Friday, October 31, 2008

A Message for my Sister...

I know you don't want this on your shoulders. Please vote! :)

P.S. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone who might think it's ok to sit at home on Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The dash isn't silent

I applaud uniqueness. In this day and age it’s important to stand out in a crowd, and what better way to do it than a one of a kind name. Just look at our soon to be president—it’s cool to have a name nobody else has. John and Jane have to worry about all the other folks people might be referencing, but when you have a name nobody else has, people will always know it’s you. Of course this can get a bit out of hand. Black people especially are known for always making up names that seem to take it just a bit too far. There is uniqueness…and then there is craziness. And I’m not so sure adding a –nique here, an apostrophe there, or a –qua over there makes it a desirable name. But to each their own, right? White people seem to be jumping on the bandwagon of distinctive names these days as well. And while they don’t seem to come out of nowhere, names like Apple and Shiloh still will cause a few eyebrows to rise. I just feel like there is a difference between words and names. But maybe that’s just me. I understand the need to stand out from a crowd, but let’s please all keep in mind that this moniker will stick with them for the rest of their lives. And do you remember how tough 2nd grade can be? Let’s not give the bullies more ammunition!

The other day however, I heard one that for me took the cake. Supposedly there is a young student residing in the great state of Georgia with the name La-a. My friend asked me how I would pronounce it. I suppose it’s like the name Leah but with an “a” sound instead of an “e”. This is really the only thing that makes plausible sense, right? Wrong. It’s pronounced LaDASHa. As in, the dash isn’t silent. My jaw stood open for a good 15 seconds before I started laughing hysterically. This poor kid. For the rest of her life she will have to explain to each and every person she meets that you pronounce the dash in her name. I’m all for originality but this is downright silliness! I’m wondering if anyone has heard of a name that tops this?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Black Hair

On Friday my friend Jackie invited me to see an advanced screening of a new documentary done by actor/comedian Chris Rock out in Hollywood. The topic covered was one of extreme importance, as most documentaries are. Not global warming, not healthcare, not the religious extremists, but rather the uber-significant subject of African-American hair. I will say this…the documentary was both hilarious and informative at the same time and so I recommend people go watch it no matter what type of hair you’re working with. I don’t know what it is, but black women seem to have such a deeper relationship with their hair than other ethnicities.

My own hair relationship is a bit of the love/hate variety. I have plenty of friends that like to tell me I am not allowed to complain about my hair. If I call it nappy I am liable to get slapped and if I grumble about a bad hair day some eyes start to roll. But in my reality these types of occurances actually happen. It’s hard to comb, grows like a Chia pet in humid weather, and breaks off all over the place. True, it did take me until a few years ago to figure out what a nappy kitchen was, and I just recently learned how weaves actually operate, but I still like to claim unmanageability when it comes to my tresses. I think my hair truly is a mixture of my heritage—it’s definitely mixed girl hair. That doesn’t make it better or worse than anyone else’s but it does cause some difficulty when I try to treat it as if it belongs only on one side of the fence. It wasn’t a good look when I used to take my brush and simply brush it out and then curl my bangs with a curling iron and spray with a half a can of aqua net. And it certainly wasn’t a good look the first time I tried to use grease the way I saw other black girls doing when they straightened their hair. It was like I shampooed with Crisco and instead of individual strands I had stiff mop on top of my head. Not cute.

These days my hair and I have become better friends. I know better not to try braids ever again, I’ve left relaxers alone after half of my sister’s hair fell out, and I’ve learned that bangs are not for me. My hair is naturally curly and that works well for a low-maintenance person such as myself, but I do straighten in on occasion because once it’s done it’s easy to wear for multiple days. I’m still trying to figure out which look is best for me and if it changes my overall appearance. What’s your opinion? (This will seriously determine the look I go for the next time someone asks me out on a date so please treat this inquiry with the utmost importance--my future may depend on it.)

Curly: (edited to add a picture that didn't look like I needed a deep conditioning treatment immediately)


Thursday, October 23, 2008


I don’t ever stop. Not when they try and squirt a special lotion in my hand, not when they promise me my hair will be straighter and silkier than I’ve ever had it, not when they swear their fragrance will ensure the man of my dreams will fall madly in love with me…whatever it is, I keep it movin’. So why on earth did I stop this time? I knew I had been spotted and I considered for a moment crossing the street so that I wouldn’t even have to pass by and graciously decline whatever product it was she was trying to hustle. But I figured that was doing too much and so I continued on my path. And against my better judgment, I stopped. I suppose it was because she seemed nice and friendly and since I was at an outdoor mall early in the day with really nobody else around maybe I felt badly. Before I knew it the exfoliating salts were in my hands and I was scrubbing and then rinsing and proclaiming that “yes, my hands did feel incredibly soft…oh, and that smell from the shea butter…you’re right—absolutely divine.”

I admit, I was starting to feel a little guilty for even entertaining her this long because I knew as soon as she told me how much this special salt and lotion was, I’d quickly dismiss it all and find an excuse to back away. I mean, soft hands and feet are nice and all but they just aren’t that high on my priority list. But then she brought out this product, this facial peel, made with this super special berry found only in the mountains in the Himalayans, and tested in on the inside of my arm. And I swear to you that I took a shower that morning, but as I rubbed it these little white beady things started appearing. And wouldn’t you know that it was dead skin! And just imagine if that could be removed from my face and cause my pores to breathe, as they should. And not only that, my arm felt incredibly soft and I actually noticed a brighter, glowing color on that arm versus the other. Well, this is what I was told to notice so let’s hope I wasn’t delusional.

Now let’s be honest here. I buy my skincare products based on what’s on sale at the local CVS. I don’t ever do peels and in fact, I have recently started to use pre-moistened wipes to clean my face because it’s quicker and faster than washing the old fashioned way. But all of the sudden I’m realizing that my skin might actually need this…that perhaps I can glow the same way J.Lo does. And so now I’m partly sold. And once she lets me know that the promotion they’re doing to introduce their wonderful product is to offer it free once you purchase the scrubbing salt and lotion, I figured it was too good to pass up.

I was a sucker. And now I’m so pissed at myself because a girl who stuffs her feet in tight shoes and sprints and jumps and then goes in the weight room and calluses up her hands lifting weights, isn’t the gal going home at night to use some fancy exfoliating salt and expensive lotion. And because it cost so darn much, anybody that knows me knows that I will save it, and it will just sit there gathering dust because I deem it too expensive to use as an every day product just because. And they tell me the face peel will last a year because you just use it once a week, but I barely pluck my eyebrows once a week. I suppose this is a good reason to start taking care of my skin and make it fabulous, but I’m simply not happy about it. It was a bad idea and I’ve had buyers remorse ever since. I suppose the only way to make it ok is to convince myself that I started my Christmas shopping early this year. So those of you on my very short list…I hope you are excited about soft hands and feet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

Ladies and Gentlemen, today marks the 1-year anniversary of this here blog. It all started here. I figured I should make note of that fact because it’s amazing to me that I have come up with stuff to write about for a full year on a fairly consistent basis. I wanted to try blogging so that I could document an immensely important time in my life and share it with friends and family, as well as anybody else who might care. It turned out that more people shared the past 12 months with me than I thought would, and beyond people being interested in my goal, they also seemed interested in me. And because of that interest I felt a responsibility to be as honest and real as possible. I’ve caught some flak for it because I guess there is no way to please everybody but I still think it was a great experience overall. This blog truly helped me through some hard times. When I was stuck in Tucson, removed from my friends and family and dealing with the stress and disappointments of being injured and having surgery, I used this blog to express what I was feeling and to simply try and figure out my emotions by getting them out. And I believed it helped. A lot.

I don’t necessarily know what the next 12 months will bring but I am still writing because I suppose it doesn’t make sense to abruptly stop all of the sudden. Of course my reasons for starting the blog don’t necessarily apply anymore but I am still out here living my life, as fabulous or not as it is, and that is something I can always share as long as it holds some interest for people and continues to be a way for me to express myself. Luckily the title of my blog didn’t limit the scope of what you might find here. There are times I wish I could start all over and blog anonymously because I would be able to share in a different way and be more open but I couldn’t figure out a way to talk about a girl who runs track, lived in Tucson and found it quite boring, poses in bikinis, wanted to make the Olympic team more than anything, talks about her abs a lot, and had an untimely knee surgery. I simply had too many obvious traits that would have given me away unfortunately.

Anyway, I just wanted to make sure I took this opportunity to thank the people that visit. I don’t know what brought you here, how long you’ve been visiting, or why you even care, but I’m glad that you do. In fact, if you wouldn’t mind perhaps you can answer those questions for me in the comments and I can get to know a little bit about you as well. Regardless, I am glad that you are here. Being the narcissistic person that I am, I suppose I wouldn’t like it so much if nobody ever read what I wrote. I guess that’s why I’ve never been good about keeping a journal.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

rock on

It’s easy to stereotype people. You can easily look at someone and assume what types of things they would be interested in, how they spend their free time, and what they might consider “fun”. For instance…the other night the group of people I train with were downtown eating dinner and someone brought up stopping by a local pub to listen to the 80’s cover band they have there every Thursday. Immediately people looked to me. You wouldn’t want to do that, would you?...that’s not really your thing. Immediately people assumed I was not the type of person to listen to a band even though it was something people I am friends with seemed excited about. And to be honest, I guess it really isn’t something I might consider doing for fun. I just didn’t realize that I so obviously looked the part of someone who doesn’t really open themselves up for different types of entertainment. Granted, I am pretty sure I was the only person in the place with heels on (supposedly you can’t rock out properly with cute shoes on), and I noticed very few people with a tan as dark as mine in attendance, but besides that the people seemed pretty normal.

So I went. And before I knew it, there I was singing at the top of my lungs to Bon Jovi, Madonna, Queen, and any other popular band you could think of. Granted, I stayed off to the side and didn’t jump around in front of the band (mostly due to the shoe issue), but I sang loudly to songs I didn’t even think I knew so well, and I did the appropriate hand gesture…you know the one. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wear old t-shirts and tennis shoes when I go out, but I still can find a way to embrace the lighter side of my heritage. I think some of my friends might be a little surprised by that, but it just goes to show how varied my tastes really are. Sort of.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Gamble

It’s been a little longer than usual between blog posts for me and for that I apologize. There are a few reasons for that, the obvious being that my mind has been a bit one-dimensional as of late and since I’ve already wrote one blog post on that I decided to not bore you with another one. Suffice to say I’ve been having serious one on one time with my knee on a continuous basis. I ask it how it’s doing every 2.5 seconds and it responds, oftentimes in ways I wish it wouldn’t. Nevertheless, we have become closer than ever over the last few days and I hope that we have come to understand each other a bit more. I’ve asked it for a bit of a favor. I have come to understand… after talks with multiple doctors… that more extensive surgery is a definite must if I want to avoid arthritis by the time I’m 40. Except in the case of divine intervention (which is a total possibility), this is what I have to look forward to in the very near future. The point which my knee and I have to be in agreement on is how near is near.

The doctor agrees with me that the decision would be much easier if I was 22. At that age I have many years ahead of me and the whole dynamics would be different. But you guys already know my story. I pretty much lost last season and this surgery at this time would mean there is a very good chance I would lose this season as well. We all know I ain’t the spring chicken I used to be! There is a good chance that my best years are ahead of me but there is no telling just how many of those years I have left. I desperately want this season. I feel like I need it more for my head and my heart than I do for careers sake. And all of that plays a part. It’s a surgery that needs to happen and sooner is most definitely better than later, but at this point it’s not absolutely necessary NOW.

So basically it’s a gamble. A gamble that right now I’m leaning towards taking because looking at all factors involved, it’s what I feel most comfortable with. I realize that it can (literally) blow up in my face, but honestly the consequence of that isn’t much worse than what it would be if I did something now. And if I make it through this year I will have surgery right after it’s over, regardless of what the future holds. I plan on being an active senior citizen anyways. But for this year I feel like I belong here and I haven’t lost that feeling. And I could be wrong, or the purpose could be different than what I thought it was, but that’s life.

Just the other night I read a verse in my bible that summed it up for me.
Psalms 62:8 Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
And it just put me more at ease. I know God knows my heart and even though that doesn’t mean I’m going to get exactly what I want, when I want it, it does remind me that I need to just trust him. I really didn’t understand why this had to happen now, why I couldn’t catch a break and get a bit of breathing room and it was really getting to me. But I’m just supposed to trust God anyway. And I’m trying. I will continue on with confidence until I’m shown that I’m supposed to do something different. But I’m not going to let it keep me down in the dumps. Right now all I have is a swollen knee that hurts a little bit…life could be worse.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


I’ve only been here a week. One week after months of thinking that I wanted not to be an athlete any longer. But now I do. I really, really do. I am head over heels about my coach and my training situation and for the first time in God knows how long I feel like I’ve found the right combination. I didn’t realize I would feel so at ease in such a short amount of time but I totally do. And besides every muscle in my body screaming out in agony and being sore in places I didn’t know could even get sore, everything seems great. Better than great…FABULOUS. Until today.

When I was stretching last night the range of motion seemed a bit off around my knee and when I looked down I could swear that it was a little puffy. But maybe I was just paranoid. An old injury will do that to you. All that time I spent ignoring the red flags and signals that told me something was wrong with my knee taught me to be extra precautious now. I asked one of my training partners this morning if she thought my knee looked swollen before we worked out. Maybe a little, she said. So I went through my workout being totally conscious of whether or not I felt anything. I didn’t. But at the end of practice I still asked my coach…”Do you see anything different between both of my knees? He examined them for a second and said he didn’t really see anything. So I decided it was nothing and proclaimed myself a little anxious about anything and everything having to do with that darn knee. So then I lifted, and finished my work for the day. I hopped out of the shower and looked down at my knee once more and I didn’t need to ask anyone—the darn knee was swollen.

So I went over to see the doctor on-site. He’s not an orthopedic surgeon but he does have a specialty in sports medicine so I brought along my notes and post-op pictures from my surgery last year. I explained what happened then and what was done, how my knee didn’t really hurt now but it was still the same knee that is now swollen for some reason, and asked him his very doctor-ly opinion. And he gave it to me. I didn’t like what I heard. Not one bit. You see, I still have this hole in my cartilage and supposedly this small defect is not holding up well to the rigors of training. It’s not hurting yet, but the swelling is indicative of the fact that it’s not happy in there. I chose Option B when given the opportunity to fix my knee before the Trials because that was the only option that allowed me a chance to be ready on time. And now it seems that I might have chosen wrong. Well, not wrong per say because I would have chosen to have a chance 10 times out of 10. But now he is telling me in his doctor-ly opinion that it looks like I will need Option A after all if I plan on doing what I do for a living. (If interested, google Microfracture). And the healing time is not weeks…it is months. According to him, six of those bad boys.

I don’t know what this means. He’s not a specialist and next week I plan on talking to several of them. I want opinions from the best people I can find and I want them to tell me that the knee will be ok on it’s own. And I know that I shouldn’t be paranoid yet. But I am over here fighting tooth and nail trying to keep my calm and keep the worrying at a minimum. I know there is no use getting worked up for nothing. It’s possible it could be fixed with a bag of ice and a few Advil. Or not. And I am having a hard time getting the or not out of my head. I can’t quite explain the myriad of emotions and thoughts running through my brain and I probably shouldn’t even try because there is no use giving them life prematurely. But I have decided that I want this chance so very badly. It’s taken me a while to come to terms with that and admit that but now I have wholeheartedly accepted it. I want to train hard. I want to get sore and complain about how horrible ice baths are. I want to learn more than I ever have. I want to compete and finally be the athlete I’m supposed to be. So I’m just praying right now that I get that opportunity.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The X-effect

Lately I’ve been finding myself gravitating towards those of the opposite sex that I’ve had previous relationships with. We aren’t always necessarily reconnecting in a romantic sense, but there is interaction nonetheless. On some level I suppose it’s possible for there to be truly platonic friendships between a man and a woman, but I am highly skeptical if those can occur between two people who have previously been in a relationship. So what’s the point? Shoot, I don’t know. I suppose that’s why I’m rambling about it on here because it’s hard for me to truly discount people who have been a significant part of my life at some time. It’s easy to have selective memory after some time passes and to look at people with a keen remembrance of what made them so fantastic and easily forget all the things that annoyed you to no end. And is it not easier to find comfort in something you already know rather than continually be met with disappointment after disappointment when you wander into the unknown?!

So I’m just wondering…how many people out there find success when they go with what they already know. Do people really fundamentally change (or do you)? I need to know if it is all a waste of time or if you can really find hope in the ashes. I’m all in to being green these days and so maybe this applies to men as well. Recycle – Reduce – Reuse.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Moving Forward

The last few months have been challenging to say the least. I tried my best to stay patient and to not panic, and for the most part I feel as if I succeeded quite well. I felt like I was facing the biggest decision in my life to date and I had zero inclination as to what the right move was. On a daily basis people would ask what I planned on doing, and while they might have thought that my non-committal answers were my way of not really wanting to share my decision quite yet, it was simply because I had no answer to share. None at all. My brain was about as empty as Paris Hilton’s on test day. All I could do was continue to pray that my next step would be presented to me. I knew there was a plan; I just didn’t have any idea as to when I was going to be clued in to what it might be. I just wanted to be open, and ready, and willing. If it was time for me to move on, I was definitely ok with that. In fact I thought that is what it must be because I knew I wasn’t feeling that fire…that passion to train and push yourself to the limit, that desire to continue to give my everything to be the best that I could possibly be. I know that is the only way you continue in this sport because without it you sell yourself entirely too short. Talent is one thing, but it’s not what gets the job done.

So I continued to be patient. Of course that didn’t mean sitting on my butt all day every day twiddling my thumbs and waiting for the answer to appear to me in my oatmeal at breakfast. I was somewhat proactive. I would search job sites, look into going back to school to get my masters so my knowledge would seem relevant, drive around Beverly Hills and try to find a sugar daddy nice young man to marry, check and see if Bill Gates was adopting any full grown children…you know, the usual. But nothing was really catching hold. And then I heard that a coach I had been trying to work with since back in 2004 might be hired down at the Olympic Training Center. In my opinion he’s one of the greatest coaches in the world and from our talks in previous years I know he doesn’t think I’m too shabby myself. So I asked him and found out it was true. But I knew that getting accepted at the Center was a long shot because of my age and my non-performance in 2008. After the less than stellar performance at the Games by Track and Field, the criteria were that much harder to get into the program. But now that I had talked to him I began to feel the fire lighting back up. I didn’t want to train just to train, but if I could train with him at a place where virtually everything is set up for success and we have access to the best of everything, it seemed like to good of an option to not consider. So I applied and despite my best efforts to not get my hopes up I started to picture what a great opportunity this could be and got excited in spite of myself. Luckily my excitement was not in vain.

I got accepted into the program because even at my age, they still see potential and think I’m worth investing in. I can live, eat, and train here and I get the opportunity to train with an amazing group of athletes with the support of a sports medicine team, sports psychologists, strength trainers, nutritionists, bio mechanists, and an amazing coaching staff, just to name a few. It is an amazing opportunity and I intend to make the most of it. I cannot tell you with certainty that this is what I’m supposed to be doing, but I feel like these were the doors that were opened for a reason. In my heart I truly felt like I was done. And that goes beyond the hurt and frustration I felt because of the circumstances of this past year. I honestly felt like it wasn’t there anymore. But today when I arrived down in Chula Vista, I know that I am feeling more enthusiastic and inspired than I have in a long time. I still plan on using my spare time to figure out some other things in my life both for income’s sake and for realizing that my life after track could begin at any time and I need to be prepared for that and start figuring out what that’s going to be. But for right now I’m still an athlete--and a proud one at that.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Today one of my very best friends, the girl who I have lived under the same roof with for the last few months, the one who has been my #1 road dog for the last 10 years, the person I feel most comfortable sharing anything and everything with, is moving away to Japan. This makes me incredibly sad. It is sad for her sake because she will be in a foreign land where she doesn’t know the language and away from her friends and family for two whole years, but also sad for myself for my own somewhat selfish reasons. I want her here, where she can be just a short drive away and an integral part of my life on a daily basis. I want to be able to get her opinion on what shoes go best with my outfit before I go out on a date. I want us to be able to go shopping and convince each other how that jacket is an essential piece of our wardrobe even after we promised not to buy anything else. I want her to be able to know what I’m thinking before I even say it. I want that friend who never tires of taking pictures of ourselves. I want to be able to see her face when we share gossip because there is nobody on earth who will give you more of a reaction when you are looking for it.

Nikkie has been my friend before she even knew it. Ten years ago when I went on my recruiting visit to the University of Arizona, a school I didn’t even think I had any interest in going to, I was struck by how at home I felt and how I seemed to fit in. And part of that was because of her. Nikkie was one of my hosts and I immediately was drawn to her. I could see myself at that school, as part of that team, and as her friend. I’m sure this is true for all people that meet her because she has this undeniable quality about her that makes you want to be around her, that draws you in and makes you love her. So for the past ten years I have loved her. Through all the escapades in college, through finding ourselves as young women, through transitioning into the next phases of our lives…through everything. If I tried to relive all the memories I have created with her, I could fill volumes.

But perhaps the most telling part of our friendship is how close we are now. Now that she is a wife and mother of two with dinner to prepare, diapers to change, and a house to take care of, and I am…me. Our lives, ones that had at one point been so similar, took two different paths and sometimes it’s not easy maintaining friendships when the roads you are on no longer mirror each other. But ours has maintained and flourished. And I also grew to love her family. Her husband isn’t just my friend’s husband, he is my friend. And her kids? I honestly didn’t think I had it in me. Usually I tolerate kids from a distance but I’ve grown to adore hers. I am legitimately sad that they won’t be around to show me things, to wear my heels, and to steal my phone.

I wrote this post because I am not good at goodbyes in person. Last night when I should have told her how grateful I am and how much I’m going to miss her and how much her friendship means to me, I could only manage to mumble a few incoherent words before the lump in my throat prevented me from saying anything else. And perhaps that sounds a little drastic because I know she will be back in a few years (hopefully to the west coast), but it’s hard not to feel like I’m losing a little piece of myself. So even though you are probably 30,000 feet in the air right now, trying to avoid the stares of people who have no idea what it is like to travel with two small children, I wanted to express how much you mean to me. You make me want to be a better friend and you’ve shown me how to one day be an excellent wife and mother. Thank you for being you, for opening up your heart and your home, and for always leading by example. Japan will be great for you because I know you always make the best out of any situation. They are lucky to have you.

P.S. Nikkie just started her own blog to document her time spent in Japan and what's going on with her family, so if you are one of my friends who knows her, or you can just tell how fabulous she is by how I spoke of her, check it out HERE. Leave her a comment or two...that kind of stuff makes her happy. :)