18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Number 18

             18 is an awesome number. 18-steps has been my competition approach for 12 years now (even though I plan to make it 20 steps this season).
             18, on the 18th of this month marked 5 months I’ve gone without a drop of alcohol, holding to my commitment to make it through the games. I tell you what, 3 weeks ago on my 31st birthday I was pretty bummed about not getting a delicious birthday beer, a glass of wine with thanksgiving dinner, and the holidays in general without seasonal this, and spiced that, don’t seem near as cheery as usual. But still, I’ve got to pat myself on the back for the show of commitment to this 2012 season.
             18, I can remember my first 18’ vault back in 2003 at the Reno Pole Vault Summit. A huge barrier broken. I weighed 175lbs, I was 22 years old, wearing a helmet in honor of Kevin Dares memory, on an 18-step (9 left) run, on a 16’ 195lbs (15.9 flex) pole holding around 15’6”. Not bad. Suddenly I was ranked #1 in the NCAA (that only lasted a few weeks), and was on the IAAF World Rankings top 10 because it was so early in the year (also only lasted about a week, but still awesome). 
            18, on my 18th Birthday I had just returned home from my first official college recruiting visit to Idaho State University, and knew that I didn’t need to go on any other visits. I was 18 years old when I signed scholarship papers with an NCAA Division 1 program (a huge dream come true). I was 18 years old when I moved 650 miles away from my friends, family, and home in pursuit of glory. 
            18 is the number of days since I pole vaulted last. With all that’s gone on during those days, jumping hasn’t seemed so important. In the back of my mind there is a creepy little voice that keeps telling me that my next vault session will be garbage do to the fact that I took so much time off, lost all that weight, and am feeling overall, to coin the phrase, “out of shape”. I don’t have my journal handy, but I think that I have been back at it for 4 or 5 days now, and I must admit, day 1 and 2 took a toll. That being said, I only took around 2 weeks off. Granted this is probably not the best time of year to be taking time off, but looking at the big picture, two weeks is nothing, and it was essential. So why the stress and needless regret? Seems a bit juvenile now that I look at it in text. I should be good to go.   
            The last few times I have been on the runway I have not felt strong, or fast, and that bothers me. Strong, I am, fast, I’m not so sure, but I’m working on it.  I’m hoping it has something to do with me being so tired. I’m making an effort not to rest for vault workouts as much as I did in the past. Once you start jumping during the season, it seems like you are constantly resting for vault days to keep the quality at a high level, but in time as the season goes on and the volume of jumping increases (competition and practice combined), you spend so many days vaulting, your spending too many resting, and not keeping a handle on your fitness level, at least I don’t. It’s a problem I’ve encountered many times in the past. So I’m trying not to do that as much, and to make up for the lack of rest, take less jumps in sessions so they are performed at a high level before I run out of gas and just go through the motions, which will create bad habits. Not to mention the fact that it is also a form of injury prevention or in my case injury protection and maintenance.
            I may jump this week, I may not. I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it if I do.
Always Keeping it Classy, Litchfield out.

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