I have just emerged from what can best be described as a “death nap”–the type of naps that are utterly necessary but which leave one feeling more like they’ve just been flattened by a bus than rested. It’s Saturday, which means I am enjoying some highly coveted time off. We haven’t had much since we’ve been at camp, as the schedule has been starting on “Smonday” (Sunday is the new Monday) with three full sessions, and “off” time is limited to Saturday afternoons or a full off day every other Saturday. The training has been good and consistent, and we’ve only been forced off the water just once so far–last Friday the wind blew up as the scullers were warming up for some race pieces on the water, Ellen and I midway through the warmup looped back up to the dock to find that the bearably choppy water we had launched in was now a seething whirlpool of death intent on catapulting us out of our little singles. We just made it to the dock without capsizing, but only thanks to the help of our sweep teammates who were completely safe and dry on land, waiting to catch us with grins and open arms.
I was really lucky to get to spend some time with my little sister last week when she and the rest of the Golden Gophers came out to San Diego for their winter training camp. Though they did their training in the Mission Bay area, Molly and some of the Minnesota staff ventured down to the OTC one afternoon to get my special walking tour and also grab some passenger seats in the coaching launch for practice. The next night, I rallied a group of the US women from the training center to meet up with the Minnesota girls for dinner in Old Town, and it was awesome! We hit up Cafe Coyote and enjoyed talking to all the girls about training, rowing, and other good stuff. They are a great group, and it was a really fun way for us to spend our Friday night.
As for the other company we are keeping on a daily basis, the men’s rowing group is considerably pared down to just a 4X and 4- camp at the moment making the boathouse very cozy and tolerable–and with the removal of the US Canoe/Kayak program from CVOTC (to OKC) we have a little more room to spread out and also less day-to-day traffic on the lake. With a six-laned buoyed course set to be placed sometime this winter in preparation for NSRI, I would say that things at Otay have upgraded a few points this year which is great news for us. We will have free reign over the boathouse over the next few days as the men have departed for a short camp in Northern California.
Up on the main campus, the training center has been full and busy while we’ve been here, with a consistently large group of athletes coming in and out for training. We’ve had junior soccer and volleyball, men’s rugby, paralympic cycling, a track and field coaches’ conference, women’s field hockey, and men and women’s beach volleyball roaming around the center, in addition to the many familiar faces of the resident track and field, archery and BMX populations. Unsurprisingly, the men’s rugby team has become quite popular with the women’s rowing team–if even just thanks to the work of their social ambassador, Rocco.
Now that we’re inside the 200-days-to-go mark for Opening Ceremonies, the excitement level is definitely starting to pick up. As hopefuls, we are receiving information from the USOC about Games registration, as well as having to undergo the Olympic Ambassador Program (a combination of Games-specific education and logistics, media training, and working with former USA Olympians–including Bob Kaehler and Dan O’Brien–to prepare for a Games experience). I am also working closely with USRowing and Boathouse Sports to begin outlining and designing the Olympic Gear kit for this year’s Team (note: I am just an athlete representative in this case, this in no way indicates my nomination to the Team). It is a very exciting time looking forward to the 2012 Games, but it is also bringing back a lot of memories from 2008 during the lead-up to selection for Beijing. I was in a very different place then, but that’s a different blog post.
QUESTION: I’d like to start working on some video while I’m here–what do people want to see? Leave suggestions in a comment and I’ll get to work on it.
Long Live the Dream,