18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

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. 

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