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”).
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 :)