Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reno Time!

So this time tomorrow night I will be in Reno, NV getting ready for the Pole Vault Summit. This morning was my last training day in Boone before the early flight out tomorrow, and I am happy to report that it was a GREAT one! Many of you know that I have been trying to move my run back to 8 lefts for a little while now and it hasn't happened for one reason or another. But today I was ready!! We had to move my workout earlier so that 5:30 am wake up came early!! But I was ready and excited. And the vault session went great!! No run thrus from 6 or 8 lefts. And I had to get past some distractions that in the past I have let get in my head. Overall I was really proud of myself. Now I am definitely ready for Reno. It's going to be a great weekend!! As long as we can get to the airport in the snow.....

Monday, January 24, 2011

And Again...

This weekend was my second meet in a row in Boone, and unfortunately it wasn't a stellar outing. We were competing in the basketball arena at App State, which to be fair is not my favorite place to vault. It is a very nice arena, but for vaulting there is a lot of cement and the pit is pretty old. The last time I jumped in there was 3 years ago. In warm ups at that meet I landed in a hole in the pit and left the meet on crutches. Thankfully I learned my lesson and I didn't have any issues this time around.

There were some tough things to deal with this time around. Practices didn't go too smoothly last week. Our original goal had been to move back to 8 lefts, or 16 steps in practice. That didn't happen. But we decided to go ahead and try it at the meet anyways, at least in warm ups. And I had to do it without my coach.... (I owe a huge thank you to Meredith, Mandy, and Coach Ward for helping me with my steps and standards). Warm ups was great thru 12 steps. But moving back to 16 steps I just couldn't get comfortable. I felt like I was too far away, and when I moved up it still just didn't feel right. I am not worried, though. Usually the first day moving back there is a lot of adjusting. It takes me a few runs to get used to the extra speed, and at a meet there just aren't enough jumps. I know that when I go back this week it will go smoothly.

I moved back down to 12 steps for the meet. Unfortunately I didn't improve on my height from last week, but there are a lot of positives that I can take away from the meet:
-First of all, my body felt great! I have been struggling with some nagging injuries lately, but I recovered well for the weekend.
-I opened at a higher height than the week before.
-I was jumping on stiffer poles than the week before.

So far it has been a slow start to the season, but I think a lot of things are finally coming together. Physically I am really to jump big, and mentally I am really getting close. I am very excited for the meets coming up in the next 2 weeks. First is the National Pole Vault Summit in lovely Reno, NV! And then the first weekend in Feb. I'll be back in Johnson City for the Niswonger Invitational at ETSU. It's going to be a great couple of weekends!

Here are some photos from my first meet. I wasn't jumping at my best, but they are still some decent photos.

Monday, January 17, 2011

First Meet Done!

This weekend I finally got to compete again!! It was a small meet at App here in Boone. Overall I am pretty pleased with how the day turned out. It was a rushed morning, but I was able to settle down and get in a good mindset for the meet. The men competed first, which makes predicting when the women will start a little challenging. But thanks to Daniel, we timed it perfectly on Saturday. That doesn't happen often. Our goals for this meet were simple: no run-thrus and clear a bar. Personally, I was trying to prove to myself that I can be mentally tough.

I think I definitely accomplished all three things. I had no run thrus all day, I had no misses until the height I went out on, and I was able to stay in a good mindset all day. I ran from a very short run, only 12 steps. And I was able to jump on the same poles that I used from a longer run last year. The height was definitely nothing to write home about, but it's a great start. It was the best beginning I have had to a season. The only place to go from here is up!!

My next meet will be Saturday at App again, but this time it will be in the Convocation Center. If anyone is interested in dropping by, I always love support!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year, New Me

So I know I am long overdue for the obligatory New Years post. But this isn't going to be filled with well intentioned resolutions and wishful thinking for the year ahead. I am making some drastic changes in my life, and the New Year has come at a convenient time to implement them. They have been a long time coming, so I will call them what they are: changes. Changes in the way I eat, the way I think, the way I train, and the way I live. Resolutions seem so impermanent. Tradition leans more towards breaking the them than actually following along. How many people do you know that have already begun to break theirs? So I am not making resolutions, I am making changes. And not just for the year 2011. These changes are in place until I finish with my athletic career. So here it goes...

1) Changing the way I eat:


My parents made the change last summer. I was skeptical. Athletes, especially speed and power athletes, need protein. Lots and lots of protein, right? How is it possible to get all of that on a plant based diet? Plus, I love cheese. I never thought I could give up cheese. But if someone presents new ideas that I disagree with, I want to know more. I finally read the books my parents were giving me. The most important is the China Study. I am only halfway through, but the first few chapters were enough to convince me that I needed to make a change. Not just for my athletics but for my health.


I am not going to get too technical in this explanation, but my reason for going soy free traces back to the isoflavones found in soy. These isoflavones disrupt the normal functioning of the thyroid which can lead to serious thyroid problems. They also bind to estrogen receptors, essentially mimicking estrogen in your body. And as an elite athlete, increased estrogen levels whether real or induced is the exact opposite of what I want. Being vegan and soy free are a tough combination, but anything is do-able with the good planning.


Caffeine blocks the fat burning pathways in your body. It also does a number on my stomach, so this isn't too difficult of a change. And I feel better already! :)

2) Changing the way I think

It's no secret that I have struggled mentally with my vaulting over the last few years. The last outdoor season was the worst it's ever been. After my move I expected all my problems would just melt away. When they didn't, I was at a loss. I know that my training this fall was good, the best fall that I have had yet. But still things just didn't feel quite right. It took some pretty low lows in the last several weeks to force me to make some realizations. I had to ask myself why exactly I am doing this. Why am I still vaulting? Am I vaulting for my parents? For my coaches? For my boyfriend? For my friends? The somewhat selfish yet brutally honest answer to those questions are all no. I am vaulting for myself, and no one else. So I have to take ownership. No one else can fix my problems. They all may care about me, and they may be invested in my success. But I am vaulting for myself, because I love this sport. And because I have an insatiable drive to be the best vaulter that I can possible be. So I need to stop making excuses and get out of my own way. Once I realized this, the progress has started coming. With all of the snowstorms in Boone, I have had many days alone to do some soul searching. And it has been very good for me. The last few practices have been great. And I know that this is just the beginning.

3) Changing the way I train

With the progress I have made mentally, I feel like I have a renewed fire inside me. I have more drive to commit to every workout than I ever have before. The training itself may not be changing, but the way I approach every practice is new and different. And very very exciting!

4) Changing the way I live

If I am truly committed to my goals as a pole vaulter (and I really really am), then I need to focus everything in my life around my vaulting. A year ago I think I had it down. But there have been a lot of changes since then... new town, new apartment, new jobs... It seems like just about everything in my life has changed except my vaulting. I have been using this change as an excuse for way too long. I was very unsettled here, and at times I still am. But that does not mean that I can let it impact my training. Starting now I am organizing my life so that everything is focused around my vaulting. If that means that I skip some trips to visit family, then I have to skip them. If it means I miss the end of a tv show or movie so that I can be in bed by 10, then I'll do it. I've let all the little things slide for way too long. It's not going to happen anymore.

My competition season starts now. I have 2 meets here in Boone, then I am headed out to Reno, NV for the Pole Vault Summit. Today I had my first practice jumping over a bar since last summer. It went very very well. For the first time in a long time I feel calm, relaxed, and confident. I'm ready to show everyone what I can really do, one step at a time.