Training @ the Olympic Training Center

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I have neglected to make a posting in a while so I thought I would update you all on what I have been up to. It has been an interesting past few months dealing with the injury that caused me to pull out of the Chicago Marathon. I have seen what seems like every doctor under the sun, there was a time when I was averaging 4 doctors appointments per week. I ended up flying down to Atlanta, GA to see a specialist at the Shepherd Center. The good news is that we think we know what is going on and I'm finally making progress on getting better. I have been trying out all kinds of different therapy techniques including Active Release Therapy (ART), the Graston Technique, and certainly the weirdest (but it seemed to help a lot), Gonzales Rehabilitation Technique. In sum, I can feel my arms again and I'm beginning to not have any regression after training as well so all good things.

I just got back from an exciting trip to Chula Vista, CA to the Olympic Training Center. I was there for 13 days with some of my teammates and was able to train and use the facilities there. One of the neat things about training at a place like that is that everybody around you is a driven, dedicated athlete with their eyes on the Olympics. You can be sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch laughing with people and then later realize, hey I think that was so-and-so a 3-time Olympic gold medalist, or a world record holder etc.

Something else unique about this experience, I have been struggling with how to deal with the, "what are you doing with your life" question. Lately when people ask, I laugh a little and admit to working on a third degree while also training for Beijing. The majority of people will laugh back and make a remark about being a professional student or asking if they could have one of my degrees or something like that. Well, while at the training center I met people who after asking would admit they were working on their 5th degree!!! There was just an overarching understanding that it is far easier to be an elite athlete and live the student lifestyle than trying to balance that with a "real-world" job. It sure was some interesting food for thought. Perhaps I'm not doing things so out of the ordinary after all.

While I was there training I practiced usually 2 times per day, generally I would push at the track in the morning and go the weight room in the afternoon or an occasional jog by the ocean. CA is beautiful, I had never been until this trip. We (my teammates and I) also made some time for fun, it was our school break after all... One of our coaches took us to Sea World and we got to see Shamu, it was a blast. We also got to see the facilities at University of California at San Diego, where our coach also works. We drove around to see some of the beaches and the area and it was all in all a wonderful trip.

The Friday before I was to head back to Boston, I got a lovely message from my apartment complex in Illinois saying that the water pipes had burst in my apartment and that my apartment was deemed unlivable. Nothing was ruined inside, but apparently there is a ton of damage underground. Not much I could do about that while in CA, other than scramble to find a place to stay once I got back. Other drama included flying back to Boston on Tuesday night so that I could go to a doctors appointment (that could not be moved) on Wednesday morning and attempting to fly out Wednesday night back to IL so that I could work on Thursday.

Well, disaster struck when my little brother dropped me off curbside at the airport and the person working at the Sky Cap told me my flight had been canceled. Things worked out though, I went home for dinner and to stay another night and left on Thursday instead. Now I'm grateful to be staying at a friends' place since I'm still waiting for my apartment to be ready. It has been an interesting way to start of '08, but it can only get better from here! I promise to try and write more. My first race will be in February down in Florida.

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