Monday, September 17, 2007

Zurich & Brussels (2007)

After leaving Japan I was suppose to head home to Cincinnati, but instead went off to run in some more meetings. I hopped on a plane from Osaka and headed to Switzerland where I would compete in the famous Zurich meeting. I have come to notice in Europe they don't call these events track meets, instead they are meetings. Once I arrived in Switzerland, there was an extreme difference in temperature from Japan. I had left 100 degree weather and now I would be in 55 degree weather. I wasn't prepared for this shocker, but it was nice to have at least one pair of long pants and a jacket with me.
My body was extremely tired from what it went through in Japan, and I ended up two days before the meet with extreme back pain/tightness. I tried to get some treatment and prepare for the meet. The crowd at Zurich was wonderful, even with the weather being quite chilly, nothing would have stopped them from coming. Seriously people had on leather coats, scarves, gloves and winter coats. I was told that this is how the weather is n Europe in September. The end result of the race was me placing sixth with a time of 51.54. I was disappointed but also realized I wasn't feeling at a 100 percent. I decided not to run at the next meet in Italy and rest my body for the next meet in Brussels.

I had never been to Belgium before and sort of had mixed notions about it. What the area would be like, the people and even the food. I wanted to make sure that I tried a Belgium Waffle. Hey did you know that french fries come from Belgium....hahah not France. From what I was able to see Belgium was a great city. The people were so excited to see all the athletes there and the meeting was sold out. It is always amazing to me to see how many people support track and field in Europe. It's kind of like attending a Bengals game. I step out into the stadium and look into the crowd in amazement. So many many faces.
Wow!!!! I wanted to do better at this meet, since the last performance was not what I expected. I came into the meet more focused and I was going to give my all. I got 4th at this meet which was a Golden League meet, almost got third. I was unable to hold on the last 30 meter of the race, my body started to fatigue but my time as back down, 50.76. These experiences are quite nice. I get a chance to see different cultures, other athletes from around the world and of course race against the best. I have 1 race left and then it is home sweet home...wish me luck!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

2007 4X400 Relay- Osaka, Japan

Hello everyone,

It is officially the last day of competition here at the IAAF World Championships. I must say that my experience here was very rewarding. I was able to come and represent my country and at the same time become more acquainted with many team members. The ladies that I ran with both on the prelim and final, are great individuals. It was truly an honor and pleasure to become teammates and friends. I am walking away from this experience with a new sense of being. I am walking away also with a Gold Medal. I would like to acknowledge the hard work that each person did and say thank you....because without you all...there would have been no team or medal. Thanks Natasha Hastings, Monique Hennegan, DeeDee Trotter, Allyson Felix, and Sanya ladies are the best!!!!!

Whenever you think of the relays you get a rush feeling of adrenaline, the relays often make or break a meet. What also helped out was that the USA Team took Gold in all the relays, both men and women. That night before we ladies lined up to go into the call room we prayed as a team. What got us here, would definitely keep us here, reminded out Relay's Coach. I personally knew that even though I was nervous, I would use it as positive energy in the race. I wanted to get out there and give my best and help my team to a victory....

With the help of my other five teammates we were able to accomplish our mission. When our last leg crossed the line, we all ran out onto the track screaming!!! USA, USA, USA is all that I could hear from the crowd, the cameras began to flash and at the moment we were on top of the world!!!! The men would be up next on the track and accomplish a victory. During the awards ceremony it was just wonderful standing on the podium as my national anthem was played. What honour.... I held myself back from shedding tears of joy, but all I could imagine this is just like the Olympics. I pray that my success continues, so that I may be on the TEAM Beijing 2008.

It was sad to leave Japan, I felt as if I just started to get comfortable in a new country. I admired the many fans that came out to support the track meet. The volunteers were all very friendly and enjoyed supporting us. My Japanese wasn't the greatest but I was able to say Arigatou gozaimasu (Thank you)


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

400 Final-Osaka, Japan

Well....... I am not very happy with the end result of today's race. You know I really don't know what went wrong. I came into the race warmed up, feeling great and wanted to run fast. My legs felt in great shape and during warm-up my turnover was quick and on point. The only solution that I can come up with just wasn't my day! One amazing thing is that at the last World Championships my time would have placed fourth, this was a fast race!!!!!

I came into the race very excited, even after finding out that I was in lane 2. I reminded myself that every lane is 400 meters. Being in lane 2 might have been a small downfall for me. You are able to see the entire feild and can sometimes change your race strategy. One thing that I can take from this whole experience is that I am still a great 400 meter runner. I am one of the greatest in the world. No one exected me to even make finals, I am happy to have proved many wrong. This was my first outdoor World Championships.....I have had a long exciting year. When asked by my husband who trains with me, "Did you see yourslf being here from the start of the indoor season?" I truly can say that in January, February or even March I was not thinking about making it to the finals in the 400 meters at Worlds. For me the big accomplishment was to make the final at Nationals. Whoa did I exceed that.....I am truly thankful for all the blessings and opportunities that I have recieved this year.

I now have to revert my focus to the 4X400 relay where we have a strong chance of getting a gold medal. I will definitly have more fire to drive for the win. World's is an amazing place to be, it simulates what the Olympics will bring. The best of the best, and a place where athletes show what they have worked all year for. Once again thanks for all your support.....having you makes a difference!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2007 World Championships Pre 400 Final

Hello everyone,

I just got done talking with someone from the Enquirer regarding the World Championships. I decided to post this because it gives some insight on what is going on. Hope to give good news in a couple of days, until then see you!!!!

1.What has the pressure been like so far in Osaka in terms of intensity of the races and the margin between moving on and missing the cut?

It's the World Championships.... the pressure is definitly there. You are not only competing with the best , but the best in the World. I have been going into the rounds with a sense of just sticking with my same game plan. I have been constantly reminded "what got you here, will keep you here...don't go changing anything" It was very important to advance, they took the top 4 in each heat. I placed second in my heat wih a 51.25 The second day consisted of me running close to my personal best to make the final, in which they took the top 2 of each heat and the next two fastest times. There were girls who ran personal best for the season and missed out on making the final. That shows you just how intense this second round was. I am just happy to surive the pressure of the rounds. I look forward to the final and hope to bring home a medal. I am currently in six place going into the meet. I see it as ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!!

2.Now that you've made the finals, how does it affect the way you view yourself in relation everyone else on the world class level?

It helps tremendously....I am one of the best 400 meter runners in the world! I have come a long way to be able to title myself as such. As a former Conference USA runner up in the 400 meters, never qualifying for NCAA's and this being my first World Outdoor TEAM and final....I'm not doing too bad. I am greatful for this opportunity, it allows me to be more confident with myself! There is always room for improvement, but I must say that my improvements have been steadily rising. I am top 8 in the world.....that means a lot.

3.How do you gauge your prospects for Wednesday's race (Do you analyze the times from the other semifinal? Does that even matter? Does it matter to you that you're the fastest American so far in the 400 in Osaka?)

As I go into Wednesday's race...I am truly thinking about myself. How does Mary want to attack the race, come through the race and finish the race. I try not to get caught up in what other people are doing or their game plan. When you start doing that.....problems begin. I just remind myself that there are eight ladies in the race. There are only three medals, so I mentally am prepared to give my all and see what it gets me.

4.How's the heat/humidity been?

Japan has had great weather, besides being very hot and humid. I had the opportunity to race both in the morning and evening hours. Neither is better....the morning sun just beats down on your face and causes your clothes to be drenched. The evening was about the same no sun but even more humid. We were constantly reminded by our medical staff to stay hydrated. I have been doing a good job of this.

5.When you go to the starting blocks Wednesday night, what will you be thinking about?

Tough many thoughts would have ran through my head prior, but I think once I am in the blocks....the thought will be (Let's do this....go after it and do your best) There are three medals......let's go get one of them and try to get another personal best time. I also ask the Lord to be with me.

6.Goals in terms of time and place? Have you set any either generally or specifically?

I always go into the race not giving myself a time to achieve....I let God do his will. If it is his plan to let me PR, then let it be. I do have a goal of getting top three. I would love to win the race!!!!

7.And finally, how does this race -- the open 400 -- measure up in terms of personal importance to you compared to the 4x400?

This race was definitely a precursor to how the 4x4 relay would be decided. I have proven myself by making the final in the 400. I see myself running the prelim round and defintely the finals. The relay is a fun event in which I know we can get the gold. I am excited to be able to run with my fellow Americans....Richards, Hasting, Trotter and Felix. We will make a great team! I know we will do well.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

2007 Pre World Championships (Osaka, Japan)

I am in Japan and have been here for a week now at the pre-camp training site. Japan has been an awesome city in catering to our needs and being very supportive as we are preparing for the World Championships. I have gotten the chance to meet some high school athletes and other individuals who love track and field, especially the USA Team. The weather is very hot here and we have trained both in the morning ad evening hours. My favorite food while in Japan has been sticky can enjoy it both for breakfast and dinner.

I have gotten the chance to have my husband here with me. He is my training partner and coach. We have been able to get some really good workouts in prior to moving to the athlete village. This whole experience is wonderful, you get a chance to meet with oher athletes and prepare for representing your country! I am very thankful to have made this trip. I am not just thankful to be here, but excited about medaling for my country both in the 400 and 4x400 relay. Please continue to keep me in your prayers and I know that I have many supporters back in the states.

I am counting down the days until my first competition. Here in Japan we are 14 hours ahead of Cincinnati time. So as I am writing this it is 9:04am on Wednesday, but in Cincinnati it is 8:04 pm. My first day of competition will be on Sunday morning here in Japan. Until then may the Lord continue to be with me.....and I hope to write more soon!!!!!!

2007 London Meet & Stockholm Meet

I hope everyone is well and is enjoying the heat that the summer is providing.
Travels have been keeping me very busy, but I have to fill you in on how these two last races went. Running at these last meets gave me an opportunity to see what shape I might be in prior to the World Championships. Throughout the summer European schedule I struggled to break 51 in several races. I did not let this factor bring me down instead I stayed mentally strong!! I have realized that if you aren't mentally and physically prepared.......then you aren't ready to be in Europe.

I am definitely stronger mentally and physically. I have seen what it takes to race with the best and I am ready. If you weren't able to see either meets they are shown on You can start a subscription to view all meets and be able to enjoy from your home or work. As I race more, I am learning more and more about the 400. The London race showed that I ran the race too aggressive and was unable to relax throughout the race. Thus making the last 100 meters difficult. Starting from lane 2 I decided to push it and make up staggers......well I was in position coming off at the 300 meters but just didn't have the last 60 meters of the race. I experienced taking out the first 200 meters much faster than I usually do. The complete race will come in good time. Sweden was fascinating..... the atmosphere at the meet was very inviting and they even played Michael Jackson as we were introduced. I finally was back to my old self in this race. Lane 8 you are totally not able to see anyone. I was able to concentrate on running my own race! I was pleased with my finish. Now to prepare for the biggest meet on my schedule----WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

I would also like to mention the two individuals that I met while in Sweden. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me, and I hope that you both enjoyed the meet. As one of the meet volunteers, you guys did a great job and hope to see you again next year! I appreciate you for taking the time to read my blog..stay tuned...

Monday, July 16, 2007

Paris & Rome (First European Meets) all that I can say pertaining to my first 2 European meets..... There were definitely some good things that happened and some bad! I was so excited to come over that I probably packed more things than I really needed. I soon found out that in Europe they charge heavily for bags over 20kilos.....I now know to pack light the next time. While traveling in between Paris and Germany there was a strike at the airport, causing my bags to not arrive. Yes it took several days for them to come to me, and once I recieved them several items were taken out of my bag. Bad luck I guess you can say. But I tried not to let that bring my spirits down.....I looked on the bright side, at least I did get some luggage. HAHA

Paris was a wonderful place, the people were nice and the food was managable. The meet was a huge event in which they walked the athletes through several tunnels to get to the actual stadium. Once you walked out into the stadium, the bright lights hit you! The crowd attendance was like a typical Bengals game. So many people, so many faces, and of course the children screaming for autographs. My race could have been better, but I ended up 5th with a 50.91. Not too bad for the first race, I felt kind of flat from traveling and hadn't adjusted to the time change. I felt that my usual kick at the end was not present. In the last stretch of the race I told my legs to turn it on....and they just couldn't do it like at Nationls.

Running in Rome, was also very special and unique. We warmed up on the old stadium, they had many statues surrounding the track. The actual stadium was a nice size, and all of Italy came out to see the event. Not too many spoke English but I knew what they wanted when they asked me to sign their shoes or request autographs. As I passed out my photo cards, the children went crazy....they all wanted one. It was a pleasure for me to talk with them and see if they enjoyed the event. The race was not my best, but I really gave my all, and noticed that I was still unable to run my race. I got 7th with a 51.20, not bad but not great. My goal for all the meets is to stay under 51. I was disappointed but reminded myself that I have more races to go. As I am gearing up for the World's, I have been told by many athletes that the first year over to Europe is always the hardest! I am definitely not dwelling on the times, I know they will come down. My ultimate goal is Medaling at wish me luck and stayed tuned.....again thanks for your support. I will return to Cincy on the 25th....and then head back out on the 3oth.....