So long drives are generally not a big deal for me, especially when you have two people. But if you have two people, two cars, that are both in need of major repairs, loaded to the ceiling, roofs rack pushed to the max, bike rack packing 4 bikes, and all four shocks completely bottomed out with a 1,900 mile drive ahead of you, racing the beginning of winter storms, this changes things a bit. It was rough to say the least, but we made it. The cars and weather thankfully held out for us and now the future is a brighter looking future into the unknown.
Settling in to our new place will take time. We are converting an old office into an apartment and it is going to take a lot of work but will benefit us and our family greatly when completed. The piece of property we are staying on is located in the Sierra Foothills, right in the middle of the trees. The weather is mild year round, and in the mornings I wake up to the sounds of birds chirping and the beautiful sight of massive Oak trees and hundred foot tall Pines. A welcome change. I can't think of better place to clear my mind completely and focus my full attention on this 2012 season.
In the upcoming month I plan to change gears in my training. The bike and pool training has been wonderful and gotten me this far. But a modification is needed as I have been labelled one of the slowest elite vaulters in the US. I've done my best to stay fast but I guess it hasn't been enough. I think that most of my lower body training thus far has been more of a maintenance phase. Rather than gaining any ground physically, I have just managed to hang onto most of what I had while it had slowly slipped away. Not that I could show you, but if you saw my bare glutes and upper ham and quad area, you would see the stretch marks that have replaced the areas of my legs that used to be several inches larger which falls right in line with notches in my belts that I have lost. I have come up with some ways to beef up my legs again. To squat again (hanging weight from a belt and standing on boxes), and to run again (uphill running and sled pulls do not hurt my back near as much). I'm hoping that these new methods will help me gain enough lower body and extra spine stabilizer strength used for the proper motion, to allow me to start doing real running workouts again. Only time will tell, but I am extremely optimistic about it.
I have not pole vaulted in over a month now. I finally feel physically able to do so, but I am choosing not too. The more time I have taken off, the more I realized that I don't need to be jumping. Technical focus and change is probably not what is going to grant me my dream come true. Staying healthy and injury free long enough to make significant strength and speed gains will. I know how to pole vault, it may look a bit ugly at times, and even scary to some hard core technicians. But pretty looking jumps are not historically what got people over 19 feet. It was raw power. A lot of the 19 foot makes over time, are some of the ugliest technical jumps ever, and even some of the athletes that accomplished them will admit it with laughter. I intend to join this group. When I clear 19 feet in competition, we'll all get a good laugh at how funny looking it is. But the bar will stay up, and that's all that matters.