Friday, January 29, 2010


It’s about that time. Competition time, that is. This weekend I begin my short, but hopefully successful indoor season. There are years when athletes take Indoors less seriously than others, being that it’s not quite the same as our outdoor season and the major competition we are preparing for that year (Olympic Games or World Championships), but in an off year when there is no major outdoor championship, making the Indoor World team seems to take on a bit more importance. This year I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to compete indoors, and so I got off to a little bit of a late start with my preparation. But I feel good, and after this weekend I will have a better understanding of where I am. Here is a quick rundown of the couple of meets I will be making an appearance at.

January 30th – Flagstaff, Arizona: This meet will be my opener. I usually try to start my season at a low-key meet, where there is hardly any pressure and I can just compete and get the first-time butterflies out of the way. Of course I must pay out of pocket to go to a meet like this, but such is the life of a long jumper.

February 7th – Moscow, Russia: I am making a round-trip, west coast to eastern Europe trip to do just one meet. If it sounds a little crazy to you, rest-assured it sounds just as crazy to me. I was hoping one of the stateside meets would end up picking up my event (cough…Boston), but alas, this did not happen. So in order for me to actually get paid to work, I must fly 20 hours. It’s fine though. I’ve always wanted to visit Russia in the winter. :/

February 20th – Birmingham, England: I’ll be going back over the pond to do another meet before Nationals. Normally, I would have liked to stay in Europe and just compete in more meets, but they were just too spread apart to make it worth it. More frequent flyer miles for me!

February 28th – Albuquerque, New Mexico: Indoor Nationals will finally not be in Boston. (Thank God!) I get to buy myself a nonstop Southwest ticket and call it a day! My plan right now is to just compete in the Long Jump because I really would like to make the World team. Unlike outdoors, the Indoor team is just the top 2 finishers.

If all goes according to plan, this year World Indoors will be in Doha, Qatar, and I will be making that trip mid-March. I have no idea if the Middle East is a winter wonderland at that time of year but I’m excited to visit anyway. I plan on updating along the way and I kindly ask for your prayers and well wishes during this time.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I’m completely self-employed. What does that mean, really? It means that there is absolutely nobody on the planet that really cares what I am doing on a day-to-day basis. No one. And normally that doesn’t really phase me because I’m a pretty self motivated person and have no problem working hard and pushing myself when I need to. I have learned over the years that the only person you can truly count on is you. That’s why I didn’t freak out when I learned I wouldn’t have a coach this year. In my younger years I could never do that. Any time the coach wasn’t there was a day to goof off and take it easy. Shoot, I remember my first 4-week winter break in college that I went home for. I practiced three days out of the whole month. No lie.

Last week in Southern California really tested my resolve. It rained non-stop all week. And I’m not talking about a bit of water falling from the sky, it was sheets of rain hitting you from every direction that at one point even turned to pellets of ice. ICE. In San Diego!!! But I made it through the week. Yesterday, however, when I saw that it was supposed to rain again, I started having internal conversations with myself. Every shoe company out there has expressly stated that they don’t want to pay me for doing what I do. But here I am. I have no coach watching my workouts, motivating me to give it my best. But here I am. Nobody but me will even know if I skip a workout. But here I am.

Why am I here?! I guess because at this stage of the game I’m only doing it for me. I don’t practice so that my coach will be proud of me, I don’t work hard so that shoe companies will feel they’re getting their money’s worth, and I don’t show up every day so that I can prove something to somebody else. I’m just doing it for myself. I work hard because I want to accomplish things and I believe that I can. By the time it’s all said and done, maybe others will be invested in whether I succeed or not, but on a cold, rainy Tuesday afternoon, it’s just me. So I laced up my shoes, threw on my rain jacket, and headed out. Today my boss said it was important for me to work hard so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. And wouldn’t you know…it didn’t even start raining until I was finished. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Good Ol' Days

The other day I had a long conversation with TV producer about my very good friend back when we were in high school. I’m thinking it’s kind of like the new version of Before they were stars… or something. Besides, who wouldn’t want to look back at all the fabulous hair and wardrobe choices, the crushes and heartbreaks, and all of the incredible experiences that made up that wonderful year of life?!! (Yea, I was pretty happy that the show wasn’t about me, either. How would I really explain those outfits?)

Ever since that conversation, I’ve been on a trip down memory lane. It’s crazy to be reminded of the kind of person you were back then and all the thoughts and plans that seemed so incredibly important at the ripe old age of 17. I was trying to remember why our group named ourselves the BOMB SQUAD. Well, err, uhhh, we kind of thought we were “the bomb” and we created this nickname that suited us and just ended up sticking. I don’t know…it totally made sense at 17! From all the boys we had crushes on that we’d rather not admit to, to the trips to “San Diego” that somehow landed us on the other side of the border, to really thinking glitter can really solve most of life’s dilemmas, to understanding what makes a good friend, and all the other crazy stuff 17-year-olds try to make sense of, that particular year was probably pretty life changing for me. I might not have realized it then, but looking back on it now it all makes perfect sense.

Being a teenager was awesome and it’s even more awesome to look back at it now and smile. I smile because I have the same people around me who loved me then but who love me even more now. I’m still the bossy, opinionated, ration out Capri Suns person I was back then, but I dress better. And I have better taste in men. (I hope). And they have blossomed into women I am over the top proud of. To know someone while they are in the process of becoming who they will be, and to now see the outcome of that process is kind of cool. And this is just the beginning!

What are some of the things you remember from when you were 17? The things that make you smile? The stuff that makes you cringe? Not all of us are lucky enough to be featured on MTV, but sharing on the fabulous blog is almost as cool!

*** The "Bomb Squad" at 17***

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's not all about ME

I’m selfish. I hate to admit it, but the proof is in the pudding. Most of the time I live my life for me and spend my most precious resource…my time…on myself. I can usually justify it by saying that the career I’ve chosen calls for this. It is an individual sport that requires a lot of time and effort to be your best and you must commit yourself to it fully in order to be at the top. And all that other time in the day when I’m not busy running in circles and jumping in sand? Well I need that time to recover. Regroup. Reenergize. And after that is done I need some time to focus on some other things that are important to me. My hobbies. My friends. My blog. My shopping needs—all the important stuff.

It is only rarely that I focus on other people, those that exist outside my little bubble. And I hardly ever do this on a consistent basis. I don’t volunteer regularly (Hello, I’m busy!), I don’t constantly search out those in need who I could be of assistance to, and I don’t make a real effort to figure out how I can use the gifts and talents I have to help others—someone besides myself.

This week I started a six-week series in my bible study group called DO SOMETHING. It is actually a church wide campaign at The Rock Church to encourage people to really begin to do something with their lives that matters and really counts. I haven’t been equipped with all that I have so I can simply make my life better. My purpose is also to help those around me and those who are in need. That’s how you truly do something great with your life and make it significant.

I’m sharing this here so that you can remind me to get over myself and to start living my life with a bigger purpose in mind. And perhaps you want to be reminded too. We all were created to do something great and to touch people in our own unique way. I want to be inspired to put my faith into action and to make my time here on Earth really count. Who’s with me?

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works that these he will do, because I go to My Father. –John 14:12

Friday, January 15, 2010


Everyone is talking about Haiti these they should be. I think it's important that in the day and age in which we live, where we facebook, twitter, and blog our lives to the world, we use the voice that we've created and the audience we've acquired to also talk about what's really important. Remembering this country in their time of need and doing what we can individually and collectively to help is of utmost importance right now. It's awesome to be able to use the social media of today to create action and to bring awareness.

Please take a few moments to watch the following video. It really moved me and I wanted to share it with the people I'm connected with. Continue to pray and please do whatever you can to help.

HAITI Ain't Heavy from ixlfirst on Vimeo.

Haiti Relief: Each viewer + donation = MIRACLES

Red Cross:Text HAITI to 90999 ($10 donation) -

YĆ©le Haiti: Text YELE to 501501 ($5 donation) - www.

*** If others know of some reputable, legit things they'd like to mention please do so in the comments and share the links! Also...just keep the dialog going. It's important we keep talking.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Always a Competitor

I am competitive. I don’t mean in the sense that I like a good dose of healthy competition every once in a while, I’m talkin’ about cutthroat. If there is something to do and doing that something produces a winner and a loser…it’s on. So I’m attributing knowing this about my personality as to why I just haven’t felt like myself lately. Perhaps getting off my chest will help.

Last week it started with me coming up short in a game of air hockey. I NEVER lose at air hockey. Like, never. For years I have been talking a whole lot of game to friends, dates, and strangers alike, but I always back it up. I don’t care if you are a macho man with an ego the size of Texas or my 80-year-old grandmother…I bring the heat. But last week I lost and it’s been bugging me ever since. I’m not sure if it was lack of concentration because I have become complacent in winning, or the fact that I had on a mini dress that prevented me from getting in the proper stance, but whatever the reason I was a goal short.

Adding insult to injury, last night some fellow athletes and I had Game Night. What better way to spend a Saturday night than with a little Cranium. Word to the wise: If you like playing games just to enjoy time spent with friends and not take things too seriously, don’t play with a group of athletes. Well, needless to say, my team came in second. All day I’ve been beating myself up over not knowing that the sensosketch drawing was “clothesline” or that Lyndon Johnson was elected to the Senate by less than 100 vote victory margin. Idiot!

I’m not sure if I’m halfway normal or completely off my rocker. Are there others who are secretly competitive but just don’t let it show? You smile and congratulate the winner but secretly you are seething that your teammate couldn’t guess the humdinger version of “We will rock you.”

I just want to make sure I’m not alone. I also want to find a few other people who’d like to challenge me in air hockey. Who’s game?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lift Like You Mean It

I saw this quote on a poster a few years back and immediately wanted to high five whoever came up with it. ”That’s right!”, I thought smugly. “We are tougher than other sports.” In fact, this whole idea of conditioning your body and pushing it to its limits constantly was one of the reasons I fought against participating in this sport in the first place. Can I get a ball or a racket please? Is someone going to keep score? Where are all my teammates at who are right along side me working towards a common goal and cheering me along? None of that. Conditioning doesn’t stop after pre-season. It doesn’t appear when you miss a lay-up. And there is definitely no half-assing it.

All this to say, it kind of irks me just a little when I see athletes, especially those that call themselves elite or professional (or desiring to be so), being wimps when they’re away from the “game”. If you are in the weight room trying to get stronger because this will help you be better at your sport, lift like you mean it. I am stronger than the average female but I certainly am not blessed with Herculean type strength. So it should go without saying that a man should be able to lift more than me. If you are doing a power lift, the goal is to be powerful.

Today in the weight room I was confronted yet again with this issue. A young man who’s sport shall remain nameless to protect the guilty was doing a lift called the Power Clean, yet I found it to be lacking severely in the powerful department. I was trying to mind my own business…really I was…but after an unnecessary grunt, I just couldn’t help it. I decided I was going to throw in some power cleans into my workout, and I would also lift on the platform next to him. Is this petty? Probably so. But maybe it serves also as a bit of extra motivation for him to push himself a little harder. Nobody wants to get beat by a girl…

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


It’s amazing to me that there are readers who actually pay attention and remember things that I write. In this age of information overload, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside when I get follow-ups to things I talk about weeks later that I never got around to updating. One such issue was with my ankle. I had a couple twitter updates about pain, MRI’s, and such, and briefly wrote a blog as to what was being done to try and solve the issue. But then I was quiet. I was silent because I really had nothing new to say and I just am not the type to constantly complain and whine when I have an injury…especially an unknown one.

If you want to know the real truth, I was in pain a big chunk of the season. In fact, I was in pain after the last jump I took at Nationals in June, until my very last competition on October 3rd (and yes, it continued to get worse). But I didn’t complain and I didn’t really mention it except to those around me who could possibly be of some assistance. Letting people know you are hurting doesn’t make the pain go away and I was most certainly going to make sure I wasn’t coming up with excuses for sub par performances. I had no idea what was even wrong, but I did know I was going to compete and do so to the best of my ability. And that’s exactly what I did.

But this year is a new season and a new opportunity for success and so I was determined to address it and understand why I had been in so much pain and if there was anything that could be done about it. Six months later I think I finally have my answer. Thanks to the wonderful folks at D.I.S.C up in Los Angeles, (who now treat most Olympic athletes for FREE—hallelujah!) it seems as if I was jumping and sprinting with a stress fracture.

I was actually excited to hear that. Let me tell you why. For starters, the healing process is almost complete, seeing as how I actually haven’t jumped or done anything high impact (on purpose) for the last 3 months. That’s way better than hearing you have an injury that needs to be addressed and dealt with in the form of surgery. Secondly, it makes me feel better. Many well-intentioned (albeit not fully informed) people thought I could have jumped better in Berlin and wondered why I wasn’t jumping and running so well later in the season. Well, DUH! There is your reason. I don’t really owe you one but it makes me feel better to have one nonetheless. It was also a bit of a blessing in disguise finding out now. Sure, I would have preferred to not have anything wrong with me at all, but what if I had found out in July that I had a stress fracture? Do I sit out the rest of the season and not compete? No way. I needed that season for my sanity and to find my way back. It was much more helpful to not know and continue to try and tape it up, get my stim and ice, and do pretty much every other type of treatment you could think of, and be able to live in the dark and still compete. The alternative would have been retirement.

So if there is a silver lining in news like this, then that is mine. Lord knows I will always do my best with what I’m given and I don’t think I did so shabby last season, all things considering. Now what I am hoping for is a chance to really shine. I’m a little behind schedule right now but I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I’m excited to see what I can do.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Picture of the Year

Earlier today my best friend forwarded me the following link from Reuters that was a slideshow of pictures comprised of shots from all of 2009. And wouldn't you of the pictures is of ME! Ladies and Gentlemen, I have officially made it! Of course you can't see my face, and the picture could possibly be just as amazing if it was taken of any other long jumper...but it wasn't. Not to mention that those fabulous socks make it hard to deny who that is flying through the air. Anyway, I thought it was kind of cool and it makes me feel a little special so I wanted to share.


Happy New Year everybody...I pray 2010 is all you dream of and more.