Thursday, February 25, 2010

My New Bling

I am quite possibly the worst person to give jewelry to as a gift. Not because I don’t like it or won’t appreciate it…but because I will lose it. Every real piece of jewelry I’ve ever had, I’ve lost. (Dear future hubby…I will make sure I break this habit before you give me my amazing engagement ring.) It just so happens though, that I will buy some gaudy earrings from the second hand store and keep them forever. I don’t know how this happens, but it does.

Perhaps my favorite piece of jewelry I ever received was a pair of diamond hoop earrings from a boyfriend I had almost a decade ago. He had tons of money but was a tad bit on the frugal side so he himself would wear fake diamond studs. I would tease him about this all the time but in his mind, since he really couldn’t tell the difference anyway and because people would probably assume they were real, he didn’t see a reason to drop a good chunk of money on the real thing. That’s probably why it made my Christmas gift that year a little more special. He bought me my first real pair of diamond earrings and I loved them. In fact, I gave up wearing my fake jewelry most of the time so I could showcase these beauties. Well…that is until I lost them. I don’t know how and I don’t know where, but I always hoped they would show up again in the most obscure place, and I would instantly remember how I had put them there for safekeeping. It’s been years though and that hasn’t happened.

Since then, I have gone back to wearing my fake, cheap stuff until the next lucky lad feels compelled to shower me with bling. But because it’s been a while and $15 earrings tend to look about as expensive as they cost, I’ve recently copped these in-betweener earrings. I ordered them online and they are enough in my price range that I wouldn't even need to wait for the lad! They won’t break the bank but they don’t look cheap at all. They also remind me of the earrings I used to have that I loved so much. What do you think? Kind of fabulous?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Staying the Course

Some anonymous blog reader was kind enough to post my series of results and jumps from last year up until this past weekend in the comments of my last post. The reasoning seemed to be that perhaps I was headed in the wrong direction. Or maybe I should start freaking out and question everything I’m doing because something isn’t working. Well obviously this anonymous person isn’t an athlete. Or a coach. Or a nice human being…but that’s besides the point.

When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you come to realize when freak-outs aren’t necessary. You can’t all of the sudden become a bad jumper in a few weeks time. It’s virtually impossible. I started off this indoor season on a good note. That tells me all I need to know. It tells me that on any given day, I can jump pretty far. That doesn’t mean on every given day I will. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. As a young competitor, I didn’t really understand that and I would let a bad competition get the best of me. I’d start to wonder what was wrong, I’d try to change things hoping to fix it, and I would begin to doubt myself. But now I try to take it in stride and stay positive. Sure. I allow myself a 24-hour sulking period, but I find that therapeutic. These days I am relying on myself far more than ever before so it’s that much more important that I don’t become a head case.

In keeping with the theme this year, I’m posting the following video of one of my jumps. The word that comes to mind for me is pancake. I really felt so incredibly flat trying to come off the board during the whole competition. Other than that though…I felt great! I tried tweaking a few things in my approach, but it’s hard to tell if it worked or not, being as though I had so much trouble getting 2 inches off the ground at takeoff. As always, feel free to share your thoughts. Some I’ll take in to consideration, others...maybe not. :)

Friday, February 19, 2010

39 days

I was unaware that it was Ash Wednesday until it was already almost over. By the time 5 o clock rolled around and it finally dawned on me, I was boarding a plane to England and only planned on being up a couple more hours before I put on my eye mask and called it a day. I quickly went over in my head all of the things I had briefly considered giving up for Lent. This will actually be my first year ever participating, but it always has sounded like a good idea and I actually wanted to give it a go this year.

After some internal deliberation, I decided I would give up desserts for 40 days. No more sweets for me. This is a little more complicated than it might seem. You see, I really like dessert. And lucky for me, it does nothing negative to my waistline. I also happen to frequent the Olympic Training Center dining hall where there is always a full array of cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, and ice cream on a daily basis. I try not to overindulge but I always tell myself that one cookie won’t kill me. (brownie a la mode if I’m feeling extra special). So sure, it’s easy to not give in when you don’t have the temptation staring you right in the face all the time, but when you do it gets a little tricky to not reward yourself at least every other day.

So it was settled. But then I remembered something…I actually stuffed a small piece of cake in my mouth that morning for breakfast. (don’t worry…I had some eggs first). I don’t know why, really. I was at my friends house and I saw it just staring at me from it’s nice little cake display, so I quickly cut off a small piece and didn’t bother with a plate or a fork. I guess that’s even more proof that this might be a good thing to give up for Lent. Only thing is, my Lent will now be only 39 days. It’s a start.

What is everyone else giving up for Lent???

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Game On

Have I ever told you that I am crazy competitive? Like, ridiculously so? Well I am. That’s not such a far-fetched thing to believe for any person who calls athletics their profession, but for me I feel like I take it to a whole other level. So this weekend, when I signed up to do a scavenger hunt along Venice Beach, I wasn’t just out for some quality time with my partner and some sunshine. Sure, those things were an added bonus, but they definitely weren’t the main course. This was a competition. They were going to announce a winner at the end and hand out prizes. Game on.

I’d like to just point out that regardless of the outcome, this happened to be an extremely fun and unique way to spend a Saturday afternoon. I stumbled across this idea browsing the web. A company called Out of the Box Events puts together these hunts, sometimes open to the public and sometimes for corporations and such to work on team-building, etc. But I immediately recalled the fun I used to have as a kid doing scavenger hunts and knew that this would be right up my alley. There were probably 20-25 teams of 2, and we all hopped on bikes and explored Venice Beach looking for answers to some pretty challenging clues. There were some other competitors in the mix, but also some folks just out to enjoy the day. In fact, we ran across one duo that gladly shared the answer they had just stumbled upon. I didn’t have the heart to tell them they were actually wrong. ☺

At the end of the hunt the teams gathered around so they could announce the top three teams. My chest started beating a little faster and my palms started sweating. I clapped politely and smiled as they announced the 2nd runner up and 1st runner up, but inside I knew the day would have a little bit of a damper on it if my team wasn’t called next. I didn’t have to worry, though. My sizing up of the competition proved to be spot on, and we were victorious. Foregoing bathroom and water breaks, working hard to throw other teams off our scent, and racing back in the nick of time so we’d have that extra minute to find that last clue, proved to be a winning strategy. Along with my first place prize, I also got a medal. A medal I wore proudly for the rest of the day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Guess, what? I’m busy Sunday. Yup, as in Sunday, February 14th. I have plans. And they’re with a boy. Normally, I would spend the next couple of days updating my status with the most witty, sarcastic one-liners I could throw out to express my irritated, yet blasé attitude towards V-day, but we all know the real reason for being apathetic…it’s because I had no one to celebrate with. But now that’s all changed, and I may get a rose…or some chocolate…or an over-priced prix fix menu at a fancy restaurant --complete with a totally cheesy Hallmark card to boot. Whatever it is, it will be enjoyed with a member of the opposite sex. As much as I love my girlfriends, I much prefer getting together and celebrating that love on February 15th. Yes, I’ve done the girls night out, dressed in all black, and toasting to the wonderful life of Singledom, but trust me; it’s just an act. We’d all rather have the cheesy Hallmark card. And the chocolate.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Missing the Mark

I’d like to say it was the 22 hours of travel…Or the fact that I haven’t slept more than a couple of hours at a time since Wednesday. There are certainly very legitimate reasons why I didn’t feel at my best today and why I felt just a little disconnected the whole meet. Those two previous things could very well have something to do with it…or they could not. Either way it doesn’t matter. Sometimes we don’t compete as well as we’d like to. Such is life. Such is sport.

It wasn’t a terrible day at the office. I still did manage to jump 6.52m (21’5), but I felt like I had a lot of missed opportunities. I only had two fair jumps out of six. That’s not a great ratio. Especially since I ran through without jumping twice (along with two fouls). Russia is a long way to travel for two fair jumps, especially since there were better jumps waiting to make an appearance. (I just have a feeling!) Granted, tonight might not have been the night for me to jump a PB for the win, but I still would have loved to have a better showing. And in case you were wondering…the Russians went 1, 2, 3. I can’t tell you which Russians, necessarily, because it seems they’re always new ones popping up, especially at meets in Russia. They jump super far, sometimes they stick around, and sometimes they don’t. Just know that if they’re from Russia, they will know how to jump!

And in case you were wondering, I did find another videographer for the meet, although I hated to replace my old one. He was great…he just needs some more practice. There is a lot going on so it’s a little hard to see everything, but here is one of my jumps where I actually jumped. Of course, it could have been one of my fouls…who knows.

Friday, February 5, 2010

From Russia with Love

I’m in Russia, but I have yet to start feeling the love. For starters, this internet I’m on? It cost me $60 bucks. No, that’s not a typo. For 24 hours of connectivity to the world, I pay the price of what it probably costs to provide wifi to the whole hotel. You’d think I would at least get a nice glass of champagne with my purchase. No such luck. I’m also tired. Like, my head wants to split in two, type tired. Right now I’m debating on trying to tough it out and stay up til dinner, or let it get the best of me and just wake up in the middle of the night and be a starving, ravenous monster. I’m leaning towards monster.

I’d love to say that I’m going to spend some of my free time seeing some of the sights in this country because I’ve never been here before, but that would be a big fat lie. I don’t plan on stepping outside of this hotel unless I’m making a mad dash to the bus that is going to take me to the track. It’s cold here. scratch that, it’s freezing. My flimsy California cold-weather attire had the nerve to show up here and think it was going to do something against this kind of cold. As soon as I walked outside I started coughing like I had been a smoker for the last 50 years of my life. My lungs just didn’t know what to do. I think I actually saw the driver chuckle at me.

Which brings me to the one thing I have experienced in Russia thus far. The lack of smiles. I keep grinning at people and offering a polite acknowledgement and it has yet to be returned. This must be a cultural thing, akin to what nice Midwest folks think when they visit New York, just on a slightly grander scale. I’m going to make it my mission to find a Russian that will crack a smile for me. I know it’s in there somewhere; maybe they just save them for warmer weather. Which by the way is totally understandable. The one man who did smile at me was actually hitting on me. He wanted to give me his number and offered to take me around and show me the sights, to which I had to politely decline. Not because of the weather though…just because it was downright creepy.

Other than that, I’m doing great. I just plan on resting up and getting ready to jump on Sunday. I will be up against a strong field of Russian long jumpers, half of whom I probably have never heard of, but who nonetheless will go out and pop a world leading mark and disappear back into obscurity. I swear, this country produces long jumpers like nobody’s business. Until next time…

***Let’s make today “smile at a stranger day” and hold the smile until they are forced to smile back! .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

First Meet Jitters

It’s always a good feeling to get the first meet out of the way and to have it go well. For starters, every competitor likes to start competing. I don’t really get to enjoy myself on a day-to-day basis, but once I’m in a competition, I am now doing what I love. It’s also reassuring to compete and know that your training and preparation is on the right track. I opened up at my first meet with a jump of 6.57 (21’6), and a series of jumps that were all over 21 feet. That is my best opening series to date and so that gives me a little boost of confidence for this indoor season because I know I’m capable of building on that.

The meet was extremely low key and not too much pressure, which allowed me to focus on the technical stuff and not get too hype about the competition. I considered myself the Granny out on the runway, as I was about 10 years older than any of my competitors. Luckily I haven’t sprouted any grey hairs yet so I’m able to blend in just a little.

Below is a video of my first jump, which ended up being my furthest. I’m a little shaky in the coaching department these days so I figured I would ask my blog readers what I should do to jump a little further next time. Who knows…perhaps one of you knows the magic formula! And if not, there are enough of you that like being armchair coaches anyway so here is your chance!

P.S. I am also accepting applications for a new videographer. This position doesn't pay well, but you get to travel with me at times and I'll wink at you from the track. The only qualification is you must know how to film better than the above video!