Thursday, September 1, 2011

Daegu (World Championships)

For the third time at a major championship, I did not make the final.

Yes, I'm extremely disappointed. (This interview makes me look a lot happier than I felt after the competition.) Yes, I cried literally on my room's floor when I was alone. Yes, I've dwelt on it for days. But am I completely shocked and surprised with the result? Not at all.
This season has been a nightmare for me.
I was inconsistent all the way through college, and was SO happy to be throwing far every single time I tried last year. I had a goal of throwing 61.00m in my first three throws at every competition possible in 2010 because I know how important that is for qualifying rounds at World Championships and the Olympics. I had a purpose for the success I was having, and I was so confident in my ability to do the same thing this year when I started out at Drake Relays in April. But, big surprise to me, I've struggled to throw even 58 meters all year long. I'm faster, stronger, more explosive and healthier than I was in 2010, but I haven't been able to time up my technique with those new physical abilities, and I never realized what a fine line that can be.

Everybody struggles sometime. Multiple people and multiple competitors have told me that this year, and now I know what they're talking about. I've never had a season that I felt like was a fight all the way through until this year. Now that I've experienced feeling good physically but throwing poorly without knowing why though, I've gotten such joy from getting some understanding back in the last few weeks. I felt awesome warming up on Thursday and had really good connection and alignment, but to think that two or three weeks of good practice throwing could overcome a whole season of inconsistency and a lot of bad results was pretty ambitious.

I miss the days when competing was simple and fun, and I'm looking forward to learning from the experiences I've had this year, throwing more in practice next year, and generally just enjoying myself again. I've learned a lot this year about how to value experiences over results, but you only say that when the results aren't what you want. The bottom line is that I'm disappointed and that I want better for myself, and I'll make that happen in the future. This World Championships hurt the most because I finally felt like I had the tools to make my first final. Beijing in 2008 and Berlin in 2009 showcased me being naive and inexperienced; wanting so badly to make the top 12 but not having any idea how to purposefully accomplish that goal. The competitor that I am now is very different than that, and someday the growing that I'm doing will pay off.

I have felt so much support in the past few weeks and even after my competition;
Mike and Ty were here and at my practices, I know the national team staff pretty well after having worked with them for a few years, I got awesome therapy while here, I knew more of my teammates than I ever have before and felt comfortable introducing myself if I didn't, and I roomed with Jillian Camarena-Williams, who is not only the first American woman to ever medal in the shotput, but also a good friend who made me a sign to wave around during my competition! Overall, I'm moving forward, and have had great chats with people who have been in the sport for a long time and know a thing or two about success. I'm happy to kind of throw this year away, but retain how I got some of my connection and timing back here at the end. So many people have told me that once you have a rough year, you know better how to handle yourself in the future and have a clearer idea of how to work things out and what to focus on later. I almost feel like I belong in the sport even more after going through something that it sounds like everybody has to.

My season is officially over! I didn't get into Zurich, so I'm not going to Berlin, even though I loved that meet last year. I go home to San Diego tomorrow, I'll be apartment-hunting for the next week, and am off to Colorado next weekend for some quality outdoor time with Russ, who I feel like I haven't seen for months!


  1. Hi Kara,
    I make some little pictures Javelin Art for your blog and web site.
    You can look pictures at this web page :

    I hope you love pictures.
    If you need pictures, you can ask me freely.

    All best,
    Eric Geirnaert.

  2. Hello Kara, my daughter is a javelin thrower in her first year of college. Her most recent PR is 155.1 ft. What advice would you give her? She is hoping to transfer to a university with a better throws program/more experienced coach. Thanks. S. Reese

  3. Hi! I would tell your daughter to keep things simple, take care of her core strength and health, and that going with your gut as far as coaches go is the best bet! Working with someone you trust takes you very far. If she's looking for an awesome coach, my college coach (Rodney Zuyderwyk) is now at New Mexico!