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Hard work starts here

The USA's Stephanie Bruce tells us about the long summer of training ahead and how she has been mixing up her routine with yoga, basketball, crossfit and more. The flyhalf has won 6 caps for her country and is hoping to be in the side to play Canada twice in June in her country's last games before travelling to London.

By Stephanie Bruce

Hey Everyone! Sorry it's been so long since I've updated you on our "Road to the World Cup," it's just that there's really not that much going on right now apart from building up our training, wrapping up our club seasons, and starting Territorials (our regional team season). I'm a bit jealous reading about the 6 Nations teams playing their matches, travelling to each others countries, with brass bands and crowds of thousands of spectators.

In the long road to the world cup, this is the flat, straight road through the desert. Nothing to look at, and nothing in sight to get you motivated; just all those workouts to do every day.

My teammates who are personal trainers or are inclined to work out have the advantage here. Even after their rugby days are over theyll hit the gym three times a week and go for runs. Me? I don't like to work out, I like to play. Throw in a ball or some kind of goal and Ill happily run around and forget Im getting my training done. Going to a track with a list of sprints to do is not as fun.

Luckily enjoying working out is not a requirement to be an Eagle, you just have to do it. So I try to incorporate different activities to keep me motivated. Crossfit San Francisco has been gracious enough to allow national team members to train for free in preparation for the world cup. If you dont know about Crossfit you should look it up.

Its a methodology that throws a lot of different fitness disciplines into a single workout cardio, strength, stamina, flexibility, power, speed to name some. Unfortunately only a couple of us live close enough to make this a viable option, but I take advantage of it any chance I get.

Nathalie (Marchino) and I play basketball once a week in a local womens league. I made the mistake of thinking I could do a workout before one of the games but that was a huge mistake! After bench pressing and weighted T pushups I couldnt make one shot, which was a bit embarrassing, but I resigned to focus on rebounding and defense instead.

Ive gone to tae-kwon-do to work on my striking power, and yoga to tend to my inflexible frame. And its helpful that there are quite a few of us in the bay area, so we get together once or twice a week for running workouts and skills sessions, which means I really only have one or two that I have to do on my own.

In the little downtime that we have between training and managing our work lives, the players are trying to publicise our journey. Its a fun challenge to get the word out about a Womens World Cup for a sport that some Americans think is played with a bat. Ashley (Kmiecik) made a hilarious video with some of the players in San Diego and sent it to Ellen DeGeneres hoping to get on her show. We havent heard back yet, so naturally were making a few follow up videos.

Luckily the near future is starting to fill up with rugby, which is a good sign for all of us. No matter how hard you train, theres nothing to get you rugby fit better than rugby. Our Territorial season kicked off this past weekend and will lead to our two test match series in Canada in June. This week the forwards will have a four day camp on the east coast, and shortly after that the backs will come out here to the bay for a camp of our own.

That's all for now, but I'll come back to you soon with some better stories from teammates in other parts of the country and hopefully some good news from Ellen!