Monday, June 13, 2011

adidas Grand Prix NYC

Well, I got sixth again. This time though, sixth meant I also got last place. I only threw 54.62m, intentionally fouled two of my throws, and had two sector fouls. My last throw (the one that went 54m) landed about an inch inside the right sector line.
Needless to say, my alignment is off.
I still feel physically awesome. I was a little more achy than recent weeks on Saturday, probably because of the slight sickness I've had and all the travel I've done in the last three weeks, but a little achy shouldn't mean 54m. Last year, I threw at Drake Relays and had two meets at Tucson Elite before USAs. Those three competitions were low-key and fun, and I got a chance to really trust the technique I had developed. I wasn't trying to win on every throw, I was just trying to solidify the things I had done in practice. This year, I threw at Drake Relays, flew to Rome a month later, went to Eugene the next weekend, and competed in New York the weekend after that. Rome, Eugene and New York were much more high-pressure than my competitions last year, and dealing with external pressures from having prior success has been something I thought I was prepared for, but perhaps wasn't.

I think it's important to talk about the mental side of track and field. I started working with Dr. Ross Flowers here at the training center last year, and his help has been invaluable. I get to talk to him this afternoon, and I'm craving a good, tough conversation. After I threw 61.56m in 2008 at Big Tens, I suddenly felt like I needed to throw that far every single time I competed, and (in my head) it seemed like people following my career would be disappointed if I didn't. Not true. I realized eventually that people were watching me because they were excited to see me succeed. Sure, they'd be a little bummed if I didn't throw far, but if I did, they'd be happy. I wanted to make them (and myself) happy! It took me a while to learn how to use other people's energy as a positive thing, and I think I'm dealing with the same kind of stress now. Every athlete takes a different path to where they want to be, and I'm doing my best to learn and grow from everything I experience!

It's pretty cool to receive congratulatory text messages/facebook messages/voice mails/tweets when you do well, but something that I took a lot of comfort in this weekend was that people didn't hesitate to contact me to tell me how much they are still supporting me after a poor performance. I feel blessed to have people in my life who cheer for me and lift me up when I'm feeling a little bit down. I try to be that person for them when they need it, too! Part of athletics, though, is always moving forward. So, on to practice today and away from a meet I'm happy to leave behind.


  1. the great thing is that the people who truly love and support you... love and support you no matter what. they want you to do well simply because they know how hard you work and how much it means to you.

    this growth period is good, because after you get through it your understanding of how this all works and how to get the best out of yourself will be that much better. Being on top (and staying there) is far more mental than physical. We all know that talent doesn't disappear, and you have loads of it. i'm excited to see you figure it out and I hope you appreciate the growing process for what it is! I think you will be a monster in two weeks! :)

  2. Kara - your fans think you're pretty freakin' cool regardless of whether you take every Diamond League victory or end up having a less-than-stellar day.

    Thanks for allowing us to go down the path with you and, in particular, for sharing the good with the bad.

    Canadian Track Fan Jeff