Tuesday, April 13, 2010

my old Purdue

Let me just start by saying "Hail Purdue." Despite where I came from (gorgeous Washington), I eventually learned to love West Lafayette, Indiana! And the best time of year to be there is exactly now, making my visit this weekend amazing because of the people and (bonus!) the lack of humidity! Who knew that could happen...

Purdue Track and Field has an alumni reunion meet each year, and this past weekend was it. I was scheduled to throw at Mt. SAC Relays, but I experienced a pretty severe muscle spasm in my low back/SI joint, so decided not to go. Instead of competing at Mt. SAC, I traveled to Purdue for the alumni bash!!

I still wanted to try and throw at Purdue, and remained open to it literally up until an hour before the event. I woke up on Saturday and donned my new ASICS uniform, got some breakfast, and walked over to the track, ready and willing to warm up and throw if my back permitted it. It didn't, and I'm happy that I decided to do the smart thing and not compete before I was ready. At the USA Track and Field Annual Meeting in Indianapolis in December, I heard a quote that I have taken to heart from Dan O'Brien, legendary decathlete. He said,
"Sacrifice the day to save the week, the week to save the month, the month to save the season."
I used to forget to respect my body; I'd demand too much from it and ignore it when it told me it wasn't handling stress (physical or mental) well. Now I know when I need to take a nap or not lift that heavy dumbbell again. You live, you learn! I still push the limits a little though...

Instead of competing in the javelin on Saturday, I chose a different event! My Alumni 4x100-meter Relay team (aka Team Awesome) consisted of Jim Schwingendorf, Ben Pax, myself and Andrew "Chops" Smith. We got second to Keith Hopkins, Terrell Thompson, Brian Kaluf, and Steve Bach, mostly because I'm a girl and slowed my team down. :) It was so much fun though!

After getting some ice and watching the rest of the meet (highlighted by Brianna Neumann clearing 4.20m in the pole vault),
I got to go to Coach Warner's house for a little alumni mingling! I met some awesome former Purdue Track and Field athletes, and got to hang out with West Lafayette High School Track and Field head coach (and Russ's former boss) Lane Custer and his wife Anne! I spent most of my time there visiting with Larry Grambo, member of a 3rd-place nationally 4x100 Relay team from Purdue around 1970. He was full of information on how I could get my shoulders/arms in general stronger using martial arts and Iranian techniques. It was so interesting and unexpected!

Saturday night spent with friends was a blast. My back was still bothering me a bit, but sometimes it helps more than you think to just relax and have fun!! We went to 9 Irish Brothers, and I had the privilege of meeting the owner, Jerry O'Bryan. After Mallory discreetly (haha) mentioned one of my better javelin accomplishments to him, he gave me the generous gift of the jersey of his pub! I believe it is the official jersey of the Purdue Hurling Club. That's Jerry and me, showing off that jersey.
It's great to know that I have support from people at Purdue, even though I'm not there anymore.
My weekend visit was amazing. I even got to stay in my old room at 610 Dodge! The coolest part about going back, though, was that I realized fully that I'm where I'm supposed to be. It was awesome to see everyone, "compete" at my old home track, and wander around campus a little bit, but when my plane landed in San Diego on Sunday night I had a huge smile on my face. I'm comfortable at Purdue, sure; I always will be. But, at least for now, San Diego is my home. I like that!

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