Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet Recap

So…yea…umm…you know…I, uhh

I swear I can talk. In fact, I thought I was pretty good at it. So good at it that I’ve been toying around with the idea of incorporating it into my next profession. But after watching the following video, I’m just not so sure. Whatever the case, I’m sharing it with you because there have been plenty of times when my friends and family have been by my side when things didn’t turn out so well. They’ve experienced the sour side of Bri not too many people want to get next to, talk to, or even look at. So I figured they might appreciate seeing this…a whole bunch of smiling and excited babble. And I’m just going to come out and say it…my teeth look enormously big. Are they really that big in real life?! I never thought so but now I’m a bit worried. Mr. Ed and I might be cousins.

Track and Field Videos on Flotrack

Anyway, I hope it’s obvious that I am really happy with how things turned out this past weekend. The competition was not an easy one. I was jumping pretty decent but not hitting the board early on, I fell out of one good jump, I had a couple jumps where I just flat out didn’t land…there were a lot of things that could have shook my confidence or made me start to doubt that I could really pull it off. There came a point when I knew I’d have to jump farther than I ever had before if I was going to be on the team and that didn’t rattle me at all. I believed in myself the whole competition and when I stood at the back of the runway on my 5th jump, I was the perfect mixture of calmness and confidence. Most jumpers will tell you that they know a good jump as soon as they land it, and I was no different. So when the judge initially put up a jump of 20’10”, I fought like my future depended on it. Actually, it kind of did. Somehow they had made a mistake with the measuring (it’s this fancy electronic thing—no tape measure) and put up the wrong mark but they had also already raked the pit. But I knew it was wrong, and after a bit of forcefulness on my part, they realized they’d made an error and corrected it. It’s a crazy thing if you think about it…I was that close to not having the mark that put me in 2nd place and if I hadn’t known without a shadow of a doubt that jump was a big one and forced them to find their mistake, the outcome would have been a lot different.

Well that’s my meet recap for you. I know it’s not too in depth because I’d hate to bore anyone to tears and I’m of the mindset that too much technical talk is not interesting. But I gave you the meat and potatoes of it, and I showed you my not so flattering video clip, so even if you weren’t able to be in Eugene, perhaps you can feel like you were there in spirit. And of course, if you have any questions about something competition related that you’re dying to know, feel free to ask!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Finally the Bride!!!

It feels like I’ve been sooo close many times. For 9 years now I’ve been competing at U.S. Nationals with the hope of making a World Championship or Olympic team. I’ve had my good years and not so good years, top 3 finishes a couple of times without having the standard to actually go to World’s, and a trip to the World Championships as part of a relay pool. But this will be my first time on the team in an individual event and when I tell you that I am thrilled beyond words, I am only just scratching the surface of the exhilaration I am experiencing. It is not just the opportunity to go to Berlin, although that in and of itself is a huge honor and accomplishment, it is the personal journey that has brought me to this particular point of triumph, and the ability to look back on everything that brought me to this point and know that none of it was in vain.

I believe that my story is one of perseverance. I’d love to tell you that there was never a moment when the doubt and uncertainty got to me, but we all know that would be a BIG FAT LIE, seeing as how my struggles and disappointments are thoroughly documented right here on this blog! But I found the strength and the determination to not give up just yet and listen to my heart. I know that much of that encouragement came from you guys…my close friends and family who always stand behind me and support me, as well as all the rest of the people I’ve met along my journey who somehow found a reason to believe in me, to cheer for me, and who continue to have confidence in a person they don’t even know personally. That’s huge to me. There have been many times when I read your words and realize that the faith you have in me is the faith I need to have in myself.

The competition on Sunday probably deserves a post of it’s own for anybody who is even interested in knowing how it all unfolded. But for now I just wanted to make sure I let everyone know that I appreciate the thoughts and prayers and right now I’m one very happy girl. I am pretty sure there will be nobody at the airport that thinks I am mean today because the smile on my face isn’t going anywhere!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Jesus Christ Would've Thought"

If you happen to follow me on twitter or facebook, you know that the title of this blog comes from a response I heard while watching the track meet on T.V. yesterday. The third place finisher in the Men’s 100 meter race was overcome with joy and happiness after making his first World Championship Team. And when the ever so cynical commentator, Dwight Stones, asks this guy in the most incredulous voice one could imagine, “Who would have ever thought that YOU would make the World Championship team?” Rae Edwards responded in the most sincere and straightforward way he could think of… “I would’ve thought, and Jesus Christ would’ve thought.

To fully appreciate this comment you’d have to know Rae Edwards firsthand. Since most of you probably don’t, all I can tell you is that it was not said in the same way that one might hear a Grammy winner start off their prepared speech with, ”first and foremost, I’d like to thank God…. It was so candid and honest that it made me laugh and tear up at the same time. Like so many of us, he came into this meet not the odds on favorite to make the team, without the belief of peers and those ‘in the know” that he could actually do it, and the added weight of years and years of falling just a little short of your ultimate goal. But when it came down to it, he still believed in himself and he still believed that Phil 4:13 applied to him. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. (I don’t even know if he knows that verse, but I am sure he believes in its sentiments).

Like I’ve said before, I am going out on that field tomorrow to do my absolute best and embrace the opportunity in front of me. I don’t need to be the favorite, I don’t need to convince anybody that I should be wearing a swoosh, I don’t need T.V. time, I don’t need to care about who is capable of jumping what or worry about what they’ve jumped before. I just need to know that above anything else, if I believe in myself then I have two people in my corner, and at the end of the day that’s all you really need.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ask Me Anything

Today I get on a plane and head to Eugene for the 2009 National Championships. I don’t compete until Sunday so I’ll have a few days to relax and get mentally prepared to do battle. As it is a fairly well known fact that this weekend is an important peak in my season, plenty of friends, family, and strangers have offered their version of pep talks, encouragement, and inquisitions as to my state of mind and preparedness. To my knowledge, everyone means well, and in the big scheme of things that is what is important. Do all the questions totally make sense or are they the best thing to ask an athlete preparing to compete at a major competition? Maybe not. But then again, I wouldn’t know the proper thing to ask a surgeon right before he does a big procedure, or what to say to Obama before he delivers a big speech. So, off the top of my head here are some questions I’ve been asked recently, and my attempt at answering them in my best layman’s terms.

*How far do you think you’re going to jump?… The Lord has blessed me with a lot of gifts, but unfortunately seeing into the future isn’t one of them. I am not the type of person who guesses what my mark might be. I prefer to adopt the mindset that whatever it takes to jump on that particular day, I’ll be capable of jumping it.

*Who is better than you?… I suppose that if they awarded places based on previous performances, we could all stay home and save ourselves the anxiety. But I’m assuming that those who show up do so because they feel they can be the best on that day. At least that is my mindset.

*Are you really nervous?… Right now? No. There is always going to be a fair amount of nerves that accompany any meet, but before the actual day, I’m usually totally fine. At the end of the day, I do the same thing at a big meet that I do at every other meet the entire year. It’s important for me to approach it in the same manner and to not give it some uber-important meaning. It’s not life and death—it’s just long jumping.

*What are your expectations?… Simply to do my best. That may not sound like much to some and maybe you would expect for my answer to be more specific, But I’ve learned in my old age that expectations can weigh you down. I have my goals and I truly believe in them, but my concentration on Sunday will be on me and me alone and I just want to go out there and do my absolute best.

*What’s up with your outfit?… Nobody is paying me to wear a boring outfit that looks like everyone else’s so therefore I don’t. I just wear what I like.

*How is this year different?… Well, for starters it’s not last year! I’m a year older and a year wiser. It is always a beautiful thing when you can tell that you have gained valuable knowledge from past struggles. Right now I try and take things day by day and I just want to have fun and enjoy myself.

So there are a few I can remember right now. Feel free, however, to ask away if there is something you’d like to know or something you’ve been dying to ask me. I know that there are plenty of readers who are not track fans or participators and so I do my best to share my experiences and feelings in ways that give you a small idea of what my life is like. If the question is really off the wall, I may roll my eyes when you aren't looking, but I still will do my best to answer. :)

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Mean Girl: A debate

I believe most people think I’m a nice person…once they get to know me. But I am learning more and more, that before that introduction happens and I’m just another face in the sea, that face is not radiating kindness. There are those people that walk around with a constant smile and an encouraging word to every person they see, and I happen to think that’s great. In fact, most of my friends are like that. I’ve always said that in comparison they make me look worse, because I am now superimposed next to the epitome of “friendly”, and here I stand in stark comparison as the girl who just seems pleasant enough. I am a caring, thoughtful, attentive person to those people I know, and I thought to those people I might not know as well, but I’m hearing that perhaps what I consider to be a smile and acknowledgement, isn’t always reaching it’s intended target the way it should. Here are the most common sentiments I hear in regards to my not-so-nice first impressions…

I look intimidating: This comes from both men and women so it’s not like I can just blame it on the opposite sex. I don’t want to be an intimidating person (unless I reaaaly don’t want you to talk to me), so I must figure out what it is about my presence that gives off that vibe. I like people. I want people to like me. It shouldn’t be a daunting task to be my friend, but a lot of times before someone knows me, I can seem a bit unapproachable.

I look standoffish: Perhaps this is a little bit related to being intimidating, but I believe this delves more into the realm of coming off as a snob or being a bit stuck-up. Of course I’m going to tell you that I’m anything but, and I’d venture to say that most people, once they know me, would totally agree, but nevertheless I’ve heard this comment more than I would wish.

I look mean: I’m not sure what it is about my face, but for some reason if I am just walking around or minding my own business, it can resemble that of an ice queen. My face just doesn’t constantly have a smile on it for some reason and I’ve heard that it looks like I’m mad about something or I am not in a good mood. But to be honest, I think it’s just how my face is. I really don’t think I can help it.

There are those of you who know me well and I’m sure you’d be happy to say how even if you initially may have had that impression of me, it couldn’t be further from the truth now that you know me. And maybe there are some of you who know me only as an acquaintance who thought the exact same thing when you first had an encounter with me. I’m curious to know what you think and if you could possibly give any insight as to why. Maybe that could help me figure out something I am doing unconsciously that I could alter in some way. I don’t think I’ll ever be winning awards for most delightful stranger you’ve ever met, but I can try.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Silver Lining

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been missing all week. Not just on the blog…in life. Nobody has seen me, I haven’t answered my phone, I wasn’t bothering to eat, and shoot I barely even twittered unless it was to say I was three seconds away from death. I was sick, but not just any type of sick, reaaaaaly sick. I’ve had strep throat before, but never as bad as this case was. It did not creep up on me so that I might have prepared accordingly, it sucker punched me in the middle of the night. And it was BAD. My fever was out of control and had me changing pajamas at least 3 times a night, my throat swelled so bad that if you looked at me from the left, I looked like I had a double chin, and my throat was replaced with sandpaper that did not allow me to swallow my own saliva without cursing the heavens. Which was great…since the only advice I kept hearing was folks telling me to hydrate.

But I know that nobody comes here to here me gripe, so instead I’ve chosen to share with you the brighter side of my time spent on the dark side. It is important to remember that there is a silver lining in even the bleakest of situations.

*Rest… I was able to sleep for 12 hours, wake up for an hour and then go right back and take a nap. And when I was too uncomfortable to fall asleep, I’d just take some Tylenol PM and knock myself out, since I didn’t have anything I really needed to be coherent for.

*A new buddy…the girl behind the counter at Jamba Juice was a sweetheart. She even gave me some extra boosts in my drink, which became helpful when it was the only meal of the day.

*Peace and Quiet… my roommate left so as to not catch any of the deadly germs I was spreading. It’s not often I get the chance to live in solitude.

*A trim figure… I’ve been wanting to get down to what I feel is my ideal competition weight, but it just wasn’t happening. Well…now I’m there! This diet puts Jenny Craig to shame, and it’s a whole lot cheaper. The only problem is I’ve also lost some important muscle groups I would kinda like back, (read: gluteus maximus) so hopefully I can get those to return pronto.

*Staring at a bona fide hunk… I watched Season 4 of Prison Break. That’s a whole lotta hours of Wentworth Miller.

So while I was a little freaked out and on edge about missing my last real week of training before Nationals, I realize that worrying about it will do nothing to help the situation. I don’t feel great yet, but by next Sunday I will be fine and hopefully able to fly through the air that much further with my new, light and airy self.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I believe it was some time in middle school when I began adding letters. B.F.F. didn’t really do it justice and it didn’t look so extravagant on the yearbook page. Besides, we knew we would be friends for life and so this was decidedly more appropriate.

Best Friends Forever and Ever Til Death Do Us Part.

Silly kid games, right? Well I no longer sign the notes I pass in class like this, but it most certainly would still be appropriate. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you’d know that I love my friends. I brag about them, I go on and on about how AMAZING they are, I claim to be the luckiest gal in the world for being blessed with such a wonderful group of girls I know I can count on for anything…it’s all been said and done before. But it never stops me from wanting to revisit this topic and share with you again how important my friendships are to me.

The other day my friends came down to San Diego to spend the day eating and laughing, the two things we are known masters of. After our first meal of the day, we sat by the beach and looked out at the crystal blue ocean and marveled at the good fortune we had. A group of friends who have the ability to get together on a weekday and stare at the ocean on a glorious afternoon…just because! It’s so simple yet so remarkable at the same time. They are some of the most accomplished and successful people I know, and all of us lead such crazy, hectic lives that more often than not see us scattered around the globe, but on this day we were together and celebrating the fact that not one of us had a time clock to push and the only thing on the calendar was quality time with friends.

I know I touched on this in a post last week about making sure you spend time with the ones you love now, but I am going to reiterate it again. The moments in life that you will remember and that will touch your life in the most profound ways, are the simple ones that we often take for granted. Make the time to just sit back and laugh. The ocean view helps, but it’s the company you’re with that makes it truly special.


Just in case you are thinking to yourself what makes my friends so fabulous, take a second to check them out. I suggest you look at their website, read their blogs, and follow their twitters! ☺

Jasmine: jasmine-star.com (The BEST photographer this side of the Mississippi)

Bianca: inthenameoflove.org (God's little angel. No seriously)

Jennie: jenniefinch.com (The fiercest female athlete on the planet)

Melanie: (oh wait…Mel doesn’t HAVE a website. Despite being one of the most talented individuals I know and one of the most gifted writers on earth, she doesn’t see the point. Get with the program Mel!!! She does have a twitter now though, thanks to me.)

P.S. Jen would like me to point out that she is not wearing her sunday best like some people because she came straight from training. :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Deal Breakers

Last night I hung out with a friend of the male variety, and I found myself acutely aware of the many things that could have possibly been deal breakers if this had been an actual date. Texting instead of calling to see if I was free…the car door I opened for myself…constant texting at the dinner table…ordering before me…you get the picture. A lot of little things that on there own are not significant, but offer a peek as to the kind of work I’d have cut out for me. Now, of course I’m not going to give someone the boot if they don’t open my door, but I will point it out and remind them how chivalry is not dead. It most certainly is going to be alive and well in any relationship I’m involved in.

I admit…I’m not the easiest person to get a second date with. I suppose the first date isn’t a walk in the park either, but if you catch me on a good day, it’s not that hard. Its not that I’m entirely hung up attractiveness or any other superficial gradient, I just have a ton of things I look for and expect in terms of behavior and actions. I am happily picky. These desires have been developed over time and I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to teach people how to treat you. I also realize that if you are currently at a 3rd grade reading level and are trying to graduate from high school, there isn’t much teaching I can do at that point…even if you look like Channing Tatum.

There are certain things though, that go far beyond suggestions and hints. You live at home with your parents? Deal Breaker. Smoke? Deal Breaker. Don’t see the need to work out? Deal Breaker. Speak rudely to wait staff? Deal Breaker. Have a job, but not a career. Deal Breaker. Don’t love Jesus? Deal Breaker. Have long fingernails? Deal Breaker. Don't get along with my best friends? Deal Breaker. I could go on and on but I am more interested in hearing about your own deal breakers. I will also say this…just because something may not work for me, does not mean it is necessarily a negative thing for all folks. I am sure that there are some standout guys 30 years and up who still live with mom and pops who would make great boyfriends, they just won’t be my boyfriend.

What are your D.B.'s?!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

In Loving Memory...

This week marks 9 years since my Father passed away. I miss him. Terribly. They always say that time eases the pain and in a lot of ways that is true, because the ache is not as constant and the bad days not as frequent, but there are still moments that pop up when it still feels just as raw. You get mad at yourself for the things you can’t remember as easily anymore…the smell of someone, the sound of their voice, each and every memory you had together…all of that stuff fades a little no matter how hard you try to stop it. It’s the reason you will always hear people say to cherish the ones you love now, because you never know when you’ll no longer have the opportunity to do so.

This week also brought news that my previous stepfather just passed away after a long bout with Cancer. I know many of us come from families that have a lot of extended arms to it, and I definitely am part of that mold. Harold was not related to me by blood, but for a large chunk of my life he was an important father figure. After the nucleus of that family was no longer, the relationship I had with him also drifted away. It has been only recently, and especially now, where I feel a lot of regret over that. It is another reminder that life is precious and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Despite the complexity of my family makeup over the years, people who love me and support me have always surrounded me and I am grateful for that. I just wish I had done a better job of showing it…when I could.

I know this is a bit somber for a post on my blog, but because it’s weighing heavy on my heart I just wanted to remind everyone to never take someone for granted or miss out on showing your appreciation for the people God has blessed you with. Sometimes our time with them will be far shorter than we’d hope for and you’ve got to be thankful for them now. I know Father’s Day is approaching later on this month, and I’m reminded of the people I will not be able to thank or appreciate in person any longer, so please make sure that if you still have that opportunity, you do so.

In remembrance of Harold, I wanted to post a picture with him and of what a family portrait used to look like at one point in my life. It’s ok if you still find it possible to chuckle at the audacity of my outfit and bangs because I admit that I did as well.

I will remember you always…

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Athlete Spotlight: Lex Gillette

Anybody that works out on a consistent basis knows what it’s like to just not feel like it sometimes. I get that feeling on occasion…times 100. Working out for a living is a blessing and a curse. Obviously the blessing is having the opportunity to better yourself day in and day out at something you are so passionate about and be able to call that your J.O.B. The curse is that when you are having a low energy day and don’t have much to give…tough cookies. But that’s life, right? At the end of the day you just find a way to get it done to the best of your ability. Part of my inspiration comes from the fact that I am surrounded all day by people striving to accomplish the same things that I am and that is an extremely strong motivator when you are having a not so fabulous day. I can think about giving a half-hearted effort until I look over and see one of my competitors run full out and that makes me push myself that much harder. And those days when I am standing at the back of the runway, complaining about this, that, or the other thing…I just have to look at Lex.

Lex Gillette is one of the paralympic athletes at the Olympic Training Center. He does the sprints as well as the Long Jump and Triple Jump, and he does them well… American Record holder type well. I should also mention that he is completely blind. To be able to watch an athlete like that on a daily basis go through the same workouts I do without the use of eyesight puts into perspective the triviality of anything I could possibly have to complain about. And while I know that most of you have probably never attempted to long jump or triple jump in your life, take my word that it is not that easy to do with perfect vision. If I tried to run down the runway with my eyes closed on a narrow strip of rubber, jump at a predetermined time, then land it, it would be a disaster. And if I tried to hop, skip, and then jump, it would probably require an ambulance. But Lex is an amazing person and a special athlete and to be able to witness his ability firsthand is nothing short of amazing.

His remarkable talents don’t stop there though. I have recently discovered that Lex is quite the singer as well. I wanted to post a snippet of him here doing his thing because to me he seems like the kind of person more people need to know about and be encouraged by. I know that he inspires me on a daily basis and that makes for quite the individual!

His voice is pretty good, don't you think?! This is one talented individual I tell ya.