If you are an athlete with Olympic aspirations, you need to visit the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Period.
You can only train so long, day-in and day-out with your coaches, or alone in your basement as the case may be, before your long-term vision begins to dim and you start to feel like you're just going through the motions. The vast majority of us only dream of reaching Olympic competition - there are no guarantees - and we spend hours and hours, nearly every day, sometimes feeling no closer to our goals than when we started. Inspiration is important, and we need to remind ourselves that we're not busting our asses for nothing.
Enter the Olympic Training Center - even better if you can do it with an ID and a magnetic keycard. Visit the Hall of Fame, walk the Olympic Path, take a tour, even climb Pike's Peak (the wrestlers do all the time!). With 140,000 visitors yearly, the OTC is the face of the US Olympic team. On any given day you can watch the best of the best training and preparing for international competition. Imagine what it's like to be one of these athletes, with access to the best training and recovery facilities, and with the entire country looking up to you.
This past weekend I competed in the Rodger DeGarmo Memorial/World Team Secondary Qualifier at the OTC. Far eclipsing the competition, for me, was the chance to (temporarily) live under the same conditions as the people I am trying to emulate. Free, healthy food at all hours! Visitors on tour gawking at you through windows. Great facilities, equipment, and inspirational statues. Admittedly I'm not as big a fan of dorm-style living as I once was: it's nice to have your own room in your own home. But this is the lifestyle you imagine when you think of Kendrick Farris, Michael Phelps, or Henry Cejudo (who??).
A few personal notes, in the competition I did well in the snatches, going three for three with 114kg/118kg/121kg. That's my highest opening weight yet, plus two meet PRs, and my first perfect snatch session since January. Clean and jerks were not as pretty: I made my opener at 146kg, but missed both attempts at 151kg for technical reasons (tricep touched the knee on the one clean, and a soft catch on the other jerk). Even so, 146kg is my highest opener yet, and 267kg is a PR total in the 77kg weight class - 272kg is my best at 85kg. Not only that, I made my snatches despite significantly varied waiting periods between attempts, and my new total bumped me up to 30th in line for the World Team after the first day of competition.
As always there is more technical work to do, but I am clearly stronger than ever before, and I am still making good progress in training. We didn't really even peak for this meet. My schedule looks relatively open for the next few months, and the American Open is my real target...