18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So Cal Update w/ Video

I’ve been down in sunny Southern California for about a week now and I have competed a few times. The obvious reason why I haven’t been quick to post results or video is because nothing spectacular has taken place. Honestly I’m ok with that. The pressure of obtaining a higher qualification mark is always on my mind, but I continue to try and block it out. The important things for me to remain focused on are health and fitness. If I continue chasing after specific marks I will stray from the proper path to June 28th.
            Results don’t show it but things are actually going in my direction. Outdoors I have been having issues with consistency in my approach on the runway, however yesterday my mid mark and take off point were almost identical to the inch, six jumps in a row, showing great progress. After a few bad practices, and other outside issues, my confidence had been knocked down allowing for some fear and doubt to creep in, but now it has been fully restored. I’ve been training through this week while competing, sore and tired without great rest, I’m still able to jump on big enough poles to perform a lifetime best, and this is a significant positive.
            There are still some things that need to be addressed and will be with time. I keep them in the back of mind for repair, rather than giving them full attention causing psychological detriment. One height at a time, I will remain in the moment and not three moves ahead. Patience must overcome the anxiety associated with the Trials less than a month away. A lot can happen in one month, a lot. 
Here are my jumps from yesterday. Like I said, nothing spectacular, just a visual aid.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back on the Road

It feels good to be travelling again, it means that opportunities are on the horizon. I've returned to Southern California for the second time this outdoor season, in order to get a few last competitions in to tune up for the Olympic Trials. Luckily with my current training regiment and style I am able to fit everything I need in my car, to continue my program without missing a beat. Its funny, convenient, and awesome.
As the past two weeks have gone by, my plans seem to have changed almost on a daily bases. As of now, I will be competing tomorrow at Mount San Antonio College (Mount SAC) and most likely at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista the following Thursday. After that, I will decide what is next for me. With Mount SAC stepping up and putting on there own meets, there are now more options for us post-collegiate athletes. It's very opportune for me as my schedule still needs to be variable. I will continue to train this month and slowly taper off my conditioning to peak on June 28th, so with more competitions to choose from I can be picky about what the weather has to offer, and what my body has to offer on that particular day. It has become a very optimal situation leading up to the trials. Travel however is always an issue. I can't stay down here too long, otherwise I will find myself making the long trip back up North, only to hang around for a few days, then take an even longer trip up to Eugene from Auburn, which would more than likely leave me with some unneeded physical setbacks.
So like I said, get through these first two competitions, then assess. Keep my options open, focus on the present, and the future will fall right into the perfect place.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bouncing Back

    You know what one of the worst things about having the flu is? Not being able to drink coffee for a few days. That's one of the few things I have to look forward too anymore as my diet has become more and more strict in honor of this Olympic year. I am feeling much better though, and am enjoying a delicious cup at the moment.
     It is true, I am feeling much better. Yesterday I did what I called a test day, that turned into more of an activation day. With each careful exercise or interval I felt stronger and faster as the reps increased, but the best way to describe the preliminary sets was something like trying to move through water or sludge even. But, like I said, the more I did, the more the poison seeped out, and the mix of water and electrolytes crept back in. So much so that I was tempted to jump today, but the smarter voice inside, the one that often gets interrupted, cried out in refute of the idea. So another activation day, and then.....jump day? I'm waiting for that voice again, it appears he doesn't seem as opposed.
    You may be thinking, what a sissy, it was just a flu, and you may be right. But in my defense, I've prepared an excuse, I'm a skinny 6'1" at only a 170 lbs, with 3-4% body fat, lower than it probably should be. So when I get hit with a bug like this and lose 10 or 12 pounds in 4 hours, it takes a devastating toll, I don't have an once of weight to spare, and am always religious about hydration when I do shed my precious fluids during training, in an effort to prevent injury. The jury is in this morning, after breakfast I am still only 165lbs. It scares me to think I weighed that much in high school and have been as big as 195lb during my pole vault career. Hey! It was a lean 195lb too, I know what you were thinking.
    An interesting turn of events. Always in my career when things have been clicking, I mean really clicking so much to the point that I expected to be over a 19' bar within the week, something catastrophic always tends to occur. I could throw out examples, but they are pretty depressing, and the stories would be long, so in summary I just want to say that the weeks leading up to now, I was clicking. Not that this was catastrophic by any means, it's not near my top 10 probably, I was just stating fact.

This is my last jump at 18', in my last session, breaking my last crossbar.

    I switched to my 5.10m poles during my last session, the day before I started puking. It was a terrible session. But its clear that the poles weren't to blame, the operator was. By having something different in my hands, I changed on the runway and in the air, and not by choice. I had a consistent, comfortable system in place, and when I rearranged it, there was resistance. Then I got sick, so I would like to have a better training note to look back on, but the next session will be that much more fun, exciting, and ultimately gratifying.

    In 3 days I had a departure planned, to be a bum in Southern California for a few weeks, but as things are unraveling I get the feeling those plans have changed. With all these days to think, I realize I have been too focused on getting an Olympic "A" standard (18'9") to extremely strengthen my chances of making the team in June, and I've been wrong to do so. If I'm healthy and fit come June 25th and 28th, my chances of succeeding are far greater based on that rather than any performance I can post in the meantime. So my efforts have been appropriately refocused.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Out with the Flu

I've been absent do too a stomach flu. My plans have been pushed back about a week I'm guessing. Nothing to report for now but I'm sure I will have more to talk about in the near future.
Just a side note though; awesome stabilizer and core strength is awesome for pole vault. But when you involuntarily engage that joint strike force of intensively trained muscles for the purpose of violently throwing up, I would describe it as something close too getting down on all fours and being kicked repeatedly in the gut by a Ninja on PCP.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rest days

             I’m so bored. I was supposed to rest Sunday after dropping Robbert-Jan at the airport, but after a quiet two and half hour return drive where my mind ran wild with thoughts, ideas, and plans, leaving me energized and in anticipation to get things rolling, I wound up getting out of the car, and working out for a few hours. So I had to make Monday my rest day, and when I say rest, I really mean rest. No warm up, shake out, light workout, therapy, or training of any kind. Because I have allowed my body to get so beat up again, I have to do everything in my power to stay off of my feet for at least a day and prevent my back and hip from spasm. It’s so boring. I don’t understand how lazy people can even exist. I would lose my mind.
            The last few weeks were so fast paced that now I’m having trouble holding still. We were competing every third or fourth day, and now I’m forcing myself to wait an entire week just to have a vault practice. With two days down, the coming Saturday still looks so far away. However, the reward for my day of nothing is the ability to train without guilt for the duration of the week. There are some old training items I would like to brush up on, and I could possibly get away with pounding away at them, but instead I choose for the week to be acted out with care and consideration. Moving back in the direction of the base of what has become my standard model of training, minimum impact and maximum stabilization. Taking what most would call therapy up a few notches of difficulty and dubbing it more like elite training. For me, they are absolutely necessary unorthodox methods of survival as a high caliber athlete, and in all honesty, pretty fun. 

Friday, May 4, 2012


Before I ramble on, I’ll come clean and tell you that I failed to clear my opening height of 5.41m (17’9”) on Wednesday. Jumping at a small sanctioned meet at Folsom High School, the cross wind was difficult to manage in the warm up, but once the bar went up, it turned into a nice tail wind. Unfortunately, due to a lack of confidence fashioned by that cross, I started on too small of poles…..again. So you can guess what happened, attempt one; pole too small, attempt two; bigger pole, standards up a bit, brushed it off on the way up, attempt three; standards all the way back, pole way to small, and that’s a wrap. I tried taking two jumps after the meet on the next pole, but the fact that I could not even get over one height surrounded me in a cloud of melancholy that was unshakable for the next few hours.
This small early schedule I put together will act as a guide for my plans in the near future. I few undecided issues still remain, that only time can decide.

What poles should I be on?
I have a set of 5m poles and a set of 5.10m poles. After my back injury the 5.10’s seemed like a bit much. But suddenly I am on my second to largest 5m pole with a healthy grip height, leaving only 1 remaining in the bag that in all honesty, is not much bigger. With a session or two more of building confidence or even a decent day of consistent conditions, I fear I will suddenly find myself without large enough poles in my bag, unless…..I pull out the 5.10’s. In the past I have always pressed the issue. Feeling that in order to keep up with everyone else, I needed to be on these longer poles. A change in equipment based off pure anxiety, the transition always took some time. This is the first time, maybe ever, that fruition has taken place, rendering me without other option. I see it now as inevitability. So do I just get that set out, and put the 5m poles away, or do I wait until I finish out the entire series before I make the change in haste as I have in the past? The answer is still foggy, clouded by facts like; My lifetime best is on 5m poles. I have pictures and video of me well over 19’ in the air (at lower heights) with the 5.10 poles. I have confidence in pole switches in my 5m series now. Will I have the same confidence with the switches in 5.10’s? With my mid mark and take off step having moved out significantly, its created more speed and a much better position off the ground, I am blowing through poles, a lot, the 5.10’s should slow that problem, and even on ‘blow-throughs’ give me a better chance of clearing bars. If I choose to remain on 5m poles, and do run out of big enough poles in competition, will I be able to pick up the corresponding or naturally progressing 5.10 to follow in the series and take a jump on it with confidence and no hesitation; where if I started the competition on 5.10’s only, that issue cannot arise.

Where will I be jumping in the weeks following Saturday at Sac State?
Most likely the Olympic Training Center as it is the only option close by (568 miles of California traffic close by), and possibly a small meet at Stanislaus next Friday the 11th, just because it’s my last chance to compete this season without major travel.
But that brings about more questions.
What dates should I attend the OTC? How frequently? How much travel can I handle and where is the tipping point between beneficial for competition and detrimental to my body? Meets are important, but health is more important.
I can’t quite put my finger on these yet. The problem being that I crammed one too many competitions in and now my body is showing signs of the overuse. I didn’t mention it before, but a few weeks ago I had a minor relapse in me back, leaving me with zero reflex response in my left leg that still hasn’t returned. If it was not April of, most likely, my final Olympic Year, where I have yet too achieve an Olympic “A” qualifying standard, I would have normal taken the proper amount of time off to get my leg functioning properly again and pressure off the nerve branches exiting my spine, but that is not the case. Time is short, and risks must be taken. Having pressed through this problem and competed with surprisingly positive results, other areas in my back and hip have taken notice to the ongoing attack of nerve inflammation and are beginning the systematic lock down of other muscle groups in an attempt to compensate or protect it. This as you know, is a recipe for an additional injury. So yesterday and today consist of roughly, nothing. Rest and recovery work leading up to the last crammed event, where I plan to start high, and take the least amount of jumps possible while also clearing some heights.
The combination of mental overload due to both technical success, and performance failure, combined with reminders of pain, has left me sleep free several evenings now my head filled with too many questions lacking definitive answers.
I am having career changing breakthroughs as a Vaulter, mentally and technically. As the saying goes, “when the fire is hot, your cooking” or something along those lines. So I want to continue down this path of breakthrough that keeps leading in the direction of, bigger poles, more runway speed, more grip height, more confidence, and ultimately more air time. At the same time, if I continue to press to hard I risk season ending injury, and/or I am only 50-75% of myself, forcing a result that is no longer available to me, then I will never really know what was truly possible. A conundrum of sorts, but one I must understand, find the proper balance point and overcome. In this situation I can search for advice from all over, but in the end I have to find the answer from within. I am the only one who can listen for it, piece together all the necessary variables and find the solution. Frustration has to be moved aside, and patience put in its place, and in my opinion I’m becoming a master in this area. So to use a variation of the same word, a favorite to Agent Smith in the Matrix, twice in one essay…. Success is, though troublesome, inevitable.