Monday, March 29, 2010

Wifey Material

Let’s be honest. I may not be the voice of authority on this subject. I’ve never been a wife nor have I ever been proposed to. Admittedly, there may not be too many people on this great earth who think I know the first thing on what it takes to obtain such a title. But that wouldn’t stop me, would it? No. Of course not. So I feel like I should make a short list. A list of all the things that qualifies me to be an amazing “wifey.” All I can hope is that one day someone will agree with me.

My List:

*I make great scrambled eggs. (My friends on facebook claim I need an entire breakfast lineup but bacon, toast, etc. make themselves. Eggs take special work.)

*I love sports. Especially football. I will be easy to get along with on Sundays.

*I like to eat. If you buy me a meal, I will clear my plate and you won’t feel like you wasted your money.

*I really like spending time with my girls. That means you can have guys night and I won’t care at all.

*I don’t like talking on the phone. I find that a lot of men don’t really like to either.

*I like to bake cookies for my man. Granted, they’re the pre-cut, ready to bake Pillsbury kind, but those are tasty still.

*I like a clean house. I’m working on actually liking to clean.

*I love to watch romantic comedies. (maybe a stretch?)

Well…that’s my list. It’s not exhaustive but it’s what I can come up with off the top of my head. I’m sure you can ask all my men both past and present and they’d be able to add tons of other things. But for now I’m sure you get the point. Ladies, what qualities do you possess that puts you in the “wifey material” category? Men, what things do you look for that makes someone seem like they could possibly be…the one. (And please, for the love of all things good, don’t get all serious and sappy on me. Have fun…it’s only a blog.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Mentor

Back in the summer of 2008 I had an epiphany. A huge “ah ha” moment, if you will. The only downside to this was that the epiphany clearly let me know that I had no idea what to do with my life. I was considering what to do if I was going to be done with track and field and I came up with no real ideas. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Ok…you get the point. I was tempted to just be a housewife except I had no house and I wasn’t a wife. Slight problem.

In the end I decided to keep competing and I am happy with the choice I made. But that became an awakening call for me to begin to truly give thought and put effort into deciding what my next career could possibly be. It can be hard looking into the future when you are so focused on the present but before you know it, the future will be here and it will slap you in the face if you’re not ready. I want to start actively preparing for that. At the very least, I want to know what is supposed to go on a resume.

I signed up for this career-mentoring program through the USATF foundation that pairs athletes with successful professionals in all areas of business. Yesterday I drove up to Orange County to meet with a guy they thought would be a great fit for me, based on my interests (or basically, stuff I knew wouldn’t bore me or that I didn’t suck at). I didn’t really know what to expect from it, but it turned out to be a great experience. In that short amount of time I gained valuable knowledge and insight, as well as taking my first baby step into figuring out what the next me is going to look like. It was exciting stuff.

This is one of those relationships that right now has benefits flowing in only one direction. I’m over on my end trying to sop up as much as possible and all I can be is grateful that there are people out there willing to help and give of their time and knowledge so that one day I can make a successful transition to my next career. This guy is so big time in his world, but he still thinks it’s important to help guide me through my transition. I guess they call it paying it forward. Well…I won’t forget.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I like telling people how jetlagged I am after I travel. I suppose I’m trying to elicit sympathy or something. But then it occurred to me that there are probably many people out there that have never actually experienced jetlag. I throw around that word freely because many people in my circle know exactly what I’m talking about and have experienced it firsthand many, many times. For the rest of you though, I would say this: you may think you know, but you have no idea…

I remember, before I used to travel through time zones like I was passing through neighborhoods, thinking that jetlag was just feeling a bit tired and sleepy at the wrong time of day. Sure, that’s part of it but that explanation merely scratches the surface. Let me try and explain in better detail…

When you travel to the other side of the globe, you try your best to stay up until normal bedtime. This is a feat in and of itself. Every fiber of your being is telling you to close your eyes and succumb to mother nature, but you fight it and force your eyelids back open after every blink. I’ve been known to play games with myself and treat myself to an extra long blink. Usually this will end up in a 20-minute catnap that I snap out of and have to go splash my face with cold water.

When you finally do get to lay your head down on the pillow, it’s the best feeling in the world. Seriously. It’s like euphoria. You know how sometimes you get a really strong urge to thank God for the little things in life that you tend to overlook? This is one of those moments. I’m usually one of those people who toss and turn and have about 14 internal conversations before I can fall asleep, but nights like these I don’t even remember my head hitting the pillow.

It is the best. Sleep. Ever. And it lasts for probably about 3 hours. 4 if you’re lucky. And it’s not as if you groggily roll over and slowly slit your eyelids to look at the clock. You are wide-awake without the slightest hint of sleepiness in your body. If you try and close your eyes again, you’re simply using way too many eye muscles to keep them shut and your body is telling you it’s futile anyway. You’re up. And you know what else you are? Starving! I’m talking about hunger pains that dig deep into your soul and make funny noises that you want to blame on someone else. I’m a ravenous beast when I wake up from these types of slumbers.

Mornings like these can be the most productive of your life, especially if you aren’t used to being a morning person. I get my best cleaning done and have arrived to the grocery store before it even opened. It’s a good thing too because by late afternoon you are almost a useless human being. The tiredness will hit you like a ton of bricks. Actually, it’s more like the bricks are piled neatly on top of your skull and every 30 minutes another one is added. Oh…and you feel nauseous.

Now it’s just a waiting game. You try to outlast your crushing skull and the feelings of dizziness because you know if you just stay strong, you can beat this monster in a couple days and go back to being a productive member of society the whole day through. I’m on Day 2.

If you’ve experienced jetlag, how would you describe it? Anything I left out? Am I just a big baby or is this pretty accurate?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dining in Doha

Eating in foreign countries is always an adventure. Coming to Qatar, many athletes weren't really sure what to expect, accept that we knew there would be no bacon served. Being that many of us had our prelims early in the morning, breakfast was a must. The following video takes you on a tour of the dining room during breakfast, as well as the subsequent measures taken when what is offered simply won't get the job done. Enjoy...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Introducing: Lolo Jones

We're trying something a little different today. I decided to stimulate some other senses and put this interview on video. It gives you a chance to see more of an athelete's personality (and Lolo has tons of that!), as well as pick and choose what questions actually interest you. Personally, I find them all interesting -- but I'm the one asking them so that's a no brainer. Click to watch the videos you want, and skip the ones you don't. I hope you enjoy Lolo. She's a one-of-a-kind individual and one heck of a hurdler who's looking to repeat as Indoor World Champion. Wish her luck!

*The official name on your birth certificate is Lori. Please explain how Lolo came about. Is it your racing alter ego, or do you just feel it has a little more pizzazz?

*Let’s talk about the infamous fall for a sec. What was the biggest life lesson that tumble taught you?

*I am constantly getting asked if I know Lolo Jones…from men. The interest is definitely there, yet you’re still single. What are the biggest obstacles to finding a quality date on Friday night?

*This past year you wore your birthday suit for the ESPN body issue. As a sport that wears next to nothing in competition, we are pretty used to showing a lot of skin but was that shoot hard to do from a modesty standpoint?

*On the circuit, you’re known as the energizer bunny. You just never stop competing. Is there any reason in particular you take that approach?

*Where does your twitter inspiration come from?

*(Blog Reader Question) What is your personal, inspiring verse from the Bible?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Introducing: Bernard Lagat

Bernard Lagat makes me love middle distance running-- as a spectator of course. Still, this is no small feat. When he competes though, I feel like I am cheering for one of the nicest people on the planet. It also doesn't hurt that he's amazingly talented and has made huge impact in this sport. He wins races, he gets medals, and he sets records...and he does it all with the most genuine smile you'll ever see. It's the nice guy and the talented guy all rolled into one. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Nickname: Kip
Most Notable Performance: They're all so great...I don't know!
Follow him on Twitter: lagat1500

*Please tell me a distance you’re NOT good at over one lap?

I’d say 10,000m- - You’ve got to be wired differently to do so many rounds on the oval! Recently, I did an indoor 5,000m and that was 25laps to the track. I felt like I was doing a marathon..and those laps can make you dizzy; I tell ya’.

*As someone who has been doing this professionally for a very long time, are you starting to feel like the Grandpa of the sport?

Have you ever heard someone say “Old is Golden?” Well, I feel like the most experienced dude out there- - Not necessarily the old guy in the business. So, every time I lined up with the young guys, I know they’re thinking about how better they can challenge me. That’s more pressure on them, which, is to my advantage!

*You have some of the most adorable kids on the face of the planet and they are often your entourage, along with your wife. Do you enjoy traveling with the family and do you get to skip out on Daddy duties when you have a competition?

I’m truly blessed to have a family that loves me and supports me 100%. I try to bring them with me wherever I’m on my business trips. My wife and kids have travelled with me to a lot of exciting places. Training camps in Flagstaff, AZ to our summer base in Tuebingen, Germany and to different competition venues around the world. By having them with me while I travel, I make sure I do my share of making sure that my kids get playtime with me, reading sessions and diaper duties as in the case of my 16-mo old daughter, Gianna.

*If you had continued to race for Kenya and had not become a United States citizen, do you think your career would have turned out any differently?

You know—I think things would have been somewhat different. It was in the United States that I started my carrer as opposed to my colleagues who lived and trained in Kenya. I established by base in Pullman, WA and later in Tucson, AZ and during that period, I earned the respect and admiration of the American people—and that’s why when I took on the US citizenship, I was already a known figure in the American sports scenes. In addition to the above, I earned a college degree in the States and that package enhanced the marketability of the person I had become.

*When you have a bad race, what’s the easiest way to get over it?

You’re a psychic! I was having this topic with Mikki Barber over a cup of coffee here in Doha last evening.

I told her that it takes only 30 minutes for me to get over a REALLY bad race. Sounds crazy isn’t it? But it’s absolutely true! After a bad run, I gather my stuff, exit the track and head straight to the warm up area. There, I talk it over with my coach or a trusted person like my agent about what I felt in the race. At that point, I switch my head to focus only on the good things I had done in practice a weeks prior to that bad race. It could be as simple as a great feeling after a 6mi tempo run, or by thinking about a track session that I did so well, with lots of ease yet fast! After this brief moment of thoughts running wild, a ‘hunger’ for a better performance built inside me and when I approach the next challenge, people will be in for a real battle.

*At times there can be a lot of contact with races over one lap. Have you ever been involved in some of those scuffles? What do they involve and are you usually the cause or the recipient?

No one can say they’re the cause of certain scuffles in the races, but it happens to me so often that I have come to believe that I’m mostly the recipient of all the pushing, kicking, boxed-ins, and worse - -getting spiked.
During the Beijing Olympics and Berlin World Championships the American fans witnessed some of the roughest hits, pushes and blocking by some competitors. I took as part of the game, but at times, I felt like it wasn’t all that ‘innocent’ act! But, unfortunately; this is something to be expected in my events. It comes with the territory I’m operating in.

*If a sprinter wanted to train with you for a day because they claimed your workouts probably weren’t that tough, what training session would you take them through?

Let’s take it easy on the sprinter, in question! Here is the recipe: We’ll both warm up 3mi in say 20min. Do some strides, stretch and put our spikes on. Then we’ll do a 200m in 30sec to get the good feel of the track.

Main course: 500m X 4 @ 1:15 (rest 60sec). We’ll rest 3min and then jump into 200m X 3 @27, 26, 25 (rest 45sec). I think by this time, the cowboy will be sweating and breathing and pleading for mercy! It’s not done yet—lazy!! We’ll do another run, this time a cool down for 2mi in 15min.
By the way, I’m being really nice to the sprinter. I’m that nice… I could have made things a bit spicy here!!

*You have accomplished SO much in your career. Is there anything left that you are aiming for before you hang up the spikes?

I need the Olympic GOLD Medal so bad! So far, I have a bronze, silver and what’s missing?... the big one!! 2012 is coming soon.

*(Blog reader question) What do you think could be done to better sell the sport (realistic or not)?

More live coverage of track and field events especially the ones being staged in the American soil. That’s what we’re missing. This is for both indoor and outdoor competitions.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Introducing: Trey Hardee

He does a whole lot of things, and he does a lot of them well. That's pretty much what it takes to be a world-class Decathlete (and for this weekend, a Heptathlete). It takes a special kind of athlete to train and compete the way Trey does and that's why we all want to try and eat our we can one day try and be just half the athlete they are. In the meantime, when you watch him compete, make sure you appreciate what he's doing to the fullest--and know that you couldn't do it. Well, I know I couldn't.

Nickname: Barry

Most Notable Performance: 2009 World Champion - Decathalon

Follow him on Twitter: @treyhardee

*Many people see the winner of the Decathlon the World’s Greatest Athlete. Is that how you see yourself?

Not at all. I see myself as an athlete, but that’s it. I just happen to do the decathlon.

*If you weren’t dedicating all your time to running, jumping, and throwing right now, what do you think you’d be doing?

Hmmm… right now?? I don’t know… Probably taking a nap.

*Most people are aware that you and the lovely Chelsea Johnson (pole vault) are an item. What’s the benefit of having someone in the sport as your significant other?

Besides us both being awesome? Haha… I think that we have an understanding of what it means to be an elite athlete. The personal sacrifices that it takes to get to, and stay on, this level do not go unnoticed or unappreciated by each other. Another benefit is that we both are so proud of one another… more proud than someone who doesn’t do this sport because we fully grasp what our accomplishments and sacrifices are really worth.

*With no major outdoor championships this year, how are you going to keep yourself busy? Will you compete in any particular individual events that you can be competitive in on a world level?

Hmmm… we’ll just have to wait and see. For right now, I’ve got the Indoor World Championships. I’d love to run hurdles or long jump a lot this summer.

*Being that you have a lot of equipment needed for 10 events, you’re forced to pack a lot of stuff when you travel. Any tips to getting out of paying baggage fees?

None whatsoever… it’s a cruel, cruel world.

*Has anyone ever told you that you look like the guy from Prison Break?

Oh yeah… the entire time I was in the village in Beijing! Apparently that show is big in China!
I’ve never seen it, but I’ve seen a picture of the guy… I can see how people think I look like him.

*Is it a dream of yours to be on a Wheaties Box?

Not necessarily a dream, but that’s what goes along with winning the Olympic decathlon, soooo… it’s tied to a dream of mine.

*(Blog Reader Question) Who is a non-athlete who amazes you with their gift, be it music, writing, acting, etc?

John Mayer can play the crap out of the guitar!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Introducing: Anna Pierce

She is one of those girls that make you notice her. And it’s not just because of her funky hairstyles. This girl has talent – and loads of it! She can step to the line at just about any distance and be competitive. I admire that about her. She can run just about as fast as me, but I can’t run anywhere near as long as her. Advantage: Anna.

Nickname: Fierce Pierce! (self proclaimed nickname). Growing up my mom called me Anna Banana Pickle
Most Notable Performance: hasn't happened yet.

*Since you are competitive at so many different distances, tell us which is the hardest and which one is the easiest—and why!

The 1500 is the hardest, hands down. It's grueling after the first lap and I feel like death when I finish, so much lactate! The 800 has been the easiest for me so far, but I think that mean I might not be running to my potential.

*The first time I heard your name, you were a steeple chaser. Now you’ve decided it really isn’t necessary to run that many laps and jump over barriers in the process. Is there any specific reason for the change?

I wanted to be the best in the world, and running sub-9 minutes in the steeple was looking like a pretty tall order for me. I found I'm much better at shorter distances when Terrence Mahon began coaching me in 2009- plus I love sprinting so it's a perfect fit.

*You are recently married. Congrats! Has that changed anything besides your last name?

Not really, Jon and I joke about it being the same as its always been. Changing my name was hard to get used to, but it feels good to have a symbol of our commitment to each other with me everywhere I go.

*I’ve seen you run 150’s at practice and can vouch for the fact that you possess some serious speed. Should Sanya Richards and the rest of the gals keep an eye out for you in the future? (and seriously, what do you think you could run in a 400)

Ohhhhhh, baby. I would love to run a 400! We planned on doing one this indoor, but I didn't really feel ready to rip one yet, and I don't want to run it until I am ready to post a good time. I think I could run 52, and maybe with some more sprint speed conditioning, 51. Last summer I ran 2x300 in 38 and felt great so I think thats a good indicator of my potential.

*Is there ever trash talking on the line in a distance event?

HA! Not really. Often we are racing women from other countries who may not speak english, so it's more about body language, staring tactics and trying to psyche others out by cutting them off mid-stride or something.

*You’re known as the girl with the fabulous, funky hair. What serves as your inspiration? (And why is it so normal right now???)

It usually stems from some salon experiment gone wrong, so I never know how it's exactly going to look. I really like matching, so it's fun to match a streak of my hair to my current Nike uniform. It's so normal right now because I toned it down for our wedding and am giving my hair a break from all the bleaching. I don't want it to fall out!

*What event(s) in track and field do you feel trains the hardest? Be honest…we know you guys think sprinters are kind of wimpy with their 10 min interval breaks, huh?

I think multis train incredibly hard, but thats probably the obvious answer. I sometimes take 10 minute breaks, so I feel like I can't judge sprinters too much :)

*As you go on your runs around Doha, do you feel any extra stares from the locals because of your running attire?

A little, but we are only doing our runs at the Aspire campus, so we don't stand out that much. Also, no ones throwing rocks or hissing at us, so I don't feel that uncomfortable.

*(Blog Reader Question) What is your favorite activity/hobby that is completely unrelated to running?

I love cooking/baking; also, giving unsolicited advice is pretty high up there on my list of favorite things to do.

Anna's Schedule at World's: 800 meters
Prelim: March 12th. 10:30am
Semi : March 13th. 10:30am
Final: March 14th. 5:15pm

Monday, March 8, 2010

Introducing: David Oliver

I knew David would be perfect as an interviewee because his personality is about as big as his frame. Pretty darn huge. If you want to know what’s on his mind, all you have to do is ask…just be prepared to hear the truth! He possesses an unbelievable confidence, whether it’s on the starting line or in front of the mirror. The good thing is, he backs it up.

Nickname: D.O the King
Most Notable Performance: Olympic Bronze Medalist - 110 hurdles
Follow him on twitter: doliversub13

*Anyone who has seen you race, knows that you come on strong the last part of the 110 hurdles. What does this say about the future if you are making Indoor teams against a strong field in the 60-meter hurdles?

You’re absolutely right. I am more of an outdoor hurdler, but that’s the thing I love about indoors, having the ability to try to perfect the beginning part of my race in live competition. I believe that I am able to make indoor teams because I train strength and technique base specifically. I believe that if you have good technique, you can neutralize most people’s speed and that’s what I rely on. Of course you will not beat the upper echelon of the event indoors, but we concern ourselves with outdoors and you are more likely to get lucky and nail the start than you are to get lucky and magically have the ability to finish a race. You can see that if you watch the race from this past year’s indoor national championship.

*Word on the street is that some women tend to find you quite attractive. Normally it’s the women who tend to have the crazy stalker stories, but do you have any of your own that have managed to shock you?

LOL, yeah, I guess they find me attractive. Honestly, I don’t have any crazy stalker type stories to tell that are of the PG variety LOL. But of course I run across my fair share of outta pocket behavior from some young women and yes it is shocking.

*Your outdoor PR is from a race in Doha back in 2008. What are some of your tips and tricks to traveling so far and still being able to compete at your best?

This will mark my fourth consecutive year making this long trip to Doha, and fortunately, I have run well every time. I believe the best tip that I can give is to tell people to take on my mindset. Whether I am running in Doha, Shanghai or at my training facility, I view it is just another ten (in this case five) hurdles in a different place. I am fortunate that I have had the ability to travel well throughout my career; I’ve shown up to places the day of competition and run personal bests. I try to just get on time schedule immediately and more times than not, it means torturing myself the first day by not allowing myself to go to sleep once I get in. If I make it in a eight in the morning, I will be up until around ten at night, just to get acclimated.

*I understand your quite shy but if you had to pick your favorite physical feature, what would it be and why?

I don’t know if shy is the right word to use, maybe a bit reserved lol. But I definitely think my best feature is my smile, I go with that only because I hear that a lot, but honestly I feel I’m a head to toe kind of guy so I would say everything is my favorite physical feature!

*What is the biggest myth about professional track and field that you’d like to set the record straight on?

The biggest myth that I’d like to set straight is that we are not out in Europe or Asia or wherever just hanging out. This is our job. I’ve had people tell me “I wish I could just go to Europe and hang out and run and stuff.” This is our profession. I don’t wish I could go to your job at Wal Mart and “just hang out and ring up customers and stuff.” We definitely aren’t hanging out, we are taking care of business and the travel isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be.

*After the World Indoor Championships, what are your goals for this year, being that there is no Outdoor Championships?

My primary focus will to be run faster outdoors than I ever have before. I love competing, whether it’s a World Championship or Olympic year or not. Just having the ability to do what it is that I love to do is good enough for me. Being seriously injured last year made me appreciate being able to head out to meets and practice and have the ability to run hurdles so I embrace that and I actually run like it may be my last meet because you never know when it may actually be the last time you have an opportunity to compete.

*You call yourself the “King”. What do you feel you need to do during the rest of your career to ensure that that moniker is appropriate?

LOL, that’s something that has nothing to do with track and field or any sport for that matter, it’s just a moniker that I picked up from my friends during my early years in college. I understand what you are asking though. I feel that in order to be one of the top guys in our chosen event, you’ve got to keep pushing the envelope. I feel that what we think is fast now will be ordinary at some point in time during my life span so I train everyday to try to make the impossible possible. You see people doing it across a wide range of events. Every time someone sets a world record, that’s view as doing something that no one had ever done previously, so I would love to be able to say that I did something better than anyone ever had done it.

*As confident as you are, I still find you to be extremely humble. How do you keep from crossing over that fine line?

It is a very fine line and that line becomes blurred at times too. We as professional athletes in an individual sport have to have supreme confidence in our ability to go out there and do our stuff better than anyone else can do on any given day. But in turn, I know that I am blessed to be in a position that not many people will ever have the opportunity to be in and I don’t take that for granted. As hard as I worked to get in this position, it can be taken away so easily, all it takes is one mistake and that mistake can turn your world upside down, so I definitely realize that and try to stay humble even with all the glory and praise I may receive.

*Can you please share your favorite D.O. saying?

“Winners find a way to win, losers find a way to lose” I got that from my coach one of the very first days I met him and that phrase speaks volumes. It transcends across all barometers of life, whether it’s personal life or in sports. No one is born a winner or a loser, but the decisions we make lead us down a path to either becoming a winner or a loser. I wasn’t the best runner when I started and I did an awful lot of losing, but I feel the decisions and sacrifices I made helped me become a winner. If you don’t like being a loser, it is very easy for you to change that.

*Do you think you could be world-class in any other event besides the high hurdles? What about another sport?

There’s no way I think I could be world class in any other event other than the high hurdles, maybe the 400 hurdles, but if you took the hurdles out of the sport period, then I’d be somewhere working a 9-5 job. I’m too slow to be a sprinter and too big to run distance. I know I could have made it in football if I tried, I’m sure I could have gotten a shot if that’s the path I wanted to take. 6’3’’, 210 pounds, can rep 225 pounds 16 times and I’m sure I could have given a good 40 yard dash time, maybe I would have been playing on Sundays.

*(Blog Reader Question) Have you ever been recognized by someone well-known that you would not have expected to know who you are?

I have been recognized by several well know individuals, but I think that people should know who we are! We are professional athletes just like they are in football and basketball, they are recognized, so I feel we should be as well! But the lead up to the Olympics and the Olympic Games themselves really garnered me a lot of attention which is cool, it feels good to actually be recognized for your hard work from time to time and it feels better because it’s earned and not just given gratuitously.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Figuring out who actually reads the randomness I write about is a bit of a crap-shoot. It would be nice to do a census of my readers to figure out who my audience is. Not knowing though, gives me the ability to write about whatever I dream up without feeling the need to stick to one particular topic. I write about all facets of my life and people seem to be okay with that. But this week will be strictly track. And the even better news for some of you is that it won’t be just about me.

I have a long held belief that the stars of my sport are supremely under acknowledged for being the studs that they are. Here are some of the most amazing, talented individuals on Earth and many people don’t know their name or really even grasp what it is they do. I firmly believe that if more people understood the sport and it was showcased properly, we would have tons of fans and the sport as a whole would blossom. Many of our stars would be household names, just like it is in Europe. You wouldn’t have to ask someone to name a track athlete and hear only Carl Lewis…Jackie Joyner-Kersee…Marion Jones.

This next week I want to personally introduce you to some of these fabulous people. I am a personal fan of all of them both on and off the track. I want for them to share with you what it is they do and most importantly, let their personality shine through so you can’t wait to cheer for them. Because let’s be honest…it’s probably why most of you cheer for me. I write about my random, silly life so that you get to know me, and in doing so, hopefully that makes you take a vested interest in seeing me succeed. Or…you’re just bored at work. Heck if I know.

I encourage you to check back every day this week to read a little more about some of the awesome folks out here in Doha with me, who are preparing to do some big things next weekend and the World Indoor Championships. And if you weren’t a fan already, I bet you become one!

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm in Doha

I made it to Doha! But really, if you told me I had woke up in a part of Los Angeles I had never visited before, I would have believed that too. Well…except for the men in dresses. Other than that though, not much is different out here in the Middle East. In walking distance from our hotel is every luxury from home you can imagine. Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Pizza Hut, TGIFridays, Radio Shack…the list goes on and on. We simply can’t leave any part of the world un-McDonaldized.

In an effort to bring something new and fresh to this blog, as well as familiarize some of you who may not know some of the stars of this sport too well, I’m going to be conducting a series of short spotlight type interviews to be featured all next week. What it won’t be is a schmoozy NBC type interview, with blah questions and anything resembling what Bob Costas might ask.

If you have any suggestions or questions you’re just dying to know, feel free to share them with me before I get started. But nobody cares when he or she started running track or what Tuesday’s practice looked like, so keep it interesting! This is, after all, a fabulous blog, and it must live up to its reputation!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Smile and Wave

People love visiting the Olympic Training Center. I guess I kind of get it…but not totally. It’s still just a bunch of training fields grouped together for different sports and they slap the Olympic rings on it and all of the sudden it seems really big time. It’s only every once in a blue moon that you’d probably recognize anybody. The big timers come in for camps every once in a while and we all get happy because the food in the dining hall gets a little bit better. But most folks don’t know any of the kayak team or who represents the USA in archery. The other day someone asked me if I’ve ever been told I look like Allyson Felix. I figured it was just the only track person they knew by name.

I’ve only actually viewed the whole property twice; Once when I was dumb enough to go on a jog on a trail that circled the whole place (never again), and once when I gave a tour and saw a handful of things for the first time myself in the process. People come every day though to take a tour of the place and a lot of times it reminds me of people visiting the Wild Animal Park. And we’re the giraffes. They ride by in groups on golf carts and they have a tour guide that is probably telling them how amazing all of us are. They’ll usually stop by the track and snap a few pictures from inside the golf cart and wave. Most of the time I feel like it’s probably a bit of a letdown. A track practice might be interesting if you stayed for a good length of time or if you were really interested in track. But a lot of times these folks roll by and I’m just stretching. Or doing A skips. Or taking a break until my next interval. You know how lazy us sprinter types are.

Above is a picture of a lovely group of people on their tour. I decided to flip the script and take a picture of them doing not much of anything. It was kind of silly but the rest of my workout group got a kick out of it. We waved to them. They waved back. I snapped a few pictures. They snapped a few back. And then they moved on. Hopefully they saw something a little more interesting down by the archery field.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Indoor Nationals

Can I let you in on a little secret? I’m pretty happy right now. For the last 24 hours I’ve had a permanent grin on my face that won’t go away. And yes, part of it is making the team, because of course, that was the goal. But it’s also because competition is fun again. I am enjoying what I do, and that is in turn making me better at what I do. I promise I have that in the right order. In fact, I am sure of it. This is the second season where my main goal is to have fun and during that time I have not trained any harder or uncovered any huge secrets. I just enjoy myself.

So far my strategy has been working. After making the Outdoor World Team this past summer, I’ve made my first Indoor World Team by placing 2nd, with a new indoor and overall non wind-aided personal best of 6.78 meters. (22’3” for the yanks). I really can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to start accomplishing some of the things I know I have been capable of for so long. I am jumping with a newfound confidence and an appreciation for every opportunity that comes my way. And I’m doing it all with a smile.

Below is one of my jumps from Nationals. I will tell you that what it’s not is my best jump. That happened to come on my first attempt when my videographer was not yet prepared to start her duties. This is a clip of my last jump, which actually would have been a very good jump but I dropped one of my feet before landing. Oh well… I plan on jumping a new personal best in the very near future. :)

The first video was a little hard to see so I added this second one...

I’d also just like to say thanks to you guys as well. My blog readers are on this journey with me in a lot of ways. I get so much encouragement and support from you all that it really makes me feel that I have a ton of people pulling for me. You guys are awesome!