Monday, July 2, 2012

I gave my best...

I didn't really want to put the feelings of today into words. Because I can't. It feels really inadequate to try and summarize emotions that run so deep and have so many intricate layers to them. But it's not really fair to stay silent. For years and years I've shared my hopes, dreams, and aspirations and so there should be something to say when it all plays out, even if I'm left with a broken heart and a dream I fell inches short of accomplishing. I know that the reality is that when I wake up tomorrow this is going to be the conclusion of the story no matter how much I wish it wasn't. And I should tell it because even if it's not the outcome I wanted, it's the outcome I got. And even though that hurts, even though my heart feels broken into a tiny million pieces, I shouldn't shy away from that or hide in shame because I know I gave it my all.

The reality is I really did give my best. If nothing else I hurt so much because I know for darn sure that I jumped my ass off today. I took a crappy season and I made sure it didn't define in the least bit what kind of athlete showed up today. The girl on the runway today was the person I knew I could be, and the athlete I've been looking for for quite some time. It was the second furthest jump of my life and the farthest I have ever jumped in any major competition. I jumped a distance that would have put me on the Olympic team the last two times around. It just so happens that I was part of one of the best Olympic Trials long jump competitions ever. The ladies in front of me had massive personal bests and all of us in places second thru fifth had the longest jump for that respective placing ever.

I will always and forever be grateful that I showed up today and put my years and years of preparation on the line. I was a competitor and there wasn't one second of the competition where I backed down from that. I will never regret having this goal and giving my all to it, even knowing now that I would ultimately fall short. Even though the pain is real, and it is deep, I know it was the risk I took for laying it all on the line and asking something of myself that is hard as hell to achieve. But being heartbroken doesn't take away from the journey, it's just a part of it I was hoping to not have to experience. I am not the sole author of my story, and I have to trust that it is all part of His purpose. I am responsible for my labor and not the fruits of my labor and so my job was to give my all… to give my very best and let Him use that. And so I did that, and through my tears and my heartache that is my offering of praise and thanks.

Thank you for letting me share this story with you. I wanted more than anything to be an Olympian and to have that be my story, but it's not. My story is that I'm an Olympic hopeful. And that hope fueled a dream, created my desire, transformed it into will, and produced a drive in me that made me who I am today. It just didn't make me an Olympian. But I am still super proud of who it did make me and the work I've put in trying.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Road to London

Today I finally get my opportunity to lace up my spikes, step on the runway, and really get this party started. I'm excited. As the sign in the picture says, "The Road to London starts here." It's been a long week of patiently waiting and putting the finishing touches on starting on that road that I've spent years preparing for. The majority of people in the stands tomorrow might not be all that excited to see me out there, but there are about fifteen people who made the trip to Eugene especially for me to be my support and my cheering squad. And they are the best support group a girl could ever ask for. I am thankful and beyond blessed to have such amazing people in my corner who love and support me and who might even call in some favors to the Big Man to have the wind behind me push me a little further into the pit. And there is also YOU. Some who I know personally and some who I don't-- who visit my blog, read my ramblings, and allow me to share a little piece of my journey,--you are special to me. Thank you for letting me know that you care because it's a source of inspiration even when you may not realize it. Thank you for following along in this journey… cheering me on… sending well wishes… and most importantly, thank you for your prayers. I told someone the other day that I may not have the most fans, a ton of endorsements, or anything like that, but I truly believe that I have some of the most fiercest prayer warriors out there in my corner. That motivates and inspires me like no other because I believe in the power of prayer and the strength that comes in knowing that God has a specific purpose and plan for my life these next couple of days. He's already ordered my steps and `given me all the ability I need. That calms my spirit, builds my confidence, and allows me to compete with joy in my heart because I know it is a blessing to be able to do my very best as an offering to God.

So, here is to following your dreams with all your heart and doing your very best because that is all there is to do. I am excited to see where the road will lead.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Eugene

I will be spending the week in Eugene, waiting for my opportunity to earn my spot on the Olympic Team. Being here for a whole week is a great thing, but it comes with it's own set of challenges. You can feel the excitement, cut the electricity with a knife, and feed off the emotion that surrounds you. But at the same time you have to be careful. You don't want to expend all your energy throughout the week and then find yourself depleted by the time it comes for you to compete. You don't want to stay on the Olympic "high" for too long, because it can literally drain you. Everyone prepares differently for big meets, and I can't tell you that I have found the perfect formula, but I do know that I have had the blessing to experiment in years past and find out what does and doesn't work all that well for me. Of course at the time I didn't know I was experimenting, but because past experiences can be our best teacher, I have learned over the years what kind of person I am not and shouldn't pretend to be.

My lessons:

*Don't be a social butterfly: I have been in the sport for so long that I know a lot of people. I have many friends that are competing, half the coaches I have worked with at some time in my career, and there are a ton of people to air kiss with and make small talk. But it is hard to be "on" all the time. I have chosen to not stay at the athlete hotel so that I can make sure I keep my time more to myself and that I don't feed off of others emotions too much. People are having their highest highs and their lowest lows this week, and I don't want to join them for either. The hotel lobby at meets is an experience in and of itself, and the Olympic Trials just exaggerates this. I have my own little studio where I can eat breakfast in solitude, and I don't have to be reminded every waking second of all the hoopla that is here.

*Know who you are: I remember back in 2004 when I was a competitor at the Olympic Trials, I made the decision to be super focused and serious, and I played that role the whole week before I competed. The problem? It wasn't me. I see athletes that do this… they walk around with a scowl on their face and it's as if they look right through people because they don't notice anyone or anything, they are that focused. So I tried to be that person because I figured that's what you are supposed to do when you are really serious about what you are trying to do. But it takes far too much energy to be something you're not and when you spend energy "trying", it doesn't work. I need to enjoy what I'm doing. I need to have a smile on my face during my warm-up and laugh if someone says something funny. I need to acknowledge people who say hello to me and wish me well, because this is who I am. I feel most confident when I am excited and relaxed.

*Believe your toolbox is full: Have you ever tried to cram for a test? Stayed up all night trying to learn things you didn't bother to learn throughout the semester? It sucks and it's not a very good way to prepare for something important. It is easy to get to this point and start to worry about all the things you still need to improve and technique you wish you had. But at this point, as my college coach would so eloquently tell me, It is what it is. I am not going to improve physically any more these last few days and I can't waste precious energy worrying about all the things I wish I did better or try and learn something I haven't quite been able to in the last four years. At this point the best thing you can do for yourself is trust in your toolbox and believe wholeheartedly that your preparation for this moment is enough. Celebrate what you have and forget about what you may not have. It can't help you to worry about anything at this point, so don't. My body is as healthy as it is going to be and so it is healthy enough. My technique is as on point as it's going to be, and so it is great. And so for the million and one times I am going to be asked over the next few days "Are you ready?", my answer will continue to be a resounding YES.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Worth It

This year I have done a lot of visualization and I have learned to embrace it as an important part of my mental training. When I first began, I had the hardest time and I felt like I could never keep my mind locked in on one thing or experience images vividly enough for it to be helpful.  But as with anything else, practice makes perfect--or at the very least it will make you not suck at it.  One of the visualization exercises I do involves picturing myself achieving my biggest athletic goal and experiencing how it feels to have already achieved that goal. I see myself in that place, down to the expression on my face, the tears in my eyes, my body posture, and what is running through my mind.  I picture the people around me and how I interact with them, and the congratulatory responses from all my friends and family.  I do my best to make that moment as real as possible, so that I get to the point that I feel as if it's really happened.  Every time I do this exercise it brings me to tears…but they are tears of joy.  I cry from sheer happiness of actually feeling like I accomplished my goal, and that's when I know I'm visualizing right. And then I ask myself one simple question…

Was it worth it?

And then I become even more emotional. Without a doubt the answer is yes and there is a deep satisfaction in experiencing what success will be like. Now I take the exercise one step further and I let my mind retrace all the steps it took to get to my moment of greatness.  The successes, the failures, the times of self-doubt, the voices of all the people who said I should have given up and moved on by now, the moments I am most proud of--all of it.   My career has been a pretty long one so this part of the visualization process can take a while sometimes. But what I do is work my way backwards and look at my journey from the vantage point of having made it to my destination and all the steps that led me to my achievement.

What I am seeing is my magnificent view at the top of my proverbial mountain and then letting myself remember the grueling hike it took to get there. And when I look back at my climb up--when the path seemed too steep but I kept on going anyway… or the times when the path came to a dead end and I had to search for another way…or even when I was knocked all the way back down to the bottom and had to go back and start from the beginning… I see my journey through the lens of where it has brought me and I know that I am so glad that I stuck with it. This exercise has given my mind a path to follow and made the outcome of all my hard work very real to my brain. It feels like my reality and all I need to do now is go out and have a deja vu experience.

Part of achieving your goal is actually being able to show that you accomplished what you set out to do. But the other part of attaining, the part that completes the magnificent view if you will, and even contributes to it's magnificence, is what happens to you on the inside and who you become. And that's the part that happens through the dead ends, the falls, and all the times you will yourself to continue. When you do this visualization exercise right, you see the whole picture and you appreciate your destination even more because it is firmly connected and intertwined with your journey.

*I wanted to elaborate on some of the specific experiences and memories that I remember during this trip down memory lane but this blog has gotten too long already, so perhaps you can look for it later this week in another posting. I don't know if anyone else would find it as interesting as I do, but at the very least it's a good snapshot for anyone who might be interested.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Anatomy of a Champion

I've explained this to people time and time again, but I'm not sure they really "get" it. I am a competitor to my core. It's part of everything I do and how I face every situation. There are times I try and hide it a little bit because I'm not sure everyone understands this approach to life and might think it a bit extreme--unless of course you are exactly like me. But if you aren't like me, you might wonder why anything that could possibly be a competition, is. And if it is in fact a competition, then I want to win. It is this approach to life that helps me do what I do for a living, and also helps me in other situations that arise from time to time…

My brother's wedding was this weekend, and when it came time for the bouquet toss, these nice girls didn't know what they were in for. All I've got to say is that if I jump like this when it comes to the Olympic Final, the gold medal is mine!

Earlier in the day my siblings and I took a picture and it seems as if I was commenting on how I should be the one with a ring on my finger. You know, since my brother who is NINE YEARS YOUNGER THAN ME was getting married and all.

When it came time for the bouquet toss, I purposely positioned myself in front and forewarned my competitors. My sister tries to secretly send Cynthia a message and tell her to throw long, but let's be real...I jump for a living.

The flowers go up, and I go into beast mode.

Victory!! It's a shame I don't have an actual picture of me jumping, because I honestly had some serious air time.

Typical of people who aren't "true" competitors, my sister tries to steal my flowers since she wasn't talented enough to grab them for herself.

I plan on applying the same tactics in Eugene, then London, and after that see how they work on a nice young gentleman who will help that naked finger of mine...

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Art of Being Positive

I was talking with my friend yesterday and she asked how my ankle was doing. Girl, that is so last week, I responded. My bizarrely sprained ankle has healed and is functioning fine, I told her, but I did tweak my hamstring last night in my meet. Honestly, she should know this if she followed me on social media close enough but we will give her a pass for having a life. So she said she would now pray for my hamstring to get it together quickly and asked if there was anything else to pray for.

That I stay positive, I said.

For me, that is a far bigger request than my hamstring, or my ankle, or any other non-cooperative body part that doesn't seem to be playing by the rules these days. It is far easier to come back from a strained hamstring than a negative spirit. And I know I'm not there yet-- that god awful place where you throw a party for pity and only invite yourself-- but I want to make sure I don't even get around to creating the evite.

My road is a bit bumpy right now but I haven't lost sight of my destination. Of course I would have hoped for a smoother ride, but at the end of the day it doesn't matter, does it? The only thing that matters is that I stay the course, and I don't care how many times I fall down and bruise my hamstring or my ego, I intend to do just that.

Staying positive means that my focus will continue to stay on what can happen in the future and not so much what has happened thus far. It means that I continue to believe in my goal because that goal is still ahead of me, and that I choose to focus on the good because that is what's going to help me get there. It is definitely a choice, and I want to continue to make the right one. So, please pray for that.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I am no stranger to sprained ankles. Both my ankles have experienced their fair share of sprains over the course of my life and it's to be expected when you've spent most of your time on earth running, jumping, and doing all sorts of ankle jeopardizing activities. So, the fact that I've been nursing a slightly sprained ankle for the past couple of days is no surprise. What is a surprise though, is I have absolutely no idea how I hurt it. Not only that, I've only ever sprained the outside of my ankle, and this time I managed to do the opposite. The whole thing is quite strange and perplexing and I'm almost certain that one of my competitors has a secret voodoo doll with my face attached and has been poking me with pins in the ankle region. It's either that, or I've been sleep bounding and not knowing it.

Whatever the case, I have been prescribed the most ancient and annoying of all remedies… R.I.C.E. For those of you that spent your childhood playing piano and dissecting frogs, you may not be familiar with this, but it stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This kind of treatment bothers a person like me tremendously and I end up feeling like a helpless caged animal. Yesterday, I tried to add my own twist to it and include med ball throws, bench press, leg press, core circuit, and bike, but in the end the swelling ended up increasing instead of decreasing, and that's not really what I was after. So, today I will follow it a little closer and hope that this little niggle disappears as quickly and as miraculously as it appeared in the first place.

And if you are reading this and you are the one with the voodoo doll, PLEASE STOP!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Almost Famous...

(screenshot I took after watching a clip of the infomercial on youtube.)

It seems that my physique is extremely recognizable. Well…my abdominal section is at least. For the last couple of weeks I've been getting messages from people who happen to be up at 3 am watching infomercials. And the really cool part is, they spotted me on their television! Over the summer I had filmed a series of workout videos for TapouT, and the infomercial for these new workout DVD's has now hit the airwaves. You don't see many close up shots of me in the infomercial portion, probably due to the fact that I was hired to do these videos, and the majority of the other people were participants in the program that transformed their bodies. So, there is a lot more focus on their success stories and the before/after pictures. I didn't participate in the 90 day program and according to my sister, they'd need a baby picture if they wanted to get my "before" body. The videos also feature professional MMA fighters…and obviously I'm not one of those. So, basically I was the gal with the ripped body that you're supposed to think got that body by doing the 12 DVD's that you can purchase. In all honesty, the workouts really and truly kicked my butt. I filmed more segments than anyone else because of course I could handle it--being the professional athlete and all--but by the end of the week standing was a real chore for me.

Let me know if you happen to catch the infomercial…and better yet, let me know if you happen to purchase the DVD's and tell me what you think of these workouts! They are legit and all you need is your living room and your DVD player. I don't promise an abdominal section like mine, but maybe close. :)

To find out a little bit more about these workouts you can check it out here: TapoutXT

Monday, April 16, 2012

Remembering the FUN

When I started out in this sport years and years ago, I chose what events I did based on one important thing. Was it fun? Fun for me does not involve pain so that cut out any events over 200 meters, and left me with the sprints and the events where you sprinted and jumped at the end. The funnest event of all though, was always the relay. Your sprinting with teammates. If you do a sport where you have teammates you work with all the time, you might not quite understand the rarity of this and what a nice added dimension it can add to your experience, but believe me it does.

All these years later I still love what I do, but there are times when I forget to have fun. When I go through slumps… or have a string of bad competitions that make me start to worry how I'm going to make ends meet… or start putting ridiculous pressure on myself based on outcomes, it makes it a little difficult to remember to enjoy what I'm doing. I forget to have my fun. I've started this season off doing my best to hold on to that feeling. I mostly make my living in the sandpit now, but once upon a time I was a decent sprinter. More importantly though, sprinting was fun to me. And truth be told, I find it easier to have fun doing things that don't determine whether I have rent money or not sometimes. So this year I've started off my season running two 4x100 relays and a 100 meter race just for fun. It's been great.

The following video is from our 4x1 relay at Florida Relays. My team is in lane 5, team BoogieFast (don't ask). I am the second leg, in all black. It's a little difficult to pick me out which I think is more reason to make sure I wear my socks this season. Blending in is no fun. :) We came in 2nd, but I really think we would have won if our third leg hadn't slowed down half way thru her turn because of a hamstring problem.

Watch more video of 2012 Florida Relays on

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

puffy paint, sports bras, and breast cancer awareness

A couple of months ago I was approached about contributing to an important cause. MZ Emmers was gathering sports bras signed and decorated by female athletes and then auctioning them off to raise money for Breast Cancer. I thought this was a fantastic idea and so myself and some of the other athletes at the Olympic Training Center got together for a night of puffy paint, glitter, and bedazzlements--all in the name of charity. What resulted was typical athlete competitiveness--we tried to see who could get the MOST puffy paint, glitter, and bedazzlements onto our little sports bras. Well, at least this is what I tried to do since I obviously was not going to win any artistic competition on merit alone. I got a little carried away and someone had to come over and wrestle the bedazzlements and hot glue gun from my hand. What resulted is some of the most creatively decorated sports bras in the auction, and we don't really know if this is a positive or not.

Since the whole point is to actually have people bid on our bras and raise some money for charity, I encourage you to head over to Ebay and take a look at the bras and then BID! It would be awesome if someone out there was nice enough to give me a bid so that all my puffy painting wasn't in vain. If it sounds like I'm begging…I totally am. If you have another favorite athlete that decorated a bra though, feel free to bid on that. I would assume you did so because you didn't like my decorating, not because I'm not your favorite athlete. :)

I am sure most of us have been personally affected by Breast Cancer or know someone who has and I really just think this is a creative and inspiring way to show our support. I encourage you to take part and share the auction with your family and friends!!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Cup of Coffee

I was going to preface this blog by stating that you might not quite get it if you don't drink coffee. And by "drink" I don't mean stop by Starbucks every blue moon and get a sugar-ladened, blended, milkshake tasting drink and call it coffee. I'm talking about die hards. People who probably prioritize their morning cup of joe right underneath oxygen. Or maybe above it. But when I thought about it a little longer I realized that this blog isn't really about coffee at all, even though it has a starring roll. I think it's about being a good neighbor, so to speak, and helping people when you can.

On Sunday I was rushing out my door on the way to church. Well… I was supposed to be on my way to church but I remembered that I promised I would drop off a bag at my training partners house before I went, so my rush was more about realizing I was going to be cutting it close for an on-time arrival at Church--which I happen to be a real stickler about. I pulled into her complex and hopped out of the car with the keys still in the ignition and was about to bound up the stairs when a lady called out to me from her balcony.

Lady: Can I ask you a favor?
Me: Sure.
Lady: Do you happen to have any coffee?
Me: I'm sorry, I don't.
Lady: Oh ok. Well thanks anyway.
Me: I really am so sorry. Believe me, I know how important coffee is. Is there any other way I can help you?
Lady: No. Thank you though.

I dropped off the bag and sped out of the parking lot and down the street. A few blocks later, I saw it. A place where I could buy the lady some coffee. I realized that isn't what she expected. She must've thought I lived in the complex and there would be a strong possibility that I had coffee inside my apartment. And she must've been out. And maybe she didn't have a car… or maybe she had a newborn baby sleeping inside and couldn't leave… or maybe she ran out of money for necessities like coffee until her next paycheck…I have no idea. All I know is that she asked me for coffee and so I stopped. I got the coffee, returned to the complex, woke up some other lady because I couldn't remember what apartment she had been in, and finally found my kindred spirit--the lady who needed her coffee in the morning.

She was far too thankful, incredibly gracious, and even had tears in her eyes. "Even though it may sound silly," she said, "it's things like this that remind you that there are incredibly kind people in the world." And I think that's when I realized it wasn't about coffee. What I did was absolutely no big deal. It took 2 minutes and cost me 2 bucks. But sometimes the result of what you do and how it affects others is far greater than what you actually did. I'm sure she was grateful for the coffee, but I think it mattered also that someone just cared enough to help. Period. I hope I can be that kind of person more often and even if you're late for church, I think God gives you a pass those times.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My New Ride

I opted not to drive across country when I moved to Florida. I didn't really have the time to waste, it was an expensive journey, and I hate driving, so basically it just didn't make much sense. For the past couple of weeks I've had a rental car but that was definitely a short-term solution because the rates were simply atrocious. Since Daytona Beach is a small, quiet town and I don't have much use for transportation besides going to the track for training, a good option seemed to be a scooter. You see them on the road all over the place out here, and if you get one that doesn't go fast you don't even need a special license, you just need to be 16 years old and they will let you right on the road. Supposedly it's just like riding a bike, and I knew how to ride a bike at one point in my life so I figured I was good since riding a bike is supposed to be one of those things you never forget. Turns out I was probably never that good of a bike rider because the first time I got on a scooter and tried to turn onto a quiet side street I ended up on the sidewalk and onto someones front yard. Oops.

I've been practicing the last couple of days and have finally mastered the art of turning, so now I feel confident venturing out of my neighborhood and not waiting until there isn't a single car in sight. I still plan on taking the back streets everywhere I go, but it really does seem quite simple once you get the hang of it. What also is simple after you get the hang of it is unlocking the fuel cap. Unfortunately for me though, I didn't practice this skill in the privacy of my own garage and so when I arrived at the gas station to fill up my brand new scooter, and stuck the key in, I was met with an unmoving cap and a key that seemed stuck. I tried to play it off and work on it secretly, but after what seemed to be 47 minutes and becoming drenched in sweat because of my anxiety, I finally mustered up the nerve to ask the shirtless biker filling up his Harley next to me. I admitted that I was new to the whole biker world and couldn't figure out how to remove my fuel cap. So, he graciously came and did it for me, then put it back on and made me do it while he supervised. Turns out if you line up the arrows and it pops right off. Easy Peasy. Fortunately for me, I did not die from my embarrassment, and $3 dollars later my tank was full.

So, this will be me putting around. If you see me, don't drive too close and maybe get off the sidewalk.

Monday, March 19, 2012

My First Week...

My first week in Daytona Beach, Florida was probably not the norm and was perhaps not very indicative of what my time here will be like. There was the whole issue of being homeless when I arrived, the fact that there were an extra 500,000 inhabitants on Harley's zipping past me, and the sad realization that I hadn't yet found a convenient Starbucks location close by, that all probably contributed to my feeling of unease. Slowly but surely though, I find myself settling in. I will have a lot more time on my hands here in Florida than I did in San Diego. At the training center, we made training a full time job and I would oftentimes be up there from morning till evening, taking my time fitting everything in and with no real reason to finish quickly. Out here I am finished by early afternoon every day and that leaves a whole lot of extra hours to try and fill. I don't really have friends (currently accepting applications) and this city is not very action-packed after the bikers leave, but the beach is two blocks away from where I'm staying and that is one very big positive if I can find myself a large enough shade umbrella. Here is what my first week has looked like though…

Bike Week:

I rode on the back of this bike and saw all the craziness first hand. It just so happened that on my shuttle down from Orlando I was chatted up by two seemingly normal bikers who agreed to be my buddy for my first few days in Daytona and happened to be staying in the hotel right next to mine. It was kind of a cool experience.

The Beach:

The beaches here are actually really nice and the sand is so hard packed that we even did a workout on it on Saturday. I have a feeling I will be spending lots of my free time here.


As of right now I don't have cable or internet unless I can steal a weak signal from the neighbor. So some of the time I would normally be wasting rotting my brain is spent reading in my backyard. It's actually not so bad, and a very new experience to even have a backyard!

Most important though, is that I feel incredibly affirmed that I am in the right place and am doing what I am supposed to do out here in regards to my training. It may take a little while to feel part of the group or to not look like a lost puppy during the warmup that is very unfamiliar to me, but I feel good about where I'm at and what I will be doing. That is what matters most.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Time for Change...

If you asked me how I'm feeling right now I wouldn't even know where to start. I feel everything. excited. nervous. scared. hopeful. optimistic. determined. inspired. fired up. calm. crazy. and basically so far out of my comfort zone it ain't even funny. And I think that's what is most important--that I'm not comfortable and that I am okay with it because something tells me I'm headed down the right path. I feel it in my gut. Granted, it is a somewhat scary and slightly unknown path, but that's kind of what makes it so awesome. I am choosing the road less traveled and taking a risk and I am proud of myself for doing so, because it is only with great risk that you reap great rewards.

Let's back up…

I'm sitting in a hotel room in Daytona Beach, Florida with a rental car parked out front packed full of suitcases filled with my most important belongings. Basically this means all my track stuff and far too many pairs of shoes I won't ever wear. Lord willing, I will find a more permanent residence for me and my shoes in the next few days, and then I will live in Daytona Beach for the remainder of the season and train here under a new coach. It's a move that many would call crazy, and they might be right. But sometimes crazy is good. And sometimes crazy is necessary.

I started off this season with a very specific goal in mind and the attitude that I would do everything in my power to achieve it. So here I am, taking a leap of faith in a totally different direction and believing that it is the right thing for me personally to do. Change isn't always easy. There was a part of me that wanted to continue to fight for what I knew and for what felt comfortable, but the more insistent part of me dared myself to go all in. The deep part of my soul that knows how badly I want to be my very best self this summer forced me to get uncomfortable and to make changes that I believe in my heart will be best for me.

I love California. I love training at the Olympic Training Center. I love the people I worked with on a daily basis and being near all my friends and family. But there was a key component I knew I was missing and it was up to me to finally go find it. My reason for being out here is simple: To be fully committed to what I am doing and have complete faith in everything I do. I feel that I am in a place where I can do that and I know that this shakeup is what I needed to make that happen. I have had so much change over the course of my career and have learned to become a healthy critic of everything I do, but now is not the time to doubt anything but to put all my eggs in one basket and just go for it. And so I am.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Before I left for Albuquerque I had a conversation with one of my trusted advisors. He started telling me about his Aunt Pat and her obsession with the game Bingo. She played the game all the time and one year she won $83,000 bucks. Now, that was only one year and there were a whole bunch of other years she didn't win nearly that much, and some years when she lost big. During the course of her life she definitely ended up losing more than she won. But she kept playing, certain that the next game she would win and that she would continue to win big. She was good at bingo and this was her game.

"What in the world did this have to do with long jumping and getting me pumped up and confident?'… I thought to myself.

But it had everything to do with long jumping and getting me pumped up and confident. It was about believing. You see, Aunt Pat kept playing her game relentlessly because she thoroughly believed that she didn't win big because of luck, but because she was good. She always played the next game certain that she would win again, regardless of how many times in a row she lost. In her mind, winning over $80,000 was not a stroke of luck but the exceptional playing of someone who was gifted and talented at what they were doing. She just believed. And no matter how many times things didn't go her way, it never shook that belief…all the way up until her last days.

Now, I have no idea if someone can actually be good at Bingo. My rationale tells me that it pretty much must involve some sort of luck. But I do know that I am a good long jumper. I know that I am talented. Even after multiple unfavorable competitions this indoor season, culminating with Indoor Nationals this past weekend, I must continue to play my game with the belief that the next one will be good. I've had my $80,000 jumps in the past and there is no way I just got lucky and jumped far because the stars were aligned a certain way that day. I am certain I know how to do that and even more. Much, much more.

I will jump well this outdoor season. And when I make the Olympic Team I won't be focused on the jumps this indoor season that didn't go well, or hoping to get lucky at the right time, I will stay focused on what I know to be true-- That I am good at what I do and I have what it takes to win big.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Earlier this week I made a decision not to compete at our U.S. Indoor Championships this weekend in Albuquerque. I had done a handful of indoor meets that had not went very well and made a decision with my trusted advisors that it would probably be best if I just started to focus on the outdoor season and work on figuring out some kinks that had reared their ugly head during my indoor campaign. If you don't agree with my rationale for this decision that's totally fine--you probably aren't one of my trusted advisors but you are entitled to your opinion! I believe the reason for me competing at an indoor championship would be because I feel I'm capable of making the Indoor World Team. That requires a top 2 finish and an A standard qualifying jump. Neither of those seemed to really be on my radar.

Yesterday, however, I changed my mind. I was in the middle of a jump session at practice and I got upset. The problems I've been having have mostly stemmed from an inconsistent approach and my inability to really lock down my rhythm that I need to consistently get to the board in the right position. Without getting into too much technical mumbo jumbo, it has been throwing me off big time. It is really hard to be a competitor when you are doing too much thinking. I need to let my mind go blank and allow my body to do what it knows how to do…except my body has suddenly developed amnesia. But yesterday? Yesterday, I forced it to remember. In the middle of doing approach work I just started jumping. Keep in mind I don't ever do full approach jumps in practice. But honestly, I had nothing to loose and I had everything to prove…to myself at least. I kept jumping until I jumped what I knew I should be capable of jumping at this point of the season. And then I called it a day, re-booked my ticket, found a hotel room, and asked my manager to un-scratch me from the competition.

What I need to accomplish is back on my radar. So, I'll see you in Albuquerque.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Don't Be Sorry...

There is no denying I've had a rough start to my 2012 season. I mean…I could deny it, but too many darn people know how to use the internet these days. Unfortunately this past weekend in New York was not the turnaround I had hoped for and after the meet I was just so darn frustrated that I was forced to do the only thing that made sense at the time…devour a cheeseburger, fries, and milkshake.

(sidenote: This random, hole in the wall, total dive of a place was located inside the uber-swanky Le Parker Meridian Hotel that we were staying at. It was literally hidden behind a curtain with no markings at all besides that tacky florescent hamburger with an arrow. All they served were burgers, fries, and shakes. Perfect. Why it was there, I have no idea. But seriously, one of the best hamburgers I've ever had.)

All jokes aside, it's a tough place to find myself in. I have big plans for this year and I know that the task in front of me is no easy one. I had hoped to start off strong this indoor season and continue to build on that foundation. But four meets in and I'm not anywhere near where I should be. Earlier today I was speaking with a trusted confidant about what my results were in my last few competitions and how New York capped off a completely lackluster indoor campaign. He responded with…"I'm sorry."

And as much as I wanted to go there...feeling sorry for myself, allowing my frustrations to build, beginning to get down about the state of my season thus far... I won't. So I told him the only time you need to say sorry is if I wake up on July 2nd and I'm not an Olympian. That's my goal for this year, that's what I write down each and every day when I wake up and before I go to bed to remind myself what I'm working towards, and ultimately that's all that matters to me in 2012. Yes, I want to do well during my competitions in February. Yes, I want to feel confident in my training and preparation thus far in the season. But if that's not what I'm experiencing, then I'll use this feedback to make the changes I need to make. But I won't be sorry. And neither should you...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Quick update...

For some reason, my friends and family just don't seem to think that a quick status update or a tweet contains enough information about the happenings of my competitions and experiences in Europe. They really can be quite demanding of me sometimes. So, to update them as well as the rest of y'all, here is a quick recap of my life over the last couple of days...

*my forehead still hurts and there is still a noticeable lump. (see blog below for further information.)

*I competed in a small competition in Linz, Austria last night. The good news is I won. The other news is all my jumps were just consistently average... but the good news in that is that they were consistent. I'm working hard on finding the silver lining in things these days. Most importantly though, is that I enjoyed myself competing and I know that ultimately I'm ready to jump far once things start timing up better, which would be awesome if that could happen Sunday.

*I landed in Russia today for a competition on Sunday. All I want to share about the trip so far is that it is -20 degrees outside. Please make sure you grasp the negative I included there. We walked outside the airport because we were told the van was "pulling up" and it didn't actually show up for 5 minutes. I learned a couple things--leggings might as well be fishnet stockings for all the good they do to combat weather, and the $50 coat I bought that seemed like it was really warm, is probably missing some of the material that makes coats functional in weather like this. I was seriously debating doing jumping jacks or high knees in place to keep warm. It's two hours later and I'm still shivering.

*the show I downloaded on my iPad for this trip is called Downton Abby and I'm hooked already. This has been the highlight of my trip since it's too bloody cold to walk outside and see the sights.

Thats it for now. Please continue to pray for me...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


I have a hard time sleeping soundly, especially when I've crossed 37 time zones and my body doesn't know AM from PM any longer. I virtually miss a whole days sleep on my way to Europe, I'm supposed to stay up all day once I get there to try and acclimate myself even though I feel like the walking dead and my eyelids close for 3.7 seconds each blink, and when I do finally make it to bedtime more tired than is humanly possible and expect myself to sleep for at least 17 hours straight, I'll wake up 3 hours later with absolutely no intention of dozing back to sleep. It's an awful feeling because you know your body needs the rest, but you have absolutely no idea how to give it what it craves.

For me, I've found that my only hope is trying to drug myself. For a few nights post travel, I take ambien in hopes of finding my Z's. The sissy stuff...melatonin, Tylenol pm, counting sheep, warm milk...won't do anything except give me false hope. Ambien will surely knock me out, and if I'm lucky I will stay that way uninterrupted for the next 8 hours or so.

Last night started off beautifully. Unfortunately, in my effort to properly hydrate myself after my long travel, my body's need to relieve itself took over the strong effects of my drugs. So I woke up. Kind of. I probably would have never recalled my middle of the night interruption had I not woken up this morning with an intense pain on my forehead and a huge lump to accompany it. "what in the world?!... I thought. But then it vaguely came back to me... I had got up to use the restroom and I had ran into a wall. Being in a new environment in pitch black darkness, one might think that I progressed cautiously with my hands in front feeling the way. But no. My forehead surely found the corner of the wall first, and it was brutal. It must have hurt at the time but I guess I made the decision to not acknowledge it so that I could hurry back to sleep and not waste my drugs. It worked. Now my head just really hurts...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Don't Ask...

I've come a long way since college in how I deal with disappointing performances. There was a time back in my younger years where my friends and family would tremble in fear if they had to be around me after I had performed poorly. I was the type of person that took competition seriously and always expected the most out of myself, so when I didn't live up to my expectations it made me angry. I then thought it was my responsibility to make everyone around me suffer through my emotions until an appropriate amount of time had passed and I had thoroughly milked the disappointment for all it was worth.

Well, luckily, I've grown up. To an extent. I do have such a better perspective on how to view competitions and I have come to realize that living in the past does absolutely nothing for your future. Sometimes you simply have a bad day. It's a fact of life. Other times you screw up and the best you can do is learn from it in order for it to make you better in the future. But when you sulk, throw a fit, and make yourself a living hell to be around, all you do is make yourself and those around you miserable for no reason.

Like I said, I've grown up a lot. What used to be two days of sulking, is now down to about 20 minutes. I accept that it wasn't my day, I try to objectively analyzed what happened to the best of my ability, and then I put it behind me. But what I have not grown out of is my dislike of chatting about disappointing performances. I hate it. To this day, if someone asks "How'd it go?" , when it didn't go well, they will get a rolling of the eyes, a mumbling under my breath, and a quick change of subject. I expect those close to me to learn that cue and quickly move on. If you'd like to avoid that awkwardness, my suggestion is to investigate beforehand whether or not I would be pleased with my performance and decide after that to ask how it went at your own risk. The only reason I want to discuss it at all is if it's with someone who can actually help me figure out some things. But just to sit and chit chat about why I sucked that day? Not my thing.

So if you were planning on asking me how my opening weekend went, don't bother. I am giving you the proverbial eye roll and muttering under my breath. I'm not mad about it, I'm no longer obsessing about it, but one thing is for sure--I don't want to talk about it. :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Undercover Supporters

The following comments were left by a fan of mine on three separate posts yesterday. Someone who thinks I'm awful and will never accomplish any of my goals spent a good amount of time reading my blog (the posts were from different times of the year) and then wanted to share what they thought of me. To him(or her), I say thank you.

-No, you're not THAT important as you are only known because you've gotten a link to T&FN. I follow the sport and can't think of anything that you've done that was significant, for if you did I would know about it.

-You are not going to make it to London, that is certain. Many try and after all these years, it's clear that you don't have it. Nothing personal, just a fact. Anyone who wastes as much time as you do on a silly meaningless blog is not putting her energy into the right places. Having confidence is one thing, but you've gone overboard and unfortunately your friends aren't real friends because they would tell you. How sad. Fabulous life?

-I am not Tobias, but you really make too much out of yourself and bring it on yourself. It's not THAT hard but you want people to think so. I know many top athletes who work WAY harder than you and complain less. I live in Michigan btw, come and visit if you want a REAL workout. Btw, you are not that important but you surely want to believe it to justify your actions.

Any time someone leaves a comment on my blog, I read it. If I wasn't willing to accept the feedback then I may as well have a diary stashed under my bed. I am always grateful for the people who acknowledge my random thoughts, who give me words of encouragement, and who provide different forms of motivation, sometimes in the most unknowing ways. The only thing that took some time getting used to, is the motivation that came in the form of negative comments. At first it used to ruffle my feathers something fierce and I would be appalled at the audacity of some folks to take time out of their lives to write rude and unjustifiable comments anonymously. The anonymous part is what got me most of all. Sure, you don't have to think I'm the best thing since sliced bread, but if you want to tell me how UN-awesome I am, the least you can do is sign your name to it. Own it. But more often than not, haters on the web don't work that way. They come up with their own reasons why you will fail or why you shouldn't try, and they feel it's their duty to share it with you. But now I've learned to be grateful for my anonymous' commenters. I read their comments and I don't bat an eyelash. I love the fact that I remain unaffected by people who don't believe in me, because it shows me how much I've grown to believe in myself and how that belief has deepened over the years, regardless of what I have or have not accomplished, and regardless of what anyone else may think--good or bad. I don't gain my confidence from anyone else so it would certainly make no sense for me to lose it over anyone either.

I learned a long time ago that you only need two people to believe in you in order to accomplish something. You and God. Anybody else is icing on the cake…and in my world, anyone who doesn't is the cherry.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Forms of Torture

Yesterday I was proud of myself for doing something I hardly ever do. I quit. A workout, that is. I just stopped midway through, walked back to my bag and took off my spikes, then marched myself right into the training room. You would think this would be an easy decision to make, but i assure you it's not. Not for me, at least. For most athletes there is a fine line between being smart and being dumb. I have strained my hamstring plenty of times and if I really was being honest, I always knew before it happened that it was going to happen. You feel something and you ignore it. (Oh that's nothing, just a little tightness…) Then you feel it again and you convince yourself that you can manage it. (I just won't push it too hard…) Then your body goes ahead and forces you to do what it tried asking you nicely to do in the first place. Stop. (Oops. There goes my hamstring….)

This time I chose to listen to my body willingly and I stopped before it made me. So instead of running 150's, I got poked and prodded, I got cupped, and then I got electrocuted. I am not making this up. If the training room is starting to sound like some sort of torture chamber, you aren't far from the truth. A lot of times we spend time putting ourselves through pain purposefully so we don't have to suffer pain that is going to set us back. Ice baths….deep tissue massage…foam rolling…needles…graston…electric stim…and my new favorite: cupping.

Does that look at all pleasant to you? Seriously, who came up with this crazy idea anyway?! But the point is, I choose to have this done and many other unpleasant things, so that I don't have to sit around for a week or two not doing anything. I do all of the above mentioned things so that I can use as many days as possible for putting my body through type of torture I enjoy. Training.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2012 is HERE!

I wish I had more things I needed to write the date on. I remember being in school and always screwing up the date for the first two months of the year change until it finally stuck. Of course I don't want to go back to writing essays, but you get the point. I also have no idea where my checkbook even is so that wouldn't be a date writing option either. But regardless of my inability to practice writing the date, if there is one thing my brain knows, its that 2012 is here. And there is no way I'm forgetting it.

The crazy thing about 2012 is that it's ALREADY here and it's FINALLY here, both at the same time. I remember how I felt four years ago, thinking to myself how far away this year seemed and how I wasn't sure I had four more years in me to try again to accomplish my goal. Now that it's actually here, it's crazy that I'm not waiting for it to get here anymore.

I think one of the hardest things about having the goal of "being an Olympian" is that in my sport you only get that opportunity one day every four years to try. That's it. In essence you are working for 1,459 days straight so that you can have the opportunity to do your best on day 1,460. And while you may do a lot of other great things with the four years in between and accomplish a whole bunch of amazing feats, you're still keenly aware of that ultimate goal you hope to accomplish.

I know everyone has goals…dreams…aspirations…desires…hopes…what have you. Some people get day after day to try again to accomplish theirs, and others may never really have that chance. For myself and for this particular goal I have been waiting since 2008 for it to be 2012 so that I can put everything I have to give on day 1,460. That day is now just around the corner.

2012 is here. I'm excited.