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Blog from Berlin

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Blog from Berlin

Razorback track and field athletes Alain Bailey (Jamaica, long jump), Christin Wurth-Thomas (USA, 1,500 meters) andDorian Ulrey (USA, 1,500 meters)are just a few of the competitors at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Berlin, Germany with Razorback ties. This trio will keep the Razorback fans updated with regular journal entries. Competition at the 2009 IAAF World Championships will begin Saturday, Aug. 15.

Last update – Thurs., Aug. 20,9:00 a.m. CST

Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009

Wow, the first round was really nerve racking. I was told by several people that I looked scared to death on the start line, well that’s probably because I was. I hate to feel like I am expected to do things, and I definitely felt that way. I am glad that I am on to the next round and ready for it. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can go in and just relax and run. In the last few days I will kind of update you on what’s been going on.

I have left the athlete hotel due to the fact that it was really loud. The night before my prelim I don’t think I fell asleep until 1:00 am because it sounded like someone was throwing a medicine ball around in the room next to me. As I was waiting in the USA tent to start warming up I was yawning, not a good sign. I was so tired. The last two nights I have moved into my parents’ room and gotten two great nights of sleep. Thank goodness. Things are going good, now I am with my coach. Well once again I am excited and ready. As my motto goes, nothing to lose, dreams to fulfill. I am ready to fight.

~Christin

Sunday, Aug. 16, 2009

I’m going to start off this entry by saying congrats to the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt. 9.58 seconds over 100 meters was seen as impossible not long ago. Usain is running that fast while looking across the lane beside him to see if Tyson Gay is catching up. I was also impressed with Tyson Gay’s time of 9.71, it’s unheard of for a person to run that fast and not win the race. I have never seen an athlete like him (Usain Bolt) all my years of watching track and field, the crowd was amazed of how calm he was before a race of that magnitude. He was laughing, making funny faces, and all that stuff while he was about to start the race. I asked Usain couple days ago if he could break the world record again this time around, he told me that it was going to be hard because he is not 100% ready like how he was last year at the Beijing Olympics. Now after him saying that couple days ago, and looking at what he did today, I would have to say that the world record will be lowered again sometime in the near future, very hard to believe.

Right now the Jamaican team is on a high and we will use that vibe to compete in other events. I will be competing this Thursday in the long jump qualifiers. I feel very confident about making the final which is my goal. That would be a nice birthday gift for me 🙂

~Alain

Friday, Aug. 14, 2009

In the last few days of doing nothing, I have taken time out to think about the season. When in doubt and panic, it is always nice to have friends/teammates there to pick you up. Another athlete that trains at the U of A under Coach (Lonnie) Greene, who I look up to and cheer for every time she runs (I am talking about Monica Hargrove) told me to have faith this week. Those words sparked thought, because she’s right; this running isn’t all about me. First, I have been blessed by the Lord with a gift and I want to use it for his glory. I need to have faith in him that he will heal me and guess what I am healthy and looking forward to my departure to Berlin tomorrow. After taking a ton of Vitamin C, hydrating and resting I am back to feeling 100%. I am a little dry but I can deal with that.

After having my coach scared to death and concerned, I have managed to do two workouts this week despite being with a head cold, which showed me I am ready to run and I’m not going to let anything stop me from doing my best and reaching for the stars. Once again I have nothing to lose, and dreams to fulfill! I can’t wait to join up with my fellow teammates (especially Dorian) tomorrow. I will arrive in time to cheer him through his first round. I am so excited!

I really would like to say thanks to some people who have gotten me to this point. I know they may not here how much they are appreciated, but they are all unique and very special people who have helped me succeed this season. Dr. Joanna Hudec (Chiropractor at Spine Sports and Rehab Chiropractic clinic). I owe her she for helping me loosen my legs up and lengthen my stride. Patty Ullrich (massage therapist) has kept my legs feeling good and had them ready to race and workout. Steven Ko (physical therapist) who is always working on strengthening weak muscles. Dr. Dan Fulmer (Podiatrist) very knowledgeable and always helps whenever I have an ache or pain in my foot. Dr. Scott Bailey who is always there to help in any way he can. Dr. Richard Ezell (dentist) who got me in at the last minute to fix a cap that fell off in Lausanne, Switzerland. And last but not least and probably the most important Bev Lewis and Jeff Long for all their support and allowing me to continue to use the facilities and keep training under my coach Lance Harter (who I would argue is the best middle distance coach in the USA).

I know I have a long list of people to thank and may have missed some, but behind an accomplished athlete there is a great support staff. Together we are a team.

I will update again upon arrival in Berlin. Go Dorian!

~Christin

Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009

It’s been a week since I arrived in Germany and everyday has been better than the last. Yesterday, the president of the IAAF, Lamine Diack, came to our hotel to have a talk with the Jamaican team about how Jamaica plays a major role in the development of track and field. It was a privilege to have a man of such authority coming to our hotel to have a chat with the group.

Other than Mr. Diack’s visit, yesterday as well as today was spent socializing with my teammates, signing autographs and taking pictures for media members. Representing Jamaica at the World Championship level, you are viewed as an elite athlete, cameras and eyes are always watching.

~Alain

Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009

The World Championship experience has officially started, Team Jamaica has arrived in Berlin!! The team bus left Nuremburg at 10am, driving on the famous autobahn highway. The highway is famous because it has no speed limit. I saw a Ferrari speed passed our bus going at least 200kmph! The highway brought us through the overhead bridge which bordered east and west Germany. The drive was 4 hours but it was fun looking at the beautiful landscape.

When we arrived in Berlin, there were lots of journalists, camera men, and eager fans waiting for the arrival of team Jamaica. Usain Bolt, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Asafa Powell are the main athletes who the focus was on. The hotel is located in the Central Business District, lots of stores and other business headquarters.

Oh yea, I had a good sleep last night finally. I got up 8am this morning 🙂 so I was happy about that. Hopefully it will stay that way from now on. More updates will be posted tomorrow.

Here is a picture of me and Nicholas Gordon, NCAA Indoor long jump champion from the University of Nebraska.

~Alain

Mon. Aug. 10, 2009

Today was another day for me not falling asleep. I literally didn’t fall asleep until 4am this morning. I do most of my sleeping between 10am and 3pm. It doesn’t really affect me because I feel well rested at training, which normally starts at around 4pm. Last night I went out to walk around the neighborhood with a couple of my friends. The area is somewhat like Fayetteville. It has lots of farmlands and it’s also filled with trees and open areas. It’s very quiet, even in the daytime.

The Jamaica 4×1 teams had their workout earlier this morning which was very interesting for me to watch. Our sprint relay teams will be the favorites to win the event at the championships. Veronica Campbell-Brown, former Razorback athlete, will be competing for Jamaica in the 100 meters, 200 meters and the relay. I’m having lots of fun in this new environment. Moving from hanging out with my teammates at Arkansas, to world class professional athletes like Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, and Veronica Campbell and many others is a privilege. Tonight Puma will have a concert for the Jamaican team as well as other professional athletes who are associated with Puma in a town 30 minutes from here. That’s where I’m headed right now.

Tomorrow the team will be on a 4 hour bus drive to Berlin, where I think the real journey starts :)….I will provide updates hopefully tomorrow. Blessed.

~Alain

Mon. Aug. 10, 2009

Well, today was surely a day of firsts. I went downtown with a handful of other athletes to check out some of the sights. Berlin is an easy to navigate city with plenty of sights worth seeing. We ventured to the Brandenberg Tor (stronghold for the Nazi troops during WWII) , the Holocaust Memorial and museum, the Berlin wall, Checkpoint Charlie (checkpoint that was the first checkpoint initiating American military zone) and the Berlin version of the space needle, not sure what this was called, but it was awesome. It was almost bizarre being in some of these locations, like the Berlin wall (or what is left of it, 100 meters) or Brandenberg Tor. Being in the same spot that Nazi troops and the world’s greatest symbol of oppression once ruled the landscape was not a great feeling, but rather as I said before, a bizarre one. Today was a very successful day as our small group of city seekers ventured to all these points with just enough time to get back for some afternoon massages!

I nearly forgot! This morning, Dan (steeplechaser) and I were out for a run when a wild steed (unleashed pit bull) came flying out of the woods and right into our path. He wasn’t friendly and certainly wasn’t just going to sit by and let us pass. As my heart almost leapt out of my chest and ran back the other way I confronted the wild beast. I figured if you can scare away a lion by standing tall the same would work for a dog. I stood in my tracks and didn’t back down. I have never seen a dog run so fast. I am pretty sure this daily merit of courage earned a couple chest hairs.

All in all, great day. God is good. Go Hogs!

~Dorian

Mon., Aug. 10, 2009

Down but not out! So yesterday I came down with a stupid head cold. I believe I got it from my husband because he came down with something three days after arriving in Salzburg. As the saying goes, "You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them." However, the positive thing is I have time. I have eight days till my first round and that is a ton of time. The negative is for the next few days, I am completely stuck to a hotel room (except for training). I am forcing my body to sleep and rest. Luckily I have a little device called the slingbox, which enables me to watch American TV over here. I can access anything on my DVR at home, which, I might add, is the best invention ever! The other negative is I haven’t quite decided how to tell my coach yet. I have a feeling he is going to be frustrated and worried. I don’t feel that awful, just blowing my nose a lot. With a few days of rest and lots of vitamin C, I am sure I will be back on my feet in no time. So really that is all I have going on. My parents arrived yesterday and I sent them in to Salzburg for a day of adventure and sightseeing. I can’t wait to hear the stories, because I am sure there will be a lot. I’m off to sleep.

~Christin

Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009

Today we will be packing up and moving to our new hotel. The new hotel is only one mile from the present one, so not sure the reason for the move, but exciting nonetheless. The present hotel offers a physio room with massage and treatment, also a hospitality room, and several dining rooms. This new hotel must be the BOMB!!!

As far as training goes, yesterday was the first track session since arriving in Berlin. There was no fear of being lost this time as all I had to do was run straight and turn left. The workout was very encouraging as I didn’t feel quite 100 percent, but all my splits were still faster than race pace. There is a beautiful dirt/gravel trail that runs for miles along a little canal, so this makes the easy runs quite enjoyable.

I am still meeting great people on a daily basis, whether it is at a meal or at the practice track, or enjoying some great Wii moments. This morning we had a nice bible study for all those who cared to attend. It was great to worship with some of the best athletes in the world. To be here in Berlin, we all have been truly blessed by the lord, and to spend an hour a day every couple days talking over favorite bible verses is the least we can do.

As the race day draws ever closer, thoughts are rushing through my mind about racing, god, family, friends, and the ensuing school year. As all these thoughts flow in and out, I am constantly reminded that whatever happens here, win or lose, nothing at this point can get any better or worse. Just to be here in Berlin, and on Team USA is truly living the dream. God is good. Go Hogs!

~Dorian

Sat., Aug. 8, 2009

I woke up this morning at 4am wide awake, I’m obviously still not adjusted to the time zone difference. I ate breakfast at 6am which was provided for us. The food is free all day long in the hotel. After that I went to the practice track to watch couple of the athletes do their work out. Then I came back to the hotel at around 12pm and slept all throughout the day. Now its 10pm and I feel fresh as a daisy. LOL. I probably won’t sleep until 2am. It’s been a low key day today. I just hang out with the athletes and basically sleep. I will keep you up-to-date with more, maybe tomorrow.

~Alain

Fri., Aug. 7, 2009

I’m in Nuremberg, Germany right now. Everything is going well and I’m loving it!! I got to Nuremberg yesterday afternoon which was a relief after flying for almost two days. Most of the Jamaican athletes are here. We are having a four-day camp then we go to Berlin on Aug. 12. The people here love the Jamaican athletes, especially Usain Bolt. Some of the fans stay in front of the hotel all day to get autographs and stuff like that. The food and the weather here are very good.

~Alain

Fri. Aug. 7, 2009

After two more great races (Monaco 800 and a big win at Stockholm 1500), I am stationed in Salzburg, Austria waiting for my depature to Berlin on August 15. So far things have gone really well, despite my husband getting over here and getting a headcold, somehow I have managed to stay healthy (knock on wood).

Salzburg is an amazing place to train for a distance runner. There are gravel travels that go for ever. Also there is a creek right outside of the hotel that stays at about 50 degrees and comes down from the mountains, which is perfect for ice baths.

My first day here I had a long run and, of course, my first instinct is to go climb the mountain. However, my husband wouldn’t let me go play due to it being too hard on my legs and draining them. The weather is also absolutely perfect here.

Like any new place it took a couple of days to figure things out and the first few days were rough. Everything closes down on Sundays and for some reason our hotel completely shuts down (no staff around) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Also the bus system was hard to figure out. We were told to jump on bus number 35 to get back to our hotel, which was suppose to arrive in 10 minutes. Well 50 minutes later (still no bus), we ended up catching a ride with a local who was in a restaurant getting dinner. Normally I wouldn’t jump in a car with a stranger but things here seem pretty safe.

Training has been going really well and I am excited but nervous about worlds coming up. I am so close to the medal stand I can taste it. As a matter of fact, my two agents and their assistant (Paul, Piotrek and Gordy) filled me in on the fact that if I medal they will all shave their heads bald. I really need to get this bet in writing because I want to see my agents have to travel the second half of the European circuit without hair. It would make my trip so much better. So right now it is all eyes on the prize.

~Christin

Fri., Aug. 7, 2009

After all travel is said and done, all I can say is business class rocks! I upgraded my ticket in Chicago and the rest is history. Anytime you order dinner from a menu on a plane you know you are in good hands. Besides the delays in Chicago everything went pretty smoothly.

The hotel is pretty awesome. To use the power in the room you have to keep the room key in some power outlet which runs the entire room. I thought I was just using the card wrong but my room did indeed have a electrical problem.

The first run was really great. My legs needed the shakeout as equally bad as I needed to sleep. I got lost on my run and my shakeout turned into a great way to learn the city and meet some locals. Great architecture and great sidewalk art. I got some really good rest last night and now I am fighting my eyes to stay awake. Bring on the coffee!

~Dorian

NBC, Versus to broadcast meet

The 2009 World Championships will be broadcast in the United States daily on NBC and Versus. The broadcast schedule is as follows. All times Eastern; subject to change; check local listings.

August 15: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. NBC

August 16: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. NBC

August 17: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Versus

August 18: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Versus

August 19: 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. Versus

August 20: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus

August 21: 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Versus

August 22: 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. NBC

August 23: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. NBC

For more information on Team USA at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, visit: www.usatf.org.



Sports Category : Track & Field (M)