Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Navy Seals Experience

My experience at the Navy Seals yesterday was incredible. It was harder than I imagined and more motivational than I could have hoped for. If you don’t know a Navy Seal, you should try and meet one. These people are truly something special, and it’s not because they possess something more than you or I do, but they’ve trained themselves to dig so far deep inside themselves, that they don’t believe in the impossible. The fact that that is possible for virtually anyone, is what they tried to impart to us. Being on the athletic field and on the battlefield is basically the same mentality. (Besides the idea you could die, of course.) The way they train to prepare for war and to know that they’re prepared for any situation they might find themselves in, is to learn how to get past the uncomfortable. It’s training your mind to understand that how you might feel is not important, it’s finding a way to accomplish the task you have in front of you. Excuses are simply reasons why you fail. If you rid your mind of excuses why you can’t do something, then you allow yourself to find a way to get it done.

AHHH!! I love it.

All the speeches and videos we watched when we arrived had me pumped up and eager to face what we had in store for the day. But before we even got outside to get started, we had pushups. That’s when I knew we were in trouble. My arms were shaking before we even did one. We all got down in pushup position and then he started in on a monologue that wouldn’t end. No knees allowed…back has to stay straight…and finally we had to start…then stop…then start…then start from the beginning because we weren’t in unison…and finally, “recover”. Now we can get started. The sad part was my arms already felt like jello.

We started on the obstacle course. Walls to climb over, barbed wire to climb under, ropes to climb up, swing on, and shimmy across. The works. It was so upper body intensive that I felt like I wouldn’t be able to grasp a pencil half way through. But no one cared. At one point I went to swing on a rope and land on top of a beam and I was so out of it I smacked into the beam and ended up on my back on the ground. That’s when I knew I needed to focus. Mind over matter. Because nobody cared that my forearms were the size of Popeye’s or that I’d just created the bruise the size of Texas on my shin. At the end of it though, after you’ve finished and can “Hoo-rah O course”, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. You’re happy that there was no way over the wall except for over it and no girl rope to climb.

After that though, things got ugly. They got ugly, and wet, and dirty, and miserable. It was about 60 degrees out yesterday, which is still a little chilly when you’re dry. But where is the fun in that? After it was all said and done I think we jumped in the ocean about six times. You had to be wet from head to toe. I tried to dodge this and at first just went shoulder to toe because…you know…my hair, but I quickly got sent back in the ocean. After we emerged from the ocean, we rolled in the sand, bear clawed back to the ocean, then slithered in the sand some more. My fatigues were heavy and wet and falling off me, but it didn’t matter. I was shivering and miserable, but nobody cared. In fact, they kept yelling that in your ear. “Nobody cares that you’re uncomfortable! Who gives a s#it that you’re wet and covered in sand! We could care less about your feelings! How you feel doesn’t matter!” And sooner or later, you got it…sort of. You were going to be totally out of your comfort zone and you had to find a way to be okay with it. How you felt had nothing to do with whether or not you were going to accomplish something and you had to disassociate the two really quick.

Then we were put in teams and there were logs to carry on your shoulder and boats to carry on your head. And run with. And lunge with. And squat with. And do sit ups with. And of course pushups. There was always pushups. That whole process was trying because I’m not used to teamwork. But it made you rely on people and you knew that they were relying on you. When you are part of a team you can’t quit and let other people down because it gets hard for you. It’s just as hard for them. They’re over there with snot running out of their nose, grunting and trying to keep the log from slipping, how can I slack because I feel uncomfortable?

I’d love to explain in detail the entire day, but it’s hard for words to do it justice. I’m hoping that next week I can share a video so you can get a better idea of the experience. But as crappy as my body feels today and all the new bruises and scrapes I acquired, the pounds of sand I had to try and wash out of my hair, and the hypothermia I’m sure I experienced (okay, so I’m dramatic), I’m glad I did it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Working Hard

I’ve always been the type of person who gives my best. That is…unless it was time to practice. In years past, I was not what you would call a “practice person.” In my mind, I didn’t quite see the correlation. When it came time to be competitive in competition, then I’m your (wo)man. But putting yourself through pain and torture when it didn’t count for the W just wasn’t really my thing. Believe me, I was complaining about practice far before Allen Iverson ever did.

In fact, this was how I became a jumper in the first place. Back in high school I thought the sprinters workouts were a little too hard. I realized that if I said I wanted to do both long and triple jump, I could do a little more bounding and a little less repeat 200’s. Done. I tried this same strategy in college early on in my career when I tried telling my coach I didn’t think I was really a 200 meter runner, that maybe I was more cut out for the shorter distances. I’d try anything to try and cut down on those speed endurance workouts. Unfortunately being a Pac-10 and National Champion in the 200 meters blew that theory out of the water and I had to find a way to deal with the pain of the workouts I dreaded most. But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t whine about them. Tie my shoes to buy more time in between intervals. Hide in the bathroom and pretend I was sick.

So imagine my own surprise when this Saturday, when I had the day OFF, I find myself out at the track running repeat 200’s when I didn’t have to. I just decided I’d help a friend get through a workout that is much easier doing with another person and in the process I could help my own fitness. Who am I???

Granted, I know doing extra workouts isn’t always the smart answer or the best way to improve, but it is indicative of how I’ve grown over the years. I started out in this sport relying solely on my athletic talents and my ability to out compete anyone I came across. And while I still believe that there is absolutely no substitute for having the “eye of the tiger”, I also know that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I have the talent but I’m also going to work hard. Harder than I ever have.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a long jumper and short sprinter for a reason. I’m smart about the events I decided to be talented in. ☺

Monday, November 8, 2010

An Open Letter...

Dear Person who found my Ipad on the plane:

I’m writing this letter to you in hopes that you have come across my prized possession and for some reason or another, also happen to stumble across this blog. Perhaps you see my name and decide to google it. (Since I do this regularly, I know that this blog will be one of the first links to pop up.)

I just want you to know that I adore my Ipad 3G. Ask anyone. It has been attached to me like an additional appendage ever since I got it as a gift six months ago. It’s one of those additions to your life where, after having it for a certain period of time you think back in awe at how you ever survived without it. You’ve probably heard all the hype about it and wanted to see what it was all about. I get it. An Ipad doesn’t seem as personal as, say, a blackberry. It doesn’t seem as important as someone’s laptop. So perhaps that’s why you weren’t inclined to turn it in right away once you stumbled upon it in the seat pocket of the airplane. In fact, when I called the airline to inquire if anyone had turned it in, the lady kind of chuckled to herself once I mentioned what I was missing. It was a sort of good luck with that one type of chuckle. I almost got the sense she didn’t even want to put down the phone and check as it was obviously going to be a waste of her time. Unless the pope happened to be on the flight from Las Vegas to Denver and sat in the same seat I had just vacated, my chances were slim.

I know that. And yet I’ve called back to the airport three times since then, both in Vegas and Denver. Unfortunately the same guy keeps answering the phone in Denver and he knows me by now. I’m the Ipad girl. The last time he took down my number and gave me the don’t call us, we’ll call you… speech. I just don’t think he understood the urgency of it all. I have 20 people waiting for my next move on words with friends. I’m not able to lay in bed and watch the latest episode of Modern Family before I go to sleep. I have nowhere to go to look at all the websites I view on the web, from news to entertainment and everything in between, in one easy flip-able magazine format. (shout out to Flipboard…download that app if you haven’t already!) And can you just imagine the immense amount of boredom I will face when I travel from here on out?

So that’s why I’m reaching out to you here. Sure, it’s a stretch but crazier things have happened. I won’t be mad that you borrowed it for a few days because I can understand why you might want to. It truly is an awesome little gadget. But I would be so grateful if you returned it that I might even give you a reward. So if this is you (or if you know anyone who suddenly has an Ipad and also just flew Southwest), please hit me up. I am also not averse to meeting new friends who have an Ipad 3G they are looking to get rid of.

Brianna Glenn
Ipad aficionado

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pictures from Puerto Rico

The crew...

My first night in PR and this is what we had for dinner!!

Friendly critter that was a guest at the property.

Are you wondering why it's so dark in the picture?! Because we were up BEFORE THE SUN! Poor kids, training at this hour is some sort of cruel punishment.

We thought we were headed to the track to teach track athletes and then these guys lined height...with no track experience whatsoever. But they were great!

obviously I'm just trying to be a good would NEVER catch me at the front of the pack during a jog.

My fellow track athlete, Chelsea, and I who flawlessly demonstrated drills with me.

Lead by doing...since i couldn't lead by talking.

Showing the boxers our warm-up...

The track clinic kids...obviously I was demonstrating long jump from the look of my leg!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Puerto Rico Part 2

You will be happy to know that I finally did end up connecting with track athletes down in Puerto Rico. Although, truth be told I was beginning to really begin to like my new boxing buddies. There is only one of them that spoke English to us, but all the others tried their best to communicate and were always ready with smiles and handshakes each morning. I have no idea why they liked us being out there and kept anticipating our return each day. Perhaps it’s because we were female, or maybe just because we shook up their every day routine a little bit and introduced a few new things into the mix. Whatever it was, it almost made being up before the sun bearable.

Our visit to the track club was pretty much like the whole trip…an unknown plan until we got there. We were picked up by a random stranger who ended up being one of the highlights of the whole day. Angel was originally from the Bronx but had been in Puerto Rico for over 30 years, even though he sounded like he left the Bronx yesterday. He took us up the mountain to a small town named Barranquitas, where 60 kids were anxiously awaiting us. We had no idea what ages these kids would be or what they wanted us to do with them so we pretty much made up a plan on the fly. The kids ended up ranging from ages 8 to 17. It’s hard to teach an 8 year old the same things you would teach a teenager…all without knowing how to communicate in the same language, but we made the best of it.

At the end of the day, even though my translator was definitely adding in his own coaching tips (I clearly only said a few words, and he rambled for far longer than what it takes to communicate drive your knee up), I hope that everyone gained just a little something from our being there. We shared our expertise as well as our belief in the importance of finding the right balance in your athletic life, personal life, and spiritual life. I just hope that sentiment was translated correctly! It was nice to feel appreciated though, and at the very least I did have some new facebook friend requests. Welcome to 2010. ☺

Monday, November 1, 2010

Puerto Rico Part 1

So far my trip in Puerto Rico has been nothing like I expected. A big part of that is that I was never really told what to expect so in true Brianna fashion, I freaked out a little bit. I'm a planner. I like to have itineraries and plans in place to take the place of the original plan, in case that plan didn't work out for some reason. But for this trip, I was just asked to come and be ready to help out in any way needed. So, as soon as I got off the plane...I was stranded at the airport for two hours. Seriously. The airport was empty except for the workers and myself, and I had no idea where I was supposed to be staying and no ability to contact anyone. Luckily, before I hopped back on a plane home I got everything sorted out and everything got back on track.

What that track was I was still unsure about, but the next day I was driven to a town in another part of the country where they have something like an Olympic Training Center. This is where I will be staying for the duration of my trip. It's not the HIlton but i've only seen two lizards inside the room so far. Someone spotted a tarantula outside of it. Fortunately, that someone wasn't me.

My first morning here we were asked to help out at the track at 6am. I guess it might have been too presumptuous to assume that asking a group of track athletes to help out at the track meant we would be working with young track athletes, but to our surprise we were met by the boxing team instead. 20 teenage boys lined up expecting us to teach them something. Honestly, the only thing I know about boxing is the moves I've learned when I took a kickboxing class at 24 hour fitness. But, we took them through a warmup, some drills, core work, and stretching excercises and they seemed to appreciate our effort. Or maybe they just appreciated the fact that we could do as many push ups as them. Nevertheless, they want us to come back tomorrow in the morning before we head out to do our track clinics. I think that's awesome...minus the 6am part. Doesn't anybody know that my body is on west coast time?!

So, so far I'm sleeping in a bunk bed, working out with boxers who don't speak much english, and am completely clueless as to what tomorrow might bring. But I'm here and I'm open to let God use me in whatever capacity he sees fit. Personally, I think it's Gods sense of humor that is choosing 6 am... He's a funny guy.