Sunday, May 3, 2015

Longhorn Invitational

So. Happy.

I had my third competition of 2015 yesterday at the University of Texas at Austin's last collegiate home meet of the season.  I'm three for three on setting new Mike A. Myers Stadium records when I show up at this track!

Jess Delic of Akron and I after the competition.  Photo credit: Jess!
The field of women was small, the weather was pretty great, and my body felt decent after a 13-hour drive from home and a week of new workouts, but lots of rest otherwise.  I warmed up really early because the men's competition took an unexpectedly long time, but it was hot enough that it didn't matter much as long as I stayed hydrated and ate something.  It was SO FUN to be able to stay warm!!  That is sometimes a struggle in Colorado.

I warmed up on the runway relaxed but with just enough pep to feel explosive and ready for competition, and stopped warming up earlier than I have in probably two years, haha.  When you're finally confident, you don't need to take 50 warm-up throws looking for a feeling.  Plus, I was trying to manage warm weather for the first time in forever, and didn't want my energy to get zapped before competition even got going.

My focus in practice lately has been more speed through my crossovers.  Coming back from surgery has been a long, slow, careful process of increasing intensity in my throw, and it finally feels like it's the right time to really turn it on.  I attacked through the end of the throw a little too well on my first attempt yesterday, and my block ended up right at the foul line with no way to save the throw!  I've never ever done that!  The javelin's flight wasn't ideal, so I made a note to fix it.

I backed up for throw number two and attacked the end again.  The timing of my legs was great and my block held strong, catching the javelin back and at a much better angle than is my norm.

It flew 66.47 meters.  

If I had kept my chest up and finished the throw even better (and been a bit more closed at the block to let that happen), who knows what the reader board would have said.  I also still felt close to the scratch line.  Attempts three, four and five all traveled over 63 meters!  I tried to keep my chest up better on those ones, but the timing wasn't as good with my legs and that means that I lose the tip of the javelin.  I was pretty pumped up for my last attempt, but tired on a rare (for me) hot day and emotionally a little drained, so it only went 59m with terrible flight.  Here are the official results (scroll down to "Women Javelin Throw" about halfway down the page).  I want to be clear that I compete for ASICS: I'm working to get the results all corrected.

Video courtesy of Fabian Jara Dohmann, my friend at UT.  This is 63.21m, my 5th attempt.  So much more there.

Favorite things about yesterday:
1. I threw my 80m Nemeth on all 6 throws.  My American Record implement is a 70m Nemeth "Standard" javelin, but I've known for years that I needed to master higher-quality spears (thanks to an awesome email from Miklos Nemeth himself).  At Drake, my 70m Nemeths didn't check in, because after years of throwing them into hard ground, they're now too short to pass inspection.  I took this as a sign to not use them in competition anymore.  I'm ecstatic that this transition is finally happening.
2. At USAs in 2010, I knew what I wanted to accomplish technically, I felt physically awesome, and throwing 66.67m was what felt like my absolute best, my pinnacle, my 100% top effort.  I did not feel like that at all yesterday.  I dropped my chest and didn't fully finish the throw, my approach is still shorter than it was even last year as I continue to get comfortable with speed, and it's MAY 3RD.  Among other things.  So excited.
3. Hard work DOES pay off, and patience is paramount.  Related: Trust your instincts.  Check out my IAAF Athlete Profile under "Progression" to see my yearly best distances.  I haven't thrown over 63 meters in five YEARS.  I spent 2011 pretending that my back and hip pain wasn't hindering my performance, and wasn't brave enough to pause competition to address it.  That problem lingered into 2012, and I also believed I needed to be super lean to be fast, which decreased my recovery capacity and strength levels and (my opinion) helped me toward a torn ACL.  Two years of healing from that surgery have allowed me time to discover the rest of my life and fully recognize the best thing that ever happened to me in Russ and our relationship-now-marriage.  Through his support (and that of family, friends, ASICS and my coaches), I finally have confirmation that doing my best to enjoy the process and trusting my own path WILL work out.  I threw over 63 meters four times in the Longhorn Invitational, after five years of life lessons, learning, hard work, love, and fun.  Struggle can only break you if you let it.

I have never in my life felt such affirmation as I did yesterday.

Moving forward. :) 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Relays Recap

This season feels busy so far!  I've competed twice, and I'm going to do it again tomorrow.  With school, a visit from my parents, enjoying our newly-complete house interior, and travel, I have made no time to blog.  Here we are :)

Texas Relays was my first competition of 2015, and the first one I was knee brace-less for since the 2012 Olympic Trials.  While I've been practicing bare-legged all year, meet speed and emotions are a bit different.  It was scary!  I was nervous!  I was all over the place technically!  But on my last throw, I gutted out 60.82m.  I wish I had video so that I could be baffled by it, but it felt really good to just get competitive and make something happen.  The only difference between throws 1-5 and number 6 was energy and a slightly bigger chest.

Drake Relays last weekend was really fun.  My ASICS family is always awesome to hang out with, the camera guys were rockstars in the cold, my parents and Grandpa came to cheer, Sharon threw the javelin with me, meeting and catching up with other javelin girls continues to bring me joy, and my competition bib said "WINGER!"  Fellow new wife Sara Beam was even wearing a QALO, a brand that Russ and I were recently introduced to and are big fans of!  As for the competition, I was overall unsatisfied with 59.07m as my furthest attempt.  However, for the first time in what feels like forever, I confidently made technical changes as the meet went its course, and improved on positions to ultimately feel like I threw decently far on purpose, not just with my guts.  That's important!  The focus of Drake Relays was technique, as discussed previously with Wendy, so I consider it a success.  Add even more confidence and speed to that equation and get a throw I love.  I'm all about continuing to improve the technique too, duh.  I was also okay with my consistency at Drake.  Excited for the future.  Check out the ASICS Facebook page for a few videos!

Competition tomorrow in Austin!  It's interesting to be around the NCAA system again as I visit Ty more at University of Texas.  I'll be blogging about that and the meet tomorrow soon!