Monday, October 25, 2010

New USOC Blogger

I know I haven't been updating the blog regularly like I usually do, but trust me, I have a lot of content!

I have put a slight hold on my writings due to the fact that I had been in talks with the United States Olympic Committee about becoming a featured athlete blogger on their website!

I never would have thought that when I started this blog back in '07 that someone would think so highly of my writing skills (lol), my material and me personally to want to pay me to do this!

So with that said, you can catch the blog posts at www.teamusa.org and www.trackfield.teamusa.org

Don't worry, I will still be updating here, but the USOC site will have first preference, so check there for all the up to date info on me!

Things have been so great, I'm still amazed at the things that happen in my life, I never would have thought back in '05 when I decided to take on this track and field endeavor that I would be in the position that I am in now! I am so thankful and appreciative for everything.

People ask me what did I do to become successful and I tell them that it wasn't anything special, I feel that if you go 100% all in for something, not 95%, 80%, 50% etc, you can't help but be a success story. Like I say, if I'm here doing this, then anybody can be in the same situation. I was never the top dog coming through the ranks in high school, college or earlier in the career, but persistence and hard work wins everytime, so stick with whatever it is you're trying to accomplish because it will pay off!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Top 5, Greatest of All TIme

I had an interviewer recently ask me a question that I really could not answer, which is a first I must say. I was asked "Who is on my list of top five 110 hurdlers of all time?" I really didn't have an answer. I know who I feel are number one and two, but I felt like I needed to do more research and find out who I could fill my list out with.

After doing my history project, I decided that my top five list would consist of these five great individuals:

#5 Greg Foster
Foster was never one of the fastest hurdlers ever timewise, never held the World or American record, but his championship record is simply amazing. He won three consecutive World Championship titles during an era when they were held once ever four years, contrast that to today where we have them every two years. That's 12 years of dominance at the Championship level. He very well could have had six World titles if he ran under our current system. He also has an Olympic silver medal to his credit as well as 11 U.S.A. championship titles.

#4 Liu Xiang
Former World Record holder at 12.88 and 12.91 seconds. He won the 2004 Olympic gold medal in a equal world and Games record of 12.91 and won the 2007 World Championship title in a phenomenal performance, winning out of lane eight. He has run down other hurdlers running all-time great times of 12.90 (Arnold, Lausanne '06), 12.95 (Trammell, NY '07) and 12.99 (Trammell, WC '07), simply amazing. I don't think anyone has done that before. You know if he touches down over ten close to you, he will win. If he's able to return to form, he could easily ascend this list.

#3 Colin Jackson
He held the World Record of 12.91 solely from 1993 to 2004. He won four World Championship medals, two of them gold ('93 and '99) as well as an Olympic silver in 1988. In my opinon, Jackson's biggest accomplishment was he went 32 straight outdoor races without taking a loss! That is major. He also holds the world indoor record and is a legit flat sprinter. His career longevity is another reason he's high up on the list.

#2 Roger Kingdom
This is the one and only guy that I watch film on to try to better myself. I watch races of every hurdler, but to me, it never made sense to try to emulate an Allen Johnson or Terrance Trammell or Colin Jackson because I don't posses the same skill set or style as those guys, but in Kingdom, I have always seen a guy that reminded me of myself.

He's at the number two slot because these stats don't lie: Two time Olympic gold medalist ('84, '88), held the world record from '89-'93 and his name was listed as the American record holder either solely or jointly from '89 all the way until 2006! He also was the first man to run under 13 seconds at the Olympic Games. In 1988, he also had an undefeated season. Those two Olympic Gold medals is what puts him near the top for me. Winning the most important event of our sport twice is a feat that hadn't happened since Lee Calhoun 20 years prior and hasn't been seen since.

#1 Allen Johnson

I did a blog post on Allen when he announced his retirement back in July. I said it then and I'll say it again, he is the G.O.A.T. in my opinion. An Olympic gold medal, four World Championship gold medals, countless U.S.A titles, it goes on and on. He has the record for the most sub 13 performances with 11 as well. Although he never held the World Record like the previous four individuals he's listed ahead of, I think titles and wins are greater than a solo performance.

When I was trying to compile this list, I tried to get Dayron Robles and Renaldo Nehemiah on my list because they are greats as well. Nehemiah going to play in the NFL cut out his best years or he no doubt would have been in the top three easily I'm sure, I rank him number seven.

Robles is the current World Record holder and defending Olympic champion. He also is second on the list of sub-13 performances with eight. He accomplished all eight in a period from World Athletic Final in 2007 to Zurich in 2008. He only misses this list due to the fact that his career is essentially based off the 2008 season, which in my opinon is the greatest season in 110 hurdles history but Foster and Liu have displayed dominance over multitude of years. Once he displays the durability and longevity, he'll no doubt be on the list, right now he's holding down the number six spot.

I personally feel like I'm in the top 20 somewhere, of course I'm biased lol. I'll have to do some deep research to figure out for sure.

I think I will start a little top five segment on the blog regarding different aspects of the hurdles.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Fin!

In the part of the world I am in currently, it means finished.

That's exactly the word to describe my 2010 track season and man it was a hell of a good one!

Out here in Annecy, France, a city not too far from the French Alps, the curtain came down and I went out with another win in 13.11 seconds at the sixth edition of the DecaNation meet. The French guy who finished second at the European Champs finished second in 13.65.

I love this competition, in 2005, it was the first time I got to put on the USA national team colors and represent us in a minor competition. I ended up second to the World Champion at the time, Ladji Doucore from France.

I don't think people understand the feeling you get when you put on a jersey and it has "USA" across the front. I still get the same feeling now, after being on several USA teams, as I did that first time in 2005.

I took this competition very seriously. It's always a meet such as this that you can end up taking a loss or taking the competition lightly and you give your competitors just an inch of hope. I believe that's what happened back in '05. It was my first year on the professional circuit and in the DecaNation competition, I finished just four hundredths of a second behind the world champ, might not have meant much to him, but it meant the world to me.

My race wasn't the best, as I made a few more mistakes than normal, but I was very happy with my performance. I know very well that I don't have to run all out every time to win, but it is very helpful in my development for the future. In '08 I was closing out the season running low to mid 13.20s, but now I'm over a tenth better in '10.

This whole trip was made even better because my family came out with me. Being in Paris with them for three days before coming out here was so cool. Walking the Champs Elleyse, visiting the Arc de Triumph, eating on the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Mona Lisa and the Louvre, it was great! They also got to experience traveling and eating in Europe and my mom gives us major props for being able to last out here for all these months we're over here because the food from the meet was not good at all. I really don't think these European athletes understand how good they have it on the circuit in certain regards.

It's a bitter sweet ending. I love to compete so much and now there are no more competitions, I'm battling a slight bout of depression about that. Now I have to wait for months to compete again. Worse than that, I'll have to train for months with no end in sight once my break is over. It's sweet because I need to take a break, I was running about once a week, so that's not very much, but with the quality of the races I ran, it's time for it to end.

I toed the line to run 19 110m hurdle races (including rounds) and my name came on top of every single race, every single time. Finishing undefeated for a season in this event is big. Never clipped a hurdle and fell or clip a hurdle and knock myself out of a race (which we see often) or false start or DNF, nothing.

Being undefeated is a great accomplishment in and of itself, I will have to check to see the last hurdler to do that, I believe Allen did it in maybe 1996, but I am not sure. I definitely know Colin Jackson did it for a long period of time, 32 races before Allen ended it in 1995. Needless to say, it's been a very long time since we've seen a feat like this.

I will now go back to the house and post up and kick my feet up and probably spend a lot of time sleeping!!

I appreciate you guys going on this ride thru the season with me, checking out the blog and stuff, I really appreciated every last comment I got. But trust, I update this thing year round, so stay tuned

Monday, September 6, 2010

Continental Cup, Almost Won It!

Our America's team couldn't pull out any last minute heroics in Split last night to pull out the championship unfortunately. I had been scouting the European team and knew we would need some great performances on day two of the competition to win, we got some, just not enough, as we came up short, losing to Europe 429 to 419.5.

I was extremely disappointed when, by my calculations, we needed Europe to basically DNF in the 4x4 to win and I realized the likelihood of that happening was slim to none.

I really like to win, no matter what it is, but I got over the loss pretty quickly.

As for my personal race, I went out and had a good, technical race. I won with 13.11 (-1.1w) and secured the eight points for the team.

I had an excellent warm-up, short and right to the point. The way I warm-up varies depending on how I am feeling at the time and last night I felt very good. I'm not an athlete that over analyzes or over thinks what is going on, I just go out and rely totally on what I've been trained to do. Since I was feeling good with my starts in the warm-up, I just stopped and sat around and waited to go to the call room.

I was actually kind of nervous because I was thinking I can't go out here and mess something up and lose these eight points. My team is depending on me bringing that home.

I brought it home in style, winning by a good amount, but I wasn't too much concerned with that, my eyes went right to the scoreboard to see where the European runners places. I saw second and fourth and I was like "Damn!"

I went on my victory lap and it took me about 15 to 20 minutes before I finally got back to get dressed. People always laugh at me because it takes me forever to get around the track, but I always tell them, you've got to embrace this and enjoy it because you never know when that carpet will get pulled from right under your feet. So that's exactly what I do and the fans love it!

After my victory lap ended, I went right back into cheerleader mode LOL, I was out on the field waiting to do an on field interview and saw my teammates Nicole Edwards (CAN) and Christin Wuth-Thomas have great performances in the woman's 1500.

After my interviews, photo stuff, press conference and mandatory doping test, I was right back down at the mixed zone watching the races and congratulating my teammates when they came off the track. I even had to learn a bit of Spanish as well.

One of the press people asked me about the importance of being captain and to me it's easy. You can't underestimate the power that a few encouraging words coming from an individual such as myself, spoken to someone who may not be a favorite in an event or may be slightly unsure of what they are bringing to the table, has on them.

When top people in the sport use to come up to me back in the day and say "keep working at it, it'll come" or "good job out there today", I couldn't believe they were even paying attention to what I was doing at the time. I looked at it as a source of inspiration.

Our team had a few inspirational performances as well:

Bernard Lagat ran 8,000 meters over two days, bringing America's home 16 points. He had a pretty good weekend for sure!

Wallace had a great run in the men's 200, he won by probably half a second and was ready to pick up a relay stick for the 4x4 which was not too long after the deuce if they needed him.
Our women and men's 4x4 teams both took home the maximum 15 points in thrilling fashion to close the show! I was out on the track, hollering and everything, reminded me of my days back in college. We definitely went out in style.
In the end though, it wasn't enough as I saw two of my friends, Andreas Thorkildson and hometown super star Blanka Vlasic hoist the championship trophy.
I enjoyed every moment of this competition. It really got the competitive juices flowing and was great for the team aspect of track. I was paying attention non-stop to events I wouldn't turn a blind eye to in the past. I found out a lot about different athletes, athletes I more than likely wouldn't have said more than two words to during the course of the season. You better believe I will be the first one in line to get back on this team next time they have it.

The organization of the meet was top notch! I loved being in Split, it was a great city to host a meet like this. At the post meet dinner, they sent us off in style with a firework display that was off the chart.


Now I'm chilling in Paris, getting ready for the last meet of the season this upcoming weekend. I'm not looking forward to the meet persay, but I flew my mom and step-dad out here from Denver to hang out for the week. They had never been to Europe, so there is no better place to make your first stop than Paris! I've been looking forward to this since before I left Orlando to go to London. I was doing everything I could to make sure nothing happened to me that would preempt us from kicking out in Paris!

While checking out of the hotel, a gentleman came up and gave me this great oil painting of none other than myself. I definitely wasn't expecting that. It's very beautiful work and I greatly appreciate it. Only downside is this thing is gigantic in size and carrying it around the airport was no easy task.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Captain America Is What They Call Me!


Captain America is my nickname on the team, a name I am very proud of! It's been a great honor being nominated by our contingency male captain of the America's team out her in Split for the Continental Cup.

This is a VERY big deal to me, you talk about crunk level going up!! On the teams I've been fortunate to be apart of, the captains that were chosen have been people that were leaders, the type of people others on the team wanted to strive to compete like. It's big because this isn't just a Team USA thing either, it's the who North American, Central American, South American region.

Of course I don't have any real duties, but I've just been encouraging my teammates and having a good time enjoying my captaincy. I am trying to find a "C" to sew on to my jersey for my race tomorrow!

Split, Croatia is one of the most beautiful cities I have been in! It's definitely a great European hideaway. It's very French Riviera-like. This is the view I have right now as I type this, looking out my balcony window.
We had a training camp here as well, going to practice was well worth it just for the views alone! This is a very refreshing, relaxing spot.


I was an invited guest to the athletes press conference, it was one from each team. Along with myself, it was high jump queen and hometown hero Blanka Vlasic representing Europe, Olympic champion shot putter Valerie Adams represent the Asia Pacific team and 800m world record holder David Rudisha representing Africa.

I was also grateful to be graced with the presence of two legends in the sport, former 800 world record holder Wilson Kipketer and 2000 Olympic 400m gold medalist Cathy Freeman of Australia. I had no idea she was so small, but she had MAJOR fight out on the track.

I was not all that familiar with either one of these individuals, but thanks to youtube, I now have an appreciation for how great they really were.

I believe that in order to be great, you need to immerse yourself and surround yourself with greatness. In order to be great, you have to see greatness in action. No matter what the sport, what the event may be in track and field, when greatness happens, you better believe I will find a way to watch it. Whether that means youtube or interrupting my warm-up for a minute or two.

I had a couple of great training sessions, but remind me never, ever, ever, ever to run warm-up strides with Jeremy Wariner! He doesn't even look like he's moving that fast, but he's got great speed. His name goes right up next to Dwight Phillips as the two guys I won't make the mistake of warming up with again!

Wallace Spearmon was striding it out with us, but I was giving him the business, so he's cool LOL

I did block starts over a few hurdles with Andy Turner, the European hurdle champion, it was a great session. Reminiscent of some pracitices we had a couple of years ago, although I am right up there with him now! Maybe he'll come back down to Florida, I tell him all the time that if he came more consistent, he'd easily be down in low 13.1's at least! We both are ready and should finish 1-2.

Competition gets started today, day one of two. This is the stadium we will be competing in and it will be 35,000 fans strong going crazy! I'm really in to that! I don't run the hurdles until tomorrow evening, so I'll sit back and cheer my teammates on today.

This meet is a great concept, it's been cool being on the same team as the Jamaicans, Cubans, Brazilians etc and they make our team strong in events where if we were just the USA, we would be slightly weaker in.

I expect from myself to hold up my end of the bargain and bring home maximum points for the squad. I really hope that on Sunday evening "America's Team" will be hoisting up that trophy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another Race, Another Win, Fast Time and Meet Record!

I had another outstanding performance out in Rieti today and had a great time while I was out at the stadium as well. My fans were out in full effect and were so excited to see me from the time I stepped off the bus. It was amazing! There were about 25 teenage kids out there rocking "D.O. The King" t-shirts, that had me really crunk! Dwight Thomas and Wallace Spearmon were dying laughing, I think they were probably jealous LOL.
This meet is notorious for have great sprint and distance results and it didn't dissapoint! It was great to go out and watch Kenya's sensational 800 meter runner David Rudisha break the world record in the event and watch Jamaica's Nesta Carter run a blazing 9.78! I told Nesta when we were at lunch earlier today that he was going to run 9.7, he laughed and said I was crazy, guess I'm not looking to crazy now!

I said in my post yesterday that I should be able to challenge the meet record of 13.07 set by Colin Jackson back in '94 and I not only challenged it, I broke it with a time of 13.01. I had a great warm-up and knew I was going to run fast. I had a scare while doing my usual start over the first hurdle when I get to the competition track. When I came down, my lead leg hip flexor really tightened up on me. I was genuinely concerned because at that point, it's either you run the race or drop out right there. No time to get it looked at. I had never been in a situation like that before and I wasn't sure what to do, so I defaulted to doing what I wanted to do and that was race of course.
I think I was a little timid at the start and through the first two hurdles until I realized I was going to be cool. Nothing bad happened and once again I took care of business. My friend Ryan Wilson wasn't so lucky as he ran into a bit of trouble about half way down the track and fell pretty hard, but he's fine thankfully.

My training partner Dwight finished second, running 13.26, he's becoming consistent around that time and has been finishing second in the last three meets I've been at, so that's a good sign. Joel finished fourth, we almost got a 1-2-3 finish, hopefully next time.

My fans were waiting for me after the race to take more pictures and stuff, not sure why this guy is acting like I didn't put deodorant under my left armpit, I guess I was sweating kind of tough.

Only disappointing thing to me is that in the post race interviews they kept asking me if I was disappointed because I ran slow and didn't break the world record because everybody was running fast. I guess it is kind of cool that when I run 13.01 people think it's a slow time, that means I have been pretty successful and I'm falling victim to my own success. I did tell the press that I would have rather run 12.99 as opposed to 13.01 because I'm in love with running under 13 seconds LOL.

Everyone was telling me how fast the track is and of all the great performances, but honestly speaking, I didn't think that had anything to do with the hurdles. You better believe this track is extremely fast and if I ran the 100 or something, this would DEFINITELY be on my schedule every year! I knew it was fast when I went out for my two training sessions out here and was running in to trouble at the third hurdle while doing my starts. Rieti's track is definitely as advertised.

When I got here and saw the program from the meet, I looked at the best hurdle performances every run here and outside of Jackson's 13.07, the second fastest time ever run was 13.23 by Roger Kingdom. Every great hurdler in history has run here and no one has mustered even a 13.1 outside of Jackson's performance.

I don't go in to a race trying to beat the world record, I give myself more realistic goals such as meet records. I'm glad that people are tuning in to the event to see what I am going to run, that's really cool. I know that the event isn't probably what people really want to watch at the time because it is kind of down, but I'm glad to be a glimmer of light for us to still get some pub in the media. I go and run as well as I possibly can every race and won't be surprised if one time I cross the line under the record. Like I say, it's the record for a reason, can't force it because it won't happen.

It's been cool out here in Rieti, tomorrow, I'm heading out to Split, Croatia for the Continental Cup meet that starts next weekend. Me and Robles are going to be representing the "America" team, if he's healthy, it will be a great race for sure! Kind of ironic how sports can bring together feuding nations for one common goal. I've been looking forward to this for a while and it doesn't hurt that 30K is on the line either!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back At It Again...

There aren't very many meets I haven't been to during some stage of my career, but this is the first time I have ever been to the competition in Rieti, Italy.

It's a small town where the people are nice and laid back, they literally wait on you hand and foot and make sure everything is OK. Anything I've needed or wanted has been taken care of, the hospitality they have extended to us has been an A+.

I've been here for a few days now, had a couple of good workouts that were light and straight to the point.
This meet fell at a great time for me. I didn't want to sit around for nearly three weeks without competing between Zurich and Split. I was trying to find a race to go to that wasn't too close to Zurich or too close to the race at Continental Cup. I need every last one of those days to get back fresh after I compete, right now the days of me doing two races a week like I use to are over for the time being.

I don't think people understand the toll our bodies go through hurdling. At close to 210 pounds, at the velocity I run, multiplying my body weight probably four times coming off 42'' barriers, ten times in a race, that's a lot of weight coming down on that lead leg. That's only the competition aspect of it, not counting training. Needless to say, ice baths and massage therapists are my best friends! I probably get rubbed out three times a week and take an ice bath four times a week.

This meet out here in Rieti has startlists comparable to that of a Diamond League meet. The races are going to be great. The weather out here is nice as well and the facility has very good warm up areas. We all should be nice and loose for competition.

The 110 hurdle meet record is 13.07 held by Colin Jackson, I think he set it in 1994. If I have a good day, I think that I should be able to challenge this mark. It would be cool to add another meet record to my list.

I really hope the crowd will be loud and energetic, I love when they are. It was so loud in Zurich before the race, then we got down to get in our blocks, the crowd fell dead silent. It threw me off for real. I had to check back in mentally at the start!

I will update sometime after the competition. I really appreciate the support from you guys, the enthusiasm you show for me and my accomplishments definitely make me feel great. There's a lot of you guys that have been riding with me since way back in '07 when I started this blog and I had a personal best of 13.20 and the mission was 12.87 before I changed it a year later.

It is funny when I've been being interviewed lately and they ask me why I put that as a mission. I tell them because I couldn't think of anything else to put for a title and they look at me funny, maybe next time I should tell them that I was feeling a little like Nostradamus LMAO! They ask me if I thought I could run that time back when I started it and I say "not in a million years!" I never would have thought I would come remotely close to it, but hard work and sacrifice definitely pays off, especially when you combine it with maturing mentally as well.

If you believe it, you can see yourself doing it, you can definitely achieve it!! Always believe in yourself, no matter what people may say.

When I made my decision to accept my scholarship from Howard, people were telling me that it wasn't a place that I could succeed athletically and doing a lot of negative recruiting. I told them I could be good no matter where I attended school and I really believed it.

When I started running in '05, bouncing rent checks every month and working 30+ hours a week at Niketown, I turned down opportunities from two NFL teams right after the '05 draft to sign a rookie free agent deal and come to camp. Two of my training partners at the time said that was a stupid decision and they would have done it if they had the opportunity. I told them I was going to make it in track and field and I wholeheartedly believed I could.

Of course it was hard, but like the Olympic Creed reads "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."

At the end of the day, my early struggles make me appreciate my late triumphs so much and I'm definitely a fighter! I always credit my mental toughness as a reason I am successful and I have an undying belief in ME!

I know the direction of my posts start off one way and may end up in a whole 'nother universe LOL, I just get to typing and whatever comes out, come out. I don't proof read what I write either, but I do correct spelling, that red line that comes underneath the words is very annoying to me. I just type what I am feeling at the moment so please excuse my grammatical errors along with the scatterbrain-ness (if that's a word) of this post. Thanks for reading though.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sub13 Commentary

Yesterday, while making the drive to Rieti, bored in the car, I made one of my frequent stops checking Twitter on my cell phone.

I saw an update by @tandfn Track and Field News' twitter site. The update was about the history of sub 13 second races run in the 110m hurdles. They were highlighting all of the sub13 races I had run in my career.

When I looked at the list and saw the stats, two thoughts instantly came to my mind.

The first thought, I can sum up easily in one word: Wow! They compiled their list counting legal and windy times. Allen Johnson led the list with 11 times (all legal) and then I saw myself in second position with nine (seven legal, two windy), followed by Colin Jackson (four legal, three windy) and Dayron Robles (eight legal) tied with eight performances under the magical barrier.

I can honestly say that when I started getting formal coaching in 2005 and really having an understanding of times, I hoped to be able to do it at least one time. It hasn't really set in the magnitude of things I have accomplished personally this season yet, but when I looked at that list it sort of hit home. I knew all the individuals who had run under 13 and how many times they did it, but it's a lot different when you know it in your head as opposed to seeing it in print.

I am really proud of myself and the perseverance I have displayed. I went down for basically three months of inactivity last year to coming back for three races to suffering the same injury again in Brussels. We see it often, an athlete comes back from a major injury and never reaches the level they were at before hand. I not only reached the same level I was on before, I surpassed it! It is definitely a testament to my coach, physiotherapists and to the mental strength I posses.

My second thought was "This list proves what I've been saying in these interviews beyond a shadow of a doubt". As you can imagine, everyone always asks about breaking the world record. I generally respond with "unless someone can find a way to put it in "Usain Bolt" type territory, it's just being set up to get broken soon." I believe that what we think is so amazing time wise, will become ordinary by the time I reach 60. Track and Field News' compilation of sub 13's proves my theory.

My first year as a professional was in 2005. 28 of the 54 times we have ever seen the clock stop under 13 seconds has been seen since that time. That's over half all time, in a five year span. Tell me that's not making sub 13 seem ordinary. Legal time speaking, we've seen 25 of the legal 46, which is a higher percentage. That percentage would be even higher had Robles and myself not missed the bulk of the '09 season and Robles would have been able to compete this year as well. Between myself and him, we've seen 15 sub 13's since '08 alone.

If I am lucky enough to run 12.86, that would mean the last two world records haven't lasted longer than two years, after it stood unmatched for nearly 13 years, which probably means mine wouldn't last too long either. I would take any time under 12.87 but I would love to go like 12.80. Who knows what could be possible, Bolt showed anything is possible.

Shocking to me, people have come up to me a lot and told me the hurdles record is one of the softest in the books. They site that because Renaldo ran the record of 12.93 in '81, it has only progressed six hundredths of a second since that time. I do believe that if Renaldo would have continued to run, he probably would have run 12.85 already, he was that special when I watch his races. I do not believe that the record is soft by any means. I don't think people understand how hard it is to hurdle when you are running at 12.9 pace. The hurdles are way too close and there isn't that much room to maneuver. Not only that, but to run a record in the hurdles, you have to be perfect 12 times. Your start, ten barriers and the finish. That's way more than any other event. One false movement and you can go from 12.9 to 13.1 easily.

In track events, if I can find an explosive guy who will run 35 steps for 100 meters, he will demolish the record. No matter what your skill set is in the hurdles, you are still dealing with finite space and opportunity. Until someone comes in a revolutionizes the hurdles by taking one or two steps in between as opposed to three, then we can see some off the chart stuff, but until then, I do think the limits of the event are being pushed. Maybe if I coach a kid one day, I'll train him to two-step LOL.

I am looking forward to the possibilities of my future performances. As an American hurdler, over the history, we've tended to have great performances well in to our 30's when we start to mature, so I just am thankful for my health and hope that it continues. Maybe when I am 60 and there are as many sub 13's as we see four minute miles, I will have performed good enough to have my name still somewhere near the top of the Track and Field News sub13 edition in the year 2040!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Crunk Juice 8/23/10

I just got my crunk juice for today! I just happen to go on the NIKE website and saw my picture on there and I got SUPER hype. I was so crunk that I wouldn't be surprised if the people staying below me in the hotel send security up here. Like I said it doesn't take very much for me to get hyped up, good thing I didn't see this before a race LOL.

Things out here in Sweden have been going amazing. Training has been definitely been awesome. I miss practicing with my teammates though, at least I'll see a couple of them in Rieti late this week. I've got some celebrity status out here too, everywhere I go, people here know who I am. It feels pretty good taking pictures and signing autographs. We work so hard and I appreciate every minor sign of respect. I guess people have been writing on Swedish blogs that they've been seeing me around town, so tomorrow I have an interview with the major paper so that should be fun.

I had to ship my Diamond League trophy back home unfortunately. It was VERY hard traveling with it from Zurich to Sweden and I have several more flights to catch and I don't think I can manage. That thing weighs over ten pounds in it's case. I got the information of the guy from DHL that is responsible for sending it just in case something happens, I know who I need to come back to Sweden and see about.

All things aren't so great, the U.S. track and field community lost a great man in Scott Davis, the voice of our U.S. championships for what seems like forever. The last time we conversed, I was giving him a hard time because he announced I was an All-American from the University of Tennessee! We laughed and talked out in Sacramento for what seemed like all night long. He was very entertaining. There's a Facebook group formed to put him on the cover of Track and Field News, I'm all for it! The people behind the scenes are responsible for the development and growth of our sport just as much as the athletes are.

Also my training partner Novlene Williams-Mills is dealing with a loss in her family and had to leave Europe abruptly. Please keep their families in your prayers.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fantasy Football Time!

Last night I had my draft for my favorite fall pastime, fantasy football.

Being so competitive from the time the calendar flips to January 1 of every year, all the way until the middle to end of September given my career, it's hard to give up the competitive juices. This gives me an avenue to compete while I'm bored out of my mind during the fall season.

I'm in a league with 11 other of my friends, including my brother and of course Aubrey Herring and Joel Brown. Like I said before, we had the draft last night and we all were on line for it, it was cool catching up with everybody all at once.

Somehow Joel and his raggedy looking team won the Super Bowl last year, this is the fourth year of it for us and hopefully I can bring home my first title.

I'm confident in my squad, it shapes up like this:

QB- Matt Schaub (Hou), Eli Manning (NYG), Matt Ryan (Atl)
RB- Frank Gore (SF), LeShawn McCoy (Phi), Micheal Bush (Oak), Jahvid Best (Det)
WR- Lee Evans (Buf), Kenny Britt (Ten), Percy Harvin (Min), Steve Breaston (Ari)
TE- John Carlson (Sea)
K- Neil Rackers (Hou)
Defense- Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins

Pretty solid team, I like my chances. We'll see what happens. You can say I'm a fantasy junkie because I also play fantasy football, European style with the English Premier League. I'm killing in that as well, two weeks into the season.

The one rule I live by is that you should only have one team. I know people who have three or four teams, that's weak! It's like filling out ten brackets for the NCAA tournament!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Went Out With A Bang...

Figuratively and literally!

I capped off my great time out here in Zurich with an impressive performance, running 12,93 (-0.4w). We were the penultimate individual event of the competition and I made the fans go crazy! That really makes me feel good that they are so appreciative of all the hard work we put in to this sport. Trust me, it is not easy going out and running fast time after time after time. As a sprinter, a serious injury is knocking on the door every training session and every race.

I got to officially wrap my hands around the championship trophy for the Diamond League. The celebration that had for us was so classy!

As I mentioned, I literally went out with a bang when I crossed the finish line. I don't know exactly what happened, but I knew something like this would be inevitable. I tend to lean so hard at the end, don't ask me why I do it either. I've never trained or practiced a lean, so I guess this is just how I naturally finish the race. Not sure if it's a bad thing or a good thing, but it works so it's cool.

Thankfully, nothing is messed up, got a couple of track burns, but I've had WAY worse turf burns playing football, so this is nothing.

I said in my previous post that I was hoping the training group could go 1-2-3, but that didn't happen. Dwight finished second in a seasons best 13.25, it's cool seeing him put the pieces together a little at a time, that's the same thing I spent years doing. Joel finished fifth in 13.31 after an awful start.
The race was pretty fast top to bottom. 13.36 got you eighth place! That's crazy.

My performance was just .01 off the meet record held by the legendary Roger Kingdom set back in 1989 which was a world record at the time. I am now equal second fastest ever at this great venue, tied with another great, Renaldo Nehemiah. His time was also a world record when he ran it.
The fans at the meet showed me SO much love! I thoroughly enjoy that. I went out on the track early for the "Presentation of the Stars" and it was so electric in the stadium already! Fans made signs for me and everything.

This blog has been taking on a life of its own and I guess the local Swiss fans are avid readers. They read about my love of chocolate, so on my victory lap, I received several boxes of chocolate. I really do appreciate the support! Like I've said before, I try to sign every autograph and take ever picture, although after a race I'm exhausted. Showing the fans my appreciation for them is equally as important as their appreciation for me.

Unfortunately, my time in Zurich has come to an end. I'm heading up to Sweden tomorrow to just chill out and recharge my batteries and train for a while. I will be running at the Continental Cup, September 5th representing the America's team. I'm not too sure if I'll be doing anything before that or not, I really hope I will because I love competing. My coach has had to reign me in this year as far as my schedule because if it was up to me, I'd be running all the time. It's pretty hard for me to deal with the fact that I can't compete as much as I use to or would like to, but I know it's for the best.

I'm going to see my number one favorite soccer team, FC Barcelona, play next week, I'm so excited to go to that. They are the reason I even started paying attention to the sport in the first place back in early '06.

I'll keep you guys posted on all the goings on out here! Stay tuned...

Screamin' Let's Get It From Another Planet!!



My time out here in Zurich has been great, the hospitality has been very impressive!

In my last post, I commented about the kids clinic I was attending in the town of Chur, Switzerland. I must say, the reception I received there blew me away!

First I hopped on the helicopter for the 20 minute flight to the neighboring city. I am a big fan of helicopter rides, the views of the mountain sides of Zurich were off the charts.

The chopped landed right in the middle of the infield and we were awaited by hundreds of Swiss kids ranging from first grade to middle school.

One of the most unexpected things happened to me out there. A kid I gave my autographed starting bib number to at this meet in 2008 brought it out and asked me if I remembered. Of course I didn't, but he said that he stayed with athletics because I gave him that and inspired him. That was really cool. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I know you can't touch everybody, but you can affect at least one and it looked like I did that back in '08.

I find it very important to sign as many autographs and take as many pictures as I can because the fans are the lifeline of the sport to be honest.

I had a press conference yesterday that lasted for just about an hour. It was the longest one I have ever had, but it was cool to me. You never know what type of funny question someone will ask you. I stay will a smile on my face because this is a true blessing to be doing what I want to do. I'm a very positive person and it was disappointing to me when I read a recent article I did in London that painted me in a negative light, but I know the "if it bleeds, it reads" mantra in the media, so it's ok, you live and you learn.

Tonight is the big night, race day! Man I live for this.

This is the last Diamond League race for the 110m hurdle event and I have an insurmountable lead in the points, so tonight, I will be taking home this nice piece of hardware!

Everyone knows I love winning tangible things such as trophies and medals, so you better believe this will not be leaving my sight once it touches my hands after the race! It will definitely have a prominent position in my house as well LOL.

As for the race tonight, I'm not exactly sure who is all in the race, my two other training partners are though. It is funny because I remember when I started out on the circuit, I use to be obsessed with looking at start lists. I am hoping that we can finish 1-2-3, of course with me in first position, LOL (come on, cut me some slack haha) and everyone walks away 100% healthy and can get ready for the next competition.

I will make a post meet update later on, wish me success!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

My Arrival In The Home of Chocolate!

I have now arrived in Zurich, had a nice workout session and a great interview with the Swiss television media.

Zurich is to me, the BEST meeting on the European circuit and it's not even close. They have the best physio, best food, top level accommodations and the atmosphere during the competition is electric!

When I landed at the airport, I was picked up swiftly, arrived at the hotel and was greeted personally by the meeting director, Patrick Magyar, who already had my room key and meet information packet ready. All I had to do was walk in the door and head right to my room. That is very big to a lot of us athletes as we criss-cross Europe for these competitions. Not to mention they even do our laundry for free at this competition.

It's small things like getting laundry done that we take for granted at home, but it's a lot of work to do on our own out here. Keeping a clean set of underwear is not an easy task for us! Keep in mind they only allow us 20kg worth of luggage to carry as well and we are gone for months at a time. Zurich takes care of a lot of the off the track things we have to deal with so we can focus down on having great performances.

Being in Zurich plays into one of my vices though. Upon check in, they always give us a big box of Swiss chocolate. Everybody that knows me knows how much I love chocolate. That is probably the main reason why I had to get three root canals and spent over 20 hours in the dentist office before I went to London! I try to lay off, but I just can't help myself. I'm always telling myself "OK, just one more" but I think they sprinkle something in the chocolate over here, it's so addictive.

The Zurich Diamond League event is the only competition I have been to every single year of my career. They have always extended an invitation to me. My first season in 2005 I got in because they had a "B" heat, '06 I finished 4th, which was very big for me at the time, in '07, although I got hurt at the World Championships and every other meeting was rescinding their invitations, Zurich still had me in attendance. In '08, I ran my second legal sub-13 here and '09 they had me back for my first real appearance coming off of my torn calf and I finished 5th, beating individuals who were finalist at the World Championships.

We race here on Thursday evening, but today, I'm looking forward to a kids clinic I am doing in the city of Chur, Switzerland. I am traveling by helicopter so I will be able to check out some great views of the land. I always like when I get a chance to interact with kids, no matter what country they are from, they are the future of our world and like I always believe, I may not affect every kid, but I know I will have an impact on at least one by the time I leave.

Video of My 13.06 Race In London/Interview

Race footage from this past weekend, with a couple of post race interviews. It felt good to hear one of the all time hurdled greats, Colin Jackson, positively critiquing my race. I know that I am a good hurdler, but when you get some of the best people that ever did it saying positive things about your performances, it feels good.

video


video

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wrapped Up the Diamond League Title!!

For some reason out here in London, the internet had been down for four days! I've never heard of a situation like this, you can only imagine the agony I was going through. No Slingbox to watch, no internet to surf, couldn't update the blog, I was going through it!!

Although I was without the most important thing I have during my European travels, I was kept plenty busy.

I arrived in London last Tuesday. I flew over on U.S. Airways, remind me to tell my manager never to book me on them again for international travel.

Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty chill days for me. Just eat, catch up on sleep, did some interviews and had a couple of training sessions. I wanted to go out on Wednesday, but the weather had not been good at all, lots of rain and cold of course.

Thursday came around and I finally . Myself, Tyson Gay and European hurdle champion Andy Turner caught a classic English bus to the press conference activities in central London.

The cool thing about the bus we rode on was it had our pictures on the side of it promoting the competition.

We rode around on that bus for quite a while, but it was cool, you know I don't mind doing interviews and taking pictures LOL. We made a quick stop by the 2012 Olympic Stadium and it looks awesome, they are doing a great job on it. Hopefully I'll be in able to compete in there for the Games when they roll around.
After my day out on the town, of course I had my last training prep before competition. Now it was time to kick my feet up and chill until I took the track.

The London Diamond League is a very unique competition. It is the only invitational that hosts every track and field event, but it's also spread over two days. When I saw everyone heading to the track Friday, I was very glad I wasn't competing that day. It was pretty cold and the rain looked like it wasn't going to let up. I just caught a ride to a local laundry mat and washed clothes.

Saturday morning rolled around and I had to do something the night before that I NEVER do for my European competitions and that was set an alarm. Had to be on the shuttle to the stadium at 11:30am. Most of the time I'm not competing until 9 at night.

The London Diamond League is also unique in that it is the only major invitational that I've been to where I had to run a preliminary race and then I final. I like the set up, I use the first round as an extended part of my warm up anyway.

This was a big set of races for me because if I won this meet, I would lock up the Diamond League championship for 2010, I really wanted to handle that business here and not put it to chance out in Zurich next week.

My first round went off, nothing unexpected happened and I ran a wind aided 13.02 to win my heat. My training partners Joel Brown and Dwight Thomas finished second and third. It feels good when you look up and see your teammates finishing right in order, I think that is what is suppose to happen when you're training with top level performers.

Between the prelim and final, there wasn't much time before we had to report back to the call room. Just enough time to get stretched, talk to my coach and catch my breath.

In the finals, I was pretty much unpressed from the start, so I tried to focus on staying in attack mode for all ten hurdles. The last thing I wanted to do was relent or take my foot off the gas thinking I had the win already because in the hurdles, it's never a definite until you cross that tape! I crossed in 13.06 (-0.4w) which was the meet record. Dwight finished second and Joel ran into some issues but was able to finish fifth.

When I finished, I was under-impressed with some technical aspects of my run, but that quickly subsided when I breathed a big sigh of relief, realizing I clinched the top spot as the number one hurdler in the world undoubtedly. Accomplishing goals is so important in life because it's a quantifiable measure of improvement. Whether you're an athlete or work a 9 to 5 job, we all have goals we want to check off the list short term and long term and I love when I can draw a line right through one more thing on my list for 2010.
I spent an extra day in London and I was looking forward to this day from the time I found out I would be here another day after competition.

I got the chance to catch a Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Liverpool at Anfield Road, one of the most hallowed grounds of European football. The Gunners of Arsenal are my favorite English football team and to get a chance to catch a game, I was all for it.
Arsenal hooked me up with some fresh gear too! A personalized jersey was one of the items, but I dare not wear that to Liverpool's home grounds LOL. The game was great, ended in a 1-1 draw as Arsenal pulled even in the latter moments of the game. My favorite Gunner, Cesc Fabregas didn't play today so that was unfortunate, but I saw Van Persie and Abou Diaby get it in.

This was the best sporting event I have ever been too. The fans are SO passionate about their team and their players. They had songs for every one of their star players! It was loud and rocking for the entire 90 minutes. I thought I was a die hard fan, but I'm not even close and neither is any other American I know when it comes to supporting their team. We have a long way to go!

A big thanks goes out to Zarah, she works with the UK Athletics and she looked after me while I was here and made sure we sorted the game out smoothly, I'll put my vote in to get here a raise!

Now I'm off to Zurich, the last stop in the Diamond League for 110 hurdles. Since I've clinched, I can just relax and have a good time out there like I normally do. Sorry for the length of this post, but I've got to blame the internet here because this should have been three different one's if I had the chance, but thanks for taking time out to read it as usual, I appreciate it!