Sunday, July 14, 2013

USAs and Iron Wood

photo by Becky Miller
2013 USATF National Championships happened in Des Moines, Iowa at Drake University on June 20th.  When I say, "I competed," I don't just mean that I threw in a competition.  I was absolutely thrilled when my first toss flew 50 meters, but wanted more.  By round 5, I finally got it together and measured a throw at 55.88 meters to eventually place third!  With a short approach, only weeks of throwing practice, and still 6 days shy of nine months post-op, I knew I needed to focus on the basics, and it felt really, really successful.  The competitiveness that shined through was an awesome surprise after so much time away from meets.  The distance was fine, but a top 3 finish means that I can chase the World Championships A standard of 62 meters until July 20th.  I wanted to give myself that chance even in this "bonus" of a season after having my knee surgery.  Why not try?  Overall, USAs was FUN.

photo by Becky Miller
Super proud of this Bronze.

Russ also competed well!  After years and years of solid showings in both shot and disc, he finally earned Silver in the discus.  He's also chasing a World Championships standard, and I'm so pumped about how he looks this summer.  It'd be fun to go to Moscow together!!
What a cutie!  Victory Lap.
After USAs, Russ and I had the opportunity to help out at Iron Wood Throws Camp, run in its 24th consecutive year for the first time by Jarred Rome.  Jarred wanted currently-competing professional athletes to be involved with the kids this year, and I had a blast.
All my campers who wear ASICS. :)
Duncan Atwood and I had twice-daily sessions with our javelin thrower kids from Tuesday to Friday, with an optional session on Saturday.  These kids were so fun to work with, listened, stayed positive even through the soreness that comes along with walking a college campus and training 5 hours a day, and had a huge impact on me. 
Sterling controls the javelin by throwing through a hoop.

Russ shares his story with the campers. :)
I went into camp thinking that I'd probably benefit from talking about the basics with the kids all week.  I thought I might be reminded that keeping things simple can help anyone out, not just a high-schooler.  That happened, but I benefitted even more from their enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and pure love of the sport and event.  On Thursday, my group of beginners released their first few javelins ever, looked back at me with giant, round eyes, and said,
"I LOVE this."

I almost cried, I was so happy.  I relate to these kids now more than ever: I've felt that way all year, too.  I got frustrated right after USAs this year, because all of a sudden, my expectations were sky high.  I threw almost 56 meters, so why am I now not consistently throwing 60?  Silly Kara.  I realized that I needed to calm down, and that going to Iron Wood might be what I needed to do that.  After laughing with the kids and seeing lots of improvement in one morning session, I had the best practice I've had since right before the Trials last year.  Keeping it simple and having fun throwing again was the perfect recipe for connection to my implement and easy, far throws.  On Friday, after three more days of laughing and love for the sport, with extremely tired legs from a week of feverish coaching and demonstration, I had an even better practice on the same runway with these awesome kids.  Working with Duncan in those practices was really fun too, and both of us giving tips to the kids in between my throws was a fabulous experience.  Feeling like a real part of the national javelin throwing community is so important to me, and I won't forget Friday's practice for a long time.  Thank YOU to my Iron Wood campers.  You are amazing.
Duncan taught me how to handstand!  Finally!!
photo by Eryn Vanney :)

No comments:

Post a Comment