Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pump Up Poster


My good friend Darcy, the whiz with photoshop and the same person who made the header for my blog, made the team an inspirational poster to take with us to the Village. Thought I would share it with you!

Thank You!

I just wanted to thank everyone for the support you all have given me throughout this crazy journey. I have received numerous e-mails, phone calls, text messages, facebook posts, and snail-mail letters.....all have left an imprint on my heart and I carry your words with me here, as I get ready to compete. Knowing that so many people are behind me is an immeasurable advantage in competition. I could not have reached where I am today without all of you. 

When I moved to Long Beach in 2002 to start full time training for Athens I started to frequent a local cafe for breakfast. It was right around the corner from my house. The Potholder Cafe on Broadway and Euclid. If you are in the area stop by! The food is fabulous and the coffee keeps us going on the hardest of Fridays. The waitresses have become our friends, following our competition schedules and feeling the emotions of wins and losses like they were on the team themselves. The day before we left I drove by and saw this message they wrote on the window. 
Thank You Mo and Beth. We love you!  :)


Leaving Home. Arriving in China.

I love to travel. I hate packing. Why can't someone invent a machine (a la The Jetsons) that you type in what you need and out pops your perfectly packed bag. We invented dishwashers, laundry machines and i-pods. Come on, this can't be asking too much. ha ha :)

About two weeks ago we were given a list of mandatory things to bring. The list wasn't long- our swim suits and a short list of speedo clothes we got. (USA Water Polo has a contract with Speedo so we need to wear their swim suits and clothes on the pool deck.) Those things were neatly folded and ready to go in the bag in seconds....that was the easy part. Then I had to think about the month I would be gone and exactly what else I would need.

*******
Here are things I have learned over the years:

1.I will need toiletries like shampoo, face wash, body lotion, tooth paste....Packing normal size anything makes my bag heavy and takes up space. But being on a month long trip, I need to pack enough of my favorite things so that I have them for the duration. If I can buy the items where I am going....then I just pack one travel size of each and buy more as needed. But if I am going to a place where buying things in not an option, I pack a few travel size containers of each thing. They are small and can fit in the random space in my bag. As I use them up, I throw the containers away and my bag gets lighter and has more space-to fill with all the things I buy while on the trip.  OH! And I ALWAYS put them inside plastic bags. With the way our bags get thrown around there is always something that explodes.

2. I always pack more underwear than I need. 

3. If I can- I make my carry-on a little roller bag. Walking through the giant terminals and waiting in security lines with a huge bag/backpack full of heavy things like books, snacks, a water bottle and a computer is sure to make my back hurt. Factor in some quality time in those extremely comfortable airplane seats and my whole body hurts. Unless you are lucky and fly Business Class, rollers are the way to go! 

4. Packing anything electronic? I always double check I have the cords to recharge them. Frustrating times without them!

5. An added bonus if I have room are things that may make me sleep better- my own pillow, an alarm clock, and a prescription of Ambien. Because everything on a trip is better if I am well rested. :)

****
After a few trips to Target and rummaging thorough my room, the pile next to all my Speedo stuff had grown quite a bit. (There were three books, an i-pod, my computer, sunglasses, assorted snacks, a bag of starburst, a camera, my FlipVideo, room decorations, a teddy bear, a weight belt.....your get the picture) Now how was I going to fit all of that into a two foot long roller bag and a backpack?  I couldn't take a large roller bag because on our way to China we were stopping in San Jose for Team USA Processing (I'll go into that in detail later) and I was going to be getting a lot of team apparel and a few bags there. So we were told to fit our stuff in the smallest amount of space possible. 

Of course I managed to do it. I did have to re-pack it a few times when things didn't fit. I guess I should look at it like a game or a puzzle and it would be more fun. But I'm still leaning towards a machine that does if for me. 

Here we are boarding the plane for China.....


And then we landed 12 hours later to be greeted by one of the Olympic mascots!!!
 


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Home.

A week ago we finished a four game series against Australia.
Results were as follows:
July 4th @ The US National Training Facility- Los Alamitos, Ca 13-12
July 6th @ Coggan Aquatic Center- La Jolla, Ca 12-11
July 8th @ Coronado High School- San Diego, Ca 12-6
July 10th @ Avery Aquatics Center- Stanford University, Palo Alto, Ca 7-5

Playing every other day, the line-up of games was designed to simulate the schedule that we will have once we start our competition in China. Play a game. Have a day off to fine tune what is needed for the next game and maybe rest a little. Play again.

This schedule was adopted in 2003 at World Championships in Barcelona. Before, games were played everyday. The women playing one week, followed by the men's competition the next. (At the Sydney Olympic Games we played 5 round robin games, a semi, and a final-and were finished in the first week of the Games) But too many times one of the semi-final games went into overtime, then sudden death, having a match last well past the usual hour long time period. Leaving those two teams exhausted. Only to have them turn around the next day and play a team, in a medal round game, who had played a regulation length game the day before. A little unfair they thought. So now we play every other day, alternating men's and women's matches until the end of the Games.

Our last game up at Stanford was particularly special for me. Being in Northern California, it was one of the rare occasions that I got to play close to home! (Home is in Orinda-East Bay Area) Which also meant that my family and friends were in the stands to cheers us on!!!!

But so were 2,985 other folks!!!! The largest crowd EVER for a Women's Water Polo Game in the US!!!!!! With the record-breaking crowd, the television cameras all over place(NBC filmed the game for a National broadcast), and other Olympic athletes in the stands to cheer us on (the USA Swim Team was training at Avery as well-yes, I mean Michael Phelps.) this was as close to experiencing a game in China as we were going to get. Perfect preparation for next month. Thank you to the Stanford Club team for making that game happen. It was awesome.

My Brother, his wife Susie, and my nephew Conor made the trip down from Seattle to see the game. And brought along some of Sus's family to see their first water polo game. We successfully acquired new fans.



I got to stay home after the game and spend some quality time holding Conor and hang out with my family before I returned to Long beach for these last weeks of training. There is something about Home and being around my family that rejuvenates me like nothing else does. I know the next time I see Conor, in about two months, he will probably already have a cell phone and be driving, he is growing so fast. So every moment counts. Especially the ones where he is asleep and looking like an angel. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Realizations.

See that countdown there on the right.....

The Games start in 24 days!!!!!! And today at the chiropractor's office I realized that our team will leave the LA area to head to processing and then China....in 12 days!!!!!! I am sooooo excited!

That is all for now.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my 2000 and 2004 teammate Nicolle Payne!!! :)


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Take me out to the ball game....



We took Dodger stadium by storm today. Our team was announced pre-game on the first base line.


My Highlights:
1. Listening to The Stars Spangled Banner while standing on the field in front of the LA dugout. I love to hear the nation's anthem when I am not getting prepared to play a game.

2. Getting the chills as we returned to our seats. People were clapping and reaching out for high fives. You could sense the pride they had in our team and for the USA.

3. Eating a dodger dog drowning in nacho cheese.

Brenda threw out the ceremonial first pitch.....to Nat!!! :) They got to practice a few times first.

video

Albertson's Ads

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Who shops at Albertson's in Southern California?

If you are not shopping there and you live in So Cal......then I think that you should start!!

Albertson's has pledged up to $1,000,000 to four Women's National Teams in their Step Beyond Gold Program. (Water Polo, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball) By using your preferred customer cards you can help us reach our monetary goals to support our national teams and youth athletics AND enter yourself in a drawing to win a Ford Edge!

How would I know??? I'M IN THE AD!!!!! I had done the photo shoot with my team mate Natalie Golda a few months ago. It was a blast to go into a photo studio, have your make-up done by a professional, and then have these pictures taken in front of a huge white screen. They showed us how eventually our pictures would be super imposed in the ad with the Ford car. I never thought much past that.

I was more awe struck by the experience. I felt like a rock star for a day. There was Perrier next to the Red Bull in the fridge. Every snack food imaginable....and yes, I am no model so I had to sample everything. I am not sure how real models live that lifestyle when they have a buffet of munchies laying around them all the time. Talk about self control.

The pictures don't even look like me in my mind. Who is that girl??? And then to go into a public grocery store and have no idea that while I was standing in line to buy a bagel, RIGHT behind me was a life size ad just hanging there. OMG. It was soooo cool! Jamie Hipp (one of our goalies)and I ran around the store taking pictures of our teams ads. :) I'll post a slide show!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Olympic Team

Olympic Team Dinner 2008

On Wednesday we had a dinner to celebrate the naming of the team at The Reef restaurant in Long Beach. It is located right next to where the Queen Mary is docked with an incredible view of downtown. The team was able to have a special dinner together to soak in the idea of being an Olympian. As a special treat, to give us a little insight and inspiration, Cliff Meidl (Sprint Kayaking- 1996 & 2000, Olympic Team Flag Bearer 2000) spoke to us about his life and journey as an Olympian and what he has learned from it all. He is an incredible speaker with an amazing story. I felt honored that he came to share his story. Thanks Cliff.


It is a rare occasion that I dress up in "normal" clothes. A dress? Yeah, maybe once every few months. If that. I will definitely need to take notes while watching What not to Wear when I retire because right now life works much better with gym shorts, t-shirts, and spandex. :) But I did have a dress in my closet, which I had bought many moons ago. Of course I had not worn it. I had found at one of my favorite stores "White House Black Market" and this was my occasion!!! Turns out Nat and Karen (our trainer) had found outfits at the same store. They should make us their spokes models. Oh yeah.

Roster

#1 Betsey Armstrong
#2 Me (Heather Petri)
#3 Brittany Hayes
#4 Brenda Villa
#5 Lauren Wenger
#6 Natalie Golda
#7 Patty Cardenas
#8 Jessica Steffens
#9 Elsie Windes
#10 Alison Gregorka
#11 Moriah van Norman
#12 Kami Craig
#13 Jamie Hipp

Proud to be an American.




Happy
4th of July!!!!

The Olympic Team roster was named earlier this week and I am so proud to represent America for the THIRD time come August! It makes it all the more poignant when all day today I have seen people wearing red, white and blue. Waving flags, adorning their houses and cars with patriotic flare. I see the enthusiasm that people at home have for our country and will carry those images with me to China for inspiration. 

We have a game today against Australia on the base in Los Alamitos....... followed by a BBQ and fireworks above the pool! 
What a great way to celebrate our Nation's birth!!!!

(a few hours later) We won the game! 13-12 :)