I arrived at the Rheinenergie Stadion train stop and made my way past the stadium toward the track to do my workout. When I got there, it was locked. Crap.
There are big empty fields right next to the stadium, so I made my way back to throw a little in the grass. I haven’t felt awesome lately-I think due to sickness on top of a little different exercise plan-so I warmed up carefully and did my best to listen to my body. Throwing in the grass is so fun for me! I did it the other day in Leverkusen, too. It’s easier on my back, I can go at a little slower pace than I would off of the runway, and it really makes me work to hit the positions I want to. It also helps me trust my footing; we worked on throwing on grass in the fall, and if you get your left foot down to block on time, you’re not going to slip like you’re afraid you will. Good training!
Sometimes when you’re in an unfamiliar place, you don’t have access to everything you need to train like you would at home. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re supposed to be doing something somewhere (throwing javelins in a really nicely-kept field by a pretty stadium, for instance),
do it until you’re told not to. Then be respectful and apologetic when you get in trouble.So, I’m throwing my javelins in the grass, and it’s going well, and I’m listening to my music on my iPod shuffle, when a man responsible for facility maintenance in a bright orange jumper thing strolls over to me. I do my best to ignore him and keep my headphones in, as I’m afraid he’s going to kick me out. He catches up with me, and instead of getting upset and making me leave, he just wants to throw one of my javelins! So I let him. A few minutes later, another one of the jumpsuit men comes over for his try. “Just once,” I say, and he throws and is happy. These two encounters made me laugh! These guys seemed pretty bored with their jobs, and simply wanted to attempt what I was doing. Nice; they took an interest.
I head back toward my pile of stuff, throwing along the way, and just as I’m about to take my last throw of the day, I get another visitor. This one drives across the beautiful grass on a moped, cigarette hanging from his mouth, and spouts off some German at me. I think he was working the event going on at the stadium, and it was weird to me that he was so rude, because everyone else at that event was super happy! “Entschuldigung, bitte? Sprechen Sie English?” I say, and he simply points at my javelins, waves his arms horizontally in front of him and says, “Nichts!”
Oh, I understand…you don’t want me throwing here, but you can drive your moped around on the grass. Alright.So I toss my remaining javelin down on the ground, smile politely, and say, “I just finished! Thank you.”
All-in-all, a weird and semi-frustrating, but also semi-successful day. I walked about half an hour out of my way only to find the locked track and head back to the field where I decided to throw. I got in some good throws at the intensity that I needed to a few days before a competition, and got to glimpse a social event unlike any other I’ve witnessed before. The trains were super crowded, and that’s really annoying when you have javelins on board and everyone a)gives you really funny looks and b)expects you to be able to negotiate an 8-foot-long tube that does not bend around corners or people with the greatest of ease, without giving you any extra wiggle room. If it was me, and I didn’t know what was in the giant long case, I might not crowd as close as I possibly could to it. Just saying.