Monday, April 26, 2010

Drake Relays

I traveled to Des Moines, Iowa this weekend to compete in Asics-hosted Drake Relays. My grandparents, Tom and Jean Engler, live in Fort Dodge, Iowa; about two hours north of Des Moines. I spent a relaxing and lovely weekend hanging out with them and my parents after throwing on Friday! Mom and Dad drove down from Fort Dodge to watch. :)

Travel to the meet was a little bumpy...I flew through Denver and had to run to my second plane, only to be delayed almost two hours. Thankfully, I happened to be sitting right in front of my buddy Dana Pounds!! Once we got to Des Moines, we found Kim Hamilton and headed to our hotel, courtesy of the nicest shuttle drivers ever that Drake provides the "High Performance" athletes. After grabbing some lunch, we went to the track to pick up our information, check in the javelins, and get a little shake-out in.

I didn't quite know what to think about Drake this year. As previously mentioned, I fought a little (actually not little) back spasm two weeks ago, and it was lingering slightly. Ty wasn't going to be there and I hadn't done a pre-meet workout in his program yet, plus we hadn't really practiced the approach I would use.
There were just things that I wasn't sure about.
Dwelling on those things is most likely the worst thing I could have done, so I didn't! For the pre-meet on Thursday, I did a walking warm-up and some hurdle hip-mobility exercises, then a few short sprints and box jumps to get my legs firing. Some core work to make me feel confident in my back and a little javelin footwork while visualizing the next day's competition wrapped things up. That night I went to dinner with Dana and her family and then off to bed. Changing time zones is hard!

On competition day (Friday), the forecast called for rain. Sure enough, it rained all morning and Dana, Kim and I prepared for the worst. I wore long spandex (tights and a shirt), sweatpants and swishy warm-up pants, and a sweatshirt with a jacket on top. Also my new beloved Asics beanie and uniform, of course! I knew I had to warm my back up really well if I wanted to be fully ready to go, so I did! All those clothes helped. My warm-up throws felt relaxed and technically-sound, and I tried not to let myself favor my back. My main technical focuses (foci?) in this meet were keeping my shoulders closed, getting to my block quickly, and hiding the javelin behind my head. On my third competition throw of the day, I kinda did all of those things.

Like I said, "kinda." I definitely could have been more closed, the time between my right and left feet hitting after my barely-there impulse was faster than my other throws, but still not where it needs to be. I hid the javelin behind my head okay, but my arm wasn't as far back behind me as it should be; it was a little bent (and that's not like me). Also, I don't know if you noticed, but I'm a little slow!

As it is, this throw went 61.80 meters (202'6" I think). One of my competition goals was to go to Drake and throw the World A standard (what you have to throw to be eligible for big international competitions). Since there are no outdoor World Championships or Olympics this year, there really isn't an official A standard for women's javelin, but last year it was 61.00m. I'm happy to have met a goal, and I know that fixing the technical issues listed above will make the javelin go a lot farther. I was most proud of my attitude going into Drake Relays though; I had fun and accomplished what I went there to.

A lot of my friends from San Diego (including Russell!) competed at Drake on Saturday, and I wish I could've watched them do their thing! I spent the rest of the weekend at my grandparents' though,
and family comes first,
especially when you hardly ever get to see them. We took Grandma shopping, ate delicious steaks, played cards, and visited with each other and all kinds of their friends. Each time I visit, it is harder to leave. I just love sitting and chatting with Grandma and talking sports with Grandpa. He's also great at giving me directions when I need to get somewhere in Iowa :). Grandpa gets to go on an Honor Flight from Fort Dodge to Washington D.C. this Saturday. I'm so proud of him!! The flight will take veterans of World War II to D.C. for a day to visit memorials and tell stories that only they know. What an honor!


  1. Kara, nice job with your blog! I'll put a link up on mine to your post!

  2. I'm not an expert, but looking at the video even if you were slow you got most of the speed of the run into the throw, and I think that's the point of the run. Excellent performance in not-very-excellent conditions.