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!