March 11, 2012
TAMPA, Fla. – Good evening Army track & field friends and family – Pam Flenke here once again reporting from the Black Knights’ spring break training trip. This year we’re down in Tampa, Fla., prepping for our first outdoor meet of the season, slated for Friday at the University of South Florida.
Day 1 was rather uneventful but certainly tiring. Our flight from Newark International was scheduled for 7 a.m., and with the lovely timing of daylight savings, we met at Gillis Field House to load the buses at a cheery 3 a.m., despite my car and half of my watches telling me 2 a.m. The eternal pessimist in me said there has to be a handful of plebes (sorry guys!) that will miss the whole daylight-savings-move-your-clock-ahead thing, but nope, they proved me wrong! We got off without a hitch, gladly leaving the 30 degree temperatures of West Point that time of night.
Checking in 90 people at 5:30 a.m., when group check-in doesn’t begin until 8, prompted a bit of a challenge, but yet again, we got through without any excessive waits or snags. Everyone loaded up on their Starbucks, breakfast strombolis (who knew those existed?) and fruit smoothies and we were off to Tampa.
After a smooth flight we arrived in sunny Tampa in just under three hours. A handful of coaches who had arrived the day before greeted us at baggage claim, helping us onto the charter buses destined for our motel. We arrived at our “humble” housing for the week (the Days Inn Tampa North…Google away!), where we had a little time to unpack before our first team meeting.
Unlike last year in Puerto Rico where we had 12 or so family vans, this time around we have seven 12-passenger vans which will hopefully make the daily travels a lot easier (that and not having the whole language barrier thing).
After the vans dispersed to get lunch, we headed over to USF’s track facility for a light practice. Despite dark clouds looming, we were able to get through the week’s first workout without getting soaked.
The vans went their separate ways for dinner, with most of the coaching staff and myself heading to Skipper’s Smokehouse for some seafood and alligator! It came highly recommended from Adam Richman of Man vs. Food (not personally…but the episode looked tasty!). We nibbled on fried alligator tail (smushy texture kind of like a whole belly clam), alligator ribs, giant onion rings, clams, blackened grouper reubens, and all sorts of other stuff that reiterates us as the non-athletes on the trip! It was delicious, I’ll leave it at that.
After a quick trip to Dairy Queen (have to balance out the salty with the sweet!), we called it a night. With an early practice scheduled for the morning and a long day behind us, it wasn’t hard to plop in front of the TV at 9 p.m. With lots of activities scheduled for the week, be sure to check back in tomorrow! Thanks for reading & goodnight!
P.S. – Don’t forget to check back after we return for junior Tom Ryan’s video diary!
Pam Flenke, Army Athletic Communications, Track & Field Contact