18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Monday, April 30, 2012

Stanford and Anticipation

Here is what the past few weeks have looked like....
April 14th Sacramento State: No Height
April 21st Mount Sac          : 5.50m (18'.05")
April 25th G.C.E Del Oro   : 5.31m (17'5") My opening height
April 29th Stanford             : 5.36m (17'7") My opening height

Coming up....
May 2nd G.C.E Folsom  
May 5th Sacramento State
And then ?????? The college season wraps up, and us open athletes find outselves a little lost. Luckily the Olympic Training Center always steps up and sanctions some meets at home. The OTC is very attractive to those have been before, much like The Texas Relays, the name itself is an unspoken promise that host's sunshine and strong tail-winds (maybe not as strong as Texas, but I have no basis for comparison), so there is always that. But the cost of the travel both financially and physically is not exactly bringing a twinkle to my eye. By now I was expecting to have posted a much larger number up above, but each competition had its own reasons for not being the appropriate time for glory to finally emerge from the shadows of winter. Frustrated as I am, the day is coming, and coming soon. I have learned and taken away something valuable from each one of those competitions making positive gains forward. The final number listed next to your name, isn't always the best definition of outcome. But yes, you can ultimately argue, that the number is all that really matters.
       I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't dragging my feet in disappointment for the past 24 hours following my performance at Stanford. It was an exciting day, inspired by a much needed repair in my approach that held me back during the previous competition. With this correction came speed and energy my mind wasn't prepared for and plans needed to change abruptly. Blowing through my regular starting pole, first jump, the following pole (that I jumped my lifetime best 5.60m on), first jump, and the following pole (I recently made 18'1" with and was currently the largest pole I'd jumped on in 2 years), first jump, then picking up the next pole in the series. This was exciting stuff, so exciting that on my third attempt at 18'1", and first attempt on that pole in years, I must have taken too large of steps in the beginning of my run, placing me about one and half feet to close to the pit at takeoff. Being so concerned with the "mid-mark" of my run, I failed to even check or ask where my takeoff was ( for you PV fans it was 12'6" and I was gripping 16'2", it should be between 13'9"-14'). Having timing issues with a late pole drop recently, I credited the failed attempt as a symptom of such, and was disappointed in myself for the next few hours. Luckily after I got over feeling sorry for myself I took a look at the video to find out the real source of the problem, and immediately felt much better.
     That being said; In a cross wind, I crushed the biggest pole I've taken a jump on this year. I grabbed an even bigger pole with no hesitation, and it's a full flex (roughly 2 poles) larger than the pole I jumped my lifetime best on, and I now weigh between 10 to 15 pounds less than I did back then (this is a good thing), I fixed my approach, and my confidence continues to grow stronger both on and off the runway. The small amount of time that stands in the way of me and my next competition is forming a mass of anticipation that is unbearable. I couldn't sleep last night, I don't suspect the next two nights to be much different.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Performance Update and Shoe bags and T-Shirts as Well

Yesterday we had a fun competition at Del Oro High School in Loomis, Ca. Thanks so much to everyone who made it possible. While my friend Robbert-Jan is visiting I tried to cram several meets into a few short weeks to give us both great opportunities to jump over some respectable heights. Robbert is looking to get a jump over 5.60m (18'4.5") to qualify him for the European outdoor championships, and possibly a jump over 5.72m the Olympic "A" standard. I've still got my sites set on 5.80m (19'.05").
     Yesterday we woke to rain but warmer temperatures. With our future meet an uncertainty, we traveled down the hill to Loomis to check on the facilities weather conditions. The rain paused as if it knew what time we were competing, and with a light breeze in our faces we had much better conditions for jumping than the weather man predicted. Unfortunately Sam is still finding his rhythm after returning from an injury and was unable to clear a bar. I started at 5.31m (17'5") and made it with ease. But at 5.51m (18'1") to focused on a the light breeze in face (which was not detrimental at all to my approach) I created unnecessary timing and technical problems and failed to clear an easy height. After reviewing film from Saturday and Wednesday I'm confident I will not make the same mistake in the future and am excited for the outstanding performance I am going to lay down at Stanford this coming Sunday.
     Robbert stole the show yesterday by flying over 5.31m, and 5.51m with ease. He had three beautiful attempts at 5.61m (18'5") all very close and heartbreaking to watch as the bar was barely brushed off on the way up or the way down. With a performance like this in mediocre conditions, the future is looking very positive for my good friend.
     I didn't mention it before, but Team Tuxedo suffered a sad event this Saturday in Long Beach, Ca. During the Mount Sac Relays, Long Beach always puts on a parallel competition so athletes who travel from a far have the opportunity to compete twice while they visit the fair conditions provided by sunny Southern California. Our friend and current training partner Bobby Biskupiak went to Cerritos on Saturday to take advantage of this after running into a strong headwind all day at Mount Sac in the friday competition. With new confidence and pride Bobby was charging down the runway blowing through poles that he used to think were massive. During his third attempt at a new PR height of 5.27m, while swinging upside, mid bend, his 5 meter carbon fiber pole exploded and a shock wave of force and vibration was directed into his left hand, filleting his entire palm around the back of his thumb like a gutted fish. After 10 hours of being bounced around an inner city hospitals ER, OR, and recovery room, Bobby was released with the positive news of no nerve or tendon damage. A mass of sutures and stitches pulling the muscles and flesh of his non dominant hand back together. Bobby will be down and out for awhile, but he will bounce back. Having huge breakthroughs in the vault, his hunger for success will have him back on the runway and better than ever. Our best goes out to him. You can follow Bobby on his blog at http://mtvaulter.tumblr.com/
     Now, we've got a bunch of t-shirts waiting to go out, but we have only sold 4. I've got a lot of travel coming up and could use your support. All the money that comes in from donations and apparel goes directly into travel and training funding. These shirts were designed and printed here in my home in an effort to save on costs. It has become a major undertaking full of failure and finally success, but extremely challenging and time consuming. We've put a lot of ourselves into them and I think they are pretty special. We also have shoe bags now (courtesy of X-Press by Smartcup) They are pretty cool and only $10. Tell your friends, spread the word, and be part of Team Tuxedo. Defying the odds, we're gonna make dreams a reality together.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Mount Sac 2012 + Video

Mount Sac Relays April 21st 2012
18'1" 5.50m

Mount Sac was a blast. I was able to make 18'1" or 5.50m for this first time in a regular outdoor competition since 2008. Honestly, the jump was terrible, and most of my jumps were, but luckily I forced myself to finish that particular jump even though rational thought was screaming at me to bail out on it. So this is what a 18' clearance looks like when someone is going to quit halfway, then forces a completed vault. It made me laugh, and viewing it put an even bigger smile on my face. If I can jump this bad and make 18', then I can jump 19'. Its an exciting recognition of fact.

Regardless of how it looked, I was happy I completed the jump for several reasons. The main reason already stated above, but another based mainly on the fact that I still had the opportunity to jump at PR heights later in the day. The PR heights did not come, but I did clean two jumps up enough to look more like myself again at the following height of 5.60 (18'4.5"). Here is one of those attempts.

I was struggling all day. For some reason I did not want to finish jumps, I felt like I wasn't getting deep enough into the pit (despite the fact that it is the safest, largest pit manufactured), even though I was. So each jump was forced, until the very end. The heat was awesome for my old bones, but it took its toll as the competition continued on. My lower legs from the knee down felt like they were full of blood and on the verge of cramping, but luckily they didn't. So next time around I'm hoping to put myself in a position at higher heights where I'm a bit more fresh physically.
This competition was just what I needed. In my mind 18' is no longer the obstacle that it has been in the past. I've been doing everything I can to tear down the walls built in my psyche that can impede performance based off the ridiculous notions that some heights are more difficult (near impossible) than others. The physical task of being able to clear higher bars with ease, is an extremely powerful psychological tool in the whole process, and it's a hell of a lot more fun.
Now it's time to tear down the next obstacle.

Monday, April 16, 2012


The first batch of T-shirts is ready to go out, there are about 30. Hoping to have more color combinations and sizes available soon. But for now, its black or white. Thanks for the support. Updates will be posted as more shirts are completed.

Sunny Days

This is the California I moved back for. Beautiful sunny days, warmth, and the color green surrounding me. The ability to sit out on the deck to write is a small yet satisfying treat. With nothing but the sound of birds chirping and a light breeze vibrating through the branches and leaves of towering trees, I am bordering a state of mental peace.
For a few days now I have been happily training along side of two friends. Robbert Jan and Bobby arrived sometime late last week and we will be training and competing together at least through May 5th.
I’m skeptical to speak of our first competition that took place only 48 hours after there arrival. With difficult winds and a heavy amount of travel for each of us (especially Robbert Jan, since he traveled for more than 30 hours) we all failed to clear a bar. This fact alone would seem negative to most, but the three of us left the venue with smiles and full of confidence. The day was a guessing game, and we all guessed wrong. Selecting a proper departure point on the runway to match the given wind (or winds in this case) can prove difficult at times, and so can trusting the decision you made. A good learning day with eye opening positives, and preparation for upcoming competitions, that are far more important to us all.
I am excited about tomorrow; it will be the first day since February that I don’t have to pole vault alone on the runway, but with great friends. Knowing this I’m confident that the day will bring great results, laughs and a confidence to carry into a weekend that can be sprinkled in nerves and anxiety.
We leave town for Mount San Antonio College Thursday morning before the sun rises, in an attempt to evade one of California’s major blemishes, traffic. Better known as Mount SAC, the college hosts one of the largest remaining track meets in the US. Hosting both US as well as International Olympic hopefuls, we go there is search of our own parallel agendas.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Training/Video Blog

So lately nothing has seemed to work properly in computer land. I have been wrestling with this video to upload and post onto this blog for two days now, and still have proved unsuccessful. But I was able to get a link on here that patches you directly to it, best I could do. Hope you enjoy. Here is the link to the video.