Monday, July 14, 2014

Lausanne and Harry Jerome

Two continents, two weeks, two competitions, two different versions of Kara, similar end results. 

Lausanne, Switzerland is my new favorite European competition.  Flying into Geneva was fun because it was pretty countryside, then the mountains that we could see from the shuttle all the way into the city of Lausanne kept me smiling.  The stadium setting was fantastic, and I didn’t get treated to the view until competition day because of rain the day before, so it was a fun surprise.  We also had a view across Lake Geneva to France from the hotel, and I always love water.  I wish I’d had time to venture out and find some local food or take a boat or paddle board out, but I was working on a bit of a cold after not getting enough sleep in Sacramento (USAs is always so busy).
Lake Geneva outside the hotel the morning I left.

The field assembled for Lausanne Diamond League was a really good one.  Almost all of the girls’ season’s bests were better than mine, so I knew I needed to start the competition strong.  After not doing that at USAs, I was determined to make it happen.  It’s usually easy to have energy at the beginning of overseas meets for me too, if I’m feeling even halfway decent.  All I did to throw 61.77m in round 1 was stay a little bit tall and keep my arm back a tad.  Whenever I feel any bit of connection to the javelin these days, I can tell it’s at least a 60-meter toss.  That's fun.

My second throw was also over 60m, but the rest of my series showed my cold and were only around 58m.  I got tired, and ended up 6th overall.  Getting passed at the end of a competition and not being able to respond is not a fun feeling, but the fact that I started this competition well kept me content after this meet, and enjoying the gorgeous night, beautiful setting, and great performances elsewhere on the track made it a great experience!

Athletissima Stadium!  Mountains!  I gasped when I walked up here.
This year when I’ve traveled to Europe, I sleep as much as I can on the flights over, arrive two days before competition (either morning or evening), and then continue to sleep as much as possible until it’s time to throw.  It’s pretty ridiculous how much time I spend unconscious when I’m only in Europe for a few days.  There’s no reason to try to adjust to the time zone when I’m just going home again, and my body is awake when the actual meet is happening, because it’s usually about 10am at home when it’s time to throw in Europe.  The problem happens the night AFTER the meet.  In Lausanne, I spent about six hours pretending to sleep, and when I finally gave up and went outside for a recovery workout before getting on the plane home, I was treated to fantastic colors in the clouds over the bay.  I’ve seen enough amazing sunrises in my day to tell you that they’re worth waking up for.  So pretty!

Recovery workout sunrise :)
The next meet on my schedule was the Vancouver Sun HarryJerome International Track Classic.  I competed at this Vancouver, B.C. meet in 2010 and loved the trip, because my Canadian family came, I threw well, and I got to spend time with Russell!  This time around was no less wonderful, as my Mom drove up from home home, I got to catch up with my long-lost friend Melinda, and the meet has grown into something really great for athletes and spectators alike.  It's small enough so that you can keep track of everything from the stands and they take really good care of the athletes they bring in!

Mom and me! Lots of quality time lately! :)

Fisherman's Wharf for dinner on Wednesday.  Love love love seafood!
I consider Vancouver successful for a completely different reason than I was happy with Lausanne. 
I was almost over my cold, but my quads were insanely sore for no reason.  I had done the same squat workout I’ve done for this entire block on that Monday, and by Thursday, especially my right leg was still super tight.  No idea what happened.  Sometimes there isn’t an answer!  So I didn’t really know what to expect out of the competition.  I took way too many warm-up throws, trying to feel positions that my body was resisting getting into.  So when the meet started, I was already tired.

My prelims were bad.  I threw terribly enough times in 2011 to know that it happens, and I like to think that I learned not to freak out about it that year-that any competition can be saved by just one throw.  My first four attempts in Vancouver were really pushy with my right leg, fairly slow, and very forward, with no discipline to keep my right arm back at all.  I can’t understand how our bodies like to do the exact opposite of what we know will be good for them when they’re hurting!  Since my right quad was so sore, it should have been easy for it to shut down and not push me forward into my block, but nooooooo.  It pushed and it pushed and it pushed, and it blew my chest down.

I talked to Wendy after Lausanne about conserving my energy throughout a competition, as like I said, I’d gotten tired there.  Before my fifth round in Vancouver, I laid down in a sunny spot in the grass and was just quiet, so I could focus on positions and get pumped to hit them.  All I wanted to do is what Ty told me to before this meet: Attack the last three steps, stay back and tall, and then explode through the release.  Before that round I had done my habitual sprint about six people before my turn, some high knees, etc. between every throw.  That’s routine, but not necessary, and certainly could sap my energy.  Before rounds 5 and 6, I decided to forego my habits and just trust myself.  Because of my leg soreness and continued recovery from sickness, I also felt pretty slow out of the back of my (admittedly short) full approach, so I added an extra little jogging carry step to bring more speed.

Round 5 was mid-59 meters, because I managed to keep my arm high and stay tall through my chest, kind of.  Round 5 was not enough to take the lead, so I went back to the grass to repeat what had just worked.  Round 6 saw me bring more energy to those last three steps and keep my arm back even longer, allowing 61.56m to take the lead and keep it!

61.56 meters is exactly my 2008 PR, and I love that memory.  61.56 meters is also exactly 2 centimeters short of the meet record I set at Harry Jerome in 2010, so that’s a bummer, but since Harry Jerome is now part of the Canadian National Track League and it wasn’t in 2010, 61.56m is now an NTL record.  Fun.

Swanguard Stadium in Burnaby from the stands.
I’m in Switzerland again for a competition tomorrow!  Luzern/Lucerne is supposed to be the prettiest place ever, so I’m excited.  It was rainy today but even so, I believe the stories so far!

Pretty covered bridge in Luzern/Lucerne near the hotel.  Did abs in there today because it was pouring rain.

Lake Lucerne!  Can't wait to see the mountains in the sunshine :)

Luzern Swan.  They're everywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck tomorrow Kara! Always so fun to follow your meets, and I can't help thinking that you are so driven with all you've overcome. Keep it up! Boiler Up!