Friday, July 21, 2017

IMG Academy

Each year, USATF sets up high performance competitions for elite throwers. Typically this means that everyone goes to Tucson, Arizona for two meets at the end of May, but this year there were some extra opportunities! One of them fell on May 5th at Kibwe Johnson's new stomping grounds, IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

I threw in Austin in the middle of April, and didn't have another competition scheduled until Prefontaine at the end of May, so competing in Florida sounded perfect.

Personal coaching is a new thing for me (I have one Paralympic athlete and one heptathlete, plus a few people I consult with electronically), and I had the fun opportunity to meet with Kibwe and some of his athletes to offer them javelin pointers! (They've got it totally handled with him as a coach, btw.) I'm so impressed by the talent this private high school attracts from literally all over the world. What an interesting place to work!

I was pretty sore and tired after really hitting things hard in training post-big opener, so I didn't know what to expect. What happened was that I was all over the place on the runway! I should have thrown further at this meet than I did (61.32m), but Ariana Ince PRed and threw 60 meters for the first time! Bonus points for the beginning of a beautiful Friendship: It turns out that Ari and I are basically the same person. Down to simultaneous hair flips and reaching for the same soda.

My series on the day was fairly consistent (more so than Austin), and I was encouraged by that, even with my footwork being nowhere close to smooth. This meet was interesting and felt like a work in progress: It was the second IMG Academy Throws Challenge ever, and also second this year. There is definite room for improvement, but I think USATF should keep coming back here. The campus is incredible, we stayed close to the track, housing allows athletes to cook for themselves (something I personally love when on the road), Uber is available for transportation, and the weather in May was perfection. Absolutely would throw again!

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