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...