Well itâ€™s back to training. I did a blow-out of winter fun time at the end of November with two days of cross country skiing and a very long day of downhill at Breckenridge. All that skiing ensured that my first full day of swimming biking and running felt like overtraining, and I had no trouble getting into the habit of napping. This time of year is when I realize just how abnormal my â€œnormalâ€ routine is. First of all, I live at the Olympic Training Center. How cool is that? Itâ€™s like a dorm, only instead of being surrounded by teenagers I have the nations best athletes living next to me, and instead of mystery meat loaf the Cafeteria will serve us an abundance of quality food and has staff willing to make a run to Whole Foods to fulfill special request (god forbid I have to drive there myself if Iâ€™m craving a gluten-free ginger cookie or a bottle of Nancyâ€™s Kefir, right?). I live across a small courtyard from one of the nicest 50 meter pools Iâ€™ve ever swam in, and in the basement of my dorm is a Computrainer cycling studio. Somehow with all this we still find reason to complain that the closest dirt running trail is two whole miles away, and sometimes Colorado College doesnâ€™t let us run on the inside lanes of their track. Plus, Sports Med is closed on Sunday, so if we crash our bikes on the weekend we may have to call the 24-hour on-call med staff to help us get cleaned up. Yeah, thereâ€™s nothing like the off-season to remind me just how well Iâ€™m treated here in Colorado Springs.
My roommate is a shotgun shooter named Collin Wietfeldt who goes hunting in the off-season and treats me to his antelope summer sausage for study breaks. Thanks to Congressman Bart Stupak of Michigan, Collin, I, and the rest of the students on campus have our tuition paid for by an Olympic Scholarship program. That scholarship encourages people to continue their education while they train for the Olympics and means thereâ€™s never a shortage of people to study with around campus. Hopefully the scholarship remains after Stupak retires this year.
What else is odd about the training center? Is it normal to be offered 90 minutes of massage each week or to have your massage therapist knit you a hat to thank you for coming to her? Is it normal to have an entire organization of people who know you by first name and are being employed with the purpose helping you achieve your goals? Is it normal to have all-stars like Michael Phelps or Lopez Lamong walk into your kitchen? Well, as amazing and unique as it it, itâ€™s normal for us and it leaves us with no excuses for being anything less than our best.