July 3, 2008 * Chinese Taipei * FIVB World Grand Prix
The last two days were typical of our training schedule, except the weather is stifling – the humidity is even with the temperature!
Our first practice gym was in a university with no air conditioning. There was some serious floor wiping and drinking of water. To get to the weight room, we had to walk through what appeared to be a table tennis camp for youngsters. Jenny grabbed a paddle and took on an elementary boy who held his own.
Tom challenged one of our guides; Wei Hsin announced that she was on her school team. I think our tables are longer at home as Tom continually hit long. Then his competitive nature kicked in and asked her to play a game. He found the table and was victorious and celebrated like a kid!
Jenny was told that there would only be one training time per team per day. It was reiterated again at our meeting and explained that the teams have been training twice as day for the last two weeks and the organizers decided to reduce the practice time. Of course that settled real well with the team.
With more time in the day, I have been able to get in my runs. The first two days in the early afternoon, but today I ran at 5 PM – a much better time due to the heat. There are two huge parks and a bicycle path between them that took me to a river walk of sorts. There was well-needed shade on the path.
As in Japan, many women walk with umbrellas and wear long gloves or some sort of sleeves to cover their skin from the sun. I have to be cautious of crossing streets, even with the count down clocks for pedestrians, as the scooters maneuver in and out of the people attempting to cross. By the way, we were told that there are 3.1 million people in Taipei County!!
I did some laundry today in the coin operated establishment down the street from out hotel. While waiting I walked around a bit. There are so many businesses, lots of open market stores and people doing their dishes in big bowls right outside their tiny eateries.
I start my run down the street from a beautiful temple and just outside a military police academy. It is guarded and gated. As I ran around it the first day I could see many young people in uniforms – shorts and t-shirts – running, playing basketball or working out.
Of course, I cannot deny that I have gone to get a massage twice now. I went the first night with Jenny and Diane. Tonight Tom Hogan and I went, and then Doctor Ho, our team physician, joined us as we coaxed him to come in as he was walking by the door.
OH MY, I will sleep tonight.
Today we were able to train in the competition hall, Hsinchuang Gymnasium. Tomorrow we will leave for training at 7:45 a.m., as we play Poland at 3 p.m., followed by an Opening Cermony.
Team Leader, U.S. Women's National Team at World Grand Prix