Each and every part of it was for a purpose. In my head I had created a path to the top that was a straight shot and instead I was given the scenic route filled with detours and obstacles I never imagined. But I see the person that I have become—not just the athlete, but also the person—and I know that I am better for it. I believe in my heart that today will be special. But more importantly, I know that the journey has been extraordinary.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I know you probably thought I would have a whole lot to say these last couple of days...but I don't. Actually I think it's a case of having too many thoughts in my brain that they all get jumbled up and I have trouble forming any type of coherent message. I have started a couple of blogs...and then stopped. It's kind of like emotion overload...I feel so much that I almost don't feel anything at all. It's not in a bad way necessarily but I am trying not to overanalyze everything and create this immense pressure for myself because of how much tomorrow means to me. I want to embrace it and be totally in the moment and while it is most definitely a defining moment in my life, I don't want it to define me. I don't know if that makes so much sense but it's as if I have worked so hard for this and put my everything into it that I really want that to mean something...the process of it all. That doesn't make the outcome any less important of course. Anyway, I am in the process of formulating a better thought process to it all and actually putting words to it but in the meantime I just wanted to say hello and continue to thank you for all of your messages and prayers. I have a bit of recovery work to do today and some video to watch but after that I plan on spending some quiet time with my thoughts and if you're lucky they will make it to the blog some time later today!

These last two days are rest days so the athletes aren't doing much except hanging out and trying not to go stir crazy. Eugene is not the hotspot for many types of entertainment so there really isn't much to do. Yesterday we all attended this seminar that taught us about the customs and greetings in China and I went to the movies. Overall an exciting day!