Saturday, November 27, 2010

Two Days and Counting!

So I went to bed at 9:30 tonight, thinking that the amount of data entry that I've been doing the last week has finally beaten me into submission. As you can see, the post time for this is later than that.

As I was tossing and turning trying to force myself to fall asleep, I found myself thinking way too much. While there were many different subjects in my head, such as data entry and all that goes with it, I realized I was focusing mostly on (what else?) skeleton.

I leave again for Lake Placid in two days, and I'll be staying for a 10-day stretch for the Advanced Sliding School. Needless to say, I'm anxious to get back on the ice.

The thoughts relating to the trip are listed below. You can tell I'm delierious with exhaustion, but my brain is doing too much for me to just fall asleep! They are random, ramble-y, and journal-entry-like, but bear with me! I need to get it all off my mind!

1. What time will I leave? Am I leaving Monday and staying the night somewhere in New York or am I leaving dawn patrol on Tuesday? If dawn patrol, how "dawn-ish"? 4am? 5am? Taking into account weather conditions, directions (or getting lost while trying to follow those directions), and the ability for me to drive my Honda Civic in the snow/ice, should I leave earlier?

2. I know I'm packing my own food for the drive up (can't afford even fast food...that's how broke I am!) but what am I taking? Pasta? Potatoes? Meat? All of the above? How about snacks? Carrots? Apple slices? My traditional Frosted Mini Wheats?

3. I put Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on my ipod for the trip, but just realized I don't yet have a way to plug said ipod into my audio system in my car.

4. Sleds...I know I have to rent one because I can't buy one until 2011. Do I rent a school sled or a Hass sled? Do I even have money to rent a sled? Well, I have to have because I need a sled!

5. Helmets...nope. Still haven't ordered a helmet. Shouldn't be a problem for this school, though. I'll have one before January.

6. Work. I have no way to do data entry at the OTC because I won't have this laptop up there. No work=no paycheck. No paycheck=no skeleton. I could use an OTC computer, but their internet is often fickle.

7. I've logged 30 hours this week of data entry alone...and it will be more tomorrow (aiming for 35 for the week, though I'll probably get more in). Oh the life of a semi-unemployed athlete! You have NO idea how much I hate these waivers now. The only thing getting me through them is watching/listening to Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix whist typing. Yes, I know Buffy is weird and people think it's dumb...but sometimes you need a little Buffy in your life.

That's about the majority of my thoughts right now. There are other ones regarding my shin pain, but those are thoughts I've learned to ignore. I did just get my foam roller in the mail today (thanks for the tip, Chris!) so I'll be using that from now on.

I did have a great Thanksgiving. Not being able to get back to California to spend the holiday with my family, I spent it instead with my other family. I was invited by an Adventure Links coworker to join her family for the meal.

It was certainly a delicious meal with all the traditional fixin's, including a turkey that was butchered just for us. Rachel's mom being a bartender and Rachel herself being something of a wine connoisseur, there was also good drink! I ate most of everything and even surprised my Grandpa later when I told him I had eaten my first bites of stuffing AND apple pie! He replied, "Well, of course! You're old enough now to try new things!" Good thing he's there to remind me!

I ended up staying the night at their house after popping a couple Benadryl for the cat. It was nice to be with friends, especially because this was my first Thanksgiving away from home.

And so another blog post comes to an end. I look forward to next week, where I'm sure I will be updating nightly, or at least every other night. I will hopefully have some video this time of me sliding, and of course there will be more pictures!

Thanks for reading!

If you, or anyone you know would be interested in donating funds or sponsoring me in my quest for the Olympics, please visit Thank you for all your support!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Waiting...just waiting...

I wish my camera's tomb wasn't the bottom of the Grant Memorial Pool in Washington DC. If I had it, I'd take a picture of myself to show you exactly what I'm doing. Since I have no photographic evidence, I'll try and explain as much as I can.

I'm currently sitting on the floor of the lodge at Hemlock Overlook Regional Park, where I work as an Adventure Facilitator for a company called Adventure Links. I'm wearing jeans and my US Bobsled and Skeleton sweatshirt. One of my pant legs is rolled up to the knee and a big bag of ice is resting on my shin.

Every time I inhale, I'm smelling delicious things coming from the kitchen about 10 feet to my left, where most of the staff is gathered, putting the finishing touches to their contributions to our end-of-year feast.

It's a rather comical picture of someone who is training for the Olympics, I'll grant you. But, such is my life!

I've been in Virginia for six months now, ever since my graduation from college. While I was working for Adventure Links last summer, this is the first time I've stayed through the fall season. Now that our company is closing its doors for the winter, we are celebrating with a lavish feast of turkey (cooked in a bonfire-turned-embers pit outside), mashed potatoes, casseroles, salads and desserts, each made by a different staff member.

Knowing that I would be eating a LOT tonight, including a lot of the dessert that I made, I got a workout in. Today, it was a pretty low-key workout, though it was pretty challenging: 8x 100m strides. Sounds simple, but seeing as this is my first full week back after my sliding camp, it was mainly a test of my fitness.

I also have the added challenge of my old/nagging/chronic shin splints coming back to haunt me...darn it! How is it that every sport I enjoy involve constant pounding of the legs, mostly in a sprint? I guess it's time to stock up on tape and ibuprofen.

And with that point, I suppose I should inform you all: I have recently taken up the sport ofskeleton. Known as one of the fastest sports on ice, skeleton involves the athlete essentially hurling themselves down a mile-long ice chute head first, laying on something closely resembling a cookie sheet with runners, reaching speeds up to 90MPH and exerting up to 5Gs of force on their bodies. Sounds fun, eh?

It's one of the most exhilarating thing I've ever done in my life. It's like a drug: addictive, gives me a huge rush at the end, and keeps me on my toes, so to speak. In a sport where the smallest movement of muscle can cause a crash, it's not an activity for the faint-of-heart.

I got into skeleton through a teammate of mine from NAU Track and Field, who suggested I look into bobsled, noting that I was a fairly fast sprinter and powerful weight-lifter. My inquiry to the United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation was answered by the developmental skeleton coach, Don Hass, who suggested skeleton, saying I was a little too small for bobsled, whose female athletes of my 5'6'' height weigh close to 160 pounds, 20 pounds more than me.

I attended a camp in Lake Placid in early September, showing off my fitness and strength in a combine, or a combination of nine different fitness events: a 15m, 30m, 30m fly, and 45m sprint, shot throw, broad jumps, squat in the weight room, and power cleans.
During the second sprint of the morning, only the first event of the day, I pulled my hamstring, which effectively ended my combine hopes for that week. Because my one sprint I got in was one of the fastest in the group, I was allowed to stay, and was even invited back to attend a sliding school in November.

This sliding school just took place last week. For more information and blog posts from that trip, please visit my other site, Living Fast, Living Strong.

My plans for the next couple weeks are as follows: I am attending the Advanced Sliding School in Lake Placid between November 30-December 10, then returning to Virgina until January 17. From that date until April 3, I will be in Lake Placid, living at the Olympic Training Center, and attending open training for my first season. I am extremely excited to go back and learn more, and to challenge myself both on the sled and off.

From time to time, I will be posting here, as well as my other location, so please keep reading, comment, and enjoy!

For now, keep sliding...