18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

18' 1" Olympic Trials 2008

Friday, July 20, 2012

Posters for Sale on The VAULTER Mag

Well I've been busy doing upper body workouts and therapy while cutting down on most impact oriented activities. I have also been pursuing permanent help for my back problem. In this brief period I'm taking off, I'm also filling my time playing in the available mountains, job searching, and preparing to do some pole vault camps. Information on camps will be available soon. Sounds like I may be taking a few short run jumps with Derick Hinch in the backyard today while he is passing through town to help him prepare for the Clovis Street Vault. I haven't taken a jump from a short run since December, so I'm looking forward to it.

The good folks at The Vaulter Magazine are selling posters to help raise funds for post-collegiate athletes like myself. Here is the link to purchase. Mary Saxer is on one side and I am on the other, here are the images. So buy some awesome posters!

Here is the link to purchase.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Play Days

Sorry, but I don’t really have anything new and awesome to report. Since my last competition I spent the week trying to find another one that would not cost me twice as much money to travel too, than I could earn. There don’t appear to be any. So instead of training like normal I’m doing alternate strenuous physical work like biking, hiking climbing, and whitewater rafting, all of which are very close by, and only cost me the little amount that I spend in gas and food. However, I still do my ring workouts because I enjoy them so much. I guess the job search must begin since even a small career in the vault is not possible at the moment and I’ve done a great job of letting the bills pile up while I spent the year focused on training and competing only. I have also started the process of trying to find real help with my back problem. Only a few weeks of normal life and already my left leg is getting very numb. I trip on stair steps and uneven ground, and because of the funny way I am walking to compensate, my left knee has begun to hurt in a way that it never has in the past. If you’re reading this and you know any kick ass back surgeons that would consider pro bono work for a broke athlete who is poor of finance, but rich in heart, let me know. Otherwise the days ahead are still very unknown to me. I’ll do my best to keep this updated, but I’m afraid to say that I don’t see much pole vault in my near future. Meanwhile if you look close enough you may spot me high on the side of a cliff, or flying down a Mountain bike trail grinning from ear to ear.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

When will I jump again?

I competed yesterday on Alki Beach in Seattle, WA. I only managed to clear my opening height of 5.27m (17'3") and sneak into 3rd place. It was a rough day from the start. I woke up in the morning to find out my laptop of 6 years, that had survived my abuse, 2 operating systems, and travelling the world, finally kicked the bucked. So that was a bummer. Then a standard one hour drive from where I was staying to where I was competing, became a three hour drive from hell surrounded by some of the most selfish A-hole drivers I have ever encountered, because of construction we were unaware of. I arrived at the meet with about 30 minutes to get ready, after sitting in the car for three hours and doing everything in my power not to jump out and start throwing rocks at the cars who's drivers deserve to be drug out of their freshly broken windows and beaten within an inch of their lives in the street. You know the ones I'm talking about. It was unpleasant, and emotionally I'm still not all put back together since the Trials. So when I arrived at the meet, I was a little put off and couldn't shake it. I did manage to clear a height though. After I went out of the competition I got to see some great jumps by Bryson Stately and Scott Roth. It's too bad I couldn't put on a better show for the crowd because it was huge, and they were excited about pole vault. But Scott and Bryson stepped it up and saved face for the rest of us. I have to say, I did wind up with one of the best pole vault t-shirts I have ever seen, and that is saying a lot, because I have more than I can count. I'm wearing it proudly at the moment actually. So a shout out to whoever designed this year's Beach Vault shirts if your reading this, thanks. And thanks again Becca (polevaultpower.com, Club Northwest) for hosting two fantastic Beach competitions once again. So what now? That's one hell of a question, it comes up every day in conversation and is on my mind probably 90% of the time. There aren't any meets in a travel range I can afford. So, start working, pick coaching back up, start doing camps, go overseas, play in the outdoors, give up pole vault, continue training for a year, continue training for four years, drive deep into the woods and vanish for an unknown period of time and emerge a wise and powerful hermit/monk? All of these things sound like viable options, and making decisions about any of them seems near impossible at the moment. If I ever make it home, I guess I'll just see which one grabs me. I do want to jump, I feel like I was robbed of my peak performance I had been saving up for, but maybe that window has past. The circuits in Europe seem a bit dried up until mid August, without an agent it's hard to really tell, but I'm doing what I can to find out. Right now, the financial numbers are too far against me. A guy who hasn't made a USA Team, or jumped 19' is not exactly a hot ticket item in the pole vault world. Meanwhile, there are rocks to be climbed, trails to be rode, rivers to be run, and more backyard jumping to be done. The sun is always shining somewhere, and the playgrounds of the earth are calling.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Perfect Moment

Wednesday I competed at the Tacoma Freedom Fair Beach Vault. Normally I get almost overwhelmingly excited for street and beach competitions, but since the Trials my attitude towards Pole Vault has been fairly pessimistic. I did my best to warm up and get into the meet but my heart just wasn't in it. I was really dragging my feet with my head down. It wasn't until I cleared my opening height of 5.26m (17'3") that lightning struck. As I was safely falling through the air after clearing the bar, time slowed down, and my inner Angels and Demons sat down to have a quiet drink and discuss my current state of being. The outcome of the treaty was outstanding, because as soon as I struck the gentle embrace of that wonderful landing pad the world around me, that once seemed so simple, came back into focus again. It said "This is pole vault Paul, welcome back my friend". I love this sport so much, and I'm so happy to be able to do it. It all happened in a flash, my attitude repaired, my emotions repaired, my spirit repaired. People say that perfection is impossible, but that was a perfect moment. I finished the competition in second place with a height of 5.41m (17'9") and was very happy with the result. I keep telling everyone, 'that was just what I needed'. I'm very excited to get to compete again on Saturday at the Alki Beach Vault in Seattle, regardless of placing or height result. I feel free again, free to just pole vault, and enjoy it. I don't need an A-standard or a few more stress filled centimeters, there are no deadlines, restrictions, or outside pressures. I spoke with my coach last week and said that I'm still setup for a new lifetime best, or even my illusive Unicorn of clearing 19', and he said stop thinking of it that way, don't put a number on your success. I took me awhile to process it, and it sank in during my long fall from 17'3" in the air. I don't need a reason other than, I get to jump and I jump for me.