Tag: Arizona

Holy season opener, Batman!

It feels great to have the first heptathlon of the year behind me, especially when it comes with a personal best score and some pleasing results!

I’m incredibly excited to see what I’m capable of this summer. If I can start my season beyond where I left off last year, then who’s to say how many more points are in store for me in 2012!

Setting new personal bests right off the gun is unusual in track and field. You see, an athlete’s training plan is designed to set her or him up to peak for a final performance of the season, for example FISU games last summer, before taking adequate time off to fully recover mentally, physically, and emotionally.

The dawn of a new season begins with base training in the fall. High volume weeks both in the weight room and on the trails and hills rebuild fitness and general strength. Fitness and strength are the keys to effective and injury-free training and competition down the road.

After months of grinding out brutal workouts in the base training phase, assuming the adoption of an effective recovery regime, an athlete’s body is stronger than ever. Event specific technique, on the other hand is probably rusty without much on-track practice, and quick speed may understandably be lacking.

Thus, the first meet of the year usually sees results that are a step back from those at the end of the previous season. So the main goal when anxiously stepping up to the line for the first meet is not to have a career best performance, but to be further along than you were at the beginning of the previous year. Overall pbs are always being chased, but realistically they are rarely achieved at the outset.

Let me tell you, it is a very difficult feeling when you put in countless hours of work, and are faced with the fact that your body is not exactly race-ready. It’s discouraging to ask your body to respond a certain way, and come up short. Yet experience is a wonderful teacher, and patience and perseverance play a huge role at the start of a season.

This has been the first occasion where I didn’t give any thought to attaining new personal bests…so imagine my surprise when I found myself either setting new pbs, or tying previous ones in four of the seven events (hurdles, high jump, shot put, and 800m)! Focus on what you can control, and the results will take care of themselves!

Congrats to my training partner, Damian Warner, who came away with the win and achieved Olympic B standard in the men’s decathlon!

Here’s one last panorama from the trip, taken from the back porch of the house we stayed at. Canadian coach Brett is relaxing too, and Damian’s checking out his new javelins. Be sure to check out the other shots too!

I love hummingbirds!

Hit the ground running, indeed!

I had a great time in Arizona.  Good competition, good company, and a heat wave that brought the temperatures from an average of 74 at this time of year to mid 90’s both days of competition!  Appreciated even though I was required to stay in the shade under coach’s orders…of course while coach Vickie sunbathed by the pool.  Maybe one day I’ll be in her position…

However, if I wasn’t in the shade I wouldn’t have met my new hummingbird friend!  I got these awesome shoes just before I left…

New shoes! A little bit dirty from running hills yesterday...

…and as I was sitting quietly before warming up for long jump on day 2, a curious little buddy came zipping by.  It checked out my shoes from a distance for a couple moments before coming down within reaching distance!  It circled and hovered for a good 5 minutes before an approaching friend of mine sent it back into the trees.  Immediately before all of this, a unicyclist rode by balancing a huge pack on his back and a big box in his arms!  Don’t worry folks, I picked up a camera today and I’ll be ready next time I’m in Tucson…and elsewhere!

As for the meet itself, you can find full results here if you’re interested.  I scored my second highest point total ever, 5284pts, scoring higher only when I was set to peak at National Championships last summer.  I’m very pleased with my results, considering I’m not planning to peak for another two and a half months!  I threw a personal best in javelin, right-handed (for the record), and achieved just short of personal bests in most of the other events.  Shot put has been going very well in practice, so it’s only a matter of loosening up in competition and letting my technique take over from robot-girl, who seems to come out with the competition tape measure!

The final event, an 800m run, was an adventure too…remember the bear I mentioned, that sneaks up and jumps on your back for the final stretch?  Well, I should definitely have taken that bear bait out of my pocket.  After going through 600m right on target in about 1:34 (just over 31 seconds per 200m), I finished in 2:16.71, meaning a final 200m in 42 seconds!  I remember looking over to the grass just next to the track and thinking, “I’m not moving”!!  Good motivation to evade the bear in the future, let me tell you!

One of my training partners, Damian, competed in the men’s decathlon and absolutely rocked it.  In his third dec ever he scored 7632pts, winning the event handily.  Congrats to Damian!

University of Arizona
University of Arizona sport facilities - bursts of green in the rocky desert

I’m looking forward to heading back to the same hotel and track facility for a training camp in a couple weeks.  It’s a great camp that I’ve attended the last two years: warm, dry climate, hotel with a pool, a fun mix up of training partners, and fresh eyes to share advice with my coach.  Oh, and water/dust-proof camera to document the entire experience!