Women's Volleyball Blog: Gabi Ailes

Nov. 11, 2009

Mike Mendoza asked about life on the road through the Facebook interaction, so I am going to give you all a great amount of insider information. Hopefully you feel as much pain from the Washington trip as we did!

Summary of Travel Plans:
Thursday:
6:00 P.M. Flight to Seattle
10:00 P.M. In bed
Friday:
9:00 A.M. Breakfast
1:15 P.M. Meeting
3:30 P.M. Pregame meal
7:00 P.M. Game vs. UW
Saturday:
7:00 AM on the bus to the airport
9:00 AM flight to Spokane
1:45 PM on bus to Pullman
7:00 PM game vs. WSU
11:45 PM in bed
Sunday:
4:30 AM alarm goes off
6:00 AM flight to San Francisco

Holy cow! Before I get into it, I just want to say that we survived the trip to Washington; returning home with one win, a few war wounds (eyes, hips, elbows, thumbs, shoulders, knees, backs, triceps, etc.) and many sleep deprived bodies (Cheri will not be happy). Don’t get me wrong, I did say UW is my favorite place to play on the road, but this is by far my least favorite trip. For us veterans, I think it is safe to say that it takes a little bit of mental preparation to get ready for the Washington travel. I am not talking about relaxing in bed at night and visualizing yourself passing perfectly to target or serving bullets, I am talking about going into hibernation after taking a look at the itinerary sent out by Cobey that shockingly drops the news that we will be going to bed after the sun sets and waking before it rises two out of the three nights we are on the road (YIKES!). As you see in the travel plans, the Washington trip requires a bit more travel than any other trip. If you are like me, lacking in geography skills, you might not know that Seattle and Spokane are a few miles apart, and by a few I mean roughly 280 and that Spokane and Pullman are indeed a couple minutes apart (roughly 105 minutes). This great distance calls for a second plane ride. After the tough loss to UW, we had an early morning flight, two-hour bus ride from Spokane to Pullman, and a match against WSU to look forward to.

Insider Info:
Sleep Study I mentioned how Cheri might be upset after looking at the itinerary and seeing the limited time for sleep. Cheri Mah and Dr. Dement have created a sleep study that helps improve athletic performance. The study requires athletes to take a reaction test twice daily, sleep as much as possible to reduce sleep debt, wear a special watch that records our levels of activity and sleep efficiency, and do special performance tests after practice. Karissa Cook and I are participants in the study this quarter and have both been positively affected by the large amount of sleep. We meet with Cheri once a week to discuss our sleep and how we are feeling. She explained to us that sleep is every bit as important as practicing, conditioning, weight training, watching film, and any other things a team does to prepare for the season. Because sleep is so important and I have had trouble with this aspect of my training in the past, I decided to go ahead with the study and see what it could do for me. I can honestly say that Cheri is a lifesaver!

The Assassin:
Janet believes and the team is starting to believe that Washington State is a very interesting place to play. To start with, the floor plan of Bohler Gymnasium is ridiculously confusing. In our locker room, I noticed directions written on a whiteboard for their women’s basketball team in order for them to find their new locker room. If that gives you any idea as to how easy it is to get lost. Needless to say, on our way up to the gym, quite a few of us got lost in the hallways of Bohler. I was smart enough to follow a veteran and ended up being the one to run around in the halls and shout Hannah’s name, who was in charge of leading another flock of players (can’t blame her because she had a bunch of older girls with her). Warm-ups continued and we all continued to question whether we were supposed to go upstairs to the locker room or down. With this chaos, came interesting happenings.

During the second game Janet went up for a block and decided to block the ball with her head/face rather than her hands. Must be rough being able to get that high over the net! I remember Cass and Alix being shocked because Janet landed and they thought that a piece of her eye fell out (HAHAHA)! It ended up only being her contact. With the transition of Stephanie to the right side and Charlotte out because of Popeye (her hip), we now only have two middles on the team. John was forced to call a timeout (thank goodness we still had one left) to stall, because our next option was Hayley in the middle. No worries, Janet sprinted gracefully back into the gym after finding a way to reattach her cornea.

Well, that’s all I have folks. I hope you are all getting excited for this weekend’s matches against the Oregon schools (Oregon and Oregon State). We are working hard in the gym this week to make sure we bring our “A” game for both nights. We hope to see you all there! Go Card!

Gabi Ailes #9

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