Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Erin Donohues Blog from Beijing

Erin Donohue
Erin Donohue writes from Beijing in a Courier Post Blog
*** Update from Erin on her race***
I have an update on my race: the first round on August 19th was CANCELLED, due to lack of entries. Actually, there are 36 girls entered, enough for 3 rounds, but the local organizing committee decided to cut it out anyway. So now, my first race will be August 21st at 7pm China time, 7am EST. There will be 3 heats of 12 runners and the top 4 in each heat and the next 2 fastest times will advance to the final on August 23rd.

Since leaving Haddonfield, I’ve been busy traveling and settling into the Olympic Village. I arrived in Beijing on the 7th and checked into one of the US Team’s apartments. We’re a big team, so we take up several of the apartment buildings in the Village. I’m staying with five other girls from the track team, including one of my training partners, Shannon Rowbury and my former UNC teammate, Alice Schmidt.

Athletes from all countries live, eat and train in the Village. It’s got a dining hall (featuring a McDonald’s), workout facilities, shopping areas, lounges, and other meeting areas. It’s surreal to see all of these athletes from countries around the world in this place. For instance, I saw Yao Ming, who is fairly easy to spot, casually grabbing a drink in the dining hall.

The day after I arrived, I marched in the Opening Ceremonies. This was a memorable experience, filled with great excitement and lots of sweat. The US Team wore Ralph Lauren Polo suits, which looked sharp, but were a little heavy for the Beijing heat and humidity. Aside from the perfuse sweating, the Opening Ceremonies were amazing. Walking into a stadium of 90,000+ people and watching the torch lighting is something I’ll never forget.

The day after the ceremonies, I left the Olympic Village and flew with some other members of the track team to a training camp in Dalian. Dalian is port city on the Yellow Sea, and the US Track and Field team is staying at a golf course resort hotel north of town. Security around the hotel is tight, and we’re the only group actually allowed in the hotel area. Police block major roads and escort us anytime we leave the hotel. I feel very VIP, but I also feel a little embarrassed that we may be inconveniencing this city of 6 million people every time we need to go somewhere. I know I’d be mad if police shut down Route 70 or 295 because some runners needed to get to a track.

Partially due to this security, the Dalian training camp is much quieter than Beijing, and I’m finding it easier to relax and focus on training here. Since the first round of the women’s 1500m is still over a week away, I can get in a few more quality workouts. Today, I did a tempo run and some drills, and tomorrow, I’ll do a harder interval session on the track. I’m feeling good, and I’ve completely adjusted to the time difference. I’ll let you know how things go here in Dalian and back in Beijing.

Click here to access Erin's Blog Page from the Courier Post:

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