18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Unique Perspective

You know those days where it seems like everyone around you is acting like a complete ass? Then finally at some point you realize, your the one who is real the problem. Well to be honest, I've been noticing that a lot lately. I do my best not to bring other people down to my level when I'm in the dumps myself, but some days it feels like a full time job. I tried to figure out why I've been acting this way, and I've come up with several reasons. After attending the Drake Relays Mall Vault this weekend it all became clear. I need to be jumping. Holy shit I miss jumping, so much. Watching my friends and peers burn down the runway and fly over bars in style, for a massive crowd, made me extremely nostalgic. Normally when I attend a large competition as a spectator I have a really hard time with it. I can remember being bumped out of the USA Outdoor Championships in 2003 by 1 measly centimeter. I was still in college and USA's just happened to be near where I grew up. I decided to go and watch the meet even though i was heart broken about not getting in as an athlete. It turned out to be an amazing meet to watch but I remember telling myself, never again, never again will I stand on the sidelines and watch elite competitions like this. Guess what, the same thing happened the following year as I sat and watched the Olympic Trials while being the first athlete out by 1 measly centimeter, they even had my BIO in the program at the meet. That was hard to watch, but ultimately exciting, actually the most exciting vault competition I have witnessed to date. You get my point. Sometimes it's hard to watch. Honestly though I've got to give a big shout out to the organizers of the Mall Vault because I have seen a lot of street type vault meets in my day, and that competition was done very professionally in so many ways. Other organizers could learn a lot from them.
When I arrived at the meet I must admit that I rolled in with a baseball cap tipped down low, a dark coat and a quiet disposition. I did not want to be recognized as an athlete in the crowd. I would have rather been seen as a quiet camera man with no ties to the sport. In anticipation for the competition I thought I would have that feeling again, the feeling of being left out, or picked last, or not being good enough. When I arrived, it wasn't there. I walked into the mass of people heard the loud music, clapping, and became so excited for my friends on the other side of the fence. I wanted to shake hands, scream when they were on the runway, catch steps, start the clapping, and be a part of something special. It was something special. I fought through the crowd, jumping around with a tripod and HD camera, held it high above my head to pan over children resting on parents shoulders, because the best thing I could do for those athletes that day, was shoot the best videos I could. I had a blast, and the feeling of inadequacy, wasn't there. I'm not sure how I am supposed to feel about that. At first I thought, maybe your ready to be done, your ready to be a spectator. After the 4 hour drive home I stayed up till 3am editing and posting videos to the best of my ability alone with my thoughts. I felt so confused about my excitement for a meet and the performance of athletes that I was not a competitor in.
The flame of doubt, in my devotion as an athlete, was soon extinguished when I sprung out of bed this morning to finish my uploads for Derek and Kylie then head to the gym, where I spent an hour sprinting between the elliptical machine and the pool, like an injured athlete should. It felt amazing and I felt as driven as ever.
So no, I'm not ready to be a spectator full time, and thank you to all the great athletes who jumped at the Mall Vault for the fresh burst of Inspiration.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back to the Bike

Too much too soon. This tends to be a reoccurring theme for me as this injury continues on. After weeks of therapy and light running I was to excited to pursue a regiment of speed training to compliment the strength I have worked so hard to regain. Per usual however, I got eager or maybe even greedy, and pushed a little to hard. Wondering how my leg started going numb again, and the nagging back pain returned, its clear now that it is from the running. Which sucks because, not to tell fishing tales, but I was actually starting to feel pretty damn fast again. So, back to the bike for me. As frustrating as it seemed at first, it isn't necessarily a bad thing either. It's amazing how much speed and strength you can maintain on the stationary bike if you plan, implement, and commit to it properly. It does get boring and a little lonely, but if your truly passionate about recovery, you tend to stay with it, and those that do, reap the benefits. It is no substitute for moving fast though, the air blowing in your ears like wind in a storm. Going fast is just fantastic, I think most would agree. Its not as euphoric as flying or falling though, and this is where some may disagree, but to the rest of us, its bliss. A few more weeks on the bike, and in the pool, and I will get to enjoy that feeling again. Patience for now, Triumph around the bend.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Video Blog

I have been talking a lot on here and thought it would be nice to give folks something to look at. Here is a typical day with Alex Tapplin and myself. We meet up 2-3 times a week and exchange knowledge. The arrangement is working out well for us both. I hope you enjoy the video.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Fuzion Spring Series is Official

So I was breezing through the Polevaultpower message boards the other day and came across a disturbing thread titled "Worst indoor season ever?". Referring to pole vault in the US. The thread goes on for 4 pages. Its full of valid points, theories, ideas, complaints, countless book references, and finger pointing. I can hear passion in some of the words, and even agree with many of the arguments myself. However I have to say, talk is cheap, and actions speak. 4 pages of text and nothing about what someone is actually doing to make a difference. Track and Field is dying, and Pole Vault is dying with it. If it bothers you, help. Go do something about it. You can a make a difference in someones life, even if its just one athlete.
We are acting. Here is yet another action we have taken. Filling the void for the forgotten group of dedicated post collegiate athletes left out to dry between NCAA conference, Regional, and National championships. These people need a place to compete.
So come join us. If your dumping your hard earned money (or pushing credit card limits) into chasing around the country and paying entry fees for 1 chance a week to compete and possibly get a USA mark, how about the option of 3 times in a week, in the same place, on a huge pit, with no worry of bad weather, a lightning fast runway, good friends, a fantastic place to train in the meantime, and no entry fees? The option is now available. Contact me. We want to help.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Machine

Its awesome to be at a place where the day in day out grind of a "normal" job is nonexistent. Yes we work long hours, and 7 days a week most weeks. But I go to work in running shoes, and warm ups, and am kind of expected too. That's not bad if you ask me. Fuzion is a place where ideas really come to life. The MN PV Showcase is a perfect example of that. Most of the time people sit around and talk about all there great ideas, get excited, maybe even write a few words down or scribble some pictures, but that's usually as far as it goes. Out here, when we talk about something, we are almost instantly on the phone, email, internet, etc, bringing it to life. We don't talk, we do. And what we do helps to resuscitate a sport that started being systematically controlled and ultimately murdered some time ago. The challenge and passion involved with the work creates a great stimulus in the building. The work, however time consuming, does tend to take hold of your life a bit, but does not seem to overwhelm. I'm starting to see the source of fuel that the boss man has fed off of and maintained his business all these years almost alone, and has even managed to grow larger and larger over time. He is a machine and keeping up with him is near impossible. What lies ahead for us as a company looks very bright.
What lies ahead for me as an athlete is looking bright as well. Thanks to Alex, my therapy has taken what I can only describe as the right turn. I have already noticed major differences in my body. I'm happier, its easier to get out of bed, I have more energy all day, I'm able to do harder running workouts, harder lifting workouts, my blood stream is not made up mostly of IB Profen, I'm feeling closer to what an elite athletes body should feel like.
Being patient in staying off the runway for the next few weeks will be very tough for me. I look at it everyday with want and need. Just one little fix of runway speed and pole lift off. It's my absolute favorite thing in life. But if I can wait, and do this thing right, when that exciting day comes, it will be absolutely worth the wait.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Time seems to be racing by very fast, and many things which need long preparation, are right around the corner.
Monday morning I took my dog for a ghostly quiet walk in the snow, I stared up at the grey clouds through the thickness of my cold breath and thought to myself; I can't believe that large outdoor competitions are getting underway this week. In the past 3 weeks I have picked up a pole twice. Once for a big event, once for a small event. Both were fun, but also a lot of work, and yielded embarrassing results. Now I have one month before our first Fuzion meet. They are smaller and were created solely to save post collegiate athletes money, and bring about marks for the USA Championships despite the impractical methods of the modern machine of track and field in the US. We put them in play for everyone else, but I would like to take advantage of them myself as well.
And yes, they are all sanctioned, and will have certified officials present. So come jump high!
I find myself wondering though. Can I be ready in time? I don't intend to jump for 2 more weeks, with renewed dedication to physically therapy thanks to friend and trainer, Alex Tapplin. He saw that I veered off the right path, losing site of the importance of some things, and the unimportance of others. He has been a huge part of guiding me back and I'm thankful for it.
Vaulting for me at this stage has seemed to be a lot like the old saying "its just like riding a bike". I don't need to be doing it on a regular basis. My body always knows what to do, and my mind is very quiet. Not like in the past, when I was healthy, and I let my thoughts run so far away, my composure was left wanting. Now when I do jump, I am so happy to set foot back on the runway, it overwrites any shred of doubt or disillusion, and i start my approach full of the emotion of joy and emptied of rational thought. It is a wonderful feeling, and as I look back on my career, its the same feeling I had on all of my breakout performances. How can you harness it always? I'm not sure that you can. But striving to do so is definitely worth while.
But I'm on a tangent again. Those tend to dominate my stories. I was talking about the upcoming weeks. I have a calendar in front of me that maps out my life until the end of June, and the calendar from there to October will be near to completion within a week. Its nice to have structure, but the excitement of the unknown has always had much more appeal to me. Looking at my future on paper, makes me wonder more and more if I can make it happen. But with that uncertainty comes the unknown.
This answers my own question. Time to continue moving forward, and leave meaningless doubt behind .