Thursday, May 21, 2009

Italy Decathlon 2008 trip

May 15 Flew Home

A long day of flying that ended in Phoenix where I stayed for the weekend to coach Pac-10 for the U of A team.

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May 14 Verona

We woke up late and walked around Desenzano and had lunch before we meet with Gabriel at our hotel at 2pm. Gabriel was one of the teachers from the hospitality high school that I had visited. My mom had seen him at the track meet and offered to take us around Verona that he had taken his class many times. He was amazing tour guides that took us too many places in Verona and explained the history and significance of each one. We saw many of the churches, the castle, the coliseum, the tombs and the famous bridges. Venice was amazing but we had a very short trip so I must admit I had the most fun in Verona. There was an amazing market to buy gifts for everyone and the structures were amazing.

WOW! I never got to Southern Italy but the people in Northern Italy were so helpful and nice. If I knew the language I could easily see myself living there and enjoying the culture and amazing atmosphere. I will return next year to win the meet and show them what I really can do in track.

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May 13 Lago Del Garda (5 different cities)  
Happy 22nd Birthday Tom

Well before we went to bed last night we asked at the front desk about trains and what we should do for today. To go to Florence we would have had to get on a train at 6:55 and arrive there at 12:45pm and leave 8 hours later for the same train ride. We decided against the long trip and decided to rent a car and drive around Lake Garda and see what it had to offer. This was an amazing choice and something most tourist miss doing. We started in Desenzano and went to Salo, Tremosine, Riva del Garda, Malcesine, and Peschiera.

Salo was a city in a bay that was on the water and it was beautiful. The next stop was Tremosine which was toward the North end of the lake which is totally different then that of the South. You begin the Alps and there are huge mountains instead of flat ground. To get to Tremosine you had to go up and little road that at most place only fit one car but the site from the top of the Mountain was amazing. I could see so much from the city from the mountain ranges to the lake down below. The next stop was Riva at the very north of the Lake. Riva was surrounded by mountains and was a very popular area for wind surfing. Riva had many expensive stores and high end stuff. The next stop was Malcesine which had a famous castle on the banks of the lake. This area had a lot of beaches and people enjoying the lake. The last stop was Peschiera where we had dinner at a small restaurant tucked away in the back streets. The whole day was so much fun, I could go on forever telling you the beauty of the lake and everything I saw. I learned to drive on round abouts and had an amazing day with my mom.

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May 12 Venice (Day 6)

Well after having such a bad meet I am glad I am staying in Italy to take some R&R while checking out all the amazing things Italy has to offer. I had never been to Europe so this was going to be an experience. Our first stop was Venice with Jackie and my mom. We got a late start but we got to Venice by train around 2pm and the train left at 7:50pm. The train was very cool because we got our own cabin and just napped all the way there. As you leave the train station the Grand Canal is there with so many boats going around as they were cars. We decided to jump on the Water ferry and go all the way to the end and walk back hitting all of the sites. WOW, the buildings were amazing with so much history. Even the simplest a bridge was a work of art as you went down the canal. Streets had become water and no one missed a beat. Our first stop was the St. Marks Square which was huge and had so much history and beauty. We mad sure to get lost in all the side streets to see all of Venice. We visited an art exhibit and saw artwork from many different artists. Well I will be the first to say I need a week in Venice to even see enough to make me happy. We had dinner and returned home on the train. Watch out, Venice is expensive and for the most part all of Italy was a little pricy. Tomorrow we may try Florence but seeing a 4 hour train ride we may skip that.

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May 11 Italy (Day 5) Day 2 of Decathlon

I woke up feeling good except this nagging groin and hip stuff I have been having going on for a while. I did everything to get warm for hurdles and still had trouble so wrapped it up and put icy-hot on it. I was ready to go and ran a good race. I won the hurdles for the meet running 14.39. After hurdles and adrenaline were over, my hip and right leg tightened up and I couldn’t get it to loosen up the rest of the day and just told myself to finish and not hurt myself so I could do anything after this meet. I am fine and will take a few weeks to get healthy and be ready to still go score 8400 at the Olympic Trials and go to the Olympics in Beijing. This is the first bad meet I have had in two years so I am glad it came now and not later.

That night they had a huge dinner for all of the athletes and coaches to celebrate as they handed out all the awards for the meet. It was very fun hanging out having some vino with everyone. My mom was there as well having a grand old time.

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May 10 Italy (Day 4) Day 1 of Decathlon

Well I had about one of the most nerve racking days of my track career. I began the day as I always do with breakfast and getting to the track 2 hours prior. Listened to my music and warmed up. Warm up took longer then usually but I got my hip and groin ready to run a fast 100meters. I felt fast and besides the head wind I was ready to run fast. I ran a 11.08 and was tied for third after the 100meters which is really good for me in the 100meters. Well that was the last good thing of the meet. I warmed up awesome for the long jump but scratched my first because I was running fast so I moved back and had a huge jump on my second but scratched as well. I had never had two scratches before and I started to doubt myself and was so rattled I couldn't calm myself. I jumped 6.39 and lost over 100 points. After that I couldn’t get anything going putting up less then par marks. I finally decided enough and was going to run a great 400meters but as the 4th heat began a storm blew in and we had terrible winds with tents flying and wind swirling in all directions. I began with strong wind in my face and tried to fight this wind through 200 meters but by the time I got to 300meters the wind took it’s toll on me and I ran 49.85. I just had one of though days. To bed and hopefully I can turn things around tomorrow because I am not out of the meet.

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May 9 Italy (Day 3) Day before decathlon

Today I woke up around 7:30 and had a decant night sleep considering the bed is smaller then me. I then went and had breakfast with everyone and then we all headed to the track at 10am for are shake out before starting tomorrow. My legs felt really good today. My hips have loosened up. Joe and I again played soccer and after three days we were all tied up at 3 goals so we will never know who wins. I feel ready to go for my decathlon I just hope my groin and hip don’t give me any trouble. One of the athlete had some eye trouble and my mom went with her to the hospital so that she had a mom. Everyone at the meet was so helpful and got everything dealt with.

After our workout we returned to the hotel and then went on a day trip to Sirmione which is a city 15 mins away that is on a peninsula that goes out into the water. It was a very beautiful city. We visited the castle that overlooked the whole city and across the lake. We took a bus here and a boat back across. Italy is an amazing country that is so beautiful and everyone is so nice and very helpful. So far Daniele, Barbara, and everyone has gone the extra mile to make sure that everything is good to go. To bed now and hopefully a day full of Personal Records.

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May 8 Italy (Day 2)

Well I crashed hard last night and really didn’t move for 9 hours. I woke up around 6:40am and tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t so I got up and went down to the lobby and messed around on my computer. I then had breakfast with some of the heptathletes and at 10am I was picked up to go talk to a High School that was a Hospitality technical (vocational) school. It was very interesting because they had the school centered around three jobs; receptionist, cooks, and waiters. They had a bar, kitchen, and everything you would see in a hotel.

Joe, Jackie, my mom and I first got a tour around the school and then went into the gym to talk to the kids. It was chaos at first but got better but they were still High School students. I was that way in High School too. It was very cool after we were done taking pictures and signing autographs. We then were taken to the dining room where the students had prepared lunch for us. We were served like we were in a fancy restaurant with different courses and it was delicious. After all the school stuff we headed to the track.

Joe, Jackie, and I did our shake out and a little workout at the track. Then Joe and I played soccer for about 20 mins before we returned to the hotel. The rest of the day was low key and tomorrow will be a very low key day before I start Saturday. I am very excited for this meet and can’t wait to start.

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May 6-7 Italy (Day 1)

What a long day of travel. I woke up at 4:30 am and went to the airport. I flew out of Phoenix at 7:15am and landed in Philadelphia at 3:00pm and left there at 4:25pm for Milan. My mom meet me in Philly and it was really good to see her and have someone going with me to Italy. I was only able to sleep about 4 hours over all this time and we landed at 6:25am Milan time on May 7th. I then stayed up for the whole day and finally went to bed at 9:00pm. To best adjust to the time, I had to do this and by the time I went to bed I was exhausted. Besides the crazy day of travel, Italy is amazing. I was able to go to the track with Joe where we did a shake out and played soccer. I'm in the city of Desenzano del Garda, which is right on a huge lake it reminds me of a mix between Catalina and San Diego. I am very excited for the meet this weekend and hope that I can show the world how good I can be.


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