Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DJ at Penn

Penn Relays Ten Years later –

So the last time I was at Penn there was nothing close to USA v. the World. The meet was still fighting the inclusion of professional events and things were contentious. I stood on the infield unable to see any of the actual races, so I have no recollection of what was happening. So there I was ten years removed and standing in the middle of the field again, but this time it was different…
USA v. The World is a lie. It is USA v Jamaica, period. The crowd is pro Jamaican from high school races through the pro ranks. And those JAM fans know it all, and come ready to scream, chant, holla, cheer and boo! And it is great. There is not another meet in the country you will hear U-S-A, U-S-A for some relays, for some high schoolers, and for something non-national team related. The decibel level will give you chills out there and if you cannot rise to the occasion for that then you do not have a pulse. The best time in the stadium is when the JAM teams win or challenge. The flags wave, the screams reach high, and everybody stands up. The DMR probably brought out the biggest roar of all, it was fun.

The action got started Friday actually. David Oliver, Aries Merritt, Aubrey Herring, and Joel Brown set a World’s Best in the shuttle hurdles. I was unable to make it out to see it but any time you can set a world record it is special. I was a little miffed because they wanted 2 teams and were a man short but never called me to ask for Ryan to come, I will ask some questions about that, sounds like a c-o-n-spriacy to me. Lol There was an Olympic development women’s 4x100, but no one was pleased with the race or how the meet handled it. They tried to get the young ladies in the invitational on Saturday but after drawing lane one it was thought a waste of time. Good call JD!
If David Oliver’s shoulders get any bigger they will fall off!
Saturday proved to be fun!
David Neville ran on the DMR, split 45.5 with a 20 meter lead. His anchor leg cost him some money when he gave up the lead in 200 meters.
The 4x100 produced the strangest event ever. Leroy Dixon was on first leg and came around the bend, as soon as he hit the mark for Wallace, the Canadian second leg went to take off and slapped Leroy in the eye, stopping him cold, some how he managed to complete the pass but the race was over by that time for the team. They finished fourth but should have won. Kudos to the other USA team who almost pulled off the victory from lane 2, chasing JAM to the wire.
The women were the show. The teams were evenly matched and it came down to a dream scenario, Allyson Felix v. Sanya Richards on the anchor. The ladies received the baton at the same time and the race was on. Allyson smoothly pulled away to win by a meter.
The 4x400 were full of names and looked to find some drama as the 2 US anchors received the sticks less than a meter apart. However, Jeremy is an alien and made 43 look like a walk in the park putting 5 meters on Angelo without taking a deep breath. An alien I am telling you. He wears those glasses so you can’t see his eyes glowing when he taps into his alien powers! He has it mastered and it is nice to see.
The women’s 4x4 saw Allyson and Sanya on the same team and the result showed it.

Now I am in Guadeloupe. Time for the season to start…

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

DJ Hits

The down side to having a blog is deciding what to write about. You could be like myself and just start typing or you can pick a topic and write about it. I do both. Even when I have a topic I just start writing and see where we end up. It is more fun that way.
Life is fleeting, enjoy it. Life is sudden and for your own sake when you are faced with the inevitable face of death please understand the resolution is not detailed, it is simple and immediate. All that you have failed to say or wanted to say is to be said and understood. No remorse or regrets because it will kill you.
I have been in vicarious counseling the last few months. Some people around me have been going through things and I use their appointments and their tapes and whatnot's to counsel them as well as myself. I now know why I always saw myself as different, and I also understand a thousand times better why I have had 90% of the arguments and debates in my life. I used to think it was the usual right v. wrong or misunderstandings. Now I know it is because I am an introspective person. To some degree it is a fault but that is another conversation. I have always been fascinated by why people think the way they think and why people think what they think. I learned that is unique. At least to the level I take it. I function on this premise, and it has caused me more than one confrontation. People just like to think what they think without having to explain or even understand why. Of course that has never made sense to me, but now I know I have to be more tolerant of others ways not just their opinions or thoughts. It helps a lot.
Now that being said, some of you so called friends and associates need to think a lot more about yourselves as you are defined by your words, actions and the thoughts that are defined by your actions. There are a couple of people that would do well to steer clear of me for the rest of your life. You made some decisions that affected me and my house and I will never let you live that down. I tend to be quiet about my private affairs and I will remain so, I think. This situation may warrant action, but I will do what I can to avoid it. (For some of you I will tell you the situation I am talking about does not have a thing to do with press or drugs or anything like that). It is simple to a few people around my existence, cross the street when you see me. What you did is personal and you will suffer for your moves. Honestly, you should have been a better person and influence if you were a truly honest and caring person. But since you were not, suffer. Nothing you set out for will come to pass, watch what I say to you. Your labors are fruitless because your spirit is untrue and impure. Don't worry about my side, that will be what it will be and it is what it is. This too shall pass.

He who run fast in April, shall not see the podium in August!

Bianca Knight is for real.

The women's sprints is hotter than the men.

Tyson Gay is the man to beat in both sprints.

Robles is the man to beat, Allen Johnson called that right.

Allen must be retired, for those of you waiting for him to retire you are fooling yourself. Allen you keep serving these youngsters as long as they allow you to represent us old guys.

What happened to MT SAC? It used to be the place to be now it is just a meet. Sad.

I am going to Penn for the first time in ten years. Wow! I am looking forward to it.

Damn I need to wash! A LOT!

See y'all on the road

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

DJs Partylist

Ok so we had Mt SAC and as per usual it is the official opener for those I train. Well it was supposed to be at least. Here is a quick rundown.
Ryan I pulled on Thursday because he had a runny nose or something like that and we are taking zero chances this year. LOL No he had a hot spot in his hamstring, had to pull out of a hurdle session and I was not taking a chance. He has plenty of races coming this year, I am in no rush, we have to be ready at the end of June beginning of July and no earlier.
Kenny is coming along fine. Taking our time getting him in race shape.
Jonathan is having a nice early season.
Tasha is ready.
I do not have time to run through the WHOLE group so I will stick to my four musketeers.
Now for this weekend.
Tasha had a busy day doubling in both hurdles. I love having her run the short hurdles because it is pressureless and something she can be good at. Sometimes I wish we could dedicate more time to it but oh well. So her first 400h race went awry but it was a strong run. Post race evaluation says she was too relaxed about the race. Something she and I both took fault in. She smashed hurdle 2 with her trail leg and almost fell, and she almost stopped. That stumble cost her coming home. I was proud of the way she fought back over the last half of the race. She was smooth with it and not at all busted by the run. In the past she would have been laid out for 45 minutes after her first trip over ten, but this year she was on the phone to me the minute she got to her bag. After putting away a few old demons we got to the business of evaluating her performance and not breaking down the performance. I have learned this year that outsiders eyes can prove to be a valuable tool. Everyone had wonderful things to say about her run and that lifted us both up. See we set out to win everything this summer, and not to lose or run anything slower than 54s. So the result had our emotions for a minute, just for a minute. Now back to work.
Jonathan conquered some serious demons this year. I am so proud of this young man. As a coach you always have your personal favorites and you have your personal joys. Watching this man develop, grow and realize himself is a joy. He stepped out there and ran the race with some top level competition and learned he belongs right there with them. That is what I wanted him to get to this year. I have promised to make him a new athlete, to run with confidence, and I will be damned if I am not watching him grow right before my eyes. I sound like a father. Anyway he ran a strong race. There are some technical issues he needs to continue to work on but he is truly a work in progress. The beautiful thing is he is Belizean so we are booked to Beijing already. It does not get any better than that.
Ryan watched from the stands. After seeing the line up and the results he was glad I pulled him. As of Friday he was still campaigning to run because he wanted to compete, but he realized he did not need to run. LOL
Kenny almost did not get a chance to run. He sat around all day waiting to run the relay and we were a man short by the time it came to run. Luckily we found a fourth and he went out and did a good job. He smiled half way down the backstretch when he heard folks calling his name. And then again when he felt a challenger. I am happy his leg is acting right and he showed some of his old self out there. he was able to turn on the after burners and that was encouraging to see. Now we get him ready for his hurdle debut in three weeks.
I am off to Penn Relays for the first time in ten years and then to the Caribbean to island hop these little meets. It is showtime folks and I cannot wait. Going to be difficult being away from my athletes but they are in good hands and I have their workouts ready.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

DJ Playlist

Is it Track Season yet?
- MC Restless

He who run fast in April, Get ass kicked in August!
- Confucius Sez

Who's next?
- The Olympic Rings

- The Jamaican Lion King

Always a bridesmaid you will never be a Bride
- The Bluegrass Man

I know I can Sprint
- MC Cornrows

Promise fulfilled?
- Professor X

A Dream Deferred
- The International Mass Choir

Fantastic Voyage
- The Medallist

Gold is What We Want
- Lightning the 6'5er

- The General Populace

I got Nine on It!
- The Young Gunners

You don't know me
- The Mad Sprinter

Just a few selections from the crates for all y'all listening out there in the land.

Why is this thing so addictive? And how come it is so hard to make money at?

There will be a surprise, there is always a surprise.

I love it. Can't wait to see the familiar faces. Can't wait for the nerves and the thrill and the ecstasy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

DJ Cool down

So as I sit back trying to ignore the fact that I am at work I am writing you all about today. Now follow closely because this is what some of us do to love the sport.
I spent my entire day at Drake Stadium (UCLA) enjoying a track meet. Here is a quick synopsis of what went down...
Threw together some relays. My star hurdler misses the race because he thought the race was at 1:30PM and thought it wise to leave his house at 11:45AM. Problem is the race was at 12:25PM. This would be foretelling for his day. LOL
Relays went well, a bunch of hurdlers, and qmilers ran. Team A ran 38.88, not bad for having two qmilers on the team; Tyrone Edgar - David Neville - Kelly Willie - Leroy Dixon.
Tasha flinched and nailed herself to the blocks (NCAA rules had her worried) finished second in 13.27.
20 minutes later she lined up and ran 52.89 for a long overdue pr! Thank goodness. Nice work for 20 minutes.
Next up was Ryan for his big re debut at 400iH. He false starts! Amazing. All I could was laugh, he was hot. Had to go get on the massage table and remove himself for a minute. LMAO I think someone was looking out for him today, he was not meant to run those races, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. LOL
The 200 was an in group showdown. Turned out to be our second dramatic event of the year. Kelly went down with a hamstring injury. It always sucks when your athlete goes down. Experience teaches you to keep your chin up and things will be fine in a few weeks. The emotion remains however, you are disappointed.
Craig Everhart ran a pr 20.78. it was nice to see him show his wares again been a long time for him.
Tyrone Edgar ran a modest 20.98, he is a work in progress and everything bodes well for him summer.
So fast forward and we close the day with the 4x400. As a part of Ryan's penance he was thrust into the relay. This is where he was supposed to be. We did alright, nothing to write home about. I was happy to see the people we had running out there. Exorcised some demons and got to see the product under real life scenarios.
One thing was clear from this meet, Allyson Felix is untouchable. She has 2 gears, FAST and FASTER. Her split was 49.5! She was a comfortable 5 or so in the lead and put 40 on the girl within 250 meters! My new name for her is One Speed!
Overall it was a picture perfect day on campus. Damn near a hundred and no wind, it was a track day and I am happy.
I left tired, hot, sticky, dusty, mentally energized, physically tired and went straight to work. Where I sit here now writing all of you. This will end soon but for now I am trying to not move too much. All I want to do is talk about track...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

DJ Inventory

I was coaching today and I had to step back and be that other persona, a mentor. Well I was thinking through my day and decided to take my own advice. Oh what advice was that? Being mindful of the things we store when we take inventory of ourselves. Somewhere in our DNA there seems to be a negative magnet in our personal inventory directive.
We have the uncanny ability to see, remember and hang on to all the negative things that happen in our lives while simultaneously overlooking, excusing, forgetting and dismissing the good things that happen in our lives. It is a vicious process which is ridiculously uneven. Ten great things can happen in our day, but let that one bad thing cross our path and we will instantly forget everyone of those good things.
It is time we all started hanging on to the good things and letting the bad things go. We can advise others to do all day and effectively but look in the mirror and instant failure. No words, thoughts, or affirmations will convince the person in the mirror that the world has not ended. It is funny when you think about it, but clearly something all of us have to get better at.
I am doing it now as I write. I can literally feel the negative thoughts bouncing in the box I have tried to place them in. If only I could throw the box out. As they say in church, the devil is a liar!
Do not load your storage room up with the devils toys, the negative thoughts and memories that keep you clouded and confused about who you are. Fill your mind with the good things that you see and that happen to you and in your life. It is okay to be happy, EVERYDAY. It is okay to be the inspirational one. Everyday you wake and live is a blessing. Every dollar you earn, every life you touch, every compliment you receive is something to fill your heart and mind with. Let that other stuff roll off your back and do not let it distract you from your life, which is your dream, which is your goal.

Monday, April 7, 2008

DJ time

He works on His own time! God may not be there when we want him but he will be there on time! So much is happening in DJ's life that looks bleak that I have to operate on faith. Even when my faith is the problem, it is the only thing holding me up.
I tell you all He is always on time. The life I live is filled with expectation, and the knowledge that what me and mine pray for already is. I am telling you that this has proven to be a life changing mindset. I am not saying I walk everyday with the confidence of a mustard seed, I am saying when I question what in the world is happening in my world, I turn and force myself to live in the knowledge that God has already done it for me. So far whenever I think this is it, IT has been success and a blessing.
Blessings are truly all around us and man they come at you from strange angles, some of them you will miss due to your own smoke screen. You will mistake your blessing for another blow to the knees, when if you just give it to him and trust that he has heard you, the blessing will pop out like a red rose on white sheets.
I have a partner in this life and she is my constant source of positivity when I am standing on my head ready to whine and cry and sing the blues. She has decided that she will remain positive through it all and I mean through it all, and it has kept me and helped me push on. Even when she has been the source of my stress and darkness, she has played the dual role of being my source of overcoming.
I believe we are made to be a tandem, and I am telling you without my partner I would be in a different place in my life. LOL That is an inside joke if ever there was one.

Six years ago I was in Saudi Arabia, coaching the national team to the Asian Games. Life was very similar for me, tragic. Yet there I was, focusing all my energy on coaching and making the guys the best they could be. Well here I am right back to the Saudi team. I walked away at the end of 2002 to stake my claim in this world. I wanted no more shadows to outrun, I struck out on my own and became the coach I am today. Now my situation is a hybrid, I am still running from those shadows but I have a flashlight now. And as of today I am repeating history, I am the Saudi Arabian national coach once again.
My boys have been longing to have me back, well now they have it. On my terms, in my country, and everyone is happy. Well, almost happy. Here we go, back in the saddle again. except this time, I have my own athletes to worry about, and I will put them first. They are my people, they are the ones that trust me the most and the ones I care about. A lot has been invested in them and just because I have secured some funds for my life does not mean I am abandoning the crew. DSports is for real and I will make sure we stand out.

I love my job. I love what this is about and what I am about. The devil tried to break me, but he failed. His attacks have come hard and furious, everyday, God is my rod and my shield. The devil does not like that. :-)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

DJ Olympic dreams

It has begun!
As I sat on the grassy hill at Pomona-Pitzer’s famed blue track, watching the athletes go by, I had the Blackberry humming with Texas Relay results. Thankfully, the Florida relays decided to do all their hot running Friday, so all I had to keep up with was the relays in Austin.
If you are a true track fan in the US, you have to appreciate this month of April. We call it the relay season, and it reminds us all of why we started running and why we stick with the sport. All the talk of money and contracts and teams is forgotten for four or five weeks, while we all go back to our childhood. Weekend invitational litter the American landscape of track and field and spawn the superstars of all professional sports. Whether it is an age group meet or an high school meet or a college invitational or a weekend carnival that involves all levels, we sit outside in the sun watching track.
After April you would not see a bunch of world class athletes standing around the track or infield watching someone run a 4+ minute mile, or 12 flat 100 meters. We definitely are not watching a 4x1600 relay. Yet, look at the April weekends and you will see these meets featuring the stars of today and the stars of yesterday being honored or just hanging out. I am not sure there is a better time than April for track purest.
Amateurism survives in these baton festivals. The old adage, “give a starving man a saltine cracker and he will proclaim it is the best cracker in the world.” Same applies for the track athlete in April. They have spent months sweating, crying, bleeding, and dying and their tolerance is over. They will agree to run anything, and coaches try anything. World Champion 100 sprinters running 4x400s, intermediate hurdlers running 800s, 400 runners running sprint relays, it is a veritable smorgasbord of talent in mixed up events.
I give the IAAF and IOC credit for deciding to have the countries qualify their relays. We are guaranteed to see high quality relay races from national teams throughout the relay season. For example, in Texas we had the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia field a team for the first time in history. The irony might be that no one noticed! LOL In a few weeks their will be the Penn Relays and we will have a track full of international stars trying to post qualifying marks for their national relay teams.
And thus begins the Olympic campaign. The excitement is at every meet, in every race. We will hear the word Olympics so many times it will become expected. “So, how did it feel to get back out there and shake off the training cobwebs?” “You know, I just want to make sure I am ready for the Olympics!” “I plan to double and bring home 2 medals.” “What events will you run this year?” “I will run the XXX and the XXX and try to bring home three gold medals.” Etc. There is nothing like the Olympic year.
Athletes spend their entire careers building to this moment, especially in the US, where Olympic spots are never handed out or faxed out. You will earn your Olympic berth, and coveted it just the same. So we see meticulous planning and strategies by coaches. A long run here and short run there, time to go back and train heavy in the midst of it all. All in the name of Olympic gold.