I must say that the 2013 Reno Pole Vault Summit was one of the most exciting and memorable Summits to date. I would like to say thank you to everyone who works so hard to make such a massive and complicated event possible. I would also like to say thank you to everyone who attended. Winter travel can be difficult and people brave the trip from all over the country and even from all over the world. Its all those crazy vault fans and athletes that make this event so very special, so once again, thank you.
My story continues on. I wanted to be indifferent about my outcome in Reno, stay relaxed and enjoy myself. After watching the event on Friday night a small unplanned fire was lit inside of me and a powerful hunger for success on Saturday grew overnight and into the next day. So what wound up happening was that I tried to hard. You here that term often and sometimes I think it starts to lose its meaning, but that's exactly what I did and there is no better way to describe it. I tried to hard and it cost me. When coaching the vault I am constantly teaching athletes about the importance of relaxing on the runway emphasizing posture, position, and mechanics rather than focusing on pure speed and power. When you finally get it, you realize you actually feel like you are doing less work but running faster, hitting better positions, and ultimately jumping on larger and larger poles. I created a common problem for myself this weekend by forcing my run. Caving to the excitement and trying to move down the runway much faster than I did the previous week, my pole drop was still timed up for the slower approach, meaning I was planting the pole late on each approach and while rushing it down into the box I got into a very bad position (leaning back) at takeoff. That being said, I enjoyed the extra speed (or feeling of speed, not sure what the numbers are yet) and honestly didn't realize that I was able to move that well right now, finishing on a bigger pole than I jumped my 2012 season best. My back is beat up from my mess of travels and competitions over the past two weeks, so a one or two week break from the vault is imminent but when I return I plan to try and time up an earlier pole drop for a more aggressive approach in hopes to yield better more forward body position at takeoff and higher results. Timing, as they say, is everything.
Do to the complexity and importance of my life outside of this sport, I operate on a week to week basis on focus for my own, most likely short, future as a vaulter, but at the moment the good old Reno Recharge has me all kinds of inspired.
I do want to start writing about ideas I have to help support the upcoming group of post-collegiate athletes. Times are tough, and they are going to need our support more than ever. Enough talk for now, but we will start to tackle this next time. Regards, and stay relaxed.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
I don't have a terrible amount of time to write, but for almost a week now I have felt a strong obligation to write something. Earlier this week my good friend Ben Allen was in town, and I let him know that on Tuesday the temperature was supposed to hit 60 degrees and that we should not pass on the opportunity to vault under the sun. The indoor season has begun, so I thought it was a good idea to try jumping from a competition approach (full run, 18 steps, "9 lefts" if you live on the west coast) since I hadn't done so since October. So I threw myself at it with a workout goal of being relaxed and care free regardless of the outcome, no technical goal at all, just emotional. To my surprise, on my second trip down the runway I was off the ground and sailing through the air, an involuntary scream of excitement blast from my lungs as time slowed down and I gently drifted back towards earth from heaven. In that moment I remembered, I remembered everything, the first time I bent a pole, won a meet, stood on a championship podium, the times it was taken away from me and the powerful feeling of wanting it back, all the years of laughter and joy all compiled into a fraction of a second. Pole vault makes me so happy, we are all so blessed to be a part of such an amazing sport. As I departed the pit, and strolled back down the runway, I thought back on all those times I was angry, anxious, and even sad when I was pole vaulting, they seem so strange and foggy, inappropriate and out of place, and I see now just how utterly stupid that is. I try to compare it to something else; like winning the lottery and tearing up the ticket cursing the sky on your bad luck and horrible existence. How is it that we are able to pole vault and not just be grinning ear to ear the whole time? Doesn't seem right, and for me that has changed. From now on, every jump I take is a gift and a privilege, never again will I let it feel like an obligation or a chore. This is and always will be my most beloved and favorite activity on the planet.
So next time you 'no-height', have an undesired session outcome, or don't reach a competition goal, smile about it, and laugh because I would bet money you get the privilege to jump again within the week and their are probably billions of people on the planet that wish they could do, what you can do.