Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tucson Elite

I competed in Tucson, Arizona last weekend at one of the most fun competitions of the year!  Every May, the majority of elite American throwers head to the University of Arizona for a meet that features only field events, and focuses on the throws.  It's always exciting to see long-time friends and enjoy great weather!

Two meets are held at Tucson Elite; one on Thursday, and the same format on Saturday.  In the past, I've thrown both days (because why not and it's good major championship experience), but this year I knew my knee couldn't quite handle that quick of a turnaround yet.  I watched and cheered on Thursday and competed on Saturday.

Here's the Coach's Eye video Russ took of my first and best throw:



It traveled 59.97m, which is exactly the same result I had in Doha Here is the results page for the entire Saturday meet.  All six of my throws were better than 56 meters, and my last one felt superior technically to the other ones.  I took six hard throws again, and my knee felt great!

So, this was my third competition of the season right around 60 meters.  I'm very forward at delivery, stemming from not accelerating quite enough alllllll the way through my crossovers and pushing with my right leg.  Staying back and not pushing is what I have been working on for the last week, and I feel pretty good about it going into my next competition.  I'm doing my best not to be impatient with my distances, as seeing the video tells me there's much more there and simply being on the runway still brings me so much satisfaction!  A little bit of aggravation helps focus the mind, though, and feeling competitiveness creep back into my system is doing that for me.

I leave for Rome on Tuesday!  Check the Diamond League website for results on Thursday if you are so inclined, and see Universal Sports for online broadcasting information. :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Doha

A belated recap of the Doha Diamond League!

I already told you that my travel was super easy!  So my body felt pretty good warming up for competition because I'd traveled well and slept even better upon arrival.  I also had a great roommate to pass the time with, and got to see Becky a lot, too!

Persian Gulf: An exploration by Tia and I!

QR (Qatar Riyal) is pretty!

The Souq Waqif was fun to wander with Becky, Mary and Danny!


Remember when my javelins disappeared in Monaco?  That almost happened again.  We were told to check them in two hours before the competition, which Linda and I did, but apparently everyone else's implements got taken to the track that morning.  When we got out to the runway, our javelins weren't there.  Surprise!  I grabbed some of the common ones to warm up with, and after Linda handled talking to the officials a bit forcefully, our stuff made it before the competition started.  No big deal.

My series didn't start great, but I had my best attempt on my third throw at 59.97m and was fourth going into finals.  I did my best to move up from there, but got passed and ended up sixth.  While sixth place is never what I want, I had two 59-meter throws and another one at mid-58m.  And those throws were at the end of the series, which is thrilling for me because it means my knee can handle things.  I'm looking forward to it holding up even better in the future, and practice since Doha has been encouraging me even more.

My technique at this meet wasn't fabulous.  I was open and didn't accelerate very well to my left, but got a little better as the competition went on, and have been focusing on these things since.  My favorite thing about this meet was the fact that I started feeling competitive rather than careful as the series went on.  I missed that feeling, and I'm ecstatic to have it back.  Tucson is next!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pre-Doha

Deplaning in Frankfurt.
City view from the warm-up track!
Doha mosque at sunset from the warm-up track.

Qatar Sports Club.

I'm in a new part of the world!  I've never been to the middle east before, so this is fun.  Qatar is across the Persian Gulf from Iran and a little bit northeast-ish of Saudi Arabia.  Denver to Frankfurt was about 9.5 hours, then after a short break Frankfurt to Doha was around 6 hours.  I arrived at the hotel at 10:00pm local time Wednesday, and slept for approximately 14.5 hours. :)

Since I haven't traveled internationally in so long, I was a little anxious to see how my new knee would handle all the sitting still.  I had absolutely nothing to worry about!  It feels great, and my shake-out at the track tonight made it feel even better.  Excited to see what happens tomorrow!  Schedule here (click "Doha" and then "Startlist/Results") and live stream via Universal Sports here!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Drake Relays

This is a belated Drake Relays wrap-up post!

I competed two Fridays ago at Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.  My family came, ASICS puts on the meet, Russ threw well, and I met some cool new friends, so the weekend was fabulous!  Unfortunately, I could have thrown better, and my knee didn't feel great.

My parents and I at the Machine Shed!

I had a really fun throwing session the Monday before this competition, and I threw pretty hard that day because it was going so well.  Surprise!  My knee was sore the next day, and it stayed sore most of the week.  When I woke up on Friday in Des Moines, it was feeling better, but not totally 100%.  "The show must go on!" I thought, and I warmed up okay.  The weather was perfect-better than I've seen it since USAs in 2010-and I felt like not taking advantage of such conditions would be a shame! 

My first throw was possibly too relaxed, and I've been pushing with my right leg a little bit again, so I landed forward and that did not feel good on my knee.  That throw traveled 56 meters, and would have been an okay start if it hadn't made me so uncomfortable.  When I'm forward (as is the case when any javelin thrower is forward!), there's too much downward pressure on my leg rather than sort of horizontal pressure that lets me move forward and out toward the sector after my block is down.  What happens is undue pressure on the leg, yes, but also pulling down on the javelin and loss of tip control, leading to not-as-good throws.  Stay back and then move forward after your left foot is down, people!

So yeah.  I threw 56 meters, tried a few more times to work through the stiffness in my knee with no improvement, and decided to pass my three finals throws.  I was disappointed to let such a perfect day slip by, but I knew that resting my leg for my next meet was more important.  Drake was only my second meet of the year, after all, and it's going to take me a bit to learn how to ride this competition bike again. 

Even though I'm now 19 months out of surgery, it will take me a while to figure out just how much my knee can handle in terms of intensity before competition and how much rest I need to get ready for meets.  My experience at Drake showed me that I'll have to be smart in how I select the meets I go to this year; it may have been na├»ve of me to think I could just jump back into a normal schedule in my first full season back in action.  It's important to me to use this year as a building block for the next three seasons; 2015 World Championships in Beijing and the 2016 Olympics in Rio are the shining stars in the distance, and preparing myself the best I can for those is paramount.

I'm traveling to Doha, Qatar today for the first Diamond League meet of the season!  This is my first international trip since London, OMG.  I'm excited-nervous already. :)