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THE JAKE CLARK EXPERIENCE: Long journey to China begins with delays in Virginia, Chicago

Thursday, Sept. 14, Chicago, Ill.

Greetings to all,

Welcome to "The Jake Clark Experience" and I hope you enjoy the ride. First off, I'm honored to be representing the United States, The Marine Corps, and my family at the upcoming World Championships. I am blessed and very grateful for this opportunity to do something that most people never have the chance to do. Over the next few weeks I will invite you to walk in my shoes and join me in my journey to Guangzhou, China, where I will compete in my first Senior level World Championships. I will try to give as much detail as possible, answer any questions you might have, and hopefully let everyone enjoy the experiences I'm about to endure. I will try to write daily, or as often as possible. If at some point anyone comes up with some questions you can send them to my email address and I will answer them in my next entry. I can be reached at:

Don't be shy and ask away!

It's Thursday the 14th of September and the time has finally come. The trip has already started off pretty cruel and I'm stuck in Chicago for a five-hour delay! I left my apartment in Stafford, Va., at 6 this morning and made my way up to Dulles International Airport in Northern Va. I believe the trip is somewhere around 50-60 miles from my home to Dulles, and generally takes about an hour to get there. But, not today! No way! The weather was horrible and traffic was slam packed! What a way to start off my trip.

Upon arriving at the airport I was then informed that there was a delay in Chicago and I'd be backed up 4-5 hours. Let me remind you, I'm already dreading the fact that my travel schedule is already more than I was ready to handle. From Virginia to Chicago is an hour-and-45-minute flight. From Chicago to Hong Kong is a whopping 15-and-a-half hours! (Is that safe for planes to fly that far without refueling!!!) And from Hong Kong we are going by ground to Guangzhou ... duration of that part of my travel ... NO IDEA! Without the delay, the total TRAVEL time (excluding layovers) was going to be around 20 hours!

Thankfully, I'm not cutting serious weight at the moment or I would have put a few flight attendants in a front-headlock! Luckily, over the past few years I've done so much traveling that I've earned "Premier Executive" status with United and am a member of the Red Carpet Club at the airports. So here I sit in Chicago, a Diet Pepsi in hand, laptop on the desk, sitting in a comfy leather chair, surrounded by a bunch of businessmen, just trying to pass time. I'm the only one in here with tennis shoes, shorts, a backpack, and no business cards to my name! I like to consider myself a "Broke Rock Star." I live the life of a rock star ... just on a MUCH smaller scale and budget! Ha ha.

Onto the important stuff...

Over the last several weeks I've been having a tough time staying focused and finding motivation to train. It seems like the minute after winning Trials I had people trying to get me ready for Worlds ... which was nearly four months away! I just wasn't ready to jump into the training regimen so soon.

I had people telling me that I need to start training to win the World Championships. However, I hadn't even thought about that. My goals for this year were to win Nationals, win Trials, and be the No. 1 guy in the U.S. I accomplished my goals and didn't think too much about anything beyond that. I wanted to be excited for myself for achieving my goals and doing what I set out to do. But at the same time, no one was ready to celebrate with me ... they all had bigger ideas, bigger expectations for me. I just didn't have the energy and drive like I did in preparing for Nationals and Trials. I think I was just worn out or something.

Recently, I found a little "kick" and have been feeling much better mentally and with my training. Now I find myself two weeks away from competing and I'm excited to go. I feel ready and no matter how I do I'm happy with my season ... but it sure would be nice to end the year with a medal around my neck! I suppose I must get going for now. I will be writing again when I arrive in China ... if I ever make it there!

Take care to all,

Jake Clark
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