Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Beijing World Champions 2015 Part-1

I wanted to write a blog post soon after I finished competing but I decided to wait until the entire Championship was over… 

I will start with how I feel about my overall experience. 

This Championship was by far the greatest when it comes to staff. When I tell you we had any and everything we may have or could have needed, we had it or they would find out how to get it. This is the main thing about our team: we are well taken care of. We have one of the best medical teams. You can get hurt and they will have a plan to patch you together and get you ready to compete. The staff makes sure we have the nutrition we need to maintain what our bodies need. We have PBJ on deck, fruit, Pringles, and all kind of snacks. This year we had a slushy machine that the hotel let us use and we made Gatorade slushies! (Shout out to Gatorade for all of the Gatorade products.) I know it saved me a few times. It was hot over there. We had a team joke that we weren’t going to drink the yellow Gatorades because Usain Bolt’s picture was on it. If you were going to drink the yellow Gatorade you had to take the wrapper off. LOL. It was a joke…no shade to Usain. 

Come on, what team gets that? Team USA. These things aren’t just frivolous, menial things, we have these things to help fill in gaps to keep us at our best. Being in an unfamiliar country where the food is different, we start dropping weight and people aren’t eating like they should. Losing weight can affect performances. This championship I lost over 15 pounds in 17 days. Now don’t get me wrong, I can stand to lose some weight. So, who was happy was me! But for a sprinter and distance runner 3-5 pounds are significant and could drastically affect their performance. By being the world’s number 1 team, we use our resources to keep on top of our game. 

I will have to say, comparing 2008 Beijing to 2015 Beijing there is a clear difference between what had then to what we have now. Is it perfect? No. Is it better than what most teams have? Yes. 

I know we have the best staff ever. 

Quick story. 

During Team sign up, we go through a series of stations. One is the medical station and we have our team doctors and head team trainer go over your medical history with you. It helps them to prepare what to bring for worst-case scenario and stay ahead on preventative measures. It’s no secrete that I am allergic to a lot of things and it seems to get worst the older I get. I have asthma and terrible allergies. So on any given day all of this can go bad. I was in Japan during training camp and right before we leave to go to China, I get sick. Not a cold type sick but more of “my-allergies-and-asthma-was-acting-up-I-couldn’t-breathe-my-head-hurt-so-bad” sick. I think back to see what could have caused the issue but with traveling so much, who knows? Then I realized it’s my pillows! I am highly allergic to feathers. I can’t sleep on down feather pillows because it makes me sick, and that’s what it was. The hotel had other pillows for me to use. So it was ok. But now I have to get on a plane and fly to China. I know my allergies weren’t cleared up just yet and, of course, the plane made it worse. I get to the hotel and they have down comforter and pillows and the room smells like smoke. I call housekeeping and the language barrier is making it really hard to communicate what it is that I need. After about 30 minutes of going back and forth, they bring two pillows that are like bean bag pillows. They were so hard. I go down to the team room and explain what’s going on. And the next day I have new pillows and an air purifier. It made the world of difference. 

Needless to say I love Team USA…. 

I want to give a special shout out to the medical staff. By the time we got to World Champs we were beaten and bruised. Some how they put you back together and refresh you. I know for a fact and experienced what happens when they pull together to help you do your best. They are there at the most important moment in our careers. Everyone is on edge, nervous, stressed out, and our appreciation isn’t always shown. Please know that we appreciate it. I love you guys. Thank you for volunteering your time and your talents. Thank you for all of the smile, hugs, different flavored kit kats, jokes, and words of encouragements. 

The USATF STAFF…. You guys have become more than staff for me. You guys have become family. Many of you I have been with for years. Sandy Snow was with me on my very first international team in 2001. For her to be there when I won my first World Championship medal I knew how happy she was for me. To see the smile on her face meant a lot to me. I would name everyone one by one but this would turn into one long blog post. Know that every little thing you do for me, I am so grateful. 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! 

I realize I am going to have to write a series about World Champs. I have a lot to say but… 

Until Next Time,