Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Russ and I went sight-seeing on Friday and Saturday! The cathedral (Kolner Dom) in the central part of the city is amazing, and apparently one of the more important destinations for pilgrimages during the period of history when that was the cool thing to do.

Friday, we did our best to find the stairs to the top of the towers, but couldn’t, so just looked around the impressive main level. There was actually a service going on, which definitely added to the ambiance! Like the most perfect background music for exploring a super ancient, amazing church.

The train bridge over the Rhein in Cologne has thousands of locks attached to it. Russ had noticed them from the trains, and we walked over to check it out after touring the Dom on Friday. As far as we could tell, each lock represents a loving couple! It’s seriously impressive how many of them there are; we (…Russ) calculated a conservative number, and got 560,000! At least!!

Saturday, since we had nothing else to do, we decided to actually find those tower stairs. Success! Five hundred and thirty three stairs later, we looked down from a ridiculous height on the city! The bell room was really cool, and it’s just astounding to think about the people that had to climb up there and build that thing.
How freaking scary.
Last night, Becky, Brianna, Bri’s friend Mel, Trevell, Jamie, Russ and I hung out together at the Aachener-Weiher Beer Garden. It was SO much fun to just sit and laugh with friends! Being in Koln alone and trying to figure everything out is a little tough, but when you can have such a fun time together, all the traveling and stuff gets a lot better!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I arrived in Monaco on Wednesday and realized that I miss San Diego a lot! The palm trees, gorgeous scenery, nice cars, ocean views, and beautiful weather made me think of home. Monaco was just a lot more expensive!

When the meet lady greeted me in baggage claim in Nice, France, she had me leave my javelins with the pole vault poles that had already arrived, assuring me that she would take care of their transportation to the track later that day. I asked a bunch of questions about that, as I’m not really comfortable letting my implements out of my sight. I decided to trust her.

The drive to the hotel was awesome! We meandered along a super windy road that made its way down the side of a mountain, and overlooked the French Riviera the whole time. I checked in with no problems, and asked a few questions about my javelins to make sure they would be taken to the track like I was told. Then I had lunch with Jill and Dustin, and Jarred, followed by a pre-meet workout later that afternoon. I didn’t do a lot of exploring Wednesday, as I was simply ecstatic to be spending some time in an air-conditioned space with a comfortable bed and someone who spoke English (Erin Donohue was my roommate at the meet)!

After breakfast the next day and asking a few more questions about my javelins
(Will they be checked in at the track, or do I need to find them and do that myself? Have you seen them? Are you sure they’ll be there?)
and being assured again that they would show up, Jill, Dustin and I took a walk! We went up to the pool deck and took in the amazing views. Then we checked out the area up by the Monte Carlo Casino, where all the super fancy cars park at night. We wandered back to our hotel (the Fairmont Monte Carlo) on the other side to see the apparently famous hairpin turn in front of the entrance. An afternoon of relaxation followed our short adventure, and I left for the competition around 6:45pm, as women’s javelin started at 8:40pm.

My general warm-up felt awesome on Thursday! It was hot and humid, which is pretty conducive to warm muscles. I felt explosive and rested, and did a good job of getting my shoulder warm, as I’m now prepared to not getting time to throw in the grass at big meets. There was an awesome crowd, I warmed up on the runway well, and was really looking forward to throwing far. Once again, I didn’t throw over 61m in my first three, but my fourth one went 62m to move me into second place, and my fifth was 64.21m to keep second to Barbora. There's video this time, too!
I really, really tried to win on my sixth throw,
but as good as it felt on the runway, I missed the tip a little bit and it fell short at 58-59m. I felt better about the positions that I hit at this meet than I have lately, and I was happy that I had two throws over 62m, but I still want better distances in my initial three attempts. I was kind of surprised to feel disappointment after my last throw, too!
I am beginning to expect more of myself than I ever have. Cool.

When we were escorted out to the runway before competition, the first thing I looked for was my javelins, which I hadn’t seen in one whole day. They weren’t there, despite all of my careful questioning! When you check javelins (or any other throwing implement) in for competition, they become fair game. I am always happy to let other athletes use my stuff, and the same kinds of javelins that I like throwing were already checked in, so I used them! I figured that I would solve the mystery of where they were afterwards. As soon as the competition was over (and I was notified that I had been selected to be drug tested…again), I tried to figure out where they’d got to. I was told that they would meet me back at the hotel that evening, but the offices where they might be were closed. The assistant meet director (Remy), of all people, found me that night to tell me he would do his best to find them in the morning and let me know.

The meet has a pretty fancy Gala after the competition concludes, and it was really nice to visit with friends and eat some good food. Just when I thought I was headed to sleep after the Gala, my married friends Jill and Dustin, Casey and Lindsey had the awesome idea to go jump in the ocean! We walked to the beach, and spent like an hour floating around, laughing, avoiding “Snea Snakes” in the words of Jill, and marveling at the fact that we were actually in the French Riviera! I missed Russ like crazy on the romantic walk back to the hotel with the two married couples :).

I woke up earlier than necessary the next day to find my javelins before catching the shuttle to the airport. I looked in all of the meet offices in the hotel to no avail! I had no choice but to board my bus and hope that Remy found my javelins and could ship them to me in Germany. About an hour later while standing in line to check in at the airport, Remy called me to say he had found them and they would be arriving on the next bus! I waited outside for them, then checked in and got through security in just enough time to board the plane. It will always be a mystery where my javelin case was for two days, but the results and the experience I had in Monaco couldn’t have been much better for my first time. Yay!

Here is my upcoming meet schedule as I hope it goes!

August 3rd: Tallin, Estonia
August 13th: London, England
August 19th: Zurich, Switzerland
August 22nd: Berlin, Germany
August 31st: Rovereto, Italy
September 4th: Split, Croatia

Then, home!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The New Girl

Every day is an adventure in Cologne, Germany.
I have been training, yes, but I have been doing a lot more walking, moving apartments, looking for food, attempting to get rent money, taking the wrong trains, and translating the laundry machines. I’ve also been doing my best to use the German that I remember from high school and college, but I’m not often successful I realize that my last post was really optimistic and happy, and that’s generally how I feel, but getting used to a place takes some time! Momentarily, though, I’m enjoying a nice iced mocha and evening muffin at the Starbucks with free internet in Friesenplatz, and life could only be better if Russ was here, too.

Apartment adventure:
I spent my first four nights at the apartment Becky and Brianna rented. It’s nice to have friends around, but I felt out of place, as they had rented the space for themselves, not me. I looked at and signed the paperwork for my own flat in the MediaPark area of the city, and I like it a lot! It has been hot, there is no air conditioning anywhere, and fans are sold out all over the city, but my apartment has nice big windows that give good airflow to the place at night. It’s in the city, so it’s loud, but I plan on finding ear plugs and an eye mask somewhere around here soon.

Food adventure:
When you live in the city and don’t speak the language fluently, it’s a little bit difficult to find what you’re looking for in terms of a grocery store. I love the German bakeries, but Apfeltasche won’t sustain me (or help me throw far, haha). Becky and I found a pretty good grocery store when we went to Leverkusen for training yesterday, and I will do my best to find another one close by soon. I have enough to tide me over now, but it was bleak for a while! There is a good old-fashioned Subway near my apartment, too!

Money adventure:
I brought a good amount of cash with me (but not enough to pay rent), as I know that it’s the easiest way to make transactions in foreign countries. Credit and debit cards are different from country to country, and I’ve found that you can’t really depend on them. There are also ATM withdrawal limits overseas just as there are in the U.S., and I am forced to pay my rent in 150 Euro increments because the Deutsche Bank (partner of Bank of America, or so I’m told) won’t give me a cash advance for the full amount of the summer’s rent. Very frustrating and confusing because of the language barrier and the mystery of why something I’m told should work, won’t. My Dad is doing his best to help me, though, and my landlady is awesome.

Train adventure:
So far, I have taken two trains in the wrong direction. I think that’s pretty good, considering I’ve taken a lot of trains! The day that I moved from the third floor (with no elevator) of Becky and Brianna’s building to the second floor (with elevator, yay) of my building (one train stop away), I took two trips to get all the stuff to the new place. The first trip took me an hour, one way, because I took the right train in the wrong direction, and when I finally got to my stop, I started walking the wrong way and had to turn around. The second trip took me 15 minutes. Friday, when Becky and I were doing our best to get back to Cologne from Leverkusen, we sat and watched two trains we thought we weren’t supposed to take pull away, then took a third of the same line of train because we figured out that it was, indeed, the one we needed. Then, we took the right train, in the wrong direction, from the main station and had to turn around. But we made it! We decided that you need to mess up in the train system before you really understand it. I feel like I haven’t messed up enough to be proficient yet.

Laundry adventure:
There are laundry machines (washer and dryer, the latter of which is a big deal) in the basement of my building, and I’m so happy about that. The washer takes 1 Euro for 1 hour of power, and yesterday I put one load of laundry through one washing cycle, but without the water. Oops? I didn’t see water going in there, but I figured maybe that happened later in German washing machines? The second time around, I found a little valve to turn that let the water in. Yay! All in all, I spent 5 Euro and approximately 6 hours doing laundry. Cool. At least I have clean clothes.

In other news, I threw pretty well on Thursday at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln (German Sport University Cologne, the one in the picture), and felt great in training in Leverkusen on Friday!
My body is feeling a little broken down, especially in my Achilles, but my back feels good and I’m doing my best to be off my feet when I can. Becky and I went to dinner by the Rhein last night, and back to Leverkusen for throwing, vaulting and lifting today! Russ gets here on the 20th, and I honestly haven’t been more excited to see him since we lived in different states!!! He has been a real warrior of the circuit, as he will have competed in 6 meets in about a week before he arrives in Cologne. What an outrageous stud!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gateshead, Great Britain

I competed in my second Diamond League event of the season in Gateshead on Saturday! I threw 63.11m on my fourth (and final...we only got four attempts) throw to move from 4th place to 2nd.

My general warm-up for the competition felt really good! I was happy, because I didn't quite know how I would feel on the day of competition after arriving from "The States" (as they say abroad) two days prior. My throwing warm-up didn't feel as good, and my first three throws felt pretty bad (especially 2 and 3; I intentionally fouled them). I'm really looking forward to throwing in practice this week and next and re-cementing some of the technical things that I've lost my edge on in my past few competitions! Like in Eugene last weekend, I didn't release an A Standard throw in my first three tosses in Gateshead, and my primary goal is to do so as often as possible this summer.
All self-criticism aside, I'm excited that I placed and threw well in my first meet overseas!
It's difficult to travel and compete right away (although apparently not for Russell :)), and I'm glad that my results are already better than last year's. Russ threw a PR (Personal Record, just in case you're not familiar with the terminology) in the discus of 62.88m on Saturday in Donnas, Italy after arriving from the United States a mere four hours before his competition! What a trooper!! That's a World B Standard throw, and I'm super proud of him. :)

I traveled from England to Cologne, Germany on Sunday night, and Brianna Glenn is letting me crash at her apartment here until I get my own! I have an appointment to see a flat (teehee!) in the Mediapark section of the city tomorrow afternoon, and I think I'm going to love it. The apartment is in close proximity to a cinema, grocery stores, restaurants and more, plus the S-Bahn and U-Bahn (train and subway) systems in German cities are simple and efficient, with stations absolutely everywhere. We will do the majority of our training at the Cologne Sport University, but will make a few trips to Leverkusen to use their facilities, too.

I vow to start taking pictures soon. I get to train hard here for a week and a half or so, and head to Monaco on July 21st!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tale of Two Travel Experiences

I arrived in Gateshead, Great Britain yesterday, and I wanted to share two very different stories. (all links in this post will be English, by the way!)

Travel Experience A:

July 2009: Purdue to London, England

My flight from Indianapolis was delayed approximately two hours, meaning I sprinted through the huge Minneapolis airport to barely catch my flight (on which I sweated constantly and wheezed some because of my jaunt) to London Heathrow. For this reason, when I arrived, my checked luggage didn’t. This being my first major international meet not with Team USA or people to take care of me, I hadn’t packed my uniform or javelin shoes in my carry-on.
Sometimes I see missing luggage as a good thing (less to carry, yay!),
but I kind of needed my stuff to do my job. I focused next on looking for my ride. Russ had advised me to find people with signs about the meet, so I awkwardly read the signs the few men in suits were holding by the exit from baggage claim. None said anything remotely related to track and field. I asked the lady at the information booth if she could help me, and she paged anyone looking for Kara Patterson (which is so embarrassing). No luck. I had rented a world phone from Verizon because my Voyager didn’t have international capability, so I could supposedly text and call people. Nope; no service. I ended up buying an hour of internet (thank goodness it was available in the airport) so I could Skype Russ and have him contact Jeff somehow so he could contact the meet (because obviously I didn’t print off any of my own information) and ask them what I should do! That took a while, but finally we figured out that I was in Terminal 4, when I needed to get a ride from Terminal 1.
Who knew London Heathrow was so big (not me);
the train to Terminal 1 took about half an hour. Once I got there, I wandered around a little more, timid and increasingly anxious, since my computer battery was now low and outlets are hard to come by in European airports. Finally I saw Brad Walker emerge from the arrivals area, and stuck to him like glue. The shuttle man found Brad immediately :). Once we got to the hotel, the front desk had me down as Karen, but gave me a key anyway. I was so excited to get to my room and take a shower (and then put on the same clothes and not be able to brush my teeth…ew) but when I got to the door, my key didn’t work. Awesome. So I trudged back downstairs to get a different one. I had arrived on a Thursday evening, and it took until 10:00pm on Friday to get my luggage delivered to the hotel! The meet was on Saturday. At least I got the stuff. The only time that I shed frustrated tears was when one of the front desk ladies refused to let me use their phone to call the airport about my bags. The climax of this whole story is that I threw terribly and didn’t even make the final the next day.

Travel Experience B:

July 2010: San Diego to Gateshead, England

My dear training partner Mike took me to the airport on Wednesday for my 6:25am Delta flight. I only paid 55 dollars for both my javelins and my checked bag, and I carried my brand-new awesome Eagle Creek rolling backpack on. All my entertainment fits in the purse that I got at the fair, so there’s no shuffling around in the bag that I put in the overhead bin before boarding. From San Diego to New York’s JFK airport, the middle seat next to my window seat was open, and I got some sleep before beating Prince of Persia on my iPad. I had two hours in JFK to call my mom and Sam and get some food (the food lady was super nice). I also bought Stephen King’s “Under the Dome,” which is my first full book by the famous author, and excellent so far. From JFK to Barcelona, I had my own row. Yes, three seats to myself. I slept (laying down!) for about 5 of the 7ish hours. Fabulous.
The price I paid for such luxury was one lost earring back. Those are replaceable.
I had about a 6-hour layover in Barcelona, but waiting for my bags and going through customs took about an hour and a half, and I read for about three. It took some effort to find my check-in counter, but I consider the long walk I took in the heat and humidity to be yesterday’s workout! You’d think that the Barcelona airport’s use of pictures on signs instead of words would simplify things, but when you don’t know which picture you’re looking for, things get confusing. The flight from Barcelona to Newcastle was painless, and I napped and read my book. I got through customs and got my luggage quickly before immediately finding my ride just outside baggage claim! I even had some people to talk to on the shuttle. The first key that they gave me downstairs worked magnificently, and I did some abs and showered before getting an awesome massage and eating dinner with Jill and her husband Dustin, Leo and Michelle.

Immediately after London last year, I purchased a BlackBerry. Now I can communicate via two different email addresses, BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, and Twitter at all times, and text or call if I want to pay lots of money (which I don’t). This time, I printed off all of the itineraries I had, copied hotel addresses and phone numbers before I left the states, and packed my shoes, uniform, and some extras in my carry-on. That age-old theory works:
If you’re prepared for the worst, things will work out for the best.
You’ll also have a lot of peace of mind after understanding how stressful a trip gone wrong can be.

The meet in Gateshead is tomorrow! I throw at 5:40pm. That’s nine hours ahead of San Diego time.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Beautiful British Columbia

A quick note about Harry Jerome before I board my plane back to San Diego!

This place is gorgeous. I didn't get to hang out in downtown Vancouver, B.C. at all, but what I saw of the city and surrounding area from the plane and cars was just amazing. I can't wait to hopefully come back in the fall with Russ maybe! Mountains, water, greenery everywhere, and family made the trip fabulous, not to mention throwing pretty well again and seeing my friend Krista for the first time in a long while!

I threw 61.58m (202'0") on my second throw of the day, took one more that went 58.94m, and passed my remaining three throws. I'm feeling tired from all of the competition lately! I didn't have competitions for like a month before USAs, so all this traveling lately is awesome, but I'm also working hard to keep up. I didn't want to hurt myself, so I figured I shouldn't take all of my attempts.
I did, however, continue to meet one of my goals.
I told myself I would throw the World A Standard (61.00m last year) in ninety percent of my meets this year, and right now I'm 5 for 6 on that. Gotta keep it going.

Russell threw 20.15m in shot put for second place at the meet! It's always fun when we can be at a competition together, and I really enjoyed the short time we got to hang out.

In other news, I've been accepted into Gateshead and London, as well as Monaco! I had to decide between Barcelona and Gateshead, and I'm really sad that I don't get to go to Barcelona, but sometimes tough choices have to be made. I'm really looking forward to my Europe trip, which takes off tomorrow morning, super early!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Prefontaine Classic

Firstly, Happy 4th of July!!!!! And happy birthday to my good friend Jim :).

Today I competed in my first Diamond League event of the season, the 36th Annual Prefontaine Classic. I have to say, this meet is amazing!! Russ threw at Pre in 2007, and I was lucky enough to travel to Eugene, Oregon with him to watch.
I was amazed then, and I was blown away today!
With so many awesome performances all around the track and in the field, I admit that it was a little difficult to focus on my own event. Just check out the results and press coverage on the website! So cool to be around!

I arrived at the track around 11:00am (I caught the shuttle this time!), checked in my javelins, and headed over to hammer to watch Britney throw! I didn't get to see last weekend's hammer competition, so I wanted to make sure I at least glimpsed it. She finished fifth! Our Canadian friend Sultana Frizell threw for third :). I watched the whole hammer competition! It was possible because the field was small and the meet was high-energy. Awesome!

After hammer, I laid down for a few minutes. I checked in, warmed up, reported to the tent, warmed up on the field, and was ready to go! At these bigger meets, sometimes things take a little bit longer to get accomplished. They take the field out to the runway earlier and there's another event going on, so you have to wait to throw. There's a lot going on on the track, so you have to wait to be introduced. At a meet as big as World Championships or the Olympics, there might even be a national anthem playing, and nothing goes on when that happens; respect! :).
The waiting game shouldn't take away from your performance, though. I try to use it to relax.
The competition ended up going well! At first, the whole field struggled. There were only six of us javelin thrower girls, so things went quickly once throwing commenced. We had a typical Hayward Headwind, as expected, and my technique wasn't quite ready for it today! I figured it out by the end, though, and threw 65.90m on my last toss. Yay!
I ended up...first! In my first Diamond League!
Results here. I'm stoked. I didn't get a 61-meter throw in my first three, which is always my goal, but I'm glad to have followed last weekend up with another big distance.
Oregon track and field fans are always awesome, and today they did not disappoint.
It's really inspiring to be down on the field when a close race is egged on by the crowd, and it's fantastic to be cheered on by 12,000 strong. Wow.

On to Vancouver, B.C. after a day of rest at home in Vancouver, Washington! Side note: Nani and Nio (the family dogs) are getting SO old. I cried a little when Nani tottered up to me. They are still themselves though!