This isn’t the first time I’ve been to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, but it always seems to surprise me how awesome it is here! And now that I’m taking up residency at the Training Center, there’s way more cool stuff that’s open to me.
I got here Saturday after a long three days in Seattle of packing, family time, and a trip to Chris Tremonte’s Thursday Night Dinner (which deserves a catchier name). My flight out of Seattle was mid-morning, but I had stayed up late the night before stressing out that I had forgotten something important that would be the difference between a successful season and failing as an athlete (obviously a realistic paranoia). So when I arrived in Denver, and then waited two hours for a shuttle to Colorado Springs (there’s a good story about how the Southwest Airlines helped me out several times that day, but I’ll save it for another time) I was already exhausted. I arrived at 4pm to the center, and – despite how much I wanted to curl up and sleep for a few hours – I only an hour to get in a quick run before heading off to the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame Dinner (2nd annual, another great story for another time).
Needless to say, by Sunday I was in need of a good recovery workout to flush out all the stress and tension of a week of hustling my way from Honolulu to Seattle to Colorado Springs. I needed a great big exhale (unfortunately, the thin air up here is not great for giant sighs of relief), and on Monday I finally got it in the form of the NormaTech MVP . They have four on campus for athlete’s to use, and when you’re legs ache from a hard workout (or from standing around) a few minutes of dynamic compression with Norma is to muscular soreness what cuddling up by the fireplace with a cup of coco is for a stressful work week (And I do appreciate a good cup of hot chocolate and indoor fires).
Once all the athlete services were open (not sure why they all close on the weekends) I was able to schedule the 90 minutes of massage that I am now qualified to receive as an official resident athlete (Robbie, the massage therapist I’m seeing is incredible, and deserves his own post – another time). Additionally, I started frequenting the Sports Medicine clinic (which was available to me on my previous trips as well) for some help with continued hip rehab from my injury last summer. I can’t begin to convey how much of an advantage it is to have qualified medical staff available 10 hours a day (during the week). I certainly miss Inewmed and Spencer Chiropractic, but being a few hundred meters away from the med-staff with plenty of drop-in times is priceless.
On Thursday I went to a weekly class on meditation. We worked on “mindful thinking” and how to maintain focus and be aware of your thoughts while you try to direct them away from the outside world and into the current moment. It was hard. Really really hard. At first we were guided, and I could focus on the Sport Psychologist’s words to keep my head inline, but after a short time I started thinking about the Olympics (there was a TV on outside the room playing hockey) and how well I had done in my workouts that day, and what was for dinner…
Speaking of dinner. How could I possibly go this long without mentioning the centerpiece of life at the Olympic Training Center? The athlete cafeteria literally sits right in the middle of campus, and offers a plethora of food options for every palate and dietary requirement possible (within athletics – there’s no deep fried Oreo cookies or cheese wizz). We have protein pounding wrestlers (majority of residents are wrestlers), carb-consuming triathletes, salad-selecting gymnasts… Or you can order a lean ground beef burger and baked fries (I prefer the sweat potato fries). Everything is delicious.
Some things I plan to take advantage of that I wasn’t able to get to this week are: individual Sports Psychology, Sports Nutritionists, tuition grants for continued education (I’m trying to decide what Master’s I should work toward, or if I should keep doing medical-related classes), the campus rec-room (with a Nintendo Wii and a big TV and couches and a pool table), and off-campus extracurricular events like Bowling and movie nights. All of this, of course, is provided for me by the US Olympic Committee – and their sponsors* – in hopes that the support will allow me to focus on my training so that I can reach my potential. So the first priority is to train hard, and put everything else second. I’m just so excited to be here!
*The USOC is the only national governing body in the world that receives no government funding. So when you see a brand that says, “proud sponsor of the US Olympic Team” – they’re the ones providing me this opportunity – it means a lot.