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!