This year my trip to Des Moines, Iowa for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship started at the crack of dawn. Actually, it was before the crack of dawn - Jesse and I had to leave our houses at 4.45 AM to catch the plane at 6 AM. Luckily, the flights were all on time and weren't very long so they weren't bad. We flew to Chicago, had an hour lay-over then flew to Cedar Rapids, a city about two hours north of Des Moines. From there, we collected our hire car and began the drive to our hotel. Boy oh boy, the roads are straight here!!! I think we may have made a total of three turns from airport to hotel. It's also pretty flat with a few rolling hills - it reminds me of the English country side and my home! Ha-Ha!!
When we got to our hotel we couldn't check in, so we went out to check out the track and collect our team packet. The track looks like a Roman Coliseum from the outside! That or a prison. Huge brick walls and black metal bars! But, when we went back later for practice it looks awesome on the inside. The track is SUPER fast and it's all blue. The stands wrap around three sides of the track and we heard that it gets pretty loud in there so I'm excited for competition to start so I can hear for myself!
My practice for that day went really well. I just had an easier tempo session, but it was 95 degrees and because of the way the stands are all the heat got in to the track, and then stayed there! However it's awesome for sprinters like me because it gets our muscles ready to race so it's a good thing! It was also cool to see some of the other teams practicing. We saw some people we knew - the UNC Charlotte coach and some of the Western Carolina coaches - and I also got a chance to check out some of my competition. It's crazy here, every single athlete looks like a professional and it definitely got my nerves going! But, I know I'm here because I fought hard and earned it so I feel like I fit in a whole lot more than last year's deer-in-the-headlights approach I took! Going from today's practice, I'm feeling good and ready to race. We just need to cross our fingers and hope the weather continues!
After practice and I had cooled down, we headed off to dinner to get some chicken, vegetables, pasta and bread sticks - my fav0rite meet meal! After dinner I crashed out EARLY...like 9.30 pm!!! Can you get jet lag from a one-hour time difference??? Just kidding...