Journal, We're just a few minutes into our flight to Brussels, Belgium. This morning I slept in until about 8am. I went for a short run around the neighborhood just to wake up and put in a run before a big travel day. I finished the very last of my packing and got my brand new USA backpack, I stuffed with food and books, ready to go.
My mom and I left the house at about 1pm. We picked up my boyfriend and started for the airport. My mom was reviewing directions for my arrival at JFK for the tenth time haha. She was so nervous I was going to get lost or something. I guess I can't blame her, I have been known to run several extra miles on trails due to my keen sense of MISdirection. I knew I would be fine though.
I ate a light lunch at the airport and then said my good-byes to my mom and Philip. I found my gate right away. When we finally boarded I was one of the first on the plane (row 3) and was asleep before the plane even took off! The flight went by quickly (2h 25m) and we actually arrived at JFK early! I found my connecting flight very easily and spotted several other USA backpacks and their owners.
Amber from BYU recognized me and cleared a seat next to her for me to sit down. She and I chatted for a while and made our final phone calls before we had to shut them down for the week.
There were several other team members there. At least 3 boys and two women in the senior races. They told me their names (at this point I don't know them all). I look forward to getting to know them all this week.
This whole trip is very exciting for me. I've never been over seas before and having the opportunity to compete at this level is just amazing. Sometimes when I was talking to the girls or reading about them I was so impressed and would forget I am competing with them! What and honor!
Yesterday my family and friends had a little going away/ good-luck party for me at the house. It is so encouraging to know that so many people are supporting me. Several people brought bags with food and books, playing cards, journals, toiletries, cameras, and other goodies. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many caring people. My coach showed up as our school mascot and my boyfriend surprised me by driving back from a weekend trip to be there. We gathered around to watch the video of Nationals in San Diego and explain a little bit of what I'll be doing here this week.
Last Wednesday a huge box arrived in the mail. Nike uniforms and luggage was sent to all the athletes. This was one of the most exciting things thus far. There was a variety of shorts, shirts, jackets, a sweat shirt, and more. Having the honor to wear the US colors and name and travel with USA luggage is unlike anything I've ever done before. Having the opportunity to leave the country to represent the red white and blue, doing my favorite thing, is a great privilege. Little did I know what I was getting myself into when I first went out for cross-country in elementary school!
3-16-04 Brussels, Belgium
Journal, I'm not going to write much given the time, but I did want to catch up on today's events. First off, I found the team and made it to Belgium in one piece. What didn't make the trip was my luggage! When we went to pick up our bags mine was the only one missing. I tried not to let it get me down. Amber, Brittany, and I grouped up once we were out of the airport. We took a small train to the city and then about a 15 min. walk to the hotel. I am rooming with Allyson from UCLA. She didn't arrive until late so Amber, Brittany, and I decided to explore the city. We caught a quick lunch provided at the hotel and then took off. We visited a beautiful cathedral, walked the streets, and visited some small stores. Nothing here is like America. Everything is printed in several different languages-Dutch, English, French, and German. Their cars are small and the streets are narrow. The signs are very different too. The three of us found ourselves planning our walk around free bathrooms. Most often here you must pay to use the bathroom- we scouted out a few free places though haha.
We went on about a 45 minute run at about 5pm. The park was small so we ventured onto the streets and soon decided that was a no-go. The cars stop for very few reasons here and pedestrians do not seem to be very high on that list.
Today was fun but with no luggage, it's hard to be excited about anything. Hopefully tomorrow will be brighter.
3-17-04 Brussels, Belgium
Journal, Things are looking a little brighter this morning. I woke up at 7:44am and managed to sleep until our alarm went off at 8:30. It was so great to be able to sleep! I have really adjusted to the time well. Staying up during the day was the best advice. When I went to bed I just felt like I had finished a really long day and was ready for bed.
We all met in the lobby (floor zero) at 9am. I left with Shelane from UNC and Lance (coach at Arkansas), to run a workout in the park. The rest of the athletes took off to visit the race course. I put in a really good run. I felt strong and rested. This run was a good indicator of a good night's sleep.
We got back to the hotel at 10am, just in time for the tail end of breakfast. It was the first time the food actually resembled something you could find in America. There was cereal, fruit, juice, eggs, bacon, and much more. I ate with Christen. She was a member of the women's senior team. She graduated from Arkansas and was coached by Lance. At our table was also one of her friends from Australia, Mike Powers (I think).
(later…) I am at an internet caf