Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gymnastics Training

For the past few months, Ryan and I have been going to Lawrence Gymnastics Academy to work on some fundamentals of body movement and basic "swinging" skills. So far we've gotten a lot better at a lot of things, ha. The first time we went, we had absolutely no idea what the heck we were doing. We jumped on the trampoline a little bit, swung on the bar, and did some flips into the foam pit. Now it's a whole other story! Coach Hays gave us some direction and workouts for us to do while we're in there and I tell ya, gymnastics is no joke. To anyone who ever excelled in the sport, props to ya. My body can hardly handle half of the things we do in there. But we've gotten to where we are doing giants on the high bar (with the sleeve bar of course), we can do all kinds of flips on the spring floor, we can do kips on the bar, a few random things on the rings and some just plain dumb tricks in there. Our first mission when we started going was to be able to do a giant. If any of you do not know what that is, it's where you swing all the way around the bar 360 degrees. What we once thought was an impossible feat, we have now mastered and moved on to more challenging tasks. Our goal, in doing this type of training was to gain more of an understanding of body awareness, control, and balance. Coach thought it would assist in our vaulting and I couldn't agree more. We've benefitted greatly from these skills and look forward to continuing our gymnastics training throughout the year. The purpose of the giants are to learn how to swing a hollow body upside down. It takes a specific group of muscles and exact timing on the bar in order to successfully swing 360 degrees. Here is a video of my first time successfully getting the giants!

This was a couple months ago, so I apologize for the delay. I've gotten better at them since then and can now go forwards when I want to and backwards when I want to, unlike in that video where I accidentally went backwards before I went forwards, haha. Here's another trick we learned how to do. Yea yea, I know it's on the chick bars but it's fun as hell to do! We call it the monkey swing, but I couldn't tell you what it's actually called, if there's even a name for it. But if I've learned anything in gymnastics, there's a name for everything.

Here's another cool thing I learned how to do. Very basic and not impressive to anyone athletic, but it's fun for me! It's a "front full" I think. It's just a front flip with a full turn and a half. It looks like I used the trampoline in this video but this was just from the spring floor. Whenever I use the trampoline, I pretty much jump into the wall... I don't have a whole lot of control yet.

My latest goal is to be able to spin around on the pommel horse. It's one of the most difficult things I think I've ever attempted. I dont know what it is, but I have the most trouble on this apparatus! I've almost gotten to where I can spin all the way around once, but not quite yet. When I get this, I'll definitely post a video cuz it'll be a huge accomplishment for me! I feel so close but so far from getting it. This concludes today's update, but there's a lot more to come! I'm so behind and have a lot to catch you all up on! I'm excited to write, but I just got so busy and overwhelmed with everything these last few months that time just flew by. I'll do my best to provide you with a few more updates within the next couple weeks so you don't forget about me ;)

If I don't update again before Christmas, have a wonderful holiday and a happy new year! I hope you got to visit with your family and friends a little bit. I'll finally be able to catch up with some old friends from high school tomorrow night since I haven't been home in a year. Lookin forward to it! Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a goodnight!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Success at the Convention!

We did it guys! We got the resolution passed to allow athletes in track meets, cross country races, and road races to be able to sport as many logos in as many places as they want to if the competition is on domestic soil and put on by USATF! Now I don't know all of the little details but in a round-a-bout way, that's the bottom line. Please don't quote me on this, because the I'm sure there will be other, more reliable sources to read the exact ruling, or removal of an existing ruling. A lot went on this weekend so I am a little confused myself, but what I was assured of was that, at the US Indoor Championships this coming year, I will be able to wear whatever jersey I prefer (so long as the jersey, itself is within the uniform rules), and I can have as many logos or sponsors, and whatever size I prefer. Now, granted, I may have a big fat ZERO sponsors on my jersey, because I have yet to put any effort into providing this opportunity to my sponsors, but I am very excited about the opportunity for these rights. This also means I can sport a sponsor's logo or name in my hair, which I intend to take advantage of if anyone is interested in this unique, yet very strange opportunity, haha. We'll see what road this decision leads to, but I'm excited as heck to start finding local businesses who would be interested in supporting a future Olympian in his early stages of development! If, by chance, there is anyone interested in these opportunities reading my blog right now, please contact me and let me know! Right now you would be first in line! As for the men working behind the scenes and on the front line for the athletes in this movement forward, I would like to say thank you to everyone involved, especially Jon Drummond. Without you, we would've gotten nowhere on this and I personally thank you. And thank you to all USATF directors and managers and board members for a great experience this weekend!
I would also like for yall to know, I just took a ride up into the St. Louis Arch and it was AWESOME! I had no idea the tram cars were little, round pods that they squeezed 5 people into. It was NOT a place for people affected by claustrophobia. Here are some pictures from the top of the Arch!

Looking down from the top

Looking down one side

We stayed in the amazing Hyatt Regency on the right

The vast Western Wilderness

Busch Stadium

The Rams Stadium

Looking over the Mississippi River to the East

The view inside the top of the Arch

Friday, December 2, 2011

USATF Annual Convention

I'm here at the 2011 USATF Annual Convention in St. Louis and havin a great time. I don't know why every athlete who's able to get funded doesn't come to these things. I've been the biggest sponge here so far and even spoke up in a few of the meetings so far. I arrived on Wednesday and leave on Sunday. And since I drove, I'll get reimbursed for my gas money, and THEN some. Mostly, these conventions are like stockholder's meetings. Athletes, Coaches, Officials, Agents, Sponsors, Meet Directors, USATF Boardmembers, and other entities come together to vote on rules, legislation, proposed competitions, you name it. This is where all of those decisions are made and so far, we're making good progress. Athletes of the Athlete Advisory Committee (AAC) are making a stand for the ability to have multiple sponsor's logos on jerseys. The current "guideline" that is being enforced at domestic, sanctioned competitions is that only one logo can be present on an athletes' body a certain number of places, yada yada yada... The USATF was actually just trying to follow the rules of the IAAF, which isn't necessary. Long story short, there's a resolution proposal that is going to change this being voted on in a meeting Sunday morning. Yes, I will be present and yes, I am passionate and excited about it. I'll let you know how it goes and I promise more updates are coming your way about my recent training! From St. Louis, Good night!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I haven't forgotten about you!

I promise I haven't given up on the blog! I just haven't had much to blog about. But as we're getting into the heart of my off-season training, I'll have more to discuss. So hang in there and get ready for a fun ride with me on the road to the London Olympics!

Things to be discussed soon:
-Gymnastics training
-Dealing with a busy schedule
-Nutrition plan! (a first for me, but loving it!)
-Tentative 2012 competition schedule

Friday, September 30, 2011


She said yes on last Friday night, Sept 23, 2011. I had it all planned out for the weeks prior and finally popped the question. My knees were shakin worse than Baylor's when Texas A&M decided to leave the Big XII. I had bought the ring a few months ago and man is that a tough thing to hide when you live together! But she was completely surprised when I got down on my knee and she loved all of it! So I guess now I can call her my fiance! Thats cool by itself. I've never been able to do that before! cool!

I just started back up with my training for this next season. It's a big one, with the 2012 US Olympic Trials next summer. I'm more than excited, and I'm ready to get the ball rollin! I lifted Monday, Wednesday, and about to lift today. I say this every year but this year it's true... I've never been this sore! Take 3 weeks off and I'm a piece a dough apparently! I got after it pretty hard though for this first week and I'm lookin forward to my weights coach writing up a good workout plan for me next week. This week I was kind of on my own just gettin my body goin again. My shoulder is healing up well from incident in Pueblo a month ago. And my body feels like its almost 100% and ready to bring on the pain. I'll keep you updated with my workouts once I start them! Oh, have you seen any of the "Insanity" work out videos? or tried them? I did one that I found on youtube last night just to do some kind of workout. I'll tell you straight up... I couldn't do it. I made it about 15 minutes before I had to stop for a few minutes. It was a 20 minute workout that's pretty nonstop and I was sweating more than I have in a while, haha. I wanna start doing more fitness-type stuff like that cuz it's different than what I usually do and I like that. If i could do a different workout every day for an entire year of my life, I would in a heartbeat. I have doing repetitive workouts every week, but then again, I don't know how beneficial either way is because I just do what I'm told most of the time. Ha, most of the time... that just came out. Woops. Anyway, I need to get my butt out of bed and do some weights! Peace!

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I ran a 23:09.1! I was shooting for sub-23, but I'm definitely excited about running as close to that time as I did. My #1 goal was achieved... I never stopped running. I ran (jogged) constantly for 23 minutes and that was best feeling I've had in a while! Of course there were several times when I wanted to stop running, but I paced myself pretty well for not knowing what that pace should be, haha. The last 200 yards, I started feeling certain I was gonna yack before I made it across the line so I started running down the side of the course, just in case. Another runner was kicking even harder than I was from a long way behind me and tried to pass me right at the line. As dead as I felt, I was able to surge a little bit harder and hold him off... Another personal success. Right when I crossed the line I grabbed a big trash can and took it behind the timing trailor away from the crowd in case the demons were unleashed. Amazingly, to me, I felt better just after a minute or so and ended up not having to yack. All that being said, it was definitely a good day. And although my body is extremely sore and tired and just plain hurting, I think it was a good way to get back started into the season. I'll start practicing this week and I'm really excited. I'll keep you posted! Onward and Upward!

Friday, September 16, 2011

My second 5k... woo hoo?

Yup! Tomorrow morning (Saturday) I'm running the second 5k of my career and I'm actually really excited. My first one was back in the summer of '09 that I ran just for fun and to help support breast cancer. Ok my ex girlfriend talked me into doing it. Let me inform you that she runs cross country on the national level and I gave it my best to keep up with her right off the line. BIG mistake. I was even with her for mayyybe 500m before i started gasping for breath and cursing the gods. I vowed that was the last 5k I'd ever do. I had to stop and walk 3 different times during that race, while reaching out to try to grab the shirt tails of countless senior citizens and fat kids. I just looked up my time online and I ran/walked/cried a 24:00.83. But things change when you graduate college and you choose to be an athlete on your own terms with all the freedom in the world. No, I'm not good at 5k's. No, I'm not a distance runner. But why can't I do those things to better myself as a person as well as an athlete? Who says I can't be a good runner? Why do people assume I just pole vault all the time? Can I change those perceptions? Can I do whatever I want and not have anyone tell me whether I should or shouldn't? These are the kinds of questions you start asking yourself after collegiate athletics. It's an un-shackling of a chain tied around your feet. I'm finally free to make money doing the sport I love, have any job I can get, and start a new life with whoever I choose! (you're so lucky Julia ;) ... I guess the point I'm trying to make is that life is good, full of opportunities and challenges, but you have to make something of it. I've said this before and my coach was the one who I first heard say it: See how good you can be today. Go out there and see what you can accomplish. Everyone has the ability to break some sort of record on any given day. You just have to want it bad enough and go out on a limb. Take some risks. Do what makes you happy and you'll never regret it. I'm running this 5k tomorrow out of pure love of the game. Which game? THE game. The game we play every day. The game that never ends, that has no point scale, that has no losers - only winners and those who didn't want to play. Tomorrow morning, my knees are gonna hurt, my lungs will be full of cold, wet, tired air, and my time will be less that many of the runners out there... But I'm gonna win this game. My goal is to run a minute faster than my PR. I need to break 23 minutes while not allowing myself to stop and walk. I could go on for days trying to explain the thoughts in my head about sports, life, winning, and playing... but I'll save the rest for now as I need to get some sleep before my 8:00am race. Wish me luck! But I already know the outcome. It's gonna be a win in my book.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Videos from Colorado, finally!

Well folks, after finding and watching the video from the meet, I take back a lot of what I said in my previous post. Turns out you only remember what you want to. I completely forgot that I bailed out on my first attempt on the 5m 14.5. And I hit one off because I went completely sideways. I think it was 18' but I don't wanna watch em again so you can see for yourself ha. I wasn't very happy with the video. I felt a lot better than I looked. You could argue that I'm too hard on myself but I don't believe so. I mean, I love some of my vaults from the Factory vault. So I occasionally like my vaults, I just have such an eye for perfection and I know exactly what my vault should look like in my head and it never happens, ha. I'll get there, I promise, but I'm not even close. I got a lot of improvements to make but I'm ready to start fighting harder than I ever did in college.

Here are the videos of my jumps from the meet on September 3rd. Also, on the website, they have video from all of the Elite competition so you should check out some of the other vaulters! Enjoy!

16' 6" - 1st attempt

17' - 1st attempt

17' - 2nd attempt

17' - 3rd attempt

17' 6" - 1st attempt

17' 6" - 2nd attempt

17' 6" - 3rd attempt

18' - 1st attempt (only attempt at this height, then passed)

18' 4" - 1st attempt

18' 4" - 2nd attempt (last attempt)

Colorado State Fair Vault

Obviously you know I didn't jump as well as I had hoped, since I'm just now posting a recap of the meet from over a week ago. The first thing I have to say is that I had a GREAT weekend in Colorado! Julia and I drove out there Friday morning and drove back Monday morning. It was absolutely great weather and we camped out all three nights! It was so much fun, more fun than I've had in a while. We were just so care-free and did whatever we wanted for 4 days. That doesn't come around very often with our busy lives, so it was well-appreciated. Anyway, I jumped 5.35m/17' 6.5" for 4th place. Everything I had accomplished in practice that week, I lost it during the competition, ha. Ok well I had one excuse for sure... My very first approach down the runway with a pole, just to catch my step, I slipped off the runway and did a shoulder-dive into the box (the runway was about 9" high on the road, like usual) Both of my knees were scraped up pretty bad... my shin, elbow, and hand were also scraped, bruised or really hurting. I was certain at that point that I was going to go back to my short 10 step approach and just jump from there. Obviously I wouldn't jump that high going from 10 steps compared to 18, but I hadn't jumped from 18 steps in a couple weeks and I wasn't able to do very many pole runs from that run during that time either. That equals me not being very confident from that long of an approach after taking a spill like I did. But after walking around for about 10 minutes trying to find some bandaids and looking for poles I could borrow from a short run, it didn't feel right. I was determined to jump high and it was my last meet of the season, so I decided to give my long run another shot. Since I slipped off the right side of the runway, I slid to the left and ran down the left side of the runway the whole way down. It took me a few more jumps than usual during warmups to try to gain my confidence back and I thought I did that pretty well. The meet starts and when the bar goes up to my opening height of 16' 6", I'm ready. I felt good about my warmups (not including my fall, ha) so I grabbed my 5m 14.9 and smoked it. I'm feeling good, the crowd is louder than I'd experienced at most meets this summer, so I was jacked up and ready to win this thing. The bar goes up to 17' and I'm wayyy over it, but come down shallow and hit the bar. I finally clear on my 3rd attempt after moving the standards up all the way to 50... the closest I've had the standards EVER. But I put my pride aside and did what I had to do. Usually I keep the standards back and make myself do things better and penetrate further on the pole and clear the bar that way. But that wasn't the day... there was money on the line. Money that was going to end up paying for that trip! The whole week of practice before the meet, I had been very successful at getting my chest through further and thought I could transfer those techniques over to long run with only a little bit of effort... not the case. And with my confidence shattered from the get-go, I accepted the fact that I probably wasn't going to do anything extraordinary during the meet and just did the quick fixes to make as many bars as I could. The bar goes up to 17' 6" and the same thing happens... hit it on the way down, hit it on the way down, barely make it on the third attempt. Whew... Still in it. The bar goes up to 18' and I do the same thing and come up short for the first attempt. Paul Litchfield clears the bar on his first attempt so I pass up to the next height 18' 4.5" for my remaining 2 attempts. Rory Quiller does the same thing and so we both go to 18' 4.5" with 2 attempts and Paul with 3 attempts. I finally do what I wanna do and get my chest through and get a fantastic jump! Unfortunately, the standards were at 50 so I hit it on the way up... Bitter-sweet moment... Now I have to decide whether to stay determined to get another good jump and move the standards back to 60 or keep them at 50 and bank on the fact that the majority of my jumps have been shallow so I'll play that card. I pick choice #1 and it was wrong. I had a shallow jump with the standards at 60 and barely hit it on the way down. But that's not all that happened. Right when I hit the take-off and left the ground, the back of my left shoulder instantly hurt. It wasn't a "pop", but it felt like I pulled something. I'm blaming my 3rd attempt miss on that fact alone, haha. I felt great on the runway, had a decent take-off position, but just got really thrown off after feeling that pain halfway through the vault. Game over. Paul won with 18', Rory got 2nd on misses, April Steiner got 3rd with her height of 14' 6" I think?? and I got 4th with 17'6". It turns out I strained my Teres Major, a muscle that is involved with similar movements of the lat. Turns out you use it a lot when you take off and start to row, especially. I'm currently rehabbing it, and it feel much better now. It's not going to be a game-changer by any means, just annoying and painful for a week or so. Luckily that was the last jump of the last meet of the season for me. Who knows what caused it to strain because I've never had any problems with that territory of my body. I think it may have been the fact that there was a headwind the whole time and I may have been a little tense during each jump. Regardless, it's healing up and I'll be good to go in a couple weeks after my "off-season" is over ha, yea... a couple weeks = my off-season. Tell me what sport competes for 10 months and then only gets 2 weeks of an off-season. That's the sacrifice of being a Professional Athlete and I'm more than willing to make it. Since I'll be taking the next week or so off, I wont have much to say so I'll talk to you again when I do. In the mean-time, I'll try to find video from the Colorado meet because Julia wasn't able to film. Everyone was telling me that I was over every bar by at least a foot so I'm anxious to see what they were talking about haha. I'll try to post again soon.
God Bless the men and women who gave their lives 10 years ago. I'll never forget.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Best Short Run Practice... Ever?!

Tonight I jumped with Ryan and Kevin (Ryan's younger brother and a senior on the KU team). Kevin only did some straight pole stuff since he's starting college practice with the rest of the team next week and they're on a slightly different schedule than Ryan and I will be on. So Ryan and I were figuring some things out tonight and every time I landed, I wanted to go back and do it again. I haven't been this excited to pole vault in a while and the last week for me has been exceptionally exciting. Perhaps it's the World Championships and seeing that a 22 year old won with 5.90m/19' 4.25"... Maybe it's because I'm back on course with figuring things out about my own technique and forgetting about Kentucky finally. But I've come to a conclusion that it's a little bit of both. Ok, a LOT of both. I watched the whole meet in Daegu and then watched some other videos of the guys that were there that I really liked. I love Lazaro Borges vault. From his take-off to his push-off, I love it. So I've been analyzing some videos and comparing them to mine, particularly my jumps at Texas Relays in 2010 when I set my PR. My attempt at 5.91m/19' 4.5" was quite close. For only having one attempt at it and already jumping a double PR that day, it was amazing at the thought of me being so close to getting over that bar. It's been eating away at me for the last year about what I was doing then differently than now. I'm faster and stronger but just not getting the vaults I know I can put up there. Coach has been trying to teach me about the "chord" of the pole and how it relates to the vault. I drew a picture below to illustrate what I'm talking about. The chord is the invisible line you can draw between both ends of the pole during the vault. It's the green dashed line in this illustration:
As you can see, the chord is always a straight line and it moves to vertical. The key is staying behind the chord until... well I don't know exactly when because I'm not a coach and I'm afraid I'll say something wrong if someone's trying to learn something from this. I do have to say that I don't advise anyone to take my advice to heart or try to mimic things I put on this site. I'm simply trying to keep you up to date on my progress and hopefully give you a better understanding of the vault and everything that goes into it. Although I would love to be able to help people with this, but that's simply not smart nor safe to attempt over the internet. I feel like I don't need to explain that further SO, moving on... I have always, and I mean always have let my hips swing through the take off and get "sucked under." Even the times where I "feel" like I've successfully driven my chest through the take-off, the hips always go with it. Watch any of my videos and you'll see that. Today was the day I was going to change that. I went to practice with one goal, and that was to get a powerful take-off by driving my chest, while keeping my hips from being sucked under (staying behind the chord). And guess what... I did just that. EVERY. SINGLE. JUMP. I was thrilled and pissed at the same time! Are you telling me that I've had such a bad habit for the last 8+ years and can change it with just one practice?! Shut the front door. Now obviously I know it can't be fixed over night and there will come a time, most likely many times, where I revert back to my old ways. But this was a breakthrough - a HUGE one if you ask me. I have five of my vaults from practice below. They are the only ones that were recorded so I'm showing you everything that I got. And just for ease and to emphasize the fact, I put these pictures together for you. The picture on the left is a freeze frame of a vault from Friday night's practice. It's exactly 2 frames after my foot leaves the ground from take-off. I froze the other picture at the exact same frame and combined them to show the difference. If you don't know, it's a complete night and day difference in the vault world.
And here's the video from practice. It's going to look like I was on a very small pole, which I was... but it was still the 16' 17.0 pole that I got on for the first time from that short run a couple weeks ago! With this new breakthrough, I could be blowing through sticks left and right! I'm very excited for this weekend in Colorado. I can't wait to add speed to the equation and see if I can get some better results! I'll have to tell you more about the upcoming trip soon, but this'll do for now. Oh, and don't forget to look for the chord! Try to pause the video and see the difference between Friday's practice and today's!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Practice Videos From Friday Night

My coach, Tom Hays went out of town to Jamaica on Wednesday morning to conduct a Pole Vault Clinic for the benefit of Jamaican pole vaulting. It's quite an honor that he was chosen to put on the clinic and I'm glad he got to take his wife down there and have somewhat of a relaxing weekend... maybe, ha. I'll find out when he gets back in town. With that being said, Ryan and I were on our own for our vault session Friday night. We still have our raised runway out on a field behind our softball stadium and it's really difficult to run more than 10 steps and put up a decent take off. So we just worked on rhythm like what coach usually tells us to do when he's not around. We took about 8 jumps or so and called it a day. All I'm doing is staying in shape until this Saturday for the Colorado State Fair Vault, then I'll be able to take 2 weeks off before starting back for the next year. I'll touch more on that later... Here are my last 4 vaults of the practice. The only thing I was trying to do was be fluid and not let my feet fall out at the top. The first vault is on a 15'7" 18.2 and the others are on a 16' 17.5.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jammin' & Jumpin' Video

Well here they are... not happy about showing these. I really hope potential sponsors wouldn't base their decisions on this particular video cuz I look like poop. But everyone has rough days and I do think you deserve seeing me on a good day as well as a bad one. But I'm gonna kick butt next meet. End of story.

And here's an awesome picture that Julia took. This was our view before the sun went down.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I should rename this: Life, SCHOOL, WORK, Vaulting, and Balance

Holy crap I start school on Monday!! I have no idea what to expect for graduate school. I know there wont be nearly as many people in each class, and I even heard it was "easier" than undergrad, but I'm not letting myself think that from the get-go. I'm expecting it to be more reading, more writing, more discussion, more hands-on, and less quizzes, tests, homework assignments. But I could be wrong. I'm not even sure where I got that idea put in my head because that's a complete fabrication I think, ha. But I will definitely let you know soon. I start class on Monday (I think... I should really find that out for sure, huh). Well actually, I only have class on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night and only 3 classes total. So I guess I don't start school till Tuesday, Hot Dog! My schedule will work something like this:

Weights - 6:30am-8:00am
Work - 9:00am-4:00pm
Class (T,W,TH) - 4:30pm-7:00pm
Practice (F,S,Su,M) - Whenever I have time...

Coach decided that for at least this semester, the days I have class will be my new weekend. It's a weird thought but it makes sense. even though I don't like the idea of school being on the "weekend" ha. Whatever, we'll see how it works out. But one thing's for sure... This blog may get a little left out with all the rest of stuff goin on. I'm gonna try my best to keep it updated as much as possible, but as you can see... OUCH, no time for life.
Right now I am still laying in bed (it's a great day) because I'm helping out our "Williams Educational Fund" which is in charge of all of our donors and fundraising. This week is "Select-A-Seat" for Men's Basketball this season. All the donors get to come in and select which seat they want for the season, in order of their amount of cumulative contributions. I am one of the seaters. I meet each each donor, or family, look at what seats they had last year, and find them the best available seats left. On Monday of course, all the high-rollers were selecting, and it goes down each day until Friday. I'm not sure how many people are still left though, because the field house looks pretty full to me already! I just can't believe how big basketball is here, but it's just a way of life. It began here and it will live on forever. Anyway, I have different hours this week and today I don't have to go in till 12. Actually I wasn't supposed to work till 2pm, but I heard they were serving us Bigg's BBQ for lunch today at 12:30, so I asked if I could come in early, haha. I'm so excited for that meal. I haven't eaten anything yet today and I might not eat anything until that feast. I'm stoked. Don't be jealous, I'll let you know how it is later. Well I got a couple of things I need to do before work, so I'll stop myself here. Oh, and I have a short run vault practice tonight after work. Hopefully it goes well, and if I'm jumping well, I'll try to put a video or two on here later. And if anyone was actually interested in watching my videos from the Kentucky meet, let me know and I'll put em up. They were just kind of pathetic so I didn't think I would post them but I don't really see why not anymore. You guys are my fans so I guess I should let you be a part of my life through the good and the ugly! But seriously, let me know, cuz I'm not going to unless someone asks...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

4th Place with 17' in Kentucky... OUCH

Wow, never did I think I would go down to the Jammin' and Jumpin' Street Vault and only jump 17 feet... After all the great practices I've been having, it was really upsetting to jump what I did my junior year in high school. I hate to blame my poor performance on anything other than my own bad mechanics, but 17' was also the winning height for the men. Darren Niedermeyer, Mark Hollis, and I all jumped 17' and couldn't understand why. (Mary Saxer won the competition with the height difference handicap). Darren was the only vaulter who actually said he felt great that day. All of the other vaulters, including myself, kept asking each other and ourselves why we didn't feel good at all. Everyone felt pretty good on the runway (a little slow) but then when we hit the box, we got yanked off the ground and came up short. That right there makes me think that it was a shallow box. It's the only thing that makes sense. And niedermeyer is just enough of a beast, that it didn't affect him, ha. But one of the meet directors claimed it wasn't shallow. So who knows, but a bunch of us guys should've been over 17' and several over 17'6". I was on a 5m 14.9 flex pole the whole meet, holding down about a fist lower than my normal grip on that pole. If you remember, a few posts ago, I told you I was jumping on 5m 14.5 pole from 14 steps!! Granted, that runway we have set up is slightly downhill, it still doesn't make sense. I felt great on the runway from 18 steps but just could not get a good take off to save my life. I'm definitely not saying that it wasn't my fault, it very well could have been me just defaulting back to my bad technique from high school, like I do from time to time. But the fact that nearly everyone jumped a lot lower than they typically do, I don't want to blame myself, haha. All I can do is move on and use the little bit of prize money that I profited to put in my savings account until the next trip. Not sure when my next meet will be, but we'll see and I'll keep you posted. I want to give a shout out to Mark Hollis and say good luck at the World Championships!! I think he leaves this week and I'm really excited for him! Go get 'em Mark! And good luck to Derek Miles and Jeremy Scott at Worlds as well!
P.S. here are some photos from the trip:

What an awesome bear huh?! haha

Julia was actually the first one who wanted a picture haha

Just a great sign...

Double Rainbowwww!!!

It was a gorgeous sunset on the way there!

THE BEST CHICKEN PLACE EVER. Originated in Georgia, nuff said.

Zaxby's buffalo chicken fingers. I've been to Zaxby's around 439 times and ordered these 436 of those times.

My hair for the meet

My hair for the meet



Thursday, August 11, 2011

LIVE VIDEO Stream on Saturday!!

I saw on the Jammin' and Jumpin' Street Vault website that they're supposed to have a live stream of the elite competition Saturday night! It should be at the bottom of this page: SM Track Club. The scheduled start time is 8pm Central Time. I hope it works and I hope all of you can watch, cause I think it's going to be an exciting night ;) I had another great practice tonight from 14 steps. I was jumping on the 5m 14.9 from 14 steps into a pretty strong headwind. I was really pleased with my jumping and so was coach. I was actually starting to swing past the pole as I was inverting and going straight up the pole. It was weird of course cuz I don't ever do that but if I can get that going at this meet this weekend that'd be great... I'm gonna take some big poles down there and see if I can't squirm onto a few of em. Lookin forward to it! I'm ready! We're leaving tomorrow around noon or so and just booked a hotel room for the next couple nights. I'll try to post an update tomorrow night, maybe with a picture of my hair if we get it done. But I'm thinking we'll dye my hair Saturday before the competition. Please let me know if you have any ideas cuz as of right now... I have no ideas. HELP, ha.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great practice last night! 5m 14.5 from 14 steps!

I have NEVER been on a 5m 14.5 pole from only 14 steps. I was killin the 14.9 and just lovin it! I don't know what it is that's allowing me to get on these bigger poles lately, but things are workin! I blew threw my 4.90m 17.0 from 10 steps last night too! Instead of going up, I just moved back to 14 steps to take as many jumps from that run as possible. Ryan and I jumped till it got dark again, and boy was he lookin good. He was blowin through poles too and jumpin on a couple bigger poles from 10 steps than he's ever jumped on. Our runway is set up behind our KU softball field, like I mentioned before, so it's just in a little field. It's not the ideal set up because of the unevenness of the ground. The runway was some ups and downs along the approach and it was tryin to mess with me last night but I managed to hang in there most of the time. My thoughts are... If I can jump on that runway, I can jump on just about any runway. Right before the takeoff, a few steps out, there's a drop where you kind of sink while you're running. I dont know how many of you have experience with this sort of thing, but if you don't, it's extremely difficult to be as tall as you can at the plant. It messes up your whole pole drop and your rhythm while you're trying to quicken up at the end of your approach. Anyway, on a few of the jumps, I didn't plant the pole because I felt extremely low and like I was diving into the takeoff, but the rest of the jumps were awesome! We were mostly working on swinging back further while I'm inverting. I usually swing my feet to the pole and kick out at the bar. On big poles, this usually works ok, for the lower bars. But once you get to the big boy bars, it doesn't cut it anymore. I HAVE to swing upside down past the pole in order to move my energy upwards instead of outwards towards the bar. We were really getting somewhere last night too, and I'm really excited about Kentucky. I feel like I can get on some pretty beefy poles this weekend, which I'm really anxious for. Almost a little too anxious. I can't let myself force my way onto bigger poles, I gotta just let it happen and run and jump the same way every time, no matter how big the pole is. That's always been a big challenge for me as well as tons of other vaulters. It's a mindset thing that is difficult to control, but you have to if you wanna be good. Ok I gotta start doing some work here at the office, ha. I don't think I'm getting paid to blog but i get in what I can. I've been super busy lately with this Grad Assistant job. I love it so far, but I have to practice at nights and that really takes up my whole day. I wanted to get a lifting session in this morning at 7am, but fell back asleep after I turned off my alarm. Oh well, I can lift later, I just wanted more time this afternoon to do some preparatory work for this weekend! I mean gosh, I gotta cut my hair, bleach it, and color it all before I leave Friday! Talk about hard work! Alright I really gotta go. I'll keep you posted on my progress as I prepare for the Jammin' and Jumpin' Street Vault in Henderson, Kentucky this Saturday! And remember, if you ever have any detailed questions about my training or meets or job or anything else, just leave a comment and I'll respond!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Settling in and a little bit of practice

Julia and I are almost entirely settled in to our new apartment! We only have a few little things left to hang on the walls and such. But all the big stuff is done! That's a relief... I have really bad allergies and dust really gets to me so every time I move, the next week is pretty full of sneezing and sniffling. We really love the apartment mostly because of its location (right across the street from the KU athletics buildings and campus), but also because we both didn't live very far away. So moving was pretty easy, thanks to Julia's parents who came out from Kansas City to help us out! Thanks Linda and Tim, yall really helped! We had a little unveiling last night as Julia's older sister, Jessica and her husband Jarrod came over for dinner and to see the new place. It was fun finally having a place worth showing off! Granted, it's a very small, one-bedroom apartment, it's comfortable and everything is organized in a manner that makes it feel like you don't need any more rooms. It's very spacious feeling and I love it. Julia got to organize the bedroom and bathroom and everything just how she wanted (with a tad bit of input by me, ha), and I got to mount my 42" on the wall finally. I bought the tv in February and have been anticipating hanging it on the wall every day since then, ha. I love that tv. Anyway, More about vaulting and less about my boring life. I've been lifting and doing some light practicing lately and finally got to vault again last night. Football took over at the stadium and our indoor track will be done with it's renovations later this month I hope. So we put our board runway and mats out on a field behind our softball field. And THAT was my practice on Wednseday, ha. Ryan and coach and I set it up wednesday night and got done right as it got dark outside (pictures below) and we vaulted from 10 steps last night. It was awesome! It looks like it slants a little down to the left, but vaulting felt as good as ever! I think it's also a little downhill, which helped me get on a pretty beefy pole from that short run. I've never jumped on a 16' 17.0 pole from that run before. I think it's a 190 lb pole and that's pretty big for me from that run, since I'm usually on a 15'7" 18.2 (185 lb) pole. I was lovin it, and so was coach. I was really taking off well and putting a lot of energy into the pole, the only downside was that I wasn't getting it all back at the top. My feet kept falling out so I knew I was doing something wrong at takeoff. But we were just there to get some rhythm jumping in and not worry about technique as much. Ryan and I took about 12 jumps and called it a night when it got too dark to see the back of the box. I kept thinking I could take one more jump and one more and then one more yet, but every time you run down that runway during the twilight of the night, that gray box and gray sky and blue mats all sort of blended together and I had no depth perception. My last couple jumps were more of a "jump and trust it" theory. I actually did pretty well doing that and learned a little bit about myself. When I'm feeling confident and jumping well, nothing can stop me, not even lack of vision. I felt kind of powerful knowing I could take off and have a great jump while not even knowing when my pole was gonna strike the back of the box. I loved it and I love that feeling of confidence. I tend to lose it pretty quickly every now and then and it takes a while to gain back, but when it's there... it's solid.
I'm going to the Jammin and Jumpin street vault in Henderson, Kentucky next weekend and I'm really excited. A bunch of my friends are gonna be there and I'm feeling great jumping lately! Oh, and the best news yet... Julia can come with me! She got off work that Friday and we're gonna make a nice little vacation out of it! She's never been to Kentucky, and I can't say I remember spending much time there as a kid so I'm excited to see what's down there! Also, Pat Manson invited me out to a meet in Colorado on September 3rd and Julia might be able to come out to that one too! I mean, I'm not sure if I'm going yet or not. Depends on if I can get some sort of travel money or not but I love Colorado and I'd love even more to be able to spend Labor Day Weekend out there with Julia! Ok well it's time to get some much-needed sleep after spending no time resting this past week. Gosh am I glad moving is over. It just kills me. Ok here are some pictures of my "practice" Wednesday night, haha

The beginning of practice.. not excited.

Not taking as long as I thought...

Bout time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I moved!

Well I just moved into my new home this last weekend! Julia and I are living in a nice little cozy apartment right across the street from the KU campus. We still have about 10 boxes to go through, but most of the apartment is up and running! I should have couple vault practice days this week, but with the indoor track renovation and outdoor track being in the football stadium, coach is working on finding me a place to practice (since football has the right to take over the stadium at this point in the year... i can't blame em, they need as much practice as they can get) Anyway, if I can't get any practice in, I may go to a couple meets this weekend in Missouri. I'll definitely be going to Kentucky next weekend, but I'm not positive about this weekend. I'll let ya know!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another good practice!

Here's an example of what happens when you squat a lot all week and then vault on friday. My low take-off makes me squash the pole and then go straight up and straight down while my feet are forced to fall out. It was a good practice though! I was on my 5m 14.5 pole which is the biggest pole i've ever been on in practice. And I'm even guessing I could have gone up poles since it was bending so much. Anyway, I finally remembered to video some jumps at practice but I only had one jump left in me so I only got this one. I'll try to get better at that and put more videos up from practices.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

GREAT Practice Last Night!

Last night Ryan, Kevin, and I vaulted and I had one of the best practices I've ever had! I only ran from 14 steps and I got on a pole I barely get on from 18 steps in practice. I blew thru my 5m 15.8 that I usually jump on consistently from that run, then I blew thru the 15.3! I'm pretty sure I've never done that in practice before from 14 steps. So I got out the 14.9 and it took a few jumps to get used to it, but I had some jumps that made 18' look easy! I was really excited to get on that pole at this time in the year. It's as if I just started my season a couple months ago. But we'll use this data and put it towards our training schedule for the Olympic Trials next year and hopefully peak at the right time. I'm really excited for the remaining meets this summer. I may have to throw my 5.10m poles in my bag! =)
Oh, and I got a new bike helmet this morning. It was cheap but it fit perfectly and is very comfortable!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Training for Kentucky

Last week at the beach vault was a little kick in the face. I got back from that 4th of July weekend trip and basically didn't do anything for 2 weeks and expected to jump high. That's not how it works and I know that. I just made up excuses like "I need rest" and "It's too hot outside", ha. The latter is actually a valid argument if anyone's been to Lawrence, KS lately. It's been in the high 90's and 100's the last couple weeks. But whatever the temperature is and no matter how I "feel"... I need to keep training. I've realized that and I'm tired of getting 2nd place. For the next couple weeks, I'm gonna train like it's still the heart of the season because I wanna win. I want to, and SHOULD be able to jump at least 18' every meet. No excuses. I'm out of college and it's time to get to that next level and I won't get there by sitting on my keister. There's a meet in Henderson, Kentucky on August 12th and 13th called the Jammin' and Jumpin' Street Vault. I just registered, so I officially plan on going. Monday, I did a little warmup. Tuesday, I took about 15-20 jumps from short run and moved up a few poles. Usually I'm only on a 15' 7" - 18.2 flex pole, but yesterday I blew thru that and then blew thru a 16' 18.0 flex. I finally settled in on a 16' 17.5 but it was hesitant. I wasn't comfortable on it for the first few jumps but then I got the hang of it. Tonight, I lifted with Ryan (who's practiced with me every day this week and will actually be my training partner from now on! Exciting stuff). Then we did some strides after lifting. Tomorrow I have a recovery practice that consists of just a little warmup and on Friday we jump again. I think we're gonna jump from 14 steps. So there it is, my practice schedule for this week and hopefully in a few weeks, I can go down to Kentucky with a little more confidence and physical fitness than last time. I'll catch yall up at the end of the week!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

2nd place tie at 5.35m/17' 6.5"

Well that didn't go as well as I'd hoped... I wanna be able to go out and jump 18'+ any day of the week. I know I can, it's just not happening right now. I guess my season is dwindling down and I'm gettin a little worn out, but come on, Three 2nd place finishes in the last four meets isn't cool at all! But hey, I've won prize money at every meet I've competed in this summer so it's hard to complain, along with it being my first summer out of college. I'm just greedy... like every other true competitor out there. My vault was eh, "so-so" today. I did a couple things well and a couple things not so well. Overall, I'd have to say it was a bitter-sweet day. Vaulted pretty well for not doing much training the last two weeks, yet didn't get over 18 and got 2nd place again. Oh well, on to the next one... not sure what that will be yet but I'll let you know for sure. I always wanna post updates on here for yall but gosh dang it if I don't have some boring days sometimes, ha. But I'll try to keep you informed as often as possible on my life, my vaulting, and how I'm balancing the two. So far, so good. Everything is pretty much falling into place in my life and I couldn't ask for anything more right now. I move into my new apartment on the 30th and couldn't be more excited! That'll finally give me a chance to get all my crap organized and throw a bunch of stuff away. I think getting organized in one part of your life strongly affects other parts of your life. At least that's what my coach tells me! ha. Back to today... We unveiled the prototype of the Vault United jersey today! We're not an official club yet or any of that stuff, but we're gettin closer!! (funny that i'm using the pronoun "we"... I don't have anything to do with the behind-the-scenes work of Vault United, I'm just the guinea pig) But I like to think of it as a WE thing since I'm such good friends with Ryan Hays, the founder. He worked really hard this week to get a jersey made just for me to wear at this beach vault this weekend and I just want to say thanks to him for providing me with AWESOME gear so quickly. And a big thanks goes out to the meet organizers of the 2011 Grand Haven Beach Vault for puttin on a superb event that was run very smoothly and was an absolute blast! I can't believe I forgot to mention how fun that meet was! It was my favorite "street vault" ever. Lake Michigan is beautiful... Cold, but beautiful. For my first time in Michigan and seeing the lake, it couldn't have been better. The weather was absolutely perfect all weekend and my dad and I are really have a good time out here.
I'm gettin tired so I'm gonna make a movie of my vaults real quick and add that to the bottom of this post. Then I'll add on some more pictures from the day. (If you don't already know, most of the pictures I put on the site you can click on to make them bigger. Just FYI) Enjoy!

Loaded up!

Beautiful Day

First Ever VAULT UNITED Jersey!!

ONE of the lobbies in our hotel that we were switched to for tonight... it's ridiculous

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Grand Haven Beach Vault Today!

Did somebody say "beach"?! Heck yea! Today is my competition at the 8th Annual Beach Vault in Grand Haven, Michigan. I've never been here before, never even in the state of Michigan really, so I'm a little more than excited. My dad flew up from my hometown of Watkinsville Georgia (after a 1 1/2 hr drive to the Atlanta Airport) to Kansas City and his flight arrived at 8:40am... Yea, early morning for him. I headed out from Lawrence to the Kansas City Airport and picked him up at that time to drive 11 hours out here to Michigan! The meet directors put us up in a hotel right in the middle of downtown Grand Rapids, MI, about 45 minutes from Grand Haven. It's an awesome town so far. Everyone is really nice and there's a great "feel" about it. But we're leaving here around 10am to head over to the beach where I'm supposed to vault around 1pm. We got in last night about 10pm, ate some dinner with Darren Niedermier and went straight to bed. Man were we tired of driving. My dad did most of the driving (about 11 hours of it, ha) so I could keep my legs as fresh as possible. We stopped a bunch of times so I could walk around and stretch my legs but they still feel pretty tight, as to be expected. My dad has never been to a street vault of any kind before and that gets me really pumped up for him to be here. He's gonna video my vaults on my iPhone so they can easily be uploaded to YouTube and then put on here. I'll try to put videos up tonight but you know from the past how successful I am at doing that. Things usually don't slow down much after a comp till the next day or so. But I'll do my best!
I've been resting my body from the last trip and had one vault practice earlier this week on Tuesday and then had some other little practices since then. I'm looking forward to this meet, being so rested and fresh. All I need to remember is DRIVE WITH THE CHEST. And drive hard. At this point in my vaulting career, that is pretty much my main objective and it usually is a sure tell whether or not I'm gonna have a good vault or not. So if you read this and you got a second around 2 o'clock, if you could send some brainwaves over this way by saying "drive your chest! drive your chest!", I think that would be very helpful ha. I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I get a chance. Wish me luck!

P.S. Here are a few pics just from the drive out here...

Sweet Waterpark!

Nothing but cornfields in Illinois...

Reefer Wash-outs?? Ha, I could name a few...

Velocity Hip Hop Clothing... just awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Getting ready for the Grand Haven Beach Vault!

The last week and a half, I got back from my big weekend, then slept and recovered. I started my Grad Assistant job on Monday! It's been great so far! I'm currently working in the I.T. department, helping them out with a few projects they have going on right now. I had my first vault practice since the 3-meet weekend last night and it went great! I just jumped from my short, 10 step approach and I did a lot of good things right off the bat. Coach was very pleased and is certain that if I fix a couple little things in my vault when I'm at a competition, I could have a very pleasing outcome =). I wanted to go to the Grand Haven Beach Vault this weekend but didn't have anyone to go with. So when I told my dad about it a week ago, he called me back a little later and my mom had given him the idea to use some flyer miles he had built up to come with me! The best way we figured out how to make it work was for him to fly into Kansas City Friday morning and I'm going to pick him up and start our journey to Michigan! I got a hotel room for Friday and Saturday night covered by the meet organizers so that was HUGE. I'm very thankful of their generosity. It's supposed to be about 11 hours to drive out there and I'm really looking forward to spending a bunch of quality time with my dad. We haven't been able to go on a road trip like this since high school. We're supposed to jump at noon on Saturday I think and then my dad and i will head out sunday and drive all day. I'll drop my dad off at a hotel right by the KC airport that night and he'll get a shuttle to the airport and fly out Monday morning. It's looking to be a great weekend! I wish Julia could go, or Ryan or one of my other friends, but when I found out my dad could go, I'm glad it's gonna be just me and him. I'll update more frequently as I get ready for this weekend, but for now, I gotta get back to spending time with Julia. It's her birthday today! We got a new kitchen table partially for her birthday and partially cuz I got so much prize money recently, haha. We've been wanting it for a while and I just put it together along with the chairs last night. It's gorgeous! Ok, gotta go, but I'll try to update tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Successful End of My Midwest Circuit!

It looks like getting a hotel room paid off! I woke up fresh and rested, ready to take on my third competition in 4 days. I don't think I ever took a picture of my hair on Saturday, but if you remember from Friday, Julia put a "Wisconsin" on the back and then we had to drive down to Illinois right after that competition so we didn't have time to bleach it out and put a new design on. So for Saturday, we put the state of Illinois on a different part of my head to signify which states I competed in this weekend. I liked the idea at first, but then I thought about it... I would've had to put the state of MISSOURI on my head. That's just not gonna happen. Luckily we had Sunday off from competing and Julia and I had he chance to come up with something new. Erica Bartolina, another professional vaulter who was traveling around to meets this weekend also, recommended I do a flag. We decided that was perfect for the 4th of July competition in St. Louis. It turned out pretty awesome and everyone in the Webster Groves community LOVED it. Pictures Below...

We got to the competition site around 11:30am because Julia's competition was scheduled to start around 1pm. She jumped great except for a couple technical things were missing that we couldn't figure out. She looked fast, tall, had a great take-off, then would get stuck on the swing. (Happens to me all the time, but I still have no idea how to fix it without Coach around... too many variables). So she didn't jump as high as she wanted to but I was excited at how she looked coming down the runway. And Ryan didn't jump because he didn't have big enough poles. So on to my competition... I FINALLY WON!! And when I think about it... I haven't won a competition in over a month! Not since the Big XII Outdoor Championships on May 14th! It really felt good to come off the weekend with a win. Even if I didn't jump as high as I wanted to, I had finished runner-up the 2 previous meets on Friday and Saturday and it felt good to be on top in the end. I won with 5.35m/17'6" and came up short on all my attempts at 5.50m/18'. But boy was I getting up there yet again! My first attempt at 18' wasn't so hot, as you'll see in the video, ha. I swung right off the ground and came up really short, luckily to the right of the box. And then my next two attempts had plenty of height but brushed the bar on the way down. I wasn't penetrating as efficiently as i wanted to, but it was still a good day. The runway was pretty solid, I thought, except for the fact that the yellow box collar around the box was sloped up to the left for some reason. It's hard to explain without being able to show you, but it was making all of us feel like we were leaning to the right at take-off. Some of the vaulters claimed the runway was leaning to the right, and maybe it was to some degree, but they put shims under that section to level it out once the competition started. People, including me, were vaulting to the right, every single time. It was scary at times... I can't count how many times someone rolled off the right side of the pit after they landed or actually hit the standard as they were coming down. Yes, I was one of them. I was told I had the worst crash of anyone, and I'm not arguing about that because IT. HURT. It was the first plant that I took up in warm-ups and I must having leaning to the right at a strong angle at take-off because I went straight up and into the right standard. I pushed it away from me in mid-air and then came down, feet first into the standard mats. My left leg kicked the standard on the way down and my right foot went straight down to the base of the standard below developing a very painful heel bruise that I would feel in about 5 minutes after the adrenaline stopped pumpin. I was fortunate though that it didn't hurt when I ran, just when I walked, so essentially I wasn't really hurt at all. Well, today I certainly feel the pain but that's irrelevant, ha. Back to the meet. Warm-ups didn't go as well as I had hoped but I was trying to just stay relaxed and fluid on the runway and not trying to force anything magical to happen. I just wanted to let things happen as they would naturally. There was a headwind the entire competition until my last few jumps so everyone was on little poles. I started the comp on my 5m 15.3 which is generally the first pole I jump on in warmups before going to the 14.9 on the next jump. But with that wind and my tired legs, I was ok being on that pole. I opened at 5.20m/17' and cleared it on my first attempt... somehow. I could have sworn I knocked it off as I was going over it so I just kind of relaxed going over it and fell down to the mats to see it still on the pegs and the 500+ crowd cheering. I certainly was relieved as I haven't made an opening bar on the 1st attempt in a while - a couple months at least. I blew through the pole pretty good and hit it on the way and usually it never stays when you hit it at that angle. I went up to the next pole for 5.35m/17'6" and did the same thing! I got another lucky break as I thought I hit it even harder this time and it STILL stayed up! I knew it could be a good day after that, because the bar gods were on my side for sure. There were about 6 guys who made 5.20m/17' but I was the only one to successfully clear 5.35m/17'6". I was pretty excited I won, but on the other hand, I don't jump well when I'm by myself and I wanted to jump high again. I wish someone else had cleared that bar and put some pressure on me to clear 5.50m/18'. But I was the lone competitor... I finally got my take-off to be more aggressive the last 2 jumps, but didn't quite finish the jumps like I should have. I feel good about it though. A little more fine-tuning and I'm gonna jump super freakin high, you just wait...
We packed up our chairs and cooler and poles right after the meet was done and we were about to drive off when Ryan got a call from his buddy telling him that I need to pick up my check. I forgot I got prize money again!!! $400 more makes this weekend a $1266 weekend plus whatever I get in the mail from the first meet director. I still can't quite believe I made that much money in one weekend, but I sure am glad I decided to go on this long trip! It was more worth it than I thought it would be and I'm feeling pretty good about my jumping right now. I can't wait to come up with my next big road trip. Until then, on with the training! Video of the meet is below along with more pictures.

The best gas station food court ever!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 4 of Jordan, Julia, and Ryan's Excellent Adventure

Clearing 18'8" was a very important milestone for me at this point in my career. I've felt like a new man the last 30 hours or so. Before we went to the Factory yesterday, we decided to keep the hotel room for another night so we wouldn't have to crash in anyone else's room and had a shower of our own for after the meet. It worked out for the best cuz I won $866 in prize money yesterday! Yup, my first prize money I've ever been able to keep, which feels GREAT. Anyway, we celebrated some last night and then woke up this morning ready to hit the road towards St. Louis for our 3rd and final competition of the weekend. We left around 11am with Darren Niedermeyer following us. Fuzion Athletics traveled with Jamie (the founder), Paul Litchfield (Tuxedo Man), Ben, and Jenny over here to St. Louis last night. So we all hung out once we got in town today and it's been a much-needed relaxing day. A bunch of people are staying at a friend's house but Julia and I decided to get a hotel room from to be a little more comfortable before this last meet. It's been a tiring and taxing weekend mostly because of how hot it's been. I just compiled all of my factory vaults into one video and I'll post that below. I'll also put some more pictures from the trip up. Julia jumps at 1pm tomorrow and I jump some time around 6pm I think. Ryan doesn't think he's gonna jump because he's confident he'll blow through all the poles he brought again like on Friday. So I'll have a full-time coach which is great for me, ha. Of course I love when he jumps with me cuz that's just more fun. But oh well, enjoy the pics and videos!

First Prize Money Check Ever!

I thought this was hilarious for some reason, ha... It was on a box for a pool float at walmart

The St. Louis Arch

18' 8" at the Gill Factory Vault!

I finally jumped what I knew I could jump today. It had been avoiding me recently and I'm glad to finally get back to where I wanna be. I'm jumping on big sticks again and just being more aggressive overall. It definitely paid off today as I tied for 2nd place behind Derek Miles, the #1 ranked US vaulter and the guy I've idolized since high school. 4 of us jumped 18'8" but Derek had one less miss than the rest of us so he won on misses. I tied with Mark Hollis and Jeremy Scott. The impressive thing about Derek and Jeremy is that they were both running from a short run of just 12 steps! All three of those guys looked really good today so I'm excited about the team we're sending over to Daegu for the World Championships. It's pretty sweet to jump with the big boys and hang in there. I was in the mix with 4 Nike-sponsored athletes. Obviously this doesn't happen every day for me but I'm hoping to stay up there with them as close as I can for the next year or so. I definitely think I can jump a little higher real soon but that's another story. I thought for sure that today was the day I would finally break that 19 foot barrier, but the wind had other plans. It switched to a head wind for all of our 2nd and 3rd attempts at 19'. Oh well... I'll definitely settle for a 5.70m clearance. It's just too bad I wasn't quite dialed in by USA's! The weather was even better at USA's and I was on the same poles there. But I guess I just wasn't quite ready yet. Well I'll tell ya... I'm ready now. I'm ready to jump some even bigger heights. Unfortunately I don't have many more meets left this year. There are a couple more street vaults I'd like to go to over the next couple months but I'm not sure which ones I'll end up going to yet. Ok I definitely got ahead of myself... I was obviously excited about today so I didn't even mention yesterday ha.
Yesterday... well all I can say is it was about 100 degrees and the runway was very unpredictable. I was bouncing left and right and sinking every other step so I decided during warmups that I would just jump medium run from 14 steps. So I did that and felt ok. Not the greatest as I kept rushing the vault and kicking out at the bar at the top. I opened at 16'8" and made it first attempt. Then the bar went to 17'2" and I made it second attempt. Joe Samaniuk, the coach at The University of Wisconsin cleared it on his first attempt so he won. We both missed all 3 attempts at 17'8". So he got the top prize of $500 and I get whatever the meet director decides to send me in the mail, ha. He wasn't sure how much money they would make from the following divisions the next day, today. I should get some money, just probably not much. Ryan got 3rd place and Julia got 2nd place so overall it was a pretty solid day for the crew! Especially with blazing hot conditions and a screwy runway. Fortunately for the River Vault, they said they would have a much better runway for next year so I definitely encourage everyone to go. It was a great atmosphere and the river is almost within spittin distance so that was awesome.
We finished up that competition around 6pm and I realized I forgot to ask someone to video our jumps. So I apologize for that but I have all my videos from today! I may only post the clearances though just cuz I see no point in showing misses to you. I'm sure all you care about is clearances but if I'm wrong, leave me a comment on this post to tell me otherwise and I'll accomodate your wishes the best I can, ha. Ok so I guess I'll put my 3rd attempt at 5.80m/19' up just cuz I feel like it. I haven't taken too many attempts at 19' so it's good to get that kind of experience under my belt. Also, I've been asked what poles I was on. I started the competition on a 5m - 14.5, then moved to a 5m - 14.1 for my 5.50/18' clearance. Then after a few jumps, I moved to my 5m - 13.7 when the bar moved to 5.70m/18'8".

Friday, July 1, 2011

La Crosse, Wisconsin... so far

The ride up here was a lot better than i thought it would be. The first couple hours flew by until my passengers fell asleep. I thought it was gonna be like that for the rest of the trip but they woke up after about 15 minutes ha. But I took pictures of them quickly...

My former trainer at KU is from this area and he recommended we go to an Eduardo's Pizza Wagon and that we have to order the Cheese Curds, a Wood-Fired Pizza, and a Spotted Cow (apparently a delicious local beer). Well we got the cheese curds and pizza but decided not to get the beer cuz it was a long trip and we just simply didnt feel like it. First off, I loved the curds more than Julia and Ryan but we all felt our faces leaking with grease right after we took the first bite... but the pizza was delicious. It was definitely a little pricier than we thought it was gonna be. We brought enough food to feed us for a week, but since we were so highly recommended, we went through with it. Not as great as it was talked up to be, but still pretty good. Needless to say, we all jogged after dinner so we didnt feel like complete fatty's. I took this picture for my trainer:

Ok so back to us driving... about half way up we still didn't know where we were gonna sleep last night. We have some friends in Minneapolis so we were thinking about driving the extra couple hours up there but the meet director of this River Vault, Jeremy offered his living room to us since we have air mattresses and stuff. So we took him up on that very sincere offer and stayed there last night. It wasn't bad at all! We got about 9 hours of sleep and leisurely woke up while his roommates were leaving and coming back. My air mattress wasn't the "airiest" by the morning, but I still feel pretty rested. Maybe cuz I was exhausted from driving 8 hours yesterday. I tried to take some pictures while i was driving yesterday, so here are a few...

After our decent night of sleep, we got dressed and came over here to a sandwich place in downtown La Crosse called Lindy's. We jump today at 3pm and its freakin HOT. I thought driving 8 hours north woulda gotten us to some cooler weather but NNNNOPE. It's supposed to be 96 degrees at 3 with a 15 mph wind out of the southwest. We havent seen the pit setup or anything yet but we saw a bunch of RiverFest activities by the river while trying to find this place. Hopefully the pit is set up to have some good wind! I'll update after the meet if I can, but we have a 6 hour drive ahead of us tonight, so I'll probly just update from my phone later. And I hope to get some videos and pictures today but I dunno since we're all jumping at the same time. I'll let ya know though!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


All I have to say is... THAT was a great practice. I ran short then medium run and felt really good. I'm so ready for this weekend.

Getting ready for my Midwest Circuit

If you've read my previous posts, you know that I'm going on a trip this weekend to compete in 3 meets in 4 days. What you don't know is Julia is going with me! She was trying to work it out with her summer class and stuff the last week and she figured it out! Also, my friend and old teammate Ryan Hays is coming with us! It'll be the three of us driving up to a River Vault in La Crosse, Wisconsin, then heading to Champaign, Illinois for the Gill Factory Vault, and lastly driving back this way to Webster Groves, Missouri (right outside of St. Louis) for the Pole Vault Explosion. It's bound to be the most vault-filled weekend of my life so far and I'm more excited than I was going to USA's! I've been jumping really well lately and I feel really close to jumping a higher bar and maybe something close to 19'. Everything would definitely have to line up perfectly, but I wouldn't be saying it on here if I didn't really believe it. Julia and I went out to Walmart last night to pick up some snacks and stuff for the trip. $50+ later, Julia dragged me out of there before I got too carried away, ha. We're all prepared for a great trip and we're planning on leaving around noon tomorrow. I'm hoping to post updates throughout the weekend but the'll be so much driving that i'm not sure. I'm gonna try to put up pictures from the meets and hopefully some video, at least that's my goal. It's gonna be about an 8 hour drive tomorrow and then the first competition is on Friday at 3. I'm planning on opening pretty high on Friday in order to take fewer jumps to save my energy for Saturday. The Factory Vault has much more prize money and competition so I'd rather be fresh for that.
Oh, and check it out! Morry Sanders, the coach of Arkansas Vault Club (AVC) liked one of my quotes that I wrote on Facebook a couple months ago and wanted to make a t-shirt out of it. I definitely let him and he actually did it! He made a shirt for his summer camp this year with my quote on the back! Here's pictures of the shirt:

Unfortunately, I don't think you can buy any, but I'll find out if he has extras to sell. I know my family said they wanna buy some. Anyway, I have vault practice tonight at 6:15pm with Coach and I think his pole vault camp will be watching. So I hope I have a good practice! ha. I'll update tomorrow before/during/or after the trip!