Friday, February 24, 2012

New Website Up And Running!

Hey guys, this is the final post on this blog. We've had a good run on here but it's time to step it up! Because I now have a full website with a blog as one of the pages. Check it out and please continue to follow and support me on my path to success as a professional pole vaulter. See ya on the new site!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

5.50m/18'0.5" a day before deadline! PowerBar and New Site Coming Soon!!

I finally hurdled that 18 foot barrier that had been avoiding me all indoor season so far. It's been a big year for me so far in practice, nutritionally, physically, and mentally, but I just haven't gotten the results I've wanted yet. You better believe I'm still not even close to being satisfied with 5.50m, but it's a barrier nonetheless. 5.50m is the qualifying mark for the Indoor US Championships NEXT WEEKEND. I already booked my flight, hotel, and planned a flight straight from Albuquerque out to LA on the Tuesday after USA's to leave for Japan that same day. I finally got on my 5m 13.7 pole again and it proved to be a money pole once again! Before this weekend, my season best was 5.41m/17'9"... sub-par for a professional pole vaulter. Being consistently over 5.60m with a few meets over 5.70m and 5.80m over the next year, then higher from then on. Now that you know where my head's at, we'll find out where my results will be throughout the year. On Friday I jumped in the Missouri Collegiate Challenge with 12 other guys and opened up at 5.30m/17'4.5". I cleared it on my second attempt and 3 of us who cleared that decided to move up to 5.42m because we thought that would be the bar that would qualify us for USA's since there aren't many guys over 5.50m/18'0.5" (the automatic qualifying mark). None of us made 5.42m... I never even got a shot at 5.50m, which was my ultimate goal for this weekend. I had entered myself in both competitions at Missouri, the college meet on Friday and the High School/Open Meet on Saturday, held at the same track just in case I needed to jump in both. Well unfortunately I needed that second meet to attempt a higher qualifying mark. I already mentioned that my season best this indoor season was 5.41m... Well I decided to start the competition at 5.50m/18'0.5". I'm not sure how often other people start one of their most crucial competitions at a height I haven't even jumped yet this year. By gosh it was just what I needed! The girls competition started at 8:30am and lasted until 12:45pm. The boys comp started at 2:00pm and 6 hours later, I cleared 5.50m on my second attempt! It was a new record long competition that lasted 6.5 hours total. I proudly took up the last half hour! After I cleared 5.50m (by scraping it pretty good, ha) I moved up to 5.72m/18'9.25" (Olympic and World Championships Qualifying Standard, which I have to clear if I want to make it to those meets). I haven't seen the videos yet, but I had 2 good attempts at it which was what I really wanted. I need more attempts at higher bars like that which was part of the reason why I skipped all the way up to it. The other reason was because I jumped the day before and my legs were fried! To conclude this session, I have officially qualified for the US Indoor Championships next Sunday and I plan on competing for a spot on the podium! I will then fly from Albuquerque to LA, on to Japan, compete at the Nishida Cup in Toyota City on March 3rd, then come back to the States on the 4th!
On another note, I just accepted a sponsorship from PowerBar to be on their Team Elite! So I want to thank PowerBar for the awesome opportunity and I hope to make you a proud sponsor!! So everybody go buy something from RIGHT NOW!
Last thing, I promise... Nevho Designs is currently building me a new website and I will be launching it by the end of this week if I can get stuff done on my end in time!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Leap forward, big step backward.

Everytime I make a breakthrough in my vaulting, something else goes wrong. I've been trying so hard to be taller coming into my take-off and driving my chest forward in an attempt to get on longer, stiffer poles. Well apparently those aren't the best key words for me. Last weekend I competed in The New Balance Collegiate Invitational at The Armory in New York City. I felt fantastic during warmups and was determined to have a good day. I even took 2 attempts on my 5.10m - 14.0 flex pole in warmups but couldn't quite penetrate enough on it either time. But it was the biggest pole I'd ever planted outside of the meet itself. I ended up starting the meet at 5.30m/17' 4.5"on a 5m - 14.1, still the biggest pole I've ever started on but scraped the bar on the way down. I managed to clear it on my 3rd attempt, finally. I scraped the bar off on the backside all of my next 3 attempts at 5.40m/17'8.5" and was out of the meet. Nobody ended up clearing 5.40m but I don't care about that because IT WAS A COLLEGIATE MEET! I was embarrassed to say the least that I got 4th place in a college meet. The most frustrating part was feeling great at take-off every jump and still coming up short each time. I talked with my coach after the meet and we watched some film. We determined that it was my lack of "rowing" throughout the middle part of my jump that doesn't allow the pole to roll over into the pit like it should. The goal is to take-off tall and fast, while pushing the hands up in order to get the pole to bend correctly and create the elastic energy you need to perform a good vault. After you stretch through the take-off, you have to push your arms forward all the way to your hips while also swinging your legs in order to get upside down. Obviously it's not something easy to explain, especially in words on the world wide web, but this is at least my simplified version of vaulting. Once you do those essential steps, vaulting is easy. I just can't seem to do those few things in the same jump. I was taking off much better this meet, but then wasn't using my arms during the middle of the vault, which rolls the pole over into the pit if you do it in the right order. This created a loss of energy in the middle of my jump causing me to be thrown straight up in the air to fall straight back down on the backside of the bar. I made a short video of my last attempt at 5.40m where I slowed down the video so you can see the portion of my jump where I was not using my arms at all.

Yes, it's hard to see in the video but the bar does bounce off because my right nipple hit it. My mission this weekend is to improve on both aspects and jump like I was born to jump. I'm tellin you... if I can figure out how to do both of these things in the same jump on a big pole, it's going to blow your mind. I'm going to clear some big bars this year and I'm thinking they are going to come sooner rather than later. Oh and one last thing... I was just invited to represent the U.S. at a meet in Toyota City, Japan on March 3rd. Dreams are coming true after all!! Keep believing in me and we'll go far together! Thanks for reading my friend, My next competition is at the Tyson Invitational at The University of Arkansas. I'm actually on the KU Team bus right now on my way. I'll let you know how it goes! It also might be televised so I'll be sure to update you with details if it is. Wish me luck!