Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tegenkamp Transitions to Life in Osaka

Ohayou, konnichiwa, konbanwa (i.e., whatever time it is) from Osaka. I have been here for almost a week now and everything is going great. I was surprised how easy the trip was from the States. The trip from Chicago to Tokyo was about 13 hours, but it really didn’t feel any longer than the trip to Europe. I got to the meet hotel the same time the rest of the US team did (coming from the training camp) so everyone was experiencing everything for the first time as well. I also realized that the Canadian team is at the same hotel so that is nice because it will be easy to catch up with Simon and Hilary Stellingwerff.

Communication back home is going to be really easy. We have free internet in the room and the time difference works out much better than it does in Europe. If it is morning here then it is evening the previous day in the States and vice versa. This is good not only to keep in touch with people, especially Michelle, but also to keep up with fantasy sports. I have an all important football draft coming up; I need to start doing some research. That should be a good way to take my mind off the race for a little while.

Dinner the first night was quite the experience, there were two camps, ones complaining about the food and the other complaining about the size of the rooms. I was a little bit in both. My complaint with the food is not with the actual meal, but with the fact that there is no Read the full article

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Calf Injury Forces Bairu Out of 10,000m

Simon Bairu at the Ottawa 10KShortly after arriving at the Canadian training camp in Singapore, Simon Bairu suffered a tear in his calf muscle. With a good team of staff doctors and therapists in Singapore and Osaka, everyone was optimistic that it would be okay on race day. Unfortunately, just a few laps into the race he felt a shooting pain in his calf and was forced to stop. Although he’s disappointed today, Simon had a great season; there is a lot more to come in the future.

Today is an off day for KIMbia before Michelle Sikes takes to the track on Wednesday evening. The following evening it’s Matt Tegenkamp’s turn.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Sikes Conquers Osaka’s Public Swimming Pools

I encountered so many fantastic Japanese people today! It began with the San Francisco State graduate-turned hotel bellhop. He gave me directions to the nearest public pool and doubled my Japanese vocabulary by explaining that “Ohio” means “good morning”! I’ve had plenty of opportunities to overuse both this word and my second Japanese phrase, “Arigato” (Thank You) throughout the course of the day.

Michelle Takes on the Public Pool System of Osaka…
Armed with verbal directions and a city map, I set off from the hotel in search of the pool. It’s great to finally experience the city without being separated from it by the glass windows of a bus. I took the scenic route, which parallels the city canal. I’m so relieved that this waterway cuts through the city; it gives a connection to nature that otherwise seems very difficult to find. Not that the shops and alleyways and buildings that have replaced a more natural world aren’t fascinating in their own way, but I’m finding more and more that I prefer a balance of human development and green places.

I manage to arrive at the pool without becoming ridiculously lost (one point to Michelle), but then have to confront the challenge of a) payment for the use of the pool and b) finding the locker room in a completely English-free environment (one point to The Pool). After much gesturing, hand motioning, and wasted breath in futile spoken conversation, I successfully pay and am admitted into Read the full article

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Tegenkamp Packs His Bags…Again

I can’t believe I am leaving again. So soon.Actually, it was a great break – I was able to do some work, be with my wife, and get recharged for the most important meet of the year. I got back to Madison and unpacked immediately so that the stay at home felt a little bit longer. I took a couple of days off and did not get back on the track until the Monday after Stockholm. Those little breaks are nice every now and then. The house was a wreck when I left (we were remodeling the kitchen), but it looked so good when I got home; Michelle handled the situation so well. To finish up the downstairs I wanted to paint the hallway next to the kitchen. I had sat on my ass for six weeks so I was ready to take on a project. We picked one color together, looked terrible. I picked a second color. Michelle let me go with it, but once it was on the wall she hated it. We chose yet another color. Long story short, five coats of paint later I got a project done. Sweet! I have to admit that it looks way better than what I chose. With the house looking good, we had some friends over for a BBQ. It was great to have everyone around, just shooting the breeze and catching up. Time is going by slow, which is good. I try to get up pretty early to not waste the day away sleeping. Michelle and I just laid low and spent some quality time together the rest of the week.

Things have been going great on the track. The best I have felt in a while. The best workout was with (Jonathon) Riley on Friday. We did [600 / 100 jog / 300] X 3. The times were 1:27/44; 1:26/43; 1:23/41. Everything felt pretty comfortable and I am really looking forward to Worlds now (not like I wasn’t before)! I know I am fit and ready to go. I’m pretty damn excited.

As my departure day gets closer, I’ve realized how nice the last couple of days have been. Michelle and I have been making my favorite meals because I have no idea what to expect over in Japan. I am pretty open to food so I don’t think it should be too bad. I was a good husband and helped clean house so it shouldn’t have to be done again until I get back. I mowed the lawn, although it will need another one in a few days because of all the rain we’ve been getting (sorry Michelle). She got off easy when I was in Europe because we were basically in drought mode in Madison; the grass didn’t seem to grow at all. She may have to mow a couple of times while I am gone now. I starting packing much earlier this time around and, I must say, I did a much better job of not bringing too much stuff. I have been trying to make phone calls, keeping in touch with everyone before I take off, but with that and typing up these entries I am running out of time. I still need to look up how to pronounce some Japanese greetings, but other than that, I’m ready. I’m looking forward to it and, at three weeks, this trip will be much easier!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sikes Conquers Detroit Airport; Builds Confidence for Osaka

I am in Terminal A of Detroit’s amazingly long airport. To fill the minutes before boarding my flight to Osaka, I’ve walked through the whole place and decided that it must be at least a mile from start to finish. During the walk I thought about my hopes that the Cleveland Indians can make their season string out in a similarly lengthy way. I’m not really that into baseball overall, but I love Cleveland’s sports teams and do my best to stay up-to-date. Unfortunately, the Tribe lost last night, 4-3, to the Devil Rays after laboring through 12 offense-less innings. Making matters worse, the DRs are the worst team in the AL at the moment and our ace pitcher – C.C. Sabathia – was on the mound. Still, we remain in possession of first place in the AL Central and 1.5 games ahead of the next closest rival – Detroit. See the irony?

Other excitements of the day so far:
After flying from Greensboro to Detroit, I’m faced with an important decision. I have five hours until I board my next flight to Osaka and in the meantime, I need to figure out whether I complete my 3 mile run
a) outside, despite the pouring monsoon of a rainstorm that has caused massive flooding throughout the Midwest over the last few days
b) inside, navigating the mile-long concourse three times, but also dodging people and ignoring the very legitimate frustration/unhappiness/commotion that accidentally bumping into or colliding against them is likely to cause
c) through a game time alternate option to be determined later

I elect C.

Plan C takes the form of the Fitness Center of the Westin Hotel. This Hotel is within the main airport itself and located directly across from Gate 36: the exact gate from which I’ll be departing in several hours. It’s a perfect set-up – complete with treadmill, showers, and even a small pool. Not big enough to allow any lap-swimming, but perfect for playing and wasting time in before my next flight…

The day rolls on…
I rode for the first time in a two-story plane!!! It amazes me that such an immense and heavy vehicle can get off the runway. There isn’t much to say about the rest of the ride – after my initial excitment over the novelty of flying in a double-decker plane subsided, the reality of a 13-hour plan ride quickly set in. Suffice it to say that very little sleeping and much reading was accomplished. I’m fairly confident that I read the phrase ‘sub-prime mortgage’ at least 50 times.

Osaka – First sight.
The bus ride from the airport to our hotel is one hour. We did not emerge from the city for the entire ride. I thought that the terminals in the Detroit airport seemed impressively strung out – how small they seem in comparison to the way this metropolis goes on and on! I forced my sleep-depreived self to take in the sight of building after apartment complex after skyscraper.

Now I’m in the hotel – about to enjoy my first meal…more on the food later.

Recent Media

Audio Interview with Michelle on

Article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer

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