Monday, September 27, 2010

The Art of Doing Nothing

I’ve found that the “idea” of sitting around and doing nothing is far more enticing than the practice of it. By the end of the season I am exhausted both mentally and physically. I eagerly await my season coming to an end so that I can do nothing. It’s imperative to give your body a time to really rest after the beating I put it through over the competitive season and since working out for me is my work, that leaves me with nothing on the agenda. But what I’ve come to realize over the years is that I’m not really the type of person who can do that for long. I go crazy.

In my younger years I used to think this would be the life. In fact, there was a time when I was in a relationship with someone when I distinctly remember telling this particular person that’s what I planned to do when we got married. I wanted to retire from track and then be a housewife. But I wanted to make sure I had a nanny and a maid. I was quite certain I didn’t want to actually do housewife work. I don’t know what I’m more embarrassed about, the idea that I wanted to have a life of doing nothing or the recollection that I wanted to marry this particular person. Either way, I’m glad I grew out of it.

These days, I spend about two weeks on my bum eating everything in sight and then I search out ways to keep myself occupied. Right now I’m at the end of my rope and I’m asking for suggestions. What are some different ways to stimulate my mind without doing too much stimulation to my body? Offer up your thoughts. Help save me from myself!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pro Tips 4 U

When you are a professional athlete, people always ask if you will possibly consider coaching as a career choice. My answer is always no. Coaching isn’t really something I aspire to do on a full time basis. Do I know stuff? Yea. Could I share what I know and how I’ve learned to be a successful professional in this sport? Probably. Do I want to do that on an everyday basis? Nope.

But the idea of sharing information and giving people tips and ideas on how to train properly and maximize their potential as a track and field athlete interests me. If for no other reason than knowing that there is a lot of wrong information out there. Oftentimes, coaches and athletes see something done but aren’t quite sure how to do it. Penultimate step, anyone? There are plenty of athletes who want to be faster but have no idea how to improve their sprinting mechanics so that they can capitilize on the speed they possess. I know I’m no expert, but at the very least I can share what I do to be as good as I am. Some might consider that a pretty good start. So when I was asked to do just that, on video (which I LOVE), it was a perfect fit.

Pro Tips 4 U is a new website that takes real athletes, including Olympic Gold Medalists, Hall of Famers, All-Stars, Heisman Trophy winners, World Champions, and little ol’ me, and has us share training videos that coaches and athletes can look at and learn from. I think it’s a really great concept and I know that if I had something like this to learn from when I was younger, I would have been really excited. Take a second, and check out their website to see if there might be any videos that interest you. And if you want to view my page specifically, you can look here.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Needing Help

I’ve had a lot going on inside my brain the last couple of weeks. Namely, what’s next for my career? I ended the season on such a sour note that I was having a hard time processing a lot of things. It was obvious something needed to change. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Well, I am not okay with being a certified crazy person.

There were a lot of good things that came out of this year and a lot of growth both as an athlete and a person. But I struggled with consistency and it’s my belief that being consistently good is what it takes to be great. I want to be great. I have no reservations admitting that. I enjoy what I do and I am blessed to have accomplished what I have thus far, but I do want to believe that there is more in store, and that I have the responsibility to figure out how to get there.

This year I did it my way. I didn’t trust anybody, I didn’t need anybody, and I didn’t rely on anyone else but myself. It wasn’t so much of a choice but a necessity. Based on everything that happened though, I came to a conclusion. I can be good doing it my way. I can be top 10 in the world at something relying only on myself to guide me there. But here’s the thing: they only give medals to the top three. So if I’m being totally honest with myself, if I want to be great maybe it was time to admit I need help.

Being my own coach, training partner, advisor, and decision maker was good for me this year. I believed it served its purpose and had its part in my story. But as has been the overall theme in my whole career, I’m making a change. I’m going to go back to trusting someone other than myself to help guide my career to where it needs to be. I’m going to work hard to do whatever it takes to be consistently good, so that I can be great. I am positive I have the tools, but I’m going to take on the role of the apprentice and admit that I need help.

I’m excited. I know I can’t do anything about the low points of this season but I can learn from them and be better next year.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Best Friend's Wedding

I don’t attend that many weddings. In fact, if you get married between the months of June and September, which happen to be prime matrimony months, it’s probably best to not even send me an invitation. But earlier this year I did get an invitation to a wedding taking place on September 7th. There would be no getting out of this one. I knew it and she knew it. I just crossed my fingers and prayed that somehow the scheduling God’s would take into account that my best friend was getting married and I needed to be a witness.

Somehow I made it from the coast of Croatia to the coast of California in time. That somehow involved bribing someone to drive me four hours to an alternate airport, so that I could travel for 26 hours and arrive just in time to take a nap and get the party started. But even if I had to hitchhike my way across the Atlantic, there was no way I was missing that wedding.

I consider monumental moments in the lives of my closest friends to be mine as well. I have known this woman for sixteen years of my life and because of that, I know her heart, I know her dreams, I know her fears, and I know her deepest desires. She is that person you know who deserves blessings upon blessings and there is nothing I wanted more for her than to find someone she could spend her life with and love and cherish forever. Knowing that she has found that and being witness to that love makes me happier than words can explain.

Bi, I am beyond happy. I am happy I was able to be there on the most important day of your life and see it all come together perfectly. And I was happy to spend those last couple hours of your single life snuggled up like schoolgirls and see your absolute joy and contentment up close and personal. Your day was absolutely beautiful and perfect because it was a reflection of your heart and soul. We are growing up. We are realizing our dreams and finding the desires of our heart. I love you SO stinkin’ much and I hope you are having the time of your life in Mexico. Btw…I am jetlagged and sick and stuck at my Mom’s house with no car until I find my way home but it was all worth it… 1000 times over.

(Photo stolen from Jasmine Star. Hope you don't mind :)

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Everyone does this sport for different reasons. Different motivations, different goals, different things that make them continue or make them want to stop. It’s a personal thing and at the end of the day you’re the only one who knows if continuing on in this sport is worth it to you. I faced that decision head on two years ago. After 2008 I had to take a good look in the mirror and get an understanding of why I was doing this, under what circumstances I could continue, and how I would know if it was time for me to stop. I prayed really hard about it and called myself retired for four months until I found my way back under my terms. If you’ve been reading the blog for that long, you went on that journey with me.

For me, it came down to two things. First, I decided that if this was going to be my career choice, then I actually had to make a living from it. I have enough hobbies, I’ve seen almost the entire world and then some, and I am too independent to try and live any other way. The second was I had to be having fun. In other words, I had to like my life and what I was doing with it a majority of the time. Overall, it’s easy for me to say I like being an athlete. I love it, actually. But two years ago I realized that somewhere along the way, I started being stressed, anxious, and discontent with so much that it had took away so much of the fun. Financial hardships, injuries, and a feeling of not living up to your potential can do that to a person. So I have competed ever since making sure those two things are met before I commit to move forward each year.

But you know where I’m at now? I’m at the edge. I’m standing right at the line, teetering precariously without actually stepping over. Basically, I'm having a hard time meeting my two requirements. For the last two months I’ve seen my season take a nasty nose dive and for a myriad of reasons I was never able to get it back on track. It’s been a little hard on me emotionally but I’ve done my best to keep it together because when you have another meet and another opportunity just around the corner, there is always a chance to improve and make things better. But today, after my last meet of the season that also ended up being my absolute worst meet as well, I cried. . Not like huge alligator tears running down my face, but definitely an overflow of all the emotion I was trying to keep in.

I know it probably sounds entirely too sappy and completely over the top to some of you, but it’s me. Sometimes I almost feel like maybe it’s time to do something else with my life, because the frustration of knowing I have such a hard time putting it all together like I should, irks me to no end. I like the definitive. I’m either good enough to be the competitor I should be and want to be, or I’m not. And if the answer is a no and it makes better sense to move on, then what am I waiting for? I know it sounds extreme, but feeling like I’ve found my way and then losing it over and over gets old.

I apologize if this blog is not so uplifting and inspiring as you might have hoped for. If you are looking for the taking lemons, making lemonade, and filling the glass half full blog, you’re going to have to check back next week. Right now I’m trying to hold on to something my friend and fellow athlete told me earlier tonight. Sometimes God’s delays are not denials. I believe that. In my heart I know I couldn’t jump a personal best this season and not know there is more to be done in the future. It’s just hard to grasp right now.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


"Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous

Right now I am currently on the coast of Croatia. When I wake up in the morning and look out my window, this is what I see.

It’s not a bad way to start your day, let me tell you. Split, Croatia happens to be the place where I will end my season this year, competing in the Continental Cup. Based on how they choose the team for this meet, I wasn’t even supposed to be here and until a couple of weeks ago I thought I would be back in the states by now. Instead I’m in one of the most beautiful places in the world, spending a week in paradise and getting one last opportunity to jump in sand this season.

A couple of weeks ago you may remember a post I wrote about not competing in London. At that point, I didn’t know if I’d have any more meets and I was pretty bummed the meet I thought I’d have was not an option. I was sad…I moped…I complained…and literally the day of the meet I just decided to be over it. Bad moods and depressing attitudes can be toxic, and I wasn’t helping anyone, namely myself, by choosing to wallow in mine. So that night, while my competitors suited up to jump in cold and rainy conditions, I went out with friends and shared some pizza and wine.

Later that very same night, I got a text from the girl who was supposed to be competing for America at Continental Cup saying she wouldn’t be going and that it looked like the spot was mine. I just shook my head at the coincidence of it all. It was as if my not being in London had been replaced by something bigger and better! I know some people would be just fine with calling that a stroke of luck or that the timing of it all was some incredible fluke, but not me. Things happened as they did, in the order they did, at the precise timing they did, for a reason.

This will be my last meet of the season and I couldn’t imagine a better place to end it. I always like to take what I call “Postcard Pictures” whenever I visit somewhere really beautiful and use them as screensavers because it is a constant reminder of how blessed I am to be here. Right now I’m having a hard time choosing which one to use and I’ve only been here two days! Here are a couple in case you want to cast a vote…