Monday, May 28, 2012

Ostrava Golden Spike

I competed on Friday in the Ostrava Golden Spike IAAF World Challenge meet.  This meet was really fun!  Their liberal use of exclamation points and enthusiasm for the javelin were my favorite things about this little city in the Czech Republic.

I arrived at my destination at 1:30am on Wednesday morning after a 10-hour flight from San Diego to London, a 4-hour layover in London Heathrow, a 2-hour flight from London to Vienna, and a 3.5-hour drive from Vienna to Ostrava.  The trip seemed very easy compared to some I've taken, and that direct flight from San Diego to London was fabulous!  I slept pretty well at night for the next few days, and amazingly well during my 4-hour snoozes after breakfast each day.  Staying awake between 9am and 1pm is just really, really difficult for the first week or two in Europe!  The same thing happened to me last summer in Germany.

Shake-outs and pre-meet workouts went well before Friday, and I felt ready for the competition in the days leading up to it.  Thanks to the foam roller Russ got me for my birthday and the exercises I've learned from Dr. Rintala, I thought I had kept my body in check pretty well after traveling such a long way.  Apparently I can't fool this silly body though, because I woke up really achy in my right shoulder and left lower back on Friday morning.  It also felt like I was running through sand; my mind was yelling at my legs to accelerate once I hit my crossovers, but my body wasn't listening.  Jan Zelezny himself told me how open my left side was too, and I knew that, I just failed to fix it during the competition.

All in all, this wasn't a bad meet for me.  I opened with 59.79m, which is a tiny bit better than both of my first throws in Tucson.  My second and best throw of the day went 60.00m, which means I've had two competitions at 60 meters so far this year.  This meet was better in distance than all but one of my competitions last year, and all of my marked throws were better than some of my results in 2011.  The thing I'm most upset about is that Martina Ratej passed me in the last round, and I didn't respond to her throw, meaning I ended up sixth.  That response will come with time though; I'm getting more comfortable with competition-paced throws as this month goes on, and I'm happy that I have technical points to concentrate on.

Spectators hanging off the back of the stadium seats; the only available viewing space. :)

The meet itself was so fun to be a part of!  The huge crowd loved Barbora, of course, and the officials even stopped the men's pole vault (whose runway crossed ours) during our fifth round so we could finish our competition uninterrupted.  Javelin throwers are usually the ones that would get held up, so it was kind of amazing to witness!  The hotel was right across the street from the stadium, so I got to get cleaned up in time to watch the men throw, as well as enjoy the rest of the meet.

Tero Pitkamaki on the runway in warm-ups.

I spent my weekend 
on the outskirts of Rome in a military compound that apparently doubles as an Olympic Training Center.  These are the unwritten (now written) rules:

1. No wearing shorts to meals.
2. You must purchase your own towel and toilet paper from a store that's about three miles away.
3. Breakfast and dinner are not served on Sunday.
4. Only one electrical outlet shall work in your room.
5. Contact with the outside world is prohibited (no internet access will be granted).
6. The drain in your shower will be clogged with someone else's hair, which will float around your feet.
7. Walls in residence buildings may not be thicker than 1 inch.

I actually slept great this weekend, because there wasn't a whole lot else to do, and I went to dinner at a Pizzeria last night with the friendly Canadians who were also trapped staying there.  Pizza in Europe is my favorite!!  I got my lift in this morning before we left for the Rome meet hotel, and had an easy (and fun!) throwing session with some sprints this afternoon.  Competition in my first Diamond League meet of the season is on Thursday!  I have tomorrow off, so I'm gonna go check out the Colosseum. :)

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