18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Northbound on I-95

Luckily at midnight last night my good friend was able to get my trusty side kick up and running again.  This may be the last vault season for the old Subaru. Without my buddy Steve (who honestly is more like blood), it was definitely beyond my ability to repair, and far beyond its worth in labor costs. But at 260K plus miles, it has risen from the dead once again, and carried my girlfriend and I over the Sierras, and across the Nevada desert as we trekked north to our most recent destination, Boise, Idaho. With a brief stop in Carson City, Nevada of course, you can’t drive past the factory of the finest vaulting poles in the world without stopping in to say hello. The good folks at UCS Spirit will always welcome you with open arms like family. Visiting the factory is a great treat, especially when you get the pleasure of walking out with a brand new pole that now has even more meaning after having seen its birth place.
So what’s new? I’m in Boise to compete in a small meet on Friday. Up until Tuesday I had only jumped from short approach runs, just a handful of times, since sometime in the first week of September. I decided if I got a chance to visit a facility with a long enough runway, and the weather played in my favor I would give the big run a chance this week. As it turns out, there is yet another great facility close by. I visited Bella Vista High school in Fair Oaks, CA. Once called home by Derek Miles, this facility puts most colleges to shame. Exciting as it was to follow in Big Rigs footsteps for a few hours, I was unable to put on such a show that would do him proud. Running from my full approach was difficult, even more difficult still since I added an extra 14 feet onto the end of it. With some patience, help from fellow vaulters and coaches, I finally managed to make the massive 140 foot long approach work. I’m pretty sure I’ve had running workouts with shorter distances than that. And honestly as low as I was gripping and on such a small pole, in a competition situation that approach will be more like 143 feet. Even after all that struggle I feel that the session ended well and the workout overall was a success.  
Now I have to decide what I want to get out of this weekend. I recently found out that the indoor qualifying window for the Olympic Trials does not start until Jan 1st. So any great mark I gain this weekend cannot be used to get me into that meet. However it is still a mark that can be used just about anywhere else, and will be a great chance for me to see where I am at in this stage of training when I am placed in a competitive setting. You can practice for thousands of hours, but you just can’t replicate the environment, situations, and personal reactions created in such a setting. Well maybe you can, but I can’t, meaning that competitions have become great learning tools for me, especially in the past 10 months as I have had to adapt such a great deal.  So on Friday, I hope I learn something good, or just rock the house. Either way, I’m certain I will walk away satisfied. Being back in Idaho, and getting to hang with brother is well worth the trip.

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