Watching the Olympics and Finding Motivation

Shawn and I have been spending some time watching the Olympics, but it’s tough. He didn’t really realize how disappointing it was going to be until the opening ceremonies came on. He started feeling a little down watching that.

I didn’t watch the opening ceremonies at all, I just saw people tweeting about it. But if it’s something that upsets you, you have to just turn it off and that’s what we did. I got over it though and caught up on some stuff last week.

Since track and field started, I’ve been watching a lot more. I don’t think I could stay away if I tried. I don’t want to be a sore loser. But I think I speak for everybody who isn’t there when I say you can’t help but have a bit of bitterness to you. We were all training for the same thing and we all had the same goal to go to the games.

But I’m definitely still rooting for Team USA and some of my fellow Trojans over there. There are a lot of Trojans competing, so that made me proud. I’m rooting for them, everybody on Team USA and my training partners.

The 100-meter hurdles is going to be one of the most competitive races of the Games. It’s going to be one of the most, if not the most exciting event over there. You never know who is going to win. Who you expect to win, who you think is going to win, who has been running so great, sometimes it just doesn’t go their way. Then someone else will come up as a huge surprise with a huge time. The mystery of it makes the event that much more exciting.

Sally Pearson has been running really fast times this year and had looked great. A lot of people are picking her as a favorite and rightfully so. But in all honesty, I’ve been telling people — and I’m not just saying this because she’s my training partner and friend — I really do think Dawn Harper is going to get the gold. That’s my prediction. She has the complete race and a great ending. Plus, she’s been there before. She won the gold in 2008, so she’s now a veteran in this. She knows how to compete on a big stage like this.

There are plenty of other candidates to make a run at it though. I saw Kellie Wells a couple times when I was racing over in Europe and she is peaking right now. She’s definitely ready and has just as good a chance to get the gold as Sally or Dawn. Lolo is another one. She’s a veteran and she came through at trials to make the team. I didn’t see her when I was over competing in Europe, but I would not count her out either. You just never know when someone is going to peak. She’s definitely a candidate to get a medal. Tiffany Porter has looked very good this year as well. If she’s healthy and ready to go, you can’t count her out. She’s one of my friends so I’ll be rooting for her to get in there and get a medal.

TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
It’s really hard to train at this time of the year, when the Olympics are going on and that’s where you wanted to be and where you thought you would be.

You have to be mentally tough to go out there and train hard every day in the track, then go to the weight room and find the motivation to keep doing it. I jumped right back into it after Trials and went over to Europe for a few races, then came back to train. I didn’t want to lose any fitness or anything in my race. I want to finish out the season strong.

I only just recently watched the finals from Trials for the first time. For a long time I didn’t want to watch it at all. When I don’t do well in races, I don’t like to watch them over. Sometimes I will, just to learn from them, but that one I really didn’t want to experience again at first.

I finally watched it three weeks after trials and looked through it twice. After watching it, honestly I couldn’t see anything that I did wrong. I didn’t hit any hurdles. I got out good. It was just my ending. It was a poor ending. Going into the trials I felt really good. I felt that my training was right where it was supposed to be. The trials are always very intense.

I made a mistake at the start in my first round going over the first hurdle. I didn’t land stable, but I made it on to the next round and I was able to correct the mistake. Once that happened I realized how focused I had to be. It let me know that any little thing can happen out there. I made it through again in the second round and I really strongly felt that I would end up in the top three. When that didn’t happen, I’m sure the whole world can imagine my disappointment.

My strong point has always been the beginning of the race. Just naturally, I’ve always had a great start and I have the speed. I got out well in the final. I was focused. I wanted it bad. I was going really well and it just felt like I hit a wall or something. I wasn’t getting off the hurdle quickly and I could feel Dawn pulling away from me.

I still thought maybe I was in it, but unfortunately I wasn’t and I ended up getting a close fourth place. Sometimes looking back, I just wish I could’ve had one more strong hurdle. I wonder what I could’ve done differently. It was still my ending and that’s always been the problem for me so that was frustrating. Those last three to four hurdles are the weak part of my race. I’ve tried to work on it for years. Maybe I just haven’t used the right approach just yet. It’s one of the reasons I think Bobby Kersee is a good coach for me is to work on my endings. I know I’ll get better with him.

REASON TO BELIEVE
One thing I realized at Trials was that I wasn’t the only person leaving there disappointed. There were hundreds of athletes there that experienced that same disappointment as me. But at that time, you feel like it’s only you and in that moment it’s only you that matters.

After the race I had some down time. I cried for days. I just felt like someone had taken a piece of life out of me. To make it to the Olympics has always been something I wanted badly. I really thought that I had a good chance this time. I was healthy the whole year, I was running pretty well, so I thought I would get in there. And to be so close like that, just adds to the disappointment.

Coming off that race, I wasn’t really sure what the next step was for me. But I had a lot of time at the trials afterward because Shawn was there competing and it gave me some time to think before I went over to Europe. Staying there and watching Shawn helped me take my mind off my little mishap. I got to get excited about him going through his rounds and watch my teammates finish competing.

It motivated me. I want to be back where I was again and I know that I can do that because I’ve done it before. But I really have to believe that, because after years of not running as well as you think you can, doubt starts to creep in. You start to believe and feel that maybe that’s all you have.

I prayed about it a lot. I wanted to stay consistent with my faith and my prayers. While I was praying one day, I was reading some of my Buddhist writings that I brought with me, and this passage came up about changing your attitude and believing in yourself.

I realized that I didn’t want to just give up on myself. I had to really believe in myself for once. So I prayed on that. I wanted to really truly at the core of my heart believe in myself. Not just on the surface, but at the core of my being, just believe in me. I trained so hard this year and put in so much work, time, money and everything. I didn’t want to see it end like that when I had a whole summer left to race.

Having that time to think and regain my passion for the sport changed the way I was thinking. I reprogrammed and set new goals for myself, time-based goals. To win the Diamond League, to run a PR if possible, or something close to it. I took that mindset to Paris and turned my season around.

All Out Effort

Hours after securing her spot in the final eight, Ginnie was back out on the track on Saturday night at the U.S. Olympic Trials, one step from the Olympics.

Ginnie lined up in lane seven and got off fast, at one point surging toward the lead. But a late rush from her competitors through the line left Ginnie on the outside looking in. She crossed the finish line of the women’s 100-meter hurdles in 12.90 four tenths of a second outside of an Olympic spot.

On the day after the race, Ginnie took to Twitter to thanks fan for their support throughout the Trials.

I would like to thank all my followers who wished me well and prayed for me during the trials!! It means so much to me and I appreciate it!

— Ginnie Crawford (@GinnieCrawford) June 24, 2012

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On to the Final

Ginnie Crawford is one step away from qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

GC took second in her heat during the semi-finals of the 100-meter hurdles to qualify automatically to compete in the 100mH final later tonight in TrackTown. Her time of 12.78 in the semi-final was six best among 21 ladies competing in three heats.

Dawn Harper, who trains with Ginnie under coach Bobby Kersee posted the fastest semi-final time at 12.65. GC’s fastest time of the year is just one-hundreth off that lead time, a 12.66 which she ran twice during a tour of the Caribbean last month.

Among others competing for a spot in the Olympics during tonight’s final will be another of Ginnie’s training partners Michelle Perry, Lolo Jones, and Kellie Wells, the 2011 U.S. Outdoor Champion in the event. Only the Top 3 ladies across the line in the final will qualify to represent Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this August.

The 100-meter hurdles final is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. PDT. The event will air live on NBC on the east coast during coverage, which begins at 8 p.m. EDT and on tape delay in the west at 8 p.m. PDT on NBC.

Ginnie Advances to Semi-Finals at U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Despite rainy conditions that tempered times on the first day of U.S. Olympic Team Trials Friday at Tracktown, Ginnie Crawford got her weekend off to a great start.

Ginnie took second in Heat 5 of the 100-meter hurdles, clocking a 12.89 and coming just a lean short of winning the heat. Her time ranked sixth overall among the field of 33 women in the event, allowing her to advance easily to the next round.

Semi-finals for the women’s 100-meter hurdles are set for 3:15 p.m. PDT on Saturday afternoon. Ginnie will run in Heat 1 out of lane seven. She must finish in the top 2 of her race or have the fastest or second fastest time overall outside of Top 2 finishers to advance to the final at 5:45 PDT.

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Trials Present A Big Challenge

Ginnie Crawford has spent her entire career working toward a goal the stands just three races away: to be an Olympian.

As Ginnie prepares for the first of those races — the qualifying round of the 100-meter hurdles on Friday night at Hayward Field in TrackTown — she says a healthy season has given her confidence that she belongs among the nation’s best in her event.

“I still work hard and I still try and go into every race being confident,” she said. “I was fortunate enough to be healthy the entire year and be able to work hard and be better prepared for this Olympic trials.”

Ginnie has tried before to qualify for the Olympics, in 2008, but a lingering injury from a fall a year earlier slowed down and she finished outside the Top 3 needed to earn a spot on the Olympic team. She knows the competition will once again be fierce this weekend as she seeks to achieve her goal and everything can change in an instant.

“It’s 12 seconds,” Ginnie said. “It’s very cutthroat. You just have to get across that line in the Top 3. It can be nerve-wracking because no matter how well you competed throughout the year, how fast you’ve run or may run afterward, it’s about who is the best on that day.”

What makes it that much more competitive, to the point where trying to pick a favorite is a fruitless endeavor, are the 10 obstacles standing in each runner’s way. One mishap over one of those 10 can squash someone’s dream, but Ginnie says that’s what makes the event so great.

“We have 10 things in our way,” she said. “You can be the fastest and have the best technique, but so many factors go into hurdles that the one thing is execution. You can be the best in the world, but if you don’t execute, that will get in the way of being successful and getting on the team. That is one thing that keeps this event so competitive.”

ON LOLO
Among those who will also be looking to secure a spot on the U.S. team is Lolo Jones, considered by many to be one of the faces of women’s track and field, because of her backstory.

Jones’ notoriety has helped to shine a spotlight on the event, but Ginnie notes that her story isn’t much different than any of her fellow competitors who’ve dealt with hardship off the track and heartbreak on it.

“I know to outside people, though, seeing Lolo’s face and hearing her story, that does bring a lot of notoriety to the sport and that’s good in that aspect,” she said. “[But] we all have a story to tell. We all have a story that we can pitch that can be just as intriguing as Lolo’s.”

According to Ginnie, what sets the 32 women competing for three spots this week on the Olympic team apart is what they’re able to accomplish on the track.

“I think the best thing is that we still stay focused. What proves our validity in this sport is what we do as in making teams and what medals and things we get,” she said. “People on the outside looking in that aren’t in the world of track and field don’t understand how we prove our validity in this sport and how we make our living in it and what it does mean to have those medals and make teams … not just to have a great story or being a face.”

Qualifying for the 100-meter hurdles begins on Friday evening at 5:40 p.m. PDT. The semi-final is slated for 3:15 p.m. PDT  and the final just a couple hours later at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday. 

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Feeling Strong and Gaining Confidence

I’m pleased with where I am so far this year and I can’t complain about the results. I competed in three meets and got better each time. My last race was a win and that felt good.

I ran the same time each of my last two races, a 12.66. The first one was in Saint Martin, where I took second place. I was kind of surprised after that one. I felt a little fatigue before and I wasn’t really sure if I ran that fast. But when I ran a couple days later in the Cayman Islands, I felt very good. I felt as fast as I ran and I think I could’ve even gone a little faster if I put a couple pieces together toward the end.

But to finish up that group of meets with a win at Cayman felt good. I think a win is always good for your confidence, no matter who you’re running against. That’s what we’re in this to do is win. But getting that time was most important to me, because I’m trying to get back to my old self.

I feel as good as I have since my injury in 2007 and it’s giving me confidence. That spill I took in 2007 kind of derailed me and I really feel like I’m back on track now. I haven’t run this fast this early in the season since I got injured. I was dealing with little nagging injuries every year since. Everybody gets injured but for me to be back, feeling good, really helps.

I’ve noticed what works best for me is to go out and run a few meets, then come back and get training in before I go out and run again. That’s my strategy. I got out there, I ran three meets and I was able to see where I am. I saw that there were some things I still need to work out toward the end of my race.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been back at home in LA to get some hardcore training in. If I stay away from LA too long I don’t get train the way I want to. When you’re out on the road, in different time zones and traveling every few days, it’s difficult to train hard like you need to. So to run a few meets and then come back and train was definitely part of the program.

My coach, Bobby Kersee, actually requested that all of us in the training group stay here for a few weeks and train. Some of us had meets lined up to run in — I personally had one scheduled on May 25th — but he asked us to skip them so we can get that training in. I waited a couple weeks and now I’ll be running again this weekend at the Harry Jerome Classic in Vancouver.

Since June has arrived and we’re really approaching the Olympic trials, we’re tapering off the training so that I can be sharp for the trials. In these last few weeks we won’t really be doing that good hard training in that makes you tired.

Training for us is when we’re able to run hard, run multiple times at practice and have our legs get tired and get that lactic acid in them. But when you’re approaching a meet where you’re trying to peak and run at your best like the Olympic trials, you don’t want to go into it with heavy, sore legs. Everything I’m doing in training is working into my favor.

SIZING UP THE COMPETITION

Whenever I compete, first and foremost, I’m focusing on myself, making sure I’m running correctly and applying everything that I’ve been working on in practice to the race. That has to be your main focus.

However, as a competitor, I think I speak for all when I say that you can’t help but notice what your competitors are doing or what other people in your event are doing. We’re just fans of the sport anyway, so you’re going to see the race and the results. Plus everybody is posting it all over Twitter and Facebook, so you’re bound to be in the know.

I’ve been facing great competition in my meets. The 100-meter hurdles is just super packed and every hurdler will say so. I’m not exactly sure why the event is so stacked, but I think one of the things that makes it an even playing field is that you’re not just running. You can be the fastest person, but you still have 10 obstacles to get over. If you mess up over just one of them, that can cost you the race. You’re not just running flat, you have to run, and jump over barriers, and do it the right way.

I’m a sprinter at heart. I think I’m naturally fast. Some hurdlers may not be as fast, but they’re very technically sound. They can get over the hurdle fast and off it fast to gain ground that way. So it doesn’t really matter if you’re just purely fast.

The hurdles themselves keep it even. Speed, technique and the ability to finish can all win you a race. You don’t always need to have the full package of a straight sprinter to do well in this event.  There’s a lot more that goes into the hurdles than goes into a sprint race. It’s a very hard event. You have to be focused. There’s a lot of focus that goes into all events but the hurdles in particular is difficult.

That’s why I don’t ever underestimate anyone. Because no matter how fast you are, you still have to get over 10 barriers. That’s what makes our race really great too.

Our event has a very rich history and I think you can see that carry into today with just the amount of American women that compete in the 100-meter hurdles. A lot of people look to those ladies that have run this event in the past and it’s an inspiration for those that follow. When you have someone you look up to, you often want to follow in their footsteps. I think that’s why a lot of ladies do this event.

The times we’ve seen so far this year in the event are about what you would expect for where everybody is right now in their preparation. These hurdlers all have so much talent so no hurdler ever really surprises me when they run if they run fast or slow, because they all have the potential to be the best. I feel like any given day it can be that person’s race or that person’s day.

Everybody is running really fast as a whole this year, not even just in my event, but in track and field period. It’s the Olympic year and I think it’s going to be really exciting because people aren’t playing. They’re ready and the times are proving that. The way everyone is looking, I think it’s going to be a really exciting year for the sport.

Ginnie Sits Down with Q It Up

A trip to her native Seattle for Ginnie Crawford means seeing family and catching up with friends.

But Ginnie also made sure to take time for others during her trip home. On Saturday afternoon she spoke to kids at the Kirkland Boys and Girls Club about nutrition, eating right and staying in shape. Later, she caught up with Aaron Levine of Seattle’s FOX affiliate Q13 for the station’s Q It Up Sports Show.

Ginnie talked during the show about her road back from a 2007 knee injury, here work with youngsters in an effort to prevent juvenile diabetes, preparing for the Olympic Trials in nearby Eugene, Oregon and her dream of competing in the 100-meter hurdles in this year’s Olympics:

“I’ve always had this dream since I was little and I really and truly believe that I will be in the Olympics and I can bring home the gold medal,” she said. “I definitely feel that I have the potential and I’m putting in the work.”

Watch the entire interview from Q It Up Sports below:

ORIGINAL STORY
Olympic Hopeful Ginnie Crawford On Q It Up Sports (Q13 FOX, May 20, 2012)