Hello, and welcome back! I have been out of contact for several months, mainly because it's been my off season. I'm also working two jobs to help finance my 2011-2012 skeleton season (my first full competition season!) so things have been quite busy over here on the East Coast.
To do a quick sum up, I still work at Adventure Links, and have moved into a more young adult/college student/adult programs, and also got a job working with Caribou Coffee, "The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf" of the East Coast, for those not familiar with coffee shops east of Minnesota.
I arrived in Lake Placid Tuesday for my combine to earn my privilege to stay at the Olympic Training Center during the season, or whenever I'm not traveling. I wasn't too nervous for it because I didn't really have time to think about the combine until I was here.
Summer in Lake Placid
To make what could be a long story short, to earn housing here, a returning athlete needs to score 600 points on a eight-event combine. I came in with a goal of scoring 700 points, and I came out scoring exactly 700 points. Whew! It was an easy combine, and even though my training is geared to peak me in October, I felt like I'm on track for that. It is good to see where I am fitness-wise right now. I'm happy with my weight lifting, and I PRed in squats (105kg), broad jump and shot toss (thanks for shot toss in my javelin workouts, Coach Mo!).
I woke up today feeling a little sore, mainly from the waist up, since I was in the ice bath last night. My shoulders are sore, as is my neck, mainly from shot toss and the cleans. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good. I took an early morning ice bath to help recover for push training later today, and then I'll take another after. It's so nice to be back at the OTC and have the recovery options available to me. It's tough to have good recovery in Virginia because of working so much and limited resources.
The mindset is different when I'm here in Lake Placid, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Decisions regarding my future that I have made back in Virginia get tossed out the window as soon as I'm immersed in the sport again. My choice to apply and do the Park Ranger Training Program at NAU was very much supported by my mind in Virginia, but now that I'm in New York and talking to coaches, I see what an impact that semester program will be on my performance in skeleton. It's a little frustrating, and long-term planning has never been my forte. I'm already thinking ahead to next summer, and gearing up to get into the Olympic Trials in a couple years. Eeek!
One of my favorite parts of this trip has been having access to TV and Internet 24/7, the best thing in the world for me right now, with the US Women's Soccer Team making their run for the World Cup. Being such a long-time, die-hard fan of the team, it's so heartbreaking not to be able to watch the games live. I was fortunate enough to catch a re-air of the second half of the exciting USA-Brazil quarterfinal, and even though I knew what was happening, I was SO nervous!
The USA-France semifinal was the first full game I've seen of this tournament, and I'm so glad I got to watch it! Thankfully, the scheduling for our combine left just enough time to watch the whole game. It was an exciting one, with France out-shooting and out-possessing the United States for a majority of the game. Abby Wambach had another beautiful header goal, and Lauren Cheney and Alex Morgan both had beautiful goals.
The US women celebrate their win over France
It's fantastic being where I am. Living as an athlete at the Olympic Training Center is one thing, but watching the rest of your fellow athletes, no matter what their sport, watching the soccer team and supporting them is quite another. Every TV in the building was turned on to the game (both games, actually with the airing of Japan/Sweden after the US game), including the TV in the cafeteria, and the Athletic Training room. The amount of support that the team has achieved thanks to that heart-pounding, come-from-behind-and-a-man-down-for-an-hour PK shootout is fantastic. I don't mind the bandwagon, nor does the US team (say their Twitter and Facebook accounts!) because any support, no matter how late, is great for women's soccer and women's sports. I'm proud of the team, I'm proud to be a fan of the team, and I'm proud of our country for supporting them.
Enough about soccer! We have push training this afternoon as our final "organized" part of the combine, and then the rest of the day is ours. I've made plans to wait in line for the midnight showing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" with one of the girls who works at the OTC (Yay Amy!) so we'll have dinner in town and then get in line! I have to say, waiting for five or so hours is definitely worth seeing this film for only $6! One upside of Lake Placid is the cheap movie tickets! It'll be quite a long night, as I leave for Virginia bright and early tomorrow morning (though how early I haven't decided). I may push that departure later in the hopes of avoiding Friday evening traffic through DC/Northern Virginia, but any time I leave, I'm sure to hit it in Philly, or Baltimore. I just don't want to pull in at 10pm. I HATE driving at night, plus I have an early Saturday to plan and prepare for my New England Expedition with kids! Two weeks in beautiful New England! Lots to plan, but I'm trying not to get distracted by work while I'm in Lake Placid. I'm counting this as vacation time, just like September's Push Championships will be!
I just hope I get to watch the Women's World Cup Final on Sunday at 2pmET on ESPN! USA vs Japan! USA seeking their first title since the famous 1999 World Cup (you all remember Brandi Chastain, and if you don't remember her, she was the gal with her shirt off!) and Japan is seeking their first title EVER, having never advanced past the second round before. It'll be a great game, one for the books I'm sure! GO USA!
I am also seeking sponsors to help finance my 2011-2012 skeleton season! Any help would be great, and a $500+ donation will mean a spot for a sticker or name on my sled, a great promotion tool! To make a tax-deductible donation, or for more information, follow this link to the Athlete Training Fund page! Please be sure to put my name in the memo area so the money comes to me! You can also make a non-tax deductible donation simply by mailing a check to:
13220 Yates Ford Road
Any and all dollar amounts are appreciated and accepted! Thanks for your help of getting me to Park City, Calgary, Europe, and beyond!