A lots happened over the last several days, including a two day break! That like doesn’t happen. Two days off! Or even when it did I didn’t have the break because I was fortunate enough to have been competing with our National team in Japan. What to do? What to do during my two days off? Well, I contemplated going to Switzerland to see Robyn, Logan, and Benishe, but I didn’t have Benishe’s number and Logan nor Robyn got back to me. Plan b was to go to Venice. This is my fourth season in Italy and I’ve never been there. But an unexpected plan c came into play and I ended up visiting a friend in Macerata, Italy that I hadn’t seen in at least seven years. I decided to take the train down thinking it would be relaxing, check out the countryside, listen to my music, read my book. NOT! It was a disaster. The train was late and I missed my connection. Was forced to deal with a very unfriendly attendant…and arrive in a city 50 km from my original destination. I later learn that the Italian train system is pretty consistent at being late, unreliable. I booked a flight for my return as I had practice later that day.

We’ve had a tough four days of practice, really pushing it lifting weights, allotting time for working on technique, focusing in on team passing and hitting. The though there were signs of a bit of fatigue, we’ve been working through it and the morale seems pretty positive. Yesterday, after practice we headed to the home of the winter Olympics for 2006, to an art gallery exposition of Luigi Benedicenti. What beautiful and lively paintings. They looked like photographs. There were a couple of fruit paintings I wanted to eat right off the canvas as there was no time for a snack or dinner after practice. Gotta tell you, upon entering the gallery, I was greeted by the cutest little girl. She ran up to me and hugged me around my legs, just holding on to me. So sweet. Carol is her name. Her parents came up afterwards and said how excited Carol was when I arrived. I’m guessing she is about seven. I love kids my heart just melted. She reminded me of my Godchild who is just a couple of years older. Later I made my way over to the USA House, and met with another friend.

Anyway, still in the Olympic spirits, after my morning practice the day before, I ventured to Torino with a very specific hand written map by my physical therapist drawn to arrive at the Nike hospitality house. I have a navigator in my car but a lot of the streets in Torino have been blocked off due to the Olympic Games. I met with too representatives from Nike for the first time in Italy (that’s kind of funny) and also with a old friend for lunch. The food was awesome. Then after my evening practice, I went back to Torino again do some Olympic sightseeing with Daniella and Marta, two friends of mine. I almost felt like a participant of the games. I used my three time Olympian ID card to get a couple of passes to enter the Lancia ice bar (after 10pm an invitation was needed to enter). It was so cold inside. But very kool. We had drinks from glasses made of ice. I thought about the movie Dumb and Dumber when the character stuck his tongue to the pole….

I think I’ve been to Torino more the last few days than I have all of last season. Unfortunately I’ve only watched the events on TV. With training twice a day and the second practice ended anywhere from 8pm to 9pm it’s difficult to plan an event. But I am working on the coach to see if we can see something next week and perhaps get tickets from one of our sponsors. It would be great to draw inspiration from the best in the world caliber athletes.

OK, that’s enough for this entry. We have Tortoli on Sunday when I will go head to head with Olympic teammate Heather Bown.