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!