18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Friday, February 25, 2011

There will be more

My silence was unavoidable once again. I hope you don't think that it was because I was disappointed in my possible last appearance in Holt Arena. Part of me was a bit. But I gave it all I had that day, and that's all I can ask for. Looking back I can see that by trying harder, I held myself back. But that's just another day of learning my new bodies limitations, strengths and weaknesses. So 3 indoor meets on the season, all resulting in a mark of 5.20m or 17'3/4". Really not bad considering I was never supposed to vault again. So i'll take it. I am going to compete one more time indoors before I approach the next phase of my training. There is a meet in Burnsville, MN that is shaping up to be one of the coolest indoor vault meets around. The more info I get on it, the more excited I get. I'm starting to think that I may only be good for another 17' jump, but I'll take it over a 16'6" day. I had hoped to have the next few weeks to prep in a way I would like, for this last indoor challenge, so I could possible jump a bit higher, but instead I got sick. Monday night after packing and moving boxes all day in preparation for my upcoming move to MN (I'll explain more about that later) I got a fever of just over 101 degrees, which hung around until Thursday. The heavy coughing and running nose has sucked and remained, and now its moved mainly to my lungs which I can only guess could be diagnosed with bronchitis. It could have come at a better time as I have been helping prepare our facility for the Big Sky Conference Championships as well as coaching in the event which started today. I won't lie, I feel god awful, but I've been a lot worse, seen even worse, and I'll take this over other crap out there. At least I'm functional. So, I guess that's my way of seeing the positive side of it. Also, when I drive close to 1,300 miles next week, I'll have a friend in the car with me, bronchitis, awesome.
I feel like I've gone on one of my tangents again. This tends to happen. What i was trying to say is, I don't get to train this week, or next week most likely. So I don't get to work on, what i'd like to work on, going into my next meet, but, I'll be rested????? That's got to count for something. So 2 weeks from now, after I compete, I have a plan of attack for training that I feel very confident about. A program that caters to my new body, and i'm feeling pretty excited about it.
More to come, when there is more to tell. And there will be more.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The What Now. Part 2

What now? What a question indeed.
I'm looking ahead to this competition on Friday, and I would like it give it a little something extra. In the last 2 meets I have been in, I was not exactly ready. I just knew what I wanted to do and be a part of. I figured what the hell, no one expects anything out of me, including, me. Now with 2 performances under my belt, I'm starting to think that I'm running low on excuses not to really get after it. The relaxed run, low grip, and soft pole thing is good for several reasons, and smart. But at some point, is that really going to give you a performance outcome worthy of memory, or recognition? In some ways I feel I have already proven myself. But part of me cries out for a larger indicator of what abilities I'm actually carrying around with me. I have 1 more chance to prove myself in Pocatello this year. In Holt Arena, where I have more great pole vault memories than anywhere else in the world. Moments of joy, triumph, and even defeat, as an athlete and as a coach. As the day of my departure from this place draws nearer, i feel myself growing more and more connected too it. It has given me so much, and taken away hardly anything.
11 years and 6 months ago I moved away from my home in Northern California to live in an unknown place with no friend or family member within 600 miles. It feels like only yesterday I arrived in this high altitude desert. I felt so scared, alone and excited all at once. As the eve of my next major life move comes, I'm starting to get some of the same feelings.
I would love to say that I will be back here soon, or make time to compete here again next year. But I can't say those things. I don't know what the future holds, it is an unknown and those are promises that I just cannot keep. So I want this (I won't say last, but.....) opportunity to jump again in Holt Arena, in front of some of the finest high school athletes in US track and field, my friends, loved ones, and peers, too be special. It may be a complete disaster, but I hope they know that I am going to give everything I have too give on friday, for them, and for me.
I want too make all of us proud once more.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Opportunity

I apologize for my recent absence of inspiration to write. This week really took it out of me. My time at home, was spent asleep in a chair, or in my bed. Here is a quick update on what I've been up too.
Last night Idaho State was supposed to host a collegiate multiple dual, but things didn't pan out they the way they should of. Wednesday, at the last minute, a few schools backed out. Wait, I mean, all the schools backed out. Now ISU was waiting around in Pocatello for a track meet that wasn't even going to happen. Thanks to some phone calls, emails, social networks, and so on. We were able to scrape up enough people to make an open meet possible, and I was allowed to compete. 
It was a long week and I was very tired, but I had a goal in mind of 17'6", not that high, I know, but its all about baby steps for me right now. Small victories. Before the competition started I even commented a few times, "if I can make 17' again, I'll be happy." And that's the way it played out in the end. Another 17' day, and not quite enough juice for 17'6". Of course I made a few mistakes, and if I look back I could pick the meet apart, but I'm not doing that. I'm looking ahead to my next opportunity to jump. I already have a plan in mind, and I'm very excited about it. This coming weekend is the Simplot Games. Every year we have elite vault exhibition for the crowd. It has always been an event I look forward too, and this year may be my last appearance as an athlete. I hope to put on a good show, along side of some of my favorite athletes and friends.
Speaking of which, I couldn't be more proud of ISU's Sam Pierson and Mike Arnold for making 17'6" last night, bettering their NCAA status, and almost leaving the automatic mark of 18' up with 3 close attempts out of each of them. It has been a great honor to be able to say that I've played a part in your blossoming careers. You both continue to inspire me.  

Friday, February 4, 2011

The What Now. Part 1

So Paul, what now?
This is the question that has glazed over the rest of my thoughts since my return from Reno. It was confusing at first. The ups and downs of this injury make it so difficult to plan ahead.
I would describe myself as a spontaneous person who dreads order and organization. But when it comes to being an athlete, having a training plan, seems to make life a whole lot easier, and the results tend to show it. Obviously I'm of the philosophy that you can't take it too seriously, but some order does help.
Week after week I have written, rewritten, and rewritten again, plan after plan for the past 6 months. At first making sure doctors, therapists and coaches gave them all a nod of approval, or even just a glance over, so I would be confident in what I was doing. I gave up on that approval somewhere after the first month as the plans changed time and time again. And to be honest, in the last month or so, with the upper back problem, and the turf slip up I quit writing them all together, and just "winged it" daily. I was so tired of something as small as not finishing a full week or even day to a "T", could create such a psychological defeat. Defeats that continued to leave me empty handed with no where to turn for refuge. My outlet has always been exercise in some shape or form. Something fun to clear my head, and fun to me, is in physical activity. But I'm trailing off on a tangent as I always do when I tell stories. The point I'm trying to make is that, last weekend was a victory. I didn't win the competition, but I won a stronger sense of hope. A hope that has kept my mind racing for days now. It has given me the courage to once again, write up my training in advance. It may sound silly to you, but its important to me. Funny how something so small, can mean so much. I may fail and I may succeed. The fact remains, it was a needed increase of particular confidence that arrived at the exact instance my journey demanded it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Welcome Surprise + Video

This weekend was the 2011 Reno Pole Vault Summit. Easily the greatest pole vault event and gathering of like minded crazies in the world. Not having jumped for a few weeks, or run, or jogged. I decided to pack a random bag of poles, spikes, and uniform regardless. I told myself I would warm up and if I experienced too much pain, I would stop in my tracks. Not to mention the fact that I have only vaulted from a competition run 1 other time since mid-July. I had mixed predictions about it. I thought I could feed off the crowd and possibly be successful, but part of me kept saying, there is no way in hell you are physically able to compete. After a day of travel, a day of meetings and banquets, sitting, standing, talking and walking, my body was not exactly feeling up too the task. Sounds silly I know. Its not like I went out to the sierras and climbed a mountain, but it felt something like that. Friday evening finally came, and I had the honor to compete along side of some of the countries best.
This years summit format had what was called a Dark Horse section. A group of athletes that had the chance to compete in the main event, but needed to prove there worth. By making two heights, they would then be allowed to move 2 runways over to the main event, and compete against the best athletes attending the Summit. I was a Dark Horse.
I had a plan for the warm up that seemed logical. Do the least amount possible. I jogged for a few minutes, did a few strides, then stepped on the runway from a short approach (10 steps, skipping regular drills) took 2 jumps from there, moved back to a bit longer approach (14 steps) took a few jumps, then back to my full approach run (18 steps) and took a few jumps from there as well. Warm up over. I was already exhausted, but I was not experiencing much pain. I figured I came this far, so I might as well compete.
Now phase 2, don't make a complete fool of myself. Luckily I made 16'9" on my first attempt because I was breathing like I just ran the mile. I tried my best to stay relaxed and prepare for the next height, but I was beat and it showed. After missing my first 2 attempts at 17'1" I knew i had to muster up everything I had left to make it on my third attempt. And i did. That was the most exciting 17' bar I have made, since the first time I cleared the height to win the Big Sky Indoor Conference Championships at Idaho States own Holt arena in 2002.
Its hilarious even now, how much this bar meant to me, this weekend, because it is a height that used to be easy for me to clear from a run as short as 10 steps, and almost 8 steps. And I was jumping on a pole that I have used from 10steps, gripping a mere 15', and it still felt pretty big. (It was a 16' 195, 16.0 flex, for those of you pole buffs out there) Very small for an "elite" athlete. But it was the right tool for the job that day.
When I moved over to the Main Event pit, I was lucky to get some rest time, but it didn't help much. Normally I would keep moving around and do a good job of staying warm, but all I could do was lay down and try to recover. My legs were like Jello and it was all I could think about coming down the runway. I was basically being fueled by the crowd to jump, because my own internal sources of energy had been exhausted at this point. It's too bad I was unable to make 1 bar in the elite competition, but I got there, and that counted for something.
I can't remember the last time I was this sore from pole vault, maybe never. The next day when i woke up, i felt like someone pushed me down a flight of stairs. The good news is, my back didn't hurt any worse than the  week before, and sitting here now after a day of coaching and training, it feels better than it has since the turf incident.
Thank you to all the people behind the summit for another incredibly memorable and inspiring weekend. And thank you to Becca Gillespy Peter with Polevaultpower.com, Jamie Steffen with Fuzion Athletics and rentpoles.com, and Tri-Valley athletics, for all the continued support. I've said it before but I'll say it again. The Pole Vault community is something so special, standard words just can't really describe its pure awesomeness.