Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quick Recap

(A packed stadium and some enthusiastic was great!)

For those of you who are not true friends or track enthusiasts and chose to NOT tune in to NBC today...shame on you! For those of you who did though, even if it wasn't just for me, thank you. It makes my day when you remember that I actually compete for a living and don't just spend my time modeling bathing suits. :) I am also relieved that I got a little bit of air time without having to bribe the cameraman. I don't know about you...but I think it was the socks!

I don't normally do post-competition analysis or delve into my performances too deeply, because lets face's really not that interesting and you can look up those stats just as easily on your own...but I am making a slight exception this time around. For starters, I jumped a personal best today. 6.72 meters, which translates to 22'3/4. Yes, it was by one measly centimeter, but that measly centimeter means the world to me. I now have the A standard for World Championships, which was something I desperately needed to get out of the way and achieve. So...I did it and that makes me happy! I am also jumping very consistently which is a huge confidence booster for me and helps me believe that I am right on the brink of doing some big things. Also, if you happened to be at the meet and could reaffirm to me how ridiculously far my 4th jump was that was barely a foul, I sure wouldn't mind!

Thanks again for all the encouragement and well wishes because it truly means a lot to me. Now it's time to get ready for Pre next weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Upcoming Competitions

Normally I don’t give much notice beforehand when I have competitions. That’s because I believe there aren’t too many people following my blog who live in Dakar…Osaka…or Rio that need to be notified that I’ll be competing right around the corner from them. But now that I have my first two competitions coming up that are going to be on U.S. soil, I figured I’d give those of you who are stateside a heads up. This weekend I’ll be competing at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York. If you are from New York or can easily travel by plane, train, or automobile, I suggest you make it a point to be there. Of course me being there should be incentive enough, but it also is sure to be a truly exciting and competitive meet, with plenty of your favorite Olympians and world-class athletes. The same can be said for the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, my next meet on June 7th.

For those of you who can’t make it, both meets will be broadcast on NBC. (Reebok on May 30th from 4:30 to 6pm Eastern time and Pre on June 7th from 11am to 1pm Pacific time). Of course trying to catch a glimpse of me on T.V. will be about as easy as spotting a shooting star. It’s possible…just not probable. I will be competing in the long jump and the best we can hope for is a shot of us in the background as they pan around the track during the mile. Field events get no love on T.V. broadcasts in the U.S., and while I will do my best to do my stretching right by the broadcaster getting ready to introduce the field in the 400 meters, I make no promises you will see me unless you are there live in person.

Hope to see you there! (or just wish me luck and tell me how you wish you could be there...)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Picture of the Week: When in Brazil...

Do as the Brazilians!

That phrase works for all parts of the world, right? I sure hope so. Granted, I'm pretty American Pie myself but I do try to immerse myself to a degree when traveling. Well...I did head to McDonalds one night for dinner when I just couldn't imagine eating rice and beans AGAIN, but other than that...I did my best.

You've probably heard of the Acai berry before. It's been popping up in a whole array of good for you drinks, and smoothies, and such. It's full of antioxidants and supposedly performs miracles. Normally though, it's mixed in with other berries and juices and so what you've probably tasted is not as potent as the real deal. Well, in Brazil this berry is abundant and they gladly serve it without all the extras. I heard through a friend that it was of utmost importance I get an Acai smoothie and that my life would be forever changed if I did.

Here is what they sat in front of me...

My reaction to the 'look' of what they sat in front of me...

My reaction to the 'taste' of what they sat in front of me...

Believe me, it's...different. I've had the Acai Super Power Antioxidant smoothie from Jamba Juice and it was nothing like this. But I would say it's an acquired taste and so by the time I had a bit more of it I was more accustomed to it.

(Disclaimer: If you have a problem with seeing me a bikini and are going to choose to voice your dissatisfaction in the comments, please stop reading NOW.)

I'm sure most of you have heard of Brazilian Bikinis before. Well, seeing as how our first hotel in Rio was directly across from the beach and we spent some time there, we had a firsthand look at the beachwear worn in this part of the world. There is one word to describe it...tiny. This means for everyone. Men, women, big, doesn't matter. In fact, when we decided to go shopping for swimsuits I originally tried to buy a large bottom and quickly realized that it offered no more coverage than the small.

This is Grace and I showing off our swimsuits. This is the back, which cannot be differentiated from the front except for the tag...

This is us on the beach in our new swimsuits. I have chosen to not put Grace's business out there since this is not her blog and she might not appreciate it. But my bum's not that big and I compete in not much more so it's not that big of a deal. Also, I'd like to point out that the swimsuits we got were probably the most conservative options there were. You don't believe me?

This is a Brazilian on the beach and she's actually a fellow jumper. (Bonus points if you can guess who). This is not the exception, it's the rule. Now I see why men everywhere want to vacation in Brazil.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Missing Out

I was hoping to make this trip to Brazil a combination of sorts… part work, and part vacation. 10 days in the same country is a luxury we almost never have and I was delighted it was occurring in a place I’d never been to before but truly wanted to visit. Our time away from the track was going to be filled with all sorts of wonderful adventures and I was sure to share them all with you. It all started off well, but as you can probably guess from my silence on the blog the last couple of days, I have not been up to much. I worked so hard at not getting sick down here. No ice in my drinks, hold the lettuce and tomato on my sandwich, brush my teeth with bottled water…all the things people warned me about have kept my stomach in check and me off the toilet. But because my immune system is about as strong as a wet paper towel, I didn’t get off so easy. I decided to pick up a severe cold instead. My last few days have been spent stuck in bed with tissue stuck up my nose and random types of medications I could snag from people around me, not to mention the stuff I bought from the pharmacy, which God only knows was for. Once again, my charades skills may not have paid off.

The city we are in now, Belem, is right next to the equator and has Amazon jungles to explore. I was really looking forward to the tour of the rainforest everybody kept talking about but I never got to see it. Instead, I saw old episodes of 90210 playing on the only English speaking television station, with the tissue stuck up my nose to give me a break from the constant blowing. Because I know you don’t want to see pictures of that, I snagged some pictures from my roommate to share with you instead.

The rainforest...

Monkey playing peek-a-boo

Jamie being a brave soul


70 year old man that shimmies up trees

It all looks interesting and adventurous, right? To be honest with you though, now that I’ve seen pictures I’m ok with not really being there myself. Sure, I’d love to go one day if given the chance again, but me and the outdoors aren’t really best friends anyway. It was hot…they had to walk a lot…there was crazy looking bugs everywhere…there was dirt…not exactly my cup of tea. Or maybe I’m just saying that to make myself feel better. Either way, I am happy that I still got to enjoy a bit of Rio. I don’t know if I mentioned it, but our hotel was right across the street from the beach. Come to think of it…the beach is also something else I like in theory. I don’t like getting in the ocean, I hate the sun beating right down on me, and I’m not a big fan of sand. I spend my time at the beach like this…

Typical Bri.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lost in Translation

The few words I know in Portuguese are the ones that happen to be the same in Spanish. Things like, Si, leche, agua, uno…dos…tres. It’s almost enough to call me bilingual. Anybody from southern California knows enough Spanish to get their point across so I try to do the same out here but sometimes I get stuck and there is simply no way to get on the same page. The Brazilians are relentless too. They will continue to talk, at a rapid speed no less, in Portuguese after it has already been determined we don’t understand each other. Us Americans are no better though. We expect people to understand and speak English, no matter where we are. It’s a sense of entitlement that is at best, annoying. A couple of incidents though, have made me wish I carried around a small translator in my purse.

Through a friend of a friend, we had our own personal driver taking us around the city on a tour of some of the most famous sights in Rio yesterday. We had the privilege of visiting the Christo Redenter, a huge statue of Christ that sits on top of a mountain and looks over the city. The driver spoke no English, we spoke 7 words of Portuguese, but all was good. Until…as we were on our way up the mountain we noticed a huge, scary, frightening grasshopper had found its way into the car and was now precariously perched on the drivers seat right above his shoulder. I hate critters. I’m absolutely terrified of them. And myself along with the other three ladies traveling with me had determined that this was a matter of dire importance that needed to be dealt with immediately. We started frantically trying to warn him but he was none the wiser. So, because we are on our way up this winding road and did not want this creature to start hopping around and truly send the car into an absolute frenzy, we motioned for the driver to stop in the middle of the road, so we could escort Pepe out. He understood stop and did so with a wondering look on his face. Once he stops, the grasshopper makes his way onto the driver and we are trying to convey this information to him through words and the flapping of our arms in what we think is a good rendition of “bug” if we are playing charades, but with no luck. I hopped out of the car in the backseat as Grace does the same on the other side, Becky tries to point out the critter on his shoulder before hopping out of the front seat, and because he doesn’t know what else to do, the driver gets out too. We then motion for him to turn around…once, twice. Somehow Pepe has disappeared off of his shoulder so we inspect the car to make sure he’s no longer occupying it, and then gingerly climb back in, except now Becky and Grace have changed seats. We just did a chinese fire drill in the middle of the road, as well as make our driver spin and shake while we yell and scream at him. As much as we tried to convey the presence of a grasshopper was the reason behind all of this, I’m sure he probably thought we were all just nuts! We continued up the mountain and arrive at our destination chuckling over what the driver must be thinking in his head about these crazy, American tourists.

And just in case you are dying to see what we encountered when we made it up the mountain, here are a few pictures!

That's sugarloaf in the background and the view from the top.

I'm trying to stand out in the crowd.

We asked a stranger to lie on the ground and take this for us.

Christ the Redeemer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary

She texted me last week to let me know it was the anniversary. Anniversary? What anniversary? Definitely not one of the romantic sort because we all know that there is nothing to celebrate in that area of life. What else should I be remembering on a yearly basis that holds some type of significance in my life, I wondered. And then, she told me. "It was exactly one year ago, when I came to Tucson when you were having your knee surgery. God is good!" She knew this because it was written in the margin of her one year Bible. And being the holiest upon holy friends a person could possibly have, she had stumbled across it again exactly one year later and wanted to remind me how blessed I truly am. One year later and I’m winning meets on different continents, and jumping better than probably ever before. Yes, I said, God is Good.

Bianca actually took the time to write about me on her blog a couple days ago, and it really touched my heart. She put into words the sadness, confusion, heartache, and uncertainty I was feeling at the time, but more importantly, where I’m at now. Here is an excerpt…

…But then Knee happened. Knee decided for all of us what dreams were going to be put on hold, if not taken away completely. Knee decided what we could cheer for or cry about. Knee decided what she could do and what she hoped to do. A year ago this week I was on a plane to Tucson, Arizona to tend to her and the surgery which would determine her fate. We sat for hours and watched two seasons of Prison Break (and Wentworth Miller), ate enchiladas (made from scratch, thankyouverymuch!), and laughed that we hadn't see the light of day (or showered) in 48 hours (TMI, I know!). At that time we didn't know if Knee would ever allow her to compete again, run again, jump again.

But my God is a good God, my God is a great God, my God is the God of the IMPOSSIBLE. He has caused blind to see, lame to walk, dead to live, and Brianna to run once again. One year ago to the week, Brianna is doing the IMPOSSIBLE. On the anniversary of her surgery she competed in Osaka, Japan and took first place in long jump. Why? Because we serve a God who is still in the business of doing the impossible. Today she is in Brazil competing in the long jump and my God will have His will done. Win or lose.

No matter what we are facing, there is a God who handles business. He is our advocate, our redeemer, and our salvation. Through Him and by Him we can stand before our Goliaths and claim, You come at me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty... (1 Samuel 17:45a)

May we walk with these words on our lips, Nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:37). Do we believe this? Then let's start acting like it!

Awesome, right?!

I will be the first to tell you that there is nothing unique or exceptional about my situation or that what I dealt with wasn’t something that many, many athletes deal with all the time. Injuries happen. Setbacks occur. Things don’t always pan out how we wish they would. That’s life. And that’s definitely the life of an athlete. My story doesn’t make me special, but I feel blessed to know that I’m here now because there were definite moments when I didn’t think I would be. For me, last year wasn’t so much about my injury, but more about feeling lost. The timing of it all got to me because it made me question what I was even supposed to do with my life, if I had been wasting time, and how I was going to move on.

But I’m still here. And right now it’s not about the next Olympics, or even the next year. It’s about enjoying the opportunity that is right in front of me and being thankful for it. Last year could have been my stopping point, but it wasn’t… and so I believe that it wasn’t supposed to be. Running fast and jumping in sand may not sound that important to some, but for me it reaffirms how good God really is. And that is important.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

According to Plan

If you want to see God laugh, tell him your plans.

I like to remind myself of this quote from time to time because I always marvel at it’s honesty. If you are anything like me, you like your life ordered and neat, with tons of lists and plans and strategies. I’m not going to lie…I like control. It’s why I’ve never boarded a flight without researching my seat on seatguru, my motive for looking up other people’s driving directions if they are meeting me somewhere, and the reason you’ll never see me run out of fries before my hamburger is finished. There is always something to be in charge of.

This can pose a problem in my profession though, namely when it comes to meet schedules. Tomorrow I am getting on a plane to head to Brazil. In case you’ve been keeping track, that will be the 6th continent I’ve competed on this season. That was never the plan…but here I am. Brazil was always a meet I had wanted to go to, but they wouldn’t confirm me. Not until I landed back in the states on Sunday from Japan did I get the green light for my trip to South America. So I spent the next two days in Los Angeles talking my way into a Brazilian visa they swore would take 10 days to get.

I am really looking forward to this trip because it will be some amazing competition (Olympic Champion anyone?), as well as a country I’ve never visited before and really want to. At times I feel overwhelmed and stressed with all the changes of plans, hectic travel, rigorous schedule, and such. But at the end of the day I know it’s a blessing. I trust that things are working out exactly how they should. I believe that because I believe in Him. It’s as simple as that, really. In the meantime, God can continue to chuckle on my behalf.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Picture of the Week...Dilemmas

Ok, this is the last little tidbit of attention I am giving to swine flu because I'm over it. I'm smart enough to realize an overreaction when I see it! I just thought this picture was pretty comical...and in case you were wondering, it wasn't staged AT ALL. :)

The reason I refuse to wear a mask has nothing to do with me thinking it's unnecessary, and not because it really doesn't go with my outfit, but mainly due to the fact that it interferes with my eating and drinking...something I do a lot of. I quickly realized this when I boarded my flight with my yummy iced coffee and faced a serious dilemma. Nothing...but nothing stands in the way of me and my coffee.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Numbers Don't Lie

I competed in Osaka, Japan yesterday and came out on top in the Long Jump. It was a good start to my outdoor campaign in that event even though I wished the jump would have been about 7 cm further. (more on that later). But a win is a win, and in a meet where they pay you cold hard cash based on how you finish, I am happy and grateful to have been able to finish first amongst a great field of jumpers.

In case you weren’t aware, the 100 meters was also part of the program for me yesterday. I know plenty of family and friends, track fans, and competitors, will rely on the good ol’ World Wide Web to uncover that result as well. And it’s not pretty. The thing about track and field is that the numbers don’t lie. Your time is what it is and the place you finish is nobody’s subjective opinion. Numbers don’t lie…they just don’t always tell the whole story. Understandably so, the rest of the story really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. There are no brownie points awarded for unnecessary hardship or unfortunate circumstances. I understand that completely. But I have a blog and I get the chance to paint a more complete picture for those who care to hear about it. So lucky me and lucky you!

If there are any folks out there that remember watching me compete in high school or college, you will vividly recall that you saw me everywhere. I would run from event to event, without proper time to catch my breath or change my shoes. I’ve competed at an Indoor meet and broke 3 school records in a time span of 20 minutes. I ran a 200 at Pac-10 Championships in my long jump spikes…no time to change them. I’ve left the final of the Long Jump at NCAA’s to run a preliminary round, then came back and finished jumping my way to NCAA champion. This is the life I led as a spry 21-year-old athlete. I am not that athlete anymore and the energy it takes to compete at this level, against this level of competition, is a little different.

I knew the two events would be close together, but I was hoping to have a little time. By the time I landed in the sand for my last jump, the official raced over to walk me over to the start line where my competitors were already waiting and told me I had two minutes. TWO. I asked for five but was denied. The Japanese stay on time no matter what. So I set my blocks and continued to take deep breaths, hoping I could find the energy to make it down the track. I made it down the track but it wasn’t pretty…nor was it easy. That has got to be the hardest 100 meters I have ever run! My time was pedestrian, I got beat by two local athletes (no disrespect), and I was on the ground panting as if I just ran the 400 meters.

But I had my priorities and I stuck to them. Hindsight is 20/20 and had I known my first jump was going to be my furthest, I could have sat back and relaxed and been prepared to run. But seeing into the future is not one of my gifts so I simply did the best I could. After it’s all said and done, I’m happy with my meet overall and I know that if I stay on course my season will be a successful one.

Friday, May 8, 2009


If you were ever a young teenage girl going through your wonderful adolescent years then you will know exactly what I’m talking about. It was the game you played when you got together with your girlfriends and figured out what your future was going to look like…all in good fun of course. Would you live in a mansion? Would Luke Perry be the love of your life? How many kids would you end up having? All of this vital information rested on the number of swirl rotations drawn by your friend until you yelled STOP!. Your happiness rested in her hands.

The last time I checked my future in this manner was probably about 15 years ago. But it turns out that even if you’re almost 30, the game is still as relevant and informative as ever if you haven’t reached those milestones in life just yet. So, in our effort to kill a good 30 minutes of our 11 hour plane ride, my training partner Grace and I took a page out of our childhood playbook and figured out the lives we are meant to lead according to M.A.S.H.

We added a few categories to reflect our mature position in life, but other than that we kept the game the same. Different categories all with four possible outcomes listed, count the swirl rotations, and then eliminate away until your future is right before your eyes. In case you are all as eager as I was to see what awaits me, here is what I have to look forward to!

I get t spend the rest of my life gazing longingly into the eyes of this man. I'm so excited that my Caucasian persuasion hottie won out. We are going to make beautiful babies together. 2 of them to be exact...

Channing and I will reside in New York, but since I picked "M", we will be living in a Mansion. I don't recall seeing too many mansions in the city so I guess we will have to live a little further out in the country. It'll be worth it though.

During the summer we will be vacationing in Mykonos. If you've never been, this place is beautiful. It will be a wonderful departure from life stateside.

My future career is that of a sports agent...a la Jerry Mcguire. Although somehow I must not be very good because the game told me I will also be poor. I'm not sure how this happened...perhaps I paid too much money to live in a mansion and vacation in Mykonos.

I will drive around town in my environmentally friendly car, a Prius. It definitely wasn't my first choice, but it makes perfect sense when I learned that I also will use my free time volunteering for GreenPeace.

Perhaps most surprising of all is to know that later on in life I will need liposuction to keep my body looking good. You're right in thinking that plastic surgery was not part of M.A.S.H originally, but this is the new and improved version...the version that was hopefully going to bless me with a bigger rack. No such luck. I'm going to assume this is due to the two rugrats I'll be having and blame them for the extra unwanted curves I'll be dealing with.

So there you have future in a nutshell.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Better Safe Than Sorry?

I’m not sure what to think. Either Japanese people are really sick and considerate of those around them, or they are extremely paranoid. I boarded my flight today only to be greeted by what looked like a scene from a movie…something entitled Planes, and the Viruses that Attack Them. Or maybe they were filming the new episode of 24. Don’t get me wrong…I watch the news. I know the fear and panic that has gripped the world because of this darn swine flu. But being surrounded by a plane full of people with surgical masks on, frantically wiping down every surface with their antibacterial wipes and throwing dirty looks at anyone who so much dares to clear their throat is a bit…much. In my opinion.

Maybe if we were on a flight from Mexico City it would make some sense. Maybe. And even if we are smart to be overly cautious, I must say that it just looks terribly amusing. I’ll tell you what’s not amusing though. Landing in Japan and having all flights be quarantined while medical personnel boards the flight and examines EVERY passenger and takes their temperature before anyone is allowed to deplane. I’m telling you, these people rushed on board and stormed the aisles covered from head to toe in protective gear with plastic coverings over their face like the world’s survival was at stake. All I needed now was to catch a glimpse of Jack Bauer because I had a hard time believing this was for real. We fill out paperwork, they shine red lasers at our forehead, and then we are given a yellow slip of paper that assures our freedom and ability to enter the country…if we promise to wear a mask. (Just kidding, we didn’t have to, but that seemed to be the hope as they shoved one in everybody’s hands.) Except not all of us were so lucky. I guess someone about ten rows back actually had a fever, or looked sickly or something, and so they, along with all the people sitting to the side, front, and behind them, had biohazard stickers placed on their seat and had to stay put and then be taken to further quarantine.

I guess I am thankful I didn’t fly last week, when I actually did have a bug of some sort. I probably would’ve had to turn around and get right back on a plane to California. I don’t know if it’s me, but this swine flu thing just doesn’t scare me. I’m looking at my odds compared to everything else out there that has a possibility of making me sick and they look pretty decent but it seems I’m all alone with that mindset…at least in Japan.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Everyone else is doing it...

I’ve been holding off for a while now. Even when I hear it’s the next best thing…even when it makes the prime time news…even when everyone around me seems to be jumping off this proverbial bridge--I’ve resisted. I’ve held my ground, and convinced myself that I didn’t need yet another social networking tool to add to my already overwhelming presence on the net.

I have a website

I have a blog

I have a facebook

What else do I possibly have to add that hasn’t been said or shown somewhere else? Well, the simple answer is probably not much. But why should that stop me? TWITTER HERE I AM! If there is a reason to have more of ME out there for public consumption, chances are I wouldn’t be able to stay away forever. I really am surprised I’ve stayed away this long…it must be the introvert in me that you didn’t know about.

Anyway, I think it might be an interesting way to keep people more up to date and tuned in to what I’m up to as I start traveling and competing more. But…if I’m being honest, I’m more interested in sharing all the nothingness that goes on in my life. It allows my witty sense of humor to shine through! The difference with this channel of communication though is less words and, more importantly, less pictures…so if I find that I have no followers, I guess I’ll know not too many people like me for what’s between my ears.

So if you're interested...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Brit!

The real reason for this post is simply another reason to post this picture again, because it happens to be one of my favorites! I’m not really sure why, it just always makes me smile. But I also want to take the time to publicly wish my little sister a very Happy Birthday! I know she is probably the only person on earth who likes attention and recognition slightly more than me so I figured I should go ahead and let her be the center of the blog today as well, seeing as how some of y’all visit more for her sake than for mine. Brit, I hope you have a fabulous day, but more importantly I hope that this next year brings you happiness and fulfillment and a greater recognition of what a fantastic big sister you have! I love you…yes, even more than Sprinkles cupcakes.