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”).

video

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!
video

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 :).