Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Season wrap-up!

So my short, somewhat-miracle of a season has come to a close!  My bronze medal at USAs this year allowed me to chase the World Championships A standard of 62.00m to potentially make my third Worlds team and travel to Moscow, Russia.  I was fully capable of doing that physically, but my technique didn't allow for it.

I only gave myself one chance at the A.  My knee was sore for two weeks after USAs, and I knew it was silly to even consider competing every week in a desperate attempt at a trip to World Championships.  Tom Pukstys was awesome enough to set up a meet at Benedictine University in Lisle, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago) for myself and a few other javelin throwers to throw at on July 20, the last day of the chase period.  All or nothing! 

The difference between my left knee on June 20 (USAs) and July 20 was ridiculous.  I felt so powerful, so fast, and so much more comfortable on the runway than I had a month prior.  I had had two great practices at Iron Wood the week before, and I felt more confident than I have since before my injury more than a year ago.  More than anything, it was fun.  National championships were fun this year simply because I was releasing a javelin in competition again, but Chicago was fun because I finally felt strong and sure on the runway.  I've been patiently waiting for that feeling all year, and even though I only managed a 57.12m toss (a season's best and a win!) and will miss Worlds, I couldn't be happier looking at the future of my career.  I also had a huge group of Purdue friends in attendance in Chicago, and couldn't be sad about spending time with them immediately following the competition!

This year, I started throwing javelins in practice in April.  In the previous three training seasons of my career, I've thrown javelins from November (at least) through the end of the season (usually the end of August).  That's five months of technique work that I missed out on this year; I can't duplicate javelin throwing with med balls, as many as I may have thrown!  My shoulders, core, back, SI joints, glutes, and even knees felt awesome in Chicago, but a few great sessions out of only a few months of throwing practices are difficult to duplicate when the pressure is on.  It's hard to not be disappointed about missing a third straight World Championships team, but I knew that if this was the outcome of this year I would be left hungrier than ever for future seasons, and that's exactly how I feel.  I also know what I need to work on and what I loved about my training this year, and am empowered to put those things into practice in the Fall.

I've blogged about how long this journey back to health has felt and I've shared about the hard days, but I hope that the overwhelming feeling I have of gratitude has shined through.  I took a few yoga classes in the week after my season ended, and one day we were asked to consider something that we take for granted in our lives.  Honestly, moving to a new place, making new friends and cherishing the old ones, earning my health back day by day with the help of the best athletic trainers, relying on Russ and my family for support when I needed it, being lucky enough to re-sign with ASICS after a major injury, understanding how awesome my management team is, and knowing that I still have a place at the CSOTC by the grace of USATF even after a post-injury sub-par season left me hard-pressed to think of something.  This year has been amazing despite the challenges I faced each day, and many days because I overcame those challenges.  I'm going to stock up on seeing the beauty in the world through my camera lens during all of August and September before taking this grateful attitude and renewed hunger into my Fall training.  So excited!


  1. Yay! I love being able to read your words and get my fix of second-hand optimism. :) Enjoy your time off! Can't wait to see the AWESOME things God has in store for you! :)

  2. Hello Kara,
    This statement from a professional athlete on a disappointing season was oddly very inspirational. Your account of the 2013 season is one of those short stories that is told in the shadows while speaking with a friend or in the privacy of the athletes home. From the point of view for a spectator I would say what is intriguing about following your athletic competitions is your response with positive or negative results. While reading I could not help but think of David Oliver's 2012 season and how he struggled through the season and ultimately failed to secure a position on the Olympic team.

    Mr. Oliver remained optimistic and continued pursuing each opportunity to achieve his goal. One year later in the 2013 season Mr. Oliver has closed his season by winning the Diamond League. Within the chronicles of a athletes journey history reveals the doctrine by which a soul has managed life. When the 2014 season opens I believe your results during the season will reflect the positive attitude necessary to help a champions rise again. Such is life for everyone with the courage to challenge failure.

    1. Hi Msasa!

      Thank you for your kind words!! I am a huge fan of David's and I could not agree with you more about how inspirational his journey has been. Being at the same meets and getting a big encouraging David Oliver hug always makes my day better! I spent most of World Championships in August out of service to avoid obsessing over results, but was overjoyed when I saw that David had become World Champion!! So proud of and inspired by him, and can't wait to live up to your (and his) encouragement. Appreciate it!