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!


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!

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.


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:

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!