Monday, December 26, 2011

Very Merry Christmas

I hope everyone had the most wonderful Christmas yesterday, or are enjoying whatever holiday it is you celebrate! The holidays are my favorite time of the year! I mean who doesn't love cookies, candy, and presents?! haha, kidding. I do like those things, but this is the one time of the year I am guaranteed to be home from training and have time to spend with all my family. That is the best part!!

My day yesterday consisted of morning present opening, movie and nba viewing, a lovely Christmas dinner, and of course the annual drive through the neighborhood to look at lights! Highlights of day:

1. Getting a Nook!! (big shout out to my brother for this one!) It is going to be so nice to travel with and not have to carry around lots of books on trips!

2. My light up earrings :) (shout out goes to my teammate Amy Tran on this one!) I have a light up necklace and Amy found me these fantastic light up earrings to go with them! LOVE!

3. Breakfast Quesadillas on my Dad's brand new Quesadilla maker! (shout out to my mom for getting it and my dad for cooking 'em!) They were delicious!

4. Driving around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. A Christmas tradition at my house and I love to see how everyone gets into the Christmas spirit. For those are you that are big Tar Heel fans.... we drove past Roy Williams house and he had a few, nice simple lights up this year!

And the last.... and best highlight...
5. Spending the whole day with my family!! :)


What was your favorite part about Christmas this year? What was the best gift you received? Any holidays traditions you just absolutely love??


A few of the chocolatey treats I made:



My Mom's Half Pound Reece's Bar:


You know you're from CHAPEL HILL when "Santa" gives you these for Xmas:


Bringing a little Holland to America: Combining Sinterklaas and Christmas: Zwarte Piet in Santa's Sleigh!



HAPPY HOLIDAYS!


And although it was nice to have a few days off from training.... I'm right back at it today! No rest for the weary when the Olympics are barreling towards us, FULL STEAM AHEAD! :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Friends and Family

For those of you who were following our recent games against Great Britain, you already know that we had a rough showing. Although I never want to make excuses for losing (because I hate losing!), when everything is put into perspective, we were in a completely different training phase than GB was in. Not only had we only be back in training for a few weeks, we are just starting our Olympic build-up. By no means were we at our peak physically or mentally. With that being said, I still think the outcomes from the games could have been a bit better from our side. But what's done is done. Still, I do think we gained a lot from the series and can use what we learned going forward.

Despite the unsatisfying results, I did have a reason to be happy during the past week. Two of my best friends from back home in Chapel Hill, flew out to visit me in California!! Sterling and Elizabeth flew out last Wednesday and stayed until Monday evening. It was so nice having them there!! We got to do so many fun things from watching the sunset in Point Loma, to going for a hike at Torrey Pines, to visiting Balboa Park and the Museums, to eating way too much Mexican food! And of course we made a stop at the San Diego Zoo as well!!







Sterling and Elizabeth, along with all my other friends and family, have been constant supporters of my Olympic dream. It was really nice to give back a little to them and show them a taste of what my life is like day in and day out. Neither of them had ever seen me play live for the US team (they've only been able to watch me online), so they were super stoked to see us play. Even though we didn't win, they did get to see me score a goal, which was pretty awesome! :)

Although I wish we could have had a few more days (without games) to hang out and tour San Diego, my time is always limited and we all wanted to be back home in Chapel Hill for the holidays. Luckily, we still live close (well our parents) and will see each other a bunch over the next couple weeks!

I am so so happy to be home for the holidays! After a long year of traveling and playing, this girl needs a break and some family time!! 2011 was a great year though. A lot was accomplished. I am thankful for all the experiences, all the new people, and all the people who have always been there. Enjoy your holidays and cherish every minute!!

My baby Christmas tree :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bras for a Cause

Recently, members of the WPS (Women's Professional Soccer) signed their sports bras to sell on eBay to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. The endeavor was a huge success! We thought the idea was very clever, so a group of women at the Training Center here in Chula Vista decided to mimic the idea. Monday night, we all got together and decorated sports bras that will soon be put on auction on eBay as well.
A few of my teammates and I participated in this event and we really enjoyed it. Not only did it allow to show our creative side, its always fun to support a good cause. Because I mean really, who doesn't want to 'Save the Boobies'?
Here are a few pictures of the Sports Bras we created! Enjoy! And keep a lookout for them coming soon on eBay! I will let you know when they are available for purchase!

All of the decorated bras:

The front of mine:

The back of mine:

Katie O'Donnell's:

Rachel Dawson's:

Katie Evans:


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Team Behind the Team

I think I put up a link before about the Team Behind the Team: aka all the supporters of the Olympic cause, but this is a new one. Without everyone's support, family, friends, and more, we wouldn't be able to do what we do.

To put your life on hold for 4 years (or more) to train for the Olympics is not an easy task. We barely get to see our friends and family with our rigorous schedule of training, matches, and tournaments. But I am thankful that I have so many people supporting me constantly throughout my journey. It makes it so much easier to focus on hockey knowing I have so much support.

So once again, I want to thank everyone who has supported me over the years, and who continue to support me. As the London Olympics approach, things will get hectic, but I always want to give appreciation to those who helped me get there!

So here's a little video, like the last one I posted, but geared a bit towards field hockey. ENJOY!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDFYFs75nxw&feature=bf_prev&list=FL6XJYHcB5W8Pxnz9HsW162g&lf=plpp_video

Spirit. Refuse to Accept Anything but the Very Best. Roaring from the Stands. Cheering from Home. Makes our Olympians. Finesse. Power. Help of Every American. Spurred by Will of All.

We live the Olympic Spirit EVERY DAY.
GO USA!!!

Festivus

Friday was our last practice before we start our 5 game test series against Great Britain, so we decided to have a little holiday themed practice. We aren't normally training during December, so this was the first time we have attempted such an event.

I should have expected that our team would go above and beyond for this though! Not only are we competitive and creative, we love the holidays!! Everything from Grandma, who got run over by a Reindeer, to Ralphie from a A Christmas Story, and even Christmas present boxes! It was pretty funny to watch everyone running around in their costumes during our weekly Friday soccer warm-up game.

The funniest costume was the 7 college kids all showing up in Morphsuits. They are those skintight suits that cover your entire body including your head. Half of them in green, the other half in red. The suits themselves are funny, but if you know those kids at all, they made them that much funnier. Breaking out into spontaneous choreographed (and unchoreographed) dance moves, it was definitely a different spin on holiday outfits!

Maren, OD, and I were Angels! O:)

Here is a picture of everyone in costume and a video we made:




video

Friday, December 9, 2011

Shop With A Jock

This past Tuesday, I participated in a program called Shop With a Jock, run by the Junior Seau Foundation. Junior Seau is a Hall of Famer for the San Diego Chargers and his foundation is constantly giving back. I jumped at the chance to help out with his latest event.

Shop With a Jock is an event where children from underprivileged families in the community are paired up with an athlete who help them shop for holiday gifts for their families. Along with Target who generously opens their doors, these children are given 100 dollars to spend on their loved ones. I just love the idea of this and couldn't wait to help!

As we arrived with a van full of athletes from the Olympic Training Center, we were greeted with loud music and a warm buffet. The pre-shopping events were being held in a huge tent in the Target parking lot. Immediately I could see all the kids dancing and running around with excitement. After getting a bite to eat, a few of us went over and showed off our moves as well! I must give a shout out here to Track and Field athlete Jerome Avery. He definitely turned some heads and got the crowds attention!

Soon after, we lined up with all the other athletes (many from the local colleges: San Diego State, UCSD, and USD)and got paired up with a child. I really wanted a little girl to take around and I was lucky enough to get my wish! MY little girls name was Amber and she was adorable!! She was very excited and was quite the little chatterbox. She really impressed me though. Not only was she a good spender, getting presents for all the people on her list (which was long!! 2 brothers, 2 sisters, mom and dad, and cousins!!) she saved enough money to buy dog food and cat food for the animal shelter. This amazed me and warmed my heart. This little 9 year old girl, who doesn't have a lot for herself or her family, wanted to use some of the money given to her (which she could have easily spent on herself) to give to the animal shelter and help animals in need. She definitely put a smile on my face for many reasons!

In the end, although I'm sure she was so happy to be able to hang out with an athlete for the evening, I felt very fortunate that I got to spend the evening with her. Even though I doubt she will ever read this, I want to wish her and her family a very Merry Christmas, and to let her know that she has inspired me.

I know at times my budget can be a little bit tight too, but there are always ways you can give back. Even if it is just your time and help, it never goes unappreciated.








Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcome to Olympic Training

In our first training week back since winning the Pan Am Games, we got a little taste of what is in store for next few months leading up to the Olympics. Our coaches took no time to ease us back into things, as we hit the ground running, literally.

First and foremost, I must mention and welcome our newest addition to the team: Nick Conway! He was most recently the head coach of the Men's National Team and has now taken on the role of our Assistant Coach. We are excited to have him on board with our program! He brings a lot of knowledge and enthusiasm for the game of hockey, so it should be a great addition for us.

Monday morning we stepped onto the field and got a few of the cobwebs off our sticks. The first day back always has to be focused on the basics just to get everything running smoothly again. Monday afternoon we hit the weight room, or rather, it hit us!

Tuesday morning we laced up our tennis shoes and meet at the track. After running around in circles for 8 laps, we had completed our first timed 2-mile test. I can't say it is one of my favorites, but after finished just over 13 minutes, I was pretty pleased with my time. We wasted no time recovering and headed down to the field for a little corner practice. We can always do more corners!

Although it was a tough morning, there is no rest for the weary! We started the afternoon session with agility testing. In short, dripping through cone mazes as fast as you can. Don't worry, we were still feeling the effects of the morning run...

Wednesday we had another run, but with the day off from practice, it almost felt like a day off. I personally had a very busy day though. I had to take care of a lot of errands, send a few e-mails, fill out a few forms... but at the days end, I felt very productive and was ready for bed by 8 o'clock!

Thursday morning came early, with more fitness testing awaiting our participation. This time: the Beep Test! For those of you unfamiliar with this test, basically you run 20m back and forth between cones, you have to make it to each cone before the beep, the beeps get faster, and when you miss 2 beeps in a row, you are out. It is more a sprint repeatability test then straight endurance, but it definitely tests your ability to push yourself when you think you can't run anymore. It's a fight of one more, just getting one more. And repeat. I do have to give a big shout out to Katie Reinprecht for beating the beep test. She finished the test and ran out of beeps. Not only did she complete it, but she made it look easy, just jogging through the last level. I swear she can run forever!

We headed back into the weight room Thursday afternoon for another good lift. At this point in the week, our muscles were really feeling sore, tight, and heavy. Maren, her husband Ryan (who is in town visiting), and I made our way down to the soccer field for a bit and supported the Men's Paralympic Soccer team against Canada. They often train at the OTC, but have never played matches there, so this was the first time we got to see them in action! Although they lost 4-2, they put in a valiant effort and it was a very exciting game to watch!

Finally, we made it to Friday! This happens to be my favorite day of the week because we get to play soccer for warm-up! Such a great sport! :) Anyways, we knocked out some corners before ending the day with some sprints. Yes, more running. But it was a breeze compared to the rest of the week, and I thought it was refreshing to actually extend and stride it out.

Now that we weekend has a arrived, there are so many options to keep me busy! From relaxation and movie time to Christmas parades and going away parties, I'm sure there will be lots to get into.

Happy December! I love this time of year!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks!

The final four weekend ended just like it started, in dramatic fashion. The final game saw the University of Maryland Terrapins come back from a 2-0 deficit with minutes left and finish it off with the 3rd unanswered goal. For those of you that followed the semi-finals, the University of North Carolina had done just the opposite to the UConn Huskies, coming back from a 3-0 deficit, sending it to OT with seconds left of the clock, and putting in the game ending goal minutes later. Very ironic finish to the weekend.

Although these games were exciting to watch, my favorite part of the weekend was our 3PC event on Saturday night. It was so nice to meet up with former National Team members and hear their many stories. Everything from crazy travel experiences, to funny stories about other teammates, to their amazing accomplishments before our time. It was nice to share our Pan Am win with those who pathed the way for our success. Without them, we could not have achieved what we have. A big shout and thanks goes out to Simone Attles, Rachel Dawson, and Maren Langford for setting up the whole event! It was fabulous! :)


THANKSGIVING: My absolutely favorite time of the year! Why? Well, besides the copious amounts of food you get to eat (without too much guilt) and all the football games on television, obviously the most important thing is time spent with my family. As much as I travel and spend time training in California, I always cherish my time at home with my family. I want to give thanks to all of them for supporting me endlessly in my journey to follow my dreams. I definitely couldn't do it without them.

That's not all Thanksgiving has to offer in Chapel Hill though! (Besides Black Friday of course!) Every Friday after Thanksgiving we have an alumni soccer game at my high school. The current men's team will play a period against the alumni, before the alumni play against each other. This always brings out many of my former high school teammates, as well as many others who just want to watch. There were up to 30 or 40 alums from both the men's and women's team. It was really cool to see that many of us back at East (ECHHS). I of course participated in the game and it made my day! I miss playing competitive soccer, and yes, I can keep up with the guys! ;)

Friday evening sees all of these people, plus the rest of our high school meet up at a local bar called Top of the Hill. As an unwritten rule, we always show up there the Friday after Thanksgiving for an unorganized high school reunion. Since I missed it last year while I was playing in Holland, it was awesome to see and catch up with those I had not seen for 2 years (or more). I love coming back to Chapel Hill. Some things never change.


As my time at home came to a close, I was sad to leave. But the journey to London 2012 must begin. There is still a lot of work to be done to reach the podium next summer. This week is basically testing week. Stay tuned for more to come once the week concludes...

(this blog is from a few days ago, but I was having trouble uploading it!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NCAA Final Four

As I pack my bag for this weekend's trip to the NCAA Final Four, I am reminded of my college days and the pure excitement this final weekend brings. It is the best of the best in college field hockey. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this experience all four years of my career at Wake Forest, and it was just as thrilling every year, even though we never got to bring home the National Title. Returning to the Final Four, now as a college alum and National Team member, I reflect on those amazing memories and I am grateful for all those experiences because they have brought me to where I am today. I look forward to seeing the new talents this years Finals has to offer, as these players are part of the future of USA Field Hockey.

This weekend will also be the inaugural meeting of the US Field Hockey Team Players Club, or as we like to call it, just 3PC. This group encompasses all US National Team players past, present, and future. Our goal is to keep a unified network between this select group of players. We may not have all played together, but we all play for the same team and we all strive for the same goals: to make USA Field Hockey the best it can be and the best in the world. We can learn from those who came before us and continue to teach the ones that will most certainly follow. So I am excited to gather with not only my current teammates, but past teammates, both of which I know and have yet to meet. I can only imagine some of the stories they have from teams past...

All in all, it should be a very fun and eventful weekend for hockey fans across the States. If you get a chance to go to any of the games, look for us in the stands and signing autographs between games! Also, we are playing exhibition games against the Senior All-Star Teams on Saturday, so come check us out! Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Hobby?

Some people wonder, what do you do with all your down time? Although it is nice being back in my hometown, my parents work, and my friends work or go to grad school, so there aren't a whole lot of people to hang out with during the week. This takes me back to the original question, what do I do with all my down time?

The obvious answer to this question is work out. But even that only takes up a few hours of my day. Oftentimes you will find me watching a movie or a sporting event, but the weather has been amazing this past week and I've wanted to spend all my time outside.

This has brought me to my new hobby... or rather an old one I am rediscovering: GOLF. A little history on this: As a young girl, my dad brought my brother and I out to the golf course a lot. I actually picked up a golf club years before I ever even knew what field hockey was. I was told I was a natural by age 8. I even went to golf camp (yes, it's true). I also won a golf tournament when I was only 12 years old. Some may wonder why I quit (my dad wonders that all the time!), but team sports had a much bigger draw for me.

Anyways, ever since I got into field hockey in middle school, I haven't really had much time to hit the links. In the past 10 years, I have probably golfed once or twice a year. So when a friend invited me to go golfing a few days ago, I said why not?! (Actually he told me he wasn't very good and knowing I am quite out of practice, I felt a little better about the adventure). As I left for the 9-hole outing, I told myself that no matter what happened, I wasn't allowed to get mad and it was just for fun. This can be a difficult task since I am so competitive and I never like to struggle with anything athletic, especially when I used to be pretty good!

I went out and actually did fairly well! In fact, I beat both the guys I was playing with, but to be honest, none of us were really that good. Once my dad got wind that I was out golfing, he jumped on the chance to take me again. He couldn't wait to see for himself how good I was, so he said. Personally, I think he just wanted an excuse to play a round himself! After a rough start, I pulled out a couple pars, almost birdied even. It turned out to be a fun day with the family, highlighted by my dad almost hitting a car and my brother hitting a house! haha.

Although you might think a golf swing is similar to that of field hockey, the swing is in fact very different! I learned that the hard way! As for a new hobby, you might see me out on the course a little more often in the next couple weeks. Well, as long as the weather stays nice! I'm a bit of a wimp when it gets cold! Stay tuned.... maybe one of these days I will actually hit that birdie! (Not the flying kind!)





Friday, November 4, 2011

What a Feeling

It's been exactly one week since the PanAmerican Games Final against Argentina and I still find myself on a high of emotions and disbelief. It's not that I ever questioned the skill and desire of our team because I never doubted that we would win Gold down in Guadalajara, Mexico, but it's a feeling like I've never felt before. Not only are we qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London next summer, but we put out a fantastic performance against the world number one and have a lot to look forward to in the year to come.

With that being said, I have enjoyed the victory and celebrated with my teammates, family, and now friends at home, yet the time to refocus is drawing near. The year leading up to the Olympics is always the most demanding, as it is the peak of any athletes career to represent their country at the Olympic Games. Despite the hard work I know awaits, I am excited for the journey to get there with my amazing teammates. Keep following as it's sure to be a roller coaster ride!

I also want to give a BIG shout out to everyone who has been following and supporting me, as well as US field hockey, before and throughout the PanAm Games. Having the support of family and friends back home has made the journey all that more exciting and enjoyable.


In case you missed it, here is a link to the highlights from the final game:

Here are some pictures from the PanAm Games:























Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding Our Way In Mexico

Greetings from the PanAmerican Village in Guadalajara, Mexico! We have now called this place our home for almost a week and although we’ve had to make a few adaptations, everything is running quite smoothly. Despite having almost the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we have found a way to mix the foods up a bit and have created a snack room back in the dorms for back-up. We have also had to make some adjustments with regards to the internet. We must go outside or down in the athlete center to pick up any kind of signal, which may still be questionable at times, but we’ll do just about anything to keep in touch with all our friends and family back home!!

Although our biggest task so far has been finding different ways to deal with all the down time! (I know what a terrible problem to have!) We are so used to having packed schedules, constantly practicing, having meetings, etc. that we aren’t used to quite this much down time in between games and practices. This is one of the most spread out tournaments we’ve played in. Don’t worry though, we are very creative and have found lots of fun games to play. We have completed two 1,000 piece puzzles, played a fair bit of cards, and definitely have had our books out and movies on throughout our week here. But the game that has become everyone’s favorite (ok it’s my favorite at least) is Pictionary!! We have played every night since we’ve gotten here, and the men’s team joins in the fun as well. It gets pretty crazy, but it’s really entertaining to see what people come up with.

Although we are having a great time off the pitch, we know when it is time to focus and that this is a very important tournament. As most of you probably already know, we played Mexico yesterday and won 5-0. It was a good start for us, with a very loud and rowdy Mexican crowd supporting the home team. We did a lot of things well and it was a good first game to build towards our ultimate goal: winning the PanAms. We have to continue to take it one game at a time and keep progressing forward. There is still a lot of tournament left to play!

Keep following our journey and supporting us along the way! We appreciate all the cheers we got from back home, keep ‘em coming!!


As always, GO USA!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Week Until PAN AMS

I know it has been a while since I last blogged. The last month we have been training hard in our final preparation phase before the Pan Am Games, which happens to be our Olympic Qualifier. It has been a stressful and exciting time, with a series against New Zealand, the naming of the team and everything coming together from all the hard work we have put in this past year.

Just a week after we all returned back to San Diego, the New Zealand hockey team, also known as the Black Sticks, came to town. I was very excited about this because two of my fellow teammates in the Netherlands at HGC were amongst the Kiwi squad (Emily Naylor and Krystal Forgesson). I also knew a few of the other Kiwis from my time in the Netherlands since quite a few of them were playing on different teams. Anyways, the series did not turn out exactly how we had envisioned. New Zealand is a very good side and came to challenge us in top form. Most impressive was their speed. The Kiwis are by far the fastest team we have ever played, and by that I mean their entire team had some "wheels"! haha... We learned a lot from this series, which definitely helped point out the areas we needed to tweak before heading into the Pan Am Games.

After another week of training under our belts, we headed to the training center in Colorado Springs for some altitude training. Guadalajara is at approximately 5200ft and the OTC in Colorado Springs is around 6200ft, so it was a good opportunity for us to get acclimated to the Pam Am Games conditions. We were all excited to experience the life at a different training center, but I must say the food was definitely a highlight of the trip. Shout out to the cooks! The field was sport turf instead of water based, so that on the other hand took some getting used to. We definitely had to be alert and ready for any kind of bounce! We also got to spend a weekend in Breckenridge. Another big highlight of the trip!! Lots of team bonding time with no cell phones or computer! We even had a little "Top Chef" cook off... little did we know, we have some amazing cooks on our team!! My favorite part of this trip was the smores by the bonfire! Nothing better than a little fire and a delicious snack. Overall, the trip was a success! We got to get away from San Diego for a bit, do some hard training, get acclimated to altitude, and really bond as a team.

We missed our training center though. We missed the routine of our normal schedule, our homes, and the warm weather of San Diego. As much as we enjoyed Colorado and all that it had to offer, everyone was ecstatic to be coming home!

With less than a week until we depart of Mexico, the team will have a few more hard training sessions to put the final touches on our preparations. I know I am so ready to get down there and show everyone just what the RED WHITE AND BLUE can do!! We are in a really good position and have a great opportunity to take home the GOLD!! I hope you follow us in our journey to the 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES in LONDON.

GO USA!!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Family

As the team returned to the US early this week from Europe, I also returned home from the beach. Although I had a great time with my family, it definitely was not the easiest task to follow my team while they were away. No, not because we didn't have internet or because I was too busy (although I was pretty busy!), but because I'm not used to being at home while the team if off playing.

With that being said, I am not bitter or upset about not going on tour. It was in my best interest to be at home, staying fit and resting in preparation for the our upcoming schedule, including the Pan Am Games. I just wasn't used to it, so it was a weird feeling for me supporting my team from afar. BUT, I cannot wait to get back out to California next week and hear all about their travels as well as how the games were in more depth. I know some it was a good opportunity for some other players to get some experience internationally and it will only strengthen our team and training's to come.

With as much as we train and travel throughout the year, we often don't get to see our friends and family back at home very often. I definitely took full advantage of that opportunity this past week! My aunt drove up from Florida, my cousin, his wife, and their daughter (Makaela, shes 7), as well as my parents and my brother all made the trip to Arapahoe, North Carolina to spend the week at the "beach". (The house is actually on a creek off of the Neuse River, so it's not really the beach- but it's on the coast of NC so I still call it the beach!)

Anyways, it was a fun-filled week of jet-skiing, boat riding, tubing, water skiing, wakeboarding, rowing, kayaking, hot tubbing, pick up soccer, darts, swimming, and crabbing. Not to mention all the amazing food my dad cooked up! We had shish kabobs, pork ribs, rotisserie chicken, chicken wings, and of course crab! Thanks dad for all the delicious food! Good thing I worked it all off on my early morning runs and all-day water sports!

Although I don't get to go to the creek house very often, I love it there. Most days consist of a little sleep in (which I didn't get this trip because I had to wake up early to do my workouts, but that's ok), a morning on the water (kayaking, jetskiing, or boating), a break for lunch, an afternoon nap, some more water time (always boating!), then dinner and a movie. If that doesn't sound like a great day to you, then I think you're crazy! :)

I would say the absolute best part of the trip, besides spending so much time with my family, occurred on the last morning. Everyone was a little slow getting ready to go Sunday morning because all the activities of the week had finally caught up. But it was my last day there for the summer and probably the rest of the year, so I wanted to make the most of it. I jumped on the jetski (my favorite toy there by far!) and took it out for a ride. The water was so calm and there were no boats in sight (well, besides my mom out on the row boat!). I soon found out that my mom had been following a dolphin around, so I went to check it out. I came in close and I almost ran over it! Don't worry, he was fine and just kept on swimming. At this point, I had to go get my little cousin Makaela because she loves dolphins and had been wanting to see them all week. She hoped on the jetski and we set off to find them! At first, I didn't think we would see them since they could have gone any direction, but she spotted them out of no where and there was a pod of around 10 dolphins all swimming together. We followed them along the river for about a mile, just watching them come up out of the water and swim along. It was a pretty amazing sight. One dolphin even took a liking to us. He kept swimming towards us, swimming under us, and circling us. Now I know dolphins are friendly and I think he just wanted to play, but after Shark Week just airing, there being a whole pod, and I almost ran over one minutes earlier, I wasn't too sure what his intentions were! So we just kept moving a little away, but so where we could still watch them swim. Every time though, the one dolphin seemed to keep finding us! It was the funniest thing. I really think he just wanted to play! Silly little dolphin! Although I have seen the dolphins before at the creek and I have swam with them in captivity, this was a completely different experience. They are amazing creatures and I have a new interest in them! Let's have a DOLPHIN WEEK instead (or maybe as well as) Shark Week! Come on Discovery Channel!


Well, this is my last week at home for a while and I am definitely going to enjoy it! Especially since training is going to really pick up when we get back- Pan Ams are right around the corner! :) Check back in a few days for another update on what I am up to!







Team Behind the Team




This video is so true. I just wanted to give a quick thanks to all those that have supported me and team USA on our journey. Without the support you have given us and will continue to give us, we would not be where we are today. So thank you for all you sacrifice, and understanding how much we sacrifice in return!


GO USA!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Self-Discipline

I was recently asked the definition of self-discipline. My explanation went something like this: Self-discipline is being accountable for yourself before anything else. You must take care of your own responsibilities and tasks before you can be concerned with others. In regards to sport, it means you do your workouts on your own, work on skills that you are weak at, and ask questions when you don't understand (just to name a few).

According to the dictionary, self-discipline is: the act of disciplining or power to discipline one's own feelings, desires, etc., esp with the intention of improving oneself.

It is no secret that all successful elite athletes have very high self-discipline. They would not have gotten as far without this ability.

Self-discipline comes into play in all factors of your life, but can be more prevalent in certain areas than others. Although you have to be self-disciplined in training, for those that play team sports, this may be an easier task when you have a coach and teammates helping to direct what you do and push you day in and day out. It becomes much more difficult for individual athletes and when workouts must be completed on the athletes own.

Our coach made a very interesting statement the other day. He said, "How successful would you be if you were an athlete in an individual sport?" His point was that when every part of training, success and defeat all depended on ourselves, and when our own performances day in and day out are highlighted, would we make it at the top level?

My answer to that question was an unwavering yes. But I saw his point and right now, I especially see how important his point was. Since I have been back and forth between the US Team and my club in Holland, I have not had much of a break the whole year. Therefore, I am taking some time away from hockey to relax, while still staying fit. This basically entails working out/running every day, but getting away from my hockey stick and the field. A sort of a refresher.

So for the next couple weeks I will be at home in North Carolina with family and friends. My self-discipline will be tested with the temptation of going to the pool and the beach and missing my workouts. BUT with the Olympics around the corner, I know this is the MOST important time for my self-discipline to be rock solid. Maintaining and improving my fitness level now is the most important thing I can be doing. So bearing the scorching temperatures of the East Coast heat wave, I will be out running around nonetheless!

Keep following my blog for all the adventures I get into while I am back home! Including a little family reunion that is sure to bring out some funny stories!


and of course... GO USA!!!! even though I can't be in Germany and Belgium with the team... I'm cheering them on and following them every step of the way!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The one and only Michelle Vitesse

One of the funniest things I have ever seen on the hockey pitch... she is going to make history... Watch and enjoy!

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or watch it (and share it) on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nvhDN3_VJE



GO STATES!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DUBLIN

Greetings from Dublin, Ireland!!! We made it here safe and sound yesterday morning after a fairly uneventful day of traveling. Everyone and all of theirs bags arrived on time bright and early at 8:30am Irish time. Running on few to no hours of sleep, we checked into our dorm rooms on the campus of University College Dublin.

Of course one of the first things we want to do is sleep and eat! Sleeping mid-day when you are trying to adjust to a new time zone is always a bad idea, so we went to eat! We are eating in the dorm cafeteria, but the food is pretty similar to what we would find at home in the States which is always good! After lunch, we had a little down time to settle in before practice. Power naps of less than an hour were all that were allowed. I got a good 45 minute one in! Practice was our usual travel day practice: get a good run around and stretch, get used to the turf, and always have a little fun. Day 1 concluded after dinner, as we all pretty much showered and were in bed around 8!

Day 2 began with an early morning practice. We did some short and sharp drills to get our touch going on the new surface and ended with a few corners. Nothing too straining as we had another practice planned for the afternoon, which was a bit more intense with quite a bit of game situation play and scrimmaging. The highlight of the day was without a doubt getting bicycles! That's right, bikes! The field is about a mile away from our dorm, so our coaches decided that is way too much walking that will take away unnecessary energy from us which we need as this important tournament moves forward. Their solution was to rent the whole team bicycles for the week! Personally, I love riding bikes (maybe it's all that time spent in Holland...), but a few girls are not as comfortable on them and were a little unsure of the new adventures and obstacles riding a bike might bring. Oh yeah, and they drive on the left side of the rode, so we have to remember to ride on the left as well! So far so good, no mishaps or casualties... yet! haha...





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