Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Week!


I have decided that this week is Christmas Week. I always get really sad the night of Christmas Day, because Christmas is over! No longer, I say.
The week after Christmas and before New Year's will now be Christmas Week in my life.
By the way, my Christmas Day was amazing; Russ got me super sweet and thoughtful presents, and the collection of gift cards I have from his Mom and my parents is really exciting! Christmas week this year takes place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Russ and I plan to get lots of outdoor activity in; the weather has actually been gorgeous so far. It's clear and sunny, with temperatures maybe between mid-20s to high 40s. That's pretty awesome, considering I've been really cold here before. It was pretty chilly at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo last night, though!

Training while we're here will be a little bit of an adventure. When I'm on vacation, I seriously love making my workouts fit in with the time I spend with family! It's like this timing puzzle that's super satisfying to solve, because I feel good physically and mentally at the end of the day; I get my workouts in and I get to bond with loved ones. This morning, I threw an 800-gram ball around in the park near Russ's Mom's house for my throwing practice, and I'll lift at a random gym in the area while Russ is at a dentist appointment. Tomorrow, I'll run in that same park, and do gymnastics on the jungle gym! Last week, we were in Orange Beach, Alabama visiting Russ's grandparents and Dad, and the local recreation center offered everything I needed for training; all I had to do was be a little creative.
Excuses don't cut it; if you want to get better, find a way to make it happen!
This morning's practice marked the beginning of the first week of Block 3 for me (my 9th week of training). I'm really excited about some of the technical things we've been working on this fall! My last throwing session before this Christmas trip started made me a little frustrated with figuring out the new positions, but I've been visualizing them pretty consistently, and really focused on them this morning in the park. I'm getting low in my legs in order to get my left down quickly, staying really closed until my left foot is down, and really trying to keep the javelin angle down at release by keeping the tip as close to my face as I can for as long as I can! I'm really looking forward to early spring training.

The Diamond League schedule for 2011 came out recently! Here is an idea of the meets I'd like to compete in this year:

last weekend of April: Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa
May 26: Rome, Italy*
June 4: Prefontaine Classic* in Eugene, Oregon
June 11: New York*, New York
last weekend of June: USA Championships in Eugene, Oregon
July 8: Paris, France*
July 22: Monaco*
August 5-6: London, England*
August 27-Sept. 4: World Championships in Daegu, Korea
September 9: Zurich, Switzerland*

*Diamond League meets

Merry Christmas Week!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Business as Usual

The last six or so weeks have been great! The first block (three weeks) of training went well, and this marks the end of the second week of my second block. I'm really, really excited about all the shoulder strengthening stuff that's involved in my every day training this year.
I always have shoulder pain when I start back training:
Every year my mind tricks me into thinking it's worse than it has ever been before! Once we get into regular throwing sessions and toss in some extra rehab for good measure though, it calms right down. Right now, we're throwing heavy javelins, getting back into crossover shape, and working really hard on learning some real gymnastics skills.

I've been having some technical difficulties with the internet lately, so I didn't get to post a blog about Rally for Girls' Sports Day. I just wanted to leave a list of things that I've won from playing sports.

1. friends
2. self-confidence
3. mental and physical strength
4. a job (that I love)
5. perspective on the world
6. opportunities to give back
7. lots and lots of gratitude for others
A note on #7: Victories (whatever their scale) are so much more fun when you realize that they aren't just your own. It's extremely humbling to think about the things that so many other people had a hand in to get you where you are, and I try to think about it every day and say thanks!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Back to Work

Russ and I drove back to San Diego last week, arriving on Saturday in order to start practice on Monday. I have to say, vacation was so much fun and we lived such a "free" lifestyle that it was difficult to face the facts again! Our road trip all the way down the Oregon coast, across to Reno with a stop at Lake Tahoe, and down the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains was one last taste of outdoor exploration before beginning fall training. It was beautiful!

Now that practice has begun, I can talk about javelin again!
The first four days of training have been awesome. My upper body (mainly my chest and shoulders) is unbelievably sore, and I'm sure my legs will catch up after tomorrow! Starting October 14, I had little preparatory workouts four days a week, which made it easier to transition into these full-fledged workouts that we're doing now!

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday are two-a-day practice days, and Wednesday and Saturday are "active rest" days. Monday and Thursday, Mike and I do drills and throw javelins in the morning and lift in the afternoon. Tuesday and Friday, we have conditioning exercises of all kinds in the morning and do gymnastics with the pole vaulters in the afternoon. Wednesdays this year, everyone goes to the beach, we take a 20-minute run, do general strength exercises in the sand, and then go for a dip in the ocean to cool off!
I don't know what Saturday has in store yet :).

I'm excited about how the year has started off. We are running a lot compared to last year, doing running drills, doing more specific strength stuff, and much more challenging (for me) gymnastics. I remember feeling a little out-of-sorts last year, mostly because I was new and unfamiliar with all of the drills and terminology. The throwing that we've done already has shown that the technique I learned last year has stuck with me well throughout vacation! There's also this feeling of excitement from everyone around here; I know it could be because it's the first week back, but I also have this idea that it has something to do with 2011 being a World Championships year...hooray!

The annual Throws Summit that USATF puts on is this weekend in Las Vegas; I usually enjoy a good javelin technique discussion, and it will be fun to see everybody!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Great Northwest

I am totally loving vacation! Southwest Washington in October is absolutely gorgeous; foggy, cool mornings mostly give way to clear, sunny afternoons that showcase colorful trees. Perfect for hiking and exploring outside.

Tuesday, Erica, Russ and I hiked Lava Canyon at the base of Mt. St. Helens. It was an awesome day, with beautiful scenery and excellent company! The hike had really steep sections with huge dropoffs to the river and crashing waterfalls below, ladders we had to climb up and down, and a 1/4-mile stone staircase trail to the top of a huge rock covered with greenery where we ate lunch! The first time Mt. St. Helens erupted 3500 years ago, lava carved a path through the valley. Then, the canyon that was made got covered up by forest. When Mt. St. Helens erupted again in 1980, a mudslide uncovered the canyon and people discovered it! Such a fun and various trip :).

Thursday, Mom, Russ and I hiked to June Lake, also at the base of Mt. St. Helens, for lunch. Then, we explored the lower cave of the Ape Caves in the same area!

Friday, Dad drove Russ and I to Astoria for lunch, and then on to Seaside for some cards (cribbage is the game of choice around here), lounging around, and a walk on the beach before heading back home.

I'm going to see my brother in Seattle and meet his girlfriend for the first time on Monday! I haven't seen him in a long time (probably since last Christmas), and that makes me sad. I'm so excited to catch up!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

home again!

I traveled home to Vancouver (technically La Center), Washington today! It feels SO good to be here and to relax a little bit. I have absolutely loved my last three weeks in Colorado with Russ!

We camped for two nights on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park, where Elk are abundant and active! The male Elk ("Bulls") make a crazy, squeely, bugling sound at each other and to attract the females ("Cows"); it is quite a spectacle. The first night we camped there, a group of animals came right up to the road, vehicles and human audience and all.

We went on a hike the second day; one that led us past Nymph Lake and Dream Lake to reach Emerald Lake. It was much more populated than our previous hike to the other Emerald Lakes, but still awesome.

A group of Elk saw us out of the Park, and the Bull among them wasn't the least bit camera-shy!

Russ's Dad, Brad, has waited 23 years to have the opportunity to hunt for Elk in Moffat County, Colorado in a highly exclusive Game Management Unit. I do not claim to know anything about hunting, but what I know, I have learned in the past four days! This sector of Colorado is home to a huge population of large Bull Elk, and they were extremely active and vocal while we were in their territory. Before we left on this trip, I bought what's called a "Zero Gravity Lounger" so I would be comfortable reading books in camp all day while Russ, Brad and Brad's friend Les searched for animals in the woods.
It. Was. Awesome.
Camping was fun, spending time with Russ and his family was more fun, and I really enjoyed all the reading I got done, the sunsets I watched, and the fires I started all on my own.



I am only home for like two days! My roommate from Sophomore year at Purdue, Mel, is getting married on Saturday, and Sam is one of her bridesmaids. How could I possibly miss it??? I travel to Chicago on Wednesday, and I could not be more excited to see my friends!!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Backpacking!

I'm in Colorado Springs hanging out with Russ and his awesome parents! Last week, he and I walked eleven miles into the woods (uphill, haha) to get to the Emerald Lakes in the Weminuche Wilderness of Southwest Colorado near Durango. It was my first backpacking trip ever, and I absolutely loved it. It is so much hard work to pack in,
but incredibly rewarding!!
We camped just south of Little Emerald Lake, and took day hikes around it and to the north side of (Big) Emerald Lake. I'm loving vacation! Hanging out in Elk camp is next on the list.

Russ on the trail at the beginning of the pack in!

Us on our second day of hiking; straight uphill for 4 miles. But gorgeous :).

The first view we had of Little Emerald Lake! Beautiful.






A view toward the north shore of Emerald Lake from the trail on our day hike.









Looking south across Emerald Lake toward Little Emerald!

Russell on the trail on the way out. The Aspens were awesome :).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Continental Cup

I competed in my last meet of the season on Saturday in Split, Croatia at the inaugural IAAF Continental Cup. It was a super neat experience, as being selected for the team was a real honor, and having teammates from other countries was new! I don't speak Spanish, but I was able to help my javelin teammate understand what was going on during the competition; cool.

Croatia itself is beautiful; mountainous land with many, many islands and the gorgeous, clear Adriatic Sea! I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have. Mike got some amazing sunset shots.

As for the competition, I was disappointed with my season-ending performance. I couldn't manage anything further than 58.07m; by far my worst meet of the year. I also ended up 6th out of 7. The bottom line is that I simply got tired after two months overseas! My body broke down a little bit, and
I simply couldn't get my mind past the fact that I was achy and sore on the day that I needed to be tough.
I also had a hard time focusing on executing my technique well because I couldn't get past the fact that I didn't feel good physically. Mediocre technique plus decreased confidence in my physical abilities equals worse throwing than I'm used to these days!

I had a meeting with Ty today to talk about next years' strategy, and discussing the future helped me understand what happened at the end of this season. This year, my training was designed to peak at USAs, with a maintenance program that started right afterward. That maintenance program allowed me to last about seven weeks in good shape before the affects of the training I did prior to USAs fully wore off. Seven weeks post-USA Championships put me right at Zurich, which is where things started to decline a little bit!
How cool to know why things happened the way they did,
and to know that we can change plans for next summer in order to be ready to throw far when we want to. Yay! I'm excited to have real focus next year instead of going meet to meet just, you know, seeing how things go. It will be good to have direction.

Overall, this season was amazing for me, and I'm super excited about how far I've come in a year, not to mention the room for improvement that I still see! Thank you endlessly to everyone that has ever offered me an encouraging word or ten, as it always, always helps!! Here are some statistics to compare last year with this one...

2009 average of top 5 competitions: 59.19m
63.95m (USAs)
58.56m (Regionals)
58.41m (ASU Invite)
57.90m (NCAAs)
57.14m (approximation...haha)

2010 average of top 5 competitions: 64.66m
66.67m (USAs)
65.90m (Prefontaine)
64.21m (Monaco)
63.41m (London)
63.11m (Gateshead)

Including all 12 competitions this year, my average was 62.28m. I threw 61.00m at 8 out of 12 competitions this season, or 67% of the time. In 2009, I threw further than 61.00m only once.

I'm extremely excited to have some rest! I fly to Colorado Springs tomorrow morning to hang out with Russ and his family, and we're going to spend lots of time in the great outdoors, yay!!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

German Road Trip

I traveled to Breda, Holland and Bad Kostritz, Germany this past weekend to watch Russ compete! We rented a car and got to drive on the Autobahn, wow.

Breda was gorgeous! Cutest little Netherlands town ever. They had their own beautiful cathedral and lots of litte interesting restaurants, not to mention happily chorusing groups of people everywhere; it must have been some sort of holiday. The stores were pretty impressive, too, not that I believe in shopping in Europe...I would if I could fit things in my suitcase, though!

After Russ competed in Breda, we took off in the car for Bad Kostritz; approximately a 6 hour drive. I was told that it's strange to drive for that long in Europe, because everything is supposed to be close together! We arrived late, and Bad Kostritz is a tiny (but awesome) German town.

The meet the next day was a combination Highland Games/track meet! It's called Kostritzer Werfertag ("Werfertag" is, literally, "Thrower Day"), and is sponsored by the local brewery. This means that the winner of each event got a giant glass of Kostritzer Schwarzbier, their specialty! In the spirit of sportsmanship, all of the guys who podiumed got a taste of the beer. The crowd really wanted them to chug the entire thing, which Russ almost did.

Russ competed in the Portland Highland Games in 2007, and it was such a fun experience to watch! The events at the Werfertag on Sunday were super entertaining; people just want to have fun with their friends when they're competing at something like that! I got some hilarious pictures, and videotaped a caber-weave race (??...see picture). There is a Highland Games World Championship in Scotland on the first Saturday in September of every year, and I think it would be amazing to go someday! I have a good source (my friend Jessica) who's a big fan.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Berlin

I was ready to redeem myself in Berlin this year, both because of Zurich and last year’s World Championships in the same stadium. This summer has been full of amazing experiences, and I’m so glad that I chose to spend an entire two months of the season in Europe instead of commuting back and forth from the states! I have, however, gotten a little bit shaky on my technique because I’ve been practicing alone.

In Zurich, my distances didn’t suffer as much from poor technique as they did from timidity. In Berlin, I had 3 throws over 60-meters again, but because of aggression instead of good technique. I forced positions and I was frustrated enough with mediocre distances in the beginning of the competition to simply try harder instead of changing technique, compromising my shoulder and elbow a little.
Any time my arm gets out of its “slot” behind my shoulder and I still try to put some big energy into the throw, things get dangerous.
I’m definitely not injured as a result, but my arm was much more tender after Berlin’s competition than it has been after any other all year! It was nice to get some rest, massage, and rehabilitation-type exercises in upon my return to Cologne.

While I did have three 60-meter throws, I didn’t have any 61-meter (A standard) throws. My best landed at 60.97m, which I’m pretty sure is exactly 200 feet. I ended up third to Christina Obergfoll and Linda Stahl. The rest of the meet in Berlin was really cool to watch, and was highlighted by a world record in the men’s 800m race! It was absolutely amazing to see David Lekuta Rudisha of Kenya run 1:41.09. I ran the 800 in middle school, and while I was nowhere near good, I have massive respect for such a cool result. It's the best it has ever been done!! My friend Benn Harradine (shown below on the big screen!) threw well for second in the discus, and watching Brad pole vault again is really fun; this was only his second meet of the year!


I threw in practice today, and Ty was there to help me! It was so great to have his input again, and I’m feeling optimistic about my chances to go out with a bang at the Continental Cup. I leave for Split, Croatia on September 2nd, throw on September 4th, travel back to Cologne to pack up on September 5th, and go home to America on September 6th!! I can’t wait to get a San Diego beach day or two in before I go on vacation :).

Here are my meets and distances so far this year (A standard throws in bold):

Drake Relays: 61.80m
Tucson Elite Day 1: 60.33m
Tucson Elite Day 2: 61.75m
USA National Championships: 66.67m
Prefontaine Classic Diamond League: 65.90m
Vancouver, B.C.’s Harry Jerome: 61.58m
Gateshead Diamond League: 63.11m
Monaco Diamond League: 64.21m
London Diamond League: 63.41m
Zurich Diamond League: 59.50m
Berlin ISTAF World Challenge: 60.97m

Eight out of eleven meets above the A standard so far! My goal for the season was to have 90% of my meets at that distance. Eight out of eleven is approximately 73%. There’s no way I’ll reach my goal with only one meet left in the season, but all things considered, this year has been one big confidence-building, successful learning opportunity. During the 2009 season, I had one meet over the 60-meter line. I actually only had one meet over the 58.56-meter line, and that was USAs at 63.95m. The 2010 season has been a whole different story, and this last meet is arguably the most important of the year! I’m really excited to finish strong.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Zurich

I did my best to approach the Diamond League Final as I have all of the other Diamond League meets this year; with confidence in my technique and focused on what I could do to succeed in the competition. Somewhere along the way in preparing though, I started listening to hype about the fact that I could win! While externally I said that I needed to just focus on what I could control, fantasies started playing in my head a little bit.
It’s dangerous to think about what could be if you forget about what you’ll do to get there.
My distraction showed in my results, and I ended up 9th in the standings in Zurich with a throw of 59.50m on my third attempt. Ninth place means that I was the only one who only got three throws, as they took 8 to finals.

I was very happy to see Christina Obergfoll throw 67m! I was also so glad to congratulate Barbora Spotakova on her inaugural Diamond League victory!

Not living up to my own expectations was really difficult, though. If you know me, you know that I’m a pretty emotional person. I’m a sore loser when Russ beats me in cards, but I do my very best to be gracious on the javelin runway. I hate that I can’t help crying when I’m upset with myself, but I let my competitors know how great I think they are despite my few tears! All I know is that I really care about what I’m doing, and when I don’t succeed, I’m disappointed.

Another thing about the competition is that I knew everyone would come to throw far. It is a final, after all! I also knew that I needed to throw far, but after the first round, I started getting worried instead of digging deep for my competitive energy. I watched others’ distances instead of thinking about my own and how I could improve them, when I already knew I shouldn’t fall into that trap.

Even though the results from Zurich are definitely not what I wanted, I’m trying to keep a little bit of perspective. I want to be tough on myself, as accepting less than my best is not what I’m about, but beating myself up too much isn’t smart or healthy! Some people have asked me if I’m injured, worried that that’s the reason I had my first meet of the season below 60 meters and didn’t get at least top 3.
I’m not injured; I just had a bad day.
One year ago, I would have been happy with 59.50m in any competition, as I was struggling terribly in Europe. I’m not happy with it now, but it’s my best distance by a long shot in a really high-pressure meet like this one was. I’m doing my best to learn everything I can from this season and am looking forward to applying all the new knowledge to competitions in the future.

I’m throwing in Berlin in the Olympic Stadium tomorrow! How great that I get an opportunity to throw again so quickly after a frustrating performance, especially because disappointments from last year in the same Olympic Stadium are now fresh in my mind. Can anyone say redemption? We’re even in the same hotel; I feel kind of like I get another chance.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Switzerland, Land of Chocolate and Presents

I left for Zurich on Tuesday morning. I woke up around 3am to a torrential downpour outside. I couldn't sleep for the next hour and a half, worried about walking to the train station with my javelins and suitcase in the storm! Sure enough, at 4:45 when I headed out the door, it was still coming down.
When you're faced with a problem you just have to overcome, no matter what, you might as well get going on it.
Luckily, it poured rain a few days earlier, and I had bought an umbrella (the first one I've ever really owned, being from Washington, and tough about rain). I honestly don't know how I did it, but I took my javelins and suitcase in one hand (two fingers holding the jav bag and two rolling the suitcase) with the umbrella in the other. My traps were on fire after a minute or so, so I did my best to switch arms periodically! This meant that I barely made it to the train on time. It was smooth sailing once I reached the airport, though.

Upon check-in at the Hotel Moevenpick by the Zurich Airport,
they gave me chocolate!!!!
My diet rules are that I cannot buy or otherwise get sweets for myself; they must be given to me as presents, or I need to be celebrating something. Being given delicious Swiss chocolate as a welcome gift is well within those rules! Being given an awesome Swiss massage by a meet physiotherapist is great, too.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was a kids' clinic at the stadium that I was invited to attend! Christina Obergfoell, Sunette Viljoen and I led group of kids in throwing Vortex nerf footballs and foam turbo-javelins. It was a nice break from my normal routine, and when we returned to the hotel, iPod Nanos were waiting for us as thank-yous!

I was interview by Peter Ahnberg for IAAF Athletix (a TV show) on Wednesday morning. They filmed me blogging, which was a surprise, and we talked about the competition and the rest of my season. Neat. After that I did my pre-meet and relaxed all day (and the next day), preparing for the competition.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

London

I arrived in London in a much more put-together fashion than last year! I know my way around the Cologne Airport pretty well now, so check-in and finding the oversize baggage screening area and my gate were a breeze. I did, however, forget that London would have different outlets than those in Cologne! Thank goodness for Becky Breisch and her preparedness; she always has extra converters, and let me borrow one after the two I bought last-minute in the airport weren't up to the task of charging my phone.

Speaking of Becky, it was so good to see her!! I miss San Diego a lot, and I literally hadn't seen Becky or Britney (who came for lunch on Friday) since the very beginning of July. Brad also made his season debut, and hanging out with all of them was a much-needed taste of comforting home!

I traveled to Amsterdam a few weeks ago to watch Russ throw discus in the 1928 Olympic Stadium there. I had a great time simply spectating, but it poured down rain during the whole competition! For some reason, I knew that London would be the same. I brought as many warm clothes as I could fit in the small bag that I take to meets, and prepared for the competition in much the same way that I got ready for Drake in April. I know that I need to feel really warm to trust my body to throw far, so I wore long spandex and a long-sleeve shirt under my uniform.
Rain is inevitable sometimes, so you might as well prepare for success despite it.
My warm-up throws for the competition were mediocre at best, and I was feeling really tired. That was frustrating, because I felt awesome in my pre-meet workout the day before! Maybe I over-did it. Anyway, warm-ups only count for preparing your body for competition, so I did my best to execute technique on my first throw; I didn't do a very good job of it, but it went 59.57m. That's only my second 59-meter throw ever, and the way I began my series at USAs, so I was encouraged by it. My second throw was better overall and landed at 61.77m, and my third felt excellent until I dropped my arm at the last second, making the flight funny and only going 56m.

Becky, Jill, Dustin and a bunch of other Americans were standing behind the runway watching the meet and cheering for me, and it was so great to be able to smile thanks in their direction between throws. After my third throw (we only got four attempts again, like Gateshead), I went to chat a little about technique. Becky was helpful and encouraging, and on my way back to my chair, Andreas waved me over to give me some tips! We chatted about how I should run onto my block and keep my arm back as far as possible to connect with the javelin better, and I kinda did that on my last throw; 63.41m. Cool.


I barely lost to Barbora! She threw 63.50m on her first attempt and passed the rest because her elbow hurts. I hope that her injury isn't serious, as elbows can be tricky for any javelin thrower. My parents watched the video on Universal Sports and got to see lots of my throws!

I'm kinda disappointed. I wanted a better distance, and I went into this meet knowing that if I won, I had a very legitimate shot at winning the entire women's javelin Diamond League series. I want to say that I did my best on the day of competition in London, but I know that I could have done better. I haven't had a competition in a while, so I should have been fresh from all the rest I've gotten. I've had a lot of opportunity to work on things in practice, but I haven't been executing positions quite like I should be. I didn't feel fresh and I didn't execute the greatest positions, but I still managed to compete well and almost come away with a victory! I also had an A standard throw in my first three attempts, and as I was trying to envision this competition as, say, the Olympic final in London in two years, I was happy to put a decent distance out there early.
Take the good with the bad, but focus on how to use the bad for good in the future.
I still have my biggest competitions of the season to come! The Diamond League final in Zurich on August 19th is a big deal, as it's the culmination of Pre, Gateshead, Monaco and London for me (plus Doha and Rome before that), and is worth double Diamond points. The Continental Cup in Split, Croatia on September 4th is such an interesting and exciting event, and will be my last of the season. Ty, Mike and Melinda recently arrived in Cologne, and I'm really looking forward to throwing with Ty in practice again!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reschedule!

So, the travel to Tallinn, Estonia was going to be as follows:

By train:
6:45: leave for the main train station in Cologne
7:25-8:20: Cologne to Monchengladbach
8:25-8:56: Monchengladbach to Venio
9:19-10:00: Venio to Eindhoven
10:02-11:22: Eindhoven to Amsterdam Centraal
By plane:
13:15-16:30: Amsterdam to Riga International
17:10-18:05: Riga to Tallinn

All that with a rolling duffel bag, javelins and a backpack? Sounds really difficult. I've had a bit of a cold for about a week, and have been feeling it in the way workouts have gone. Getting information about this travel schedule coupled with the sickness factor made the decision not to go to the meet pretty simple, even though I had been looking forward to it!
Sometimes doing the best thing for myself takes some convincing, but I like to think that I come to my senses more often than not.
In other news, tomorrow is Russ's birthday, and since we're both no longer going to this meet, we'll be able to do something fun to celebrate!

Unfamiliar Territory

In preparation for my next competition, I was supposed to throw and do some overheads (throwing a shot put behind you as far as possible) yesterday. It takes approximately one whole hour to get to Leverkusen, so I opted for the Cologne Sport University again.

I arrived at the Rheinenergie Stadion train stop and made my way past the stadium toward the track to do my workout. When I got there, it was locked. Crap.

There are big empty fields right next to the stadium, so I made my way back to throw a little in the grass. I haven’t felt awesome lately-I think due to sickness on top of a little different exercise plan-so I warmed up carefully and did my best to listen to my body. Throwing in the grass is so fun for me! I did it the other day in Leverkusen, too. It’s easier on my back, I can go at a little slower pace than I would off of the runway, and it really makes me work to hit the positions I want to. It also helps me trust my footing; we worked on throwing on grass in the fall, and if you get your left foot down to block on time, you’re not going to slip like you’re afraid you will. Good training!

Sometimes when you’re in an unfamiliar place, you don’t have access to everything you need to train like you would at home. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re supposed to be doing something somewhere (throwing javelins in a really nicely-kept field by a pretty stadium, for instance),
do it until you’re told not to. Then be respectful and apologetic when you get in trouble.
So, I’m throwing my javelins in the grass, and it’s going well, and I’m listening to my music on my iPod shuffle, when a man responsible for facility maintenance in a bright orange jumper thing strolls over to me. I do my best to ignore him and keep my headphones in, as I’m afraid he’s going to kick me out. He catches up with me, and instead of getting upset and making me leave, he just wants to throw one of my javelins! So I let him. A few minutes later, another one of the jumpsuit men comes over for his try. “Just once,” I say, and he throws and is happy. These two encounters made me laugh! These guys seemed pretty bored with their jobs, and simply wanted to attempt what I was doing. Nice; they took an interest.

I head back toward my pile of stuff, throwing along the way, and just as I’m about to take my last throw of the day, I get another visitor. This one drives across the beautiful grass on a moped, cigarette hanging from his mouth, and spouts off some German at me. I think he was working the event going on at the stadium, and it was weird to me that he was so rude, because everyone else at that event was super happy! “Entschuldigung, bitte? Sprechen Sie English?” I say, and he simply points at my javelins, waves his arms horizontally in front of him and says, “Nichts!”
Oh, I understand…you don’t want me throwing here, but you can drive your moped around on the grass. Alright.
So I toss my remaining javelin down on the ground, smile politely, and say, “I just finished! Thank you.”

All-in-all, a weird and semi-frustrating, but also semi-successful day. I walked about half an hour out of my way only to find the locked track and head back to the field where I decided to throw. I got in some good throws at the intensity that I needed to a few days before a competition, and got to glimpse a social event unlike any other I’ve witnessed before. The trains were super crowded, and that’s really annoying when you have javelins on board and everyone a)gives you really funny looks and b)expects you to be able to negotiate an 8-foot-long tube that does not bend around corners or people with the greatest of ease, without giving you any extra wiggle room. If it was me, and I didn’t know what was in the giant long case, I might not crowd as close as I possibly could to it. Just saying.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tourists

Russ and I went sight-seeing on Friday and Saturday! The cathedral (Kolner Dom) in the central part of the city is amazing, and apparently one of the more important destinations for pilgrimages during the period of history when that was the cool thing to do.

Friday, we did our best to find the stairs to the top of the towers, but couldn’t, so just looked around the impressive main level. There was actually a service going on, which definitely added to the ambiance! Like the most perfect background music for exploring a super ancient, amazing church.

The train bridge over the Rhein in Cologne has thousands of locks attached to it. Russ had noticed them from the trains, and we walked over to check it out after touring the Dom on Friday. As far as we could tell, each lock represents a loving couple! It’s seriously impressive how many of them there are; we (…Russ) calculated a conservative number, and got 560,000! At least!!

Saturday, since we had nothing else to do, we decided to actually find those tower stairs. Success! Five hundred and thirty three stairs later, we looked down from a ridiculous height on the city! The bell room was really cool, and it’s just astounding to think about the people that had to climb up there and build that thing.
How freaking scary.
Last night, Becky, Brianna, Bri’s friend Mel, Trevell, Jamie, Russ and I hung out together at the Aachener-Weiher Beer Garden. It was SO much fun to just sit and laugh with friends! Being in Koln alone and trying to figure everything out is a little tough, but when you can have such a fun time together, all the traveling and stuff gets a lot better!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Monaco

I arrived in Monaco on Wednesday and realized that I miss San Diego a lot! The palm trees, gorgeous scenery, nice cars, ocean views, and beautiful weather made me think of home. Monaco was just a lot more expensive!

When the meet lady greeted me in baggage claim in Nice, France, she had me leave my javelins with the pole vault poles that had already arrived, assuring me that she would take care of their transportation to the track later that day. I asked a bunch of questions about that, as I’m not really comfortable letting my implements out of my sight. I decided to trust her.

The drive to the hotel was awesome! We meandered along a super windy road that made its way down the side of a mountain, and overlooked the French Riviera the whole time. I checked in with no problems, and asked a few questions about my javelins to make sure they would be taken to the track like I was told. Then I had lunch with Jill and Dustin, and Jarred, followed by a pre-meet workout later that afternoon. I didn’t do a lot of exploring Wednesday, as I was simply ecstatic to be spending some time in an air-conditioned space with a comfortable bed and someone who spoke English (Erin Donohue was my roommate at the meet)!

After breakfast the next day and asking a few more questions about my javelins
(Will they be checked in at the track, or do I need to find them and do that myself? Have you seen them? Are you sure they’ll be there?)
and being assured again that they would show up, Jill, Dustin and I took a walk! We went up to the pool deck and took in the amazing views. Then we checked out the area up by the Monte Carlo Casino, where all the super fancy cars park at night. We wandered back to our hotel (the Fairmont Monte Carlo) on the other side to see the apparently famous hairpin turn in front of the entrance. An afternoon of relaxation followed our short adventure, and I left for the competition around 6:45pm, as women’s javelin started at 8:40pm.

My general warm-up felt awesome on Thursday! It was hot and humid, which is pretty conducive to warm muscles. I felt explosive and rested, and did a good job of getting my shoulder warm, as I’m now prepared to not getting time to throw in the grass at big meets. There was an awesome crowd, I warmed up on the runway well, and was really looking forward to throwing far. Once again, I didn’t throw over 61m in my first three, but my fourth one went 62m to move me into second place, and my fifth was 64.21m to keep second to Barbora. There's video this time, too!
I really, really tried to win on my sixth throw,
but as good as it felt on the runway, I missed the tip a little bit and it fell short at 58-59m. I felt better about the positions that I hit at this meet than I have lately, and I was happy that I had two throws over 62m, but I still want better distances in my initial three attempts. I was kind of surprised to feel disappointment after my last throw, too!
I am beginning to expect more of myself than I ever have. Cool.

When we were escorted out to the runway before competition, the first thing I looked for was my javelins, which I hadn’t seen in one whole day. They weren’t there, despite all of my careful questioning! When you check javelins (or any other throwing implement) in for competition, they become fair game. I am always happy to let other athletes use my stuff, and the same kinds of javelins that I like throwing were already checked in, so I used them! I figured that I would solve the mystery of where they were afterwards. As soon as the competition was over (and I was notified that I had been selected to be drug tested…again), I tried to figure out where they’d got to. I was told that they would meet me back at the hotel that evening, but the offices where they might be were closed. The assistant meet director (Remy), of all people, found me that night to tell me he would do his best to find them in the morning and let me know.

The meet has a pretty fancy Gala after the competition concludes, and it was really nice to visit with friends and eat some good food. Just when I thought I was headed to sleep after the Gala, my married friends Jill and Dustin, Casey and Lindsey had the awesome idea to go jump in the ocean! We walked to the beach, and spent like an hour floating around, laughing, avoiding “Snea Snakes” in the words of Jill, and marveling at the fact that we were actually in the French Riviera! I missed Russ like crazy on the romantic walk back to the hotel with the two married couples :).

I woke up earlier than necessary the next day to find my javelins before catching the shuttle to the airport. I looked in all of the meet offices in the hotel to no avail! I had no choice but to board my bus and hope that Remy found my javelins and could ship them to me in Germany. About an hour later while standing in line to check in at the airport, Remy called me to say he had found them and they would be arriving on the next bus! I waited outside for them, then checked in and got through security in just enough time to board the plane. It will always be a mystery where my javelin case was for two days, but the results and the experience I had in Monaco couldn’t have been much better for my first time. Yay!

Here is my upcoming meet schedule as I hope it goes!

August 3rd: Tallin, Estonia
August 13th: London, England
August 19th: Zurich, Switzerland
August 22nd: Berlin, Germany
August 31st: Rovereto, Italy
September 4th: Split, Croatia

Then, home!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The New Girl

Every day is an adventure in Cologne, Germany.
I have been training, yes, but I have been doing a lot more walking, moving apartments, looking for food, attempting to get rent money, taking the wrong trains, and translating the laundry machines. I’ve also been doing my best to use the German that I remember from high school and college, but I’m not often successful I realize that my last post was really optimistic and happy, and that’s generally how I feel, but getting used to a place takes some time! Momentarily, though, I’m enjoying a nice iced mocha and evening muffin at the Starbucks with free internet in Friesenplatz, and life could only be better if Russ was here, too.

Apartment adventure:
I spent my first four nights at the apartment Becky and Brianna rented. It’s nice to have friends around, but I felt out of place, as they had rented the space for themselves, not me. I looked at and signed the paperwork for my own flat in the MediaPark area of the city, and I like it a lot! It has been hot, there is no air conditioning anywhere, and fans are sold out all over the city, but my apartment has nice big windows that give good airflow to the place at night. It’s in the city, so it’s loud, but I plan on finding ear plugs and an eye mask somewhere around here soon.

Food adventure:
When you live in the city and don’t speak the language fluently, it’s a little bit difficult to find what you’re looking for in terms of a grocery store. I love the German bakeries, but Apfeltasche won’t sustain me (or help me throw far, haha). Becky and I found a pretty good grocery store when we went to Leverkusen for training yesterday, and I will do my best to find another one close by soon. I have enough to tide me over now, but it was bleak for a while! There is a good old-fashioned Subway near my apartment, too!

Money adventure:
I brought a good amount of cash with me (but not enough to pay rent), as I know that it’s the easiest way to make transactions in foreign countries. Credit and debit cards are different from country to country, and I’ve found that you can’t really depend on them. There are also ATM withdrawal limits overseas just as there are in the U.S., and I am forced to pay my rent in 150 Euro increments because the Deutsche Bank (partner of Bank of America, or so I’m told) won’t give me a cash advance for the full amount of the summer’s rent. Very frustrating and confusing because of the language barrier and the mystery of why something I’m told should work, won’t. My Dad is doing his best to help me, though, and my landlady is awesome.

Train adventure:
So far, I have taken two trains in the wrong direction. I think that’s pretty good, considering I’ve taken a lot of trains! The day that I moved from the third floor (with no elevator) of Becky and Brianna’s building to the second floor (with elevator, yay) of my building (one train stop away), I took two trips to get all the stuff to the new place. The first trip took me an hour, one way, because I took the right train in the wrong direction, and when I finally got to my stop, I started walking the wrong way and had to turn around. The second trip took me 15 minutes. Friday, when Becky and I were doing our best to get back to Cologne from Leverkusen, we sat and watched two trains we thought we weren’t supposed to take pull away, then took a third of the same line of train because we figured out that it was, indeed, the one we needed. Then, we took the right train, in the wrong direction, from the main station and had to turn around. But we made it! We decided that you need to mess up in the train system before you really understand it. I feel like I haven’t messed up enough to be proficient yet.

Laundry adventure:
There are laundry machines (washer and dryer, the latter of which is a big deal) in the basement of my building, and I’m so happy about that. The washer takes 1 Euro for 1 hour of power, and yesterday I put one load of laundry through one washing cycle, but without the water. Oops? I didn’t see water going in there, but I figured maybe that happened later in German washing machines? The second time around, I found a little valve to turn that let the water in. Yay! All in all, I spent 5 Euro and approximately 6 hours doing laundry. Cool. At least I have clean clothes.

In other news, I threw pretty well on Thursday at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (German Sport University Cologne, the one in the picture), and felt great in training in Leverkusen on Friday!
My body is feeling a little broken down, especially in my Achilles, but my back feels good and I’m doing my best to be off my feet when I can. Becky and I went to dinner by the Rhein last night, and back to Leverkusen for throwing, vaulting and lifting today! Russ gets here on the 20th, and I honestly haven’t been more excited to see him since we lived in different states!!! He has been a real warrior of the circuit, as he will have competed in 6 meets in about a week before he arrives in Cologne. What an outrageous stud!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gateshead, Great Britain

I competed in my second Diamond League event of the season in Gateshead on Saturday! I threw 63.11m on my fourth (and final...we only got four attempts) throw to move from 4th place to 2nd.

My general warm-up for the competition felt really good! I was happy, because I didn't quite know how I would feel on the day of competition after arriving from "The States" (as they say abroad) two days prior. My throwing warm-up didn't feel as good, and my first three throws felt pretty bad (especially 2 and 3; I intentionally fouled them). I'm really looking forward to throwing in practice this week and next and re-cementing some of the technical things that I've lost my edge on in my past few competitions! Like in Eugene last weekend, I didn't release an A Standard throw in my first three tosses in Gateshead, and my primary goal is to do so as often as possible this summer.
All self-criticism aside, I'm excited that I placed and threw well in my first meet overseas!
It's difficult to travel and compete right away (although apparently not for Russell :)), and I'm glad that my results are already better than last year's. Russ threw a PR (Personal Record, just in case you're not familiar with the terminology) in the discus of 62.88m on Saturday in Donnas, Italy after arriving from the United States a mere four hours before his competition! What a trooper!! That's a World B Standard throw, and I'm super proud of him. :)

I traveled from England to Cologne, Germany on Sunday night, and Brianna Glenn is letting me crash at her apartment here until I get my own! I have an appointment to see a flat (teehee!) in the Mediapark section of the city tomorrow afternoon, and I think I'm going to love it. The apartment is in close proximity to a cinema, grocery stores, restaurants and more, plus the S-Bahn and U-Bahn (train and subway) systems in German cities are simple and efficient, with stations absolutely everywhere. We will do the majority of our training at the Cologne Sport University, but will make a few trips to Leverkusen to use their facilities, too.

I vow to start taking pictures soon. I get to train hard here for a week and a half or so, and head to Monaco on July 21st!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tale of Two Travel Experiences

I arrived in Gateshead, Great Britain yesterday, and I wanted to share two very different stories. (all links in this post will be English, by the way!)

Travel Experience A:

July 2009: Purdue to London, England

My flight from Indianapolis was delayed approximately two hours, meaning I sprinted through the huge Minneapolis airport to barely catch my flight (on which I sweated constantly and wheezed some because of my jaunt) to London Heathrow. For this reason, when I arrived, my checked luggage didn’t. This being my first major international meet not with Team USA or people to take care of me, I hadn’t packed my uniform or javelin shoes in my carry-on.
Sometimes I see missing luggage as a good thing (less to carry, yay!),
but I kind of needed my stuff to do my job. I focused next on looking for my ride. Russ had advised me to find people with signs about the meet, so I awkwardly read the signs the few men in suits were holding by the exit from baggage claim. None said anything remotely related to track and field. I asked the lady at the information booth if she could help me, and she paged anyone looking for Kara Patterson (which is so embarrassing). No luck. I had rented a world phone from Verizon because my Voyager didn’t have international capability, so I could supposedly text and call people. Nope; no service. I ended up buying an hour of internet (thank goodness it was available in the airport) so I could Skype Russ and have him contact Jeff somehow so he could contact the meet (because obviously I didn’t print off any of my own information) and ask them what I should do! That took a while, but finally we figured out that I was in Terminal 4, when I needed to get a ride from Terminal 1.
Who knew London Heathrow was so big (not me);
the train to Terminal 1 took about half an hour. Once I got there, I wandered around a little more, timid and increasingly anxious, since my computer battery was now low and outlets are hard to come by in European airports. Finally I saw Brad Walker emerge from the arrivals area, and stuck to him like glue. The shuttle man found Brad immediately :). Once we got to the hotel, the front desk had me down as Karen, but gave me a key anyway. I was so excited to get to my room and take a shower (and then put on the same clothes and not be able to brush my teeth…ew) but when I got to the door, my key didn’t work. Awesome. So I trudged back downstairs to get a different one. I had arrived on a Thursday evening, and it took until 10:00pm on Friday to get my luggage delivered to the hotel! The meet was on Saturday. At least I got the stuff. The only time that I shed frustrated tears was when one of the front desk ladies refused to let me use their phone to call the airport about my bags. The climax of this whole story is that I threw terribly and didn’t even make the final the next day.

Travel Experience B:

July 2010: San Diego to Gateshead, England

My dear training partner Mike took me to the airport on Wednesday for my 6:25am Delta flight. I only paid 55 dollars for both my javelins and my checked bag, and I carried my brand-new awesome Eagle Creek rolling backpack on. All my entertainment fits in the purse that I got at the fair, so there’s no shuffling around in the bag that I put in the overhead bin before boarding. From San Diego to New York’s JFK airport, the middle seat next to my window seat was open, and I got some sleep before beating Prince of Persia on my iPad. I had two hours in JFK to call my mom and Sam and get some food (the food lady was super nice). I also bought Stephen King’s “Under the Dome,” which is my first full book by the famous author, and excellent so far. From JFK to Barcelona, I had my own row. Yes, three seats to myself. I slept (laying down!) for about 5 of the 7ish hours. Fabulous.
The price I paid for such luxury was one lost earring back. Those are replaceable.
I had about a 6-hour layover in Barcelona, but waiting for my bags and going through customs took about an hour and a half, and I read for about three. It took some effort to find my check-in counter, but I consider the long walk I took in the heat and humidity to be yesterday’s workout! You’d think that the Barcelona airport’s use of pictures on signs instead of words would simplify things, but when you don’t know which picture you’re looking for, things get confusing. The flight from Barcelona to Newcastle was painless, and I napped and read my book. I got through customs and got my luggage quickly before immediately finding my ride just outside baggage claim! I even had some people to talk to on the shuttle. The first key that they gave me downstairs worked magnificently, and I did some abs and showered before getting an awesome massage and eating dinner with Jill and her husband Dustin, Leo and Michelle.

Immediately after London last year, I purchased a BlackBerry. Now I can communicate via two different email addresses, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, and Twitter at all times, and text or call if I want to pay lots of money (which I don’t). This time, I printed off all of the itineraries I had, copied hotel addresses and phone numbers before I left the states, and packed my shoes, uniform, and some extras in my carry-on. That age-old theory works:
If you’re prepared for the worst, things will work out for the best.
You’ll also have a lot of peace of mind after understanding how stressful a trip gone wrong can be.

The meet in Gateshead is tomorrow! I throw at 5:40pm. That’s nine hours ahead of San Diego time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beautiful British Columbia

A quick note about Harry Jerome before I board my plane back to San Diego!

This place is gorgeous. I didn't get to hang out in downtown Vancouver, B.C. at all, but what I saw of the city and surrounding area from the plane and cars was just amazing. I can't wait to hopefully come back in the fall with Russ maybe! Mountains, water, greenery everywhere, and family made the trip fabulous, not to mention throwing pretty well again and seeing my friend Krista for the first time in a long while!

I threw 61.58m (202'0") on my second throw of the day, took one more that went 58.94m, and passed my remaining three throws. I'm feeling tired from all of the competition lately! I didn't have competitions for like a month before USAs, so all this traveling lately is awesome, but I'm also working hard to keep up. I didn't want to hurt myself, so I figured I shouldn't take all of my attempts.
I did, however, continue to meet one of my goals.
I told myself I would throw the World A Standard (61.00m last year) in ninety percent of my meets this year, and right now I'm 5 for 6 on that. Gotta keep it going.

Russell threw 20.15m in shot put for second place at the meet! It's always fun when we can be at a competition together, and I really enjoyed the short time we got to hang out.

In other news, I've been accepted into Gateshead and London, as well as Monaco! I had to decide between Barcelona and Gateshead, and I'm really sad that I don't get to go to Barcelona, but sometimes tough choices have to be made. I'm really looking forward to my Europe trip, which takes off tomorrow morning, super early!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Prefontaine Classic

Firstly, Happy 4th of July!!!!! And happy birthday to my good friend Jim :).

Today I competed in my first Diamond League event of the season, the 36th Annual Prefontaine Classic. I have to say, this meet is amazing!! Russ threw at Pre in 2007, and I was lucky enough to travel to Eugene, Oregon with him to watch.
I was amazed then, and I was blown away today!
With so many awesome performances all around the track and in the field, I admit that it was a little difficult to focus on my own event. Just check out the results and press coverage on the website! So cool to be around!

I arrived at the track around 11:00am (I caught the shuttle this time!), checked in my javelins, and headed over to hammer to watch Britney throw! I didn't get to see last weekend's hammer competition, so I wanted to make sure I at least glimpsed it. She finished fifth! Our Canadian friend Sultana Frizell threw for third :). I watched the whole hammer competition! It was possible because the field was small and the meet was high-energy. Awesome!

After hammer, I laid down for a few minutes. I checked in, warmed up, reported to the tent, warmed up on the field, and was ready to go! At these bigger meets, sometimes things take a little bit longer to get accomplished. They take the field out to the runway earlier and there's another event going on, so you have to wait to throw. There's a lot going on on the track, so you have to wait to be introduced. At a meet as big as World Championships or the Olympics, there might even be a national anthem playing, and nothing goes on when that happens; respect! :).
The waiting game shouldn't take away from your performance, though. I try to use it to relax.
The competition ended up going well! At first, the whole field struggled. There were only six of us javelin thrower girls, so things went quickly once throwing commenced. We had a typical Hayward Headwind, as expected, and my technique wasn't quite ready for it today! I figured it out by the end, though, and threw 65.90m on my last toss. Yay!
I ended up...first! In my first Diamond League!
Results here. I'm stoked. I didn't get a 61-meter throw in my first three, which is always my goal, but I'm glad to have followed last weekend up with another big distance.
Oregon track and field fans are always awesome, and today they did not disappoint.
It's really inspiring to be down on the field when a close race is egged on by the crowd, and it's fantastic to be cheered on by 12,000 strong. Wow.

On to Vancouver, B.C. after a day of rest at home in Vancouver, Washington! Side note: Nani and Nio (the family dogs) are getting SO old. I cried a little when Nani tottered up to me. They are still themselves though!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

USAs

Drake Stadium is turning out to be a fun place for me to throw.
Last Friday, I competed in the 2010 USA Track and Field Outdoor National Championships. I won my third consecutive national title (counting the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials), and had the best series of my life.

Ty had a lot of athletes competing this weekend, so it was up to me to get to the track by myself. I planned to take the 3:40pm shuttle from our Holiday Inn Hotel, but it left early! I missed my ride! Good thing there was a couple right next to me that had also missed the shuttle. Sylvia and Kurt-a couple of Kansas Jayhawk fans who had come to Des Moines simply to watch the meet-gave me a ride to the stadium, and we got an excellent parking spot. I directed them toward the throwing fields, where they watched Russ earn fourth place in the discus!
I’m super proud of him for persevering through some nasty wind conditions to place well in his “fun” event.
After checking in at the clerking tent to get my bibs, I went inside to sit down for a while. As soon as I arrived at the track, I started tripping over things. I’m naturally clumsy, but Friday was worse than usual. I couldn’t help thinking, “why today? I need to be coordinated in a few hours, geez.” I ate most of my second sandwich of the day, did my warm-up, and went back to the tent to be lead out to the field with the rest of the girls! I found Ty in the crowd after scanning it for my mom, Russ, and Grandpa too, and had a solid warm-up. It was fun to have Ty there for a competition! I liked how he told me to stop my throwing warm-up earlier than I might have if he wasn’t around; it let me know that he thought I was completely ready to go.

This year at USAs, the women’s javelin competitors were all put together in one flight. There were 15 of us in a rotation, and I didn’t think it was necessarily a bad thing! Sometimes it’s nice to have a little break between throws, and the officials kept the meet running very smoothly. I was the 13th thrower in the order.

Lo and behold, I tripped on my first throw. Surprise, surprise. Sometimes when I get too excited, my right foot clips the inside of my left leg upon withdraw! My shoes are pretty rough on the bottom, so when this happens, I make myself bleed. Despite this hiccup, my first throw went 59.62m (195’7”). I had actually never had a 59-meter throw before this! I’ve always thrown either 58 or 60 meters, never in between. Kinda cool. This was my series after throw number one: 60.92m, 62.61m, 61.42m, 62.80m, 66.67m (218’9”).



I am SO happy not only to have broken the American Record on my sixth throw, but to have put together a series like I did. I am well aware that I haven’t been the most consistent javelin thrower throughout my career so far, but I’m on a mission this year to change that!

I can't say enough how thankful I am to everyone who has sent me congratulatory messages! The outpouring of encouragement and excitement for me has been overwhelming, and it's amazing to see how much people care that things are going well. I truly appreciate it!

The technical aspects that I focused on most at USAs were landing behind my block, not pushing off of my right foot into my block, and doing my best to keep my left side closed as long as possible. The strong headwind that we dealt with during the competition would have been a major ordeal for me last year, as I used to throw my javelin too high (take my first four and last throws at USAs 2009 as evidence). This isn’t something I fixed overnight. I’ve fixed it by focusing on other aspects of my throwing. Those other aspects naturally helped me control the trajectory of my javelin! Cause and effect is a big deal in javelin throwing. I’m not saying I don’t still struggle with it in practice sometimes, though; I do.
Javelin will always be a work in progress.
Being at a meet with my training partners and friends from the Olympic Training Center was such a blast. We represented the training center well! Something I didn’t expect (but should have) in moving to Chula Vista was the team aspect there. Yeah, I left the college atmosphere behind, but I still have a track family to support and be supported by. It’s so much fun to walk around a meet and see multiple people that I train with every day doing well in their respective events! Our comradery makes us all better.

On Saturday, I drove up to Fort Dodge to see Grandma and Grandpa and Mom! I rented a car (a Pontiac G6; loved it), and found an awesome light rock radio station (104.1 if you live in Des Moines…) that actually came in loud and clear on the whole 2-hour drive! After all the excitement of the competition the day before, it was awesome to relax and sing along in the car. Visiting Grandma and Grandpa is always really fun for me, and I’m so happy I took the time to do so.

I only stayed for the afternoon, however, and drove back to Des Moines that night to hang out with Britney, who was third in women’s hammer! Russ got sixth in shot put on Sunday, and my roommate Becky Holliday earned 2nd in pole vault; her highest placing at a national championship with a personal best of 4.60m (15’1”). Sean Furey and Mike went 1-2 in the men’s javelin that day, Becky Breisch won women’s discus, and Tora Harris and Jamie Nieto were 2nd and 3rd in men’s high jump! Connie Moore also won the 200m dash after a hiatus from the sport. What an awesome day for Chula Vista :).

I throw at the Prefontaine Classic this Saturday; my first Diamond League event of the season!!! I’m so excited about it, and I have some friends and my parents coming to watch. I even get to go home after the meet is over and sleep in my own bed before I head to Vancouver, B.C. for the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track and Field Classic! My Dad will travel to that meet also, and my Canadian family is planning on being there.
My schedule after this weekend is as follows:
July 6: fly from Vancouver, B.C. back to San Diego
July 7: travel from San Diego to Barcelona, Spain
July 9: meet in Barcelona, Spain
July 10: travel from Barcelona to Cologne, Germany
July 22: meet in Monaco (another Diamond League that I just got invited to!)
After that: who knows :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

relaxin' all cool...

I'm waiting for some Jimmy John's sandwiches to be delivered to my hotel room in Des Moines, and I don't know what else to do but write a new post.

I throw tonight at 6:00pm at USAs! I kind of like it when competitions are later at night. I get to relax all day and get some stuff done if I choose (like paint my nails, which I already did). I also like to watch movies :).

I'm currently in the market for some new methods of carrying-on to planes. Ever since my bags got misplaced on my way to a meet in London last year, I travel with the essentials at all times. My uniform and shoes are always in my carry-on, with some extra exercise gear and toiletries for good measure. The thing is, that stuff adds up to a lot of weight on my back if it's in a normal old backpack! I know it's not the coolest thing in the world, but I'm really excited about purchasing a rolling backpack. Don't hate. There might be some Asics ones out there! I figure that I can wear it as a backpack before I check my bags, and roll it around with me after. It's difficult to roll two bags and carry javelins, so this seems like the best option.

Russ's dad, Brad, traveled to San Diego for a visit last weekend! It was really fun to have him there, and it was his first-ever trip to the beautiful city. We did a lot of fishing. Actually, Russ and Brad did a lot of fishing, and I did a lot of eating, sleeping, and watching them fish :). We did go on a hike at Sunset Cliffs, though, and that was beautiful. I want to spend more time there!











We also took a chartered fishing trip with H&M Landing, and I caught a red rock fish. He was pretty!

We spent the day that Brad left at Fiesta Island, grilling and cooking seafood and playing games. I love a day in the sun with good friends :). We even watched as Stacy played badminton and went for beach walks at 9 months pregnant! What do you know, the next day she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Allyx Josephine. Congratulataions new parents, Ian and Stacy Waltz!! Here's a (weird) picture of Russ and I with baby Allyx!

My sandwiches are here; one for now and one for before I throw tonight! Gotta eat lunch and watch a movie before I get ready. Yay!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

back to Des Moines!

On Wednesday, I will board a plane to the 2010 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The competition will be held at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa; the same venue I competed in Drake Relays at. I'm excited! I compete on Friday (6/25) at 6:00pm (Central time).

Because of all my missed-meet woes lately, I've gotten a LOT of good practice in. At first, that lots of practice messed with my body a little bit. I think at this point in the season, a track and field athlete's body is ready to compete, not keep pounding in practice day after day.
Something's gotta give,
and I had two somethings kinda give! About three weeks ago, my upper right back/shoulder blade area and my left Achilles tendon became aggravated for no apparent reason. Both those issues have plagued me slightly since, but are clearing up nicely now. Ty says that sometimes your body just does weird things before competing at a championship! I guess...

All year, I've been working hard to improve my technique. Some main points we've been trying to develop are landing behind my block after impulse, really slotting my right arm in a good position, landing closed, and waiting to push my chest until my left is down.
The mind is a powerful thing,
and I really feel that when I am forced to take time off from throwing by injury/aching, I get better when I come back to the runway because of all the thinking I get done! My last two throwing sessions have been awesome as far as hitting the positions I mentioned consistently. Yay!

If you ask Russ (or anyone really, including me), I'm not the most explosive athlete out there. This can make my weightroom sessions somewhat frustrating! I'm strong, sure, but maybe I use the wrong muscles for certain lifts or maybe I'm not explosive in the right directions. Lifting weights the right way transfers much more to throwing than my awkward way, though. Therefore, I've been doing my very best to learn proper Olympic lifting technique! On Thursday, I had snatch pulls (that's not the best link...), and I finally used my hips correctly and kept my back solid on all my repetitions! I was SO happy. I'll keep that up I think :).

I'll be roommates with Britney at USAs! I'm planning to throw on Friday night, watch some events on Saturday, drive my rental car up to see my Grandparents and hang out with Mom in Fort Dodge on Saturday night, and head back to Des Moines to watch Russ throw shot and catch my flight on Sunday!

In other news, I got into another meet! Pre was already on my schedule, and now I'm throwing on July 5th in the Harry Jerome International Track and Field Classic in Vancouver, B.C.! I haven't been to Vancouver to visit in my adult life, and I'm really excited about it. Russ, Melinda, and Krista Woodward will be there, too! If all goes according to plan, I'll go straight to Europe after Harry Jerome.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Responsibility

I'm still in Chula Vista. By myself. Because (it seems like) everyone else gets to travel and compete and I don't yet! We all know that the Brazil thing didn't work out because of the Visa agency. The Rome thing isn't working out just because they don't want me yet, and the Spain and Switzerland things (the meets I wanted to attend on the 9th and 12th of June in place of Rome) aren't working out because I'm told they don't have money and already have a bunch of athletes entered. So, I'm here, training and preparing for...what? Maybe a meet on the 12th or 14th locally, but maybe nothing before USAs (I throw on the 25th at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa).

It seems like this season was already a bit of a waiting game before recent disappointments. I had that back spasm before Drake, and had to play by ear whether or not I would throw. That worked out. Then I went to Tucson, where I didn't know if I would throw on the second day of competition after I found out I probably wasn't going to Brazil. That worked out, too. Now I'm waiting a) to get into some meets and b) to execute techniques I've had the chance to really focus on since I'm not traveling. Those things will most likely work out.
Even though plans change, javelin (and the way I approach it) remains the same.
Meanwhile, I'm house-sitting this weekend. It worked out (whaddya know) that I get to hang out at this awesome house-complete with awesome pool, awesome dog, and awesome cat-just when I was feeling kinda down and disappointed with my circumstances. It's great to have a little responsibility thrown at you when you get to feeling too sorry for yourself. The cat seems to say to me, "You stop that sulking right meow!"

Speaking of the cat (Cairo), he doesn't like Bentley (Yoo Kim and Katherine's dog) very much. Katherine was over yesterday after we let Bentley and Aurora (the dog I'm watching) play, and Cairo got a little upset, made some weird noises, and tried to attack Bentley through the screen door! Odd, but funny. Bentley was very respectful of the cat's wishes that he not come anywhere near after the altercation!


I took Aurora on the best walk today. We went to her normal canyon trails and park, but instead of coming straight back, sat in the shade for a while and hung out. There is just something about being completely happy with where you're at in a moment, and dogs show that attitude off so well.

She rolled around and let me pet her, and was SO HAPPY the whole time. It's therapeutic to make a dog's day better!

And, of course, I wore some Asics shoes. So great :).