Monday, March 29, 2010

me, the Boilermaker alumni

Every year since my sophomore year at Purdue, the first outdoor meet of the season was the ASU Invite in Tempe, AZ. This being my first post-collegiate year, I didn't throw at the ASU Invite, which was this past weekend. I did, however, drive over to Phoenix to see my old teammates and coaches!!!! I stayed with Mandy Bodnar, who graduated in 2007 and threw discus and hammer for Purdue. I also got to have breakfast with one of my favorite friends from high school, Rachael Pike, on Sunday before I headed back to San Diego.
It's strange to be out of college, and then sort of go back.

After a workout at 24 Hr Fitness in Tempe, I arrived at the track by myself and was kinda nervous! For some reason I forgot that I would know so many people on the team still. When you're away from something, sometimes you forget what it's like a little bit, even though you love it dearly :). Turns out, the same awesome people are doing the same awesome things at Purdue as when I went to school there. I love catching up with friends :). Staying with Mandy was so fun, as she and boyfriend Johan have a house they're renovating and it's looking great! I am pretty jealous that Mandy gets to paint walls and decorate and make spaces her own.
I look forward to that!

Here is (left to right) Stacey, me, Mandy, and Sheena at Indoor Big Tens at University of Illinois in 2007. My only Indoor Big Tens ever and the last meet I competed at with Mandy, as I got injured that outdoor season!

Breakfast with Rachael on Sunday was wonderful. :) I absolutely love just sitting and chatting with food and coffee at cute places that are new and fun. High school friends are easiest to talk to about everything, because they have known you since before you really knew yourself. At least that was the case with me, because I was really awkward for a long time (and still am a little!). And Rach is just an awesome person in any case! There she is at my brother's old apartment when we went to Seattle for New Year's a few years ago!

I've been throwing in practice, last week and this week. Not just walking, either :). I have also been feeling good enough to increase the weights and attempt some of the more back-demanding exercises I haven't been able to for a while. I'm really excited about it!

I haven't said anything about acupuncture! Vasa Mik is my acupuncturist, and he's awesome. The people at AcuSport Health Center are super friendly and the therapy is doing me well. I have had three treatments in the past two weeks, and what I didn't expect was how all-encompassing the sessions are! First, Vasa puts the needles in various parts of my back, hooks me up to electricity, then sometimes I fall asleep while the work is being done. After they take the needles out, sometimes Vasa does cupping and some soft tissue work (massage). Then, hip/leg/back stretches and I'm out! I am sore for a few days, but the thing about the needles is that they stimulate and release the muscles much deeper than a massage is able to. That's why I'm sore, and that's why I feel like it's helping! I didn't know what to expect, but I'm happy to say, "yay."

Friday, March 19, 2010

a little video action

Training (walking!) throws yesterday: Thursday, March 18, 2010:

My PR from USAs 2009 in Eugene, Oregon: 63.95m (209' 10"):

Thursday, March 18, 2010

actually throwing javelin

Like I said, my back has been feeling better...when the javelin mini camp was here last weekend, I did a little bit of walking around and throwing an actual javelin in the grass. It was fine, but I was nervous to push it because I was still pretty sensitive. When I got to practice this morning though, I felt ready to go! I didn't throw explosively by any means, but got to do a bunch of walking throws using good technique. As soon as Mike sends me the video, I'll post it! I had no pain, and most of the technical things I've been pondering in this hiatus from throwing went really well.
I'm excited!!

Another part of training today is lifting. In the fall, we got Keiser Equipment in the building down by the track. This is what I use to lift on Thursdays! It's awesome, because it doesn't let you use momentum to lift weights; you really have to do all the work and create all your power just from your muscles. There are readouts on all the equipment and it keeps track of your maximum power output, showing percentages for each repetition. I really enjoy Thursday lifts, because they are a refreshing departure from a normal weightroom setting. There are also garage doors on the track building, so on beautiful days like today, we leave them wide open!
I've never been able to lift basically outside before. Love it.

Training cycles go in 4-week increments. Three weeks of high-volume, all-out practice, and then a week of lower-volume and rest! This week is rest week, and that means no practice for me Friday or Saturday! Meaning today was the perfect day to test out acupuncture for the first time. I think I liked it! The needles sort of felt like what my muscles would feel like after a vaccine shot when I was little. I know that's random. Apparently I'm supposed to be a little sore from it, so we'll see in a few days if it was beneficial for the old back!

Boys and Girls Club via Athletes for Hope

Russ and I attended the USATF Annual Meeting in Indianapolis at the beginning of December, and there was a presentation from Athletes for Hope; a volunteer organization dedicated to getting athletes involved in their communities. I admit, I didn't act on the opportunity quite immediately, but I have been in conversation with Chris Wyttenbach for a few months now. I had my first volunteer experience through AFH yesterday; went to the Boys and Girls Club of Chula Vista to meet the staff and get a tour!

It was a little overwhelming. Throughout my life, I have wanted to be good with kids! Once they get to know me, I think they like me okay, but at first they just stare. You can see in their eyes that they're thinking,
"who is this girl and what is wrong with her?"
Anyway, I have a little bit of a complex about that, and volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club will be a challenge for me personally, but that is sort of why I'd like to become comfortable helping out there. :)

The plan is to just go back when I have time and get more accustomed to hanging around the kids and learning what the staff do. Basically they play all afternoon, and eventually it'd be fun to lead an arts and crafts project or lead some cooperation/teamwork activities...I loved those when I was little.

My back continues to feel better! The x-rays were normal the other day, and the next step is getting a bone scan. I've been going to the training room on top of practice every day, and I still love the rehab I'm doing!
The clock is ticking
on the start of season...

Monday, March 15, 2010

visiting friends and healing backs

I drove to L.A. yesterday after dropping Kim and Rachel off at the airport (camp ended!). One of my roommates from Purdue, Liz, still plays softball for the Boilermakers, and they played in a tournament at Cal State Long Beach (aka Long Beach State University) this weekend! Alas, they lost to Notre Dame 3-0, but I got to hang out with Liz and her family all morning/early afternoon in beauuuutiful L.A. weather. Sometimes laying around in the grass and just chatting makes me SO happy, especially when I haven't seen someone I love in a while! Plus, I forgot sunglasses, so of course I had to buy some new ones :).

That's me and Liz, Halloween 2008. You might not recognize me...

My back felt better this morning! Extension (leaning backwards) is what hurts it, and leaning back PLUS rotating hurts the most. My progress has been in the form of slowly increased range of motion with slightly less pain...and today I felt like I gained a lot in both areas!
Rehab is always your friend,
no matter how much you don't want to do it every day. Practice was great today (sprints, jumps on a slide board, and modified lifting), and I'm going for x-rays (just a test) tomorrow!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chula Vista OTC Javelin Elite Development Camp

Little back story: I live and train at the ARCO U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA (slightly southeast of San Diego). Athletes from all different sports come in and out of here all the time, whether for camps with lots of other athletes or simply for some sunny weather training!

So, the "elite athlete development" sector of USA Track and Field has decided to focus a little more on javelin this year and hopefully the next few (yay!), and this weekend a bunch of great US throwers showed up for a little technique analysis, skills/strength testing and camaraderie! Athletes here include: Mike Hazle (my training partner) and Sean Furey (who also trains here regularly), Corey White, Chris Hill, Rachel Yurkovich, Kim Kreiner, Alicia DeShasier, and Katie Coronado. Tom Pukstys and Duncan Atwood , a couple of US javelin greats, are leading us through exercises and sharing knowledge and opinions about our throwing and javelining in general! Steve Leigh, an excellent biomechanist from UNC, is also here analyzing and sharing his extensive knowledge. Overall, a great opportunity for involved javelin talks and some friendly (but for sure quality!) competition.

About 3 weeks ago, Mike and I were doing some testing throwing shots...the big metal ball kind of shots...and I sprained a facet (facet) in the low-middle of my back. It was super painful the first day or two, then calmed down a bit, but hasn't gotten significantly (to me that would mean totally haha) better since about three days after I did it.

I am hardly ever a Negative Nancy, but when you're an athlete and suddenly your body won't do what you want it to without pain (or it's not smart to make it do so for fear of worsening the situation), it's tough to smile constantly like I normally do.

Needless to say, it was difficult today to watch my fellow javelinists throwing and bounding and competing against each other (complete with friendly banter) without being able to join in! I wanna play, too!!! Very impressed with Sean and Corey and their far practice throws, and, as expected, Rach is prolific at all the general explosiveness testing; major props! Camp continues tomorrow with more analysis and tests, in which my participation will again be limited.

Since I'm SO much more used to being excited about things than gloomy! I am itching to throw! I'm visualizing all the awesome technique I have learned since November under new coach Ty Sevin, and the full approaches I practiced today while everyone else was throwing felt stellar! I focus on the things I can do instead of the things I can't. I do lots of core strength rehab things, which I love. Plus, I'm going to AcuSport Health Center on Thursday on recommendation to experience my first-ever acupuncture! (AcuSport Health Center) Exciting!