This weekend was my first trip to Tucson, Arizona; loved it.I drove the 6.5 hours with Russ on Tuesday morning after a massage for me and acupuncture for him at AcuSport Health Center. We have fun on road trips, no matter what he might tell you! A new trivia game on the iPad was helpful :). We drove straight to the track and did a shake-out, got some dinner with Adam Kuehl and girlfriend Courtney, and put in some shut-eye! Wednesday was a day of pre-meet practice, greeting thrower friends that arrived that day, and rest.
Tucson Elite is set up to mimic a bigger, championship season competition. The two-day format imitates the Olympic Trials, Olympics or Worlds in that there is a qualifying round (three attempts per athlete) followed 48 hours later by a final contested between the top 12 athletes from the qualifier. It's awesome to get some practice competing close together like this! There was a meet Thursday and another one Saturday. The meets started at 4pm with women's hammer, followed closely by and at the same time as all of the other throwing events! Women's javelin was at 7:30pm, and Russ threw discus at 5:30 and shot put at 8:30. I've never really done a shake-out/get-the-muscles-firing jaunt the morning of a meet, but I tried it out on Thursday. Kept it minimal; just a bit of a walking warm-up, maybe two 20-meter sprints and some low jumping before getting lunch and relaxing all afternoon (I watched Planet 51; juvenile but cute!).
Thursday was fun! Saturday was more fun!Thursday I threw 60.33m on my first throw, and 60.14m on my second, followed by 4 throws in the 50s. It was my first meet with two throws over 60 meters! Then Saturday (I didn't do a shakeout/warm-up in the morning), I threw 61.74m on my first throw, 57m on my second, and 61.17m on my third! Two throws over sixty one meters. The biomechanists that USATF employs to analyze the different throwing events were in attendance, and watching video that Steve Leigh took from Thursday helped me keep my right shoulder higher, control my speed at the beginning of my approach, and try to keep my chest up at release on Saturday. Here's my best throw from Saturday (61.75m); as you can see, the chest still has a long way to go :).
As previously posted, my plan was to throw on May 20th (Thursday) in Tucson, then on May 26th (Wednesday) in Uberlandia, Brazil. However, Brazilian Visa drama struck on Friday morning around 6:45am. I received a wake-up call (literally!) from the lady helping me at the visa agency I am using in Chicago. She told me that she didn't think they would receive my Visa on Friday, meaning they wouldn't be able to overnight it that night, and I wouldn't be able to leave on Monday as planned because I need it (and my passport, which they have) to travel. The Consulate isn't open on weekends, so Saturday wasn't an option either. I talked to them this morning, and it really doesn't look like I'll be going to Brazil after all. The frustrating thing about this experience is that I followed directions. I called numerous times to make sure I was submitting the right paperwork and signing all the dotted lines I needed to, but it's not working out. Coach Jim Lathrop, my strength coach at Purdue, gave me a great piece of advice once.
He said to worry about what you can control.I can control my attitude about the change of plans. I can control how I prepare for whichever meet will be my next. I'd rather focus on those things than get worked up about something I can actally learn from. Speaking of things I can control; it is well within my control to drive to the Brazilian Consulate in LA next time and get the Visa myself :).
Russ did amazing this weekend!!! He PRed in shot on Thursday, throwing three fair throws over 20.30m (the World A Standard from last year) with a best effort of 21.25m (69' 8"). Then on Saturday he had six shot throws over 20.30m, with exactly the same best effort of 21.25m! It was awesome to see him so fired up and competitive; he has been working so hard on technique and cementing throwing concepts that it was nice to see him let loose! He also had three or four discus throws on Saturday over 60m! What a STUD! Here's his best throw from Saturday, courtesy of Will Conwell's YouTube account.
Britney was incredible as well!! She PRed in hammer on Saturday, twice. Her fourth throw was 70.90m, and her sixth was 71.15m. That's an America-leading throw :). I was so excited when I heard that I teared up! Go you.