Thursday, August 11, 2011

London

I competed last Friday in the Aviva Grand Prix Diamond League meet in London. The competition was stellar; Barbora Spotakova and Christina Obergfoell exchanged the lead multiple times, and Goldie Sayers and Madara Palameika had good showings, resulting in some unusual attention being paid to the women’s javelin! I ended up fifth with my first round toss of 58.25m (it might've been 58.29, I can't remember), and had a few other decent (decent, still not good) efforts beside that.

I was in a really good place coming into this competition. My travel on Thursday was absolutely easy, despite the fact that I had all my luggage with me (see previous post). I’ve generally had good experiences in London and was happy to be at my last meet before going home to San Diego! Being in Europe for just one month is a lot easier than two, I tell you what, but I’m ready to be home nonetheless. My practices lately, while not amazing, have improved, and Dr. Ross has helped me remember to focus on how to succeed, not just success itself.

I’ve been to London three times now. There are a lot of people that go to the meets that I do that have been to London much more often than me, and
I think this was everyone’s first time seeing the sun there.
I walked down to Starbucks and the grocery store before leaving for the competition, and was surprised to find myself squinting and sweating on the way back! I actually saw some views of the city from my second-floor window on the double-decker bus we took to the stadium! I wore shorts to throw in! It was pretty fun. Add to that the great atmosphere of the Crystal Palace and the fact that I speak the same language as the meet officials (or, as one of them told me a bit snootily, “Almost.”), and I felt great during warm-ups.

I focused on getting to my left foot quickly in warm-ups and holding my left side strong at the block. When I do this properly, javelin tip control is much less of a problem than it has been throughout this season. In the competition, I was more aggressive and trusting of myself on the runway. I did get to my left foot satisfactorily quickly, but didn’t hold my left arm and chest up the way I had planned. I know what to work on and I’m happy to be home to work on it before leaving for Daegu on August 21st for World Championships!

A word on external motivation…
the Diamond League final for the women’s javelin this year is in Zurich on September 8th. I have no Diamond League points and no prayer of winning the series; Christina Obergfoell (who was my roommate in London and who I already knew is awesome!) locked up the overall victory with her win last week. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to go to Zurich, though. I fully understand that I don’t deserve the chance, but I’ve experienced some things lately that make me grateful for my position, regardless of the fact that I haven’t performed how I want to so far. After throwing in Paris at the beginning of July, I was riding the elevator up to my hotel room when the Zurich meet director asked me what happened that day. If you’ll remember, I got last in one of the best Diamond League meets ever for women’s javelin. I told him a little about what’s been going on, but mostly knew that the excuses I have are things that he and everyone that has ever been around a struggling technical athlete has heard before. He said to me, “Well, you should figure it out, because if you don’t, you’re not coming to my meet.” You might think that’s harsh, but I already knew that. What he said next was the cool part: “And that’s bad for me.” It took me by surprise that he would tell me in not these exact words that he wanted me at his meet! Then in London, as we both got off the bus at the stadium at the same time, he said, “Kara, would you like some motivation from me?” I already knew what he would say, but answered, “Sure!” He told me that if I threw far that day, I could come to Zurich. You may remember that last year, I didn’t get into Diamond League meets at the beginning of the year. It took an American Record followed by a victory at Prefontaine to get me into the following meets in the series, so I’m familiar with needing to throw far in order to get into meets. It serves as positive motivation for me to have this kind of pressure, and the unique thing about this situation is that someone who has the power to give me an opportunity actually told me how it was. I’m thankful for that; if he didn’t maybe want me there a little bit, he wouldn’t say anything. I highly doubt that he was impressed enough with my performance in London to let me in, but I know that the opportunity was there, and that bodes well for the future. I was encouraged by my experience in London, and that’s all that matters. Here’s to a solid two weeks of training, lots of rest, and on to Daegu!!

2 comments:

  1. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Get a big one at Worlds Kara! Pulling for you! Coach Ross

    ReplyDelete