With the Slovak Cycling team-Matej Jurco, Roman Bronis, and Jan Valach before their departure for Slovakia today (ok, their moments here were not so so glorious perhaps, but I enjoyed chatting with them. Palmer would have had a blast).
I slept well, but woke up to a warm morning, so I did not feel like running right away. I said goodbye to some of the Slovak athletes leaving today and headed off one more time to the Olympic pool to see three more world records broken, one of which was by Michael Phelps. It may sound like it's getting old for me, but there is no such thing as getting tired of witnessing a world record being smashed in a packed swimming pool stadium. The closest experience to this one is being at the Tour de France, waiting for the first rider to ride by the spot where you are standing. A big time athletics high.
At the Slovak office, it was not much more calming with Lucia Klocova easily moving on to the 800m semifinals with the third fastest time and with the brothers Rizdorfer and Eva Kaliska winning Gold Medals in the kayak/slalom competitions.
Following some seriously glorious moments in the lives of athletes, I came up to my room feeling quite insignificant. I mean, my best time in the tables is 81st out of 85 competitors, which means only four women have entered the Games with a slower personal best than mine. Some of you may have been following this blog, thinking I had a chance at a medal. I mean, Steven Krashen and Lyle Bachman, two gurus in my field of study, have been posting on my blog. Or, should I say they were posting on my blog since now they know just how slow I am and probably won't bother. J No, seriously, I was quite disappointed to find out just how far back I was.
Don't get me wrong—I am not immersing myself in self-pity or lacking of perspective. I know there are people who, as Alex reminds me often, have difficulty just breathing or deal with cancer or other major health issues. So worrying about only being able to run a subpar marathon may sound rather pathetic. I guess I just don't want them to close the gate to the National Stadium before I get there—one of the coaches said they are closing it at 10:15... I hope he was joking. J
The thing is that my friend Abby, a former Winter Olympian, warned me about this: when people hear that you've participated in the Olympics, they immediately ask if you have won a medal. It's kind of like in linguistics, when people ask how many languages you speak, you cheat and count the ones you were once able to complete tests in back in high school. I mean, for the rest of my life, I may have to say, "No, actually, I was last.” Or, “No, actually, I was 82nd out of 85 competitors.”
I know I need to do two things right now. First, I need to look inside rather than outside to find meaning in this race. I must find a way to block off all the possible negativity of any coaches or media and find a way to ignore any disappointment on the side of my friends and family. Second, I know I have to somehow get myself into an even-headed and more optimistic mode. I think, up until now, it's all been figuring out what the worst possible disasters may be and how I will be dealing with them. Not for once have I thought that maybe, just maybe, I may actually have a pretty good race. How I wish I was as positive and optimistic as one of my running partners who never writes herself off! Though, needless to say, she indeed often ended up beating folks who were a lot faster than her on paper.
Well, this may not have been the most exciting entry, but I guess it reflects the turmoil I am feeling inside. Please, pray for me over this last day that I might find meaning within; so that I can, even just a little bit, believe that I am going to have a positive experience. I doubt I will have time to post anything more before the race. Aleksandar is coming tomorrow so I will get to spend some time with him and perhaps with his dad too. Then, I need to get my water bottles ready and just get all my things ready for the race. While I may not find time to post, I will check any comments you might post, so, please, feel free to do so. I am sure you will find a way to follow me during the race and you will hear from me soon after, though I worry my fan club will have shrunk significantly by then. J