Lauren Paolini: Life in the Springs
Upon arriving in Colorado Springs a few weeks ago, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. Up until this point in my life I had never been at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) longer than a week. This time around, I knew I would be here for at least a couple months, if not longer. It was a strange experience going into it, knowing that I would be out of school for the semester, not even in Texas, and playing with a different team. The hardest part was sacrificing the fun times with my teammates and friends, but I knew it would be a great experience and a chance to take my game to the next level. To ease the transition, two of my teammates (Juliann Faucette and Destinee Hooker) were going with me so I knew at least two people.
As far as the schedule and what we do here on a day-to-day basis it is pretty much the same every week. We have a three-hour practice in the morning and then either weights in the afternoon or another two-hour serve-and-pass session. Overall, there is actually a lot more down time than I was expecting. They have a recovery center for the resident athletes with a hot and cold tub as well as a steam room and massage therapists. However, I realized once I got here that I enjoy when our trainer (DeAnn Koehler) schedules our appointments at Texas for us much better than scheduling them on my own.
In addition to the free time during the week, we are also granted the weekends off which at first seemed really nice, until I realized that I didn't have car. There is not really much within walking distance from the OTC campus except for a Walgreen's, Taco Bell and Papa John's. I spent my first free weekend wasting time on my computer, calling friends from back home and coloring in coloring books with my roommate. In addition to coloring books and phone calls, because it is an Olympic year there have actually been a lot of Olympic trials and competitions going on here on campus. So far I have seen a Tae-kwon-do tournament, boxing and wrestling matches. They were all very interesting. Since then, I've figured out how to get around town a little better. Some of the girls on the team have cars so that makes it easier to get out; especially since they are so willing to take anyone wherever they need to go.
In the mornings, when I'm walking to breakfast, it's usually sunny, not necessarily warm, but very sunny and there is a beautiful view of the Rocky Mountains. It is such a pretty view to wake up to every morning and I don't think I will ever get sick of looking at them.
Although I am having fun in Colorado Springs and learning a lot from my experience, I miss my teammates tremendously and can't wait to get back to the warm weather in Austin!