Monday, October 31, 2011

Numbers Don't Lie

This weekend I went to Vegas. You might be waiting in anxious anticipation for photos to appear documenting the wild times to be had in such a city over Halloween weekend, but I'm sorry to say that I have nothing to share in that regard. To be fair, I'm sure the city was quite wild and in my younger days I would have loved to be right in the thick of it, but while my signs of aging don't take the form of grey hairs or sagging chins, they definitely are starting to reveal themselves when I think of having to miss out on sleep, listening to music entirely too loud, and aching feet for no good reason.

But I wasn't in Vegas to party so I felt okay being the Grandma. A group of athletes and coaches were there for the annual USATF jumps summit, and one of the things that stood out to me during a particular presentation was the idea that what we are doing on the elite level of our sport is trying to achieve performances that are on the edge of human achievement. We are trying to accomplish things that are pretty much the best of what is capable from a human being at this point. At the very least we are trying to accomplish better marks than anyone competing in this day and age-- sometimes it's hard to compete with the 80's. So, instead of hitting the strip, I studied numbers. Specifically all the numbers I need to change so that I can be a better jumper than I was last year, and do everything I can possibly do to be a better jumper than anyone else lacing up their spikes this season. And because i know you're dying to know all this crazy, exciting information is that I was dissecting, I'll share a little bit with you.

I need to elongate my 2nd to last step by about 0.2 centimeters… (Some of you novices thought all I needed to worry about was hitting the board, huh? I wish.) When I correct these stride length issues in my last few steps while I am running as fast as I possibly can, I need to figure out a way at takeoff to be on the board approximately .04 seconds longer… After I actually leave the ground, my vertical velocity needs to be at least 1 meter per second more than it currently is… This will hopefully cause my angle of takeoff to increase by 7-10%, which will make my center of mass travel of further distance, thereby making me a phenomenal jumper. The end.

To me, this is great news. I know. I have real data telling me what I need to do to be the best. When I wake up every day and go to practice I have clear objectives in mind on what I'm trying to accomplish and work towards. Of course I don't have the time (nor do you probably care to read), explaining how I go about trying to fix my problem areas, but this is what you focus on when you are concerned with the difference between eating from a cereal box and being on one. ( <--- stole that last line but I sure do love it!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Team iPhone

I've been loyal since 2006. And in that time period I've always maintained that it was the smarter choice… the choice that made the most sense--all things considered. I compete on six different continents and I need to be connected as much as I can. Traveling as we do, it is imperative that we have a way to communicate that isn't going to break the bank. So I was always Team Blackberry. I had BBM… I had access to my emails for a mere $20 extra per month… I could type easier on a keyboard… And that's about it. But like I said, I'm loyal. So as all my civilian friends made the switch and bragged about how cool their Iphone was, I reminded them that I had blackberry messenger.

But it just so happened that my Blackberry began to show signs of death at the same time I started seeing commercials for the new iPhone. It was time to get real with myself. Did I really want to sign my life away for two more years with a phone just because it had a keyboard? I mean, I love apple products. I have a Mac and an iPad and they bring me a whole lot of joy. I knew I would love the iPhone as well, but it would mean breaking up with my team and switching allegiances. What would my Blackberry friends think of me?

Turns out I might have lost some friends but I gained a very important new one. Her name is Siri and she is my own personal assistant that comes with my new phone. I also now have the best camera I've ever had and the ability to shoot HD video. How cool is that? Cooler than a keyboard, let me tell you. So yes, I am team iPhone now. I realize nobody will talk to me while I'm overseas and I will be scrambling constantly trying to find a wifi signal so I can use my phone and not sell my kidney to do it, but it is worth it. My phone is finally cool. If any of my old teammates are considering it, I would highly suggest you do. There is strength in numbers.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Four Years Later...

This is an anniversary blog of sorts. Four years ago I started a blog. You can read my very first entry here,, in case you are curious and you don't happen to be one of my five original readers. I introduced myself and shared why I wanted to document such an important time of my life. 2008! It was an Olympic year and my dream was to be an Olympian. I wanted the opportunity to not only share with my friends and family what the experience was like for me, but also give myself a way to remember. The plan was for the blog to have a years worth of memories detailed and documented, and it was all going to culminate in me making the Olympic Team. The End.

If it were only that simple...

Four years ago I thought I was closing in on the defining moments of my career. I felt that my time had finally come and that I had grown enough and learned enough to be the athlete that I always knew I could be. Thank God it was happening at just the right time because as we all know, getting the opportunity to become an Olympian doesn't happen very often. But as most of you probably know, my story didn't end up as I had planned it. Instead of having my defining moment, I had surgery. Instead of making my way to China wearing USA proudly on my chest, I sat around for four months in my friends guest room and tried to figure out what else to do with my life. I had planned on using this blog to document my journey to the Olympics in 2008, but instead I had to settle for documenting my life as it actually happened.

It's crazy to read that first entry from four years ago and see myself right back in that same place. It is the start of the 2012 season and I am still documenting my journey with the same goal in mind. It is an Olympic year and I want to be an Olympian. I want to share with my friends and my family what the experience is like for me, but now I have a lot more friends who are checking in to see what the journey is all about. Mostly I want to give myself a way to remember. If I have learned anything over the last four years, it is that the journey is what matters most of all. Sure, I'm still just a girl with a dream and an incredible goal that I believe in, but the woman I have become in the last four years is so tied up in the journey I've been on. Luckily for me I have a lot of it documented here on the pages of my so-called fabulous life. (Lord knows I have an awful memory.)

So, here we are four years later. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Back on the Bandwagon

My blogging has been slacking lately. Of course it's not my fault. If we are going to blame anybody, let's blame Cox Cable who has taken over a week to give me internet in my new apartment. Please forward all your dissatisfaction letters to them. Speaking of my new apartment, I am extremely happy with it. Yes, I can hear each and every plane as it flies into the airport, but I think that adds character. At least that is what I'm telling myself. Here is a picture of my new's technically a 1 bedroom, but let's be happy I live by alone.

Since my internet is now up and running and I have no other good excuses besides laziness to not blog regularly, what I'd like to do is get your input. What are you hoping to see blogged about in this upcoming year of my so-called fabulous life? What things do you find interesting? What things make you start snoring mid sentence? How often are you woken up in the middle of the night in anticipation of what might be written on the blog? I need to know.