Sometimes dreams still seem like dreams -even after they become a reality.
Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Lisa (Koll) Uhl is just hours away from running in the Olympics, but being a part of it all still hasn't quite hit home.
"It's so surreal,'' Uhl said. "When I wake up, it almost feels like a joke. It still hasn't sunk in. I got my box of gear and uniform the other day, and that was pretty cool.
"Three days later I get back home, get up and run and nothing has changed on the surface - you just do the same things that got you here.''
Uhl will participate in the women's 10,000-meter run at the 2012 London Olympics on Friday. Uhl's race is at 9:20 p.m. London time, which is 3:20 p.m. in Fort Dodge. The event is scheduled to be televised live on NBC.
Uhl is very humbled by the experience of being a member of the United States contingent in London.
"It's an overwhelming sense of pride to run for our country,'' Uhl said. "When you put on the uniform, you think about all of the people who helped get you there. This is about them; I wouldn't be here without them."
"It takes a village to raise a child. This is for my family.''
Through her days at Fort Dodge Senior High and Iowa State, Uhl set and captured nearly every personal goal while leaving a lasting legacy both on and off the track.
Uhl wants to share this experience with everyone from her past.
"So many people helped me get to this point,'' Uhl said. "My husband (Kiel) has been so supportive. He understands me. I've been getting all kinds of (backing) from the state of Iowa, and I appreciate all of it.
"(ISU athletic director) Jamie Pollard and the Iowa State family. Jamie was at the trials (in Oregon), and even though the Cyclone colors weren't on my chest anymore, that was special to me. All of my former coaches (Corey Ihmels, Jeff Wubbena and Tim Hanson). It's all the small steps that add up to the big ones.
"And of course, Fort Dodge. I'm truly blessed to have taken all of the steps in my life to get to this point."
Uhl arrived in London and was part of the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies. She donned the Red, White and Blue and walked with world-class athletes on the biggest stage in the world.
"It was an unbelievable experience,'' Uhl said in her blog. "There were so many cool things about it. First was meeting and mingling with all of the other United States athletes for a couple of hours before we began the march to the stadium.
"Another amazing thing about opening ceremonies was the feeling I got walking into the stadium. The roar of the crowd, the music, the dancers, the lights, and all the excitement game me goosebumps. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. After walking a lap around the track and getting settled in the middle of the stadium, I managed to get a spot right on the rail by the Olympic torch, so when they lit it, I could literally feel the heat from the flame.''