Friday, January 27, 2012

6 months and counting....

Today marks 6 months out from the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games. To some it may still seem a long ways away, but for us, time is winding down! Six months of training is not a whole lot left for all that we still want to accomplish. We are a determined bunch and there is no doubt in my mind that we will be ready 6 months from today.

Training has returned to our normal schedule and routine this week as we wound down from the intensity of matches against Australia. Most of us laid low over the weekend as it was much needed recovery time. My roommate, Maren, and I, along with her husband Ryan, enjoyed our all-day sports watching extravaganza on Sunday with back to back NFL playoff games, as well as US Women's Soccer Olympic Qualifying. We barely left the couch all day. It was perfect.

We got back to work this week though. With some tough runs, heavy lifts, and intense practices. Everyone has been staying pretty healthy. We've had a few niggles, bumps, and bruises, but all in all just the product of a hard week of work.

I think the most exciting news lately is some of the pre-Olympic press we've been getting. (read: Trust me by no means is it A LOT, BUT it is more than we've gotten in the past and it will be exciting when it airs/appears closer to the games.) For those of you watching the Superbowl next weekend (I know this is pretty much everyone!) keep an eye out for a spotlight feature on one of our very own!!

That's all for now. Just a little update. GO STATES!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I stumbled upon this quote yesterday and I wanted to share it because I think it really says a lot about what I believe and how this Olympic year should be approached.

We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good. 
-Vince Lombardi

To me, this quote just speaks for itself. If you constantly try to be perfect, despite the errors along the way, excellence is bound to prevail. It is not the idea that you are never good enough, but that there is always something to improve and work towards. For me, it is an insatiable appetite for knowledge and improvement. To be the best I can possibly be means that I must keep working every single day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Welcome to the Olympic Year!

The year 2012 has finally arrived! It is the Olympic year, which means everyone is intensifying their training. I know first hand how elevated training gets, as I went though the build-up to the Beijing Olympics. Despite that experience, I still don't think you are ever quite ready for what hits you at the start of the year. Needless to say, this first week back has really challenged our team, whether you've been here before or not!

We arrived back in sunny San Diego on January 3rd, after a wonderful holiday season at home with family and friends. But January 4th, we hit the ground running! Day one was a blistering 85 degrees and although we cruised through practice in the morning, the afternoon 1000m intervals hit us like a brick wall! With the effects of travel (dehydration), heat, and a tough run, the combined outcome was a few trips to the bathroom mid-run as well as some beat faces.

We survived and picked back up with a double session the next day. Even got in a shortened full-field scrimmage in the afternoon. The true test was yet to come, though. Friday (Jan. 5th), we had our dreaded timed two-mile test. Everyone pushed through this grueling challenge, only to be meet with corner practice, followed by sprints.

By the time the weekend rolled around, we were beat. Week one (well, 3 full days) were complete! I'm not sure what everyone chose to do with their off time, but Maren and I spent some good time relaxing on the couch and watching movies! I don't doubt that many of the others did the same.

With week one behind us, I was excited to get week two started. Although we had a tough lifting session Monday and a double practice on Tuesday, the rest of the week we tapered down a bit in preparation for our games against Australia!!

That's right! The best part about going through all that pain and work is to be prepared and ready for the games! Australia is a good team who is ranked a few above us at number 7. We are likely to see them in our grouping in the Olympics, so it will be a good test for us. Plus, Lee (our coach) is Australian, so of course we have to beat his home country!! :)

The games are Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 1pm!!! Follow us on twitter and on OR if you are in the San Diego area, COME OUT and CHEER us on!!!


Monday, January 2, 2012

2011: In Review


2012 is the year I have been working towards for a long time now. It is finally upon us and there is so much to look forward to!!! But first, I want to look back at all that 2011 had to offer because it was an amazing year in which I learned so much and experienced things I will never forget.

At the beginning of 2011, I returned to California for the first time since the previous summer and after spending my entire fall in Holland. I was very happy to be back playing with the National Team, with a successful 4 game series against Canada in January and two 4-nation tournaments in Argentina. The second 4-nation in Rosario, Arg. was a turning point for our team. We not only found a way to win games, we completely changed our attitude towards playing Argentina. Although it did not result in a win at the time, it gave us the confidence that we could beat them and the experience to know how we had to approach the game.

I flew directly from Argentina to Holland (well I did get to stop at home for one whole day!). For the next 2 months, I competed with HGC and took in as many sights as I could in the last weeks I had in such a wonderful country. My dad and brother even got a chance to come over and visit me for a few days! It was definitely an experience I will never forget, on and off the field. I want to thank all my teammates, coaches, and friends for all the fun, laughs, and learning experiences.

I had to miss the last few games of the season with HGC in order to return to the US Team for games against Japan towards the end of April. Once again I was happy to be back playing with my US teammates again. As much as I enjoyed Holland, there really is nothing like playing for your country.

Without much of a break, I headed back to Chapel Hill in May for High Performance Training with the South team. A week later, we were off to American University in our nations capitol to compete in National Championships. We went undefeated in competition, putting ourselves in the finals, and losing in a heartbreaker to New Jersey. We're going to be back on the rise in 2012 though, so watch out for us!!

Fortunately, I was re-named to the National Team and was also selected for the Champions Challenge in Dublin, Ireland. With only a week or so to train, we were in Ireland in no time. What a whirlwind of a tournament that was. Finishing 4th in pool play, then making the finals, and losing our lead to Japan in the waning minutes. Crushing really. But all part of our development and something we wouldn't soon forget.

After a little sight-seeing in Dublin, I made it home in time for some 4th of July celebrations (GO AMERICA!) and coached camp at my alma mater, Wake Forest. It's always nice being home to celebrate holidays with my family, as well as visiting my old stomping grounds and seeing my coaches and teammates again! GO DEACS! :)

With only 3 months left until the Pan Am Games, we returned to Chula Vista and hit the ground running. As you can see by my above schedule, I did not have a lot of down time the whole year. With my best interest in mind, this led my coaches to rest me during the August trip to Germany and Belgium. Although I was disappointed not to join my teammates (I never like missing trips), I agreed that going home to take a little more time off would be in my best interest in order to peak for the Pan Am Games. It was one of the most refreshing breaks I've ever had!

September arrived in no time, and so did the Kiwis! I was super excited for New Zealand to come play us in Chula Vista because a few of my teammates at HGC play for them, along with a few other Kiwis that played in Holland while I was there. NZ was a very skilled team and extremely speedy! I have a lot of respect for how hard they work. It was a good tune up for our last matches before Pan Ams.

After a few more weeks of training, we headed to Colorado Springs to do a little altitude training. This had its own challenges and obstacles, but we made the best of what we had and had a lot of fun! Spending a weekend in Breckenridge was definitely a highlight!

Days later, we were in Houston, TX for team processing and then on to Guadalajara, Mexico for the Pan Am Games. This was what we had been training for all year long. This was our time. We went through the tournament taking care of business and doing what we knew we had to in order to put ourselves into the finals. We did just that. The feeling of the final game was just amazing. We were so confident going in. We knew what needed to be done and I am so proud of my team for doing just that. As I said before, it was a team effort, by everyone on the field, as well as everyone at home. We qualified for the Olympics as Team USA.

The rest of the year seemed to fly by after this point. It was such a high for the year. I did make it home for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Our team also went to the NCAA Final Four to see the best of the best in our college system.

Traditionally, our team has December off from training, but with world ranked #4 Great Britain wanting to come play us in Chula Vista, we jumped back in to training in December. It was just the beginning to our Olympic training and it didn't take long to realize everything is going to be harder from here on out. We have to be able to play how we did in the final against Argentina for 8 games. There is still a lot of work and development to still be done. But we have the tools: coaches, players, capability. Which is exciting.

Two of my best friends from Chapel Hill came to visit me in California during our games against GB. It was so nice to be able to show them where I live, what I do everyday, and have some support on the sidelines!

I finally returned home for Christmas and New Years at home with my family and friends to end what has been a very long and exciting, but exhausting year. When I reflect on everything, the most important thing I realize is how very lucky I am. I am so very thankful for my family and friends who have supported me and allowed me to pursue my dreams. I'm healthy and doing what I love every day. 2012 is going to be the toughest yet, but it will all be worth it. I can't wait for all this year has in store. Please continue to follow and support me and my teammates as we strive to stand on top of the podium this summer in London!! GO USA!!